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Ho Chi Minh City: Ultimate travel guide - Vietnam 2022

Updated: Jan 18

📍Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon

✈️ Da Nang to Tan Son Nhat International Airport

🛌 £14-18 a night capsule hotel

💰 £1 = 28,000 Vietnamese dong (roughly)

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the largest city in Vietnam, home to over 9 million people. Locals still refer to this city as Saigon however, due to its historical ties. HCMC is more of a concrete jungle than other parts of the country I visited and often described as "westernised." This could be due to the fact that HCMC welcomes one of the greater numbers of tourists in Vietnam. There is a wealth of things to do in this city and it is well connected to other popular places such as Mekong Delta and the historical Cu Chi tunnels.

Saigon is divided into 12 main districts, starting with District 1 and ending with 12. Each of these have their own niche but I would definitely recommend staying in District 1 as a tourist. This bustling area is where you'll find many popular attractions such as the Opera House, Ben Thanh Market, Notre-Dame Cathedral and the beautiful Saigon Central Post office.


Ho chi Minh City TRavel Vlogs


Hoi An to HCMC

After finishing my time in Hoi An the next stop on the itinerary was HCMC. There isn't actually an airport in Hoi An to my knowledge, so took a short 25min drive down to Da Nang to catch a flight.

The flight time is 1hr 30 mins and a plane ticket will set you back about £50.

I had a little bit of trouble boarding the flight however, for some reason my middle name was missing on my ticket (first name and surname correct) so the staff were very reluctant to let me board. Luckily I was let off on this occasion. Not entirely sure who was at fault here but be sure to triple-check your flight information. The airport was fairly decent, there were stores serving both traditional Vietnamese cuisine and global chains such as KFC.


Where to stay? - Backpacker street or capsule hotel

I spent a couple of nights staying in a hotel on backpacker street, located in District 1 in HCMC. Formally known as Phạm Ngũ Lão street, accommodation is fairly cheap here due to the target market. Food and drink is literally on your doorstep and can be found at various establishments along the street which is very handy.

The hotel I stayed at here was decent. It was fairly clean and comfortable. The only negative I would say is that from the hotel window I could see directly into people's houses across the street so I'm pretty sure they could see me too.

Capsule Hotel

I have always wanted to stay overnight in a capsule so I was thrilled I could do this in HCMC. The capsule pods were actually housed inside a 4-star hotel, the lobby was stunning and the facilities amazing. I upgraded to a double bed pod on arrival as I was scared of limited space. The total price came to just under 500,000 dong a night which is £18.

I was expecting the pods to look a little dingy but as I exited the lift I felt like I had stepped into some sort of spaceship. The capsule itself was clean and had a very hi-tech theme throughout. There was a tv, with provided headphones, AC, a tiny safe, adjustable led lights and chargers all housed within the pod.

The hotel itself had an amazing rooftop bar and restaurant, which was a little on the pricey end but had amazing views of the HCMC skyline. There was also a rooftop pool with LED-coloured lighting which was a nice vibe for when the DJ started playing tunes.


Where to eat? - The café Apartments

A great hidden gem in HCMC is the cafe apartments! It's pretty much what it says on the tin, an old apartment block converted into cafes and shops. I really wanted to explore this place so decided to do a "cafe crawl," where I would order drinks at one place, food at the next and dessert at a final shop.

The entrance to the apartments is tucked away beside a bookstore. You walk down a dingy-looking corridor that looks like something you'd find in a sketchy estate. There's a man sitting in a chair by the lift who charges you 3000 dong (10p) to use it. At first, I thought this was a little scammy but even the locals were getting charged to use the lift, you do have. the option of stairs for free.

I departed the lift on the top floor and started to work my way down on foot. There were clothes strewn across the balconies that had been left by what I'm assuming were residents. It was clear people still lived here. This place literally did look like a block of flats you'd find in the UK so I wasn't sure what I'd be walking into when entering one of the cafes. I was pleasantly surprised. Each of the establishments were clean, quirky and such a stark contrast to the corridors.


Motorbike Tours

I did several motorbike tours in HCMC, a food tour and several sightseeing tours. All of the tours included passing through various different districts in Saigon. One that I will recommend is Saigon Kiss Tours which is run exclusively by women. This may put other solo female travellers at ease as you're on a late night tour with other women. We explored a lot of the districts in HCMC, stopping off at the all-night flower market, got some street food and saw some other cool places. I'll do a more detailed post about this at a later date


The war Remnants museum

You MUST visit this museum if you're in Saigon. I learnt so much here about the Vietnam war and some of the atrocities that happened during this time.

The courtyard is full of tanks and aircraft that were used during the war, I'm amazed at how close up you can get to these vehicles. In the main foyer area, a video plays on a loop depicting the aftereffects of agent orange, all these generations later and some innocent babies are still being born with defects.

Some of the imagery in the museum is hard to look at and will evoke a few emotions. I think it is important however to gain knowledge of the country you are visiting and pay your respects. You will certainly leave this museum with newfound knowledge of Vietnam's past.


Ben Thanh Market

Ben Thanh Market is a very large indoor shopping facility in the heart of HCMC. There is a lot on offer here from food to clothing and thousands of souvenirs. I managed to haggle a lot here and got goods for decent prices. I will say though one vendor was a little aggressive and started pulling me toward their store. They changed their tune when I whipped my camera out though! There's also security manned at each entrance to the market as well which is another safety bonus.

Yay or Nay

It's a big yay! HCMC is a great city with a wealth of tourist attractions. There are also great links to other places such as Mekong Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels which I visited whilst staying in this city.

If you're looking for a bustling city experience with clubs, bars and late-night restaurants HCMC is the place for you.

Although I never experienced it myself, I was warned by a lot of locals about petty crime in this city. Apparently, it's not very wise to walk around with your phone in your hand as this could be swiped by someone on a motorbike. I felt perfectly safe here though but it's always best to keep your eyes peeled.

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