VietnamHo Chi MinhA City Layout of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

A City Layout of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Previously, we wrote an article on the Overview of Ho Chi Minh City’s 24 districts. Today, we’ll reveal Ho Chi Minh City’s Layout by districts and popular areas, highlighting the best of the most crowded city in Vietnam.

A Brief Ho Chi Minh City Layout – Downtown Districts and Suburban Districts

ho chi minh city layout saigon 24 districts
Ho Chi Minh City Layout – 24 districts

If you hop on a flight to Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll land in Tan Binh District (to the northwest), one of the most populated districts of the city. In Tan Binh District, you can drop by the long-winded Le Van Sy Street which is a shopping paradise and at the same time a foodie’s go-to spot with very fine restaurants and coffee shops. But this is only the beginning of your journey in Ho Chi Minh City.

The suburban districts, including Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, Nha Be, and Can Gio, stretch from the north to the west and south of Ho Chi Minh City Map, shaping a crescent-like area. They are home to the mangrove forests and Cu Chi Tunnels historical site. If you’re fascinated by Vietnam history, especially the Vietnam War, a Cu Chi Tunnels tour is well worth your time!

A vast area of Ho Chi Minh City in the north and west in these suburban districts still depends mainly on agriculture and natural resources in their economic growth, while the east side is for industrial development.

Thu Duc City is a suburb belonging to Ho Chi Minh City. It consists of the former districts, including District 2, District 9, and Thu Duc District.

And last but not least, the central districts, especially District 1, District 3, District 5, and District 10, without natural advantages, primarily focused on providing services and trading activities. Go to District 1 and District 3 if you want to see the modern, busy, and young Saigon with a fast pace of life. Get to District 5 to explore Chinatown. Eat at the friendly and stellar food stalls in District 10 and District 11. And imagine doing all these with a local expert on a private motorbike tour!

Two rivers running through Ho Chi Minh City are the Saigon River to the north and northeast and the Dong Nai – Soai Rap River to the south and southwest. These are the main freshwater supplies and create an advantage of waterway transport for the area along these rivers.

See Ho Chi Minh Districts Overview

Ho Chi Minh City Layout – Most Popular Areas

The well-known areas below possess cultural significance and diversity. For the most part, their locations are in the city’s heart, so getting around is wonderfully convenient.

Saigon Riverside Areas

Saigon River is the iconic river of the city. Along the two banks are different lifestyles and changes in Cu Chi District, Hoc Mon District, Binh Thanh District, and Districts 12, 1, 2, 4, and 7. The most luxurious and splendid area alongside the Saigon River must be Ton Duc Thang Street. Ton Duc Thang Street houses multiple high-end hotels and gourmet restaurants, from which you can enjoy the scenic view of the Saigon River in the fresh mornings and cool evenings. You can also see Bach Dang Wharf and the Saigon River Bus boats.

ho chi minh city layout saigon riverside areas
Saigon Riverside areas at night

Strolling along Ton Duc Thang Street from the short and winding Khanh Hoi Bridge, you’ll also reach Nguyen Hue Walking Street, the grand-looking boulevard and the go-to meeting spot of all the young in Ho Chi Minh City. It would be the time of your life to drop by this famed street during Tet Holiday (usually around early February) when brilliant flower beds embellish the whole landscape.

ho chi minh city layout saigon nguyen hue walking street district 1
Nguyen Hue Walking Street at night

Notre Dame Cathedral Area

The nationally recognized cathedral and its neighborhood signify the character of Ho Chi Minh City. The time-honored Notre Dame Cathedral showcases its quaintly charming Roman and Gothic architecture, contrasting with myriad state-of-the-art buildings nearby. From Notre Dame Cathedral, you need to walk a few steps to reach Saigon Central Post Office (another two-century-old French architecture), Independence Palace (Dinh Doc Lap), Diamond Plaza shopping mall, Dong Khoi Street, or enjoy “sit”-coffee (ca phe bet) at Han Thuyen Street, or travel 1 km to shop at another long-standing landmark – Ben Thanh Market.

ho chi minh city layout saigon notre dame cathedral
A day tour of Notre Dame Cathedral

Western Streets (or Westerners’ Hub or Khu Pho Tay)

Westerner’ Hub includes the backpackers’ district (Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Street, De Tham Street, Do Quang Dau Street) and the neighboring streets in downtown District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Very lively and active at night. Open-air beer clubs and affordable bars guarantee a blast with friends or friendly locals.

ho chi minh city layout saigon western street bui vien street
A bar at Bui Vien Street at night


Chinatown, including Districts 5, 6, 10, and 11, is the most hectic and dynamic trading center in Ho Chi Minh City. This is also the home to the largest population of Chinese Vietnamese in South Vietnam. You will get to sample a diverse and exceptional cuisine that features Chinese cooking style and Vietnamese taste adaptations.

ho chi minh city layout saigon chinatown
The Chinatown in Ho Chi Minh City

Museums in Ho Chi Minh City

A city of rapid modernization, Ho Chi Minh City is also home to the best museums in Vietnam. War Remnants Museum and Southern Vietnam Women Museum are in District 3, Fito Museum is in District 10, Ho Chi Minh Museum is at Nha Rong Wharf in District 4, and so on. See the harsh past events of Vietnam, explore traditional Vietnamese medicine, or learn about the most respected man in Vietnam through pictures and artifacts to get a glimpse into this fascinating country.

ho chi minh city layout saigon ho chi minh museum
War Remnants Museum

Summary of Ho Chi Minh City Layout

When you come to Ho Chi Minh City, visit downtown District 1 and District 3 to explore young, dynamic landmarks and intriguing museums. Then perhaps join a tour to Cu Chi Tunnels and get a taste of the past grueling war in Vietnam.

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