How I spent my weekend in Saigon

If you're wondering how to explore Ho Chi Minh City this weekend off the beaten path, why not spend the weekend like us, the "Saigonese"?

How I spent my weekend in Saigon
Photo by Thái An / Unsplash

Ho Chi Minh City (casually called Saigon) is a thriving and dynamic metropolis. Every weekday, as a local, we rush to work. All we need on weekends is relaxation and stress relief, slowly enjoying each passing moment and recharging our energy. If you're a tourist wondering what to do in Ho Chi Minh City this weekend besides visiting the usual tourist attractions, why not spend the weekend like us, the Saigonese?


🌞 Morning

Weekend mornings are our favorite times. Getting up without a blaring alarm allows you to peacefully observe and admire the city's silence. Let's start with breakfast, and a cup of coffee is a must.

On weekdays, we usually opt for a quick breakfast option, such as Bánh mì or something we can bring along with us. A steaming bowl of noodle soup on weekends is definitely a treat for our stomachs. A large selection of Vietnamese noodle soups is a well-known feature of the country. There is a wide variety of breakfast options on almost every street in Saigon.

The vibrancy of Saigon weekend can be felt in every dish and movement at local eateries. Photo by zingnews.vn

One interesting suggestion is to go out and pick a random local food stall that appeals to you and try their food. The food might not be particularly outstanding, but you can get a sense of the atmosphere of Vietnamese street food and the flavor of our Saigon weekend. Otherwise, selecting a specific place that is highly recommended is also a wise choice. Don't forget to look through our top-pick lists for the best consideration:

For Phở lovers

Top 15 restaurants for best pho in Ho Chi Minh city
Pho is a traditional dish that represents Vietnamese cuisine[https://local-insider.com/10-delicious-traditional-vietnamese-food-you-must-try-while-in-vietnam/] and brings it closer to the global eaters. Discovering a restaurant that sellsthe perfect bowl of best pho in Ho Chi Minh city is an ulti…

Have a thing for Vermicelli dishes?

An ultimate guide to Saigon’s vermicelli dishes
Here’s to your dictionary of “bún”, or rice vermicelli, the simplest base to the most loved dish with endless tasteful combinations in Saigon.

What could be better after breakfast than a cup of coffee? Local coffee is a Saigonese trademark, an irresistible aroma for every morning. Don't miss out on Saigon's coffee even when you are not a coffee lover since there exists the Saigon spirit in the little cup, which we call Cà phê sữa đá (Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk).

We even have a song for the drink. Vietnamese coffee has a strong flavor, with very little sourness, and is mostly rich with fair bitterness, and a slightly sweet aftertaste. Condensed milk is favored to create a unique palate in your mouth. After a long, hurried week, local youth frequently yearn for a relaxing place to sit, replenish, and enjoy good coffee on weekends. Here are some of the best places in Saigon to try our local coffee.

Cà phê vợt Phan Đình Phùng (racquet coffee)

  • Address: 330/2 Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan District, HCMC.
  • Price: 12,000 - 20,000 VND (~$0.50 - $0.80)
  • Opening hour: 6:00am - 9:00pm

Racquet coffee is named after the making tool, one of the ordinary and long-standing techniques of Saigonese. Coffee is manually filtered through a cloth rack, going through many steps to finish an aromatic cup of coffee.

Racquet coffee is a culture of Saigon. Ph oto by sweets.vn

Phan Dinh Phung racquet coffee is an unnamed local coffee house located in a small alley on Phan Dinh Phung Street. This place has been open for over 50 years and is a familiar spot for local elders to gather every Morning. In recent years, when the youth's desire to treasure the nostalgic heritages in Saigon. Phan Dinh Phung racquet coffee house has become more and more busy, bustling with vibrancy and dynamics.

Bin's house coffee

  • Address: 40 Thao Dien Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Thu Duc City.
  • Price: from 55,000 VND (~$2.40)
  • Opening hour: 7:00am - 8:00pm

Bin's is a small coffee shop in Thao Dien that is not particularly well-known but serves as a regular gathering place for Thao Dien residents. Bin's owner roasts and grinds his own coffee beans to ensure the quality and consistency of flavor. Without a doubt, this establishment serves some of the best coffee in town, capable of satisfying even the most grumpy customers. On weekends, when the area is less crowded, you can sit quietly and enjoy the coffee and atmosphere.

An ideal place for coffee lovers. Photo by Bin's owner.‌ ‌

Bin's House Coffee is also pet and child-friendly, as mentioned in our list of the Best kid-friendly coffee shops in Saigon.

Wandering weekends: best kid-friendly coffee shops in Saigon
If you enjoy coffee time and want to bring your children along, here are some kid-friendly coffee shops in Saigon you don’t want to miss.

No more considering what to do in Ho Chi Minh City on weekends. The culinary treasures of this city can take you days to discover. After a laid-back morning with coffee, it's time for local food. Cơm tấm (broken rice) is a significant dish in Saigon that you shouldn't miss.

Cơm tấm - a signature of Saigon. Photo by dulich9.com‌ ‌

Cơm tấm is an affordable option for complete meals and can be easily found from morning to evening. The pork chop is well-marinated and grilled on charcoal until it turns a beautiful brown color. It is served with roasted rice powder-seasoned pork skin, Vietnamese egg meatloaf, and caramelized fish sauce. More cuisines are also available for food lovers to locate, check out our top-pick dishes in Ho Chi Minh City that are loved the most.


🌤 Afternoon

Are you ready for some physical activities? On weekends, Saigonese usually tries to find activities that are both enjoyable and beneficial to their bodies and health after a long working week. The activities listed below are popular weekend activities among local youth these days:

Jump arena - trampoline and active games

  • Address:
  • Him Lam, Inside Vietopia, No.2-4, Street 9, Tan Hung Ward, District 7, HCMC | 8:00 am- 8:oo pm on weekends
  • 875 Cach Mang Thang 8 Street, Ward 15, District 10, HCMC (Inside White Rabbit amusement park) | 9:00 am - 9:00 pm on weekends
Jump arena’s push climbing wall. Photo by Jump Arena Trampoline Park Vietnam Facebook Page.

Jump arena is a trampoline park chain that organizes many trampoline and active games such as push climbing, overcoming obstacles, zipline, bungee jump, etc. This place is a fun kingdom for not only adults but also children to experience, have fun and relieve stress.

Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP)

SUP is a popular outdoor activity that allows you to see Saigon from a completely different perspective. You will feel another aspect of this city, which is tranquil, relaxed, and wide while paddling on the Saigon River and slowly watching the city from an unfamiliar angle.

Admire a tranquil Saigon on the river. Photo by Klook.

You can experience this outdoor activity at:

Go SUP

  • Address: 19, Rach Chiec Street, Phuoc Long A Ward, District 9, Thu Duc City
  • Price: 300,000 - 600,000 VND ($12.70 - $25.30)
  • Operating hour: 7:00am - 7:00pm

Saigon Paddle Station

  • Address: 9A, Tran Van Tra Street, Tan Phong Ward, District 7, HCMC
  • Price: 300,000 - 600,000 VND ($12.70 - $25.30)
  • Operating hour: 7:00am - 7:00pm

Saigon SUP Club

  • Address: 480/89 Binh Quoi Street, Ward 28, Binh Thanh District, HCMC
  • Price: 300,000 - 580,000 VND ($12.70 - $24.50)
  • Operating hour: 6:00am - 6:00pm

🌚 Evening

After completing a physical activity, you should be hungry and crave delicious food. Let's continue our culinary adventure in Saigon. BBQ and hotpot cultures are iconic in Ho Chi Minh City for dinner gatherings on weekends. The city is well known as one of the largest cities in Vietnam with high demand in the tourism industry. Therefore, this place owns a huge collection of diverse BBQ and hotpot restaurants, from Asian to Western-style, from authentic to fusion tastes.

In HCMC, gathering around a charcoal grill at night is an interesting experience. Photo by dulichkhampha24.com

If you enjoy BBQ and beer, our list of the best BBQ restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City will have something for you. Regarding hotpot, beef hotpot or goat meat hotpot are the recommended options. Both types are significantly local, tasty, and nutritious at reasonable prices, check out some popular local hangouts.

Visiting Ho Chi Minh City, you can't miss our vibrant nightlife. Enjoying a cocktail after dinner is a wonderful experience for the weekends. Aside from famous pubs and entertaining clubs, we would like to inspire you to discover Saigon's hidden bars.

These establishments are housed in old buildings or small alleyways, and certainly, surprise customers with their unexpected attraction and mind-blowing creativity in mixology. Photo by Hung Nguyen‌ ‌

🕕 Overnight bonus

If you still have the energy to stay up late, here are some 24-hour coffee shops in which you can spend the night. Coffee tastes different to me depending on the time of day. It's best to take a seat outside, where you can observe the street and pedestrians, gently breathe, and acknowledge another aspect of our Saigon.

  • The Coffee Lab: 53A Nguyen Du Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC
  • Thức Coffee and Đen Đá Coffee: share the same address at 182 Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC