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Slices of Life in Saigon, Huế, Hanoi in 1989 on Film

What is it about coming across old photos that tugs on our heartstrings so much, even when they depict a time when some of us weren’t alive yet?

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of nostalgia at Saigoneer — so much so that we created this whole category of articles for it — and we have seen and featured a myriad of vintage images. This collection of Vietnam shots by Stefan Hajdu, a German traveler who visited the country in 1989, is one of the most outstanding sets of old Vietnam photos we have come across in recent memory.

Hajdu has kindly allowed us to share his album of travel photos, which he scanned from slides. In these captures, some fascinating scenes emerge, like passengers sleeping on hammocks inside the North-South train, or Hanoi’s rickety red tram chugging its last service days — 1989 was also the last year that Hanoians could ride on these vehicles.

Have a closer look at these scenes of Vietnam in 1989 below:

An impromptu Honda Cub (and Vespa) "race" in front of Bến Thành.

Bicycles were still a crucial part of personal transportation.

The Bạch Đằng promenade from the Hotel Majestic. In the distance on the water is the Saigon Floating Hotel — an Australian hotel that was repurposed by a Japanese company for use in Saigon. 1989 was the first year that this luxurious behemoth was docked in Saigon.

A picnic in front of City Hall.

Đoàn Văn Bơ Street in District 4 was still a dirt road.

A collection of portraits of Saigoneers.

An interprovince bus stops on the Hải Vân Pass.

The scenic view from the North-South Train.

Sleeping inside the train is not for everyone.

A misty vista on the train tracks.

The Hiển Nhơn Gate on the eastern side of the Imperial City.

Floating homes in Huế.

A chicken vendor in Huế.

Another entrance to the Imperial City.

Riding a bike with a poncho is a great way to relish the local scenery.

The coolest bike gang in Huế.

Fancy a chicken?

The badassery of Huế residents.

A family on the way to Quảng Trị.

Standout fashion from a Hanoian man and two young boys near Quảng Trị.

Young children with their female guardians on the way to Quảng Trị.

The essence of old Hanoi in one shot.

Inside Hanoi's now-defunct tram.

A tram car on its way in Hanoi. In the 1980s, the capital's tramway network had deteriorated to the point that the government had to start shutting it down. In 1989, the only route remaining was Line 2, which eventually went out of commission by 1990.

[Photos courtesy of Stefan Hajdu via Flickr]

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