Thao Dien was very different from what you might think before charting as one of the top locations for expats and foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Origin Of Thao Dien
Ich Phu was the old name of the expat-packed neighborhood, given by the French circa the 1850s before it was officially renamed as Thao Dien in 1997. Thao Dien then belonged to the old District 2 and recently became a part of the newly-founded Thu Duc City among 34 wards in 2020.
Before becoming a place called home for most expats, Thao Dien used to be a rural village filled with a vast stretch of grass. The name is no surprise because “Thao” means turf, grass, or weed, while “Dien” stands for land. Put simply, Thao Dien was nothing more than a grassland in the past. Back in the days, Thao Dien and the rest of the old District 2 used to be excluded from the bustling downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, and the only transportation was by boat. But, the birth of Saigon Bridge in 1961 has changed Thao Dien forever.
Thao Dien: Home Of Many First-Evers
After 60 years, the grassland is long gone, though. In exchange, you will get to see lots of infrastructure springing up like mushrooms after rains. Every store and shop is within walking distance. Thanks to the diversity of expats from many countries, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of international cuisines. Thao Dien still retains its laid-back vibe and chilled-out atmosphere despite being only 15-20 minutes away from the heart of Saigon. In recent years, many have speculated that Thao Dien is becoming the new District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City due to the surge in million-dollar mansions and villas within the area. However, not many know that Thao Dien is the home of many good, old first-evers.
1. International School Of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC)
International School Of Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) is one of the oldest international schools. Established in 1993 and later relocated its headquarters to An Phu (District 2) in 1997, ISHCMC opened a second campus in Thao Dien in 2018. Despite the presence of many other international schools, ISHCMC is likely to be the first choice for the children of expats due to its IB-based educational system.
2. An Hoa Temple
Being overlooked by nearby high-end architectures, An Hoa Temple seems unfazed and remains a tranquil, calm oasis in the heart of Thao Dien. Despite the soar in land value, the monks decided to stick with the temple and not relocate.
3. Q Bar Thao Dien
It’s easy to find a place to drink in Thao Dien, but Q Bar is special because it’s been in operation for 20 years. Located at Ngo Quang Huy Street, Q Bar has been everyone’s hot spot for a night out. From cocktails to premium whiskies and more to come on the menu, it’s worth a try!
4. The Deck Thao Dien
Listed as one of the world’s top bars by The Guardian, The Deck Saigon offers a menu that will satisfy every foodie. That said, you can find Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, to Western cuisines at The Deck. The dining venue features glass doors, cozy lighting, and a panoramic view of the Saigon River. This is a perfect place for intimate settings or girls’ cocktail night out.
5. An Phu Superior Compound
An Phu Compound has been home to the first-ever expats in Saigon in the last 20 years. Despite the change in time, it’s still regarded as one of the top compounds in Thao Dien area. The gated community is equipped with top-of-a-line amenities such as 24-hour security services, pools, and BBQ areas. Not only that, the compound is mainly covered in trees, creating a peaceful, ideal environment for anyone seeking a break away from the bustling Saigon.
Pendolasco is a famous Italian eatery established in 1998. Pizza, pasta, and bread are well-crafted, fresh off from Pendolasco kitchen. The pizzas are cooked in the high-tech Italian wood-burning oven; the same goes for the pasta — a popular dish among loyal customers of Pendolasco for years.
What’s In Store For Thao Dien?
In recent years, the residents of Thao Dien have witnessed the arrival of numerous high-rise apartments in the neighborhood and the development of more amenities within a few steps. What has drawn so much more attention to Thao Dien is the under-construction metro line, promising a more flexible means of transportation in the future.
However, anyone living in Thao Dien appears to be concerned about one thing: flooding or high tides. Although it worsens during rainy seasons and has yet to be resolved for good, everyone just goes with the flow.
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