Off the beaten path in Ho Chi Minh City

The largest city in Vietnam by population that was named after a Vietnamese revolutionary leader has now become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The city is rich with culture, history and has some of the most gorgeous architecture you can find in Vietnam. It’s also one of the most modern cities where you’ll be surrounded by beautiful skyscrapers and modern buildings. Still, there’s lots of older architecture to discover here as well that has withstood time – and war. As tourism is rising in Vietnam, more and more are eager to discover what this southern city has to offer. In fact, in 2017 alone, the biggest city of Vietnam saw more than 5 million tourists!

For those who are eager to explore the city’s hidden gems, let’s start delving into this list of how to get off the beaten path in Ho Chi Minh City.

Skip Bui Vien

If you really want to avoid the crowds, don’t go to Bui Vien. It’s known as the backpacker street where every tourist ends up. During day time, there’s a few shops that can be worth visiting and the small alleys can be fun to see, but when night falls, the bars and clubs open. This is the busiest time in Bui Vien, where you’ll see tons of backpackers, travelers, expats and locals all grabbing a drink or two in a loud bar. It could be worth checking it out for a day, but it’s definitely not an “off the beaten path” place in Ho Chi Minh City.

Broma

Head to a rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City instead of going to crowded Bui Vien. There’s lots of rooftop bars in the big city, but perhaps Broma is one of the most lovely. The ambiance is easy going, the vibe is great and you can look over the stunning Ho Chi Minh skyline. It’s not really a place for those who wants to party hard, but it’s perfect to grab a drink, relax with your friends and enjoy a stunning view over the city.

Visit Dam Sen Water Park

Not many tourists know about this water park, but it’s definitely worth checking out. When the weather gets sweltering hot in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll really want to find a place to cool off. The water park is one way of doing it while also experiencing something off the beaten path. Although it can get busy, it’s mostly locals who go here and not tourists.

View the skyline from across the river

The skyline in Ho Chi Minh City can be seen from many angles but perhaps it’s from the other side of the river that offers the best. You can take a taxi to get to District 2 and sit down by the waterfront with some food and drinks.

Get your pulse up at Saigon Dubstep Dance Battle

The most talented and wildest dancers in the city goes to Saigon Dubstep Dance Battle every week for a friendly competition amongst each other. Not only will you be able to see the dancers put on a wild show, you can also party after the battle has ended. The DJ usually takes over when the champion has been crowned and then you can join in on the fun.

Thanh An island, Can Gio

Although this island is not located in mainland Ho Chi Minh City, it’s easily accessed via the city and lies about 70 km to the East. Every day, you can catch the ferry five times running between the mainland and the island under these time slots: 9AM, 10:30AM, 12PM, 2PM, and 5PM. The prices are also very reasonable since many locals take this transportation. If you’re looking to stay there, you’ll probably want to ask a local if they have a spare room because there’s no hotels on the island. It’s the perfect getaway from the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh and is definitely a way of getting off the beaten path.

There’s no shortage of beautiful colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, but if you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture, there’s no better place to do it than Heritage House.

“I love taking pictures of forgotten things and telling people about where I took then,” says Hai. “I’m proud to learn the good things from the past, so I can recapture it and share it with the young generation — people who appreciate the history of the city who has nurtured us for so long.”

There’s no shortage of beautiful colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, but if you’re looking to gain a deeper understanding of Vietnamese culture, there’s no better place to do it than Heritage House.

“I love taking pictures of forgotten things and telling people about where I took then,” says Hai. “I’m proud to learn the good things from the past, so I can recapture it and share it with the young generation — people who appreciate the history of the city who has nurtured us for so long.”

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