Ho Chi Minh formerly known as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam. The city is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, about 37 miles from the South China Sea, and 1090 miles south from Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. It’s metropolitan area covers a population of over 9 million people, while Ho Chi Minh city alone has a population of 7.2 million.
For the regular tourist, Saigon, as it’s still being called by most of the city locals, can seem a mess of crowded and chaotic traffic and clogged roads. Though the majority of the population, and thousand of expats and immigrants tend to disagree. They’ve all been fallen for the hidden charms of the lively city of Ho Chi Minh.
The city of Ho Chi Minh has been going through a financial and economic growth, attracting foreign investors and local contractors to help build and restore the city. These investments has led to a new generation of first class hotels, high end restaurants, modern shopping malls and trendy nightclubs and lounges. Yet it’s history and sightseeing haven’t been forgotten, they are still clearly visible throughout the city and locals are proud to show them with to those who interested.
When arriving in the city for the first time it’s recommended to visit the Tourist Information Center which can be found on Loi Loi Street in District 1 which is in the heart of city center, you can ask further information and pick up a free Ho Chi Minh city map, that’s for anyone who missed the free “VN Trip Map – for travel and coupons” hand out by Vietnamese women wearing the traditional oa dai dress at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.
Travelers to Ho Chi Minh need a valid passport and visa. United States and European passport holders must have a valid passport and a visa is required. Travel in Vietnam is generally safe and violent crime is uncommon. Pick-pocketing is rife, and drive-by purse snatching is a common trick. The summer months are between June, July, and August though some rain may be expected.