SaiGon (Ho Chi Minh City) and neighbouring provinces including Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc have set up the South – East region. Being the biggest tourism centre of VietNam, Ho Chi Minh city is 1,690 km south of HaNoi and about 60km from the coast.
While HaNoi has 1000 years of history, HoChiMinh City ia a relatively new settlement. Ho Chi Minh City has gone by several different names during its history, reflecting settlement by different ethnic, cultural and political groups. Originally known as Prey Nokor while a part of the Khmer Empire, it came to be dubbed Sài Gòn informally by Vietnamese settlers from the north. In the 1690s, Nguyễn Hữu Cảnh, a Vietnamese noble, was sent by the Nguyen rulers of Huế to establish Vietnamese administrative structures in the Mekong Delta and its surroundings. Control of the city and the area passed to the Vietnamese, who gave the city the official name of Gia Định.
This name remained until the time of French conquest in the 1860s, when the occupying force adopted the name Saigon for the city, a westernized form of the traditional name, although the city was still indicated as Gia Dinh on sinitic maps until at least 1891. Immediately after the communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975, a provisional government renamed the city after Hồ Chí Minh, the pre-eminent but by-then deceased North Vietnamese leader. Even today, however, the informal name of Sài Gòn remains in daily speech both domestically and internationally, especially among the Vietnamese diaspora. In particular, Sài Gòn is still commonly used to refer to District 1.
Despite its quite recent past, with more than 300 years history, Ho Chi Minh City neverthe-less possesses numerous interesting build-ings, displaying a characteristic combination of Vietnamese, Chinese and European cultures. These include Nha Rong (Dragon House Wharf), Quoc To Temple (National Ancestors’ Temple), Xa Tay (Municipal Office), Ho Chi Minh Municipal Theatre as well as many pagodas and churches.
Ho Chi Minh City draws approximately 70% of visitors to the country. The city’s resources and accommodations are attractive to many travellers. Numerous steps have been and will be taken to stabilize the tourism potential of the city. For instance, historical relics and architectural works have been restored, traditional values have been recovered in festivals, and many museums are expected to be upgraded.