Destination

Nguyen Hue walking street – Feel the heartbeat of the most vibrant city in Vietnam

11/07/2024

Right in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, you just cannot miss the most standout destination - Nguyen Hue walking street, not only for tourists who visit the city, but for the locals as well.

Nguyen Hue walking street – Feel the heartbeat of the most vibrant city in Vietnam

Right in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City, you just cannot miss the most standout destination - Nguyen Hue walking street, not only for tourists who visit the city, but for the locals as well.

1. Back to the history:

Nguyen Hue Boulevard started life as the Grand Canal, running from the Saigon river into the city. After the French conquered Saigon in the 19th century, it was renamed the Charner Canal, and then Charner Boulevard. The name took after Leonard Charner, who was an Admiral of the French Navy and a commander of French naval forces in Asia back in 1860-1861. 

The polluted canal once was transformed into a busy boulevard during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with numbers of modern buildings sprung up along it. Charner Boulevard was renamed Nguyen Hue Boulevard in 1956. And since April 2015, a major part in the centre of the boulevard has been transformed into a pedestrian street, whereas there are still surrounded by 3-lane roads on both sides for vehicles to commute. During weekend evenings, the streets that run either side of the strip are closed to traffic - adding to the size of the space and drawing larger crowds. 

nguyen hue street district 1

2. Today’s Nguyen Hue walking street:

From a canal to a boulevard, and now a pedestrian zone in the heart of the city, Nguyen Hue walking street offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modernity. What truly sets the pedestrian street apart from other nightlife destinations in Ho Chi Minh City is its unique ambience. The street is kept alive with many different types of street performers, from pop-art to B-boy, acoustic bands or magicians. 

Many restaurants and cafes lie along Nguyen Hue walking street. Coffee, as known, is not just another drink for Vietnamese people, but has become the country’s culture. Thus, it’s not difficult to find hundreds of coffee shops on both sides of the streets, from the very high ended to the street vendors, each would offer cafe sữa đá by their very own style. 

Nguyen Hue walking street is also the destination for each and every public event of the city and the country. Come to the street during any soccer competition where the Vietnam national team plays, or during the public holidays like Independence Day, National Day, New Year… you can really feel and amaze by the locals’ vibrance. 

During the Lunar New Year festivals, Nguyen Hue walking street will be turned into Nguyen Hue Flower Street, or nationally known as Đường hoa Nguyễn Huệ, is the common name of Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard. Within approximately a week of the festival, the street is decorated for the occasion and is exclusively for pedestrians. The tradition started in 2004, which was previously known as Nguyen Hue Flower Market.

nguyen hue walk street ho chi minh city

3. The must-visit spots on Nguyen Hue walking street:

3.1 Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee:

Lonely Planet has mentioned the Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee as “One of the city’s most prominent landmarks”, and you can easily start your exploration of the Nguyen Hue walking street from this northwestern end. The building, which is also called the City Hall, was built between 1901 to 1908 and used to be named Hotel de Ville. 

Starting from 2024, the City’s People Committee will open its door on every last weekend of the month for the complimentary 60-minutes guided tours. This rare chance will help both locals and tourists to have their eyes on the stunning interior designs of this very well-known architecture of the city.

3.2 Café Apartment Building

The Café Apartment Building, located at 42 Nguyen Hue street, is a unique blend of modern and retro styles. Originally constructed in the mid-1960s, this nine-storey apartment block has undergone various transformations over the years. 

Today, it houses a vibrant array of independent cafes, workshops, boutique fashion stores, and co-working spaces. Nestled along Nguyen Hue Walking Street, it has become a popular destination for visitors seeking a lively atmosphere and creative experiences.

Because this building was originally an apartment block, the layout isn’t what you would expect for normal commercial use. The entrance to the upper floors is on the left of Fahasa bookstore. There is a staircase that will take you to every floor, or you can pay a fee of VND3,000 to use the elevator. Most shops and cafes will refund the elevator fee on your bill, don’t forget to ask if you want this fee to be covered. 

nguyen hue appartment district 1

3.3 Saigon Garden

Right opposite of the Cafe Apartment Building is the Saigon Garden, located at 99 Nguyen Hue street. Stating themself as “a little piece of garden in the city’s heart”, Saigon Garden is easily recognised from afar by its greenery mixed with industrial architecture. 

The entertainment and commercial centre carries an unique, environmentally friendly architecture with a green hanging garden space right in the heart of the city. This place concentrates many famous brands with diverse commercial services. From European-style cafes like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, luxury restaurants serving European and Asian specialties such as Wrap & Roll, 2F Beer, Mexitaco, to Eve Flowers fresh flower shop or Samsung electronics... All are arranged reasonably and harmoniously in the airy, colourful architectural space of Saigon Garden. 

With outstanding advantages in location and architecture, Saigon Garden is like a breath of fresh, youthful and bustling breeze, attracting nearly 5,000 footprints to visit every day.

3.4 Ho Chi Minh City’s State Treasury  

Many works on Nguyen Hue walking street still maintain their ancient and modern features, confirming the historical value of old Saigon. In addition to the City Hall building, the municipal State Treasury is the second building that still preserves basic features of French colonial architecture.

Historically, the very first market of Saigon was located in this piece of land, where today is the State Treasury and the infamous Bitexco tower right behind. in the middle of Boulevard Charner, and was built in 1860. The market itself was closed in 1914 when Ben Thanh market opened and by then the State Treasury building graced this spot. 

The building is not open to the public, however, visitors can observe its architecture from outside, and feel the French colonial period still lives in the city until now.

Bach Dang wharf park near nguyen hue walk street

3.5 Bach Dang wharf park

Nguyen Hue walking street is a 60 metres wide pedestrian strip that runs from the colonial-era People’s Committee Building, 900 metres down to the Saigon river. When reaching the end of the street, make sure to try your luck by crossing the busy traffic road to enter Bach Dang wharf park along the Saigon river. 

Bach Dang wharf park has an area of ​​18,600 square metres, divided into 2 areas: the Thu Ngu flagpole area and the remaining area. Thu Ngu flagpole was first built in October 1865 at the intersection of Ben Nghe canal and Saigon river, opposite Nha Rong wharf.The flagpole used to be a technical part that functions as a signal for ships entering and leaving Nha Rong port and is also a signal for ships travelling on the Saigon river to know where they need to stop to avoid getting lost in Can Gio or all the way down to Vung Tau. 

The park's layout shows inspiration from the lotus flower, with a soft lotus petal-shaped grass background and grey stone walkways. The park, with some major cafes along, is a popular hangout place for local families, as well as a romantic rendezvous for couples. 

visiting tips nguyen hue walk street hcmc

4. Visiting tips:

During daytime, Nguyen Hue walking street is a barren heat-magnet - its heat retention must single-handedly elevate the temperature of the city. However, the street is busy every night. You can easily enjoy the congregations of young people starved of parks and public amenities that make for a festive atmosphere.

To experience the vibrant atmosphere and admire the beautifully illuminated buildings, it is recommended to visit Nguyen Hue walking street after the sun goes down. The street then would come alive with lights, performances, and a bustling crowd, creating an enchanting ambiance.

And to maximise your experience, make sure to combine your visit with nearby attractions such as Ben Thanh market, Le Loi boulevard, the City Hall, the Saigon Opera House, Dong Khoi shopping street, Ho Tung Mau dining street and other streets for food lovers like Mac Thi Buoi, Ngo Duc Ke, Nguyen Thiep etc. All these attractions are within close proximity, allowing you to make the most of your time in the area.

5. Accommodation nearby Nguyen Hue walking street: 

The Myst Dong Khoi Hotel

Walking through the doors of The Myst Dong Khoi, you enter a timeless space. One where ylang ylang-scented air cools your skin and genuine smiles make you feel at home. Where hushed modern spaces and singular design harbour relics of Saigon’s storied past – stained-glass details, wrought iron roses and cherished local artefacts. At The Myst, you feel the heartbeat of this charismatic city – the scents, the scenes, the sounds and the tastes. The Myst Dong Khoi Hotel is just 2 minutes by foot to Nguyen Hue walking street.

the myst dong khoi hotel in district 1

Silverland Ben Thanh Hotel

Does not place heavy emphasis on lavish and ostentatious elements, nor does it impose stereotypes on the architecture, somewhere within Silverland Ben Thanh Hotel, customers will find windy corridors, asymmetrical shapes, tall and wide windows, or artworks made of fabric scraps displaying familiar outfit patterns of the women living their busy days in the shops around the hotel, or in small stalls inside the next door Ben Thanh market. Silverland Ben Thanh Hotel is 5 minutes walk to Nguyen Hue street. 

silverland ben thanh hotel near ben thanh market

Silverland Mây Hotel

Nestled on a peaceful street in the heart of the city and only 7 minutes walk to Nguyen Hue street, Silverland Mây Hotel is a combination of modern architectural resonance and delicate natural accents. Inspired by the image of the "cotton tree", the 8th hotel of Silverland Hospitality Group offers a charming, friendly, relaxed, yet ethereal space.

silverland may hotel in ho chi minh city

As the vibrant energy of Nguyen Hue Walking Street fades into the night, the memories of its captivating sights, sounds, and experiences will linger long after your visit. From its rich historical past to its dynamic present, this iconic promenade has become the heart and soul of Ho Chi Minh City, pulsating with the rhythm of a city that never sleeps.

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