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Last updated : Nov 2009
South Vietnam
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Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), sited behind the delta formed by the Mekong River, is the major financial and trading centre of southern Vietnam. Named in honour of the leader who victoriously led the nation against both France and the USA. Residents still refer to Ho Chi Minh City as Saigon. It has preserved its French colonial influences and is more progressive than other cities in Vietnam. Its energy is sustained by the ever-entrepreneurial Saigonese who have embraced the Government reforms and capitalist ethic with untamed fervour. The streets are teeming with motorbikes and scooters, sometimes carrying entire families. Markets are extremely busy.

There's much to see in the city
. The colourful Emperor of Jade Pagoda is an outstanding example of a Chinese temple. Inside, there are intricate woodcarvings adorned with gilded characters and sculptures depicting local deities. Fast pace trading is best viewed in the markets of Cholon, the historical Chinese area. The Hôtel de Ville is a charming example of French colonial architecture. The War Remenants Museum depicts the horrible suffering inflicted on the Vietnamese residents during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Re-Unification Hall and the former American Embassy are additional sites relevant of that era. An intriguing one-day trip from Saigon comprises a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels from where the South Vietnamese Communists hid themselves and launched attacks on US soldiers.


Tay Ninh, northwest of Ho Chi Minh City, is home of the Caodai religion. This is a purely Vietnamese sect started this century which takes teachings and precepts from a majority of the world’s main religions. Tay Ninh is the place of the biggest Caodaist temple in the country. This temple is very colourful and unique.

South of Ho Chi Minh City are the flat, green planes of the Mekong Delta where most of Vietnam’s rice is grown. There are many towns in this area from which the travellers can take boat trips on the numerous tributaries of the Mekong.
Useful travel links
Saigon & Tay Ninh information about Saigon and Tay Ninh