a VirtualTourist member
3 of us will be traveling to HCMC for 3 nights. First time travelers to Vietnam/HCMC. We aren't booking anything in advance as we figure the city tours will be easy to book when we get there. We are considering one day in HCMC and one day trip. Are there any extraordinary day trips out of HCMC worth doing? Our group likes to party but we also appreciate landmarks/sites/culture. Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
Go to the Sihn Tourist on De Tham Street and they will set you up with day tours to the tunnels, the Mekong etc. If you are staying in District 1, there are loads of bars and clubs.
You won't find any place to party outside Saigon limits, unless you go to Nha Trang or maybe Vung Tau. But for day trips you might consider the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao Dai church in Tay Ninh. There are tours that cover these two places in one day. Another might be to Can Tho in the Mekong Delta, about 4 hours by bus. The problem with that is if you d it in one day you will not be there in time for the floating markets. That's requires an overnight stay so you are there in the morning. I'm not much a partier so maybe someone else can help you with nightclubs or other party atmosphere places.
been to HCMC twice and two-day tour around the city is enough. there are lots of tour packages to choose from and you can get them from the any hotel. but i did mine by myself. city tour is good for the first or second or last day; you can have the french architectures from its city hall to the cathedral. you can check into its reunification palace also which is almost adjacent to its war remnants museum. the other day can be spent for the Cu Chi Tunnels which is located at the outskirts of the city. It's an experience that you shouldnt miss. If you're adventurous just like me, take the bus to and from the tunnel. Take note however of the bus number. Find the tips in this site or some more travel sites.
I think that you will be overwhem with the cultural experience and your three nights will go by quickly. as you said, the tours can be bought when you get there and most likely you will be going to see back packers alley where you can party the night away just drinking beer and cocktails in the streets cheaply. Ask other travelers for advice there and make many friends. like I did in my seven days there. i will return.. HCMC can be done as a walking tour on your own, give it a whole day to walk around the streets and parks. Always have the address and card of the hotel that you are staying in, and if you get lost , just hop a taxi back home. Be sure to read up on taxi rip offs in the VT pages, I posted a column myself...you are forewarned...just have fun and have respect for the culture. .read up on VT pages and you will be well informed. Thanks for the tips
cheers tommy x
I agree with the others and would add that another interesting site is the Post Office (believe it or not... LOL) And of course the Reunification palace, there is a beautiful Catholic Church in District 1, if you are into that sort of thing. Maybe Ben Thanh market if you want to shop.
You are right to just wait to book your tours when you get there. If you are staying in the Pham Ngo Lao area, there are plenty of tour shops in the area and that is where many of the tours pick up passengers.
I suggest you do the tours and save your partying when you get back.
I think the Delta tour is really a good one day, though not as good as the two day as Mike stated since you miss out on the market.
As far as when you get back and want to start the party there are many choices in many price ranges. Hanging out in the backpacker area of PNL, lots of cheap places and places that have "Happy Hours".
If your budget is better, try the Roof Top bars like the "Rex". The "Sheridan Hotel's" 23rd floor has a band on the weekends. The "Carmen Bar" is really neat....like a cave and had Latin style music in a revue style. Night Clubs include the famous "Apocalypse Now" (heard recently there has been trouble there, lots of "working girls"), Go get a T-Shirt have a drink and get out. If you like really loud techno then "Liquid" is pretty nice. They bring you a fruit plate (you pay for it) to munch on while you drink. Not cheap, with a cover charge.
As I like to tell people, there are many great ideas within the travel pages, tips and forums that you need to check out. That will give you more ideas of the things to see and do.
Tommy brings up a good point (as usual).
Use common sense when out and about. VN has seen a surge in thefts and rip offs. Never leave your cameras, laptops or phones sitting out. Take care carrying purses and camera and secure your money. Do not bring your passports (or wallets with credit cards)with you, lock them up (if the hotel is not keeping them for you). it is also a good idea to make a copy of you passport just to be safe.
If you are using credit cards, make sure the card companies know whre you will be so they do not lock them out.
I agreed on a price for a tour of the city by motorbike, that might interest you. I had a great time. He took me everywhere, and I finished the day early at the markets. I was more than happy.
I can't remember seeing the Emperor Jade Temple being mentioned, I found that fascinating
[original VT link]
The tours are as others mentioned, really you need to stay overnight to see the floating markets, but in saying that, you probably will see a few boats laden with goods. You probably would enjoy the rest of the tour.
Check out what people have to say on their pages, by clicking on their names, then go to Ho Chi Minh in their travel pages. Photos and information are all there!
You mention taking a tour by motorbike. Was that a tour through a company or off the street?
While I have family in Vietnam and would not be interested, I am sure there are many that would like to know more.
If this was something you set up locally, "good on you" because many times I hear of major problems with these alleged "bike tours" being a scam.
Newbies to VN should be careful about this as well as thefts taking place while riding on a motorbike.
Thanks for the info on the Jade Emperor Pagoda....ten years going to VN and first I heard of it, so will make that a visit our next trip.
Enough tips already with great information so i just like to emphasize that a trip to Cu Chi and the Cao Dai Temples is really worthwhile, and if you want to see the market at Cantho why not go there the previous afternoon and get up at the crack of dawn, see the activity at the market on the river and return to Saigon before lunch, but again you will have to forgo one night's partying.
It was off the street. The guy looked ok otherwise I wouldn't have done it. He would have taken me sightseeing to the end of the day, but I wanted to see the markets, so called it short. I had no problems and have written about it on my Ho Chi Minh pages. I did know about the handbag strap being cut when on the motorbike, this was thanks to VT. Funny, in a quiet country area of Vietnam, where I was on a proper tour, the guide told me safe to walk on my own. It was here, when walking, I was probably 30secs to having the handbag cut to be stolen,, it would have been very nasty as I always have my bag wrapped around me. Recently, this happened to an Australian woman in Thailand, and she died of the injuries. I am very lucky!
I used the Motorbike all over Vietnam and never had a problem, very different to using the Taxi!!!!
Mekong Delta trip could be interesting. But you only have 3 days in total and you may want to spend some time in the city too. Usually tourists prefer Caodai Temple and Chu Chi Tunnels tour as a minimum and if you take this tour and Mekong Delta Tour you only have one day left in the city. You can check my HCMC page for some useful tips.
[original VT link]
hi. I have the same question since I'm also traveling Vietnam for the first time and will also stay for 3 nights only in HCMC this coming April. Looking forward to more suggestions in this thread. :)
Also check the other travel pages, tips and forum posts on Vietnam as there are many great ideas in them for the short stay traveler.
I would be wary when drinking in Pham Ngu Lau. Many stories of people drinking, then being given highly inflated bills and being threatened if they don't pay. I'd suggest paying your tab after each drink to avoid this. Most locals expats I know avoid PNL.
Sheraton Hotel Level 23 has a band every night except Sunday. Expensive drinks, but good people watching. Saigon Saigon on the 9th floor of the Caravelle is another good open air bar. It's mellower than Level 23, but a nice view and a band 6 days a week as well. There's a whole slew of other bars where expats, travelers and locals hang out behind the Sunwa Tower on Tan Tat Thiep and Ho Tung Mau streets .
As mentioned above, no need for a city tour. You can walk or cab it around to most all the sites in Saigon. I prefer the Cu Chi Tunnel tour to the Mekong Delta tour.
I have stayed and partied in that area many time over the past five years and I have never been threatened or ripped off.
Congratulations! You're one of many who haven't had problems. But there are also many that have. My post was just to let the OP know to be wary of what can/and does happen in PNL.
We went for the Cu Chi Tunnel + Cao Dai day tour with Sinh Cafe many years ago. IT was a great trip - informative and interesting, as the tunnels were constructed during the war and it was a real unique experience to see them.
Cu Chi is worth it if a tad Disneyesque.
I think you can consider the tour to My Tho (Mekong Delta) with 01 day trip. You can understand more the culture of people in Mekong Delta. Or you can visit Cu Chi tunnels with 70 km far fron Ho Chi Minh city. Hope you have nice days in Vietnam!