attractions | What to See | Ho Chi Minh City

Top 5 Things to Do in Saigon

Author: Quang Mai
Published: Feb. 12, 2014, 4:53 p.m.
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What to See in Ho Chi Minh City

Before you set off for what could be one of your most memorable travelling experience to Ho Chi Minh City (or Saigon), do your homework reading City Pass’s Top 5 things to do in Saigon. Some further recommended readings for you are "Best time to visit Vietnam" and How to cross the street

1. PANORAMIC VIEW FROM SKYSCRAPERS

Bitexco TowerPanoramic view of the city? Look no further than Saigon Sky Deck on the 49th floor of the Iconic Bitexco Financial Tower and Chill Sky Bar on 27th floor Rooftop of AB Tower

At a fee of USD10 per person, you will get a pass to Saigon Sky Deck, located on the 49th floor and enjoy the superb view of Saigon below. There are telescopes for your pleasure. If a good cocktail is what you are after, go unwind with a drink in the skyscraper’s lounge on the 52nd floor.

Local Insight: The opening hour on weekday is different from weekend so make sure you check them before going there.

Chill Sky Bar is an enviable location for travellers looking to get above the street-level deluge of motorbikes and honking trucks. Spectacular views, sophisticated design, stellar service and excellent food are this rooftop bar’s cornerstones.

Local insight: Weekday’ happy hour lasts till 8:30pm, all drinks are half price.

2. CHILLING IN A COFFEE SHOP

Coffee is second only to rice in value of agricultural products exported from Vietnam. Coffee has became an important part of a Vietnamese everyday life. It is easy to catch a sight of people enjoying coffee at any time during the day. Saigon has different types of coffee shops to meet different demands: watching movies, listening to music, reading magazines, watching street-life, or, oddly enough, even coffee places for couples, cat lovers and Japanese maid theme.

Local insight: Vietnamese coffee is almost exclusively Robusta. Robusta strains contain about 40–50% more caffeine than Arabica.

For local style, head to Trinh-Coffee where some of the most popular songs by Trinh Cong Son, a talented music composer, are performed.

Suggested coffee shops to experience

3. HEAVEN OF STREET-FOOD

Pho

Phở is a must-try whether you like it or not. If you don’t try phở, then you’ve never been to Vietnam. Don’t try street-stall food until your stomach has become acclimatized! Some of our recommendations: Phở Pasteur, Phở Hòa, Phở 24h, Phở 2000, Phở Hùng and Phở 5 sao. It’s best if you have local friends to take you to stalls that serve for the local, not the tourists for the genuine experience of Phở of Vietnam. Check out Top 5 must eat dishes in Saigon and Top 5 che to round off your Saigon’s street food tour.

Local insight: Take your time to try some other traditional foods, such as Bún Bò Huế (spicy beef noodle soup) and Cơm Tấm (broken rice) among others.

4. LIVE MUSIC EVERY SINGLE DAY

Seventeen saloonHCMC is home to hundreds of bands and DJs. You can enjoy live music from over 20 bars and cafés in the center of HCMC.

Here are some to kick start:


Seventeen Saloon


Filipino bands cover rock songs of Bon Jovi, U2, Guns N’ Roses among the others.


Acoustic


Vietnamese bands covers popular rock ballads and rock ‘n’ roll.


Carmen


Carmen & Brothers band sings songs of Michael Jackson, Leona Lewis and Bon Jovi.


Level 23 Nightspot


R&N, dance, jazz, hiphop, rap, rock


Saigon Saigon Bar


Cuban bands and Warapo perform South American rhythms


Bar Bui


Filipino bands play flamenco and country music


Jardind’ Amour cafe


Pianist plays pre-war Vietnamese music and covers popular songs at night


La Habana


Local and Filipino bands play Flamenco music


Metallic Bar


Filipino singers with local bands play rock music, dance and hip-hop


Napoly Bar


Quoc Anh band plays 1980s’ classic hits


Bootleg DJ Cafe


Local and guest DJs play trendy dance music (disco, hip-hop…)


Cacophony


Local bands play pop, rock and country

 

5. COOK IT YOURSELF

Making Vietnamese food is not a “Mission Impossible”. All you need is a passionate and ready-to-make-mistakes attitude. You can start first with your Vietnamese friends and make easy ready-to-eat pieces. So you will feel like a ‘master’ the next time you go eating out and do your own wrapping roll.

Cook Class

Local insight: Try the excellent cooking classes offered by Hoa Tuc Restaurant and Vietnam Cookery Center

Further activities you can join are listed in our HCMC activities articles. Our last tip is, you can get VAT refunds in Vietnam at some shops, so do not mind asking the cashiers or the owner about that.

Feel free to share your stories on our website and Facebook. Enjoy your trip with City Pass Guides and discover the city on your own.

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