Photo Essay: The neon blaze of Saigon at night

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Last Updated on August 17, 2017 by Christine Kaaloa

saigon at night
Saigon at night

Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon can be very photogenic at night. Everything is illuminated with a candy-colored neon glow or half-lit by darkness. The Vietnamese don’t mind… it’s all good. It’s like mood lighting. 

You can skirt around the city or visit the two spots where Vietnamese locals seem to favor for their night haunts.

Saigon at Night

Most of this is shot in and near the Dhong Khoi area, without a tripod and completely on the fly…


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Restaurants, street food and sidewalk cafes are as good as a disco.  

At night, you see them about the city… pockets here and pockets there… little plastic chairs and tables set up on the sidewalks with a little food cart nearby passing out the food.

For some reason Vietnamese not only love their street food and being social, but also engaging in the spectator sport of people watching.  Street-side seating where you get a front row view of traffic passing by.  Even in some indoor cafes and bars, you’ll see furniture seating openly faced to the streets so that you can watch the passing show.

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Street food and sidewalk cafes shopng 9 355 Sidewalk cafes come out at night, making for a popular social scene for Vietnamese.shopng 9 354 Street cafes  shopng 9 358  .shopng 9 371 Outdoor food vendors set up plastic tables and chairs for customers at night.  shopng 9 370

The park is also a popular hangout during evenings.

If you’re a couple, it’s dark enough to feel romantic but lit enough to just hang out with friends. Who needs benches when you have your motorcycle?

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4 Comments.

  • I loooved Saigon at night. The city is already so energetic during the day and that definitely carries over into nighttime. I always enjoyed the point of the day where the street food stands were set up and they arranged little plastic stools around them.

    • @Ekua: I’m really glad you said that. I don’t hear many people mentioning them. Also, many people I’ve met seem to prefer Hanoi over HCMC/Saigon, which I find interesting. Saigon definitely has an intense (yet mellow, compared to Hanoi) vibe around it that I quite liked. Of the two, i’d say Saigon was my favorite and the night lights seemed so much more sexy!

  • You take terrific night photos, Christine! I’m jealous.

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