Flight to Ho Chi Minh City
A high octane cultural and commercial city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in the country and was earlier known as Saigon. The city was an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the Vietnamese in the 17th century and was also ruled by the French during that time. Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia Dinh Province to form the present Ho Chi Minh City on 2nd July 1976. Serving as home to more than 9 million people, Ho Chi Minh City is a popular metropolitan and ranked 132 on the list of world's most expensive cities for emigrant employees. The land area of Ho Chi Minh City is 2.095,6 km2 and it is located at an elevation of 19 meters above sea level. The local people of the city as called as "Saigonese" in English and "dân Sài Gòn" in Vietnamese; some speak Chinese dialects, or French along with the national language of Vietnamese. A varying grade of English is also spoken here.
Ho Chi Minh City Airport is officially known as Tan Son Nhat International Airport and it is the major airport in the city and all flights land at this airport. It is Vietnam’s largest airport in terms of area and passenger traffic and is located at a distance of 6 km north of Ho Chi Minh city Center. Experiencing a tropical wet and dry climate, the city has 2 distinct seasons – the Rainy Season which begins in May and lasts till October and the dry season lasting from December to April. As the city does not experience extreme climate, anytime is a good time to visit. The best time to visit the city is during January when the 2 day Tet Festival is celebrated here with great pomp and show.
Speckled with elegant boulevards and historic French colonial buildings, there is a lot to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City. Most of the major city attractions are located in District 1 of the city. Tourists should start their city tour with a visit to Ho Chi Minh City Museum which houses many informative exhibitions that explains the country's bloody past through photographs, artifacts and memorabilia. The independence Palace was built to demonstrate the strength of the country after the French left in 1954. A perfect example of the French architecture, the NotreDame Basilica is made entirely of materials imported from France and is beautiful church to visit.
The Jade Emperor Pagoda is an important pilgrim stopover which is famous for its ornate carved panels and intricate deities that line the interior of the pagoda. Dong Khoi is the long stretch from Notra Dame Cathedral to Saigon River and is known for the colonial facades and street food stalls. Activities like enjoying coffee at a local café or tasting authentic cuisine from the street food vendor or enjoying a Karaoke night are some of the experiences you should not miss.
The Reunification Palace is the main structure in the city along with the Municipal Theater, City Post Office, City Hall and City People’s Court. The city is not only famous for its heritage and natural attractions but also serves as perfect getaway for numerous places of interest that are located around Ho Chi Minh City. Can Tho, the Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc Island, Phan Thiet and Mui Ne are some of the places which can be covered in just 1 day trip from Ho Chi Minh City.
Eating and Shopping
Vietnam is a haven for street food lovers and Ho Chi Minh is no exception. You can find lip smacking food at every corner of the city. Using simple and fresh ingredients, the cuisines of Vietnam can is scrumptious and satisfying for even the pickiest eater. Rice, meat and sea food are the staple diet and locals churn out varieties of flavor packed dishes using simple ingredients. There are casual food joints and fine dining restaurants too in the city, but the taste of the simple street food is beyond compare. Com Tam Moc, Banh Mi, Rice paper Rolls, Noodles and Pho are some of the popular dishes tourists can savor in Ho Chi Minh City.
A Shopper’s paradise, Ho Chi Minh City is known for its textile industry. From artificial jewelllery to imitation brand name clothes, the option is endless. Be it shoes, luggage, clothes or watches, find the best fare of all these imitation articles at dirt cheap prices. And do not worry; the quality of these imitations is so good that no one will ever know the difference! The handicrafts, paintings, antiques and fabric of Vietnam are very unique and intricate, so make sure you pick something to take back home as a souvenir. Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Square and Dong Plaza are the major shopping destinations in Ho Chi Minh City.
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