Guide to the Districts in HCMC
Apart from work and social life, finding quality accommodation in a suitable area of town is one of the most crucial factors in choosing a place to live in HCMC. The city has a plethora of options available to suit all tastes and budgets from low-cost studio apartments to international-standard luxury homes.
The decision will depend on several factors: what type of accommodation you prefer to live in and can afford, what part of town you want to live in, and what amenities come with your future home. Different districts offer different vibes, from the hectic night-life and tourist buzz in D1 to the almost suburban peace of D2 about 20 minutes away from the central business district (CBD).
Population in 2011: 185,715
The reverse L-shaped D1 is the location of HCMC’s Central Business District (CBD) and where the bulk of the city’s Western restaurants, clubs, and bars, along with tourist destinations, are situated. It is not surprising that rental prices here are the highest in the city, while backpacker and tourist accomodation is plenty. Another notable area of D1 is what is described as HCMC’s Little Tokyo located on Le Thanh Ton Street.
Photo by: J Durok
Population in 2011: 136,497
Rife with modern high-rise developments, D2 is the up and coming district in town. Passing under the Saigon Tunnel and seeing the dust in the distance will give an indication of the city’s plans to create a second CBD, about a 20 minute drive from D1. Expat enclave Thao Dien ward contains two of the most prestigious international schools, villas, and compounds along with a fair bit of western restaurants and bars.
Population in 2011: 188,898
Bordering D1 in the centre of HCMC, D3 is quieter, more local, and a touch more scenic than its manic neighbour. The tree-lined avenues snake around a smattering of foreign consulates, French colonial buildings, and up and coming dining venues, creating a modern and progressive atmosphere to compete with D1’s plethora of tourist attractions and historical monuments, buildings and museums.
Population in 2011: 183,043
The smallest district in HCMC, D4 is sandwiched between Districts 1 and 7. This densely populated district had a reputation as one of the roughest districts in the city due to its past with organised crime but has cleaned up quite a bit in the past few years. It is also known for its cheap eats and has some of the best street food in the city. Be careful with your possesions here but don’t be afraid to visit this beautiful slice of real HCMC life.
Population in 2011: 175,217
Just to the west of D1, this district is also known as Cholon, and is home to the city’s Chinese population. A teeming hub of activity, this district hosts the largest market in Vietnam, a deluxe shopping mall, along with several Chinese pagodas. It is also known for its cheap and delicious Chinese restaurants, and can be easily visited on the no.1 bus from Cong Quynh street. Definitely worth a visit!
Population in 2011: 265,997
D7 feels like a sort of alternate universe, especially in contrast to other sections of town. The streets are wide and the atmosphere is mostly free of the blaring horns of downtown Saigon. The district is home to a large population of Korean expats and is the place to go for great Korean food. Inside D7 is the satellite city of Phu My Hung which is characterised by tall apartment blocks and modern shops and restaurants.
Phu Nhuan District
Population in 2011: 175,631
Bordering D1 but not at all central, Phu Nhuan is about a 15 minute drive from the central business district (CBD). This bustling district has one of the highest population densities in the city and can be a bit manic to live in. But the streets are interesting, the people friendly and the street food is delicious, and if you are looking for some escape from the madness, Phu Nhuan has a number of quiet parks to chill out in.
Binh Thanh District
Population in 2011: 479,733
This district is heavily used for transit from Districts 1 and 2. However, it has become a magnet for higher-end apartment blocks such as the Manor and Saigon Pearl due to its close proximity to D1. Though the area is known for being densely populated, it is also home to the Thanh Da Island area which has some of the greenest spaces in town. Binh Thanh is a great district for cheap, delicious street food.
Tan Binh District
Area: 22.38 km2
Population in 2011: 430,350
Tan Son Nhat International Airport is located in this district. Once the largest district in the city, it was broken up in two parts to create Binh Tan and Tan Phu districts in 2003. The Japanese shopping mall, Aeon Mall is also located here and is known as one of the best malls in town.
Find out more about living in the HCMC Resident Guidebook, available at Annam Gourmet.
Header photo by: Chie Gondo