Storm of the Century in Saigon


It all started at around 3:45 PM today.  I was on my motorbike in District 5 when the first drops of the rain fall came.  It immediately turned into a downpour that ended up lasting for 1 and a half hours.  I expected it would stop after about 10 minutes but it did not.  I then headed back, in the rain, towards District 1 where I had an appointment at 4:30 PM at Mekong Securities.

Oh God, it was a downpour all the way there.  Due to the heavy rain, I could only go about 15 kph.  My high quality rain coat started to soak through when I hit District 1.  It was worthless by the time I got to Mekong Securities at about 4:30 PM.  I was drenched and spent nearly 30 minutes drying my clothes under the hand dryer in the restroom.

At about 6:30 PM, the rain started to taper off.  The security guard bought me a new rain poncho and then I headed back to the Phu Nhuan District so I can meet a friend.  At this time, roughly everyone in the city decided it was dry enough to go home.  Dien Tien Hoang street was packed.

As I got to Vo Thi Sau, I made my first big mistake.  Instead of turning left unto Vo Thi Sau, I decided to take a sidestreet to Tran Quang Khai street.  As I got towards the end of the street, it started to backup.  I ended up staying at the intersection until roughly 8 PM, yeah, I waited one and a half hours.  Traffic was backed up at the interesection and it would not move.

At 8:15 PM, after I got passed Tran Quang Khai on another side street, I understood why it was backed up.  Going down Hai Ba Trung into the Phu Nhuan District, I saw something I never saw before.  Normally Hai Ba Trung floods over during a heavy rainstorm.  Well, since it lasted so long today, the water was much higher than normal.  Nearly knee deep in some places.  Cars, trucks, and motorbikes were backed up to the bridge near Tran Quang Khai.

All of the small motorbikes (Mios, Attilas, etc.) parked on the side before the water.  All the big cars, Nouvos, SHs, Hayates, etc., were the only ones brave enough to enter the water.  I had a new Nouvo that sat high.  I decided to follow a Nouvo 3 through the water keeping an eye of his muffler.  It stayed above water most of the way but he and I managed to get past the flood.  Many of the Waves and Clicks and small cars were flooded half way through the water (the flood was about a block long).

I finally got home at about 8:30 PM soaked.  This was the worst storm and urban flooding I have seen in the city my four years in Saigon.  It is 10:20 PM now and I just heard that Hai Ba Trung is still packed with motorists stuck in the flood.  This was just one of the many flooded areas in the city.

Sorry, only one picture, it was still raining quite hard.

Traffic Jam near Tran Quang Khai street in Saigon
Traffic Jam near Tran Quang Khai street in Saigon


  1. Hey Kev! Sounds nasty mate. I lived in that area around TQK and HBT for three years so I know exactly what you are talking about. Last year I was stranded on TQK and couldn’t get to my apartments due to flooding….but this sounds much worse than anything I saw. I tell you, after reading that, I am NOT missing life in Saigon…! (note…I mean Saigon and not Vietnam)

  2. It was the talk of the town on Saturday. It took some people 4 hours to get home. Taxis literally had to stop and drain the water out of their cars. I was actually lucky since I could get through the water.

    Yeah, for once I thought twice about living in Saigon but flooding is actually a problem throughout the country now. Once the infrastructure is put into place, I think much of the flooding will subside. Also, Friday’s flooding was mostly the result of blocked drains. People just got to stop putting their garbage on the drains.

    You start classes soon, right?

Comments are closed.