Ho Chi Minh City has gone through many changes, but the pace of youthful life hasn’t. This busy and dynamic city is not only famous for its glamorous splendor but also well-known for numerous fun experiences. In this Vietnam travel guide, we bring you some exciting and outrageous things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
Map for Outrageous Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City:
Vietnamese street foods are among the top street foods around the world, and Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is considered a “street food paradise”. When do visit this busy city, do not eat only one dish because you will miss out on a lot of others. Here are some popular places to check out for street foods.
· Alley 76, Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1. The Vietnamese street foods here are quite cheap but very delicious with a variety of choices. The prices are from VND 10,000 to 30,000 per dish. There are many kinds of street foods, such as beef rice noodles, sticky rice, crab soup, and grilled meat vermicelli.
· Turtle Lake, Ward 6, District 3. This roundabout is located in the center of the city and usually crowded in the evening starting from 6 PM onward. You can enjoy the fresh air and the variety of foods around the area like Vietnamese pizza, quail egg cake, and stir-fried corn.
· Tan Dinh Market, at the corner of Hai Ba Trung Street and Nguyen Huu Cau Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1. The food stalls around Tan Dinh Market have made this place become a “street food heaven”. You can try many kinds of dishes such as fried rice, Pho, beef rice noodles (bun bo), crab soup, and Vietnamese pancake.
· Bui Vien Walking Street. This backpacker's street is always crowded, especially at night. There are numerous food stalls along the sidewalks often packed with people sitting on plastic chairs enjoying the street foods and chit-chatting. You can come here to enjoy foods like seashells, stir-fried corn, hot dogs, street BBQ, and cheap Vietnamese beers.
An economical way to discover the city is by going on foot. The traffic in Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh City, is extremely complicated. Over the years, people from the other regions move to the city to live and start their own business, making Ho Chi Minh City’s streets busier and more crowded.
Crossing the streets is both an extraordinary thing to do in Ho Chi Minh City and a “survival skill” to have for anyone who is to settle down in this city. This is not an exaggeration, but don’t worry. It’s not too hard once you have mastered the arts of crossing the streets in Vietnam.
When you cross the streets, look on your two sides and keep walking. The tip is not to run, as unexpected dashes will make drivers unable to avoid and go behind you. Do not stop to wait until they let you through since the traffic won’t stop for you. Ignore other distractions, be brave, go slowly and they will avoid you themselves. You can use hand gestures; it is very "powerful" and may slow down the lines of motorbikes and cars. If you are worried, you can follow the locals and walk beside them. Another important thing is to hold onto your valuable things tightly or put them out of sight. Pat yourself on the back once you’ve made it to the other side; you have just learned a new survival skill while traveling in Vietnam.
Check out our video on how to cross the street in Vietnam.
When traveling to any country, you will need to bargain for good prices to save your travel money. Bargaining for deals is in the Vietnamese culture and an essential skill to have to avoid being overcharged at any local markets like Ben Thanh Market, Binh Tay Market, and Saigon Square. Fashionable souvenirs like t-shirts with printed Vietnamese writing or symbol are inexpensive, but the sellers always overcharge twice as much as the original price.
Bargaining is an art; just consider it as a game or practice for your new skill. At first, the salesmen will tell you the highest price of the item you’ve chosen. Be friendly and patiently suggest your counteroffer, name any price you find reasonable and willing to pay. In some touristy places, don’t hesitate by cutting the price by half, the bargain could continue until you reach a fair deal. Unless the sellers agree with your price, just walk away. They may call you back and sell that item to you. To some people, when shopping, this bargaining activity has become a fun thing to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam is one of the few countries in the world that produces weasel coffee, which is the byproduct of the weasel's poop and coffee beans. If you are a coffee addict, you better try this premium coffee.
Their sharp sense of smell helps the weasels choose the best ripen coffee beans to eat. After hours of the digestion process, the farmers collect and dry the coffee beans from the weasel’s fecal. Then the coffee beans will be carefully cleaned. Although the production process seems terrible; the weasel coffee’s taste is exceptional and different from other coffee in the world. It is one of the Vietnamese coffees you must try when traveling in Vietnam.
You can try or buy it at Trung Nguyen Coffee shops.
Location: Trung Nguyen Dong Khoi - 80 Dong Khoi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Price: VND 800,000 - 1,500,000 for a 250 gram pack
Getting out in the traffic during rush hours is what many find an unfavorable experience in Ho Chi Minh City. Nevertheless, it may be a unique experience for travelers, especially to those who rarely ride on the motorbikes. There will be a lot of things to test your patience such as waiting for 2-3 red lights to get out of a small street, buses picking up guests and blocking the way or the continuous honking. However, sitting behind a local professional driver on a motorbike to discover Saigon in rush hours allows you to slowly observe the dynamic city and see things from the locals' perspectives.
Looking for a motorbike tour in Ho Chi Minh City? Have a look at our featured tours.
In Ho Chi Minh City, there is a place that not many visitors know. Can Gio, a coastal district, is about 50 kilometers away from the central districts of Ho Chi Minh City. This place is famous for the mangrove forests, plexus of rivers and canals, and diversified fauna and flora. You can travel here by bus or motorbikes. If you use the motorbike, remember to bring along a map.
You can explore the vast Vam Sat mangroves first, then go to the Monkey Island, take photos and feed over 2,000 wild monkeys. After that, you should visit Can Gio beach - the only beach in Ho Chi Minh City, and enjoy fresh seafood at a reasonable price at Hang Duong Market. Finally, walk around and enjoy the fresh air in the peaceful town of Can Thanh would perfectly end your day exploring Can Gio.
Other attractions you may find interesting to stop by are the local Whale temple, a holy place to fishers, and Can Thanh Island and Thieng Lieng Island, which haven’t been exposed to tourism.
Cu Chi is 70 kilometers away from Ho Chi Minh City. The Cu Chi Tunnels are historical landmarks where thousands of Vietnamese soldiers and people used to hide during the Indochina War and the Vietnam War.
The whole tunnel system is about 250 kilometers long which was designed to be very intricate; each tunnel is connected with one another. Besides, there are many kinds of rooms such as kitchen, infirmary, and commander’s office. The tunnel system is like a small underground city. You will have to stoop your way through the underground passages. Once you reach the end and get out of the tunnel, you can enjoy boiled cassavas with sesame – a familiar food to Vietnamese during the war. You can also visit the tunnel hall to watch historical movies about the resistance of the Vietnamese and Hoang Cam field stove. The admission ticket costs VND 90,000 per person.
Balut is a favorite and nutritious street food of the Vietnamese. Balut is a fertilized duck egg that is collected after 18-23 days of incubation. It will be boiled for about 8 minutes and then ready to serve. Vietnamese coriander and salt mixed with black pepper in kumquat juice to make the unique dipping sauce to complement the balut. To many travelers, this is a challenge because of the duck embryo. The balut is always on the top of the list of delicious street foods in Ho Chi Minh City believed to be nutritious. You can easily find balut at any corner of the streets. Furthermore, as a superstitious belief, when a person experiences bad luck, just eat the balut in odd numbers such as 1, 3, and 5 eggs to make the bad luck go away.
Location: Street Vendor at 43 Cong Quynh Street, District 1
Price: VND 7,000 - 12,000 per egg
Read more on Unusual Foods you should Try in Vietnam.
Snake wine is a kind of medicinal wine. Many people believe that snake wine can cure diseases and increases the male's testosterone level. It is made by soaking snakes in a big bottle of rice wine. First, dry the snake then remove all of the viscera from the snake, put the snake’s bile into a separate jar of alcohol. People use alcohol to clean the blood, then soak the snake into fresh ginger and use alcohol to deodorize the smell.
When drinking, people take bile first because it’s the most important part of a snake. Not many people dare to try this scary drink, but if you are planning to experience outrageous things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, this should be on your list!
Location: Ran Ca Mau, 159 Tran Tuan Khai Street, District 5
Ho Chi Minh City is known as one of the most dynamic and modern cities in Vietnam. Besides some famous places to visit such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Post Office, and the Independence Palace, the city is also well-known for its traditional homestay. You can live with the locals to experience their lifestyle and culture. Many homestays in Saigon is a combination of Vietnam and French style in the 80s, which could be ideal for anyone who loves old architecture. Besides, a lot of beautiful homestays are located in the central districts, so it’d be convenient for you to walk around exploring the city.
Enjoy the thrills, but also don't forget about safety. Look for top-rated travel insurance for your Vietnam Travel
The conical hat is a traditional symbol of the Vietnamese. No one knew precisely when the conical hat appeared, but they discovered that an image of it carved on the surface of the “Dong Son” drum, which was from 3,000 years ago. Since the old days, the conical hat has always been presented in the Vietnamese daily life due to its usefulness. It can be used to cover you from the radiant sunshine and the unpredicted rain, or as a fan to cool the heat, and even as a bag to contain your stuff.
Nowadays, the conical hat is not as popular as it used to be; in the past, the conical hat usually went with the farmers' costume or the “ao dai”. It would be exciting for a Vietnamese to see a foreigner wearing a conical hat with a funny graphic t-shirt around town. The locals may give you stares, but you will find it an amusing and beautiful memory in Vietnam.
Read more on Souvenirs to buy in Saigon.
What makes many visitors love Ho Chi Minh City is the combination of the modern, beautiful and simple things that are familiar to the locals but quite exciting to foreigners. When you visit, do discover new things to build the most memorable experiences of your trip to Vietnam.
If you are ready to try one of these outrageous things in Ho Chi Minh City, contact us.
The snake wine is SUPER strong. There was free wine tasting when I was visiting the Mekong delta and you could buy some bottles as souvenirs. Just make sure to check with custom regulations is you want to bring it back home ^^
I had requested to try the balut on the food tour and it wasn't that bad! Very interesting taste with the herb, salt and pepper, and that kumquat juice/sauce. If you do this tour, ask for Mai as your guide!
"Playing with wild monkeys" is a bad suggestion -- in fact, playing with any wild animals or street animals should not be encouraged, as they might be the media for rabies.
You don't actually "play" with the monkeys. Just buy a few bags of treats and feed them and they are more than happy. Besides, the monkeys here are so used to humans that it is very rare that they'd bite you, unless you're irritating them of course. There are also professional guards to look out for both the visitors and the monkeys, so everyone is safe here.