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Sai Gon

If Hanoi is a city of romance and mellow charms, then Ho Chi Minh City is its antithesis, a fury of sights and sounds, and the crucible in which Vietnam’s rallying fortunes are boiling.

Ho Chi Minh City - ongoing dynamic & enchanting



Introduction & Location

In the core of the Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City  is second the most important in Vietnam after Hanoi. It is not only a commercial center but also a scientific, technological, industrial and tourist center. It is located near the Mekong delta, about 1,760 kilometers south of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with the population of 7 million in the area of 2095 square kilometers (908 square miles). Ho Chi Minh City is the second heart and soul of Vietnam, to Hanoi. It's a bustling, dynamic and industrious center, the largest city in the country, the economic capital and the cultural trendsetter. Yet within the teeming metropolis are the timeless traditions and beauty of an ancient culture.

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History

Many centuries ago, Saigon was already a busy commercial center. In the year of 1874, Cho Lon merged with Saigon, forming the largest city in the Indochina. It had been many times celebrated as the Pearl of the Far East. In the year of 1976, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. The history of city relates closely with the struggle for the independence and freedom of Vietnam.
The city used to be a small fishing village, inhabited by Khmer people, Cambodia before becoming a land under Nguyen dynasty rule in 1698, being conquered by France from 1950 to 1975. Throughout its long history, HCMC appears to be not only a modern and dynamic city but a cultural and historical one as well.
Following the Fall of Saigon in 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. Nevertheless, the old Saigon moniker is still used by both Vietnamese and foreigners.


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Weather

You are going to visit Sai Gon? The best time to visit weather-wise is the dry season between December and April, when the humidity is more manageable. The clouds start getting heavy around November and stay through March. The Tet Festival in late January or early February is an exciting, if extremely hectic, time to visit. Being only 10.5° above the equator and between 5 and 10m (16-35ft) above sea level, Ho Chi Minh City is almost a template for tropical weather. Temperatures rarely vary from about 30°C (86°F).

People and Culture

Exploring deeply inside Sai Gon, tourists may be surprised at the diversity of ethnic minorities in the magnificent city and its surroundings. Apart from Kinh (or Viet) people, there are a number of others, for example, Chinese, (the largest Chinese community in Vietnam), Khmer, Cham, Nung, and Rhade, etc. Each of them has their own cultural characteristics, languages, costumes, lifestyles, and religions such as: Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Ancestor Worship, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Cao Dai, Hoa Hao, Islam, Hinduism, and Bahá'í Faith. Yet, the vast majority is Kinh people, whose common characteristic is to be friendly, hospitable, open-hearted, and straightforward.

These days, lots of Sai Gon’s youngsters and youths could speak English fairly well. They are more and more fond of communicating with foreigners in English for practice. More importantly, they are helpful, which fully reassure first-time foreign visitors to this city.

HCMC, as known, is now growing up to be an industrious, modern and dynamic city, with a lot of new modern constructions of Western architecture. However, here and there you can still see ancient monuments such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Thien Hau Pagoda, Phung Son Tu Pagoda, etc., making it a special picture of “an integrated rather than dissolved city”. HCMC is called "the Pearl of the Far East" or "Paris in the Orient" thanks to this special fascinating beauty, capable to have most travellers lengthen their stay.


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Places of Interest

Being a city embracing both traditional and modern beauty, HCMC is an ideal destination of interest for every generations with different characters.

Nowaday, Ho Chi Minh City is the big tourism center in Vietnam, attracting a large of visitors to Vietnam. The central area of District 1 is imposing with its high-rise buildings, shopping centers as well as other entertainments such as restaurants, café shops, and bars. China Town in District 5 is a contrasting destination with colorful lanterns and exotic Chinese shop-houses that date back at least 40 years ago. Historical heritages such as Dinh Thong Nhat and Museum of Vietnamese Revolution will let you step into the epic history of Gia Dinh or Sai Gon. Furthermore, Ho Chi Minh City boasts its diversely flavorful cuisine as good foods from all regions concentrate here. In the menu, some of the must-try are Banh Xeo Nam Bo, Bun Bo Hue, snails and seafood.
 
Ho Chi Minh City has other attractions as Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ben Thanh Market... Recently, many tourist areas are invested such as Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa..., which draw numerous tourists.


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Dynamic economical outlook

As mentioned, HCMC is now one of the two most significant economic centre of Vietnam. The city is bathed by many rivers, arroyos and canals, the biggest river being the Saigon River. The Port of Saigon, established in 1862, is accessible to ships weighing up to 30,000 tons, a rare advantage for an inland river port.
Around 300,000 enterprises are trading in high-tech, electronics, processing and light industries, in construction, building materials and agro-products on a whole. Further foreign investment is now pouring into the city. Month by month, year by year, buildings, construction of entertainment, tourism, and companies come up. Higher education in Ho Chi Minh City is much concentrated, with about 76 universities and colleges and a total of over 380,000 students. The health care system of the city is relatively improved with a chain of about 100 public-owned hospitals or medical centers and dozens of private-owned clinics. Transportation is more and more convenient with four means of transport system: airlines, rail, road and marine. What is more, mass media is day by day fast developing. It is also the home of hundreds cinemas and theatres, parks, and luxury and standard hotels. Well, what can you see from this much-to-say view? I can only see rapid growth and great economic as well as tourism potential!

Observing the dynamic life in this vibrant city which was once considered “Pearl of the Far East”, joining in a unique mix of culture from many regions along Vietnam, all ensure new interesting experiences for visitors. Aside from the popular tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh city, those who wish to leave the noisy and bustling city behind for a peaceful countryside experience can also take day trips from Ho Chi Minh to Mekong delta and enjoy the floating lives of locals there. With a large number of tourists visiting the city each year and growing demand for tourism service, there are quite a wide range of options for Ho Chi Minh city tours from a lot of local travel agencies which vary in length, prices and itineraries for tourists to choose from. 


Saigon always brings a special feeling for you.
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