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HO CHI MINH CITY travel Guide: Budget, Itinerary, things to Do

Here’s our newest diy SAIGON travel guide blog that can help you plan your next trip to HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM. We covered vital travel information in this post including top traveler spots, things to do, trip recommendations, and list of possible trip expenses. håper dette hjelper!

The first city I went to in Vietnam was Hanoi. and despite some misgivings and warnings from fellow travelers, I found the capital to be surprisingly charming. It wasn’t love at first sight, that’s for sure. but Hanoi warmed up to me, slowly but surely.

Hence, I was really thrilled to return to Vietnam. this time around, my base would be Ho Chi Minh City. For some reason, I was counting on the idea that it would be very similar to Hanoi. but they [turned out to be] two sides of the same coin.

Hva er dekket i denne guiden?

Ho Chi Minh City: vital travel Information
When is the best Time to check out Ho Chi Minh City?
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh CityTop budget hotels in Saigon
Top Saigon Hostels and Dorms
Search for much more Saigon Hotels

How to get to Ho Chi Minh CityManila to Ho Chi Minh City
Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City
Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City airport to City Center

Pocket Wifi Rental and SIM Card in Ho Chi Minh City
Things to do in Ho Chi Minh CitySaigon City Tour
Saigon Food Tour
Vietnamese cooking Class
Saigon Skydeck in Bitexco financial Tower
Cu Chi Tunnels Tour
Mekong Delta Tour

Sample Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary
Saigon travel suggestions for the poor Traveler
Frequently Asked QuestionsIs Ho Chi Minh City safe?
What is the tipping policy in Ho Chi Minh City?
Where to exchange money in Ho Chi Minh City?
What is the power socket used in Ho Chi Minh City?
Do I need a visa to check out Vietnam?

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Ho Chi Minh City: vital travel Information

In numerous ways, Ho Chi Minh City is similar to Hanoi. Its map is dotted with museums. Its curbsides are lined with small restaurants serving delicious local eats! Its streets are ruled by motorbikes, 7.3 million of them! While conventional heritage is strong, the so-called French flair is undeniable, primarily because it was a colony of France from 1859 to 1955.

Ho Chi Minh City, still typically referred to as Saigon and typically abbreviated as HCMC, is the largest and economic center of Vietnam. It is also the most populous and the most visited, served by the country’s busiest airport. It is a bustling metropolis. It has all the essential signs of a big city in a developing world: noise, crowd, chaos, pollution, and an energy that can’t be contained. Life here seems to relocation at a much faster pace. Nightlife is alive, feeding an already brewing youth culture. It kinda reminded me much more of Manila than Hanoi, to be honest.

Saigon was the center of the capitalist South Vietnam which fought the communist North during the Vietnam War. The South was assisted by the united states primarily, while the North by the Soviet Union. The South was defeated after the fall of Saigon or Liberation of Saigon (depending on who you ask) on April 30, 1975, putting an end to the war. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, in honor of the revolutionary leader of the Việt Minh independence movement.

Other info you need to know:

Language: Vietnamese. In writing, the Latin or Roman script is used with additional diacritics for tones. English is understood and spoken in many touristy places. Taxi and get chauffeurs speak limited English, so it’s advisable to have the address of your destination written down to avoid confusion. many street vendors speak or understand very little English or none at all.

Currency: Vietnamese đồng (VND, ₫). VND 100,000 is around USD 4.27, EUR 3.76, SGD5.78, PHP 230 (as of August 2018). However, it is not uncommon for hotel and trip operators to use us dollars.

Modes of payment: cash is still king in Ho Chi Minh City. Upscale establishments accept credit report cards, but pay only cash at small stores and eateries.

Electricity Info: 220V, 50Hz. many common sockets are sort of a combination of types A and C. They have two holes that can accept both flat and round pins, the shape of two door knobs or rubber stamps facing each other. This type of socket can take plugs that are types A, C, and F. If your plug has three pins, you will be needing an adaptor.

When is the best Time to check out Ho Chi Minh City?

The best time to check out Ho Chi Minh City is December to March.

Graph courtesy of world Bank
Ho Chi Minh City enjoys a tropical climate with only two seasons: wet season, from may to October, and dry season, from November to April. However, April and may are the hottest months with temperatures in some cases reaching 39C. December is the coldest, dipping to just above 16C in early morning.

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City

If Hanoi has the Old Quarter, Saigon has district 1, where Ben Thanh Market and Pam Lu Ngao street are located. Pam Lu Ngao to Saigon is what Khao San is to Bangkok. It’s where many backpackers stay because of high concentration of hostels, dormitories, and budget hotels. low-cost restaurants and souvenir shops also abound.

Accessibility is also a major draw. Buses to and from the airport and other destinations in Vietnam and Cambodia also make a stop here. The airport shuttle terminates here. and when we traveled from Siem Reap, the bus also dropped us off here, which was terrific because our hotel was just around the corner.

Top budget hotels in Saigon

The price of a double or twin room in district 1 is typically between ₫400,000 and ₫2,000,000. If your budget is limited, here are the top budget hotels as scored by Agoda users!

Thien Tu Hotel. check rates & Availability.

Alagon Zen hotel & Spa. check rates & Availability.

Chill suites. check rates & Availability.

Maison De Camille boutique Hotel. check rates & Availability.

Top Saigon Hostels and Dorms

In district 1, dorm bed rates range from ₫90,000 to ₫200,000 per night. here are the top hostels and dormitories in district 1 as ranked by Agoda users!

Jan Hostel. check rates & Availability.

Boholand Hostel. check rates & Availability.

Toi’s travel home Central. check rates & Availability.

Jan Hostel central Park. check rates & Availability.

Search for much more Saigon Hotels

How to get to Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is served by Tân Sơn Nhất international airport (IATA: SGN), Vietnam’s busiest airport. It’s developed to accommodate 25 million passengers, but in 2016, record hit over 32 million, so expect some congestion if this is your gateway to the city.

Part of the reason why Ho Chi Minh City is popular among tourists is its proximity to other destinations not just in Vietnam but also Cambodia, making it a compelling entry point for those planning a multi-city or multi-country backpacking tour. From Ho Chi Minh, you can easily reach Mui Ne and Da Lat, and even Phnom Penh in Cambodia.

Manila to Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is only 2 hours 40 minutes from Manila by plane. The lowest year-round fares are provided by AirAsia and Cebu Pacific. You can get one-way fares for as low as P2500 (base fare only, no baggage allowance). It can still go lower when there’s PISO SALE or other enormous promos. I’m always tempted to book flights to Saigon because it’s easy to find promotion fares. It typically has a lot of available seats on sale.

Scoot also provides very competitive fares, with a stopover in Singapore. Philippine Airlines and Vietnam Airlines also operate direct Manila-HCMC flights.

Here’s a sample Traveloka search.

Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City

You can travel from Phnom Penh to Saigon by bus, by van, or by plane.

Med fly. travel time is 55 minutes. Fares range from USD80 to USD200, the most affordable provided by Cambodia Angkor Air and Vietnam Airlines.

Med buss. travel time: 6-8 hours. Fare: USD 13.55 to USD 16. popular bus companies are typically Mekong express and Kumho Sanco. Overnight buses are also available. If you want to catch some sleep on the road, book a sleeper bus. Reserve BUS Ticket Here.

By Van. travel time: 7 hours. Fare: USD 19. Reserve VAN Ticket Here.

If you’re taking the bus or the van, you’ll have to get off at the Bavet-Moc Bai border to pass through Immigration.

Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City

The easiest way to travel from Siem Reap to Saigon is by plane. but it is also possible to do it by land. I’ve done this before, by bus, although it is an experience I do not wish to repeat. Ha ha.

We may have just have been unlucky and chanced upon a bad bus, but it was terrible. We booked an overnight bus through a travel agency in Siem Reap. even though all the windows were closed, the dust was able to seep into the car so we couldn’t breathe or sleep properly. When we switched buses in Phnom Penh, our bags, clothes, and skin were all covered in a thick layer of dirt. So yeah, fly when you can.

Anyway, here are your options.

Med fly. The most affordable flights are operated by Cambodia Angkor Air and Vietnam Airlines. travel time: 1 hour 15 minutes. You can find fares for as low as USD76 or PHP4000.

Med buss. Overnight sleeper buses are operated by Virak Buntham Express. travel time: around 15 hours. Mekong express has shorter travel time, 12 hours, but it leaves Siem Reap 7:30am and reaches Saigon at 7:30pm. check rates or Reserve Here.

You can also search for buses and vans using the form below:

Book Bus to Ho Chi Minh City

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