Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City
Beat the heat and hit the water slides
When the Ho Chi Minh City heat gets too much, head to the Dam Sen Water Park (tel: + 84 8 3858 8418; www.damsenwaterpark.com.vn/en/). Set in lush landscaped gardens, it has giant water slides, a river ride and wave pool. Avoid the weekend crowds, though, when you indulge your childish side.
Check out the market stalls at Ben Thanh Market
Situated in District 1, Ben Thanh Market is a one-stop shop to fulfil all your shopping desires; you’ll be able to buy clothes, antiques and typical Vietnamese souvenirs. Food lovers will find themselves in heaven - over 20 street food stalls line the outside of the buildings, filling the air with the sweet smell of barbecued meat.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to this popular resort located outside the city on the Saigon River. The Binh Quoi Tourist Village hosts regular traditional music and dance shows for visitors, fishing trips and the opportunity to take part in cultural events. At the weekend there is a traditional buffet in the waterside restaurant which is atmospheric after dark when floating lanterns drift past.
Get your diving wings with a PADI course
Ho Chi Minh City is a surprisingly good place to get an entry level PADI course under your belt. Rainbow Divers (tel: +84 908 781 756; www.divevietnam.com) is the place to take the plunge, so to speak, and will help get you ready for a future of underwater exploring.
Head underground at the Cu Chi Tunnels
Underneath Ho Chi Minh City is a vast, snaking network of tunnels utilised by the military during the Vietnam War. Nicknamed the ‘black echo’ by American soldiers, it has several entrances from which you can take a tour around a section of the tunnels. If you want to avoid the crowds, venture out a little further to the Ben Duoc entrance. Cu Chi Tunnels (tel: +84 9 1237 9189; www.cuchitunnelstours.com) will get you there in one piece.
Make like the natives and cook like a boss
Vietnamese cuisine is as intricate as it is delicious, so take a course at the Saigon Cooking School (tel: + 84 8 3825 8485) and own the hob like a local. You’ll head to the market to buy the fresh ingredients then work with the chef back at base, before eating the fruits of your labour.