Ho Chi Minh City

While firmly fixed on the future, Ho Chi Minh City is somewhat of a dichotomy — it is the booming economic center of Vietnam with glittering skyscrapers and an energetic vibe, but it also has a rich past represented by traditional Chinese pagodas and Art Deco cafes dotting the wide avenues of Old Saigon. Ho Chi Minh City’s relatively young tourism industry has expanded at a rapid pace — and with good reason. Though Vietnam’s largest city can feel chaotic and overwhelming to first-time visitors, look beyond Ho Chi Minh City’s hectic pace and you’ll find a convivial, surprisingly laidback city that’s relatively easy to explore. You’re guaranteed to eat well at the city’s abundant street carts and gourmet restaurants, and the increasingly trendy nightlife here is both fun and unpretentious. Upscale Dong Khoi Street is lined with a variety of boutiques and galleries, while the famous Ben Thanh Market offers Southeast Asian street-market shopping at its best. Another reason to visit Ho Chi Minh City? It’s the gateway into the Mekong Delta, hilly central highlands and stunning beaches of Vietnam’s southern coast.