Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature

Ben Thanh market, Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, sidewalk shops and houses, etc. in the 1990s have been recreated in miniature.
April 21, 2021 | 15:11
Top 10 must-try dishes on Saigon's Ho Thi Ky street Top 10 must-try dishes on Saigon's Ho Thi Ky street
Humble restaurant brings back old-times Saigon memories Humble restaurant brings back old-times Saigon memories
Two unique yet mouthwatering dishes in Saigon Special Force cafe Two unique yet mouthwatering dishes in Saigon Special Force cafe

After three years of crafting, Mr. Nguyen Trieu Kha (Binh Thanh district) owns nearly 50 miniatures of old Saigon in the 1990s. Images of Ben Thanh market, Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, restaurants, street corners and houses were vividly recreated.

"Being born in Saigon and lived abroad for years, I have always been nostalgic for my homeland. After coming back Vietnam, I work on making miniatures as a way to save memories for myself and everyone. I prefer the period in the 1990s to others because this is the time I live with memorable things, " said the 28-year-old man.

Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.

In the house on Binh Loi Street, Kha and his friends make old Saigon miniatures under customers' orders and the group's own taste.

In order to create a complete miniature, it usually takes them a month to brainstorm, photograph, graph, find materials and assemble small parts together. Materials are mainly wood, rattan, bamboo, paper, plastic. According to Kha, finding the right material for every details is one of the most difficult stage.

There are a series of Saigon's miniatures of the 1990s such as traditional medicine stores, houses on the canal, renting records stores, noodle shops, street vendors displayed on the shelves. These miniatures are not for sale. If the buyers have demand for, the team will remake the same ones.

Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.

"In order to create the most realistic models, our team, in addition to looking for pictures, has to collect information from those used to live at that time. Only an incomplete small detail is able to spoil the final product," Kha said.

The first miniature to be implemented in 2018 was a rice shop with a simple scene of thatched houses. Most models, from the sketch to the final product, are often not completely identical due to the ever-changing ideas.

When it comes to Ben Thanh Market, it is the most successful miniature taking over a month to complete. The old space in the 1990s was vividly recreated with bustling street vendors, sugarcane water trucks, beverage counters and cyclo.

Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
The busy life and business scene at a corner of Saigon street 30 years ago was inspired by the old market on Ham Nghi Street (District 1). Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.

The architectural motifs on the hundred-year-old market such as reliefs, clocks, tile roofs ... were elaborately crafted. "This miniature used to be paid for 35 million VND (1,518 USD) but I didn't sell. I made another one for them", Kha said.

The busy life and business scene at a corner of Saigon street 30 years ago was inspired by the old market on Ham Nghi Street (District 1).

The model of Ba Thien Hau pagoda on Nguyen Trai Street (District 5) cost 19 million VND (823 USD). A couple desiring for memories of the place where they first met more than 30 years ago bought it.

Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.

"I had to travel many times, took all the angles and asked people there to have a true old scene and depicted the sophisticated architecture of the pagoda, " Kha said.

A corner of Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon in the evening was made according to the request of guests who wanted to recall old memories of the group of friends.

In the 1990s, temporary houses made of wood were often found around the canals and channels in Saigon. These poor working-class houses, built in long lines, were quite shabby and called "slums" along the canal. Next to that is the typical traditional medicine store model in the Chinese street.

Close-up of a tape rental shop is faithfully reproduced. The tapes and posters of movies such as Tay Du Ky (Journey to the West), Dat Ky Tru Vuong (Gods of Honour) recalled memories of movies of the 1980s - 1990s period.

Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Sugar cane truck in the old days was made of wood instead of machine. Photo: Vn Express.
Old Saigon springs back to life in miniature
Photo: Vn Express.

Affordable eateries on the sidewalk in Saigon is a topic that the team regularly performs and has many customers' orders. Each model depending on the size, detail ... costs from 500,000 VND (USD 21.70) or more.

"Customers mainly buy miniatures as souvenirs when traveling to Saigon or order them to save their own memories. In the near future we will make more miniatures of the old West and Hanoi", Kha said.

Strategic cooperation to enhance activities supporting autistic children in Vietnam Strategic cooperation to enhance activities supporting autistic children in Vietnam

Saigon Children's Charity held a ceremony announcing strategic cooperation among organizations operating in the autism field in Vietnam and launching an information website on autism ...

Must-visit cafe for an old Saigon vibe in HCMC Must-visit cafe for an old Saigon vibe in HCMC

Using over 5,000 decorative items to create an old Saigon vibe, the coffee house in Phu Nhuan district has made its name as the cafe ...

Unique collection of 'fossil' ancient coins of Saigon’s man Unique collection of 'fossil' ancient coins of Saigon’s man

For many years, Mr. Huynh Minh Hiep, 49 years old, living in Ho Chi Minh City’s Phu Nhuan District has collected coin blocks dating back ...

Ruby Lee

Insider

Thailand's SCG Packaging Plans $353mln Investment Expansion into Vietnam Economy

Thailand's SCG Packaging Plans $353mln Investment Expansion into Vietnam

Thailand's SCG Packaging Pcl (SCGP) on Monday announced an 11.8 billion baht ($353.93 million) expansion in its packaging paper business in Vietnam, anticipating growth in demand.
16:01 | 21/09/2021
UN Chief Highlights Vietnam As a Strong Partner of The UN National

UN Chief Highlights Vietnam As a Strong Partner of The UN

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), the nation has been making important contributions aimed at supporting sustainable peace, according to UN Secretary-General Atonio Guterres.
15:38 | 21/09/2021
10 Best Romantic Comedies To Watch Right Now On Netflix Handbook

10 Best Romantic Comedies To Watch Right Now On Netflix

Rom Coms never get old, and rom coms movie never fail to make us laugh and cry, lifting our spirit. From Notting Hill to The Lovebirds, here are the 10 best romantic comedies you can watch right now on Netflix.
15:28 | 21/09/2021
Phiên bản di động