The vast, sprawling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City is located along the southern coast of Vietnam and is famed for its pivotal role in the Vietnam War. It’s by far the most populated city in the country, with over 8 million people calling it home; its population swells considerably during the peak tourist season when many visit to discover the city’s many fascinating sights and wonders. It was officially known as Saigon until 1976 when it was renamed, though many locals still refer to the city as Saigon.
The city’s history is rich and colourful. French influences abound and can be seen in both the city’s wide, sweeping boulevards and its abundance of preserved colonial-era buildings. The Reunification Palace is regarded as the city’s top attraction; it played a crucial role during the Vietnam as it was here that the war eventually came to an end. Visitors can learn more about how the war affected the city and shaped its future by visiting its collection of history museums. The dining scene is particularly diverse, with offerings to suit every palette imaginable; there are street vendors selling local delicacies, restaurants serving up traditional foods and lots of international eateries offering dishes from around the world. For drinking, there’s just as much choice, with countless coffee shops, cafes and bars, not to mention some lively nightclubs. As if that’s not enough, there are dozens of art galleries to be explored, energetic shows to see and plenty of bargains to be bought at the bustling street markets.
The city has two distinct seasons: there’s the dry season, which lasts from November through to April, and the rainy season, which lasts from May to October. Temperatures remain quite warm and steady throughout year, with the hottest times of the year typically the last few months of the dry season.