Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) also known previously as Saigon is a chaotic hub in the South of Vietnam. Most people start or finish their travels in this city as it is packed with historical and cultural sights as well as ooze energy from every corner of the roads.
The city itself was the old capital of South Vietnam until 1975, and technically stretches almost to the Cambodia border. But for most people the centre, in particular districts 1-5 is where you spend most of your time. District 1 being the main backpackers area, especially the road ‘Pham Ngu Lao’, where tour agencies, cheap restaurants and bars and guesthouses are in abundance.
HCMC has small pockets to suit everyone’s taste; for example ‘Dong Khoi’- an area which borders the Saigon river. Here you can’t miss the sky scrapper buildings, especially the 68 storey Bitexco Tower. Yet in between these modern development are classical French colonial buildings such as Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office and the Opera House.
Just west of Dong Khoi is one of HCMC’s most popular tourist sites: the War Remnants Museum. Here the impact of the Vietnam war is displayed in photographs, written documents and illustrations.
One of the musts of any major city is to have a drink at night on a rooftop bar. Being full of high rise building you are spoilt for choice in HCMC. For those that want to splash out the Bitexco Financial Tower is a good option. But we choose a bar with a view across district 1 and 23/9 park.