Ho Chi Minh City hums with life. Packs of motorbikes zip along grand boulevards, whipping past colonial buildings left over from the days of French rule. Colorful markets overflow with flowers and fruit from the Mekong Delta, and vendors hawk cold Vietnamese coffee alongside steaming bowls of pho. Known as Saigon until the fall of the South Vietnamese government, Ho Chi Minh City is full of wartime history, from the War Remnants Museum to the nearby Cu Chi tunnels. And while there’s plenty to discover within city limits, for many, Ho Chi Minh City makes an ideal base for exploring southern Vietnam, where the Mekong River becomes a maze of canals and rivers flowing towards the South China Sea.