HO CHI MINH CITY, still known as Saigon to its seven million or so inhabitants, is Vietnam's centre of commerce and the country's biggest city by far, though not its administrative capital – an honour that rests with Hanoi. Fuelled by the sweeping economic changes wrought by doi moi in 1986, this effervescent city, perched on the west bank of the Saigon River, is in the throes of a programme of re-invention shaking it to its French-built foundations. Years of rubbing shoulders with the consumer-oriented Americans made the Saigonese wise to how to coin a profit. Now they are pressing old, near-forgotten skills back into service, as the market economy shifts into gear again, challenging Singapore, Bangkok and the other traditional Southeast Asian powerhouses.
Try our automatic itinerary generator. Plan a trip based on your budget, travel interests and duration. It's fast and easy!