Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City ? What is the name of the city ?

We are talking about the big city, that is located in the south of Vietnam. See it on the following map :

Both names are used in Vietnam to call this city.
Only “Ho Chi Minh City” is used as the official name. The official name was changed from “Saigon” to “Ho Chi Minh City at the end of the Vietnam war in 1975.
The city is named after Ho Chi Minh, the great leader of Vietnam (lived 19 May 1890 – 2 September 1969). You can read about Ho Chi Minh in Wikipedia. You can see a statue of Ho Chi Minh, in the walking street Nguyen Hue in the city of Ho Chi Minh.

So, in which circumstances the name Saigon is used and in which circumstances the name Ho Chi Minh City is used :


People like the name Saigon. It is a cool name and it has the same ending as Hanoi.
Saigon and Hanoi. Cool.

So in unofficial circumstances the name Saigon is often used.
For example, you will probably say to a friend : “I am traveling tomorrow to Saigon” and not ” I am traveling tomorrow to Ho Chi Minh City”.
Anecdote : An inexperienced tourist may say :  ” I am traveling tomorrow to Ho Chi Minh City”. You then know immediately that it is his first visit to Vietnam and that he is clueless.

Products are often using the name Saigon. For example Saigon beer.

Ho Chi Minh City

As a tourist, the official circumstances in which you will be and in which you need to use only the name ” Ho Chi Minh City” is when you take a flight and when you ask for a visa. In these cases only the name “Ho Chi Minh City” is used.
If you want to book a flight on the Internet, don’t look for “Saigon” as the landing place, look for Ho Chi Minh City.
Also the departure and landing screen at the airports will show the name “Ho Chi Minh City” and not Saigon.

Notes :

  1. Ho Chi Minh City – There is the word “City” at the end in order not to confuse with the person Ho Chi Minh.
  2. Ho Chi Minh City is not the capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is the capital.

Here are some pictures to show you, the use of the names in Vietnam :

The beer Saigon

In search engines for flights, only Ho Chi Minh City is used, not Saigon :

A commercial center

A municipal sign

A state sign

A private business

A private business

A commercial center

A school

And here are both names in the same picture !

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