Postcards From Cholon

Swimming with dragons at Thang Long Park in the heart of Cholon.

Cholon is a historic Chinatown west of old Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I visited the area on three occasions in 2017, intent on wandering around and capturing some pictures from the streets. Previously I published an extensive report on the Chinese temples of Cholon, including some detail about the history and demographics of the area, so I won’t repeat myself in this post. Instead, I’ll let the photos do the talking this time around…

A typical shophouse on the streets of Cholon. I saw many just like this one.
Propaganda posters adorn this Cholon roundabout. One exhorts strong military defense: “quyet tam bao ve vung chac, dao Viet Nam”.
The austere Jamail Mosque, built in 1935 by Tamil Muslims.
Another Cholon shophouse. Two of the original Chinese characters remain on the nameplate.
Cholon apartment block style. This looks very much like the so-called cafe building in Saigon.
St. Francis Xavier Parish Church, Cholon, completed in 1902.
There are a several Chinese flourishes inside the St. Francis Xavier Parish Church.
Dried goods vendor near Binh Tay Market, where Cholon derives its Vietnamese name.
Binh Tay Market, the heart of Cholon; for more info see my original post about this place.
Textile vendor along the commercial streets of Cholon.
A huge shipment of herbs on a street filled with Chinese medicine shops.
Bilingual signs are common in Cholon. This is a bookstore.
Hobbling through the hardware district.
This gleaming gold facade obscures the front of the former Dai Quang Theater in Cholon.
Traces of cinematic history outside a former movie theater in Cholon. Wonder how old this mural is?
A dome hidden above the entrance to Dai Quang Theater. The vaulted roof of the theater can be seen in the background.
The antechamber to the old movie theater, directly below the previous shot. Beyond this point I wasn’t allowed to shoot any photos.
Not all of Cholon is so picturesque. This canal running behind the market was especially putrid.
An unidentified mansion near Nguyen Trai Road.

I’d like to acknowledge Nomadic Notes for providing a good introduction to Cholon. For a taste of vintage theater vibes in Cholon and Saigon check out these posts (in Vietnamese, with photos) try here, here, and here. Finally, if you enjoy my photography from Vietnam I suggest scoping out postcards from Hanoi.

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