Monday, February 6, 2012

Bitexco Tower, Ho Chi Minh City

I have a confession to make. I am not particularly enamoured of big towers.
My Freudian readers can make of it what they will, but I am largely uninterested in the enormous concrete and steel erections that seem to be springing up all over Asia.
But I couldn't resist a trip up Saigon's new-ish Bitexco Tower, a quite beautiful building that is the tallest in Ho Chi Minh City and is said to symbolise a lotus bud.

Saigon hair stylist Kien Nguyen and a pictorial representation of Bitexco Tower inside Bitexco Tower. Very po-mo.

I don't quite see the bud myself, but it is nonetheless a striking-looking building that stands out in a reasonably low-rise city.
Getting up costs around $10, which is a bargain by big tower standards (you need to mortgage your house to take a trip up Sydney's sad old Centerpoint Tower).
Once up there it is cool and slick and almost empty. My Vietnamese companions loved the outing, though they were perplexed by what they saw - the Vietnamese inability to read maps (it doesn't seem to be taught in schools) meant that viewing the city from this elevation seemed to confuse them.

The view over Saigon from the Bitexco Tower

There is also a monster telescope which is meant to be amazing at night, but apparently is useless doing the day.

Kien Nguyen checking out the big telescope

The standard telescopes arranged around the viewing tower are free to use and excellent.
It's actually quite fascinating to view this constantly developing city from above, and I think it was money well spent.

Cute tattooed Japanese guy we flirted with

The boys pose for a shot outside the tower inside the tower. I love this stuff.

The Bitexco Tower (centre) viewed from a ferry on the Saigon River
My friend Hai looking out over Saigon from the Bitexco Tower observation deck
Go now before the locals discover it and it becomes insanely crowded.

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