Don’t Try This at Home

Here are window washers working on the building from yesterday’s post, the Vinhomes Central Park Landmark 81 tower.

These (mostly) daily photos from a slow trip around the world are collecting on See the archive page Around the World, Slowly.

Ho Chi Minh City Builds Straight Up

The most notable part of the HCMC waterfront the first time we visited was the Saigon Floating Hotel, towed up from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to accommodate an influx of foreign investors. In the first part of the 1990s, after a really tough economic period in the 80s, it was time for Vietnam to attract some foreign money, and investors needed a place to stay.

Interesting in retrospect, at the same time, investment firms were hanging their shingles on the doors of venerable old former Communist hotel rooms in the bigger eastern European cities, there being a dearth of international-standard places to stay in both regions.

The floating hotel was built in Singapore, lived in Queensland before HCMC, and was billed as the world’s first floating hotel in this feature from Australian TV:

Regulatory issues” closed down the floating hotel’s stay in HCMC and it moved on to North Korea. Time moved on, too, and by 2010 the Bitexco Tower opened a few blocks off the river, with 68 floors and just what any up and coming city needed, a helipad, shown here, center (the one with the helipad).

Now comes the Landmark 81 Tower, a brand new mixed use tower with associated high rises, comprising offices, a hotel, condos, a shopping mall, as of yesterday an empty ice-skating rink:

Week before last, on 28 April, they grand opened the 79th-81st floor observation deck. We went up for a look yesterday. Here is the view from the top:

At 461.15 meters tall and 81 stories tall, it’s currently the tallest completed building in Southeast Asia and 14th tallest in the world. Here is a pretty fawning history.

These (mostly) daily photos from a slow trip around the world are collecting on See the archive page Around the World, Slowly.

Reunification Day

Big, festive holiday in this country today, marking the fall of the Saigon government.

AP Photo

North Vietnamese tanks rolled through the gates of the Presidential Palace on this date in 1975. Here is a calendar page from that day, as displayed in the museum of the Presidential Palace, now the Reunification Palace, here in Ho Chi Minh City.

These (mostly) daily photos from a slow trip around the world are collecting on See the archive page Around the World, Slowly.

Let’s Get Down to Breakfast

Love this part of the world. Welcome to Saigon.

Five Minute GoPro Scooter Ride around Saigon


Last trip to Vietnam, in January 2014, we arranged a motorcycle trip, I strapped a GoPro camera on my helmet and this is what we saw. It’s about a five minute video. Enjoy it.

Playing in Traffic. Friday Photo #25, Saigon


Photography is not for the faint of heart. Don’t try this at home. Or at least without a bellyful of good Vietnamese beer. Saigon. At night. In the holiday season. On a crosswalk.

Click photo to enlarge. Vietnam is a completely enchanting, engrossing and picturesque land. Have a look at 442 other photos from all over the country in the Vietnam Gallery at And see all the Friday Photos.

Dueling Holidays

The Festive Season, 2013 in Saigon, Vietnam


And the Holiday Season 2014, Missouri, USA


Five Minute Ride through Saigon

This will be more fun if you pop it out to full screen. Music is Huong Thanh, Le Bambou Gracieux, from her album Dragonfly.

Wednesday HDRs: Saigon

We’re back in the studio with access to all of our photo processing goodies. Please enjoy a few first offerings from Saigon. Click ’em to make ’em bigger. There are hundreds more photos in the Vietnam Gallery at

NightTrafficSaigon copy

SaigonAtNight copy

TerraceSaigon copy

SaigonTraffic4 copy

SaigonTraffic3 copy

SaigonOperaHouse copy