I took this photograph within 24 hours of landing in Saigon. You really do need a bird's eye view to fully appreciate the diversely colorful buildings peppered across the city.
The Buildings of Saigon
I love this shot because you can see just how narrowly built the buildings are in this city. It provides a completely different perspective from the previous aerial shot.
The Most Picturesque Street Corner in Saigon
For me, this is Saigon captured in a single photograph. From the French-inspired architecture, to the many motorbikes passing through the frame, to the countless restaurants, bars, and shops packed into the first floor. All of these unique elements (and many more) are what make this city entirely unique and easy to fall in love with.
chùa Pháp Hoa
I passed this Buddhist temple each day when making my way from where I stayed in District 3 to the heart of the city in District 1. One day, I chose to walk inside the temple and was met with an oasis-like scene of fountains, wind chimes, and flowering plants. Although I did not spend more than a few minutes inside, it was remarkable to feel the stress of the city life outside its walls instantaneously fade away.
Công Viên 30-4
This park, which sits directly across from Independence Palace, provides a moment of quiet escape from the "hustle-bustle" of the city. There are several amazing cafés that line the south end of the park and provide the perfect place for a mid-day sightseeing break.
Independence Palace (Reunification Palace)
This was where the Vietnam/American War officially came to an end when a North Vietnamese tank bulldozed through the front gate on April 30, 1975. The building and it's grounds have remained virtually untouched since that day.
The Bamboo Walls of Independence Palace
The building as it stands today was designed by renowned Vietnamese architect, Ngô Viết Thụ. The outer walls of the second floor were designed to look like a bamboo forrest, while also contributing to an open feel and letting in lots of natural sunlight.
Behind the Bamboo Walls
Here's a shot from behind the bamboo walls on the second floor of the Palace. It's clear just how much attention to detail was paid to every element of the building, from the windows, to the floors, to the lights, and to the furniture in the main rooms. A perfect balance of traditional Asian design and 1960s style.
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Saigon
As you probably guessed from the name, this cathedral was built by the French during the colonial era of the late 19th century.
Saigon Central Post Office
If you turn your gaze from Notre Dame and look right, you'll see the Saigon Central Post Office, also constructed during the French colonial era.
Ho Chi Minh City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh City Hall, previously Hôtel de Ville de Saigon, was built in the early 20th century, again in the French colonial style. Although it's not open to the public, it's a very popular tourist attraction and photograph spot, which I can personally confirm given that there were about about a dozen other camera-wielding tourists behind me when I took this shot.