The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens - once considered to have been the pearl of Indochina with one of the world's largest collections of tropical plants and animals - was established in 1865 by Admiral Pierre-Paul de La Grandière, commander of French Cochinchina. Today, Vietnam's largest zoo, it contains over 125 different species of animals.
While the zoo is definitely fun to visit, its botanical gardens are the more impressive part.
Just near the exit is a two-story pagoda, a memorial to those Vietnamese killed during the First World War. It's surrounded by beautiful flowers and lush gardens. It's tranquil and beautiful.
The gardens are especially famous for their extensive collection of bonsai trees and orchids, all catalogued and collected from all across Asia. Although neglected a bit during the war, the gardens are once again the pride of Vietnam.
You can spend all day wandering through the extensive gardens. There are lots of activities along the way too, including some rides, snack areas, and places for kids to play. Though the zoo doesn't seem that well organized, it's easy to find your way around.
The zoo itself is huge, but nothing too impressive. The animals seem to be well-cared for, and the exhibits, while not super large, are big enough that the animals have space to roam around a bit.
daily 7:00am - 5:00pm
Admission to the zoo and botanical gardens is 50,000 VND