Ho Chi Minh City or Saigon as it is called by the locals is the perfect place to indulge in some street photography. Where ever you walk in Saigon you are pretty much guaranteed to stumble on a great photo taking opportunity. The people of Saigon are also some of the friendliest people you will ever meet and are usually open to having their photo taken. Below I have listed some street photography hotspots, but if you have time on your side don’t hesitate to jump on a bus and explore other districts and get lost in the spirit of Saigon.
Bui Vien Street / De Tham / Pham Ngu Lao
Bui Vien is known as the backpacker area, with an array of hostels, cheap hotels, and less than a $1 beer bars, but it also a great place to fill your camera with some street photography shots. Explore the alleyways off Bui Vien and the surrounding areas and you won’t be disappointed.
Cholon (District 5)
Cholon is the Chinese quarter in Saigon, steeped in history and wonder; it is a street photographer’s dream. Explore the markets, french colonial architecture, temples and side streets and you will experience a multitude of culture.
As always the locals are friendly and willing to be photographed, always try and show someone your shot if you have taken a picture of them and put a smile on their face! There are also some old apartment blocks you can freely access and get some great pictures of the streets below. Start at Ba Thien Hau Pagoda on Nguyễn Trãi Street.
Around Ben Thanh Market
Drift around the streets of Ben Thanh market and you will be sure to capture some interesting scenes. Look out for old apartment buildings and alleyways to explore. This area is great to visit morning, noon, and night.
Other Areas of Note
Củ Chi: Known for its tunnels, Củ Chi is a vast area full of photographic opportunities. Take the number 13 bus from District 1, turn left out of Củ Chi bus station and walk 10 minutes until you reach Củ Chi’s centre. Levy’s Hotel is a great place to stay if you need a room to lay your head.
Parks: Visit the city’s many parks and photograph the locals taking their daily exercise. Best explored early in the morning or after the sun has set (Công viên Tao Đàn is one of my favourites and you can also visit Thủ Thiêm Tunnel Park for superb night views of the city).
District 4: Known for its food, district 4 is also a good place to wander around and take some photos of daily life in Vietnam (head to Vĩnh Khánh street, get a bite to eat then explore).
Bridges: Saigon has many bridges filled with life; street sellers, fishermen, lovers and sunset seekers can all be found. They are also a great starting point to explore surrounding areas (seek out Anh Sao, Thu Thiem, Phu My, and Mong bridges).
Bình Điền Market (District 8): You need to get here early to ensure you don’t miss out on the action and are able to witness the hustle and bustle of Saigon’s mega seafood market (off Nguyễn Văn Linh Street, District 8, arrive before 6 am).
Railway Tracks: Walk beside the railway tracks which run through the city; next to houses, cafes, bars and restaurants, and explore nearby areas. (check out this map of Saigon’s tracks and this article).
Where are your favourite photography hotspots in Saigon? Leave your answers in the comments below and thanks for visiting Sam Morris Photography.