11 notes to know before travelling to Saigon

If Saigon (former name of Ho Chi Minh City) is the next destination in your plan, do not miss this useful article. Many simple ideas that you need to know before visiting HCM help you value more time in this city.

motorbike in saigon
Motorbikes in Saigon | ©harpenz/pixabay

1. Know the weather in Saigon

The weather in Saigon has two distinct seasons: rainy and dry seasons. However, no matter the season, it is impossible to avoid the heat. The occasional showers sometimes soften its heat. Many tourists like the warmth and rain of Saigon.

So, an important note for guests travelling to HCMC is you should prepare short, cool clothes. If you do outside activities, bring an umbrella, because it can help you to cover the sun and the rain easily.

The erratic weather here can also make travellers get health problems. Medicines like headaches, runny nose, sore throat… can easily be purchased, but if you have special medicines to treat the disease, remember to take with you when travelling!

>>> You may want to read more the best time to travel to Saigon.

2. Note when walking around

Walking around Saigon on light sunny days is one of the interesting experiences that tourists cannot miss. You should choose to walk on the open streets, less smoke, never walk at the dark roads or too quiet streets.

A common situation in the city is robbery, especially small straps or jewellery. To ensure the safety of both people and utensils, you should be careful when walking, avoid exposing expensive jewellery, hold bags strongly and always take precautions.

3. Should own a map

Saigon is a large city with thousands of roads and attractions. Therefore, you should buy yourself a paper map to bring it with you. Besides, you can use the map application in mobile phones. But, a paper map is a good idea when your phone does not connect with wifi.

A map will help you locate yourself, and find interesting places to visit. A great advantage is that you can freely go around with the map without anyone showing directions, or can avoid scamming when taking a motorbike taxi or motorbike.

4. Taste street food

Not only in HCMC, but street food is also a certain cultural feature that must try to go to many cities in Vietnam. The variety and great flavour make these dishes a must-try experience when visiting Saigon.

However, no one can guarantee and verify the quality of these addresses. You should choose the restaurants with good reviews and clean cook to taste.

Here are some addresses of sidewalk restaurants you can check when coming to Saigon:

  • Fried fish ball Luong Huu Khanh Street, District 1
  • Alley 76 Hai Ba Trung Street
  • Market 200 Chieu hamlet, District 4
  • Alley 84 Nguyen Du Street
  • Alley 177 Ly Tu Trong Street
  • Snacking alley at Nam Ky Khoi Nghia school
  • Nguyen Van Troi alley Street
  • Snacking area Hung Vuong – Nguyen Kim Street
  • Snacking alley Nguyen Thuong Hien, District 3

5. Know about the means of transport

In the inner city center, many means of transportation help visitors can easily move from one point to another such as buses, motorbikes, taxis, … Also, if you want to travel to suburban locations, you can choose a private car that is the most comfortable.

When using public vehicles, you should notice your bags. Or, if you use a motorbike or cyclo, you have a little careful with the drivers, because not everyone is decent and kind. Not everyone is bad, but you should bargain first in terms of price, making it clear with USD, AUD or Vietnam dong.

6. Avoid rush hour

Going out during rush hour in this big city is always a nightmare for everyone. Although Saigon is not too small, the people are too crowded. So, you should hide in a coffee shop, a restaurant or a commercial centre at rush hours.

Here are some quiet cafes you can choose:

  • Loft Café, 26 Lý Tự Trọng, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
  • The Dome Kaffe, 16 Đoàn Thị Điểm, Phường 1, Phú Nhuận, Hồ Chí Minh
  • Heritage Concept Chill Hub, 190 Võ Văn Kiệt, Phường Cầu Ông Lãnh, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh
  • Boomerang Bistro Saigon, 107 Tôn Dật Tiên, Tân Phú, Quận

7. Be careful with one-way streets

HCMC is a crowded, bustling city with complexed nets of roads. There are so many one-way streets and forbidden signs.

If you travel by public transport, do not worry, because the driver must have memorized these routes.

However, if you yourself explore Saigon or rent a car to drive for your family, be careful to not violate traffic safety!

One-way routes within the city of Saigon:

  • The route of Cong Hoa – Truong Chinh – Hoang Van Thu
  • The route of Phan Van Tri – Le Quang Dinh
  • The route of Hai Ba Trung – Pham Ngoc Thach
  • The route of Le Quy Don – Tran Quoc Thao

8. Go shopping in the markets

Visiting and shopping at big markets in Saigon is an experience that you should try. Go shopping at the markets is a way for you to discover regional products that your hometown doesn’t have. You can find a lot of cheap products in these markets.

A small note when shopping is that you check the quality of products carefully and bargain to get discount prices.

Some famous market addresses that you should visit:

>>> Please read the details of the Saigon markets.

9. Book an accommodation

When coming to Saigon, accommodation is also a concern for travellers. If you choose to rent a room in the central centre, you should choose the hotels in district 1 that is the main district for tourists in HCMC.

Besides, you can also choose to stay overnight at the homestay and hostel at a lower price.

You should check the Google maps and book hotels and resorts that are not far away from district 1 if you do not want to stay in the city centre.

Here are some hotels that you can check:

  • Hotel Continental Saigon, 134 Dong Khoi, District 1
  • Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel, 40/13 Bui Vien Street, District 1, HCM
  • Novotel Saigon Centre, 167 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 3, HCM
  • Alagon Saigon Hotel & Spa, 219 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1
  • Saigon Kiko Hotel, 215 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1
  • Somerset Ho Chi Minh City, 8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Da Kao Ward, District 1, HCM

10. Eat and drink at tourist destinations

Saigon has many tourist attractions. Each tourist destination will be full of shopping, eating and drinking services. However, the price in these areas is often very higher than outside.

Therefore, if you want to save money, do not be afraid to bring food with you, or buy more things that are really necessary.

11. Be careful with tap water

Tap water at most of the big hotels and resorts from 4 stars is alright to use for brushing your teeth and washing face.

You should never drink water from the taps directly. For the personal experience, the quality of tap water in Ho Chi Minh is not really good, especially in small hotels and homestays.

Using bottled water for brushing the teeth and drink is always a good choice. But, not all of the water bottles are nice. So, we recommend you to use the bottled water of big companies with famous brands, such as Aquafina (Pepsico), Dasani (Coca-cola), TH True Water (TH True Milk)…