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Ho Chi Minh City -Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh; formerly named Saigon (Sài Gòn), is the largest city in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City began as a small fishing village known as Prey Nokor. The area that the city now occupies was originally swampland, and was inhabited by Khmer people for centuries before the arrival of the Vietnamese. In Khmer folklore southern Vietnam was given to the Vietnamese government as a dowry for the marriage of a Vietnamese princess to a Khmer prince in order to stop constant invasions and pillaging of Khmer villages.

The Vietnamese people had proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. The US decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony & Ho Chi Minh City is located in the southeastern region of Vietnam.The city is served by Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport & the largest airport in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh has always been a city of entrepreneurs, hucksters, and short-term profiteers, where shops charge their own customers for parking and seemingly every conversation—whether among checkout girls or Party bureaucrats—revolves around money. (People in Hanoi would have you believe all their café talk is about art and poetry, which isn’t true, but it’s a useful indicator of priorities.) The difference now is the scale of the ambitions.

HCM has been riding a huge wave of foreign investment and frenzied property speculation, and all that lucre is altering the face of the city. With farmers and other country dwellers pouring in for new manufacturing jobs, Saigon’s population has swollen from 6 to 8 million in just eight years. Traffic is certifiably crazy—though the city’s first subway system, scheduled to open in 2014.


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