Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City,
is the commercial hub of Vietnam and the
country’s largest metropolis. It was the
capital of French Indochina during the late
19th century and much colonial architecture
can still be seen today. Examples include the
City Hall and Notre Dame Cathedral. Also visit
Ben Thanh, Saigon’s largest market, to watch
the local traders and shop for handicrafts,
textiles and souvenirs.
The history of Saigon is inextricably linked
with the American War in Vietnam and there
are many places where you can learn more about these events. See the Reunification
Palace where North Vietnamese troops
signalled the end of the war when they
stormed the building; and visit the War
Remnants Museum which has many displays,
personal accounts and images portraying
the war from the Vietnamese perspective.
It is a very moving experience, but be aware
that some exhibits are graphic in nature.
Also see the Cu Chi Tunnels in the company
of a war veteran who lived in them and
discover how they were used as living
quarters by the Vietnamese fighters.
The Mekong Delta is known as the ricebasket
of Vietnam as it is one of the most
important agricultural regions in the country.
As well as rice, the local produce includes
fruit, vegetables, coconuts and flowers.
On a visit to the delta you can really
experience the Vietnamese way of life and
there is no better way to do this than to take
a boat on the network of waterways. Mingle
with the local people at a floating market
as your boat weaves its way between the
traders and shoppers.
Another great way to see the Mekong Delta
is on a Pandaw River Cruise. See the suggested itineraries for full details.