Self-Guided Walking Tour: The Best of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (With Map!)

As a budget traveler, I don’t pay for a tour. I usually do it on my own or join a free one. Some of you might be wary of doing your own tour but you’d be surprised how easy it is to do especially if you have guides like this post. I believe every city is walkable. In fact, you could find a lot of free walking tours in most cities around the world online. You may join them if you want to but if you prefer freedom and complete control of your time, then this post is for you. Here is the self-guided walking tour showcasing the best of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam!

Ho Chi Minh Self-Guided Walking Tour Map

Stop 1: Stroll through the lush green Tao Dan Park.

Credits to Saigon for 91 Days

Tao Dan Park is situated in the heart of Ho Chi Minh. This is a place where you could escape the bustling city and chaotic sound of motorbikes. Aside from the beautiful landscapes, you’ll also find tennis courts, swimming pool, water fountain and children’s playground. This is perfect to take some time out, relax and watch the locals.

Stop 2: Learn the lessons of war in the War Remnants Museum.

Credits to Prenn

The War Remnants Museum was opened in September 1975 as “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government”, focusing on exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War. By visiting this museum, you will see how the war shaped the modern Vietnam today. The museum is open from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM everyday with an entrance fee of 40,000 VND.

Stop 3: See the place where the Vietnam War ended.

Credits to Diego Delso

The Independence Palace or the Reunification Palace was the site of a dramatic finish to the Vietnam War when a North Vietnamese army tank crashed through its gates on April 30, 1975. The Palace is open daily from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM with an entrance fee of 40,000 VND.

Stop 4: Get a dose of French architecture in Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon.

Notre Dame Cathedral

The cathedral, also known as the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, officially Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception, is located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists between 1863 and 1880, the cathedral has interesting French architecture to marvel at.

Stop 5: Send postcards from the Saigon Central Post Office.

Saigon Central Post Office

Just across the road from the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Saigon Central Post Office. This was built in 1886 by the famous French civil engineer and architect Gustave Eiffel. The massive portrait of the great leader, Ho Chi Minh, will welcome you as you enter the post office. Inside this yellow building, you will also find several booths for sending postcards and stalls selling souvenirs and handicrafts.

Stop 6: Check out the books in the Book Street.

Book Street

I discovered this street by accident. I was a bit lost but continued walking when I found myself in this beautiful street full of books. The books are written in Vietnamese and in English. I’m sure the bookworms will love this little avenue.

Stop 7: Understand why Saigon was renamed to Ho Chi Minh at the People’s Committee Building.

People’s Committee Building

Visit the statue of Ho Chi Minh right in front of the city hall to understand why Saigon was renamed to Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh was a communist revolutionary leader who was a former prime minister and president of Vietnam. He was a key figure in the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945, as well as the People’s Army of Vietnam and the Việt Cộng during the Vietnam War. Behind it is the city hall or the People’s Committee Building. The famous structure started its construction in 1902 with a French colonial architecture.

Stop 8: Catch some classical shows and French architecture at the Municipal Theater.

Credits to Vietnam Famous Destinations

The Municipal Theater or the Saigon Opera House was built in 1898 by the French architect, Eugene Ferret, following the flamboyant style and architecture of the French Third Republic. Don’t forget to catch a one of a kind cultural show here.

Stop 9: Explore Nguyen Hue Street at night.

Credits to Day Trip Vietnam

Just in front of the People’s Committee Building is the Nguyen Hue Street. It is very modern and ideal for walking and sightseeing, especially at night. It’s a great place to stroll in the evening as the street comes alive with parades, cultural exhibitions, street performances, and a fountain show.

Stop 10: Shop at the Ben Thanh Market.

Credits to Ngô Trung

End your day with cheap finds at the Ben Thanh Market. There you’ll find local handicrafts, foods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs. And oh, test your bargaining skills here and I believe you’ll find great deals!

What do you think? Did you enjoy this free self-guided walking tour of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam? Let us know your comments below!

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39 thoughts on “Self-Guided Walking Tour: The Best of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam (With Map!)

  1. Vietnam has been on my bucket list for quite a long time now!
    And your blog just came up as the one perfect guide for it. Loved going through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing place indeed! I haven’t been to Ho Chi Minh before, and just like you, I’m a budget traveler as well. Ambling around the lush green Tao Dan Park is something I should not miss to try If I traipse my feet here. Moreover, the Independence Palace or the Reunification Palace looks amazing and interesting. I love historical place, and this should be on my list too. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A great alternative guide to taking a city tour! I also like taking my time to enjoy the city and surroundings on my own especially if I have enough time! I’ve heard good things about Ho Chi Minh and would love to check it out someday!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having lived in HCMC since March, I’ve gotta say that this is a great list. I’ve walked (or ridden a Grab) by all of these attractions, but I’ve still yet to thoroughly explore many of them. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Ho Chi Minh statue in front of city hall! I love how walkable the city is, and good for you for not paying for a tour of these things, all of which are easily accessible for free 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vietnam has been on my radar for so long! This sounds like such an amazing way to see the city and just under an hour is so perfect. Although I have to say that it seems easy to spend so much longer at each stop.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for the tour and I did the same thing when I was in HCM City! And a day in the city you would already learn the country’s history and experience Vietnam, Chinese, and European colonial culture. Great post and keep it up! @knycx journeying

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t tried paying for a guide tour, because I prefer walking on my own terms at my own time, and discover little things along the way. I’ll save your guide for our own Ho Chi Minh trip soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I have only just begun planning my Vietnam trip for next year and I stumbled upon your post. Ho Chi Minh looks like a pretty cool city to explore and I’d love to do it by a self walking tour as well, just like you. Your guide is quite helpful! I didn’t know that there was a Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh. Also, the Book Street sounds exactly like the kind of place I’d like to visit. Nguyen Hue Street at night looks pretty cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is great as it hits up a lot of the major sights. I did something similar (self guided) when in Ho Chi Minh and we went to most of these places! We didn’t get to the Opera House though – so there is always something to go back for! I also really enjoyed the street food here too.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yeaahhh I want to send postcards from Saigon! I wouldn’t have thought it by myself thanks for the tip! Also definitely the sight where the Vietnamese war finished would be on the top of my bucket list, the building itself doesn’t look impressive but the history behind it surely is!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I was in Vietnam many years ago but sadly missed visiting Ho Chi Minh. I love walking tours in general, and this self-guided one looks particularly good! I also appreciate the map that you’ve included, I’ll use if I ever go back.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We haven’t been to Vietnam yet but it is definitely on our bucket list. We always enjoy taking self-guided walking tours as it gives us a chance to explore the city at our own pace. The map of the walking tour of Ho Chi Minh is really helpful along with the photos and detailed information for each stop. I think that after a day of exploring the city, I’d love to relax in the evening by enjoying watching the classical performance at the Saigon Opera House. Thanks for all the details.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I didn’t enjoy this city so much and from your post I see that there are some interesting places I didn’t see. But the traffic was so hectic and crazy so I just wanted to leave 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m sorry about your not-so-good experience in the city. Can’t blame you though. We all have our own preferences that shape our experiences. But maybe some day if you visit again, you now know more stuff to see there! 🙂


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