Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), formerly Saigon, is Vietnam’s southern hub with even more hustle and bustle than Hanoi. We only had 40 hours to explore this wild city.
Getting to Ho Chi Minh City
We were coming from Hoi An so we took a flight from Da Nang on Vietnam Airlines and arrived mid-day.
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
We stayed in a hotel called Chez Mimosa Home and it was cute and convenient to everything. They had a sister hotel we had rooftop access to and they gave us a nice foot bath!
What to do in Ho Chi Minh City
Hop on a Motorbike
The first thing we did when we arrived was hop on the back of a bike. While we loved renting our own bike in Ninh Binh, HCMC was a little hectic to solo ride. After a great Airbnb Experience in Hanoi, I decided to book another food tour this time by moped instead of on foot.
It’s called Back of the Bike Tours and it was so much fun! Two college-aged girls drove us around and showed us a great time. It was a less structured food tour than the one we did in Hanoi and it was basically like hanging out with friends. We had plenty of food, drinks, and laughs. Plus they said it was a win-win for them because they got to practice their English and make some extra cash!
See the Notre Dame Cathedral
We started our one full day in HCMC with a stroll down Bui Vien, the backpacker street and a visit to Notre Dame Cathedral. There is a lot of French influence in Vietnam since they controlled the country for many years.
Visit the Saigon Post Office
Next stop, the post office! This is where the mail of US soldiers was sent. We wrote our friends and family some postcards and they surprisingly made it all the way! I always doubt snail mail.
Learn at the War Remnants Museum
After some delicious pho and beer we headed to the War Remnants Museum. Wow, this was a harrowing museum and I learned some ugly truths about the United States’ role in the Vietnam War, or as they call it (and perhaps more accurately named), the War of American Aggression. They even had victims of Napalm with physical deformities working the gift shop. I’m not going to lie, I was secretly hoping everyone thought we were Canadian.
Eat Street Food
Next we headed to Ben Thanh Market, which was a great spot for shopping and awesome street food. We then strolled by the Finance Building, the tallest building in HCMC, on the way to our sister hotel’s rooftop bar. And then for dinner we wrapped up our Saigon trip with some seafood on Vinh Khanh street.
While I preferred the overall vibe and food of Hanoi, I still really liked Saigon and am glad we finished our Vietnam adventure here.
What we didn’t do in Saigon: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels
I would have loved to do this day trip but unfortunately we didn’t have time. Plus Grant’s parents did it and they said it was a little creepy! On the van ride there the driver played them anti-USA propaganda videos and they were afraid they were going to be trapped in the tunnels as retribution for US war crimes! (Kind of kidding, kind of serious!)
Youzza Ho’ Chi Minh,
Note: We visited Saigon (HCMC) in April 2019.