Population: 8,636,899 (2019)
Area: 2,061.2 km2 (Municipality)
Districts: 19 urban districts & 5 rural districts
Ethnic groups: Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Cham, Khmer,…
Highlights: Landmark 81, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Bitexco, The Independence Palace, Ben Thanh Market,…
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), also known by its former name of Saigon, is the most populous city in Vietnam. Located in Southeast Vietnam, the metropolis surrounds the Saigon River and covers about 2,061 square kilometres (796 square miles).
Being one of the biggest tourism centres of Viet Nam, HCMC is 1,690km south of Ha Noi and about 60km from the coast. It nevertheless possesses numerous interesting places that attracts many travellers.
The city has a tropical climate, with an average humidity of 78–82%.The year is divided into two distinct
- The rainy season lasts from May to October and brings an average rainfall of 1,979 mm
- The dry season lasts from November to April next year
The annual average temperature is 28 °C (82 °F), with little variation throughout the year. The highest temperature recorded was 40°C while the lowest temperature recorded was 13.8 °C (57 °F).
There is almost no winter so the climate is particularly advantageous for backpackers and tourists all the year.
Ho Chi Minh City is divided in to 19 urban districts and 5 rural districts. Urban districts are numbered from 1 to 12, and Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh, Tan Phu, Binh Tan, Go Vap, Thu Duc. As for rural districts Nha Be, Can Gio, Hoc Mon, Cu Chi, and Binh Chanh.
Ho Chi Minh also constitutes the cultural centre of the South and the Mekong River Delta. It is the city where quoc ngu (national writing) was first generalized, and where the first books written in quoc ngu were published.
With the appearance and development of books, essays, schools, artistic and intellectual circles, Sai Gon has had a long history of cultural influence.
Famous art locations in Ho Chi Minh City include Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, and various art galleries like Galerie Quynh (118 Nguyen Van Thu, D1, tel: 028 3822 7218) and Craig Thomas Gallery (271 Tran Nhat Duat, D1, tel: 090 388 84 31)
Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Tan Binh Dist) is 7km from the city centre. Air-conditional cities bus (No. 49, 109, 119, 152, 159) leave from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to the city centre every 12 or 18 minutes and costs from VND12,000 – VND40,000, depending on the type of buses.
From HCMC, there are regular flights to many cities around Viet Nam and in the world.
Some Airline Offices are: Vietnam Airlines (Truong Son Ticket Office) 49 Truong Son St., Tan Binh Dist, Tel: 3832 0320; Vietjet Air 60A Truong Son St., Tan Binh Dist, Tel: 3547 1866; Jetstar Pacific Airlines 1A Me Linh St., Tan Binh Dist, Tel: 3825 8101.
The Reunification Express (tàu Thống Nhất) runs from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi from Saigon Railway Station (1 Nguyen Thong St., D3, Tel: 1900 1520), with stops at cities and provinces along the line. It takes from 29.5 to 38 hours to reach Ha Noi, so air-conditioned sleepers should be booked in advance.
Train tickets can be purchased at the ticket office of the station and also at the most travel agents in the city.
The Ho Chi Minh City Metro, a rapid transit network, is currently in the preparation stages, with the first line currently under construction, to be completed by 2020.
There is a variety of bus stations around HCMC:
- Mien Dong Bus Station: 292 Dinh Bo Linh St., Binh Thanh Dist, Tel: 3898 4893
- Mien Tay Bus Station: 395 Kinh Duong Vuong Rd., Binh Tan Dist, Tel: 38752953
The taxi from Tan Son Nhat airport to city centre costs about 160,000 dong as of July 2016. Insist to go on meter or fix the price. They might charge you more. If you’re used to Uber, you can use similar service Grab in HCM city, and the price is about half of meter taxi’s.
Motorbike is plentiful, cheap, and are generally quite safe. These have been nearly entirely replaced in HCMC by Grab bikes. Get a cheap local SIM card and install the Grab app and you are good to go. The city is filled with drivers, it is very easy to get a ride. Prices are very low, starting at 12,000/km.
Clara, Feb 15th 2019.