3 Days in Ho Chi Minh City: Guide to Making the Most of Your Time

If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, make sure to include Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on your itinerary. This bustling metropolis is one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant and exciting cities, with plenty to see and do. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or simply soaking up the urban vibe, HCMC has something for everyone.

In this guide, we’ll give you an itinerary for spending three days in Ho Chi Minh City and making the most of your time there. We’ll cover all the must-see sights, as well as some hidden gems that are off the beaten path. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!

Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon
Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon

Day 1: Exploring the Sights of District 1

District 1 is the heart of Ho Chi Minh City and home to many of its most famous landmarks. On your first day, start by exploring some of the district’s most iconic sights:

What to See:

  • The Reunification Palace: This impressive building was the former presidential palace of South Vietnam before the fall of Saigon in 1975. Today it serves as a museum, offering a fascinating glimpse into the country’s history.
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon: A stunning example of French colonial architecture, this Catholic cathedral was built in the late 19th century and is still an active place of worship.
  • Central Post Office: Designed by Gustave Eiffel, this beautiful building is a prime example of French colonial architecture and houses a working post office.
  • Ben Thanh Market: One of HCMC’s oldest and most famous markets, Ben Thanh offers a wide range of goods, from clothing and souvenirs to fresh produce and street food.

How to Get Around:

The best way to explore District 1 is on foot. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as it can get hot and humid.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: You’ll see some of the most iconic sights in HCMC and get a feel for the city’s history and culture. Cons: It can be crowded and touristy, which may detract from the experience.

Day 2: A Taste of Local Life

On your second day in Ho Chi Minh City, venture beyond the tourist hotspots and get a taste of local life. Here are some suggestions:

What to See:

  • Cho Lon: Also known as Chinatown, this vibrant district offers an authentic glimpse into Vietnamese-Chinese culture.
  • Thich Quang Duc Monument: This memorial honors the Buddhist monk who set himself on fire in protest against the South Vietnamese government in 1963.
  • Phu My Hung New City Centre: This modern development offers a contrast to the older parts of HCMC, with upscale restaurants, shops, and parks.

How to Get Around:

Take a taxi or Grab (Southeast Asia’s version of Uber) to get to Cho Lon and other outlying areas. Consider renting a bicycle or motorbike if you’re feeling adventurous.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: You’ll get a chance to see a different side of HCMC and experience local life. Cons: Some areas can be less tourist-friendly and may require a bit more planning and effort to get around.

Day 3: Day Trips and Relaxation

For your final day in HCMC, consider taking a day trip to nearby attractions or taking it easy and enjoying some relaxation time. Here are some options:

What to See:

  • Cu Chi Tunnels: Located about 40 km northwest of HCMC, these underground tunnels were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War and offer a fascinating look at the country’s history.
  • Mekong Delta: This vast river delta is known for its floating markets, fruit orchards, and scenic boat rides.
  • Spa Day: HCMC has plenty of spas and wellness centers where you can indulge in massages, facials, and other treatments.

How to Get Around:

For day trips, consider booking a tour or hiring a private driver. For relaxation time, take a taxi or Grab to a spa or wellness center.

Pros and Cons:

Pros: You’ll get a chance to see more of the surrounding area and/or relax before your trip home. Cons: Day trips can be tiring, and relaxation time may mean missing out on some of the city’s sights and attractions.


Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant and exciting destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or simply soaking up the urban vibe, HCMC has plenty to see and do. By following our three-day itinerary, you’ll be able to make the most of your time in this fascinating city. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Ho Chi Minh City today!


Q: Is Ho Chi Minh City safe for tourists?

A: Generally, yes. Like any big city, there are areas that tourists should avoid, but if you exercise caution and common sense, you should have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Q: What’s the best time of year to visit Ho Chi Minh City?

A: The best time to visit HCM City is from December to April, when the weather is dry and sunny. However, this is also peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices.

Q: What’s the best way to get around Ho Chi Minh City?

A: The easiest and most convenient way to get around HCMC is by taxi or Grab. For shorter distances, you can also use a motorbike taxi (xe om), but make sure to negotiate the price beforehand.

Q: What should I wear in Ho Chi Minh City?

A: Lightweight, breathable clothing is a must, as it can get hot and humid year-round. Dress modestly and respectfully when visiting temples and other religious sites.

Q: What’s the food like in Ho Chi Minh City?

A: The food in HCMC is delicious and varied, with lots of fresh herbs, vegetables, and seafood. Don’t miss out on local specialties like pho (noodle soup), banh mi (baguette sandwiches), and com tam (broken rice).

Q: Can I use US dollars in Ho Chi Minh City?

A: While some hotels and restaurants may accept US dollars, the official currency in Vietnam is the dong. Make sure to carry cash in dong for street vendors and smaller shops.