Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) + The South Travel Guide

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Tropical Ho Chi Minh City (still called Saigon by most residents) is arguably Asia’s most dynamic boomtown—the epitome of the Wild, Wild East. Vietnam’s largest city (population 8 million) is also the engine of its economy and in every respect the brasher younger sibling to the buttoned-down capital, Hanoi. Still, the gracious cityscape that the French once knew—traditional Chinese shop houses, Art Deco cafés—endures. But as incomes rise, a new generation is making its mark; high-end boutiques and exclusive candlelit boîtes now cater to status-hungry Vietnamese as well as tourists and expats. Increasingly cosmopolitan, the city’s burgeoning fashion-and-design, dining, and nightlife scenes await those who can keep up with the Saigonese.


  • The soaring skyline views from the open-air, ninth-floor Saigon, Saigon bar at the Caravelle Hotel.

  • A ride on one of Saigon’s beloved cyclos, or bicycle rickshaws, followed by a soothing massage at Glow Spa or the Park Hyatt. (Depending on the state of your cyclo, your back and joints may need it.)

  • A drive—or is that a time warp?—out to the flashy new suburb of Phu My Hung, a.k.a. Saigon South, for a glimpse of Vietnam’s future, or if you prefer, a round of golf.


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