If you’re not a fan of busy, bustling cities, you might like traveling outside of Ho Chi Minh City more than staying in the city.
While there’s a ton to do in HCMC, there’s just as much to see around the city. And leaving usually takes you somewhere with a slower pace of life! Whether you like relaxing, nature, culture, or adventure– there are different weekend trips from Ho Chi Minh City to help you escape and experience something new.
After exploring Vietnam with my close friend’s family for a couple months, here are a few of my favorite weekend trips from Ho Chi Minh City!
PS: If you need help planning your activities when you’re in Ho Chi Minh City, check out the HCMC section in my 10 day Vietnam itinerary.
In This Post
But first, how do you get around to these different places?!
Backpacking in Vietnam is incredibly popular and relatively easy/cheap. Check out this post for a comprehensive guide on backpacking in Vietnam.
For getting around between cities, many people rent motorbikes, which is a really fun way to explore Vietnam- especially if you’re traveling solo and potentially if you’re on a budget. For more information, check this post out.
If you are tighter budget, check out the bus system. I haven’t used this personally, but my super ultra budget friends loved it for getting around all over Vietnam. Read here for more info.
Since we were traveling with a bigger group of all ages (young kids, grandparents, etc) from the area, we usually rented a car with a driver who took us around. Splitting the cost with 8 people, the most I ever paid including tip was $20 USD. If you’re interested in doing this but don’t have someone local helping, read more details here.
And for a couple of these, you’ll need to fly to make it a weekend trip. We usually flew Vietnam Airlines which was highly recommended to us by friends living there, and we had great experiences with them. Like, even on a 45 minute flight, we got full service meals!
Best weekend trips from Ho Chi Minh City for…
And now, for what you’re actually looking for.
For people who just want to relax
Bình Châu Hot Springs
Distance from HCMC: ~96 km
After a few weeks of being in the lively, smoggy city, escaping to the natural hot spring resort in Binh Chau is my favorite way to rejuvenate.
The legend behind the hot springs is that a wife was waiting for her husband’s return, but he didn’t come back. In her anger, she threw a pot of boiling water, which then created different hot springs and then she became the goddess of boiling water. Note: I read this from a sign there.
Thank goodness the springs exist because it’s perfect relaxing in the hot water, exfoliating in the mud bath, and playing around in the pool. Even just walking through the resort is super peaceful with the fresh air and trees! You don’t need to stay in the resort to enter, but there are fees for the pools and entry if you’re not staying there.
Don’t miss: Seeing and feeding the animals! Somewhere in the resort, there’s an area with ostriches, flamingos, and other random animals. We found it totally by accident (and after eating an ostriche burger…).
For people who want to relax by the beach
Distance from HCMC: ~121 km
Vung Tau is home to Ho Chi Minh City’s closest beaches, and it makes for the perfect, quick, ocean escape from the city.
It’s a mix of family friendly in the morning and party nightlife at night (well, we’re not big partiers so were usually up drinking smoothies and people watching at night, which is also fun). There’s also a few sights, hikes, pagodas, and temples around the town. You can read more about those here. But for me, I was so content just playing in the ocean again after being in the city for so long.
Technically you could visit both Binh Chau and Vung Tau over a weekend since they’re close. We’ve done this before over a weekend but also spent time in each separately.
Don’t miss: Water sports! You can rent jet skis or go kite surfing in Vung Tau.
For people who want to see a different way of life
The Mekong Delta
Distance from HCMC: ~172 km
The Mekong Delta is well known as a maze of rivers and islands, with floating villages and markets throughout. But did you know that getting here can be easy as a weekend trip from Ho Chi Minh City?
There are lots of day and weekend tours you can book that take you from HCMC to some islands on the Mekong Delta. If you want to do your own trip without a tour, read this article for more information on the Mekong Delta.
We went on a tour that focused on the different fruits and candies available on the islands, and it’s actually a great way to give back to local communities. Plus, you get a lot of info that you would normally miss on your own!
Don’t miss: Stopping by the city of Mỹ Tho for Hủ tiếu Mỹ Tho!!!!! If you haven’t had hu tieu before, it’s a tapioca noodle dish that can be either eaten dry (soup on the side) or wet (soup included). Hu Tieu My Tho is a type of hu tieu from My Tho, and it’s absolutely one of the best things I have ever eaten.
For the highkey adventurers
Distance from HCMC: ~219 km
Mũi Né is a beautiful beach town, and is many travelers’ favorite part about Vietnam. You’ll find gorgeous red and white sand dunes, and activities like dune buggying, sledding, and kitesurfing. There’s also a river you can walk through called the Fairy Stream that ends in a waterfall, and if you drive an hour away, you can hike up Tà Cú Mountain. This site talks about all the different types of activities.
It’s a bit further than the other two and there’s so much to do, so you’ll definitely need at least the weekend.
Note: Da Lat is another popular adventurous place with hiking, waterfalls, and canyoning, but I haven’t been here even, though it’s on the bucket list! For more information on what to do, check this post out.
For people who want both relaxing and adventuring
Distance from HCMC: ~388 km
Phú Quốc is a popular island getaway, where you can do both relaxing and adventuring in one place! We rented motorbikes to get around the island. If you don’t have a license, it may be okay- this is an actual quote from the lady we rented from: “avoid the police, and you’ll be fine.”
Anyway, beach hopping is fun, there’s a night market, you can tour fish sauce or pepper factories, and of course there are lots of adventure/diving/rafting etc stuff you can do on the island. We spent a lot of time playing in the white sand beaches, lounging in the resort, eating at large family style seafood restaurants, and getting the best massages ever for $4-10.
Tips: Get a SIM card! If you don’t actually know how to ride a motorbike (like me), you will probably get stranded (like me). Getting a local SIM card to contact my friends from the middle of a deserted road saved my butt.
Bonus: For everyone who needs a smaller, exciting, and unique city
Hanoi, Huế, and Da Nang
Distance from HCMC: ~859 km – 1618 km
These are bonuses because depending on your itinerary, you’ll probably want to spend more time in these amazing cities! Unlike the above, they’re all in different regions of Vietnam, so you’ll need to fly to make it a weekend trip. Some people do train or motorbike to get to these cities and that itself can be its trip! Each city is incredibly unique in its own way, but these are my highlights (with links to other posts with more detailed highlights).
- My favorite thing in Hanoi besides the history is hands down its food. Check out these local dishes you can’t miss.
- Huế is home to my absolute favorite food, bun bo hue. Though each region of Vietnam does this soup slightly differently, Huế is its homeland. You need to try it in Huế. Another dish I love from Hue that you need to try is bánh bèo, a street food made with rice and tapioca flour and topped with shrimp.
- Da Nang is a smaller coastal city with unique mountains and temples. Here are a few things to do. Also, it’s close to Hoi An, an absolutely gorgeous city famous for beautiful lanterns, among other activities.
And those are my favorite weekend trips from Ho Chi Minh City! Have you done any before? Which ones would you add? Which ones are you excited to do?
Note: All distances came from Google Maps. Also, the temple is on the way to Vung Tau.