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How to Spend a Long Weekend in Ho Chi Minh City

long-weekend-in-hcm

Traveling in Ho Chi Minh City can be one of the most interesting experiences in your life. Ho Chi Minh is a vibrant, busy city with many dynamic cultures. You may discover the extraordinary beauties and unique style of this city from your journey.

How to Get to and around Ho Chi Minh City

If you plan to visit Ho Chi Minh City, it is better to find low-cost flights. Airlines such as Jetstar Pacific, Vietjet Air, Air Asia, all offer great flight deals for you when you hunt tickets in advance. If possible, sign up for email alerts from these airline websites to get deal alerts.

motorbike tours original

Traveling by motorbike is the best way to explore the city 

The best way to travel once arriving in Ho Chi Minh City is cruising on a motorbike. We recommend you to Book Private Tours with local guides, especially if you are new to the city, so you can save your time planning and enjoy a stress-free local experience. 

Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

  • Luxury hotels 

Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide range of luxury hotels that you can choose. Most of these hotels offer the most exceptional services and the best location in the central city. Prices can range from $50 to $85 per night. Some of the top hotels in Ho Chi Minh City are New World Saigon, InterContinental Saigon, M Gallery, Nikko Hotel, Park Hyatt, Le Meridiem, Reverie, and Caravelle Saigon.

  • Small hotels and hostels

If you are traveling on a budget, you can choose to stay at small hotels and hostels. Most of these are situated in the area of Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham, and Bui Vien Street, otherwise known as the "backpackers' area" of Ho Chi Minh City. Prices can range from $15 to $30 per night.  

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Bui Vien Walking Street

  • Dorm room/Homestay

Or even better-budgeted choice is a bed in air-conditioning dorm rooms in hostels. It costs just from $6 to $10 for each bed here. This kind of room is somehow the same as the one in the university dormitory. You will have a chance to meet and stay with backpackers from many countries traveling to Ho Chi Minh City. The most notable downside to staying in this area is the loud music and crowd noise from the nearby bars that come to alive at night, especially on the weekend.

 

A Weekend in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday

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A loaf of Vietnamese baguette (Banh Mi)

  • Banh Mi for breakfast (USD 0,5 - 2/piece)
  • Shopping in Ben Thanh Market - remember to bargain!
  • Lunch at Ben Thanh Foodcourt (USD 0,5 - 2/dish)
  • Take a Walk at Nguyen Hue Boulevard - visiting the Nguyen Hue apartment
  • Dinner at the Cocochin Foodcourt (USD 5 - 15/dish)
  • Grab a drink at Bui Vien Walking Street (USD 5 - 10/drink)

Just checked in to your accommodation and feeling hungry? Why not try a Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette), a popular breakfast among the locals and one of the best street foods in the world? Check out famous stores like Banh Mi Nhu Lan (64 Ham Nghi, District 1, opens from 4 AM) or Banh Mi Ha Noi (83 - 85 Nguyen Thien Thuat, District 3, opens from 6 AM) for a taste of this delicious treat. After that, you can start exploring the city by walking around Ben Thanh Market to shop for local goods and souvenirs.

For lunch, you can enjoy a wide variety of dishes inside the Ben Thanh Market Foodcourt, where they offer everything from noodles, rice, to fresh fruits and desserts. In the evening, take a leisure walk down Nguyen Hue Walking Street for a look into Ho Chi Minh City's fast-paced, metropolitan lifestyle. If you do not know what to have for dinner, check out the Cocochin Foodcourt, located right on Nguyen Hue Street (77 Nguyen Hue, District 1, opens from 10 AM to 10:30 PM). The food court offers all sorts of Asian dishes under one roof.

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Asiana Food Town

After dinner, walk around Bui Vien Street to enjoy an authentic Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) nightlife style. There are plenty of bars and pubs located on this street. Check out some of the most popular nightclubs in Ho Chi Minh City for more details.

 
Sign up for a Motorbike Night Tour and go on an adventure with our local tour guides.

Saturday

  • Pho (beef noodle soup) for breakfast (USD 2 for a heart-warming bowl of goodness)
  • Have some Vietnamese coffee (USD 0.5 - 1/cup)
  • Visit attractions in District 1: Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office,... (USD 2/entrance ticket)
  • Visit War Remnants Museum in District 3 (USD 2/entrance ticket)

Unlike the often busy and crowded atmosphere in the weekdays, weekends in Ho Chi Minh City starts out slowly and leisurely. The locals often spend their weekend morning enjoying a hearty bowl of Pho and a cup of Vietnamese coffee to start the day. You can enjoy an appetizing bowl of Pho at Pho Quynh (323 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, opens 24 hours) or Pho Hung (241 Nguyen Trai, District 1, opens from 6 AM). To learn more about breakfast and lunch options, check out our guide of Ho Chi Minh's two-day itineraries

long weekend in hcm 5

Independence Palace

A must-visit location for all tourists coming to Ho Chi Minh City is District 1, where many of the city's attractions are located: from historical destinations and landmarks to galleries and museums. One of the places that you can start your Day Adventure from is the Independence Palace (also known as Reunification Palace). Within walking distance from the Palace are the Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office. The Notre Dame Cathedral has been closed since 2017 for renovation, so you just can see it from the outside or go in during mass hours. The Saigon Central Post Office is open from morning to early evening for you to admire one of the French architectures that remain in the city, as well as buy some postcards and stamps to send home.

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Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon

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And the adjacent Saigon Central Post Office

After visiting these locations, you can also check out the War Remnants Museum, where many valuable historical artifacts and evidence of Vietnamese war history are preserved and exhibited.

Sunday

  • Com Tam (broken rice) for breakfast (USD 2/dish)
  • A day tour to Cu Chi Tunnel (more details here)

Tour duration: 6 hours
Traveling time: 1.5 - 2 hours

Starting a new day in Ho Chi Minh City with a plate of Com Tam (Broken Rice) is a habit of most locals in the south. Com Tam is known as an iconic dish of Ho Chi Minh City. Com Tam Cali (32 Nguyen Trai, District 1) and Com Tam Moc (85 Ly Tu Trong) open early in the morning (around 7 AM). On the other hand, Com Tam Thuan Kieu (26 Ton That Tung, District 1, from 10 AM) is more familiar with the locals and still has high quality and quick service. Locals are also accustomed to enjoying Broken Rice from the street vendors because it is cheaper and could be just as delicious. However, the food hygiene of these stalls is not ensured.

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Com Tam Thuan Kieu

com tam cali

Com Tam Cali

If you prefer to eat something with soup, Bun Bo Hue or Hu Tieu Nam Vang is another choice for you. Quynh Nam Vang Noodle Soup (A65 Nguyen Trai, District 1, 24 hours) is one of the most recommended stores to enjoy this tasty dish in the central district. You may also want to look at other options in our three-day itineraries in Ho Chi Minh City guide.

A good way to spend your Sunday is going on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City, and the most favorite place is the Cu Chi Tunnels. The prominent historical site is where many military campaigns occurred during the Vietnam War and a must-visit destination for anyone interesting in learning about the history of Vietnam. We recommend you Book a Guided Cu Chi Tunnels Tour because while the entrance ticket to the Tunnels sometimes includes a guide, the groups are usually very crowded which makes it harder to follow. The tour usually takes about 6 hours to finish, so we recommend that you set off early in the morning to have some time for refreshing in the afternoon.

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Inside a military meeting bunker of the Cu Chi Tunnels

Summary of How to Spend a Long Weekend in Ho Chi Minh City

If you do not know what to do on your day-offs, traveling to Ho Chi Minh City is a good choice for your long weekend. There are plenty of things for you to enjoy like eating delicious Vietnamese food, shopping, sightseeing, and riding on the back of a motorcycle.

Get the world-leading travel insurance for your adventures in Ho Chi Minh City:

 

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© Written by Linh Nguyen and Thu Doan for itourvn.com

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