Back Arts & Culture » Saigoneer's Favorite Original Photography of 2022

Saigoneer's Favorite Original Photography of 2022

If our Saigoneer moments in 2021 were marred by catastrophes and heart-breaking departures, 2022 has been a year of rediscovery and picking ourselves up.

Last year, we photographed some heavy topics, including pandemic situations and many natural disasters plaguing central Vietnam provinces. This year, as the nation puts behind the COVID-19 pandemic to reopen to the world, Saigoneer photographers also had the chance to traverse the country much more frequently, and our contributors even managed to head abroad to conquer new heights, quite literally.

Food continues to delight and surprise us as we returned our Hẻm Gem coverage to full gear and photographed many inviting dishes in Saigon and elsewhere. As always, gleeful expressions of the human condition resonate with everyone — our photo essay of Saigon’s “plushie bus” was the most popular visual article of the year and we are heartened to see the images have made their way across the Vietnamese cybersphere to bring joy to many people.

Here are some of our favorite photographic moments of Saigon, taken by our photographers and contributors:

In April every year, Saigoneers of Khmer descent gather at the Candaransi Temple in District 3 to celebrate Chôl Chnăm Thmây, an annual festival marking the passing of the year under the Khmer calendar.

Immerse in the festive atmosphere via the photo essay here. Photo by Alberto Prieto.

Located at the end of a ngõ in a decades-old house, SOL Arch Space is a fascinating example of how any time-worn structure can be teeming with life if treated with care. SOL only serves coffee, but there's no menu because what you get depends on what's in stock, making a trip here more like visiting a friend's and less like a traditional cafe.

Experience SOL here. Photo by Mervin Lee.

There are a number of quirks that distinguish Hải Phòng-style bánh cuốn from that of Saigon, but the most obvious one is the addition of an egg while the rice sheet is cooked. Who could resist such golden brightness?

Visit Saigon's rare Hải Phòng bánh cuốn here. Photos by Lê Thái Hoàng Nguyên. 

Mariamman is one of Saigon's few Hindu temples, built in the mid-20th century to cater to the city's growing Indian population.

Visit the temple via the photo essay here. Photo by Lê Thái Hoàng Nguyên.

Saigoneers might love pets, but the heartbreaking reality is that many will not hesitate to abandon their furry companions after they get into accidents and are no longer cute. Enter Forever Wheelchair, a nonprofit that provides assistive devices to disabled pets. Run by husband-wife duo Oscar and Thư, the organization produces customized wheelchairs that are 3D-printed by Oscar and his team.

We had the privilege to interview the duo to find out the story behind Forever Wheelchair. Read the article here

If you've come across any colorful murals while roaming around Đà Lạt, know that they were created by Phố Bên Đồi, an interdisciplinary and ongoing community project aimed at making the city a collective arts hub. The murals were part of the long-term “Into Art Hills” that began in 2019 and seeks to “bring arts and nature back to their living spaces.”

Relish Đà Lạt's vibrant murals here. Photo by Alberto Prieto.

Every year, from May to August, when the water reaches its lowest levels at Hòn Yến, a “jungle” of vibrant coral reefs and other marine creatures rises to the surface.

Visit Hòn Yến through this photo essay here. Photo by Trương Hoài Vũ. 

A view of Nepal's Gokyo, the world's highest lake cluster. The story of how to reach Everest Base Camp is a tale of survival in extreme wilderness. Read our contributor's account here. Photo by Quang Hiệu Đặng.

Quảng Ninh has one of the largest coal reserves in Vietnam, but people have been mining here since colonial times, so the open-pit mines are all but spent. Now, to hunt for the “black gold,” miners have to descend deep into the earth. After long periods spent inside the mine, workers are covered in coal dust. Occupational dermatitis is a major cause of disability in miners, in addition to lung diseases and asthma.

View more photos here. Photo by Đồng Hiếu.

Like all curious riders, we were first intrigued by the impressive collection of cuddly toys that cover nearly every centimeter of Bus 146. But once Saigoneer actually had a chance to board this whimsical vehicle, we were quickly won over by its affable ambiance and the wholesome story behind these plushies.

Chú Tuyền and chú Sang, the bus' operators, frequently gift cuddly toys to young passengers as they see them as "grandchildren." And there's also no need to shout out your stop, because they installed a rubber chicken that everyone can squish to signal their destination.

Read their story here. Photo by Alberto Prieto.

In 1992, travel writer Mark Hodson visited Saigon for the first time. It was right at the precipice after Vietnam started opening up to the world. "That week in Saigon was, and remains, the most thrilling experience of my traveling life," explains Hodson. This photo depicts a Vietnamese family whose patriarch (far left) invited Hodson to spend time with the household.

Read about Hodson's experience in Vietnam here. Photo by Mark Hodson.

A broom maker outside of the family's business in District 6. In this alley lies probably Saigon's last-remaining broom-making "village."

Discover the story behind the broom-making craft here. Photo by Tuyết Nhi. 

Related Articles

in Music & Arts

Saigoneer's Favorite Original Photography of 2021

If Vietnam was able to skirt the worst of the pandemic in 2020, that was no longer the case this year, which saw major localities in the country battered by waves of COVID-19 deaths and extended bouts...

in Music & Arts

[Photos] Saigoneer's Best Original Photography of 2020

Is it possible to ruminate on the past 12 months without agonizing over the looming threat of COVID-19 and the grief it has inflicted on global communities? Perhaps not, but if there’s any place in th...

in Arts & Culture

Vietnamese Photographer Wins Top Prize in Drone Photo Awards' People Category

As part of the Drone Photo Awards 2021, which focuses on honoring aerial photography, eight works by Vietnamese authors were commended by the jury in the People category. The top prize went to Phạm Hu...

in Music & Arts

[Photos] Saigoneer's Best Original Photography of 2019

It’s been a year of big changes for Vietnam: an impressive year-end economic growth rate of 6.8%, a historic gold medal from the men’s football team at the SEA Games, and the arrival of numerous ...

in Music & Arts

A Photographer's Quest to Document Vietnam's Provinces From Two Angles

Hanoi-based photographer Justin Mott has taken a unique approach to depicting Vietnam in his ongoing photo series.

in Culture

How to Make a Bamboo Basket Boat, as Demonstrated by Phú Yên Artisans

As part of the sweltering south-central coast, Phu Yen Province has cultivated strong roots in the arts of gathering and rearing seafood.

Partner Content