One Day In Ho Chi Minh City - Following The Locals

Last updated:May 18, 2024
Imagine if you only have one day in Ho Chi Minh City, but you want to do all the things a tourist would do as well as the locals would do, what attractions should you visit? Where would you start? Don’t worry, here is the itinerary of what to do in Ho Chi Minh one day.

1. Morning in Ho Chi Minh City

Starting one day in Ho Chi Minh with a delicious breakfast and a cup of coffee

what to do in ho chi minh in one dayA delicious breakfast and a cup of coffee
Waking up in Saigon can sometimes be a headache because you cannot decide what to have for breakfast. There are a variety of options to choose from, and what foods can help fuel your day to start the busy schedule ahead?

Com Tam:

If you're looking for a delicious, filling, and affordable breakfast option in Saigon, look no further than Com Tam. This iconic dish is a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and for good reason. Com Tam consists of a variety of ingredients, including grilled pork, pickled vegetables, herbs, and chili sauce, giving it a strong and varied flavor. Com Tam's sweet, sour, salty, and spicy characteristics make it an excellent breakfast alternative. 
I have tried this dish at many different places, but for me, the following ones are the most delicious:
  • Com Tam Moc: 85 Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 8:30 AM – 10:30 PM; Prices: 45,000 – 80,000 VND.
  • Com Tam Kieu Giang: 192E Tran Quang Khai Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Prices: 40,000 – 70,000 VND.
  • Com Tam Tu Map: 812 Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 12, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 AM – 2:00 PM; 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM; Prices: 15.000 – 60.000 VND.

Pho:

If rice isn't your thing, consider Pho, a robust and satisfying dish that will keep you full until lunch. The mix of noodles, beef, and broth provides a nice balance of carbs, protein, and fiber, and it is relatively low in calories when compared to other breakfast meals. Here are the pho restaurants that locals frequent the most in Saigon:
  • Pho Phu Vuong: 120 Nguyen Thai Binh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Price: Khoảng 40,000 – 77,000 VND
  • Pho Hung: 243 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 3:00 AM; Price: 50,000 – 66,000 VND
  • Pho Le: 415 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 7, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City;Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 1:00 AM; Price: 75,000 – 95,000 VND
  • Pho Phu Gia: 146e Ly Chinh Thang Street, Ward 14, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 AM – 11:00 AM | 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM.; Price: 35,000 – 55,000 VND

Banh Mi:

For those seeking something quick, affordable, and delicious to eat, I recommend Banh Mi, a delicious and distinctive Vietnamese sandwich with various flavors and textures. It typically consists of a crispy baguette stuffed with grilled meat, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and spicy chili sauce.
Below is a list of the best places to get tasty Banh Mi in Saigon:
  • Banh Mi Huynh Hoa:  26 Le Thi Rieng Street - Pham Ngu Lao - District 1 - Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM; Price: 58,000 VND
  • Banh Mi Bay Ho: 19 Huynh Khuong Ninh Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 5:30 AM – 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.
  • Banh Mi Chim Chay: Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM; Price: 30,000 VND
  1.  11/4 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  2.  147D Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  3.  173 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

Coffee:

No Saigon breakfast is complete without a cup of their famous coffee. Vietnamese coffee is well-known for being one of the best coffee in the world with its strong flavor and rich, creamy texture. Vietnam is famous for many delicious types of coffee such as coconut coffee, bac xiu (coffee with condensed milk), and egg coffee. Below is a list of famous coffee shops in Saigon:
  • 3T Egg Coffee Saigon: Opening hours 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM;
  1. 1A Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  2. 355 Hoang Sa Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  3. 5 Tran Khanh Du Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Cong Ca Phe – Coconut Coffee: Opening hours 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM
  1. Apartment 26 Ly Tu Trong, Ground floor, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  2. 274 Hai Ba Trung, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  3. 10 Hong Ha, Ward 2, Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City.

Explore renowned tourist hotspots

After enjoying a delicious breakfast and a strong cup of coffee, you now have the energy to explore the city. Exploring the renowned tourist hotspots where you can learn more in-depth information about the rich history of Saigon. 

Central Post Office:

one day in ho chi minhCentral Post Office
The first stop is the infamous Central Post Office, which is usually mistaken for a train station. It is located in the heart of the city and represents the city's rich history and colonial heritage. Built in the late 19th century by the French colonial governments, it has been an important aspect of communication and trade. 
  • Location: 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 7:00 AM - 7:00 PM; Sunday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Some prominent attractions at the Central Post Office in Saigon:
  • Architectural Marvel: The post office boasts a unique blend of Romanesque and Eastern architectural styles, featuring a high dome, large windows, and intricate decorative details.
  • Marble Map of Vietnam: A remarkable highlight is the large-scale map of Vietnam meticulously crafted from marble, showcasing geographical features and landmarks across the country.
  • Philatelic Collection: Step into the fascinating world of stamps through the post office's extensive collection, encompassing both historical and contemporary stamps from Vietnam and around the globe.
  • Souvenir Shopping: Take home a piece of Saigon Central Post Office with a wide range of souvenirs available, including keychains, postcards, figurines, and more.
  • Convenient location: The Central Post Office is within walking distance of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, allowing you to explore two of Saigon's most iconic landmarks in close proximity

Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

Notre Dame Cathedral of SaigonNotre Dame Cathedral of Saigon
Take a short stroll to the statue of the Virgin Mary in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral and take in the magnificent overall architecture. The Notre Dame Cathedral in Saigon, constructed by the French colonial authority in the late nineteenth century, is a famous monument with a long history. Its impressive French Gothic architecture, complex stone carvings, and stained glass windows make it an ideal spot to view the city's architectural heritage. 
Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is undergoing a major renovation that began in 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2027. The restoration is being carried out by the Monument Group (Belgium), a company specializing in the restoration of historical monuments.

Independence Palace

what to do in ho chi minh in one dayIndependence Palace
Independence Palace, also known as the Presidential Palace, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, is a must-see tourist attraction owing to its historical significance and architectural splendor. It was an important part of Vietnam's history, especially during the Vietnam War. The Independence Palace has a total of around 100 rooms. Visitors may visit the vast halls, meeting rooms, and subterranean bunkers that previously housed the country's leaders. The palace's unusual combination of modernism and traditional Vietnamese architectural forms makes it particularly fascinating.
Some things you should know before visiting Independence Palace.
  • Opening Hours: open from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The palace is closed on Mondays and public holidays.
  • Location: 1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Admission Fee: 40,000 VND/adults and 10,000 VND/children.
  • Dress Code: Visitors are required to dress modestly when visiting the Reunification Palace. Shorts, sleeveless shirts, and slippers are not permitted.
  • Photography: Photography is allowed inside the Reunification Palace, but flash photography is not permitted.
If you decide to visit, I recommend taking a guided tour of the Independence Palace to gain a greater knowledge of its history and significance. Tours are available in both English and Vietnamese at Independence Palace.

2. Afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City

Take a lunch break with some local dishes

famous Banh Canh Cua stallTake a lunch break with some local dishes
After strolling quite a bit, using all the energy to learn and discover the rich historical part of Saigon, let’s recharge with some of our recommended lunch cuisines.

Banh Canh Cua:

If you like seafood, or specifically crab, try Banh Canh Cua. Unlike Pho, the noodle that is used for this dish is made from tapioca flour, so the texture would be more thick and chewy and usually served with a flavorful broth, vegetables, crab sausages, quail eggs, crab meat as well as sliced pork. Such a simple dish and yet so delicious and comfortable, guarantee will be your next favorite foods on your list. 
Below are some famous Banh Canh Cua stalls that locals love:
  • Banh Canh Cua Co Dieu: 465 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 5, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 10:00 AM and 3 PM - 7 PM; Price: 30,000 - 50,000 VND
  • Banh Canh Cua 87 Tran Khac Chan: 87 Tran Khac Chan Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Price: 30,000 - 45,000 VND
  • Banh Canh Cua Ba Ba: 84/6 Nguyen Bieu Street, Ward 1, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours:  8:00 AM - 8:00 PM; Price: 35,000 - 45,000 VND
  • Banh Canh Cua Hoang Lan: 484 Vinh Vien Street, Ward 8, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM; Price: 30,000 - 45,000 VND.

Banh Xeo:

A popular Vietnamese pancake that is made with a crispy rice flour batter that contains shrimp, pork, bean sprouts and sometimes mung beans inside. “Banh” means pancake while “Xeo'' is the sizzling sound when the chef pours the flour batter into the hot oily pan. And because the pancake can be quite oily to eat, you will always get a mini garden (a basket of fresh vegetables) to wrap the pancake inside while dipping in the fish sauce. It's a great option for a filling and delicious lunch. 
Here are some delicious and famous Banh Xeo stalls in Saigon:
  • Banh Xeo 46A Dinh Cong Trang: 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 AM - 10:00 PM; Price: 35,000 - 50,000 VND
  • Banh Xeo Bien Man Thanh Dieu: 276/1 Van Kiep, Ward 3, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM; Price: 30,000 - 50,000 VND
  • Banh Xeo Ngoc Son: 103 Ngo Quyen Street, Ward 11, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Price: 50,000 - 90,000 VND

Nước Mia:

Sugarcane juice is a popular drink in Vietnam. It is made from the juice of sugarcane, which is pressed and then chilled. Sugarcane juice is a refreshing and healthy drink that is perfect for a hot day. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C.
Here are some of the best places to get sugarcane juice in Saigon:
  • Nuoc Mia Dien Bien Phu: 412 Dien Bien Phu, Ward 17, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM; Price: 15,000 - 25,000 VND
  • La Xanh - Nuoc Mia Trai Cay: 214/B17 Nguyen Trai Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward, District 1; Opening hours: 9 AM - 9:30 PM

Shopping at Ben Thanh Market

Now that you've been completely energized, let's head to Ben Thanh Market, one of Ho Chi Minh City's iconic buildings. It is a well-known shopping area in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, recognized for its diverse selection of items, such as souvenirs, apparel, and local street cuisine. However, before you go, here are some tips for shopping at Ben Thanh Market. 
Firstly, don't hesitate to negotiate prices when shopping at Ben Thanh Market. Be bold in suggesting the price you desire, starting from 50% or 1/3 of the seller's asking price. Be patient and calm during negotiations until you reach a reasonable price. If it's not possible, be prepared to look for alternatives at other stalls. Ben Thanh Market offers countless choices, and you'll always find a product you like at a suitable price.
Another tip is that if you are unsure about the quality of a product, test it before purchasing it. This is especially crucial for clothing and shoes, since you want to ensure they fit well and are comfortable. 
Lastly, and most importantly, remember to carry cash when visiting Ben Thanh Market. While some merchants may take credit cards, it is preferable to have cash at Ben Thanh Market. This will make it easy to negotiate pricing and avoid problems with credit card transactions.

City sights walk

Opera House

The Opera House in SaigonOpera House
The Opera House in Saigon is a must-see location for history, architecture, and art in Vietnam. The Opera House in Saigon is a beautiful French colonial architectural masterpiece with exquisite stone carvings, delicate carvings, and enormous arched windows. The interior is equally impressive, with a grand staircase, stunning chandeliers, and intricate artwork. It is also a symbol of the city's courage and resilience, having served as a shelter for displaced people throughout the Vietnam War and a hub for culture and creativity. 
  • Price: Ranges from 200,000 VND to 1,500,000 VND depending on seat type and show program.
  • Opening hours: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (Monday to Friday)
  • Directly at the box office: Ho Chi Minh City Opera House Ticket Counter, 7 Cong Truong Lam Son, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Online: Through the Opera House website  http://www.hbso.org.vn/ 
Today, it offers not only traditional Vietnamese music, dance, and theater but also Western opera and ballet. If you enjoy exquisite performances, you should check out their websites to see what shows are now available. You will undoubtedly like the captivating performances as well as the Vietnamese cultural elements that showcase throughout the shows.

Explore Cafe Apartment

The Cafe Apartment at 42 Nguyen Hue walking street is seriously considered as the coolest building in Saigon. The nine-story apartment building was initially constructed in the 1960s to accommodate US government and military officials. Today, the Cafe Apartment is a unique and lovely location in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, surrounded with a distinctive and varied collection of cafes, restaurants, and stores, each with its own personality and style. 
The Cafe Apartment offers a diverse range of cafes and restaurants providing delightful cuisine and beverages from across the world. You may enjoy traditional Vietnamese coffee, excellent street cuisine, and rich delicacies while enjoying the busy traffic view
Here are some cute cafes at Cafe Apartment:
  • % Arabica: 4th Floor - Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1; Opening hours: 7:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.; Price:  >100.000 VND
  • Partea - English Tearoom: 4th Floor - Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue, District 1; Opening hours: 9:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m; Price: 100.000 - 200.000 VND

3. Evening in Ho Chi Minh City

After a full day exploring the distinctive features of Saigon in the one day in Ho Chi Minh itinerary, the evening is the perfect time to experience the city's vibrant and captivating atmosphere.

Enjoy street food through food tours

street food tourSaigon By Night Tour on Motorbikes
It’s almost the end of your one day in Ho Chi Minh City, you get to visit most of the iconic buildings already, however, you didn’t have time to try the cuisines yet. Don’t worry, start your Saigon By Night experience as your motorbike girl riders come to pick you up for an exciting 4-hour street food tour. At Kiss Tour, we take pride in empowering women, teaching local girls to represent the bright image of the country’s young generation, be the cultural ambassadors, and of course, you will see that they are experts in navigating the traffic of Saigon. 
Saigon By Night Tour is intended to provide varied perspectives on Saigon nightlife through local hidden gems and street cuisine. Knowing that you may easily visit the main sights on your own, we take you outside of the city center to see the real Saigon. 

Immerse in live music bar

If crowded places and loud music are not your thing, immerse yourself in the small, cozy live music bars. The intimate atmosphere allows you to get up close to the performers, feel the energy in their music, and admire their talent and creativity. As you sip your favorite beverage and devour amazing foods, the melodies, rhythms, and impassioned lyrics will sweep you away. 
Here are some of the most popular live music bars in Saigon:
  • Heart of Darkness Craft Brewery: 31D Ly Tu Trong, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1; Opening hours: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm; Price: 50,000 VND– 200,000 VND
  • Carmen Bar: 8 Ly Tu Trong, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 7:00 pm - 1:00 am; Price: 120,000 VND – 350,000 VND
  • Acoustic Bar: 6E1, Alley 6, Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street, Ward 7, District 3; Opening hours: 7:00 pm - 12:00 pm); Price: 50,000VND – 200,000VND
Experiencing one day in Ho Chi Minh City following our shared itinerary, you'll fully immerse yourself in the vibrant and rich cultural space of the city. From exploring historical landmarks to savoring street food delights and participating in the nightlife, each experience offers a fresh perspective on the local culture, history, and way of life. If you want to delve deeper into this city, contact  Kisstour to be accompanied by our female cultural ambassadors.

Author:
V
Vy
Vy
You might also like...
Things You Should Know About Vietnamese CultureMay 21, 2024 10:56:10    9  viewsGet ready for your Vietnam adventure! Discover essential things you should know about Vietnamese culture. Prepare for a warm welcome and unforgettable experiences!Read More
Top Vietnam Travel Apps Every Explorer NeedsMay 18, 2024 00:14:43    13  views Uncover the Top Vietnam Travel Apps to Enhance Your Journey. From flight booking to culinary exploration, these apps have you covered!Read More
How to Travel in Vietnam? - Updated 2024May 18, 2024 00:14:30    10  viewsLearn how to travel in Vietnam with ease! This updated 2024 guide details transportation options, costs, and essential tips for a smooth and unforgettable journey.Read More
When Is The Best Time To Visit Vietnam? - UPDATED 2024May 15, 2024 13:34:19    16  viewsFind the best time to visit Vietnam in 2024! This guide breaks down regional climates and offers tips for beachgoers, adventurers, and more.Read More
Convenient Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City, Ranging from Budget to LuxuryMay 15, 2024 13:36:07    18  viewsDiscovering the best places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City, offering a spectrum of options to suit every budget and taste, from economical to opulent.Read More
how to bargain in vietnam
The Culture Of Bargaining In Vietnam: A Comprehensive Guide 2024May 07, 2024 05:22:20    22  viewsLearn how to bargain in Vietnam like a pro. Get tips on navigating markets, understanding the culture, and securing the best prices.Read More
ho chi minh itinerary 4 days
A detailed itinerary for 4 days in Ho Chi Minh City - Updated 2024May 11, 2024 07:01:20    20  viewsFirst time traveling to Ho Chi Minh City and don’t know where to visit or what to try? Check out this recommended, detailed itinerary for 4 days in Ho Chi Minh City.Read More
what to do in ho chi minh city in 3 days
What To Do In Ho Chi Minh City In 3 Days?May 05, 2024 20:47:16    26  viewsIs 3 days enough in Ho Chi Minh City? Here is our recommended 3-day itinerary in Ho Chi Minh City. It will help you explore all the city has to offer. Read now.Read More
how much to tip tour guide in vietnam
Tipping culture in Vietnam - How much should I tip tour guide in Vietnam?Apr 21, 2024 19:24:20    28  viewsHow much should I tip a tour guide in Vietnam? Uncover the reasons behind tipping practices and learn about appropriate tipping etiquetteRead More
is 2 days enough in ho chi minh city
2 Days in Ho Chi Minh City for First-Timers | Experience Something NewMay 11, 2024 07:33:55    25  viewsPlan an exciting trip for first-timers with 2 days in Ho Chi Minh City. Explore famous landmarks, enjoy unique street food and the vibrant life of the city. Read now!Read More
ho chi minh city safe districts
Safest Districts In Ho Chi Minh City for First-Time Visitors May 16, 2024 09:34:47    25  viewsSafest Districts In Ho Chi Minh City for first-time travelers seeking peace of mind. Discover where to stay for the best combination of safety and tourist attractions.Read More
Is Saigon Safe for Tourists and Solo Female Travelers?
Is Saigon Safe for Tourists and Solo Female Travelers?May 16, 2024 14:15:54    42  viewsIs Saigon safe for tourists? It is, but be aware. Learn about common concerns and how to stay safe in Ho Chi Minh City.Read More