Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam’s largest city and beating economic heart, Ho Chi Minh is many visitors’ first impression of Vietnam. Situated along the Saigon River, it is a city where grand colonial architecture meets sprawling street markets, and has an energy that is undeniable.
Ho Chi Minh City was formerly known as Saigon, and for many of its residents (and international visitors) the name still resonates. Despite being heavily damaged during the war years, the city has bounced back, with luxury hotels and fine dining international restaurants standing alongside modern skyscraper towers.
But for those interested in discovering the country’s war legacy, the War Remnants Museum and Ho Chi Minh City Museum both boast impressive collections, while the Cu Chi Tunnels on the city’s outskirts are perhaps Vietnam's most visited war destination. It was here that the Viet Cong tried to escape the heavy American bombing, using the tunnels as communication and supply routes, and wandering through its eerie underground alleyways and caverns offers a fascinating insight into life during the war years.
Head to the elegant French Quarter to immerse yourself in the city’s colonial legacy. There are plenty of impressive buildings to discover, with the grandiose Notre Dame Cathedral and Saigon Central Post Office among its most famous architectural gems.
While there are plenty of temples and pagodas scattered throughout Ho Chi Minh City itself, many visitors head to nearby Tay Ninh where the elaborate Cao Dai Great Temple lies. Attending a prayer session within this spectacular complex enables you to experience a little of this indigenous Vietnamese religion.
Ho Chi Minh City is also the launching point for shore excursions into the sprawling rice paddy fields of the Mekong Delta. Considered Vietnam’s breadbasket, the rural landscapes of the delta are best explored by boat cruise, taking in its floating markets and captivating villages.
While Ho Chi Minh City is pulsating and sometimes overwhelming, it is an undeniably fascinating city, and our shore excursions allow you to experience its most impressive sights in comfort.