I'm no expert on Ho Chi Minh City but I always do my research and plan before I travel. And eventhough I did much more in 1 week that I was there, here are my top 10 things to do (not in sequence) if you ever decides to visit this interesting place.
Google it and you'll realise that HCMC and Ben Thanh goes hand-in-hand. A visit to here is not complete without a visit to this market. Hot, stuffy, cluttered, just walk through the this big market and you'll have a glimpse of everything Vietnamese.
I love night markets. Things just seems more interesting when its in the dark :p. Watch out for rude people as you wander around. Don't forget to bargain and if the sellers result to give you the price you want, walk away There are 10 other shops selling the same things.
No.2 Cu Chi Tunnels
People travel from miles away to visit this place just to understand how small soldiers in a then uncivilized country managed to beat the US army. It's indeed eye-opening and you'll leave this place with new found respect for these small soldiers. Read more here
Oooooo.... eating! A visit to any country is not even considered without trying local food. Pho is a must not missed and for those who do not have prefer soupy food, there are other versions such as beef stew, etc. Try also their Vietnamese rolls, curry dishes (which are unique to ours), broken rice, bbq meat on skewers, vietnamese coffee and ice tea.
No.4 Mekong Delta River Tour
If you have the time, do pay a visit to this part of Vietnam. Its beautiful and you'll get to see locals and thei livelihood. Read more here
No.5 Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
This place brings you through the years of Vietnamese history and you'll learn how they change as time passes by. If history does not interest you, go at least for the architecture which are beautiful, both inside and out. Entrance fee required.
No.6 Notre Dame and Post Office
I'm gonna put this both together as they are just directly opposite each other. You can't visit one without the other. I've been to the Notre Dame in Paris and even though this is significantly much smaller than the original, its impressive just the same. The Post Office is a sight to behold. Walk right in and you'll find yourself in a big hall surrounded by people and a fully functioning post office. (Tip : Money Changer there charges you extra for service. Go to the the Money Changer located on the lower floor of Parkson and you'll get a much better rate and service)
No.7 Reunification Palace
This palace is a landmark in HCMC and in Vietnam history. Many historical moment happened in this place. Pay extra for a tour if you wish but grab a pamphlet instead and be free to discover the place at your own pace. Entrance fee required.
No.8 War Remnants Museum
Visit this place and you'll definately leave with tears in your eyes. See how the war tear its country apart and how the people are affected. Don't miss the prison/torture area just outside the building on your rights as you exit the building. Entrance fee required.
No.9 Water Puppet Theater
We visited the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater located in the middle of HCMC and had a good time. Don't spend your time figuring how the puppeteers move the puppets and enjoy the show. (Tip : Buy your tickets earlier for better seats. Don't take too close to the front as the water might splash on you)
No.10 View from Bitexco Tower
This is an underrated, under visited place. We decided to make a visit after reading some reviews and it was one of the highlight from the trip. Seeing this from up above opens your eyes to a different HCMC. We decided to go straight to floor 51 for drinks instead of paying a high entrance fee for floor 52. No regrets at all. (Tip : Go slightly before 6pm to get 50% of your drinks for Happy Hour. Stay till the lights starts appearing all over the city. It's quite magical)