What to see in Ho Chi Minh City

The city is a bustling urban center boasting numerous iconic landmarks to discover. Below, we have listed the 15 essential sights to explore.

War Remnants Museum

You will find a vast collection of images, documents, and artifacts related to the war that concluded in Southern Vietnam more than 50 years ago with the Americans. The collection even includes large items like fighter planes, tanks, bomb remains, etc.

  • Location: Ward 6, District 3

  • Ticket: 1,57 USD

  • Opening: 7:30 am - 5:30 pm

The Independence Palace

Independence Palace in ho chi minh city

What to do in Ho Chi Minh City for 1 day

The Independence Palace was formerly known as the Presidential Palace. It was the nerve center of the South Vietnamese government during the American war. Today, the palace stands as a historical landmark symbolizing the triumph of the Vietnamese people and military in concluding the war, achieving national reunification, and beginning a period of independence.

  • Location: Ben Thanh Ward, District 1

  • Ticket: 1,57 USD

  • Opening: 8 am - 3:30 pm

Central Post Office

This is the largest historical post office in Vietnam with over 100 years of age. The post office features unique architecture. In addition to being a tourist attraction and souvenir shop, it still functions as a postal service facility.

  • Location: 2 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1

  • Ticket: Free

  • Opening: 7:30 am - 6 pm

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

The Cathedral was built in the 19th century. This is one of the largest Catholic churches in Vietnam. Notre Dame Cathedral venerates the Virgin Mary. It serves as a venue for sightseeing as well as hosting important religious ceremonies.

  • Location: 1 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe, District 1

  • Ticket: No

  • Opening: 5 am - 8 pm

Saigon Opera House

Ho Chi Minh City 1 day itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City 1 day itinerary

The Opera House features unique Western-style architecture and serves as a venue for hosting large-scale artistic performances and national events in Vietnam.

  • Location: 7 Cong Truong Lam Son, Ben Nghe, District 1

  • Ticket: About 28 USD/show. You can visit to see the site only.

  • Opening: 9 am - 4:30 pm (Mon - Fri) & 9 am - 12 am (Weekend)

The most popular show in Saigon Opera House for visitors is the A O Show. The program features acrobatic performances intertwined with props, styles, and traditional folk music and rhythms of the Vietnamese countryside. The ticket price is 31,5 USD/ 1 hour performance.

Do Phu Coffee

Do Phu Coffee was an underground operating point and weapon cache for a small unit of the Vietnamese People's Army in the city, disguised as a broken rice and coffee eatery. Today, the site still operates as a food and coffee outlet while also serving as a historical exhibition and tourist destination.

  • Location: 113A Dang Dung, Tan Dinh, District 1

  • Ticket: 1,57 USD/entry ticket. From 4 USD for food or drink.

  • Opening: 7 am - 10 pm

Ba Thien Hau Temple

Ho Chi Minh City 1 Day Itinerary

Visit Ho Chi Minh attractions

This centuries-old temple is the spiritual hub for the Hoa community in Saigon. Its history dates back nearly 300 years. In addition to offering insights into its cultural and architectural heritage, the temple is also a magnet for photo enthusiasts seeking to capture its enchanting and enigmatic ambiance. The Ba Thien Hau Festival held annually around late April also garners significant attendance.

  • Location: 36/7B Huynh Tan Phat, Tan Thuan Tay, District 7

  • Ticket: No

  • Opening: 6:30 am - 4:30 pm

Binh Tay Market

Besides Thien Hau Pagoda, another notable landmark that imprinted the Hoa people style is Binh Tay Market. This market offers a wide variety of quality goods and food at very good prices. Binh Tay market was built 100 years ago by a merchant named Quach Dam. Currently, the locals have erected a statue of him placed in the square within the market.

  • Location: 57A Thap Muoi, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City. 

  • Ticket: No

  • Opening: 5 am - 7:30 pm.

Bui Vien Walking Street

Bui Vien - Westerners' Street is a vibrant nightlife spot that attracts not only foreign tourists but also young locals in Vietnam. The atmosphere here is incredibly lively and bustling, with bright lights, bars, street food stalls, dancers, lively music, and crowds gathering both indoors and outdoors. This is a budget-friendly entertainment district, so you can enjoy reasonably priced options starting from $4 per dish or drink.

  • Location: Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

  • Ticket: No

  • Opening: All day

Nguyen Hue Walking Street 

Ho Chi Minh City 1 Day Itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City 1-day itinerary - nighttime venue

Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street is a wide boulevard serving as a lively recreational space for the local community and tourists alike. Stretching 670 meters long, the entire area is paved with clean stones. Along the street are rows of trees, shops, lampposts, and fountain statues. Visiting here, you can also indulge in street food delights or occasionally catch live music performances by the youth.

The most famous spot on the street is the 42 Nguyen Hue old cafe apartment. The site gained its fame for its apartment architecture with vivid colors of cafes, restaurants, and clothing stores inside. 

  • Location: Nguyen Hue, Ben Nghe, District 1

  • Ticket: No

  • Opening: All day

Saigon River Cruise

This river is intertwined with the urban development of Ho Chi Minh City. Along its banks lie a series of iconic city landmarks such as Nguyen Hue pedestrian street, Nha Rong Harbor, Bach Dang Park, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Khanh Hoi Bridge, etc.

To explore the Saigon River, you can opt for waterbus rides (1,5 USD/ride) or take a sightseeing cruise with dinner on board to admire the city's beauty (8 - 19,7 USD/ticket). You can choose to go during the day or at night as each time offers a different charm.

Bitexco Financial Tower

Bitexco Tower is the second tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City after Landmark 81. The design concept of the structure resembles a blooming lotus. When visiting this place, you can shop at the Icon68 shopping center, explore modern cuisine at various restaurants, enjoy panoramic views of the city from above, or visit the helipad on the 52nd floor.

  • Location: Ben Nghe, District 1

  • Ticket: No

  • Opening: 9:30 am - 9:30 pm

Shopping centers

Ho Chi Minh City 1 Day Itinerary - shopping in ho chi minh city

Ho Chi Minh City 1-day itinerary - shopping spots

In Saigon, shopping activities thrive with various shopping centers. For travelers who love hunting for local treasures while exploring, here are some options:

  • Ben Thanh Market: This historic wholesale market offers a wide range of goods from food and souvenirs to clothing. Prices here start from 2 USD.

  • Saigon Square: In comparison to the local atmosphere of Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Square is better organized. It mainly sells clothing, footwear, and jewelry, with prices starting from 4 USD.

  • Takashimaya & Saigon Center: These two shopping centers, located adjacent to each other, are hubs for high-quality dining, branded clothing, and cosmetics.

All four places are close to each other and can be reached on foot. Hence, you can explore each location to experience different shopping environments and products.

Recommended Bars & Spas

Here are a few relaxation spots we recommend. Drinks at the bars typically start at 4 USD, while spa services offer packages starting from 8 USD.

Recommended Bars in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Chill Skybar: AB Tower, 76A Le Lai, Ben Thanh, District 1

  • Rex Hotel Rooftop Bar: 141 Nguyen Hue, Ben Nghe, District 1

  • Apocalypse Now Bar: 2F Nguyen Thi Sach, Ben Nghe

Recommended Spas in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Temple Leaf Spa: 74/1a Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe, District 1

  • La Spa Sai Gon: 180 - 188 Ly Tu Trong, District 1

  • L'Apothiquaire Spa & Perfumery: 41 Dong Khoi, Ben Nghe, District 1

Cu Chi Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh City 1 Day Itinerary

Ho Chi Minh City 1-day itinerary - where to visit

Cu Chi Tunnels are 33km away from downtown Saigon. Despite the distance, it ranks among the top-visited destinations. In contrast to the modern structures in the city, Cu Chi was once the operational battlefield for the Vietnamese People's Army underground.

Tourists visiting this site can gain an understanding of the wartime situation and the Vietnamese people's experiences during that time. Other activities available here include gun shooting, shopping, camping, etc.

  • Location: Phu Hiep, Cu Chi, Ho Chi Minh

  • Ticket: 2,8 USD/entry ticket. 2 - 3 USD/bullet for gun shooting experience

  • Opening: 7 am - 5 pm

Suggested Ho Chi Minh City 1 Day Itinerary

For a one-day tour, everything seems quite straightforward. You just need to pick the places you want to visit from the list above. To make it easier for you to visualize the plan, here are some suggested options for a Ho Chi Minh City 1-Day Itinerary.

Option 1: City Tour by Day

  • Morning: Visit the city's main landmarks such as the War Remnant Museum, Binh Tay Market, and Thien Hau Pagoda.

  • Afternoon: Independence Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Centre Post Office, and take a water bus to enjoy the city's sunset on the river.

  • Night time: Watch the A O show at Opera House or explore Nguyen Hue and Bui Vien pedestrian streets.

Option 2: Cu Chi Tunnel & City Tour

  • Morning: Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels. You can have lunch in the area or return to the city for lunch.

  • Afternoon: Visit attractions within the city. You can choose the route War Remnant Museum - Binh Tay Market - Thien Hau Pagoda or Independence Palace - Notre Dame Cathedral - Centre Post Office and then do some shopping at Ben Thanh Market. 

  • Night time: Have fun on pedestrian streets or enjoy bars or spas.

Option 3: City & Street Food Tour

With this itinerary, you will combine a City Tour with dining stops to relax and enjoy local cuisine. You can enjoy either local meals at restaurants or local street food from street vendors.

street food in ho chi minh city

Enjoy local food in Saigon

Local restaurants serve traditional Vietnamese rice dishes from the Southern region. These restaurants may offer “à la carte” options or set menus. I recommend you dine in groups of 4-6 people to enjoy set menus at a good price. Prices are around 10 USD per person per meal.

  • Viet Village: 17 Dinh Tien Hoang, Da Kao, Distric 1

  • Pandan Leaf: 107 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

  • Vi Saigon: 254 Bis Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Vo Thi Sau, District 3

Here are some recommendations for street food dining locations in Ho Chi Minh City. Street food is typically budget-friendly and focuses on specific dishes. Prices generally range from 2 to 4 USD per dish.

  • Dat Thanh Nam Vang Noodle: 232 Nguyen Thi Thap, Binh Thuan Ward, District 7

  • Ms. Bong Pan Banh Mi: 443/19A Le Van Sy, Ward 12, District 3

  • Hai Ky Duck Noodle: 351 Nguyen Trai, Ward 7, District 5

  • Banh Mi Saigon Phuong Lien: 12 Nguyen Huy Tu, Da Kao, District 1

  • Ms. Chieu sticky rice: 318/1  Bui Huu Nghia, Ward 1, Binh Thanh District

  • Phuc Loc Tho broken rice: 223 Nguyen Thi Thap, Tan Phu, District 7

  • Ut Le Thick noodle soup: 210 To Hien Thanh, Ward 15, District 10

  • Roseice Saigon Ice Cream: 4 Tran Hung Dao, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

Travel Tips

  • The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is from December to April

  • Recommended things to Pack: Comfortable clothes according to your preferences; fan, umbrella, hat, sunscreen; paper towels (as people in Ho Chi Minh City often use and provide wet wipes), allergy medication, personal pain relievers; phone, camera; a zip-lock bag for your belongings, walking shoes or sandals.

  • Transportation Guide: To facilitate navigation if you are exploring solo, here are some transportation guidelines for you:

Transportation Method

Cost (USD)


City bus

$0.30 - $0.50 per ride

  • Pros: Affordable, covers most areas of the city, environmentally friendly.

  • Cons: Can be crowded, not always punctual, limited schedules.

Motorbike Rental

$5 - $10 per day

  • Pros: Flexible, convenient for navigating traffic, can explore more areas.

  • Cons: Requires driving experience, safety risks, parking can be a hassle.

Motorbike Taxi (Grab, Be, Xanh SM)

$1 - $5 per ride depending on distance

  • Pros: Fast, convenient, easy to book via app, avoids traffic jams. 

  • Cons: Limited to one passenger.


$5 - $15 per ride depending on distance

  • Pros: Comfortable, available 24/7, suitable for groups.

  • Cons: More expensive, can get stuck in traffic in Saigon during peak hours.

Water Bus

$0.60 - $1.50 per ride

  • Pros: Scenic route along the Saigon River

  • Cons: Limited routes and schedules.


To gain more insights, navigate to our post about travel guide to Vietnam!

With the suggestions above for the Ho Chi Minh City 1-day itinerary, have you come up with your own ideas on what to do in Ho Chi Minh City for 1 day? Saigon offers a plethora of experiences for you to explore. In case you need a local guide or want to check for Vietnam tours at reasonable prices, feel free to leave us a message in the chat box.