When Saigon’s French administrators laid the 750m sweep of Charner Boulevard over a filled-in canal and down to the Saigon River, their brief was to replicate the elegance of a tree-lined Parisian boulevard, and in its day this broad avenue was known as the Champs Elysées of the East. These days, however, Nguyen Hué, as it is now known, is a mish-mash of architectural styles and has little character except on Sundays and at festival time. Each Sunday evening, the city’s trendsetting youth converge here and on nearby Dong Khoi on their motorbikes, to circle round and round, girlfriends riding pillion, in a strange ritual that recreates the traffic jams that they suffer through on weekdays. During Tet the street also bursts into life, hosting a vast, riotously colourful flower market which draws Vietnamese belles in their thousands to pose in their best ao dai among the roses, sunflowers, chrysanthemums and conical orange trees.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

How graffiti is saving the rhino in Ho Chi Minh City

How graffiti is saving the rhino in Ho Chi Minh City

The world’s rhino population is in stark decline: in the last forty years it has plummeted by 95 per cent. Yet, in Ho Chi Minh City there's a fightback brew…

13 Mar 2018 • Freya Godfrey local_activity Special feature
Motorbiking through Vietnam: a nation at a crossroads

Motorbiking through Vietnam: a nation at a crossroads

Vietnam is at a crossroads. A country where gleaming megacities in the making are encased in a countryside of cascading rice paddies and hill tribe villages. N…

03 Jan 2018 • Neil McQuillian local_activity Special feature
7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

The verdant limestone stacks of Ha Long Bay and the bustling streets of Hanoi are well established (and essential) stops along Vietnam’s tourist trail. But th…

02 Nov 2017 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right