Area: 2,095.5 sq. km
Population: 8,146.3 thousand habitants (2015).
- Districts: District 1, District 2, District 3, District 4, District 5, District 6, District 7, District 8, District 9, District 10, District 11, District 12, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, Thu Duc, Go Vap, Binh Tan, Tan Phu.
- Rural districts: Nha Be, Can Gio, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, Binh Chanh.
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Khmer, Cham...
Ho Chi Minh City formerly known as Saigon - the capital of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the most vibrant city of the reunified country, offering plenty of places for sight-seeing, shopping, dining and experience of nightlife.
Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market with a large number of stalls selling souvenirs and local handicrafts. This bustling market isn’t just for tourists. It is also where the locals shop for their daily needs, including produce, coffee and clothing.
Ben Thanh Market built in 1870, is an excellent place to enjoy Vietnam’s local street foods. At night, the indoor stalls in the Ben Thanh Market close, but the surrounding area livens up as restaurants and outdoor stalls selling various goods open for the public.
Saigon Opera House
This elegant building, known as the Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh City, was completed in 1897 and designed by French architect Ferret Eugene.
So it’s not surprising that the Saigon Opera House having some resemblance to the Petit Palace in Paris, which was built during the same year. From the time it opened until 1955, this 800-seat structure provided entertainment for French colonists. But then in 1956, the Vietnam government began using the structure for its Lower House of Assembly.
After the liberation in 1975 the beautiful building was once again used for its original purpose. Although the Saigon Opera House is not technically open to the public for visits, anyone who wants to see the interior of this stunning building can do so by purchasing a ticket to a performance.
Dong Khoi Street
Dong Khoi Street is the best shopping and dining place in Saigon. This street is home to elegant old colonial buildings, high-end boutiques, famous brand-name stores, lovely cafes and restaurants and luxury hotels.
Some of the more well-known buildings on this street are the Opera House, the Saigon Central Post Office, and the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Saigon Central Post Office
The Saigon Central Post Office is one of Ho Chi Minh’s oldest structures. This building, which was designed by Gustave Eiffel, began in 1886. This concourse of this grand building features several painted maps. This building, which features an elegant high vaulted ceiling, a beautiful tiled floor, and old-fashioned phone booths, is an actual working post office and is free to visit. There are also shops in the Central Post Office selling postcards and other souvenirs.
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
The Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is Ho Chi Minh City’s most famous landmark with its two tall bell towers. The cathedral was originally built between 1863 and 1880 and was constructed on a site where a Vietnamese pagoda once stood. All of the materials for the red brick Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral were imported from France. For many years, it was known as the Saigon Church, but then in 1962, the structure was elevated to a Basilica. Its name was also changed to Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica at that time, and it also became the chief cathedral for the region.
Designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ, this palace was once the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam.
Nowadays, Independence Palace, also called the Reunification Palace, is a historic landmark that appears almost frozen in time. In fact, two of the tanks that were involved in the original seizure of power still remain on the grounds and a replica helicopter can be found on the building’s roof. In addition, the rooms have been preserved in their late 1960s, 1970s style. There are also many interesting sights in this five-story building, including a bunker basement that features the underground tunnels and a telecommunication center.
War Remnants Museum
The War Remnants Museum, which opened around 1975, was originally called the Exhibition House for U.S. and Puppet Crimes. That name was changed to the Exhibition House for Crimes of War and Aggression in 1990 before finally being changed to its current moniker in 1995. Most of the exhibits in this museum are related to the Vietnam War, but there are also some dedicated to the first Indochina War. Outside are US armored vehicles, artillery pieces and infantry weapons on display.
Bitexco Financial Tower
The 68-story, 262-meter (859-foot) high Bitexco Financial Tower was completed in 2010, it became the highest building in the city .
Its Sky Deck, located on the 49th floor, is a popular tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City where visitors can enjoy amazing 360-degree views of the city and of the Saigon River.
This skyscraper is famous for being the site of the Bitexco Vertical Run in which competitors race from the lobby to the Sky Deck.
This tower’s helipad is not located on its roof like on most buildings. Instead its helipad cantilevers from the 52nd floor.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
This small pagoda built in 1909 by Vietnam’s Cantonese community and became one of the city’s most interesting sites.
It is also known as the Tortoise Pagoda because there is a pond in the temple’s courtyard that is filled with turtles. The Jade Emperor Pagoda contains some fascinating items, including a statue of the Jade Emperor and an idol of the goddess of fertility, Kim Hua. Besides a popular tourist attraction in Ho Chi Minh City, this is also a working temple, so it is typically bustling with activity and its air filled with the scent of burning incense.
Binh Tay Market
Alike to Ben Thanh central Market , the Binh Tay Market offers a lot of a little of everything, including fresh produce and local handicrafts. The Binh Tay Market is located in Chinatown area and is actually a distribution hub for many of Saigon’s clothing and food items, so visitors may discover that some of the items available in the hundreds of the market’s stalls may only be for sale to wholesalers. Visitors who arrive at the Binh Tay Market early in the morning may get a chance to peruse the fresh food items that are available in the outdoor “wet market,” including fish and produce. There is also a food court in the Binh Tay Market where visitors can sample local delicacies and street food.
The Cu Chi tunnels
Cu chi tunnels built over a period of 25 years that began sometime in the late 1940s during the war against the French. The excavations were used mostly for communication between villages and to evade French army sweeps of the area. When the National Liberation Front (NLF) insurgency began around 1960, the old tunnels were repaired and new extensions were excavated. Within a few years the tunnel system assumed enormous strategic importance, and most of Cu Chi district and the nearby area came under firm guerillas’ control.
Throughout the course of the war, the tunnels in Cu Chi proved to be a source of frustration for the U.S. military in Saigon. The US and Australian tried a variety of methods to detect and infiltrate the tunnels but all were met with failure. Large scale ground operations involving tens of thousands of troops were launched. They ravaged rice paddies, bulldozed huge swathes of jungle, and villages were evacuated and razed. The Americans also sprayed chemical defoliants on the area aerially and a few months later ignited the tinder-dry vegetation with gasoline and napalm. By a strange twist of fate, the intense heat of the napalm interacted with the wet tropical air only to create cloudbursts that extinguished the fires. The guerrillas remained safe and sound inside their tunnels.