Travel

5 Day Trip Destinations in and around Ho Chi Minh City

If you live in Ho Chi Minh City, then you already know that there’s so much to see in its 24 districts. From temples and parks to modern shopping malls and traditional marketplaces, you simply can’t cover all the essentials in one day. What more if you include the surrounding areas, right?

Nonetheless, it’s very much possible to have a fantastic day trip in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Here are some of the best destinations to visit if you only have one or two days to spare.

Binh Quoi Village

Binh Thanh is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s fastest developing areas, giving it a “rough around the edges” charm. It’s located more or less than 7 kilometers away from central District 1, but it feels farther away due to its authentic and vibrant local aura. Life in this neighborhood is also of a slower pace, making it an ideal destination for a quick but refreshing break.

One of the best places in Binh Thanh to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is Binh Quoi Tourist Village. It’s a sprawling eco-tourism zone, surrounded by lush greenery and quiet waters. Divided into three different sections, Binh Quoi Tourist Village is perfect for a whole day of activities. Binh Quoi 1 has facilities for kayaking and fishing, while Binh Quoi 2 is perfect for sports lovers with its tennis court and swimming pool. Meanwhile, Binh Quoi 3 is the best place to have a delicious meal while enjoying a view of the river.

If you prefer, you can search “hotels Binh Thanh District” or “khách sạn quận Bình Thạnh” to find accommodations near Binh Quoi Tourist Village. This way, you can transform your day trip into a staycation!

Mekong Delta

Located in southern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta or “Dong Bang Song Cuu Long” (Nine Dragon River Delta) is famous for its network of islands, rivers, and swamps. Visiting this region puts you up close and personal with a lifestyle that’s centered on the Mekong River. Indeed, many villages in the Mekong Delta are only accessible by rivers and canals.

More than providing a glimpse into the culture and heritage of southern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta is also a biological gem. It’s home to over 1,000 animal species, including the Laotian rock rat, which has been previously thought extinct. Due to this combination of natural and cultural wonders, the Mekong Delta has become favorite destination of wildlife enthusiasts. Many tours begin at Can Tho, a town in the delta itself, or at Ho Chi Minh City.

Must-try activities at the Mekong Delta include eating the local specialties like coconut candies and elephant ear fish. For experimental eaters with tough stomachs, there are also food stalls that sell culinary curiosities like crickets, rat meat, scorpions, and snakes. Finally, try to catch a cai luong performance. This form of folk opera originated here at the Mekong Delta.

Can Gio Mangrove Forest

The Can Gio Mangrove Forest is a sprawling wetlands ecosystem, located 40 kilometers south of Ho Chi Minh City. UNESCO gave it the name Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve, as it’s also an ecological conservation and wildlife sanctuary. It’s home to numerous rare plants totaling to about 150 different species, including a variety of mangroves. In addition, the mangrove forest is also the habitat of animals like saltwater crocodiles and migratory birds. To date, 3 amphibian, 27 crustacean, 45 fish, and 18 mollusk species have been discovered at the site.

While Can Gio Mangrove Forest is a destination in itself, the sights on the way and surrounding attractions further make the trip worthwhile. You can drop by the Vam Sat eco-site, Monkey Island, and the Rung Sac Guerilla Base. At the latter, you can learn more about the Vietnam War and the strategies that the guerillas used during that time.

Cat Tien National Park

For nature lovers, Cat Tien National Park is the ideal destination. It’s a lowland tropical forest and nature reserve, boasting centuries-old trees and a diverse wildlife. It used to be three separate parks—Cat Loc, Nam Cat Tien, and Tay Cat Tien—but they were merged in order to accommodate the breeding of the Vietnamese Javan rhinoceroses that have been discovered in the area. Other animals you can see in Cat Tien National Park are gibbons, langurs, Asian elephants, sun bears, and sambar deer. The most impressive aspect of the park, however, are its botanical treasures numbering up to 1,610 individual species.

Aside from the impressive number of plants and animals, Cat Tien National Park also has plenty of recreational trails for those who love trekking. There is also an ape rehabilitation centre, breeding grounds for Siamese crocodiles, and forest conservation projects housed in the park.

Located northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the journey to Cat Tien National Park takes about 3 or 4 hours. You may want to make it a two-day trip so you can explore the area more. There are plenty of accommodations in the park itself, allowing you to watch and be closer  to nature. 

Cu Chi Tunnels

Those interested in history will find the Cu Chi Tunnels fascinating. This network of underground tunnels is a key element during Vietnam’s fight for independence, both from the French and the Americans. They served as delivery routes for supplies and weapons, as well as headquarters for developing battle strategies. They were even used to launch sneak attacks.

There are two sections of the tunnel open for tourists: Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. The first of these, Ben Dinh, served as the base of the Cu Chi District Committee. This is located closer to the city center and is ideal for those who have limited time to explore. If you have more time to spare, Ben Duoc is certainly worth the extra 20 kilometers. Ben Duoc served as the headquarters of the Saigon-Cho Lon-Gia Dinh military zone. Ben Duoc is largely unaltered, which means you’ll have a more authentic experience. It’s also less touristy compared to Ben Dinh. Whichever section you end up visiting, remember that these are very small, enclosed spaces that may cause claustrophobia attacks.

Are you ready for that southern Vietnam day trip you’ve always dreamed of? We hope that this list has helped you decide what to do the next time you get to visit this exciting part of the country!