Ho Chi Minh City

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Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Basic data
Country: VietnamVietnam Vietnam
Region: South Vietnam ( Nam Bộ )
Region : Southeast
ISO 3166-2: VN : VN-SG
Coordinates : 10 ° 45 ′  N , 106 ° 40 ′  E Coordinates: 10 ° 45 ′  N , 106 ° 40 ′  E
Height : 19 m
City area: 2,095 km²
City residents : 8,247,829 (2015)
Population density : 3,937 inhabitants per km²
Further information
Founding: 1698 (as Sài Gòn)
Post Code: 700000
Area code : +84 (28)
Time zone : UTC +7: 00
City structure: 19 districts, 5 districts
Chairman of the People's Council: Nguyễn Thị Quyết Tâm
Chairman of the People's Committee: Lê Hoàng Quân
Website: www.hochiminhcity.gov.vn
Modern business center of Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City ( Vietnamese Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh ) is the largest city and the economic center of Vietnam . Under its old name Saigon ( Sài Gòn ), which is still used today parallel to Ho Chi Minh City , it was the capital of the Republic of Vietnam until April 1975 . After the withdrawal of US troops and the military defeat of the South Vietnamese government, the city was named in 1976 after the North Vietnamese head of state Ho Chi Minh , who died in 1969 . Approximately 7.1 million people live in the administrative area of ​​the city (2009 census).

With the exception of the core city, Ho Chi Minh City does not have a contiguous urban area, but - with its rural settlement structure dominating outside the core - is more comparable to a small, densely populated province .

The city is located just north of the Mekong Delta on the right bank of the Saigon River . It is an industrial city, transport hub and cultural center with universities, theaters, cinemas, museums, monuments and parks.

name of the city

Postmarked SAIGON from Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City got its name in 1976 after North and South Vietnam were reunited. The old name Saigon (Vietnamese Sài Gòn ) is colloquial in Vietnam, especially for the urban core (1st district) of the administrative unit, which is now officially known as Thành Phồ Hồ Chí Minh , and is still widely used. The old name Saigon is still in use abroad.

Originally it was called Prei Nokor ( Khmer language : village in the forest). The term Sài Gòn is a translation of this name into Vietnamese.

TP is often used as an abbreviation . HCM or HCMC or HCM City (Vietnamese or English) are used.

The city was named after Ho Chi Minh , who proclaimed the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in September 1945 and later took over the leadership of the country as state and prime minister. After the partition of Vietnam as a result of the Indochina War in 1954, he became President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam .


Geographical location

Tan Son Nhat, Lang Cha Ca

The city is located a little north of the Mekong Delta on the west bank of the Saigon River and averages 19 meters above sea level. The distance to the South China Sea (Vietnamese East Sea ) is around 40 kilometers. The administrative city area has an area of ​​2095 square kilometers.

The distance from the northernmost part (Phu My Hung village, Cu Chi district) to the southernmost part of the urban area (Long Hoa village, Can Gio district) is 120 km, from the easternmost part (Long Binh district, district 9) to the westernmost part (Binh village Chanh, Binh Chanh district) 46 km.

South of the city, the twin rivers of the Mekong , also known as the Tiền Giang or Sông Tiền ("Upper Mekong") and Hậu Giang or sông Hậu ("Lower Mekong"), flow into the Mekong Delta, which extends over 70,000 km², into the South China Sea (in Vietnam: East Sea).

City structure


Aerial view

Ho Chi Minh City is divided into 19 districts (Quận) and five counties (Huyện). Of the 19 city districts, only the seven districts outside the city center have their own names (Quận Bình Tân , Quận Bình Thạnh , Quận Gò Vấp , Quận Phú Nhuận , Quận Tân Bình , Quận Tân Phú and Quận Thủ Đức in the center), which are the districts numbered consecutively ( Quận 1 , Quận 2 , Quận 3 , Quận 4 , Quận 5 , Quận 6 , Quận 7 , Quận 8 , Quận 9 , Quận 10 , Quận 11 and Quận 12 ).

The five rural districts are located outside the city ​​center (high density of buildings and closed locality) in the suburbs and rural areas, but within the administrative city limits (Huyện Bình Chánh , Huyện Cần Giờ , Huyện Củ Chi , Huyện Hóc Môn and Huyện Nhà Bè ). The 19 districts are divided into 259 districts (phường), the five districts in 58 large municipalities (xã) and five municipalities (thị trấn).

Chợ Lớn

Quan am Pagoda in Cholon
Thien Hau Pagoda

Chợ Lớn, the 5th district (Quận 5), is the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City. Originally Chợ Lớn - in German big market - was a city in itself, but has merged with the former Saigon mainly due to the high influx of refugees. It is inhabited by half a million ethnic Chinese who dominate the area through their Chinese pharmacies, restaurants and shops. True to its name, Chợ Lớn is also the district with the most business activity. The ancestors of the inhabitants immigrated to Vietnam from different regions of southern China and kept their dialects and customs. There are separate temples for the people of Chaozhou and separate temples for those from Guangzhou .

Around 1900, Chợ Lớn was also a wicked entertainment district, where consuming opium was just one of the pleasures on offer. The British writer Graham Greene was among the visitors. Since the 1950s the congested streets of Chợ Lớn were an ideal hiding place for Việt Minh and later the NLF , while after the reunification with North Vietnam and especially during the war with the People's Republic of China in 1979 the Chinese made up a large proportion of the boat people . Chợ Lớn is also home to the remarkable Quan Âm Pagoda and the Thien Hau Pagoda.

When Chợ Lớn's Fujian Chinese community built the Quan-Âm Pagoda on Chau van Liem at the end of the 19th century, they dedicated the temple to the goddess of mercy. In the center of the main hall, on the other hand, the Holy Mother and heavenly Empress A Pho stands behind an altar that is reminiscent of a tombstone. The courtyard behind is populated by a whole pantheon of deities and attracts a constant stream of believers. Most striking are the two statues of the Quan Âm - one with its back to A Pho, the other in dignified dark gold.

Củ Chi

Part of the Củ Chi tunnel system

Củ Chi (Huyện Củ Chi) is a district in the administrative area of ​​Ho Chi Minh City. The tunnels of Củ Chi , in which Vietnamese partisans hid during the Vietnam War from 1965 to 1975, are well known. The tunnel system is named after the village of the same name in the district. The first tunnels were built in 1948. In the 1960s, North Vietnamese partisans dug further and deeper until the tunnel system had grown to a considerable length of 200 km on three levels.

Real cities with schools, hospitals, offices and sleeping quarters emerged underground. All underground buildings were connected by tunnels with a maximum height of 80 cm and a width of 70 cm. One could get to the outside world through folding doors, which were covered by leaves and grass. All entrances were secured by primitive but effective traps.


Binh Quoi

The city is located in the tropical climate zone . The annual average temperature is 27.2 degrees Celsius, the average annual rainfall is 1931 mm. The main rainy season is between May and October, and floods must then be expected in individual urban areas. Most of the precipitation falls in September with an average of 327 mm, the least in February with an average of four millimeters.

The average temperatures are between 25.6 and 28.9 degrees Celsius all year round. The average daytime temperature is a maximum of 32 ° C, a minimum of 24 ° C with high humidity. The hottest months are April with an average of 28.9 ° C (maximum 35 ° C and minimum 25 ° C average daily temperature) and May with an average of 28.7 ° C. The lowest temperatures are measured in the area around Ho Chi Minh City in January with a maximum of 30 ° C and a minimum of 20 ° C daily mean temperature. The dry season runs from December to April.

Ho Chi Minh City
Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Ho Chi Minh City
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 31.6 32.9 33.9 34.6 34.0 32.4 32.0 31.8 31.3 31.2 31.0 30.8 O 32.3
Min. Temperature (° C) 21.1 22.5 24.4 25.8 25.2 24.6 24.3 24.3 24.4 23.9 22.8 21.4 O 23.7
Temperature (° C) 26.4 27.2 28.6 30.0 28.9 27.8 27.5 27.5 27.2 27.2 26.7 26.1 O 27.6
Precipitation ( mm ) 13.8 4.1 10.5 50.4 218.4 311.7 293.7 269.8 327.1 266.7 116.5 48.3 Σ 1.931
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 6.3 7.5 7.2 6.9 5.4 5.1 4.4 5.1 4.5 4.9 5.2 6.0 O 5.7
Rainy days ( d ) 2.4 1 1.9 5.4 17.8 19.0 22.9 22.4 23.1 20.9 12.1 6.7 Σ 155.6
Water temperature (° C) 27 27 27 28 29 30th 30th 29 29 29 29 28 O 28.5
Humidity ( % ) 70 68 69 71 76 81 81 82 83 83 79 74 O 76.5
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec


Khmer rule

Historians and archaeologists fix the founding of the place between the 1st and 6th centuries: the Khmer people had built a fishing village here. At that time there were no Vietnamese living in the region. The kingdom of Funan, which lies further to the west, nominally ruled the area . Funan was later taken over by the Kambuja people , who belonged to the Chenla kingdom , which in turn later became part of Angkor . However, these shifts in power politics had little influence on the small fishing village.

The country was surrounded by inaccessible forests and swamps that the Khmer fishermen living there called their settlement Prei Nokor (village in the forest). But due to its location on solid ground, immediately north of the marshy delta and surrounded on three sides by navigable waterways, the ascent of the place began.

When Chenla was captured by the Khmer Empire Angkor, which ruled the region until the 15th century, Prei Nokor experienced its first heyday as a transshipment port for Cambodian ships sailing the great Mekong River. By the 17th century a garrison and a trading community were established there, which also included Malay , Chinese and Indian traders.

Conquered by the Nguyon dynasty

City plan from 1815

The development of such a dynamic settlement was bound to attract the attention of the north. Towards the end of the 17th century, the Vietnamese had conquered Champa , bordering the Khmer Empire, on their march south , and in the course of the following century the entire region was conquered by the Nguyon dynasty ruling Huế . It is attributed to the Vietnamese nobleman Nguyen Phuc Chu to have turned the place back into a noteworthy settlement. He was sent to the region in 1698 to set up administrative structures. With the new rulers came a new name, Saigon , which is believed to be derived from the Vietnamese word for the kapok tree .

When the Tây Sơn rebellion broke out in 1771, Nguyễn Phúc Ánh , the slain ruler of the Nguyễn dynasty, fled from Huế south to Saigon. After declaring the city to be his provisional capital, he had it completely walled and expanded into a fortress. The octagonal citadel Gia Dinh was designed on the advice of his geomantic after the model of a blooming lotus flower. When Nguyễn Phúc Ánh returned to Huế as Emperor Gia Long after the suppression of the uprising in 1802, Saigon remained its regional administrative center in the south.

The army that defeated the Tây Sơn brothers also included a military unit of the French , who subsequently fought with the Vietnamese for control of the region for seven decades in order to establish a permanent trading post in Asia.

French colonial times

French capture of Saigon in 1859

Finally, on February 17, 1859, the French army occupied Saigon under the pretext that the French missionaries were being persecuted under Emperor Tự Đức . By the Treaty of Saigon on June 5, 1862 , the city was declared the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina .

Today's Ho Chi Minh City owes its appearance and character primarily to the French colonists. As part of a broad program of public construction projects, canals were filled in and marshland drained. Steam tram lines were set up and operated on the strict grid of the tamarind -lined streets, which in the 1930s bore such "Un-Vietnamese" names as Boulevard de la Somme or Rue Rousseau .

City map from 1920

Striking examples of European architecture emerged, while numerous cafes and boutiques opened to cater to the needs of Europeans. The city was so steeped in a French atmosphere that the English writer Somerset Maugham , who visited Saigon in the 1920s, compared it to a small provincial town in the south of France and described it as a carefree and happy little town. Peter Scholl-Latour described Saigon in his book Death in the Rice Field: 30 Years of War in Indochina as the most elegant and cultivated city in Asia in that era.

The large profits that the colons (settlers) siphoned off from exporting rubber and rice via Saigon's rapidly growing overseas port were partly reinvested in the development of the city. The living conditions of the Vietnamese were very difficult during the French colonial rule. Their resistance took the form of numerous strikes in the 1920s and 1930s. The national movement only gained strength after the Second World War reached Southeast Asia. On July 28, 1941, Japanese troops took Saigon.

Independence and the Indochina War

After the armistice was declared between Japan and the Allies on August 19, 1945, the Việt Minh guerrillas began to take power in Vietnam. This process, which went down in Vietnamese history as the August Revolution , was completed with the liberation of Saigon on August 28, 1945. Hồ Chí Minh used the freedom he had now gained to proclaim Vietnam's independence on September 2, 1945 in Hanoi .

When the Second World War was over, the British army was given the task of disarming Japanese troops in southern Vietnam. When the British arrived in Saigon on September 13, 1945, they immediately helped the French back to power and thus laid the foundation for a 30-year war. After initial concessions to the Việt Minh, the French administration decided in December 1946 to militarily eliminate the organization and restore the old status of the colony.

During the French National Day celebrations, riots broke out in Saigon on July 14, 1949, in which 22 people were killed and 118 injured.

Saigon was largely spared from the Indochina war against the French, because the fighting took place mainly in rural regions. The war ended with the surrender of the French on May 7, 1954 after the Battle of Điện Biên Phủ in the far north of the country, when they were defeated by the Việt Minh. Before that, however, they had installed Emperor Bảo Đại , who made Saigon the capital of his empire. After the division of Vietnam into North and South Vietnam, Saigon remained the capital of the southern part under the government of President Ngô Đình Diệm .

Vietnam War

Terrorist attack by the Viet Cong in Saigon in 1965

During the Vietnam War , tens of thousands of US soldiers were stationed in Saigon from 1965, from which the local economy benefited, but which also led to the development of prostitution. The war years took a heavy toll: several million refugees came to the relatively safe city as a result of the US bombing the rural areas.

The bloody suppression of a demonstration by Buddhist monks in the summer of 1963, during which some monks burned themselves, led to the outbreak of the Buddhist crisis . On November 1, 1963 , generals of the South Vietnamese army overthrew the Ngô Đình Diệm government in Saigon . The first President of the Republic of South Vietnam and several members of the government were executed .

Saigon during the Tet Offensive in 1968

During the Tet Offensive on January 31, 1968 , the Viet Cong succeeded in a very symbolic attack on the US Embassy in Saigon . However, the 19 fighters who tried to storm the embassy building were killed before they could enter the building. Far stronger attacks took place in and near Saigon on the airfield and the headquarters of General William Westmoreland and the South Vietnamese military . But it only took the Americans a short time to rally and fight back. The very next morning they attacked the North Vietnamese, and within five days these small units were completely defeated.

The Tet Offensive did not bring the Viet Cong the desired military breakthrough, but it was decisive, especially with regard to public opinion in the USA. The impression of a war that could not be won and had become pointless prevailed. With the withdrawal of US soldiers in 1973, economic activity declined noticeably.

Two CH-53 landed on the Defense Attaché Office site in April 1975

In 1975, the US Embassy hosted the helicopter evacuation codenamed Operation Frequent Wind , which marked the US final withdrawal from Vietnam. The area was one of the 13 designated landing zones where all foreigners should gather as soon as they heard the words "It is 112 degrees and rising" on the radio, followed by the Bing Crosby song White Christmas .

The signal was sent at noon on April 29, 1975, and for the following 18 hours one helicopter after another flew passengers to the 7th Fleet of the US Navy, which was waiting off the coast of Vũng Tau . Around 2,000 refugees were evacuated from the roof of the embassy alone before US Ambassador Graham Martin was the last to leave the building the following morning with the rolled up stars and stripes under his arm. Numerous Vietnamese civilians stayed at the embassy gates and had to surrender to the communists.

Communist takeover

When tanks of the North Vietnamese Armed Forces and their ally, the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam , broke through the fence around the Presidential Palace in Saigon on April 30, 1975 - one of the tanks was later put up on the spot as a memorial - and the flag of North Vietnam on the The Vietnam War was officially over. A short time before, the last US helicopter had left the site; the equipment of the Americans and the South Vietnamese government, who stayed back in a hurry at the time, can be viewed in the palace.

While the communists refer to this event as the liberation of Saigon , the South Vietnamese and Americans refer to it as the fall of Saigon . On July 2, 1976, North and South Vietnam were reunited under the name Socialist Republic of Vietnam , and Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City after the former president of North Vietnam. This was accompanied by the renaming of Hanoi.

Boutique Louis Vuitton
Waffle sales on the street

Unwise political decisions following reunification resulted in social and economic stagnation, the effects of which can still be seen. To make matters worse, several thousand South Vietnamese who had previously cooperated with the Americans were sent to re-education camps, while millions of people left the country by sea as boat people .

It was not until 1986, when the Đổi mungsi renewal policy initiated the liberalization of the economy and the market economy was given a new chance, that Ho Chi Minh City has rapidly developed into the financial and economic center of Vietnam, as evidenced by a number of shimmering skyscrapers and luxury hotels in the city center .

The other side is the rising crime rate. Corruption , prostitution , drug trafficking and organized crime regularly make headlines in the Vietnamese press. After a spectacular trial, there was 2004 execution of Năm Cam, a notorious Mafia -Boss in Ho Chi Minh City. The number of HIV infections in the city has also multiplied dramatically in recent years: in 2004 there were officially 12,000 HIV cases. Most affected are prostitutes (many have worked in neighboring Cambodia) and drug addicts (because of the shared use of hypodermic needles). Nationwide, Ho Chi Minh City is at the top of the HIV infection statistics.

Population development

Road traffic

Since the beginning of French colonization, the former Saigon has seen rapid population growth. From 7,000 inhabitants in 1862 this number increased tenfold to 68,000 by 1911. The limit of 100,000 was reached as early as 1914 and by 1939 there were already half a million people living in the city. During the Second World War , the population doubled to around one million, and again to two million by 1974.

According to the census of April 1, 2009, 7,123,340 people lived in the entire administrative area of ​​the city (2004 = 6,117,251), of which 5,929,479 lived in the 19 urban districts (2004 = 5,140,412) and 1,193,861 in the five rural districts (2004 = 976,839). This makes it the most populous city in Vietnam and the most populous administrative unit in the country. By 2050, a population of 11.9 million people is expected in the metropolitan area.

A significant part of the population growth since the beginning of colonial development is due to immigration from the hinterland. In addition to ethnic Vietnamese (87 percent), eleven percent of the population are overseas Chinese ( Hoa ). People from other ethnic minorities of Vietnam (Khmer, Cham, Nung, Rhade) also live in the city. Together they have a share of two percent of the total population. According to the 2004 census, religions were distributed as follows: Buddhists 50 percent, Catholics twelve percent, Protestants two percent, others ( Caodists , Hoa Hao, Muslims, Hindus) two percent, 34 percent of the population of Ho Chi Minh do not belong to any religion -City.

The population figures in the following table relate to the core city without the population of the rural districts. Up to 1975 it is mostly an estimate, then census results.

Population development
        year         Residents
1698 5,000
1859 33,000
1862 7,000
1881 13,481
1890 37,600
1900 50,300
1907 55,951
1911 67,739
1914 100,000
1926 143.197
1931 123,300
1936 110,600
1939 495.781
1943 498.143
1945 976,000
        year         Residents
1948 1,179,000
1954 1,723,360
1958 1,383,200
1962 1,431,000
1967 1,736,880
1973 1,825,000
1975 2,377,040
1976 2,442,798
1979 2,700,849
1989 2,946,426
1992 3,015,743
1999 4,204,662
2004 5,140,412
2009 5,929,479


City government

Old Town Hall

Ho Chi Minh City is directly subordinate to the central government and is therefore formally equal to a province of Vietnam . It is governed by a people's council, which, at least in theory, is elected by the population. The People's Council appoints a People's Committee as its executive arm. This structure is similar to the structure of the central government of Vietnam. The city government has to submit to the central government. The chairman of the council is Huynh Dam, chairman of the Le Thanh Hai People's Committee.

Town twinning

Ho Chi Minh City has partnerships with the following cities:

Culture and sights


City Theatre

On the east side of Lam Son Square is the city ​​theater , which opened in 1899 , with a colossal, dome-shaped entrance facing south-west towards Le Loi. In 1955 the National Assembly was temporarily housed there, but today fashion shows, plays and dances are staged again in the restored building.

The Hoa Binh Theater on 3 Thang 2 offers regular performances of modern and classical Vietnamese music, traditional plays and dances, fashion shows, concerts (sometimes by western artists) and dubbed films.

The Binh Quoi Cultural Village on Xo Viet Nghe Tinh shows a program of folk music, traditional dances and water puppet theater organized by the Saigontourist company , which can also be combined with an evening cruise on the Saigon River.


historical Museum

A pagoda-style roof crowns the city's historical museum. It is home to a number of galleries that use an exhibition of artifacts and paintings to trace the history of Vietnam from its early stages to the end of French colonial rule. In other rooms there are objects as diverse as Buddha images from all over Asia, Cham art from the 7th and 8th centuries, and handicrafts from the country's ethnic minorities. One room is filled with exquisite ceramic objects from Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. There is also a water puppet theater with daily performances in the museum.

The War Remnants Museum has a collection of tanks, airplanes and other weapons that were captured by the US Army. A photo gallery shows acts of war, the use of napalm and the defoliants Agent Orange and Agent Blue , which were sprayed over Vietnam. The consequences were an increase in cancer, birth defects, deformities and environmental degradation. The presentation of history in this museum is limited to the view of the winner.

The Revolution Museum is housed in the former palace of the governor of Cochinchina , which was also used as the residence of President Diem during the Vietnam War. It shows many photos and objects from the war. The clothing of Vietnamese soldiers is also on display.

The Ho Chi Minh Museum is located in the former headquarters of the Customs Administration, built in 1863. Using photographs, documents and artifacts, it traces the struggle of the Vietnamese people against the French and US occupiers. On the ground floor there is a collection of ancient artifacts and historical objects, plus a natural history section and another section with clothing and tools used by ethnic minorities. On the upper floor, where the focus is on the Vietnam War, the museum presents exhibits that deal with the inventiveness of the Vietnamese. These include mine throwers made from bicycle parts, a Suzuki motorcycle in whose hollow frame parts documents were smuggled to Saigon, and a boat with a double bottom used to hide weapons.

The art museum is set up in a stately colonial villa. The lower and ground floor are dedicated to commercial works of art, which are offered for sale there through various galleries. The first floor is dominated by revolutionary political art and mostly shows motifs of soldiers, theaters of war and Hồ Chí Minh. On the second floor, next to a collection of statues of the minorities Oc Eo and Cham, there are gilded Buddhas and other ancient objects.


Decoration for Tết Nguyên Đán on the Nguyen Hue
Bicycles and scooters dominate the streetscape

Under the name of Rue Catinat, the Dong Khoi was Saigon's promenade even during French colonial rule. During the Vietnam War, it was the location of numerous bars and brothels that satisfied the needs of American soldiers. Since Doi Moi , the street of the uprising , as the German translation would be, has lived up to its old reputation again and you will find many bars, restaurants and expensive designer shops here.

Nguyen Hue is the parallel street to Dong Khoi. It was built as Boulevard Charner and was called the Champs Elysées of the East. Today, after a long subway construction period, Nguyen Hue reopened as a large promenade on April 30, 2015 with only two narrow lanes for taxis at the edge.

Le Duan Boulevard, built in the French style like Nguyen Hue, connects the city center with the Botanical Garden. In terms of traffic, however, the Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, which runs parallel to the Le-Duan to the north, is more important. Today, both are once again the headquarters of several diplomatic missions, including the German Consulate General. The US embassy was once here too; During the Vietnam War, it was the scene of a spectacular raid at the start of the Tet Offensive . In the last days of the war, helicopters flew the last remaining Americans on a warship off the coast. The US Consulate General has now been rebuilt and only memorial plaques commemorate those dramatic events.


Secular structures

Main post
Banquet room in the Reunification Palace

The main post office, built between 1886 and 1891, is located on Dong Khoi. Apart from a renovation and modernization of the switches, there have been almost no changes since it was built. The steel structure of the building was designed by the French engineer Gustave Eiffel . From a huge painting in the hall , Ho Chi Minh watches over the work of the postal workers.

At the northern end of Nguyen Hue is the former town hall, a colonial building from 1906. The people's committee is now located behind Corinthian columns, classical figures and shutters. A statue of Ho Chi Minh with a small child on his lap watches over the small park in front of the building.

About 200 meters south of the cathedral, where the Dong Khoi briefly widens, is Lam Son Square with the Hotel Continental. The famous building with its white facade, rotating globe and ocher roof was once a bastion of fine French society and is still one of the most renowned addresses in the city. In the first half of the 20th century, the hotel's front terrace was the place to see and be seen.

It is therefore not surprising that Somerset Maugham also came here in the mid-1920s: “It is very pleasant to sit with a harmless drink under the awning on the terrace of the Hotel Continental [and] read the local newspaper about the heated controversies about the Reading colony affairs, ”he writes. In the immediate vicinity, opposite the much smaller Hotel Continental, is the Hotel Caravelle, built in 1958 and now renovated. In earlier times the building was the preferred address for Western journalists and war correspondents.

To the northwest of the cathedral, the national flag flies on the Reunification Palace , a whitewashed concrete building. The building stands on the site of the former Norodom Palace, a colonial-era villa from 1871 that once served as the residence of the Governor General of Indochina. With the withdrawal of the French in 1954, Ngo Dinh made the extravagant building his presidential palace, but after the building suffered serious damage in an attempted assassination attempt by two renegade South Vietnamese pilots in February 1962, it was finally demolished. After its completion in 1966, the current building was initially called the Independence Palace , only to be renamed the Reunification Hall after the conquest of the south in 1975 . The interior is from the 1960s and 1970s. Among other things, the third floor is interesting, where, in addition to the presidential library, there is also a screening room darkened by a curtain and a salon with a round sofa and a barrel-shaped bar.

The second tallest building in the city is the Bitexco Financial Tower , the tallest of the Landmark 81 skyscrapers. With a height of 461 m, this is also the tallest building in Vietnam.

Bitexco Financial Tower , the second tallest building in the city with a helipad

The German House in Ho Chi Minh City was completed in 2018 and opened in 2019. The 25-storey building complex consisting of two towers was initiated as part of a bilateral government agreement between Germany and Vietnam. It sets standards for energy efficiency "made in Germany" and is the location of the German Consulate General as well as other institutions and companies (including Adidas , Siemens , Apple , Visacard , Regus ).


Phu My Bridge over the Saigon River

Between September 9, 2005 and September 2, 2009, the Phu My Bridge (Cầu Phú Mỹ) was built. It is a cable-stayed bridge with six lanes over the Saigon River. It connects the Thu Thiem New Urban Area on the north side with the center of Ho Chi Minh City. The connection to central and north Vietnam and the Mekong Delta was also established via the National Highway 1A .

Sacred buildings

Notre Dame
Jade Emperor Pagoda

The brick-built neo-Romanesque Notre-Dame Cathedral, built between 1877 and 1883, is one of the city's most important colonial buildings and the center of the Catholic Church in South Vietnam. Notre-Dame is at the north end of Dong Khoi. Masses are held in English every Sunday. On the square in front of the Paris Commune there is a statue of the Virgin Mary. This church is also called Notre-Dame of the East.

The Jade Pagoda is the city's most colorful pagoda. It was built in 1909 by the city's Cantonese community and worships several Taoist and Buddhist deities. It is full of statues and carvings of Asian deities and heroic figures. In the flower-lined courtyard in front of the building there is a pond whose inhabitants the temple owes its nickname "Turtle Pagoda".

The Thien Hau Temple in Nguyen Trai is mostly visited by local women who make offerings to Me Sanh , the goddess of fertility, and Long Mau , the goddess of mothers and newborns. When Cantonese immigrants built the temple in the mid-19th century, they named it after Thien Hau, the protector of the seafarers. Those who had just arrived from China went there immediately to thank the goddess for their safe passage in the South China Sea. Three statues of the goddess stand one behind the other on the altar, while a striking painting on the front inner wall describes a scene in which Thien Hau leads a few violently rocking ships safely through the storm-lashed sea. A notable detail of the temple is its roof, on which there are numerous figures.

On the Dong Du is the central mosque, built in the 1930s, with white and blue-washed walls and four minarets. To the south of the Hotel Rex is the Sri Thendayyuthapani temple, whose gopuram (ornamental gate tower) rises in the tone That Thiep. The elaborate wall paintings that are normally found in a Hindu temple have been replaced by paintings by Jawaharlal Nehru , Mahatma Gandhi and various deities from the Hindu pantheon, while the colorful ceiling is covered with lamps.

The Sri Mariamman Hindu temple is located in Truong Dinh . The imposing yellow walls of the building are sometimes besieged by vendors selling oil, incense and jasmine flowers. The roof is adorned with a colorful gopuram with figures of gods carved out of stone. Inside, sculptures of the deities Mariamman, Maduraiveeran and Pechiamman are housed in stone shrines. There are other depictions of seated gods in the courtyard.

At Quang Pagoda
Xa Loi Pagoda

In the Ba Huyen Thanh Quan is the Xa Loi Pagoda , which was at the center of Buddhist resistance against President Diem's ​​government in 1963. The most striking feature of the simple complex, built in 1956, is a tall tower, which is equipped with beige-colored building blocks, and a six-tiered roof in the Far Eastern style.

Behind an oversized urn with incense sticks, imaginatively decorated with marbles and porcelain shards, opens a high hall with a large, gilded Buddha and 14 wall paintings with stories from his life. Behind the back of the Buddha you come to a shrine in memory of Thich Quang Duc and the other monks who burned themselves to death in Saigon in 1963.

The An Quang Pagoda on Su Van Hanh Street in the 10th district is a meeting place for representatives of Buddhism and the seat of the Institute for Dharma Preaching. The pagoda buildings erected in 1948 were continually expanded and expanded and, in addition to a large auditorium and a library, there were also several farm buildings such as printing, publishing and incense candle production. But the great importance of the pagoda lies in the large number of Dharma teachers who have received their well-founded training here together with thousands of monks and nuns .


Bamboo water wheel in Binh Quoi Park
Water buffalo in Binh Quoi Park

Established in 1864 by two French people (a veterinarian and a botanist), the Botanical Garden near the Thi-Nghe Canal houses a collection of tropical plants. Inside is the zoo, where camels, elephants, crocodiles, big cats and even Komodo dragons can be seen. The aquarium and amusement park are also attractive.

To the west of the Reunification Palace is the Cong Vien Van Hoa public city park . During the colonial era, the northern area of ​​the park was a popular meeting place for the French living in Vietnam, as the elitist Cercle Sportif was located there , a sports club reserved only for foreigners from the west, where the colons met to swim and play tennis. Over time, the French names on the membership roster were replaced by American ones, and now that's where the Workers' Sports Club resides.

Notable theme parks include Binh Quoi Park on Xo Viet Nghe Street in Binh Thanh District. In the Binh Quoi Cultural Village , the visitor is shown the traditional South Vietnamese way of life. The offer includes fishing, canoeing, boat trips and bike tours.

Not far from the village on Kha Van Can Street in the Thu Duc district is the Saigon Waterpark with water slides, a wave pool, children's pool and restaurants.

The Dam Sen Cultural Park in Hoa Binh street in the 11th district is a modern amusement park with monorail , sports facilities and water park.


Large or international sporting events rarely take place in the city because sport is more of a mass phenomenon in Vietnam, whereas competitive and top-class sport is poorly developed due to a lack of infrastructure and financial resources. The most popular sport is soccer. There are several football clubs in the city, including the Hồ Chí Minh City FC and the Navibank Sài Gòn FC Both play in the country's highest league, the V.League 1 , which play their games in the Thong-Nhat Stadium . In addition, Asian sports such as Thai Cuc Quyen , Kung Fu , Vovinam , Taekwondo , Judo , Karate and Badminton (see Vietnam Open ) are very popular. In recent years, European sports such as tennis or golf have become increasingly fashionable, especially in the wealthier sections of the population. A three-cushion World Cup has been held in the city every year since 2015 . Billiards is a very popular sport in Vietnam. In three-cushion billiards there are several world-class players who have won medals at international championships.

North of Cholon in Le Dai Hanh is the Phu Tho racecourse. After the “liberation” of the south in 1975, gambling and betting were declared the epitome of decadence and made a criminal offense. It was not until 1989 that the political climate in the country was liberalized to such an extent that the racetrack could reopen. The racing days (Saturday and Sunday) regularly attract thousands of betting enthusiasts. Today, hundreds of racehorses are kept in Ho Chi Minh City, the population of which is steadily being replenished by horses imported from Europe and Hong Kong for breeding purposes .


Typical food stalls in Saigon

Ho Chi Minh City is considered the country's culinary metropolis. In addition to numerous Vietnamese restaurants, there are also many restaurants with international cuisine. The number of foreigners living in Vietnam has grown to such an extent that new restaurants with a focus on foreign cuisine are opening up. You can get Tex-Mex , Tanduri Masala , Shish Kebap or Sushi , although the French restaurants still dominate.

The French heritage is also evident in the large number of cafes . But there are also numerous restaurants that offer Vietnamese cuisine in the city. Most of the restaurants are open all year round, only a few close during the Tet festival . The needs of tourists are increasingly making opening times more flexible.

The simple eateries serve meals like com and pho in large portions. The tourist cafes around De Tham and Pham Ngu Lao offer inexpensive steak with French fries or a portion of fried noodles. The food in the restaurants with local cuisine is of good quality and the prices are affordable for the population.

The specialty restaurants, on the other hand, are very expensive by Vietnamese standards - you can spend as much on a meal as a Vietnamese family has available in a month, but by Western standards they are still cheap and the quality of the cuisine is very high. Fresh ingredients are always used, for example vegetables from Da Lat and meat that is often flown in from Australia .


Inside the Bến Thành Market
Ben Thanh Market
Binh Tay Market

The Ben Thanh Market (Bến Thành Market), built in 1914 and renovated in 1986, is one of the landmarks of old Saigon. Today it is a large market hall for clothing, food, electronics and souvenirs. All kinds of fresh merchandise such as vegetables, fruit, fish and flowers are also on offer. Another attraction of the market: Here all kinds of local culinary delights are offered that are not available in Europe or at least not freshly available.

The Ben Thanh Market is a square with a size of more than 13,000 square meters and about 1,500 stalls and shops. One of its main gates with a turret is reminiscent of a church tower. Before that, seven streets meet as a roundabout. The equestrian statue of Tran Nguyen Han stood in the middle of the busy roundabout until 2015. He introduced the use of carrier pigeons in Vietnam in the 13th century . The memorial was removed because the subway construction is getting closer and then underground shopping malls are planned here.

At the Nguyen Thai Hoc is the Cau-Ong-Markt, a wholesale market that trades practically around the clock. In the early morning you can watch the vendors buy large quantities of fruit, vegetables and other goods to sell in the town's smaller markets during the day.

Binh Tay Market is located on Thap Muoi in Cholon. Under its multi-tiered yellow roofs with winding dragons, clearly structured aisles with countless stalls offer all kinds of products, including dried fish, pickled vegetables, chilli paste and pottery. The market is framed by two department store blocks, each crowned by four Moorish domes.

In Le Cong Kieu, which branches off opposite the art museum, there are numerous antique shops with Far Eastern and colonial goods. Memorabila on Vietnam's recent history can be found at the stalls behind Dan Sinh Market, where excess army stocks are sold. The market is on Nguyen Cong Tru. Goods on offer include khaki uniforms, Viet Cong pith helmets, old compasses, and American Zippo lighters.

Economy and Infrastructure


View from the Saigon River to the city center

The city is the commercial and economic center of Vietnam. It has a modern seaport and is the seat of the largest exchange in the country, the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HSX). In 2007 the gross domestic product (GDP) was 14.3 billion US dollars, an increase of 12.6 percent compared to 2006. The purchasing power parity (PPP) was 71.5 billion US dollars. Around 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), 30 percent of industrial production and 40 percent of Vietnam's total exports are generated in Ho Chi Minh City .

The city's share of the state budget is around 33 percent. 60 percent of all foreign investments flow into the region. Economic growth has been over ten percent in recent years (six to eight percent nationwide). The largest increase in 2003 was recorded by industrial production with 15.3 percent, followed by the service sector with 9.6 percent and agricultural production with 9.1 percent. The average per capita income in Ho Chi Minh City in 2007 was US $ 2,180 per capita, and the national average in 2006 was US $ 730.


Night city view from the Bitexco Financial Tower

The industry in Ho Chi Minh City mainly produces food, glass, textiles, paper goods, plastics, chemicals, building materials and machines. Since the Communists came to power in 1975, many companies have been nationalized to make the city independent of foreign imports . Numerous new industries and companies emerged, such as furniture and carpet factories that used raw materials from their own country. Under Nguyễn Văn Linh , Đổi mới ( renewal ) was introduced in 1986 , which meant that central planning was abandoned and market economy reforms were introduced. Foreign firms were allowed to invest in Ho Chi Minh City. Numerous foreign corporations opened branches. The city developed into Vietnam's economic growth engine.

State-owned companies continue to pose a problem for the economy: they are mostly unprofitable, not internationally competitive and have a large amount of loans that they probably cannot repay and thus threaten the entire banking system. A number of state-owned enterprises have already been merged with other state-owned enterprises, while others have closed. Due to the social impact (unemployment), however, the process is quite slow.

Air pollution in Ho Chi Minh City has increased significantly in recent years. The high content of fine dust is the biggest problem. The causes lie in factories, small industries, power plants and traffic as well as in private households. The emission of carbon dioxide is increasing rapidly as a result of advancing industrialization and a steadily growing volume of traffic and energy demand. Problems are also caused by the pollution of the groundwater, unregulated landfills, the pollution of the Saigon River and the traffic noise.

Ho Chi Minh City is the headquarters of the automobile manufacturers Mekong Auto Corporation (since June 1991), Mercedes-Benz (since 1995) and Thaco .


City center

The media in the city are all controlled by the state and thus by the Communist Party of Vietnam . There are English-language print media . These are often magazines aimed at tourists or promoting travel or entertainment options.

Most English-language publications, however, are aimed at business people and announce the latest in economic policy. Foreign publications are not censored as they are usually not affordable for the average Vietnamese. You can find them where the foreigners are concentrated. Old copies of foreign newspapers are often offered by street vendors.

Major daily newspapers that appear in Ho Chi Minh City are Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon), Tuoi Tre , Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborers), The Thao (Sports) and Saigon Times Daily . The radio and television broadcast several programs. The Voice of HCMC People is the largest radio station in the region. On Vietnam TV there is short English news later in the evening, the rest of the program consists of Vietnamese shows and a few foreign films.


Air traffic

The Ho Chi Minh City Airport (abbreviation SGN by former city name Saigon , also airport Tan Son Nhat ) is the largest of the three international Flughäfens Vietnam and is located just north of downtown. Some airlines fly to it directly from Europe, otherwise there are connections to all major cities in Asia. There are also domestic flights to and from all major cities in Vietnam.

New major airport

A new major airport has been under construction since 2014, forty kilometers northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City Long Thanh Airport in the Long Thanh district in the Đồng Nai province . It will be the largest airport in Vietnam and one of the largest in Asia. According to the 2010 master plan, the airport will have four runways, each 4000 meters long, five terminals and several freight terminals in the final expansion phase. The project covers an area of ​​50 km². At the same time as the airport, expressways and railway lines are being built for development. When it goes into operation, Tan-Son-Nhat Airport will only be used for domestic flights.

The new airport is in direct competition with other major airports in the region, including Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok, and the final expansion stage is expected to have a capacity of 100 million passengers.

The then Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng issued the building permit on October 1, 2014. The National Assembly in Hanoi approved the construction of the airport in June 2015. The construction costs have now been estimated at US $ 15.8 billion, the construction period is to extend in three phases from 2018 to 2050. The first phase will cost $ 5.2 billion. Construction will start in 2018 and will be completed in 2025. According to preliminary calculations, the second construction phase will be between 2030 and 2035 and will cost four billion dollars. The third construction phase will follow between 2040 and 2050, the cost is 6.6 billion dollars.

The "Ga Sài Gòn", the main train station of Ho Chi Minh City in District 3

Rail transport

Ho Chi Minh City can be reached by rail from all cities in the north. Several trains run daily from Hà Nội to the south and end in Sai Gon, as the station is officially called. The entire trip takes 30 to 40 hours, but travel times are attractive from some cities in Central Vietnam.

Long-distance bus transport

Ho Chi Minh City has several long-distance bus stations that are spread across the city. The buses going north, e.g. B. to Vũng Tau, in the central highlands and to Nha Trang, depart from the extensive Mien-Dong bus station, which is five kilometers northeast of the center in the Xo Viet Nghe. Those who want to take a trip through the Mekong Delta can take a bus to the Cholon bus station, from where buses run all day to Mỹ Tho, Mỹ Thuận and other small towns in the Mekong Delta.


Most of the buses going northwest to and from Tay Ninh and Cu Chi stop at An Suong (or Tây Ninh) bus station on national road 22, west of the center in the Tan Binh district Cu Chi offers, and with the other bus stations. Direct buses to Cambodia and the capital Phnom Penh leave daily from 145 Nguyen Du, southwest of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Ships and Ferry

Boat on the Saigon River

There is also a hydrofoil connection to Vũng Tau several times a day .

Local public transport

City buses


The first steam tram operated in Saigon on December 27, 1881 . Electric trams have been in the city since August 4, 1923. The network had a length of 72 kilometers with overland routes to Hoc-Mon and Thudaumot. In 1953 operations were stopped.


Airport Express Bus from Ho Chi Minh City in blue livery

Since then, the city has had no rail-based mass transport ( subway , suburban train , tram). The bus network was also considered completely inadequate until recently. In recent years, the up to 30 year old vehicle fleet has been renewed, so that at least qualitatively and economically, bus travel in modern air-conditioned buses for 2,000-4,000 dong can be an attractive alternative, especially for tourists and people without their own vehicle. The density of lines in the city center is high, but getting through at peak times is problematic.

The south side of the Ben Thanh market circle is the central bus station in the city center. You can also take the city bus in the direction of Cholon. Saigon Star Co's air-conditioned buses run daily on a route between the south side of Mei Linh Square and Huyunh Thoai Yen below Binh Tay Market.


Moped taxis (Xe Ôm) or bicycle taxis (Xíc Lô / Cyclo) are also available to complement the bus routes. But the average speed of mopeds in the city center was only 16.5 km / h in 2008 - a good thirty percent less than six years earlier. Since around 2003, a fleet of small cars has been offering its services.

The number of taxis increased enormously in the 2010s. Several companies use vehicles with air conditioning, which are usually affordable. The so-called Mai Linh and Vinasun can be waved at the street or ordered by phone.


Two subway lines are currently being built with the help of a loan of 800 million US dollars and, according to current planning, should go into operation by 2020. The 19.7 km long line 1 connects the Bến-Thành-Markt (the central transfer point of the system) with Suối Tiên and will be built for 2.6 km underground, the rest of the route in an elevated position. By 2040, the capacity can be expanded to 800,000 passengers a day. Line 2, 11.3 km long, connects Bến Thành with Tham Lương and runs 9.6 km underground. The system is designed for a cruising speed  of 40 km / h. Four more lines are being planned.

Private transport

Scooters are the main form of transportation in Saigon
Traffic in Ho Chi Minh City

Bicycles, which were the most common means of transport until the end of the 20th century, are almost exclusively used by children and people who cannot afford a moped, but they still have their place in traffic. Overall, the still high percentage of highly flexible two-wheeled traffic, especially goods transport on mopeds, ensures that traffic in the metropolis flows mostly.

Individual transport in Ho Chi Minh City is characterized by a steadily growing number of mopeds (Xe Máy), the main means of transport for city dwellers.

The proportion of private cars is also increasing, but due to the low per capita income and high import tax for foreign cars with tariffs between 77 and 80 percent, only privileged residents can afford a car, while new mopeds are already on the decline priced around $ 500. It is therefore not uncommon for heavy loads or entire families to be transported on the moped. In addition, many dealers also use their moped as a display for their goods.

Despite the still rather low prevalence of individual cars, there were around 700,000 cars in Ho Chi Minh City in 2017. This means that the volume of traffic in the city is considerable and sometimes reaches the limits of the existing infrastructure, mainly due to the lack of alternatives in local public transport. Long traffic jams occur again and again at peak times, especially on main roads and major traffic hubs in the city.


There are numerous universities, colleges and technical colleges, research institutes and libraries in the city. There are state and private institutions. Compulsory education is divided into two phases, namely the five-year elementary level and the four-year lower secondary level. The completion of the upper secondary level does not automatically entitle to university studies or any other higher education. For university studies, a separate entrance examination is compulsory after the upper secondary level.

Important universities are: HCMC National University , University of Natural Sciences (formerly Saigon College of Sciences ), University of Social Sciences and Humanities (formerly Saigon College of Letters ), University of Polytechnic (formerly Phu Tho National Institute of Technology ), International University , Faculty of Economics , University of Information Technology and Hong Bang University (HBU) .

sons and daughters of the town



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Web links

Commons : Ho Chi Minh City  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Ho Chi Minh City  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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  7. World 101 largest Cities. Retrieved July 23, 2018 .
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  14. Statistical Office in Ho Chi Minh City: Statistical in 2005 ( Memento of the original from November 13, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.hochiminhcity.gov.vn
  15. VTC News: Năm 2015: Thu nhập bình quân của VN là 1,000USD / năm ( Memento of the original from May 22, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.vtc.vn
  16. ^ Website Mercedes-Benz Vietnam
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  22. ^ Work starts on Ho Chi Minh City metro line 1 , Railway Gazette International, August 31, 2012
  23. Management Authority for Urban Railways ( Memento of the original from September 20, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / hcmc-maur.vn
  24. Vietnam's Motor Vehicle Market Dependent on Tax and Customs Policy - Report . Website of Germany Trade & Invest, Society of the Federal Republic of Germany for Foreign Trade and Location Marketing - Retrieved on July 3, 2012
  25. Vi Vu: Guess how many people are jamming into Saigon? Hint: It's as bad as Tokyo. VnExpress International, August 17, 2017
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on October 1, 2006 .