Ho Chi Minh City Facts
- Name: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Ho Chi Minh City, Sài Gòn
- Location: Mekong Delta Region, South Vietnam
- Time Zone: UTC/GMT+7.00
- Population: 12 million
- Land Area (km²): 2094
- Major Tourism Places: Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Saigon Opera House, Reunification Palace
- Best Time for Travel: From November to April
Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnamese: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh), the largest city in Vietnam, is located in the northeast of the Mekong Delta and the right bank of the Saigon River. Ho Chi Minh City is 80 kilometers away from the estuary and covers an area of 2,090 square kilometers. Ho Chi Minh City is full of rich French feelings, known as "Little Paris in the East", but more people are still willing to call it "Saigon".
Although Ho Chi Minh City has developed rapidly, it is not as noisy as other metropolises. And it still maintains the leisure and romance unique to Vietnam. The French left here not only bread, French architecture and plane trees, but also romantic French feelings. Traveling between exquisite houses, seeing the sun shining through the plane trees, tourists are like coming to a French town.
History Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is located in the Mekong Delta. At first, it was just a small fishing village called Prey Nokor surrounded by swamps. Khmer people lived here for centuries, and this place developed into a port trading town. Due to the dense water network, this area is called "Chenla".
In 1623, King Chey Chettha allowed Vietnamese refugees to enter Priangko to avoid the civil wars in Vietnam during the Northern and Southern Dynasties. At the same time, additional houses were built for refugees. But the weakened Kingdom of Cambodia was unable to withstand the increasing number of refugees, and gradually Prey Nokor became part of Vietnam; it also began to be called Saigon.
Vinh Trang Temple
In 1698, the leader of the Nguyen Dynasty sent a Vietnamese nobleman to rule here, and Saigon was officially incorporated into the territory of Vietnam. The French invaded in 1859 and the French left some famous buildings in Saigon during the colonial period. Saigon declared independence in 1954. The French government handed over power to the last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty, and Saigon was designated as the capital of South Vietnam.
After the establishment of the Republic of Vietnam, this place is still the capital. When the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was founded in 1976, victorious North Vietnam renamed it Ho Chi Minh City in honor of its founder, Ho Chi Minh. South and North Vietnam were completely unified on July 2, 1976, and Hanoi officially became the capital of this unified country.
Ho Chi Minh City is a municipality directly under the Central Government in Vietnam, with an administrative status equivalent to the provincial administrative district. Ho Chi Minh City has jurisdiction over 24 administrative divisions, including 19 urban districts(Quận) and 5 suburban counties.
Climate & Weather
Ho Chi Minh City has a tropical monsoon climate and is divided into two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season is from May to October every year, and the dry season is from November to April. The average annual temperature is 27.5℃, and the lowest temperature in January is 21℃. The annual rainfall in Ho Chi Minh City is about 2000 mm, and the average humidity is 75% to 78%.
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. About 87% of Vietnamese speak Vietnamese. In Vietnam, the popularity of English is generally very low. As the most developed city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has better English penetration than other cities. Service staff at attractions, hotels and restaurants can help in English. Travel to Ho Chi Minh City, it is best to be able to download translation software.
Ho Chi Minh City is an important transportation hub in southern Vietnam, with Vietnam's largest inland port and international airport.
Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the largest airport in Vietnam, is a civilian airport located 7 kilometers north of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is owned by the Vietnamese government and is operated and managed by the Vietnam Airport Corporation, which provides air services to Ho Chi Minh City and southeastern Vietnam. As the airport is located at the hub of air traffic in the region, Tan Son Nhat Airport occupies a huge economic, political and geographical advantage and is the gateway connecting Ho Chi Minh City to other countries in the world.
Tan Son Nhat Airport
Due to the terrain, Vietnam has only one railway route from south to north, with Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi City as the starting and ending points, a total of 1726 kilometers. It takes about 30 to 41 hours depending on the speed. It covers 36 large and small towns along the way, such as Hue, Hoi An, and Nha Trang. There are 19 trains from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi every day. The fare depends on the time and seat type of each train.
Vietnam's road is relatively developed, and buses are commonly used by travelers for intercity transportation. As a transportation hub in southern Vietnam, buses leave to all parts of the country. In addition, there are many bus stations in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, where you can buy bus tickets to major cities. However, due to the noisy environment and the uneven bus conditions, the staff does not speak English, and travelers are not recommended to go to the bus station to take the bus.
When you take a taxi in Ho Chi Minh City, you can choose the company according to the phone number on the car. The regular taxi company charges strictly according to the meter and does not detour. It is best not to hail a taxi on the street when taking a taxi. You can call the taxi company's appointment number to hail the taxi.
The following are the trusted taxi companies and booking telephones in Vietnam:
- Vinasun: +84-8-38272727
- Malin: +84-8-38383838
- Ben Thanh: +84-8-38422422
- Mai Linh: +84-8-38222666
- Red: +84-8-38446677
- Saigon: +84-8-38424242
- Vina: +84-8-38111111
The bus fare in Ho Chi Minh City is generally 3000 VND. It stops at the bus station and you are able to put coins into the bus. However, there are not many shifts and no English signs.
♦ Motorcycle Taxi
The streets of Ho Chi Minh City are full of motorcycles waiting for passengers. If you choose to take the motorcycle, you must discuss the price with the driver in advance. The starting price is generally 20,000 VND. It is best to confirm the destination multiple times to avoid misunderstandings.
Best Places to Visit Ho Chi Minh City
♦ Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the classic symbols of Ho Chi Minh City, which is sacred and beautiful in the hearts of the locals. Built in 1883, the Red Church is modeled after the design of the Notre Dame de Paris, and is majestic and magnificent. The cathedral is open for the public from Monday to Saturday.
♦ Central Post Office
The monumental Central Post Office is next to the Red Church and has a history of 100 years. It is one of the oldest post offices still in use in the world. Central Post Office was built at the end of the 19th century and designed by French architects. The vintage central post office is an important must-see landmark in Ho Chi Minh City.
♦ Reunification Palace
The Reunification Palace is a huge four-story white building with an area of 120,000 square meters. It was once the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam. Reunification Palace was built by the French colonists on February 23, 1869, in order to strengthen their ruling institutions in Vietnam. It is a historic landmark.
♦ Saigon Opera House
Saigon Opera House is a typical Gothic architectural style building and is regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. It is a multi-purpose theatre dedicated to artistic performances. Saigon Opera House was built in 1898 and completed in 1900. Exquisite reliefs and patterns, lifelike angels and goddess statues making it a strong romantic French style.