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150: Ho Chi MInh City, Vietnam: Gary Bembridge of Tips for Travellers shares observations, tips and advice for visitors to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.Subscribe free to the show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or TuneIn RadioThis show covers among other...

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Gary Bembridge of Tips for Travellers shares observations, tips and advice for visitors to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.Subscribe free to the show on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or TuneIn RadioThis show covers among other topics:
Observations

Fascinating and revealing city to visit especially for history lovers
Easy to see why it has been called "Pearl or Paris of the East" with broad avenues and  remarkable buildings from their French ruled.
People know of it for wrong reasons linked to Vietnam War.

History
French occupied and colonised in 1859 for about 100 years. Vietnamese struggle for independence started after WWII and led to battles with French ending in country being spilt into 2 at 17th Parralell in Geneva Accord in 1960s. With communist controlled north supported by Russia led by Ho Chi Minh and more western leaning south increasingly supported by USA by NGO Dinh Dien.
USA decided to see Vietnam as key to stopping spread of communism and entered war between North and South as North wanted to unite under their rule. Very violent and bloody war lasting two decades. USA pulled out support in 1973 but war carried on until North overan South culminating in tanks smashing through gates of presidential complex on 30 April 1975 and South unconditionally surrendering.
Vietnam is communist country with 1 party state. World's 2nd largest exporter of rice and coffee with high tech industry growing fast.
Safe country but has reputation of being corrupt.Ho Chi Minh City is the biggest city in Vietnam but Hanoi in the North is the capital.Vietnam has massive population close to 90 million (one of top 10 in world) - at least 9 million live in the city.
Getting there Visa needed.Large international airport eith new one being built opening in 2025Rail terminal to many areasCruise - large ships dock at Phu My and smaller go right into Port SaigonBest time to goTropical climate and gets very hotRainy May to Nov and Dry Dec to April (best time to go).
Getting AroundMillions of motorcycles - about 340000 cars and 3,5 million bikesDeveloping a light rapid transit systemTaxis - lots
General Tips

Most of the tourist sights within walking distance in District 1, helpful as no Hop-on Hop-off bus.
Vietnamese Dong - $1 about 20,000 - most people refer to prices in dong without the 000s - many will take US$ including some  attractions.
Wi-fi  in most cafés and restaurants - usually need password but they will provide.
Most attractions close between 1130 and 1300

Things to do
Reunification HallPreviously called Independence HallFormer South Vietnam President's complex of working and livingWar Remnants MuseumUsed to be called Museum of American War Crimes - opened in September 1975Aim is researching and collecting evidence of war crimes and attributes.Norte Dame CathedralBuilt with materials all from France in 1800sMunicipal Theatre / Opera HouseCity Hall with Ho Chi Minh StatuteMuseum of Vietnamese History and Botanical GardensHo Chi Minh MuseumDesigned as museum but used as Governors Palace and then French High Commissioner Residence and office and later Supreme Court.Bitexco Tower and Saigon SkyviewShopping

Malls - many including Thuong Xa Tax
High end stores near City Hall
Ben Thanh Market

Further Afield

Dai Nam Tourist Park
Chi Chi Tunnels
Cochi Tunnel Complex

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