Saigon's Graffiti Problem

Saigon Jun 5, 2021

Graffiti is an issue that seems to be ignored in the mainstream media here in Ho Chi Minh City. There was one VNExpress article that covered the damage done by graffiti vandals back in 2018. Three years later, nobody seems to want to cover this issue anymore.

It needs to be covered.

One morning I woke up in the morning and looked out the window. This is what I saw:

One morning in January, 2021, I woke up to this. This is located in District 1 of Saigon.
One morning in January, 2021, I woke up to this. This is located in District 1 of Saigon.

It is all over the city. Wherever I ride my motorcycle now, I see graffiti. It is something I first noticed  back in July, 2017, when I was walking from District 4 to District 1.

One time I even remember seeing the "Ghost" signature with some graffiti as I was walking. Later when riding between District 7 and District 4, I would see more graffiti along the road and the "Ghost" signature. "Ghost" got nabbed in Kyoto, Japan after being caught tagging in the city.. At the time, his Instagram was still public which he tags in Saigon. He was deported from Japan. Problem Japan.

Graffiti from Thao Dien to District 1

As I mentioned, on my motorcycle rides, I do see more and more graffiti. One day I took an alternate route from Thao Dien to District 1 along the Nguyen Huu Canh Street. Along the route home, there were three large pockets of graffiti vandalism.

Graffit starts immediately on both sites before the tunnel in Saigon, Vietnam.
Graffit starts immediately on both sites before the tunnel.
Graffiti at the entrance on Nguyen Huu Canh in Saigon, Vietnam.
Graffiti at the entrance.
t at the metro project site in District 1 in Saigon, Vietnam
Graffit at the metro project site in District 1.
This is graffit at the beginning of Ham Nghi street in District 1 in Saigon, Vietnam.
This is graffit at the beginning of Ham Nghi street in District 1.

Below is the video I posted on the entire ride. You can see the three timestamps at the actual YouTube page for this video.

This ride included passing three large areas of graffiti damage in Saigon.

And it keeps going...

There are videos posted by local Vietnamese of foreigner tourists vandalizing shops in the late evenings. Another Expat was videod "painting" some graffiti art in District 7. Many shops have sliding gates that are closed for security. At night you can see a lot of these types of vandalism. The rest are located on utilities poles, fences, etc. Just look at the VNExpress article to see where the vandalism are occuring in Ho Chi Minh City.

Here is a clip vandalising one of the gates at night in Saigon:

Graffiti vandalism in Saigon.

There are actually more people posting videos of their graffiti bombing in Saigon. Both foreigners and locals are involved in this though some forums, each blame each other.

Outside my room

The graffiti outside my room was eventually covered up. You do see this around construction sites now but eventually the graffiti vandals return. Imagine how much it will be cost to repair all the damage from the vandals.

Took about three months before it was finally covered.

Other Expat views of Graffiti vandalism

Turns out I am not the only person that is commenting about the current graffiti vandalism in the city. This expat just posted a video blog about it one week prior to this post entry:


Something needs to be done.

Brighter lights?

Stricter penalties?

Social media campaigns?

It is hard to say but Saigon is not the only city that is experiencing this. Still, something needs to be done.

The current graffiti vandalism is making Saigon less beautiful day by day.



A Japanese Amerasian's Journey from the Caspian Sea to Vietnam. I am a RPCV Kazakhstan and a former US Marine. I am also the Tech, Social Media & Marketing guy for Baba's Kitchen.

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