HCM City is only 300 years old but has many human and historical values created by the exchange of different cultures. The culture of the former Saigon and present-day HCM City shows an original characteristic of the Vietnamese culture and nation in the historical and geographical context of the countrys southern region.
HCM City is only 300 years old but has many human and historical values created by the exchange of different cultures. The culture of the former Saigon and present-day HCM City shows an original characteristic of the Vietnamese culture and nation in the historical and geographical context of the countrys southern region. It is possible to say that Saigon-HCM City is a convergence of many cultural flows during its process of establishment and development, and it has a culture that bears the impressions of the Vietnamese, Chinese, Cham, Khmer, Indians, and so on. Saigon was also one of the countrys main centers to come under the influences of the French and American cultures. This is reflected through constructions such as Nha Rong Wharf, the Post Office, Grand Theater, City Hall, Reunification Palace, and Ben Thanh Market. The system of ancient pagodas and churches like Giac Lam, Thien Hau, Giac Vien, Notre Dame, Huyen Si, Thong Tay Hoi and Thu Duc reflects a diversity of religions and beliefs with dozens of annual festivals. This has created cultural diversity of this southern land. In each street or at each corner of streets, the citys geographical names link with celebrated people in cultural and historical fields as well as victories of a heroic city. Famous beauty spots and cultural-historical places in the city include Saigon Zoo, Dam Sen, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa Lake, Museum of History, Museum of Revolutions, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ben Duoc Temple, An Phu Dong Resistance Base, 18 betel-growing hamlets, Lang Le Bau Co, the Bung Sau pineapple garden, and Can Gio Ecotourist Resort.
Saigon-HCM City was the first place in Vietnam to publicize the Latinized national language and publish newspapers. The appearance and development of books, newspapers, specialized training schools, the pool of intellectuals and artists, and cultural and artistic exchanges have made the city capable of great cultural influence.
Thanks to a favorable geographical location, a moderate climate with only two seasons in a year, wet and dry, a history of more than 300 years of fighting against invaders, and a distinctive culture, HCM City has become a tourist center of the country.
HCM City attracts tourists because it has not only many scenic spots, cultural-historical places, and architectural works of interest, but also a typical southern-style gastronomy. From Bach Dang Wharf in the downtown, tourists can travel in a boat along Saigon River to enjoy nature, visit traditional craft villages, orchards, ornamental plant gardens, floating markets on the river, or Can Gio Ecotourist Resort, which has been certified by UNESCO as Vietnams first mangrove forest biosphere reserve. The city is also a gateway from which tourists can go to the southern regions famous places such as the Binh Chau hot spring, Nam Cat Tien National Park, Mui Ne Cape, Dalat, and the Mekong Delta, which is widely known for rice baskets, orchards, salt water forests, swamps, and many kinds of natural resources.
Since 1990, HCM City has earned 28%-35% of the countrys tourism revenues. The city has received an increasing number of international tourists, from 180,000 in 1990 to millions now, which accounts for over 50%-70% of the international tourists to the country. The rapid increase of international tourists to Vietnam and HCM City is the outcome of the open-door and international integration policy, the renovation and upgrading of infrastructure and facilities to serve tourists, and the promotion of foreign investment. Compared with other localities countrywide, HCM City has taken the lead in the cause of renovating social life.
A city of sunlight and friendly dynamic people, Saigon-HCM City is a pleasant place for locals and foreigners alike to visit.