Ho Chi Minh City, formerly called Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. With 13 million people and seven million motorbikes, it is a busy city that offers a lot to see and do.
Whatever your tastes, this vibrant city is sure to impress. Whether you are keen on exploring different cultures and faiths or want to spend time shopping, partying, and exploring the local lifestyle, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) welcomes you with open arms.
Before you finish packing your bags, give this guide a thorough read. It's full of ideas about things to see, things to look out for, and information you need when buying
travel medical insurance or
Things to Do for Travelers in Ho Chi Minh City
Walking through the streets of Vietnam is like exploring a history textbook. Places of historical importance are scattered across HCMC too. But the historical trails are also punctuated with high-rise buildings that add a modern touch to the landscape.
To make sure you don't miss out on the best, here are our top five recommendations for things to do in Ho Chi Minh City.
War Remnants Museum
Located in District 3, the museum shows the 30-year history of the American-Vietnamese war. From tanks and planes to exhibits, photographs, and documents, there is a lot to see and reflect on.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Want to experience how soldiers would have navigated through tunnels during wartime? Well, you can start by watching a documentary, get a guided tour, and then crawl through a few yourself at the Cu Chi Tunnels.
Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai is a faith that has taken bits from many different religions. It is a mix of Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, and Taoism. And the temple is the perfect place to learn more about the faith and its followers.
A 68-story building, Bitexco Tower is the tallest building in Vietnam. It has an oval extension that acts as a helicopter landing pad and offers an amazing 360-degree view of the city. Visit the Alto Sky Bar here during sunset and keep your camera ready to capture the mesmerizing view.
Notre Dame Cathedral
One of the few strongholds of Catholicism in Buddhist-dominated Vietnam is the Notre Dame Cathedral. A Virgin Mary statue also stands in front of the Cathedral, and locals claim that it once shed tears in 2005.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a very safe place to visit. However, it always pays to be vigilant. Here a few possible risks you may run across on your trip and should be mindful of.
You can travel across the city in taxis or cyclos (rickshaws), and get scooters for hire. But it is important to negotiate the price before riding to avoid hassles later. Use Google Maps to know you are being dropped at the right location, and the right route is being taken. Overcharging is possible, and booking taxis from reliable operators (like Grab) is recommended.
Petty Theft and Pickpocketing
The streets of Ho Chi Minh City are quite crowded, and this increases the chances of pickpocketing and petty theft. Though such crimes are not specifically directed towards tourists, you should stay vigilant. Keep your valuables close and your eyes open for anything suspicious.
Traffic is the biggest cause of pollution in HCMC. If you have any underlying respiratory conditions, wear a mask to stay protected, and carry the required medication for emergency use.
Know What to Avoid
While Ho Chi Minh City is mostly safe and you can explore every nook and corner, the areas with questionable bars and clubs should be avoided. These are the places with the highest risk of crime. Also, do not buy alcohol from local street vendors, as it might not be authentic.
Watch Your Step
If you plan to explore the city on foot, watch your step. With the crowded streets, fast-paced traffic, and sometimes lax traffic rules, accidents are possible. Also, use Google Maps to find your way so that you don't get lost in the hẻm (alleyways).
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
When traveling internationally, a medical emergency can easily cost more than your entire trip budget. For a fraction of the cost of your trip, travel medical insurance can save you big if you need it. It's better to pay for insurance now than be stuck paying much more for emergency medical attention later.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Ho Chi Minh City?
When traveling to Vietnam, visitors have two choices. They can either buy international medical insurance lasting the full duration of their visit, or they can sign a form declaring that they are solely responsible for any coronavirus-related treatment costs they're required to receive while in Vietnam.
Regardless of your choice, all visitors have to provide a negative Covid-19 PCR test dated three to seven days before their arrival, and complete an online health declaration form before departing.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Ho Chi Minh City?
HCMC is a crowded city. And when you are walking on the street, you can never be too sure that you won't fall and hurt yourself, or maybe break a bone. Also, the pollution in the city can be harmful to some people. If you get hurt or fall sick in Ho Chi Minh City, you'll need to spend a sizable sum on healthcare. The only way to safeguard yourself from having to pay hefty medical bills is to buy travel medical insurance before taking your trip.
Ho Chi Minh City Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Canceled trips are disappointing. Sometimes weather makes it impossible to fly and connections are missed. In other cases, bad luck befalls you and you get sick right before you travel. Don't depend solely on luck to protect all you've put into planning your vacation. Get trip cancellation insurance so you can have a financial safety net.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Ho Chi Minh City?
HCMC is a beautiful place to explore and experience. But what if you couldn't go on your trip? In addition to it being frustrating, it could be catastrophic for your bank balance. All the bookings you've paid for could go to waste, and they may be nonrefundable or require you to pay a penalty.
Instead of leaving yourself exposed to financial burden, invest in trip cancellation insurance. In the event that your trip must be canceled for a covered reason, it gives you the ability to get reimbursed for those nonrefundable tickets and cancellation fees.
What can be covered under trip cancellation insurance for Ho Chi Minh City?
Your Ho Chi Minh City trip cancellation insurance can offer you financial coverage for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses and penalties should your trip need to be canceled for a covered reason. However, trip cancellation coverage may not be all your travel insurance offers. Other coverage options may include:
There are a range of coverage options available depending on the plan you choose. Study the fine print of the policies available to you carefully. This way you can choose a travel insurance plan with the right coverage for you.
Before You Travel to Ho Chi Minh City - Do This
HCMC is a wonderful travel destination. But you need to go prepared in order to have a great time. And here is what you should do before you travel -
Learn the art of negotiation. No matter where you are paying, negotiate the price in advance, and don't shy away from haggling.
Pack perfectly. When you are in a foreign country, you won't want to spend time raiding the markets to find the stuff that you forgot. Go prepared and pack everything that you think you'll need. Also, keep your passport, visa, cash, and cards in a safe pouch/purse.
Buy insurance. You can't avoid unexpected mishaps, but you can prepare for them. Buy
travel medical insurance or
so you can enjoy your time in HCMC without worry.