Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)
Everything you Need to Know about Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City is the business and financial hub of Vietnam, with a prominent history going back hundreds of years. The Khmers originally settled the region, with the Vietnamese taking over in the 17th century.
The French conquered Saigon, as it was then known, in 1859, and made it the capital of Cochin China in 1862. They extended and embellished the city with broad boulevards and elegant architecture. At the peak of the Vietnam War in 1969 the city had 4.5 million inhabitants. They were all evacuated when Saigon and the rest of the South fell to North Vietnam in 1975.
The city has recovered in the 30 years since then; the current population is over 7 million. It was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after the spiritual leader of Vietnamese Communism, but the inhabitants were so reluctant to adopt the new name that the authorities compromised; the official name is Ho Chi Minh City but the city centre is still called Saigon. The Vietnamese government may be Communist, but it understands well the importance of the tourism industry to the economy, and has promoted the country vigorously.