Guide to Ho Chi Minh City In Asia’s Beautiful Vietnam
Endless markets, busy streets filled with crazy motorbike riders, warm temperatures reaching over 40 degrees daily and a city that never sleeps! This is a full travellers guide to Ho Chi Minh city!
When we plan a trip somewhere we are often to busy with all the things we want to go see and do, that we often forget about the more important things. Like how much things cost, where we will stay and what the area is actually like! It’s only once we arrive that we realise we are either getting ripped off, or in a completely different area to what we thought. This is why I have created the ultimate travellers guide to exploring Ho chin Minh city! A bustling beautiful destination that many travellers flock to each year to explore the war memorials and museums, travel along the mekongn river, backpack up along to Hoi An and explore endless rice paddies and the 1000 islands in Hanoi.
How To Get Around, Main Transport:
Like most cities in Asia the main form of transport is of course on a motorbike! You will find crazy drivers, some on their phones, some carrying ridiculous loads like boxes of beer, food and even people! – yep we have seen up to Five people on one single motorbike! Motorbikes can be hired for a little as $3US a day which is perfect for those looking for a cheap and easy way to get around, if you haven’t got experience ridding a bike it’s strongly suggested you hold off and wait until your in a more quieter area, this city alone has more than 6 million out of the 10 million people riding motorbikes. It’s crazy out there! But if you are like me and tend to lean towards the safer options there are still many taxis and private cars around where you pay no more than a few dollars to beat the heat between the different sights to see! The best taxis are the green ones, they have proper meters that run on how fast they are driving or the time and can cost as cheap as 25,000 dong ($1) to get across the city! There are also of course the famous sleeper buses for when the time comes and you want to leave Ho Chi Minh to visit a new destination. Bus tickets are cheap and cost around $20-$45US for a 12 hour bus ride to another city such as Hoi An or into even if you are looking to work your way down into Cambodia. The buses have air con, no toilets, and reclining chairs which are surprisingly comfy if your short like me and fit in perfectly! There is the option to fly between cities and the flights cost around the same price, but you don’t see the beautiful country side with the rice paddies and beaches! The choice is yours, but we ended up booking plane tickets purely for the reason I was busting for the bathroom and will never endure such pain again (the buses barely stop, and I actually though I was going to pass out!!!) Tip: either dehydrate yourself and don’t drink water, as the bus drivers barley stop or book a flight instead! There are also trains you can catch, these are much nicer if you want to see the country side and use a bathroom whenever you’d like, but most lines run an overnight services so sadly you most likely won’t see too much.
Where To Stay, Your Accommodation:
The best thing about Ho Chi Minh is that this city has every style of accomodation for any type of traveller. From cheap backpackers and hostels for as little as $4 a night, to 3 stars with air conditioning for around $25 a night. Then there is the beautiful 4-5 star hotels which have lovely suits, buffet breakfast, wifi and air conditioning from around $60 a night! If you are planning on just backpacking the there is a great lively area around district 4 where you can find good hostels and fun nightlife! if you are looking for more well known hotels then the area of district 1 is perfect for you!
Vietnamese Food, What To Eat:
Ahh the delights of Asian food! Isn’t it funny how when we visit a restaurant at home it’s actually SO different from the food you eat in the country it originated from? What I have found is traditional food in the home birth place of the food tends to be much more tasty, as the meals have more local herds and spices which you can’t normally get at home this means the food tastes more natural which is extremely yummy! In Vietnam the main delicacies range from classic Soba Noodles with Vietnamese Pork, summer rolls like fried or freash spring rolls, beef noodle bowls, lemongrass dishes with seafood or meats mixed with rice and vegetables, along with a range of different cooked meats and seafood found in many dishes such as delicious soups and noodles. street food is pretty cheap and you can find local hang out spots and spend no more than 30,000-50,000 dong or if you are looking for a seated restaurant you can find meals for around 80,000-100,000 dong. You MUST try the fresh and fried pork spring rolls! they have these awesome ones that have a netted like pastry and they are AMAZING!
Top Things To See And Do:
Well if you have travelled all this way to Ho Chi Minh City then you are going to have to immerse yourself in some traditional, cultural and interesting activities! The TOP must see and do activities are the following:
War Remnants Museum – Entry fee: 15,000 dong
Ben Thanh Markets (An indoor massive market place!)
Independence Palace – 15,000 Entry Fee
Cooking Classes – 150,000 dong
Cu Chi tunnels – 200,000 dong (for transfer, guide and entry fee)
Top Tips To Know:
- Keep your personal items locked up in the hotels safe! The cleaners can’t always be trusted, so just hide those valuables in your rooms
- Make sure you be careful of the motorbike riders when crossing the roads they can snatch at your bags and end up driving away with all of your items! stealing is very common in Vietnam, so keep personal stuff back at the hotel, and if you have bag walk with your had on it and make sure you take caution when crossing busy roads and walking around at night time
- Don’t organise a set price for a taxi! if they tell you a price, walk away! they will rip you off. get the taxis with meters! the green cabs are the best! it shouldn’t cost you anymore that 50,000 dong for a 10 minute cab ride!Always bargain in the shops! the prices they tell you is normally double the price you should be paying. if they tell you 100,000 dong, go for 50,000 dong!
Vietnam is beautiful and Ho Chi Minh is such a lively city so make sure you visit the sights around the town! You only really need 3 nights maximum in Ho Chi Minh, its a lovely city but very busy and if you see the Cu Chi tunnels and the main War museums, the palace and markets then you have seen most of what the city has to offer and can move onto the next place.
Check Out My Visit To The Famous Cu Chi Tunnels! Just Click HERE