Visiting Ho Chi Minh City in May


Visiting Saigon in May? This is the hottest time of the year, and just a few minutes after leaving the airport, I wondered how I was going to get out of this big city for three whole weeks, without suddenly melting on the road. And as it turned out, it was not really easy to get to know the secrets of Ho Chi Minh city at 36 degrees and 80% humidity which is a big wow for a European tourist who have not used to the hot and humid weather like in Vietnam and in Saigon and sometimes developed into a spit-roof run between air-conditioned shops, taxis, pools and ice-cold drinks.

 

How to spend a full day as a solo female in Ho Chi Minh City

Today’s Ho Chi Minh city is a different one than eight years ago, which I had visited during my first Vietnam tours. Food stalls on the street have largely been transformed into restaurants (you still see them at every corner), the famous masses of motorbikes have been partly replaced by cars and otherwise the city is perceived to become more of a western oriented one. To be honest, I missed a little disorder, chaos and the savage, which I really love in Asian cities and especially in Ho Chi Minh city. Only the rest of the day wanted to be filled, too, from which I had put together my favorite activities, restaurants and cafes once for a perfect day in this city.

7.30 AM

Capture the first sun rays by the pool

visiting ho chi minh city in may

Even in the morning, it is so hot that you can jump into the water early in the morning and watch the city’s chaos and traffic jam from above. The same applies to the evening. I stayed for four nights at the luxury hotel in down town with a very nice pool and services which is worth the money you pay for.

8.30 AM

Walk through the wild streets of Saigon

streets of saigon

Spaziergang durch die wilden Straßen Saigons

Those who are not yet used to the motorbike masses will learn this at the latest. There are almost (most dont have) no traffic lights at each intersection, so it is not easy to get to the other side of the road, especially on big streets. The most important commandment here is: do not stop – to go on purposefully when mopeds approach. The especially brave can also swing themselves on a Vespa and make the city and environment unsafe.

9 AM

Vietnamese, American or French breakfast

breakfast in saigon vietnam

If you do not go for noddle soup , spring rolls and other Vietnamese dishes in the morning, you will have to face the great torment of choice. Especially the big chains like Starbucks and its Vietnamese counterpart Trung Nguyen Coffee are also very popular with the locals. Good breakfast is available in District 1 where more tourist are based in. There are pretty much everything to eat, from Vietnamese to American and or French breakfast.

10 AM

Saigon has pretty of everything for shopping

shopping in saigon

shopping mall saigon

To be honest, it was not so easy to find good shops in this city. Depends on the personal taste, but if you look for something more stylish, you have to go a little bit to the search while visiting Saigon in May cant be really easy as it is hot and humid. Vietnamese are not so crazy about malls, so they are not that spectacular either. Interesting shops are located in District 1 primarily on Dong Khoi Street and its many small side streets as well as in the backpacker district between Pham Ngu Lao and De Thám Street. There are also luxury brands in many of the bigger shopping malls through the city. See what you want and what you expect from shopping in what is Vietnam’s biggest metropolis.

1 PM

Lunch on Le Loi Street

Lunch on le loi street saigon vietnam

If you are stuck in shopping at the L’Usine, you can also swing a few steps up and eat lunch. On the menu is a colorful mixture of different cuisines, whether burger, salads, sandwiches or Vietnamese foods which are also on high demand by traveler like me. Alternatively you can find in the whole district probably all international kitchens, which one could only wish for. Very nice is the The Place Saigon for healthy food (also for evening with great bar on the roof terrace) or wild Vietnamese barbecue in the 5 Ku station on the Le Tanh Ton Street (only open from 4 pm), where you Can prepare his own BBQ at small wooden tables, including frog, ostrich and chicken feet.

2.30 PM

Losing yourself in the streets of Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)

ao dai girls in saigon

colorful saigon

losing yourself in streets of saigon

notre dame cathedral saigon

No question – this city is noisy! But if you take a little more time and from time to time turns into smaller side streets, it becomes partly amazingly quiet. There you can still feel the real life isolated: the hairdresser on the street, the mamma with her little kitchen and the tiny plastic chairs on the bourgeoisie, and young men playing board games on the floor. The Bitexco Financial Tower’s viewing platform, which also has a shopping center, is worth a visit. And of course, a local market such as the Ben Thanh Market is a must. You can always book a day trip and visit Ho Chi Minh city’s must see attractions.

5 PM

Hot stone massage, manicure & (fish) pedicure

Hot stone massage, manicure & (fish) pedicure

massage parlor in saigon vietnam

If one is not to be missed in Ho Chi Minh city, then this is a massage! Most of the studios offer massages with hot stones. There are lots of massage shop with different price range and all do almost good massage and spa services, expect to pay for up to 20 euros for an hour and half hot stone massage and spa service.

8 PM

Dinner, party or whatever else

bars in saigon vietnam

rock and roll in saigon vietnam

As mentioned at the lunch, the number of restaurants in this city would probably take years to get a rough overview. Surprisingly, many restaurants have already been closed, which were recently recommended in blog and magazine articles or your guide book. In any case, you should treat yourself to an evening restaurant with a roof top and a view. There are plenty of options to choose from, whether Korean dishes, BBQ in steak houses, international cuisine or the Vietnamese foods. After dinner you may head out to find a cozy bar anywhere in the city, the nightlife scene in Saigon is quite different from what you may see or experience in Thailand, try it

Visiting Saigon in May

  • Where to stay ?

District 1 is the most popular and is considered the “sleepless district”. Accommodation is either best located near the Hai Ba Trung Street or the backpacker district around Pham Ngu Lao and De Thám Street. The first variant is somewhat quieter, both quarters are about 10-15 minutes walk apart.

  • How long should one stay in Saigon?

It depend on how you like it in Saigon but i would say that three days would have to be completely sufficient to visit Saigon. One or two days as described above and on another day maybe a day trip to the Mekong delta. From Saigon you can travel to Cambodia via buss, or speedboat from Mekong delta.  Here is possibilities for booking a best Cambodia tours

  • What are the prices in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)?

Not as cheap as expected, but still OK. A western style dinner with drink costs an average 15 euros, 20 minutes taxis around 5 euros, a 3 star hotel room in a good location with breakfast about 25-30 euros and up.

  • Is Saigon Safe for a solo female to travel?

Safety in Saigon: In my opinion, Vietnam is generally a very safe country and Ho Chi Minh can be traveled without a thought, even as a single woman.

  • Must try when in Ho Chi Minh City?

Vietnamese ice coffee Sua Da – Ground coffee on ice with a lot of condensed milk. Tastes pretty sweet, but unexpectedly good!