Ho Chi Minh
On April 30, 1975, Saigon stood still. On that day, the city fell to the communist forces of the North Vietnamese, and what is known here today as the American War ended. The city was punishingly renamed after the famed revolutionary whose loyalists had captured it, but for a city brought to its knees just a generation ago, Ho Chi Minh City is very much up and running. Hanoi’s younger brother is now the bigger and faster paced of the two cities, and offers an exciting and eclectic lifestyle for its residents.
The primary traveler’s hub of HCMC is District 1, Here you’ll find many of the city’s most famous attractions. The Saigon Notre Dame Basilica is a lasting monument to the French Catholic architecture of a bygone era. The Reunification Palace, which stands on the grounds of the old South Vietnam Presidential offices, is now a museum for the fall of Saigon (The Vietnamese refer to it as the “liberation of Saigon”). Send your postcard from the Central Post Office. Largely unchanged since its opening in 1891, the Post Office was designed by French Architect Gustave Eiffel, who also designed a modest tower in Paris you are possibly familiar with. Dong Khoi Street stretches from the Cathedral to the river. The street is famous for its shopping and for its cafes, and offers terrific nightlife as well.
A number of museums document the Vietnam War, but if you want a more intimate glimpse into the struggle, take a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels just outside of town. The best view of the city can be found on the Skydeck of Bitexco Tower. The Jade Emperor Pagoda offers a serene reprieve from the noise and bustle of the city’s streets. Sit down for some delicious and authentic street food at the Binh Tay Market and take in some of the wonderful night life over at Turtle Lake.