Deciding against another night train, we flew from Da Nang/Hoi An down to Ho Chi Minh City. From the airport, our Airbnb host had a driver pick us up and take us into town. With tons of traffic and little parking, it is not recommended to rent a car here. There is a network of buses within the city, but the relatively cheap cost of taxi/motorbikes make that your best option.
Where to Stay
Our Airbnb was in a huge high rise apartment complex in district 4 - within walking distance of the main hub of district 1. There are several very nice hotels throughout the city, many with spectacular views. That said, the view from our apartment and the rooftop pool was amazing. Vietnam seems to have fully embraced Airbnb like few places we've been so the range of affordable accommodation options is awesome.
Here you can find many western styled restaurants and shops along with museums. District 4 is known for its seafood street on Vinh Khanh street. Each night crowds of people gather to eat all kinds of seafood at very reasonable prices. Some choose to take a food tour which includes this area. You should note that if you take a food tour, it will probably cost around $50 usd per person. You are literally paying for a local to drive you around on a scooter, one person and passenger per scooter, which is why the cost is so high. We looked up a few things to try and also took advice from the locals. It was a GREAT experience!
Some say that the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is the worst traffic in all of Vietnam. We would say Hanoi had scarier traffic because of the number of scooters whizzing around you. Ho Chi Minh had a lot of traffic, but they were mostly cars and it was much more organized compared to Hanoi. Either way, be careful when crossing the street! Walking within the city is very possible here depending on your destination. Taxis are very popular for getting around, but be sure to set your price before leaving - or agree to use the meter.
Activities in the City
The War remnants museum gave a thorough, though one sided, view of the Vietnam/American War. You can also visit the Independence Palace, formerly the US Embassy, to learn about Vietnamese history. The Cu Chi Tunnels north of the city offered a unique look at how the war was fought and the underground life of the Viet Cuong during the conflict. While very interesting and unique, it was also unfortunately very touristy and did little to honor those who died there.
Ho Chi Minh City is definitely the other main hub of Vietnam along with Hanoi. Skyscrapers fill the horizon while traffic fills the streets. There were all kinds of new trendy restaurants to explore along with traditional street foods and everything in between.