Visiting Ho Chi Minh for First Time: Which District to Stay

Are you planning a trip to Ho Chi Minh (also known as Saigon) and wondering which district is the right one for your first stay in this vibrant city?

The city is divided into 24 districts, each with its own unique charm. With so many choices, it can be overwhelming for first-time visitors to decide which district is the best to stay in.

Districts 1, 2, 3, and 5 are known for their historic landmarks, tourist attractions, and points of interest. Amongst backpackers and globetrotters, District 1 reigns supreme.

If you’re not sure which district of HCMC will be most suitable for your trip and what to expect when you get there, we’ve got the answers right here.

Read on as we take a look into each area and provide tips on where best to base yourself while visiting Ho Chi Minh City!

District 1 – Center of Ho Chi Minh City

Welcome to District 1, the perfect spot for history buffs and party animals. Here’s why:

  • Iconic landmarks, museums, and renowned restaurants can be found here.
  • Check out the War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace, and Notre Dame Cathedral for a glimpse of Vietnam’s rich history.
  • Feeling peckish? A buzzing nightlife scene offers cheap beers and delicious street food.
  • Crowds can be overwhelming, but this is a great place to stay for tourists!

Now, isn’t that enough to get you excited about exploring District 1?

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District 7 Perfect for Families

Photo by Huy Hung Trinh on Unsplash

District 7 is located in the southern part of the city, only 20 minutes away from the city center.

  • Modern residential area with plenty of new shopping malls and parks
  • Less tourist-packed than District 1, perfect for families looking for a quieter experience
  • Family-friendly attractions nearby such as Starlight Bridge, Phú Mỹ Bridge, Lawrensting Park, Vietopia Amusement Park


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District 3 

District 3 lies just south of District 1, and is primarily a residential area. But that doesn’t mean it’s boring. In fact, quite the opposite! District 3 boasts a number of stunning attractions, including Tan Dinh Church – which is a must-visit for architecture fans, the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda – a cultural gem of the city, and Con Rua Lake Park – the perfect place to unwind on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Don’t underestimate this district as it’s just as bustling as District 1!

  • A perfect starting point for tourists to explore other districts and popular attraction spots in Ho Chi Minh city.
  • Check out ancient architectural works, especially from the French colonial era, such as old villas on Tran Quoc Thao street, Ba Huyen Thanh Quan street, and Tu Xuong street.
  • Home to some of the best Vietnamese food in the city and is a great place to try local street food
  • Good location if you’re on a budget or looking for a mid-range accommodation.
Photo by Ryan Rockerfeller on Unsplash

District 5 – Chinatown

District 5 is home to a large Chinese community and is known as the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City. If you are looking to dive deeper into Chinese culture or immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Chinatown, there’s no better place to visit than District 5.

Some of the top attractions in District 5 include:

  • The Bà Thiên Hậu Temple: This temple is dedicated to the goddess of the sea and is one of the oldest and most important temples in District 5.
  • The Tam Son Pagoda: This pagoda is located in the heart of Chinatown and is a popular place of worship for locals.
  • The Bình Tây Market: This market is one of the largest and most popular markets in Ho Chi Minh City. It is a great place to buy fresh produce, spices, and other goods.
  • The An Đông Market: This market is known for its textiles and handicrafts.

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