Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

With famous Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, Independence Palace, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City is one of the top tourist destinations in Vietnam. What to do after joining popular tours, visiting all tourist attractions, learn about history at War Remnant and Cu Chi Tunnels, drink in Saigon Backpacker, go shopping in big malls in the center? The following one-day itinerary suggests Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City for travelers who would like to learn more about the hidden Saigon.

Thich Quang Duc Monument – a monk burning himself

Location: 298 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 6, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (crossroads of Cach Mang Thang Tam and Nguyen Dinh Chieu Streets). The monument is only 2 km from Ben Thanh Market. Click to see the location on Google Map.

Highlights:

  • Heart-broken story about Thich Quang Duc Bodhisattva who burned himself to death to protest Ngo Dinh Diem’s often violent policies of religious oppression;
  • Spacious green park, with old trees and lotus pond;
  • Peaceful and calm place in the middle of the crowded and noisy city.
Thich Quang Duc Monument - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

On 18th September 2010, the Thich Quang Duc Memorial was inaugurated. It has become one of the best places to relax, walk in a green space, enjoy the fresh air in the hustle and bustle Saigon.

Thich Quang Duc Monument Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Thich Quang Duc statue depicts a monk calmly sitting on a fire. Thich Quang Duc monk burned himself to death to protest against religious repression and discrimination by the Diem regime.

Thich Quang Duc Monument Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

The large-size relief behind the statue tells heart-broken stories about Thich Quang Duc and Vietnamese Buddhist in 1963.

Read more about Thich Quang Duc Monument – Everything you need to know.

Nguyen Thien Thuat – one of the oldest apartment buildings in Saigon

Location: the apartment buildings are surrounded by 4 Streets Nguyen Thien Thuat, Phan Dinh Phung, Ly Thai To, Phan Thanh Gian, Ward 1, District 3. Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment building is about 2.5 km from Ben Thanh Market. Click to see on Google Map.

Highlights:

  • The majority of materials, wooden louver windows, steel rolling doors, cement tiles, staircase since 1969 still remain;
  • Small park, shophouses providing all services (rice shops, convenience stores, hair salon, local restaurant), a pagoda housed in an apartment, street vendors around;
  • Strange things: farming chicken in balconies and rooftops, carrying motorcycles and bicycles upstairs because parking spaces are too small, drying clothes in front of the apartments;
  • This is the real local life of Saigon people in many districts of Saigon.
Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment building - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

These old apartments have been home to lots of Saigon people for over 50 years. Because there is no washing room, they dry their clothes, blankets and others on racks and lines in front of the apartment. Ornamental trees and plants are grown in balconies.

Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment building - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Rolling iron doors, wooden louver windows, wrought iron balcony rails, cement tiles still remain.

Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment building - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Shophouses sell fruits, rice, pickles, spices, cooking oil, joss papers.

Read  more about Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment buildings – Everything you need to know

 

Warmest Greetings To All from Tracy Do! Talented and experienced Tracy’s team offers Vietnam tours and Vietnam travel services, especially Ho Chi Minh City Day Trips including HO CHI MINH MOTORBIKE TOUR, HO CHI MINH FOOD TOUR, MEKONG DELTA TOUR, CU CHI TUNNELS TOUR, HO CHI MINH TRANSFER SERVICE and SHORE EXCURSION. Let us have a chance to show you Vietnam to the fullest. If you have any questions about Vietnam including Vietnam tours, do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Ho Thi Ky Flower Market – dozens of flower shops hidden in alleys

Location: Ho Thi Ky Street, Ward 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. The market is hidden in the area of Le Hong Phong apartment buildings in Ho Thi Ky street and its narrow alleys. Click to see on Google Map.

Highlights:

  • Established in 1990, Ho Thi Ky is one of the oldest flower markets in Saigon.
  • Flower shops are hidden in the narrow Ho Thi Ky Street and its alleys.
Ho Thi Ky Flower Market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Visitors are lost in the wonderland of flowers.

Ho Thi Ky Flower Market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

The wall fence is painted with beautiful flower fields, houses, sheep and birds. Two pupils buy candies, cakes, snacks and toys at a moving cart after classes.

Ho Thi Ky Flower Market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

The flower market is still open at night. Workers and residents in the alleys gather and play chess in front of a convenience store.

Read more about Ho Thi Ky Market – Everything you need to know and Ho Thi Ky Flower Market at Vietnamese Tet Festival.

Cambodian Local Wet Market – real local life

Location: Alley 66 Hung Vuong, Ward 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. The market is located on a narrow alley of Hung Vuong Street. The alley is parallel with Ho Thi Ky Street. View on Google Maps.

Highlights:

  • A great place to see how local people sell and buy products for daily life.
  • Live animals (frogs, fishes, shrimps), organ meat, fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Vendors sell products not only in houses along the alley but also on the ground and moving carts.
  • Lots of amazing local street foods.
  • There are many Cambodian vendors and foods from Cambodia so that they call this small market “Cambodian”.
Cambodian Local Wet Market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Fresh vegetables are abundant at the market.

Cambodian Local Wet Market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Live frogs and fishes (snakehead and anabas).

Cambodian Local Wet Market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Pork orans – the favorite foods of Vietnamese people are sold popularly at the market.

street food stall cambodian market - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

A famous food stall sells Hue cakes at Cambodian market.

Click HERE to learn more about tens of delicious foods at Cambodian Market

Ho Chi Minh City Unseen Tour by Motorbike

Tracy’s team will drive you around Saigon’s main streets and back alleys to see the hidden city on the Ho Chi Minh City Unseen Tour.

Van Phat Pagoda – ten thousand Buddha statues

Temple of Ten Thousand Buddha, Ten Thousand Buddha Temple, Van Phat Pagoda.

Location: 66/14 Nghia Thuc Street, Ward 5, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. View on Google Maps.

Opening hours: 4:30 – 19:00. The main hall on the fourth floor opens from 6:00 to 17:00.

Highlights:

  • Built in 1959 and located in a quiet and peaceful alley of Saigon China Town.
  • It looks simple from outside but splendid inside, with a large number of golden Buddha statues.
  • The main hall on the top floor is the most beautiful, with a huge Buddha statue on a lotus seat, each lotus flower petal has a tiny Buddha statue.
  • A mysterious place that is full of smoke and the smell of incenses.
Van Phat Pagoda Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

The main hall is surprisingly beautiful, with countless Buddha statues in different sizes. The biggest Buddha statue is the most impressive.

Van Phat Pagoda Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

There is a tiny Buddha statue in each lotus flower petal.

Van Phat Pagoda Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Thousands of altars and Buddha statues on the walls.

Read more about Saigon Ten Thousand Buddha Pagoda

Hao Sy Phuong Alley – Over-100-year alley in Saigon China Town

Location: 206 Tran Hung Dao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. CLICK HERE to see the location of Hao Si Phuong Alley on Google Maps.

Highlights:

  • One of the oldest alleys in Ho Chi Minh City, home to hundreds of Chinese people for over one hundred years;
  • Unique architectural work where modern and ancient meet;
  • One of the most photogenic hidden places with two lines of colorful apartments and lots of ornamental trees and plants;
  • An example of the strong Chinese community in alleys of Saigon China Town where people in speak Chinese, listen to Chinese music, place altars in Chinese styles are everywhere;
  • Visitors feel like being in Saigon in the past when meeting old people who have lived here for their entire lives.
Hao Sy Phuong Alley - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Apartments in various colors make the entire alley colorful and photogenic. Painted wrought-iron balcony rails, rolling stainless steel doors, wooden louver windows, tiled walls and painted walls mix perfectly.

Hao Sy Phuong Alley - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Furniture, home appliances, chicken cages, bicycles, motorbikes are put in front of apartments, right in the alley because the apartments are too small. Pots of ornamental plants and trees make the entire alley green revitalized. Red stickers with Chinese characters, altars in Chinese styles on walls are abundant in the alley.

Hao Sy Phuong Alley - Top 5+ off-the-beaten-track things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

Ms. Diep Lien is 97 years old, she has lived her whole life in this alley and does not want to move anywhere. She loves to take care of green vines, trees and plants. Her favorite place to sit and look over the alley is in an old chair in front of the apartment.

Read more about Hao Si Phuong Alley.

Ho Chi Minh Sightseeing & Food Tour by Motorbike

Tourists just pose for photos, Tracy’s team will ride guests around the city to see great sights and enjoy great foods.

Ho Chi Minh Food Tour - Saigon Food Tour by motorbike

Tracy’s team will take you a snail street and other street food areas to enjoy distinct Vietnamese foods in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mekong Delta Tour

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