What is saigon called now?

Officially, the name of the southern metropolis is Ho Chi Minh City, and it has been for many years, but there are still a number of locals and visitors who call it Saigon. The importance of these two different titles can be traced back to the Vietnam War, which ended not long ago in 1975. 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. Instead, they call the city (which is pronounced Sai-Gung in Cantonese and Xīgòng in Mandarin), which is a mere phonetic transliteration of the name Saigon. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operating in Ho Chi Minh City include Vietnam Data Communication Company (VDC), Corporation for Finance and Promoting Technology (FPT), Netnam Company, Saigon Post and Telecommunications Services Corporation (Saigon Postel Corporation, SPT) and Viettel Company. The two most prominent projects are the Thu Thiem City Center in District 2 and the New Phu My Hung City Center in District 7 (as part of the Saigon South Project), where several international schools such as Saigon South International (The American School), the Japanese school, Royal Melbourne of Australia Institute of Technology, there are schools in Taiwan and Korea).

New data confirm that Saigon and Hanoi are the two most expensive cities in Vietnam, the first more expensive than the second. As a result, some people may be offended if you use the official name, while others may be offended if you use Saigon. For the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, sixth term, first session, for officially changing the name of Saigon-Gia Dinh City to Ho Chi Minh City. In 1976, following the establishment of the Unified Communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the city of Saigon (including Cholon), the province of Gia Ðnh and 2 suburban districts from two other nearby provinces were combined to create the city of Chi Minh in honor of the late communist leader HChi Minh.

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. When the North Vietnamese army took control on April 30, 1975, Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City to honor Uncle Ho's sacrifice and leadership in the revolution. The expat community tends to use Saigon to indicate all HCMC, but this leads to confusion with locals. Saigon will be Saigon again when people are free to call their beloved city by the name they have always wanted in their hearts.

During the French colonial occupation since 1859, Saigon was considered the Pearl of the Far East for its wealth and many Western-style buildings. After the last Vietnamese dynasty ceded it to the French in 1862, the name Saigon was adopted and the city was urbanized to become a financial center of the region. Known as Saigon (pronunciation) until the end of the Vietnam War, it was the capital of the French colony of Cochinchina, and later of the former state of South Vietnam from 1954 to 1975. If locals live in the city, they will interpret “Saigon” as District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. The city's location on the Saigon River makes it a bustling commercial and passenger port; in addition to a steady flow of cargo ships, passenger ships operate regularly between Ho Chi Minh City and several destinations in southern Vietnam and Cambodia, including Vng Tàu, Cn Thy, the Mekong Delta, and Phnom Penh.


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.