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Must-do activities during long holiday weekend in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, April 29, 2022, 15:38 GMT+7
Must-do activities during long holiday weekend in Ho Chi Minh City
An open-top double-decker bus carries tourists in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City has a wide variety of entertaining options for those who are afraid of a long and tiring trip for the forthcoming four-day holiday honoring Reunification Day (April 30) and International Workers' Day (May 1).

Public workers in Vietnam will enjoy a total of four days off from Saturday to Tuesday to celebrate the back-to-back holidays. 

For those who are already familiar with the bustling scene of the southern hub, a leisurely and slow sightseeing tour from a double-decker bus, a waterbus, or a rooftop café gathering may allow them to experience an entirely different city without having to worry about traffic jams. 

Here are the best choices during the holidays:

Wandering around on a double-decker bus

The double-decker bus service in Ho Chi Minh City, or Hop On – Hop Off, is one of the most popular city tours, beloved by many people.

Travelers on the double-decker bus will be able to see the city's attractions and remarkable historical monuments from a fresh vantage point.

Customers can purchase either one-hour tickets or unlimited tickets during 24 hours and enjoy the ride their own way.

Exploring the city from above

The two most well-known locations for a bird's-eye view of Ho Chi Minh City are the Bitexco Financial Tower in District 1 and Landmark 81 in Binh Thanh District. 

Visitors to Landmark 81 will be wowed by the observatory area located on the top three floors, also known as the Landmark 81 Skyview.

A panoramic view of Ho Chi Minh City from the 81st floor of the Landmark 81 skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

A panoramic view of Ho Chi Minh City from the 81st floor of the Landmark 81 skyscraper in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

The observatory deck on the 81st floor, which is the tower's top floor, is located at a height of 382.65 meters.

With Landmark 81 Skyview, visitors will feel a sense of adventure when staring out into outer space from the 81st level, then challenge themselves to step on the SkyTouch bridge and enjoy a panoramic view of the city from a 400-meter altitude with safety equipment. 

Also, Ho Chi Minh City will introduce a new tourism product allowing travelers to enjoy landscapes by taking flights on tourist helicopters.

Entitled 'Contemplate Ho Chi Minh City From Above,' the service, the first of its kind in the city, is expected to be available as soon as Saturday. 

The Thanh An island commune of Can Gio District, Ho Chi Minh City is shown from a helicopter. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The Thanh An island commune of Can Gio District, Ho Chi Minh City is shown from a helicopter. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

The helicopter will depart from the roof of Military Hospital 175 and take tourists on a tour of the city's landmarks and typical architectural works, including the Phu My Bridge, the Thu Thiem Bridge, the Saigon River, Binh Quoi Tourist Area, Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve, and Tan Lap Tourist Area in neighboring Long An Province.

Waterbus cruise

Traveling on rivers let visitors see Ho Chi Minh City from a different perspective which is more tranquil and relaxing without noise, traffic jams, and dust. 

The waterbus route begins at Bach Dang Wharf in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, where the Bach Dang Wharf Park has recently become a new haunt of youngsters who come to tour the entire wharf and take photos.

A panoramic photo of sunset on Saigon River from the waterbus in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Sunset on the Saigon River as seen from the waterbus in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Passengers on the Saigon River Bus will have the opportunity to explore the city from a unique vantage point, standing at the bow of the ship and enjoying the breeze and sunset.

From the waterbus, tourists will pass by the Saigon Bridge and the Thu Thiem Bridge, allowing them to observe outstanding high-rises such as the Landmark 81 building and the Vinhomes Central Park urban area from afar.

The first waterbus journey starts at 6:30 am while the final one departs at 7:30 pm.

There are twelve excursions every day which includes six departures and six returns, and each waterbus spends three minutes returning passengers. 

Listening to music at rooftop bars

Unlike traditional bars with an enclosed space, Ho Chi Minh City offers a number of rooftop bars featuring live music from local bands for youngsters.

Visitors crowd a rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Visitors crowd a rooftop bar in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

These are actually pubs serving a variety of drinks at reasonable prices. Customers can eat and drink while talking about city life with their friends. 

The most popular are bars with a distant view of the Landmark 81 building. Rooftop bars like these often include a tiny stage for live music.

Visitors can easily find such bars in Thu Duc City, Binh Thanh District, and District 3.

A joyride to Can Gio 

The priceless experience of a journey to Can Gio is standing on the Binh Khanh ferry connecting mainland Ho Chi Minh City and Can Gio Island District, then eagerly driving down Rung Sac Street.

On both sides, there are lush mangroves and bridges that provide a magical perspective of the river.

A visitor poses for a photo at the Can Gio Mangrove Forest in Can Gio Island District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

A visitor poses for a photo at the Can Gio Mangrove Forest in Can Gio Island District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

In Can Gio, visitors can participate in a variety of activities: visiting the clam beach early in the morning, enjoying seafood at Hang Duong Market, visiting Monkey Island, or taking a boat ride along the river, which is flanked on both sides by green mangrove woods.

Local residents catch clam at a beach in Can Gio Island District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quan Nam / Tuoi Tre

Local residents catch clams at a beach in Can Gio Island District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quan Nam / Tuoi Tre

Cycling around the city’s downtown 

Public bike sharing is a relatively new service in Ho Chi Minh City, which is available at 43 locations along the sidewalks around District 1 to facilitate short-distance commuting.

People use the bike sharing service in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

People use the bike sharing service in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Le Phan / Tuoi Tre

Users simply download and install the free TNGO software on smartphones, and bike all the way around downtown Ho Chi Minh City, from Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street to the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, the Municipal Theater, and the Reunification Palace.

Bicycles are equipped with smart locks, GPS navigation, and are unlocked through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections with a mobile device.

The app will assist users in locating the nearest station and will also be used to scan the unlock code.

The cost is VND5,000 for 30 minutes and VND10,000 for 60 minutes. (US$1 = VND22,800)

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) on Saigon River

Surfing stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) on the Saigon River while watching the city's skyscrapers adds a whole new level of uniqueness.

A group of youngsters paddle their SUP in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thanh Huy / Tuoi Tre

A group of youngsters paddle their SUP in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Thanh Huy / Tuoi Tre

To paddle SUP, participants only need to be trained in rowing skills for around 30 minutes before they start. 

Currently, several SUP rowing service points have appeared across Ho Chi Minh City, including Can Gio District, Thanh Da Peninsula in Binh Thanh District, and Anh Sao Bridge in District 7.

Exploring street food

Ho Chi Minh City's street cuisine is equally unique and diverse, with many street food stalls offering wonderful snacks and beverages like tea, milk tea, grilled rice paper, skewers, and more.

People crowd the Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 10. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

People crowd the Ho Thi Ky Food Street in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 10. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre

Alley 76 Hai Ba Trung in District 1, the snack paradise beside Ho Con Rua (Turtle Lake) in District 3, alley 284 Le Van Sy in District 3, alley 200 Xom Chieu in District 4, Phan Xich Long Street in Phu Nhuan District, and Ho Thi Ky Street in District 10 are a few examples of famous street food venues one should not miss in Ho Chi Minh City.

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Linh To - Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

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