Introducing Ho Chi Minh City
Fasten your seatbelts as Ho Chi Minh City is a metropolis on the move – and we’re not just talking about the motorbikes that throng the streets. Saigon, as it’s known to all but city officials, is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its limitless energy. It is a living organism that breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.
Saigon is a name so evocative that it conjures up a thousand jumbled images. Wander through timeless alleys to ancient pagodas or teeming markets, past ramshackle wooden shops selling silk, spices and baskets, before fast-forwarding into the future beneath sleek skyscrapers or at designer malls, gourmet restaurants and minimalist bars. The ghosts of the past live on in the churches, temples, former GI hotels and government buildings that one generation ago witnessed a city in turmoil, but the real beauty of Saigon’s urban collage is that these two worlds blend so seamlessly into one.
Whether you want the finest hotels or the cheapest guesthouses, the classiest restaurants or the most humble street stalls, the designer boutiques or the scrum of the markets, Saigon has it all. The Saigon experience is about so many things – memorable conversations, tantalising tastes and moments of frustration – yet it will not evoke apathy. Stick around this conundrum of a city long enough and you may just unravel its mysteries.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
Starry night: top five art hotels
In the words of Oscar Wilde on his death bed: 'Either this wallpaper goes, or I do.' If art matters to you, then the hotels you choose to stay in probably do too. Here's our pick of the world's best hotels for art lovers, and some suggestions of what to see while you stay there...
Shopping in Saigon
Cu Chi tunnels and Vietnam War remnants
Ho Chi Minh City destination guides
Most lip-smacking street food
Lunch tastes best from a curb-side cart: grab your fork or simply use your fingers, and munch your way through the world’s best street eats. This tempting list, taken from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Experiences, is sure to get your taste buds tingling.....
Ho Chi Minh City's Tombs and Temples
Discover the heart and soul of Indochina on this tour of four very diverse countries. Encounter history, both ancient and modern, and witness the unbelievable splendour of Angkor Wat. Our CEOs will ensure your accommodation and transportation are covered—so you can choose the activities that interest you. Experience Halong Bay by boat and cycle around Vang Vieng.
Touchdown in Vietnam amid the chaotic streets of Ho Chi Minh City, travel through Cambodia and arrive in Thailand's vivacious capital. In Cambodia, visit the spectacular temples of Angkor Wat and Siem Reap, and reflect on Cambodia's tragic history at the sobering sites of Phnom Penh.
Destination at a glance: Vietnam
No longer held down by its past (or its politics), the slender nation of Vietnam makes for easy itineraries, book-ended as it is with two very different cities: poetic, tight-lipped Hanoi and zestful, go-go-go Ho Chi Minh City...