Free things to do in Ho Chi Minh City – Lonely Planet

Bustling Ho Chi Minh City is one of Southeast Asia ’ s top value-for-money destinations where you can scarf down a street-side bowl of pho for precisely over a dollar. But if you ‘re traveling on a budget, we ‘ve gathered some of our favored barren things to do in this bustle Vietnam city. Editor ‘s bill : During COVID-19, please check the latest change of location restrictions before planning any trip and always follow government health advice. Events may be subject to change .The Ho Chi Minh City skyline with the Landmark 81 skyscraper.Dive into our favorite free things to do in Ho Chi Minh City © JethuynhCan / Getty Images

1. Nguyen Hue Walking Street

This pedestrian-only street gets busy on weekend evenings with street performers and families out for a walk. Don ’ thymine miss exploring the apartment build up at # 42, chock full of boutiques and trendy cafe.

2. Mundo Lingo

Mundo Lingo is a great direction to meet english-speaking locals and other social polyglots. While weekly meetups are typically held at a local bar, there ’ s no obligation to buy a drink. Just bang on stickers of flags representing the languages you speak and get to chatting !People in prayer at Cao Dai Temple, Ho Chi Minh CityVisit colorful Cao Dai Temple © emma muir / Lonely Planet

3. Cao Dai Temple

Adherents of Caodaism, a religion founded in Vietnam incorporating elements from Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity, come to worship at the colorful three-story Cao Dai Temple. Head up the stairs ( then to the leave for women, right for men ) to view the main hall .

4. Shuttlecock at September 23 Park

Join one of the many groups kicking around a shuttlecock at this ballpark equitable along the main backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao. This popular vietnamese pastime is like badminton for the feet, but keeping the mass of plastic disk and feathers in the air is deceptively hard .A golden Buddha statue inside the colourful Chantaransey Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh CityInside the Main Hall of the Chantaransey Pagoda © James Pham / Lonely Planet

5. Chantarangsay Pagoda

Serving HCMC ’ s Khmer community, the Chantarangsay Pagoda has spectacularly colored murals depicting scenes from the Buddha ’ mho life .

6. Notre Dame Cathedral

Modeled after its parisian namesake, the Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral is under renovation until 2023. While closed to tourists, it ’ sulfur silent open for services, and the ballpark across the street is a capital rate to chat with university students tidal bore to drill their English .

7. Dong Khoi Street

Great for window denounce, Dong Khoi is Saigon ’ s premier shopping street lined with international and vietnamese boutiques. If you look hard enough, you ’ ll be able to make out the outlines of the shophouses that once lined this canal run to the Saigon River. For some unblock air-condition, forefront through the art arcade and up the stairs to the correctly to Couleurs d ’ Asie to view some fine-art photography depicting Vietnam ’ s cultural minority groups by french photographer Réhahn .The bright yellow exterior of the French colonial era Saigon Central Post office, HCMCThe French-colonial era Saigon Central Post Office © James Pham / Lonely Planet

8. Central Post Office

With a neo-Baroque façade and a science-themed inside, the functioning Central Post Office dates rear to the late 1800s. Check out the lovely vintage maps or get a letter written in English, French or vietnamese by octogenarian Duong Van Ngo, the city ’ s last public letter writer and a post office fixture .

9. Ho Thi Ky Flower Market

Saigon ’ second largest flower market is open 24/7, peaking in the early dawn hours, and a front-runner backdrop for colorful photograph. 52 Ho Thi Ky, District 10Scooter traffic passes the Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh CityTraffic passes Binh Tay Market © Richie Chan / Shutterstock

10. Binh Tay Market

The Binh Tay Market precisely outside of Chinatown is the city ’ second largest wholesale market. It ’ south besides noted for its central court and Chinese-inspired architectural elements, including dragons and phoenixes on the roof.

11. Tao Dan Park

Known as the Jardin de la Ville when it was founded in 1868, the 10-hectare Tao Dan Park mighty in the center of the city is home to a synagogue, flower garden and sculpt exhibition. Song-bird lovers besides congregate in the early mornings where their feathery friends can learn new songs from each other .Green rice fields, with buildings in the background on the island of Thanh Da, Ho Chi Minh CityRice fields in Thanh Da © James Pham / Lonely Planet

12. Thanh Da

Stroll the constrict paths on this lightly develop peninsula known as “ the green lung of Saigon ” for its rice paddies and fishing ponds barely 15 minutes from downtown. Binh Quoi Tourist Village at the identical end of the chief street of Binh Quoi is set up to resemble a distinctive greenwich village in the Mekong Delta .

13. Ben Thanh Market

Opened just before WWI, Ben Thanh Market reasonably much sells anything you could always want. Brave the gauntlet of sellers and make your way through the commercialize ’ mho specialize aisles to a hidden stairway near the South Gate. Take it up to a minor synagogue where vendors pray for a dependable day ’ s business and enjoy the views over the market .

14. Walking Tours

While barely anyone walks anywhere in humid Ho Chi Minh City, these absolve walk tours are a capital way to see the city improving close. Saigon Free Day Tours is run by enthusiastic university students while Trails & Tales is led by an Englishman on Friday evenings .Scooter traffic on Bui Vien Street, Ho Chi Minh CityBui Vien is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s main traveller thoroughfares © David Bokuchava / Shutterstock

15. Concert at the Saigon Opera House

While the only means to see the at heart of the Saigon Opera House ( inaugurated in 1900 ) is to buy a ticket to a performance, come at 8am on a Sunday to catch a release alive musical performance on the steps. Arrive early and snag one of the few credit card chairs, or do as the locals do and catch the hour-long performance from the seat of your minibike .

16. Southern Women’s Museum

See how the ao dai, Vietnam ’ s national costume, evolved through the years along with scenes of typical country animation and other events highlighting the accomplishments of women in the amazingly charm and recently renovated southerly Women ’ s Museum .Ornate facade of the Thien Hau Temple, with Chinese lanterns strung in front, Ho Chi Minh CityThien Hau Temple is a Chinese-style temple of the Chinese sea goddess Mazu © Saigoneer / Shutterstock

17. Thien Hau Pagoda

The colored Thien Hau Pagoda constructed in 1760 by seafaring chinese immigrants is dedicated to the goddess of the sea. The gorgeous roof with its intricate ceramic panorama and the giant cense coils suspended from the roof add to the cryptic atmosphere .

18. Starlight Bridge

Join couples and families looking for a colored descry for photograph at the pedestrian Starlight Bridge, barely behind classy Crescent Mall in the exile enclave known as District 7. From Thursday to Sunday evenings, the bridge spouts water lit up by a rainbow of LED lights .Courtyard in front of the entrance to the Ton Duc Thang MuseumThe entrance to the Ton Duc Thang Museum © James Pham / Lonely Planet

19. Ton Duc Thang Museum

Celebrating the life of Vietnam ’ s beginning president after reunion, the Ton Duc Thang Museum provides matter to insights into Vietnam in the 60s and 70s .

20. Vivo Playground

The kids will enjoy cooling off from the hotness with a tomboy through the miniskirt waterpark at the Vivo Playground atop the SC VivoCity Mall just south of downtown.

Cyclo your way through Ho Chi Minh City
This article was first published August 2018, last updated March 2020. Get more travel inspiration, tips and exclusive offers sent straight to your inbox with our  weekly newsletter Make the most of your change of location with sightsee tours and activities from our sure partners .

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