Thao Dien - The Expat Quarter Of Saigon
Located not too far from the city center, however, Thao Dien does not exhibit the hurl-burly pace of Saigonese life, but a distinctively chilled-out vibe of Western countryside. Boasting various restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and other entertaining spots, the neighborhood has become most-wanted for any expat families who choose to settle down in the southern metropolitan.
Photo : vietnammoi.vn
Thao Dien is a ward of District 2, which is bounded by Hanoi Highway to the south and snuggled by Saigon river on the other three sides. This area used to be a rural village, often swallowed by floods during the rainy season. Nowadays, District 2, with Thao Dien in its region, has developed to keep up with the urbanization of Saigon, represented by glamorous buildings, luxury amenities, international-standard services that attract many foreign workforce and investors. People might consider Thao Dien an expat bubble by the flashy outlook, but this should be on your list when visiting Saigon, which will definitely bring you a creative yet relaxing vibe of the fusion between the East and the West.
Photo : zingnews.vn
Occupying the northern part of District 2, Thao Dien is separated from other areas by Saigon river and Hanoi Highway. Yet it’s not a distant suburb, as it takes no more than 30 minutes to reach Thao Dien from the city centre, either by taxi or scooter. In the future, when the first metro line of Saigon comes into operation, visitors might enjoy a short trip to the neighborhood with a view from above overlooking Hanoi Highway.
Things to do
Taste the authentic Western cuisine
Thao Dien presents itself as a pampering nest for most of Western expats in Saigon, including American, British, Australian, etc. Therefore, clusters of restaurants and eateries are inevitable to serve the most authentic flavours of Western dishes, including Mexican, American, or Italian cuisine. This is the closest to the native palace you can get among all places in Vietnam. Besides, there are also choices of fusion food that brings a unique touch to the local appetite.
Take a visit to art galleries
Take a ride around Thao Dien village and you will surprisingly find several creative zones such as The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre, Vin Gallery, Arts-Ventures Vietnam, or Saigon River Shop. You may choose to indulge yourself in the exhibition of contemporary art, take some great photographs or chill with a cup of coffee in the ingenious spaces.
Get some exercises
There are many physical activities that are suitable for all ages, which enable you to stretch your limbs after a long hard working day. Believe it or not, Thao Dien neighborhood brings you real fun and helps consume your excess energy from rock climbing, ice skating and trampoline jumping. Visit Saigon Outcast, Jump Arena Trampoline Park and Vincom Thao Dien for these challenges.
Watch the sunset in the waterfront properties
With a lengthy route of the riverbank, it is so apparent for locals to lay back and watch the sun coming down while having a sip of coffee. The relaxing pace of life in Thao Dien, embraced by lively birdsongs, light wind breeze, and the serene panorama over Saigon river, would undoubtedly bring an unforgettable moment for your trip. Visitors could end the day tour to Thao Dien by choosing a floating restaurant/coffee shop to enjoy the rest of the day before coming back to the endless excitement of central Saigon.
Dining & Drinking
Meking Merchant is the most popular place for a great dining experience in Thao Dien with healthy western-styled dishes and amicable ambience. The extensive menu featuring great wine options makes it at the top of the long list for a family gathering or friend catch-up.
Photo : mekongmerchant.com
The lux resto provides an upscale experience where you can indulge yourself in delicate cuisine while spotting the sunset over Saigon river. The restaurant also offers cocktail hours so that you can have more choices for a visit to Thao Dien.
This will be a helpful destination if you and your companions cannot agree on what to eat. The container complex boasts significant options of Vietnamese, Italian, German, Thai food, not to mention tasty desserts and drinks. This compound also features a young and modern background that photo addicts won’t leave it empty-handed.
Photo by @BLOG Vietnam
Bep Vo Kitchen
This rare find creates a stunning experience of fusion between Vietnamese typical cuisine and exquisite touches from the West, especially at an affordable price.
Saigon Outcast is totally worth your visit whenever coming to Saigon. Playing in the neighborhood as a dynamic, creative space for bold and unique events. While grabbing some bites and beers, you can enjoy live street performance, jiggle wiggle with the music, or strike up new friendships with people all around.
Photo : bandodiadiem.com