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

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Cho Lon Streetcars

From Cho Lon to Ben Thanh Market, streetcars were once a common sight on Saigon's main thoroughfares. While their tracks have long disappeared, their memory lives on in old photographs like the one a...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

10 Old Pictures of Saigon Cyclo Drivers

Even though Saigon has gone through many changes over the last century, there are certain characteristics of the city that have endured. Before the age of the motorbike, cyclos were one of the most c...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Water Delivery!

In the days before indoor plumbing and bottled water were the norm, like most of the world, Saigonese relied on wells to provide water (and in many areas still do). During the early 20th century, wat...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Colonial Corner

Just as it is today, Dong Khoi St. (formerly Rue Cantinat under the French and Tu Do from 1954 - 1975) has long been of Saigon's busiest and most important boulevards. Due to it's history, the street...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: City of Bikes

A slower mode of transportation for a slower time.

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Chợ Bà Chiểu - Past & Present

Chợ Bà Chiểu, located on Bach Dang St., has been the central market for Binh Thanh District since 1942. While it's been upgraded and expanded numerous times, most recently in 1987, you can still...

Brian Letwin

in Vietnam

How Vietnam Got its Name

Le Minh Khai, a researcher of SE Asian history, found that there was a lot of misinformation on the interwebs relating to the origin of Vietnam’s name, especially in English sources. Khai jumped into ...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Gánh Tàu Hủ (1926)

While I'm not the biggest fan of chè (Vietnamese sweet soup) in general, gánh tàu hủ (tofu with ginger, caramel and optional coconut milk) has a special place in my heart (even if it's not technically...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

The Story of Tan Son Nhat Airport

As the plan for Saigon's massive Long Thanh Airport moves forward (despite some objections), we thought we'd take a minute to look back at the long history of old standby, Tan Son Nhat. 

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: The Original Sửa Xe (1890s?)

Before the age of motorbikes, Saigon's streets were characterized by ox-drawn carts and horse-drawn carriages. And, just like motorbikes, everyday wear and tear would take their toll, requiering smal...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

The Story of Saigon’s Opium Refinery

Many of you have probably enjoyed a meal in the courtyard at 74 Hai Ba Trung, which currently houses a number of high-end restaurants such as Vasco’s, Hanayuki, Annz and The Refinery; the latter being...

in Saigon

12 Color Pictures of Saigon from Before WWII

With each passing day, Saigon's future becomes a bit more clear, and its past a bit more distant. But fear not, for we've assembled a slideshow of colorized images from Saigon's colonial past.

in Saigon

Saigon’s Citadel - Part 2

This is part 2 of our series on Saigon's citadel. You can read part 1 here. Nguyen Anh (AKA Gia Long) would never use his citadel for military action as hostilities only resumed after his death in 18...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Check Out This Badass

In the time before Ducatis and Yamaha FZ16s were the hottest things on two wheels in Saigon, the Honda Cub 67 reigned supreme with local cool kids. Even though many of the old 67's are still around, ...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Saigon Railroad Building

Not too long ago, the park across from Ben Thanh Market was the location of the city's main train station. Even though the station moved to District 3 following the American War, remnants of the old ...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Nước Mía

This old school nước mía cart looks pretty sleek...  

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Majestic Hotel (1920s)

The Majestic Hotel has occupied its current location along the Saigon river since 1925. Commissioned by Chinese businessman Hui Bon Hoa, the hotel has undergone a number of major renovations over the...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Street Signs: Trần Hưng Đạo, Warrior Poet (Part 1)

Trần Hưng Đạo Street is a major thoroughfare, stretching from District 1 to District 5. Let’s take a closer look at the street’s namesake and see why he is one of Vietnam’s most famous historical...

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: 33 Export

Brian Letwin

in Saigon

Old Saigon Picture of the Day: Go Vap (1930)

There's little to be found in English about the development of Saigon's outer districts. Like much of the city's colonial urban history, if records do exist, they're likely buried in some Parisian arc...