HO CHI MINH CITY AND AROUND
Chi Minh City (HCMC for short), still known as Saigon to its seven million or so inhabitants, is Vietnam's centre of commerce and the country's biggest city by far, though not its administrative capital an honour that rests with Hanoi. As a result of the sweeping economic changes wrought by doi moi in 1986, this effervescent city, perched on the west bank of the Saigon River, has changed its image from that of a war-torn city to one of a thriving metropolis, challenging Singapore, Bangkok and the other traditional Southeast Asian powerhouses.
All the accoutrements of economic success fine restaurants, flash hotels, glitzy bars and clubs, and shops selling imported luxury goods — are here, adding a glossy veneer to the city's hotch-potch landscape of French stones of empire, venerable pagodas and austere, Soviet-style housing blocks. Sadly, however, Ho Chi Minh City is still full of people for whom economic progress has not yet translated into food, housing and jobs. Street children range through tourist enclaves hawking books, postcards, lottery tickets and cigarette lighters; limbless mendicants haul themselves about on crude trolleys; and watchful pickpockets prowl crowded streets on the lookout for unguarded wallets. Though the number of beggars is gradually declining, tourists must quickly come to accept them as a hassle that goes with the territory. In addition, the arrival, en masse, of wealthy Westerners has lured many women into prostitution, for which the go-go bars of Dong Khoi became famous during the American War.
If Hanoi is a city of romance and meEow 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. Few corners of the city afford respite from the cacophony of construction work casting up new office blocks and hotels with logic-defying speed. An increasing number of cars and minibuses jostle with an organic mass of state-of-the-art SUVs, Hondas and cyclo, choking the tree-lined streets and boulevards. Amid this melee, the local people go about their daily life: smartly-dressed schoolkids wander past streetside baguette-sellers; women shoppers ride Hondas clad in gangster-style bandanas and shoulder-length gloves to protect their skin from the sun and dust; while teenagers in designer jeans chirrup into mobile phones. Much of the fun of being in Ho Chi Minh City derives from the simple pleasure of absorbing its flurry of activity - something best done from the seat of a cyclo or a roadside cafe. To blink is to miss some new and singular sight, be it a motorbike stacked high with piglets bound for the market, or a boy on a bicycle rapping out a staccato tattoo on pieces of bamboo to advertise noodles for sale.
It's one of Ho Chi Minh City's many charms that once you've exhausted, or been exhausted by, all it has to offer, paddy fields, beaches and wide-open countryside are not far away. The most popular trip out of the city is to the Cu Chi tunnels, where villagers dug themselves out of the range of American shelling. The tunnels are often twinned with a tour around the fanciful Great Temple of the indigenous Cao Dai religion at Tay Ninh. A brief taster of the Mekong Delta at My Tho or a dip in the South China Sea at Ho Coc are also eminently possible in a long day's excursion (see p. 134 & p.229 respectively).
The best time to visit tropical Ho Chi Minh City is in the dry season, which runs from December through to April. During the wet season, May to November, there are frequent tropical storms, though these •won't disrupt your travels too much. Average temperatures, year-round, hover between 26 and 29°C; March, April and May are the hottest months.
Tan Son Nhat Airport is one of the three busiest in the Vietnam ( Other : Noi Bai Aiport in Hanoi City & Da Nang Airport in Da Nang city) for internation & domestic...
REUNIFICATION PALACEStriking modern architecture and the eerie feeling you gel as you walk through its deserted halls make Reunification Palace (Nguyen Du Str) one of the most...
District 1 is the undisputed lodging capital of Ho Chi Minh City, though the decision whether to go east (fancy) or west (cheap) depends on what you're after. Budget travelers...
- Best time to visit Vietnam
- Cost of daily items & tipping
- Tips and advice to help you stay safe during your trip
- Business travellers
- Vietnamese money and currency
- Medical & health information
- 20 biggest travel mistakes
- Customs and immigration
- Motorbike hire
- Travelling by bus or coach
- Public Train in Vietnam
- Domestic Flights Vietnam
- Cheap Flights to Vietnam
- Taste fried Vietnamese spring rolls-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Sapa Homestay-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Hanoi City Tour-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Drink like a local-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Halong Bay in the ricefields-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Climb Fansipan Mountain-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Cruise Halong Bay-Top things to do in Vietnam
- Vietnam Government
- Vietnam Religion & Lifestyle
- Origins of the Vietnamese Language
- Vietnam History
- Vietnam travel safety - How is safety to travel to Vietnam
- Best time to travel to Indochina
- Gay and Lesbian Travel Tips
- Three steps to avoid fraud when booking travel online for your Vietnam holiday
- Best time to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia
World Heritage in Vietnam
- Stone Stele Records of Royal Examinations of the LE and MAC Dynasties
- Buddhist Sutra Woodblocks of Truc Lam Zen
- Art of Don Ca Tai Tu Music and Song in Southern Vietnam
- The Space of Gong Culture in Central Highlands of Vietnam
- Nha Nhac - Vietnamese Court Music
- Ca Tru Singing
- Quan Ho Bac Ninh Folk Songs
- Xoan Singing
- Worship of Hung Kings in Phu Tho
- Giong Festivals at Phu Dong & Soc Temples
- My Son Sanctuary
- Hoi An Ancient Town
- Complex of Hue Monuments
- The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty
- The Central Sector of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long - Ha Noi
- Dong Van Karst Plateau
- Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park
- Halong Bay - World Natural Heritage
Top 10 Most Interest
The 11th HCM City Tourism Day 2015, themed "Impression of World Heritage in Viet Nam&q...
Vietnamese culture, tradition and landscapes have been vividly depicted on 40 large photos ...
The International Travel Expo in Ho Chi Minh City (ITE- HCMC) has successfully promoted coo...
A series of events have been organised by the Consulate General of Viet Nam in Perth, Australia ...
A media centre for the 132nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-132) opened on March 2...
The southern province of Kien Giang on March 27 held a ceremony to announce a Prime Ministe...
The People’s Committee of the northern mountainous province of Son La has devised a number...
Around 878,000 travellers visited the central coastal city of Da Nang in the first three months ...
Located 30 kilometers from National Highway 1A and 55 kilometers from Da Nang City, Le Pass...
An autumn morning, we visited Bidoup Nui Ba National Park in Da Lat City, one of ...
Ho Chi Minh City tourism day kicks offMonday, 30 March 2015 17:29
Vietnamese culture, landscapes featured in MozambiqueMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
ITE-HCMC spotlights Mekong sub-region tourismMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
Viet Nam’s culture promoted in AustraliaMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
Media centre for IPU-132 Assembly opens in Ha NoiMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
Phu Quoc prison recognised as special national heritage siteMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
Son La calls for investment in tourismMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
Da Nang records strong increase in tourist arrivalsMonday, 30 March 2015 17:26
Up to Le Pass for delicious chicken dishesMonday, 30 March 2015 17:24
Back to nature at Bidoup Nui Ba ParkMonday, 30 March 2015 17:24