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  • Writer's pictureTravel Vietnam Local Guide

Best things to do for 01-day trip in Ho Chi Minh City (Updated Version)

Explore the vibrant energy and rich history of Saigon with our suggested one-day itinerary. From iconic landmarks like the Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office to hidden culinary gems and cultural hotspots, immerse yourself in the heart of this bustling city. Discover the perfect balance of sightseeing, dining, and exploration to make the most of your day in Saigon.

01-day schedule in Saigon
01 Banh Mi Huynh Hoa | 02 Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office | 03 Independence Palace | 04 Ben Thanh Market | 05 Opera House | 06 Bach Dang Station | 07 Nguyen Hue Walking Street | 08 Bui Vien Street

01 Breakfast with Banh Mi Saigon

When visiting Ho Chi Minh City, indulging in the famous Banh Mi Saigon is a culinary must-do. With numerous shops scattered across the city, choosing where to sample this iconic dish can feel overwhelming.

Banh mi Huynh Hoa - one of the best Saigon sandwich brands

  • Address: No.26 - 30 - 32, Le Thi Rieng Street, District 1

  • Price: ~60,000 VND

  • Opening hour: 6:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa Saigon
Banh Mi Huynh Hoa Saigon (Source: Internet)

When it comes to the iconic Vietnamese sandwich, Banh Mi Huynh Hoa in Saigon is the top pick among locals. Known for its excellent quality and reasonable prices, a typical Banh Mi here is packed with pate, fresh vegetables, and an assortment of pork (around 5 varieties), making it a hearty and satisfying meal. The portions are so generous that sharing with a friend is recommended, as it can easily keep you fueled for the day. With its crispy bread and a burst of flavors from the filling, each bite offers a distinctive taste experience, though some may find the medley of ingredients a bit overwhelming.

02 Explore Saigon Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and Independence Palace in the morning

Saigon Central Post Office

Situated at No. 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, District 1, the Saigon Central Post Office holds a storied past dating back to the late 1800s when Vietnam was under French colonial rule. This majestic edifice, blending French architectural influences with intricate Asian detailing, stands as one of Vietnam's oldest and largest post offices.

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral HCMC
Notre Dame Cathedral (Nha Tho Duc Ba) (Source: Internet)

Adjacent to the post office stands the renowned Notre Dame Cathedral, located at No. 1 Cong Xa Paris Street. This iconic landmark, characterized by its neo-Romanesque and Gothic architectural fusion, showcases twin bell towers, vibrant stained-glass windows, and striking red brick walls. Beyond its religious significance, the cathedral provides a serene sanctuary and picturesque vistas.

Independence Palace

Embark on a continued journey through history with a visit to Independence Palace, found at No. 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. Once the official residence and workplace of South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu, this palace stands as a poignant symbol of Vietnam's past. Explore its lavishly adorned chambers and sprawling grounds, immersing yourself in the palace's regal ambiance amidst the city's dynamic backdrop.

03 Have lunch and explore Ben Thanh Market

At the pulsating core of Ho Chi Minh City lies the vibrant Ben Thanh Market, an essential stop for every traveler. Situated in the heart of the city, this bustling market encapsulates the rich culture of Vietnam. Beyond its shopping allure, Ben Thanh Market invites visitors to embark on a journey of culinary and cultural discovery. From dawn till dusk, the market buzzes with vendors offering an array of fresh produce, seafood, meats, and a tantalizing selection of Vietnamese street delicacies. Delight in authentic flavors such as pho, banh mi, and spring rolls, or peruse traditional treasures like ao dai, lacquerware, and silk. Ben Thanh Market promises an immersive experience in Vietnamese culture and cuisine that's not to be missed.

Banh Beo Ben Thanh Market
Banh Beo Ben Thanh Market (Source: Internet)


  • Bun Rieu Ganh (Crab Paste Vermicelli Soup) - 4 Phan Boi Chau, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1

  • Banh Beo Hue (Hue Bloating Fern-shaped Cake) - near the North Gate of Ben Thanh Market

  • Goi Cuon (Summer Rolls) - at the gate of the food court inside Ben Thanh Market

  • Com Tam (Broken Rice) - Phung Kieu store, inside the food court of Ben Thanh Market

  • Che (Sweet Soup) - Kiosk 1130 – 1154, Ben Thanh Market

04 Discover Ho Chi Minh City by bus and boat in the afternoon

Ho Chi Minh City Hop On - Hop Off Bus

HopOn-HopOff Bus HCMC
HopOn-HopOff Bus HCMC (Source: Internet)

Discover the enchanting landmarks of Ho Chi Minh City at your leisure with a flexible tour bus experience. Hop on and off at iconic sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace, War Remnants Museum, Ben Thanh Market, Nguyen Hue Street walking street, Bitexco Financial Tower, Underground cuisine Taka Plaza, Huyen Si Church, Bach Dang Pier, and Opera House.

How to book ticket

  • You can book e-ticket on HopOn-HopOff website or Klook

  • Suggest to book 4-Hour Pass ticket worth 200,000 VND - for a double-decker hop-on hop-off bus around Saigon and is only applicable for day buses (09:00 - 16:00)

Bus schedule

  • Departure time: Buses depart continuously every 30 minutes through stops 09:00 - 16:00 (you can choose the 15:00 one to enjoy both bus and boat trip).

  • Departure location: Vietnam Sightseeing Kiosk - Saigon Opera House (07 Cong Truong Lam Son, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1)

  • Duration: 60 minutes

Enjoy the beauty of sunset and night on the Saigon river

Sightseeing by waterbus on Saigon River
Sightseeing by water-bus on Saigon River (Source: Internet)

Discovering the beauty of Saigon from the river, there is nothing better than taking a journey with a double-decker boat. With a spacious and comfortable space, you will fully enjoy the sunset and nighttime moments listening to national melodies.

How to book a tour on Saigon river

  • You can book a Saigon river sightseeing e-ticket on Saigon WaterGo’s website or Traveloka

  • Price:

    • Cabin seat: 179,000 VND

    • River Seat: 239,000 VND

    • Sky Seat: 339,000 VND (Included 01 drink of guest’s choice on the menu)

Sunset tour schedule

  • Departure time: 17:00 (best time to enjoy the sunset), 18:00, 19:00

  • Departure location: Bach Dang station (10B Ton Duc Thang Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 01)

  • Duration: 60 minutes

05 Visit Nguyen Hue Walking Street for dinner and evening activities

Nguyen Hue Walking Street, nestled in Central District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, pulsates with energy and excitement. Conveniently positioned near many of the city's renowned attractions and landmarks, this bustling thoroughfare beckons visitors to explore its vibrant offerings.

Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue

Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue Walking Street (Source: Internet)

One notable highlight along Nguyen Hue Walking Street is Apartment 42 Nguyen Hue, an intriguing destination that transports visitors back to the ambiance of an authentic Saigon apartment from the 1950s.

For coffee aficionados, %Arabica, Boo Coffee, Saigon Ơi Cafe, Poke Saigon, and 21 Grams Vegetarian are recommended spots to savor a delightful cup of coffee and soak in the bustling atmosphere.

Saigon Garden

Adjacent to the walking street lies Saigon Garden, a multifaceted complex housing a plethora of dining, shopping, and leisure options. Open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily, Saigon Garden offers visitors a safe and convenient entertainment experience. From dining at BeAn Vegetarian and Starbuck to exploring clothing stores like Social Local and Koi Thé, there's something to cater to every preference at this vibrant complex.

06 Enjoy Saigon nightlife at Bui Vien Street

Bui Vien Street, affectionately dubbed the "Western Street" (Pho Tay), is a vibrant hub in Saigon known for its Western culture-inspired vibe. Popular among backpackers, it draws crowds eager to immerse themselves in the local cuisine, explore new places, and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Stretching 850 meters, Bui Vien Street is lined with an array of restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, pubs, and bars, making it a bustling destination for locals and tourists alike. Enhanced with amenities such as public Wi-Fi, restrooms, and information desks, the area is designed to cater to visitors' needs.

As night falls, Bui Vien Street transforms into a dazzling spectacle with its sparkling lights, earning its reputation as Saigon's premier "never-sleep" street. The bustling thoroughfare becomes increasingly crowded as the evening progresses, teeming with tourists soaking in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city's vibrant nightlife scene. With its bustling ambiance, lively street food vendors, and energetic atmosphere, Bui Vien Street stands out as one of the top nightlife destinations in Ho Chi Minh City.

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