Ho Chi Minh City – former name Sai Gon, many centuries ago was already a busy commercial center. Merchants from China, Japan and many European countries would sail upstream the Saigon River to reach the islet of Pho, a trading center. In the year of 1874, Cho Lon merged with Saigon, forming the largest city in the Indochina. It had been many times celebrated as the Pearl of the Far East. After the reunification of the country, the 6th National Assembly in its meeting of the 2nd of July, 1976, has officially renamed Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City. The history of city relates closely with the struggle for the independence and freedom of Vietnam.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the big tourism center in Vietnam, attracting a large of visitors to Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City has various attractions as Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf, Cu Chi Tunnels, system of museums, theatres, cultural houses… Recently, many tourist areas are invested such as Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa…, which draw numerous tourists.
Despite its quite recent past, Ho Chi Minh City nevertheless possesses various beautiful buildings, displaying a characteristic combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and European cultures. After more than 300 years of development, Ho Chi Minh City presents many ancient architectural constructions, famous vestiges and renowned sights. It is remarkable for its harmonious blending of traditional national values with northern and western cultural features.
When to go?
The best time to visit Ho Chi Minh City is during the dry season, starting from December and lasting until April. This period of the year is known to be the hottest, with average temperature of 28 °C (82 °F). The peak is 39 °C (102 °F) around noon time in late April, while the lowest may fall below 16 °C (61 °F) in the early mornings of late December. Humidity is moderate in December and begins to decrease from January to April. Hence, if travelling during this period, foreign travelers can escape from the normal sticky weather of Saigon. In term of activity, this is surely an attractive occasion as tourists can celebrate Christmas and New Year explosively with local people here. During Lunar New Year (around late-January and mid-February), many stores will be closed in few days and air tickets will occasionally be fully booked just before it, so plan your trip accordingly.
How to get there?
-By Air: You should easily book flights to Tan Son Nhat International Airport from any airport in Vietnam. The airport is 8 km to District 1 which is tourist area.
-Train: Saigon train station (Add: 1 Nguyen Thong Street, District 3; ticket office 7.15-11am & 1-3pm) serve coastal cities to North.
-Bus: Most of the open-tour companies sell tickets to Mui Ne (200km – 4 hour), Nha Trang (440km – 9 hour) and Dalat (310km – 8hour). Mien Tay bus station serves all areas south of HCMC, which basically means the Mekong Delta. This huge station is about 10km west of HCMC in An Lac. Buses to locations north of HCMC leave from the immensely huge and busy Mien Dong bus station.
-Cars: It’s illegal for foreigners to drive in Vietnam without a Vietnamese license. Contact Mercury Travel for Car rental or private tours with private cars.