Travel guide to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh City has changed names several times. It was originally called Prey Nokor by the Khmer until annexation by the Vietnamese in the 1700’s, then Sagon, and Saigon again by the French. The final switch to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) came in 1976 following reunification.
Today, HCMC boasts an official population of around eight million, but locals suggest it is closer to 12. The downtown area, still referred to as Saigon, is growing at a rate that will equal Tokyo by 2020 - 20 million plus.
There are two distinct seasons: wet and dry. City life mirrors the weather, a blend of harmony and chaos. Traffic is a dense rush, but there are always locals lounging at streetside coffee vendors, content to admire the passing free-for-all.
is the political capital of Vietnam, HCMC is the financial heart. A magnet for foreign investors, new business centres and ambitious development projects pop up every year. All that progress aside, Ho Chi Minh City is steeped in tradition, a living monument to the past that wears its culture on its sleeve. Whether you’re zooming by on a motorbike
or sipping designer cocktails at a rooftop bar
, there is much to savour and explore in this bustling city.