There are scams and annoyances in any public park that you need to avoid, but you should give the public parks in Ho Chi Minh City a try when visiting the city. Here are some of the most favorite public parks in Ho Chi Minh City where you can enjoy the wonderful nature and green as well as experience a lot of fun activities and meet with the locals.
Detailed Guide: What to Do at 23/9 Park
Quach Thi Trang Roundabout, Le Lai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
The location was the Saigon Railway Station before 1975 and used to be called the “Black Hole Of Saigon” after the station was destroyed and the area was abandoned during the 90s. Since 23/9 Public Park was founded, this location has never been the ‘Black Hole Of Saigon’ anymore because there are many green trees, and locals come here for a lot of fun featured events.
Located in downtown Ho Chi Minh City, 23/9 Park is near many other famous attractions in Ho Chi Minh City like Bui Vien Walking Street, Ben Thanh Market, and Nguyen Hue Walking Street. You can choose this park as a place to relax and enjoy the fresh air or visit it on the weekend, trying traditional street foods and buying clothes at the underground Sense Market.
Because there are many Vietnamese students who usually come here for self-study or team-building activities, it is also a good place for you to meet and talk with the locals; they want to make conversation with travelers from other countries to practice speaking foreign languages and learn the culture.
Detailed Guide: A Tao Dan Park Review
55C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
With more than 1,000 trees in a 100,000-square-meter garden, Tao Dan is considered the “Green Lung” and one of the largest public parks in Ho Chi Minh City. The locals come to the park every early morning, to exercise, meet friends, and talk about daily work or hot news in the articles. There are also many exercise utilities in this park and a playground for children.
One of the important attractions of Tao Dan Park is the Hung Kings Temple. It was built in 1992 and renovated in 2010. Here is the place for Vietnamese to memorize the Hung Kings, the founders of the country.
Annually, on Vietnamese Tet or Lunar New Year, Ho Chi Minh City’s Spring Flowers Festivals are taken place in Tao Dan Park. On those days, the park will be decorated with very colorful and beautiful flowers and crowded with people from around the city coming and seeing the charm of spring. There are also many other events, festivals, and sale market sessions held in Tao Dan Park on the weekends.
The intersection of Le Duan and Pasteur Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
This park is between two famous attractions in Ho Chi Minh City that are the Independence Palace and the Notre Dame Cathedral. It just takes you less than one minute to walk from 30/4 Park to those places. It is also a perfect place for photoshoots, dating, or holding events like Book Festivals for Children and Food Festivals.
30/4 Park was named after Vietnam Reunification Day, the 30th of April. Located near the busy streets of Ho Chi Minh City, the park could bring you a peaceful atmosphere with shades of trees to relax and enjoy the city view in a different way. Like other parks, 30/4 Park is a good place to meet with people, take a rest and avoid the hot weather of Ho Chi Minh City.
Ca phe bet or makeshift street coffee is a unique experience you can get at 30/4 Park. The drink itself is like other Vietnamese coffees, but the experience will be different; you can sit flat on the ground of the park and enjoy your cup of coffee. Just find a spot and sit down, the vendors will come and ask you immediately. They sell a lot of things, from drinks to street foods almost 24/7 in this park, so it is convenient for those who need to try the street style in Ho Chi Minh City. Unfortunately, this activity has been limited in the area, but you can still find ca phe bet on the street sides nearby.
In the block of Vo Thi Sau, Dien Bien Phu, Hai Ba Trung and Phan Liem Street (Dakao Ward, District 1)
Before 1975, this place was a cemetery for French soldiers, high-ranking politicians, military leaders, and leading members of the Southern Vietnam government. In 1983, the local authority of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam decided to move the cemetery to another place, establishing a park on it and named the park Le Van Tam, a legendary hero in Indochina War.
Le Van Tam is not as big as other parks in Ho Chi Minh City, but it is chosen to be the place to hold many big events such as International Food Festival and Ho Chi Minh City Book Festival. The Book Festival is organized every two years and is one of the biggest book festivals in Ho Chi Minh City.
Le Van Tam Park is a place for people to exercise, chat, take a rest under the shade of trees, or admire beautiful flowers here. Young Vietnamese people also often come here to play guitars and do team building. Recently, a plan to build a modern underground parking lot beneath the park was launched; if it is a success, it could be a solution to the shortage of parking lot in District 1.
In the block of Hoang Van Thu, Tran Quoc Hoan, and Phan Dinh Giot Street (Ward 2, Tan Binh District)
The most special feature in the design of Hoang Van Thu Park is an elegant white sculpture rising into the air, representing the desire to develop and thrive of the city. Hoang Van Thu Park is also called the “Green Oasis” of Ho Chi Minh City because it is always cooled by the shades of trees and a small lake in the middle, which attracts a lot of birds.
Located quite far from the busy central districts in Ho Chi Minh City (only 2 km from Tan Son Nhat Airport), it is a beautiful place for a getaway where people, especially wed couples come for artistic pictures or enjoy the fresh air and beauty of nature. The locals also usually gather here for studying or spend quality time with their families after long hours at work.
In the block of Hoang Minh Giam, Hong Ha and Pham Van Dong Street, Ward 9, Phu Nhuan District
Gia Dinh Park is one of the largest public parks in Ho Chi Minh City, located in both Phu Nhuan District and Go Vap District. With the majority area covered by grass and rows of tall trees providing cool shades and clean air, Gia Dinh Park is absolutely wonderful for exercises in the early morning or evening, and a great spot for picnics and gatherings.
There is also a small amusement area for children which has been operated since 2012 inside Gia Dinh Park. It brings many healthy activities. The amusement area is divided into different sections with many healthy activities for children in Ho Chi Minh City like water games in the summertime.
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In the corner of Nam Ky Khoi Nghia and Ly Tu Trong Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1
Bach Tung Diep Park is quite small, compared to other parks in Ho Chi Minh City, but it is recently turned into a street foods paradise with 15 kiosks opening daily from 6 AM - 9 AM and 11 AM - 2 PM. It is an effort of local authority to keep the Vietnamese street foods style both fun and safe for the locals as well as visitors from other countries. At each kiosk, there are tables and chairs for customers to try the foods immediately in front of the pushcart peddler. There is also a parking lot available for visitors and vendors, so it is very convenient to come and try Vietnamese street foods.
All the foods were cooked at home and brought to the park, so you may not have to wait for too long in line. And the prices are very reasonable; the most expensive dish is just VND 30,000. Some popular food like Bun cha ca (thick noodle soup with grilled fish) is sold at VND 20.000, or breakfast with a hot crab soup only costs VND 15,000.
Trying a dish in Bach Tung Diep Park, you not only experience authentic Vietnamese foods but also help the vendors make ends meet. The local authority prioritizes these lots for poor vendors to help them with a place to do business and improve their living.
Next to Crescent Mall, Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phong Ward, District 7
Located in one of the modern residential areas, Crescent Lake is a perfect location to freshen up after having a fun time in shopping malls or delicious meals in many restaurants on Nguyen Duc Canh Street. You can also visit here on big holidays like Christmas and New Year's Eve when the lake will be more colorful with decorated lights. The Crescent Lake Park is also where one of the biggest flower festivals, besides one on Nguyen Hue Walking Street, takes place annually on Vietnamese Tet.
Starlight Bridge (Cau Anh Sao) is another highlight of the park. It is one of the most beautiful bridges in Ho Chi Minh City, especially at night. There are fine streams watering from both sides and dying by colorful neon lights under the bridge. Standing on the Starlight Bridge, you can have a whole view of Crescent Lake and enjoy the peace of life in the busy city.
Public parks play an important part in the city landscape, as a green lung and a playground for both the locals and the visitors. Coming to public parks in Ho Chi Minh City, you will experience many things in the city in a different way like sightseeing, meeting and talking with locals, trying street foods, and shopping in sale market sessions.
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I live in district 7 and the cresent bridge is just so-so, not sure what the hype is about with the locals.