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Ho Chi Minh City

Coordinates: 10°46′32″N 106°42′07″E / 10.77556°N 106.70194°E / 10.77556; 106.70194
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Ho Chi Minh City
Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Saigon/Sài Gòn
Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh
Clockwise from top: Ho Chi Minh City skyline at night, Bến Thành Market, Temple of Hùng Kings (Ho Chi Minh City), Independence Palace, Landmark 81, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
Paris of the Orient[1] (historical)
Paulatim crescam[2] meaning "Gradually Grow"
Interactive map outlining Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is located in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Location within Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City is located in Southeast Asia
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Location within Southeast Asia
Ho Chi Minh City is located in Asia
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City
Location within Asia
Coordinates: 10°46′32″N 106°42′07″E / 10.77556°N 106.70194°E / 10.77556; 106.70194
Country Vietnam
Founded byNguyễn Hữu Cảnh
CapitalDistrict 1
Districts1 sub-city, 16 urban districts & 5 rural districts
 • TypeMunicipality
 • BodyHo Chi Minh City People's Council [vi]
 • Secretary of CPVNguyễn Văn Nên
 • Chairman of People's CouncilNguyễn Thị Lệ
 • Chairman of People's CommitteePhan Văn Mãi
 • Municipality2,061.2 km2 (795.83 sq mi)
 • Metro
30,595 km2 (11,813 sq mi)
19 m (63 ft)
 (1 April 2019)[4][5]
 • Municipality8,993,082 (1st)
 • Density4,292/km2 (11,120/sq mi)
 • Metro
 • Metro density697.2/km2 (1,806/sq mi)
Ethnic groups
 • Vietnamese[7]94.77%
 • Hoa4.26%
 • Khmer0.56%
 • Chams0.12%
 • Tày0.05%
 • Mường0.04%
 • Nùng0.03%
 • Others0.17%
Time zoneUTC+07:00 (ICT)
Postal code
Area codes28
ISO 3166 codeVN-SG
License plate41, 50 – 59
GRP (Nominal)2019
– TotalUS$61.7 billion[4]
– Per capitaUS$6,862
GRP (PPP)2019
– TotalUS$190.3 billion[8]
– Per capitaUS$21,163
International airportsTan Son Nhat International Airport
Long Thanh International Airport (under construction)

Ho Chi Minh City (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) is a city in southern Vietnam. It is governed as a municipality and includes a large rural area. It is the biggest city in Vietnam. About 9 million people live in the city.

Before its fall on 30 April 1975, the city used to be called "Saigon", and this is still the most common name in everyday conversation. The name Saigon come from the Saigon River, which flows through the city.

It used to be a Khmer port city called Prey Nokor, or “Jungle City”. The city was taken over by the Vietnamese and eventually took the name of(Sài Gòn). It was invaded by the French in 1859. As (French) Saigon it was the capital of French Indochina and became an important city in French colonial trade. After independence(from France), in 1954 to 1975, Saigon became the capital of the Republic of Vietnam. After the end of the US campaign (1973) in the Vietnam War, Saigon was overtaken by the North Vietnamese army on 30 April 1975 and renamed after Hồ Chí Minh. The tradition of naming places in Vietnam after great people is very common. Many streets bear the names of epic heroes. Hai Ba Trung street is named after heroic sisters.

Despite the name change, many people from other countries, and even among Vietnamese people, still call the city "Saigon" today. Interestingly enough, both the names of the Saigon River and the Saigon railway station have stayed unchanged.

City categorization

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Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has expanded with industrialization. It now includes all of the surrounding towns. The city center is old Saigon. Old Saigon has two main districts (One and Three). The new city districts used to be rice fields and fish farms. There are fish all over the city.


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Ho Chi Minh City is as flat as the river plain it sits on.[9] Nearly all roads are built flat. Bicycle riding around the Mekong delta is very easy in dry weather. Because of the flatness, roads and buildings sink into the draining soil. Lying water keeps pollution very close to city homes. The rising tides can flood many districts when the moon is fullest.
Because rainwater can't be kept in valleys or mountains, the city-water is dangerous to drink. Most people drink from large bottles of water - 20 litres (4.4 imp gal; 5.3 US gal). When the streets flood (in rain or tides) the dirt from drains returns onto the city. This has caused a lot of problems for the health of the people living in the city. Escaping sewer water makes people very sick in the tropical countries. Older people may avoid drinking more than a few drinks a day.


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It's very tropical in the city. The trees in streets are cut down to half every year - but they grow back. Fresh food markets are all over the city. The city has so much rain, that drains and rivers surround every district.

The southeast of the province has the Can Gio Wetlands. It's a 752 square kilometre mangrove area between Ho Chi Minh City and the sea. Inside the wetlands there are birds, deer, fish, frogs, insects, lizards, monkeys, otters, and snakes. The centipedes all around the city are very dangerous (maybe deadly to tiny animals). People catch and eat the snakes.

The wetlands and ecosystem has been designated as a biosphere reserve. Ho Chi Minh people get education on how to look after their biosphere reserve and wetlands.

The city is a river port on the Saigon River. Several larger terminals operate outside and inside of the city. Many small docks operate around the city. The river system leads out to sea at Vung Tau, or onto the Mekong delta. Delivery of materials for the city can be made by boat. Farm produce distributors can arrive by boat in many districts outside the city.


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The use of English is rising in HCMC. Many HCMC people will travel around the world by using English as their international language. Many other languages are studied. French was previously the most popular. Chinese is also very well known to many people.


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The city has international schools that teach foreign children. All classes (except for languages) are given in the chosen language. Many international schools have chosen English as the primary language. Some of the international schools are named by their country of origin. The schools named after a country use the national language of that country.


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English is a subject taught in all national schools.

After-school and colleges

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Many HCMC parents use cram schools to improve their children's English. HCMC adults attend colleges to learn English.

Going overseas

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Some HCMC people will go overseas to get foreign education. It can be through staying with relatives, attending boarding schools, joining programs, or with family.


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English is taught at university in HCMC. It doesn't replace the national language at most universities. International universities might set a requirement for English or another language.

  • A favorite hobby is fishing.[10] Fish invade grass fields when they flood - locals wade into the fields with good fishing rods to catch them.[11]
  • Kite flying is a popular hobby in the city.[12] When the wind season starts many fields are full of kite-flyers. At this time, the city skyline is dotted with kites.
  • Ho Chi Minh City is a very busy city.[13] The traffic makes little sense to foreigners. Motorbikes are the most common vehicle. The motorbikes mostly travel at speeds under 40 km/hr.[14] Cars drivers do their best to never hit motorcycles. Families ride together around the city for fun in the evening.
  • Street food is as popular in HCMC as it is in all of South-East Asia.

Wealthy people live a fantastic life in the city. But, others are very poor. Poor does not always mean without food, clothing, shelter, or work in HCMC. The cost of living in Vietnam helps even the poorest people to survive. Many temples, churches, charities, and government organizations help people that are even more misfortunate than the poor. But still, some ultra-poor people struggle with homelessness, and the tropical weather - they get very dark skin compared to other people.


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There is a lot of entertainment for the people in the city. Many discos, bars, and clubs operate all around the city. Food is also a source of entertainment for people in HCMC. Very strange restaurants sell very strange food: scorpions, bats, rats and more. Tourists are amazed by what is eaten in HCMC.


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The Mekong River delta is accessible from HCMC. It has a many rice, coconut, fish, and prawn farms. The main city is Can Tho City. The mountain range of Vietnam is accessed via Dalat City. The beaches of Vietnam are accessed via Vung Tau City or Phan Thiet City when leaving HCMC. The border to Cambodia is the closest international exit point for tourists. This exit border takes people to Phnom Penh City. Bien Hoa City is another industrial city to the northeast. Around there, the province of Binh Duong is growing through strong financial investment.

Saigon River
Bitexco Financial Tower
Ben Thanh market
Basilica of Our Lady
Interior of the basilica


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  1. "Lodi News-Sentinel – Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  2. Cherry, Haydon (2019). Down and Out in Saigon: Stories of the Poor in a Colonial City. Yale University Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-300-21825-1.
  3. "Area, population and population density by province". GENERAL STATISTICS OFFICE of VIETNAM. Archived from the original on 6 November 2018. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Báo cáo sơ bộ Tổng điều tra Dân số và nhà ở 2019" [General statistics for Population and households investigation 2019] (pdf) (in Vietnamese). General Statistics Office of Vietnam. Archived from the original on 13 November 2019. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  5. "Phần III – biểu tổng hợp" [Part III – Tabulated tables] (PDF). Kết quả Tổng điều tra dân số và nhà ở thời điểm 0 giờ ngày 01 tháng 4 năm 2019 [Results of the Census of Population and Housing at 0 o'clock April 1, 2019] (pdf) (in Vietnamese). Statistical publishing house, Central Population and Housing Census Steering Committee, General Statistics Office of Vietnam (Vietnamese: Nhà xuất bản thống kê, Ban chỉ đạo Tổng điều tra dân số và nhà ở Trung ương, Tổng cục Thống kê). December 2019. ISBN 978-604-75-1448-9. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 May 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  6. General Statistics Office of Vietnam (2019). "Completed Results of the 2019 Viet Nam Population and Housing Census" (PDF). Statistical Publishing House (Vietnam). ISBN 978-604-75-1532-5. Archived from the original on 10 January 2021. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  7. Also called Kinh people
  8. "Tình hình kinh tế xã hội tháng 12 và năm 2018". Statistical Office in Ho Chi Minh City (in Vietnamese). Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  9. "ĐIỀU KIỆN TỰ NHIÊN". 3 November 2011. Archived from the original on 26 March 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  10. VnExpress. "VnExpress - Báo tiếng Việt nhiều người xem nhất". Tin nhanh VnExpress.
  11. "Bí quyết câu cá chọn thời điểm, địa điểm câu cá" [Fishing secrets choose when and where to fish]. Vietnamese. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.
  12. "Chuck Kuhn's Asia in Photos". chuckkuhnphotography.blogspot.com.
  13. Ho Chi Minh city - the Saigon that was - the busy city | The Vietnam Guide[permanent dead link]
  14. "Car Rentals in Ho Chi Minh". Archived from the original on 3 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012.

Other websites

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