Ever consider paying Ho Chi Minh City a visit but stuck with a budget? Firstly, air tickets are going to be cheap when flying in and out of Tan Soon Nhat International Airport because it is one of the busiest airport in Asia. This means that prices are competitive among airlines and it is easy to get great deals if you have an eye for airlines promotions. Even if you are traveling overland by bus into Ho Chi Minh City, the prices are very affordable. In fact traveling by land is the cheapest in Southeast Asia. On top of that, the cost of living is cheap in Vietnam which why it is one of the budget travelers’ favorite destinations. Here’s 5 wonderful things to do there to keep your budget in check.
1) Cu Chi Tunnels
A major tourist attraction of Ho Chi Minh City, you can’t miss the Cu Chi Tunnels. A half day trip with a guide and transport provided is going to cost at most USD 10. It is a fantastic place to start learning about the Vietnam war history. The trip is going to leave you wondering how do they even build those complex tunnel networks during those times. A very money worthy option in my opinion.
2) Checking out Vietnamese coffee
The Vietnamese coffee is a must-try when you are in the country. Coffee is a big thing in Vietnam, which is also one of the country top exports. I find the coffees in Vietnam really different from the usual ones. They are really strong in taste and have almost 50% more caffeine than the Arabica ones. Vietnam grows the Robusta bean which tastes more bitter than its counterpart. You can get a cup of coffee for USD 1 at the right places, unless you are going for the fanciful options like Latte or Cappuccino.
3) Notre Dame Cathedral & Saigon Central Post Office
It is free to visit both of these places. The Notre Dame Cathedral is built between 1863 and 1880. It has some pretty French architecture design and it is worth checking out. There are wedding couples taking pictures there every now and then, which means even locals like that place well. Located right across the street is the Saigon Central Post Office, it looks like some European building from the outside. But when you step in the entrance, the first thing you notice is the large portrait of Ho Chi Minh himself and the unique design of the hall. It is a fully functional post office. Many travelers like to send some post cards from here to their family and friends.
4) Street foods
You can spend your time tasting the wide variety of local food in Ho Chi Minh City, they can be found at every corner of the city. Vietnamese food is famous throughout world. My favorites are Pho and the spring rolls. Here in Vietnam, you get it cheap for a couple of dollars as compared to jacked up prices elsewhere. What’s more, it’s indeed authentic Vietnamese. I’m sure you will be feel gastronomically Vietnamese when you are done.
5) War Remnants Museum
Entrance fee is at USD 1. There are many old military places and tanks left over from the Vietnam war here. Most of them are American ones and you can have a look at what kind of stuff they used during the war. Some of the displays in the museum are gruesome which shows the negative images of war. We can also see the propaganda and history during the war periods. The museum is a good place to find how the events that happened during the war.
You can probably complete the above in 2 days, and remember that these places are wallet-friendly. Of course, there are much more to Ho Chi Minh other than the above mentioned. Overall, Ho Chi Minh is relatively affordable as compared to western standards.