Mar 11 2013

Parks in Saigon

Published by at 9:51 am under Sightseeing & activities


To outsiders, Saigon is a sprawling, concrete metropolis, but the city does have its share of green spaces scattered about that are very popular with locals. If you happen to be in the mood for a shaded sit, or a quiet stroll, here are a few parks to enjoy free of charge in Ho Chi Minh City.

Rawr.

Rawr.

Located just behind the Reunification Palace, Tao Dan Park is one of the bigger green spaces you’ll find downtown. A neat, manicured area mostly shaded by large trees, the first thing that may jump out at you are the park’s large, elaborate plant sculptures of animals, such as tigers and dragons. If you really dig on sculptures, you can find a proper sculpture garden on the small sliver of the park separated by Truong Dinh, the one-way street that crosses through the park.

Besides sculptures and shrines, Tao Dan is a place of activity. In the morning you can find a variety of city dwellers enjoying badminton, practising tai chi, or showing off their prized caged birds. In the evening, go to the park to see people working out on the public exercise machines in the park’s north corner; or join in an early afternoon aerobics class, which is free and draws dozens of participants.

Seasonal decorations are patriotic.

Seasonal decorations are patriotic.

A park most visitors to the city will walk through, as it offers a quiet path from the Saigon backpacker area to Ben Thanh market, 23-9 Park is a thin park that stretches the length of Pham Ngu Lao. Named after the anniversary of the day Ho Chi Minh rallied the newly independent Vietnam against the returning French in 1945, this is another good park to cool down and people watch.

Inside the shaded park you’ll find various gazebos, a small amphi-theatre and a small playground for children, as well as plenty of room for exercise and lounging. The park becomes particularly active at night, when it fills with locals who sit along the ground and buy drinks and snacks from vendors who line the park’s edge. More than an everyday park, 23-9 comes to life during special events and holidays, especially Tet, when the park hosts concerts, festivals and flower markets.

The happy couple-to-be.

The happy couple-to-be.

Outside of District 1, in the more suburban District 7, Ho Ban Nguyet Park, or Crescent Park, is a popular park for couples. Next to the Crescent Mall and shopping area off Nguyen Van Linh, during the day the park is less active, as it lacks the shade of the downtown parks. This makes it one of the more popular spots among locals for wedding photos and, at any given time during the day, you’ll see five or six couples posing for portraits. At night, when the sun goes down, the park becomes much more active but is still popular as a romantic hangout. Couples walk hand in hand along the waterfront park and across its long metal, pedestrian-only bridge and enjoy the peace and quiet that can only be found outside of District 1.

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One response so far

One Response to “Parks in Saigon”

  1. hilaryseatteron 14 Mar 2013 at 3:51 pm

    We went to Suoi Tien Theme Park and we loved it. We went early on a Monday and it was lovely and quiet with no queues and in fact as the only Western tourists I think we became park attractions!

    Our hotel, Evergreen, wrote bus number and instructions on a bit of paper, 10 minutes later we are on a local bus for 30p and heading towards our destination. Easy!!!

    Loved the temples and the kitchy rides…hilarious and so Vietnamese…the zoo is probably best avoiding if you have kids or are sensitive.

    Dolphin show was brilliant and we were allowed private time feeding and petting the dolphins after the show…they are happy and appeared to notice my blond hair and blue eyes…as did everyone else in the park!

    We enjoyed having our photos taken by locals who seemed to flavour my hubby as a subject companion..just go with the flow and Vietnam comes to life.

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