Is Ho Chi Minh City worth visiting in 2024? Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a bustling metropolis located in southern Vietnam. It is the largest city in the country and serves as its economic and cultural hub. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious food, it’s no wonder that Ho Chi Minh City has become a popular tourist destination. However, with so many other cities to choose from, you may be wondering if it’s worth visiting in 2024. In this blog post, we will explore whether or not Ho Chi Minh City is overrated, how long the flight is, safety concerns, expenses, touristy areas, things to avoid, the best time to visit, and the top places to stay. By the end of this post, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not Ho Chi Minh City is worth visiting in 2024.

Ho Chi Minh city Independence Palace
Ho Chi Minh city Independence Palace

Is Ho Chi Minh City Overrated?

With its growing popularity among tourists, some may argue that Ho Chi Minh City is overrated. However, this is a subjective opinion and depends on personal preferences. Some people may find the city to be too crowded and chaotic, while others may enjoy the energy and vibrancy of the city.

One thing to keep in mind is that Ho Chi Minh City is a major tourist destination for a reason. It offers a unique blend of traditional Vietnamese culture and modern amenities. From historical landmarks such as the Cu Chi Tunnels to the bustling markets and street food stalls, there is something for everyone in this city.

The Pros of Visiting Ho Chi Minh City

  • Rich history and culture: Ho Chi Minh City has a rich history, shaped by French colonialism and the Vietnam War. This can be seen in its architecture, museums, and monuments.
  • Delicious food: Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients and bold flavors. Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide variety of dishes, from street food to high-end restaurants.
  • Affordable: Compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia, Ho Chi Minh City is relatively affordable. Accommodation, food, and transportation are all reasonably priced.
  • Vibrant nightlife: The city comes alive at night with its many bars, clubs, and live music venues. There’s always something to do, whether you’re looking for a quiet drink or a wild night out.

The Cons of Visiting Ho Chi Minh City

  • Crowded and chaotic: As with any major city, Ho Chi Minh City can be crowded and chaotic, especially during peak tourist season. This may not be ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed vacation.
  • Pollution: Due to the high population and heavy traffic, pollution can be an issue in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s important to take precautions and wear a mask if needed.
  • Language barrier: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas, it may be challenging to communicate with locals outside of these areas. Learning a few basic Vietnamese phrases can be helpful.
  • Scams: As with any tourist destination, there may be scams targeting unsuspecting visitors. It’s important to be aware of common scams and take necessary precautions.

How Long is the Flight to Ho Chi Minh City?

The flight time to Ho Chi Minh City will depend on your departure location. However, on average, a direct flight from the United States to Ho Chi Minh City takes around 20 hours. If you have a layover, the total travel time can range from 24 to 30 hours.

If you’re traveling from Europe, the flight time is shorter, ranging from 11 to 14 hours. From other parts of Asia, the flight time can be as short as 2-3 hours.

Tips for Surviving a Long Flight

  • Stay hydrated: It’s important to drink plenty of water during a long flight to avoid dehydration.
  • Get up and move: Sitting for an extended period can cause stiffness and discomfort. Make sure to get up and stretch your legs periodically.
  • Bring entertainment: Long flights can be boring, so make sure to bring books, movies, or games to keep yourself entertained.
  • Wear comfortable clothes: Opt for loose-fitting and comfortable clothing to make the flight more bearable.

Is Ho Chi Minh City Safe to Visit?

Safety is always a concern when traveling to a new destination. However, Ho Chi Minh City is generally considered safe for tourists. The crime rate in the city is relatively low, and violent crimes against tourists are rare.

That being said, it’s always important to take precautions when traveling. Here are some tips to ensure a safe trip to Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Be aware of your surroundings: As with any major city, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings and avoid walking alone at night.
  • Keep your valuables safe: Pickpocketing and theft can occur in crowded areas, so make sure to keep your valuables secure.
  • Use reputable transportation: Stick to using reputable taxi companies or ride-sharing apps to avoid scams.
  • Research common scams: Familiarize yourself with common scams in the area and be cautious if approached by strangers.

Reasons Not to Go to Ho Chi Minh City

While there are many reasons to visit Ho Chi Minh City, there may also be some reasons not to go. These reasons may vary depending on personal preferences, but here are a few to consider:

  • If you prefer a quiet and relaxing vacation, Ho Chi Minh City may not be the best choice. The city is bustling and can be overwhelming for some.
  • If you have respiratory issues, the pollution in the city may be a concern.
  • If you’re not a fan of hot and humid weather, it’s best to avoid visiting during the summer months.
  • If you’re on a tight budget, Ho Chi Minh City may not be the most affordable destination, especially if you plan on staying in high-end accommodations and dining at upscale restaurants.

Is it Expensive to Visit Ho Chi Minh City?

Compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia, Ho Chi Minh City is relatively affordable. However, the cost of your trip will depend on your travel style and preferences.

Accommodation: On average, a mid-range hotel in Ho Chi Minh City can cost anywhere from $20 to $50 per night. Luxury hotels can range from $100 to $200 per night.

Food: Street food and local restaurants are very affordable, with meals costing around $2 to $5. High-end restaurants can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per meal.

Transportation: Taxis and ride-sharing apps are relatively cheap in Ho Chi Minh City. A 10-minute taxi ride can cost around $2 to $3. Public transportation, such as buses and trains, is also affordable.

Activities: Many of the popular tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City have entrance fees ranging from $1 to $10. However, there are also many free activities, such as exploring the city’s markets and temples.

Overall, Ho Chi Minh City can be a budget-friendly destination if you’re willing to stay in mid-range accommodations and eat at local restaurants.

Is Ho Chi Minh City too Touristy?

As with any popular tourist destination, there may be areas in Ho Chi Minh City that are considered too touristy. These areas are often crowded and may not offer an authentic Vietnamese experience. However, this doesn’t mean that these areas should be avoided altogether.

Some of the more touristy areas in Ho Chi Minh City include:

  • Ben Thanh Market: This market is one of the oldest and most famous in the city. It offers a wide variety of goods, from souvenirs to clothing and food.
  • Bui Vien Street: This street is known for its lively nightlife, with many bars and clubs catering to tourists.
  • Notre Dame Cathedral: This iconic landmark is a popular tourist spot, with many visitors coming to take photos and admire the architecture.

While these areas may be crowded and touristy, they are still worth visiting for their cultural significance and unique experiences.

What Not to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to Ho Chi Minh City, there are a few things you should avoid doing:

  • Don’t disrespect local customs and traditions: Vietnam has a rich culture, and it’s essential to respect it while visiting. This includes dressing appropriately when visiting temples and not touching people’s heads.
  • Don’t drink tap water: The tap water in Ho Chi Minh City is not safe for drinking. Stick to bottled water or boiled water.
  • Don’t take unmarked taxis: Stick to reputable taxi companies or use ride-sharing apps to avoid scams.
  • Don’t forget to negotiate: When shopping at markets, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better price. It’s part of the culture, and vendors expect it.

Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City

The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the dry season, which runs from December to April. During this time, the weather is hot and humid, but there is little rain. This makes it ideal for exploring the city and its outdoor attractions.

The rainy season, from May to November, can be unpredictable, with heavy downpours and occasional flooding. However, this is also the low season, meaning fewer crowds and lower prices.

If you’re planning on visiting during the Tet Festival (Vietnamese New Year), keep in mind that many businesses will be closed, and transportation may be limited.

Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide variety of activities and attractions for visitors. Here are some must-see places and things to do while in the city:

1. Visit the War Remnants Museum: Learn about Vietnam’s history through the exhibits and collections that document the Vietnam War.

2. Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels: Discover the underground network of tunnels used during the Vietnam War and gain insight into the resilience and resourcefulness of the Vietnamese people.

3. Enjoy a traditional Vietnamese meal: Taste the delicious local cuisine, such as pho (noodle soup), banh mi (baguette sandwiches), and fresh spring rolls.

4. Take a stroll along Nguyen Hue Walking Street: Located in the heart of the city, this pedestrian street offers a lively atmosphere with street performances and food stalls.

5. Visit the Ben Thanh Market: Experience the bustling atmosphere of this famous market, where you can shop for traditional handicrafts, clothing, souvenirs, and taste local street food.

6. Explore the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon: Admire the stunning architecture of this famous cathedral, which is a symbol of the city’s French colonial past.

7. Wander through the vibrant streets of District 1: Explore the lively neighborhoods of District 1, where you’ll find a mix of colonial-era buildings, modern skyscrapers, and numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants.

8. Take a river cruise on the Saigon River: Enjoy a scenic cruise along the river, which offers panoramic views of the city’s skyline and a chance to experience the local river life.

9. Visit the Saigon Central Post Office: Marvel at the beautiful architecture of this French colonial-era building, and send postcards from one of the oldest working post offices in Vietnam.

10. Experience Vietnamese coffee culture: Sit at a local cafe and sip on a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee, known for its strong flavor and unique brewing style.

Remember to check the latest travel advisories and guidelines before visiting any attractions or public places.

Best Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Here are some of the best areas to stay in the city:

1. District 1: This is the city’s central business district and the most popular area for tourists. It offers a variety of options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. District 1 is a great choice if you want easy access to popular attractions like Ben Thanh Market and the Saigon Opera House.

2. Pham Ngu Lao Street (Backpackers’ Area): Located in District 1, this vibrant and lively area is popular among budget travelers. It offers an array of affordable hostels, guesthouses, and mid-range hotels. It’s a great place to stay if you want to meet fellow travelers and explore the city’s nightlife.

3. District 3: This neighborhood is a bit more peaceful compared to the bustling District 1. It’s known for its charming French colonial villas and tree-lined streets. District 3 is a good option if you prefer a quieter atmosphere while still being close to the city center.

4. District 5 (Chinatown): For a taste of Chinese-Vietnamese culture and heritage, District 5 is a great choice. It’s home to many Chinese temples, markets, and delicious street food. There are a variety of accommodations available here, ranging from budget to mid-range.

5. Riverside (District 2 and Binh Thanh District): If you prefer a more tranquil setting, staying along the riverside in District 2 or Binh Thanh District is a good option. These areas offer a mix of hotels and serviced apartments with beautiful river views. They are a bit further away from the city center but provide a peaceful retreat.


In conclusion, Ho Chi Minh City is definitely worth visiting in 2024. With its rich history, vibrant culture, delicious food, and affordable prices, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. While there may be some downsides, such as crowds and pollution, the pros outweigh the cons. By following the tips and recommendations in this blog post, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Ho Chi Minh City. So pack your bags and get ready to explore this beautiful city in 2024!