SAIGON – HO CHI MINH CITY
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly named Saigon
The largest city in Vietnam but the second most important after Hanoi. It is not only a commercial center but a scientific, technological, industrial and tourist center. The city is bathed by many rivers, arroyos and canals. The biggest river is the Saigon River. The Port of Saigon, established in 1862, is accessible to ships weighing up to 30,000 tons. A rare advantage for an inland river port. Saigon was the capital of South Vietnam until 1975.
First conquered by France and Spain in 1859, Saigon became influenced by the French during their colonial occupation. This is reflected by a number of classical Western-style buildings and French villas in the city.
Centuries ago, Saigon was already a busy commercial center. Merchants from China, Japan and many European countries, would sail upstream the Saigon River to reach the islet of Pho; a trading center. In the year of 1874, Cho Lon merged with Saigon, forming the largest city in the Indochina. It had been many times celebrated as the Pearl of the Far East. After the fall of Saigon in 1975, the city has been renamed Ho Chi Minh City. The history of this city, relates closely with the struggle for the independence and freedom of Vietnam. However, its former name-Saigon-is still widely used by many Vietnamese, especially in informal contexts. Generally, the term Saigon refers only to the urban districts of Ho Chi Minh City.
Located in the southeastern region of Vietnam. 1,760km (1,090mil) south of Hanoi. It borders with Tay Ninh Province and Binh Duong Province in the north. Dong Nai Province and Ba Ria–Vung Tau Province in the east. Long An Province in the west and the East Sea, in the south with a coast of 15km (9mil) long.
The city has a tropical climate. Specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with an average humidity of 75%. The year is divided into two distinct seasons. The rainy season usually begins in May and ends in late November. The dry season lasts from December till April. The average temperature is 28°C (82°F). The highest temperature sometimes reaches 39°C (102°F) around noon in late April, while the lowest may fall to 16°C (61°F) in the early mornings of late December till early January.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the big tourist center in Vietnam. Attracting a large number of visitors. The city has various attractions: Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf. War Remnants Museum. Cu Chi Underground Tunnels and a system of museums, theatres, cultural houses. There are local shopping areas like Ben Thanh Market, Cho Lon (China Town area).
Like many of Vietnam’s smaller cities, the city boasts a multitude of restaurants serving typical vietnamese dishes. Visitors can also enjoy international cuisine.
Ho Chi Minh City is the main junction for trains, roads, rivers, sea, and air transportation systems for domestic and international routes.