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One Day In Ho Chi Minh City: Where Are We Going?

ABROADER Team February 07, 2023 11 minutes read

Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City exposes you to a new aspect of the Vietnamese culture. So where are you going if you only have a day?

Ho Chi Minh City, usually referred to as “Saigon” by the locals and shortened as “HCMC”, is a fantastic destination to visit when you’re in South Vietnam. You’ll get a taste of this bustling city that never sleeps in the nation, which has nearly 9 million residents.

If you have one day to spend in Ho Chi Minh City and are wondering what to do in this city, then you’re in the right spot! Get a taste of everything the city has to offer from beautiful parks to lively markets to breathtaking rooftop eateries.

Start your day in a good mood

As you know, Ho Chi Minh City is a wonderland of street food. Although it’s simple to obtain native foods near the hotels, why don’t we start the day with tasty meals that are familiar to locals?

Let’s get your journey started with a tradition.

Enjoy breakfast in the early morning

You should try a local breakfast first thing in the morning with a positive outlook. Additionally, Saigon has plenty of fantastic eateries if you’re craving comfort cuisine breakfast like eggs benedict, bacon, waffle, etc. You may also choose from a number of weekend boozy brunches, so don’t worry if that’s what you’re after.

  • Pho: Known as the most popular Vietnamese dish in the world, Pho is the local delicacy. As it’s a tasty and healthful meal to enjoy on a peaceful morning. On top of a bed of tender rice noodles and boiling broth is a garnish of chopped chives and herbs. With squeezes of lemon and slices of red chile, each diner may personalize their bowl to their tastes. It’s an experience no visit to Vietnam is complete without.
  • Banh mi: This popular sandwich has consistently ranked among the top sandwiches in the world. This lightweight Vietnamese baguette has a thin, crispy crust and is produced with a mixture of wheat and rice flour. It goes well with cured ham, hog, pate, and cold cuts. The sandwich also has a variety of Vietnamese herbs and fresh veggies. Typical ingredients include coriander, cucumber slices, radish, pickled carrots, etc. You can try a Vietnamese sandwich on your own depending on what part of the country you are in.
  • Com tam: Broken rice, also known as Com tam, is sold all over the streets. Broken rice is a term used to describe rice grains that come loose while being ground. Com tam is made up of broken rice topped with marinated grilled pork chop, pickled carrots and radish, cucumber and tomato. Try eating this entire combination with sweet fish sauce – a special culture. You can customize all your com tam with loads of toppings, including thinly sliced pigskin, sausage, steaming egg, etc.

Coffee culture

Craving for something light that still gives enough energy for the day? Then head to a small coffee shop in Sai Gon’s bustling downtown. You undoubtedly already know that Vietnam has a distinct coffee culture. You’ll be astounded by how extensive it is, once you arrive. There is coffee all over!

Explore War Remnants Museum

Explore the heroic past of Vietnam!

If you are looking to squeeze in a visit, then visit the War Remnants Museum. The museum stands out among other historical locations as a must-visit. This meaningful museum is currently one of the most popular museums in Vietnam, attracting approximately half a million visitors annually. The museum’s mission was to honor the nationalism and resilience of the Vietnamese people and army during the First Indochina War and Vietnam War. At the same time, condemn the brutality of war and its dreadful consequences on the innocent.

There are heroic stories and hidden truths here that you may never have heard of. The museum consists of numerous themed rooms in several buildings, with period military equipment placed within a walled yard. There are two primary tourist attractions at the museum: outdoor and indoor. You will see military hardware such as helicopters, tanks, and bombers in the courtyard outside the building. Along with the above antiques, the outdoor area also features a recreation of a prison camp from the time of French colonialism until the fall of the Southern government.

The War Remnants Museum has been one of the main sites on the day excursion around Ho Chi Minh City. This place is significant, informative, and compassionate and it is well worth a visit. Please make sure you come here when in Ho Chi Minh City, you won’t regret it.

Explore Ben Thanh Market

Shopping at Ben Thanh market.

Local shopping

The must-see location in Ho Chi Minh City is Ben Thanh Market (Chợ Bến Thành in Vietnamese). It would be a thrilling experience to discover the Asian markets for individuals who have spent years shopping at certain supermarkets and commercial areas.

Why are you at Ben Thanh Market early in the day? You’ll either love the ambiance because it’s one of the biggest markets in the city, or you’ll feel overwhelmed. There are countless rows of locally produced handicrafts, ceramics, and other souvenirs to purchase, all sold by more than a thousand vendors. If you are looking for a gift for friends, unique Vietnamese traditional handicrafts are the best. Take the time to explore around and look at the products you want to buy.

If there is something you want, you’ll need to use your negotiation skills since items do not have a price tag. The first price stated by the vendor is frequently exaggerated, so you can continue to throw out prices that you think are reasonable until the seller accepts. If you’re not a fan of bargaining, look for merchants with “fixed pricing” and you’ll see the signs that say such. You may be sure that if you use these tips and tricks, you’ll have a fantastic day shopping in Ben Thanh market.

Have lunch

Not only is Ben Thanh Market a well-known traditional market, but it also has fascinating food courts inside. Visiting the Ben Thanh Street Food Market offers a truly good chance to explore the lifestyle and cuisine of the locals. For first-time visitors, guests may be drawn by the outdoor space and spacious indoor space with lined-up tables. Especially if you have lunch here, you can enjoy the open culinary space with the locals which gives you the impression that you are staying close to Vietnamese. Let’s now take a culinary tour of Ben Thanh Market’s must-eat foods.

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Visit the must-see attractions

Additionally, Ho Chi Minh City has historical relics that draw both domestic and international tourists.

Central Post Office

Guests can visit the Central Post Office which is one of the most distinctive architectural buildings located in the heart of the city and is no longer unfamiliar to tourists. Furthermore, one of the most exquisite examples of Renaissance architecture in Vietnam that has endured to this day is the post office. The dome-shaped design especially creates a feeling of nostalgia and openness for visitors. Post offices still keep old mailboxes, telephone booths, and other relics such as stamps or old letters. Right in the heart of a stunning Saigon, there is unique architecture that combines Europe and Asia.

Notre Dame Cathedral

A must-visit attraction if you have a day in Saigon.

Notre Dame Cathedral, which is situated at the same point as Saigon Central Post Office on the opposite side, has long been regarded as a symbol of Saigon. Because of its ancient antiquity, this cathedral draws not only Catholic believers but also tourists and locals of other religions. For tourists, you are welcome to visit the Basilica’s surrounding grounds or the area in front of the building with its France-influenced architecture along the Central Post Office.

Book Street

Just walk only about 150 meters from Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, and you can get to the famous book street. A “paradise” for book lovers here includes a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction, travel, humor, and more. For readers, there are reasonably priced books available, and anyone looking for a spot to read will find plenty of comfortable seats. You can see the scenes full of readers.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street

The best time to reach Nguyen Hue Street is in the evening.

Ho Chi Minh is the biggest and busiest city in Vietnam, and it is also the most crowded, with millions of people walking the streets and thousands of vehicles cluttering the roads. Having to say, it’s difficult to locate a place that is both thrilling and peaceful and new, isn’t it? Nguyen Hue Walking Street, which is the longest road in Ho Chi Minh City, has 1001 virtual living areas, modern spaces, and many attractive leisure activities, so you just need to stand there to take tons of awesome photos.

The greatest time to visit Nguyen Hue Street is in the evening when there will be a variety of intriguing and exciting activities to show off. If you are curious about other conveniences such as meals and drinks, shopping, and resting, Nguyen Hue walking street can meet your satisfaction. Along both sides of the road, there are food stalls, restaurants, coffee shops, fast food as well as convenience stores. If you want to go shopping, there are several shops nearby as well as Vincom Shopping Center where you can find such a wide range of appealing choices to meet your needs.

Remember to take care of your handbags when visiting the walking street as you would in any big city

Author’s personal note

Experience Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Street Food

Keen to explore the Saigon street food.

After a hard day, you have just reached your destination, and your stomach is getting more and more ravenous. How do you start? Get ready for a memorable night out in Ho Chi Minh City. Meet with a passionate foodie and explore hidden corners of the city to find the most incredible street food and learn about the local way of life. A great option to sample Vietnamese healthy cuisine and street food outside of the tourist spots is to take a food tour. Most tours pick you up from your hotel or have a meeting point, and then you travel between locations by walking. Take a stroll through a neighborhood park first, where people meet after work. So, prepare your chopsticks!

Next on the foodie tour of Ho Chi Minh City, if you prefer to enjoy dinner on your own, there are a variety of options to try in Ho Chi Minh City. Like most street food vendors in Vietnam, you can take a short walk to other well-known restaurants. You’ll love how diverse Ho Chi Minh City is with the food options. You can have traditional Vietnamese, Italian, Japanese, and even Ethiopian cuisine! The opportunities are endless.

Saigon Rooftop

Find the best Ho Chi Minh in the rooftop bar.

One of South East Asia’s top nightlife spots, Ho Chi Minh City, features a picture-perfect skyline for the twenty-first century. The best place to take in the city’s hectic buzz and stunning views is at one of its countless rooftop bars. When it comes to rooftop bars, you are spoilt for choice to enjoy a tipple and take in a view of the stunning Saigon skyline.

Your one day in Ho Chi Minh City has come to an end. We sincerely hope that this blog provided you with some inspiration on what to do in Ho Chi Minh City. Hope you get a chance to visit Ho Chi Minh City and take the time to explore the sites!

For those who changed their mind about staying just one day in this dynamic city, here’s the full Vietnam travelling guide for your curious mind.

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