Situated in the bustling metropolis of Saigon, Hao Si Phuong – a 100-year-old alley – exudes a peaceful beauty and distinctive culture in a cosmopolitan city.
Hao Si Phuong is considered the Chinatown of Vietnam. The multicultural community is a mash-up of Vietnamese, Chinese and Chinese-Vietnamese. In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of modern city life, Hao Si Phuong fascinates newcomers with its serene ambience and Hong Kong-influenced unique architecture. It is worth visiting as you can gain an exhilarating insight into the daily lives and spiritual values of the Chinese community. According to locals, the serene alley was built in 1910 and was formerly owned by Hua Bon Hoa (Uncle Hoa). Hao means ‘generosity’, Si means ‘literature’ and Phuong is ‘the group of businessmen’. Chinese people believe that they must be generous to help others and must have a literary lifestyle.
Over the course of many years, this 100-year-old buildings still stand proudly and the original architecture and quintessential lifestyle have been well maintained. The alley boasts a harmonious combination of the past and present with vibrantly-painted concrete walls. First-time travellers will be fascinated by Chinese-style architectural designs whilst listening to timeless Chinese music.
Hao Si Phuong is home to an amazing variety of neatly-arranged old-fashioned apartments. To travel from one room to another, people have to use a unique staircase system. Stroll along the narrow paths and take a closer look at its nostalgic cultural and architectural beauty. Additionally, the passageways are an ideal location for photography enthusiasts.
Every house in Hao Si Phuong conjures a colourful and harmonious picture. Because of the Chinese community in Saigon, every family has altars dedicated to the Gods of heaven and earth, there are also Thien Quang, signs written in Chinese or five sheets ‘Ngu Phuc Lam Mon’ stuck in front of their doors. This showcases Chinese culture as well as their religious beliefs.
Unlike other popular sightseeing spots in Saigon, Hao Si Phuong is a hidden gem and is worlds apart from the fast pace of urbanisation and modernity. Travelling to this long-established alley will make for an inspiring local experience, where you can capture photographs of local residents cleaning their houses, sitting to drink tea and eating rice noodles in front of street food stalls. If you want to explore a solitary side of buzzing Saigon, Hao Si Phuong is a must-visit to satisfy your wanderlust.
The city authorities are planning to tear down the ancient alley in coming years as the houses in Hao Si Phuong have seriously deteriorated after many years. This news has saddened many residents and has left many feeling regretful, so take a visit to Hao Si Phuong as soon as possible to appreciate this artistic space and snap impressive photos.
Wanderlust Tips | Cinet