Location:

Ho Chi Minh City (commonly known as Saigon) is the largest city by population in southern Vietnam, covering the area of 2,096.56 km².

Highlights:

Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and informally referred to as Saigon. It is remarkable for the harmonious blending of traditional values with northern and western cultural features. Skyscrapers dot the city and everywhere are the signs of growing status cars, mobile phones, upscale cafes, fine dining and trendy nightlife. And yet the city still retains a uniquely Vietnamese feel with the hustle and bustle of the local markets, incessant horns and local vendors on every street corner.

Ho Chi Minh City has become the cosmopolitan commercial and financial hub of Vietnam in recent years and is the most popular tourist destination in the country. It is a mixture of old and new, featuring elegant colonial architecture together with contemporary modern Asian and international structures. Some of the older tree-lined streets are reminiscent of European urban areas, while the steel and glass buildings and office blocks present the modern face of the city. The city also boasts many fine restaurants and numerous sidewalk cafes that are popular with both locals and visitors alike.

In addition to the busy modern business and shopping districts, 300 year old Ho Chi Minh City has many historical sites to explore such as Giac Lam Pagoda, which was built in 1744, and Giac Vien Pagoda that was founded two centuries ago. Victorian era Notre Dame Cathedral, the most famous French colonial church in and around Saigon, is located in heart of the city along with many fine examples of architecture from that period. Cholon, or China town, and the famous central Ben Thanh market are also highlights of any visit to the city.

More recent history is evident in the Reunification Palace and the War Remnants Museum, as well as all the modern entertainments one expects to find in most big cities in the world.

Today, Saigon is the big tourism center as well as the commerce and financial hub, attracting a large number of business and leisure travel to Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City travel guide

What to do:

Saigon has various attractions such as the Opera House, Ben Thanh Market, the Notre Dame cathedral, the Reunification Palace, the China town, Cu Chi Tunnels, museums, theatres and cultural houses, shopping centers, etc… Recently, local tourist areas including Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa also draw the interest of visitors. In addition, Saigon is a good starting point for excursions to the Mekong delta or nearby beaches of Phu Quoc, Phan Thiet (Mui Ne), Vung Tau, Long Hai.

When to go:

Ho Chi Minh City has a tropical climate. An average year in Ho Chi Minh city consists out of a wet season, which starts in May and ends in November, and a dry season that gives the land a rest, between December and April. The temperature is about 29°C at average, and rises and lowers parallel at the two seasons.

It is possible to visit Vietnam and Saigon in winter for the best weather. But be prepared for humid conditions throughout the year, especially in the south. The best month is January.

Travel tips:

Vietnam has its fair share of pickpockets, especially in large cities like Saigon and Hanoi. Thus, always keep an eye on your valuables or better to leave them at hotel before going out. For the traffic, when crossing the road, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly.