How many days in Ho Chi Minh City are enough to discover and learn about this historic yet vibrant metropolis in Vietnam? The answer will vary depending on your definition of a great experience in this city. Worry not, as this guide will help you single out the most appealing tourist destinations and how to fit them into your Ho Chi Minh City schedule.
1. How many days are best for a quick tour in Ho Chi Minh City?
If you are a first-time traveler to Vietnam, you may ask yourself how many days in Ho Chi Minh City are enough to see everything you have planned. Depending on the number of attractions you want to visit and whether you want to extend your trip elsewhere, two to four days should be adequate for an enjoyable trip.
The most historically and culturally significant attractions in the city are located not too far from each other, so you do not need to worry about travel time. Two days should be more than adequate for you to not only swing by but also admire the destinations.
However, it is a different story if you have your eyes on destinations in suburban districts of Ho Chi Minh City. In this case, three or four days will give you enough room to comfortably travel between the attractions.
2. What are the must-visit attractions in Ho Chi Minh City?
From historic landmarks to cultural hubs, there is no shortage of places to visit in Ho Chi Minh City. Since it may be difficult for first time travelers to pick and choose the best attractions, here are eight of the best locations to experience the city.
2.1. Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office is a prominent architectural gem in Ho Chi Minh City. Designed by architect Alfred Foulhoux, its ornate facade boasts Gothic and Renaissance elements, exuding a timeless charm.
The building attracts numerous tourists and locals who share an appreciation for its historical significance and architectural style. Aside from being a gorgeous background for wedding photos or school trip group pictures, this Saigon landmark is still a fully operational post office to this day.
2.2. Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
The diverse and somewhat jumbled Ho Chi Minh City landscape has an elegant highlight: the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. This iconic 150-year-old architectural masterpiece graces the city center scenery with its neo-Romanesque design. With an undeniable French colonial influence, it captivates visitors with its striking red brick facade and twin bell towers.
Constructed in the late 19th century, it stands as a testament to Vietnam’s rich history. Stained glass windows adorn the interior, offering a serene escape from the bustling city outside. Like the post office, the cathedral retains its initial use as an active place of worship for Catholics while being a prominent tourist attraction thanks to its photogenic allure.
2.3. Independence Palace
The Independence Palace is arguably the most significant symbol of Vietnam’s history in Ho Chi Minh City. The palace served as the former presidential residence, witnessing pivotal moments like the great Ho Chi Minh campaign victory in 1975.
Additionally, it is also an architectural marvel. Steeped in elegance and grandeur, its modernist design and lush gardens can attract both history buffs and photography enthusiasts. Visitors can explore its opulent interiors, which are filled with historical artifacts in mint condition. The palace’s serene gardens, adorned with fountains and ancient trees, offer a peaceful retreat on a Ho Chi Minh City itinerary.
2.4. Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is the place to be for tourists hoping to explore a bustling hub of commerce and culture in the city. This historic market has been a symbol of the city for decades thanks to the diverse offerings from local vendors and the street food scene.
Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Vietnamese lifestyle as they navigate the maze-like alleys of the market. From bargaining for souvenirs to savoring delectable street food, Ben Thanh Market showcases the essence of everything that makes Vietnam a sought-after tourist destination.
2.5. War Remnants Museum
For tourists looking to learn a few things about the majestic history of Ho Chi Minh City and Vietnam, the War Remnants Museum is the place to be. It displays many of the country’s artifacts, leading visitors through a journey to explore the country’s tumultuous history.
The majority of exhibits will provide you with a sobering glimpse into the Vietnam War. They include powerful photographs, military equipment, and personal accounts. Visitors can explore the museum’s three floors, each dedicated to different aspects of the conflict. The museum’s mission is to promote peace and educate the younger generation, making it a must-visit for those interested in a different look at Vietnam.
2.6. Nguyen Hue Street
Nguyen Hue Street is a pedestrian boulevard lined with shops, restaurants, cafes, and street vendors. It is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll and to mingle with the locals.
Also, in the evening, the street comes alive with colorful LED lights and water shows, giving pedestrians an exciting experience. On special occasions, Nguyen Hue will be the venue for concerts, live football watch parties, photography exhibitions, and most notably, the annual Tet flower street.
2.7. Bui Vien Walking Street
Speaking of bustling streets, Bui Vien Walking Street has recently emerged as a go-to destination for Ho Chi Minh City nightlife. This vibrant hub is teeming with entertainment options like bars, restaurants, and street food vendors.
The street is also a prime example of the globalization of the country, acting like a mini melting pot of many foreign cultures. Visitors can easily find many American, Mexican, and European restaurants packed with diners during rush hour here.
2.8. Cu Chi Tunnels
This is the farthest attraction from the remaining seven on this list, but it is unmissable for any itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City. Cu Chi Tunnels are an intricate network of underground passages located in a suburban district of the city. These tunnels, originally dug during the Vietnam War, span an impressive 250 kilometers in total length.
Tourists may go through the tunnels themselves to see a simulation of the specialized rooms. If not, they can also enjoy many activities above the ground, such as visiting reenactment zones or exploring the Ben Duoc Tunnels and the wildlife rescue station.
3. How to plan a perfect itinerary for Ho Chi Minh City?
The attractions are only one part of the entire experience, and once you have decided how many days to spend in Ho Chi Minh City, putting a plan together should be easy. Check out some of the recommendations below and decide how many days in Ho Chi Minh City are enough for your desired experience.
3.1. How to spend 1 day in Ho Chi Minh City?
- Morning: Visit Chinatown (Cho Lon) in District 5 and move on to Ben Thanh Market, Independence Palace, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Afternoon: Visit the Landmark 81 skyscraper to escape the heat and enjoy some retail therapy.
- Evening: Join the nightlife scene at Turtle Lake and Nha Rong Harbor.
3.2. What to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 2 days?
If two days are your answer to how many days in Ho Chi Minh City are enough, try visiting these attractions:
- Day 1: Check out the historic side of the city at Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, War Remnants Museum, and Cu Chi Tunnels.
- Day 2: Move on to the cultural side of things with Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Thanh Market, and Bui Vien Walking Street.
3.3. How to spend 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City?
If you would like to extend your stay in Ho Chi Minh City to three days, the city will still have tons of experiences for you:
- Day 1: Start your journey in the central districts and visit Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, Nguyen Hue Street, and Bui Vien Walking Street.
- Day 2: Slow down the pace and use your second day for relaxation and recreation at the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden, as well as Nha Rong Harbor. Get started on a trip to Thanh An Island in Can Gio.
- Day 3: Continue the adventure in the suburban districts with Cu Chi Tunnels and other attractions in the area.
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3.4. What to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 4 days?
If you have fallen in love with Ho Chi Minh City and planned to explore as much as possible, four days in the city should be more than enough.
- Day 1: Enjoy the most iconic attractions in the city like Ben Thanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Zoo and Botanical Garden, Independence Palace, etc.
- Day 2: Visit the modern entertainment complexes or shopping malls around Saigon is on the agenda for day 2. Landmark 81 and Jump Arena are two popular options in the city.
- Day 3: Dedicate an entire third day to Thanh An Island to have the most comfortable trip and get more time to explore all activities.
- Day 4: End your journey at Cu Chi Tunnels and return to the city for the nightlife at Nguyen Hue and Bui Vien.
If you plan to stay in the city for longer than 4 days, consider going on day trips from Ho Chi Minh City to neighboring provinces such as Vung Tau, Tay Ninh, Dong Nai, Mui Ne, Da Lat, or the Mekong Delta region.
After exploring the pearl of the Far East, travel up the country to other regions and uncover other destinations like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long. During the entirety of your trip, Vinpearl hotels and resorts can be your most trusted friend with the best hospitality services in the country. Enjoy the impeccable services and amenities at Vinpearl, as well as participate in the thrilling games and shows at VinWonders entertainment complexes.
The answer to the question of how many days in Ho Chi Minh City are enough will depend on your preferences. Ho Chi Minh City is home to a wide collection of tourist attractions, ranging from historical sites to cultural hubs. Whether you have one day or more, there will never be a dull moment in this gem of a city. So, plan your itinerary, pack your bags, and make the most of your visit to this vibrant Vietnamese city.