To get a perspective of Ho Chi Minh City I headed for the Bitexco Financial Tower the day after I first arrived in the city. It wasn’t difficult to find, and for the next few weeks when I became lost wandering down narrow lanes and through bustling market places, the Tower showed me the way home.
Designed by American architect Carlos Zapata and inspired by Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus, the Bitexco Financial Tower is a landmark in the Central Business District of Ho Chi Minh City. To the Vietnamese, the lotus is a symbol of purity, commitment and optimism. The building represents the energy and aspirations of the country’s people in the new and dynamic Vietnam.
The building is 68 stories high, with a public observation deck (“Saigon Sky Deck”) on the 49th floor. And oh my! The views! 360 degree views through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows which are all around the deck.
On the 50th floor is the restaurant and the buffet lunch at 323000 Vietnamese Dong (approximately $15) is incredible value; a smorgasbord of deliciously fresh Vietnamese fare.
What could be finer than sitting in the diner (restaurant – excuse the silly little rhyme), sipping on a wine, sampling the tastes of Vietnamese food whilst taking in the kaleidoscope of historical buildings, run-down dwellings, rusty rooftops, boats of trade on the Saigon river, bikes, new high modern office buildings, and evidence of people for as far as the eye can see.