Despite being one of the most developed cities in Southeast Asia, visiting Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City on a budget is absolutely possible. Various activities and attractions in Saigon would probably fit every budget. Have a look at our tips and guide for an affordable and memorable visit to Saigon.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most beautiful attractions to go to when you visit Saigon on a budget because of its distinctive French architecture. Built during the French colonial period in Saigon, the Notre Dame Cathedral is covered by typical red bricks and stained glass windows which were all imported from France. Its surrounding area is an ideal place for young people to have their wedding photoshoot or gather to sing and play guitar at night.
Read more on Notre Dame Cathedral.
Address: 1 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening Hours: Daily 8 AM – 5 PM
Saigon Central Post Office
Together with Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, the Central Post Office stands out among a few remnants of French colonial times in Ho Chi Minh City. Designed by Gustave Eiffel, the designer of many international famous attractions including the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, Saigon Central Post Office is a highly recommended place to observe Vietnamese architecture in the Indochinese period.
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Address: 2 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening Hours: Daily 7 AM – 7 PM
Temples and Pagodas
Visiting Buddhist temples is an affordable way to experience the traditional side of Vietnam as all temples are free to enter. There are various religious sites scattering throughout the city, offering you typical prayer ceremonies with a glimpse into local cultures and ancestral worship, and unique traditional architecture. Must-visit temples you can easily find in every list of visiting Saigon on a budget:
Mariamman Hindu Temple: the only Hindu temple in Saigon and is reputed to have miraculous powers that can give luck and wealth to visitors.
Address: 45 Truong Dinh, Ben Thanh, District 1
Opening Hours: Daily 7 AM – 7 PM
Jade Emperor Pagoda: one of the most important shrines in Saigon and a typical representation of the Mahayanist branch of Buddhism in Vietnam. This pagoda is also a popular place for locals to come and pay their respect to their deities.
Address: 73 Mai Thi Luu, District 3
Opening Hours: Daily 8 AM – 5 PM
Read more on the Best temples and pagodas in Ho Chi Minh City.
Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Located in the heart of the city, Nguyen Hue Walking Street is a must-visit street when you visit Saigon. This place is one of the top preferable spots for young Saigonese to practice their flash mob choreography, and enjoy street food and beautiful sightseeing at night. There are many lovely coffee shops and fashion boutiques in old apartments along the street, where you can explore another interesting side of Saigon's nightlife.
Have a look at our Night Adventure Private Tour to discover Saigon's nightlife fully.
Saigon is heaven for food lovers with plenty of roadside eateries and street food stalls, which is perfect when you travel on a budget. The city is well-known not only for its diverse cuisine but also for many streets full of different kinds of foods which cannot be missed during your visit to Saigon.
Pham Ngu Lao Street
It would be an incomplete nightlife experience if you do not come to Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao Streets when traveling to Saigon on a budget. This place is full of joyful activities and nightlife where you can see how lively this city is at night. The street is widely known as a street eating and drinking paradise for foreign backpackers where there are plenty of tasty food stalls along the roadside offering many different types of BBQ dishes and beer at reasonable prices. Besides the food, there are many foreigners who have become residents here who can give you tips on how to travel on a budget.
Su Van Hanh Street
Being a street food gem, Su Van Hanh is always a top choice for young people in Saigon with several budget-friendly food stalls, cafes, and bars along the street. The specialties of Su Van Hanh are Banh Xeo – savory sizzling rice crepes, and sixteen different kinds of local Vietnamese desserts. You can get a meal for around only $2 here.
Co Giang Street
Despite being located in District 1, the central area of Saigon, Co Giang is a bit quieter than Pham Ngu Lao or Su Van Hanh. However, this street can still offer you plenty of local street-life eateries with streetside barbeques and Chinese-style fried noodles. You can find the general price here is considerably reasonable which fits everyone’s wallet.
Read more on 15 Vietnamese Street Food Options You Should Try.
Should you cross out shopping from your list when visiting Saigon on a budget? Besides busy trading centers and luxury shopping malls, the local market is still a traditional shopping place, where you can observe a unique cultural aspect of Saigon. You can find everything in Saigon's local markets ranging from clothes and food to electronics at affordable prices.
Ben Thanh Market
Being one of the oldest markets in Saigon, Ben Thanh market is an ideal shopping place for travelers who love to bargain with plenty of items ranging from clothes to handicrafts. It is advisable to visit Ben Thanh market at night when it is decorated with many colorful lights and various food stalls. There are several local cuisines you should try including soup noodles and fresh barbecued seafood.
Read more on Vietnamese Souvenirs to Buy in Saigon.
Address: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, District 1
Opening Hours: Daily 6 AM – 12 AM
Saigon Square is always a budget-friendly shopping spot, which can offer you plenty of products at affordable prices. As one of the largest indoor markets in Saigon, you can find almost everything here, ranging from clothes, and shoes to jewelry, most of which are made in Vietnam and Cambodia. The average price you are expected to pay for a pair of jeans is around $6 to $9 and $3 to $5 for a polo shirt.
+Saigon Square 1: 77 – 89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1
+Saigon Square 3: 17E9 – 181 – 183 – 185 Hai Ba Trung, District 1
Opening hours: 9 AM - 9 PM
• Bargain and Shop around: Always remember to bargain over the price of products and spend time shopping around for the best deal before buying at local markets.
• Hail a ride with on-demand taxis: The transport fares of on-demand taxis like Grab are more reasonable than that of taxis, but you should note down some of our precautions for hired transportation in Saigon.
• Go on a tour: This is an ideal option for budget-conscious travelers. Our Ho Chi Minh City tours are designed to save you time and money if you were to do them on your own. Check out our Ho Chi Minh tours.
• Find budget hotels to stay in Ho Chi Minh:
Saigon is always an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers with various beautiful sights and exceptional street food. You can go through historical temples to modern streets just on a tight budget.
For more attractions and travel guides in Saigon, check out our 3 Days Travel Guide in Ho Chi Minh City.
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