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Saigon Central Post Office © Nguyen Tuan Hung / Pixabay
Saigon Central Post Office © Nguyen Tuan Hung / Pixabay

How to Spend 48 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City

Picture of Isabelle Sudron
Updated: 19 January 2017
There’s a lot to pack into a two-day visit to Ho Chi Minh City. Here are some top tips on how to get the best from 48 hours in one of Southeast Asia’s most vibrant cities.

Day 1:

Start the day with a traditional Vietnamese meal. Popular noodle dishes are served on stalls and in cafés from the early hours, so you should have no problem finding a good breakfast.

The best way to explore the city is either on foot or by motorbike taxi – Ho Chi Minh City is notorious for its traffic so a motorbike is the wisest choice of transport. But don’t forget to agree a price before hopping on.

A motorbike taxi is the quickest way to cut through the city's heavy traffic | © Pexels

A motorbike taxi is the quickest way to cut through the city’s heavy traffic | © Pexels

If you want to explore the city on foot, you can use your guide book to get around or join an organised walking tour. Ho Chi Minh City is home to a wide range of architectural styles that give visitors an insight into Vietnam’s past. From the French colonial Notre-Dame Basilica to the gothic Central Post Office, the city’s buildings are a history lesson in themselves.

After a busy day sightseeing, in the evening sip a refreshing Bia Hơi at a street-side bar. Bia Hơi is not only one of the cheapest beers in the world, it is also one of the ‘freshest’ with new barrels brewed daily. And the atmosphere at these local watering holes is unlike that at any regular bar in the city.

Day 2

Rise early for a trip to one of the local markets and enjoy the sight of locals bargaining and shopping or pick up some fresh produce for yourself.

After exploring the markets, delve into Vietnam’s history. Visit the War Remnants Museum to get a more detailed understanding of the Vietnam War. Or, find out what life was like during war time by crawling through the Củ Chi Tunnels, a huge underground network in which many Vietnamese people lived during the war.

Enjoy the atmosphere - and the fresh produce - at one of Ho Chi Minh City's many markets | © Mio Tran / Pixabay

Enjoy the atmosphere – and the fresh produce – at one of Ho Chi Minh City’s many markets | © Mio Tran / Pixabay

Make sure to take time for a delicious Vietnamese coffee too. Coffee and tea are not only exported from Vietnam but they are also an important part of the culture – the city’s cafés are full of groups of people sipping coffee from afternoon until evening, especially at the weekend.

In the evening, swap a street-side beer for a sophisticated cocktail in one of the city’s many rooftop bars. Follow that with a late night stroll, stopping to enjoy the view from some of Ho Chi Minh City’s beautiful bridges.