HCMC Dining Guide

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sky High

New York's Financial District...or Saigon?

Just a cool pic. That's the moon, if you can't tell.
 Today, I finally visited the observation deck of the Bitexco Financial Tower, at 68 stories the second-tallest building in Vietnam, and the symbol of Saigon's ascent into the global economy. I've posted quite a few pictures of this amazing building before, but this was the first time I walked right up to it. It's pretty amazing to see this cutting-edge skyscraper, which would fit in in any rich city in the world, blocks away from the more typical markets and chaotic street scenes of Saigon. The 360-degree views from the 47th floor were amazing - you could see the true extent of Saigon's sprawl, as well as some of the city's most prominent development projects, from a bird's eye view. Pictures will make up most of the remainder of this post.
Smoggy, sprawling Saigon at sunset.

This is the Times Square Saigon, a planned five-star hotel and luxury shopping center, located on Nguyen Hue. Once completed it will be the third-tallest building in the city.

Overlooking the river. Binh Thanh District sits stright ahead, while District 2 is on the right, across the bridge.

The other most noticeable construction project on Saigon's skyline: the M&C Tower.
The core of District 1.
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post called "The Future of Saigon," where I talked at length about the local government's plans for the further development of the city. A prominent part of this plan is the Thu Thiem New Urban Area, to be located in District 2. This is the area where all of that construction will take place.
The East-West Highway, right where it turns into the tunnel that will run under the river once completed.
The inside of the observation floor was uber-modern, but the lighting made it impossible to take night pictures outside the windows.

More sprawl
As cool as it was to visit the tower, it's actually a bit of a photographer's nightmare, so these didn't come out as well as they could have. The windows were dirty, and the bottom half of the panes were glazed over, so you could only shoot out of a certain part. Once it got dark, there was just too much glare and too many reflections to get an even remotely useful shot. Of course, Saigon's terrible smog doesn't help. Still, you should be able to get an idea of what the city looks like from several hundred feet in the air. I'm sure these views will look dramatically different in a decade's time.

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