Saigon parks: part 2

What we say: 3.5 stars

Though Saigon’s streets can feel grey and congested, scattered throughout the city are green spaces worth seeking out. We’ve highlight some parks around HCMC before, but really barely scratched the surface of what there is to find. If you’re looking for some green places to relax, here are a few more to choose from.

Pull my finger.

Pull my finger. Just try it.

Following the Ton Duc Thang waterfront in District 1, Bach Dang Park is one of Saigon’s better ones for an early morning jaunt along the river. Although the park is fairly narrow, it stretches down a considerable length of heavily used waterfront. The cornerstone of the park is the roundabout toward the centre, where you’ll find a fountain and statue of Tran Hung Dao, the legendary 13th century war hero famous for running the Mongols out of Vietnam. This is a good, shaded spot to sit and watch some of Saigon’s crazy traffic, both on land and in the water. It’s not the most shaded of parks overall, so visit early morning or late afternoon. The park also offers easy access to several of HCMC’s riverboat restaurants and dinner tours, while across the street are some of Saigon’s more popular five-star hotels, such as the Legend and the Majestic.

You usually see this as your taxi cruises by.

You usually see this as your taxi cruises by.

Outside of HCMC’s downtown area, on the border of the Phu Nhuan and Thanh Binh districts, Hoang Van Thu Park is another interesting park worth a visit. More familiar to most as ‘the park you pass when going to or coming from the airport,’ the triangular park occupies the space created by the intersecting streets of Tran Quoc Hoan, Hoang Van Thu and Phan Dinh Giot. At the north tip of the park you’ll see the area’s most visible landmark, a large metal monument. The spacious park has a few nuggets hidden of interest hidden within, including a large, mostly dry, grass-filled lake, a circular restaurant and a playground. Busy at all times of the day, locals come here to exercise during the day and to snuggle with their sweetheart at night.

Open spaces and old Tet decorations.

Open spaces and old Tet decorations.

Another spot outside District 1, Van Thanh Park off Dien Bien Phu is one of HCMC’s bigger but quieter parks. The main draw to the park is its space; covering roughly five and a half hectares, the peaceful park has an expansive, open field and a large lake surrounded by small gazebos. Thanks to its large area, Van Thanh has become a hotspot for outdoor festivals, particularly around Tet and Reunification Day. The park is home to a modestly priced Vietnamese buffet restaurant, some sport courts and one of the city’s nicer public pools. And like many parks around the city, during the evening hours the park begins to fill with young couples looking to share a bit of romance.

Last updated: 18th September, 2014

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