Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a full throttle place, somewhere to either lose yourself in a throng of busy roads and food stalls, markets and restaurants, or explore the city’s fascinating history through its museums, galleries and monuments, plus everything in between.
The dichotomy and brilliance of touring Ho Chi Minh is that you really do get a fusion of old and new during your time here. Given the city’s ancient and more recent war-torn past, French colonial buildings and ornate pagodas sit side-by-side with modern skyscrapers, theme parks and boutique shopping outlets. It’s an intoxicating mix, one that gives a cross-section of Vietnamese culture, past and present, throughout. The food in Ho Chi Minch City is also another one of its trademarks, from lip-smacking street food stands to sophisticated fine-dining restaurants, servicing the city’s locals and lucky tourists alike.
Then you have the historic side of Ho Chi Minh, which unfolds over hundreds of years having once been a Khmer settlement, followed by 17th-century Vietnamese rule and ultimately a major battleground during the Vietnam War with America, in the 1960s and 70s. The result is a list of essential Ho Chi Minh sites to visit, including the Cu Chi Tunnels; Independence Palace; Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon; Ng?c Hoang Pagoda, and so much more. This is a top travel destination in Vietnam, to be sure.
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