7 destinations near Saigon for a perfect weekend getaway

At a certain point Ho Chi Minh City’s 12 hours of daylight and its nonstop work/play/repeat cycle will wear you down.That’s when you need to get on a bus or a motorbike for a weekend trip to one of these places.

Rin Rin Park

This Japanese-style park and its koi fish provide some peaceful moments difficult to have in Saigon. Feed the koi, and then treat yourself with a good variety of Japanese food. The park is in Xuan Thoi Dong Commune, 40 kilometers (24 miles) from the city downtown. Photo by huongdinh66 on Instagram.

Thanh An Island

A fishing village in Saigon is pretty much a unicorn these days. But if you are willing to travel around an hour (including a boat trip), you will find this amazing island and its equally amazing people. Wake up early to join the locals. Or if you’re a sunset person, try a seafood dinner by the sea. Make your way to Can Gio District’s Can Thanh Town. From the wharf, catch a boat to the island. Photo by VnExpress

Buu Long Park

Some say this is the “Mini-Ha Long Bay” of the south. We say you’re going to be disappointed if you don’t take that kind of analogy with a grain of salt. One thing for sure: the beautiful lake and the mountains in Dong Nai, only 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Saigon, will not disappoint nature lovers. Get one of the swan boats (yes they still exist!) and pedal your stress away. Photo by VnExpress

Giang Dien Falls

Considering the flat terrain of the southern region, this waterfall in Dong Nai looks and feels like magic. The place has become quite touristy in recent years, but it’s hard to fault urban dwellers for flocking here with their picnic baskets. Sit under the waterfall or take a swim. Or take a nap under one of the old trees, if you can sleep over the noisy, playful children. Photo by hieunc229 on Instagram.

Bamboo Tourist Village

You get the gist. All the cottages here have been built from bamboo. While we don’t think the place deserves the title “village,” you will still feel like you travel a little back in time to a pre-skyscraper phase. There is an impressive range of services for tourists including kayaking and cycling. This place, also in Dong Nai, is becoming very popular for corporate team building events. So maybe pick a company and blend in?Photo by ahshen on Instagram.

Tan Lap Floating Village

The houses above the water are not even the best things of this hidden gem in Long An Province, around 100 kilometers (62 miles) away. Walk on a narrow boardwalk through a cajuput forest. The whole boardwalk is five kilometers long and takes you deep into the lush greenery. For a more conventional experience, take a tourist boat to the lotus ponds and listen to southern folk music. Photo by VnExpress.

Suoi Nghe Sheep Hill

The sheep are the stars at this ranch in Suoi Nghe, a small outback community around half way between Ho Chi Minh City and the beaches of Vung Tau. The hill and the herd of up to 500 sheep are good for photos and selfies. Just arrive before 10 in the morning or after 3 in the afternoon to avoid the scorching sun. Not much else you can do here. For fun things to do and a chance to find your long-lost Russian friend, go south all the way to Vung Tau. Photo by khietlinh1995 on Instagram.

By Minh Nga