This post covers suggestions for your one day to explore Ho Chi Minh City, including what to do, where to visit, and what to eat. All information in the hope to contribute to your vacation in Saigon more valuable.
1. Explore the well-known destinations in this city
1.1. Skip your breakfast in the hotel to taste bread at Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
Address: 26 Le Thi Rieng Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Start your short holiday in this busy city by coming to a Vietnamese bread shop to try Banh Mi. Your hotel may offer breakfast included, but let’s skip it today when you do not try the same food at almost all stayings.
Sop at Banh Mi Huynh Hoa to buy a bread load of 400 grams at the price of nearly 60,000 VND. This can give you a full stomach for an energic morning to begin exploring the other famous attractions in Ho Chi Minh City.
Please pay attention that this bread shop opens at 9:00 am which is a little late for breakfast but normal in this city. It’s because the local life is more active at night and late get up.
Vietnamdrive’s team chose this shop to introduce to you because the bread here covers all of Saigon’s taste, including pate, meat pie, well-cooked pork, ham, pickle, cucumber, and various Vietnamese herbs such as spring onion and coriander.
1.2. The Norte Dame Church
Address: 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Your one-day Saigon trip cannot skip this famous destination, the Norte Dame Church, which owns the architectural style of Europe and Gothic.
The highlight of this building is the red brick wall, creating an impressive look. Besides, the tall bell towers and a big clock paint more beautiful features of the church.
In front of the church is an airy space. To enter this cathedral, you need to wear polite clothes, and not carry food and drinks inside.
1.3. Take a rest in Co Ba Saigon Rooftop Cafe
Address: 27 Ngo Duc Ke Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Besides plenty of cafes in Ho Chi Minh City, Co Ba Saigon Rooftop still attracts a lot of young people coming here to explore the ancient style of Saigon.
The simple design gives you a good feeling of classic atmosphere and elegant style, which pulls you back to Saigon’s 1980s.
Tasting a cup of Vietnamese coffee is good for recovering your energy for exploring more local life here. You can choose other drinks, such as tea or fruit shakes.
1.4. Stop at the Fine Art Museum
Address: 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Now we move to Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts of Museum, which has become a must-visited place in Saigon for the 1-day trip here. The museum building has a mixture of European and Asian architecture with the yellow color becoming a highlight.
This museum displays big art collections, from ancient works to modern ones. It includes Vietnamese paintings, porcelains, clocks, and other artistic styles.
Besides seeing art, you can find a peaceful space to escape from the busy streets in Saigon.
The price to enter this art museum is 30,000 VND/guest. It opens from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm every day.
2. Taste the local food for lunch
Now it is time to choose to try Saigon local food for lunchtime before you continue exploring the city again.
2.1. Stop at Ba Ghien broken rice shop
Address: 84 Dang Van Ngu, Ward 10, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City.
You may hear about Vietnamese broken rice, which gives a local flavor attracting a lot of diners. And, we stop at Ba Ghien Broken Rice Shop to taste this food.
The broken rice dish includes broken rice, pork rib, skin pie, pork pie, chicken, squid… Although other dishes are also sold here, Vietnamdrive recommends you choose broken rice.
We chose this place because it is fresh food, cooked in the traditional style, keeping the original flavor of Southern Vietnam. Besides, the restaurant is spacious, clean, and airy. One minus point is that the shop has crowded customers, so you can wait a little long for your food.
2.2. Take a short walk in Tao Dan Park
Address: Truong Dinh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
After having lunch, you take a short walk for digestion in Tao Dan Park. This park becomes a green lung in the busy city, right in front of Independence Palace.
That’s wonderful to spend time at lunchtime in the fresh air and green space with a lot of big trees. Taking a walk, reading a book, or chatting with each other here gives you a great moment.
Typically, during the time of Lunar New Year – often in Feb every year, the park holds a flower festival. It displays a lot of beautiful flowers. You will get a good chance to take pictures or join a few Vietnamese games.
2.3. Wander at Ben Thanh Market
Address: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
When you have time after lunch and want to escape from the hot heat, you can find a place with a roof such as Ben Thanh Market to wander.
This market was established in 1914 with nice architecture. Ben Thanh Market is one of the busy shopping centers in Saigon for tourists. You can see a lot of products and various local dishes of the city. And, you may check out Ao Dai, coffee beans, shoes, or jewelry.
However, Ben Thanh Market sells medium products. When you want to buy higher quality products, please check or change to visit Saigon Square at 81 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, District 1.
3. Play at an amusement park in the afternoon and eat again
3.1. Spend time at Suoi Tien Park
Address: 120 Xa Lo Ha Noi Street, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City.
Continue a one-day tour in Ho Chi Minh City to explore Suoi Tien Park, where you can find plenty of fun activities suitable for young and old tourists.
Additionally, you can swim at the specific area, called Suoi Tien Water Park. It’s exciting for refeshment during hot days in Saigon.
3.2. Eat at Pha Lau Co Thao
Address: 234/29G Ton Dan Street, Ward 15, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City.
Exploring food is an interesting method to know the local life. And, now is the time to try a real local dish, called “Pha Lau” – a typical dish that uses a fifth quarter of cow as the main ingredient.
Vietnamdrive selected Pha Lau Co Thao Shop to try this food. The dish has a special taste, cooked with a fifth quarter of cow, coconut, and herbs. The broth has a light yellow color, so eye-catching. To taste this food, you use bread, dip it in the soup, and catch a few pieces of food. All are tasty.
4. In the evening, join the exciting life of walking the streets
4.1. Take pictures at Nguyen Hue walking street
Address: 82 Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
When the night comes around 6 pm, you move to Nguyen Hue Walking Street to take pictures. Typically, a few buildings with many coffee shops turn on lights, creating impressive views.
This walking area is only 670 meters, but right in the city center. You come and try a cup of drink, coffee, or fruit juice to watch the night covering the city slowly.
4.2. Chill out at Bui Vien Street
Address: Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Bui Vien Street shows exciting nightlife in Saigon, where many domestic and international tourists come to spend time. Many bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and spa salons are available to serve various needs.
The night comes, bustle appearance of this street turns on. The noise of talking mixed with music gives an active feeling in this modern city.
You can enjoy various food and drink local Vietnamese beers until late at night.
II. When is the best time to visit Saigon?
You can spend one day in Ho Chi Minh City in a different way, but our suggestion is useful for your reference if you come to this city for the first time.
There are so many places and exciting activities in Ho Chi Minh to cover only 24 hours. Vietnamdrive’s team just selected a few interesting things.
If you have more time, stop at the beautiful coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh or try to taste more food can give you a wonderful moment here.