Saigon...one of the most evocative place names in the world - now officially Ho Chi Minh City, but still known as Saigon to its residents. Its hard to avoid, being one of the main entry/exit points of Vietnam, but why would you want to? We love it.
Saigon is a city full of energy, changing at an amazingly rapid pace, but still retaining many of its historical facets - an interesting blend of old colonial, old communism/state, new dynamic development, interesting architecture, fascinating historical sights, great restaurants, and friendly people, rarely found in the big cities of Europe.
What to see, what to do?
Take in some American war history at the Reunification Palace and War Remnants museum, or go further into the past at the other city museums. Visit the Notre Dame cathedral, built by the French in the 1800s, take a half day tour to the famous Cu Chi tunnels, partially preserved from the war days.
Brave the hassle of Benh Thanh market, or try the nearby Dansin Military market for much less hassle and a weird and wonderful selection of goods.
Sit anywhere with a ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk) and a view of the road and watch the motorbikes in rush hour - you've probably never seen anything like it...
Have a sunset cocktail on floor 52 of the ultra-modern Bitexo Tower, or its antithesis, the rooftop bar of the 1920s style Majestic Hotel overlooking the Saigon River.
Enjoy some pavement eating at the food market around Benh Thanh, or try out one of the many fine international restaurants the city can offer - see the We Love section on this page for two of our favourites.