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Ho Chi Minh city

Ho Chi Minh City (Former name Saigon) - The French nickname their dear city, “Pearl of the far East”. Chinese immigrants call it “Cho Lon”, meaning “Big market”.

The Communist government renamed Saigon “Ho Chi Minh city” after the nationalistic revolutionary. With many names and a population of 9 million, Ho Chi Minh city rises as the juvenile leader of all Vietnamese cities.

Unlike the old dame Hanoi slow, antique, reserved lifestyle, Ho Chi Minh city goes all out in the modern lifestyle. The city is always in a hurry: bustling, noisy, singing, entertaining, the people: loud and friendly.


The area now called Saigon once were empty marshlands belonging to Cambodia. Flux of Vietnamese migrants flooded the area (running away from the Trinh - Nguyen civil war of the 17th century. The area later became greatly Vietnaminized, until later completely assimilated into the country Vietnam by the Nguyen dynasty.

During French colonization, the city was a French favorite. The colonizers developed the already bustling trade area into a high class, modern, European influenced city suitable for trade, entertainment and business. After colonization, Saigon became capital of the Southern side (supported by the US) during the American/Vietnam War.

After Vietnam’s unification in 1945, Saigon opened up to include Gia Dinh province and was renamed “Ho Chi Minh city” after Vietnam’s communist revolutionary. Saigon now is Vietnam’s largest, most industrial and most developed city.


Saigon is located at 10°45'N, 106°40'E in the southeastern region of Vietnam. The city is 1,760 km (1,094 miles) south of Hanoi. It borders Tay Ninh and Binh Duong provinces in the north, Dong Nai and Ba Ria Vung Tau provinces to the east, Long An Province to the west and the South China Sea to the south with a coast of 15 km in length. The city covers an area of 2,095 km² (809 sq mi) (0.63% of the surface of Vietnam), extending up to Cu Chi  (12mi/20 km from the Cambodian border), and down to Can  Gio on the East Sea coast.


Saigon’s  population has now exceeded 9 million. Besides the Viet ethnicity, Saigon has a large proportion of Chinese descendants. The Chinese immigration population concentrated around the “Cho Lon” (Big market) areas of district 5,6,7 and 11, forming Vietnam’s “Chinatown” (though I guess it blends with the scenery here more than say, Toronto).

Further Reading

Ho Chi Minh City Weather

Photo CC licensed by SqueakyMarmot

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