what to do in ho chi minh city in 3 days

What To Do In Ho Chi Minh City In 3 Days?

Last updated:May 05, 2024
Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, has a dynamic blend of the old and new. While the city still has a lot of history behind it, it keeps developing rapidly every day. With just three days, I’m sure that it is enough for you to thoroughly explore everything that the city has to offer. 
So let me give you an itinerary for the question “What to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days?” right below! 

Day 1: Explore Historical Heritage and Delicacies in Ho Chi Minh City

Morning in Ho Chi Minh City

Let's start your first day with tasty local dishes. We'll have Vietnamese coffee to boost your energy and get you ready for the busy day ahead.
For starters, I recommend Banh Mi, which some of you might have known and tried already. It’s a delicious and distinctive Vietnamese sandwich with various flavors and textures. Banh mi typically has a crispy baguette filled with grilled meat, pickled veggies, and fresh herbs.
However, you can also try out Banh Mi Chao (Vietnamese pan bread), which is a variation of the popular Banh Mi but with a twist. Unlike the original one, the toppings will be laid out on a hot pan with a flavorful sauce poured over the toppings and bread on the side. You will then use the bread to dip in, or put the fillings inside by yourself. While this version takes a little bit more time than usual, it is still worth a try.
Here is a list of some of the best places that you can try Banh Mi: 
  • Banh Mi Huynh Hoa: 26 Le Thi Rieng Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1. Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Banh Mi Bay Ho: 19 Huynh Khuong Ninh Street, Da Kao Ward, District 1. Opening hours: 5:30 AM - 11:00 AM; 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
  • Banh Mi Chao Di Nu: 2 Dang Tran Con Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1. Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Banh Mi Hoa Ma: 53 Cao Thang Street, Ward 3, District 3. Opening hours: 6:00 AM - 11:00 AM
first breakfast for 3 days in saigonThe perfect way to start the day - banh mi and coffee. | Source: Internet.
Don’t forget to taste the Vietnamese coffee while you are here, because it is known as one of the best coffee in the world. Depending on your preferences, there are different options that you can choose from. And whether it’s black coffee, coffee with condensed milk, milk coffee, or egg coffee, you definitely cannot miss it. 
You can get black coffee, milk coffee, or coffee with condensed milk anywhere. But, only some specialty brands offer egg coffee. 
  • Little Hanoi Egg Coffee: Opening hours: 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
    • 212 Le Lai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
    • 119/5 Yersin Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
  • 3T Egg Coffee Saigon: Opening hours: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM 
    • 1A Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
    • 355 Hoang Sa Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
    • 5 Tran Khanh Du Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
After filling your stomach and boosting your energy, now is time for you to discover the famous hotspots. You can visit the Central Post Office, the Notre Dame Cathedral, or Independence Palace, where you can dive down into the history and what it means to the city and the locals. However, sometimes it can be hard to fully grasp the real meaning of these historical sites just by reading information online. 
Instead, let us help you explore Ho Chi Minh City like a local with our Saigon City Tour on Motorbike. After a convenient morning hotel pickup, our excellent tour guides will take you through these infamous locations. We will check out bustling markets, and visit a historic temple while explaining to you the significance and meanings of these sites. 
And don’t worry about getting hungry as lunch time is coming up. Our tour guides will take you to the local’s restaurants for you to taste the authentic delicacies before dropping you off at your hotel at the end of the tour. 
Saigon day tour must-try experience in Ho Chi Minh itinerary 3 daysExplore the heart of Vietnam with a Saigon city tour!

Afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City

Is 3 days enough in Ho Chi Minh City to experience its history? Start your afternoon by spending time walking around the War Remnants Museum. You will learn about the Vietnam War as it depicts the war and its consequences in a detailed and heartbreaking manner. It provides a distinct Vietnamese viewpoint on the war by displaying historical collections, images, and exhibitions. These items illustrate the conflict's realities and repercussions. 
Moreover, the museum focuses not just on the military elements of the conflict but also on the humanitarian side. It focuses on human suffering, civilian deaths, and the long-term ramifications of the conflict, such as the deployment of chemical weapons like Agent Orange, as well as the environmental and public health implications. 
exploring the War Remnants Museum during 3 days in Ho Chi Minh CityLearning about Vietnam's past: Exploring the War Remnants Museum.
Visiting the War Remnants Museum can be overloaded and emotional. But, it is a good way for visitors to reflect on and honor the memories of those affected by the war, as it really sheds light on the challenges, sacrifices, and tenacity of the Vietnamese people during this traumatic period. To have the best tour plan, please refer to information about opening hours and ticket prices as follows:
  • Opening hours: 7:30 a.m - 5:30 p.m all days, including weekends and holidays (ticket counter closes at 5:00 p.m.)
  • Ticket price to visit the War Remnants Museum: 40,000 VND/person/turn
    • Free admission: children under 6 years old, people with disabilities, poor households
    • 50% discount on tickets to the War Remnants Museum: children from 6 years old to under 16 years old, pupils, students, the elderly, people with meritorious services to the revolution, people in mountainous, isolated and remote areas...
*** Note: Ticket prices and opening hours above are for reference only and may change at the specific time of visit.
The museum has a convenient location in the city center. Thus, visitors can move to the museum by many means: 
  • Bus: You can take the bus to the War Remnants Museum.Line 14 departs from Mien Dong bus station. Line 06 departs from Cho Lon bus station. Line 28 departs from Ben Thanh market.
  • Taxi: Ho Chi Minh has many taxi companies to quickly get to the museum. In particular, Xanh SM taxi is the ideal suggestion for you. It offers comfortable, experience-rich travel with spacious vehicles, smooth operation, friendly service, and reasonable fares.
  • Technology motorbike taxi: Another type of transportation that you can choose when you want to go to the museum is technology motorbike taxi. This way of moving helps you have a more interesting experience about the streets and alleys of Saigon. 
  • Motorbike: Motorbike helps you proactively travel to the museum by following Cong Hoa street or Truong Chinh street, Cach Mang Thang Tam street and turning onto Vo Van Tan street to get to the museum entrance.

Evening in Ho Chi Minh City

For your first evening in Ho Chi Minh City, why not try to enjoy your dinner a little differently
dinner cruise along the Saigon River is the perfect way for you to view the city's dynamic nightlife while savoring a wonderful meal. By cruising along the Saigon River, the journey provides stunning views of the city's cityscape, shoreline, and illuminated landmarks for you to observe and pinpoint where you have visited today or where you might want to visit on your next day. 
a dinner cruise along the Saigon River for Ho Chi Minh itinerary 3 days A delicious dinner with a stunning Saigon River view. | Source: Internet
Not to mention, dinner cruises in Ho Chi Minh City provide a variety of eating alternatives, including excellent Vietnamese cuisines or international cuisines. You may have a wonderful buffet-style meal with a selection of savory and authentic foods or a top-notch 5-course meal like royalty to choose from. It's an amazing opportunity to experience the local cuisine while enjoying a peaceful voyage. This unique combination of dining and peaceful cruising is a perfect way to end your first day and discover what to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days. 
Is 3 days enough in Ho Chi Minh City for all this? It's starting to feel like it!
By following the schedule above, you already have a perfect first day for your itinerary of 3 days in Ho Chi Minh! If you want it more diverse, check out the One Day in Ho Chi Minh City article for the other destinations of coffee, restaurants, and hotspots. I believe it will be useful for you.

Day 2: Exploring Vietnam's Vibrant History of Struggle at the Cu Chi Tunnels

Morning at the Cu Chi Tunnels

exploring the Cu Chi tunnels once on 3 days in SaigonExploring the remarkable underground world of the Cu Chi tunnels. | Source: Internet.
The 250-kilometer-long Cu Chi tunnel complex was dug up under French colonization in the 1940s and is situated about 70 kilometers northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. 
During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong guerilla soldiers relied heavily on the hidden underground system known as the Cu Chi Tunnels. While visitors may explore the tunnels and see demonstrations of their features and traps, they also provide a unique perspective on the history and tactics that were used during the war. The tunnels, which preserve and honor the sacrifices made by the Vietnamese people throughout the war, are a significant historical and cultural landmark in Vietnam. Through the tunnels, one may gain a unique perspective on the Vietnam War and an appreciation for the tenacity and creativity of the Viet Cong soldiers. 
In addition to the historical section, guests can engage in outdoor activities like shooting at a range (under appropriate supervision and safety precautions, of course) or observe and chat with locals as they demonstrate traditional crafts and skills. This gives you a glimpse of the Vietnamese people's way of life, culture, and resiliency during and after the war.
The Cu Chi Tunnel tour usually takes around 6 or 7 hours, with around 3 hours in total to travel back and forth from Ho Chi Minh City. Depending on your choice of tour operations, they will let you have lunch at one of the local restaurants during the trip. However, just to be sure that you don’t get hungry during the trip, make sure to eat breakfast before you go. 

Afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City

relaxing massage when visiting Ho Chi Minh in 3 daysTime to treat yourself – massage or shopping spree?
The ideal way to wind down or wrap up your afternoon after experiencing the Cu Chi Tunnels is to treat yourself to a massage or go shopping. It's possible that the thorough tunnel exploration can wear you out mentally and physically. Receiving a massage may aid in stress relief, muscle relaxation, and body renewal. You may treat yourself to a variety of massage alternatives in Ho Chi Minh City, including spa services and traditional Vietnamese massages, and benefit from the soothing effects of skilled practitioners. 
Alternatively, if you don’t like massages, going shopping around the city's thriving marketplaces and retail stores is also a good idea. You have a ton of options to fulfill your shopping needs, from bustling night markets to contemporary malls. Whether you're searching for regional clothing, handicrafts, or souvenirs, shopping at the local market like Saigon Square or the underground Central Market offers many chances to browse, bargain, and locate one-of-a-kind items to bring home.

Evening in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Night Tour is what to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 daysExploring Saigon like a local on a Kiss Tours motorbike adventure.
For your evening adventure, what do you think is the best way to see and explore Ho Chi Minh City? The answer is on the back of a motorcycle. 
Saigon by Night Tour is a unique culinary experience that no food enthusiast should miss. The streets transform into a bustling culinary paradise as the sun sets and the city comes to life. Take a motorbike ride in a pillion, and you'll be taken to some of the area's best-kept secrets and restaurants, which are known for their delicious fare. You get to try a variety of real Vietnamese food throughout this immersive experience, including regional favorites like Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake) and savory street food like Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich). 
The motorbike trip passes through crowded marketplaces and narrow lanes where you can see the culinary magic being created in front of your eyes. Moreover, you'll get a chance to get to know the local vendors, discover the ingredients and cooking methods, and experience the wonderful flavors of Vietnamese food. 
The city's exciting nightlife, the rush of riding a motorcycle, and the mouthwatering tastes of Vietnamese street cuisine come together. It creates a unique and genuine experience that will leave your senses and taste buds aching for more. We guarantee it will be an amazing and unforgettable experience!

Day 3: Explore the Cultural Beauty and Traditional Cuisine of the Mekong Delta

Morning & Afternoon in the Mekong Delta

3 days enough in Ho Chi Minh City to explore the Mekong DeltaDiscovering the lush beauty of the Mekong Delta.
The Mekong Delta in Vietnam is the river's southernmost point, where it divides into several streams and channels before flowing out into the South China Sea. The region is recognized for its complex network of rivers, canals, and fertile terrain, making it a key agricultural and fishing area in Vietnam and a perfect destination for you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty and cultural diversity.
A full-day tour allows you to discover all sides of the Mekong Delta, from its scenic vistas to its busy local life. But because the Mekong Delta region includes a lot of provinces, each a little bit different from the next, you won’t be able to visit all of them on the full-day tour. 
Therefore, depending on your preference, here are some of the popular provinces that are commonly included in the tour itinerary:
  • Vinh Long: is known for its picturesque vistas, fruit cultivation, and floating markets. It provides an authentic view of the daily lives of the people and is an excellent location for exploring the river canals and sampling fresh fruits.
  • Can Tho: the biggest city in the Mekong Delta, serves as the region's economic and cultural center. It is well-known for its busy Cai Rang Floating Market, where visitors may observe vibrant commercial activities and sample local cuisines.
  • Ben Tre: it is frequently referred to as the "coconut kingdom" because of its huge coconut farms. It is an excellent eco-tourism location, with possibilities to visit coconut candy workshops, take boat cruises down the canals, and enjoy the laid-back country lifestyle.
  • An Giang: is known for its beautiful scenery and unique cultural heritage. It is home to the well-known Tra Su Cajuput Forest, a huge wetland region with beautiful greenery along with a diversity of wildlife. An Giang also has stunning temples and pagodas, such as Sam Mountain and Chau Doc Floating Market.
  • Tien Giang: another province known for its fruit orchards and agricultural industries. It is a popular destination for travelers looking to explore the floating marketplaces, sample tropical fruits, and learn about the local culture.
So before choosing which tour operators offer the best Mekong Delta tour, you should first decide which provinces you want to discover. From there, you can easily find a suitable company that offers your choice of provinces. And don’t worry if you can’t visit all provinces in the Mekong Delta region; you will still get to enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences that you will always remember, and maybe you save some destinations for your next journey here in Ho Chi Minh City.

Evening in Ho Chi Minh City

You have already seen the vibrant city when you enjoyed dinner cruises along the Saigon River. However, for your last evening in Saigon, why not soak in the city one last time from the view above? 
Enjoying the lively environment and stunning views from a rooftop bar on your final night in Saigon will make memories that last a lifetime. You are met with a combination of the city’s panoramic views, sparkling lights, architectural marvels, and the bustling streets below as you ascend to the rooftop. Not to mention, with the gentle breeze and the elegant ambiance from the rooftop, it gives off a sophisticated and laid-back atmosphere. It brings you to a state of relaxation, serene after 3 days of exploring Ho Chi Minh City. 
Rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City, cocktails, Saigon skyline at night, things to do in Ho Chi Minh City in 3 days.Rooftop views and cocktails – the perfect Saigon night. | Spurce: The View Rooftop Bar
Sipping on a carefully crafted cocktail or enjoying a glass of wine, you may reflect on your time visiting Ho Chi Minh City as you absorb the city's lively energy. The rooftop bar provides a unique perspective on the city's transformation from day to night. So it's an opportunity to observe the dynamic skyline, the flashing lights that grace the streets, and the pace of life in this bustling city one last time. 
Whether you're traveling alone, with friends, or with a loved one, visiting a rooftop bar on your final evening in Saigon is the perfect way for you to bid farewell to the city and reminisce on your time here. Hopefully, the experiences and memories that you made in Ho Chi Minh City will go with you everywhere you go and lead you back to this vibrant city again on your upcoming journey. 


Should I book tours/activities in advance?

Yes, especially during peak tourist season, booking in advance offers several benefits:
  1. Securing Your Spot: Popular tours like the Cu Chi Tunnels or cooking classes can fill up quickly.
  2. Avoiding Disappointment: Don't miss out on must-do experiences because they're sold out.
  3. Saving Time: Skip ticket lines and make the most of your limited time in Ho Chi Minh City.
  4. Peace of Mind: Have your activities planned so you can relax and enjoy the trip. 
  5. Special Offer: Sometimes receive early bird discounts or special promotions for those who book in advance. 
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