December 2023
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Deja Vu: Vietnam Part 15 (Saigon Surrounding Area)

We continue with Part 15 of the 16 part series Deja Vu: Vietnam. The series of videos is made using Google Earth to focus in on various parts of Saigon and surrounding areas of Vietnam. Then overlaid with video footage filmed in 2007 with ‘fade backs’ of videos and photos going back to various time points in prior years. Some all the way back to 1882 Saigon.

Now in Part 15 we’ll continue our visit around Saigon and surrounding areas visiting the Bien Hoa Air Base and Long Binh Army Base. Then with each of the following parts of the series we’ll be travelling around Saigon and surrounding areas, then back to Tan Son Nhut Airport for departure from Vietnam.

Each of us lived in Saigon at different times during the years from the mid-1950’s to 1975. Because of the span of time we lived in Saigon, different parts of the series will mean more to each of us … but, they will all trigger memories and experiences of your time in Saigon.

Enjoy …

A Born To Wander Production

This part of the series probably relates more to those of you who had parents working at these locations and installations and/or those of you who returned later to Vietnam in the military or as government and/or civilian employees.

Many Saigon Kids originally came to Vietnam as dependents of civilian contractors personnel involved in the construction of Highway 1 and 15.

While we had been forbidden (by our parents) to go outside the city of Saigon and Cho Lon area, I recall on many occasions some of us guys would venture on our motor cycles/bikes out to the area that would later become Long Binh and surrounding areas. Usually to frequent thatch hut dirt floored bars in little villages outside of Saigon … the Ba Muoi Ba was hot, but it was cheap. I recall we had a Vietnamese friend who seemed to know all the ‘hot’ places in all these little villages outside of Saigon.

What are you memories of the areas outside of Saigon proper?

As always, you are welcome to leave you comments below.

If you missed the previous parts of the series, you can view them here:

Deja Vu: Vietnam series Archives

4 comments to Deja Vu: Vietnam Part 15 (Saigon Surrounding Area)

  • Kevin L. Wells

    It just hit me!

    The enduring impression of Saigon’s streets and DeJa Vu is the traffic rules used in Saigon.

    Rather than rules as commonly understood, back then (’59-62) as well as now, the right of way is determined by the swarm method; the largest swarm of vehicles has the right of way. In some respects, this is a better system than is used in Massachusetts where they use Massachusetts Chicken (Make the “other guy” believe you don’t see him and see who chickens first!)

    Fortunately for the Vietnamese, the kinetic energy involved is much less than we have here on US highways. If the citizens of Viet Nam ever attain the car-in-every-garage stage, they will need insurance and more lawyers!


  • Admin

    LOL Kevin … it is amazing how traffic just seems to flow in Saigon … as one solid unit … lol

    Nah, they’ll never reach ‘a car in every garage’ in Saigon or Vietnam … they don’t have garages … lol … and they all drive (ride) motorcycles and mopeds … lol

    By the way, I read someplace recently that all 3 wheelers have been banned from Saigon streets … so, no more 3 wheeler motor cyclos or peddle power cyclos either … dang, that takes he fun out of traveling around Saigon … 🙁


  • Burt

    This is just an amazing series! I am dumbfounded as to how the ‘yesterdays’ pics are superimposed over the more recent scenes. Just wonderful!

    I have often thought about returning to Saigon to see what’s what now, and to try to find our old home on what was then Tu Duc Street. Dad and Mom found it (under a different name) in a visit in the early 90s. At that time, it seemed to be some sorta minihotel. But, via this series, and because I have less than fond memories of my second (1970-1971) ‘tour in country’, I no longer feel the need to do that. Thanx.

    One thing I keep hoping to see is some scenes from the Cercle Sportif, then and now. Is it coming? I have pics from ‘then’ if needed. In my days there, and for many other kids in my day, this was a favorite destination. Does it still exist, even…

    As to journeys outside of the permissible perimeter of Saigon, I have several pics of some friends of mine, my brothers, and I in my sampan that we worked around the canals and the Saigon River that often took us out of the ‘permitted’ zone. I’ll dig them up and send them along. It was a real trip every time we ‘set sail’ in my sampan “Bucaneer II”. At every bridge we went under, every river/canal bank we went along where people could gather, they did so to watch these ‘crazy’ Americans paddling their own sampan BY THEMSELVES! Turns out, though we didn’t know it at the time (maybe Dad did, or maybe he found out later) that Dad bought us a sampan that was the standard issue Saigon police sampan!



  • Admin


    See Deja Vu: Part 13 for coverage of Cercle Sportiff. It is limited coverage, mainly because pictures of our Saigon Kids days of Cercle Sportiff are very limited. Even pictures of it today are limited. But, yes it is still there. It is a ‘public’ park facility now. It is no longer a ‘private’ club, as it was in the past.

    Any pictures you have of the Cercle Sportiff would be much appreciated. Because as you say, it was our central gathering point on most days. But, then the only reason I went there was to see the French girls … Mimi in particular … right Mimi?! .. *wink* 🙂

    There is a picture of your old house in Saigon, somewhere. I’ll try to remember where it is and post it in the blog once I find it again. Yes, it was turned into a mini-hotel, as I recall.

    LOL @ sanpanning … you are probably very lucky the Rung Sat pirates didn’t grab you guys … lol … they were all over the river, but mostly only came out at night to loot boats on the river … they were not nice people at all. I have it on my list of articles to write for the blog, to do one on the Rung Sat river pirates and the Binh Xuyen of Saigon. Most interesting bit of history there stemming from deals made with them and the French and American CIA groups, giving them control of the river, opium, gambling, and bothel operations in Saigon.


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