Exploring District 4: A Fashionable Journey in the Heart of Ho Chi Minh City

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Wall mural art of the words Saigon in an alley in Ho Chi Minh City Colorful wall art in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4. – Joshua Zukas

Oh, let me take you on a delightful journey to District 4 in Ho Chi Minh City, where fashion and adventure collide in the most stylish way! Once ruled by the mobster Nam Cam, this neighborhood has transformed itself into a safe haven for fashion lovers and urban explorers. It’s time to venture off the beaten path and discover the hidden gems that make District 4 the ultimate fashion destination!

Now, let’s dive into the details. Ho Chi Minh City, with its 24 districts, is a bustling metropolis filled with heritage and history. While most visitors flock to districts 1, 3, and 5, District 4 has quietly been waiting for its time to shine. Nestled in just 1.5 square miles, this compact district packs a punch with nearly 200,000 residents and a vibrant atmosphere that will captivate your fashionista heart.

Building in Ho Chi Minh that houses a coffeeshop with motorcycles parked out front. A renovated old shophouse houses Highlands Coffee. – Joshua Zukas

Let’s start our fashionable adventure with a cup of coffee at Highlands Coffee, Vietnam’s answer to Starbucks. Located in a renovated old shophouse, their brews are definitely worth a try. Sip on their famous ca phe sua da, an iced coffee with condensed milk, but beware – they might serve it to you in a single-use plastic cup, even if you’re dining in! Fashionably delicious, yet environmentally questionable. Let’s hope they switch to more sustainable options soon!

An art gallery in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4 with exhibits placed on the wall An art gallery on the sixth floor of a multistory residential block. – Joshua Zukas

Now that we’re all fueled up, it’s time to immerse ourselves in the creative wonders of District 4. San Art, a grassroots arts organization, has set up its creative hub in the most unexpected place – the sixth floor of a residential block. Prepare to be dazzled by their exhibitions and international artist residency program. Unfortunately, during my visit, they were preparing for an exhibition, but fear not, there’s another gallery just around the corner!

A British woodcut printmaker and illustrator’s gallery with flowering plants decorated outside the building Clayton’s gallery is in a convenient location close to the heart of the city. – Joshua Zukas

Step into the whimsical world of Jack Clayton, a British woodcut printmaker and illustrator, and be enchanted by his creative interpretations of street life in Vietnam. His gallery, nestled in District 4, is a tranquil escape filled with whitewashed walls and dreamy artwork. Captivated by the vibrant street life, Clayton moved his gallery to District 4, making it the perfect haven for fashion enthusiasts and art lovers alike.

A view of the street life in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4, showing a mix of greenery and low-rise buildings. A view of the street life in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4, showing a mix of greenery and low-rise buildings. – Joshua Zukas

Stroll through the charming low-rise neighborhoods of District 4, where communities gather in small public spaces surrounded by greenery. Take a moment to relax, sip on a refreshing iced fresh orange juice, and soak in the vibrant atmosphere. Imagine how different it must have been twenty years ago when the area was plagued with crime. But fear not, fashionistas, District 4 has reinvented itself and now welcomes stylish souls with open arms.

Xom Chieu Parish Church in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4 is an architectural remnant from the French colonial period. Xom Chieu Parish Church in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 4 is an architectural remnant from the French colonial period. – Joshua Zukas

Explore the enchanting alleyways of District 4 and stumble upon the Xom Chieu Parish Church, an architectural marvel from the French colonial period. Meander through its leafy courtyards, soak in the history, and let the welcoming community embrace you. Don’t forget to venture into Cho 200, the bustling 200 Market, where tempting street food awaits. Resistance may be futile, but it’s worth saving some space for our final stop.

Grilled snails served by a Michelin guide entry called Oc Ba Co Loc Coc The author had grilled snails recommended by the waiter at Oc Ba Co Loc Coc, a Michelin-listed eatery. – Joshua Zukas

Indulge your taste buds at Oc Ba Co Loc Coc, a Michelin-listed eatery that may not scream Michelin with its garish neon sign and dated Western pop tunes. However, their spread of seafood and grilled snails will have you craving for more. Fun fact, they’ve seen a 50% increase in customers since entering the Michelin Guide. Fashion and food, what a perfect match!

With a satisfied belly and a heart full of fashion, it’s time to bid farewell to District 4. Hop on a motorbike taxi and snake your way through the bustling streets, marveling at the city’s energy. As you leave, ponder the future of District 4. Twenty years ago, it was a no-go area, but now it has blossomed into a fashionable haven. Who knows what the next twenty years will bring? The only certainty is that District 4 will continue to reinvent itself, captivating fashion lovers and urban explorers with its unique allure.

So, fashionistas, will you embark on this fashionable journey? District 4 awaits with open arms, ready to charm you with its hidden treasures. Step out of your comfort zone, embrace the unknown, and let District 4 captivate your stylish soul!

Tell us, dear readers, have you ever explored a neighborhood off the beaten path? What hidden gems did you discover? We’d love to hear your fashion adventures in the comments below!