- 1 Travel Tips in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
- 2 1.Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City
- 3 2.Best Things to See in Ho Chi Minh
- 4 Itinerary in Ho Chi Minh
- 5 Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh
- 6 3. Experiences in Ho Chi Minh
- 7 4. How to Stay Connected?
- 8 5. Currency in Vietnam
- 9 6. Do I Need a Visa?
- 10 7. Is Tap Water Safe?
- 11 8. Budget in Ho Chi Minh
- 12 9. Where to Stay
- 13 10. Is it Safe for Female Travelers?
- 14 11. How to Get Around
- 15 11.Common Scams
Travel Tips in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly called Saigon, abbreviated as HCMC) may not be center of the country, but it holds the title of being the largest city in Vietnam. It has a land area of 2, 061 km2, which is nearly twice the mountainous area of the Kazbegi Municipality in Georgia and about thrice the size of Metro Manila in the Philippines. (Curious about Kazbegi? Read more about the place through this link).
Aside from its size, the city is also viewed to be one of the roaring Asian global cities not only because of its rising tourism, but also due to its financial activities vital in both the Vietnamese and global economy. Because of this, many luxurious establishments can be found in the place, such as the said to be tallest hotel around Ho Chi Minh—the Vinpearl Landmark 81 (which I assure, can give luxury experiences). There are also many places to see, food to eat, and activities you need to do in ordee to make the most of your tine there.
So if you are planning for a trip in Ho Chi Minh City, you definitely need to read this guide.
First, to get the most you can for your trip in Ho Chi Minh. Second, to be financially and physically prepared for the variety of activities and food you can taste there. And lastly, to be safe and secured while roaming around one of the most populous cities in the country.
1.Best Time to Visit Ho Chi Minh City
Weather can influence not only your mood, but also your travel itinerary. Fortunately, Ho Chi Minh experiences wet summer seasons and dry summer seasons, which means you can pretty much get good weather throughout the year. But if you already planned to go for outdoor activities (such as visiting parks, eating street food, or attending festivals), then fly there during the months of December to March (dry summer seasons). On the other hand, from May to September (wet summer months), short rain showers can scatter around the city. Though you can still enjoy the things you planned for but just be prepared for rain.
Vietnam is also prone to typhoons especially during the month of November to April. Keep this in mind when planning cause you may have a lot of wet tour days.
2.Best Things to See in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh is considered to be jump off city. A gate way to the rest of Vietnam. Another could be Hanoi if you are targeting the north of Vietnam. Despite being a jump of city, there are still things to see and do.
You can enjoy spectacular view of museum, parks and skyscrapers as you tour around the city. There are free walking tours, such as theSaigon Free Walking Tours which can take you to the highlights of HCMC. The said tours is an advocate of Hospitality and Tourism university students in Vietnam (where they also recommend destinations and offer tips of the places to tourists).
Notre Dame Cathedral
The Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most famous attractions in the city. It was then called Saigon Church and was originally built by French colonists in 1880’s. It holds ancient stories of religious and historical influences of foreigners in the country. Up to now, many people admire the masterpiece found in its elaborate architecture.
Worshipers in the cathedral are still actively devoted. Every Sunday, people gather around to hold the weekly mass. You can definitely join and observe their faith. If not, you can visit Notre Dame any day.
Central Post Office
You have to check out the Central Post Office, not to send letters (though you can really send your letters there), but to visit another wonderful product of French architecture. It’s not easy to miss. Actually, it’s just in front the Notre Dame.
In the post office, you’ll be acquainted with French-inspired things such as old telephone booths, oil paintings, arched windows, and glue pots to stick a stamp. There are also post cards and a portrait of Ho Chi Minh (also called Uncle Ho).
Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
Another famous tourist spot near the Notre Dame Cathedral is the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC Museum). The structure was formerly the Gia Long Palace, also formerly called the Revolutionary Museum.
The museum features the birth and growth of the city (HCMC). Included are exhibition of paintings and artifacts that tell stories of Southern Vietnam, specifically the city.
The palace is made with neoclassical designs, with wooden staircases and big pillars. Admission is only VND 15,000.
Bitexco Financial Tower
This building known for its height and modern design became a tourist attraction because of the aerial view it offers. From the top, Ho Chi Minh looks like a tiny city in action.
You can see the view going either to Saigon Skydeck at the 49th floor, or at Eon Café at 50th floor.
The building is located at Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe and is a walking distance from Ben Thanh Market. Admission fee in Skydeck is 200,000 VND (8.62 USD).
Itinerary in Ho Chi Minh
It’s easy to go around Ho Chi Minh City. The city can be done in a few hours and well the rest is for food and night life.
|8:00am to 12:00nn||City Tour (Notre Dame, Central Post Office, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Saigon Opera House, Ben Thanh Market)||Sightseeing|
|12:00nn to 1:15pm||Soul Vietnam||Try Vietnamese food for lunch|
|1:15pm to 3:00pm||Saigon Skydeck or Eon Cafe||Sightseeing|
|3:00pm to 3:45pm||Turtle Lake||Cafe hopping|
|3:45pm to 5:45pm||War Remnants Museum, Reunification Palace||Sightseeing|
|5:45pm to 6:30pm||Dinner|
|6:30pm to 10:00pm||Street and bars||Night life experience|
|8:00am to 9:30am||Ho Chi Minh City to Cu Chi Tunnel||Trip|
|9:30am to 3:00pm||From Entrance Gate to inside of Cu Chi Tunnel||Admission, watch documentary movies about Vietnam war, try booby traps, fire AK47 or MK16, eat lunch, explore tunnels|
|3:00pm to 4:30pm||From Cu Chi to Ho Chi Minh City||Trip|
|4:30pm to 5:30pm||Mam 148 (Quan Mam)||Eat Vietnamese food|
|6:00pm to 9:00pm||Saigon Heritage Spa (or other spa)||Relax|
Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh
There are a lot of activities waiting for you in Ho Chi Minh. You might usually want to start the day right in your stay in the city. Here are the places you can visit for a day trip in Ho Chi Minh.
Cu Chi Tunnel
Vietnam is known for its endeavor on a long and bloody war, also called the Second Indo China War (or Resistance War Against America). For many Vietnamese, those times were a difficult time to both measure citizens’ patriotism and disloyalty. It also portrays military tactics of soldiers, skills and mental alertness to survive. Whether not born around when the war began (1955), you can feel the struggles and triumph of the rivalry between the North and South Vietnam through visiting historic military landmarks.
One of the most famous is the Cu Chi tunnel located at Phu Hiep, Chu Chi District in Ho Chi Minh City. Entrance fee is 4.90 USD or VND 110,000. On top of that, you have to pay extra fee for tours which allows you to experience different sites and activities. Lowest tour is for 3.89 USD or VND 90,000.
It might be a little bit pricey for a budget traveler, but exploring in Cu Chi Tunnel will give you meaningful memories such as visiting booby traps, hiding in underground basements, exploring tunnels, and firing an M-16.
There’s nothing more exciting than seeing green leaves and water after days stay in Ho Chi Minh City. I mean, Saigon is lovely both in the morning and at night, but fresh air and calming views is something we can’t resist. So to give you this exotic taste, visit Mekong Delta.
Mekong Delta River is famous for being one of the largest river delta around the world. It begins at the former capital, Phnom Pehn, and is a sanctuary to many freshwater and bird species.
The main mode of transportation is boat, so you’ll get to experience boat trips the whole stay. Though it’s mostly like rowing on a boat, there are a lot to see, too. For example, there are houses on stilts and floating markets (Cai Be). Various boats of different sizes group with loads of vegetables, fruits, and other crops.
Mekong Delta is a 4-hour trip from Ho Chi Minh City. You can access the villages that lies between the river delta, including a small island called Phu Quoc through getting to Can Tho. The said trip is a combination of a bus and a ferry ride. Bus fare ranges from VND 60, 000 to 120,000 (2.58 to 5.17 USD). On the other hand, tours for a day trip to Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City starts from 16.06 USD (VND 372,812).
Ba Den Mountain (Black Virgin Mountain)
If you want to go somewhere valuable to the Vietnamese in the south, head towards the Ba Den Mountain. It is a dead volcano, yet, known not only for its spectacular view, but also for having religious significance.
Ba Den is located at Thanh Tan Tay Ninh Province, about two hours trip from the city. You can either hike to reach the top, or ride at cable cars instead. On the way there to the peak, you’ll have a glimpse of the South at a different level (literally).
Cat Tien National Park
Four hours away from the city is a natural attraction in Dong Nai called the Cat Tien National Park. It features lush old forests and fascinating wildlife which includes sambar deer, gibbons, and black-shanked doucs. It opens at 7:30 in the morning every day, including weekends, and closes at 6:30 in the evening.
Another attraction which can fit your day trip schedule away from the city is visiting Cao Dai Temple. As we already learned, Vietnam is rich in religious traditions and it is still valued today. The temple is the home for the Cao Dai religion, a belief based on Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.
The main reason why people visit the place is due to its colorful and fascinating rituals which is hosted daily. It is also a good place to meditate and appreciate peace.
It opens every 6:00 AM and closes every 5:00 PM.
3. Experiences in Ho Chi Minh
Vietnam has it all from enjoying to relaxing, from food to drinking. You can go there and experience land adventures, or be taken away by luxurious waters. Here are the things you should not miss doing in Ho Chi Minh
The best spas in Ho Chi Minh can be experienced in (but not limited to) Saigon Heritage Spa, Cat Moc Spa, Sa Spa, Muc Huong, and Golden Lotus. You can enjoy the ambiance of these places set in different themes. You can order menus while relaxing after a massage. Duration of massage ranges from 30 to 90 minutes and costs about 120,000 to 2,000,000 VND or 5.17 to 86 USD.
If wanting a deluxe treatment, you can try the spa in Vinpearl Landmark 81 which offers a full-service spa. (Read more about Vinpearl Landmark 81). Visiting one after a long day of visiting museums and streets is always the best..
If seafood is a big thing for you, then you made the right choice of visiting Ho Chi Minh City. There are thousands of seafood restaurants in the city from small shops to luxurious gourmet restaurants.
The best street food is said to be found in District 4 (Vinh Khanh) where an array of shops line up preparing simple seafood dishes. They grill small octopuses or encrust crustaceans with chili powder before deep-frying. Everything is tasty!
There are also restaurants that serve really good seafood meals such as Ngoc Suong Saigon, Five Oysters, Orientica Seafood Restaurant Bar, Fresh Catch Vietnam-Mediterranean Sea, Redhouse Saigon and Maria Saigon. There are also seafood buffets such as in La Brasserie.
You can spend a day trying everything about Ho Chi Minh through a food tour. There are so many authentic flavors in Vietnamese dish that it’s just so inviting to dig in. You can book for tours which usually takes about 4 hours of street food evening walking or with a motorbike. Prices ranges from 20 to 70 USD per 4-hour tour.
One of the most romantic things you should do in Ho Chi Minh is to have a dinner on the river while on a cruise ship. A dinner cruise is about 40 to 45 USD (VND 930,000 to 1,050,000) per person, but the whole experience is one of a kind. It includes well-prepared meals and live performances.
A day touring around the big city of Ho Chi Minh can be a bit tiring. The best way to replenish it and be ready for another day is to indulge in a Vietnamese massage. This is said to be a traditional technique called Tam Quat which focuses on stimulating blood circulation by putting pressure to afflicted and knotted muscles. In most spas, Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Swedish techniques are also incorporated for different massage techniques.
Some of the additional services offered in spas are the 4-handed massage, cupping therapy, hot stones, Swedish massage, shiatsu, and thai massage.
Café Coffee Culture
French colonization strongly influenced Vietnam’s encounter with coffee. Despite this, you can taste a rare infusion of Vietnam’s culture in every cup. The city where all these coffee varieties converged is in Ho Chi Minh City.
In Saigon (HCMC), coffee is sweeter than the other cities and provinces. One to try is their egg coffee prepared with egg yolks, condensed milk, sugar and robusta coffee. It tastes like a coffee with a mild-sweetened leche flan. Or you can compare the taste to an eggnog, if that is more familiar.
Most coffee shops are concealed in apartments due to the war. Nowadays, you can see cafes on streets. Prices of coffee are around a dollar.
Cafes Around Turtle Lake
Ho Chi Minh City is also known for its lush night life. To enjoy, spend the night away at one of the cafes near the Turtle Lake. It is located at the cross roads of Vo Van Tan and Pham Ngoc Thach (northwest Notre Dame).
There is a park with a maze of water fountains, sculpture and trees. The main attraction though are the cafes and street foods crowded with both foreigners and Vietnamese.
4. How to Stay Connected?
Internet connection is essential for travelers, not only for sharing travel experiences but also for guiding them to tours. But since it is Vietnam, and it’s in the Saigon, connection is not a problem.
- Sim Cards
Sim card choices in Ho Chi Minh are Viettel, Vinaphone, Mobifone and Vietnamobile. Among the four, Viettel is the best prepaid SIM in terms of network coverage. Price of sim card with unlimited 4G data included is about 10.77 USD (250,000 VND). For cheaper deals, read more about tourist sim cards.
- Wi-Fi Rentals
If you prefer a wi-fi hotspot device, you can rent it in Ho Chi Minh. Prices vary depending on the connectivity, modem, and perks (such as free charger, power bank, etc.). It is highly recommended to book for a wifi in klook.com or kkday.com where you can find cheap deals. Prices for a day use ranges from 3.5 to 10 USD (81,000 to 230,000 VND).
(Read more about renting wifi devices in klook and kkday through this article.)
5. Currency in Vietnam
Vietnam uses Vietnamese Dong (VND), so it is understood that it’s the same in their largest city (HCMC). A US dollar is equivalent to VND 23,208.5 (as of October 2019), and a Philippine peso to VND 446.94. The country currently has 10 bank notes which has the following denominations: 500 000 (21.55 USD), 200 000 (8.62 USD), 100 000 (4.31 USD), 50 000 (2.16 USD), 20 000 (0.86 USD), 10 000 (0.43 USD), 5 000 (0.22 USD), 2 000 (0.09 USD), 1 000 (0.04 USD) and 500 (0.02 USD.
To imagine its value, a typical candy sold in the Philippines for one peso (Php 1), can be bought for a VND 500 (Fun fact: you will rarely see a 500 VND, but it exists).
Vietnamese Dong can be used in all transactions in the city. You need it in paying for a cab, buying at the market, or purchasing souvenirs. But because Ho Chi Minh is the financial center of Vietnam, a lot of establishments allow the use of US dollars (even AUD but most prefer USD). Despite this, you still have to make sure you have a spare VND in your pocket (like a lot).
You can exchange your currency to local banks before flying to Ho Chi Minh, especially if you learned that the currency in your local country is lower than VND. This means you do not need to convert, say for instance your Philippine peso, to US dollars just to have Vietnamese dong. In fact, you’ll get more money if you convert your PHP to VND, instead of converting it first to USD then to VND (this depends on the currency of your local money and exchange rate versus USD).
Another option is to have your money exchanged in Ho Chi Minh City. There are a lot of official money exchangers there, and they give you a decent rate (especially at the center of the city).
You can also exchange through ATMs. This is one of the most convenient ways since there are a lot of ATMs around the city. Just be mindful about the fees though, because they will charge you for every transaction. Usually, most banks may deduct about 2% to 4% of the transaction value from your account. There are also banks that have fixed fees such as HSBC which charges VND 60,000 (2.59 USD) for every transaction.
Most tourists visit pawn shops or gold dealers for money exchange. In fact, you can even have the best deals here compared to the mentioned options. Some of the recommended shops in District 1 are Hung Long Money Exchange, Currency Exchange, Eximbank Money Exchange 59, Therese Jewelry and Minh Thu. This can be your best choice If you have USD.
6. Do I Need a Visa?
Answer varies depending on where you came from. Filipinos don’t have to apply for a Vietnam visa if stay in the country will not exceed 21 days. They only need a valid passport (6 months before expiry), a hotel reservation, and a return ticket. Same privilege and requirements are given to 20 more countries (Chile, Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and United Kingdom) except for duration of stay (which ranges from 14 to 90-day stay). If the foreigner tourist wishes to stay longer in the country, they still have to apply for it.
For countries not mentioned in the list, they have to get visa first. They can either visit the embassy or consulate, or apply online.
7. Is Tap Water Safe?
No, it’s best to purchase bottled water.
8. Budget in Ho Chi Minh
You don’t want to run out of budget so you have to calculate the expenses first. Here are costings that might help you visualize the money you need for one-day accommodation, food, attraction and transportation.
|Accommodation||4 to 12 USD||13 to 49 USD||50 to 300 USD|
|Food||1 to 5 USD per meal||10 to 14 USD||15 to 20 USD|
|Transportation||5 USD||10 USD||15 USD|
|Attractions||15 USD||25 USD||50 USD|
|In total, a day can cost you:||25 to 37 USD||58 to 108 USD||130 to 385 USD|
9. Where to Stay
There are a lot of good places to stay in Ho Chi Minh whether it is on a low, mid or luxurious accommodation.
Budget (less than 6 USD)
You might already know this: District 1, or Pham Ngu Lao in Ho Chi Minh is refered to as the “heart of the backpackers” or “backpackers district” because it has a lot of budget friendly hotels and dorms for tourists.
|Name of Hotel/Dorm||Price per Night
|The Hideout||5.98 USD or VND 138,786.83||275-279 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1|
|Flipside Hostel||5.58 USD or VND 129,503.43||175/24 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1|
|The Hangout||5.2 USD or VND 120,684.2||361A Phạm Ngu Lao, District 1|
|Saigon City Center Hostel||2.5 USD or VND 58,021.25||385/143 Nguyễn Công Trứ Ben Thanh Market, District 1|
|Phuc Khanh Hotel||2.31 USD or VND 53,611.64||District 1, Ho Chi Minh|
Mid (from 13.5 USD to 49 USD)
Here’s an array of 3-star hotels around the city.
|Name of Hotel/Dorm||Price per Night
|Minh Tam Hotel and Spa||14.74 USD or VND 342,093.29||Tan Binh, Ho Chi Minh City|
|Lynnwood Boutique House||24.53 USD or VND 569,304.51||District 1, Ho Chi Minh City|
|Pavilion Hotel||19.42 USD or 450,709.07 VND||43 Lê Anh Xuân, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 70000|
|Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel||29.92 USD or 694,398.32||40/13 Bùi Viện, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam|
|Lotus Boutique Hotel||32.79 USD or 761,006.71 VND||55/29 Lê Thị Hồng Gấm, Phường Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam|
Luxurious (100 USD and up)
Luxury hotels mean experiencing 4-star and 5-star hotels. Experience what Ho Chi Minh has to offer by staying at their rooms and edifice.
|Name of Hotel/Dorm||Price per Night
|Pullman Saigon Centre||102.93 USD or VND 2,388,850.91||148 Đường Trần Hưng Đạo, Phường Nguyễn Cư Trinh, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 070000, Vietnam|
|Rex Hotel||114.91 USD or VND 2,666,888.73||141 Nguyễn Huệ, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam|
|Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers||230.79 USD or VND 5,356,289.71||88 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam|
|Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81||174.97 USD or VND 4,060,791.25||Binh Thanh, Ho Chi Minh City|
|Park Hyatt Saigon||297.39 USD or VND 6,901,975.81||2 Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam|
10. Is it Safe for Female Travelers?
Although you may need too watch out for several scams in vietnam, like overcharging in taxis or cyclos, I would say that Vietnam is pretty safe foor a solo female traveler.
11. How to Get Around
You can go to places in Ho Chi Minh by foot, riding a taxi, renting a motorbike (or scooter) or taking the local bus.
If you are the heart of the city, you can reach almost everything within your proximity through walking. This is the best option if you only plan to hop around cafes, street shops, and bars. It saves money, especially for on-a-budget backpacker. One of the advantage is you can skip the traffic. On the contrary, the experience is not as comfortable as strolling in the park because of constant obstacles such as blockades, swarm of people, and even a river of motorbikes.
Riding motorbikes is famous around the city. It is the primary mode of transportation for local people. In fact in roads, you can already see hundreds of motorbikes as far as your eyes can get. To ride on a motorbike, you can either rent to drive your own, or use a motorbike taxi.
You can rent for a motorbike for 10 USD (VND 231,338) a day. There are also companies that can lend you the vehicle for a month for only 50 USD, (around 2 USD per day). To be sure that you’ll give back the motorbike, they will ask you either to leave your passport, or deposit a large amount of Vietnamese dong (refundable).
If driving your own motorbike is a hassle, then grab its taxi version. In the Philippines, motorbike taxis are called habal-habal or door-to-door but in Vietnam, it’s called xe om. Fare is less than a dollar, around VND 10,000 to 15,000. The advantage of choosing this is that drivers already know techniques on how to get through the traffic.
You can also ride a taxi, though certain taxi drivers have bad reputations overpricing fares to tourists (there are nice taxi drivers, too). Despite that, it is one of the most comfortable ways to go to destinations. Especially if you have luggage, has plenty of stuff, or travelling with a family, this can be one of the best options. A three-mile distance is about 79,592.45 VND (3.44 USD).
If this is the most convenient for you, make sure to ride only at known taxi companies such as Vinasun (make sure logo and contact number is correct 38272727), Mai Linh and Uber (they have online application where you book rides).
Riding a bus is the cheapest ride you can get to tour around the city. Average bus fare is about 5,500 VND (0.24 USD), so you don’t have to spend much. You will also have a more comfortable seat, if you’re not that used to motorbikes. This can probably be the best choice, especially if you already know the streets (or have studied and brought the map).
The worst scenario though is you can get stuck due to heavy traffic, or miss your stop because of unfamiliar streets.
Ho Chi Minh appeals to a lot of tourists and it is a perfect place to spend your first time out-of-country travel. Because it is a famous tourist destination, there are certain people, too, who are attracted to take chance in the city, not to do business, but to scam people. To avoid their possible pitfalls, here are the most common scams you need to get away from.
Fake taxis, Overpricing drivers, and Broken Meter
Remember when I told you to make sure logo and number are correct in decals of taxis? It’s for your safety because there are fake taxis roaming around the city. They copy color, name and even telephone number of known taxi companies to reap super high fare from you.
To get money from customers, certain taxi drivers have broken meters which ticks faster than the normal ones. Since fare is based on the meter, they can commission more by showing you their broken or forged meter. Another technique is when drivers use long routes to take you to your stop.
Prices of goods based on appearance
Yup, it sounds ridiculous but there are really tricky vendors in the market who’s doing this. If they noticed that you look expensive (I mean how you dress and all), they will charge you higher than the original price. If this happen, bargain! But sometimes, it can get tough. It’s either you win or you give up.
Fake travel tours
You can easily attract scammers if you are a foreigner. They can disguise into travel agents or staff at hotels or hostels which will offer you ‘discount rates’ but are actually cheats. So if someone approach you and offer this, politely decline and never ever go with them if they ask you to come.
So, book only tours to legit sites. If you are thinking of a bus tour, visit their official booking shop.
It’s not possible to get lost, while wandering the streets. But this can open possible dangers such as people disguising to offer help and accompany you to the place you are looking for. If you really need direction, ask only trustworthy authorities such as guards of big establishments or police officers. Remember to keep your calm as well.
Handling gadgets (phones, camera) and money, and Using expensive jewelry
Do not ever show off your expensive belongings and gadgets in the public. You’ll just attract more muggers. Instead, keep it in a very safe bag, and wear your back in front of you so that you can keep an eye on your belongings. This also goes for using your wallet. As much as possible, have smaller amount of bills in a separate pocket of your pants or compartment of your bag. That way, you don’t have to lose your wallet along with your cards.
If possible, do not wear jewelries, too
Overall, Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City as it is now called, is a wonderful place to meet people, visit places, relax and unwind, and taste really delicious food. I can say, that it is not only one of the best place for first time travelers, but a good place to comeback to.