HCMC has been increasingly appealing to international tourists, especially first-time comers, owing to its bustling activities of the modern lifestyle. However, the city is also charming in another facet: its unique streets specializing in a particular type of product.
Antique street in District 1
A view of an antique shop on Le Cong Kieu Street in District 1, HCMC is captured in this photo
Looking like an alley linking Pho Duc Chinh and Nguyen Thai Binh streets and just a few steps from the busy Ham Nghi Boulevard in HCMC’s District 1, Le Cong Kieu Street is home to more than 30 shops selling only antiques dating back hundreds or thousands of years, plus imitated replicas or antique imitations and old items attached to many people’s childhoods. Le Cong Kieu Street is the only antique-selling street in Saigon.
Once passing by the street, people might be impressed by the tranquil atmosphere and the slow pace of life on the street as it has been common to see shop owners along the street gathering to drink tea, play chess while talking about daily life.
The age-old street has become a familiar place for antique collectors and enthusiasts including foreign tourists to come to browse for antique items such as ceramics, wooden tables, lacquer paintings, Buddhist statues, or where they can get hands-on knowledge of Vietnam’s cultural and historical values.
An antique shop owner on Le Cong Kieu Street is seen repairing an old item
Tran Minh Thanh, who has been running an antique shop on Le Cong Kieu Street for more than 20 years, says in an encounter with the Daily that there are huge numbers of foreign visitors to the street, but only a few of them are actually buying old items including lacquer paintings, Buddhist statues or flower vases for home decoration, while others come to visit and take photos.
Most of the antique shops there are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. but the business has been declining in recent years and is no longer as prosperous as its heyday about ten years ago, he says.
Despite the ups and downs of history and despite fast social and economic changes in the city over the years, Le Cong Kieu Street has still maintained its special cultural traits for decades and is a hidden gem in the heart of the city.
Traditional drug quarter in District 5
Named after one of Vietnam’s illustrious physician, Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5 has long been well known as the Chinese medicinal herb quarter where there are more than a hundred stores selling medicinal herb and traditional drug.
Upon arrival at the street, the bustling sight of trading activities between sellers and buyers and the odor of traditional medicines may arouse curiosity among local and international visitors, those who are curious about taking a glimpse into daily lives and spiritual values of the Chinese community there.
Most of store owners on Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street are Vietnamese of Chinese descent who inherited the business from their predecessors and tried to keep the traditional family business intact for decades.
The old book street in District 5
It would be a mistake not to mention Tran Nhan Ton Street, known as a rendezvous for bookworms, budget-conscious students and young people to look for old and rare books.
When dropping by the street, tourists can see dozens of stores specializing in selling old books of various subjects such as literature, culture, society, economics, textbooks, references and comic books at an acceptable price.
Thanks to its convenient location in close proximity to universities, colleges and high-schools, the book street is always crowded with book-lovers and students on weekdays.
The guitar street in District 3
Nguyen Thien Thuat Street is known as a guitar street in the city
Nguyen Thien Thuat Street in District 3 has emerged as a hub for guitar-lovers with around 20 shops selling low-end guitars, classic guitars, acoustic and electric guitars, Vietnamese style guitars, acoustic bass guitars, violins, mandolins, ukuleles and other musical instruments.
This is a perfect place for music students and those with a love for music to meet and share their passion for music and guitar during the weekends.
It is no wonder that the owners of guitar shops there show a profound knowledge of musical instruments and are willing to play the guitar to entertain customers.
Via : Sapa Luxury Travel