VIDEO: Saigon, My Saigon

First published July 2016 | Words, photos and film by Vietnam Coracle

For me, Saigon is not District 1: it’s not the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ben Thanh Market, the Pham Ngu Lao-Bui Vien backpacker area, the new shopping malls and high-rises of downtown. Saigon, my Saigon, is the local neighbourhood where I live. This is not a fixed location: over the years I’ve lived in many different houses, in many different parts of the city. But, wherever I’ve lived, the local area has always defined my Saigon. The alleyways, the market, the nearest main street and the shops and businesses that line it, the people and pets that inhabit it, and the way it changes during different phases of the day and in different weather conditions; this is my Saigon.

My local Saigon neighbourhood, Ho Chi Minh City, VietnamMy Saigon: in my local neighbourhood people know each other and lunch is served with a smile

In this video, I’ve tried to capture my local Saigon neighbourhood over 24 hours, on a day during the rainy season. I’ve made little attempt at artifice: there’s no music because I wanted to let the sounds rise and fall with the rhythm of daily life. At 8 minutes long, I realize that this film may not be for everyone. But if, like me, you love your local Saigon neighbourhood, and if, like me, you’re an expat who finds it difficult to describe where you live to friends and family back in your home country, then perhaps you’ll appreciate this little video and perhaps it will help you to communicate where you live and why you love it here.

* This video is best viewed in HD quality


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12 Responses to VIDEO: Saigon, My Saigon

  1. Claire says:

    Hi Tom, loved your video! We have only been here 3 weeks and have done a few touristy things but mostly we like to just hang around and observe, usually with a ca phe or some local food. We walk around a lot too, so much to see and photograph. Cheers Claire

    • Hi Claire,

      Good to hear you’ve been enjoying your Saigon days so far. Yes, I agree, just hanging out in a local neighbourhood and observing the goings on is one of the best things you can do in Saigon 🙂


  2. How & Linda says:

    Very nice video work Tom, I love the “day in the life: format. (I am an amateur videographer also). Nice use of the HD and audio. you really capture the essence of your neighbourhood – can’t weait to visit in March!
    What type of camera are you using?


  3. Maria cousins says:

    I so love this.. Many a time I’ve tried to describe ‘my Saigon ‘ to folks at home… And it’s just so hard.. Every frame of this video captures the essence of what it is to be here,. From the family mart.. The wind chime before a storm or the recycling man… Thank you so much for filming this.. I will watch it many times I suspect when I go home in three months with very whimsical and fond memories .

    • Hi Maria,

      Very happy to hear that you like the video and that it also captures what you like and will miss about ‘Your Saigon’. I hope you leave this city on good terms and will have lots of good memories of your Saigon days 🙂


  4. Giorgio says:

    Great video! My compliments for the idea and the effective artistic touch on everyday life

  5. Martin says:

    Nice video cool to watch ! At the moment cambodia tommorow i will arive in Saigon , pretty cool website also Love it grtz

  6. Thao Phan says:

    Such a great work, Tom! You make me miss Saigon so much!!!

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