Updated April 29, 2019

Why Thao Dien is the Best of Both Worlds for Expats

For many expats, living in Thao Dien brings together the excitement of living abroad and the Western amenities from home – combined into one.

Thao Dien, District 2, is often considered the ‘expat haven’ of Ho Chi Minh City. Hop into any taxi, and they’ll likely ask if you’re going to Thao Dien, or meet some other expats who will tell you they’re all situated somewhere behind the Vincom MegaMall (161 Xa lo Ha Noi, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC). The pattern isn’t a coincidence, in fact, Thao Dien has continually grown in popularity with the influx of expats in Ho Chi Minh City. Expats in Thao Dien enjoy the things to do in Thao Dien because the options are fruitful and the amenities are endless.  

Western Comforts  

As an expat adjusting to a new life in a foreign country, having some of your home country’s namesakes can make the transition a bit more comforting. Whether it’s your favorite brand of cookies or just a shampoo you prefer using, finding such items in a new country can help keep you in a routine and fulfill any cravings you may have.  

Grocery Stores

There are numerous grocery stores in Thao Dien that cater to expats and locals alike. You can find anything from fresh fruit on the street to import chocolates at the local Annam Market (41A Thao Dien Street, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC). Be prepared to pay a higher price on your favorite goods as imports will naturally draw in higher-than-normal pricing than you might be used to. But, when you really need something, you’re probably willing to pay anything for it!

Restaurants and Bars

With a hodgepodge of restaurants including American, Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Thai, many are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding their personal favorites. There are a plethora of options, and most of them can be located within walking distance of one another. After you’ve finished your Mediterranean dinner, you can walk down the street and settle into an open bar, like Evita Bar (230 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC), for a cold beer and some good company.

Expats partying in Saigon


Another thing that makes Thao Dien so desirable is its accessibility. Sure, it’s situated away from the bustle of District 1, but you aren’t far from the madness either when you’re longing for a good night out. Nestled between major highways that sprawl throughout the city and a quick 30-minute drive to the airport, Thao Dien continues to draw in expats that treasure the options of all of the above.

Connecting to District 1

District 1 is the city’s hub for business, nightlife, and tourism, and only a 10-minute drive away. You’ll find all of the latest attractions, shopping, banks, and much more within the corners of District 1. In case it’s too busy for you to live in 24/7, it’s nice knowing you can access it when you need to via the highway from Thao Dien.

Connecting to the Airport

Within half an hour, you can go from Thao Dien to the city’s major airport, Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Truong Son, Ward 2, Tan Binh, HCMC). This is especially convenient for those that need to catch a flight quickly or don’t want to leave several hours in advance to beat the traffic. Instead, you’re only a few districts away from the airport.

Connecting to Major Highways

Thinking of taking a weekend trip to the beach in Vung Tau? Or how about tackling the sand dunes in Mui Ne? Jumping in a car from Thao Dien makes reaching these locations easier than ever. From Thao Dien, you can easily reach Highway QL51, which leads you directly to the southern coast, or Highway QL55 and QL1A, both of which will take you a bit north along the sandy shores of Phan Thiet. If neither one of these destinations are on your to-do list and you simply want a quick way to commute to work, Thao Dien is also connected to Highway Nguyen Huu Canh, which will direct you all the way through District 1, where you can continue onto District 3, District 4, and District 7.

Expats partying in Thao Dien


Perhaps the most significant upside to living in Thao Dien is that it’s a home away from home for many expats. Conveniently located on the outskirts of the rest of the city, it’s far enough to have your own space but close enough to obtain any necessities.


In Thao Dien, there are numerous things to do to keep you and friends entertained during your free time. With a multi-level shopping mall, movie theaters, and music venues, such as Saigon Outcast (No. 188/1, Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC), you’ll have plenty to choose from for daily entertainment. At night, we recommend checking out some of the bars and restaurants that offer live music, trivia nights, or even have outdoor seating.


The final perk of Thao Dien, out of the many, is the sense of community it maintains. Everyone knows everyone, and even if you don’t, you’re sure to learn. Apartment buildings like Masteri (159 Xa lo Ha Noi, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC) and Tropic Garden (Duong So 66, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC) offer furnished, community living that’s easily connected to the rest of Thao Dien. You can readily meet your friends for a quick drink, or grab a sandwich from your favorite banh mi woman on the way to work.

Where West Meets East

Expats in Ho Chi Minh City have been known to flock to Thao Dien in District 2 because of its capacity for Western comforts, accessibility, and the convenience that the district offers. While living in Thao Dien has its many perks, expats living in Thao Dien will tell you they’re there because it’s a happy medium away from District 1, but in its own community of District 2. Furthermore, if you’re looking for things to do in Thao Dien, your list will be endless, as everything you need can be found within minutes.

By Brittany Hernández