Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary

Your PERFECT Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary

|

What makes the PERFECT Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary? Learning more about the culture of the city, visiting historic buildings, day trips to learn and experience past events of the Vietnamese war, nights out and so on. This Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary will tell you exactly how to spend your time effectively to make the most of your trip.

Ho Chi Minh City can be found in the south of Vietnam and without a doubt holds one of my favourite experiences during my Southeast Asia travels – the Cu Chi Tunnels

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is Vietnam’s vibrant party and cultural hub. It showcases a unique blend of French colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers. Renowned for its bustling street life, diverse culinary scene, and historical landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica and War Remnants Museum, the city encapsulates Vietnam’s rich history and rapid development.

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia and therefore is essential to visit during your travels. One second you can be soaking in the culture of Vietnam and just a few hours later you’re downing a Saigon beer at Bui Vien Street. The ability to go from chilled to absolutely crazy is one of the things I love most about this city.

If I could have spent longer here I would have unfortunately I messed up my visa (more on that later).

3 days is more than enough time to fit in a day trip, visit historical buildings, walk night markets and so on.

So let’s start your Your PERFECT Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary.

Where To Stay In Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh is a large city so knowing where to stay can be a chore. When staying in a city like this you want to be as close to the centre as possible to make any walking trips short. Keeping this in mind here are my top recommendations for places to stay during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

Budget

Mobylette Saigon Hostel

With a 9.0+ rating and over a thousand reviews on Hostelworld the Mobylette Saigon Hostel is perfect for travellers on a stricter budget.

With a location right in the heart of the city, you have various options for dining, entertainment, shopping and sightseeing. The friendly staff are always on hand to lend you the best advice on the routes you should take to make the most of your time!

City Backpackers Hostel

Also with many MANY excellent reviews on Hostelworld, City Backpackers Hostel is great for backpackers on a small budget.

Located even closer to the city centre than the Mobylette, you’ll be just a stone’s throw away from most of the main attractions making life easier during your stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mid Priced

The White House

Your next accommodation is found in Washington… I’m fu***** with you. With a 9.0+ rating on Booking.com with over 800 reviews The White House is the perfect hotel for those on a tight budget but want a bit more privacy.

With comfy beds, private bedrooms and spacious rooms all your needs will be met at The White House.

Ben Thanh Retreats Hotel

Similar to the White House, Ben Thanh Retreats Hotel has many great reviews and is run by an extremely friendly team.

This property is situated a short distance from attractions such as the War Remnants Museum and Reunification Palace but the friendly staff can assist you when planning a tour of the city.

Luxury

Park Hyatt Saigon

Coming in as the first Luxury accommodation is the Park Hyatt Saigon. In my opinion this is the BEST place to stay in the city.

This French colonial-style hotel enjoys a prime location in central Ho Chi Minh City, overlooking the Opera House on Lam Son Square.

Rooms are fitted with many of the latest gadgets from around the world like an iPad and your very own private butler service.

The hotel screams luxury so if you fancy spending a bit more money than your average traveller Park Hyatt Saigon should be at the top of your list during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

The Reverie Saigon Residential Suites

The final option for those wanting to live in luxury during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary is the Reverie Saigon Residential Suites.

Hotels in Ho Chi Minh rarely include 3 in-house restaurants, an outdoor pool, spa facilities and so on. But that’s just what you’ll get at Reverie Saigon Residential Suites

On Booking.com this hotel has been rated a 10/10 for couples making it the PERFECT stay for those who are with a partner and want to experience the luxury life in Ho Chi Minh City.

Know Before You Go – Ho Chi Minh City

Before you start your days in Ho Chi Minh City, you need to know a few things before entering this city in Southern Vietnam.

How To Get Around Ho Chi Minh City

There are three main ways, for travellers, to get around Ho Chi Minh City:

  1. Walking
  2. Grab Taxi
  3. Rent A Bike

Ho Chi Minh City travel is certainly not easy. I want you to know that understanding the safest ways to manoeuvre the city is critical for your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

Walking

Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi had the craziest streets in the whole of Southeast Asia. The bustling city of Ho Chi Minh has absolutely zero structure when it comes to vehicles flying all over the place making it extremely difficult to know when to cross the road.

To be honest, the only right thing to do is not stand on the sidewalk and watch. You’ll see locals slowly navigate the traffic and you’ll have to do the same, it can be a terrifying experience but sometimes you have to face the fear and stroll out into oncoming traffic.

If this sort of thing isn’t for you maybe option 2 is of better value.

Grab Taxi

Probably the easiest way to get around this crazy city is by downloading Grab and letting experienced drivers do the driving for you.

Noting how dangerous the streets of Vietnam can be having that bit of protection is never a bad thing. Vietnam was, in my opinion, the most cost-effective country on this trip meaning taxi journeys are always fairly priced. 

Always readily available should you need to get from one place to another in the quickest time possible, Grab is your best bet.

Rent A Bike

The final option for those who have significant bike experience is to rent a bike.

Ho Chi Minh City is NOT the place to learn to ride a bike.

As I’ve already said the streets of Ho Chi Minh are mental! If you’re gonna rent a bike you’re gonna have to be spatially aware else a bike crash is inevitable. 

Visa

Make sure your passport is valid and the appropriate visa requirements are met. It varies per country. I know from my time in Vietnam (UK passport holder) that I messed up the Visa process which meant I had to get the visa on arrival that lasted 2 weeks instead of the potential 1 month.

From what I have read entry requirements have changed for UK passport holders so that you get 45 days instead of 14 if you make the mistake I did. 

Be sure to check for individual countries online.

UK to Vietnam entry requirements

USA to Vietnam Travel requirements

Currency

The saying ‘cash is king’ works well for Vietnam and not just Ho Chi Minh City. the Vietnamese currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). The strength of the VND is poor to currencies like the pound or dollar so expect to be walking the streets with over a million in the pocket.

At larger establishments, cards may be taken. Having a travel card like Revolut or Monzo can be key for good exchange rates.

Best Time To Visit Ho Chi Minh

The optimal time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is from December to April. During these months, the weather in Ho Chi Minh is dry and comfortable, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. This period also aligns with the Tet holiday (Vietnamese New Year), providing a unique cultural experience.

In contrast, the rainy season from May to November may bring higher humidity and occasional heavy downpours, making the earlier months more favourable for a pleasant visit.

No matter what time of year you visit Ho Chi Minh, this Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary is possible to complete.is

Your Perfect Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary

Now we have the essentials out of the way it’s time to begin your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary. I hope you’re ready for some wild WILD days!

Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary Day 1: 

Like any city I cannot guarantee what time you’ll get there so it’s always wise to start with something light before doing the more cultural-based stuff, like day trips, on your following days.

That being said, as there is so much to see during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary I’ll still recommend some sightseeing so we have enough time to fit it all in.

Always aim to enter a new city as early as possible to give yourself enough days to see everything

I’m going to include 3/4 activities for day 1 in case you’re arriving in the afternoon but if you do arrive early in the morning check out the ‘Other Activities’ section for other things to add to your itinerary.

Ho Chi Minh City Hall

Once you’ve dropped your bags off at your accommodation, the first part of your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary will start with the city hall.

Next to the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, you’ll find the city hall. You will not be able to enter but think of it like Buckingham Palace, you may not be able to go inside but appreciating the architecture of the French and Vietnamese is a good way to start your Ho Chi Minh itinerary. 

Around the city, you’ll discover many impressive buildings but the City Hall and the grounds it sits on stands out as a must-see landmark in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh Statue

At the front of the city hall, you’ll find Ho Chi Minh himself! Not literally but as a statue.

The statue stands as a reminder of Vietnam’s revolutionary spirit and honours its founding father. Witness a powerful representation of history, embodying the national pride and resilience of Vietnam.

At night the city hall and statue are both lit up creating a fairly impressive spectacle. If you happen to be in the area at this time, Instagram will be calling.

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

From Ho Chi Minh’s Statue, just off Nguyen Hue Street, you’ll be greeted by the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House.

When you reach the Opera House there are two options:

  1. Admire the French-inspired design from the outside only.
  2. Watch a performance (they always start around 18:00).

I haven’t seen the performance at the opera house but from reading reviews it’s easy to follow even if you don’t know Vietnamese and has received 4.5+ stars out of 5 on Klook so it must be special!

Saigon Skydeck

To finish your day activities for day 1 make sure you get yourself to the Saigon Skydeck before 20:30 to go up this impressive building.

The Bitexco Financial Tower where the Skydeck is found closes at 21:30

The Saigon Skydeck will cost you around 200,000 VND and provide you with an awesome way to see the city of Ho Chi Minh. Being 178 metres up the views of Ho Chi Minh truly are spectacular… unless it’s a cloudy day and well, unlucky.

Once you’ve finished up the Saigon Skydeck, head back to your accommodation, throw on some fresh clothes and head to Bui Vien Street. It’s time to party!

Bui Vien Street Party

So what does Ho Chi Minh City at night have to offer?

Found in the heart of District 1, this street has become the main hub for parties in Ho Chi Minh.

It’s impossible to miss the street with big neon signs illuminating each bar, music pumping well into the night. Once you enter the madhouse it’s pretty hard to leave. Mainly because you’re having a good time, but also because there’s just a thin strip for people to walk down and this gets clogged up FAST!

When sitting at one of the bars expect to have Vietnamese performers place their buckets in front of you and perform a live fire show performance. It’s quite mad really, some of the participants can be fairly young. They’ll always look for a tip after so a few VND will do. 

If you like doing balloons, be careful. They’re not like Thailand, the balloons here are medical-grade stuff, not your usual box canisters you can find everywhere else in SE Asia. You need to do them really REALLY slowly else passing out is easy to do.

Partying in Ho Chi Minh is a little like Phuket, just a bit less mental. 

That brings an end to day 1 of your Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary. You might be hungover, but make sure you get up relatively early for day 2 as you’ll be exploring the…

Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary Day 2: Embrace The History Of Ho Chi Minh City

Day 2 of your PERFECT Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary involves a lot of walking as you’ll be visiting many of the historical buildings in the city.

You’ll be visiting 5 different places on the second day so much sure you leave enough time in the day to visit each place. They are as follows:

  1. Independence Palace (Dinh Thống Nhất)
  2. War Remnants Museum (Bảo tàng Chứng tích Chiến tranh)
  3. Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral (Nhà thờ Đức Bà)
  4. Saigon Central Post Office (Bưu điện Trung tâm Sài Gòn)
  5. Ben Thanh Market (Chợ Bến Thành)

I would schedule between 30 minutes to 2 hours for each place so make sure you plan so you have breaks for food while making the most of your walking tour.

So this is what to expect with day 2…

Independence Palace

Independence Palace served as the official residence of the South Vietnamese president during the Vietnam War. Notably, it witnessed the end of the war in 1975 when a North Vietnamese tank crashed through its gates.

Renamed Reunification Palace, it stands as a symbol of Vietnam’s reunification. The architecture combines modernist and traditional elements, attracting you with its historical importance and well-preserved interiors, showcasing the pivotal moments in Vietnam’s history.

I would recommend joining one of the free guided tours for this one else it might seem like a wasted trip.

Price – 40,000 VND

War Remnants Museum 

Just a short walk away from Independence Palace is the War Remnants Museum.

This can be quite an emotional experience. If anti-American propaganda and war horrors might affect you, I wouldn’t go inside.

Established in 1975, it primarily focuses on the Vietnam War, showcasing harrowing exhibits, photographs, and artefacts that depict the brutality and human cost of the conflict.

The museum’s powerful displays provide a sobering insight into the war’s impact on both Vietnam and the world. From graphic war photography to preserved military equipment, it offers a comprehensive narrative of the war’s complexities.

Price – 40,000 VND 

I would recommend you take a break here and grab some food before heading to…

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, a neo-Romanesque marvel, stands as a testament to French colonial architecture.

Its red bricks, imported from Marseille, add distinctive allure. Adorned with statues of the Virgin Mary and stained glass windows, the cathedral served as a spiritual hub.

Despite facing challenges, such as war damage and renovations, it remains a symbol of resilience. The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral displays historical significance, architectural brilliance, and cultural resonance making it a must-visit during your Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary.

Currently closed to the public till approximately 2026 for reparations, the building itself is still well worth visiting during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

Saigon Central Post Office

Just a short walk across the street you’ll find the Saigon Central Post Office. 

You might be thinking why would I want to visit a post office Alex? Well the answer is simply go and find out! In the meantime, I’ll try and describe why this is part of your Ho Chi Minh Itinerary.

Becoming an iconic tourist attraction, this historic post office continues to function as a working facility, offering visitors a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich history. Its charm and historical significance make it a must-visit destination during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

Inside the building, the grand interior features a large portrait of Ho Chi Minh himself and vintage telephone booths. You have the opportunity to send an original postcard back home to your friends and family which is a nice touch if you’re on a long trip.

Price – 15000 VND for 5 cards – 33000 VND to post.

I will say my cards never reached their intended destinations so whether yours will, who knows but it’s worth a go.

As the evening approaches your last stop is at the…

Ben Thanh Market

Hands down one of the busiest markets I visited in Vietnam. Heaving with people day and night this market sells all sorts of goods including souvenirs, clothes, shoes, food and so on. To be honest almost anything you can think of Ben Thanh Market sells it.

I had never seen a market with this layout before visiting Ben Thanh Market. With stalls laid into what can only be described as a maze finding your way through can be a bit of a task especially if it gets busy. Of course, shop owners will want the best price for their product but haggling goes a long way!

You’ll know you’re at the right place when the iconic clock tower catches your eye. This isn’t like any normal street market so I felt I had to include it in your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

After you’ve finished at the market I would call a close to the day as you’re up really early for the final day of your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary Day 3: Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta Tour

For the final day of your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary, you’ll be going on a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City to the Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Day Tour. This is a MUST do!

This was arguably one of my favourite tours throughout all of Southeast Asia as you get to see first-hand what Vietnamese and American troops would have experienced during the Vietnam War.

Being one of the most popular trips in Vietnam, being prepared is key.

Make sure you’re secure by pre-booking a tour before you enter Vietnam to avoid disappointment.

The two tours I would recommend are:

  1. Full-Day Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Tour with KIM Travel
  2. Cu Chi Tunnels and Mekong Delta Tour with Vietnam Adventure Tours JSC

These tours both have 4.5+ ratings out of 5 with over 4000 reviews combined meaning these are trustworthy tours where you’re sure to get your money’s worth. During my tour, I had a Vietnamese War Veteran as a travel guide so it was extra special to get information from a man who witnessed events in the flesh!

The first part of the tour starts with…

Cu Chi Tunnels

The cu chi tunnels are located north of the city. After being picked up by your free, air-conditioned, transportation you’ll make the long drive 100-minute drive to the Cu Chi Tunnels

Pick up is from centrally located accommodations in District 1. If you are staying outside of this region get in contact with your tour provider for further advice.

Upon arrival at the Cu Chi Tunnels, your bus driver will sort your tickets and you’ll watch a short presentation demonstrating the significance and importance of the Vietnam War.

So what are the Cu Chi Tunnels?

After your short demonstration, you’ll be led through the jungle visiting various tunnels that were used during the American-Vietnam War. The ability of the Vietnamese to camouflage these tunnels is truly mind-blowing and a Must-see

You’ll see exactly how the Vietnamese manoeuvred underground in the smallest of spaces to hide from American bombs or launch surprise attacks to send them out of their territory. These tunnels would have been pitch black and required small breath holes throughout the tunnels to allow the Vietnamese to receive oxygen.

You’ll have the chance to squeeze into a small cover hole and cover yourself with the tunnel lid as well as walk one of the longer tunnels to get a first-hand experience of the Vietnam War.

From here you’ll enter the TRAP ROOM.

Just as it sounds, the trap room demonstrates some of the traps that were used during the Vietnam War. These traps were all pressure-activated causing American troops to, sadly, fall to their doom.

Although it is sad to remember what these traps were used for, it does create excitement to dive into the Vietnamese soldier’s minds on how they fought the American juggernaut. 

For the final part of the Cu Chi Tunnel Tour, you’ll have the chance to fire guns that were used during the Vietnamese War!

For me this is a must-do activity during your Ho Chi Minh City 3 day itinerary.

This is not included in the package and will have an additional cost based on the gun you choose.

I paid for the chance to lay hell on the targets on the range with a Light Machine Gun

Let me tell ya, wear ear defenders lol.

The noise is deafening, but the experience is 10/10. Something I’ll definitely try again in various places in the world. Next time I think I’ll pick a RPG.

At the end of your tour, the local restaurant will put on a Vietnamese-style buffet for you to tuck into. I’m routinely a fussy eater but the food here was delicious! Even better when the food is included with your tour ticket.

Once you’re ready hop back onto the bus and head to your next activities…

Mekong Delta

Upon arrival via boat, you’ll stop off at a local house where you’ll get to try some local honey, see how local products are made and listen to a live music performance performed by the villagers.

For some reason, I ended up holding a snake during this show. I’m not sure why a snake was there but it made for some great pictures and videos. 

From here you’ll make your way to the Mekong River where you’ll ride a Sampan through narrow canals with coconut palms lining each side.

For locals the Mekong River is used for agriculture, serving as a fertile region where rice, fruits, and other crops are cultivated. Additionally, it supports a thriving aquaculture industry, with extensive fish farming contributing significantly to the local economy.

To finish the day you’ll see how different coconut products are made and produced followed by a small tasting session where you can purchase the coconut-based products should you wish to. 

From here you’ll make the long drive back to Ho Chi Minh to finish your PERFECT Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary.

Other Activities

Completing Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days is no easy task, as a result, some activities will be left behind. If some of my recommendations don’t suit your agenda, or you have some extra time to utilise, here are some bonus activities you can add to your itinerary and create your perfect days in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City Museum

Costing 30,000 VND this museum exhibits artefacts, photos and documents, offering a comprehensive insight into Ho Chi Minh City’s cultural, political, and economic evolution from ancient times to the present.

Not something I attended but if learning about the history of the city before personally seeing the actual buildings is your thing then adding this to your Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary could be a good idea.

Visit The Cafe Apartments

Probably one of the most popular places to visit in Ho Chi Minh is the Cafe Apartments. This isn’t somewhere I managed to attend but I will visit when I return.

What are the Cafe Apartments?

The Cafe Apartments are a collection of Businesses, cafes and shops modelled inside an old apartment block creating a truly unique image as a result.

The vibrant atmosphere, artistic ambience, and panoramic views of the city make it a popular destination.

Jade Emperor Pagoda

The Jade Emperor Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City is considered a must-visit spot! 

It’s an awesome Taoist temple with unbelievable architecture and intricate carvings.

The place has a chill vibe, and you can soak in the spiritual atmosphere with all those Taoist deities around. It’s like a cultural journey mixed with stunning art.

Whether you’re into religious stuff or just want to check out something beautiful, this pagoda ticks all the boxes for a cool cultural experience!

Entry is FREE but may take a few hours to explore fully so only include it if time is on your side.

Final Thoughts

So there we have it 3 perfect days in Ho Chi Minh completing your Ho Chi Minh City 3 Day Itinerary.

As you can see there are many attractions in Ho Chi Minh so fitting them into a 3 day itinerary can be a task. If you stick to how this guide is laid out there’s no reason why you can’t see all the sites plus any bonus additions should you wish to. 

You may have noticed I didn’t recommend any food outlets, food in Ho Chi Minh can be found in various stalls or restaurants but in the end, we always settle for a Bánh mì so I thought I’d leave it out lol.

Ho Chi Minh City was by far my favourite city in South Vietnam but now it’s your turn to enjoy the craziness of this new city.