Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens

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The Botanical Gardens 3.1.2011

By Katrina Griffiths

We really wanted to do something cultural yesterday… well my husband and I did anyway. So we went to a couple of museums, which bored Abie stupid, and planned to get to the Vietnamese History Museum, which is located in the Botanical Gardens. What I didn’t realise is that also within the Botanical Gardens is Saigon Zoo!

The gardens are lush and lovely, with beautiful big shady trees and well-tended flower beds. Being Sunday, it was completely mobbed, and many people were picnicking under the trees and lazing about in the shade. Many people had strung up their own hammocks and it was lovely to see mothers, fathers and grandparents rocking babies to sleep on their chests in the cool of the shade. The heat and humidity is intense in the city, and you can sense how it affects these picnicking families as they lie around on their bamboo mats.

I really didn’t want to see the animals. I have been to some very dismal zoos and I just had visions of these poor trapped beasts languishing in badly maintained concrete enclosures. But I gave in and the reality isn’t too bad. The animals have very large clean enclosures surrounded by trees. Once again, I have been pleasantly surprised.

But as always here in Vietnam, we seemed to be the main attraction. Perhaps we should have our own enclosure, with a comfy hammock to lie in and a nice breezy fan and cool drinks. I’ll even let people pinch the children’s cheeks for a fee.

2 D Nguyen Binh Khiem. Ph 3829 3901