Ho Chi Minh City

In 1856 the city was named Saigon after a major river crossing the city. Saigon harbor has been a long-established port involved in trade with foreign countries since the 18th century. On July 2, 1976, the city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the decision of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The center of the city is 50km from the coast as the crow flies. The climate has two distinct seasons: the dry season from November to April and the rainy season for the rest of the year. The average annual temperature is 27oC and humidity average 80%. Hours of sunshine average 2,299 annually.

Places to visit:

History Museum: was built in 1929 as an annex to the Saigon Zoo, opposite the Temple of the Hung Kings. The museum displays many valuable relics ranging from ancient statues, stone stelae, ceramic objects, chinaware and copper items to royal costumes from dynasties, traditional musical instruments and sculptural works.

The War Remnants Museum: primarily contains exhibits relating to the American phase of the Vietnam War, and is a major tourist attraction. Operated by the Vietnamese government, the museum was opened in September 1975 as the “The House for Displaying War Crimes of American Imperialism and the Puppet Government of South Vietnam. It’s a very moving museum and is a must for any veterans or war-sites interested visitors.

Lady Thien Hau Pagoda: is an ancient pagoda built in the Chinese architectural style. Still preserved are many pictures in relief made of glazed ceramic and depicting various Chinese legend and stories. The bronze bell at the pagoda was cast in 1830 as was a set of bronze incense burners.

Thong Nhat Conference Hall (formerly called the Independence Palace)

This building started in 1963 under the Ngo Dinh Diem administration and was completed in 1966. It was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace which dates back to 1868 and had fallen into ruin. Located grounds measuring 12ha, the Independence Palace covers about 2,000 sq m. The four-storeyed building has 100 rooms, large and small, with a different design and décor.

Cu Chi Tunnels: 35km northwest of Ho Chi Minh City. This district is in a strip of land measuring 43,000 ha lying between the Saigon and Vamco rivers. In the first war, the local population constructed more than 50km of tunnels for the purpose of guerrilla warfare against the French. During the second war of resistance this underground labyrinth grew to over 200km in length. The vaulted tunnels generally measured 0.6m wide and 1.5m high, and the many entrances were well camouflage. The Cu chi tunnels system comprises many large bunkers linked by narrow passages, serving as meeting rooms, first-aid stations, kitchen, bedrooms… The tunnel is well preserved and open to the public all year round and is one of the must-see sites for veteran tours in Vietnam.

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