Things to do in Saigon, Vietnam

From having good food to checking out some historical places, there are lots of things to do in Saigon, Vietnam. However, with limited time and specific interest, I managed to do only some of them which I am listing below. You can also book guided tours such as this one to visit more places with insights from locals.

Visit the War Remnants Museum

The War Remnants Museum is a must if you are into history and politics. The museum consists of multiple floors walking you through the whole saga of pre-war, during-war and post-war scenes in Vietnam. They also have many military equipments at display here. While there are sections with gore pictures and descriptions of what happened, a section where there are drawings from kids can really move a lot of people.

War Remnants Museum

Shop at the Ben Thanh Market

Located at District 1, the heart of Saigon, Ben Thanh market is a nice place to spend some time if you want to buy local things. From souvenirs to spices to tea or coffee, you can find almost everything here. Be prepared to bargain a lot because they can quote you high prices if they know you are a foreigner. I got some Vietnamese coconut coffee for one of my friends here and I bargained for nearly 2-3 minutes before settling for a price which I felt was fair for both of us.

Ben Thanh Market

Checkout the Central Post Office

I love post office. I try to make time to visit a post office whenever I travel to get hold of some stamps and postcards if possible. I did exactly the same here as well. I got some special edition stamps for as cheap as 4000 VND (15 Cents) along with some postcards to send it to some of my loved ones.

Central Post Office

Visit the Apartment Cafe

The Apartment Cafe is really a one of kind place I have visited. The building used to host American military officers back in the days. Now, it has become a spot for tourism and the elite young crowd coming here with friends or for dates. My friend and I were lucky enough to find a spot in the balcony and get the amazing view of the Lunar Year celebrations.

B52 Museum

Rent a motorcycle

While public transport is cheap and so are taxis despite getting scammed, renting a motorcycle in Vietnam is a different experience in itself. I hail from Chennai, a big metropolitan city of India with unruly traffic but Hanoi was a whole new world. However, thanks to my driving skills from India, I survived Hanoi. Saigon is relatively much better I would say despite driving during Lunar New Year time with lots of traffic and diversions. Getting a motorcycle in Saigon is easy. However, unlike Hanoi, I had to keep my passport at the shop lending me the motorcycle. The motorcycle comes with the tank partially filled and hence the onus is on you to keep track of fuel and refill it. Please check your motorcycle for brakes before you rent them and ask the provider for a helmet; it is usually free. The rent was around 8 USD per day. If you are uncomfortable getting a motorbike for yourself, you can also have others drive you around in addition to some tour. For example, here is a motorobike street food tour.

Rent a motorcycle

Get a Non La Hat

Get yourself this cool hat. You can bargain them for as cheap as 1 or 2 USD. Some group tours, like mine when I went to Ninh Binh, gave me one for free.

Non La Hat

Wear Ao Dai

Ao Dai is a traditional Vietnamese dress. It is for both men and women. I did not try this out personally but I saw many of them wearing it; especially during the new Lunar year’s eve.

Ao Dai

Try Vietnamese food

From Pho to Banh Mi to Bun Cha to noodles to curry rice, try as many dishes you can when in Vietnam. In addition, you can also try their beers. I personally liked Saigon beer more than the Hanoi one. Vietnam is also famous for their different kinds of coffee; especially the ones with coconut and egg. Additionally, you can go for a street food tour or a cooking class as well. I am passionate about food and love cooking and hence I just requested localites to share some recipes or record them cook; they gladly obliged.

Vietnamese Glass Noodles

Author

Ankur Sinha

Playing with data constantly, traveling when I have money and time, cooking to relieve from stress, blogging when I have something to write about.