Looking for a getaway from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam? Whether you’re living in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) or have been traveling in this city for a few days and need a change of scenery, you’ve come to the right place. It’s always good to recharge and feel refreshed after being immersed in the craziness and intense traffic from Ho Chi Minh City.
In this post, we’re sharing 9 of the best day trips from Ho Chi Minh City that we’ve visited and can be easily added to any South Vietnam itinerary. From the Mekong Delta tours to learning about the Vietnam War or even seeing nature, each of these places has its own charm. In addition, we’ll share how to get to these attractions and the cost.
Now let’s read more about these Ho Chi Minh City day trips that we love to visit!
*Disclosure: Headed on a day trip from Saigon? We have affiliate links in this post. If you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Top Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh City
1. Suoi Tien Theme Park
One of the strangest and most unique places that we’ve been to is Suoi Tien Theme Park (Khu Du lịch Văn Hóa Suối Tiên in Vietnamese). If you’re fascinated or want to learn more about the Buddhist culture, then this place is for you. Established in 1995, this cultural theme park has Buddhist statues, dragons, colorful creatures, and shrines throughout the park. You can even make prayers while you’re here.
While most of the park has the typical theme park rides and children rides, there are some hidden gems to see. The highlights include seeing the Nine Golden Unicorn Square, where there are 9 golden unicorns (which look like lions) lined up in an area and the Statue of Avalokiteshvara with its numerous arms. Other activities including swimming at the water park, go-karting, having a fish pedicure (where fish eat the dead skin off your feet), and more.
For the quirkier parts, this place has the Wizarding World of Harry Potter haunted house. However, it has nothing to do with Harry Potter except with the Dobby-like statues in front and may not be suitable for young children. The park also plays Disneyland music on the loudspeakers which is a bit weird to hear yet nice to see Disney’s influences internationally.
Try to visit the park during the Vietnam holidays as there are seasonal parades, such as the Lunar Festival and the King Hung Temple Festival. Or, visit on a weekday to have the whole place to yourself. During off-peak times and weekdays, the park is like a ghost town and it’ll be ideal to take photos without the crowds.
How to Get To Suoi Tien Theme Park
This place is located in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 9 which is about 20 kilometers (12 miles) / 40 minutes from District 1 city center via Grab, taxi, or motorbike.
You can take the local bus #53 nearby Ben Thanh Market which will take you in front of the park. Allocate over 1 hour and 15 minutes for the bus ride.
Adults 120,000 VND ($5.20 USD) and Children 60,000 VND ($2.60 USD). There are additional costs for rides, games, and water park. Click here for more information about the Suoi Tien theme park ticket price.
2. Cu Chi Tunnels
Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels (Củ Chi) is a popular day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. Learn about how the Viet Cong soldiers used the tunnels during the Vietnam War and get a glimpse of their lifestyle in the tight tunnels. It’s impressive how the soldiers navigated and lived in these tunnels for 250 kilometers (155 miles) in length.
There are two popular areas to visit – Ben Dinh and Ben Duoc. With both areas, you’ll watch a short documentary about the tunnels and a guide who will take you to various points along the tunnel including spots with deadly booby traps.
We visited Ben Duoc so we could see and go down the original tunnels that we used during the war. Don’t forget to have someone take a photo of you going down the tunnel! You’ll need to have your hands straight above your head to descend the tunnel. If you’re claustrophobic, you can skip this opportunity.
During your time in the tunnels, you’ll crouch down to slowly walk/hobble to the next destination. It was fun to see the area for medical treatment and the dining area. Watch out for bats that fly in the tunnels!
Once the tour concludes, you can also practice shooting at the nearby shooting range for an additional fee.
Most organized day tours visit Ben Dinh as it’s closer to Ho Chi Minh City city center. If you visit Ben Dinh, the tunnels are a lot wider for the visitors so you won’t need to crouch as low.
How to Get to Cu Chi Tunnels
Cu Chi Tunnels is in the countryside of Ho Chi Minh City. If you have a motorbike, it’s not too difficult to ride there from the city center. Ben Dinh is about 42 kilometers (26 miles) and takes 1.5 hours. Ben Duoc is between 60-68 kilometers (37-42 miles) depending on the route and will take over 2 hours with short breaks.
If you prefer taking an organized tour with hotel pick up, reserve a spot with this affordable tour option:
Adults and Children 90,000 VND ($3.90 USD) (if visiting the tunnels by yourself)
3. Cao Dai Temple
Cao Dai Temple is on our bucket list of places to visit. Since we haven’t been there yet, our friend, Jess from Unearth The Voyage, shares her experience on visiting Cao Dai Temple (Cao Đài).
One of the most interesting day trips to add to your itinerary is visiting a Cao Dai Temple. Caodaism is a monotheistic religion that is a combination of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. The religion was developed in Vietnam and is the 3rd largest religion in Vietnam.
The best part of visiting the temple is watching the laypeople worship as they dress in different color robes according to their status. There are 4 different times of worship throughout the day, 6:00 am, 12:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 12:00 am. During worships times you’ll get the opportunity to hear the monks chanting throughout the temple.
Besides watching the monks worship, taking some time to view the inside of the temple is highly recommended. The temple has ornate structures and paintings everywhere that symbolize different parts of the religion. Having a guide explain everything to you definitely adds to the experience and helps you to not be confused!
There are many different Cao Dai temples you can visit, although one of the most famous ones to visit, Cao Dai Temple- is northwest of the Cu Chi tunnels in the Tay Ninh province. Most people incorporate visiting the tunnels and the temple into one trip since they’re close together.
How to Get to Cao Dai Temple
It’s possible to drive to the Cao Dai temple as it’s only 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the center of Ho Chi Minh.
Most people opt to book a tour through an agency in the city, which includes visiting the tunnels as well as the temple.
Book this full day tour option which combines both of the sights:
If you would like to take public transportation, you can take bus #702 departing from Ben Thanh market heading towards Tay Ninh. You can also take bus #13 to Cu Chi and take a local bus to Tay Ninh.
There is no entrance fee to visit a Cao Dai temple, although visitors are required to wear pants or a skirt that cover your knees.
4. Can Gio
If you’re itching for some wildlife, head to Can Gio’s Monkey Island (Cần Giờ Đảo Khỉ). As a part of Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO recognized area, Monkey Island is known to have thousands of monkeys living here. Although they’re adorable to see, they’re also mischievous. Watch out for them as they’ll take everything anything shiny and sparkly from sunglasses, hats, phones, and even water bottles. Hide everything in your purse or backpack if you visit.
Other opportunities in Monkey Island include taking a speedboat to tour the river, walking through the mangroves area, fishing (more like feeding) crocodiles, and learning about the former Rung Sac Guerilla base which was used during the Vietnam War.
Afterward, head to the Can Gio beach to eat some delicious grilled seafood and shellfish. The beach is unique with black sand, however, it isn’t great for sunbathing due to the high winds.
Read more Can Gio guide for more information about this place.
How to Get to Can Gio
Can Gio is in the coastal district of Ho Chi Minh City. The easiest way is to take a motorbike or rent a car to drive to Can Gio. The distance is between is 55-72 kilometers (34-45 miles) depending on your route. You’ll need to take a ferry at Binh Khanh ferry station from the mainland of Ho Chi Minh City to Can Gio.
You can also take a local bus #20 to Can Gio if departing from Ben Thanh Market, take a ferry at the Binh Khanh ferry station, and then transfer to another local bus #90. More information on the bus route is here.
If you prefer a tour, check out one of the tour options which depart from Ho Chi Minh City mainland.
For Monkey Island if visiting on your own:
Adults and Children 70,000 VND ($3 USD)
Local Prices Adults 35,000 VND ($1.50 USD) and Children 20,000 VND (.90 USD)
Can Gio Beach has free admission.
5. Tan Lap Floating Village
Tan Lap Floating Village (Làng Nổi Tân Lập) is our little secret as one of the best places to take a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. It’s an underrated area and the perfect getaway to embrace nature. Located in Long An, this eco-tourism site is a fun way to walk through the cajuput forests and mangroves trees with water surrounding your walking paths. The area is technically not a floating village where you see houses on stilts, yet it’s still a peaceful area.
As a part of the Mekong Delta, you’ll get to experience a 30-minute boat ride through the Melaleuca Forest and also enjoying the quietness of the mangrove forest. You may even spot some freshwater snails in the water. As you exit the village, partake in traditional folk games with balancing on the wooden beams.
It’s recommended to visit during the lotus season or in September as you’ll see beautiful blooms of lotus flowers in the waters.
Read our Tan Lap Floating Village guide for more information.
How to Get to Tan Lap Floating Village
We visited this place by taking several local buses from the city center of Ho Chi Minh City. The distance is over 100 kilometers (62 miles) and takes over 2 hours to get to this location by bus. Otherwise, you can take a motorbike to this place which will be faster.
Combination ticket has admission, lunch buffet, and boat ride and cost 260,000 VND per person ($11.20 USD).
6. Ben Tre
Vietnam has a plethora of coconuts. Your fresh coconut might have come from Ben Tre (Bến Tre) province which is known to grow a lot of coconuts. What we love about Ben Tre is the opportunity to visit Thoi Son Island (Thới Sơn), which is a tourist destination with smaller islands shared between Ben Tre and My Tho provinces.
During your tour, visit a local coconut candy factory where you get to see the coconut milk mixed with flavors such as durian and peanut, made into the square candies, and wrapped in edible rice paper. We recommend that you get these candies as souvenirs as they are sweet, delicious, and affordable. Try the durian flavor as it’s not too strong (at least for us!)
You’ll get the opportunity to try fresh honey tea and see the beekeeping area, learn about Ông Đạo Dừa, the Coconut Monk who lived off of coconuts, listen to traditional music, and take a boat ride along the Tiền River. Don’t forget to give a small tip to your rowers as we were told that rowers are from poor areas and row as their main job.
Another fun activity is to catch snakehead fish for lunch! You change into brown linen clothes, go barefoot in a pool of muddy water, receive baskets to catch the fish and start catching. It’s much harder than it looks as you can’t see the fish. Depending on where we stood in the pool, we would sometimes sink into waist-deep waters. Our group eventually caught 5-7 fish after the workers helped drained some of the water since we failed with catching anything after 10-15 minutes.
How to Get to Ben Tre
We visited Ben Tre with a small tour group and it’s a recommended way to see the area. Tours may also stop by the neighboring city, My Tho, to visit the famous Vĩnh Tràng Pagoda.
Reserve one of the tours below for your Ben Tre trip:
Driving from the city center to Ben Tre is approximately 86 kilometers (53 miles) and will take over 1.5 hours to get there.
You can also take the bus, such as Futa Bus, which will take 2 hours to get to Ben Tre. However, you’ll need to take a taxi from the bus station to your destinations.
Tours cost between $20-$50 USD depending on the tour operator.
7. Can Tho
Visiting Can Tho in one day is doable with a little bit of planning. Can Tho is a well-known city with one of the best Mekong Delta day trips from Ho Chi Minh City. Check out our Can Tho guide for more details.
The main attraction is the Cai Rang Floating Village which is a fun activity to do in Vietnam. You’ll ride a sampan, a small boat along the Mekong Delta. Observe the hustle and bustle of vendors selling fresh produce and fruits on their boats. Have your rower stop by a floating hu tieu (hủ tiếu) shop to have a bowl of hot noodles for breakfast.
During your tour, you’ll visit a local hu tieu noodle factory to see the process of creating the noodles from steaming the thin sheets, drying, to cutting the sheets to noodle strands. It’s such an eye-opening experience to see life on the river.
For the rest of your day trip, visit one out of many free temples in the central Can Tho area or hang out at the Night Market for local foods and shopping.
If you have the chance, check out the Con Son Ecotourism Area. It’s an off the beaten track destination to see a fishing farm, try seasonal produce, and even make your own Vietnamese snacks such as crepes and pancakes (bánh xèo). It’s a beautiful and quiet island that is run by the locals living on the island. You’ll need to have a tour for the Con Son Ecotourism Area as tour guides are required.
My Khanh Tourist Village is on the outskirts of Can Tho, yet it’s another option to see animals (there are over 500+ crocodiles in the Crocodile Lake), play traditional games, or walk through the gardens.
How to Get to Can Tho
From Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho, it’s recommended to take the sleeper buses. The buses are comfortable as seats are almost lay-flat. Since Can Tho is 150 kilometers (93 miles) away, it’ll take 3 hours including bathroom breaks to get there. We’ve used Futa Bus and Thanh Buoi Bus to and from Can Tho. You’ll need to leave at 2:00 am to make it in time for the Floating Market.
You can also visit the Cai Rang Floating Market via a scheduled tour:
The cost of the ride to Cai Rang Floating Village is between 300,000-400,000 VND ($13-$17 USD) for the entire boat. You can negotiate with the boat sellers along the pier or book a tour.
My Khanh Tourist Village:
Adults 60,000 VND ($2.60 USD) and Children 30,000 VND ($1.30 USD)
8. Buu Long Theme Park
Vietnam loves theme parks! Another quick day trip from Ho Chi Minh City is a visit to Buu Long Theme Park (Khu Du Lịch Bửu Long), located 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the city center of Bien Hoa in Dong Nai province.
This theme park is a good place to get some fresh air, see nature (albeit it’s man-made nature), and enjoy the mini version of iconic landmarks. Highlights include walking along a stone path to take a photo with a waterfall and seeing the Long An Lake which is inspired by the famous UNESCO site, Halong Bay. You’ll see limestone karsts similar to what you’ll see on your Halong Bay cruise. Take a swan boat ride to explore the mini Halong Bay further and pass by a mini version of the Sydney Opera House. During our visit in October, the lotus pond in the area is stunning with the pink lotus blossoms.
Children will enjoy the amenities of the zoo (we didn’t visit this part so we can’t comment on the animals’ quality of life) and kid-friendly park rides.
Depending on how long you want to stay at Buu Long, there is an on-site hotel and a restaurant.
After the theme park, you may consider visiting the Buu Long Pagoda which is a well-known Buddhist temple with the golden stupa. It’s beautiful and not crowded with visitors. Plus, it’s located 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) away from the park.
How to Get to Buu Long Theme Park
Buu Long Theme Park is 30 kilometers (19 miles) away from Ho Chi Minh City. You can get to Buu Long Theme Park by taking the local bus from Ho Chi Minh City. Take the local bus #5 from Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Pasteur to Bien Hoa for an hour. You can find the bus stop locations on Google Maps. At the Bien Hoa bus station, transfer to local bus #7 which will take about 20 minutes. The Bien Hoa bus stops in front of the theme park.
An easier way is to take a Grab car or ride your motorbike which will take you an hour to get to.
Adults 100,000 VND ($4.30 USD) and Children 50,000 VND ($2.10 USD). Click here for more information (website is in Vietnamese only).
9. Chua Chan Mountain
Ready to go hiking and explore the outdoors? If you’re an avid hiker, let’s head to Chua Chan Mountain (Núi Chứa Chan) located in Dong Nai province. It’s the perfect place to escape the craziness of Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy the fresh air. The summit of the mountain is 837 meters high (2,746 feet) and is about 7.5 kilometers (4.6 miles) out-and-back trip. It’ll take about 2.5 hours to complete the hike. Read more about our hiking Chua Chan Mountain experience here.
The entrance to the mountain is unique as you’ll climb up a set of stairs which leads to several smaller pagodas. Many locals take the trek up to the pagodas for offerings and prayers. Along the way, you’ll pass small shops and restaurants selling drinks, fried banana chips (you’ll see many vendors selling these), or Vietnamese food such as bánh xèo. If you need a break, these places also have hammocks. If you prefer not to take the hike up, another option is to take the cable car from the base to the pagoda area (for an additional fee).
After you pass the pagodas, the actual hiking route begins. The dirt path isn’t marked but you can see the worn-down trail. There are some steep parts so be careful when walking up and down these parts.
Once you reach the summit, it’s a beautiful view of the area. Sit on one of the large rocks and enjoy the views and the greenery. Or take a photo with the triangle-shaped landmark that states the height of the mountain on the rock. You deserve to soak in the mountain’s beauty after reaching the top.
We recommend that you wear hiking boots for better traction on the hills, although, running shoes are fine too. The weather is cooler at the mountain peak and the fog does roll in, so you may consider bringing a light jacket if you plan to stay at the top for a while.
How to Get to Chua Chan Mountain
Chua Chan Mountain is 91 kilometers (56 miles) from District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. It’s recommended to drive your motorbike or hire a driver to take you to the base of the mountain. It’ll take over 2 hours to get there by car. Look up “Khu Du Lịch Cáp Treo Núi Chứa Chan, Xuân Trường, Xuân Lộc, Đồng Nai, Vietnam” in Google Maps.
Another option is to take the bus from District 5 to Long Khanh bus station. Make a reservation here. There is a local bus from Long Khanh to Chua Chan and it will drop you off on the road. You can walk up 1.5 miles to the base or hire a motorbike taxi. The bus back to Ho Chi Minh City departs every 30 minutes and ends at 6:00pm.
Adults 14,000 VND ($.60 USD) and Children (ages 6-15) 6,000 VND ($.26 USD)
We hope you’re inspired to visit one of the places on a future or return trip back to Ho Chi Minh City. Since this is a snapshot of where we’ve been, we’re always looking for places near Ho Chi Minh to visit as day trips. On our list is visiting Vung Tau for the beaches and Black Virgin Mountain and Dong Nai province for hiking opportunities. We’ll update this page as we visit more places.
Have you been to any of these places as day trips from Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City? Let us know where you want to visit in the comments below.
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