When you need an escape from the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City, jump on your motorbike and explore some of the popular & less traveled to nearby attractions on two wheels. Amazing Cu Chi Tunnels, the cheeky monkeys at Monkey Island, serene Mangrove Wetland Reserve, the giant pillow at Golden Scorpion Park, and hiking the highest mountain in South Vietnam, Black Virgin, are all excellent one day motorcycle trips from Saigon.
Get to know the amazing underground tunnel system used by the Vietnamese during the Vietnam war. If you’ve ever played hide and seek, this will take the game to a whole other level.
Cu Chi Tunnels on Your Own – 3 hours each way
One of the most popular sites near Ho Chi Minh, the Cu Chi Tunnels, are an elaborate system of underground tunnels used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war. Soldiers in the war lived like ants, moving, hiding, and etching out a life undetected from above. The Viet Cong created supply roots, cooking, food storage areas, living quarters, weapons caches, and even hospitals underground.
At just 3-hours by motorbike, and not far from the start of the Ho Chi Minh Highway, the Cu Chi District near Ho Chi Minh City is where you can visit and go inside this incredible feat of human achievement. These tunnels are spread across the country and designed to fit the Vietnamese but to small for American soldiers. Not to worry, here at Cu Chi some of the entrances are modified to accommodate tourists.
How To Get to the Tunnels on Your Own
- Motorbike rental. About 3-hours (70kms) each way from the HCM backpacker’s area. Take Cach Mang Thang 8 street and keep going until you reach QL1A, find your way to TL15 road and keep going until you reach the Cu Chi Tunnels.
- Alternatively, check out our handy map, or search “Cu Chi Tunnels” on Google Maps.
- Fully guided motorbike tour. If you plan to take one of our tours, ask about adding Cu Chi on.
- Bus. Head to the Ben Thanh Bus Station and hop on bus #13 or #79. Use these two buses to get back as well. Bus tickets should be around 10,000vnd each way.
- There are two different sites here. One is the busier tourist site known as Ben Dinh Cu Chi Tunnels, a reconstruction of the tunnels modified for tourists. The other is Ben Duoc Cu Chi Tunnels. The authentic tunnels usually only visited by locals. Ben Duoc is quieter, cheaper, and the better option with a motorbike rental.
- On-site is a shooting range where you can try out modern and war-era weapons for a fee.
- Food and drinks are available.
- Entrance fee around 100,000vnd.
If you like wildlife, this is your stop. Monkeys, birds, fish, maybe some crocs. It’s all here.
Mangrove Park in Can Gio – 2 hours each way
Nature and outdoor enthusiasts can settle in for a relaxing walk through the Can Gio Mangrove UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Just a two-hour drive (50kms) from your busy Saigon adventure, you can escape to the vibrant sights and sounds of this nature-rich reserve. You’ll get a chance to see Macaws and various other birdlife, monkeys, fish and maybe some crocodiles.
With such a great park so close to Saigon, you’d think it would be crawling with tourists. When Link & Jon from Tigit went, it was empty, and you probably won’t see that many people either. The drive out should be a relaxing one, with few people on the roads too. A day trip like this is easy to do solo, but if you’re looking for one day motorbike trip from Saigon full of local insight and routes you never knew existed. Check out our fully guided 1 Day Escape Saigon Tour & get to know the roads less traveled.
How To Get There
- Motorbike rental. Head out of HCMC towards the “Huynh Tan Phat” road until it meets the “Pha Binh Khanh Ferry.” After crossing the river, the road turns into “Rung Sat.” Follow this until just after Can Gia town.
- Search “Ban Quản Lý Rừng Phòng Hộ Cần Giờ” on Google Maps.
- Boat. Greenlines ferry from Saigon can take you from the city to Monkey Island, further down the river via boat. It’ll be more expensive than a $10/day motorbike rental, but it can be done!
- Plan 1-2 hours here
- 4kms of walking trails in the park to enjoy
- Bring bug spray, there are mosquitoes in the forest!
- There’s a seafood restaurant here, but it might be seasonal so bring your food & drink
- Picnic tables, benches, swings, and even a campground are onsite
- November-May is bird mating season. Come during this time for a chance to see some Painted Storks
- Entrance FREE!
It’s beautiful, it’s full of tourists, monkeys will probably rob you blind. It’s worth it though!
Monkey Island – 2 hours each way
Despite the name, Monkey Island isn’t an island at all. It is a place to see monkeys though! Considerably busier than the Mangrove Park up the road, you won’t have a problem seeing other tourists here. The area is more of a long walkway through the forest with almost as many monkeys as trees. Close by there are hills to climb for ocean views towards the waters of the Mekong Delta, restaurants, places to drink, and beautiful beaches like the ones in Da Nang. Plenty of Dong spending options here.
With so many tourists coming every day, the monkeys have morphed into tiny hairy thieves. Watch your things with EXTREME CAUTION. Monkeys will steal bags, phones, hats, your girlfriend, you name it! Link & Jon had a monkey destroy a motorbike seat trying to get it open. Is a monkey attack on your motorbike seat covered by the damage waiver?
The government has even employed a team of slingshot-security that can shoot a monkey with the hopes of dropping your stuff. No guarantee it will work, your things won’t be broken, or they’ll be there when you need them though.
How To Get There
- Motorbike rental. Head out of HCMC towards the “Huynh Tan Phat” road until it meets the “Pha Binh Khanh Ferry.” After crossing the river, the road turns into “Rung Sac.” Follow this until the turn onto “Duong Vao Dao Khi” road, just before the road hits the town at the end.
- Alternatively, check out our handy map, or search “Monkey Island” in Google Maps.
- Boat. With this many tourists heading out, it’ll be easy to find a boat tour to take you out from Saigon. It won’t be nearly the freedom you’ll have if you self-drive your motorbike though.
- Plan 1.5-2 hours here
- Seriously, watch out for thieving monkeys. Don’t say you weren’t warned
- Entrance fee 70,000vnd plus parking for foreigners
Growing tired of your travel partner? Launch their ass sky high from the Golden Scorpion water pillow.
Golden Scorpion Park – 2 hours each way
Food, fun, a giant pillow to jump on, what more could you ask for! When it’s too hot in the city, take a one day motorbike trip from Saigon and drive out to Golden Scorpion Park for some watered down fun (in a good way). The park is designed with picnic and BBQ areas along with places to rent paddle boats, swimming options, a huge pillow to jump onto before splash landing into the water. There are also life vests and a lifeguard on duty for your safety.
The park was named after a beautiful golden flower that grows in abundance throughout the area. If you come in the right season, the place will be flooded with these golden beauties. Anyone into camping, you should be able to organize with the site directly and spend a night or two here. It’s well worth the adventure, and the Vietnam food prices are cheap too!
How To Get There
- Motorbike rental. From HCMC central, you can head out of town on the Cong Hoa road and make your way to the CT01, turning on the H13 road, then following the Nguyen Huu Canh road in.
- For faster results, check our map or search Google Maps, for “Bo Cap Vang Vietnam”.
- There are restaurants here, but B.Y.O.B, bring your own BBQ if you want to grill your own lunch.
- Plan a full day or two here.
- Go mid-week to avoid family crowds.
- Bring sunscreen, a whole day in the sun might go unnoticed while splashing around.
- The park loans out tables & chairs (not camping equipment) so you don’t need to pack it all.
Black Virgin Mountain – 3.5 hours each way
The highest peak in Southern Vietnam, Black Virgin Mountain looks longingly across the landscape below. This dormant volcano was a strategic base for the Americans during the Vietnam war. What was once a war zone, is now a stunning hike and relaxing cable car ride. Around 3.5-hours (100kms) each way from HCMC, you’ll want to start your morning with a strong Vietnamese coffee to get you through the day.
How to hike Black Virgin Mountain you ask? Purchase the 8,000vnd entrance ticket then either hike the hillside in the heat or save yourself from exhaustion and pay the 150,000vnd round trip ticket for the cable car to take you part way up. On the hill, the route isn’t marked, and you’ll be making your own trails. It’s best to wear sturdy shoes or hiking boots to get around.
How To Get There
- Motorbike rental. You can take the same route towards the Cu Chi Tunnels on the DT744 road, then follow it until it turns into the DH703, that turns into the DT781 along the lake. This road will eventually make a sharp left, and you can take the next right on “Lo Khe Don” and follow that to the mountain.
- If you enjoy the scenic route, make a loop out of it by taking the DT782 back.
- Alternatively, check out our handy map, or search “Black Virgin Mountain” in Google Maps.
- Car hire. Alternatively, you could hire a car and driver to take you there, but that wouldn’t be near as fun!
- There are no organized paths, you’ll be making your own and scrambling over boulders to get around.
- Bring water and snacks. You’ll want to know how much is a water bottle in Vietnam because they price water here like it’s the last bottles on earth.
- Roughly 2.5 hours hiking to make it to the summit. There are plenty of views other than the summit though.
- Total fees including parking, about 160,000vnd.