Tan Dan Park covers over 100,000 m2 in central Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City, in the south of Vietnam.
Leafy walkways in Tao Dan Park
Tao Dan Park is a popular place for local residents to go to exercise, relax and spend time with friends and family. Often described as the ‘green lung’ of the city, Tao Dan Park is a striking contrast to the bustling city outside. The park is officially open from 07:00 to 22:00 every day and entrance is free.
About Tao Dan Park
Vietnamese people come to Tao Dan Park from first light every morning to exercise. The park has its own free outdoor gym and the paths around the park are popular with runners and walkers. People also come here to practice martial arts, Tai Chi, as well as ball and racket games. Local scout groups, school children and students come later in the day. The park is also a well known meeting place for older men who bring cages birds to a local cafe known as the ‘bird cafe’. Keeping birds is a popular activity for the older generation in Saigon and they spend endless hours in the park drinking tea and coffee and discussing all things related to birds.
Outdoor gymnasium in Tao Dan Park
As well as open spaces for exercising and coffee houses, Tao Dan Park has some interesting monuments. The best known is the Monument to the Hung Kings which is shrine to the first kings of Vietnam, built in 1992. The approach to the monument is marked by a long pond leading up to a majestic gateway leading into the shrine hall.
Monument to the Hung Kings in Tao Dan Park
There is also a replica of a Cham Tower in Tao Dan Park, similar to ones you will find at Po Nagar Temple in Nha Trang just a lot smaller.
Replica Cham Tower in Tao Dan Park
In the southern half of park there is a sculpture garden. A wide range of different subjects are portrayed in these sculptures mainly related to the ideals of the Communist regime after the Reunification of Vietnam in 1975. Vietnam, and the beliefs of the ruling party, have changed in the last 40 years and the artwork is an interesting reminder of the regime’s past association with a wider communist movement around the world, particular with the former Soviet Union and this can be seen in the brutal modernism of some of sculptures.
Sculpture in Tao Dan Park
Tao Dan Park has its origins in 1812 when the city was being developed by King Gia Long, and green spaces were set aside for recreation. The park further developed under French rule when it was formally names the Jardin de Ville. The French decided to separate the park from the grounds of the nearby Independence Palace by building a road between the two areas, cementing the park’s status as a public area distinct from the neighbouring private government compound. When the French withdrew in 1954 the name of the park was changed to Tao Dan Park.
More sculptures in Tao Dan Park
The park has changed through the ages and different features have been added according to who was in charge of the city at the time. In this way Tao Dan is emblematic of the transformations of the city itself, and a reminder of its diverse cultural heritage. Tao Dan park is an interesting place to visit and a place to experience the culture of the city alongside the local people who use it, as well as a good place to go for a run.