Ho Chi Minh City

Fasten your seatbelts as Ho Chi Minh City is a metropolis on the move – and we’re not just talking about the motorbikes that throng the streets. Saigon, as it’s known to all but...

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Fasten your seatbelts as Ho Chi Minh City is a metropolis on the move – and we’re not just talking about the motorbikes that throng the streets. Saigon, as it’s known to all but city officials, is Vietnam at its most dizzying: a high-octane city of commerce and culture that has driven the whole country forward with its limitless energy. It is a living organism that breathes life and vitality into all who settle here, and visitors cannot help but be hauled along for the ride.

The metropolitan area, which consists of the Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan area, Thủ Dầu Một, Dĩ An, Biên Hòa and surrounding towns, is populated by more than 9,000,000 people, making it the most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam. The city's population is expected to grow to 13.9 million in 2025.

The city has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with an average humidity of 75%. The year is divided into two distinct seasons. The rainy season, with an average rainfall of about 1,800 millimetres (71 in) annually (about 150 rainy days per year), usually begins in May and ends in late November . The dry season lasts from December to April. The average temperature is 28 °C (82 °F), the highest temperature sometimes reaches 39 °C (102 °F) around noon in late April, while the lowest may fall below 16 °C (61 °F) in the early mornings of late December into early January.

Language: Vietnamese, English

Timezone: UTC +7 hours

Built in 1909 by the Cantonese (Quang Dong) Congregation in honour of the supreme Taoist god (the Jade Emperor or King of Heaven, Ngoc Hoang), this is one of the most spectacularly atmospheric pagodas in HCMC, filled with statues of phantasmal diviniti...

Spa Tropic

www.lonelyplanet.com - Rest & Relaxation

Spa Tropic is a good place to spoil yourself with a top-notch 'proper' massage. This Zen-like beauty spa offers an array of aromatherapy facial treatments, body treatments and therapeutic massage, from Swedish and deep-tissue to shiatsu. Call ahead for...

In a land where so many ancient pagodas have been ‘restored’ in concrete and neon, it’s a pleasure to come across one that looks its age. The pagoda was founded by Hai Tinh Giac Vien in the late 1700s and it is said that Emperor Gia Long, who died in 1...

The clean lines and minimal ornamentation of this mosque contrast starkly with nearby Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist pagodas. Note the pool for ritual ablutions in the courtyard and the tiled niche (mihrab) in the wall of the prayer hall, indicating t...

Just a short distance from the history museum, this small collection is devoted to Ho Chi Minh’s campaign to liberate the south. The exhibits inside are of minor interest but some US, Chinese and Soviet war material is on display outdoors, including a ...

Built between 1877 and 1883, Notre Dame Cathedral is set in the heart of HCMC’s government quarter. The cathedral faces Ð Dong Khoi. It is neo-Romanesque with two 40m-high square towers tipped with iron spires, which dominate the square here. In front ...

Believed to be the oldest pagoda in HCMC (1744), Giac Lam is a fantastically atmospheric place set in peaceful, garden-like grounds. The looming Bodhi tree in the front garden was the gift of a monk from Sri Lanka in 1953. Next to the tree is a gleamin...

Built by the French, this is one of the largest churches in HCMC. Jesus on the altar has a neon halo, though the main reason to come here is for the view from the belfry (a steep climb). The church is on the eastern fringe of District 5 between ÐL Tran...

A classic yellow-and-white colonial-era building with a modest Chinese influence, the Fine Arts Museum houses one of the more interesting collections in Vietnam, ranging from lacquer- and enamelware to contemporary oil paintings by Vietnamese and forei...

The striking modern architecture and the eerie feeling you get as you walk through the deserted halls make this government building one of the most fascinating sights in HCMC. The first communist tanks to arrive in Saigon rumbled here on the morning of...

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