Ho Chi Minh City, formerly
named Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. It was once known as
Prey Nokor, an important Khmer sea port prior to annexation by the
Vietnamese in the 17th century.
Under the name Saigon, it was the capital of the French colony of
Cochin-china and later of the independent state of South Vietnam
from 1955 to 1975. In 1976, Saigon merged with the surrounding Gia
Định Province and was officially renamed Hồ Chí Minh City after Hồ
Chí Minh (although the name Sài G̣n is still commonly used.)
The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60
kilometers (37 mi) from the South China Sea and 1,760 kilometers
(1,090 mi) south of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
The metropolitan area, which consists of the Hồ Chí Minh City
metropolitan area, Thủ Dầu Một, Dĩ An, Biên Ḥa and surrounding
towns, is populated by more than 9 million people, making it the
most populous metropolitan area in Vietnam and the countries of the
former French Indochina. The Greater Ho Chi Minh City Metropolitan
Area, a metropolitan area covering most parts of Đông Nam Bộ plus
Tiền Giang and Long An provinces under planning will have an area of
30,000 square kilometers with a population of 20 million inhabitants
by 2020. According to the Mercer Human Resource Consulting,
Economist Intelligence Unit and ECA International, Ho Chi Minh City
is ranked 132 on the list of world's most expensive cities.