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Vietnam Hotel

Your destination : Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh

of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Following the Fall of Saigon in 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City. However the old Saigon moniker is still used by both Vietnamese and foreigners, especially when referring to the most central part of the city, to which most tourists flock. The helpful, Tourist Information Center (4G 4H Le Loi St, District 1. Tel (84-8) 822 6033) can be found on the northeast corner of the roundabout at the intersection of Le Loi and Nguyen Hue, right in the heart of the city. It's a great place to pick up a free map (which includes a map of Hanoi, as well) and get an idea of what the city and surrounding area has to offer. Boasting an electric, near palpable energy, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is Vietnam's largest metropolis and its undisputed capital of commerce. For the casual visitor, Saigon – as its still called by all but the city officials who live here – can seem a chaotic mess of traffic-clogged roads and urban bustle, with nary a green space in sight. Yet thousands of expats and Vietnamese immigrants couldn't imagine living anywhere else. They've long since fallen prey to the hidden charms of one of Southeast Asia's liveliest cities. If every town had a symbol, Saigon's would surely be the motorbike. More than three million of them fly along streets once swarming with bicycles. Cruising along boulevards and back alleys astride a xe om (motorbike taxi) is the quickest way to sensory overload – daily fare in this tropical town. Teeming markets, sidewalk cafés, massage and acupuncture clinics, centuries-old pagodas, sleek skyscrapers and ramshackle wooden shops selling silk, spices, baskets and handmade furniture all jockey for attention amid the surreal urban collage