A full day with 24 hours in Ho Chi Minh City

When you have the opportunity to visit Saigon for a limited time, you will wonder where to go, what to visit and eat here. We will give you to explore Ho Chi Minh City within a day. During 24 hours, you can know most of the highlights of this city.

Let’s go…

Spend time in Saigon for 24 hours

Ho Chi Minh City at night
Ho Chi Minh City at night | ©bigbiababy/pixabay

7:00: Have breakfast at Hoa Ma bread

The first thing of the day is to have breakfast. You have to get energy for a long day to experience the beautiful Ho Chi Minh attractions and interesting things to wait for us.

We go straight to Hoa Ma bread that is a famous and ancient bread shop in Saigon.

You can order the bread with meats. But, the most popular dish in Hoa Ma bread is the pan bread. The Saigoneers like to eat span bread in the morning. It is because this kind of bread supplies enough energy for a new day. A pan bread includes an omelet, pork patties, sausage, pate, cold meat …

Although there are many shops of pan bread selling it in Saigon, Hoa Ma bread still offers the local people a very Saigon feeling when having breakfast in a small alley, watching the crowded people go to school or work.

The price of Hoa Ma bread is not cheap compared to popular breakfast dishes, but it is valuable to come and taste it. Thus, this shop sells out very quickly, so you should come as soon as possible. If it’s after 9 o’clock it may be late.

  • Price: 50,000 – 60,000 VND/set
  • Opening hours: 6:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Address: 53 Cao Thắng, District 3, HCM

8:00: Taste fresh milk at Muoi Shop

After breakfast, we will move to a sidewalk cafe on Phung Khac Khoan Street.

Muoi Fresh Milk Shop is well-known for Saigoneers, from the young to the office. The shop has fresh milk, bac siu (more milk than coffee), milk coffee; all are delicious.

And, Muoi has a lot of sweet cakes with very good taste like sticky rice, beefcake (Banh bo), green bean cake, sponge cake with salted egg, and even buffalo –horn cake. Order a glass of fresh milk and a plate of pie here is great to enjoy the morning.

A special highlight in Muoi Shop is watching the vehicles and passersby. Phung Khac KhoanStreet does not have many cars. It is not dusty like other roads and still has many trees.

  • Price: 10,000 – 20,000 VND
  • Opening hours: 06:00 am – 11:00 am
  • Address: 10 Phung Khac Khoan, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

9:00: Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral – Post Office – Book Street

After eating and drinking, we start to explore the attractions of Ho Chi Minh City.

The first place to come is the Notre Dame Cathedral. This church is a beautiful architecture located in the central of Saigon. Many local people consider this building to carry a strong culture and belief in Saigon. And, the streets around the church have a lot of trees that are god to relax and walk here.

From Notre Dame Cathedral, across the street of Cong Xa Paris, you will see a yellow building. This is the Saigon Central Post Office. The post office has French architecture with a lofty dome and a beautiful symmetrical design. Not just a place to visit, the post office is still in operation. You can send mail here as usual.

  • Entrance fee: Free
  • Opening hours: 7:00 am – 19:00 from Monday to Saturday; 8:00 am – 18:00 on Sunday

Right next to the City Post Office is the book street on Nguyen Van Binh street. The road has two rows of tall trees shading, so it is very pleasant. You can walk around to enjoy the peace of a busy life. You find all kinds of books and stories here, including both new and old books. How wonderful it is when there are many benches and small shops for you to rest to read books.

This area is interesting because it has ancient architecture mixed with modern style. Moreover, the roads here are full of shady trees that are suitable for walking.

  • Admission: Free
  • Opening hours: 8:00 am- 22:00

10:00: Explore the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City

The Museum of Ho Chi Minh City is located right in the city center on Ly Tu Trong. The architecture is so beautiful and sophisticated in the Gothic style. Every corner from the dome, stairs, hallways, galleries can look like a dream. So, many young people like to come to take pictures.

Besides, this is also a place to learn about the culture and history of the Southern region. Ho Chi Minh City Museum preserves artifacts and huge collections that recreate the characteristics of Southern culture from the past to the present. This is an interesting place to visit in Saigon.

  • Opening hours: 8:00 am – 18:00
  • Entrance fee: 5,000 VND
  • Address: 65 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, HCMC

12:00 at noon: Enter the Japanese Quarter

There is a miniature Japanese neighborhood right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. The people call it Japanese street because it has many Japanese inns opening to serve Japanese food.

Japanese Street is located in the distance of Le Thanh Ton – Thai Van Lung area. To start visiting this area, you can come from alley 8A Thai Van Lung or 15B Le Thanh Ton. Entering this quarter, you seem to be lost between Japan with restaurants, small coffee shops with a strong Japanese style. This neighborhood is not too large, but the restaurant is countless.

It is great to have lunch at one of the Japanese restaurants here. Some standard Japanese restaurants are recommended:

  • Ryu Shin Ramen – 15B / 12 Le Thanh Ton (at the beginning of the alley if coming from Le Thanh Ton), tasting noddles
  • Robata Dining An – 15C Le Thanh Ton Street, having sushi, sashimi …
  • Fujiro – 8A / 9B1 Thai Van Lung, offering lunch set menu
  • Toribio – 8A / 11B1 Thai Van Lung, finding grilled skewers

14:00: Discover the beautiful cafes in Saigon

You can almost find many beautiful cafes in Saigon of all styles because this city is consider as the paradise of coffee shops. And of course, with such a well-invested space, you will have a dozen pictures of beautiful “virtual life” to share with your friends.

Near the Japanese town, there is a pretty small shop, that is Lekima. Lekima is located at No. 6A on the quiet Thi Sach Street. It has a green garden and is always full of light. Lekima is a wonderful place to read or relax. Right from the door, you can have plenty of beautiful photos, every corner, everywhere in Lekima.

If you like old-fashioned, vintage shops, you can visit Co Ba Coffee, Cong coffee, Hanoi Corner … If you like the true taste of Vietnamese coffee, you may come Shin Coffee, Repulic Coffee, Vietcetera Coffee, La Viet, The Workshop …

16:00: Experience the Saigon River

After discovering all the beautiful coffee shops, you go straight to the harbor of the Saigon River on Bach Dang Street. Here we will have an extremely interesting experience, which is taking a “bus” boat to watch the Saigon River. This transfer boat route has just recently been opened and is a new way of traveling between District 1 and District 2.

We will buy tickets right at the harbor, climb the boat to see Saigon from a different angle. No need to squeeze on the dusty road, you can freely catch the wind blowing on the Saigon River and with beautiful views on both sides.

  • Ticket price: VND 15,000 / person / way
  • Travel time: 30 minutes
  • Address: Bach Dang Wharf, Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1

16:30: Finding some different things in District 2

After the journey on the river by a “bus” boat, you have landed in District 2. Now let’s go explore Thao Dien.

Here you will see a very modern style of HCMC, only 30 minutes away but the feeling of escaping from the crowded life of Saigon. Thao Dien is a new urban area with many beautiful houses, restaurants, and interesting things. It is mostly foreigners living, and the pace of life is also quite slow and very relaxing.

A nice place in District 2 you should visit is Saigon Outcast. Saigon Outcast is a super cool entertainment area. There are many activities such as weekend markets, rock climbing, skateboarding, and there are also very cool cafes. You will have the opportunity to meet new people and try interesting games.

  • Opening hours: 11:00 – 00:00
  • Address: 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, HCM, Vietnam.

Another equally interesting place in District 2 is The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, which displays contemporary artworks. From time to time, there are different collections here. But overall are very interesting.

  • Opening hour: 10:00 – 19:00, closed on Monday
  • Address: 15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC.

And, you may take some time to walk around the quiet, peaceful streets in District 2 before returning to downtown Saigon. If you still want to take the boat back, about 5:20 pm – 6:00 pm, you can watch the romantic sunset on the Saigon River.

Now take a little rest to continue the journey to explore Saigon at night!

20:00: Try to taste snails

Dinner time is here. And if you want to taste one of the favorite dishes of the local people, we will taste snails.

All kinds of snails, such as fat snails, nail snails, fried snails with tamarind or sauteed butter, sauteed with garlic, or steamed clams, fried crabs with chili salt, grilled shrimp with salt and chili, grilled octopus, blood cockles … Those are the dishes everyone in Saigon is addicted to.

And in Saigon, to eat like the local, you try to eat snails as a typical part of this city. Saigon people often gather friends, eat snails at night for some meals in a month as a habit. You may see some foreigners tourists who doing a strange tour also come to this place.

Oc Chi Em (the Sister Snail Restaurant) located on the rooftop of an old apartment building is very famous. Space here is quite cool, you can also see the views of the city. 

The food is very diverse, not very expensive. A quite ideal place to gather with friends.

  • Price: 50,000 VND – 150,000 VND
  • Opening hours: 17:00 – 22:30
  • Address: Rooftop, 6B Cong Truong International, District 3, HCMC

21:30: Vander on the Walking Street Nguyen Hue

The appearance of Saigon has been changed completely since it has Nguyen Hue walking street. The street has become an ideal place to stroll, there are also many singing activities … At the weekend, Nguyen Hue Walking Street is more bustling. Coming here, you will see the vivid life rhythm in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City.

Remember to explore the milk-tea path here. Nguyen Hue – Huynh Thuc Khang – Ho Tung Mau Street is known as the paradise of the milk-tea shop. You will find so many different brands of milk tea.

Also, Nguyen Hue pedestrian street has a lot of snacks such as baked rice paper, mixed rice paper, fried fish balls …, but the price is a little high.

22:00: See Saigon from above

The most bustling Saigon is at night. Dubbed the city that never sleeps, Saigon has countless entertainment places.

Saigon people stay quite late; they can still hang out with friends until the middle of the night, and the weekend will be even more. So you always see the nightlife in Saigon is always crowded.

So, you have to go somewhere high to admire all the shimmering and beautiful scenery of Saigon at night. One of the most beautiful rooftop bars is located on the 26th floor, Hotel Des Art Hotel, District 3. At the Social Club of this rooftop bar, you will see nearly all Saigon. If you want to swim, this bar has a rooftop swimming pool that makes the Social Club become a great choice.

There are also other places you can watch the magnificent Saigon scenery such as SkyXX, Glow Bar, Chill Skybar.

00:00: Live with the not-sleeping city

Now is in the middle of the night. Hopefully, you have a great day to experience all the interesting places in HCMC.

If you are not tired and still want to go out, Saigon is a true city without sleep, and you can spend time until the morning. You can go straight to Bui Vien street. Pho Tay Bui Vien has become an interesting pedestrian city. You can sit here and drink a few beers watching the streets, the flow of people.

If not, you can come to some cafes that open throughout the night for you to experience. 24-hour coffee shops has become popular in Saigon. You will experience a very different corner of Saigon when most people fall asleep. These cafes are Thuc Café at 182 Pasteur, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, TP. HCM; or Mr. 8 Café at 2 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, TP. HCM.

However, when you go out at late night in Saigon, you should be careful and do not go alone. And, you may check notes before visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

So, only 24 hours in Saigon, we can do a lot of interesting things. You may like Saigon more once you come here to experience the typical life of the local people.