Tao Dan Park is one of the most attractive destinations in Saigon. It’s an ideal place for morning exercise and relaxing at the weekend.
One of the city’s most attractive green spaces is 10-hectare Tao Dan Park, its bench-lined walks shaded with avenues of towering tropical trees, including flame trees and vast Sao Den and So Khi trees. It’s fascinating to visit in the early morning and late afternoon when thousands of locals exercise. Also noteworthy is the daily flocking here of the city’s bird lovers (mainly elderly gentlemen), who arrive, cages in hand, at what is universally known as the bird cafe.
The park is split down the middle by Truong Dinh street. To the northeast of Truong Dinh street is a small contemporary sculpture garden and the old Cercle Sportif, an elite sporting club during the French colonial period and now the Labour Culture Palace with tennis courts, a colonnaded art deco swimming pool and a clubhouse.
What to do
Competing for the title of most impressive canopy of tropical trees in Saigon, Tao Đàn Park is a vast space in the city centre; the green lungs between the exhaust-stained arteries of downtown. Towering, century-old, African mahogany trees cast a welcome shadow over this park. Their columned trunks rise a hundred feet before exploding in foliage, filtering the heat, noise, and pollution of the city. Far beneath this leafy umbrella, hundreds of locals shake the lethargy of dawn from their bones by joining in communal dance classes, shadow boxing with friends, hula-hooping on the pathways, or swinging like a pendulum on the exercise apparatus. Unlike the rest of Vietnam, the average age here in the mornings is upwards of 50 years old: early morning exertion in the open air is a tradition which seems unlikely to pass down to the younger generation. Tao Đàn Park also displays some arts and culture: There’s an interesting sculpture garden to the east, a miniature re-creation of a red brick Cham Temple at the centre, and a shrine to the Hung Kings, legendary founding royal dynasty of the nation.
Located in Saigon’s District 1, Tao Dan has long entertained residents and vistors to Ho Chi Minh City. Feel the serenity of the lush green space as you go for an early morning or evening stroll. Bask under the shady trees in the afternoon. Given that Saigon’s busy Truong Dinh intersects Tao Dan Park, you wouldn’t know it by the fresh air and sense of calm the park radiates.
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.
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