The city is unyieldingly heading towards the future while not forgetting its rich past. The ever so busy Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon is the financial capital of the country. The flashy skyscrapers and the lively vibe of the city give a shade of vibrancy to the chaotic and hectic pace. The Country’s revival within a short span of years since the American War has been remarkable. Socialist-oriented market economy is clearly embraced in every corner of the city. During peak hours, the city is jam packed with honking motorbikes; it is reported that the city has over 3.5 million motorbikes. The roar of the motorbikes is the sound of the city’s economy. Half of the city’s eight million population is younger than 35. It is no surprise that Ho Chi Minh City exudes a youthful energy. With all that enthusiasm of the city, you still can escape to serenity within the regal colonial buildings and contemplative art spaces.

The Reunification Palace is the former headquarters of the South Vietnamese government and witnessed two fierce wars against the French and American colonists. The palace was built on the site of the former Norodom Palace. Architect Ngo Viet has thus blended traditional and modern architecture, which was typical of the 60s. The splendid and well-preserved interiors of the building are simply decorous. The rooms are decorated with heavy silk upholstery and lacquer ware and the gambling room is furnished with low-slung olive-green armchairs.

Saigon Central Post Office was built between 1886 and 1891 and designed by the Architect Gustave Eiffel in neoclassical architectural style. The vaulted roofs and arched windows show the European influence the building is bearing.

The splendid and well-preserved interiors of the building are simply decorous…

Few steps away, across the street from Saigon Central Post Office is the Notre Dame Cathedral. The Cathedral attracts not only Catholics but also many tourists from all over the world for its neo-Romanesque style of architecture. The red bricks, which were used to construct the cathedral, were imported from Marseille and the coloured glass were brought down from Chartres Province, France. The Cathedral was established and constructed by French colonists between 1863 and 1880. The two bell towers of the Cathedral reach a height of over 190 feet.

Saigon Opera House, like many other historical buildings in the city has survived destructive wars and constant renovation. With its striking similarities to the Petit Palais in Paris, Saigon Opera House is visibly influenced by the Beaux-Arts approach. The seating capacity of the Opera House can go up to 1,800. Saigon Opera House had its ornaments; balustrades, cartouches and roof imported from France and the inscriptions, décor, and furnishings were drawn and designed by a French designer.

With all the enthusiasm of the city, you still can escape to serenity within the regal colonial buildings and contemplative art spaces

Vietnamese lacquer ware is highly sought after by collectors for its exquisite kind and durability. It can take more than 12 stages of production and more than 75 days to create one piece. Some pieces are layered with 10 to 15 coats of lacquer and then sent for a second coat of lacquer after the previous coat is dried for sometimes more than one week. The process is repeated until the piece is completed.

The gourmet restaurants, luxury and boutique hotels have complemented the city by making Ho Chi Minh City a luxury hotspot in Asia. The elite from all over is flocking to the city to get their monthly caviar facials in their private VIP suites offered by luxury spas. While it is not at all difficult to spot hawkers in streets that sell handbags with fake luxury brand labels, it is also not difficult to spot a lady dressed head to toe in Dior getting down from her Bentley to a luxury mall to indulge herself with a Antonio Marras dress for the next cocktail party in town!