logo

Share on

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide

About

Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest city, and it is often mistaken as the capital of Vietnam. In fact, the capital of Vietnam is Hanoi. Having played a significant part in Vietnam's history, Ho Chi Minh City’s iconic buildings are well-preserved such as the Saigon Central Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. As you discover the history of Vietnam, you will realise ‘Saigon’ also refers to Ho Chi Minh City. The city may not hold the title of being the “Capital of Vietnam”, but it prides itself as the financial district of the city as well as the whole of Vietnam. Within the heart of District 1, you will find skyscrapers and modern buildings, a stark contrast to the preserved historical buildings scattered throughout the city. Besides the old and new architecture that Ho Chi Minh City has to offer, there’s also delicious street food, serene nature and buzzing nightlife that awaits you in the largest city of Vietnam.

Local Custom & Slang

Table Manners Tips

  • Chopsticks are to be placed flat on top of your rice bowl after your meals. Never put the chopsticks facing straight up in rice bowls and never point your chopsticks to anyone.

How to get a waiter’s attention

  • Excuse me (to waitress): Chi oi
  • Excuse me (to waiter): Anh oi

Personal Space

  • According to The All of Saigon, mid-conversation with a Vietnamese of the same gender, you may find the distance getting narrower between the both of you. Do not fear as this is just a way the Vietnamese people establish a relationship with you. However, note that physical touch is frowned upon with the opposite gender.

Social Life

  • Vietnamese people love hanging out with their friends. Café hopping and karaoke are some of the common activities. However, remember that whoever extends the invitation is usually the one who pays the bill!

How to address people in Vietnam

  • Anh (ah-n): to address an older man
  • Chi (chee): to address an older woman
  • Em (ehm): to address anyone younger than you

Trip Essentials

  • Weather
  • Currency
  • Visa
  • Electricity
  • The dry season in Ho Chi Minh City lasts from December to April. Temperatures during these periods range from 22°C and 33°C. This is also the best time to visit the city.

  • The rainy season is from May to November. Try to avoid the month of October due to high tides and potential flooding.

Transportation

By Cyclo

  • Cyclos are essentially trishaws with a maximum passenger capacity of two people. Cyclos are a representation of a common mode of transportation during the French colonial era.

  • The average rental of a cyclo may cost from 20,000 VND per hour.

  • Tip: If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere, travelling by Cyclo should be your last option because it is difficult to swerve in and out of lanes on such a bulky vehicle.

By Motorbike Taxis (Xe Om)

  • If you have a tight schedule to follow, Motorbike Taxis may be the best option. The motorbike makes it easy to swerve through the heavy traffic in Hanoi, but the only downside is that there can only be one passenger. Also, Xe Om drivers are known to know the roads of Hanoi like the back of their hands.

  • The average for a trip should cost from 10,000 to 15,000 VND. You can also rent a Xe Om for 25,000 VND per hour.

  • Tip: Xe Om is pronounced as “say ohm”!

By Taxi

  • If you are travelling long distances within Ho Chi Minh City, we recommend you take a taxi as it is safer and more comfortable. However, short distances are not recommended because of the traffic jams within the city.

  • There is a flag down rate of 10,000 VND to 15,000 VND, followed by 6,000 VND per km.

  • Local Operator: Mai Linh Taxi and Vinasun

  • Other Operators: Grab

By Bus

  • If you are on a budget, you should take the bus as it is the cheapest transportation system that can bring you around Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Public buses can be easily distinguished by its green and white exteriors.

  • Pay the fare to the conductor as you hop onto the bus. The average price per ride ranges from 6,000 to 40,000 VND, depending on the distance travelled.

  • Plan your bus routes using the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transportation “Way by Bus” feature.

Discover by Interest