Ho Chi Minh City, situated in the southern part of Vietnam, is still called Saigon by most of the natives. This modern city used to be considered as the Pearl of the Orient by the French.
The wide Saigon River, which takes a huge turn from the east of Saigon, links the city with the sea. Unlike Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City may lack charm and elegance, but the city with its essential French colonial character has enough to draw your attention. The city's colonial villas, wide avenues and a lively cafe society remind you the days of French dominance.
Over the last 10 years, Ho Chi Minh City has experienced a spectacular change in its cityscape. The once low-rise landscape of the city's central area, District 1, is now marked with shining skyscrapers including high-rise apartments, international hotels and companies. This bustling, vibrant, industrial hub of the nation is the biggest city of Vietnam as well. Saigon is also the cultural center and economic capital of the country.
The city is well connected with rest of the world through air routes and sea and thereby draws huge foreign funds in the fields like oil, gas, agriculture, textiles, and marine products. However tourism contributes a major part of the government's revenue.
The city with its teeming metropolis mingled with the elegance of ancient culture, gives you a microcosmic view of the entire nation.
Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon, is still more popular among people of Vietnam. The city with its bustling street markets, cafes, shops, pagodas and museums offers a microcosmic view of the entire nation. Places that you could visit in Ho Chi Minh City are:
- Cu Chi Tunnels
- Ben Thanh Market
- China Town
- Reunification Palace
- Saigon Water Park
- Notre Dame Cathedral…
As most of the tourist attractions in the city are centrally located the best way to get the essence of this vibrant city is to walk or ride around in a cycle.
Alternatively you can opt for the sightseeing tours in Ho Chi Minh City. Different travel agencies offer a variety of tour packages for trips in and around the Ho Chi Minh City. However to avail these short guided tours you have to make reservations in advance.
Best time to visit
Mostly tourists and travelers start pouring in since November and they continue their tour in the city throughout March. While your stay in Ho Chi Minh don’t miss out on the fun and celebrations in the Tet Festival in either late or early January.
Ho Chi Minh seems to be easier to visit most of the time of the year but spring time invariably seems to be the best time to visit. The average temperature in Ho Chi Minh tends to remain around 28 degrees.
Tips for travellers
Entertainment also involves movies but the option of good movie or cinema halls are limited and if you are addicted to English movies then your options get more limited as only one or two movie halls screen English films. If you want to experience something new and different as far as entertainment is concerned then you can opt for the puppet shows that are truly brilliant. You can inform or recommend your close associates or friends about a puppet show if you have liked a particular puppet show. To keep yourself updated about the upcoming events you can get in touch with the theaters or the opera houses by making use of the phone line.