Viet Nam

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a sprawling metropolis with over 5 million inhabitants. This city offers something for everyone and is a vibrant and captivating place. It embodies contrasts: traditional and modern, young and old, rich and poor. If you've ever wondered what Bangkok or Hong Kong were like before they became gridlocked or filled with high rises, this is your chance to experience it. But don’t wait too long; this place is changing rapidly. Plan to spend at least 2 or 3 days exploring Saigon, longer if possible.

The central downtown area is located in District 1, where you'll find a wide variety of accommodations, including classic hotels like the Grand, the Majestic, and the Rex, as well as newer, upscale hotels. In recent years, many new hotel projects have been developed, creating a temporary oversupply, especially in the luxury market. As a result, you can find some great deals on really nice hotel rooms. We recommend that first-time visitors stay in District 1, as it's close to many museums, historical sites, and good restaurants.

Ho Chi Minh City boasts numerous worthwhile attractions such as the Historical Museum, Reunification Hall, and the War Remnants Museum (formerly the War Crimes Museum). Within a day's drive, there are several other attractions well worth the trip.

Bargain hunters will find good deals on local handicrafts and custom-tailored clothing. Of course, Ho Chi Minh City is also a great place to sit and watch the hustle and bustle or take a leisurely cyclo tour to visit historical sites like Notre Dame Cathedral and the former U.S. embassies.

Downtown Saigon streets are bustling with two-wheeled traffic. Fashionably dressed women with designer sunglasses, high heels, and elbow-length gloves cruise past on their Hondas, followed by teenage girls in traditional Vietnamese ao dai, pedaling bicycles and holding hands. With few traffic lights, intersections are navigated by slowing down and weaving through cross traffic, making eye contact with nearby riders. Pedestrians cross the street by simply walking into the traffic flow, hardly breaking stride as vehicles swirl around them. It may sound chaotic, but it works!

Most offices, stores, and museums open early, usually around 7:30 a.m., and close for lunch for up to 2 hours. The city essentially shuts down between noon and 1 p.m., then reopens until around 4:30 or 5 p.m. Most restaurants stop serving at 10 p.m.

Ho Chi Minh City has essentially two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season runs from November through April; the wet season runs from May through October. Regardless of the season, it's always hot and humid! If you visit during the wet season, bring a raincoat and umbrella.

Top Places To Visit Ho Chi Minh

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