A Complete Guide To Ho Chi Minh City’s Districts

Ho Chi Minh City Districts Guide

If you are moving to Ho Chi Minh City it is important to understand the neighbourhoods. Even if you are only visiting as a traveller, this guide will help you know what it is about in a nutshell to be able to chose the perfect place you want to find your hotel based on your desired itinerary.

You hear District 1, District 2, District 3, District 5 and others but what is the difference between them? In what district should you stay if you visit Ho Chi Minh City? Where is the best place to move to Saigon? Well after watching this amazingly done video and reading through our article, you will be a Saigon expert and will know everything there is to know about the Ho Chi Minh City Districts and whereabouts. This is actually a good guide for travellers visiting Saigon so make sure to share this to any friend that is planning to stay in Ho Chi Minh City. Don’t forget to leave your feedback in the comment section as we seek to always improve this guide! Also if you are going to Vietnam soon, here is the best way to get a SIM card in Vietnam.

Ho Chi Minh City is actually a HUGE city. There are places like District 9 that is far away and even other Districts with their own names and not numbered. Let’s dissect each districts that are useful to know with its highlights and our favourite spots in each of them for food, coffee and landmarks.

How many Districts does Ho Chi Minh City have?

There are 24 districts = 19 city districts and 5 suburban areas. In a nutshell, people like to describe District 1&2 as the downtown area or heart of Saigon itself. District 2 is the westerners district, District 5 is Chinatown, District 7 (Phu My Hung) is the other westerner district but way too far (haha). You must know that in each districts, there are other smaller sections which is commonly called “ward”. Since some districts are so huge, these wards can help people to locate addresses much easier. Ok now let’s start to talk about districts in order of most important ones to know of !

Probably the best Map out there by Codiemaps that is not Google Maps to understand the districts in Ho Chi Minh City.

District 1

District 1 is the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. It is considered as the business hub. District 1 is home to a lot of hotels, offices, restaurants, bars, clubs, consulates, banks and many of the best coffee shops of Ho Chi Minh city. There are residents in some buildings, both old and new. You can be surprised how there are so many wonderful AirBnb’s in very old buildings that look like they are ready to crumble down. In D1 you will find beautiful French architecture, busy markets like Ben Thanh Market tons of street food stalls. There are many things to do in Ho Chi Minh City so it is great area to base yourself for your first visit. If you are a single new expat in town, this place could be convenient for you to not commute too far whilst getting to know the city better.

Highlights of District 1 in Saigon

Places

  • Opera House
  • Bitexco Financial Tower
  • Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • City Hall
  • Ben Thanh Market
  • Nguyen Hue Walking Street
  • Yersin market

Restaurants & Bars

  • The Lunch Lady (Anthony Bourdain’s find)
  • Cục Gạch Quán
  • Breweries: Pasteur Street, Belgo, Winking Seal, Rogue
  • The Racha Room
  • Hum Vegetarian Café & restaurant
  • Bars: Sake Central, Renkon, Layla Eatery & Bar, Xu Bar
  • Bunker Bed and Breakfast (Stay, Eat, Drink!)
  • Snuffbox Speakeasy
  • Biker Shield
  • Marcel Gourmet Burger (Get poutine here!)

Coffee Shops

  • The Luke’s Cafe
  • L’Usine
  • The Vintage Emporium
  • The Workshop
  • Saigon Oi
  • Hoang Thi Cafe
  • Heritage ChinaTown
  • Click for more

 

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District 3

District 3 is around 2-3 KMs from smack bang middle of D1. It is the little extension of D1 and also considered as downtown and quite central Saigon. It has significantly more green and has more trees compared to District 1 and a fair bit ore of colonial architecture. You can find a lot of amazing street food eats in this area compared to D1 as well, in addition of shops by young Vietnamese entrepreneurs. It is slightly cheaper to stay in District 3, although it is still home to some great luxury hotels such as the Hotel Des Arts of MGallery by Sofitel. There is also a lot of homestays/AirBnb’s and a good place to find a small apartment or studio if you plan to stay for longer in town.

Highlights of District 3 in Saigon

Places

  • War Remnants Museum
  • Reunification Palace
  • Tan Dinh Church (Pink church)
  • Xa Loi Pagoda
  • Vinh Nghiem Pagoda
  • Thao Dien Village

Restaurants & Bars

  • Social Club Saigon
  • Shri Restaurant & Lounge
  • Propaganda
  • Hideaway Saigon
  • Prem Bistro (vegetarian)
  • Bia Craft, Yoko Cafe
  • Hornbill Snackbar
  • Bo La Lot Co Lien – 321 Vo Van Tan

Coffee Shops

  • May Cafe
  • Vietcetera Cafe
  • Oromia Coffee & Lounge
  • Bike Cafe
  • Maison Marou
  • Click for more

 

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District 2

It is a quite alluring place for families, Western Expats and wealthy Vietnamese to settle due to all its facilities in terms of restaurants, markets, gyms, international schools, etc. As a travellers, you will only want to go to District 2 to try some delicious restaurants or incredible sunset spots to have a drink like The Deck. It is considered a lot like a bubble as its residents often gets cozy in D2 and don’t want to venture all the way back to downtown through the Saigon Bridge. D2 was very poor but has gone through crazy developments for the past decade. It has all you need to live there such as gyms, spas, sports bars, amazing restaurants for breakfast, lunch, dinner and event TONS of great street food selections. It even has bars that can keep you happy enough to hang out and even co-working areas.

If you think of moving to District 2, there are plenty of options in towers (Masteri, The Vista, Thao Dien Pearl, etc), in villas and other types of residences. This place also has been known for floods during the raining season or simply when the rain is strong. This can be an inconvenience for some that will consider commuting by motorbike (not all areas are affected). A taxi into the centre of town D1 can taking approximately 20 to 30 minutes and costing around 120,000 VND (around US$5.50)

Highlights of District 2 in Saigon

Places

  • The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre
  • Villa Song (Stay)
  • Thao Dien Village (Stay & Drink)
  • Annam Market (Groceries)
  • Hue Nghiem Pagoda
  • Saigon Outcast (Event space and hangout)

Restaurants & Bars

  • The Vintage Emporium
  • The Deck
  • Phat’s Dumpling House
  • Hue Corner
  • Mekong Merchant
  • Agnes cafe (awesome delivery for breakfast)
  • Quan Ut Ut

Coffee Shops

  • Kokois
  • Dolphy Cafe
  • Villa Royale & Tea Room
  • The Loop
  • An Cafe
  • Click for more

Binh Thanh District

Since we just gone through District 1/3 and District 2, it’s now important to mention Binh Thanh, the transit area from downtown to D2 (don’t confused it with Ben Thanh Market). The place is home to the new tallest building of Saigon, Landmark 81 and also host of many many higher-end apartment blocks like City Garden, VinHomes, The Manor, Saigon Pearl, etc. Binh Thanh has somehow also became the Japanese neighbourhood.

It is actually a very convenient to be staying here if you chose to live in HCMC since it is “close” to D1. If you are simply visiting, there are AirBnb’s but these towers might be too crowded, so you might as well find another AirBnb closer to town and cuter or stay in a hotel.

Highlights of Binh Thanh District

Places

  • Canal (Take a walk at night!)
  • Binh Quoi Tourist Village
  • Landmark 81

Restaurants & Bars

  • Izakaya
  • Birdy
  • Sushi Nhi
  • Le Bordeau
  • Dharma Garden (Vegetarian)

Coffee Shops

District 4

District 4 is small and very local. Barely any foreigners would be hanging around until some fun bars and event venue have opened over the past few years. Even a co-working area (Circo) is there and residential towers are growing slowly like Icon 56. D4 is surely developing and a place expats now consider to find a home. District 4 is also an amazing place for street food. There is A LOT of places to get street food. If you are visiting Ho Chi Minh City and that you are very much into street food, you might as well have to go to D4 and roam in some streets FULL of different local eateries.

Highlights of District 4 in Saigon

Places

  • Vinh Khanh (Street food area)
  • Ben Van Don (Street food area)
  • Dragon Wharf (Former trade port turned museum)
  • XQ Art House (Traditional Vietnamese silk weaving)

Restaurants & Bars

  • Sushi Ko
  • Ốc Oanh
  • Suon Muoi Ot 3
  • Quan Hang Duong
  • The Observatory (Bar)

Coffee Shops

  • Kopo’s Desk Coffee WorkShop
  • Saigon Metropole Cafe
  • LALA Coffee and Tea
  • Cafe Cub
  • Click for more

District 7

After crossing through District 4, you will arrive in District 7, another bubble with a lot of expatriates (a lot mostly Koreans, growing Westerner population). It’s neighbourhood of Phu My Hung is nicknamed Little Korea. The place seems very much more western with more sidewalks and newer streets and infrastructures. A lot of street food vending is actually banned so the area stays clean. In contrary of District 2, as a traveller you really don’t need to come here at all. As a person seeking for a new home, D7 is home to many good clinics, bars, restaurants and international schools. District 7 is much further than District 2 from the city centre which is quite a pity. It is fast becoming a place to live for families as rent is still lower.

Highlights of District 7 in Saigon

Places

  • Artinus 3D Art Painting Museum

Restaurants & Bars

  • El Gaucho
  • Boomerang
  • Saigon Craft
  • L.A.C. Brewing Company
  • The Tavern

Coffee Shops

District 5

Now that you have discovered D7, back to the “centre” where you can find D5. Also named Cho Lon or known as the Chinatown of Ho Chi Minh City, D5 is a place you must visit if you are in town. If you travel here during the Lunar New Year or Mid-Autumn Festival you must come and see the place. The place to be is Luong Nhu Ngoc known as the Lantern Street.

District 5 is full of pagodas and alleyways that are colourful for photography. It is absolutely a paradise for photographers. As a foodie, you are served as well with many stalls of Dim Sum and other good food.

Some expats and young Vietnamese call D5 home because of the affordable rent.

Highlights of District 5 in Saigon

Places

  • Binh Tay Market
  • An Dong Market
  • Quan Am Pagoda
  • The Common Room Project (Stay)
  • Hẻm Hào Sĩ Phường (Nice for photography)
  • Phu Dinh Street
  • Thien Hau Pagoda
  • Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda

Restaurants & Bars

  • Che Tau Hu Ky
  • Hai Ky Mi Gia
  • Tan Nguyen Thai Dim Sum
  • Tien Phat Dim Sum
  • Sui Cao Dai Nung
  • Hue Ky Mi Gia (For mì vịt tiềm, duck noodles)
  • Baoz Dim Sum

Coffee Shops

Phu Nhuan

Phu Nhuan is a bit further from the centre, but the rent is incredibly low. As a traveller there is not much for you in this area unless there is really a restaurant or place in particular you need to see. For expats, definitely more are considering this place to save money on rent. There is an incredible amount of street food as well, so if you are feeling local, you can join the Phu Nhuan club! There is in fact a lot of young Vietnamese professionals that are settled there.

Highlights of Phu Nhuan District

Places

  • Vinh Nghien Pagoda
  • Phan Xich Long Street

Restaurants & Bars

  • Dang Van Ngu (Street food area)
  • Van Kiep (Street food area)

Coffee Shops

  • Cafe Ghế Đẩu
  • The Fig Cafe
  • Trầm Café (Beautiful garden)
  • Du Miên Café
  • Click for more

District 10

District 10 is like an extension of District 5 with a love of culture, cheap eateries and very affordable rent. You won’t be travelling here as a tourist so don’t worry about D10. The district is very popular among the students because of the affordable price for rent and cost of living in general. Expect a lot of congestion getting in and out of there from the city centre because the streets are so small and there are so many people taking the same route. Density of the area doesn’t help as well. You can thank the students for all the facilities that are there like good coffee shops, swimming pools and fitness centres.

Highlights of District 10

Places

Restaurants & Bars

  • Quan Cay Me (18/3 Nguyen Lam)
  • Che Mam (Vietnamese desserts 242 Su Van Hanh)

Coffee Shops

  • AMIGO Coffee
  • Picking Coffee – Cafe Acoustic
  • Red Tea House
  • Click for more

Tan Binh District

Tan Binh District is where the Tan Son Nhat International Airport is located. It used to be the largest district in the city but was split in two extra parts to create Binh Tan and Tan Phu districts in 2003.

Highlights of Tan Binh District

Places

  • Giác Lâm Pagoda
  • Aeon Mall
  • Pho Quang Pagoda

Restaurants & Bars

  • Mary Jane’s The Bar (Nice rooftop view)

Coffee Shops

  • The Coffee House (There are many)
  • KAI Coffee Shop
  • Côi Xưa Cafe
  • Click for more

District 9

This place is like literally the suburbs of Ho Chi Minh City. It is quite far away but also a place to look if you want to invest since the metro line is actually going to stretch all the way down there. Even though it is far, D9 is home of the most beautiful buddhist temples of Ho Chi Minh City dating from 18th, 19th centuries. It will be quite a hike to get there, almost no foreign travellers have made their way there … except us to snap this beautiful pic haha. Brace yourselves because Instagram and this post will make it popular soon!

Highlights of District 9

Places

  • Phuc Tuong Pagoda
  • Thoi Linh Pagoda
  • Buu Long Pagoda
  • Suoi Tien Theme park

Restaurants & Bars

  • Honestly can’t recommend much!

Coffee Shops

 

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We have not mentioned District 6,11, 12, Thu Duc, Go Vap, Tan Phu and Binh Tan because it is quite a hike away and nothing much more we know about these. To be honest they are very far away and until we have some findings of amazing landmarks, we will make sure to let you know about it by updating this guide! If you have any insiders advice about any of the above districts, please let us know in the comment section! Of course, get a SIM card with unlimited internet in Vietnam to navigate with Google Maps and Grab!

Goodbye!


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