About Ho Chi Minh City and its attractions
Ho Chi Minh City, the capital city of South Vietnam, is also commonly known as Saigon. Originally, Saigon and Cholon (Big Market), the two adjacent cities, were combined to make it Capital City Saigon under Bao Dai Emperor. It was then renamed Ho Chi Minh City after fall 1975; however, the old charming name is still used popularly by both Vietnamese and foreigners especially in informal context to refer to the center of the city.
Having grown from a swampland in 17th century to the strongest economic center of Vietnam today, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city with an area of more than 2000km2 and the highest population-concentrated one of the country. The city contributes the highest proportion to Vietnam’s economy with its industry sectors consisting of seafood processing, agriculture, mining, tourism, import and export. For its rapid development in all aspects, Saigon was once dubbed the Pearl of the Far East, as known as Paris in the Orient by French.
Ho Chi Minh City attracted more than 3 million tourist inbounds annually, accounting for more than 70% of the total number of tourists coming to Vietnam. It is famous for historic French colonial buildings along wide elegant boulevards in District 1 such as:
Ben Thanh Market is a symbol of Ho Chi Minh City, the long established and busiest market dated back to French war. There are quite a lot of souvenir stuff such as Vietnam conical hats, T-shirts, jeans, bags and badges. Vendors usually quote a price of 200% or 300% higher than its actual one. So a tip is that you should bargain hard and save your money appropriately.
Municipal Theatre (Opera House): Built in 1900 by three French architects, this flamboyant structure building was first used as an entertainment place for French soldiers. The theatre is now utilized for hosting formal international and national events.
The City Hall: During the war, the building was named Western Palace (Dinh Xã Tây), then Hôtel de Ville de Saïgon (Tòa Đô Chánh Saigon). It is now renamed Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. The building with light illumination at night is a work of art; however it is not opened to the public and for tourism purpose.
City Post Office: The enormous post office was constructed by the well-known architect, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Two huge maps were painted on the post office walls just after it was first built.
Notre-Dame Cathedral: Assembling Notre-Dame de Paris, the one located in Saigon center was also affected by Gothic style. All materials from steels and iron to bricks, tiles and glasses were produced and transported from France to Vietnam during construction in 1877. On top of the building are two bell towers containing six bronze bells weighing 28.85 tons.
And among all those spots nearby is the most prominent historical place of interest, Reunification Palace (Palace of Independence). This place witnessed a historical tank number 843 of Vietnam People’s Army crashing through the gate, the South Vietnam’s flag was replaced and the war ended when the indomitable North government took over the South; hence its name Reunification.
About Vietnam's attractions
- Bay (Quang Ninh): World Natural Heritage - One of the 7 World's Natural Wonders
- Phong Nha Cave (Quang Binh): World Heritage
- My Son (Da Nang): World Heritage
- Ancient Hoi An Town: World Heritage
Hoi An, a small town in Central Vietnam, was a busy international commercial port in the 16th and 17th centuries. Hoi An is one of the most popular of the Vietnam tourist attractions. It lures the tourists in Vietnam, with its ancient charm of temples, shrines, Chinese style tile-roofed wooden houses and a unique blend of Japanese and Chinese architecture. Today Hoi An stands as an example of ancient architecturee and is declared as a World Heritage by UNESCO for being one of the best preserved ancient Southeast Asian trading ports.
- Hue: Vietnam's Ancient Captial
- Nha Trang
- Paradise Cave (Dong Thien duong) (Quang Binh)
- Sapa and Northern Vietnam: Where Heaven Meets Earth (Sapa)
- Hanoi: The Capital
Highly recommended tourist agents include:
- Saigon Tourist Company:
- Vietravel Company: