My Saigon Video, by Vietnam Coracle

VIDEO: Saigon, My Saigon

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

This post was last updated 7 years ago. Please check the comments section for possible updates, or read more on my Updates & Accuracy page.

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, Vietnam

My 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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  1. Chau Tran says:
    April 4, 2024 at 5:26 PM

    As a Vietnamese born but have not lived in Vietnam for 15 years now, I love your snippets of lives of Saigon, from the everyday people activities ( I love those outdoor gym where ladies in pajamas doing their workouts between breaks/ their work day) to the texture of the local alleyways and streets, the sounds of people just living their life, making a living, going to work, taking breaks – I miss that a lot. Thanks for capturing such wonderful essence of my hometown, Tom!

    1. Tom says:
      April 6, 2024 at 4:21 AM

      Hi Châu,

      Thanks for your words. When I made this video I wanted it to record a place in time – one of no ‘importance’, just a regular 24 hours in a local Saigon neighbourhood, because for me that ‘ordinary’ daily life is ‘special’. So I’m glad this video brings back memories for you of your time in Saigon.



  2. Claire says:
    October 30, 2018 at 8:45 AM

    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

    1. Tom says:
      October 30, 2018 at 3:55 PM

      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 🙂


  3. How & Linda says:
    November 5, 2016 at 1:37 AM

    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?


    1. Tom says:
      November 5, 2016 at 6:12 AM


      I just use a little Cannon camera. It’s simple and small but does everything I want it to.


  4. Maria cousins says:
    July 24, 2016 at 10:40 AM

    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 .

    1. Tom says:
      July 24, 2016 at 12:11 PM

      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 🙂


  5. Giorgio says:
    July 24, 2016 at 9:18 AM

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

    1. Tom says:
      July 24, 2016 at 12:08 PM

      Thanks, Giorgio.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I love the everyday life of local Saigon neighbourhoods like this 🙂


  6. Martin says:
    July 24, 2016 at 3:27 AM

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

    1. Tom says:
      July 24, 2016 at 12:06 PM

      Thanks, Martin.

      I hope you enjoy Saigon and the rest of Vietnam too!


  7. Thao Phan says:
    July 21, 2016 at 5:14 AM

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

    1. Tom says:
      July 21, 2016 at 5:19 AM

      Thanks, Thao. I’m glad you enjoyed it, and sorry for making you miss Saigon 🙂