Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s bustling chaotic southern capital. Often called by its old name, Saigon, this historic Vietnamese city is the country’s largest city, the most populous, and the economic capital. Its current name comes from the revered North Vietnam leader Ho Chi Minh, who unified the north and the south after the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
Ho Chi Minh City epitomizes the Southeast Asia most visitors come to see. One of the first things anyone will notice is the amount of hustle and bustle going on in the streets. Motorbikes fill the roads and far outnumber other vehicles. Vietnamese life seems to take place on the street, too. Roadside cafés set up small tables and stools for people to eat the wonderful street food or drink the signature sweet, cold coffee.
Travellers to Ho Chi Minh City will find a wide range of hotels to stay in. Most cheap properties are in the areas around Pham Ngu Lao in District 1. Also in District 1 are choice accommodations such as the Hotel Majestic Saigon and Palace Hotel Saigon.
Vietnam’s history figures prominently in the many sights and attractions of Ho Chi Minh City. This is especially true with regards to Vietnam’s colonial past. The city is well set-up for tourism, with worthwhile attractions to appeal to all.
Within the city center lies the Reunification Palace. Back when it was still the Independence Palace, it was the official residence of the president of South Vietnam. On April 30, 1975, tank 843 of North Vietnam stormed the gates of the palace, signifying the fall of Saigon, the defeat of the Americans, and the end of the Vietnam War.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the Reunification Palace is the War Remnants Museum. Although it contains mostly communist propaganda constructed by the government after the fall of Saigon, it nevertheless offers a worthwhile visit. Exhibits of old war helicopters and jets, as well as rather gruesome photographs from the war, are on display.
French Indochina can still be felt in many places in Ho Chi Minh City. Much of the material used in the construction of the beautifully-designed Saigon Notre Dame Basilica in the city center was shipped all the way from France.
Right next to the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica is a pretty pink building which was also constructed using French aesthetics—the Saigon Central Post Office. This beautiful structure was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the man responsible for the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
A trip to the infamous Cu Chi Tunnels is a great way to spend a day. The Cu Chi Tunnels form an intricate system of small, underground dwellings and passageways which served as the hideout of the Viet Cong during the war. The site has been turned into an outdoor museum complete with organized tours.
When done with sightseeing, visitors should prop themselves up at a street-side café and try the Vietnamese addiction that is coffee. Vietnamese coffee is characterized by a strong, robust flavor and is usually served cold and sweetened with condensed milk. As for good eats, ordering the quintessentially Vietnamese pho, a beef noodle soup, or banh mi, a sanwhich which uses a French baguette, is the way to go. Close to the tourist area is Ben Thanh Market, which has a mind-numbing array of stores selling gift items, clothing, coffee, fruits, and many other items. At night, the commercial activity spills out onto the streets surrounding Ben Thanh Market making for lively night shopping.
The airport serving Vietnam's economic and financial capital, Tan Son Nhat International Airport, is the largest and busiest airport in the country. It has connections to Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia. Taxis are the most practical way for tourists to get around. However, taxi scams abound here. Always hire from a reputable company such as Mai Linh or Vinasun. Motorcycle taxis are available for those willing to brave Saigon's often chaotic traffic.
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All rates are per double room per night and include all taxes. Rates are subject to availability
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