Although it’s one of the tallest buildings in Vietnam, Bitexco Tower’s popularity and splendid elegance are dwarfed by it’s loftier peers in South East Asia – I’m looking at you Petronas Towers and Marina Bay Sands! Completed in 2010 it’s glamorous design took it’s cues from Vietnam’s iconic lotus flower and it stands proud, towering above everything in the city. It can be seen from thousands of the district’s outlying rooftops and can come in handy to get your bearings when lost in this almost dead-flat city. Although containing a shopping mall, cinema, sky-high restaurant, observation deck and bar it’s mainly used as office space in a city centre that’s severely lacking of it.
In terms of worldwide popularity, little is known of the allure and beauty of the blossom inspired structure and the other day I contemplated why. I came to one possible conclusion that, simply, it’s just a tad hard to get an impressive and more importantly, unique photo of the Bitexco tower. Between the prepping the camera you’ve got to deal with overhanging buildings, compact streets with dodging whizzing motorbikes, honking buses and shuffling people, it’s a challenge to say the least.
Unlike in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, there’s no park, lake or open area surrounding it to showcase it’s architectural beauty. A picture says a thousand words and less photos means less words and in turn a reduction in exposure for this city’s shy cover girl.
As more money comes in, more skyscrapers go up around Bitexco Tower, which is smack bang in the middle of Saigon’s seemingly uncoordinated CBD. Comparing to five years ago, it doesn’t have the chance to standout as much as it did, particularly at street level, and I fear that the more the financial skyline changes the more it’s sexy curves will be hidden from our prying eyes.
Across the Saigon River from the glorious green area of Thu Thiem is the best place and one of the only places you can get an almost complete view of Bitexco Tower. Getting here though is a little tricky without local guidance and the entire area is earmarked for future development. No doubt that’ll close off this area for many years.
Thu Thiem, to be sure, it’s my favourite place in Saigon but from a photography point of view it’s hard to get an inspiring angle from this far away. That’s my opinion anyhow. So, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge – to photograph as much of this curvaceous beauty close up, while I still can.
Watch this space.