District 4 carries a darker reputation among the many districts in Ho Chi Minh City because of its underworld associations, but those days are largely over as Vietnam’s economy continues to roar along. Here’s why you should hop over the canal and have a look around District 4.
Look for some seafood on Vĩnh Khánh Street
Being a coastal nation, Vietnam brings in a lot of seafood. There’s never a shortage of squid, snails, octopus and all kinds of big fish. To enjoy some of the freshest and tastiest underwater snacks you’ve ever had, trek over to Vĩnh Khánh Street. This area is famous for its seafood, and not many tourists make the journey. This is a great way to see an authentic side of the city – away from the glitz and crowds of District 1. For a sure bet, try Quán Ốc Thảo 2.
Quán Ốc Thảo 2, 99 Vĩnh Khánh, District 4, Hồ Chí Minh City +84 93 211 70 78
Go on a river boat cruise
Many prestigious river tour companies launch from District 4. You can choose from several modern and luxurious cruise boats, including the massive Elisa. It’s quite impressive. There are options to match any budget, so make a date of it and float in style.
Check out a bridge built by Gustave Eiffel’s company
To feel a sense of old Saigon, look no further than Rainbow Bridge – also called Green Bridge – which spans the Bến Nghé River between Districts 1 and 4. It’s the last remaining vestige of Gustave Eiffel’s genius in this city, built in 1894 to connect the downtown with the headquarters of the French Compagnie des messageries maritimes. For young lovers in Saigon – and now in Ho Chi Minh City – the bridge has always been a place to feel the romance.
Eat at Sushi Ko
If you want to see District 4, but you’re not too enthused about sitting in tiny chairs on a crowded sidewalk, then here’s a fancier option for you. This will also satisfy your sushi cravings, which, if you’re anything like us, is a constant mental battle between eating sushi and anything else – and sushi often wins.
Sushi Ko, 122 Vĩnh Khánh Street, District 4, Hồ Chí Minh City +84 122 256 8152
See history at Dragon Wharf
After you’ve taken your selfies on the Rainbow Bridge, take a short stroll to see where a young Ho Chi Minh, then a young Nguyễn Tất Thành, began his 30-year journey abroad, working as a humble kitchen helper on a French steamer headed for Marseilles in 1911.
Shop at Xóm Chiếu Market
The markets nearer to the tourist areas, such as the famous Ben Thanh Market, are dense with aggressive shopkeepers trying to force you to buy their underwhelming souvenirs. To see a market where locals actually shop, visit the Xóm Chiếu Market. It’s crowded, but the vendors are much friendlier. We recommend you try some local gelatin desserts while you’re there. And just a heads up: the market doesn’t open until 3pm.
Chợ Xóm Chiếu, Lê Quốc Hưng Street, District 4, Hồ Chí Minh City +84 28 3940 1355