Ho Chi Minh City is a metropolis on the move – and we’re not just talking about the thousands of motorbikes that fill the streets. Saigon, as it’s known to all but city officials, is at its most dizzying a high-octane city of commerce, romance and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its limitless energy.
It is a city that takes your breath away and has so much life and vitality visitors cannot help but be swept along on a journey that they will always remember.
Saigon has a population of over 9 millions people; on many streets, it is common to see houses with the ground floor converted into a business front while several families share living areas on the upper levels. You will walk through timeless alleys to ancient pagodas or teeming markets, past ramshackle wooden shops selling silk, spices and baskets, humble street stalls and food sellers selling anything from grasshoppers to coconut candy to hot bowl of noodle soup.
And then before you know it you have turned on to a street corner were you are fast-forwarded into the future where sleek skyscrapers, designer malls, gourmet restaurants and minimalist bars greet you. The ghosts of the past wars and governments live on in the churches, temples, former GI hotels and government buildings that one generation ago witnessed a city in turmoil, but the real beauty of Saigon’s urban collage is that these two worlds blend so seamlessly into one.