It is a big challenge for anyone, even for those who were born and grew up in HCM City--to find out correct addresses where they need to visit because of the chaos in naming roads Vietnam’s largest city.
A health center on "High Voltage" Road.
Reel with street names
In the French-ruled period, most of roads in Saigon were named after French military officers and some famous French men like Alexandre de Rhoche or Pasteur.
After 1954, the southern regime changed road names after Vietnamese well-known men. However, the change of road names did not raise difficulty for anyone because street-name signs had two names, the large-sized names were the new, official names and the under, small-sized names were the old names.
Recently, many new roads with very odd names have appeared and naturally recognized by local people, for example “High Voltage” road, “Under Saigon Bridge Pier” road, “Along Japan Canal” road, “Road to Binh Dien Shopping Mall”, “Main Road of Ward 13”, etc. It is a big challenge for anyone, even people who were born and grew up in HCM City, to find a correct address in these new streets.
According to the HCM City Department of Transportation, around 60 percent of roads in the city are not named yet. No-name roads have caused a lot of troubles for local residents. As a result, they have named roads themselves. Surprisingly, local governments have naturally accepted these names and used them officially.
HCM City also has many wrong street names, which have not been corrected yet. Notably, wrong names are the names of well-known men in Vietnam’s history. For example, the “Lương Nhữ Học” road must be “Lương Như Hộc”, “Hồ Huấn Nghiệp” must be “Hồ Huân Nghiệp”, etc.
Many road names are wrong in spelling, for example: “Phạm Văn Xão” (must be Xảo), “Ỹ Lan” (must be Ỷ Lan), “Nguyễn Bĩnh Khiêm” (must be Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm), Nguyễn Thương Hiền (must be Nguyễn Thượng Hiền), “Kha Vạn Cân” (must be Kha Vạng Cân”, etc.
Mr. Hai Cu, who has been living in HCM City for several decades and is a senior xe om (motorbike taxi) driver at the Mien Dong bus station, said that he knew Saigon streets like the back of his hand but many times he failed to find out house numbers for his customers.
One house is numbered 39/2D and the another is numbered 76 on Pham Van Chieu Road.
He recalled: “Once a passenger from a central province asked me to take him to an address with clear house number and name street. We found that street but we could not find out the house with that number because house numbers on that street are numbered out of order. The street starts with big numbers and smaller ones but suddenly, house numbers are big again. There are also house numbers with “/”, which is used for houses on alleys. I surrendered and took my passenger to the local police station to ask for help.”
Chaos in house numbers is very popular in HCM City, especially in areas that are far from the city center. Some roads like Pham Van Chieu, Cay Tram, Thong Nhat, Quang Trung in Go Vap district, Xo Viet Nghe Tinh road in Binh Thanh district, CuuLong road in Tan Binh districts and several roads in District 8 have disordered house numbers. On these roads, there are houses with old numbers and those with new numbers and those with both old and new numbers. It is really a maze there.
The 11A Kindergarten on Cay Tram Road but its name sign is No. 846 of Quang Trung road. Facing this kindergarten is a house numbered 60/22 of Cay Tram Road. This house is between two houses numbered 44/25 and 90/56/30 of Le Van Tho Road.
HCM City in recent years implemented a project to change house numbers but this project has caused many troubles for local people.
HCM City to re-number houses
On Cay Tram road, the first house is numbered 48/6C and 550, the next house is numbered 548 and the last house is numbered 48/8A.
Under a new regulation on numbering houses, which took effect on June 10, 2010, residential areas where houses are numbered disorderly and houses on new roads will be numbered and re-numbered. People will have to pay fees of VND20,000-VND30,000 ($1.5) for new house numbers.
For houses in Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh, Tan Binh, Go Vap, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh and Cu Chi, houses will be numbered on the rise from east to west, south to north.
Houses in the residential area on the left bank of the Saigon River (District 2, 9 and Thu Duc) will be numbered on the rise from west to east, south to north. Houses in District 7, part of District 8, Binh Chanh and Can Gio will be numbered on the rise from east to west, north to south.
According to the HCM City Department of Construction, the city has adjusted more than 1.2 million house numbers since 1998. Around 100,000 house numbers must be re-named, mainly in Districts 7, 9, 12 and Binh Tan. The agency said this task will be finalized in two years.
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