Negotiating the concrete jungle in Ho Chi Minh City


As you walk the lively streets of Ho Chi Minh City, you realise space on the ground is sparse.

Clothing shops, souvenir merchants and food vendors flood the city’s footpaths and protrude onto its roads.

But often, it’s an equally bustling scene when you look towards the clouds.

Companies propelling HCMC’s growth advertise on buildings formed as a result of urban consolidation, and, their investment

With a population count that’s at around 8 million, and constantly on the increase, uncontrolled urban sprawl is taking place, and a major problem for city planners.

Sometimes the best way to go – is up.

Stairs leading to another level

It’s not unusual for existing complexes to be consolidated, with the homes of many locals lying above the shops that line the roads.

Balconies overlook the streetscape and the shops below

Residential apartments above a convenience store in HCMC

There aren’t multitudes of skyscrapers like that of Singapore or Hong Kong, but the residential complexes help give the city a distinct and active atmosphere.

Many buildings feature soft, pastel colours, forming part of the atmosphere of HCMC

Parks may be scant on the ground, but personal gardens flourish on balconys and crawl up concrete walls.

Rooftop gardens are a common sight

A garden sanctuary high above the ground

These pictures from Kai Hayes aim to highlight the complexity, and beauty of the city, high above the street level.

Clothes hung out to dry on a local's balcony

Different styles of residential buildings in HCMC


About Author

Kai Hayes

Kai Hayes is entering his third year at the University of Queensland, studying a dual degree in a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Business Management. He currently works as a Social Media Producer in the Nine Network’s Brisbane newsroom and has a keen interest in politics, aviation and music. Kai hopes the experience in Vietnam will assist with ambitions to one day live and work overseas as a producer or reporter in broadcast journalism.

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