What to do during layover in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh city is a really impressive and nice city. Despite its rapid modernization, it still has many historical buildings and they are really well-maintained. The followings are places that I visited alone during our fourth day in Ho Chi Minh city. I had a me-time walking tour while Amira rested in the hotel. These are also places that you can visit if you have a layover in Ho Chi Minh city.

What to do if you have a layover at Ho Chi Minh city?

Visit Ho Chi Minh city Museum during your layover at Ho Chi Minh city

Ho Chi Minh city Museum is a former palace known as the Gia Long Palace. It was built in 1885 as the former residence for the Governor of Cochinchina. It is situated near to the Independence Palace. If you visit the museum, do check out the underground tunnels. Underground tunnels are one of the important aspects in pre-war Vietnam. The usage is to help officials escape in case a coup happened.

The Independence Palace

Just beside the Ho Chi Minh city Museum is the historical Independence Palace. Formerly known as the Norodom Palace, this palace was built as a home and workplace for the former President of South Vietnam. It is a very informative museum because almost all exhibitions are arranged to show how it was during the functioning days of South Vietnam. If you visit the Independence Palace, do check out the War Room and the Communication Room as well as the underground tunnels.

Still have time during your layover at Ho Chi Minh city? Visit the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon

Its official name is Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception . The cathedral was built in the 1800s. The design of the cathedral is similar to the cathedrals in France. Until today, the Cathedral is still in use. I love the tranquility inside the Cathedral when I went there. There are also tiles showing some of the people who had donated to the maintenance of the historical Cathedral. Make sure to visit the Notre-Dame of the East during your layover at Ho Chi Minh city.

Saigon Central Post Office

After the Cathedral, you can walk down the road just a bit and you will reached the Saigon Central Post Office. The post office, also built in the 1800s boasts architectural designs of different themes. If you visit the Post Office during your layover at Ho Chi Minh city, do send a postcard or two to your friends and families. I sent to myself and received it a few weeks after my return!

Ho Chi Minh City Hall

A walk along the main road back to the Ben Thanh Market, you will see an elegant building near a beautifully-curated square. It is the Ho Chi Minh City Hall. In 1975, the name changed to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. The building is not open to the public but it is a great place for you to take photo before you head back to the airport after your layover at Ho Chi Minh city.

Eat local food!

After the walking tour and before heading back to the airport, it is best if you visit any local restaurants and taste some local food. Since Amira and I had beef pho for a few times already, on our last day, we tried Vietnamese spring rolls. So refreshing and tasty!

Do Some Shopping!

Since it is just a layover and you might coming back, why not visit some markets such as the Ben Than Market first. Souvenirs are abundance together with local coffee beans which tasted amazing. At least buy something as memories of your layover at Ho Chi Minh city.

Bye Bye Ho Chi Minh City

After your walking tour, you can head back to the airport and wait for your connecting flight out. If you need a place to stay while waiting for your next flight, check this out. Safe travel!


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We are Khai and Amira, Malaysian travel bloggers behind Kaki Jalans. Our travels have taken us to almost all the countries in Asean and several countries in Europe. We are still actively travelling and adding to this list.

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