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Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Ho Chi Minh City is a city on the move! Saigon, as it’s known to all but city officials, is a high-octane city of commerce and culture that is helping to drive the country forward. The city is filled with motorbikes that throng the streets and are constantly on the move going who knows where. You can wonder through timeless alleys to ancient pagodas or teeming markets, past ramshackle wooden shops selling silk, spices and baskets, before fast-forwarding into the future beneath sleek skyscrapers or at designer malls, gourmet restaurants and bars.

The real beauty of Saigon’s urban collage is that these two worlds blend so seamlessly into one. Whether you want the finest hotels or the cheapest guesthouses, the classiest restaurants or the most humble street stalls, the designer boutiques or the scrum of the markets, Saigon has it all!

Be sure to see the Reunification Palace, also known as Independence Palace. Formerly South Vietnam's presidential palace it has been left largely untouched from the day before Saigon fell to the North in 1962. A replica of tank #843 is now parked on the lawn outside, marking the end of the war in 1975. There is s also a photo gallery and a film recounting how the South Vietnamese military and American forces succumbed to Ho Chi Minh's revolutionary forces.

The War Remnants Museum offers a disturbing display of man's cruelty during the Vietnam (American) War. This includes halls full of gruesome photographs, a simulated "tiger cage" prison and jars of deformed foetuses attributed to contamination by Agent Orange. An exhibit on the 3rd floor tells the story of the war journalists from all over the world who documented, and often disappeared or died in the war.

Museum of Vietnamese History offers a fine collection of Vietnamese antiquities. Read up on Vietnamese history first or you'll have no idea what you're looking at.

Ho-Chi-Minh Museum, near the dock of Saigon shows the life story of the modern day father of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh. There's also a Ho Chi Minh book shop as well.

The other "must sees" include a visit to the impressive Jade Emperor Pagoda, the frenetic Ben Thanh Market for food, flowers or frogs or tour through the Mekong Delta, past rice paddies and houseboats.

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