Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide


Ho Chi Minh City, an introduction

Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City or commonly called as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam nearto the Mekong and Saigon River or approximately 60 kilometers of the South China Sea. Just like Indonesia, the city also has a tropical climate. The city offers many fascinating sights object usually visited by tourists.

Ho Chi Minh City History

Ho Chi Minh City was formerly a fishing village called Prey Nokor that means Forest City or State Forests. In 1623 in Vietnam there was Trinh-Nguyen civil war that King Chey Chettha II originating from Cambodia invited Prey Nokor to be used as a place of settlement for refugees from Vietnam. But as the refugees overflew to Prey Nokor, there was finally a Vietnamization in the city. Prey Nokor then was known as Saigon. On May 1st, 1975, the name of Saigon was changed by the local communist government to Ho Chi Minh City. There are still many Vietnamese use the name Saigon to refer this full of history city.

Ho Chi Minh City on the map

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things to see

Things to see

One of the interesting places in Ho Chi Minh City is the Reunification Palace, which is a historic palace building that was once used in war time. Inside the palace you can see a collection of historic collection of old books. While at the War Remnants Museum you can see a collection of historical heritage objects of Vietnam War. In the midst of this city you can find Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral, a 58 meters cathedral building built in 1863-1880. This place is one of the places usually visited by foreign tourists.

things to do

Things to do

There is a park situated around Pham Ngu Lao. The park is often used by local people for merely exercising in the park because it provides exercise equipment that can be accessed by anyone. At night, you can visit the Ben Thanh Night Market located in the city center. In this market you can also buy souvenir items that you want. In this city there are also night entertainment centers located around the Pham Ngu Lao Ward. You can also go down underground tunnels known as the Chu Chi Tunnel. This tunnel previous function was as a shelter for residents during the Vietnam War.

things to eat

Things to eat

Pho is a popular enough food in this city. This food is a kind of noodle soup that contains sliced beef or chicken with bean sprouts and basil leaves. In this town you can also find Cha Gio, one of the most demanding foods. Cha Gio is kind of typical Vietnamese fried spring rolls usually served with sweet and sour sauce. Unlike the Goi Cuon, a kind of traditional spring rolls salad in which all the materials used are not fried. The materials used in this salad spring roll are fresh vegetables such as lettuce, leaf menthol, vermicelli and sliced scallions. To Goi Cuon is usually eaten with peanut sauce or extra spicy sour sauce.

Things to see and do near Ho Chi Minh City

Airport at Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is served by the Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

The Tan Son Nhat International Airport of Ho Chi Minh City is the largest airport in Vietnam handling over 15 million passengers a year. It is also the main gateway into Vietnam having numerous international connections, more than the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi. Tan Son Nhat Airport was a major US Air Force base in the Vietnam War. During the height of the war the airport was one of the busiest military airbases in the world. After the US forces left and the subsequent fall of the South Vietnamese government, the airport was transformed for civilian use. The airport is conveniently located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City having being slowly surrounded by the Metropolitan area. A Master plan exists to build a new airport 40km north of the city but this will not be ready before 2020.

There are two terminals at Ho Chi Minh International Airport. The modern International terminal (opened in 2007) and the old domestic terminal a few hundred meters away.

Entering the city from the airport

Taxis are not often reliable and ripping passengers off is common in Ho Chi Minh City so best to take one of the reputable companies: Mai Linh or Vinasun which have reasonable fares and use the meter. A ride into the city to the main tourist street would cost around 200.000 dong but it depends highly on traffic conditions as traffic can come to a near standstill during rush hour. Upon arrival at the international terminal the Mai Linh company has a counter in the terminal building, or you can walk outside and head for the main taxi queue. At the domestic terminal only Sasco taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at the terminal. Alternatively you can walk 100 meters to the car park were other taxis are waiting too. A public bus (no 152) departs in front of the domestic terminal and heads for the bus terminal close to Pham Ngu Lao Street until 6pm. Bus fee is only 4000 dong and another 4000 dong for any bags. There is no sign where the bus departs, ask one of the airport officials where the bus stop is.

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