The pace of life slows down considerably – and the odours of cut grass and frangipani blooms replace the smell of exhaust fumes – when you duck into the city’s Botanical Gardens, accessed by a gate at the far eastern end of Le Duan, and bounded to the east by the Thi Nghe Channel. Established in 1864 by the Frenchmen Germain and Pierre (respectively a vet and a botanist), the gardens’ social function has remained unchanged in decades, and their tree-shaded paths still attract as many courting couples and promenaders as when Norman Lewis followed the “clusters of Vietnamese beauties on bicycles” and headed there one Sunday morning in 1950 to find the gardens “full of these ethereal creatures, gliding in decorous groups, sometimes accompanied by gallants”. In its day, the gardens harboured an impressive collection of tropical flora, including many species of orchid. Post-liberation, the place went to seed but nowadays a bevy of gardeners keep it reasonably well tended again, and portrait photographers are once again lurking to take snaps of you framed by flowers.

Stray right inside and you’ll soon reach the zoo, home to camels, elephants, crocodiles and big cats, also komodo dragons – a gift from the government of Indonesia. Unfortunately, conditions are very poor and some animals look half-crazed, so it could be a harrowing experience if you’re an animal lover. There’s also an amusement park that is sometimes open, and you can get an ice cream or a coconut from one of the several cafés sprinkled around the grounds.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track

4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track

4 Vietnam travel tips to keep you on the right track. The Vietnamese have a saying: “A day of travelling will bring a basketful of learning”. When it comes…

10 Oct 2018 • Iseult Larkin insert_drive_file Article
Video: 6 places you need to visit in Vietnam

Video: 6 places you need to visit in Vietnam

Vietnam has long been a favoured haunt for backpackers – and it's little wonder. The fragrant food markets, leafy tea plantations and generous stretches of un…

08 Jun 2018 • Colt St. George videocam Video
How graffiti is saving the rhino in Ho Chi Minh City

How graffiti is saving the rhino in Ho Chi Minh City

The world’s rhino population is in stark decline: in the last forty years it has plummeted by 95 per cent. Yet, in Ho Chi Minh City there's a fightback brew…

13 Mar 2018 • Freya Godfrey local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs