Le Van Tam Park in Ho Chi Minh City

Former Massiges Cemetery & Green Playground in Saigon

Rachel Tran
Rachel Tran | Published: October 21, 2019

Le Van Tam Park is a suitable place for everyone to do exercise, take a rest under the shaded spots, or breath the fresh air in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon). The majority area of the park is covered by flowers, grass, and tall trees. Indeed, Le Van Tam Park is considered the main way of providing cool and clean air for the locals and is amazing for picnics or gatherings.

    Location: Vo Thi Sau Street, Da Kao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

History of Le Van Tam Park

Inside Le Van Tam park

A long time ago, this park was a cemetery built by French. It was known as Dat Thanh Tay (Đất Thánh Tây) and then renamed as Mac Dinh Chi (Mạc Đĩnh Chi).

Only French soldiers, high-level politicians, military leaders and leaders of Southern Vietnam Government were buried here.

Since 1983, Saigon, also known as Ho Chi Minh City, has become more and more crowded. It was why the Saigon local authority decided to remove this cemetery and changed its use. At that time, they decided to build a green park inside the city, then named it Le Van Tam Park. Le Van Tam is the name of a Vietnamese brave hero in the Indochina War.

Highlights of Le Van Tam Park

1. Ho Chi Minh City Annual Book Festival

Book festival at Le Van Tam park

HCMC Book Festival is a cultural event, which is held annually in Le Van Tam Park. This festival plays a very important role in helping build and develop the culture of reading books of HCMC people in particular and of Vietnam in general.

Through the meaningful activity, organizing board hopes to help promote the book-reading culture and build a learning culture in society. This event contributes to improving people’s knowledge and understandings in different fields. Moreover, they hope it becomes a trusted place where thousands of books are exchanged, and tons of knowledge is transmitted to society. 

HCMC Book Festival which was held in 2019 was joint by nearly 180 participants, including 40 foreign publishers from developed countries such as the U.S., the UK, Singapore, and France. Over 300,000 book titles, which was the largest volume ever, are introduced to visitors. This number increased by 27 percent against 2016.

In addition, visitors also had chances to see and interact with young singers and writers. Especially, every visitor is discounted up to 50 percent when buying any books here.

2. Welcoming New Year’s Eve Flower Market

Colorful flowers in the market

For New Year’s Eve’s preparation, HCMC local authority allows people to hold a flower market. Le Van Tam Park becomes a good place where a variety of beautiful types of flowers are sold and bought.

About a week before the Lunar New Year, sellers begin selling a lot of types of ornamental trees and flowers such as apricot and peach blossoms, lily, kumquats, sunflower and orchid. Prices range from VND 100,000 to VND 5 million each.

The most meaningful flower for Lunar New Year in HCMC is the ochna, also known as Mai Flower, of which the golden yellow color symbolizes the roots of Vietnamese people. In addition, Mai Flower in Tet holidays also means wealth and passionate love among people.

Besides of colorful flowers, people can browse other items necessary for home decoration. Things such as glass vases for flowers, calligraphy, paintings, etc are also found here.

3. Annual Food Festival

Food Festival at Le Van Tam park
Food festival at Le van Tam park (Source: Truong Son /Kul.vn)

A lot of international and local dishes will be served at the annual Food Festival in Le Van Tam Park, Ho Chi Minh City. At this event, Le Van Tam Park will be decorated to attract tourists and gourmets to visit more than 100 stands serving cuisine from each country represented at the festival. Visitors will have a chance to experience unique and special Vietnamese cuisine and a lot of cultural and entertainment activities. The price of the dishes served here will not be more than VND 30,000 each. Some of Vietnam’s well-known but weird dishes, namely traditional Thang Co of H’Mong ethnic minority and grilled meat and fish of Lang Son will be chosen to present here. 

What to Do in Le Van Tam Park

Playground at Le Van Tam park
Playground at Le Van Tam park (source: belgianguy1)

Le Van Tam Park is not the largest park in Ho Chi Minh City, but always brings a peaceful and fresh atmosphere for people coming here. Thanks to a lot of trees, shaded spots and vibrant sunlight, the park becomes the best place for people to gather around, do exercise, or take a rest under trees. Visitors also can consider it as a venue for chatting with friends and enjoy the beautiful flowers and scenery.

Activities in Le van tam park

Every day, young people, mostly groups of students, often come here to play guitar, dance or organize some outdoor activities. Heading towards the square, you will see the Le Van Tam statue placed in the middle of the park and surrounded by flowers and trees. Behind the square, there is an entertainment area for children, where some interesting games such as swings, slides or seesaws often take place. That is why many parents and children at Le Van Tam park gather in the park, especially at the weekends.

You can also enjoy some foods sold around the park, featuring characteristics of Saigon street food. You can slurp down a metal plate of Vietnamese Papaya salad (gỏi đu đủ), which will surely

Vietnamese Papaya Salad at Le Van Tam park,
(Source: Mark Wiens)

How to Get There

  • By bus

Traveling to Le Van Tam Park by bus is not too difficult as you think. Use Google Maps to get detailed directions for it. You can choose to go from your current location or from a major public transit station nearby you. See detailed directions on Google Maps, then check bus schedules, and their arrival times, so you find the most convenient way to get to Le Van Tam Park.

The following buses have routes passing through Le Van Tam Park – Bus number: 150, 54, 93.

  • By motorbike

Besides the bus, you can choose to travel to Le Van Tam Park by motorbike. You should check the route from your location to the park on Google Maps before going there. Follow Google Maps’ direction is the best way. In addition, you can book a Grab via Grab Application on the smartphone. By this way, you only need to wait for your drive in several minutes and go straight to the park without following anything. The traveling price is not quite expensive, and it depends on how long from your location to the park. 

Best time to visit Le Van Tam Park

To have the most memorable experience in this dynamic city and the park, you must know about Saigon’s weather. With a tropical climate, this city has a wet season from May to October and a dry one from November to April. You should visit Le Van Tam Park and the city as well between December and February. During these months, the temperature ranges between 17°C to 26°C. It is easy for visitors to meet a lot of friendly people of Saigon and have a chance to discover more about the daily activities of the locals.

In addition, to meet the festive atmosphere of Le Van Tam Park, you should come here in December, January, and February. These months are when a lot of different festivals are organized in the park.

From March to April is the dry season, and the weather is quite hot and dry. However, do not worry because it is suitable for you to relax and stroll around the park during this season. It will be a nice trip.

Tips and Tricks

  • Be nice — You should say “Hi” to everyone you come across. It’s very nice to give each other a smile, a nod or a few friendly words. Most people here are local. If you say Hi, they will say hi back and ask how you’re doing. By this way, you can make some good friends or receive a lot of friendly attitudes from the locals.
  • Treat the park with respect — Do not think that getting a few feet closer to the grass will make your Instagram photo look much better. Remember that you are damaging the ecosystem by going on the grass of the park. In addition, it’s none of anyone’s business if you smoke. But if you smoke, do not throw your cigarette butts on the ground. That can create a fire risk and is disrespectful to the park and other people playing there. Come and find a trash bin before you want to throw anything away.
  • Tell others — Tell your stories, photos, and experiences with your family, friends and coworkers. By doing that, you are inspiring them to visit Le Van Tam Park. Every visitor should be the best ambassador of the park and helps it be well-known by a lot of other people.
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