What to Do During A Weekend Getaway to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)14 October, 2015
Just a mere 2 hours away, Ho Chi Minh City is a perfect destination for a short weekend getaway. With only 2 days to spend in the city, we round up five highlights you should catch in your time in Saigon.
- Stuff yourself silly with delicious Vietnamese food
Ho Chi Minh city offers a huge variety of incredible Vietnamese food at extremely cheap prices. Besides the ubiquitous pho shops everywhere, try other Vietnamese noodle soups instead- We particularly like banh canh cua, a rich crab soup base with thick glass udon-like noodles. At Ben Thanh market, we dug happily into the huge bowl of noodles (VND 50,000 = ~S$3-3.50 with generous servings of fresh crab, prawns, pork, ngoh hiang, and even a fresh slab of pig’s blood cake. If you’re less adventurous, try banh mi from any street side stall- These delicious and healthy baguettes are stuffed with fresh vegetables and meat, and only cost $1-2 each!
- Visit Cu Chi Tunnels
Take a day trip/half-day trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels to experience how the ingenious villagers of Cu Chi avoided detection by the American soldiers during the Vietnam War, by constructing a complex system of underground tunnels for survival. You can book these tours at travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh, with many of these agencies located in Pham Ngu Lao, Ho Chi Minh’s famous backpacker street. Our guide slipped in and out of the tunnels effortlessly, but we struggled to get past the 10m mark- We certainly need better fitness!
Vietnam is famous for its coffee, with cafes peppering the streets of Ho Chi Minh City. For a more mainstream option, try Highland Coffee, a café/coffee chain that is found on many street corners around the city. Grab a table on the second floor, as you sip on your drink to fight away the heat, and enjoy the view of Saigon’s busy roads.
Nothing like a bit of sight-seeing at the Reunification Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral to soak in the charming Ho Chi Minh atmosphere. Do check up on the opening hours before heading to these destinations- We unfortunately were not allowed into the Cathedral, as visitors are not allowed in after 4pm.
- Street Sightings
Ho Chi Minh City’s streets are very good for walking- straight paths, with clearly marked roads and very prominent landmarks. There’s lots of interesting sights to catch just by wandering around the streets, or you can hop into any beauty shop to get your nails done or hair styled at very affordable prices.
Overall, Ho Chi Minh is definitely an ideal place for a weekend getaway. Close to Singapore, with lots of hotels around the main attractions, Saigon provides a quick respite away from the hectic and hazy city life in Singapore. It was definitely an enjoyable and relaxing trip- Perfect for a short getaway.
If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, remember to check if you require a visa. If you do need one and want to save some time, check out Vietnam Visa Online! It is extremely convenient, less time-consuming (takes 2 days to process), and is applicable to travelers who are traveling to Vietnam by Air! Once you arrive at the Vietnam International Airports, all you’ll have to do is pick it your visa and you will be ready to go!