Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City and the Splendor of Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City—or Saigon of past fame—may be at the heart of Vietnam, but its past is not sketched with purely Asian shades. It was once the capital of France’s colonial occupation of the country, after all, and this has left an indelible mark on the territory as well as the culture itself. In Ho Chi Minh City, one finds old French architecture mingling with both traditional and contemporary Vietnamese styling, and discovers the characteristic freshness of Vietnamese cuisine right alongside some of the most well-known French foods and cooking methods.
This makes it a fascinating city to visit, as the blend of cultures influencing it is so appealing. It is not a blend that stays static either: Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most visited areas of the country, with perhaps only Hanoi capable of rivaling it. In 2011 alone, the number of tourists visiting Ho Chi Minh was at 3.5 million, which, combined with its status as the metropolitan Vietnamese city with the most people living in it, might lead some to imagine a choked metropolis.
But Ho Chi Minh City only gets better with more heartbeats in it, as it is a city of animation and true fine living. It is not exactly cheap to live there—let us admit it—but it is undoubtedly exciting. One can get lost in the old Cu Chi Tunnels as easily as one forgets time while frolicking in Can Gio’s Eco Beach Resort. The city accommodates hundreds of stores and shopping centers while also offering no fewer than 91 football fields. And of all the cities of the country, none can boast as lively a media as Ho Chi Minh, not just in terms of news but also when it comes to entertainment. So in this city, you not only get Asian and European culture and cuisine but also a promise of excitement and amusement. This makes it an irresistible travel destination for people passing through Vietnam.