Charvey posted about the large park with sculptures in the midst of downtown Sài Gòn a couple of months ago, so we finally followed up with a visit. Frankly, the noise on our hẻm (lane) has started to get to me, so I needed to find some peace and quiet somewhere last Sunday morning, and this park seemed like a good opportunity. This park is called Tao Đàn Park (also shown on maps as Công Viên Văn Hóa), and is located south of the Reunification Palace. The park was not as quiet as most parks since it is in a very urban setting, but it did put me at ease for a couple of hours.
Charvey posted some great photos of the sculptures, so I won't focus on that here -- I was primarily attracted to the various ways Vietnamese use the park. One of the sidewalk cafés in the park offers an opportunity to contemplate the sculptures with a cooling drink.
Judging from most of the houses in my neighborhood, Vietnamese houses don't offer much space (or sonic peace) at home. Therefore Vietnamese seem to flock to the parks for a change of pace, a chance to find some relative privacy, or just to find space for recreational activity.
The boy and girl scouts movement seems to be very active here in Ho Chi Minh City, and there were many groups at various locations around the park.
Meanwhile, their families were enjoying the sidewalk cafés.
Other families were touring the sites in the park,
including this replica of a Cham tower located close to Nha Trang (according to the 2005 edition of the Lonely Planet guide to Vietnam).
Young couples found places to sit and talk quietly.
While the world leaders are meeting in Hà Nội for APEC this month, HCMC will be hosting an APEC Trade Fair in the park, and workers were preparing pavilions and gateways.