While there are literally hundreds of different cities, beach resorts and places to eat at, these are the places I would enjoy checking out if I had only 3-5 days in Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City was named the world’s 2nd most dynamic city at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in 2017.
Anthony Bourdain once said that if he had a last meal, it would be had somewhere in Vietnam.
Before you get here check to see if you need a visa. There are a ton of services out there, these are the ones I’ve recommended to my friends in the past.
Download the Grab app - its the best way to travel (or order food for delivery/take away)
There are tons of taxis running around town as well. The best ways to get one that is in front of hotels.
If you’re coming from the airport, I would recommend mainly using either Vinasun (white, green & red) or Mai Linh (green)
The best thing to do is to buy a new sim card when you land at the airport. There’s wifi literally everywhere, but a $10 phone card will give you a ton of data and will last you well over a week. Additionally, with apps like messenger, WhatsApp and Viber, you can still link to your US phone number that way.
Lots of great places to Airbnb, but If you’re staying at a hotel, I would highly recommend the following (these are higher end)
$150+ per night
- Hôtel des Arts Saïgon MGallery Collection - 76 78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Str, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh, 070000 - centrally located with an amazing rooftop bar that has a 360 view of the city
- Caravelle Hotel - 19-23 Lam Son Square, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
- Park Hyatt Saigon - 2, Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh - probably the most expensive hotel in town, but the most centrally located of all the hotels to the hot spots. Its a bit older, but well maintained like a Park Hyatt.
< than $100 per night
- Wink Hotel - 75 Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, Đa Kao, District 1
- Cochin Zen Hotel - 46 Thu Khoa Huan, District 1
- Citadines Regency Saigon - 20 - 22 Pham Ngoc Thach Street, District 3
- Novotel Saigon Centre Hotel - 167 Hai Ba Trung, District 3
- Muong Thanh Saigon Centre hotel - 8A Mac Dinh Chi, Ben Nge, District 1
- Sherwood Suites - 192 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 3
- Oakwood Hotel & Apartments Saigon - 330B Ung Văn Khiêm, Phường 25, Bình Thạnh
Dining - These are all establishments that I have eaten at and can validate for all of them…I have put my list in order of preference for the most part
Anything but Pho Noodles (Vietnam is filled with amazing soupy delights with every city having their own speciality. Here are some of my favorite spots)
- Hủ tíu mì Cật - 62 Trương Định, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh. This place is only open from 7am - noon. They’ve been around for decades and serve up the best noodles in town.
- Hủ tiếu cá Nam Lợi - 43 Tôn Thất Đạm, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1. Open: 6-12PM, 1-4PM, I usually eat 2 bowls whenever I come here.
- Palace Hotel Saigon - 66 Đ. Nguyễn Huệ, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam - Go to the restaurant on 2nd floor. They serve up the best Hu Tiu and noodles in town
- RuNam d’Or - 3 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh - great restaurant with really beautiful interior design and sits across from the Cathedral. They serve great coffee and juices. They serve up a variety of soupy delights. 1) Vietnamese style hoanh thanh noodles. 2) Bún riêu is soup of clear tomato stock and rice vermicelli served with minced crab, fish cakes and other goodies. 3) Mì Quảng
- Cộng cà phê - Chi nhánh Xuân Thủy - 91 Xuân Thủy, Thảo Điền, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh - this place makes 2 dishes that are amazing 1) Bún Thang - this northern soupy chicken and mushrooms dish with vermicelli noodles is probably one of the best tasting things in the city and 2) Bun Rieu (photos below)
- Bánh Đa Cua Hải Phòng - 88 Trần Quang Khải, Tân Định, Quận 1 - another tasty light broth noodle dish from the city of Hai Phong filled with tons of seafood
If you need to have Pho
- Chicken: Phở Hà - Hải Triều - 19 Hải Triều, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Quận 1 Hồ Chí Minh
- Beef: Phờ Thìn by Sol (many locations, there’s one near Bitexco District 1, and all over the city) really authentic and traditional yet hygienic - I recommend getting “Phở Sốt Vang Gân” (an upgrade to the normal Pho)
- Pho Hoa on Pasteur - 260C Pasteur Street, Ward 8, District 3 - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g293925-d1232846-Reviews-Pho_Hoa_Pasteur-Ho_Chi_Minh_City.html
- Pho Quynh - 323 Pham Ngu Lao, Ho Chi Minh City
Higher end, fusion and non-Vietnamese dining
- A by Tung - 31-33 Đặng Dung, Tân Định, Quận 1 - 21 course tasting menu that’s a fusion made by some really bright chefs - highly recommended if you have time. About $100 a person depending on alcohol.
- Quince - 37bis Đ. Ký Con, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1 - always delicious high end food inspired by a global menu.
- Nén Light Restaurant - 122/2 Trần Đình Xu, Phường Nguyễn Cư Trinh, Quận 1 - another tasting menu restaurant by young chefs. About $150 a person depending on alcohol.
- Monkey Gallery Dining - 3rd Floor, 91 Mạc Thị Bưởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - Great changing tasting menu. Less than $100 a person.
- Clay Saigon Restaurant 18 Duong so 6, Thao Dien, D2 - cool place to grab food and drinks by the river in D2
- THE BRIX - Eatery & Bar Lounge - 26 Đ. Trần Ngọc Diện, Thảo Điền, Quận 2 - solid food and drinks with a great scene.
- Pizza 4P's - GF, Ruby 1, Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh Str., W.22, Binh Thanh D. - arguably one of the best pizzas in all of Asia. Affordable and delicious.
- Octo Tapas Restobar - 75 Đ. Hồ Tùng Mậu, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - hands down the best spanish restaurants in town
- Dim Tu Tac - 55 Đông Du, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - best dim sum in town
- Cuc Gach Quan - 10 Dang Tat | Ward Tan Dinh, District 1 - let the waiters order for you
- Quan Bui - 17A Ngo Van Nam, Ben Nghe Ward, Ward 1 - let the waiters order for you
- Hoang Ty - 72 Võ Văn Tần, Phường 6, Quận 3 - you roll your own dishes here. One of my favorites.
- Ann Quán - 66 Ngô Đức Kế, Quận 1 - traditional Northern dishes, clean and delicious
- Anan Saigon - 89 Tôn Thất Đạm, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - voted Asia’s top 50 restaurants just amazing Vietnamese fusion
- Hum Garden - 32, D10 St., W. Thao Dien, D.2 - super delicious and creative vegetarian food
- Shamballa Vegetarian, Restaurant & Lounge - 31 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Ward, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh - - super delicious and creative vegetarian food
- 5KU Station - 17 Thái Văn Lung, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - I like to call this place clean street food. Its basically street food style food with grilled meats and veggies, but in a clean environment. This is the epitome of cheap and delicious eats.
- Spice Bistro - Thảo Điền - 32 Đ. Số 11, Thảo Điền - beautiful garden setting and extremely flavorsome down home Vietnamese food. You’ll get a wide variety of different types of foods from different regions hereTib - 187 Ter, Hai Bà Trưng, Phường 6, Quận 3 - if you’re craving central Vietnamese Hue food, this is by the best and cleanest in the city. I’m from Hue, so I can attest this is legit authentic. Service is catered towards Westerners and they’ll help you order. Very affordable as well.
- Mô Rứa - 45 Phan Xích Long, Phường 2, Phú Nhuận - This is my 2nd favorite Hue style food restaurant in Vietnam. A bit more affordable than Tib, but be careful because the dishes can be a bit spicy.
- Rạn Biển 9 - 42 Trần Đình Xu, Phường Cô Giang, District 1 - Ran Bien has like 12 restaurants in the city. Its super fresh seafood for a really affordable price. There’s tons of fish tanks and various clams and mollusks bins for you to choose from. You can have them steam it, bake it, fry it, sautee i various sauces. I love seafood and this is one of my go to places.
Another staple of VN cuisine is mainly found by street vendors. Here are 3 I can vouch for
- Nhu Lan Bakery - Bánh Mì Như Lan - 365 Hai Bà Trưng, 8, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
- Banh Mi Huynh Hoa - 26 Le Thi Rieng
- Banh Mi Bảy Hổ - 19 Huỳnh Khương Ninh, Đa Kao, Quận 1 - cheap and simply delicious
Cheap Eats/Street Food
- Ốc Ken (seafood and ocean snails) - 16 Trần Hưng Đạo, Q1 - have won multiple awards for the best “ốc”
- Lẩu Bò Nhà Cháy - Chung Cư, 001, Đoàn Văn Bơ, Phường 12, Quận 4 - Traditional Vietnamese beef hotpot, the soup is delicious and anything on the menu is worth trying
- Bún Thịt Nướng 88 - 88 Đ. Mạc Đĩnh Chi, Đa Kao, Quận 1 - vermicelli with grilled meat and Vietnamese fried spring rolls, accompanied with fresh herbs and veggies — very refreshing imo
If you must have sushi
- Tiger Sushi - 15B/12A Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - the best sushi for your money anywhere outside of Japan. Enjoy $3 Otoro and Uni here along with some of the freshest fish in town
- SUSHI KOBAYASHI - 8A/G7A Thái Văn Lung, P. Phú Thuận, Quận 1 - omakase only for about $75
- Sushi Sake Restaurant Kiyota - 53 Phạm Viết Chánh, P. 19, Q. Bình Thạnh - Omakase starting at $45
- Maguro Studio - 19 Đông Du, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - Omakase starting at $80
- Sushi REI - 10E1, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai District1 - omakase starting at $200
- Hung Sushi - 15B/14 Le Thanh Ton str., Dist.1 (Blues Bar - Fl.2) - omakase starting at $50
Coffee Shops - places to chill at
- Bosgaurus Coffee - 26 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh - outstanding coffee and great place to chill
- The Workshop Coffee - 27 Ngô Đức Kế, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh - really interesting space in D1
- Shin Coffee - 13 Nguyễn Thiệp, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
- L’uisine (there are 2 - go to the one on Le Thanh Ton)
To start your night around 9pm-11/1130 for pre-drinks
- Qui (hands down THE place to be) - you can usually find me here 1-2 nights a week - 22 Lê Thánh Tôn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1
- Bam Bam - 41-43 Đ. Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1 - hot young fun crowd and you can talk to people there
- Zion Sky Lounge and Dining - 87A Hàm Nghi, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1 - great rooftop bar you can dance the night away
- Xu Bar - 75 Hai Bà Trưng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1 - this place has been around for 15+ years. If you want to find the OG expats living in Vietnam, this is where you go to find them.
- Rabbit Hole 6pm till night Underground - 138 Nam Ki Khoi Nghia street, District 1
- Layla - new mixology bar/ lounge - Second Floor, 63 Đông Du, Quận 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Firkin Bar - 20 Mạc Thị Bưởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1
- The First Bar - 8A/7B2 Thái Văn Lung, Bến Nghé, Quận 1
These galleries/ museums have a special place in my heart. Great place to chill on the weekends.
- Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts - cool old building with a few hundred years of work in place. Next to it is a gallery where modern artists come to exhibit - 97A P. Đức Chính, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
- Galerie Quynh https://www.galeriequynh.com/ - 118 Đ. Nguyễn Văn Thủ, Đa Kao, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh