HCMC District Guide

HCMC District Guide

HCMC District Guide

HCMC District Guide

HCMC District Guide
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HCMC District Guide


With a total population of over 8 million residents, HCMC over the past 5 years alone has seen its population increase by nearly 2 million people. This makes it one of the faster growing cities in the world and one which, by 2025, is expected to cross the 13 million mark. 

For locals and expats who have been living here for a while, these changes are no surprise at all as they have seen first-hand a plethora of new developments that have changed the face of the city. 

With a bunch of new projects developing on the Thu Thiem area (the future CBD), HCMC will certainly look like a different city in the next few years. 


The City

In total, the city is broken into 24 districts consisting of 19 inner city districts and 5 suburban areas, some numbered and others named. Districts one and three are considered the modern heart of the city. Each district in turn, is broken down into even smaller sections called wards. This is a simple way to manage and organize addresses and specific locations, especially within districts that cover large amounts of land like triangular Tan Binh that reaches downwards from the airport, or the diamond-shaped expanse of District 9.


Rising Neighborhoods (wards)


Thao Dien

What used to be one of our poorest areas due to its over-the-river location, Thao Dien has undergone a complete metamorphosis from a dirt road in the swamp to one of the most developed areas in the entire city and home to a large expat community. New residential developments like D’Edge Thao Dien have completely changed the face of this neighborhood. Known for its international environment, classy restaurants, a plethora of international schools, art galleries, and much more, Thao Dien is the best-known ward of D2.


Phu My Hung

Also known as “Korea Town”, Phu My Hung hosts nearly 20,000 Korean expats. It is home to a plethora of Japanese & Korean upscale restaurants, famous chain restaurants and bars. The area has seen its urbanization increase dramatically over the past few years making way to extraordinary malls such as The Crescent.  


Thu Thiem

Known as the “Pudong” of HCMC, Thu Thiem is now a big empty lot. However, it will soon become the new CBD of HCMC. A plethora of residential and commercial projects, led by Keppel Land’s “Empire City”, will soon transformed this area into an iconic place with property expected to increase its value dramatically over the next 5 years. 


Popular Districts

District 1 (D1)

This is the city’s business hub and the commercial core of Vietnam. D1 is viewed as prime location and maintains the highest standard of living throughout all twenty-four districts. Note that despite its imposing corporate developments, Vietnamese daily life is still experienced at every corner and there is, culturally, much to absorb in this vibrant part of town. It’s also the place to go for banks, consulates, administrative buildings and international cuisine.



Notre Dame Cathedral, Bitexco Financial Tower, Nguyen Hue Walking Street, Jade Emperor Pagoda.


District 2 (D2)

Known as Thao Dien, with the river curving above it and the Hanoi Highway running below, this segment of District 2 has become one of the two most popular areas for expat families to settle in Ho Chi Minh City, having gone from a sleepy rural village to a booming land of restaurants, malls, international schools and high-rise tower blocks. While it may lack the buzz and energy of District 1, Thao Dien retains a unique, laid-back charm, where streets lined with organic supermarkets, burger joints, sports bars and Starbucks, rub shoulders with more traditional avenues of street food restaurants, banh mi sellers and buzzing roadside food markets.

If you like a modern environment and prefer to have plenty of international-standard amenities and western food options and sports pubs, this is the spot for you. It’s quiet, clean and generally speaking, gives you more room to breathe. 


District 4 (D4)

Just a hop across the river from central District one, D4 is only 10 minutes (3 kilometers) or so out, bordered by the Saigon River, D2 and D7.

It remains a vibrantly Vietnamese district with some of the best and most affordable grub in Ho Chi Minh City. If you like to be knee deep in Vietnamese culture, this is your spot. Over the past few years, it has begun to flicker with co-working spaces, drawing a young independent community of freelancers and start-up entrepreneurs. 


District 5 (D5)

Also Known as “China Town” it’s home for the largest Chinese community in HCMC.  During holidays like the Mid-Autumn Festival, many visit Chinatown’s street side stands on ‘Lantern Street’ located on Luong Nhu Ngoc. Steeped in tradition, with ornamental decorations and rich, cultural displays, the local holiday celebrations are in full swing in these parts of town.

D5 is about a 15 minute drive (5.2 kilometers) from central D1


District 7 (D7)

The Iconic Phu My Hung is clearly D7’s most flashy area. It is a high-scale district very similar to Jinqiao in Pudong Shanghai. It attracts families, foreigners and locals alike, projecting a completely different vibe than other parts of town. Life moves a bit slower here, and it’s packed with restaurants, leading international schools like Saigon South, coffee shops, bars and international clinics. If you want to escape the fury of the inner city and are in need of more privacy, this might be the place to go.

D7 is 6.5 kilometers or 20 minutes south of the city center


Binh Thanh

Binh Thanh is beginning to see its own spurts of growth driven by recent investment. As it sits next to D2, just a short 5-10 minute drive away, its popularity is on the rise among expats, particularly in new developments like Pearl Plaza. Yes, Binh Thanh can be a bit of a haul from central D1—depending which part of the relatively large district you call home—but many view its close proximity to D2 as compensation.

Binh Thanh is 6 kilometers from the city center and it can take about 15-20 minutes to reach this area

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