Official name is Ho Chi Minh City but this city is often referred to the name Saigon. Saigon with hundreds of years is a young city, but it is the top city of Vietnam in development and the pace of modern life. The city with all the exciting activities: eating, resting, playing, entertaining, shopping… is always attract visitors to visit and experience. If you are planning to visit Saigon, the Saigon Travel Guide post below will give you a well prepared trip.
Overview of Saigon
The largest and most populous city in Vietnam will surely attract you by a myriad of exciting attractions, luxury high-rise buildings, large and busy shopping centers, classical old villas or traditional markets which have existed for hundreds of years extremely unique.
In Saigon, you will have the opportunity to experience the specialty trips such as cruise along the Saigon River by boat, Bui Vien Backpacker Street is always busy at night, diverse cuisine both in harmony between many regions and having its own identity … Saigon has a lot of interesting things which cannot be discovered in just a few days. However, with Saigon Travel Guide, we hope you will still have the most enjoyable and unforgettable experience in this young, dynamic, and lovely city.
The weather – the best time to travel to Saigon
Located in the monsoon tropics, the climate of Saigon is marked by two distinct seasons: rainy and dry seasons. The temperature of the city ranges from 25 to 35 Celsius degrees, not too much difference. Each season in Saigon has its own beauty and excitement, so you can travel to Saigon at any time of the year. Rainy season usually lasts from May to November, the rains come and suddenly go very fast, sometimes it just makes you “startled” and then gone. Dry season follows from December to April next year, this time the city is soaked in golden sun. Sometimes, Weather will be hot but do not worry; Saigon still has enough entertainment places for you to hide from the sun.
How to go to Saigon?
As the largest city in the country, you can travel to Saigon by any transport. For those who are far away, you can choose to go by plane or train. For those who are coming from nearby provinces, it is advisable to choose a bus, or travel by motorbike to save your money.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport is the largest airport in the country. With this advantage, from the airport to the city center is about 10 km, after the plane is landed in Saigon, you can move into District 1 with two main means:
Taxi: You can easily take a taxi just outside the airport. From the airport to the center is about 70,000 – 200,000 VND / depending on the taxi company.
Bus: Tan Son Nhat Airport currently has 4 bus routes into the city center.
Bus 109: Tan Son Nhat – Ben Thanh – 23/9 Park. Price is 12,000 – 20,000 VND for one way ticket.
Bus 119: Tan Son Nhat – Mien Tay bus station. Price is 12,000 – 20,000 VND / one way ticket.
Bus 159: Mien Dong Bus Station – Tan Son Nhat – An Suong Bus Station. Price: 7.000 – 10.000 VND / one way ticket.
Shuttle bus number 49: Tan Son Nhat – City Center. Price: 40.000 VND / one way ticket.
If you have plenty of time, you can choose to take the train and enjoy the scenic mountain views. Saigon is the stop of many railway lines such as North – South trains, special trains run from Nha Trang, Da Nang … The train tickets are from 200,000 to 1,000,000 VND.
Saigon has two major bus stations: Mien Dong Bus Station and Mien Tay Bus Station – where all the buses from all provinces and cities coming to. The advice of the Sai Gon Travel Guide for visitors coming from the central or southern provinces: buses will be the good and economic choice.
By personal vehicles
Transportation to Saigon is very convenient for you to travel by yourself from neighboring provinces. Those who love airy space can choose to ride a motorcycle. Or if there are cars, it is more convenient because the city now has many highways, which helps to shorten the travel time a lot.
Transportation inside Saigon
If it is the first time you come to Saigon, you may be stunned by the busy traffic. The road has many lanes with a lot of vehicle types such as motorcycles, buses, cars, taxis… keep running, the streets never be quite.
City bus: It is a popular public transport of the city; you can go to any location for only 5,000 – 7,000 VND / person / one way. For students (valid student card), the price is only 2,000 VND / ticket.
Grab, Uber: Saigon is where these two technology services operate in the most crowded business. If you do not like to drive, then experience the convenience and modernity of these applications.
Motorbike: Nothing is as easy as renting a motorbike in Saigon. There are many services for motorbike rental at private house or hotels in Saigon. The price ranges from 80,000 – 180,000 VND / motorbike, depending on the type of motorbike.
Taxi: Of course, big cities such as Saigon do not lack taxi companies. Some famous names are Vinasun (Telephone number: 028 38 27 27 27) and Mai Linh (Telephone number: 028 38 38 38 38).
What to do in Saigon
Tourist spots you should visit
Ben Thanh market
If you ask about the symbol of this city, the answer of all travel guides in Saigon will be Ben Thanh market. Built in the late 19th century, Ben Thanh is one of the oldest markets, and one of the busiest markets at the moment. Ben Thanh Market has both the day market and the night market. In the daytime, the market has full of merchandise items: foodstuffs, cloths, eateries, souvenirs for tourists. At night, the market is concentrated on two sides of the road, mainly food and souvenirs.
Address: Roundabout of Quach Thi Trang Square, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1.
Opening times: 7am – 11pm
The second symbol of the city is the Independence Palace, also known as the Reunification Palace. This was the office of the Governor-General of Indochina and President Ngo Dinh Diem before the April 30, 1975 event. Up to now, the Independence Palace has remained one of the most prominent architectural features of South Vietnam in the 1960s.
Address: 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1.
Opening time: 7:30 am – 11:00 am and 13:00 – 16:00.
Ticket price: 40,000 VND / person / ticket.
Notre-Dame de Paris
One of the “historical witnesses” to the influence of the French in Saigon was the Notre Dame Cathedral. Existed in the city since the 17th century, the church is still intact French architecture with red tile roof and two large bell towers. In front of the church there is a small park, where the Virgin Mary statue (the sacred Mother of Peace) is located. From July 2017, a large restoration began; Notre Dame Cathedral has not opened to visitors, only for masses serving. The church will welcome visitors after complete the repair work.
Address: 01 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1, Saigon.
Saigon Central Post Office
Right on the side of Notre Dame Cathedral is Central Post Office. This is a place where you can admire the harmonious combination of Western and Asian cultures in style of the designs and sculpture motifs.
Address: 02 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1, Saigon.
Opening time: 7am – 7pm.
Learn about Saigon culture
If you are tourist who love cultures and you want to experience what only has in Saigon, then let Saigon travel guide tell you places that cannot ignore.
Ho Chi Minh City Museum
Reused from a French building dating back to the nineteenth century, Ho Chi Minh City Museum remains a subtle blend of Asian and European architecture. Come to the museum, you will learn the history of forming the city named Ho Chi Minh through each period.
Address: 65 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Opening time: 7:30 am – 18:00 from Monday to Sunday, including Holidays and New Year vacation.
War Remnants Museum
As the most famous museum in the city, the War Remnants Museum currently keep thousands of artifacts, materials on the Vietnam wars and the serious consequences that were left. In addition, the museum regularly organizes various exhibitions, with the desire to innovate and attract more visitors.
Address: 28 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3, Ho Chi Minh city.
Opening time: 7:30 am – 18:00 from Monday to Sunday, including Holidays and New Year vacation.
Fine Arts Museum
If you are an art lover, you will not want to miss the Fine Arts Museum. In addition to the valuable artifacts, the museum itself equally brings intriguing stories. Previously, the house was the residence of Mr Hoa – Hua Bon Hoa, who was the “land lord” of Saigon last century. The museum is the exhibition of many valuable art works in different styles and different periods.
Address: 97 Pho Duc Chinh Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city.
Opening times: 09:00 am to 17:00 from Tuesday to Sunday
Chinatown (Cho Lon)
Like many other big cities in the world, Saigon also has its own “Chinatown”, known as Cho Lon. Spreading across districts 5, 6, 10 and 11, the Hoa community is 15% of the population with distinct cultural characteristics. Coming to Chinatown, you will not want to ignore crowded markets such as Binh Tay Market or Soai Kinh Lam Market; Old temples and pagodas like Ba Thien Hau Pagoda; and hundreds of famous dishes make people craving: wonton, Chinese boiled dumpling, duck noodles, Hoa sweet soup, roasted duck…
New tourist spots in Saigon
The Factory Contemporary Art Center
As a new destination of art lovers, The Factory Contemporary Art Center offers a space of multi-style art, a place to exchange and inspire to young people of the city.
Address: 15 Nguyen U Di Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2
Opening time: 10:00 am – 19:00 from Tuesday to Sunday
The Book Street of Nguyen Van Binh
Going to the bookstore to read books and overlook the street is also an interesting feeling. Nguyen Van Binh Book Street was born with the desire to promote reading culture. On the small street of the post office, there are more than 20 booths of publishers, cafes, shopping malls and old bookshops. Since its inception, the book street has been a new, fun, and good spot for people walk on the street; It is also the venue to organize book introducing and book exchanges.
Address: Cong Xa Paris Street, beside the Post Office.
Opening time: 8:30 am – 21:30 every day, weekends opening until 22:00
Nguyen Hue Walking Street
One of the most crowded spots of Saigon is the Nguyen Hue Walking Street. The long road is only for pedestrians; two side of the street are the most popular pubs, cafes, and entertainment centers. The Walking Street is also a place where art groups perform spontaneously; giving the young, bustling atmosphere of this young city.
The interesting places around the walking street: Saigon Garden, coffee apartment 42 Nguyen Hue, the famous milk tea brand on the side of the road, Zone 87….
Bui Vien Street – “Street of Foreigners”
Bui Vien is the clear evidence for the sentence “Saigon does not sleep”. The bustling street in the heart of District 1 is kept from vehicle, becoming the walking street every night. On two side of the road have a lot of restaurants, sometimes just a few tables, chairs, food and a glass of beer are enough for young people to chat overnight!
Address: De Tham Street, Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1
Opening time: 19:00 – 2:00 am.
The bar is an interesting place to visit in Saigon. Some famous bars included: Sahara Bar, 227 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1; Go2 Bar 187 De Tham Street, District 1; Vasco Bar, 16D Cao Ba Quat Street; Saigon; Saigon Bar, 19 Lam Son Street, 224 De Tham Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward…
Shopping malls in Saigon
In Saigon, there are many markets and crowded shopping centers. Shoppers will definitely satisfy in this city because of the variety of goods, from the popular stuff to the most luxurious thing. It’s no exaggeration to say that the malls in this city are the places which gather everything you need. If suddenly you do not know where to go, so that Saigon travel guide can tell you, let’s visit a shopping center and spend an evening there to discover.
Takashimaya – Saigon Centre
Being one of the busiest shopping centers in Saigon, Takashimaya is full of high-end fashion brands and famous restaurants. In particular, this is a good “selfie address” is being popular with the youth because of the artist cafe and the luxury design of booth.
Address: 92 – 94 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.
Opening times: 09:30 am – 21:30 every day.
Vincom Dong Khoi
Located in a prime location in the heart of District 1, Vincom Dong Khoi is a gathering place of all famous fashion brands such as H & M, Zara, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius…; the famous cosmetic brands such as NARS , Innisfree … If suddenly you want to shop, Vincom is definitely the place you have to visit when traveling in Saigon.
Vincom A: 72 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.
Vincom B: 45A Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1 (only a intersection).
Opening times: 09:30 am – 22:00 every day.
In addition to these two popular centers, Saigon also has other popular shopping centers such as Parkson, SC Vivo City, Crescent Mall, The Garden Mall … spread across the city. If you are wondering where to go for shopping, let’s go straight to these centers, ensuring that everything you need is always there.
What food you should try in Saigon?
If you ask what the “specialty” of Saigon is, the answer is definitely broken rice. Rice dish is simple but can accompany with the Saigon people in every meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The most special version of broken rice is rice with Vietnamese pork sausage, pork ribs, pork skin, lard, pickles and a cup of sweet fish sauce.
Ba Ghien Broken rice shop is at 84 Dang Van Ngu Street, ward 10, Phu Nhuan district, cost about 37,000 VND / plate, open from 7:30 am – 21:30. The ribs are very soft and sweet.
Suon Que Broken rice shop is famous with ribs marinated deliciously at 371 Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 25, Binh Thanh District, about 35,000 VND / plate.
Street eateries for broken rice: Open from 6:30 am – 23:00.
378 Le Van Luong Street, District 7
100 Thach Thi Thanh Street, District 1
72 Nguyen Thuong Hien Street, Ward 5, District 3.
172C Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 17, Binh Thanh District.
No. 2 – 4 D2 Street, Ward 25, Binh Thanh District (Opposite Hutech University).
48B Phan Van Tri Street, Ward 7, Go Vap District.
Not a coastal city but the Saigon people especially like to eat snails. This is a suitable dish to drink with friends after a working day. Just a shop near sidewalks, sitting on the plastic tables and chairs; dishes such as: stir-fried snails with chili sauce, grilled oyster with onion, stir-fried duck eggs with tamarind… well enough for you to enjoy your life.
Oc Loan shop – 166/1 Ly Thai To Street, Ward 1, District 3. The price of a snail plate is about 50,000 VND.
Oc Dao – 212B / C79 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1. A snail place is priced at 50,000 VND, extremely fragrant. The most famous dish here is the sautéed butter snail. You can buy baguette dip with sauce very tasty.
Oc Khanh – 25/5 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Nghe ward, District 1.
Oc Mam Sua 282 / 4A, Bui Huu Nghia Street, Ward 2, Binh Thanh,
Oc To 282 / C128 Xom Chieu Street, Ward 15, District 4.
Banh Mi – Vietnamese single-serving baguette
Traveling to Saigon, you definitely have to eat Banh Mi. Saigon baguette has countless versions; as simple as baguette with Vietnamese pork sausage, baguette with roasted pork, baguette with grilled meat, Chao baguette….
Grilled pork baguette: 37 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1. Price: 16.000 VND / baguette.
Huynh Hoa baguette: 26 Le Thi Rieng Street, Ben Thanh ward, District 1, open from 15:00 – 22:00. Price: 35,000 VND / baguette.
Bay Ho baguette: 23 Huynh Khuong Ninh Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, open from 14:00 – 17:00, the price: 15,000 VND / baguette.
Banh Mi Hoa Ma – 53 Cao Thang Street, District 3.
Phnom-penh clear rice noodle soup (Hu Tieu)
Hu Tieu Thieu Ky: 66/5 Le Dai Hanh Street, Ward 7, District 11.
Hu Tieu Thanh Xuan: 62 Ton That Thiep Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1.
Hu Tieu Nam Vang Quynh: A65 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1.
Hu Tieu Bo Vien: 01 Doan Thi Diem Street, Phu Nhuan District.
Rice noodle soup – Pho
Pho is the national dish of Vietnam, but there is a big difference between the two regions: South – North. When traveling to Saigon, should not forget to explore the taste of pho to know what is the different.
Pho Hoa: 260C Pasteur Street, District 3.
Pho Le: 303 Vo Van Tan Street, District 3
Pho Hung: 243 Nguyen Trai Street, District 1.
Pho Dau: Lane 288 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 3.
Pho Thai Son: 178 Le Lai Street, Ben Thanh, District 1.
What do Saigon young people eat? Of course, they are attractive snacks: salad rice paper, girdle cake, beef jerky salad, spring rolls, fried flour, crab soup… You can find these dishes in every street, every corner of the city to satisfy the appetite.
Snack area at Con Rua Lake, District 3.
Snack area at Gia Dinh Park, Go Vap District.
Snack area at Marie Curie School – the junction of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street and Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street, District 3.
Saigon is considered as a “mixed hot pot”, gather all elite cuisine of the world. If you are travelling in Saigon and you suddenly want to eat Korean food, Japanese, Thai, European, or Indian food… Saigon can also make you satisfied immediately.
Japanese restaurants: Japanese Quarter on Le Thanh Ton Street, District 1.
Korean restaurants: Korean area in Phu My Hung, District 7.
Drinking coffee is a cultural feature of Saigon. At a café, you can enjoy leisure time, working on the laptop or chatting with friends. The beautiful coffee is opened a lot more and more, response the wait and expect of the city residents.
Accommodation in Saigon
Nothing is simpler than finding a place to stay over night when traveling to Saigon. With the development of tourism, Saigon hotels are also diversified, quality is also constantly improved to bring the best choice for visitors.
Hotels in Saigon
Being the largest city in the country, of course, hotels in Saigon have all the types for you to choose depending on your expenses and preferences. The city has world-class luxury hotels such as Park Hyatt Saigon, Hotel Des Arts Saigon Mgallery Collection, Pullman Saigon Centre, Le Meridien Saigon…
A bit more affordable hotel is the 2 – 3 star hotel segment with affordable price, central location and close to the Saigon tourist attractions, names such as Rosabella Hotel, Hotel Room@saigon… will make you satisfied.
In addition, apartments for rent are also a favorite accommodation in recent days. For those who have a long trip, the Saigon Travel Guide recommends that you consider this kind of accommodation. An apartment not only has rest facilities such as a hotel but also having a full kitchen area and small laundry, more convenient than hotel.
Resorts in Saigon
Residents of Saigon are busy with the stress life of the city always looking for a place to rest temporarily. But where they will stay if they do not have long time to go? Around the city, there are many beautiful resorts for you to have a “hiding trip” for relaxation. Popular Saigon resorts are: An Lam Sai Gon River Resort, Villa Song Saigon…
Hostel and homestay in Saigon
Being a young and dynamic city, Saigon certainly cannot ignore the trend of new hostel or homestay, being popular to backpacker tourists. The hostel and homestay in Sai Gon are the choice of savings, the owner is very caring about the design, and space is very friendly, suitable for you to meet new friends.
What you should note in Saigon
Saigon is a busy city; however, when traveling here you need to note the following things:
Get a map of the city or phone with 3G/4G mode to take the online map and avoid getting lost.
When taking vehicle: limit to contact with strangers or eat and drink food from strange people to avoid being cheated and lose money.
When renting a room, hotel or hostel in Saigon: Do not rent a room in a small residential area, always bring your wallet especially when your rooms or hotels have windows.
When eating: You must ask price before eating, avoid eating at the bus station because the food is often not hygienic but the price is expensive.
When walking on the street: Do not bring bags or purses, if you carry them you should be careful, and should break down the money you have to avoid losing everything because the pickpocket and robbery still exists.