ho chi minh city safe districts

Safest Districts in Ho Chi Minh City for First-Time Visitors

Last updated:May 16, 2024
For first-time visitors, selecting the ideal accommodation can pose a challenge, particularly without insight into which areas are both convenient and secure, with easy access to various attractions, dining options, and historical landmarks. Allow me to navigate you through some of the safest districts in Ho Chi Minh City and highlight key areas worth considering. 

1. Understanding safety in Ho Chi Minh City

Understanding safety in Ho Chi Minh City requires awareness of the city's specific considerations. Like any bustling urban center, the city has its share of petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and bag snatching, particularly in crowded areas and tourist hotspots. However, serious violent crimes targeting tourists are relatively uncommon. It is advisable to exercise caution, be aware of your surroundings, and take common-sense precautions such as securing your belongings and avoiding displaying valuable items. 
When traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, it's always a good idea to get to know the local customs and cultural norms. This will help you show respect to the locals and avoid any misunderstandings. And of course, safety should always come first. Make sure to stay up-to-date with the latest safety information and follow local advice. If you're ever unsure about something, don't hesitate to consult reliable sources for guidance. By staying informed, vigilant, and respectful, you'll be able to have a wonderful time in this vibrant city!
safety in Ho Chi Minh CityHo Chi Minh City is a safe place for female tourists. | Source: Kiss Tour.

The Safest Districts in Ho Chi Minh for First-Time Visitors

Before delving into what is the safest district in Ho Chi Minh City for first-time travelers, let me first provide some general information about the city. Ho Chi Minh City comprises 24 districts, with 12 numbered from 1 to 12 and the remainder named. However, since the beginning of 2021, Thu Duc District has merged with Districts 2 and 9 to form Thu Duc City, as part of the city's industrialization strategy. Therefore, as of today, the city consists of 21 districts and one large sub-city. Out of all these districts, I will recommend four that you should consider staying when visiting Saigon, and why.

District 1

District 1 stands out as one of the safest districts in Ho Chi Minh City for a variety of convincing reasons. For starters, it is the city's center section and the hub of activity, with easy access to major attractions, well-known monuments, and a busy nightlife. Visitors to District 1 may tour historic landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral and the Central Post Office, which are all within walking distance of each other.
Additionally, District 1 is also home to various historical and cultural sites that give a glimpse into Vietnam's rich history, including the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, Independence Palace, and the Saigon Opera House.
District 1 is the safest district in Ho Chi Minh CityNumerous historical and cultural sites in District 1 offer insights into Vietnam's rich history. | Source: Collection.
The area is also known for its vibrant street markets and upscale shopping centers. Visitors to District 1 may enjoy a variety of shopping experiences. There are several shopping options available, ranging from upscale shops and international brands on Dong Khoi Street to lively marketplaces like Ben Thanh Market. If you are more of a foodie, the area also provides a broad range of restaurants, cafés, and street food stalls, allowing tourists to enjoy Vietnamese cuisine and international cuisines all in one place. 
District 1 comes alive at night with a variety of pubs, clubs, and live music venuesBui Vien, a well-known backpacker street, has a thriving nightlife scene, while Nguyen Hue Walking Street is a pedestrian-friendly location for strolling and seeing cultural performances. District 1 is well connected to the rest of the city, making it convenient to explore Ho Chi Minh City. Public transportation options such as taxis, motorbike taxis (xe om), and ride-hailing services are readily available, allowing visitors to move around conveniently. 
safe district in saigon for solo travelerPlaces in District 1 to wander around and take in the culture of Saigon. | Source: Freepik.
Furthermore, District 1 offers a diverse range of accommodations, from low-cost Airbnb to luxury hotels, catering to a variety of your preferences and budgets. Its well-developed infrastructure and efficient transportation links make it a great place to start checking out other parts of the city. District 1's lively environment, cultural attractions, and convenient services make it an interesting and pleasant experience for visitors exploring Saigon.

District 2 - Thao Dien

District 2 in Ho Chi Minh City may not be the most typical or recommended district for first-time visitors due to its location and characteristics, yet it is still one of the best districts to stay in Ho Chi Minh City. Why? This district offers a balanced blend of tranquility, convenience, and cultural experiences. It provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city center while still being easily accessible.
One of its main attractions is the serene and relaxing atmosphere, which includes a great deal of green areas, parks, and stunning riverside views. District 2 is home to a rising expatriate community; therefore, it is quieter and less jam-packed than the busy streets of District 1. First-time visitors can also discover the vibrant expatriate community with expat-friendly neighborhoods and a multicultural environment in District 2, which has led to the growth of numerous international eating options, fashionable cafés, and boutique stores. 
district 2 in saigon is safe for female travelersLots of parks, natural spaces, and breathtaking riverfront views in District 2. | Source: Freepik.
District 2 is popular among expatriates and locals seeking a more suburban and family-friendly lifestyle. It offers a range of amenities, such as shopping malls, supermarkets, and recreational facilities. If you're interested in experiencing the expat community and lifestyle, District 2 can provide a glimpse into that aspect of what it is like to live in Ho Chi Minh City. 
In terms of accommodations, District 2 offers a variety of options, including serviced apartments, villas, and upscale hotels, depending on the travelers' needs and wants. While it is significantly distant from the city center, District 2 is well connected by bridges and tunnels, providing easy access to central regions. Overall, District 2 provides a calm retreat from the bustling metropolis while offering modern facilities and a dynamic expatriate population, making it an enticing alternative for tourists visiting Ho Chi Minh City.

District 3

For first-time visitors to Ho Chi Minh City, District 3 stands out as an ideal place to stay. This neighborhood strikes a blend between authenticity and ease, giving tourists an immersive cultural experience. One of its advantages is that District 3 is right next to District 1, the city's central district. It provides an ideal base for seeing Ho Chi Minh City's key attractions while staying slightly away from the congestion and bustle of District 1.
District 3 is well-known for its attractive, tree-lined streets, which highlight the city's rich history and architectural beauty. It has a mix of colonial-era structures, traditional Vietnamese residences, and modern developments. The area also has several prominent sites and attractions, including the War Remnants Museum and the Jade Emperor Pagoda, allowing first-time visitors to dig into the city's history and culture. 
district 3 safe for touristDistrict 3 is renowned for its mix of architectural styles. | Source: Collection.
District 3 is extremely well-connected, providing convenient access to the rest of Ho Chi Minh City. It has a diverse selection of accommodation alternatives, from low-cost guesthouses to boutique hotels, guaranteeing a comfortable stay for travelers.
Furthermore, the region is brimming with authentic local restaurants and street food vendors, offering a delectable introduction to Vietnamese cuisine. With its historical beauty, cultural depth, and convenient location, District 3 gives first-time tourists a great base to explore and immerse themselves in the lively metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City.

District 5 - Chinatown

District 5, popularly known as Chinatown or Cholon, provides a distinct and fascinating experience, making it an exceptional place to stay. Ho Chi Minh City's Chinese community has historically been concentrated in District 5. It is renowned for its colorful markets, temples, pagodas, and traditional Chinese architecture. Visitors may immerse themselves in the rich cultural legacy by visiting prominent buildings such as the Thien Hau Temple and Binh Tay Market, as well as exploring the tiny lanes lined with stores offering Chinese items and traditional medicines made from herbs and natural ingredients. 
District 5 is a foodie heaven, with a diverse selection of authentic Chinese cuisine. You may embark on culinary adventures that include trying dim sum and roasted duck, as well as numerous regional Chinese delicacies. The bustling streets are crowded with street food vendors, local eateries, and Chinese restaurants, allowing plenty of opportunity to indulge in delectable cuisine. 
District 5 also exemplifies the peaceful coexistence of many cultures, with Vietnamese, Chinese, and other ethnic populations living alongside one another. 
safest district in saigonChinatown - Saigon's Cho Lon thrives with Chinese culture, evident in its vibrant architecture, traditions, and mouthwatering food. | Source: nhatnga.vn.
Binh Tay Market, located in District 5, is a renowned shopping location. It is a lively wholesale market with a wide variety of products, including textiles, spices, handicrafts, and traditional Chinese merchandise. Exploring the market may be an interesting experience for individuals who enjoy local shopping and the lively ambiance of a traditional market. Binh Tay Market also becomes a popular hangout location for residents at night, with lights surrounding the façade, food trucks all over, bumper cars for youngsters, and occasional live music out in the open air, offering a one-of-a-kind experience for those who visit. 
Overall, District 5's dynamic atmosphere and cultural variety make it a remarkable destination for first-time visitors looking for an immersive and colorful introduction to Ho Chi Minh City.

Finding Safety and Comfort in the Safest Areas of Ho Chi Minh City

When searching for secure and comfortable hotels within the safest districts in Ho Chi Minh, it is important to concentrate on these specific criteria. Begin by looking for reliable hotels with great reviews and ratings. Use reputable internet booking sites like Agoda, Booking.com, or Expedia to examine a variety of possibilities, and check guest reviews to determine the safety and comfort levels of hotels. Pay attention to essential amenities such as 24-hour security, in-room safes, and stable Wi-Fi. 
Another way is that you can ask for suggestions from friends, relatives, and online travel networks; they might give you some insights and useful information in choosing your perfect getaway. 
Lastly, you should contact your accommodations directly to answer particular questions or any special requests that can result in a personalized and pleasant stay. 
However, in case you still don't know where to stay or don't have enough time to research, here are some recommended accommodations. 
District 1:
  • InterContinental Hotels & Resorts - Corner Hai Ba Trung Street & Le Duan Boulevard
  • Park Hyatt Saigon - 2 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward
  • Hilton Saigon Hotel - 11 Me Linh Square, Ben Nghe Ward
  • Sheraton Saigon Hotel - 88 Dong Khoi Street, Ben Nghe Ward
  • Hato Saigon Hotel & Rooftop - 115 & 117 Ton That Dam Street, Ben Nghe Ward
  • La Memoria Hotel - 118 Nguyen Cu Trinh Street, Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward
  • CityHouse - City Oasis - 42/4 Ho Hao Hon Street, Co Giang Ward 
District 2:
  • Notre Maison 5 Saigon - 63A Nguyen Cu Street, Thao Dien Ward
  • M Village 59 Thao Dien - 45C Street 59, Thao Dien Ward
  • Mecozy Apartel - 25/2 Xuan Thuy Street, Thao Dien Ward
  • Glenwood City Resort - 243 Nguyen Van Huong Street, Thao Dien Ward
  • Amanaki Thao Dien Hotel - 10 Nguyen Dang Giai Street, Thao Dien Ward
  • Mia Saigon - 2 & 4 Street 10, An Phu Ward
District 3:
  • Orchids Saigon Hotel - 192 Pasteur Street, Ward 6
  • Cityhouse - Ariosa - 174 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 6
  • La Vela Saigon Hotel - 280 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 8
  • Au Lac Legend Hotel - 90 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ward 6
  • Lotus Saigon - 120 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Vo Thi Sau Ward
  • Sherwood Suites - 192 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Street, Ward 6
  • Aurora Serviced Apartments - 103 Vo Van Tan Street, Vo Thi Sau Ward
  • Celine Living Central Suites & Spa - 231 Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, Ward 5
District 5:
  • Windsor Plaza Hotel - 18 An Duong Vuong Street, Ward 19
  • Zazz Urban Hotel - 28 Su Van Hanh Street, Ward 9
  • Signature Boutique Hotel - 80/1 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 3
  • Equatorial Hotel - 242 Tran Binh Trong Street, Ward 4
For a more detailed review and information on these accommodations, head over to our article Convenient Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City.

More Areas You Should Know

While the best districts for first-time travelers to stay are around the central area of Saigon, there are also some areas that are a little bit more tricky for tourists to stay in compared to the residents, including the below:

Binh Thanh District, an Up-And-Coming Area

Binh Thanh is a fast-expanding area with various advantages and some notable attractions like Landmark 81, yet it may not provide the ideal experience for newcomers to the city. Why? Because the district lacks the active tourism infrastructure and attractions present in more popular regions such as Districts 1 and 3, you have to spend a huge amount of your time just sitting in a taxi traveling to different parts of Saigon when you could be using that time to experience something exciting instead. 
Binh Thanh is mostly a residential neighborhood with few alternatives for dining, shopping, and entertainment, which may not meet the needs and preferences of first-time tourists. Another disadvantage is that the neighborhood has a more local and less internationalized environment, which might create linguistic difficulties due to the fact that English proficiency among locals might be more limited compared to tourism hubs. Hence, it makes it difficult for individuals unfamiliar with the city to navigate or find English-speaking services or assistance. 
Binh Thanh District, like many other areas of Ho Chi Minh City, can encounter considerable traffic congestion, particularly during peak hours. Navigating crowded streets may be time-consuming and irritating, affecting your travel experience. It is recommended that you arrange your transportation in advance and allow additional time for travel. 
Additionally, while Binh Thanh District is typically safe, like any metropolitan region, it is vital to remain attentive and take measures against petty theft and fraud. Keep an eye on your possessions, avoid exhibiting important goods publicly, and use caution when walking around the area. 

Go Vap District: Industrial Area

First-time travelers should avoid staying in the Go Vap District. Go Vap is a charming residential and industrial zone; however, it may not provide the ideal experience for first-time visitors to the city. For one thing, Go Vap District is quite far away; even the locals who live around the center don’t visit that area often. Its distance from the city center and key tourist attractions makes it less convenient for individuals to visit and explore popular spots. 
Go Vap lacks a well-developed tourism infrastructure, with few alternatives for accommodation, dining, and entertainment tailored to tourists. Just like Binh Thanh District, first-time visitors may find communication difficult due to the district's distinctive culture and a lack of English-speaking facilities. Not to mention, Go Vap is not recognized for its safety record, and some neighborhoods may be less secure than more popular districts. 

District 4: Mostly Residential

Unlike renowned districts such as Districts 1 and 3, District 4 lacks numerous major tourist attractions. While it has several local markets and temples worth visiting, it may not provide as many sightseeing possibilities or cultural experiences as other districts. District 4 is also infamous for its tiny and packed streets, which may be difficult to navigate, particularly for people unfamiliar with the city. Buses and other modes of public transit may be less accessible, making moving around the district and to other parts of the city more difficult and time-consuming. 
District 4 has historically been one of Saigon's poorest regions. It was a slum that became a crime center under the rule of famed mobster Nam Cam, dubbed the 'Godfather of Saigon'. However, his dominance ended with his capture in 2003, and there is now very little mafia legacy apparent in District 4. 
However, some neighborhoods in District 4 may continue to have higher crime rates and safety problems than those in more famous tourist districts. That’s why it isn’t safe for you to stay around this area, though you can still visit during the day. Nonetheless, keep your belongings in front of you and pay attention to your surroundings if you decide to walk around this neighborhood. 

FAQ

Is Ho Chi Minh City safe at night?

The answer is yes, Ho Chi Minh City is safe to walk around at night, however just like any major city, it's important to exercise caution and stay alert. Stay in well-lit, busy locations and keep your belongings protected. Furthermore, try to be mindful of your surroundings, particularly after pubs, clubs, and businesses have closed. And if you need to go somewhere far away, choose reliable modes of transportation such as licensed taxis or ride-hailing applications. Trust your instincts and seek help if necessary. By taking these steps, you may have a safe and fun night out in Ho Chi Minh City.

What should I avoid in Ho Chi Minh City?

Even though Ho Chi Minh City has lower crime rates compared to other major cities, pickpocketing and petty theft are common in the city. Tourists should avoid showing valuable items out in the open and keep their belongings in front of them when walking in crowded areas. Another thing you should watch out for is that while Saigon offers convenience and a high volume of taxi services, tourists should be cautious because of taxi scams where the drivers might potentially overcharge and manipulate the metering. 
Delve into our article A Guide to Avoiding Scams in Vietnam 2024 for valuable insights on safeguarding yourself amidst the city's bustling atmosphere

Is it safe to walk around Ho Chi Minh City?

Yes, it is safe to walk around Ho Chi Minh City. However, a lot of first-time travelers might be scared and shocked to see how many motorbikes there are in Ho Chi Minh City. The traffic is chaotic with crowded intersections as the drivers often maneuver quickly and closely. The most important thing you need to remember is to remain alert and constantly check the road for incoming transportation, especially when crossing. Please remain focused and avoid distractions like using your phone or chatting with your friends and family. 
However, if you use your phone to navigate around the city, we suggest that you should pre-download offline maps and keep your phone close to yourself in order not to fall victim to bag-snatchers. 

Are taxis safe in Ho Chi Minh City?

Yes, of course. But just like any major city, we still have taxi scams where they overcharge or go a longer route for more money. So here are some tips to prevent taxi scams in Ho Chi Minh City. Firstly, use reputable companies such as Mailinh or Vinasun, make sure the meter works, and ask for an expected charge. Next, keep note of important information such as the license plate, driver's identification, and firm name. Another easy way to get a taxi is through ride-hailing applications like Grab, Gojek, Be, or Xanh SM to make payments more secure, track where you are, and see all the necessary information about the drivers. 
Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of District 1, or seek tranquility along the streets of District 2 and District 7, you'll find plenty of captivating sights and experiences awaiting you. With safety assured, these districts not only cater to the needs of newcomers but also serve as ideal destinations for all travelers. So, venture out to discover unique corners and embrace the local culture, beginning your journey from the safest districts in Ho Chi Minh.
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