Given that the "images" of Saigon girls in Ao Dai on a bicycle or sitting behind a motorbike on the street are quite familiar among not only domestic but also foreign travelers. Those images partly reflect the simple beauty in the lifestyle and personality of the Saigon people.
I - Overview of Saigoneer - Saigonese
Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is one of the largest cultural - economic - political centers in Vietnam. This 300-year-old city is full of modern and vibrant to ancient and quiet looks. Once, it was considered as the "Pearl of the Far East" because it owns many tourist attractions, scenic spots, historical relics, etc. Over a long history of development, Saigon carries a harmonious interference culture between many cultures such as Khmer, ancient Vietnamese, and Chinese.
Saigon in 20th century - Source: Mat Biec
Most of Saigonese today are immigrants, mostly from the 17th century and a part of the Chinese traitors fleeing to this land to reclaim and establish hamlets. There also existed a part of the Khmer ethnic people left after the Angkor Empire declined. Although coming from many different backgrounds, people there have lived in harmony together.
The peaceful coexistence and exchanges of cultures have created a colorful Saigon with many significant characteristics such as a high sense of community, simplicity, and openness. Thanks to the diversity in languages, beliefs, cuisine and costumes, visitors can always discover a "new look" hidden inside this city.
II - Characteristics of Saigonese
1 - Character
One of the typical characteristics of people in Saigon, that tourists would notice is how friendly and open they are. No matter what color you are, or what belief and religion you follow, people always welcome and respect you without hesitation, discrimination, or clear class division. It is not difficult to ask or start a story with the locals. If you are lucky enough, you can meet a "local tour guide" as well. Early exposure to Western culture partly helps people to have an open view of new things in society which created a dynamic, enthusiastic, friendly, and sincere image of Saigon people in the eyes of tourists.
"Fairplay" is another inherent characteristic of people here. However, to experience this one, travelers need time to contact and make friends with the locals. They are the people who "work hard" but also "play hard". Their enthusiasm in treating friends can be seen clearly when you use the accommodation and breakfast service at homestays or hostels.
2 - Saigonese lifestyle
The lifestyle of people being born & raised here is quite realistic, creating the hustle, busy and dynamic atmosphere for the city. They are not afraid of difficulty and willing to face it to get the best results. That is the reason why Saigon has gradually become one of the major economic centers of Vietnam.
Source: Hung Tran
As mentioned above, the Saigonese usually work hard and play hard. They quite "enjoy" the busy life. At night, instead of staying home, they choose to go out and have fun with several activities making up a "never sleep" city, a city that is bustling and magnificent at any time of day. There are some activities that visitors can enjoy with the locals such as exploring Nguyen Hue walking street, Hanh Thong Tay night market, Bach Dang wharf, Phu My bridge, Bui Vien street,...
3 - Habits
Drinking coffee in the morning has gradually become an indispensable habit for the Saigonese. Every morning, visitors can find a number of cafes crowded with buyers on the big streets, which makes it seem like the breakfast in Saigon is coffee. They often have the habit of reading or chatting with friends while enjoying coffee. At night, especially on weekends, the cafes will become more crowded than usual. All create a scene bearing bold "culture" of Saigon, exciting any visitors.
On the other hand, it might be a big mistake if we talk about the Saigonese habit without mentioning the "drinking" culture. Due to their character, they aren’t fussy about the location, drinks or dishes but like to have a space to gather and talk after a hard-working day. They are not too picky about drinking, but they will definitely spend the late afternoon every day sitting together, drinking a few beers and sharing a few stories. Therefore, small vendors, and roadside beer are things that visitors can easily find anywhere in Saigon.
III - Impressive pictures of the Saigonese
Some impressive images of the local people here:
Vendor carts that sell snacks, fried corn, ... every night
Whenever the night falls, visitors can easily see the vendors on the trolleys selling snacks throughout the big and small alleys. Surrounded by rows of benches, diners can enjoy the food, and people watch. Sometimes, people who are in a hurry, pop in on their motorbikes, get themselves a meal, and then quietly go on. Some famous snacks can be mentioned as grilled eggs, fried corn, rice paper, freshly-cut fruits. All of these things create a simple image of Saigonese on the magnificent streets of Saigon.
Cafe and smoothie vendors
The image of stir-fried corn cars, narrow space cafes for $ 1, and small roadside coffee or juice vendors are something that visitors can easily find in any Saigon street. They are the most popular foods and drinks on Saigon's sidewalks. All you need is sitting in the park or anywhere that is extremely simple and comfortable to enjoy them.
Vot coffee - “Cà phê Vợt”
Vot cafes are used to being small, locating in alleys, with long lines of diners. People in Saigon often sit on a small plastic chair and wait, people in a hurry just set up a car to wait. Instead of being mixed with regular 'phin', the coffee here is put into the racket and poured boiling water directly into it, stirring and waiting for 5-10 minutes for the coffee to absorb gradually. Visitors can enjoy this drink in two forms: drink with ice or warm - the coffee kettle will be placed on a small fire to keep heat. Visitors can enjoy this drink at two locations:
- No. 330, Phan Dinh Phung Street, Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City.
- Mr. Luu Thanh Nhan's shop is at alley 313, T n Phuoc street, ward 6, district 11, Ho Chi Minh city.
Gathering with friends over a cool beer
Pubs or bars are also one of the beautiful and familiar images of this city. After work, after sports, or gathering with friends, are good times for Saigon people to visit the pub. Walking to the restaurant during this time, visitors can easily see the image of everyone congratulating each other and shouting "zô". Sometimes, although you are not familiar, you can join in and cheer with the locals.
No matter it's early morning or late at night, visitors can feel the hustle and bustle of the city because the streets are always crowded. That is also the rhythm of life of the people of Saigon, creating the feeling of a city that never sleeps.
For many tourists, Saigon is a beautiful city, and the Saigonese always impress tourists with their beauty in personality, dynamic lifestyle, and unique activities. Hope that visitors can feel all the beauty of Saigon people when visiting this dynamic city.