Ho Chi Minh City

If there’s a city guaranteed to electrify your spirit, it’s Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam’s largest city is home to eight million people and almost as many motorbikes - you’ll be mesmerised watching them stream through the streets, just as you’ll feel exhilarated exploring the city on the back of a two-wheeled taxi.

Despite its buzzing, beeping atmosphere, the former Saigon’s previous life as a French colony gives it a genteel, European air. Nowhere is this more evident than in its ornate colonial buildings - and of course, in its sensational cuisine.

Whether you’re relaxing roadside with a sweet Vietnamese coffee or biting into a crunchy bánh mì baguette, you’ll be tantalised by the vibrant collision of fresh Asian flavours and Gallic style.

The streets also boast a world of contrasts. Browse Ho Chi Minh City’s busy markets, selling crafts and textiles, shop for designer clothes at its skyscraper shopping malls, and grab dinner on the go at the many street food stalls filling the warm air with the alluring aroma of grilled meat.

Entertainment-wise, its a city that has embraced the new but still celebrates the old, a place where traditional performance coexist with modern bars and restaurants, as do historic museums and adrenaline-pumping fun-parks. If the pace gets all too much, simply retreat to its tranquil temples or use the city as a base to explore further afield: the fascinating Cu Chi Tunnels, the Mekong Delta’s "fruit bowl of Asia" in the south, or Dalat to the mountainous north.