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If you’re a tourist in Saigon and not lucky enough to be staying at one of the smarter hotels with a pool, or if you’re an expat looking to escape the heat and clamour of the city; Saigon has some good and inexpensive public swimming pools to choose from. On the whole, changing rooms aren’t great, but water quality is pretty good, although it varies from season to season, because all the pools are outdoors. Avoid weekends and holidays, as public swimming pools get really crowded during these times. The biggest obstacle to enjoying Saigon’s public pools is the convoluted system of opening hours: make sure you check the times carefully in this post before heading off for a swim. (Note: on weekends, some pools only sell tickets for one hour slots: if you arrive halfway through a session, you may have to wait until the next one begins). In this article I have listed and reviewed 10 of the best public pools in Saigon, plotted them of my map, and made a short video.
Click on a pool from the list below to read my review and find all relevant information. These pools are arranged in order of my own personal preference.
2: Van Thanh Pool: Binh Thanh District
3: Phu Tho Pool: District 11
4: Lam Son Pool: District 5
5: Rach Mieu Pool: Phu Nhuan District
6: Van Don Pool: District 4
7: Ky Dong Pool: District 3
8: Lao Dong Pool: District 1
9: Hai Quan Pool: Binh Thanh District
10: Lan Anh Pool: District 10
1: YET KIEU POOL
Address: 1 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1
Opening Hours: weekdays: 5am-7am, 11am-1pm, 4pm-6pm | weekends: 5am-7am, 2pm-6pm
Price: big pool: 20,000vnđ | small pool: 15,000vnđ
I lived five minutes’ walk from Yet Kieu pool for 4 years, but I rarely swam there because of its irritatingly irregular opening hours. However, now that I’m aware of exactly what times the pool is open to the public, I have to say it’s a fantastic place to swim. There are two pools – 50 metres and 25 metres – both of which are divided into swimming lanes. The people who come to Yet Kieu come to swim, not to play around in the water or sunbathe next to the pool, so this is a great place to do some lengths. The changing rooms and showers were recently renovated and they are now easily the best quality of all public pools (with the exception of Van Thanh). Both pools are sheltered from the sun by enormous sails of white of canvas. Entrance is cheap and water quality is pretty good. The only downside is that, because the opening hours are so mean, most swimmers get funneled into the lunchtime slot; there’s a fair amount of traffic in each swim lane.
2: VAN THANH POOL
Address: 48/10 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh District
Opening Hours: daily 6am-7.45pm
This is as close as you can get to a resort-style pool in Saigon without staying in a plush hotel, or paying the extortionate non-guest fees for the privilege of using their pools for the day. Van Thanh pool is part of a largetourist park by the same name. The pool is located behind the tennis courts, and surrounded by lush trees and foliage. The kidney-shaped pool is just about large enough to swim laps, and there’s a roped-off shallow end for kids. The changing rooms and showers here are excellent. The poolside café is nice enough, and there are plenty of wooden sun loungers to relax around the pool. This really is a refuge from Saigon; here you’re more likely to hear birdsong than beeping motorbike horns. The relaxed atmosphere makes this a favourite place for expats wanting to escape the city for a couple of hours. During the day it’s quiet, but from mid-afternoon it starts to get busier, when expat families living in the nearby apartment complexes descend on the pool after work or school. It’s not very local, but it is very nice.
3: PHU THO POOL
Address: 215A Ly Thuong Kiet, District 11
Opening Hours: daily 5.30am-11.30am, 1.30pm-6.30pm
Price: big pool: 20,000vnđ | small pool: 15,000vnđ
A fair distance from downtown Saigon, but close to Cholon (Chinatown), Phu Tho is a gigantic swimming pool that’s almost entirely empty during the daytime on weekdays. Set back from a burgeoning Saigon thoroughfare, the Olympic-sized pool is divided into lanes and surrounded by a spectators’ stadium. From the stands, you can see the Phu Tho racecourse, just behind the pool. Get here for the 1.30pm session and you’ll have this clean, calm, sun-filled, off the beaten track pool all to yourself. Some very serious young Vietnamese swimmers practice here: if you’re lucky you might see them doing laps and be able to study their stroke. Entrance is cheap, changing rooms are OK, but rules are strict: you must wear tight-fitting swimwear.
4: LAM SON POOL
Address: 242 Tran Binh Trong, District 5
Opening Hours: (closed Mondays) Tuesday to Friday: 5.30am-7am, 7.30am-11.30am, 1pm-6.20pm | weekends: 5.30am-11.40am, 1pm-6.40pm
When I lived in the area, I swam at Lam Son pool daily. It’s a big, quiet, local, and cheap public pool. The main pool is located in the open-air (on the rooftop of an all-night karaoke bar). This is an Olympic-sized 50 metre giant, but there’s also a 25 metre pool, and a shallow children’s play pool on the ground floor. There’s no seating around the main pool, but there’s plenty of space to spread your towel out in sun and read a book. The water in the Olympic pool is clean and there are at least half a dozen swimming lanes, one of which is for women only. The water in the smaller pools can get murky, especially on weekends when crowds of children play for hours in the water. In general, all the pools at Lam Son are very quiet during the day, and even on weekends it’s relatively peaceful. Come near the end of the morning session or the beginning of the afternoon one, and you should have the place largely to yourself. Unfortunately, the changing rooms and showers here are grubby to say the least; change poolside instead. Note: the pool is closed all day Monday, and the entrance to Lam Son is set back from the main road; look for a blue sign saying: CÂU LẠC BỘ BƠI LỘI LAM SƠN.
5: RACH MIEU POOL
Address: 1 Hoa Phuong, Phu Nhuan
Opening Hours: (closed Mondays) Tuesday to Sunday: 5.30am-10am, 2pm-7.30pm
Irritating regulations and opening times push this excellent pool down my list. Located on the rooftop of a big sports complex, Rach Mieu pool is in the open air and very big. There’s an Olympic-sized 50 metre pool and a 25 metre shallow pool for kids. There are several lanes for lap swimming in the main pool and a separate lane for women. From the pool, there are views over the Thi Nghe Channel and downtown Saigon, but there isn’t really anywhere to sit down and relax. Because this pool is closed at lunchtime, there’s no quiet time to swim. Both the big and small pools get crowded early in the morning and from the start of the afternoon session at 2pm. The best time to come is around 9am; an hour before the morning session finishes at 10am. Pool regulations state that all men must wear tight-fitting swimming trunks (‘speedos’): you will not be allowed to enter if you have loose-fitting swim shorts. Regulations also forbid any photography; I had to swim here on three separate occasions before I could sneak this snap of the pool. Changing rooms are OK, but grumpy staff take any gloss of this pool for me.Note: the pool is closed all day Monday.
6: VAN DON POOL
Address: 120-122 Khanh Hoi: 28 Tan Vinh, District 4
Opening Hours: (closed Mondays) Tuesday to Friday: 5.30am-7am, 7.40am-11am, 1.40pm-6.50pm | weekends: 5.30am-7am, 7.40am-2pm, 2.20pm-7pm
Remarkably similar to Rach Mieu pool, Van Don also sits atop a sporting complex. It also shares the same silly regulations as Rach Mieu, and grumpy staff, and irritating open times. Once again, men are not allowed to swim in loose-fitting shorts: you must wear tight ‘speedos’. However, unlike Rach Mieu, Van Don pool is nice and quiet at the beginning of the afternoon session. Changing rooms and showers are pretty good, and entrance is cheap. There’s lots of space around the Olympic-sized pool to lay out in the sun on your towel. Note: the pool is closed on Mondays.
7: KY DONG POOL
Address: 40 Ky Dong, District 3
Opening Hours: (closed Fridays) Saturday to Thursday: 6.00am-5.00pm
Ky Dong is another pool where I swam every day when I lived in the area. The main pool is only 25 metres long – half the size of the Olympic pools in this list. However, at 15,000vnđ entrance, this is the cheapest pool of the 10, and it’s also one of the quietest. What’s more, the pool is open all day without any breaks. From Monday to Thursday, between 11am and 2pm, there’s hardly anyone here at all. There are a couple of lanes for swimming laps, and a women’s only lane too. The kids’ pool is a good size, and very shallow with a couple of small slides. If you want to read a book in the sun, there are deck chairs for hire poolside for 10,000vnđ. Any swimming attire is accepted. Try to avoid weekends and late afternoons on weekdays, when it gets crowded with families and awful music is played over loud speakers. Showers and changing rooms are pretty basic. Note: the pool is closed all day Friday.
Address: 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1
Opening Hours: daily 6.00am-7.00pm
Right in the middle of central Saigon, Lao Dong pool couldn’t be in a better position. Surrounded by the giant tropical trees of Tao Dan Park, and overlooked by the clubhouse of the former French colonial Cercle Sportif, this should be an excellent pool. However, there’s something sad and even seedy about this once grand pleasure pool. The ticket booth is like entering a prison, and the changing rooms are awful. The pool is big but water quality isn’t great. There’s only once lane divider, and it doesn’t reach the end of the pool: swimmers have to make a 180 degree turn in order to swim back around. The pool is surrounded by a grand colonnade, which hints at its former grandeur. It’s not so bad, I suppose, but like so many old buildings in Saigon, it feels like it’s waiting to be demolished.
Address: 12B Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh District
Opening Hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays: 5am-7am, 11am-2pm, 5pm-8pm | Wednesdays, Saturdays: 5am-7am, 11am-8pm | Sundays: 5am-8pm
Located on the banks of the Saigon River (although you wouldn’t know it), Hai Quan pool belongs to the Vietnamese navy school. However, the pool is open daily to the general public, and the only sign of the navy is the occasional chorus of rousing trumpets from the schoolyard. This is another pool that I used to come to every day when I was living nearby. The main pool is Olympic-sized and entirely allocated to lane-swimming. There’s a 25 metre pool for children and families too, but the water is pretty slimy. A few years ago, a corrugated iron roof was constructed over the main pool. Personally, I love swimming in the open air, but most Vietnamese people avoid the sun as much as possible. Recently, the main pool has become quite dirty and the whole complex could do with a clean up. Strangely, despite the declining standards, prices continue to go up. There’s a horrible cafe and some chairs, but it’s not a nice environment to linger. Changing rooms and showers are pretty dire; it’s best to change poolside or at home. A new system of annoying opening times makes swimming here a bit more complicated than in the past. But, lunchtime on weekdays is still fairly quiet. Weekends, early mornings and evenings get crowded. Swimming classes can sometimes take up most of the main pool on weekdays. Note: this pool is set back from the main road, behind a big multi storey restaurant.
10: LAN ANH POOL
Address: 291 Cach Mang Thang Tam, District 10
Opening Hours: Monday: 8am-8.30pm | Tuesday to Sunday: 6am-8.30pm
Lan Anh is a resort-style pool surrounded by deck chairs. It’s designed for lounging in the sun and dipping in the water, rather than for swimming. Decent food and drink is served poolside and there’s even a pool bar. Lan Anh is popular as a chilled hang-out for Saigon expats on weekends and holidays. However, it’s much more relaxing to come here in the middle of a weekday, because the pool gets seriously busy whenever kids aren’t in school. Changing rooms and showers aren’t great and the price is high. My advice: if you’re looking to chillax by a pool, choose Van Thanh over Lan Anh every time.