Summer in Vietnam: The 5 Best Places to Vacation Near Saigon

Updated on July 1, 2018
Thomaswanderlust profile image

I'm from Vietnam and have a passion for traveling and writing. I especially love sharing photos of and tips about my beautiful country.

Summer is now! Let's get out of town!
Summer is now! Let's get out of town!

Short Getaway Destinations Near Saigon

Summer is such a great time for walking on the beach and partaking in outdoor activities like camping and hiking. No one wants to stick around a crowded city like Saigon, but where should you go to escape? What should you do once you get there? And what if you only have a short time, say two or three days, to get away?

Don't worry; in this article, I will share five of the most interesting destinations near Saigon—a.k.a. Ho Chi Minh City—that can be visited in a short amount of time. You will also find useful tips to help you enjoy a fascinating summer vacation in Vietnam. It's time to pack up and go!

Out of Town
Out of Town

1. Vung Tau

Saigon in summer can be uncomfortable, with sweltering heat and frequent rain, so let's go to the sea and lie on the beach in Vung Tau!

Vung Tau is the best beachside destination near Saigon, hands down. A tourist hub of Southeastern Vietnam, Vung Tau is situated over a 140-square-kilometer peninsula separated from the mainland by a gulf river called the Co May River. Let's take a two-hour ride by motorbike or car on Highway No. 51A and enjoy this coastal city. Here's a quick at what to see and do in Vung Tau.

Must-See Places
What to Do
Holidays and Festivals
What to Eat/Drink
Jesus Statue
Take photos.
Lễ hội Cá Ông (Whale Holiday)
Banh Khot
Light House
Bathe in the sun and sea.
Kite Festival
Seafood
Nghinh Phong Cape
Stuff yourself with seafood.
World Food Festival Culture
Coffee (in a sea-view café)
Sky Gate
Go sightseeing.
***
***
Where to Go and What to Do in Vung Tau
Click thumbnail to view full-size
It looks like an elevated swimming pool.The city and the sea are in great harmony.Such a rustic sight!Now it's time to fly!Let's pose!A friend of mine is posing for some photos.Me standing with my arms stretched out.Stay with me!
It looks like an elevated swimming pool.
It looks like an elevated swimming pool.
The city and the sea are in great harmony.
The city and the sea are in great harmony.
Such a rustic sight!
Such a rustic sight!
Now it's time to fly!
Now it's time to fly!
Let's pose!
Let's pose!
A friend of mine is posing for some photos.
A friend of mine is posing for some photos.
Me standing with my arms stretched out.
Me standing with my arms stretched out.
Stay with me!
Stay with me!

2. The Mekong Delta: Tien Giang, My Tho and Ben Tre

Known as the Western Region, the Mekong Delta (literally "Nine Dragon River Delta") encompasses a large portion of southwestern Vietnam, where the Mekong River approaches and empties into the sea through a network of distributaries. The region comprises 12 provinces and one province-level municipality (Can Tho).

This region has a tropical climate. The dry season runs from December to April and the monsoon season from May to November. While summer is not the best time to travel here due to heavy downpours, it is still a beautiful destination (as long as you don't mind getting a little wet!).

Sharing the ebb and flow of Mekong River system, Tien Giang and Ben Tre are two neighboring provinces connected by Rach Mieu Bridge on the Tien River (literally the "Front River"). Here are some places to see if you get the chance to visit the Mekong Delta.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Tien River is always opaque with alluvial deposits.Houses on Shore It's about to rain!Such a nice view.People in the Mekong Delta live primarily on the river.A local man is fishing with the Rach Mieu Bridge in the backdrop.The Rach Mieu Bridge connects Tien Giang and Ben Tre.
The Tien River is always opaque with alluvial deposits.
The Tien River is always opaque with alluvial deposits.
Houses on Shore
Houses on Shore
It's about to rain!
It's about to rain!
Such a nice view.
Such a nice view.
People in the Mekong Delta live primarily on the river.
People in the Mekong Delta live primarily on the river.
A local man is fishing with the Rach Mieu Bridge in the backdrop.
A local man is fishing with the Rach Mieu Bridge in the backdrop.
The Rach Mieu Bridge connects Tien Giang and Ben Tre.
The Rach Mieu Bridge connects Tien Giang and Ben Tre.

Visiting My Tho

My Tho—the capital of Tien Giang—has several attractions that you can visit. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • On the outskirts of My Tho is the ornate Chùa Vĩnh Tràng Buddhist temple. Built in the 19th century, this temple boasts an interesting style that mixes European and Asian architecture. There are also giant statues of Budai (the laughing Buddha) and lying Buddha outside.
  • For those who wish to try tropical fruits, take a short boat ride to Thoi Son Island or sail farther up-river to Cai Be floating market.
  • For those who are into archeology, visiting Go Thanh archeological site in Cho Gao District is a must. This place displays many unique findings of the ancient Oc Eo culture.
  • For those who want to see snakes, check in at Dong Tam Snake Farm.

In addition to enjoying the sights of My Tho proper, tourists often take a tour to four nearby islands on the Tien River—Long (Dragon), Lan (Unicorn), Quy (Tortoise) and Phung (Phoenix). There, they can visit fruit gardens and learn how people in the Mekong Delta typically live.

What to Eat in Tien Giang

When it comes to what to eat in Tien Giang, it's impossible to forget banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) and hu tieu (a type of noodle). Though these dishes are now omnipresent in Ho Chi Minh City, they have a special taste in My Tho.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Vinh Trang Pagoda boasts a unique mixture of Oriental and European architecture.Budai statue sits humbly outside in the pagoda.Lying Buddha statue strikes out vividly.And there are plethora of statues in the pagoda yards.Remember to try banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) in My Tho.
The Vinh Trang Pagoda boasts a unique mixture of Oriental and European architecture.
The Vinh Trang Pagoda boasts a unique mixture of Oriental and European architecture. | Source
Budai statue sits humbly outside in the pagoda.
Budai statue sits humbly outside in the pagoda.
Lying Buddha statue strikes out vividly.
Lying Buddha statue strikes out vividly. | Source
And there are plethora of statues in the pagoda yards.
And there are plethora of statues in the pagoda yards.
Remember to try banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) in My Tho.
Remember to try banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake) in My Tho.

Visiting Ben Tre

Ben Tre, over the river from Tien Giang, is full of coconut jungles. Unsurprisingly, it is famous for being a significant producer of coconut candy (kẹo dừa), and in Ben Tre town, visitors can sample these sweets at local coconut candy factories.

The province is crisscrossed by a complex system of rivers and canals, so it's really fun to travel by boat or coracle. You can even sail to the Vam Ho Bird Sanctuary to learn about its native water-dwelling flora and fauna.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ben Tre is such a coconut jungleThanh Phu is a famous beach here in the WestLet's roam about and collect seashells
Ben Tre is such a coconut jungle
Ben Tre is such a coconut jungle
Thanh Phu is a famous beach here in the West
Thanh Phu is a famous beach here in the West
Let's roam about and collect seashells
Let's roam about and collect seashells

3. Can Tho

Also known as Little Saigon, Can Tho is a metropolis with a charming blend of old and new. Visitors can find the architectural styles typical of French colonialism and Chinese influence along with heaps of new, tall buildings scattered around town. Ninh Kieu Port, having long been busy, is now a tourist hub where visitors can hang out on a long, landscaped dock decorated with fascinating and futuristic structures.

After exploring the port, take a boat ride around the harbor for a nice view of the Can Tho stayed-cable bridge and the city at night, which looks as lively as Saigon. For those who wish to escape from such a crowded city, a visit to Binh Thuy Old House is the way to go.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Binh Thuy Old HouseA Newly-Built Pedestrian Bridge at Ninh Kieu PortA boat sailer is awaiting his guests for a boat tour with the Can Tho stayed-cable bridge in the backdrop.The boat dock is lighted with lanterns lending a sense of the past with Chinese influence.A chain of elevated restaurants sits at the end of the pedestrian bridge at Ninh Kieu Port.
Binh Thuy Old House
Binh Thuy Old House
A Newly-Built Pedestrian Bridge at Ninh Kieu Port
A Newly-Built Pedestrian Bridge at Ninh Kieu Port
A boat sailer is awaiting his guests for a boat tour with the Can Tho stayed-cable bridge in the backdrop.
A boat sailer is awaiting his guests for a boat tour with the Can Tho stayed-cable bridge in the backdrop.
The boat dock is lighted with lanterns lending a sense of the past with Chinese influence.
The boat dock is lighted with lanterns lending a sense of the past with Chinese influence.
A chain of elevated restaurants sits at the end of the pedestrian bridge at Ninh Kieu Port.
A chain of elevated restaurants sits at the end of the pedestrian bridge at Ninh Kieu Port.

Cai Rang Floating Market

Do not miss a chance to visit Cai Rang floating market, which has long been an excellent place to buy local fruits and flowers. You must wake up early in the morning to get here by boat because the market often finishes around noon. Bear in mind that the sun in summer is really hot, so a boat ride sometimes turns out to be uncomfortable as the sun reflects off the river.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Each boat has a tall pole with the fruit(s) on sales to inform customers of what it's trading.They mainly sell local fruits from the Mekong Delta.This boat is not only a small shop, but also the house of a small family.Nowadays, this market is disappearing little by little as local people move onshore to live; however, the local government is putting a great deal of effort into maintaining the floating market.
Each boat has a tall pole with the fruit(s) on sales to inform customers of what it's trading.
Each boat has a tall pole with the fruit(s) on sales to inform customers of what it's trading.
They mainly sell local fruits from the Mekong Delta.
They mainly sell local fruits from the Mekong Delta.
This boat is not only a small shop, but also the house of a small family.
This boat is not only a small shop, but also the house of a small family.
Nowadays, this market is disappearing little by little as local people move onshore to live; however, the local government is putting a great deal of effort into maintaining the floating market.
Nowadays, this market is disappearing little by little as local people move onshore to live; however, the local government is putting a great deal of effort into maintaining the floating market.

4. Phu Quoc Island

Known as the Pearl Island of Vietnam, Phu Quoc has long been a popular tourist destination. You can fly here directly from Ho Chi Minh City or elsewhere abroad, or you can take a ride by speed-canoe to get there in three hours (~VND 300k/ticket).

Note: The island is undergoing a traumatic change in its infrastructure, with heaps of buildings and resorts being built. Despite such heavy construction, Phu Quoc still lures visitors with its white-sand beaches and turquoise seawater. Still in need of convincing? The seafood here is the best around!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is the view from Dinh Cau Pagoda—a nice place to visit.Duong Dong Town looks peaceful in the morning.The town looks small from afar.Motorboats are heading back to town.A long dock stretches out to the sea.Passenger boats anchor for some rest.The Top of the Phu Quoc Museum And Nam Thien Quoc Tu (Buddha Pagoda of Southern Sky) Star Beach is home to a long stretch of white sand.A canoe is onshore.This beach is amazing!Such turquoise blue water!A kid lying on the beach cocks his head toward the sea.And the rocky shore offers a nice view point.Let's take a rest for a while and look at this awesome view.Or sit still on the beach to watch the sunset.Remember to stuff yourself with fresh seafood here in the small eatery right in front of Dinh Cau Pagoda!
This is the view from Dinh Cau Pagoda—a nice place to visit.
This is the view from Dinh Cau Pagoda—a nice place to visit.
Duong Dong Town looks peaceful in the morning.
Duong Dong Town looks peaceful in the morning.
The town looks small from afar.
The town looks small from afar.
Motorboats are heading back to town.
Motorboats are heading back to town.
A long dock stretches out to the sea.
A long dock stretches out to the sea.
Passenger boats anchor for some rest.
Passenger boats anchor for some rest.
The Top of the Phu Quoc Museum
The Top of the Phu Quoc Museum
And Nam Thien Quoc Tu (Buddha Pagoda of Southern Sky)
And Nam Thien Quoc Tu (Buddha Pagoda of Southern Sky)
Star Beach is home to a long stretch of white sand.
Star Beach is home to a long stretch of white sand.
A canoe is onshore.
A canoe is onshore.
This beach is amazing!
This beach is amazing!
Such turquoise blue water!
Such turquoise blue water!
A kid lying on the beach cocks his head toward the sea.
A kid lying on the beach cocks his head toward the sea.
And the rocky shore offers a nice view point.
And the rocky shore offers a nice view point.
Let's take a rest for a while and look at this awesome view.
Let's take a rest for a while and look at this awesome view.
Or sit still on the beach to watch the sunset.
Or sit still on the beach to watch the sunset.
Remember to stuff yourself with fresh seafood here in the small eatery right in front of Dinh Cau Pagoda!
Remember to stuff yourself with fresh seafood here in the small eatery right in front of Dinh Cau Pagoda!

5. Tay Ninh Province

Just a two-hour bus ride from Saigon on Highway 22 is Tay Ninh, a province belonging to the Southeastern region of Vietnam. When you come to Tay Ninh, you must visit Ba Den Mountain and Tay Ninh Holy See (a Caodaist temple) or go camping by Dau Tieng Reservoir or Ma Thien Lanh Valley. You can add Moc Bai International Border Gate to your check-in list as well. If you love nature, visit Lo Go-Xa Mat National Park, a nature reserve that is home to diverse tropical plants and wild animals.

This gorgeous area borders Cambodia to the west, Binh Phuoc Province to the north, Binh Duong Province to the East and Ho Chi Minh City and Long An Province to the South.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Black Virgin Lady Pagoda on Ba Den MountainA flight of stairs leads us to hang around The cable car travels up to the pagodaAs you ascend the mountain, the view looks broader and more beautifulLet's dawdle here and there to take photosThe green backdrop makes you look like a jungle guyOr just a lonely guy looking far downwardClimbing up to the mountain peak to welcome the first sunlight sounds awesome to tryAfter descending the mountain, you can pay a visit to Dau Tieng Reservoir to camp or just hang out
Black Virgin Lady Pagoda on Ba Den Mountain
Black Virgin Lady Pagoda on Ba Den Mountain
A flight of stairs leads us to hang around
A flight of stairs leads us to hang around
The cable car travels up to the pagoda
The cable car travels up to the pagoda
As you ascend the mountain, the view looks broader and more beautiful
As you ascend the mountain, the view looks broader and more beautiful
Let's dawdle here and there to take photos
Let's dawdle here and there to take photos
The green backdrop makes you look like a jungle guy
The green backdrop makes you look like a jungle guy
Or just a lonely guy looking far downward
Or just a lonely guy looking far downward
Climbing up to the mountain peak to welcome the first sunlight sounds awesome to try
Climbing up to the mountain peak to welcome the first sunlight sounds awesome to try
After descending the mountain, you can pay a visit to Dau Tieng Reservoir to camp or just hang out
After descending the mountain, you can pay a visit to Dau Tieng Reservoir to camp or just hang out

Where would you like to go this summer?

See results
show route and directions
A markerSaigon -
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
get directions

B markerVung Tau -
Vũng Tàu, Ba Ria - Vung Tau, Vietnam
get directions

C markerTien Giang -
Tien Giang, Vietnam
get directions

D markerCan Tho -
Can Tho, Ninh Kiều, Cần Thơ, Vietnam
get directions

E markerPhu Quoc -
Phú Quốc, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Vietnam
get directions

F markerTay Ninh -
Tây Ninh, Tây Ninh Province, Vietnam
get directions

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Nguyen Hong Phuc

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      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        3 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Thai Tran: many thanks, I will for sure cuz writing is my passion.

      • profile image

        Thai Tran 

        3 weeks ago

        Amazing, man. Keep writing

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Ky Duyen: Yes, I'm writing about your beautiful town now, I love to come back there sometime

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @idol: yeah, you're my idol, so that would be my pleasure to tour you around!

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Boss: I'm sorry, but I finished all my tasks ^^ I'm gonna knock on your door and accept being called on the carpet!

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Teamphuot: yeah, we must go soon! I love hanging out with you guys. @your friend: thank you ^^ I wonder who you are.

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Hasah Momel: I'm not a big fan of local cuisine, that's why I didn't mention much in my blog. Anyway, you should try stewed duck with tofu paste, banh xeo (Vietnamese pancake), foaming coffee.

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Dai Quang: I just write to practice English, how come a non-native English speaker can master this language, well, only by practicing. You should write as well!

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Thomas Tran: Yes, let's have some coffee sometime. I think we will hit it off together right as we meet.

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Dung: You should travel more, don't stick around town while your young time is passing by. Get a ticket and go!

      • Thomaswanderlust profile imageAUTHOR

        Nguyen Hong Phuc 

        4 weeks ago from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

        @Trung BMT: I really appreciate your attention to my writings so far. Yeah, I love traveling and sharing, I'm gonna go farther and write further ^^

      • profile image

        Ky Duyen 

        4 weeks ago

        You told me you were going to write about my hometown, so I'm dying to read that article. Keep me posted as always, bro. You did a great job with this writing. I like it.

      • profile image

        Idol 

        4 weeks ago

        I want to go traveling with you, my dear. Be my tour guide, buddy.

      • profile image

        Boss 

        4 weeks ago

        Tom, you wrote this while working, right? Come report to me in my office now!

      • profile image

        Your friend 

        4 weeks ago

        I dont know what to say, but your blog is worth reading. I like your photos. Keep doing good, bro

      • profile image

        Hasah Momel 

        4 weeks ago

        I'm working in HCMC now for a couple of days, this Thursday I'm going to move to Can Tho. I will visit some places you wrote. Hey, what about local cuisine there? Anything special to eat?

      • profile image

        DaiQuang 

        4 weeks ago

        Hey bro, you did a great job! Wow, beautiful pics, interesting info and excellent English. 'admire ya a lot

      • profile image

        Thomas Tran 

        4 weeks ago

        Hi Tom, I read your article and realize that you got the knack of writing for sure. Even though we have never met in real life yet, I think you would be a good friend. How about having some coffee sometime?

      • profile image

        BichDung 

        4 weeks ago

        Teacher, you really surprise me whenever you post a new article on facebook. I've learned a lot about many places in Vietnam thanks to reading your blog. Go ahead.

      • profile image

        Trung BMT 

        4 weeks ago

        Wow, you wrote so fast! I'm reading the other article about Vung Tau, so there's another spontenuously coming out. How wondrous your skill is. This one is great as usual, and I come to wonder how you can write that much.

      • profile image

        Sonny Young 

        4 weeks ago

        Interesting, bro. Ive stayed in HCMC for a couple of months, but never been to these places, except Vung Tau. Yeah, it's not time to visit Can Tho or Mekong Delta provinces, right? I think I'd rather stay here till the raining season stops. Oops, what if I'd stay that long enough to travel

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