Ho Chi Minh City Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
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Ho Chi Minh City Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

Ho Chi Minh City, on the southern tip of Vietnam, is one of South East Asia’s emerging boom
cities. Still affectionately known by many as Saigon, this is Vietnam’s largest city and its economic
engine room. Ho Chi Minh City has an irrepressible soul
and an entrepreneurial energy that hums day and night. Despite almost a century of colonialism and
brutal conflict, today this city is renowned for its warm hospitality, which even extends to former foes. A youthful enthusiasm flows through this city, just like the stream of scooters, motorbikes and cars that flow endlessly through
its chaotic streets. In Ho Chi Minh City, it feels as though the
future has arrived… and yet the past is never far away. Wide boulevards built during the French colonial
era are lined with cutting edge skyscrapers, while jasmine scented temples gently rub shoulders
with chic rooftop bars One of the best ways to orient yourself is
with a trip up the 68 story skyscraper, the Bitexco Financial Tower. Escape the heat and enjoy 360 degree views
from the ultra modern Saigon Skydeck. More than 9 million people call Ho Chi Minh
City home and the dynamic energy of its streets is part
of its charm. The city is divided into a series of numbered
districts and District One is where almost all of the city’s main attractions can be found. Head to the area around Dong Khoi Street. Known as Rue Catinat when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the early 20th century, it was the height of elegance and sophistication. Today, it is still home to some of the city’s
most graceful architecture such as the Saigon Central Post
office, still in operation today. Nearby, the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Opera House seem to echo with music of a time gone by. While the old French Hotels such as the Hotel
Continental Saigon offer a romantic oasis from the busy streets. Take a tour of the Gia Long Palace, known officially as the Ho Chi Minh City Museum. It offers a wonderful insight into the way the city has changed over the years while the
Museum of Vietnam History looks further back in time. But although the city’s history is honoured
here, Dong Khoi Street is also at the epicentre
of much of Ho Chi Minh City’s recent economic boom. Luxury brands grace the windows of many of
the area’s colonial-era buildings and glittering new shopping centres offer
stylish boutiques and coffee shops. A more traditional way to experience local
commerce is with a visit to Ben Thanh, the city’s largest and most central market. You can find nearly anything here but be prepared
to bargain. The buzzing Ho Chi Minh City’s street markets are also the perfect place to immerse yourself
in the fresh and fragrant tastes of Vietnamese cuisine. Cholon, is another great place to find the
beat of the city. Today it is one of the world’s largest chinatowns but it first became internationally famous as a thriving black market during the Vietnam conflict. Known here as the American War, it is far from forgotten and many visitors
come to Ho Chi Minh to better understand one of the most controversial
conflicts in the 20th century. The powerful War Remnants Museum attracts
more than half a million visitors each year and is a confronting reminder of the horrors of war. Take a tour of the Reunification Palace, another icon from those dark days. When North vietnamese tanks crashed through
the gates here in 1975, it signaled the end of the world’s first
televised war. See the rooftop from which the last evacuations
took place and visit the telecommunications room which
has remained almost untouched since that fateful day. Escape from the weight of history at the Tao
Dan Park, an oasis of green, right in the heart of the
city. Or, exchange the scooter fumes for flowers with a stroll through the 100 year old Zoo
and Botanical Gardens. The lush grounds of Binh Quoi tourist village are a 30 minute drive out of town. This village was created to show what life was like on the mekong delta in days
gone by. Discover a different kind of energy in Ho
Chi Minh city’s incense filled temples. Although officially an atheist country there
are a number of long established religions in Vietnam including Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism. At the Jade Emperor Pagoda, pay your respects to Ngoc Hoang, the King of Heaven, a taoist gatekeeper to
the afterlife. As the sun goes down, find yourself a seat at one of Ho Chi Minh
City’s famous rooftop bars, a perfect way to soak up the buzz of the city. Dynamic, chaotic and energizing. Ho Chi Minh city may have burst onto the world
stage as a battle zone but today, there is no better destination to plug in
to the pulse of 21st century Asia.


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