Ho Chi Minh City – also known as Saigon – is the largest city in Vietnam and it sits on the banks of the Saigon River. Tan Son Nhat Airport serves the city, and is only around 15 minutes from central HCMC by cab. Hotels near Tan Son Nhat Airport usually cater to business guests, but leisure travelers will find them equally as suitable for sightseeing.
There's a lot to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City. Owing to former French occupation, the city was once referred to as the Pearl of the East (or the Paris of the East) and architectural remnants of its colonial past remain. Most notably, the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Saigon Opera House, both located in District 1 – the city center. A lot of HCMC's tourist attractions are historical, and many of them focus on the Vietnam War – known as the American War to locals. Reunification Palace, commonly known as Independence Palace, is a restored five-floor building largely unchanged from when the North Vietnamese army crashed through the gates and took control of the city.
Nearby, at the Museum of Vietnamese History, a large collection of Vietnamese artifacts and antiques are on display and the botanical gardens serve as a great way to escape the noise of the peak hour traffic. A novel way to find respite from Vietnam's heat is at Dam Sen Water Park, located right in the city center.