In the vast, bustling city of Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City), the options of things to do can be overwhelming, especially for those who have just set foot in the city. If you are looking for inspiration, you have come to the right place. Here are some of our suggestions for interesting activities in Saigon.
The most authentic way to explore Saigon is to do it on a motorbike. Though the seemingly chaotic traffic here may put some people off the idea, those who have tried said that it is absolutely worthwhile.
There are many services that provide rental bikes for tourists, though many will find it daunting to navigate the city by yourself, especially if you are not accustomed to the traffic and all its rules and regulations. You can choose to use ride-hailing apps such as Grab for motorbike taxis, but the riders usually do not speak English or give you any safety briefing.
Getting around Saigon on motorcycles
The best choice for a worry-free experience is to opt for a Day Adventure Motorbike Tour. We offer many motorbike tours around Saigon with professional guides, tour insurance, and trustworthy services.
Exploring the city by motorbike
Previously we mentioned the motorcycle, now for another interesting thing to do in Saigon, try the cyclo/rickshaw. A cyclo is a mean of transport consists of the back half of a bicycle and a 2 wheeled carriage at the front. Cyclo used to be one of the most popular ways to get around the city in old Saigon.
A city tour on the cyclo
But nowadays, with the advancement in technology and the ever-developing economy of Vietnam, cyclo has been made obsolete and has given way for various better means of transport. However, thanks to the government’s initiative in preserving cyclo as an icon of old Saigon, you can still experience getting driven around the same way people did a few decades ago. As a word of caution, ask for the price before hopping on one to avoid the classic cyclo scam or better yet, book this kind of interesting experience through a trustworthy agency.
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Looking for a new and exciting shopping experience? Check out Saigon’s many local markets where you can find almost anything ranging from souvenirs and handmade crafts to fresh produce and local goods.
Arguably the most well-known markets in Saigon, Ben Thanh Market is sure to be the first choice for many tourists. Another market that you can visit is Dan Sinh Market, located just 1km away from Ben Thanh Market, where you can find unique souvenirs and war memorabilia. Be sure to equip yourself with some bargaining skills first, and surely you can find some amazing deals.
Ben Thanh Market South Gate
Of all the interesting activities in Saigon, walking along Nguyen Hue Walking Street is the most accessible and delightful. Starting from the front of City Hall and ending at the Bach Dang Wharf by Saigon River, Nguyen Hue Walking Street gives you a general look into Saigon metropolitan lifestyle, with many of its luxurious storefronts as well as local shops and vendors.
Apartment 42, a unique building on Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Among impressive buildings on both sides of the streets, one of the most prominent ones is Apartment 42, an old apartment that has now been turned into a collection of coffee shops, tea houses, and fashion boutiques. You can discover many hidden gems and secret corners when wandering around this one-of-a-kind apartment.
The nightlife scene in Saigon is ever-growing thanks to the developing taste of the locals and the culture that the expats have brought here. If you are a party person, Saigon does not fail to disappoint. With her myriad of bars and clubs, no genres are left untouched. One could say one of the most exciting things to do in Saigon at night is bar hopping. Here are just some names for you to consider: Piu Piu, The Observatory, The Lighthouse, Lush, Envy Club.
Street foods at night in Saigon
Well, the nightlife isn’t all about partying. The night of Saigon is ripe with lingering, aromatic smell of street foods as well. Too much booze on an empty stomach will lead to a nasty hangover, so protect and treat yourself with some tasty Vietnamese cuisines. You can head down to Bui Vien Street and/or Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street to discover a massive collection of street foods, and you are going to need more than one night to taste them all. Prepare yourself for an assortment of seafood, shellfish, snails charcoal-grilled out on the open streets.
Cholon is Saigon’s very own Chinatown and the largest Chinatown in Vietnam. The establishment of the community dates back to the 18th century when the ethnic Chinese Vietnamese fled wars and prosecution and moved to the area. With its great cultural and historical importance, it is a must-visit destination for anyone who wants to learn more about Saigon’s diverse and colorful background.
A corner of Binh Tay Market, one of the main attractions of Cholon
For interesting activities in Saigon, Cholon has a lot to offer. Some of the main attractions are the crowded Binh Tay Market and Soai Kinh Lam Market, where you can find anything from fresh fruits and vegetables to fabric and clothing and even office supplies. Walking around the area, you can also marvel at the classical architecture of old buildings, temples, and pagodas. To top it all up, you can end your day with the taste of authentic Chinese cuisine as Cholon is full of local restaurants and street food vendors, serving all kinds of dishes such as roasted ducks, noodles, dumplings as well as colorful desserts.
You may have heard about the Floating Market on the Mekong Delta. But did you know, there is one right here in Saigon on the Channel Te on Tran Xuan Soan Street, District 7. Here you can find local fruits and goods transported from countryside provinces nearby to Saigon, like coconuts, plums, mangosteens, and durians.
A variety of foods at the floating market in Saigon
There are so many interesting activities in Saigon to try, and the options can be overwhelming. Therefore, you can start planning using some of our suggestions here, or Book a Private Motorbike Tour with us now for a more in-depth and local experience.
© Written by Linh Nguyen and Thu Doan for itourvn.com
Joining a private tour was the best decision I've made during my time in Vietnam. We explored so many wonderful places in just a day