Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City has gone by several different names during its history, reflecting settlement by different ethnic, cultural and political groups. It was originally known as Prey Nokor while a part of the Khmer Empire, a name which means “forest city” or “forest kingdom”—prey meaning forest or jungle, and nokor being a Khmer word of Sanskrit origin meaning city or kingdom.

The city came to be dubbed Sài Gòn informally by Vietnamese settlers fleeing the Trịnh-Nguyễn War to the north during the 1620s. In time, control of the city and the area passed to the Vietnamese, who gave the city the name of Gia Định. This name remained until the time of French conquest in the 1860s, when the occupying force adopted the name Saigon for the city, a westernized form of the traditional name. The current name was given after the Fall of Saigon in 1975, and honors Hồ Chí Minh, the pre-eminent North Vietnamese leader.

The city has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with an average humidity of 75%. A year is divided into two distinct seasons. The rainy season, with an average rainfall of about 71 in annually (about 150 rainy days per year), usually begins in May and ends in late November. The dry season lasts from December to April. The average temperature is 82 °F, the highest temperature sometimes reaches 102 °F around noon in late April, while the lowest may fall below 61 °F in the early mornings of late December.