There are activities in Ho Chi Minh City to cater to any type of traveller, whether it’s exploring the underground routes of Chu Chi Tunnels or putting your culinary skills to the test with authentic Vietnamese dishes. Not only do they offer tourists the chance to learn more about various lifestyles within this vibrant city, there are also numerous excursions outside the city centre such as the tranquil Mekong Delta, riverside markets, and local villages.
Covering a wide range of budget, location, and time duration, the most popular things to do in Saigon are uniquely Vietnamese experiences no first-time visitor should skip out on during their holiday.
1. Cu Chi Tunnels
The iconic Cu Chi Tunnels comprise more than 120km of tunnels, offering a sneak-peek at the underground life of Viet Cong-era soldiers. The restored tunnels are especially popular with non-Vietnamese tourists where they can enjoy activities such as following the routes of the underground army, firing an M16 assault rifle, as well sampling meals that the underground fighters had to live with years ago. Chu Chi Tunnels are a 40-minute drive from Ho Chi Minh City and there are numerous tour operators that can arrange for a half-day excursion for about VND 825,000 onwards.
Opening Hours: Daily
Address: 70km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 83 794 8820
2. Motorcycle Tour
Joining a motorcycle tour is an exhilarating way to explore popular districts within Ho Chi Minh City. Due to the city’s often scorching climate, most tours are conducted between 07:00 and 12:00 where you’ll visit popular city landmarks such as Saigon Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Cholon, as well as various Buddhist shrines and temples. One of Ho Chi Minh City’s most popular motorcycle tours is the ‘Saigon City Sights and China Town by Back of the Bike Tour’, which is priced VND 1,125,000 per person and inclusive of hotel transfers, lunch, drinks, helmet, poncho, insurance, and an English-speaking tour guide.
Opening Hours: Daily 08:00 – 22:00
Address: 3189 Pham The Hien Street, District 8, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 82 221 5591
3. Mekong Delta Day Cruise
Mekong Delta Day Cruise is an eight-hour guided boat trip that stops at various points of interest along the way. Great for exploring a more traditional part of Ho Chi Minh City, visitors are chartered through the river’s numerous lush canals where they can visit local riverside markets, authentic villages, colonial structures, fruit orchards, pagodas, and artisan workshops. Prices for the Mekong Delta Day Cruise vary according to season and tour operators. For example, a guided tour by Saigon River Express is priced at VND 2,500,000 which includes authentic Vietnamese delicacies for breakfast and lunch, unlimited drinks and local fruit, an English-speaking guide, hotel transfers, and entrance fees to the workshops.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 18:00
Address: Vuon Kieng Pier, Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 128 592 0018
4. Saigon River Cruise
The Saigon River Cruise is offered by numerous tour operators in the city, whether as private charters, group tours, dinner cruises with fire dancing on board, or daytrips further afield for tourists looking to visit historical and cultural hotspots that are only accessible by boat. The Saigon River is also one of the easiest ways to visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, hidden canals, and the Mekong Delta. If you’re pressed for time, opt for the two-hour Bonsai River Cruise which is priced at VND 630,000 per person. You can enjoy a buffet dinner, traditional and modern dance performances, and complimentary shoulder massage on-board a royal Vietnamese-style dragon boat.
Opening Hours: Daily 07:00 – 22:00
Address: Saigon Port, 05 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 83 9105 560
5. Cooking Class
Popular amongst travelling food enthusiasts, there are plenty of restaurants and five-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City that organise half-day cooking classes. Guided by an experienced chef, each session starts off with a trip to the local market to shop for fresh produce, herbs and spices. After heading back to the hotel/restaurant, participants learn how to prepare authentic Vietnamese dishes such as bun thit nuong, goi cuon, and banh xeo. A must-try is the Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc Restaurant, which is priced at VND 968,000 for adults and VND 602,000 for children below 12 years old.
Opening Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 08:45 – 13:00
Address: 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Distrist 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 83 825 1676