Tips for Travelling Ho Chi Minh

Top 5 Useful Local Tips for Travelling Ho Chi Minh


Ho Chi Minh/Saigon is one of the most popular travel destinations in Vietnam. The largest and the fastest advancing city in the country with staggering skyscrapers and several cultural sites rolled into one – busy is an underrated word to describe the place.

The city offers an array of multiple things at the same time from its unique street food (have you ever heard of the black banh mi?), top tourist attractions, french-inspired stunning architectural structures, interesting pagoda swarms the city too – a touch of culture and religious features that certainly captures the eyes.

Travelling to a large city such as Ho Chi Minh can be challenging and overwhelming at the same time. So before you even think about coming up with an itinerary, read some of the handy tips that will surely guide you when travelling to Ho Chi Minh.

1. Wear anything you want and be prepared for rapid weather change in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh follows the typical tropical monsoon climate which is generally divided into two – dry and rainy seasons, however, most of the time the weather in the city is not erratic and more on the stable side all year round.

During the dry season which is from November to May, you can literally choose to wear your comfort clothes. You can expect hot and dry weather throughout these months with which any clothing with thin layers will suffice. You can dress up according to your plans for the day!

Locals would say that the weather in Ho Chi Minh is ¨sunny in the morning and rainy in the afternoon¨, it can rain even when sunny or the other way around.

The rainy season starts from June to November with unpredictable drizzles especially between July and December, expect scattered rain on your way to work or when stuck in a traffic jam on the way home. Luckily, these rains during these months don’t last long (it would be best to have an umbrella handy or a raincoat for when needed). You’ll never know when the rain will come!

2. Be vigilant and look after your valuables

This one generally applies not only when wandering around the bustling city of Ho Chi Minh but also for your other travels.

The security in Ho Chi Minh street can be a bit complicated and frustrating, be mindful when on the road. As much as possible (or when it is not actually needed) do not wear any jewelry, fancy looking handbags (it is more advisable to wear a body bag/cross bag) for when stolling, and never leave your things unattended especially your gadgets.

Are you someone who divides your money into chunks and places them in different compartments of your bag or pocket? This is something to take note when travelling to Ho Chi Minh (or make it a travel habit). If your activity for the day doesn’t really involve anything that would require you to show any important document, it would be best to leave them inside the safety box of your hotel to avoid getting it lost.

Wandering around Ho Chi Minh, you can always bring a good ol’ map or tap on your Google map app from your mobile phone. Ideally, getting on cabs in Ho Chi Minh is easy and albeit most drivers are honest, there are some who will try to rip you off. Average taxi fare costs 12,000 VND ($0.52) on the first kilometer and 10,000 VND ($0.43) on the following kilometers.

(If you ever encounter difficulty in conversing with the locals, you can always download translation apps that are available on both android and app store.

3. There’s more than just Ben Thanh Market.

Ben Thanh Market is one of the most popular markets around Ho Chi Minh for local finds. However, you actually have other (cheaper) options, but make sure you do your research or ask a local friend in advance. Some of the shopping centers you can check are Saigon Square, Zen Plaza and AEON. For more luxury goods, try heading out to Parkson, Vincom or perhaps Diamond!

For a variety of clothing options, try checking out the Tan Dinh market. Second hand clothing can be found in Ba Chieu market, for Chinese goods and items you can visit the Cho Lon.

If you’re looking for a bargain, you can either choose to haggle if you’re good at the language, or just politely nod with a smile and walk away, and then hear the seller magically drop the price almost immediately. That trick usually works pretty well if you have a poker face.

4. If it’s bigger than a car, don’t cross.

Crossing a road in the chaotic city of Saigon can be a momentous experience (no pun intended, at all). Traffic signs are mostly just suggestions and if you’re standing along a curb expecting vehicles to stop for you, you’ll most likely draw a few chuckles from passers-by.

Take a leap of faith and just walk, slowly. The majority of the vehicles on the roads here are bikes, and they will go around you. If you need more visibility, just raise a hand to indicate your presence.

However, if you see a vehicle bigger than a car, just stop and let it pass and then continue.

5. Stay connected wherever you are in Ho Chi Minh.

Vietnam is much more connected than you may think and this can be proven every time you switch your phone’s Wi-Fi or use the Wi-Fi-finder app listed to see an entire list of networks available.

There is also a site which has an updated list of all the Wi-Fi hotspots in the city. All you need to do is take a seat in a coffee place or a restaurant and get the password and you’ll enjoy pretty high speed access to the internet.

You can also find free public Wi-Fi in some parts of Saigon, although it’s not recommended to use it if you need to perform any logins or transactions due to possible security breach.

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