Stepping onto most streets in Ho Chi Minh City means dancing between cars, cyclos, street vendors and other pedestrians. That is not the case with Nguyen Hue Street, however, as this thoroughfare in the southern Vietnamese city has recently been pedestrianised to turn it into a cultural hub.
Visitors are already able to see the changes afoot, with a total of 430 billion dong (£12.76 million) to be spent on developing the project. It is hoped that the outdoor space will become a place for locals and tourists alike to come and enjoy various attractions.
An oasis in the city
To find Nguyen Hue Street, those visiting the city should head to the People’s Committee office building, as the street stretches from here to Bach Dang Wharf on the Sai Gon River. As well as not allowing cars to pass at certain times of the day, it features a paved area and some beautifully manicured gardens.
One of the first things to notice upon arriving on Nguyen Hue Street, is the stunning new fountain that has been installed in front of Sun Wah Tower. This brand new feature sees jets shooting up in the air and offering a welcome break to the heat of the city.
During the day, children take delight in cooling off under the streams of water, but at night, the fountain takes on a totally different note. It is lit up with a series of multicoloured bulbs to offer a stunning light show that will enchant all those going for an evening stroll.
While the authorities have made a good start on Nguyen Hue Street, there is still more to be added to Ho Chi Minh City’s newest cultural hub. Over time, 3D art installations will become a feature of this up-and-coming area of the metropolis.
Statue of an icon
At the heart of the street is a statue of Ho Chi Minh, the revolutionary leader who gave the city its name. There has always been a representation of the man that the Vietnamese call Uncle Ho on Nguyen Hue Street, but this latest incarnation has been specially built in conjunction with the thoroughfare’s overhaul.
It was created by sculptor and painter Lam Quang Noi and positioned centre stage in front of the People’s Committee offices for all to see. Unveiled on what would have been Ho Chi Minh’s 125th birthday earlier this year, the statue is 7.2 metres high atop a 2.7-metre base and sees the revered leader reaching out a hand of friendship to the passing crowds.
A place to relax
Another development along the street will be the proliferation of benches for people to sit on and relax. Perhaps you’ll use them to take in your surroundings, look at the map or simply take the weight off. What you will be sitting on is no ordinary bench, however, as it will be constructed from 100-year-old trees cut down in front of the Municipal Theatre to make way for the new Metro system. The first set has already been put in place, but eventually there will be no fewer than 160 of these benches populating Nguyen Hue Street.
Post a selfie
Those keen to show off where they are or what they have been up to in Ho Chi Minh City that day on social media, can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi provided on Nguyen Hue Street. The high-speed connection has the capacity to allow many people to access it at once and is available 24 hours a day.