Vietnam (Vietnamese: Việt Nam), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost nation on the Indochina Peninsula. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, and Cambodia to the southwest. On the country's east coast lies the South China Sea. With a population of over 85 million, Vietnam is the 13th most populous country in the world. The country is listed among the "Next Eleven" economies; according to government figures GDP, growth was 8.17% in 2006, the second fastest growth rate among countries in East Asia and the fastest in Southeast Asia.
Ho Chi Minh City
(Vietnamese: Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh pronunciation (help·info)) is the largest
city in Vietnam and is located near the Mekong Delta. Under the name Prey Nokor
(Khmer: ), it was the main port of Cambodia, before being annexed by the
Vietnamese in the 17th century. Under the name Saigon (Vietnamese: Sài Gòn;
pronunciation (help·info)), it was the capital of the French colony of
Cochinchina, and later of the independent state of South Vietnam from 1954 to
1975. In 1975, Saigon was merged with the surrounding province of Gia Định and
renamed Ho Chi Minh City (although the name Saigon is still frequently 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 (1,094 mi) south of Hanoi capital.
The metropolitan area which consists of Ho Chi Minh city metro area, Thu Dau Mot and surrounding towns has more than 9 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area in Vietnam and Indochina.
The city's media is the most developed in the country. At present, HCMC has 5 daily newspapers: Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Saigon) and its Chinese, investment and finance, sports, evening and weekly editions, Tuoi Tre (Youth); the highest circulation newspaper in Vietnam; Nguoi Lao Dong (Labourer); The Thao (Sports) and the Saigon Times Daily, the business newspaper in English, and over 30 other newspapers and magazines. HCMC Television (HTV) is the second largest television network in the nation, just behind the national Vietnam Television (VTV), broadcasting 24/7 on 7 different channels (using analog and digital technology). The Voice of HCMC People is also the largest radio station in the Southern region. The major international TV channels are provided through two cable networks (SCTV and HTVC), with over 500,000 subscribers or satellite TVs.
The city has over 1.7 million fixed telephones and about 6.2 million cellular phones (the latter growing annually by 20%). The Internet, especially through ADSL connections, is also rapidly expanding with over 1,200,000 subscribers and around 4 million frequent users.
The city has hundreds of printing and publishing houses, many bookstores and a widespread network of public and school libraries. The HCMC General Library with over 1.5 mìllion books, is a beautiful architectural building, among the greatest in Vietnam. One can visit the Museum of History, the Museum of Revolution, the Museum of Southern Women, the Museum of Southeastern's Armed Forces, the Museum of Fine Art, the Gallery for War Remnants, the Nha Rong Memorial House, the Ben Duoc Relic of Underground Tunnels and many private art galleries. Besides the Municipal Theatre, there are other great places of entertainment such as: the Bến Thành and Hòa Bình Theaters and the Lan Anh Music Stage. The Đầm Sen Tourist and Cultural Park, Suoi Tien Cultural Park and the Can Gio Eco beach resort are three recreational sites inside the city which are popular with visitors.
Visitors can also enjoy various non-local cuisines, from Japanese sushi to Texas barbecue. There are many Pho chains in the city to enjoy and they are very cheap. The city has hundreds of ranked hotels with over 18,000 rooms, including ten luxury 5 star hotels. However, backpacking travelers can easily get cheap menus and rooms in the "Western Quarter" on Pham Ngu Lao street in District 1
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