Photo: Times are changing.


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As cyclo drivers rest easy below neon billboards, the emerging Vietnamese middle class cruise past on their way to meet friends at the newest, hippest restaurant. Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest and most exciting metropolis.

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When you think of Saigon, what do you see? Is it street scenes of cyclos, corner coffees and bia hoi stalls? Is it the image of the Americans being evacuated by helicopter from rooftops? How about tanks breaching the gates of Independence Palace, or the “quiet American” strolling down Rue Catinat? Forget what you think you know about the city.

Back in the day... Photo taken in or around Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by Cindy Fan.

Back in the day... Photo: Cindy Fan

Today, Independence Palace is called Reunification Palace and Rue Catinat is now Dong Khoi, where a turn of the century French opera house is nestled between luxury hotels and flash department stores. With a booming economy, a growing middle class and a young, educated work force, Saigonese are getting their Americanos from hip cafes in time-warped apartment blocks, dining on artisanal pizza and sipping craft beer. Visitors may be drawn by Ho Chi Minh City’s past—the Saigon of yore fictionalised in literature and Hollywood movies—but the booming metropolis has cast aside the yoke of the war they lost to the North. Residents have both feet (and their motorbike wheels) moving towards the ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ho Chi Minh City.
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 Read up on where to eat on Ho Chi Minh City.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ho Chi Minh City.
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