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difference between HCMC and Saigon

Hi, was just curious what's the difference between the HCMC and Saigon forum? Aren't they the same city?

And can I make a suggestion for future expansion of this forum to have a Can Tho or mien tay forum section?

as i know, there's only 4 or 5 expats here in cantho, so better stay w/ hcm section :)

A book titled Dại Nam Quoc Am Tu Vi, by Huynh Tinh Cua, the name Sai Gon is derived from Chinese times. There are two words (characters).

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Kapok_tree_Honolulu.jpg/180px-Kapok_tree_Honolulu.jpg

A Kapok Tree (Source: Wikipedia)


Sai means fire wood and was used because of the kapok (bông gòn) forests hereabouts at the time. Gon referred to inhabitants of the south.

As with history everywhere, there are different variations on the origination.

Even the British got in on this history. Two English, Messrs. Crawford and Finlayson, having visited Vietnam in 1922, related that Sai Gon and Ben Nghe were two different towns. They were one or two miles each from other.

Cho Lon was founded in 1778 as a city separate from SaiGon, Cho :on was populated by Chinese who remained from the thousand year occupation. The city officially merged with SaiGon in 1931.

Ben Nghe was the administrative and military centre, whereas Sai Gon was where the ethnic Chinese and tradesmen, this area is now called Cho Lon.  (Source: Bulletin of the Indochinese Studies Company; Volume 2, 1945.)

In 1861, following the invasion by the French Army, three provinces in the East Cochinchine were occupied and combined.

The French used the name Sai Gon to refer to Ben Nghe (the then administrative centre) because this one seemed difficult to pronounce for the foreigners.

The Vietnamese adopted the renaming, as if they had any choice in the matter, and  the name Cho Lon referred to the original Sai Gon.

So, essentially, today, SaiGon is accepted by the authorities as referring to District 1 (downtown) and the City of Ho Chi Minh refers to the greater metropolitan area.

After the defeat of the Americans in 1975, the renaming of the city to celebrate the Father of VietNam in 1976, and it's absorption of Gia Định Province, presaged the wholesale renaming of the streets with the names of heroes from the north involved in the war.

As a result TP HCM has most of the longest names you can imagine and this leads to endless confusion. At least they retained the name Pasteur.

Wikileaks has a slightly different take - see < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh_City >.

Suffice it to say that SaiGon is what people colloquially use in daily life. I got lost a couple of years ago, about 50 kilometres out of town, so I asked a local how to get to Ho Chi Minh City. He shrugged his shoulders. I then asked how to get to SaiGon. His face lit up and he pointed the direction!

So, in reality, the SaiGon, big amongst VNese, and Ho Chi Minh, big with government, tour guides and tourists, fora refer to the same place but no one has ever got around to doing the obvious. They did promiose some day ...

Mien Tay?
Most Foreigners don't know what Mien Tay is, other than the words over a bus station.

Can Tho doesn't rate too high with tourists, either. We have a Howie who lives there but he doesn't rate a page, either.

More important places might include Cha Pa (Sa Pa), Binh Duong or Ha Long Bay/HaiPhong.

Hope you are enjoying the Alberta winter.

Can't believe I just read that whole explanation. Always thought Saigon meant the entire city of HoChiMinh. Well thanks anyways now I learned something new.

lol Alberta is brutally cold. Been here last 2 years only for the high paying job. Can't wait to quit my job sell the house I just bought here and settle in Vietnam. The whole Vietnamese life style in Vietnam fits me.

Saigon uhm I mean TP HCM is too crowded and noisy for my liking. I heard about investment opportunities in Binh Duong. Definitely a city I'll check out when I travel back to Vietnam in January.

Last time I was back in Vietnam I stayed mainly at my cousin's place in Thao Dien, District 2. She gave me a motor bike to ride around. Got some strange looks from security guards when I ventured to have a closer look at some of the architectural design of the villas/huge buildings.

khanh44 :

lol Alberta is brutally cold.

At least your Flames will be playing again soon.... I remember Calgary... had a 6 month assignment there back in 98... brrrr cold...

johnnywastaken :
khanh44 :

lol Alberta is brutally cold.

At least your Flames will be playing again soon.... I remember Calgary... had a 6 month assignment there back in 98... brrrr cold...

Actually I'm a Maple Leafs fan as I grew up in Toronto all my life.
And yeah I've heard it all but I'll always be loyal to my team no matter how bad they are year after year.

Jaitch :

A book titled Dại Nam Quoc Am Tu Vi, by Huynh Tinh Cua, the name Sai Gon is derived from Chinese times. There are two words (characters).

....

Your story has so many factual errors that I just don't know where to begin, so I just have to point those who can read Vietnamese to

http://vi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lịch … ;_Chí_Minh

for the different theories of the sources of Saigon name, their rebuttal of the theory of Saigon originally meant Saigon (Fire wood) and the Gon tree, as well as the city's historical development.

I do, however, want to go in more details about the change of the name from Saigon to Ho chi Minh City, since this history is not very well known.

To Huu, the preeminent communist poet/propagandist who later served in the Central Committee, first called the city HCMC in a poem in 8-1954. It stuck, so immediately after 4/1975, the government started using the HCMC name in all its formal communications.

Not all communist leaders agreed. Truong Chinh did not want to change the name, so opposed to Vo van Kiet's proposal to formally adopting the change in the first National Congress in 1976, but later relented.

The wholesale change of the city's street names already started in Aug/1975.

The notion that Saigon refers to D1, while TPHCM to the whole thing is debatable. Saigon, before the name change, was also commonly referred to downtown or now D1. Other areas were called after their area names like Phu Nhuan, Thu Duc, Lang cha Ca, Cho Lon,.... In 1975, after the war, the new government grouped Saigon, Gia Dinh (as well as Cu Chi and Phu Hoa) in one administrative unit. Later on, the city absorbed more of the nearby districts making old-timers like me a bit speechless. For us, areas, like Can Gio, were the boondocks where monkeys and crocodiles roamed (and still do), now they are "Saigon".


Today, people still use that system in addition to using the D1, D2, D3 convention. The name HCMC has never been caught on, apart from in official paperwork, where Saigon name still lives on among common people and thus starts unconsciously being used in some newspaper articles as well.

@Anatta:
If you look at my post L did say: "As with history everywhere, there are different variations on the origination."

And Wikipedia is no more accurate than many sources because anyone can contribute their Dong's worth.

My daughter's class did a project on "SaiGon" and the class visited TP HCM, took copies of ancient VNese books, maps, etc. many of which I had never seen before.

There were, discrepancies between some documents as you might expect.

Until the 15th Century, the area were swamps, marshes and thick forests, and by the early 17th Century, there was a small town/large village. small township was formed.

One citation said the name Saigon was used officially in 1698, when Lord NGUYEN Phuc Chu sent. NGUYEN Huu Canh to the area to create to crate a government for this southern outpost. Due to it's strategic military location, as well as for trade and commerce, SaiGon continued to grow becoming a ranking city.

By 1772, NGUYEN Cuu Dam had started to fill many of the canals to make streets.

The city name change occurred during the period when the Reunification Government governed what had been South VietNam. The city was officially renamed TP Ho Chi Minh on the first anniversary of the American-backed regime in 1976 at the 6th National Assembly in its meeting of the 2nd of July, 1976.

What is now District 1 was, before the French started messing, called Ben Nghe.

Other things thee class found included:
- The first rail line in VN was between Cho LOn and SaiGon;
- There was, during the American War, a rail line from the docklands in Q4 along Ham Nghi to the Ben Thanh area;
- The Huyen Si Church stands adjacent to where the station was;
- The first 'long distance' was between SaiGon and My Tho (1881 to 1885);
- The original SaiGon Station was in the strip by Pham Ngu Lao Street under the "park" until the 1960's;
- Th present station was formerly the Hoa Hung luggage Terminal.

Hi Anatta, :)
I asked about the differences in calling the city Ho Chi Minh City or Sai Gon at my flying club social 'after flying' lunch one time.
From the ten or twelve members at lunch I got half a dozen different answers. :/
The discussion went on for some time and ended up in Vietnamese with everyone too busy laughing and joking about it to take the time to fully translate what was being said for me. :lol:
The name you use for the city seems to pretty well comes down to who you are talking to at the time.
If you're talking to a government official or department, then it's Ho Chi Minh City - if it's any of the other locals, then it's Sai Gon.
That seems to keep everyone happy. :D

Flip465 :

From the ten or twelve members at lunch I got half a dozen different answers. :/

It is partly because Saigon is probably the most diverse city in Vietnam, with people from all over the country, so their background determines their answer.
Next time, ask them where they come from, then you may relate their first answer with the town they are coming from. From true Saigonese (and there are not a lot of them) and most of the Southerners, especially diehard old timers, it has always been Saigon, nothing else. The only thing I find a parallel elsewhere is to call San Francisco "Frisco" or "San Fran" to a true San Franciscan.

For Northerners and officials, it probably is HCMC.

Flip465 :

If you're talking to a government official or department, then it's Ho Chi Minh City - if it's any of the other locals, then it's Sai Gon.

Ditto!

Jaitch :

After the defeat of the Americans in 1975,

You mean after the defeat of the Canadiens. Technically speaking all US combat forces left Vietnam in 1973 and Canada was one of several other countries that sent troops to enforce the 1973 Paris peace accords.

Saigon is the name of that fine city and it will always be. 

Ho Chi Minh is the name of one of the better Vietnamese, those who had the balls to stand up for independence.  Yes, he was the last one left standing.  But he wasn't the only one.  His contributions to Vietnam is debatable.  Therefore, that fine city should not have been named after him.

Following the fall of South Vietnam, Anatta and a couple of his propaganda monkeys tried to do what the Japanese did and failed miserably on the Korean peninsula, wholesale name changings.  They named Saigon and other landmarks, including all streets in South Vietnam, after their pals.  But, like the Koreans, the South Vietnamese had none of that. 

Millions still refer to Saigon and other landmarks, and streets, in their former names.  Many in the international arena are doing the same thing, or are catching on quickly.  So, for an unwary traveler, it is a little confusing. 

Anatta, you better get on it and right these wrongs, man.

Parmyd :

You mean after the defeat of the Canadians. Technically speaking all US combat forces left Vietnam in 1973 and Canada was one of several other countries that sent troops to enforce the 1973 Paris peace accords.

Canada wasn't a combatant - they were UN peacekeepers therefore your thoughts are misplaced.

How come the US is always looking fr back-ups in all their little non-war wars?

People who post in Saigon are trendy and cool.

People who post in Ho Chi Minh City just want to reform to the law.

The replies in the section are interesting.  I personally have never met anyone outside of Hanoi that calls Saigon by any other name.  Southern Vietnamese certainly do not, nor do people in the southwest.  The idea that it is just District 1 is something that the government may recognize or some foreigners may be informed about, but you will not often hear the whole city referred to as HCM in Vietnamese conversations.

khanh44 wrote:

lol Alberta is brutally cold.



I am in Calgary right now, and was +8C yesterday (summer like). Loved those chinook winds now and then. Going to Vietnam in Febuary, do they readily accept Canadian currency or do I have to exchange to US dollar?

NashCat :

khanh44 wrote:

lol Alberta is brutally cold.



I am in Calgary right now, and was +8C yesterday (summer like). Loved those chinook winds now and then. Going to Vietnam in Febuary, do they readily accept Canadian currency or do I have to exchange to US dollar?

It's -17C now.

Vietnam loves Canadian currency. It's about par with USD if not a cent more. You get more Vietnamese Dong out of CDN dollars than USD dollars and not like years ago where they loved USD. 

But still CDN and USD about the same give or take $22000 to $21000 Dong respectively. If you have to exchange Cdn to Dong I hear jewellery stores are the best to exchange.

It is interesting to note that Tan Son Nhut International airport still keeps it code SGN. When I was in Taipei going to Ho Chi Minh city last August, I told a young lady at the airline counter that I was going to Saigon and she knew I meant Ho Chi Minh city.

bateo, Everybody in the world knows it's Saigon, except for a few folks on this blog.

[off topic]

bateo :

It is interesting to note that Tan Son Nhut International airport still keeps it code SGN.

The airport code is determined by the IATA who changes its codes only very rarely. I am sure the Vietnamese government has tried in vain and protested the IATA's insistence to keep the old code.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internatio … rport_code

bateo :

the Vietnamese people call the American war

The official terms are "The war against the Americans to save the country", or "the war to free the South".

Many called (and still call) it in completely different terms, but I don't want to go there.

it`s similar...Saigon used for center downtown like dist 1 as an example, HCMC is used for whole districts.

HTH

Cheer

Saigon rolls off the tongue better than Ho Chi Minh City

I call it Ho Chi Minh city to people I don't know really well so not to offend them otherwise it's Saigon meaning all the districts.

Wow, why did this thread get so angry? The OP's question was a simple one. "what's the difference between the HCMC and Saigon forum?" I have wondered the same thing, should I post In Saigon or HCMC? This is not a question about history or politics. It was not ment to create controversy or ill feelings. I think its just a question about how to use the forum. Can someone just answer the question without sh*tting on the poor guy!

lydo I'm with you on this one. Hope it's ended now.

Rick

lydo :

Wow, why did this thread get so angry? The OP's question was a simple one. "what's the difference between the HCMC and Saigon forum?" I have wondered the same thing, should I post In Saigon or HCMC? This is not a question about history or politics. It was not ment to create controversy or ill feelings. I think its just a question about how to use the forum. Can someone just answer the question without sh*tting on the poor guy!

In a nutshell, there is no difference. Kinda like Peking and Beijing.

Hello > some off topic posts have been removed. Thanks.

i wonder what the man himself would have thought about his name picture plastered all over the place? some say he never wanted to be glorified other people before him and after. takes away from the whole.never seen his body, i hear its under glass. have to ask him myself. eh! Canada- yo! Vietnam

i just check HCMC forum more up to date.

Hope you can still watch the Leafs in action. Cheers! Send me the link if its good.

It has different meaning when we call it Saigon or HCMC. Saigon is the name of the city before 1975, HCM is the name after 1975. How u call it depends on ur political view. I prefer Saigon!

Saigon and HCMC are different not only from the name.

Now that I've been on this forum for a while I find it easier to just go into the Vietnam forum without picking a destination.

Lydo,

I share ur opinion. The admin/supervisor/whatever should care about the name because it is confusing using this Expat.com practically.

OR: They should put the 2 topics together avoiding the mess.

Anyway Jaitch: when u got lost you asked "Ho Chi Minh City" or "Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh"? Hix. Not the same and you know it staying here for a longer while. "Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh": every Vnese ppl understand it. But your historical summary is cool, tks.

And in my everyday life i can hear a lot of "Ho Chi Minh" referring to the city.

"Hi, was just curious what's the difference between the HCMC and Saigon forum? Aren't they the same city?

And can I make a suggestion for future expansion of this forum to have a Can Tho or mien tay forum section?"

You must be a Vietnamese since you have a cousin in VN, right??
You are Vietkieu, or Vietnamese overseas!
Were you born in VN or Canada ??
Why would you ask a so banal or ordinary question, Saigon or Hcm the same city ??
You must have heard of Vietnam-war or communist leader Ho Chi Minh ????

You do know how to google, dont you ??

breitho :

"Hi, was just curious what's the difference between the HCMC and Saigon forum? Aren't they the same city?

And can I make a suggestion for future expansion of this forum to have a Can Tho or mien tay forum section?"

You must be a Vietnamese since you have a cousin in VN, right??
You are Vietkieu, or Vietnamese overseas!
Were you born in VN or Canada ??
Why would you ask a so banal or ordinary question, Saigon or Hcm the same city ??
You must have heard of Vietnam-war or communist leader Ho Chi Minh ????

You do know how to google, dont you ??

Expat.com is the 'easy Google'. Isn't it?

Jaitch :

A book titled Dại Nam Quoc Am Tu Vi, by Huynh Tinh Cua, the name Sai Gon is derived from Chinese times. There are two words (characters).

[img align=c]https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Kapok_tree_Honolulu.jpg/180px-Kapok_tree_Honolulu.jpg[/url]

A Kapok Tree (Source: Wikipedia)


Sai means fire wood and was used because of the kapok (bông gòn) forests hereabouts at the time. Gon referred to inhabitants of the south.

As with history everywhere, there are different variations on the origination.

Even the British got in on this history. Two English, Messrs. Crawford and Finlayson, having visited Vietnam in 1922, related that Sai Gon and Ben Nghe were two different towns. They were one or two miles each from other.

Cho Lon was founded in 1778 as a city separate from SaiGon, Cho :on was populated by Chinese who remained from the thousand year occupation. The city officially merged with SaiGon in 1931.

Ben Nghe was the administrative and military centre, whereas Sai Gon was where the ethnic Chinese and tradesmen, this area is now called Cho Lon.  (Source: Bulletin of the Indochinese Studies Company; Volume 2, 1945.)

In 1861, following the invasion by the French Army, three provinces in the East Cochinchine were occupied and combined.

The French used the name Sai Gon to refer to Ben Nghe (the then administrative centre) because this one seemed difficult to pronounce for the foreigners.

The Vietnamese adopted the renaming, as if they had any choice in the matter, and  the name Cho Lon referred to the original Sai Gon.

So, essentially, today, SaiGon is accepted by the authorities as referring to District 1 (downtown) and the City of Ho Chi Minh refers to the greater metropolitan area.

After the defeat of the Americans in 1975, the renaming of the city to celebrate the Father of VietNam in 1976, and it's absorption of Gia Định Province, presaged the wholesale renaming of the streets with the names of heroes from the north involved in the war.

As a result TP HCM has most of the longest names you can imagine and this leads to endless confusion. At least they retained the name Pasteur.

Wikileaks has a slightly different take - see < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Chi_Minh_City >.

Suffice it to say that SaiGon is what people colloquially use in daily life. I got lost a couple of years ago, about 50 kilometres out of town, so I asked a local how to get to Ho Chi Minh City. He shrugged his shoulders. I then asked how to get to SaiGon. His face lit up and he pointed the direction!

So, in reality, the SaiGon, big amongst VNese, and Ho Chi Minh, big with government, tour guides and tourists, fora refer to the same place but no one has ever got around to doing the obvious. They did promiose some day ...

Mien Tay?
Most Foreigners don't know what Mien Tay is, other than the words over a bus station.

Can Tho doesn't rate too high with tourists, either. We have a Howie who lives there but he doesn't rate a page, either.

More important places might include Cha Pa (Sa Pa), Binh Duong or Ha Long Bay/HaiPhong.

Hope you are enjoying the Alberta winter.

cho lon changed when bac Ho bought in communism, they didn't want to give up their possesions, so they took off.  where is Howie any way

Jaitch :

How come the US is always looking fr back-ups in all their little non-war wars?

Why is Canada always led along, not kicking and not screaming?

The difference between Tp HCM and Saigon?  One has a beer named after it, while the other does not....

I was born in Saigon.  Phu' Nhua.n to be precise.

One of my favourite author, an US veteran of Vietnam War, refer to HCMC in his novels, not Saigon unless it's in a historical context. Ho Chi Minh City appear to be a mouthful, so HCMC it is.

I'd say both name has equal popularity, at least in Hanoi region that I know. BUT, if you are from the South, you are more likely to say Saigon than the other. If you are from the North, or at least, from Nghe An, Ha Tinh back up north, you are more likely to say HCMC than Saigon. It's a clue to the speaker's possible birth location.

Obviously, Saigon is shorter. then again, when we speak "go to work in the South" we mostly mean HCMC, so the South is a shorthand version for that city.

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