3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary: The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway in Vietnam!

It's time to embark on an adventure in HCMC.

3D2N Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary: The Perfect Long Weekend Getaway in Vietnam!

Planning a trip to Vietnam? Then you shouldn’t miss a chance to visit its largest city — Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. Whether you’re excited to explore the rich history and stunning architecture, or simply eager to savour the flavours of Vietnamese cuisine, Ho Chi Minh City promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting more.

We’ve curated a well-paced three-day Ho Chi Minh City itinerary that covers a variety of interests for an unforgettable long weekend adventure. Read on and find out more!

Also read: 10 Airbnbs in Ho Chi Minh City That Are Both Stylish & Wallet-Friendly 

Day 1: Independence Palace (Dinh Thong Nhat) → War Remnants Museum → Central Post Office → Ben Thanh Market → Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon → Ho Chi Minh City Book Street

There are several districts in Ho Chi Minh City, but we recommend staying in District 1, which is pretty much the heart of HCMC. Its central location makes travelling to all the famous landmarks much easier. The journey from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to the heart of HCMC takes about 15 to 45 minutes, depending on your chosen mode of transportation.

City walk around the heart of Saigon

Start the first day of your Saigon itinerary by city walking and exploring some of the most prominent landmarks. All these attractions are within a short 15-minute walking distance from each other. First, stop by The Independence Palace, also publicly known as the Reunification Convention Hall or Dinh Thong Nhat, the former home and workplace of the president of Vietnam. This historical landmark features unique architecture, and you can take a glance at how the Vietnam War ended by touring around and visiting its famous war room.

Then, continue your journey of historical exploration by visiting the War Remnants Museum. The museum showcases a wide range of exhibits, including photographs, artefacts, and documents, that vividly portray the harsh realities of war and its aftermath. While it may present some strong and graphic imagery, it provides a powerful and thought-provoking experience, allowing visitors to have a deeper understanding of the country’s past.

After that, head to the Sai Gon Central Post Office, a stunning yellow building that exudes colonial charm and transports you back in time. Beyond its beauty that combines all Gothic, Renaissance, and French architectural styles, the post office is actually still in operation! You can send letters, buy stamps, or even convert your foreign currency into Vietnamese dong here. 

Shop and eat at Ben Thanh Market

Next, fill your tummy at Ben Thanh Market, a traditional Vietnamese market. It is home to a large, open-air food court that features many authentic local dishes such as pho, banh mi, and spring rolls, as well as a diverse selection of Asian and Western cuisines. 

After you’ve satisfied your appetite, why not go shopping around the market? From dried food and handicrafts to cheap clothes, there are so many things you can buy here. Don’t miss the chance to get yourself a beautiful ao dai (Vietnamese dress), too!

Also read: 10 Best Vietnamese Food That You Have to Try 

Admire the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

ho chi minh city itinerary

Image credit: Andrey Khrobostov via CanvaPro

About a 13-minute walk from Ben Thanh Market is the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon or the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, one of the most gorgeous and oldest churches in Ho Chi Minh City. Built by the French in the late 19th century, this exquisite cathedral features a distinct Romanesque design. Now, it is not only a place of worship but also a popular destination for tourists all around the world. The cathedral offers free entry and provides a stunning view both day and night.

Cafe-hop around Ho Chi Minh City Book Street

How about concluding your day with a cafe-hopping journey along Ho Chi Minh City Book Street? Here, you’ll discover a myriad of cosy cafes like Phuong Nam Book Cafe, Cay Cot Dien – Café Books, and Soo Kafe. Not only do they offer good coffee and relaxing atmospheres, but some of them also boast a big collection of books! As you wander down the street, you’ll also stumble upon bookstores like Phương Nam Book City where you can indulge in your love for reading.

Also read: 12 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia 

Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts → Ho Chi Minh City Opera House → Sala Park Urban Area → Saigon Sky Deck → Nguyen An Ninh Night Market → Bui Vien Walking Street

Immerse in art at Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts and Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

Begin Day 2 of your Ho Chi Minh City itinerary with an art gallery date! Visit the Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, a haven for art enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious travellers eager to explore the nation’s creative heritage. Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts showcases a wide range of artworks, such as sculptures, ceramics, and lacquerware, that encompass both traditional and contemporary styles. The admission fee to the museum is 30,000 VND (~US$1.23 or S$1.63) per adult. 

Afterwards, walk for about 15 minutes or take a quick taxi or e-hailing ride to Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, another artistic gem in the heart of HCMC. Formerly known as the Saigon Opera House, it features a striking blend of French colonial and classical European architectural styles. In addition to capturing beautiful pictures, come here to enjoy the world-famous AO Show, an hour-long performance that will surely make your trip unforgettable! 

Spend a leisurely time in Sala Park Urban Area

There are lots of nice bars and restaurants around the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House. After lunch, we recommend you take a short taxi or e-hailing ride to the Sala Park Urban area, a newly constructed green space for a tranquil afternoon. The park is home to rows of palm trees, a trail for jogging and biking, as well as several photo-taking spots. Go for a leisurely stroll, ride a bike, or picnic in the park. There are many cafes and shops within the area, too! Whether you’re travelling alone or with your family, this is an excellent place to rejuvenate. 

Go up to the sky at Saigon Skydeck

Want a panoramic view of the entire Ho Chi Minh City? Well, head to Saigon Skydeck! Located on the 49th floor of Bitexco Financial Tower, once the tallest skyscraper in the country, the glass-enclosed observation deck offers a scenic, unobstructed bird’s eye view of the entire city. The price of the ticket to Saigon Skydeck starts from 220,000 VND (~US$9.03 or S$11.97). 

We also specially arranged a visit to this observation deck during the evening hours. This allows you to have an opportunity to witness the sunset, as well as to relish the captivating views of the cityscape transitioning from day to night!

Experience bustling nightlife at Nguyen An Ninh Night Market and Bui Vien Walking Street

At night, hunt for dinner at the Nguyen An Ninh Night Market, a place full of cheap clothing finds, souvenirs, delicious street eats, and halal food. Alternatively, stop by one of the Vietnamese restaurants, pizzerias, or coffee shops around the area. Then, walk for around 12 minutes and end the night by experiencing the lively nightlife in HCMC at Bui Vien Walking Street! Home to a wide range of pubs, restaurants, bars, and clubs, this entertainment hub is where you get to party, grab a bottle of beer, and enjoy a series of live performances.

Day 3: Van Hanh Mall → Ho Thi Ky Flower Market → An Dong Market → Cho Lon (Chinatown) → Golden Dragon Theatre → Ho Thi Ky Food Street

Shop til you drop at Van Hanh Mall, Ho Thi Ky Flower Market, and An Dong Market

On the last day out of your 3 days in Ho Chi Minh City, indulge in a fun shopping spree at some of the city’s best shopping spots. For your first destination, head to Van Hanh Mall, a contemporary mall that provides a modern retail experience for locals and tourists alike. From the latest fashion pieces and beauty products to high-quality electronics and unique souvenirs, this mall has it all!

Image credit: David_Bokuchava via CanvaPro

Afterwards, we recommend taking the e-hailing or taxi ride to Ho Thi Ky Flower Market. This paradise for flower enthusiasts is one of the largest and most famous flower markets in HCMC. Open 24 hours a day, get ready to be dazzled by a kaleidoscope of colours and an intoxicating scent of fresh flowers, plants, and floral decorations in the market. 

That’s not all! For your next destination, visit An Dong Market, a bustling wholesale market that will definitely satisfy the shopaholic in you. The market is divided into different sections, each brimming with a unique selection of goods. As you explore the maze-like aisles, you’ll come across a diverse range of products, from fresh produce to fashion items.

Explore Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown

Thien Hau Temple | Image credit: hansgertbroeder via CanvaPro

In the afternoon, tour around Cho Lon, the city’s very own Chinatown. Cho Lon is home to several ornate temples, and the Quan Am Pagoda and the Thien Hau Temple are must-visits amongst them. Do also take time to explore countless food stalls and restaurants serving mouthwatering Chinese-Vietnamese cuisines such as dim sum and roast duck. 

If you happen to visit during major festivals like the Lunar New Year or Mid-autumn Festival, you’ll be greeted by streets full of vibrant lanterns and decorations, and even lion dance performances and fireworks! It’s definitely a worthwhile addition to any culture vulture’s Ho Chi Minh City itinerary.

Watch a water puppet show at Golden Dragon Theatre

In the evening, enjoy a water puppet show or water puppetry — a traditional Vietnamese art form that involves brightly coloured wooden puppets, controlled by puppeteers hidden behind a screen, performing on a water stage. The show is also accompanied by traditional music, singing, and storytelling, making it a truly fascinating, educational, and immersive experience. 

The best place to watch a water puppet show in HCMC is none other than Golden Dragon Theatre. There are two daily shows at 6.30pm and 8.30pm, with a general ticket fee of around 250,000 VND (~US$10.26 or S$13.60).

Savour the best Saigon delicacies at Ho Thi Ky Food Street

ho chi minh city itinerary

Image credit: MINH CHUNG BUI via CanvaPro

For the last dinner of our Ho Chi Minh City itinerary, seize the chance to savour the best Vietnamese delights at Ho Thi Ky Food Street. (Trust us, you’re gonna miss the food during your time here in HCMC!) This well-known, highly-rated culinary gem is situated near the aforementioned Ho Thi Ky Flower Market. It is also said to have some of the best Saigon delicacies. You can sample some delectable local snacks, from grilled seafood and desserts to bánh xèo (Vietnamese crepe), nem lụi huế (pork skewers), and grilled quail eggs. 

Also read: 18 Best Cafes in Ho Chi Minh City for Coffee & Brunch

And thus concludes our 3D2N Ho Chi Minh City itinerary! Whether it’s your first time in Vietnam or planning to return to this vibrant city, just know that there are tons of fun experiences awaiting you. So, start planning your trip now and get ready to be amazed by the charm of Saigon!