Ahh the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh: where the locals are friendly, the markets are buzzing and crossing the street becomes a sport.

Come and have a read of what you can expect from Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.

1. The culture is awesome

Ho Chi Minh is modern, vibrant and super liveable.

I discovered the most genuine display of true Vietnamese culture was found just by strolling through their public parks.

Depending on the time of day, you’ll see locals practicing tai chi, school groups doing activities and dance classes, or even grown men dancing to spice girls in sync (yep, this happened when I was there!)

The confidence and carefree feeling here is infectious!

2. If you weren’t interested in history before, you will be now

cu chi tunnels vietnam visit ho chi minh city topdeck

Immerse yourself in history and learn about the Vietnam War at the War Remnants Museum.

Plus, if you’re willing to make the journey, the Cu Chi tunnels are something you should definitly see for yourself. You can actually walk through tunnels where Vietnamese locals and soldiers lived.

Even at my humble height of 1.63 metres, I struggled to crawl through these tunnels. It’s a real eye-opener. Hot tip: don’t wear white clothes!

3. You’ll feel the French influence as you explore

Vietnam was once a part of French Indochina, so you’ll see a huge French influence in parts of Ho Chi Minh including the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica and Saigon Central Post Office.

Also, expect to see an abundance of French cafés, bakeries and patisseries. If you’re keen to dip into some French cuisine while you’re here, you’re in the right place.

4. You’ll want to explore the markets for hours

Ben Thanh Market is a traveller’s hotspot and is always bustling. If you’re like me, you won’t want to miss any aisle or spot in the market.

You’ll find plenty of beautiful handmade souvenirs to take home, so have cash at the ready. Try out your haggling skills and try grab a bargain.

Be sure to check out the Ben Thanh Night Market too.

5. It’s not all about the city. The rural areas are great too.

Although you can visit the Mekong River in six countries throughout Asia, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit when I was so close.

You’ll see the more authentic Vietnam. Look out for locally-grown delicious fruits and vegetables, the housing and just the day to day life of locals along the river.

Take the opportunity to travel down the river in their traditional wooden boats and sink into the serenity that is the Vietnamese countryside.

6. Get ready to eat ALL of the food

The king of Vietnamese cuisine is pho. You’ll be able to get it pretty much everywhere!

Check out my favourite foodie places in Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Bui Vien Walking Street: this place is super popular at night time
  • Cong Quynh Street: nice and central
  • Ben Thanh Street Food Market: so much on offer here and great value

7. Take note of these top tips for a smooth trip to Ho Chi Minh

  • Traffic lights are just a suggestion… But don’t worry, crossing the street will become a skill you’ll soon master
  • Although a generally safe city, keep your belongings close at all times
  • Air-conditioned accommodation will be your friend
  • Tipping is appreciated
  • Respect tradition and local cultures by dressing appropriately. For example, ladies, bring a light scarf to cover shoulders and wear long trousers.

Wanna come visit Ho Chi Minh City with Topdeck? Check out our trips that travel through Vietnam.

Or take a look at our epic Asian Fusion trip.

Charlotte Mathe
Charlotte is an Adelaide-based travel lover who’s been bitten by the travel bug. A true advocate for animal welfare and the environment, you’ll probably find her hanging out with the local animals.