Bring back some good or bad memories


April 1, 2020

40 Fascinating Color Photos Capture Everyday Life of Saigon in the 1960s

Saigon in the 1960s was the capital of America’s global proxy war to counter the ‘domino effect’ of spreading communism, the focal point of the battle between ideologies. Most of the fighting, however, took place in rural villages throughout central Vietnam.

In Saigon, life went on much the same as it had for years — except with more American soldiers around. The motorbikes are older, and nobody’s wearing helmets, but much of the street life in Saigon looked the same back in the 1960s as it does today: Tall trees, ‘Ao Dai’ dresses, conical hats, and cyclos.

These fascinating color photos were taken by photographer Wilbur E. Garrett that show everyday life of Saigon in 1961 and 1965.

Saigon. Male patrons of a sidewalk cafe check out women pedestrians, 1961

Saigon. Rows of bicycles clutter a downtown parking area, 1965

Saigon. An umbrellalike poetry inscribed ‘non la’, or hat, shades a girl's face, 1961

Saigon. A woman ties down her ‘Ao dai’ while riding her bicycle, 1965

Saigon. A band entertains in a makeshift nightclub, 1965

Saigon. A butcher works behind an array of raw and cooked meat and poultry, 1965

Saigon. A costumed dancer climbs a pole to nab treats dangling from a banner, Cho Lon, 1961

Saigon. A girl in traditional clothes zips through traffic on a motorbike, 1961

Saigon. A greeter of the Women's Army Forces waits for Korean troops, 1965

Saigon. A man and a traditionally dressed woman speed by on a motorbike, 1961

Saigon. A man carries a large bag of rice on his back, Cholon, 1961

Saigon. A man drives his wife and son on a scooter past passengers on a cyclo, 1961

Saigon. A man sprays water onto ‘mai’ tree branches for Tet, the lunar New Year, 1965

Saigon. A monk and judo expert leads a class in meditation before a match, 1965

Saigon. A nattily dressed young couple zip down the road on a motor scooter, 1961

Saigon. A nighttime patrol boat shines a searchlight on a sampan, 1965

Saigon. A soldier suffers after losing an arm in a battle west of Saigon, 1965

Saigon. A stern-faced Popular Forces soldier stands at attention with his gun, 1965

Saigon. A vendor sells canned goods sent as gifts to the Vietnamese people, 1965

Saigon. A Vietnamese nurse hugs her American ward before saying goodbye, 1965

Saigon. A woman approaches an altar barefoot, as custom demands, 1965

Saigon. An active port and urban sprawl border the Saigon River, 1961

Saigon. An armed Bell UH-1B helicopter flies over Saigon, 1965

Saigon. Burning incense and flickering candles cast a red glow on worshipers, 1961

Saigon. Few cars drive on a 20-mile highway to Bien Hoa built with U.S. aid, 1961

Saigon. Homeward-bound Americans carry prized possessions through an airport, 1965

Saigon. Judo students practice below images of revered figures of Buddhism, 1965

Saigon. Lights and traffic on Le Loi Boulevard light up the night, 1965

Saigon. Looking for living space, families live in sampans and shacks, 1965

Saigon. Members of a home guard patrol their neighborhood at night, 1965

Saigon. Monks offer midnight prayers to usher in the New Year, 1965

Saigon. People promenade along the waterfront as large ships sail into port, 1961

Saigon. Policemen examine people lined up at a security gate to enter a city, 1965

Saigon. Shacks made of metal, wood, and cardboard jam a Saigon suburb, Cholon, 1965

Saigon. Supplicants burn joss sticks and votive papers in a Chinese temple, Cholon, 1965

Saigon. Tanks commanded by rebellious officers rumble along a city street, 1965

Saigon. Tired cyclo drivers stretch out for siestas in their cabs, 1961

Saigon. Two men struggle to free their scooter from a barbed-wire barricade, 1965

Saigon. Women bow and pray by a fiery incense burner outside a temple, 1961

Saigon. Women dressed in ‘Ao Dai’ stroll down the street with their children, 1961

(Photo © Wilbur E. Garrett)

1 comment:

  1. Every time I see pictures of Vietnam - no matter what era - the song "Fortunate Son" always starts playing in my head!




Browse by Decades

Popular Posts


09 10