Summer Series: Van Thanh Park in Ho Chi Minh City
Van Thanh Park is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s best-kept secrets.
It’s one of several state-run “tourist parks” in Saigon, which all contain photogenic and nostalgic Ye Olde Worlde statues, gardens and ponds, as well as restaurants.
Van Thanh Park also has a resort-style swimming pool (best avoided on weekends), tennis courts and a small children’s playground at the back.
On weekdays, the park is a quiet green oasis. On weekends it’s a bit of a madhouse.
We celebrated Miss M’s first and fifth birthdays here, and regularly take visitors to dine in one of the pavilions over the lake. The food is OK, not great, and a tad expensive for what it is. But you pay a little extra for the setting.
At the moment, Miss M is obsessed with picnics, and starting to notice the rubbish that litters the parks closest to our house.
So this week I made some sandwiches, cut up some paw paw (papaya) from our garden, threw some towels and cold drinks into a bag and set off for Van Thanh Park.
I wasn’t sure picnics were allowed but no one came to shoo us away when we set up under a shady tree.
After our sandwiches, we explored all of the park – the ponds, the bridges, the fish, the playground, the paths, the fish, the toilets, the pool and … did I mention the fish?
Miss M’s verdict: fun!
My verdict: fun (but hot)!
Highlight for Miss M: the picnic.
Highlight for Sunny (now 17 months): running barefoot on the grass.
My highlight: seeing swathes of grass without any rubbish; being able to let the kids run around and not having to worry about traffic.
Don’t miss: the fish: in the lake, the streams, fish tanks and fish ponds. Sometimes it’s possible to buy little bags of popcorn to feed the fish in the lake. Also, check out the first pavilion on the left as you walk in. (It has fish.)
Address: 48/10 Dien Bien Phu St, Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City
Entry fee: free. Entry to the swimming pool is VND20,000 and motorbike parking is VND4,000.
Time required: one hour to all day.
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4 years ago