Ho Chi Minh City still called Sai Gon by the locals is the biggest city and the economic center of Vietnam. The city spreads its way on the banks of the Sai Gon River and has always been busy with trade since its formation. The areas more interesting to the travellers include the riverside, the city center and China Town.
The city center and the riverside boast the glittering skyscrapers which are home to deluxe apartments, offices and luxury hotels. The riverside can best be viewed from a boat cruising on the Sai Gon River at night. The city center is where many of the city’s tourist attractions, hotels, fine-dining restaurants and buzzing night life are found. There are some rooftop restaurants and bars in the center which can offer the panoramic view of the city from above. China Town is home to the biggest Chinese Community in Vietnam with Chinese-styled temples and pagodas full of atmosphere.
The good time to travel to Sai Gon is all year round; the sun shines everyday in this city. But the better time is from December to April as it’s less humid and more pleasant temperature. From May to December it’s more humid and it rains about 1 hour everyday. There’s hardly any storm or typhoon in Ho Chi Minh City.
Sai Gon started its history in late 17th century. It had been a swampy area before that. Thanks to the convenient location with easy transportation both by land and by waterway, Sai Gon quickly turned into a busy commercial port. In the 19th century, Vietnam was invaded by the French and Sai Gon was turned into the economic center of French Indochina.
After 1954, the French lost the war and gave up the control of Indochina; Vietnam was divided into the North and the South. Sai Gon then was the capital city of South Vietnam Repulic. With large amount of US Dollars poured into South Vietnam, Sai Gon was one of the weathiest cities in Asia and was nicknamed the “Pearl of the Orient”. The city was also on the headlines every day for many years showing the wrath of war to the World. In 1975 Vietnam was reunified and the parliament of the newly re-unified Vietnam decided to change the name to Ho Chi Minh City, honoring the country’s leader and his dream to reunify the country. Still many locals would refer to it as Sai Gon or just city for short nowadays.
Traveling in Vietnam you can call it with either name. Both are understood and loved by the Vietnamese. For some locals, Sai Gon would bring back nostalgia of the charming old city, while Ho Chi Minh City would refer to the young, energetic and bustling one. Vietnam is making its way to be a new economic tiger in Asia, Ho Chi Minh City or Sai Gon is turning itself again into one of the biggest international hubs in the region. There’s no doubt that Sai Gon is regaining its position as the “Pearl of the Orient”.