Ho Chi Minh City is not particularly known for its day trips. Those who choose to visit Vietnam’s bustling capital, often never actually leave the city. The majority will simply head north toward Hanoi, where the mountainous countryside offers a wide variety of day trips and activities. However, little do many know, Ho Chi Minh City is actually surrounded by a range of different things to do and see, including some incredible nature and unique scenery.
All of which can be completed in a day or part of a short trip from the city center!
Located in the south of the country, Ho Chi Minh City is surrounded by vast deltas, lush green countryside, and coastal cities. Visitors looking for an escape from the concrete jungle have a number of different day trips to choose from.
Ho Chi Minh City’s vibrant, exciting and chaotic atmosphere appeals to many. However, over time (as little as two days) the city can become overwhelming. In addition to this, pollution is an increasing issue in Vietnam’s major cities. In this post, we will highlight our favorite day trips to help you escape Ho Chi Minh City. And make the most of your time in the beautiful South of Vietnam.
Top 5 Day Trips From Ho Chi Minh City
1. Cat Tien National Park
Located only 150km north of Ho Chi Minh City, Cat Tien National Park is an ideal escape from the city streets. Here, tourists have the opportunity to switch the concrete jungle for a green and lush tropical forest. This national park sprawls across approximately 720 km squared. And today, it is one of Vietnam’s largest areas of protected lowland tropical forest.
Inside the park, tourists are able to explore a highly protected tropical forest, alive with wildlife. You can embark on one of the many treks with a tour guide. And even search for wild gibbons, deer, crocodiles, snakes, and bulls. In addition to seeing animals in the wild, visitors can see bears and primates in the park’s two rescue centers.
Visitors should also pay close attention to the trees, as the park is also home to a wide range of tropical birds. One of the best ways to see some of the park’s most colorful birds is from the river. Boat tours run along the river throughout the day. And, the more adventurous wanderers can choose to take a kayak along the river.
The park itself is a 4-5 hour motorbike or bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City.
Due to travel time, visitors should spend at least one whole day and evening in Cat Tien National Park. There are a number of different homestays and lodges located next to the river. Which make for the perfect homes for a couple of days.
If you’re craving a bit of fresh air and an insight into Vietnamese nature, Cat Tien National Park is the perfect day/short trip for you.
2. Black Virgin Mountain (Núi Bà Đen)
Black Virgin Mountain stands above its surroundings, 100km North of Ho Chi Minh City. The mountain itself serves as an ideal day trip from the city center. It gives tourists the opportunity to breathe fresh air and soak up some of the finest Vietnamese countrysides.
The Black Virgin Mountain stood strong during the Vietnamese American war and was home to battle throughout this time. Many who visit the mountain are able to indulge in history and learn about the battles that were fought around it. The mountain itself is, in fact, an extinct volcano, which stands at an impressive 996 meters. It rises from the surrounding Vietnamese farmland, as if from nowhere.
Today, the Black Virgin Mountain is a tourist attraction, made famous by its theme park and numerous beautiful temples. It is extremely popular with Vietnamese and foreign tourists alike. Those who visit have the opportunity to hike to the top or take a cable car. The top of the mountain offers incredible views across the beautiful Vietnamese countryside, that appear to go on for miles.
At only two hours from the city center, the Black Virgin Mountain is an easy short or day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.
3. The Mekong Delta
The Mekong Delta is one of the most popular day trips from Ho Chi Minh City center. Every tour company in the city runs daily tours to the region, which starts only 70km outside of the city. These day tours are your best option for seeing the Mekong Delta in only one day. Most tours leave Ho Chi Minh City in the early morning and will return in the afternoon.
The Mekong Delta itself is made up of a vast maze of rivers, coconut palms, and mangroves, which are all located south of the Ho Chi Minh City. Due to this, the area is home to various floating markets, beautiful Vietnamese countryside, rice paddies, and islands. The Mekong Delta spreads across an impressive 40,500 km squared! Tourists who would like to venture further should consider a 2-3 day boat tour of the region.
Due to the areas stunning natural beauty, thousands of tourists travel to Vietnam every year to visit. Located only 2-3 hours outside of Ho Chi Minh City, it is an ideal day trip for visitors. Floating under the coconut palms on a traditional Vietnamese fishing boat is truly a magical experience.
4. Vung Tau
The coastal city of Vung Tau, Ho Chi Minh City’s neighbor, is only a two-hour drive from the city center. Located less than 100km away, the city serves as a perfect day trip. In addition to this, tourists also have the option to go by ferry. Ferries leave from Ho Chi Minh City high-speed ferry terminal every day. These ferries serve as a glorious boat trip and a great way to see the deltas outside of the city.
The city of Vung Tau itself almost looks as though it is on an island, because of the shape of the land. When arriving by boat, the ferry docks north of the city center. The city beach itself does leave something to be desired. But don’t let this put you off. There are a number of affordable medium to high-end resorts where you can chill by the ocean.
The city is also famous for its large statue of Christ, which stands on the hillside, looking out to sea. Visitors are able to walk up the 700 steps to the base of the statue, whilst soaking up some fantastic views of the city. Following that, you can use the remainder of your energy to climb through his body to get an amazing view from his arms. The view out to the wide, vast ocean is glorious!
If you’re looking for easily accessed sea air outside of Ho Chi Minh City, this is the perfect day trip for you!
5. Cần Giờ Mangrove Forest
The mangrove forest, nestled within the area of Can Gio, sits only a two-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. This largely protected UNESCO site is home to some of Vietnam’s most tropical nature. The forest spreads across a whopping 75,740 hectares and is home to a number of rare species and interesting wildlife. Due to its location, Can Gio is the perfect day trip from the polluted streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
Visitors are able to explore the area at their own will or as part of an organized tour. One of the most popular way to see the mangroves is by boat. As a result, tourists have the option to view the mangroves by speed boat or rowing boat. A fantastic way to experience the unique forest.
Can Gio Mangrove Forest is mostly famous for its very own Monkey Island. This particular area of the forest is home to both monkeys and saltwater crocodiles. Making it the ideal place to soak up some fresh air, nature, and wildlife.
This Mangrove Forest is an idyllic way to spend a day outside of the city. Whilst also experiencing some of Vietnam’s most unique scenery and wildlife.
Day Trips From Ho Chi Minh City by Motorbike
All of the day trips from Ho Chi Minh City listed in our post can be completed through tour companies. However, visitors who want to make the most of their time in Vietnam should consider exploring on two wheels. A motorbike gives you the freedom to explore this beautiful region at your own pace. Allowing for time to stop when you want and spend extra time in places that you love.
There are a number of different horror stories about renting a motorbike in Vietnam. However, renting a motorbike in the South of Vietnam isn’t as scary as you might think. Although the roads in Ho Chi Minh City are overcrowded, the rules of the road tend to be adhered to. Police also have a strong presence in the city. As a result, locals are more cautious and accidents can be avoided.
At RentABike, we encourage all of our customers to take all the precautions they can when renting. Our team is on hand to help at all times and ensure that you have ongoing support. Helmets are provided for short term rentals and pollution masks are available to buy in all of our stores.
If you have any concerns about exploring Vietnam by motorbike, please feel free to contact a member of our team.