Other areas to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
Rest of District 1
The rest of the city centre is made up of Nguyen Binh Khiem and Ben Nghe and both have a good amount of things to do and see, which make them appealing places to stay in. The Nguyen Binh Khiem is home to the Vietnamese History Museum, which has classic items and objects from Vietnam’s history including traditional outfits, arts, armoury, utensils and much more.
The City Hall, statue of Uncle Ho, Saigon Zoo, Opera House and Galaxy Cinema Plaza are also found in the area, along with lots of cuisines, pubs and hotels. The Ben Nghe is a good sized area that includes various art galleries with many displays of art from local and national status artists on show. Another excellent tourist attraction is the Saigon Skydeck, which has an observation deck and restaurant with beautiful and mesmerizing views over the city. There are also botanical gardens and parks to relax in, which makes it a great place to stay in.
Thao Dien (District 2)
If you are looking for a break from the craziness of downtown, just head across the bridge into Thao Dien. Nestled into the curve of the river, this quiet village-like neighborhood is the perfect place for families looking for a safe area to stay. Because of its reputation as the “coolest neighborhood” in Ho Chi Minh, a mix of affluent locals, artists and expat families have made the area their home. With them came beautiful cafes, restaurants, boutique shops, breweries, and galleries. For a taste of literature, history, and fun, head over to the Kurtz’s by Heart of Darkness for the best craft beer in the city.
While Thao Dien does have more of a western influence then other places in the city, there are still plenty of authentic Vietnamese food options and culture to be had. Since the area is so peaceful, there are also empty streets where families can go for walks and explore the neighborhood without having to worry about the constant dodging of scooters - a necessary concern almost anywhere else in the city. Thao Dien is the perfect place for a family to escape the hustle and bustle after a long day of sightseeing.
Cholon (Chinatown- District 5)
If you want to stay in a more historical part of Ho Chi Minh, and outside all the main downtown attractions, visit Cholon. Found mostly in District 5, Cholon is Ho Chi Minh’s Chinatown district. The history of this area goes far back and once was actually its own city before both Cholon and Ho Chi Minh grew large enough to merge together.
The translation of Cholon is “big market” and the area lives up to its namesake. As one of the largest markets in the entire country, Binh Tay market is the best place to go if you want to experience the most chaotic and exciting style of shopping in Ho Chi Minh. A plus is that this market is much more authentic than others in the city and is stocked with goods that locals need for their everyday living. Because of this, there is far less hassling of tourists and you can really get a feel for what it is like to live in Ho Chi Minh.
Outside the market are plenty of other sites to see. Wander around to look at some of the old french-colonial architecture. This is one of the few places where older buildings are much more preserved. Get a glimpse of what the city looked like a hundred years ago. Interspersed amongst the old buildings are beautiful temples and cafes ready to be explored.
Phu Nhuan District
For the perfect balance between a modern city and traditional Vietnamese culture, stay in the Phu Nhuan District. As you make the quick ten minute drive to the area from downtown, you’ll see the skyscrapers fade and a less westernized Ho Chi Minh city appear. Unlike the other streets in the city, which use numbers and famous historical figure’s names, Phu Nhuan in some areas has streets named after flowers. That kind of kind of character has trickled down into every other part of the neighborhood
Walking through the streets you’ll find an unbelievable amount of gorgeous temples and pagodas dating back to as far as the nineteenth century. All of these are free to explore and you can learn more about the culture and religion of Vietnam.
Phu Nhuan is most famous for its food and is the perfect place to stay if you are a foodie. Because of the mix of influences in the area, you can find a wide array of foods from all over the world. Food vendors line the streets, letting you explore, experiment, and enjoy. It will be hard to make a wrong choice. Afterwards, head to one of the countless cafes nearby to grab a delicious milk-coffee in order to wake up from your recent feast.
Binh Thanh (District 2)
Binh Thanh is a great option for visitors who are looking for a place away from the tourists and expensive prices of downtown. Found in the middle of District 2, Binh Thanh is one of the cheapest places for food and accommodation in the city. Here you will experience what it is really like to be a local.
Wander down the labyrinth of alleyways and corridors that break off from the large main roads. This narrow maze of paths and homes offers a sanctuary from the roar of the traffic. You will most likely see children playing, families relaxing on their front steps, and small food vendors selling their spectacular homemade Banh Mi for fifty cents.
Once you’ve made it out onto the larger roads, venture through the many shops and restaurants available. Experience the real Ho Chi Minh city and eat in the delicious places shoulder to shoulder with local residents who are just coming back from work.
Binh Thanh also offers an escape to nature, with beautiful parks like Van Thanh, were you can relax and enjoy a break from the city stimulation. If you feel like fully embracing the local life, head to Thi Nghe Market to get some fresh ingredients to cook for dinner. If you value authenticity, Binh Thnh is for you.