"Ho Chi Minh City" Ho Chi Minh City by maria_hz
Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide: 3,093 reviews and 6,982 photos
Today's Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) is located on the site where there used to be a small village, by the Sai Gon River and close to the Mekong Delta. Originally a Khmer settlement, it became part of the Annam Kingdom in the 1700s. The French developed an interest in Vietnam, and in 1849 they occupied what then was known as Saigon, and in 1852 Saigon formally became a part of the French colony called Cochin China. Later, Saigon was made the capital of Indochina, which roughly translates to today's Vietnam.
During the French period, the original village settlement turned into a city with the characteristics it is still known for today; French style architecture and boulevards. At one time, Saigon was called the Paris of Asia. It grew into a financial and administrative centre first for Indochina and later for South Vietnam after the French left.
After the unification of South and North Vietnam in 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the leader Ho Chi Minh. By this time, the original Saigon settlement had grown substantially and included also the town Cholon, on the other side of the Saigon River.
In the unified country, Hanoi in the north became the administrative capital, and Ho Chi Minh City lost some of its importance. Nowadays, it is the financial and industrial centre of the country, and a fast-paced city. With growing foreign investment and tourists coming to Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is also attracting its fair share. And yes, you can still see the traces of French influence on the city; the Opera house, the Post Office, the Notre dame Church, the boulevards and other buildings.
The city today is home to around 6 million people, and about 2 million motorbikes. The population today is about 84% ethnic Vietnamese, 2% ethnic Chinese and the rest various ethnic groups.
Much of the old city centre is compacted into District 1, the main business district, but also the main tourist district. Most hotels are here, and most sights are conveniently also located in District 1. The district also packs some shopping facilities; both more expensive products in the Parkson shopping centre, as well as market style shopping.
While there are many French style buildings to admire, the aspect that endears the visitor to the city is the somewhat chaotic street life and the friendly people. Don't go here for the fabulous architecture that dots the city centre, but for the lovely people and delicious food.
The city is still developing, so it will be interesting to watch the developments here, in the French style city that once was called Asia's Paris.
- Pros:vibrant, friendly, developing
- Cons:infrastructure still developing
- In a nutshell:Asia's Paris
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