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
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.