This crazy-making and seductive megalopolis beats with a palpable energy day and night. Ho Chi Minh is a thriving city where old and new collide. Gleaming skyscrapers, immaculate hotels, expensive restaurants, glitzy bars and designer shops stand in stark contrast to the ancient pagodas, Soviet-style housing blocks, ramshackle markets and wandering monks whilst the key historical sites provide a fascinating inside into the Vietnam War.
The city`s neoclassical buildings, colonial-era landmarks and pavement kiosks selling baguettes and croissants give its neighbourhoods an attractive, vaguely French atmosphere. Washed ashore above the mighty Mekong Delta, north of the South China Sea, The City of Ho Chi Minh is on the march, a boomtown where the rule of the dollar is absolute.
Formerly Saigon, it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976, a year after the communists rolled through the gates of the Presidential Palace and took control of the city. Happily, however, the evocative old name lives on. The central district is still proudly referred to as Saigon amongst the locals. But one should always be careful of using the right term for the city. In official documents and when dealing with authorities, the name Ho Chi Minh is always to be applied.