How to Spend a Weekend in Ho Chi Minh

There are so many things to see and do in the city of Ho Chi Minh that spending a weekend there is definitely not enough to see everything that the city has to offer. But for those who only have a weekend to spare in the city, fret not, for it’s definitely possible to experience the best of the city even for only a couple of days.

If you’re going to Ho Chi Minh for the weekend or perhaps you plan on spending a few days there before heading to other places in Vietnam, here’s a recommended itinerary for your weekend trip in the city.

Explore the Famous Sites

What’s great about Ho Chi Minh is that most of the city’s famous attractions are only a walking distance away from each other. So start your weekend by exploring the city’s famous sites. Grab a map from your hotel or turn on the GPS navigation system of your phone before you head out to explore.

Begin at the Notre Dame Cathedral, a neo-Romanesque Catholic Church that was built by the French colonialists during the 1880s. From here, walk across the Saigon Central Post Office, which is just in front of the cathedral. The building’s gorgeous facade is hard to miss, which has Gothic, Renaissance, and French influences. Just like the cathedral, the French also built the post office during their occupation of the country in the late 19th century.

From the post office, make your way towards the Independence Palace, which is only a 5-min. walk away. Also known as the Reunification Palace, the palace was built in 1960 and serves as the resident of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. After spending some time at the palace, head towards the War Remnants Museum to discover unique historical exhibits and hear some harrowing stories about the Vietnam War.

Hit the Street Food Stalls for Lunch

After exploring Ho Chi Minh’s famous sites, you probably find yourself craving for some Vietnamese delicacies for lunch. As you walk along the streets of Ho Chi Minh, there’s a good chance that you’ll come across a number of street food stalls selling mouthwatering Vietnamese dishes. So grab a small chair by the stall and order a piping hot bowl of Pho or any dish that might appeal to you.

Grab A Cup of Vietnamese Coffee

If you’re feeling a little bit tired and sleepy after your sumptuous lunch, wake yourself up by drinking a delicious cup of Vietnamese coffee. The coffee in Vietnam is not like your usual cup of latte. Also known as the cà phê đá or iced coffee, the traditional coffee is made from dark roast coffee beans, which was cultivated locally in the country. You’ll find a number of coffee shops along the District I area serving the best tasting Vietnamese coffee so check these out.

Climb to the Saigon Skydeck

For a bird’s eye view of the city, climb towards the Saigon Sky Deck, which is located on the 49th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower. As you climb to the top, prepare yourself for the thrill of riding an extremely fast elevator with a speed of 7 meters per second. Aside from enjoying the view of the cityscape, you’ll also learn a lot about Saigon’s history at the Sky Deck. Wait for sunset and prepare your camera to capture the mesmerizing sunset view!

Have a Bottle of Beer at Pham Ngu Lao Street

When evening comes, head to the Pham Ngu Lao Street, also known as the backpacker street of Saigon. This place comes alive at night and numerous Western-style bars and restaurants would open up to welcome travelers of all kind. Check out one of these bars and order a bottle or two of the local beer as you meet and socialize with fellow travelers.

If you want a more affordable way of enjoying the nightlife in Ho Chi Minh, head to the streets and you’ll find lots of street-side kiosks selling affordable beer to a crowd of locals. Usually, there are small tables and chairs arranged by the kiosk so grab a seat at one of the chairs and enjoy your beer.

Shop ‘til You Drop at the Ben Thanh Market

On the following day, head to the Ben Thanh Market where you can shop for some affordable items as a souvenir of your short weekend trip. The market opens at 7 AM although some stalls will not open up until around 10 AM. If you don’t feel like waking up early, you can come here at 9 or 10. At this time, the market is still not too crowded.

There are also plenty of good restaurants near the Ben Thanh Market where you can have your brunch. After eating, it’s time to start your shopping. Don’t forget to bargain to get a good deal of whatever it is that you plan on buying.