Saigon Zoo And Botanical Gardens – A Green Space In Saigon Downtown

by Long Vu
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What would you do in Saigon apart from visiting the historical relics and going shopping around? How about spending time in a green space to escape from the noise of Saigon downtown? Not only is it a favorite destination of the city dwellers, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, thanks to its appealing greenery, is also loved by travelers and passengers. 

I. Where is Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens?

Established in 1865, this is the 8th oldest zoo and botanic garden in the world. Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens are located near the Lower Thi Nghe River with two gates at No. 2B, Nguyen Binh Khiem Street and No. 1, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. 

To the locals, it is familiar with the name “Vườn Bách Thảo” or “Thảo Cầm Viên”. Not only is this large green space home to numerous flora and fauna, but it also plays an important part in the spiritual life of the Saigon-ers. 

II. How to reach Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens?

Thanks to its prime location right in the heart of District 1 – the most touristic area in Saigon, the zoo is super easy to reach. You can get there by car, motorbike, or public bus. 

If you ride your motorbike, then you can come to both gates in Nguyen Binh Khiem Street (main gate) and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street. There are parking lots for motorbikes there. 

Saigon Zoo And Botanical Gardens - A Green Space In Saigon Downtown

Source: Instagram @ecaterina_toma

In case you travel there by car and need to park, reach the side gate on Nguyen Binh Khiem street. Regarding public buses, there are several buses that come across the zoo. You can get off at the gate on Minh Khai Street or at the nearby Sofitel Plaza on Le Duan Street. 

If you feel finding ways and parking are too complicated, you can take a taxi or request a car from your tour operator. Then you can rest your mind free. 

III. History of Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens

In 1864, Admiral Pierre-Paul De La Grandière, the commander of the French government in Indochina, commissioned to build a botanical garden with the ambition to improve the acts of saving the wild animals and supporting the researches of the Indochinese scientists. 12 hectares of wasteland in the northeast Thi Nghe River became the place to raise animals and plant trees. The first project finished in 1865 with the import of many rare animals and plants from neighboring countries. In 1869, the zoo was open to the public and has been continuously operating until today. 

Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens have gone through several expansions and improvements throughout its more than 100 years old. Notably, the zoo is home to the Blanchard de la Bross – today’s Museum of Vietnamese History and Hung King Temple – the worshipping place for the Kings who founded ancient Vietnam. 

IV. Highlights of Saigon Zoo and Botanical Garden

1. Plants And Animals

After over 150 years, this place is one of the largest zoo and botanical gardens in Vietnam. It inhabits more than 1000 animals of 125 species, more than 2000 woody plants of 260 species, 23 species of orchids, 33 of cacti, 34 bonsai types, green grass, and even more. The zoo consists of different sections, including the animal area, the plant area, the orchid garden, the bonsai garden, and the playground. There are also lakes with enchanting lotus flowers and abundant schools of fishes. 

Even though it is located right in Saigon downtown, the air and atmosphere here are quite fresh. You will feel like you are getting much closer to nature when walking under the large foliage of the tree or hearing the murmuring of the birds. 

With non-stopping effort to save the nature, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens is now the official member of several associations, namely the South East Asian Zoos Association and World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. 

2. Museum Of Vietnamese History

Inside the huge land of the zoo stands one of the most famous heritage of Saigon – the Museum of Vietnamese History. This 1926-established museum was formerly the Musée Blanchard de la Brosse – the artwork of Auguste Delaval.

The museum showcases the history of Vietnam with the exhibits from the prehistoric periods to the Nguyen Dynasty (before 1945) and the culture of South Vietnam & other Asian countries. 

Aside from its significant cultural values, the Museum of Vietnamese History is also an important architectural work of Style Indochinois. Interestingly, there are some Chinese culture ornaments like the octagon and the dragon and phoenix ornaments inside the buildings, also. 

3. Temple Of Hung Kings

Opposite the Museum is the Temple of Hung Kings, which is also a work of the French architect  Auguste Delaval. The temple was formerly Temple du Souvenir Annamite – a remembrance monument for the Indochinese soldiers who passed away during World War I as well as the great figures in Vietnamese history.  

Saigon Zoo And Botanical Gardens - A Green Space In Saigon Downtown

Source: Wikipedi – Daaé

The interesting thing is this pure Annamite style building was designed by a French architect. The design and interior of this temple breathe the authentic Vietnamese vibe with the dragon, phoenix, turtles, etc. 

Since 1955, the temple has been scaled back to worship the Hung Kings – the people who put the very first foundation of this nation. 

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V. Luxury Travel Tour To Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Visiting Thao Cam Vien Zoo is among the top things to do in Ho Chi Minh City. If you feel interested in paying a visit to this place, give it a try. 

And if you still don’t know where to start, let Luxury Travel help you. With a team of experienced travel consultants and local guides, we are one of the most reputable tour operators in Vietnam that offers tailor-made trips to Saigon. We understand the places well, and we know how to combine the itinerary for the perfect travel program. Traveling with us, you will definitely get an unforgettably enjoyable Saigon private trip to the city’s greenest space. 

If you feel our guide helpful, don’t hesitate to contact us directly for further assistance on your upcoming trip to Ho Chi Minh City. 

Thanks a lot for reading!

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