South Vietnam Travel: Is Ho Chi Minh City Worth Visiting for Budget Travelers?

It's not a secret that Vietnam has been one of the most popular destinations for budget travelers in the world. The largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, is often chosen as the starting point of Vietnam trip. 

Situated in the southern part of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City offers a vibrant big city life in addition to some historical spots you can visit in the city. Along with the capital city in Hanoi, HCMC is definitely one of the must-visit places in Indochina for good reasons! 

Known as Saigon for some, this time we have Jackie and Justin from Life of Doing to share some of the best things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, especially if you have a tight travel budget. 

So, is Ho Chi Minh City worth visiting for budget travelers? Why should you visit HCMC in your trip to Vietnam? What's the best way to get around Ho Chi Minh City? Let's dive in!

Why Visit Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Best Ways to Travel Around Saigon

Ready to travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam?

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is a great city to stop by during your vacation in Vietnam. With the hustle and bustle of a large city, rich culture, delicious foods, endless coffee shops, and the never-ending motorbikes, you'll get entranced with the offerings in this city!

We're here to share with you various activities suitable for budget travelers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Enjoy Vietnamese Street Food

Eating street food or at local shops (quán in Vietnamese) is one of the best experiences you can have. Browse through the streets and alleyways to find vendors who serve fresh and flavorful Vietnamese food.

From hot bowls of noodle soup (phở, bún riêu), rice plates (cơm tấm) with soup, fresh spring rolls (gỏi cuốn), vegetarian/vegan food, it's an affordable way to eat through the city. This will set you back around 20,000-70,000 VND (around $0.90 to $3 USD).

Extra bonus if you get to sit on the tiny plastic chairs and enjoy a cold beer at 10,000 VND (around $0.40 USD) during your meal.

Vegan Kitchen, HCMC.

If you want a more sit-down dining experience, there are plenty of places to enjoy a meal for less than $10 USD. Check out Secret Garden Restaurant for Vietnamese food or Pizza 4P's for unique pizza toppings.

Another option is to head to Bui Vien Walking Street for cheap international food options. You can have a feast at these places!

Looking for something unique while exploring Vietnamese local delicacies in HCMC? Join this Saigon Street Food and Sightseeing Night Tour to enhance your nightlife experience in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

Drink Vietnamese Coffee

Coffee lovers will enjoy the strong Vietnamese coffee drinks.

There are plenty of cafes from your local coffee shops that served iced coffee with milk (cà phê sữa đá) at 10,000 VND (around $0.40 USD).

More established places, such as Trung Nguyên Legend has unique coffees, such as weasel coffee. You can find coffee shops everywhere and can even drink coffee at a street vendor at 3 AM!

Visit Museums and Local Attractions

Interested in learning about Vietnam history? Check out the War Remnants Museum, Independence Palace (also referred to as the Reunification Palace), and other museums in the city.

Admission cost to the museums are between 15,000 to 40,000 VND (around $0.60 to $1.70 USD). Alternatively, you can also book a half-day city tour in Ho Chi Minh City, which usually includes all of these museums. 

Independence Palace, HCMC.

You can also see the aerial views of Ho Chi Minh City from the Saigon Skydeck at the Bitexco Financial Building. It is one of the tallest buildings in the city. Tickets are 200,000 VND (around $8.60 USD).

If you have a motorbike available, you can also explore outside of the main city of Ho Chi Minh City to see wild monkeys at Can Gio Island or learn about the tunnels used during the Vietnam War at Cu Chi Tunnels. Tickets are around 100,000 VND (around $4.30 USD).

Looking for more places to visit in South Vietnam? You can consider places like Mui Ne or Chau Doc in An Giang Province for an off-the-beaten-path alternative in the region. 

Saigon Skydeck, HCMC.

How to Travel Around in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

It's recommended to stay centrally in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1 so you can walk around everywhere. Otherwise, you can take advantage of the cheap local transportation available.

Local buses go to other districts (or even cities) with the starting fare at 5,000 VND ($0.20 USD). Another option is to take a rideshare car or motorbike taxi via Grab, GoJek, or VATO. You can have a 20-minute motorbike ride in town for 20,000+ VND ($0.90++), depending on the distance.

Renting a motorbike is also reasonable and you can rent one for 100,000-150,000 VND ($4.30-$6.40 USD) per day.

As you can see, you can go far in Ho Chi Minh City, even if you're on a budget during your trip to Vietnam. So yes, Ho Chi Minh City is definitely worth visiting, and we hope you consider visiting this place in the future!

Contributor: Jackie and Justin of Life of Doing

Jackie and Justin are avid world-travelers, wanderers, and bloggers on Life of Doing. They love spending time outdoors either hiking, biking, or walking around town. Their blog focuses on affordable travels, travel itinerary, inspiration, and adventures around the world. It's about a “life of doing”!

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