Ho Chi Minh City
All Aboard the Culture Express!
As one might expect from Vietnam's largest city, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) is a fast-moving, chaotic whirl of sights, sounds and activity. Once you get used to the city's pace, you'll quickly enjoy the ride as you take a journey into the heart and soul of Vietnam, its people, history, culture and ambitious future.
Historically significant must-sees include the Museum of Vietnamese History, the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Hall (formerly a presidential palace and the site where, in 1975, tanks crashed through the gates of the Prime Minister's palace). Highly recommended is a day-trip to the Cu Chi Tunnels, where you can crawl through a section of an immense network of underground tunnels that were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam (American) War.
Don't miss the elaborate woodcarvings of gilded characters and local deities at the Emperor of Jade Pagoda. For a taste of the present, stroll along Saigon River, take a boat trip on the Mekong Delta, spend up big at Saigon Square and visit the friendly Ben Thanh Market or the bustling markets of Cholon, located in the ancient Chinese quarter. Many of Ho Chi Minh's landmarks from the French-colonial days remain, giving the otherwise-sprawling metropolis some architectural charm and character.
- The War Remnants Museum: Once known as the Museum of American War Crimes, learn about the war through a range of fascinating exhibits.
- Visit the Notre Dame Cathedral: This French-built cathedral occupies Paris Square in the heart of Saigon.
- Crawl the Cu Cji Tunnels: This incredible network of underground tunnels was used during the Vietnam War.
- Shop on Dong Khoi Street: Enjoy an unforgettable gallery-and boutique-lined shopper's paradise.
- Experience Saigon Nightlife: Plenty of restaurants, bars and bia hoi vendors are open late in District 1.