I’m learning from my past travel mistakes of not posting right away! I end up forgetting about my experiences and not publishing as many travel articles as I’d like. If you are visiting Vietnam for the first time, you have to make a stop in Ho Chi Minh City if you love the big city life.
Things To Do in Ho Chi Minh City
1. War Remnants Museum
During our time in Vietnam, I did not visit that many museums or tourist attractions. Unfortunately I’m not a history bluff and museums sometimes just go over my head. However, I would highly recommend you to visit the War Remnants Museum to learn about the atrocity of the Vietnam War. Be warned that the information presented is very one sided, but it made me more aware of its history. Entry fee is a modest 40,000 VND.
2. Go Shopping
Something that surprised me was shopping for clothes in Ho Chi Minh city! There are a few shopping streets with many trendy affordable boutiques. If you are curious about what I bought, make sure to check out my haul from Ho Chi Minh. In general, prices were around $15 for tops, $25 or dresses, and $25 for pants. And these are considered the trendy stores!
3. Happy Hours
Happy Hours were not that prominent in other parts of Vietnam (luckily food is so cheap in Hanoi). But many of the top rated bars in Ho Chi Minh City have happy hour specials that you should definitely take advantage of! Several of them even have ladies night specials! It’s a great chance to try out cocktails or drinks at 50% off! Here are a few offering specials:
- 2 Lam Son
- The Gin House
4. Go on a tour to Cu Chi Tunnels
The Cu Chi Tunnels were used during war by the Viet Cong and is now a very popular tourist attraction. We actually didn’t go on this tour as I felt a bit claustrophic looking at the photos. But it’s a great experience to go back in time and visit a real bunker. There are many tour operators that will take you from Ho Chi Minh Cityon a day trip for as low as $30.
5. Walk Along Nguyen Hue Street at Night
Nugyen Hue Street is known as the walking street in Ho Chi Minh. We took a stroll during the day but the place really lights up at night. Skyscrapers on both sides have multicolored light installations. Locals are all meeting up with friends or enjoying a snack on the sidewalk. It’s a really fun vibe and very safe as well!
6. Try Non Vietnamese Food
We stuck to purely Vietnamese food during the rest of our trip. But since Ho Chi Minh is a more international city, we wanted to eat more non-Vietnamese food. Especially modern Thai! We had 3 meals of Thai food and it was delicious (check out TukTuk for the best paid thai you’ve ever had!) We also ate udon, sushi, and pizza twice!
Where to Eat and Drink in Ho Chi Minh City
Moderate/Fine Dining Restaurant
- Tuktuk – Tripadvisor A modern thai restaurant that offers classics like curry and pad thai. I love the vibe and interior design.
- Anh Tuk – Tripadvisor This is the more upscale version of Tuktuk. We had a fancy crab fried rice that was delicious!
- Pizza 4 P’s – Tripadvisor We ate pizza TWO days in a row in Vietnam! How embarassing but this is some of the best pizza and pasta I’ve ever had!
- Hoa Tuc – Tripadvisor Traditional Vietnamese food done well and in a nice setting
- Heart of Darkness Brewery – Tripadvisor There are quite a few breweries in Ho Chi Minh and we really enjoyed the beers at this brewery
- Corked Tales – Tripadvisor They had 50% off during happy hour and I liked the unique vibe. The cocktails were a bit sweet though.
- SOHY – Tripadvisor For the place to be seen, SOHY is the rooftop bar to be at!
- Banana Mama – Tripadvisor This rooftop bar just opened in 2019 but already becoming a favorite with it’s tropical decor
- 2 Lam Son – Tripadvisor Located in the Park Hyatt, the drinks are expensive (but 50% off during happy hour). They were some of the best cocktails we had in the city though!
- Firkin – Tripadvior For whisky lovers, this is the bar for you. Cocktails are spirit forward and so many bottles of whisky to try.
Where To Stay in Ho Chi Minh City
The best place to stay is around the Dong Khoi area close to the Saigon Opera House. I originally booked a cheap hotel called Dyn Opera Hotel. But it was a real letdown (dirty bathroom, deteriorating hallways, and less than helpful staff). I ended up splurging the last 2 nights at Myst Dong and it was worth every penny!
Where I Stayed:
- DYN Opera Hotel – not recommended but only around $50 per night
- The Myst Dong Khoi – fabulous decor, pool, and free afternoon tea buffet (~$200 per night)
How Much To Budget for Ho Chi Minh City
Unfortunately I did not keep good track of how much we spent at the last leg of the trip. We ran out of cash and started using our credit cards. Luckily, many restaurants and bars here take credit cards. I have a much better reconciliation of how much we spent in Da Nang so be sure to check that out!
Food/Coffee: ~$15 CAD per person for lunch/dinner, ~$4 CAD for coconut coffee
Drinks: ~$9 CAD per drink during happy hour
Attractions: 80,000 VND to War Remnants Museum
Hotels: $565.11 CAD (paid for 4 nights at DYN Opera and 2 nights at Myst Dong)
Shopping: $149.47 CAD (check out what I bought)