Try this lovely riverside road
I’ve been in Saigon for a year now and during my recent leisure-time have taken to riding my motorbike (Honda Win) up and down two lovely riverside roads, Hoang Sa and Truong Sa in D. 3. Either side of the khenh (small river) Thi Nghe, these twisting roads, though occasionally obstructed by the construction of new bridges, offer a welcome break from the noise of the city and provide a retreat for the mind and soul.
Populated by multiple pagodas and churches for a reason, the roads are tranquil, leafy, and often sparsely used, apart from rush-hours, and provide an experience akin to a stroll in a serene and charming park; except that you’re on a motorbike. The twists and turns that constantly greet the rider create excitement and a sense of a more adventurous motorbike experience.
Riding a motorbike, before I found these roads, had become mundane and almost solely necessitous; simply a way to get from A to B. After entering one of these roads though, you can make a choice: either lift your head and enjoy the gentle meandering of the street with warmth and admiration, feeling the spiritual nature of the area and riding in kind; or put your head down and watch only for the bends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no street racer and never go over 40, on these quiet roads at least, but even at these speeds the roads feel sporty and the driver cannot help but focus on the turns and to start thinking about racing lines. How you traverse these roads is up to you, but I guarantee it will be uplifting.
Now, getting there is fairly simple. The easiest way would be to take the exit onto the river from the roundabout directly outside the new McDonalds in D. 3.
Google maps for reference: www.google.com/maps
That’ll drop you about 2/3rds of the way down the ‘khen’ and you can go up (NW), turn around, and come back down (SE) once in about 30 minutes (maybe even follow it down to the Zoo/Botanical gardens on the return leg). As I mentioned earlier, the building of new bridges across the river means there will be diversions down small alleys, but they’re easy to follow and I feel add to the excitement. Some sections are one-way so you’ll have to cross the river to continue heading either North or South, but find a tall building to either head towards or away from and as long as you stay heading in one direction, it’s easy to find your way back. If you live on or near CMT8 (Cach Mang Thang Tam) like me, then the entrance from Tran Van Dang is an ideal way to head into D.1, turning off at Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, without the hustle and bustle of CMT8.
So, I hope you find this suggestion useful and decide to give it a try! I’d love to hear from anyone that does.