in Saigon

Hidden in the Heart of D5, an Architectural Vestige of 1970s Vietnam-Korea History

For years now, the verdant pine green pavilion in the heart of Hòa Bình Park in District 5 has been a familiar landmark for denizens of Chợ Lớn.

in Hanoi

Postcard-Ready Vintage Album Highlights a Lonesome Hanoi in the 1920s

Looking at past albums of our cities today, I’m always stricken by a bewildering vastness — every street, every square, every building seemed to have been constructed in a ghost town, serving lonesome phantoms and nonchalant horse-drawn wagons.

in Vietnam

French Illustrated Encyclopedia Paints the Slices of Vietnam Life in the 1900s

"To effectively govern colonial peoples, the foremost requirement is a thorough understanding of the very people one rules over," so believed Paul Doumer, the second Governor-General of French Indochina, who spent his career imposing the imperial French government's agenda on studying the culture of their colonized subjects.

in Saigon

Portrait of a Jubilant Saigon on the Precipice of Tết in 1992

Tết in 1992 was an especially fortuitous time to be a foreign arrival to Saigon. 

in Vietnam

In 1992 Vietnam, the Streets Were Brimming With Love and Life

How has your life been transformed in the past 30 years? Changes might materialize overnight, but some tend to creep up on you at a glacial pace. Through this collection of images from 1992, mull over how Vietnam as a country has grown with every 12-month cycle.

in Vietnam

Vintage French Book Illustrations Depict a Quaint Indochina in 1903

In this rare collection of images from 1903 Indochina, life in the peninsula appears as if in a dream, with rows of colonial-style houses in between heritage trees and natural landscapes that weren’t interrupted by concrete.

Paul Christiansen

in Saigon

Did You Know That There's a Mummy on Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm Boulevard?

Why is there a mummy on display in Saigon?

Brian Letwin

in Heritage

Tàu Cánh Ngầm: The Curious Case of Saigon’s Lost Soviet Hydrofoils

Not long ago, hulking “creatures” glided atop the waters between Saigon and Vũng Tàu. Like the dinosaurs that came before them, they slowly disappeared, until all that was left were their skeletons.

Back Heritage

in Saigon

Old Saigon Building of the Week: Former Institution Tabert (1890)

With its prime location in one of Hồ Chí Minh City’s numerous “đất vàng” (gold land) areas, many wonder how long the former Institution Tabert, now the Trần Đại Nghĩa Specialist High School at 53 Nguy...

in Vietnam

Street Cred: Path of Poets

If Saigon was a battlefront and its street signs served as territorial markers, then it’s clear that the revolutionaries and martyrs have won. Everywhere you look, the names of fallen heroes lead the ...

in Vietnam

13 Old Photos of Hue

While most of the old photos we show here are from Saigon and Hanoi, we wanted to give a shout-out to the Hue, Vietnam’s capital until 1945.

in Vietnam

27 Rare Photos Of Hanoi From 120 Years Ago

To mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam, the National Library of Vietnam has released a collection of more than 200 photos taken by Governor General of Ind...

in Saigon

Old Saigon Building of the Week: Former Nestlé Headquarters

The Swiss company Nestlé, founded in 1905 following the merger of Farine Lactée Henri Nestlé (1866) and the Anglo-Swiss Milk Company (1866), established its first trading office in Saigon in 1912.

in Saigon

Street Cred: Ham Nghi

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” This quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV basically sums up the political climate of Vietnam in 1883. In that year alone, four different men played the part of ...

Brian Letwin

in Vietnam

When the Japanese Occupied Vietnam: Part 2

Read When the Japanese Occupied Vietnam – Part I here. Japanese occupation breathed new life into a Vietnamese independence movement that had seen little success after the failed Yen Bai Mutiny (1930...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

[Photos] Saigon Past and Present

Saigon is a city in constant flux. One minute a crumbling old building is there and the next week it’s a parking lot. Fortunately, there are a few buildings, such as the Saigon Post Office, the Opera ...

Brian Letwin

in Vietnam

When the Japanese Occupied Vietnam: Part 1

When foreign occupation is discussed in Vietnam, the bulk of the conversation focuses on the Chinese and the French, rightfully so. However, while short-lived, the Japanese occupation of the country n...

in Saigon

[Photos] Changes Over Time: Saigon's Canals (2002 - 2014) Part II

Due to the popularity of our previous piece which illustrated the physical changes along Saigon’s canals, we’ve managed to cobble together a new set of photos.

in Saigon

Bót Catinat: Saigon's "Gold Land"

Located on a prime site in one of Hồ Chí Minh City’s numerous “đất vàng” (gold land) areas and already earmarked for redevelopment, the headquarters of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism at...

in Saigon

Street Cred: Yersin

If you’ve been following this column, then you’ve probably noticed the pattern of folks getting famous for taking a stance and sticking up for Vietnam. By now, you should know that Vietnamese people a...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Fun With Old Maps: Saigon (1895)

While not the oldest map of Saigon we’ve come across, this 1895 map, “Plan des environs de Saïgon” shows not only downtown, but the surrounding countryside. Even after 36 years of French occupation, t...

in Vietnam

Dung Ha: Vietnam’s Lesbian Mob Boss

Among the infamous women of Vietnam’s criminal underworld, Dung Ha was one of the most notorious. Though her reign was short, it was characterized by wealth, power and love affairs that still draw cur...

Brian Letwin

in Vietnam

17 Rare Photos of Vietnam Taken 120 Years Ago

To mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and Vietnam, the National Library of Vietnam has released a collection of more than 200 photos taken by Governor General of Ind...

in Saigon

Street Cred: Phan Xích Long

Like a page straight out of Bizzaro World, fast food franchises have a heightened social status here in Vietnam.

in Saigon

Old Saigon Building of the Week: Maison du Combattant

The project to create a Maison du Combattant (War Veterans Centre) was launched in 1929 by the Amicale Cochinchinoise des Anciens Combattants de la Grande Guerre (Cochinchina Friendly Association of G...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

The Lost History of Germans in Saigon

Though it was a French colony, companies from all over Europe were engaged in trade and production in Indochina, especially in Saigon. Germans in particular played a major role in the city’s turn-of-t...

in Saigon

The Incredible History of Saigon’s Racetracks

Although it closed 3 years ago, for the city’s older citizens, District 11’s Phu Tho Horse Racing Ground represents a bygone era of racing and gambling in Saigon. While an important but fading cultura...

in Saigon

Street Cred: Lý Thường Kiệt

Over mountains and rivers of the South, reigns the Emperor of the South. This fate is written in the Book of Heaven. How dare those barbarians invade our land? Your armies, without pity, will be annih...