Ho Chi Minh City Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing

(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)

There are plenty of museums, monuments, pagodas and temples to see in Ho Chi Minh City, but the real attraction here is the bustling life of its streets, cafés and markets.

Fortunately, the main tourist attractions and highlights are conveniently interspersed among traditional neighbourhoods, so you can easily experience all the sights that this vibrant city has to offer. You may only need to explore Districts 1, 3 and 5 (Cholon) to fully satisfy your Saigon needs, with walking tours of downtown Ho Chi Minh coming highly recommended. Must-see attractions include both the Reunification Palace and the Ben Thanh Market.

Walking Tours

Many will find that Ho Chi Minh City appears as a vast and slightly overwhelming city, and therefore it will make a lot of sense for sightseeing tourists to take a self-guided walking tour, taking in the main attractions of District 1 - the real Saigon. Start your walk on the D Pham Ngu Lao, enjoy a bite to eat at one of the many eateries here, and then head to the Ben Thanh Market. Along the way you will pass the Tran Nguyen Hai statue, the Fine Arts Museum, the Saigon Opera House, the People's Committee Building, the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, the War Remnants Museum, the Reunification Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, finally reaching the Sheraton Saigon Hotel, where the rooftop bar provides great city views and the perfect place to end your walk.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Cholon (District 5)

Address: District 5, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Cholon is Ho Chi Minh City's Chinese district, and likely the largest Chinatown in the world. In many ways it is like a city within Saigon, and certainly an exotic mix of commercialism and spiritualism. The best way to see Cholon is wandering the maze-like tangle of lanes that lead to temples, medicine shops and amazing restaurants. At some point, grab a cyclo (bicycle rickshaw / pedicab) for an hour and let him ferry you around to sights like the Giac Lam Pagoda and the main market.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Chau Quan Am Temple

Address: 12 Laoth Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
This classic Chinese temple is the best place in the city to see a working temple in motion. It is busy day and night with monks and visiting supplicants lighting incense, chanting and praying. Foreign visitors are especially welcome here, and a monk will likely offer to show you around. Donations are kindly received, or at least buy a large bundle of joss sticks and release your prayers into the heavens.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, donations welcomed

Reunification Palace

Address: 106 Nguyen Du Street, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Many will remember this large building as the place where the gates were finally breached by the North Vietnamese in April 1975, marking the fall of Saigon. The actual tanks that smashed into the compound are parked in the courtyard and details about their drivers are on display. The rooms inside the palace are filled with period kitsch that offers a quirky reminder of Vietnam before the war. Don't miss the war command room with its original maps and communications gear, or the labyrinth that meanders under the grounds.
Open hours: daily - 07:30 to 11:00, 13:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge

Ben Thanh Market

Address: Le Loi Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
You'll know you are at the market when you see the iconic clock tower over the main entrance to this fascinating world of commerce. The Ben Thanh Market opened in 1914 and remains the city's most important and bustling marketplace. Narrow aisles are filled with stalls selling cheap goods of every imaginable kind. Towards the rear of the market you can find some authentic cafés selling coffee and dessert (che) as well as the local wet market selling fresh produce and meat.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
Admission: free

Tran Hung Dao Temple

Address: 36 D Vo Thi Sau, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
The Tran Hung Dao Temple is dedicated to its namesake Tran Hung Dao, a Vietnamese hero famous for defeating Kublai Khan - a Mongolian emperor who attacked in the latter part of the 13th century, along with his army of some 300,000 soldiers. This temple can be located by heading a short distance to the north-east of the telecommunication dishes based around the D Vo Thi Sau and the D Dien Bien Phu.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 06:00 to 11:00, 14:00 to 18:00
Admission: free

Mariamman Hindu Temple

Address: 45 D Truong Dinh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Close to the Ben Thanh Market and serving as the only active Hindu temple in the whole of Ho Chi Minh City, the Mariamman Hindu Temple offers its visitors a small taster of India. Completed in the late 19th century, this attraction is said to have great power and is dedicated to Mariamman, a South Indian goddess. Over the years, the temple has been used for many different purposes, once functioning as a factory producing joss sticks. The temple was also previously used by a company selling seafood, which was actually dried on the roof before being exported to other countries.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 11:00, 14:00 to 17:00
Admission: free

Saigon Central Mosque

Address: 66 D Dong Du, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
Built in the mid-1930s, the Saigon Central Mosque is a beautiful structure and stands on the site of a much older mosque. Situated within the Dong Khoi area of the city, the mosque is blue and white in colour, and features four eye-catching minarets. Prayers are held here five times each day, and if you wish to visit, you must take off your shoes as you enter.
Open hours: Monday to Friday - 07:00 to 11:00, 13:30 to 16:30
Admission: free

Cong Vien Van Hoa Park

Address: D Han Thuyen, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
A pleasant place to relax, Cong Vien Van Hoa Park stands right next to the Reunification Palace and features numerous pathways, benches and mature tropical trees. Amongst the park's main attractions is a group of modern sculptures, while locals come here in large numbers each morning to exercise and practice their martial arts in groups. If you are feeling sporty, you may well like to check out the sports club, which features tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gym.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Le Van Duyet Temple

Address: D Dinh Tien Hoang, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, VN
The burial place of Marshal Le Van Duyet, a renowned Vietnamese military figure, this temple resides within the Binh Thanh district. Le Van Duyet is remembered for his part in reunifying Vietnam and stopping the Tay Son Rebellion, and the temple contains much memorabilia relating to his life and achievements. Pilgrims flock here each year during the Tet festivities and also on the 30th day of the 7th lunar month. Visitors will be surprised to find that exotic fish and birds are sold here.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 11:00, 13:00 to 16:30
Admission: free