Where is Ho Chi Minh City
Where is Ho Chi Minh City?
Are Ho Chi Minh and Saigon the same city?
Yes, they are. We understand this can be confusing but it actually makes a lot of sense as its name changed throughout history. Let us explain:
What is Ho Chi Minh city like?
There are numerous types of architecture in the city, ranging from grandiose French colonial buildings and broad boulevards (this because of the French conquest of Saigon in 1859) to the sleek skyscrapers of the present day.
Now the city is a highly bustling metropolitan and the throbbing heart of a rapidly developing country, with designer malls and fine restaurants vie for space with age-old temples and street food stalls, forming an uneasy but fascinating blend of old and new. It’s a great place to explore no matter what your budget!
Ho Chi Minh City also has some of the best food in Vietnam! You can enjoy street food, fine dining, and a variety of other cuisines in a number of city restaurants. This city is well-known for its abundance of interesting craft breweries and coffee shops, making it an ideal spot to explore Vietnam’s burgeoning beer and coffee culture.
Best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh
Make sure to check our blogpost where we talk about the best time to travel to Ho Chi Minh in detail!
(Fun) Facts about Ho Chi Minh
- Religion: Approximately 73% of Vietnamese adhere to Vietnamese folk religion or non-religion practices, while 12% practice Buddhist beliefs; 8% are Christians, and the remaining 7% is divided between Caodaism, Hoahaois, and other religions.
- Ho Chi Minh City has a rich coffee culture: here's a guide to the best coffee shops in Ho Chi Minh city!
- Solo female travelers: are safe in Ho Chi Minh! Just use common sense and stay away from shady streets at night!
- Driving is chaotic: To drive a scooter in Ho Chi Minh City you need to be fearless, you need to have little regard for the law or other motorists, and you have to be a little crazy too – the whole experience is chaotic from start to finish.
- Visa: To visit Vietnam, all travelers must have a valid passport and, depending on the nationality and passport, a visa. Citizens from 24 countries are allowed visa-free entry to Vietnam within the time frame of 14-30 days. Citizens of 80 countries are given e-visas, while others may easily apply for a visa upon arrival. Other countries not included in the aforementioned categories must acquire a visa before traveling. For more information, read our detailed blog post about Vietnam Visas!
- You have to re-learn how to be a pedestrian: Scooters frequently use the sidewalks as their own little expressways so you cannot assume that you can relax when you’re at the side of a road…and parked scooters often block the sidewalks so you have to step out into the roads if you want to get where you’re going. On top of this, crossing the road is one of the hardest things to do in HCM (and Vietnam in total). No one stops at pedestrian crossings and because a good percentage of drivers don’t appear to know what a red traffic light means you have to employ a somewhat unique technique when crossing the road in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Language: Vietnamese; though most Ho Chi Minh tourist spots will usually have English-speaking guides! Learn more about language in Vietnam here!
- Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Vietnam. While some institutions like restaurants and hotels will add a 10% service charge, it is not required but greatly appreciated. For taxis, you can round up the bill or allow the driver to keep the minimal change. For other services like a tour guide or a masseuse, you can tip upwards of VND15,000.
- Bargaining: Bargaining is normal in Ho Chi Minh, especially in the night market Saigon and streets. Always let the vendor offer the first price, and only bargain if you’re serious about buying. If you’re buying several of the same item, it is easier to ask for a lower price. Try to keep your negotiations from getting too heated – keep a smile on your face and conduct everything with good humor
- Time Zone: GMT+7; does not observe daylight savings time
- Voltage: 220V
- Electric Socket: A type (two flat vertical pins), C type (two round pins), F type (two round holes)
3 weeks ago
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