Ho Chi Minh City, situated in the southern part of Vietnam, is still called Saigon by most of the natives. This modern city used to be considered as the Pearl of the Orient by the French.
It is the largest city in Vietnam and the former capital of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).
The wide Saigon River, which takes a huge turn from the east of Saigon, links the city with the sea. Unlike Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City may lack charm and elegance, but the city with its essential French colonial character has enough to draw your attention. The city's colonial villas, wide avenues and a lively cafe society remind you the days of French dominance.
Over the last 10 years, Ho Chi Minh City has experienced a spectacular change in its cityscape. The once low-rise landscape of the city's central area, District 1, is now marked with shining skyscrapers including high-rise apartments, international hotels and companies. This bustling, vibrant, industrial hub of the nation is the biggest city of Vietnam as well. Saigon is also the cultural center and economic capital of the country.
The city is well connected with rest of the world through air routes and sea and thereby draws huge foreign funds in the fields like oil, gas, agriculture, textiles, and marine products. However tourism contributes a major part of the government's revenue.
The city with its teeming metropolis mingled with the elegance of ancient culture, gives you a microcosmic view of the entire nation.
The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60 kilometers from the South China Sea and 1,760 kilometers (1,094 mi) south of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
is populated by more than 9 million people,making it the most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City is located at 10°45'N, 106°40'E in the southeastern region of Vietnam, 1,760 km (1,090 mi) south of Hanoi. The average elevation is 19 metres above sea level. It borders Tay Ninh and Binh Duong provinces to the north, Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces to the east, Long An Province to the west and the South China Sea to the south with a coast of 15 km in length. The city covers an area of 2,095 km2 (0.63% of the surface of Vietnam), extending up to Cu Chi 19km from the Cambodian border, and down to Can Gio on the Vietnam East Sea coast
It is the most important economic center in Vietnam as it accounts for a high proportion of Vietnam's economy. Ho Chi Minh City plays an important driving impetus of economy of Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City is served by Tan Son Nhat International Airport, located in Tan Binh District. Tan Son Nhat Airport is currently the largest airport in Vietnam in terms of passengers handled (with an estimated number of over 12.5 million passengers per year in 2009, accounting for more than half of Vietnam's air passenger
There are many famous high schools in Ho Chi Minh City such as High School for the Gifted (Pho Thong Nang Khieu), Le Hong Phong High School, Tran Dai Nghia High School, Nguyen Thuong Hien High School, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai High School
Several reputable English language schools following international curricula are located in Ho Chi Minh City as well.
The city has various museums, such as the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, Museum of Vietnamese History, the Revolutionary Museum, the Museum of Southeastern Armed Forces, the War Remnants Museum, the Museum of Southern Women, the Museum of Fine Art, the Nha Rong Memorial House, and the Ben Duoc Relic of Underground Tunnels.
The Củ Chi tunnels are northwest of the city in Củ Chi district. The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, in District 1, dates from 1865.