Ho Chi Minh City Travel Information Vietnam

s_1More than six million people live in the metropolis of southern Vietnam. Since the unification of North and South in 1976 the “double city” from the places Sai Gon and Cho Lon is also officially called Ho Chi Minh city. At the end of the 19th Century the wide boulevards, magnificent palaces and charming villas were developed.

s_2The numerous sights in the very bubbly feeling capital are difficult to list. Amongst them Dinh Thong Nhat, the unification palace. The former famous landmark of Ben Thanh market, with more than 1,200 stands where clothing, shoes, bags, food, souvenirs are sold. Ho Chi Minh city has everything: museums, art galleries, shopping streets, pagodas and more pagodas…..

s_3Amid the sea of houses in the city the “Forest of Enlightenment” with the pagoda Giac Lam which is the oldest in the city. On each wall there are nine wooden Arhats: Buddhist holies sitting there who have given up greed, hate and blindness. Between them ten judges are looking into the mirrored boards to the life hereafter. The most valuable of all relics is a bronze statue of the nine dragons from 1757.

s_4The proximity of Ho Chi Minh city to the adjacent Mekong delta in the South allows trips on the small boats, built for the canals, to be made i.e. to My Tho. From there, visit a coconut island or snake farms. 60 kilometres north west of Ho Chi Minh city there is the Cu Chi tunnel system – some two hundred kilometres of branched, underground tunnels over three levels.

s_5In the centre of the temple of the Cao Dai sect, the greatest relic, is an eye that sees everything, looking at visitors from its sphere. The temple was built in 1927 by a religious community only represented in Vietnam in a risquÈ mix of religious architectural styles. Jesus, Vishnu, Confucius, and Buddha are all under one roof. Graham Greene named the temple a “disney style phantasy product of Central Asia”.

s_6Ho Minh city has profited most in its development from the opening and liberalisation of the Vietnamese economy. The former Saigon is today’s financial and trading centre – an attractive, pulsating city. It is the everlasting “Pearl of the Far East”.