Ho Chi Minh City with kids: a family-friendly guide to Thao Dien, D2

If you are planning a family trip to Vietnam, the idea of a stop in a such a big and crazy city as Ho Chi Minh might scare you -what are you gonna do with the kids? How bad is the traffic in that tentacular city? Will the heat even be bearable?

Ho Chi Minh City with kids

Of course, traveling in Southeast Asia with kids has always been a pleasure -babies are superstars around here! But, if I’m being honest, I’d never have thought about taking Noah on a city trip in such a bustling destination as Ho Chi Minh. Yet, now that we’ve been living here for two months +, I am happily surprised. Lots of restaurants have playrooms and/or playgrounds, and even some museums are equipped to keep our little ones busy -such as the War Remnants Museum.

So if you’re around and don’t know what to do with your tribe, here are some ideas of things to do with kids in Ho Chi Minh -Thao Dien neighbourhood, D2, precisely.

things to do with kids in ho chi minh - thao dien, d2

Although it’s more quiet than the rest of the city and full of lovely shops and restaurants, as a traveler, Thao Dien might not be the first district on your route. It doesn’t hold any major landmarks or tourists attractions -besides the excellent food, that you can find anywhere across the country. But if you’re in need for some serenity, nice walks and lovely restaurants to chill with your family, here are some places to hit.

Saigon with kids

Kids Friendly Cafes & restaurants in thao dien

  • Snap Cafe : THE spot for families in Thao Dien. All outdoors, mostly under the shade, this tropical cafe offers good food, fresh fruits juices and cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere. The staff is super friendly with kids, and the place hides an incredible sandy playground with slides, little huts, ropes and stuff to climb on. On Saturday evening, you can enjoy live jazz music while the kids go crazy in the sand. Prepare for a messy playdate! Good for babies up to older kids.

  • Jaspas : A lovely bar restaurant with a very nice playground on the back. There is a fence and it’s quite small, so it’s easy to keep an eye on your little ones -therefore they shouldn’t be able to escape!

  • St Honoré Saigon : Delicious French bakery (the pastries!! ohhh the pastries!!) and restaurant with a beautiful little garden and a brand new playground hidden behind a wall of bamboo trees and exotic plants.

  • Pet Me Cafe : If your kids like animals, they’re gonna go crazy for this cafe ! At Pet Me Cafe, you’ll find colourful parrots, parakeets, snakes, frogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, fishes and even an iguane, a squirrel and a beautiful owl. You can ask the staff to pet them. There’s also a little pond, a slide, a tree hut and a sandbox -it’s paradise for kids!

  • Saigon Outcast : A playground for kids AND adults ! Big outdoor space, climbing walls (with one dedicated for young kids from 5 years old) + cool events every weekends (flea markets, movie nights, festivals…).

  • Mekong Merchant : A beautiful restaurant, perfect for a lovely Sunday brunch. With a great playroom for your kids to stay busy while you dig in these beautiful avo toasts!

  • Dolce Vita : They don’t have playroom nor sandbox, but they’ve got some of the best ice creams around.

Playrooms & baby friendly cafes in thao dien

  • Bama Kids Cafe : Jump on the elevator to the 4th floor of that building, and discover a heaven for babies and young kids. A very bright and clean space with tons of toys of aaall kinds. Noah loves it there ! And I do too, as I can sit in the giant sofa and read a book while he runs and plays around -reading a book! Haven’t done that in YEARS! #momslife. When they’re not busy, the staff often come and play with the kids. The food is good. You pay by the hour. And one is never enough! It’s also a great place to meet other parents and for your baby to make new friends.

  • Lilliput Vietnam : WAHOO ! Gorgeous decor with plenty of toys, from inflatable castle to ball pools and even a chic carrousel ! Lilliput is a kids cafe franchise from Korea, it’s spotless, very clean, with excellent service and surprisingly good pizzas. We went for an hour, stayed two and a half, and I wonder who between Noah and us were having the most fun !

  • Jump Arena : A trampoline park for young and older kids ! I wasn’t sure if Noah was too young for it (he’s only 20 months old) but he really enjoyed it -maybe not as much as his dad though! Good way to make sure they burn off that energy to have a good night sleep afterwards.

  • Let’s move : A dreamland for kids and babies ! You can either take a ticket for the indoor or outdoor space. Outside, for the older ones, you’ve got rollerblades, bikes and even a karting track. Inside is another story. A cafe with tables where you can sit and eat. And a GIANT playroom, all cushioned, with massive slides for older kids, small ones for babies, and big inflatable crocodile ready to eat you, balls, foam shapes and other toys. Probably the best option for kids who need to burn their energy.

  • Tini World : You’ll see those in many malls across Ho Chi Minh. You pay for half the day, and have access to playrooms and toys. It’s cheap, but often noisy as it’s in a mall. Better to go on weekdays, as it gets very crowded on weekends, specially when it rains.

  • Villa Jasmine (BB Kids Events & Parties) : This is the dream house for your kids ! Truly passionate about kids, the owner has created the perfect place for your little ones, with art and crafts activities, trampoline, mini pool and big swimming pool, playpen, baby swing, all kinds of toys, and even a climbing wall! There are different activities and events, the best is to check their Facebook page and to contact them if you need info. Definitely recommend that place. Plus there’s a restaurant, with homemade food (French inspired cuisine), delicious.

Ho Chi Minh with kids - Illustration by Marie Pottiez / Miles of Happiness