This is my third illustrated book about Vietnam. Saigon has been my home for almost half of my six years here so I am excited to share this sensational city with you.
This city of broad avenues and tall trees is wide open like a glossy magazine. It is frenetic, exciting and eclectic but also has a lingering perfume of a much more elegant, exotic and enigmatic past. This city of two names has two faces as well. Saigon has a legacy of wealthy rice merchants, opium and the memory of dimly lit bars and beautiful girls in silk cocktail dresses, gracious mansions and all the glamour that France bestowed upon it.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most dynamic cities in Asia and is changing faster than you can say ‘skyscraper’! The new growth and wealth is choking the streets with more bikes and cars and the escalating rate of construction means the skyline changes daily as old neighbourhoods are cleared to make way for concrete and glass apartments and office towers.
60% of the population is under 30. The city is buzzing with their optimism and energy, traditional ways are giving way to modern methods, tailors are giving way to fashion designers, corner shop beer is being replaced by imported brews and global brands are popping up in wealthy neighbourhoods. However, the best fresh food is still available in Ben Thanh market food hall, beautiful girls still wear national costume and the close knit family and neighbourhood networks are the backbone of this conservative, smiling town.
XIN CHAO SAIGON!