Nguyen Thi Minh Khai
Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam
In a city where solitude is anathema, this lush chunk of land on the fringes of District 1 is a very welcome urban oasis. The French made laying out the gardens one of their first priorities after establishing Cochinchina (South Vietnam) as one of their colonies, and they were once among the finest in Asia. That may not be the case anymore, but the shady paths winding their way under giant tropical trees make for a great place to escape the frenetic pace outside. While the emphasis is on family fun – there's a zoo, a fun house and numerous other kid-friendly attractions – it's equally amenable for going solo, with a partner, or with a group of friends for a leisurely game of Frisbee. The zoo, meanwhile, isn't the worst of its kind in Vietnam, but anyone expecting something in the league of Singapore Zoo will be sorely disappointed.