Ho Chi Minh City, also referred to as Sai Gon, is Vietnam’s biggest and most energetic city. It’s a city where old and new worlds collide to fascinating effect. The graceful old architecture of the shops, businesses, residences, pagodas and palaces of yesteryear intertwine effortlessly with ultra-modern malls and skyscrapers.
It’s a city of diverse offerings, so there’s something to interest everyone and to suit every budget. Some of the nation’s top hotels and restaurants reside here as do some of the cheapest. Shoppers can choose from high-end malls full of designer boutiques or local markets. Fans of culture and history will be delighted by the huge offering of historic sights. Historical must-sees include the War Remnants Museum and the Cu Chi Tunnels for a walk through Vietnam’s tumultuous, war-torn past; the iconic Reunification Palace; Notre Dame Cathedral and the Old Post Office for examples of classical French-colonial architecture; and Cholon, HCMC’s atmospheric China Town, featuring intricate temples and pagodas and a historical market.
Eat, drink and be merry
Foodies can’t fail to be impressed by the huge variety of cuisine offered; from regional and national favourites sold super cheap on street stalls, to street food favourites served up in stylish surroundings; and haute cuisine in the classiest of restaurants. There’s also a generous selection of international cuisine on offer, including of course French, but also Indian, Japanese, Thai and Italian. Those who like to let down their hair down at night can do so in true Saigonese-style at a vast selection of bars and clubs, ranging from casual side-street beer clubs, to uber-classy rooftop bars andlively late-night clubs.