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A Photo Essay: The Changing Face of Saigon's Streets

The eery beauty of deserted Saigon streets, squares and markets during the clockdown as seen throught the lens of Vietcetera photographers.

A Photo Essay: The Changing Face of Saigon's Streets

Even during the annual hiatus known as Tet holidays Saigon streets quietly hum with activity. Things certainly slow down but life doesn’t come to a halt.

It took an unprecedented healthcare crisis to empty Saigon hems of the milling crowds and turn the usually clogged roads into high-speed traffic highways. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, as the city started to close in on itself under the stay-at-home orders, life suddenly came to a standstill.

To give you a glimpse of what Vietnam’s business capital practicing social distancing looks like, Vietcetera’s photographers took to the streets, squares and markets of Saigon in the first days of the lockdown to capture the eery beauty of the empty city.

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Early evening on Nguyen Hue promenade, Saigon’s main pedestrian street.
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Usually a hive of activity, Nguyen Hue gets a break from tourists and families.
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Those out for fresh air keeping their distance from each other.
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A photo op: unobstructed views of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee building.
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Getting some exercise.
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Lights out: the famous Cafe Apartments building at 42 Nguyen Hue.
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An office worker takes a moment to consider his after work options.
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Traffic is down on both the sidewalks and the roads.
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Crossing the street has become a whole lot easier.
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Bicycles are back in vogue as people are looking for ways to stay active.
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Closed for business: the Ben Thanh Market.
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Massage parlors and beauty salons were among the first businesses ordered to close.
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Striking a lonely figure, a tourist surveys the shuttered Ben Thanh Market.
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The usually busy corner of Le Thanh Ton and Thu Khoa Huan.
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With fruit vendors and street food stalls gone, motorcyclists have reclaimed the roads.
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Work continues on a construction site near the Ben Thanh Market.
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A popular tourist haunt, the Ben Thanh market stands deserted.
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After-work traffic has dwindled to a trickle.
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A community lifeline: grocery stores remain open during the lockdown.
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A moment of self-reflection.
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Bui Vien, Saigon’s party central, in a new light.
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Local residents selling soft drinks outside the Sahara Bar on backpacker street.
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Unrecognizable without its ubiquitous coffee shops, downtown has gone dark.
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A lonely grocery run.
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A street vendor on the move.
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8 p.m. Everyone’s turned in for the night.

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