Top Day Trip from Ho Chi Minh City + 8 Other Great Options

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Are you looking for a great day trip from Ho Chi Minh City? This guide has the best place to check out, plus a bunch of other ones if you have more time!

While I love Ho Chi Minh City, the nature of Vietnam is what really impressed me and made me want to go back! To see the fantastic scenery of Vietnam, you need to escape the capital city for a few days!

Most people visit the Mekong Delta, as this is the best day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. It’s beautiful, and you can see how many locals live and work. 

If you’re ready to see why you must visit the Mekong Delta and a few other amazing Ho Chi Minh day trips, this guide has all the details you need to make your time in Vietnam something you’ll never forget. 

woman sitting on a small boat sailing through the mekong delta, day trip from ho chi minh

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Visiting Ho Chi Minh City

As the capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has tons of things to see and do. The city has a lot of history, so you’ll find endless museums and galleries to visit. 

Saigon is also exceptionally well known for its incredible street food scene. Local vendors whip up traditional dishes for just a few dollars. 

There are also dining establishments that serve local food if eating street food makes you nervous! Unlike Thailand and Cambodia, I never got sick from getting local street food here!

After you’ve had your fill of the culture and food in Saigon, here are the best Ho Chi Minh day tours not to miss!

1. Ride a Boat in the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is an absolute must for people who only have time for one Ho Chi Minh day trip. If you have extra time in your itinerary, I recommend doing a two-day tour where you spend the night near the delta. 

During a tour of the Mekong Delta, you can take a peaceful boat ride through islands, rivers, and swamps. Along the way, you’ll see many locals passing by in their boats, which is this area’s main form of transportation. 

The guide can also stop along the way as locals in other boats and on the shore sell fruits, souvenirs, and traditional Vietnamese products that are great for buying and taking home. 

If you’re short on time, check out this day trip that visits the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Tunnels!

woman sitting on boat with small motor sailing towards houses on stilts in the mekong delta

Getting to the Mekong Delta 

The best way to get to the Mekong Delta and experience it is by booking a tour. With a local guide, getting a boat to go through the delta is easier. 

Without a tour, you also don’t have the option of taking a shuttle to the delta, so you must take a series of buses that are often overcrowded and often late. 

2. See the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve 

Are you interested in seeing one of Vietnam’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites? The Can Gio Biosphere Reserve is stunning and just two hours away from Saigon. 

The main attraction here is being able to see the stunning mangrove forests. Among the forests, you’ll also see tons of animal species. 

If your main goal with taking a Ho Chi Minh day trip is to see some of the nature that calls Vietnam home, the reserve is one of the best places to go. 

You can also go on a tour to see this incredible area, including Monkey Island!

beautiful orange and purple sunset, water in the can gio biosphere reserve, ho chi minh day tours

Getting to the Can Gio Biosphere Reserve 

Many travelers who prefer to travel without an official tour come to the biosphere reserve because it’s easy to get to without a guide or shuttle bus. 

All you need to do is take a public bus to the Binh Khanh Ferry Station. These buses are easy to catch and well-labeled at the bus station outside Ben Thanh Market. 

Once at the ferry station, you catch another bus to Can Thanh. Make sure to get off at Lam Vien Can Gio. The bus will take about an hour and a half. 

3. Climb Black Virgin Mountain

In Vietnamese, you’ll hear about this mountain called Ba Den Mountain. It’s three hours from Ho Chi Minh and is best known for being the tallest mountain in Southern Vietnam. 

Don’t worry; it’s only 3,280 feet tall (1,000 meters) despite being one of the tallest mountains in Vietnam. 

You can take a day hike to reach the top. It takes about 5-7 hours. Some steep parts require crawling over some big rocks, so I recommend the hike for experienced hikers. 

If you’re not an avid hiker, you can take the gondola to the temple on the mountain. It’s not at the top, but the views are still stunning. 

pagoda on black virgin mountain, stairs going to a small terrace with many people going up them, mountains and trees in the distance

Getting to Ba Den Mountain 

Ba Den Mountain is another day trip from Ho Chi Minh City, where booking a tour is the easiest and fastest way to get to the mountain. If you don’t want to book a tour, you’ll need to rent a scooter or a car. 

Getting here by public transport requires several buses, and the journey takes much longer as you wait for each bus. 

4. Experience Cao Dai Temple 

This temple is unique because it was built in 1955, so it’s not an ancient temple like many others located around Vietnam. 

Most people have also never heard of the religion is honors called Caodaism. It has roots in many well-known religions, though, including Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity. 

Most people visit this temple simply because it’s so unique. It’s built more like a church rather than a temple, complete with aisles and benches leading to an altar. 

However, the temple also has Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed statues. Simply put, there is no temple like this anywhere worldwide, making it a must-visit. 

cao dai temple, yellow and blue temple with clear blue skies in the background, day trips from ho chi minh city

Getting to Cao Dai Temple 

Many tours combine this temple visit with the Cu Chi Tunnels since they are very close. You can book a full-day tour to both places and visit two-day trip destinations in one day!

If you’re interested in going on your own, you can catch a bus from Ho Minh City to Tay Ninh. This bus runs on the 702 line. The bus ride usually takes about an hour and a half. 

5. Lounge on the Beach at Vung Tau 

If you want to explore the beach while in Vietnam, Vung Tau is an amazing destination, and it’s only two hours away by ferry from Ho Chi Minh City. Many locals come here on the weekends when they have free time. 

While you can go on the weekends and meet locals, going during the week is better because you can avoid all the crowds. 

There are many beaches in Vung Tau, but Bai Sau is the nicest. Plan to spend a whole day here if you’re a total beach bum like me. 

If you get bored of the beach, there are many different landmarks you can check out, including Whale Temple

beach at vung tau, small boat sitting in the water, trees along the shoreline with clear and blue skies in the back, day trip fro ho chi minh

Getting to Vung Tau 

You can take a ferry ride down the Saigon River from the public ferry station in Ho Chi Minh City. There is also the option to ride the bus, but I don’t recommend this as it takes longer and you’ll want to spend as much time on the beach as possible. 

6. Sail Around the Tan Lap Floating Village 

If you want to see a floating village while in Ho Chi Minh City, this isn’t actually the place you should visit! Since conservation efforts began a few decades ago, the area has stopped being a real floating village and is now a nature reserve. 

You can still take a boat down many of the waterways though, to see all the natural habitats, including beautiful water lilies and huge melaleuca trees. 

If you’re not afraid of heights, make sure to climb up the watchtower for the best views of the forest. It’s about 125 feet tall (or 38 meters). 

Getting to Tan Lap Floating Village 

I do not recommend public transport here unless you’re experienced in public transportation in other countries. You have to change buses three times, which can be complicated and time-consuming. 

Instead, book a tour and get there in only about 2 hours. 

7. Explore a Genuine Floating Village at Cai Be Floating Market 

Now, for those who want to see an actual working floating market and village where locals still live, Cai Be is the best place to go. The town of Cai Be is unique and doesn’t have many tourists. 

Once you reach the town, it’s easy to find the floating market, as you’ll see the river and tons of boats floating around. You can buy many different goods, including fruits and locally made souvenirs. 

Other than that, there isn’t much to do unless you book a tour, like taking a local cooking class or a tour to visit one of the nearby orchards. 

There are also a few places to rent a bike and kayak. Then, you can go around on your own and explore. 

Getting to the Cai Be Floating Market 

I recommend booking a tour unless you want to take many different buses. They can also arrange extra activities for you in the village, which can be hard to do on your own. 

8. Crawl Through the Cu Chi Tunnels 

I recommend this Ho Chi Minh day trip for everyone interested in learning about the Vietnam War and the way of life for the Viet Cong soldiers. The tunnels are a huge maze where the soldiers hid during the war. 

They were also used to get supplies from one group of soldiers to the next. While the tunnels are extremely claustrophobic, the Vietnamese soldiers made them their homes, even building beds and hospitals. 

While visiting the tunnels, you can walk through them and see how the soldiers lived their day-to-day lives during the war. 

entrance to one of the cu chi tunnels, small pavilon with supplies, covered entrance to one of the tunnel holes, ho chi minh day tours

Getting to the Cu Chi Tunnels 

You can reach the tunnels in many different ways. Many people opt to book a tour, but you can also rent a motorbike and drive yourself to the tunnels. 

Bus 13 from Saigon also takes you directly to the tunnels for those looking for the cheapest transport option to get here. 

If you’d rather take a tour, check out this well-rated one!

9. Enjoy Wildlife at Cat Tien National Park

While researching Vietnam, you have probably seen some amazing jungle photos. Of course, you won’t find them in Ho Chi Minh City, but you’ll find them at Cat Tien National Park. 

There is also tons of wildlife here, including leopards and elephants. It’s a huge nature and wildlife reserve where you can experience the country’s biodiversity. 

You can visit the animal rescue center in the park, where injured animals are being rehabilitated before being released back into the wild. 

A few hiking trails are also labeled throughout the park if you want to bring your hiking shoes and get active. 

Getting to Cat Thien National Park

Since the park is four hours away, you’ll need to get up early to make this day trip. If possible, try spending the night. If you don’t have time to overnight, you can definitely still come here, but it’ll be a long day. 

I recommend renting a car and driving here as it’s the fastest option. 

Don’t Miss These Fantastic Day Trips From Ho Chi Minh City! 

Which Ho Chi Minh day trip are you most excited about? Vietnam has so many things to experience outside of the enormous city of Ho Chi Minh. 

Luckily, some of the best places are just a few hours or less away from Saigon, making it super easy to visit a few!

Are you heading to Vietnam soon? Which of these tours are you going to choose?

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