Connecting District 1 and District 4 in Ho Chi Minh City, Cau Mong Bridge (Cầu Mống, Mong Bridge) is one of the oldest bridges and the only French-style bridge in the city. It has been one of the best places for young people to gather, have romantic dates, take amazing nice photos or simply enjoy the fresh air and wind on the bank of Ben Nghe Channel. The highlight of the over 100-year-old bridge is the emerald green color and its beautiful shape.
Location: near the crossroads of Vo Van Kiet and Pasteur Streets. CLICK HERE to see the location of the market on Google Maps.
History and names
The construction of the bridge was started in 1894 and completed in 1894. The bride was built by Messageries Maritimes – a French maritime transport company so that French people called it Messageries Maritimes Company Bridge. They also call this nice bridge Arenciel which means rainbow in English.
Vietnamese people have called it Cầu Mống or Cầu Móng. There are many ways to explain why the bridge was called Cầu Mống. Some people believe that it was the first bridge that had foundation (móng) in the city. Móng and Mống have similar sounds so that the bridge is called Cầu Móng or Cầu Mống. It has been told that the bridge looks like a rainbow which means cầu vồng or mống in Vietnamese. So that the rainbow shaped bridge is called Cầu Mống (Rainbow Bridge).
At first, the bridge was designed for vehicles and pedestrians. Later, it has become a pedestrian bridge.
In the 2000s, Mong Bridge was dismantled due to the construction of East-West Highway and Thu Thiem Tunnel.
After the completion of the highway and the tunnel, parts of Cau Mong Bridge was reinstalled. They also built staircases for pedestrians.
Cau Mong Bridge is 128 m long, 5.2 m wide, the pavement is 0.5 m wide. Inspired by Western bridges built at the end of the 19th century, Cau Mong is built with steel. As mentioned above, the bridge is painted emerald green color which makes it prominent. It is like an emerald green crystal in the middle of modern concrete and glass buildings.
Cau Mong Bridge – the love bridge
Vietnamese people do not only call this beautiful bridge Rainbow Bridge but also Love Bridge. There are dozens of locks with names of couples.
Cau Mong Bridge – a perfect place to take beautiful photos
This romantic bridge and Ben Nghe Channel have become a famous place to take nice photos. Beautiful Vietnamese girls and couples usually come here and pose for pictures. It is one of the top places to take wedding photos in Ho Chi Minh City. Not only Vietnamese but also foreigners are attracted by the steel bridge which is known as the historical beauty for many decades and love to take pictures with it.
Cau Mong Bridge – a good place to enjoy the night in Saigon
In the evening, Saigon people usually gather at the foot of Cau Mong Bridge sip some Vietnamese coffee or other refreshing drinks. There is no luxurious coffee shop but drink stalls with plastic tables and chairs. They can also sit on wooden benches. Here, visitors enjoy drinks while eating some snacks and chatting leisurely.
The historic, cultural and architectural design values of Cau Mong
Cau Mong Bridge is one of the constructions which have been existed for hundreds of years and contain historic, cultural and architectural design values in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
River culture and “trên bến dưới thuyền” culture of Saigon
Most of the big cities and towns, economic and cultural centers in in Vietnam appeared along rivers and channels. Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City have huge systems of waterways. Saigon River is not wide but deep enough, this river and the complex network of channels make the city unique. It is the reason why Ho Chi Minh has more than 200 big and small bridges. Cau Mong Bridge is one of the oldest bridges in the city, it is a part of the transport system of the city and reflects the feature of Saigon river culture.
Vietnamese people from Central and North Vietnam reclained the wasteland on the western bank of Ben Nghe Channel. Streets, piers, stores, markets, factories were built along the channel. Vietnamese people call the scene trên bến dưới thuyền (above piers below boats). Both two sides of the channel were developed so that it needs to build bridges across the channel.
The French architectural work
The French colonial set its Indochina headquarters in Saigon – Gia Dinh for nearly a century. They left lots of architectural heritages in the city. Built at the end of the 19th century, Cau Mong Bridge has characteristics of Western architecture in the 19th century.
In 1859, the French attacked and took over Saigon, most of the constructions on the banks of Saigon river and channels were burned or destroyed. They planned and built a new urban area. Streets along Saigon River and channels were main streets, and their perpendicular streets were smaller, these streets form a grid or chess. They also built bridges across waterways.