Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary (4 days)

Travel Itinerary: Ho Chi Minh City in 4 days

Trip Summary

  • Trip length and when did I go? 4 days in August 2013
  • Places visited: Ho Chi Minh City, My Tho (Mekong Delta)
  • How much did it cost me? MYR 500 

At A Glance

  • Day 1 - Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City. Arrival in Ho Chi Minh City. Check in to A&EM Le Prince Hotel, and then walked around Ben Thanh market until closing hour. Dinner at Ben Thanh night market. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Day 2 - Ho Chi Minh City. Ho Chi Minh City walking tour. Visited Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace and War Remnants Museum. Stopped by Tao Dan Park and Pham Ngu Lao on the way back to hotel. In the evening, walked to Saigon Skydeck for night time viewing of Ho Chi Minh City. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Day 3 - Ho Chi Minh City to Mekong River Delta to Ho Chi Minh City. Full day Mekong daytrip. Overnight in Ho Chi Minh City
  • Day 4 Ho Chi Minh City to Kuala Lumpur. Visited Ho Chi Minh City riverside before heading to airport to take a flight home

Itinerary Map (click to view POIs and routes)




Arrival & Hotel Check-In
  • 3.00 pm - Arrival at Tan Son Nhat International airport by flight (Air Asia)
  • Immigration clearance
  • Ride the blue bus with number 152 to Ben Thanh - 5,000 dong
  • 4.00 pm - Arrival at Ben Thanh market area
  • Check-in at A&EM Le Prince Hotel. Staying for 3 nights - Accommodation and flight was booked with Expedia (total cost - 3,000,000 dong)

Taking bus number 152 to Ben Thanh
Taking Bus 152 to Ben Thanh market

Ben Thanh Market
  • 4.30 pm - Went to Ben Thanh market for a little sightseeing
  • Decided to do our shopping on the last day as the market was closing to pave the way for the night market
  • 7.00 pm - Walk around the night market to shop to scout for some souvenirs
  • Dinner at a shop near the night market (Beef pho  - 45,000 dong) and some supper before going back to the hotel (Vietnamese baguette/banh mi - 15,000 dong)

Ben Thanh Market Exterior
Ben Thanh market entrance
Ben Thanh Market Interior
Inside Ben Thanh market
Lady selling coffee in Ben Thanh Market
Vietnamese coffee is sold in abundance here
Ben Thanh Night Market
The day market closes in the evening to make way for the night market



Notre Dame Cathedral & Saigon Central Post Office
  • 8.00 am - Wake up and breakfast at the hotel
  • Walk to Notre Dame Cathedral (under 30 minutes). Made a lot of photo stops along the way, hence it took a bit longer than it should
  • 9.30 am - Photo stop at Notre Dame Cathedral - no entrance fees required
  • 10.00 am - Walk over to the Saigon Central Post Office, located adjacent to the cathedral - also no entrance fees
  • Browsed the souvenir shops in the post office, plenty of variety but they are pretty pricey especially when compared to the ones you can buy from Ben Thanh market

Ho Chi Minh City Walking Tour
Walking around Ho Chi Minh City
Walking around Ho Chi Minh City
Plenty of interesting sights can be seen while going on foot
Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City
Notre Dame Cathedral, Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon Central Post Office exterior
Saigon Central Post Office
Saigon Central Post Office interior
Inside the Saigon Central Post Office
Souvenir shop in Saigon Central Post Office
The souvenir shop inside the post office

Independence Palace & War Remnants Museum
  • 11.00 am - Reach Independence Palace - admission is 20,000 dong
  • Did a quick tour of the place. Points of interest to take note of are the rooftop and the 'bomb shelters' beneath the building. 
  • 1.00 pm - Walk to War Remnants Museum (under 20 minutes)
  • Arrival at War Remnants Museum - admission 15,000 dong 
  • The museum displays can be really disheartening for some visitors, but that's the reality of war

Independence Palace, Ho Chi Minh City
Independence Palace
Tanks on display at Independence Palace
Tanks on display outside the Independence Palace
Exterior of War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City
War Remnants Museum
Interior of War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City
Some of the displays here are pretty gruesome and not for the faint of heart
Statues at War Remnants Museum
Make love, not war

Tao Dan Park & Pham Ngu Lao
  • 3.00 pm - Walk to Tao Dan Park for an afternoon stroll
  • Particularly loved the serenity of the park, which serves as a brief getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city
  • 4.00 pm - Went to Pham Ngu Lao in search of cheap tours to Mekong Delta. Managed to find a tour package for $7 or 156,000 dong per person which I thought was a steal already (our hotel quoted us $20)
  • There were half day tours for Cu Chi tunnels available but it didn't sound interesting to me, therefore I decided to skip it and do something else for our final day here
  • 5.30 pm - Went back to hotel for a quick shower and relaxation

Pottery being sold right off the street in Ho Chi Minh City
Pottery art by the street. It's tiny surprises like these that make my walk more enjoyable
Puppies!
Puppies!
Spotted this shop selling Vietnamese delights while walking around in Ho Chi Minh City
A roadside stall selling bun bo hue, a popular Vietnamese cuisine
Just a day out at Tao Dan Park, Ho Chi Minh City
Tao Dan Park, one of Ho Chi Minh city's many municipal parks
Walking back to Ben Thanh
Got a little lost, but managed to find Pham Ngu Lao on the way back

Saigon Skydeck 
  • 6.30 pm - Walk to Saigon Skydeck (30 minutes on foot from our hotel)
  • Grabbed a quick bite at a nearby stall (Vietnamese baguette/banh mi - 15,000 dong)
  • Arrival at Saigon Skydeck - admission is $10 or 200,000 dong
  • Best time to come here is just before sunset. Very breathtaking 360 degree views of the city can be seen from the skydeck
  • 8.30 pm - Head back to Ben Thanh for dinner (Com chien, or fried rice with stir fried beef & garlic - 40,000 dong

Ben Thanh at night
Ben Thanh at night. Bitexco Financial Tower, Ho Chi Minh's tallest building and where Saigon skydeck is, can clearly be seen in the distance
Motorcyclists riding in the rain
It drizzled a little on my way there. They had raincoats, I didn't so I was practically drenched by the time I reached the tower
Saigon Skydeck entrance
Saigon Skydeck entrance
Saigon Skydeck interior
Inside Saigon Skydeck
Ben Thanh as seen from Saigon Skydeck
View of Ben Thanh from Saigon Skydeck
Ho Chi Minh City Riverside seen from Saigon Skydeck
View of Ho Chi Minh city riverside from the skydeck
View of Ho Chi Minh City from Saigon Skydeck
View of Ho Chi Minh city at night from the skydeck



Mekong Delta Day Trip
  • 6.30 am - Wake up and breakfast at the hotel
  • 7.00 am - Pick up at the hotel by bus. Bus took quite a while to ferry passengers around before finally departing for My Tho.
  • 10.00 am - Short stop at Mekong rest stop

Vinh Trang Temple
  • 11.00 am - Photo stop at Vinh Trang Temple. Particularly loved the aesthetics of this temple, which seems to be a blend of east and west

Vinh Trang Temple
Vinh Trang temple, a unique blend of east and west
Monks having their meals at Vinh Trang Temple
Monks having their meals. Everything is done in complete silence, so try to be respectful of local customs by not interrupting or being too noisy

My Tho & Unicorn Island
  • 12.00 pm - Arrival at My Tho jetty, where we ride a boat across the Mekong river to Unicorn Island, our first stop in the Ben Tre region
  • Got a glimpse into the lifestyles of rural village folk in the Mekong delta, which can be summed up as very basic but simple and carefree
  • Walked around the village for a bit before being rowed out to the river by sampan

Getting on our boat at My Tho
Taking the boat from My Tho across the Mekong river to Unicorn island
Bees!
Our tour guide showed us the bee farm where honey is produced
Fresh tropical fruits and tea
Treated to a serving of tropical fruits and hot tea
Village folk playing music
Local folk serenading us with traditional Vietnamese music
Waiting for our sampan to take us back to the boat
Waiting for our sampan to take us back to the boat
A sampan ride through a crowded waterway. Our rower actually had time to swing by and showed us his home
A sampan ride through a crowded waterway. Our rower actually had time to swing by and showed us his home. Well sir, you just earned a tip.

Con Phung & Coconut Island
  • 1.30 pm - Stopover at Con Phung island for lunch and sightseeing
  • Lunch - Rice with vegetables and deep-fried spring roll (already included in the tour package)
  • Visitors can partake in a few activities here, such as crocodile fishing or renting hammocks to take an afternoon nap. Opted to go for an afternoon stroll around the island to see the orchards nearby
  • 2.30 pm - Stopover at Coconut Island to see how coconut candy is being made. Thereafter, we were taken for a ride on horse carriage around the surrounding village
  • 3.30 pm - Back to My Tho jetty. Ride the bus back to Ho Chi Minh City
  • 6.00 pm - Arrived back in Ho Chi Minh City

Crocodile fishing in Con Phung island
Crocodile fishing in Con Phung island
Crossing this rickety bamboo bridge
Crossing this rickety bamboo bridge isn't as easy as it looks
Watching the local folk make coconut candy in Coconut Island
Watching the local folk make coconut candy in Coconut Island
Ending our trip with a horse ride around the village
Ending our trip with a horse ride around the village 



Riverside 
  • 8.00 am - Wake up and breakfast at hotel
  • 9.00 am - Last minute shopping at Ben Thanh market
  • 11.00 am - Hotel check-out
  • 11.30 pm - Walk to Ho Chi Minh City riverside for quick photo stops of the Mong Bridge (also known as the Green Bridge) and several other points of interest in the riverside area

Ben Thanh Market to Airport
  • 1.00 pm - Ride the blue bus with number 152 back to Tan Son Nhat international airport for our flight back home - 5,000 dong

Bear versus buffalo, who wins?
Bear versus buffalo, who wins?
Mong Bridge, a popular place for wedding photography
Mong Bridge, a popular place for wedding photography
Ho Chi Minh City riverside
Ho Chi Minh City riverside
Waiting for the bus to take us back to the airport
Waiting for the bus to take us back to the airport

How much?
What for?
VND 401,000
Ground Cost
VND 10,000
Bus 152 to & from Tan Son Nhat international airport
VND 156,000
Mekong Delta tour package
VND 20,000
Entrance ticket – Independence Palace
VND 15,000
Entrance ticket – War Remnants Museum
VND 200,000
Entrance ticket – Saigon Skydeck


VND 3,000,000
Flight & Accommodation
VND 3,000,000
Accommodation (3 nights) & return flight from & to Ho Chi Minh City


VND 100,000
Misc
VND 100,000
Food & Drink


VND 3,501,000
Total


How much did it cost me?
  • In local currency: VND 3,500,000
  • Conversion rate (at the time): MYR 1 = VND 7,000
  • After conversion: MYR 500 (for 4 days)




18 comments

  1. Hi TS, may I know how to draw those lines in google map and posted on your blog? This is interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, I used Google MyMaps
      Check it out: https://www.google.com/maps/d/

      Delete
  2. Hi , can I have the contact no for the tour to Mekong delta for $7 per person? good price for the tour would like to go also.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi louise, I don't have their contact number unfortunately. But if I remember, it was next to Liberty 4 hotel (near Pham Ngu Lao). $20 was what we were being offered in Ben Thanh, and it's almost certain you can get it cheaper in Pham Ngu Lao. This was 2+ years back, unsure if it's still the same price.

      There are lots of travel agents in Pham Ngu Lao and it's always worth checking out a few of the shops to compare and haggle the prices.

      Hope it helps.

      Delete
  3. Wonderful Information shared by you, i love all the pictures and the way you explain each and every thing. Keep it up, share a lot more information about Ho Chi Minh in future also to help a new traveler.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi. Can i know how much budget you spent for this trip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Expenses for 4 days (minus flight + hotel) = ~500k VND
      Flight + hotel package (from expedia) = add in additional ~3,000,000 VND

      Hope this helps :)

      Delete
  5. Bro what camera & lens u using?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lee Sunny,

      For this trip, Sony NEX 5N + 18-55mm kit lens

      Delete

  6. When doing food tour, you can taste a food as well as learn the history of the place.
    Food Tours Ho Chi Minh City

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your post is so informative. Skyview of Saigon is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
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  9. Hi, I've just passed through your thread. Absolutely informative. You had quite busy days. H....mm!st missed? food. Try a food tour (not just fried rice and noodle with beef). It would tell you a lot about HCM/Saigon.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, what a beautiful place. Nice blog with all information needed! Thank you I read your full blog and it was very informative, and helped me a lot. Travel Agency in India

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  12. Hello from Saigon, it looks like you had a nice trip in my hometown! Very nice!

    ReplyDelete

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