Ho Chi Minh is a center of Vietnamese history, particularly the Vietnam War, of which evidence is displayed at every turn. Perhaps the most eye-opening museum would be the War Remnants museum, located in District 3 of the city. It would be almost impossible to leave this museum unmoved by the tragedies that have been suffered. A more hands-on way of discovering the experiences of the Vietnam War is the day trip to the nearby Củ Chi tunnels that were dug out by the Viet Cong, where you can have an opportunity to actually go down in the tunnels and see them for yourself. There are also famous haunts in the city, for example the tomb of Ho Chi Minh, the Reunification Palace and the coffee shop that features in Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American”.
A characteristic of any city in Vietnam to any expatriate visiting is the hundreds of scooters and motorbikes zooming around at any point in the city. In the smaller streets, these vehicles are all lined up on the sidewalks, leaving little or no pedestrian area, meaning those on foot need to walk close to the edge of the road. On the wider roads and more modern parts of the city, scooters parked on the sidewalks will be banned, but the traffic will always be something to be aware of when strolling around the city.
Taxis are an easy way to get around the city, and are very tempting as the prices are relatively modest, but if you will be working and living in Ho Chi Minh City, then a bike would be a good option. The roads may look intimidating, but on a bike you can stay safe while getting from place to place. As with most cities in South East Asia, the most rewarding way to get around is simply to walk around the city and take it all in. A Metro system is currently in construction and is due to be ready to open in 2017.
For most people living in Ho Chi Minh City, your stay will be free of any issues with safety and security, but being smart is a must, and certain precautions should be taken when wandering around the city. Foreigners carrying shoulder bags are an easy target for people whizzing around the city of motorbikes and scooters, so being aware of your surroundings and your possessions is wise.
There are sometimes reports of Vietnamese people targeting tourists with scams, so when choosing how to spend your time in Ho Chi Minh City, listen to other travelers or, if you are moving to the city for work, listen to your colleagues and your employer. Be aware that if locals are approaching you in the street with offers; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.