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About city Gallery Where to stay

Buckle up, everyone, we’re getting close to Ho Chi Minh City – the vibrant Asian metropolis that never sleeps. Saigon – which is the name most people still refer to it – is never quiet. Ho Chi Minh City is a veritable beehive of sound and movement.

Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s commercial and cultural centre. It is from this city that the Vietnamese govern their country.

No matter what tourists may wish for – luxurious hotels or extra-cheap guesthouses, classical restaurants or snacks from the hands of street vendors, original shops or noisy market alleys – they can get here.

Cholon (Chinatown) in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Cholon (Chinatown) in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, located in South Vietnam, near the Saigon River, is the country’s largest city. Being located only 80 km away from the South China Sea, it’s considered to be an important sea port. The city, home to over 7 million people, also has two international airports, a university, lots of museums, a municipal theatre (built in 1899), and the Saloi and Vinh Ngiem Buddhist pagodas (both built in the 18th century).

Just like the entirety of contemporary Vietnam’s southern part, Ho Chi Minh City used to belong to the Khmer Empire (now Cambodia), and was situated on the country’s most fertile land – the Mekong Valley. During Khmer rule, up to the 17th century, the settlement was called Prey Nokor. Once the empire grew weak, the territory was gradually overtaken by Vietnam. Due to the aggressive ethnic policies at the time, most of the local Khmerians were either assimilated or left for Cambodia. The city was officially founded in 1698.

Atmosphere of springtime with colorful scene on Ho Chi Minh street
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Atmosphere of springtime with colorful scene on Ho Chi Minh street

Ho Chi Minh City was the starting point of French colonial activities in Southeast Asia in mid-19th century. Since 1867, the city was known as Saigon. In 1976, however, when North Vietnam became victorious over South Vietnam, the city was renamed in honour of the long-time Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

Upon arrival, tourists are usually advised to visit the city’s most famous objects: the Independence Palace, the War Remnants Museum, the Museum of Vietnamese History, the Ho Chi Minh Museum, the Notre Dame Cathedral (a Catholic church built at the city centre by the French), the Thien Hau pagoda (a temple dedicated to the sea goddess), the Quan Am – the city’s oldest pagoda, and several other beautiful pagodas.

However, this city has much more to offer. To those after an alternative means of getting acquainted with it, we recommend visiting the Củ Chi tunnels – one of Ho Chi Minh’s most original and unusual attractions. Củ Chi is a large tunnel system, built during the guerrilla war. The system stretches for approximately 200 km across several depth levels, and has hundreds of entrances, exits, residential premises, storage areas, weapon workshops, field hospitals, command centres and kitchens.

Impression landscape of Ho Chi Minh city from high view
Photo taken by 123rf.com.  Impression landscape of Ho Chi Minh city from high view

A visit to Saigon’s night-time market is another mandatory part of the programme. Purchases here are secondary. People come here to experience the local atmosphere, socialize and have a small glass of tea or local beer and a snack from a local street vendor.

The city has well-developed light, food, woodworking, chemistry, automobile and fishing industries, as well as various crafts. With this in mind, the best place to look for interesting souvenirs would be the market or its surrounding district, home to the majority of workshops.

Where to stay

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