Home to 9 million people, and probably just as many motorbikes, Saigon is the former capital of South Vietnam prior to its fall to Communist forces in 1975, at the denouement of the Vietnam War. The city was officially renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976, though locals still refer to it as Saigon. ​​​​​​​
The city's streets teem with people and traffic. Motorbikes are the ubiquitous mode of transport, often laden with goods or entire families. Street vendors can be found on the main thoroughfares selling freshly cooked food on makeshift grills. Restaurants and cafes spill out on to the pavement with patrons on tiny plastic chairs. At rush hour, the streets turn into rivers of traffic, so congested that bikes and mopeds resort to using the pavements as alternative roads, weaving in and out of pedestrians. Traffic lights are routinely ignored and the best approach to crossing the road is to simply walk into the flow of vehicles and trust that they go around you.
All this happens against a backdrop of oddly contrasting architectural styles. Functional concrete boxes sit next to grand French colonial buildings, both of which fall under the shadow of new, gleaming glass and steel tower blocks.
Saigon is an exciting frenzy of people, food, machines and construction. Go see it.

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