Saigon River



If you pay a bit of money and hop in a minibus, you could float down the Saigon River with Saigon Boat Company. And it’s well worth doing! I joined the cruise with a good friend and fellow journalist, and spent a happy two hours indulging in beer and salami, watching the water outside our little hardwood shell and pondering the puzzle of society and its knack for being very diverse.

As per usual I embraced my inner monkey and spent the cruise clambering up and down things that probably shouldn’t be climbed on, to get the perfect angle. And the more photos I caught of different bits of river life, the more I thought about what it would be like to be a part of that life.

This river is full of different types of people and different types of place. Worn-out houses and patchwork slums slope into the water on spindly stilts, but a little way down, we pass the bright, bald face of the millionaire Holm Residences, glistening in the sun. Old, oily tankers carrying impossible lumps of sand drift past, followed by sparkly dinner cruises that scream “I am on this boat because I can afford to relax.” An interesting slice of a city with a rapidly rising middles class, the ridiculously rich and the horribly poor all together in one big, chaotic bubble.