The name Ho Chi Minh comes from the former Prime Minister, President and revolutionary leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. It has been known under a number of different names with Saigon the most well recalled.
Ho Chi Minh City retains a strong French influence in its architecture with colonial style buildings and wide French boulevards, with most tourist attractions being found relatively close together in District 1. These include the Reunification Palace, Municipal Theatre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and The State Bank Office. There are also a number of popular museums and the city attracts over 3 million visitors a year.
As well as visiting the city under your own steam there are many Vietnam tours which take in Ho Chi Minh City and other parts of this fascinating country. Of the 4.3 million tourists that visit Vietnam it is estimated that around 70% include Ho Chi Minh City as part of their Vietnam itinerary.
Ho Chi Minh City is a good base from which to visit a number of popular Vietnam tourist attractions. Can Tho is on the Mekong Delta and is famous for its floating market offering delicious fresh food and fruit. The Cu Chi tunnels can be done in half-day or day trips from the city, and its worth making the trip to visit these underground structures which were made famous during various conflicts.
Eating in Ho Chi Minh City is great and you will find yourself spoiled for choice as the city boasts the largest choice of both Vietnamese and International cuisine. Local Vietnamese food again shows its French influence from the colonial days and uses beef and pork cooked in various local styles. Interestingly, there are no McDonald’s outlets in Ho Chi Minh City at the time of writing.
For more information on Vietnam we recommend visiting WikiTravel’s Ho Chi Ming City page.