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[Photos] Take a Tour of 1966 Saigon

In 1966, Flickr user Mikey Walters' father, a US serviceman, sent a series of photos to his wife documenting downtown Saigon for the folks at home.

The photographs and their accompanying captions serve as a 2D tour of the city, featuring The Rex and the Opera House, Saigon's Hotel de Ville and Notre Dame Cathedral as well as Le Loi, Nguyen Hue and Dong Khoi Streets.

Many of Walters' captions would still be applicable today – comments about bustling traffic and the sweltering heat especially – but Saigon xưa shines through in the fashionable áo dài and sky-high 60s hairstyles of young Saigonese as well as the noticeable absence of cars.

Although much has changed during the last 50 years, many Saigon scenes have withstood the test of time: by 1966, Ham Nghi's flower market was already a famous place for Tet photoshoots.

Have a look below:

View down toward waterfront along Street of Flowers. Saigon River in background.

The old Assembly Building in Saigon - similar to Capitol Building in Washington. Now a museum.

One of the local beauties in front of the Continental Palace – one of the better hotels and restaurants.

The Rex BOQ – our usual eating place – about 2-4 blocks from the hotels we live in.

Marketplace on Le Loi. Sidewalks are crowded with vendors.

Looking down Le Loi at New Year's time. Notice there are quite a few trees in Saigon. It reminds me a lot of Paris.

Entrance to Rex BOQ – everything is searched before being allowed inside.

Eyes down and you'll find any kind of shoes you want. Everyday is shopping day in Saigon.

One of the Saigon theaters. Most of the movies are American with French speaking and Vietnamese subtitles.

Le Loi – one of the main streets in Saigon.

The big Roman Catholic church in Saigon.

The new Presidential Palace now being built.

Nguyen Hue – Street of Flowers – from top of Rex.

There's one way to cool off in this heat. Lots of bicycles, motorbikes and traffic in Saigon.

This one is a little more modern with a pushcart.

Street scene from the Rex. Picnic was playing across the street.

Saigon Municipal Building.

Bien Hoa AB just northeast of Saigon – 15 miles. Always a lot of fighting going on near here.

TSN Civilian Air Terminal with a lot of happy GIs waiting to board those US-bound aircraft.

A group of happy boys.

Vietnamese mother and children.

Main street into gardens area.

A Vietnamese family with an unhappy little girl. 

Vietnamese girls. (These people really like to have their picture taken.)

Visitors at the display.

Portable refreshment stand.

The models again.

Something you can't believe – how crowded this city is.

View of Caravelle Hotel and mall area from top of Rex. Mall is used for parking bikes.

[Photos via Flickr user Mikey Walters]


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