Vietnam continues to position itself among the other
Asian countries with Tiger economies, and nowhere is this
more evident than in its largest city, Ho Chi Minh City
(Saigon). Found in southern Vietnam on the banks of the Saigon River, Ho Chi Minh City is
not only the country's largest, but it is also where
you find the nation's most important port. Over
eight million people call Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam home,
and so it is a very busy, noisy, and crowded metropolis.
What this translates to is a very exhilarating Ho Chi
Minh City visit, where much of your time might be spent
hanging out in a thriving marketplace or a small, sidewalk
café. Whereas the Vietnam capital city of Hanoi is the country's cultural and political hub, Ho
Chi Minh City is its economic and commercial center. Evidence
of this can be seen in the new steel and glass buildings
that are being erected with increasing frequency in the
city's business district. Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam has its fair share of history to boast about.
So much so that adequately covering it here would be a
bit difficult. If you are wondering about the name of
the city, that is certainly understandable. Once Saigon,
Ho Chi Minh City was renamed in 1975 as Vietnam was attempting
to turn over a new leaf after the Vietnam War. It was
named after Ho Chi Minh, who was the country's famed
nationalist leader. The appellation of Saigon is still
used by some to this day, and interestingly enough the
city's business district is still officially known
as such. The name of Ho Chi Minh City refers to the entire
metropolitan area. For those who are interested in Vietnam
history and want to learn more about it during their Ho
Chi Minh City visit, the Vietnam History Museum should
be at the top of the list of Ho Chi Minh City attractions.
Also giving plenty of insight into the country's
history is the War Remnants Museum, which used to be called
the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes. There are
many great exhibits at both museums, so if you have time,
you might include them in your itinerary.
Ho Chi Minh City
The Ho Chi Minh City attractions are definitely many, and in addition to the ones already mentioned, you might decide to drop by the Reunification Palace or the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Reunification Palace was built between the years of 1962 and 1966, and it was the home of Vietnam's President at the time that Saigon fell in 1975. Among the highlights here is the replica tank, which is modeled after the ones that originally breached the palace gates during the 1975 incident. Built between the years of 1877 and 1883, the Notre Dame Cathedral harkens back to the time of French rule, and its stained glass and bricks were brought in from France. The Notre Dame Cathedral is only open on Sundays, and on that day they offer masses both in Vietnamese and English. For more insight into the past of Ho Chi Minh City, many visitors include stops at the city's various temples, which are certainly some of the more interesting Ho Chi Minh City attractions. The Giac Lam Temple is one such temple, and it was built in 1744. If you visit the Giac Lam Temple, be sure to catch one of the daily prayer sessions, which involve drums, chants, gongs, and the like.
When not visiting some of the many Ho Chi Minh City attractions, visitors might look to do a bit of shopping on the side. If luxury items are what you're after, the Dong Khoi neighborhood is your best bet, and by all means, attempts should be made to peruse the wares at the Ben Thanh Central Market. All kinds of goods can be purchased at this market from souvenirs to fish. When shopping at the Ben Thanh Market, you can sample local cuisine at the various food stalls that surround it. More souvenirs can be found on Le Loi Street, which is found near the central market, and you can also find booksellers, camera stores, and other interesting shops.
In addition to exploring Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam, you can also consider a few side trips. Two and three-day boat tours can be arranged for the Mekong Delta, which is southern Vietnam's most important waterway. Here, among other things you will spot the women in conical hats who tend the picturesque rice paddies. For a taste of some of the Vietnam beaches, a trip to nearby Vung Tau might be in order. Back in Ho Chi Minh City, the nightlife scene is a good one, so anyone looking to go out on the town will have a fair amount of venues to choose from. As you can see, a trip to Ho Chi Minh City can definitely be a most well-rounded one.