Along with the capital, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, former Saigon, is one of Vietnam’s most amazing booming cities. If you are visiting Vietnam for the first time, you definitely need to dig into its old and modern history. Here are some useful tips on what to do in Ho Chi Minh in 2 days.
Day 1 in Ho Chi Minh
Cu Chi Tunnels and War Remnants Museum
Wondering what to do first in Ho Chi Minh if you only have two days? Once out of your hotel room, you can kick off your day by heading to the Cu Chi Tunnels to learn how the Viet Cong soldiers lived underground for days during the war. You will also see the booby traps and ammunition boxes that were used on foreign troops.
Cu Chi Tunnels are in southern Vietnam and an impressive place to see: 250 km long tunnel network that used to be the fighting position for Vietnamese fighters during the US-Vietnam conflict. When you feel you’ve had your share of the Cu Chi Tunnels but still want to learn more about the Vietnam War from the local perspective, then head out to the War Museum.
If you are still not happy enough, visit Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh. Official palace for a few Presidents, the palace, covering an area of 15 hectares, dates back to 1863 and was reconstructed in 1962.
Take a Food Tour
Among the things to do in Ho Chi Minh, don’t miss a Motorcycle Food Tour to discover the delicious local flavours. Through Ho Chi Minh City’s streets, on the back of a local’s motorcycle, check out for tasty meal spots while exploring markets with strategic scrumptious stops.
With the help of a local guide, you will unearth the most hidden places, flavours and smells to discover the most intimate soul and traditions. Most drivers speak very good English and female drivers are pretty good and safe, so nothing to worry about!
If you are not a motorcycle fan, no problem, you can plan a Saigon food tour on your own to discover the local culinary tradition. Smell and enjoy the flavours of famous local dishes such as Saigon typical porridge and pancakes, southern beef noodles and fresh rolled salad.
Take a Cooking Class
After your motorcycle food tour, we are pretty sure you will want to learn how to make those delicacies you just saw and tried, so there is nothing better you can do than taking a Saigon cooking class.
This is a fantastic way to get to know the local dishes as well as learn how to make them so that you can re-create the experience for your family and friends back home.
Day 2 in Ho Chi Minh City
Mekong River Delta
If you are still wondering what to do in Ho Chi Minh, start your second day with a cruise along the Mekong River Delta (called with the moniker of Vietnam’s rice basket or bowl). The legendary Mekong River flows through Tibet, China Burma, Laos and Cambodia before arriving in Vietnam.
Board on a boat in Ho Chi Minh City and travel along the river to see life going on and floating markets. Sip on some local honey tea at a bee farm and enjoy the flavour of exotic candies and fruits.
Drive through the countryside and learn all about rural life around the Delta, visit Unicorn and Turtle Islands and admire the architecture of Vinh Trang Pagoda temple. The smiling and lying Buddhas are beautiful. This place is really relaxing so I suggest you visit if you can.
Sa Dec Market
You have probably been to many open markets around the world but the local market of the lovely Sa Dec colonial town will not disappoint you. It is one of the most crowded places in Sa Dec town, where you can find any type of traditional foods, all sorts of weird and wonderful fish and seafood (mostly still alive).
The specialities are the rice noodles and the rice cake that you can take home as gifts for your family and friends. If you are travelling on a shoestring but are still trying to take as many fresh juicy fruits and vegetables as possible every day, the Sa Dec Market is the right place for you.
Water Puppets Show
Put Water Puppets Show on your Ho Chi Minh to-do list, so that you can experience a bit of Vietnamese culture and history. Water puppets in Vietnam date back centuries ago and link to the importance of water in all aspects of life on our beautiful planet Earth. This is a great way to round off your 2-day Ho Chi Minh itinerary and soak in the local culture.