Are you looking for awesome experiences during your time in Saigon and not sure what to do yet? Let’s look through our recommend tips

  1. The Lunch Lady ( Anthony Bourdin )

the lunch lady vietnam

If you are a fan of the late famous travel chef Anthony Bourdain, you must have heard his stories in the book “No Reservations” about his wonderful experiences at Saigon restaurant “The Lunch Lady”. The special thing is that you can eat here all week without getting bored because every day The Lunch Lady will cook a different noodle dish. Along with that, Ms. Thanh ensures the quality of the dishes are delicious and beautiful.


The Lunch Lady opens the whole week, from about 10:30 to 15:00 every day. According to Ms. Thanh, customers coming to the shop are not only foreigners but also a large part of Vietnamese, including office workers in the vicinity. On weekdays, especially during lunch break, the shop is crowded with customers, sometimes the service is not timely.

When asked about the secret to becoming famous and the dish was well received, Ms. Thanh just laughed. The woman from Hue said she never expected to be on TV again, much less thought of fame. With the dishes, she cooks according to her decades of experience as a wife and mother, with all her passion for cooking.

What Ms. Thanh believes is that the shop will still work well, not because it was on television but because of its quality and price. Currently, a bowl of noodle in her shop starts from 30,000 VND to 60,000 VND ( 1,5 – 2,5 USD )


2. Snail Lady ( Feature on Netflix ) 

Saigonese do love eating snails, when people invite their friends to eat snails, it does not only include the snail dish but also many more delicious dishes.

When Mrs. Truoc was a little girl, her father taught her how to cook the “Mud Creeper Snail with Coconut Sauce” (Oc len xao dua). Little did she know that one day, it would be thanks to her beloved dad that she would be able to survive the hardest time in Saigon, while making a living and raising her children.

In order to enjoy the dish, you have to suck at the shell bottom hole and don’t forget to lick all the sauce coat outside the shell.


From the first day of selling her first dish, she now offers up to 15 different dishes, not just snails but also clam, pincer, scallop, shrimp, ect.

3. Dinner on the Saigon Cruise 

Many boat tours on the Saigon River will allow you to experience the city of Ho Chi Minh by night and discover some of its most famous sights from the water for a few hours. The cruise will accompany a set menu of traditional Vietnamese dishes for dinner and onboard entertainment by a live local band.

4. Old market – Cho Cu Saigon

When the market was established, no one could identify it, only known that it appeared a long time ago. Some people said that in the past, this place was the market area of the Chinese. Then the government moved the Chinese into Cho Lon to establish New Cho Lon. Therefore, Ton That Dam market is called Old Market.

Ton That Dam Old Market, also known as the “rich market” because it was a market for the high and middle class at that time. Unlike Ben Thanh market at that time, Ton That Dam Old Market mainly sold French-American goods, high-class seafood, meats…

Through many ups and downs of history, Old Market is still full of life. Under the large umbrellas, no roofs, no signs, the Chinese are still determined to trade and see the market as an indispensable part of life. 

Under the flashy, most modern Bitexco building, you can see the image of salespeople with simple grandma suits, even formal buyers with white shirts, business suits, or glimpses. somewhere is the image of a bicycle rattling past and a few new motorbikes. That is the peace and friendliness that, over the years, people still can’t forget in the heart of the bustling city.

5. Pho Cao Van

Cao Van Pho restaurant (Mac Dinh Chi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City) was opened by Mr. Tran Van Phon in 1947, has a history of more than 70 years and is loved by many Saigon diners.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Cao Van Pho was famous in Saigon. “The business period is favorable, every day the shop sells more than 400 kg of pho noodles, nearly 700 kg of beef. Tables and chairs for customers are spread all the way to the sidewalk in front of the house, around to the alley next to it and then to the street behind the shop. Staff have to call each other by walkie-talkie to let the kitchen know what the guest chooses.”

People who come to Cao Van Pho shop are usually regular customers, so although the shop is not as big and luxurious as many other pho shops in the center of District 1, the price is about 60,000 VND (3 usd). According to gourmets, Pho Cao Van is one of the few restaurants that still retains the Northern flavor in Ho Chi Minh City, largely thanks to the owner who has been with the profession for more than 60 years.

6. Banh mi 37 Nguyen Trai

Referring to street food in Saigon, banh mi is a popular dish everywhere. Bread was introduced to Vietnam in the 18th century from the French with the name baguette, then gradually over time Vietnamese bakers created and improved the recipe to create Banh Mi as it is today. And one of the most unique Banh Mi shops in Saigon is probably Banh Mi 35 Nguyen Trai. Perhaps you will wonder about its name, it is simply the address of that bakery, number 35 on Nguyen Trai Street, District 1.

The beauty of this bread is that the fresh meat is grilled on the griddle at the place of sale and then sandwiched right into the loaf. The bread will be sandwiched with about 4-5 meatballs. To keep the filling hot, no matter how cooked the meat is, the seller will put the bread there. In addition, the filling also has more pickled vegetables, added sweet and salty sauce, and chili sauce, so the meat tastes better. For that reason, 37 grilled meat sandwiches was once honored by the American travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler as one of the 12 best street foods in the world.

7. Fito Museum

Fito (meaning plant in Latin) is Vietnam’s first private museum of traditional medicine, located in Ho Chi Minh City.

The museum consists of 1 ground floor and 5 floors, with a total area of nearly 600 square meters, built from 2003 to 2007. The museum has an altar of ancestors, worshiping two famous doctors, Zen Master Tue Tinh – famous for his The saying “Southern medicine treats men”, and Hai Thuong Lan Ong (ie Le Huu Trac) – the author of Y Tong Tam Canh – an encyclopedia of traditional Vietnamese medicine.

The FITO Museum has nearly 3,000 artifacts related to traditional medicine from the Stone Age to the present. Among them are the collections of mortars and tobacco boats. Around the wall of the house are wooden portraits of famous doctors such as Tue Tinh, Chu Van An…

Out of the Northern space is a work bearing the imprint of the Cham people.

Arriving at the place where the super medicinal herbs are displayed, visitors feel like they are lost in a Southern house with a roof of coconut leaves and bamboo walls.

Besides, there is also a model of the Thai Medical Institution – a place to treat the king’s illness, with gilded paintings depicting medicinal cultivation, medicine picking, transportation, preparation…

8. Fishing at Thanh Da island

Saigon is a busy city with dense urban areas, high-rise buildings and the flow of immigrants from everywhere to work and live. Therefore, Thanh Da is a popular place for locals on weekends when planning a nature adventure.

Thanh Da island explore
Hop on the fairy from Thu Duc district to Thanh Da island

One of the main outdoor activities in Thanh Da is fishing, with the interlaced river system creating a perfect environment for fish to live here. You can choose to fish outdoors with the locals, due to the large number of anglers of this type, the number of fish is reduced and you may have to be patient to wait for the fish to bite. Another way is that you can buy paid tickets to recreational fishing centers. Here fish are raised and caught in a limited number, so it will be easier for you to enjoy your fishing, and fishing gear and bait are also available here.

After the fish is hooked you have the option of releasing them back into the river or having a local restaurant cook and prepare them for a lunch or afternoon meal for you.

9. Countryside ride at Thanh Da island 

If you are looking for a place for a bike ride to explore the outskirts of Saigon. Thanh Da is definitely a place you cannot miss.

daily life at Thanh Da island Saigon
Countryside Saigon Ho Chi Minh city

With small and narrow roads, it is usually difficult for cars to move, but for bicycles, this is great terrain to move and explore the surrounding scenery.

Many Saigon people joke that this place is a miniature Mekong. Indeed, with orchards, small canals, green grass fields.. you will feel like you are experiencing a journey to discover the Mekong River.

10. Le Van Duyet temple

Le Van Duyet (1764-1832) was one of the founding fathers of the Nguyen Dynasty, also a historical figure with great merit in building, developing, stabilizing and protecting the southern land.

Le Van Duyet Temple HCMC
Le Van Duyet Temple in Saigon

Tomb of Duc Ta Quan Le Van Duyet, commonly known as Lang Ong, is now located at 1 Vu Tung Street, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Because it is located in the Ba Chieu market area, people are used to calling it Ba Chieu Mausoleum.

In terms of architecture, the technique of wood carving, stone carving or elegant and graceful porcelain and glass mosaic also adorns the dignified beauty of Lang Ong, bearing the appearance of technical imprints acquired from the constructions. Hue royal architecture.

Daily life Vietnam
people are excersing outside Le Van Duyet Temple in the morning

Thanks to its location in the heart of Binh Thanh, one of the most densely populated districts of Saigon, Le Van Duyet mausoleum attracts many visitors, both local and international. The small garden around the mausoleum grows many perennial plants, so it creates a lot of shade. In the morning, many people living around come here to exercise or go for a walk.

11. Ceramic Village at Lai Thieu District – Binh Duong city 

Located about 35km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, Binh Duong ceramic village is one of the famous ceramic brands at home and abroad. Thanks to skillful hands and great creativity, countless ceramic products have been created with a full range of different designs.

Ceramics production appeared in Binh Duong in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The land in Binh Duong has high-quality, easy-to-exploit kaolin clay, and an abundant source of fuelwood. Therefore, it has contributed to the formation of a ceramic village.

12. Ba Chieu market

Ba Chieu market in Ho Chi Minh City was originally called Xom market, built in 1942 with an area of nearly 8,500 m2 in the center of Binh Thanh district. In 1987, the market was renovated and upgraded. This is one of the oldest markets in Saigon, currently has about 800 households, trading 40 items.

The market is open from 5 am to night. However, some items will no longer be available, if you buy clothes, the kiosks will close from 19:00 to 20:00. At night, the restaurants will often become busier. So depending on your personal needs, you should choose a time to avoid not being able to buy goods.

The stalls here will not display the price tag and if you go in the morning it is difficult to bargain, so come in the afternoon to get a better price. This place is also famous for Ba Chieu market conical hats, which cannot be missed, conical hats accompanied by charming ao dai, four-body dresses, traditional Ba Ba dresses, conical hats also become traditional gifts. culture. In addition, if you want to buy cosmetics or accessories for rings and earrings, this market will not be the destination to make you satisfied because these products sell very little, and are not unique.

13. Cyclo around the city center

cyclo city vietnam

Since 1939, the cyclo has been a popular means of transport for Vietnamese people. In the early 20th century, only the aristocracy and the wealthy were eligible to use cyclo to travel mainly in big cities, such as Saigon, Hanoi, and Hue. Over time, cyclo was more popular and popularized.

Exploring around the central area by cyclo is an interesting experience when you come to Ho Chi Minh City. This Vehicle operates mainly around popular attractions, vibrant shopping, and it’s not hard to catch a flight. The cyclos can speak fluent English, and even tell interesting stories about Saigon. In the rainy season, don’t worry, the drivers all prepare a tarp to cover in advance. Sometimes, riding a cyclo in the drizzle has its own beauty. You can easily catch a cyclo around Ben Thanh and parks on April 30, Park September – 23 and Tao Dan park.




14. Ho Thi Ky wholesale flower market

Ho Thi Ky Flower Market is one of the largest wholesale flower markets in Saigon and has been around for nearly 30 years since its establishment in 1987.

The business market has a variety of hundreds of different types of flowers and is rich in colors, originating mainly from the dream city of Da Lat and some other places in the country such as the Southwest region, Hanoi, .

ho thi ky flower man

The flower market operates 24 hours a day and at dawn, the market is always bustling with activities of buying, selling, and transporting flowers to keep up with the new day. During the holidays, the flower market is even more crowded, crowded, and bustling.

Not only specializing in flowers, but this flower market also sells flower baskets, woven baskets from rattan, bamboo, and specialized flower arrangements, helping flower lovers to unleash their creativity and decorate their home space more prominently. turn on, subtle.



15. Morning exercise with locals 

Don’t be too surprised when you go for an early morning walk at the park and see lots of locals exercising there.

For most Vietnamese people, the culture of waking up early has been formed for a long time, from the elderly to the young at around 5 am, and you have heard the loud phone alarm.

Saigon morning exercise
A man is exercising in a park at Saigon

If you want to have an active and energetic new day, try getting up early to go to the park and join the exercise atmosphere with everyone, it could be doing yoga, taichi, or simply walking around the park. You will have a beautiful day

16. Kite-flying at Thu Thiem

Kite flying beach at the foot of Thu Thiem bridge (District 2) is a place that is very popular with young people as well as local adults, the space here is spacious and airy, away from pedestrian routes. so very convenient. safe.

This kite-flying area is a spontaneous place located right at the foot of Thu Thiem 2 bridge, so it is often called the kite-flying area at the foot of Thu Thiem bridge.

During the pandemic, this place is a favorite place for many people to find a bit of peace, and rediscover their childhood amidst the chaos.

17. Traditional medicine in Chinatown

In the early years of Chinese living, this area was used as a place to store traditional medicinal herbs. After that, it was built into a neighborhood at the intersection of Hai Thuong Lan Ong – Trieu Quang Phuc – Phung Hung with 16 houses, typical of Chinese people to develop into a trading center of Northern medicine.

china town cho lon
Inside a Chinatown house in Cho Lon

Currently, there are still about 60-80 shops selling all kinds of Northern medicines. Most of them belong to Vietnamese-Chinese families.

The medicinal herbs were purchased from Long An, Binh Phuoc and the central region. There are medicines that are imported directly from the provinces of Guangzhou (China).

18. Spot the most famous location of CIA headquarter in Saigon during Vietnam War

Hubert Van Es was working in his office in Saigon when he spotted dozens of people climbing into an American helicopter parked on a nearby roof. Rushing through his gear, he took one of the most famous photographs of the Vietnam War.

However, for decades, the photo was attached with a false caption and Van Es had to repeatedly attempt to correct it but in vain. Finally, he gave up.

When he sent the photo to UPI, he made it clear that the helicopter was picking up evacuees from the roof of a building in downtown Saigon. Apparently, the editors didn’t read it carefully and assumed it was the US embassy, the main evacuation site. The Pittman building in the photo is located at 22 Gia Long Street, now 22 Ly Tu Trong Street.

The photo appeared thousands of times, year after year, on news channels and newspapers, but Van Es received no royalties, except for the initial bonus of 150 USD from UPI.

vietnam war last day
Last day Saigon – picture from UPI

It was resold twice, along with many other works by reporters in the news agency. Billionaire Bill Gates is currently the owner of the photo through Corbis, a company he founded.

You may wonder where you can spot that picture now in real life. Is the building still there? The answer is yes. In the front of the city post office , you can easily see the building in the past. 

18. Clean the city with Trash Hero – join a volunteer for good 

It is a fact that when you travel in Vietnam on the streets of Saigon, you will probably be very sad when you see a lot of garbage on the street.

The explosive economic growth while the people’s intellectual development is still slow leads to the people’s lack of awareness in environmental protection.

From those concerns, the Trash Hero organization came to Vietnam to spread its mission for a world without trash. Currently, Trash Hero receives a lot of enthusiastic support from young Vietnamese and expats.

Trash Hero Vietnam
Trash Hero Team in vietnam clean up the beach at the weekend 

If you’re looking for a local experience outside of exploring and want to contribute to a better Saigon, don’t hesitate to join Trash Hero on the last Saturday of every week.







19. Phung Hung market – chinatown

phung hung market china town vietnam
Phung Hung market from the above

A rather small market but a long tradition that cannot be ignored is Phung Hung market, established in 1952, in Ward 14, District 5. This is a typical market of the Chinese people, the location is limited by Phung Hung, Nguyen Trai, Lao Tu and Hong Bang roads. Because the market is located in a densely populated area of Chinese people, the goods in the market are mostly made from Chinese ingredients. Phung Hung market also has other names such as Thu Do market – because it is located next to the Thu Do theater on Chau Van Liem street, or “The rich” market because the prices in this market are quite expensive compared to other markets. 

china town street food
time for some street food in Phung Hung market in the evening

However, in return, the food in the market is very fresh and of good quality. Due to the peculiarity of being a small market and has also become a long-standing tradition, Phung Hung market only sells fresh food, vegetables and fruits in the morning, after 12 o’clock, the small traders clean it up and return all of it. space for ready-to-eat food stalls… 

20. Drink the local favor beers

Many people think that business deals in Vietnam tend to go more smoothly after a few drinks on the negotiating table. Vietnam is the largest beer market in Southeast Asia, consuming nearly 4 billion liters last year. As one of the top beer-drinking countries in Southeast Asia, don’t be surprised to see a lot of sidewalk beer bars popping up all over the streets of Saigon.

In a tropical country like Vietnam, where it is often hot and humid all year round, beer is extremely popular because of its cool taste, which can relieve heat and thirst immediately. There are several famous local brewers in Vietnam such as Beer Hanoi, Beer Saigon and Beer Huda.

If you like a pure taste, Huy Beo Hanoi Bia Hoi might be a great choice for you. Served with some roasted peanuts and meatloaf, you’ll have a good time with your friends.

21. Pasteur Brewing beer 

As one of the pioneer craft breweries in Vietnam in 2015. After 7 years, Pasteur Street Brewing has now produced more than 70 different beers and is present in over 600 bars and restaurants. Pasteur B uses a combination of American craft beer-making techniques with roasted barley from Germany, hops from the US, and Australia, and Vietnamese fruits, herbs, and spices creating a taste that is both strange and familiar. not only with Vietnamese people but also with foreign friends themselves.

Food at Pasteur Street is also extremely diverse, especially two best-sellers including Nashville Spicy Chicken and Handmade Sausage with spices marinated with Pasteur Street’s own craft beer.