Saigon now officially known as Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon is Vietnam’s largest city, though not its capital. Once described as “the Pearl of the Orient”, it’s now a frenetically busy place and museums telling the story of the city’s role in Vietnam’s turbulent 20th century history. The city may now be named after a communist leader, but French Colonialists have left behind plentiful traces of Western architecture, which sits alongside the city’s many beautiful temples and gardens. But when’s the best time of year to see all these for yourself?
1. The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City
Many people claim that any time of the year is the best time to visit Saigon and I agree with this statement. If the heat is not a problem, I would recommend you to visit the city during the dry season. But if you want to see how Saigon looks like on a rainy day with flooded streets and willing to sacrifice all those beautiful photos you can take for your Flickr account, then go for the wet season. Don’t get me wrong, the wet season will provide you with beautiful photo ops too!
Dry Season - December to April
Running roughly from December to April, the dry season is generally thought of as the best time to visit Saigon. March, April and May are the hottest months, with temperatures reaching as high as 39°C (102°F), but there’s less humidity, which makes it much more bearable. In December, temperatures in the early morning can get down to 16°C (61°F), but it’s comfortably warm for a westerner during the day.
If you visit in late December, you’ll get to experience Christmas and New Year in Saigon. Though primarily a Buddhist country, Christmas is celebrated in Vietnam, and you’ll see plenty of decorations up and sales on in the shops.
Note that during Tet - Vietnam’s Lunar New Year celebration, falling between late January and the middle of February - lots of shops and restaurants will be closed, and accommodation will be more expensive. However, the Tet festivities also make it an exciting time to visit Saigon, so if you have a decent budget then it’s still worth traveling at this time.
Monsoon Season - May to November
The Monsoon Season sees higher humidity and, of course, more rain. Tropical storms are considerably more frequent, but it’s still a perfectly good time to visit Saigon because the rain isn’t non-stop all day; it usually falls in heavy showers, with sun in between. May to September are a good bet if you’re on a budget, because accommodation prices tend to be cheaper.
It’s worth noting that various public vacations take place over the Monsoon Season, and they can mean that restaurants and shops are closed and public transport is harder to come by. The main ones are Vietnam Reunification Day (30 April), May Day (1 May) and Vietnam National Day (2 September).
2. How to get to Ho Chi Minh City
2.1. By train
Saigon train station or Ga Sai Gon is tucked away in District 3 at 1 Nguyen Thong Street. Tickets can be purchased from Vietnam Charm Travel. It's the best to book in advance, especially if travelling on the weekend or holidays. Book months in advance if travelling during Tet.
Stops on the Reunification Express Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh line include Dong Hoi, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Nha Trang,.. Price depends on the type of train (express/slow) and the type of berth (soft-berth air-con with 4 beds/berth; hard-berth air-con with 6 beds/berth; soft seat air-con; hard seat air-con; hard seat fan) and bottom or top bunk. Contact Vietnam Charm Travel to get more information.
2.2. By air
There are a lot of flight every day from Hanoi/ Vinh/ Hue/ Danang/ Nha Trang.... to Ho Chi Minh city. The price is depend on company, time of booking, time of flying,...
Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport is Vietnam’s major domestic aviation hub. If each city in Vietnam has an airport, chances are there’s a flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Domestic routes are serviced by Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and/or Jetstar Pacific.
Tan Son Nhat is also the country’s international gateway, with direct flights from Southeast Asia, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. It’s just a 5-10 minute walk between the international and domestic terminal.
Tan Son Nhat is located right in the city, in Tan Binh District about 7 km northwest of the city centre and backpacker neighbourhood Pham Ngu Lao. During lighter traffic, the journey to the city centre can be as quick as 20 minutes. In rush hour and/or rain, it can take as long as one hour. Allow for plenty of time to get to the airport.
The airport is well serviced by taxis and a trip to District 1 will cost around 150,000 to 180,000 dong. When exiting the international terminal, ignore the booths inside the building offering taxi or limo services. Head outside and to the left there is an informal taxi queue where uniformed company reps will try to whisk you into their company cars, but know that you can choose whatever taxi company you like.
There are only two meter taxi you should use: green Mai Linh, and white with red and green Vinasun Taxi. Check the branding before getting in as other taxis will use similar colours or logos. If you feel the melee is too intense or can’t locate a Mai Linh or Vinasun Taxi, head upstairs to the departures terminal and get one from there.
2.3. By bus
There are many bus companies served from Hanoi or other provinces to Ho Chi Minh City. So, it is very easy to get a local buses or tourist buses to Ho Chi Minh City. The below table , we would love to give you some reputable bus ( to get tourist bus, please contact Vietnam Charm Travel to have best price ).
|BUS COMPANY||ROUTE||DEPART||ARRIVAL||PHONE NUMBER|
|Hoang Long||Hanoi - Sai Gon||7:00||19:00 ( 36 hours )||0225 3920920|
|Hoang Long||Hanoi - Sai Gon||13:00||1:00 ( 36 hours )||0225 3920920|
|Mai Linh||Hanoi - Sai Gon||11:00||8:05 ( 45 hours )||0165.518.1111|
|Thinh Hong||Hanoi - Sai Gon||5:00||14:00 ( 33 hours )||0433.832.830|
|Thanh Phuong||Hanoi - Sai Gon||10:00||17:00 ( 31 hours )||Updating|
|Nam Quan||Hanoi - Sai Gon||7:00||14:10 ( 31 hours )||0976555577|
3. Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City
The best hotels in Ho Chi Minh City are found mostly in the city centre, surrounded by popular cultural landmarks and attractions. All most hotels they always try to make guests have a pleasant stay in their hotel. Here, we would love to provide you a list of best hotels in Ho Chi Minh City.
|HOTEL NAME||ADDRESS||PHONE NUMBER|
|Millennium Boutique Hotel||No 7 Thai Van Lung Str, Ben Nghe Ward, Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3915 8126|
|The Reverie Saigon Hotel||No 22-36 Nguyen Hue Str, Ben Nghe Ward, Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3823 6688|
|Villa Song Saigon Hotel||No 197/2 Nguyen Van Huong Str, Thao Dien Ward, Dist 2, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3744 6090|
|Silverland Yen Hotel||No 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan Str, Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3823 6789|
|Alcove Library Hotel||No 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh Str, Ward 8, Ho Chi Minh City||028 6256 9966|
|Anpha Boutique Hotel||No 202 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3823 8890|
|Parkroyal Sai Gon Hotel||No 309B-311 Nguyen Van Troi, Ward 1, Tan Binh Dist, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3842 1111|
|Beautiful Sai Gon 3 Hotel||No 40/27 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3920 4874|
|GK Central Hotel||No 92 - 94 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City||028 3823 8795|
4. Suggestion for tours in Ho Chi Minh City
There are some options for your choice as below:
08:45 AM Depart from your hotel to Giac Lam pagoda built in the 17th century and is one of the oldest temples in the city. Then visiting Chinatown, Cho Lon (Binh Tay) market, not only seeing the locals bartering, purchasing and selling merchandises at the market but also seeing a rich and diverse Chinese culture that is subtle yet distinctive from other parts of the city. Stopping at Thien Hau Lady temple that was built in the early 19th century dedicated to Thien Hau - Goddess of seafarers. Travelling along the Saigon Riverside to overview Nha Rong wharf where Ho Chi Minh President first left Vietnam in 1911. Returning back to your hotel and having free time for lunch at own expense.
02:15 PM Visiting War Remnants Museum - originally opened in September 1975; it displays old military equipment and other related items from Vietnam War. Afterward, continuing seeing the Reunification Palace, formerly known as the Presidential Palace. The place symbolizes the end of Vietnam War when a North Vietnamese army tank went through its gates. Then taking a short stroll to see Notre Dame Cathedral and General Post Office, they are the beautiful examples of architecture from the French colonial period.
Departure: 08:45 AM - End: 05:00 PM (ETA)
Include: Bus, English speaking guide.
Exclude: Meals, entrance fees.
07:45 AM Depart for Cu Chi tunnels from your hotel.
Around 9:30 AM Arriving at Cu Chi tunnels (Ben Dinh) and proceeding to an underground hut to watch a short video and presentation about Cu Chi tunnels before having a real hand-on experience of what it took to live in the tunnels. Afterward, test tasting the steamed tapioca root which is the main staple food in Cu Chi during the war. For those interested, there is an opportunity to fire off an AK47 or MK16 with real ammunitions at the nearby shooting range. Leaving Cu Chi tunnels at noon and returning back to Ho Chi Minh city for lunch at own expense.
Departure: 07:45 AM - End: 01:30 PM (ETA)
Include: Bus, English speaking guide.
Exclude: Lunch, entrance fees.
For more information, please contact us directly
VIETNAM CHARM TRAVEL
Add: 15 Hang Can, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
Tel: +84.243 923 1508/ Hotline: +84. 983 730 882