Located in the South of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, also known as “Saigon,” is the largest city in the country. Ho Chi Minh City is located on the banks of the Saigon River, not far from the famous Mekong Delta. Formerly the capital of Vietnam, it now leaves this role to the city of Hanoi and is content to be the economic lung of this Southeast Asian country. It is a young and dynamic city,with a higher standard of living and a more favourable climate than in the North of Vietnam.
The best season to visit Ho Chi Minh City is between December and March, as the climate is favourable with little rain and very pleasant temperatures.
To visit Ho Chi Minh City is to immerse yourself in its rich historical past. The largest city in Vietnam has known 95 years of French influence and played a very important role in the Vietnam War. Originally, Ho Chi Minh City was a small fishing village known as “Prey Nokor,” which translates into French as “Forest City.” During colonization, it became the capital of French Indochina and then the capital of the Republic of Vietnam under the name of Saigon. In 1975, Saigon was liberated by the communists and was renamed Ho Chi Minh City but you will still hear many Vietnamese calling it Saigon. The history of Vietnam can be discovered through its many museums.
French colonization left its mark and is still felt today in the streets of the city. The French style has strongly influenced the architecture and can be found in many buildings. Among the monuments that are worth a visit is the Cathedral Notre-Dame of Saigon, which was built on the same model as the one in Paris, and with materials directly imported from France; the central post office partly built by Gustave Eiffel, the famous French engineer who participated in the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and the Saigon Opera House, inspired by the architecture of the Garnier Opera House in Paris.
During your visit to Ho Chi Minh City, you can stroll along the two main streets, Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue. Dong Khoi Street is located in the heart of the French Quarter and is the most prestigious street in the city with its star hotels, large luxury boutiques, and high buildings. You will be able to walk there in the shade of tall trees that line the street. Nguyen Hue Street is one of the most famous pedestrian streets in Ho Chi Minh City. It is very often animated by street shows orchestrated by the children of the city. This street is worth the detour during the Tet festival, the Vietnamese New Year. It will know how to charm you with its decorations of coloured flowers coming from the Mekong Delta.
If you wish to go on a tour in the South of Vietnam, you can easily reach Ho Chi Minh City via the Tan Son Nhat airport, the largest airport in the country. You can then stop at the Mekong Delta and relax on the paradisiacal islands of Phu Quoc and Con Dao, where fine sandy beaches and turquoise waters await you for a heavenly escape.