Ho Chi Minh
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Why fly to Ho Chi Minh?
The gorgeous city is north of the Mekon Delta, and sits on the mystical Saigon River. Ho Chi Minh City is wildly colour and fancy free. This will be apparent from the moment you land at the airport. As you get into the city center the cacophony of sound will wake up any tiny bit of jet lag you may be feeling after a long flight.
The honking, the whistling and the hum of chatter floats in the air like a soundtrack as it should considering the tiny city is home to almost 10 million people. The city is young compared to its Asian counterparts but has traces of its French colonial past throughout. The mix of Vietnamese temples and French architecture along the streets is quite striking and beautiful.
Often referred to as Saigon, its former name, the city is coming to its own with new buildings being erected all the time. Skyscrapers now provide a backdrop to its old city and young people in Western style clothing stroll alongside the city's older residents dressed in traditional garb.
Shopping malls have also made their entrance into the city and that's where you will find Western outlets if you are feeling homesick. However, the huge local market is where you should go to get the real local experience. The Ben Thanh market is enormous and you can find all of your souvenirs and gifts here as well as a little special something like jewellery and carvings.
Ho Chi Minh Weather
Temperatures in Ho Chi Minh City are usually above the 20-degree mark regardless of the time of year. Summers are particularly hot and humid with numbers climbing up toward the mid 30s. July and August days are particularly rainy with the beginning of monsoon season and after several months of wet weather the city finally dries up as winter approaches in late November.
When to fly to Ho Chi Minh
You will find that flights are particularly expensive for Ho Chi Minh City from December to February as this is a particularly popular time to fly to the city. Although the summer is rainy, visitors still choose to descend upon the city which means any flight deals available are snapped up quickly.
The cheapest flight tickets pop up for the end of February and are available through to April. October and November can also be a good time to fly due to the weather and because seats have not yet hit the high prices of December.
Getting into Ho Chi Minh
Your flight will land at Tan Son Nhat International Airport, which is located a short 15-minute drive outside of the city. The drive can be a little longer if you take a minibus which will make quite a few stops along the way. A metered taxi is the fastest way to get into the city.
Getting around Ho Chi Minh
You will notice that the favoured choice of transportation in Ho Chi Minh City is motorbike and you can hop on one of the motorcycle taxis if you dare. However since some of the motorcycle operators may fail to realize that their daring maneuvers may be a little frightening for visitors. Take at least one trip on one of the bicycle taxis for the experience. Metered taxis are a good and reasonably-priced option and alternatively you can hire a driver and car for the day.
- You must try Pho, you should really have to show proof you tried it before being allowed to fly out of the city as it is a popular and staple dish that really takes the flavors, sights and sounds and places them into a beef noodle bowl. For a true local experience, pull up a little plastic chair near a street vendor and slurp as you watch the city go by.
- Be careful as to where you ride, but rent a bicycle or motorbike to get the true Ho Chi Minh experience. You might want to stick to riding outside of the city center unless you're feeling extremely skillful and brave.
- For a taste of history head to the Rex Hotel. This is where the international press corp. was holed up during the Vietnam War. Head to the rooftop for a drink and watch the city whirr past you as you relax.
- And if you are ready for a more up-and-close view of Vietnam War front lines head to the Chu Chi tunnels, which are located just a short distance outside of Ho Chi Minh City. The tunnels provided cover and were also used to launch surprise attacks.
- Compare flights to Ho Chi Minh from Australia on AirfaresFlights.com.au.
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