An awesome insider guide to Ho Chi Minh city


What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


District 1 is not only one of the most modern districts in Vietnam, but it is also one of the oldest when it comes to historical buildings built during the French and American periods.


  1. Visit historical places


Most tourists often choose District 1 to stay for convenient travel and visit places of interest quickly, one of the historical buildings you cannot miss when learning about District 1 is visiting historic attractions


– Independence Palace


Having undergone many historical upheavals, the most recent change was in 1963 when the building was redesigned after a coup against the current South Vietnamese president.


The building is also a historical witness when the North Vietnamese army won the victory in 1975 and drove a tank to bulldoze the building’s protective fence.


Today the Independence Palace is a famous place for tourists in Saigon


– Notre Dame Cathedral


Notre Dame Cathedral is a short name for Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon, officially known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Notre Dame Cathedral in which district? Notre Dame Cathedral is located at Paris Commune Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, City. Ho Chi Minh.

The church has a total length of 91m, and a width of 35.5m, the main dome is 21m high and the two bell towers on both sides are nearly 57m high. The architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral is bold in ancient French architecture, built according to the project of architect J. Bourard


– City Post Office



Saigon Central Post Office is located opposite Notre Dame Cathedral, so it is very convenient for visitors to move around.


The Central Post Office was built between 1886 – 1891 by the famous French architect Gustave Eiffel – who is famous for designing the Eiffel Tower, and the Statue of Liberty. In 1864, the stork stamp was the first stamp to appear in Vietnam, appearing on letters from Saigon all over the world.


In 1891, a new post office was officially inaugurated. This place recorded the imprint of Vietnamese – French culture and witnessed many historical ups and downs.


  1. Shopping at Ben Thanh market

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Ben Thanh market construction project has appeared since 1894, but it was not until 1912 that this market started construction. The opening ceremony of this market started on March 28, 1914.


After many stages of restoration and construction, the cage houses and stalls inside the market have been renewed. However, only the outside architecture along with the clock tower of the market preserved the architectural beauty of the old times.


The commercial function inside the market remains the same, visitors can buy souvenirs, clothes, shoes and enjoy Saigon cuisine sold right in the market.


However, you should remember that the prices in the market are not clearly listed, so when asking the price from the seller, you should pay the price down from 50% – 70%. It’s totally true, remember

  1. Jade emperor pagoda

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


For residents or tourists coming to Saigon, the name Ngoc Hoang Pagoda is no longer strange. This is considered a sacred place, a place to pray for fate and children.


The Jade Emperor Pagoda was built in the early 20th century by a Chinese man named Liu Ming. The original purpose of the pagoda was to worship the Jade Emperor and was also the place for Luu Minh to hold a secret meeting to overthrow the Manchu Dynasty.


It was not until 1982 that the temple was handed over to Venerable Thich Vinh Khuong to take over, officially belonging to the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha. In 1984, the temple was renamed Phuoc Hai Tu pagoda.


Through the long process of history, until now, Ngoc Hoang Pagoda has become a famous tourist destination in Saigon. It is famous because people believe that the temple is very sacred, so they often come to pray for children, pray for luck, and peace for the family.


in 2016 during his last year as president of the United States of America. Obama made time to visit this ancient temple in his busy schedule


Address: 73 Mai Thi Luu, District 1


  1. Ton That Dam apartment

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


Ton That Dam Apartment, District 1 has an age of 133 years. Both ancient features and modern features have been upgraded and repaired as a bar, coffee shop, clothing shop… serving young people and tourists.


Nestled among the high-rise buildings in Saigon, Ton That Dam apartment building always brings the book back, a book that is especially attractive to those who love nostalgia and want to find peaceful spaces.


Address: 14 Tan That Dam street, District 1


  1. Join a cooking class

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

One thing that makes visitors remember Vietnam the most after the beautiful scenery and people is Vietnamese food.


What could be better when you take a short cooking course and after you come home you can cook these wonderful dishes by yourself such as: spring rolls, vermicelli with grilled pork


Hoa Tuc cooking class can be a good option for you


  1. Watch A O Show at Opera house

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Receiving much love and acclaim from audiences, A O Show brings on stage humorous and sophisticated stories about Vietnamese rural and urban life, through simple props, contemporary cirque, and unique live music.


With more than 60 minutes A O Show, audiences are invited into a sophisticated, high-level of visual and sound spectacle that linger unforgettable feeling.


Using only simple bamboo props, A O Show makes a rustic yet beautiful portrait, from fishing basket boats, and bamboo bridges to hectic modern city. A mix of cirque nouveau, acrobatics and contemporary dance fascinates audiences, along with unique live music from folk instruments and beatbox.


Toured the world since 2015, A O Show continues on its journey to spread Vietnamese culture to the world and “conquer” audiences across 4 continents, also art lovers in Vietnam.


Contact: Fanpage


  1. Take a selfie at Cau Mong bridge

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Mong Bridge is a bridge over Ben Nghe canal, connecting District 1 and District 4 of Vietnam. This is considered one of the oldest bridges in this city. The first version of the bridge was a swing bridge, when the tide was high, the bridge would turn to the middle so that boats could pass without touching the underside of the bridge.


The bridge was built by the French shipping company Messageries Maritimes in 1893-1894, 128m long, 5.2m wide, 0.5m wide pavement, built of solid steel. The bridge is made in the style of a rainbow, so folk call it Mong bridge


During the construction phase of the East-West Highway and the Saigon River Tunnel, the Mong bridge was completely dismantled, after this work was completed, the Mong bridge was reassembled according to the original and reinforced the foundation pillars, equipped with equipment artistic lighting system.


  1. Take a walk at Nguyen Hue walking street

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon 

Once a busy motorbike street, later the Saigon city government decided to change and establish a pedestrian street here.


Especially on each New Year’s occasion, this place organizes a flower street exhibition that is very interested by the city people, and now that road has become a walking path with many works items, serving the needs of tourists. People’s demand for sightseeing and entertainment is not only in the spring but also all days of the year.


  1. Saigon morning coffee

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon 

Monday Morning Coffee is located on the 7th floor of an apartment building at 12 Vo Van Kiet. If anyone didn’t know, they wouldn’t think there was a cafe here. I’m not sure if it’s actually called a cafe or not. Just know this is a place for coffee lovers and coffee-making enthusiasts to gather, exchange, make and enjoy delicious cups of coffee. The design of this cafe is like a room of a small family

  1. Green day at Thao Cam Vien

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden is an animal and plant conservation park located in Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, opposite the Independence Palace. This is the eighth oldest zoo in the world with a large campus, located near the downstream of Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe canal.


Currently, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden are nurturing more than 1,300 animals of 125 species, with many rare species such as star pheasant, douc, yellow-cheeked gibbon, yellow deer, fire leopard, clouded leopard, .. Moreover, at this zoo, there is an extremely green space, covered by more than 2,500 trees with more than 900 species of plants preserved.


Address: 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem, District 1


  1. Book Street

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

According to history, Nguyen Van Binh street is one of the oldest streets of Saigon. During the French colonial period, the street was also known as Hong Kong Street. On February 21, 1897, the name was changed to Cardis, and on October 19, 1955, the new street was renamed Nguyen Hau. On 7/4/2000 renamed Nguyen Van Binh as today.


Since its construction until now, the book street has always been a suitable place for all ages to come to learn about books, visit and explore every weekend. This is the first complex book street in Vietnam with no opening time, everyone can experience and enjoy the reading culture at Ho Chi Minh City’s book street.


Address: Nguyen Van Binh street, District 1


  1. Water Puppet Show

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Water puppetry is an indispensable spiritual dish of Vietnamese people. The water puppet show is completely on the water. The main actors are wooden puppets, combined with the effects of colorful lights and sounds


Performing puppetry in the water will require more difficult and elaborate techniques than performing on land. The water puppeteers stand behind the performance curtain to control the puppets in every move very skillfully.


To make the water puppet show successful, it is a very professional performance with a combination of body movement and its dramatic parts and actions. The puppet is usually made of fig wood material.


After the puppet is shaped, it will be designed and cut to have a shape suitable for the character. After that, it is polished and decorated with vivid colors to make the performance more special.


2 water puppet show theater you can book from


  • Rong Vang Water Puppet Show

Contact:  Fanpage


  • Southern Dragon Water Theater

Contact: Fanpage

  1. Tao Dan Park 

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


Tao Dan Park is an ideal rendezvous for family walks, nursing mornings for seniors, or dates for young couples.


With more than 1,000 trees in a 10-hectare campus, Tao Dan Park is like a “green lung” of the city, creating shade and fresh air amidst the sweltering sun in the city. Not only has a green space for everyone to come and relax, Tao Dan Park is also a familiar place for fairs or exhibitions, and is also home to many attractive dining venues, offering a wide range of experiences. joyful experience for you.


Address: Truong Dinh, District 1


  1. Visit Tan Dinh Market

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


In the past, Tan Dinh market was considered a prosperous place of rich Saigon people.


Located on Hai Ba Trung street, Tan Dinh market was built in 1926 with 4 main doors. Through many fluctuations of time, until now, Tan Dinh market has not changed much but still retains the old architectural style.


In particular, the market is still famous as a prestigious fabric business, and the dishes sold here are all true to Saigon.





Address: 336 Hai Ba Trung street, District 1


  1. Take a waterbus 

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Another unique way to visit the city from District 1 is by waterbus. The pier is located right along the river saigon, you can move there to catch the waterbus

Address: 4 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1


If you are also looking for a guided tour to discover a deeper side of Saigon, Vietnam cycling tour can be a great choice! 


     16. Cha Tam Church 

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Cha Tam Church is located on Hoc Lac Street, District 5, Saigon. In 1900 Cha Tam church was built and two years later it was completed. This is a temple built for the Chinese. Father Pierre d’Assou, whose Chinese name is Dam A To, transliterated as Tam An Su, is the one who built it. He was also the first father of the church.


The gate of the church has a roof of a knife, all carved in Chinese characters. This is designed in the style of a three-way gate, an architectural style commonly seen in palaces and temples. Especially on the two sides of the cross there are 2 fish symbolizing the image of “carp turning into a dragon”.

Father Tam died in 1935, his grave is located next to the entrance to the church. Inside the cathedral has the usual architecture like in other churches built by the French in Vietnam. However, the four pillars of the sanctuary are painted red, a characteristic of Chinese religious architecture.


Cha Tam Church is also known as the place where the President of the Republic of Vietnam at that time, Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Ngo Dinh Nhu went to pray before being arrested by the coup forces and shot in 1963.


17. Binh Tay Market

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Binh Tay Market is the largest wholesale market in Saigon with 12 gates, both the main gate and the side gate, designed by a Chinese merchant, so the market has Asian architecture, shaped like a Bagua. Binh Tay Market was built according to Eastern architecture but combined with modern Western techniques, so Binh Tay is considered the largest and most beautiful market in Saigon. This is also the place where the Chinese people gather and is also the main shopping center of the Chinese in Vietnam.


Binh Tay Market has so far had more than 80 years of existence and development. Although facing fierce competition when the market develops supermarket systems and fashion stores, … but Binh Tay market has always maintained its position, always being the largest wholesale hub in Saigon.


Many people often have the question: “Does Binh Tay market have retail?” – Jackfruit would like to answer that at Binh Tay market wholesale and most stalls do not retail. When you go to the market, you usually have to buy by line, buy in batches, and the stalls will accept to sell to you.


What does Binh Tay Market sell? Binh Tay Market is famous as the largest wholesale market in Saigon. Goods here are distributed throughout Saigon, the western provinces, throughout our country, and even distributed to both Laos and Cambodia. Currently, the Binh Tay market has about 2,300 stalls, trading more than 30 different groups of goods.


As a visitor, we can visit this massive market and taste some special food which is sold inside the market.


18. Aquarium Wholesales market 

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Luu Xuan Tin ornamental fish market in District 5. There are dozens of aquarium shops close together, specializing in trading all kinds of ornamental fish, aquatic life, and a lot of aquarium accessories. Luu Xuan Tin aquarium market is known by many brothers as the oldest aquarium fish market in Saigon.


( Alley way in Aquarium Street)


Although Luu Xuan Tin Street, District 5 is only a few hundred meters long, it is almost always busy with trade. Because many aquarists come to support and buy fish accessories.


According to some small traders, this market was born before 1975. This is also the place for the owners of aquarium shops in the HCMC area to come and get goods at wholesale prices.


When you come to this market, you will easily find many different types of fish. The most popular are guppies, three-tailed fish, squawking fish, fairy fish, etc. To more expensive and rare fish such as Arowana, discus, snapper, arhat…


The most expensive is the mighty arowanas. You’ve probably never heard of this fish. Cheap, a few million. As for those who are especially rare, sometimes billions of dollars are normal.


In addition to ornamental fish, shops on Luu Xuan Tin street also provide machinery and accessories to support fish farming.


Most of the small businesses here will open at about 8 am and close at 6 pm. However, the later in the afternoon, the more customers come to buy. Saigon people often take advantage of coming home from work to shop for equipment for fish farming. Besides, this long-standing aquarium market is also a place to work for young people. Mainly working and taking care of fish species. Salary ranges from 5 to 6 million VND/month (250 USD/month)


19. Phung Hung local market

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Phung Hung Market (District 5, Ho Chi Minh City) is also known as Capital Market (rich market). This venue is located next to the Art Theater of Sing Boi. Both Chinese and Vietnamese dishes are sold here, but traditional Chinese dishes from more than 20 years without changing owners still make up the majority.

( Phung Hung market from above)


Starting at 2 pm to evening is the time frame for food.


This is the only market in Vietnam that serves a variety of Chinese cuisines, and you can also easily meet many Vietnamese-Chinese people who have lived and worked in this historic land for a long time.


20. Quan Am pagoda

What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon


In the heart of bustling Chinatown, Quan Am Pagoda (also known as On Lang’s Assembly Hall) is like a quiet note connecting the vibrant rhythm of life with the peaceful spiritual domain of people. Quan Am Pagoda is one of the oldest pagodas built by the Chinese associated with the formation and development of the land of Saigon – Gia Dinh. The temple was built in 1740 (the year of Qianlong of the Qing dynasty) with wooden and stone architecture, built in the style of temples and shrines of the Phuoc Kien people. Besides incense sticks, cooking oil is one of the indispensable offerings when people come to worship at this temple.



21. Ca Phe Vot 

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Tucked away in the bustling Phung Hung market (District 5), Ba Lu racket cafe has existed for more than 67 years thanks to its unique feature, which is hand-roasted and ground coffee.


Mr. Ba Lu is a native of Hainan (China) who came to Vietnam to settle down, get married, and have 11 children. After his death, the coffee shop was handed over to Ms. Chung Thi Hoang (56 years old) to manage.


According to Ms. Hoang, her father just pushed the coffee cart around the market the day before. Due to many people’s praise, decided to sell permanently. From the stage of coffee storage to the way of preparation, all are imbued with the traditional imprint of the Chinese people.


Every day, the shop is open from 2am to 5pm. That means that Ms. Hoang and Mr. Hung, Ms. Hoang’s younger brother, have to get up at 1am to make a fire to cook digital coffee that has been stored since the previous afternoon.


The shop is located in a house built in the old architectural style, with the characteristics of the old Chinese quarter. Tables, chairs and concoctions are all rustic and simple. Therefore, the space of the restaurant creates a familiar and extremely cozy feeling.


The characteristic of Ba Lu racket coffee is that it does not use a filter but is completely mixed with a racket. Chairs about 20cm long, and about 10cm in mouth diameter are hung in rows on the wall.


Special coffee shops should welcome guests who are also very “special”. People who visit Ba Lu cafe are mainly Vietnamese of Chinese origin. They communicate with each other in an interesting language: Cantonese mixed with Vietnamese.


For those who love learning about coffee roasting methods. A month, coffee at Ba Lu will be roasted 4 times, each time in 2 batches, each batch is about 10kg. Fresh coffee is fed into a long, horizontal cylindrical spotlight with an extended handle for turning. After lighting the fire, the coffee shopkeeper must continuously rotate the roasting end continuously for nearly 1 hour.


22. Wholesale motorcycle parts street

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

According to people living near this auto parts market, the market has been established for more than 30 years and so far, this Tan Thanh market has only traded in motorcycle parts. Here, you can find almost all kinds of motorcycle spare parts, even spare parts for cars manufactured a few decades ago.


The interesting thing about entering this motorbike parts market is that customers can ride motorbikes through the stalls and once they stop in front of the stalls, they can buy spare parts just by sitting on the motorbike. Each stall only sells a single car / motorbike spare part, creating a typical culture of Tan Thanh market and this also helps customers save more time when shopping.

In addition, because the motorcycle market in recent years has been quite active, motorcycle manufacturers have jointly launched new products to meet the needs of customers. That makes the motorcycle parts market equally bustling.


23. Lantern Street 

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

Lantern Street in District 5 (District 5), It is an area where many Chinese people have lived and settled for a long time, so the craft of making lanterns was created by the Chinese themselves. According to the Chinese concept, the lantern is to create a festive atmosphere, a symbol of reunion, and it is used in all festivals.


Besides being used to light up and create a joyful atmosphere of the festival at night, Chinese lanterns also have symbolic meanings. If it is a royal lantern used in the wedding ceremony, it is a symbol of joy and happiness, and if it is a white bamboo brace lantern, it is a funeral notice, grief, and mourning.


Vietnam’s Mid-Autumn Festival also originates from China, so it is partly affected, so people always hang lanterns on this occasion. In particular, every mid-autumn festival comes.


24. Hao Sy Phuong alley

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

The apartment is located in alley 206 on Tran Hung Dao Street, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, commonly known as Hao Sy Phuong alley. This is one of the alleys bearing the identity of the Chinese community living in Cho Lon that has existed for more than 100 years. The house in the alley is built in the form of an apartment, including many small houses arranged on 2 floors with connecting stairs. There are about 200 households living in 66 apartments. The Chinese like to live together, so many households have up to 4 families living together.

( Taking a decent portrait in the alley )


Although only a few steps from the main road, Hao Sy Phuong does not seem to be affected by the noise or dust of the outside, everything here is slow and in no hurry. Stepping into the alley, it is easy to see images of children chirping and playing, old men sipping iced coffee, discussing socio-political talk, and old women talking about neighbors and stories. a movie on television. A few other houses have elderly people gathered to play mahjong. Everything is routine, idyllic but extremely familiar. Although now not only Chinese people but also Vietnamese people live in Hao Sy Phuong, this place still retains its characteristics. You can easily see the Five blessings of Lam Mon pasted in front of the door, and the altars of Thao Dia, Thien Quang, and Quan Cong are very endemic to Chinese culture


25. Chinese street food

 What to do in Ho Chi Minh – Saigon

District 5 is one of the central districts of Ho Chi Minh City, the life of the people here is rich and bustling. The cuisine is also the interference and crystallization of many different cultures, especially the dishes of the Chinese who have lived in this area for a long time. Therefore, enjoying Chinese cuisine is something you cannot miss


Whether early morning, noon, late afternoon or night. From street vendors and small eateries nestled in alleys to crowded restaurants, the culinary discovery option in District 5 offers you unforgettable attractions. Dumplings, crab soup, satay noodle soup, dim sum… are some of the dishes here you can’t miss.


Sounds good? Contact us today and ready for your ho chi minh cycling tour !!