Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam

Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens

2B Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm, D. 1 Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam (08) 3829 3728
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Saigon Zoo And Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City has one of the 10 oldest zoos in the world and a garden with thousands oftrees and plants including 20 species of orchids and 34 species of bonsai trees. It is also known as “Thảo Cầm Viên” by the locals.

Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Woo hoo at the Zoo

Reviewed on 2014-04-12 (Updated on 2017-10-11)

I could not believe my eyes, 8,000đ for entry. With a price that affordable I had very low expectations but I was immediately proved wrong. After passing the gate, I was struck with the flora & fauna. Huge, old trees line the footpath & there are beautiful green grass patches galore. On sitting down, it dawned on me how peaceful it is, there was no hassle & very little noise from the not so distant road. The botanic environment here is truly splendid & a true tribute to doing something the right way in Vietnam.

After absorbing the greenery, it was on to the animals. I have seen zoo’s all over the globe, some shocking & some with very high standards. I found this zoo to be in the midst of those two extremes. The elephant certainly has developed some mental disorder; its repeated movements without walking are testament to this. The giraffes look under-fed, not to the point of hunger but definitely shy of a few pounds. The bears looked hot, the porcupines annoyed. However, the large main ‘monkey house’ is a great environment & in my view it is adequate for its occupants. There is a large selection of animals here; birds to horses; crocodiles to a lone rhino; rats to fish.

I would be much happier with the zoo if the prices were raised & the animals were better cared for. Even raising it by 5 fold would mean it is still a very affordable day out. This is well worth a visit, the truly wonderful gardens & peace are rewarding alone. A perfect spot for a picnic or stroll & its not mandatory to see the animals. 4 stars overall, 2 for the treatment of the animals though.

Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Surprisingly peaceful

Reviewed on 2013-11-04 (Updated on 2016-12-27)

Built in 1864, the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Thảo Cầm Viên) is one of the oldest zoos in the world. This place is famous for family picnics and as a tourist attraction. It has two entrances, one on Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai street and one on Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm street, just off Lê Duẩn boulevard.

The zoo is now home to more than 500 animals including mammals, reptiles and birds and more than 1,800 trees and plants, some of which are over 100 years old. This creates a prefect setting for relaxing picnic at weekends. However, the zoo facilities are facing degradation. The fences are ramshackle and the animals do not seem to be in good conditions. I was really startled when seeing several big rats stealing the food from the birds inside the cages. The zookeepers said that Ho Chi Minh City government has planned to improve the zoo in the near future.

My experience is to not try the food inside the zoo, just go outside the main gate (along Nguyen Binh Khiem wtreet). There are numerous food stalls selling excellent rice dishes, soup and drinks at cheap prices. Also, the zoo holds a circus show on every Sunday morning. The History Museum is right next to the zoo, you can visit both in the same day.