Budget Travel Ideas in Ho Chi Minh City

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Ho Chi Minh City is an inexpensive holiday destination that is relatively less touristy and features several museums, pagodas, monumental buildings and heritage structures that don’t cost a lot to see. The non-fussy eateries and comfortable albeit affordable accommodations make Ho Chi Minh a budget visitors’ paradise. Here are some super travel ideas to enjoy the Vietnamese city on a no-frills budget.

Budget Transport


If you are lucky enough to be in the city on Sunday night, hire a bike and join the crowd for ‘di cho’ - a sort of a party on wheels, where hundreds of bikers ride through the city alleys and sidewalks till dawn. A nice idea to savor the spirit of the city without burning a deep hole in your pocket.

The cheapest mode of commuting in the city, apart from doing it on foot, is to ride one of  the colorful green local buses that ply through a well-connected network all over the city and cost very little. They are comfortable, less crowded, economical and safe. It is important to check the bus timings beforehand, since they run only at certain hours of the day.

Hailing a bike taxi or car taxi is also an inexpensive affair and doesn’t cost more than 10 dongs per kilometer. Visitors can also rent bikes for as low as 110 dongs for a 100-110cc machine from the Pham Ngu Lao district.

Budget Sightseeing and Activities

There are several sightseeing options in Ho Chi Minh City that are free or cost close to nothing to visit. The Reunification Palace is an elegant structure with an impressive history. The War Remnants Museum costs 15 dong for entry and is a nice place to view relics of the Vietnam War. There is a Museum of Vietnamese History and Notre Dame Cathedral, along with innumerable pagodas and temples that are free to visit. One of the other nice budget ideas is to get a hair wash, pedicure and manicure at one of the Vietnamese Salons that are famous for their expert beauty services. All the above mentioned services will put you back by a mere 8 dong.

Budget Shopping

The Cho Ben Thanh market has items ranging from ceramic figurines, kitchen ware, fabrics, carpets, bags, shoes, fresh flowers, t-shirts and more, available at dirt cheap prices. The Saigaon Square is also a good place for bargain-hunting. For cheap electronics, visit the Huynh Thuc Khang region.

Budget Eating

One of the biggest attractions of the city is eating cheap and delicious oriental and international cuisine off the street-side food stalls. Visitors can find authentic and reasonably priced fare at food carts spread around the Ben Thanh market. Some of the most famous budget eating haunts are the Pho 24 chain, Dong Ba, Faifo, Doner Kabab and Café Lam.

Budget Accommodation

The Pha Ngu Lao region in District 1 is a popular backpacker’s zone, along with Bui Vein. There are mini-room hotels on tucked away alleys and lodges near the Ng Thai Hoc Street. Some of the best places for budget accommodation are the Blue River Hotel at District 1, Duna Hotel at Pha Ngu Lao, Rainbow Hotel, Xuan-Spring Hotel, Hanh Hoa Hotel, Ngoc Minh hotel, An Phuong Hotel and a range of properties around Pha Ngu.

Ho Chi Minh City is true value for money destination that offers several enjoyable travel ideas for budget tourists.
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