HCMC is also known by Vietnamese as Saigon, it’s previous name before it was named after the former communist party leader and war hero Ho Chi Minh.
The economic powerhouse of the country HCMC is quite different to Hanoi, with much wider streets, less assertive hawkers and a more modern feeling. In spite of the substantially larger volume of traffic the streets are remarkably quiet with much less honking, although truth be told crossing the street does seem a bit more death defying at some of the junctions around the colonial period market.
HCMC is unmistakeably a modern city with many historic influence and a progressive design element, there is a French colonial quarter with many period building to investigate amongst the new builds and the fantastic pagodas. As always there are plenty of museums here, the War remnants museum is particularly good, albeit bone chillingly graphic. The Independence Palace seems like it has stepped out of a bond movie from the 70’s and is a great place to practise all those kitch one liners.
Then there is the proximity to the Mekong delta and the Cu chi tunnels these can both be done as day trips from HCMC if desired.