Little more than a decade ago the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal was a stinking mess, totally devoid of wildlife and full to the brim with human detritus. A government plan to clean it up was a huge success, and in May 2013, 200,000 fish were released into it. Today it is a haven in the midst of our crowded city.
I suppose one of the biggest decisions that we have to make, as expats when moving to a new city, is the exact location. I have moved around a wee bit since arriving here four years ago.
I lived in Phu Nhuan, then District 1, before moving over the river into District 2. First it was An Phu and more recently Thao Dien.
A few weeks ago I moved to District 1 again, to flat sit for a friend who is in Australia. I am staying in the Thanh Dinh area and have to say, it is brilliant.
The two sides of the Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe Canal, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa are fabulous thoroughfares.
Not only do they provide terrific cut-throughs in the city especially in the rush hour, they are laden with interesting things to see and do.
Amazing barbecue restaurants, cafes and bars are scattered along the banks of the canal.
Delve further into the surrounding streets and it’s a veritable smorgasbord of Vietnamese food and drink.
This is also one of the prettiest parts of town. Gardens and trees on either side of the immaculate canal compliment the area beautifully. The Buddhist temples on both sides add to the scenic beauty.
At certain times of the year like Buddha’s birthday celebration (Le Phat Dan) recently, bunting and flags adorn the buildings and railings.
There are probably more cafes here than in any other part of town. How they all survive is a mystery. However, survive they do.
They are also some of the quirkiest cafes in town. Tiny wooden-built gems with delightful gardens give lovers of the bean, a choice of al fresco or indoor imbibing.
The banh mi sellers in this area seem to have a monopoly on the best bread in the city also.
It is the freshest, crispest I have found. Fresh meats, meat balls and all the usual goodies come in at around VND15,000; an incredible bargain.
Coffee also is cheaper here than in many other parts of the city. This was a big surprise for me; I always thought District 1 was expensive.
Tan Dinh is also in a good position geographically. Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh and Districts 3 and 5 are all close by. A short trip down the canal and you can be in District 11 in a few minutes.
Also the airport is only 15 minutes away and the journey is rarely hampered by bad traffic.
All in all this is a truly lovely area in which to live. I will be flat hunting in a couple of months and have to say, I am sorely tempted to try and find something here.
Following a highly successful 25-year career as a singer/songwriter and musician, Keith pulled out of the rat race and moved to Southeast Asia in 2008. First living in Thailand, he moved to Cambodia and then relocated to Ho Chi Minh City in early 2013.