Should i call it saigon or ho chi minh?

People in Vietnam often call Ho Chi Minh City “Saigon” as a habit because it's a shorter way to get to the city. Another reason for the popularity of the name “Saigon” is that many foreign visitors find it easier to remember than “Ho Chi Minh City”, and the abbreviation “SGN” is also used for flights to or from Ho Chi Minh City. Not only does Vietnam have two overwhelming and important cities of almost the same size, but one of them seems to have two names that are in use at the same time. In addition to Hanoi, the capital of the north of the country, there is also the city of Ho Chi Minh in the south.

Or was it Saigon? Well, the official name is Ho Chi Minh City (often abbreviated “HCMC”), although the southern metropolis has been called saigon for centuries. There are some hypotheses that explain the meaning of this name. The most popular is related to the cotton tree. In the Vietnamese cotton tree it is called “Gon, the world” Sai means the wooden basket, which means that in the past there must be many cotton trees in this area.

However, geography researchers had not found evidence of this type of tree, so the hypothesis was later denied. Until now, it is not clear how the name Saigon was created, but locals are still using it as a habit anyway. Unlike the older generation that has been living here for decades, the younger generation is now used to using the new name of Ho Chi Minh City. No, it's not offensive to call it by any name, since people use both names.

Officially called Ho Chi Minh City, it used to be called Saigon until North Vietnam won the Vietnam War. And he changed his name to Ho Chi Minh City. In general, it's okay to use either name. Arriving at the international airport of the southern city of Vietnam, you may be confused when half of the population calls it “Ho Chi Minh City” and the other half is familiar with the name “Saigon”.

Finally, the communist side (the north) won, so they changed the name of the largest city in the south (Saigon) to the name of Mr. The area now known as Ho Chi Minh City was part of several historic empires connected to present-day Cambodia, including Funan, Chenla and the Khmer Empire. Perhaps the most striking symbol of victory was to change the name of the former capital of the South to honor the former leader of the North, Ho Chi Minh, in 1976. If locals live in the city, they will interpret “Saigon” as District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. Most of the most famous tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City are from the 19th century, when the city is still called Saigon, so even now you are likely to hear the terms Saigon attractions more often on your trip.

I use Saigon in informal conversations and Ho Chi Minh City in all formal communications or during interviews or when I talk to someone in the office. The name of the city of Saigon was adjusted to Ho Chi Minh City to mark a significant landmark for the nation starting in 1975, which may still cause some confusion for visitors. Since he had died six years before, this should not only make it clear who was in charge now, but also make Ho Chi Minh immortal. Ho Chi Minh City is a safe city, but you should use common sense, for example, don't be too flashy like bragging about an expensive phone.

As a result, many who consider themselves Khmer nationalists would refer to Ho Chi Minh City as Prey Nôkôr, a reference to its former status as a Khmer port city. The majority oppose the current government of Vietnam and, in many cases, see HChí Minh as a dictator who ruined Vietnam by starting the war with South Vietnam. Vietnam is a wonderful country to visit with a lot of history, but there are some frequently asked questions, such as if you drink tap water in Vietnam or if it's okay to call Ho Chi Minh City by its original name Saigon. In this book, they mentioned that “Sai means firewood “, Gon is the name of the kapokier (a type of plant) that were very popular in the area at the time, and that is why the term Saigon was chosen to name this city.

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John Smith
John Smith

John is an expatriate in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) of 14 years and enjoys writing about questions that he often sees online, places he has visited, and food he has sampled in HCMC. Please note John suffers from Dyslexia and apologizes in advance.