15 Facts about Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
by: Phung Dieu Trang
I’ve spent my whole life here in this very city. I can’t say I love everything about my city, but so far I enjoy living in this dynamic place. Below is what I will never forget about HCMC if I ever have to leave.
1. Although Ho Chi Minh City, originally named as Saigon, is not the capital of Vietnam, it is the economic centre of the country. Gradually there are more and more people migrating to HCMC in search of better jobs.
2. You can find “Cơm Tấm” and “Bánh Mì” food stalls at almost every corner of the city. Even in a small alley, there is at least one. Saigonites can have these two kinds of food any time during the day: breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.
3. When there’s a traffic jam and you try to stay in line, people will shout at you. So just go with the flow 😉
4. When the traffic light turns amber, it means “Drive faster” instead of “Slow down”!
5. Recently, thanks to the global spread of English, foreign language centers have mushroomed across the city. You can spot many on the street, especially on Ba Thang Hai where there are approximately 10 (or maybe more), however, when people think about the reliable place to hone their skills, VUS and ILA seem to be the top choices.
6. Coffee is one of the most common drinks here. Coffee shops can range from Street Style to Romantic and Modern ones; prices can be between 5,000 VND and 70,000 VND. These days coffee shops are not only destinations for friends to chill out, but also for businessmen to sign deals.
7. De Tham, Pham Ngu Lao are also known as “Khu Pho Tay” (Western Town or Backpacker’s Area). Many foreigners coming to Vietnam stay and/or live in this part of Saigon. They have all kinds of leisure facilities here, such as bars, cafes, travel agencies etc.
8. Districts 5, 10 and 11 are areas where the majority of the Chinese-Vietnamese live. These are also where you can buy goods in large quantity at wholesale prices.
9. Being built in the 19th century by French colonists, Saigon Notre Dame is an icon of HCMC. Besides serving for religious purpose, this church is also one of the tourist attractions in HCMC and among the favorite sights for couples to take their wedding photos.
10. “Banh Trang Tron” va “Banh Trang Nuong”, which are believed to originate from Phan Thiet, are two irresistible snacks for the students, and also for the officers, as well as teachers 😉
11. If you want to take a tour around HCMC, a new bus route numbered 35 is already launched to help you. This bus passes by the downtown area. Understandably, many bus takers complain that bus 35 is not suitable for daily commuters since it takes longer time to travel, compared with other buses.
12. More and more restaurants with Ha Noi styles (i.e. sticky rice, Bun Cha Ha Noi) have opened in HCMC since the number of immigrants from Ha Noi has increased dramatically.
13. During Christmas and New Year, if you’re in the mood for some ‘photo shoot’, you can go downtown- from Le Duan St. to Le Loi St. These main streets are always well-decorated with flashy lights and festival symbols.
14. KFC, Lotteria, Jollibee are among the most common places for kids to celebrate their birthdays nowadays. It is likely that 7 out of 10 kids will choose “KFC/ Lotteria/ Jollibee” when they eat out.
15. Compared with other cities in Vietnam, it is safe to say that services in Ho Chi Minh are sufficient and adequate.
What else can I say about Ho Chi Minh city? Well, I would say I’m proud to be born here, but I also want to explore the rest of Vietnam.
Do you want to read more about the city? Click here: Saigon
This is Trang’s contest entry for ’15 Facts about __________’ .
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