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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 in honour of the nationalist leader, most people still call Vietnam's largest city Saigon. Saigon buzzes with energy; people are either buying, selling, building or moving – this really is a city that rarely sleeps.

An estimated 3 million motorbikes dart through the city’s streets every day, passing beautiful French colonial buildings and newly-built skyscrapers alongside women dressed in Vietnam's traditional ao dai tunics.

For adventure enthusiasts keen to explore the city in authentic fashion, we recommend a city tour by Vespa: zip through the streets amidst the locals and marvel at the vibrant chaos of it all whilst you familiarize yourself with the city’s landmarks. Don’t forget to sate your appetite en route by trying some of the country’s best street food – from fresh Banh Mi to mouth-watering Pho there is something to suit every palette; keen foodies can also take a privately guided street food tour to discover some of the city’s best hidden culinary gems.

Northwest of the city lie the region’s infamous Cu Chi Tunnels. This dense network of passageways once extended an impressive 200km, from Saigon right up to the Cambodian border, and represented the stronghold of the Viet Cong resistance in the Vietnam War. For a moving experience, visit the tunnels with a war veteran who once called them home and discover fascinating insights into what life was like in these subterranean hamlets where maintaining adequate air, food and water was a daily struggle.

Before leaving Ho Chi Minh, make sure you visit the city’s historic Opera House to see a local style Cirque du Soleil. Watch as talented acrobats fly across the stage to Southern Vietnamese songs, framed by the building’s timeless French architecture.

For days when you feel like escaping the fast pace of the city, we would recommend a leisurely stroll in the centrally located Tao Dan Park or a relaxing boat ride down the Mekong at sunset – heaven!

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