Ho Chi Minh City

From the Jade Emperor Pagoda and the Opera House, to the Independence Palace and Bitexco skyscraper, you gotta love the diverse flavours of “Saigon”.

Originally Khmer but claimed by the Vietnamese, all but gobbled up by the French, spiced up by Chinese ethnic refugees, liberated by the Viet Minh, brought to boiling point by the Americans and finally fused with the Communist North, HCMC is as much of a melting pot as the steaming pho served at its colourful Ben Thanh market. HCMC thrives, no matter what humanity throws at it. There’s only one way to deal with this mad mix: savour it.

Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam   |   View Google Map

Frequently Asked Questions about Ho Chi Minh City

What are the must-see sights?

Ho Chi Minh has a turbulent history, and many of its most frequented attractions are related to the wars of the 20th century. Learn from the horrors of the past with a visit to Cu Chi Tunnels. This underground network of passages was a vital strategic base for the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Claustrophobes beware! Exploring this underground maze is not for the faint-hearted. To learn more about how the Vietnam War was fought and the legacy that it left behind, explore the exhibits and displays of The War Remnants Museum. Here you'll find a large collection of war memorabilia, photographs and films. Once you're done learning from the past, look to the future at Bitexco Financial Tower. The highest building in Ho Chi Minh City, it stands as a testament to the resilience of this remarkable city. Climb up to the Saigon Skydeck and gaze out in awe at the sparkling sprawl below.

What are the best day trips for exploring the surrounding region?

Ho Chi Minh sits on the doorstep of the Mekong Delta. Punching far above its weight in terms of agricultural production, this fertile area offers sightseers a glimpse of authentic rural Vietnamese life. You won't see it all in one day, but it's enough time to make it to the town of My Tho. From here you can hop on a boat and explore the winding river, taking in the floating markets and tasting some local cuisine. Apart from food, this region also offers spectacular landscapes. Be sure to snap some photos of the picturesque wetlands, orchards and of course, the iconic rice paddies.

Where's the best nightlife?

It might not be for everyone, but Bui Vien Street and its surrounds are certainly the epicentre of Ho Chi Minh's party scene. Much like Thailand's Khao San Road or Bali's Kuta Beach, this neon-lit strip is a hedonistic mix of cheap bars, thumping nightclubs and massage parlours. While a night on Bui Vien is almost a rite of passage for first-time visitors, don't forget to be careful with your valuables while you're there. There are many pickpockets at work and tourists regularly lose wallets, phones and cameras. If you're looking for a more sophisticated night out, doll yourself up and head downtown to District 1. Here you'll find a range of rooftop bars serving up delicious cocktails and sparkling views of the city below.

What are some of the strangest foods I'll be able to find?

So you've filled up on pho and you're ready to expand your horizons? Even the most adventurous diners can have their stomach turned at some of Ho Chi Minh's more unusual dishes. A popular street food for some (a nightmare for others) is balut, a fertilised duck egg that's traditionally boiled and served with laksa herbs. Cracking the shell open, you'll find a half-formed chicken fetus looking back out at you. You've been warned.