Posted by: James Shannon | November 24, 2011

Odds And Ends: Scenes And Sights Around Saigon’s District 1

Since the photo blogs on the War Remnants Museum and the Reunification Palace were all-encompassing topics in their own right, a number of sights around Central Saigon have yet to be covered, despite three posts on this pulsing metropolis.

Thus, before we move onto Vietnam’s signature beach playground, Nha Trang, this essay will cover the sight’s of Central Saigon, its parks, and its omnipresent traffic … oh man, the traffic!

A bed of flowers accents a pic of the rush-hour traffic rushing through District 1, while the tallest office tower in Vietnam watches over its citizens…

 A pair of Vietnamese men unwind after a long day at work, practicing their badminton strokes, before joining the game behind them.

 The greenery of Central Saigon, as mentioned in a previous post, is a big selling point for me … it mixes with the new, modern blue glass skyscrapers in a very harmonious way!

 A rare sight in Vietnam; motobikes stopped in a uniform line!  Thanks to the recent development known as “streetlights”, some semblance of order is slowly starting to creep into Saigon traffic.  Make no mistake however, you will have to cross a phalanx of bikes like this at some point in your trip.  While the bikes are in full motion :S

 The sight of a church in Southeast Asia, not to mention Vietnam, many strike you as odd.  After all, isn’t this the home turf of Buddhists?  Well, like much of the region (Thailand excepted, as it was never conquered), Vietnam has a past history of being colonized by European powers.  The French brought with them Christian missionaries, and as such, Vietnam has a sizable Catholic minority!

 And finally, here we have a non-descript blue-glass mid-rise tower … this is Diamond Plaza, yet another symbol of Vietnam’s rapid rise from an under-developed, war-torn nation, to one of Southeast Asia’s fastest rising stars.  This is Saigon’s first proper shopping mall.  Likely, this was not here 10, or even 5 years ago.  The rate of economic progress here, and throughout S.E.A. as a whole makes my head spin.  If you are looking for opportunity, this region should be on your radar screen!

After catching a movie to pass the afternoon (again, very cheap at maybe $6-7 total for the movie + treats in a state of the art theatre), I caught a sleeper bus bound for Nha Trang, home to much surf, sun, and as I’d heard from my fellow travellers, a rollicking party scene!  Should make for a fun series over the next week or two!

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