Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Book
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Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Book

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Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Book provides top accommodations, attractions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. It also provide tips for travelers in Vietnam

Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Book provides top accommodations, attractions in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. It also provide tips for travelers in Vietnam

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Hanoi - Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Book Document Transcript

  • 1. introduction
  • 2. introduction N OPoEMidnight t 8 AM 2 Hai Trieu St, District 1 tel: 3915 6066 hogsbreathcafe.com.vn info@hogsbreathcafe.com.vn
  • 3. introduction Patrick Gaveau - Chairman This African born Frenchman is the mastermind behind City Pass. After living in eight countries and visiting a further 60, he settled in Vietnam with his wife in 2005. For him, travelling is about experiences, so City Pass continues to grow and offer you the best information available. Local insight: One of the first professional water skiers to jump over 60 metres. Benjamin Giroux - Vice Chairman Benjamin is the partner overseeing the selection of outlets and a seasoned Vietnam traveller who spends four to six months annually on the road to select the finest venues. Contact him now to find out how City Pass can help promote your business, products and services. Local insight: He used to work for “Le Petit Fute” - a well-known travel guide in France. Vinh Dao - Associate Managing Editor / Photographer Vinh hails from Southern California and has been working in the region as a writer and professional photographer for over 10 years. He was the associate managing editor and primary photographer for this guide. Local insight: He moonlights as the main contributor for local food blog, vietnomnom.wordpress.com. Barbara Clarke - Consultant Editor She is an experienced editor, writer and business coach. A well rounded international she has lived and worked in UK, Europe, Kenya, South Africa, New Zealand and, most recently, Vietnam. Local insight: She is passionate about Plain English and how it can improve communication between different cultures – and trashy magazines. TICKET OFFICE IN SOUTHERN REGIONAL Ho Chi Minh City - 115 Nguyen Hue St, Dist 1 (Sunwah Tower) - 15B Dinh Tien Hoang St, Dist 1 - 27B Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, Dist 1 - 126 Hung Vuong St, Dist 5 (Hung Vuong Plaza) - 49 Truong Son St, Tan Binh Dist Dong Nai - 25 - 27 Pham Van Thuan, Bien Hoa St Dong Nai Can Tho - 66 Nguyen An Ninh St, Ninh Kieu Dist Can Tho Rach Gia - 16 Nguyen Trung Truc St. Rach Gia, Kien Giang Phu Quoc - 122 Nguyen Trung Truc St Duong Dong, Phu Quoc Call center: (08) 38 320 320 www.vietnamairlines.com
  • 4. table of contents table of contents Things to see introduction to ho chi minh city district 1 districts 3 & 4 districts 5 & 6 districts 9,10 districts 11 & binh thanh cu chi Food local further suggestions international further suggestions Drink cafes bars bars / clubs further suggestions Shopping souvenirs arts houseware/clothing clothing shopping streets malls further suggestions 9 10 11 - 21 22 - 25 26 - 27 28 29 30 31 32 - 38 39 40 - 53 54 55 56 57 58 - 61 62 63 64 - 70 71 72 - 73 74 - 75 76 - 77 78 - 79 80 Activities tours entertainment spas / beauty golf further suggestions 82 84 88 92 - 81 83 87 91 93 94 95 96 - 97 98 - 99 100 101 102 104 108 110 112 114 116 113 114 116 118 120 122 - 103 107 109 111 113 115 - 115 117 119 121 123 II - III IV V VI - VII VIII IX - X XI XII - XIII XIV - XV XVI - XIX XX - XXIII XXIV - XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII - XXX XXXI Where to stay hotels hotels/serviced apartments further suggestions Destinations phu quoc mekong con dao long hai phan thiet dalat nha trang Maps district 1 & 3 district 2 district 5 & 10 district 7 tan binh Travel tips vietnam facts sheet price guide climate things to know visa money vat electronics communication health transportation airlines embassies consulates faq sheet history
  • 5. YOU PICK A CATEGORY SHOPPING | RESTAURANTS | BARS | ACTIVITIES | ACCOMMODATIONS WE OFFER GOLDEN DEALS http://www.citypassguide.com/vietnam-deals
  • 6. THINGS TO SEE
  • 7. things to see district 1 introduction to ho chi minh city things to see Introduction Ho Chi Minh City has changed names several times. While sources dispute who controlled the land originally, the name was changed to Sai Gon in the 1700s by the local Vietnamese, then to Saigon by the French. The most recent change to Ho Chi Minh City came in 1976. Today, Ho Chi Minh City boasts an official population of seven to eight million, but locals suggest it is closer to twelve. The downtown area, still referred to as Saigon, is growing at a rate that will equal Tokyo by 2020. Ho Chi Minh City has a tropical climate with an average humidity of 75%. There are two seasons: wet and dry. Be prepared for downpours during the wet season and expect daily showers from June to November. City life reflects the weather: a blend of harmony and chaos. Traffic is heavy and dense, but you can always see locals lounging at streetside coffee vendors, content to admire the passing free-for-all. If Hanoi is the political capital of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial heart. A magnet for foreign investors, new business ventures and ambitious development projects pop up every year. Progress aside, Ho Chi Minh City is steeped in tradition, a living monument to the past that wears its culture proudly on its sleeve. Whether you’re zooming by on a motorbike or sipping designer cocktails at a rooftop bar, there is much to savour and explore in this bustling city. 10 see more at www.citypassguide.com City Hall At the end of Nguyen Hue in District 1 sits the magnificent office of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. Completed in 1908, the former Hotel de Ville’s design is based on the original in Paris. It remains one of the most stunning colonial monuments. Don’t forget to visit the statue of Ho Chi Minh on the median strip. End of Nguyen Hue st. Local insight: The best view of the building is from the Rex Hotel roof terrace, particularly at night. The Opera House One of the city’s most prominent landmarks, the Opera House was built in 1897 by French architect Eugene Ferret. In 1955, it was transformed into South Vietnam’s Assembly House and has since undergone several refurbishments. It is only open to the public for performances. 7 Lam Son Square Local insight: Following the end of their occupation in 1954, French refugees from the North were housed here before their evacuation. HCMC 11
  • 8. things to see district 1 things to see Notre Dame Cathedral Built in 1877, this is one of Saigon’s architectural treasures, built with materials imported from France. Situated between two busy streams of traffic, the streets outside are always bustling with tourists, locals and street vendors. Inside, the decor is austere, but the church is lively during services. Cong Xa Paris / 5.30am to 5pm Sunday Mass is held at 9.30am. Local insight: In 2005, the Cathedral statue was reported to have shed a tear. Saigon Central Post Office One of the most popular attractions in town, the post office is the largest in Vietnam. Built between 1886 to 1891 by renowned French architect Gustave Eiffel, of Eiffel Tower fame, the vaulted roof and arched windows lend a classic look reminiscent of early European railway stations. An enormous picture of Ho Chi Minh overlooks the thoroughfare. 2 Cong Xa Paris / 7am to 7pm, weekend: 7am to 6pm. Local insight: Meet 83 year-old Duong Van Ngo, the in-house letter writer and translator for 65 years. Saigon Botanical & Zoological Gardens The Gardens feature a wide range of animals including rare snakes and birds, but beware, some of the living conditions are cramped. If you want to avoid the most severely confined creatures, stroll through the gardens or catch a theatre performance. 2B Nguyen Binh Khiem st. / 7am to 6pm / Admission adult VND8,000 , children VND4,000; weekend: adult VND12,000, children VND6,000. Local insight: Inside the main gate is the Temple of King Hung Vuong and the National History Museum. 12 see more at www.citypassguide.com SAIGON 13 HCMC Notre Dame Cathedral
  • 9. things to see district 1 district 1 things to see 30-4 Park This small, shady park takes its name from Vietnam’s Reunification Day, 30 April 1975. Connecting the Reunification Palace with the Notre Dame Cathedral, it is a hub of activity and a popular meeting place. The park is perfect for people watching. Motorbikes gather here on weekends. Le Duan st. (in front of the Reunification Palace). Local insight: There is a plethora of street food vendors that gather in this park. National History Museum Established in the 1920’s as the Musee Louis Finot, the National History Museum typifies Indochinese architecture. Trace the history of the Vietnamese people with displays of cultural significance covering an area of more than 2,000 square metres. 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Reunification Palace The palace was designed by Ngo Viet Thu for South Vietnam’s former President Ngo Dinh Diem, during the American War. The official handover of power took place here on 30 April 1975 and the palace became a monument to that historic date. Do not miss the basement set up like a war time movie set. 135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia st. st. / 8am to 11.30am & 1.30pm to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday / Admission VND15,000. 7:30am to 11am & 1pm to 4pm / Admission VND30,000. Local insight: Outside the rear entrance, the bronze panels detail Vietnam’s history. Local insight: Look for the Chinese symbols incorporated into the facade of the building. Ho Chi Minh City Museum This elegant yet understated building has served as everything from the French High Commissioner’s Office and Gia Long Palace to the Supreme Court. Now it houses a photographic record of the revolutionary struggle against the French and Americans as well as a display of archaeological relics. 65 Ly Tu Trong st. / 8am to 5pm / Admission VND15,000. Local insight: Beneath the museum is a network of tunnels that reach as far as Reunification Palace. 14 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 15
  • 10. things to see district 1 Ben Thanh Market Ben Thanh sells everything in a packed grid. Clothes and fabrics in front give way to kitchenware and souvenirs, backing on to food and produce. Be prepared as sellers here are particularly ferocious. It is also a prime spot for watching the city’s dizzying traffic. Intersection of Le Loi st., Ham Nghi st., and Le Lai st., 5.30am to 5.30pm. Local insight: The market moves outside in the early evening, a great place to have dinner. Dong Khoi Formerly known as Rue Catinat during the French colonial days and Tu Do in the 1960s, this street was reborn during Doi Moi as the centre of Saigon’s commercial and shopping district. Local boutiques compete with international brands, and restaurants litter the street set in beautifully restored French colonial buildings. Dong Khoi st. Local insight: During French colonial times, Dong Khoi was the centre of fashion in the country. Fine Arts Museum The first floor displays rotating exhibits of contemporary art by local and international artists. The second floor features a permanent collection of sketches, paintings and statues, many of which focus on the resistance to colonial rule. The third floor shows older works from Vietnam’s history. 97A Pho Duc Chinh st. 9am to 5pm, Tue. to Sun. / Admission VND10,000. Local insight: Check out the wooden elevator, one of the first in Saigon, at the main staircase. 16 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 17 Fine Arts Museum
  • 11. things to see district 1 district 1 things to see Pham Ngu Lao Saigon’s version of Bangkok backpacker haunt Khaosan Road, this area is a convenient place to find cheap accommodation, food and nightlife. With a plethora of bars and restaurants, this area is popular with tourists and locals alike looking for a cheap night out. Pham Ngu Lao st., De Tham st. and Bui Vien st. Local insight: There are bia hoi places on Cong Quynh st. and Nguyen Thai Hoc st. that make for great people watching. Jade Emperor Pagoda Built in 1909, this atmospheric Cantonese pagoda houses the Jade Emperor watching over an incense filled room while hidden chambers harbour woodcarvings and altars. One hall has the best deity for fertility and the upstairs represents heaven and features the goddess, Kwan Ying. 73 Mai Thi Luu st. / 8am to 5pm. Local insight: Don’t miss the mass of turtles in the pond, said to bring good luck. Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque One of the twelve mosques serving the city, Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque was constructed for worshippers from southern India. Muslims from all over the world now come here to pray. The shaded veranda and cool stone floors make it an ideal place to sit during the heat of the day, but be sure to dress modestly. 66 Dong Du st. Local insight: There is a halal restaurant in the compound offering cheap Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indian food. Mariamman Hindu Temple With a colourful facade that jumps out amongst its less ornate neighbours, the Mariamman Hindu Temple seems out of place. Inside, the atmosphere is lively and incense hangs in the air. It is named after the goddess Mariamman, worshipped for miraculous powers including curing heat based diseases and helping people find good spouses. 45 Truong Dinh st. Local insight: Remember to take your shoes off before stepping onto the raised platform. 18 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 19
  • 12. things to see district 1 things to see Huyen Sy Church Over 100 years old, this church is the oldest and second largest in Saigon and popular among Vietnamese Catholics. It was named after Huyen Sy, grandfather of Vietnam’s last queen who died before the building was completed. Find the tombs of Mr and Mrs Huyen Sy off to the side of the nave. 1 Ton That Tung st Local insight: At night, the addition of neon lights provides a unique and dazzling exterior. Tao Dan Park Tao Dan Park covers ten hectares with over 1,000 big trees with plenty of other greenery.. Early in the morning, the park is filled with people exercising, walking and practising Tai Chi. Look for the replica of Nha Trang’s Cham Tower and the Hung King Temple. Truong Dinh st. (between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st. and Nguyen Du st.) Local insight: In the mornings and evenings, the grounds abound with activity, a perfect place to enjoy a coffee or a stroll. Bitexco Financial Tower Opened in October 2010, the 262.5m high Bitexco Financial Tower is currently the tallest building in Saigon. Saigon Skydeck, on the 49th floor, has breathtaking panoramas of the city on offer for VND200,000. The building is also home to Hog’s Breath Cafe on the ground floor and Vietnam’s first helipad on the 52nd floor. 45 Ngo Duc Ke st. Local insight: The building design was inspired by the shape of Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus. 20 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 21
  • 13. things to see things to see district 3 War Remnants Museum This museum is not for the fainthearted as it houses harrowing displays of weapons and photographs from the American War. Established in 1975, it is home to U.S. armoured vehicles, bombs, infantry weapons and provocative images detailing the brutality of war. 28 Vo Van Tan st. / 7.30am to noon & 1.30pm to 5pm Mon. to Fri. / Admission VND15,000. Local insight: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels first for an understanding of the military tactics used. Women’s Museum Dedicated to Vietnamese women, this museum covers three floors, focusing on ethnic dress and jewellery. The museum is well laid out and there is a tour showcasing the invaluable contribution of women to the fight for independence. 202 Vo Thi Sau st. / 8am to 11.30am & 1.30pm to 5.30pm Free Admission. Local insight: It once belonged to the Director of the General Police Department under the former Saigon government. 22 22 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC SAIGON 23 War Remnants Museum
  • 14. things to see district 3 districts 3 & 4 things to see Xa Loi Pagoda This seven-tiered pagoda is revered as the home of a Buddha relic, 32m bell tower and even a publishing centre. The pagoda was the focus for opposition in 1963 when 400 monks and nuns were arrested for civil disobedience. Thich Quang Duc, one of the monks who protested by self-immolation, has a memorial nearby. 89B Ba Huyen Thanh Quan st., D.3. Local insight: A special Buddhist ceremony is organised every Sunday from 8am to 10am. Ky Dong Church The Archbishop’s Palace Mass is held at 8am, 10am, 5pm, 6.30pm and 8pm. With its imposing exterior, replete with wooden shutters and balconies, the Archbishop’s Palace is said to be the oldest house in Ho Chi Minh City. Originally built in 1790 for the French Bishop of Adran, it was later moved to this spot. This colonial wonder is one of the best maintained examples of French architecture in Saigon. 180 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.3. Local insight: Bring flowers to the statue of St. Mary standing prominently outside. Local insight: Mass is held next door at Tan Xa Palace at 6am on Sundays. Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Ho Chi Minh Museum Once encompassing an entire city block, Ky Dong Church has been downsized but still boasts a school, religious souvenir shop and garden. It may not be worth a special trip, so only visit if you are already in the area or have some time to kill. The church is packed with worshippers during mass. 38 Ky Dong st. / Sunday Once a French shipping company, Dragon House Wharf, this museum hosts an eclectic collection of the revered leader’s possessions like his sandals and radio. See where 21 year old Nguyen Tat Thanh, later Ho Chi Minh, began his struggle for independence. 01 Nguyen Tat The largest pagoda in the city and a popular pilgrimage site, Vinh Nghiem is a blend of modern and traditional Japanese and Vietnamese culture. It is home to a sanctuary and a sevenfloor, 40m tower. People come here to pay homage to Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha himself, and Samantabhadra, the Lord of Truth and Manjusri. 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia st. Local insight: There is a popular vegetarian restaurant, Viet Chay, tucked away in the grounds. 24 Thanh st., D.4 / 7.30am to 11.30am & 1.30pm to 5pm, Tue. to Sun. / Admission VND10,000. Local insight: The name Dragon House Wharf comes from the two dragon statues on the rooftop. see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 25
  • 15. things to see districts 5 & 6 district 5 things to see Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda Built by the Chaozhou Chinese population, Nghia An Hoi Quan is noteworthy for its gilded woodwork. A carved boat hangs over the entrance and to the left is a large representation of Quan Cong’s horse and groom. At the ornate altar, see Quan Cong, to whom the temple is dedicated. 678 Nguyen Trai st. Local insight: On the 14th day of the first lunar month, this pagoda prepares with offerings to the spirits and dances staged out front. Thien Hau Pagoda Also known as Chua Ba, Thien Hau was built by the Chinese in the early 19th Century. It is one of the most active pagodas in Cholon, the Chinese district, and has a worldly atmosphere with swirling incense and splendid furnishings. The pagoda is dedicated to Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea and protector of sailors, so be sure to visit before sailing anywhere. 710 Nguyen Trai st. Local insight: Don’t forget to lean back and take in the intricate carvings on the roof. Binh Tay Market Built in 1928. Binh Tay Market is the central market of Cholon, the Chinese district. A mix of French and Chinese architecture, this market is the largest in town, spanning four blocks. The building is famed for its intricate façade and reddish-brown tiles. These, plus the dominant yellow clock tower, make this a photographer’s dream. Thap Muoi st., D.6. Local insight: Many businesses buy their produce wholesale here. Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda Built by the Fujian Congregation in 1839, this small temple has retained its rich ornamentation. The pagoda is dedicated to Me Sanh, the Goddess of Fertility, and is frequently crowded with women praying for her assistance wtih conception. The worshippers congregate in front of Me Sanh’s altar at the back. 118D Trieu Quang Phuc st., D.5. Local insight: Buy some fish or turtles and set them free for good luck. 26 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 27
  • 16. things to see districts 11 & binh thanh districts 9, 10 things to see Martyrs’ Cemetery Thanh Da Island Local insight: It’s a trek from the city centre, so allow plenty of time for the trip. Local insight: Stop for dinner at the riverside restaurant, a great setting to watch time float by. Fito Museum Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda The cemetery is dedicated to the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for national liberation in the American War. You enter the Martyrs’ Cemetery through a large wall to be greeted by statues looming at the end of a long walkway. The vast cemetery is dotted with trees that provide respite from the burning sun. KP4, National Highway 1A, D.9. The Fito Museum is the first museum of Vietnamese medicine, displaying nearly 3,000 items dating back to the Stone Age. Exhibits include medicine preparation, knives, mortars and pestles, documents and traditional implements. 41 Hoang Du Khuong st., D.10 / 8.30am to 5.30pm, Mon. to Sat. / Admission adult VND32,000, children VND16,000. Eight kilometres north of District 1, Thanh Da has lush greenery and a serenity that belies its proximity to the city. It showcases a slice of rural culture. Created by the government in the 1970s, Binh Quoi 1, features gardens and quality Vietnamese restaurants. Rent a boat from Binh Quoi 2 to see the contrast between spacious villas and stilt houses. Binh Thanh District. Khanh Van Niem is the only Taoist pagoda in Vietnam. Unique for its colourful statues of Taoist disciples, the main altar features a Yin and Yang symbol. Upstairs, pay tribute to the great Chinese philosopher Lao Tse at a statue that makes creative use of a mirror and fluorescent lighting. 46/5 Lo Sieu st., D.11. Local insight: After you’ve been through the museum, go for a check up with the in-house doctor. Local insight: Check out the drawing of the bodily organs as a rural scene, ending with a meditating figure representing the imagination. The Flower Market Dam Sen Water Park Show someone you care with flowers. They are plentiful at this market and offered at reasonable prices, depending on your bargaining skills. Strolling along the narrow flower-lined alleys is a pleasure. The flowers come from Dalat and Hanoi and the alleys are worlds away from the bustling traffic of the main road. Ho Thi Ky st., D.10. Local insight: Go early in the morning to see the brightly coloured flowers against the black sky. 28 see more at www.citypassguide.com Splashing down a water slide is the best way to beat the heat. This vast park includes water rides, a wave pool and the terrifying twister bowl. Afterwards, explore the expansive park and take in carnival rides, animal shows, lake outings and excellent people watching. 3D Hoa Binh st., D.11 / 9am to 6pm Admission VND110,000 (over 1.4m), VND70,000 (0.8 to 1.4m), free for youngsters. Local insight: If you don’t want to attract attention, wear a t-shirt over your bikini. HCMC 29
  • 17. things to see cu chi Cu Chi Tunnels Take a 90 minute bus ride from HCMC and explore the vast network of underground tunnels from the 1940s, expanded by guerrilla Viet Cong forces during the American War. The tunnels were hiding places as well as communication and supply routes, hospitals and living quarters. Sections of the tunnel system have been widened to cater for larger frames. Ap Phu Hiep, Phu My Hung Ward. Local insight: Tasteless but tempting, on site is a firing range where you can fire AK47s and M16s. Wildlife at Risk This non-profit organisation is dedicated to the conservation of Vietnam’s threatened creatures and rescuing animals confiscated from illegal poachers and traders. It is the first multi -species wildlife hospital and holding facility in southern Vietnam. Inside, you will find displays on Vietnamese biodiversity and rescued animals. Ap Cho Cu II, An Nhon Tay Ward. Local insight: Since 2007, the centre has rescued and released over 1,000 animals into the wild. 30 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 18. FOOD
  • 19. food local - the south specialities local food Southern cuisine relies heavily on sugar, spices, herbs and fresh vegetables. The preparation is simple with cooking techniques borrowed from neighbouring Cambodia, China and Thailand. Try some of these highlights. Banh Xeo These savoury pancakes are made of flour, egg and salt then fried. They come stuffed with pork, vegetables and prawns with a side of herbs and fish sauce. Wrap each morsel in lettuce and dip. Bun Mam Bun Mam is a vermicelli noodle soup with everything but the kitchen sink thrown in, including shrimp paste, aubergine, squid and more. Canh Chua Ca Loc This sweet and sour fish soup is a visual feast with red, green and white vegetables mixed in a dark broth. Made with Mekong fish, pineapple, tomatoes and okra, the broth has a slight tamarind flavour. Hu Tieu Hu Tieu consists of long, thin rice noodles served with ground pork, shrimp and fish. There are common elements, such as celery and sauteed garlic to maintain the distinctive bite, but the recipe changes from place to place. Bun Thit Nuong A fresh and simple dish, Bun Thit Nuong is made of vermicelli noodles topped with greenery, peanuts, cucumber and grilled pork. Most servings come with a fried spring roll. 32 see more at www.citypassguide.com Song Ngu Restaurant Established in 1996, Song Ngu is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant specialising in fresh seafood. Bringing culture to cuisine, traditional Vietnamese music is performed every day by an orchestra of ladies dressed in traditional ao dai attire. Well known throughout the region, Song Ngu is an ideal venue, an intimate space with warm ambience and great value. Local insight: Foreign dignitaries such as the Prime Minister of Japan, the Presidents of Bulgaria and Ireland and the Vice Prime Minister of Denmark have eaten at this establishment.. 70-72 Suong Nguyet Anh st., D.1 9.30am-2pm / 4.30pm-10pm 08 3832 5017 songngu.com HCMC 33
  • 20. food local local - vegetarian food specialities food At first glance, Ho Chi Minh City’s food scene appears to be predominantly for the meat lover. Dig a little deeper, however, and you will find a myriad of vegetarian options. With its abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, Vietnam plates up vegetarian cuisine that puts other countries to shame. Local insight: The Vietnamese word for vegetarian is “chay”. Vegetarian Restaurants Au Lac / 237 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh st., Binh Thanh D. / 08 3899 2923 / Au Lac features Vegan cuisine and works under the philosophy of offering unique flavours to alert patrons to the delights of plant-based food. Viet Chay / 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia st., D.3 08 3526 5859 / Viet Chay is an upscale vegetarian restaurant on the grounds of the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, the largest in the city. The Organic / 54 Ly Van Phuc st., D.1 08 3820 0278 / One of the best vegetarian organic food served in a very unique colonial French villa. Hoa Dang / 38 Huynh Khuong Ninh st., D.1 08 3820 9702 Wide ranges of vegetarian dishes from appetizers to desserts Co Noi / 61-63 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 08 3823 5818 / More than 40 vegetarian buffets served in a spacious and unique location Hum Restaurant / 32 Vo Van Tan / 08 3930 3819 / Health dishes are prepared by the chefs in a serene calming atmosphere 34 see more at www.citypassguide.com Mandarine & Hoi An Restaurant Two of Saigon’s most famous restaurants, they bring you fine dining in the gorgeous décor of the ancient imperial palaces. The traditional beauty and harmony of the surroundings combined with the exquisite menu make for an incomparable dining experience. These restaurants have been awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2012, Exciting Ho Chi Minh City’s Top 5 Favourite Tourist Restaurant, and Restaurant of the Year for the 2012 Tourist Alliance Awards. Local insight: Foodies, don’t pass up this opportunity for the skilful staff to cook your selection right at your table. 11 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 11A Ngo Van Nam st., D.1 mandarin@orientalsaigon.com.vn orientalsaigon.com.vn 08 3823 7694 08 3822 9783 HCMC 35
  • 21. food local local food Hoa Tuc Hoa Tuc takes contemporary Vietnamese cuisine to a whole new level with a menu designed to excite the senses. Making great use of its location, Saigon’s old opium refinery, Hoa Tuc feels like an oasis in the centre of a cosmopolitan city. Local insight: Located upstairs from the restaurant, the Hoa Tuc cooking school is a fun and interesting way to explore Vietnamese culture. 74 Hai Ba Trung, D.1 hoatuc.com 11am-11pm 08 3825 1676 info@hoatuc.com Viet Village Authentic Vietnamese cuisine served in a village atmosphere. The extensive menu covers the country from North to South. Try the deep fried crab cake wrapped in rice paper with salad, presented in a hand-made basket. Local insight: The restaurant is located in a beautifully renovated 50 year-old French colonial villa. 15 Dinh Tien Hoang st., D.1 08 3911 7261 vietvillage.com.vn info@vietvillage.com.vn Nguyen Art Club Great food; great art! The food is Vietnamese traditional presented in a contemporary style: a must-try treat. But the focus of this new and exciting restaurant is the art. So sit back, enjoy the delicious food with a distinctive Vietnamese touch. Local insight: Renowned local and international artists are featured in this restaurant cum art space. 07 Nguyen Canh Di st., W.4, Tan Binh D. (Near Airport) 09 0369 0292 nguyenartclub.07@gmail.com 36 see more at www.citypassguide.com Indochine Indochine pairs Vietnamese cuisine with a peaceful atmosphere. Dishes are immaculately presented by friendly and attentive staff. The grand foyer is designed around a serene fish pond and a live band sets the ambience every night with both traditional Vietnamese and classical music. Home delivery is now available for those rainy nights when you can’t brave the elements. Try the grilled duck breast with orange sauce or the Indochine speciality spring rolls in a candle lit pineapple. Local insight: Their Citroen is perfect for giving your holiday photos a true French Colonial feel. 26 Truong Dinh st., D.3 11am-10.30pm indochine-sg@hcm.fpt.vn 08 3930 8421 / 2 indochine-sg.com HCMC 37
  • 22. food local further suggestions - local food Banh Xeo Muoi Xiem / 190 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia st., D.3 / 08 3933 0207 / One of the best Vietnamese rice pancake restaurant in town. Binh An Village / 1163 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh st. Binh Thanh D. / 08 3556 6099 / Open air dining set in tropical gardens. Bonsai Dinner Cruise / Nha Rong Port 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh st., Saigon River, D.4 08 3910 5560 / Eat traditional Vietnamese cuisine while cruising the Saigon River with their two daily tours. Book in advance. Ngon / 160 Pasteur st., D.1 / 08 3827 7131 Quan An Ngon presents a large variety of regional streetfood specialities in a colonial villa. Always busy, but worth waiting for. May Restaurant In a beautifully restored French colonial villa you will be served the healthiest Vietnamese food in Saigon - with a French twist. The twist being French-trained chefs, top quality meat and no additives such as MSG. Revel in the delectable authentic Vietnamese cuisine that is tasty yet healthy. Order off the diverse menu or better still, let the manager Mr Ty order for you. You will not be disappointed. Local insight: Take a stroll around the restaurant and take in the magnificent ambience. 3/5 Hoang Sa st., Dakao, D.1 08 3910 1277 contact@may-cloud.com 38 see more at www.citypassguide.com Non La / 19 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.3 08 3910 4012 / Provide most types of traditional cuisines. Private dining rooms are also available. Quan An Ngon 138 / 138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia st., D.1 / ngon138.xom / 08 3827 9666 Refined yet affordable street food from the three regions in a deluxe atmosphere. Viet Heritage / 48A Vo Van Tan st., D.3 08 3930 2306 / offers a luxurious, traditional and restful ambience in which up to 200 guests can enjoy a variety of gastronomic delights. We / 8 Le Quy Don st., D.3 / 08 3930 9604 A design and cuisine heaven, wrap and roll to your heart’s delight with Bo Bia or Chao Tom. HCMC 39
  • 23. food food international international Kobe Teppan Yaki Kobe Teppan Yaki is Saigon’s first restaurant specialising in the famous Japanese teppanyaki. Watch our female chefs deftly slice, chop and grill beef, chicken or seafood on a flat hot plate in front of you. Local insight: You can enjoy teppanyaki in your own private room with its own hot plate and chef. 13A Tu Xuong st., D.3 08 3932 0187 / 0189 10am-10pm teppankobe@gmail.com Zen Restaurant Fresh produce, Japanese chefs, and an extensive range of Japanese food, Zen is a great place to take the whole family for a memorable taste of Japanese cuisine. Local insight: The amiable, efficient staff provide an excellent, child-friendly service. 20 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 08 3825 0782 kushizen@vnn.vn Mon. to Sat. 6am-11pm / Sun. 7am-10.30pm 吉野 Yoshino Japanese Restaurant Yoshino serves authentic Japanese cuisine with delicate traditional Omakase set dinners and an a la carte menu. Treats include seasonal fresh fish and Wagyu beef. Local insight: Yoshino is located on the second floor of the Legend Hotel which fronts the scenic Saigon River and is steps away from the Opera House and Dong Khoi. 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang st., D.1 11.30am-2.30pm / 6-10pm 40 see more at www.citypassguide.com 08 3823 2738 legendsaigon.com The Sushi Bar Enter any of the six Sushi Bar locations and you’ll feel you have been transported to Japan. The sushi is made with fresh fish, flown in daily, and there is a dizzying selection to choose from. The house special Sushi Bar Roll is a treat with no less than nine ingredients. Pair your sushi with sake or opt for green tea for an authentic flavour. Local insight: Delivery www.sushibar-vn.com. is available online at 2 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 08 3823 8042 Floor 5, Zen Plaza, 54-56 Nguyen Trai st., D. 1 08 3925 0377 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.1 08 3911 8618 Floor 2, 149 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.3 08 3930 1937 Floor 4, 800 Nguyen Van Linh st., D.7 08 5411 0084 Ground floor, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan st., D. 1 08 3822 3154 From 10am to 11.30pm sushibar-vn.com Reservation Hotline: 08 3911 8618 / 3911 8818 HCMC 41
  • 24. food international Ebisu Enjoy Japanese cuisine in one of Ebisu’s authentic tatami rooms. Fresh udon noodles and grilled chicken are favourites at the centrally located restaurant. Local insight: It takes only a five minute taxi ride from the centre of town to Ebisu. 35 Bis Mac Dinh Chi st., D1 08 3822 6971 ebisu.hcm@gmail.com ebisu-vn.asia Mon. to Fri. from 11.30am-2.30pm and from 5-11pm Sat. from 11.30am-11pm / Sun. from 11.30am-10pm Tokyo Deli Tokyo Deli serves authentic Japanese cuisine set in a chic modern setting. Tasty and healthy Japanese food at reasonable prices are the cornerstones of their restaurants. Salmon sashimi, okonomiyaki and udon noodles are well recommended. Local insight: There are seven restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. Please check their website for locations. 31 Ngo Duc Ke st., D.1 08 3827 7744 240 Le Thanh Ton st., D1 08 5404 2244 tokyodeli.com.vn info@tokyodeli.com.vn 7 days a week from 11am-10pm international food Blanchy Street The newest restaurant in the Blanchy family is a valuable addition to Saigon’s culinary scene. Opposite the Hyatt, The Refinery courtyard is a great backdrop for former Nobu chef Martin Brito’s Japanese-South American fusion menu that will excite all palates. Local insight: Hai Ba Trung used to be named Paul Blanchy street, named after Saigon’s first elected mayor. 74 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 08 3823 8793 blanchystreet.com blanchystreet@gmail.com 11am-2pm and 6pm-11pm Ming Court Ming Court features classic Chinese cuisine with a Taiwanese touch, traditional dishes prepared with a modern Chinese approach. Guests can enjoy delicious dim sum lunches, a la carte or set menu with a wide selection of Chinese and Taiwanese teas, wines and rice wine. Local insight: Sample over 50 dishes at Ming Court’s All You Can Eat Dim Sum on Saturdays and Sundays. 235 Nguyen Van Cu st., D.1 08 3925 7777 hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn reservation@hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn Tandoor Tandoor specialises in halal food from North India and clay oven cooked kebabs. The deliciously spiced dishes range from chicken tikka kebabs to Goan fish curry are presented in a bright, airy atmosphere. Local insight: There is a large vegetarian selection and free home delivery available. 74/6 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 11am-10.30pm 42 see more at www.citypassguide.com 08 3930 4839 tandoorvietnam.com HCMC 43
  • 25. food international international Khoi Tom A short walk from the War Remnants Museum and in a modern Al Fresco setting Khoi Thom harmonises Vietnamese and Mexican flavours. Think Bo bit tet meets beef fajitas, heo xien meets Mexican spice, Tom nuong meets Tequila. Local insight: In the evening, Tequila girls come to your table to offer slammers - a first for Vietnam. 29 Ngo Thoi Nhiem st., D.3 khoithom.com 11am-11pm 08 3930 0233 info@khoitom.com Au Parc A coffee shop, restaurant and delicatessen Au Parc is serious about its Mediterranean fare. Located in a charming colonial building it has a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. A perfect haven when sightseeing and shopping proves too exhausting. Local insight: The delivery service is really efficient and popular with expats and locals alike. 23 Han Thuyen st., D.1 auparcsaigon.com 7am-11pm 08 3829 2772 loi@auparcsaigon.com La Villa Enjoy traditional French cuisine straight from Provence in a colonial style villa. Have lunch or dinner in the serene courtyard or refined interior, enhanced by experienced and personable waitstaff. Local insight: Bringing due diligence to dessert, each pastry is delicate, delicious and just a touch decadent. 14 Ngo Quang Huy st., Thao Dien, D.2 11.45am to 1.30pm / 6.45pm to late (Mon. to Sat.) 08 3898 2082 lavilla-restaurant.com.vn La Cuisine Dine your way through French and Mediterranean cuisine in a non-smoking, intimate atmosphere. Beef tenderloin with truffles, potato puree and Bearnaise sauce is our favourite. Local insight: Reservations are recommended and watch every dish prepared in the open kitchen. 48 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 11am-2pm / 5pm-10pm 08 2229 8882 / 2223 5222 lacuisine.com.vn Central Parc Banh Mi Côte D’Azur Brasserie Local insight: A tiny corner of New York in downtown Saigon. Local insight: Every lunch, you can find the pleasures of the “Déjeuner” which is renewed weekly according to the inspiration of the Chef. Tucked away, yet centrally located, Central Parc offers a fantastic selection of New York style banh mis, bagels, foccacia and wraps, all made with fresh bread straight from the upstairs bakery. Order take out or enjoy the coolest playlist in Saigon on its scenic terrace. 07 Bis Han Thuyen st., D.1 08 3822 8549 centralparcbanhmi@gmail.com Mon. to Sat. from 8am-6pm and closed Sun. 44 food see more at www.citypassguide.com Imported ingredients are mixed in a subtle way with local spices to create uniquely flavoured French cuisine at this elegant brasserie in Sai Gon. The brasserie is a favourite with expats and Vietnamese. 12T3 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D.1 08 3911 5473 cotedazur.vn brasserie@cotedazur.vn Mon. to Sat. from 11am-1.30pm and 6pm-9.30pm HCMC 45
  • 26. international food An Lam Saigon River Restaurant Only 15 minutes by speedboat, An Lam Private Residences boasts an exceptional restaurant with stunning views and exquisite cuisine. The Australian chef has designed an international menu that blends the very finest of Vietnamese and European dishes. Intimate or business dining options include the dining room overlooking the Saigon River, aside the swimming pool, at the boat house, in a secluded garden setting, at the Chef’s table or the height of luxury enjoy your own torchlight barbecue. Before or after dining, pamper yourself at the luxury spa which will rejuvenate the body and soothe the soul. Local insight: The resort boasts a show kitchen where cooking classes are offered. 21/4 Khu Pho Trung, Binh Duong fb.coordinator@anlam.com 065 0378 5555 anlam.com 6am-9.30pm HCMC 47
  • 27. food international international food Vatel Saigon Panfried Foie Gras on Dalat Camembert, toast of walnut bread and grape sauce reduction, with wine to match: to die for! French chef, Patrick Berenger and his team create exquisite food and provide a service to match. Local insight: Check out their website for their wellregarded lunchtime menus and weekly specials. 120B Suong Nguyet Anh st., D. 1 marketing@vatelsaigon.com 08 5404 2220 vatelsaigon.com La Creperie For sweet crêpes and savoury galettes straight from Brittany, head to La Crêperie. The range of flavours and fillings including seafood will satisfy all tastes and the cosy yet modern interior immediately sets you at ease. Local insight: Enjoy your meal with a cup of imported cider, a traditional accompaniment. 17/7 Le Thanh Ton st., D. 1 08 3824 7070 11am-11pm lacreperie.com.cn The Refinery Opposite the Hyatt, this stylish bistro is located in Saigon’s only historic courtyard, serving continental food with an extensive wine list. A regular haunt for those locals in the know, The Refinery is one of Saigon’s most popular brunch destinations. Local insight: The Refinery is housed in what was the opium manufacturing centre of Saigon. 74 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 therefinerysaigon.com info@therefinerysaigon.com 48 see more at www.citypassguide.com 08 3823 0509 11am to late Camargue They’re back together! Saigon’s iconic Camargue and Vasco’s have reunited to create a unique dining and entertainment experience that puts them back at the top. The winning combination usually starts with a bar stool chill out on the terrace with tapas and great cocktails al fresco. Move upstairs for the balmy air and fine Mediterranean delicacies of Camargue restaurant. And if you’re still up for it, move your hips into the wee small hours at Vasco’s renovated lounge. Camargue was once the place to be. It’s alive again. Local insight: French-born chef, Mickael Le Calvez, has a grounding in classic French cuisine and extensive experience of Asian cooking. 74/7D, Hai Ba Trung st., D. 1 vascosgroup.com 08 3520 4888 vascosgroup@me.com HCMC 49
  • 28. food international international La Brasserie de Saigon A truly Parisien experience in Saigon is found at La Brasserie de Saigon. Attention to authenticity is evident from the white collared servers to the brass railing decorations. Iron Chef Vietnam David Thai creates authentic yet modern renditions of French fare such as the fresh seafood platter. Local insight: The fresh fish of the day is presented on a trolley and served a la découpe. 38 Dong Du st., D. 1 08 6291 3657 contact@labrasseriedesaigon.com labrasseriedesaigon.com Le Bouchon de Saigon This French bistro offers hearty comfort food in a friendly casual setting. Reminiscent of the bistros found in Lyon, Le Bouchon de Saigon imparts a relaxed dining experience where you can come in for a quick lunch or stay a while and relax. Local insight: Flip the menu over and take a bit of time to read the irreverent gazette. 40 Thai Van Lung st., D. 1 lebouchondesaigon.com 08 3829 9263 franck@lebouchondesaigon.com Boomarang Boomarang proudly serves fresh Australian cuisine while offering a relaxing ambience for all-day dining and entertainment. Like a returning “boomerang”, the team here ensures that diners always keep coming back for more. Local insight: Executive chef Linh is the winner of 2011’s Iron Chef Vietnam. 2 3-4 107 Ton Dat Tien st., D.7 boomarang.com.vn enquiries@boomarang.com.vn 08 5413 6592 Hog’s Breath Cafe This Australian establishment serves Western fare with happening happy hours and footy matches. Located at the base of Bitexco Tower, you don’t have to go down under for Aussie eats and atmosphere. Local insight: The gourmet steaks are so tender that you can cut them with the back of your knife. 2 Hai Trieu st., D.1 Manager: 012 0311 1581 hogsbreathcafe.com.vn info@hogsbreathcafe.com.vn 08 3915 6066 8am to midnight Le Steak de Saigon New York Steakhouse Local insight: Order the knife-cut beef tartare which is prepared a la minute tableside. Local insight: Serving more than just beef, try the creamy spinach with truffle. Grass-fed Australian beef is the showpiece of this chic steak house. The one-page menu lists five dishes prepared with a French touch. The sauces, sides and desserts are all made in-house and indicative of the attention to quality. 15 Dong Du st., D.1 09 8492 3109 50 food see more at www.citypassguide.com cindy@lesteakdesaigon.com lesteakdesaigon.com Indulge in a seductive dining experience for true beef connoisseurs in a spectacular setting. Choose from American beef cuts charred to perfection accompanied by decadent sides and desserts. 25-27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.1 11am-1am steakhouse.com.vn 08 3823 7373 HCMC 51
  • 29. food international international Casa Italia Casa Italia has gained a high reputation for attentive, smiling staff set in a casual convivial atmosphere. The authentic Italian cuisine utilises fresh daily produce and first grade imported meats and dry goods. Local insight: Look for the restaurant next to “a tailor of distinction” sign on the crowded sidewalk. 86 Le Loi st., D.1 casaitalia.com.vn 08 3824 4286 10am to late La Brasserie The restaurant has wide international buffet stations for breakfast and dinner. The menu offers Asian and international cuisine which balances healthy eating with tasty global-inspired dishes. Enjoy a relaxing ambiance whether popping in for a quick snack or a more leisurely meal. Local insight: La Brasserie is also available for private events. 235 Nguyen Van Cu st., D.1 08 3925 7777 hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn reservation@hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn food Parkview Looking out over the lush 23 September Park, Parkview is an inviting venue known for its excellent service, lavish seafood buffet, fine à la carte menu and a wide selection of international favourites freshly prepared by master chefs. Local insight: Do not miss the exclusive Jazz Champagne Brunch every Sunday from 12 to 3pm. New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai st., D.1 08 3915 5391 6am-10.30am / 11.45am-2.30pm / 6pm-10pm Reflections Restaurant Reflections Restaurant is the epitome of contemporary fine dining, elegantly capturing the cosmopolitan allure of the city. The menu draws inspiration from every corner of the globe. Local insight: Hosts guest international chefs from Michelin establishments. Floor 3, Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D.1 08 3823 4999 ext. 27100 4pm-11pm caravellehotel.com Nineteen Restaurant Casual and cheerful, Nineteen is a popular dining option combining sophistication with welcoming warmth. The lively atmosphere and vast selection make it a popular meeting place in the city centre. Local insight: The sumptuous buffet, offered at all meals, has seafood and house wines. Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D.1 08 3823 4999 ext. 27100 52 see more at www.citypassguide.com 6am-10pm caravellehotel.com HCMC 53
  • 30. food further suggestions - international Basilico / Intercontinental Hotel, Corner of Nguyen Du st. and Le Van Huu st., D.1 08 3520 9099. Woodfire oven pizzas and authentic Italian recipes housed in a stylish space. Dynasty / New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai st., D.1 / 08 3822 8888 / Has served Master dim sum favourites and gourmet Cantonese specialities for more than 18 years. Jaspas / 33 Dong Khoi st., D.1 / 08 3822 9926 Al Fresco’s hospitality group’s finest restaurant, simple but elegant international cuisine. Pacharan / 97 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 / 08 3825 6024 / Pacharan serves tapas and every morsel should be washed down with Spanish wine or sangria. Pizza 4P’s / 8/15 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 012 0789 4444 / Japanese ingenuity meets traditional neapolitan style pizza. Inspired pizza creations mix alongside with salads and pasta. Square One / 2 Lam Son Sq., D.1 / 08 3824 1234 / Square One features high-end Western and Vietnamese cuisine. The Deck / 38 Nguyen U Di st., An Phu, D.2 08 3744 6632 / Riverside dining and intimate settings. Zan Z Bar / 41 Dong Du st., D.1 / 08 3822 7375 / Zan Z Bar is a combination restaurant and bar serving Western dishes to an upmarket crowd. 54 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 31. DRINK
  • 32. drink bars cafes Fanny Ice Cream True French style ice cream specialities and unique flavours that cannot be found anywhere else. Local insight: A set price ice cream buffet is available on the first Friday of every month. 29/31 Ton That Thiep st., D.1 Vincom Center B - 72 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 22 Pham Hong Thai st., D.1 63 Xuan Thuy st., D.2 Pandora City-1/1 Truong Chinh st., Tan Phu D. 6A Tran Hung Dao st., D.1 (coming soon) www.fanny.com.vn 08 08 08 08 08 3821 3993 3824 3519 3849 1633 9018 4778 4205 5029 9am-11pm Wine Embassy One gets a sense that wine is king in this chic centrally located bar. The sommelier can help you choose a bottle of wine from a selection of 120 or purchase a Wine Card and grab a glass at the automated Enomatic wine dispenser. Local insight: In addition to the large range of wine by the bottle there are 30 wines by the glass to choose from. 13 Ngo Duc Ke st., D.1 09 0281 0523 wineembassy.com.vn info@wineembassy.com.vn Everyday from 4pm-12pm, Fri. from 11.30am-2pm Decibel Wine Bar Local insight: Decibel is an event organizer and runs events at the bar that change regularly. Local insight: An impressive feature is the “walk-in” temperature-controlled wine room with the most exclusive wine collection in Ho Chi Minh. Decibel is a lounge/bar/restaurant in one, and it’s more like a garden house. Along with a menu that includes an eclectic mix of European cuisines, it also features music, art and design. It’s a great place to hang out. 79/2/5, Phan Ke Binh st., D.1 contact@decibel.vn 08 6271 0115 decibel.vn Wine Bar 38 Dong Khoi is a luxurious and sophisticated wine bar with a charming ambience. The French team’s priority is to ensure the finest culinary experience combined with exclusive wines from Bordeaux and the New World. 38 Dong Khoi, D.1 08 3829 3968 marcelle@38dongkhoi.com 38dongkhoi.com 7 days a week from 11am to midnight MonPèRE CAFÉ Slate - the Bar Local insight: They specialize in buffet parties for up to 40 people. Local insight: Mention this advertisement to receive 10% discount on all food and beverage. This cafe-restaurant serves Pan-Asian and international cuisine in a fully restored French colonial villa. Relax in one of the many sofas and armchairs that decorate the restaurant and enjoy the ambience. 5H Ton Duc Thang st., D.1 monperecafe.vn contact@monperecafe.vn 56 drink see more at www.citypassguide.com 08 3822 0458 7.30am-10.30pm Slate – the Bar is the perfect venue for an after work or pre/after dinner drink. For those night owls and sports enthusiasts, our weekly events calendar including live sports will have you and your friends partying into the wee hours of the morning. Mövenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi st., Phu Nhuan D. 08 3844 9222 5pm to late moevenpick-saigon.com HCMC 57
  • 33. drink bars/clubs bars/clubs Broma Enjoy the breezy Open sky Rooftop or grab a drink in the medieval themed bar at Broma. Fast becoming the hip place for expats and young modern Vietnamese, this cosy stylish bar has made a big splash in Saigon’s nightlife. Local insight: Try their signature cocktails, the Bruce and Rum Bo Hue. 41 Nguyen Hue st., D.1 bromasaigon@gmail.com Mon. to Sun. from 5pm-2am 08 3823 6838 bromabar Saigon Saigon Bar With spectacular panoramic views of the city, Saigon Saigon Bar is a great place to watch the sunset. This open air bar combines live music and dancing with a relaxed atmosphere. Local insight: Enjoy live entertainment every night of the week. Roof Top via 9th floor Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D.1 08 3823 4999 Ext. 27100 caravellehotel.com 11am-late Maxim’s Club As an important part of downtown Saigon since 1925, Maxim’s Club has been known as THE entertainment venue for the business and social elites since last century. The second floor Vintage Lounge and Fine Dining Restaurant make a strong design statement. Local insight: Try one of their 10 exquisite cocktails. 15 Dong Khoi st., D1 maxims.com.vn 08 3822 5554 1pm to late MZ Club Soak up electric atmosphere in one of the best live music venues in town. The talented Vietnamese singers are well versed in the classics and will keep you coming back to this chic night hot spot. Local insight: Every night, a wide variety of international and Vietnamese tunes will get your feet moving. 56A Bui Thi Xuan st., D.1 7pm to late 08 3925 5258 m-zing.com Vasco’s Bar & Lounge Mask Saigon’s original night spot, Vasco’s has been entertaining the town for more than a decade. Stiff cocktails, fun parties and pumping music in a chic interior keep the party crowd coming back. Conveniently located in downtown Saigon, Mask has a beautiful view of bustling Saigon. The Terrace Bar & Restaurant offers a stunning al fresco dining experience. The New York grunge style bar plays the latest hip hop and house music. Local insight: The recently renovated Blue Lounge provides an intimate respite from the main action. Local insight: Happy Hour starts early at 4pm offering a 35 percent discount on all drinks 74/7D, Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 08 3824 2888 vascosgroup.com vascosgroup@me.com 58 drink see more at www.citypassguide.com 3B Ton Duc Thang st., D.1 Bar & Restaurant: 8am to late Lounge: 8pm to late 09 3893 9665 HCMC 59
  • 34. drink bars/clubs bars/clubs drink Blanchy’s Tash This hip cocktail lounge, large dance floor and airy sky bar on three separate levels combine to make this one of Saigon’s most sophisticated spots. At the weekends the venue comes alive with international DJs from as far afield as Ibiza mixing the best cutting edge dance music today. Local insight: Paul Blanchy was the first elected mayor of Saigon in 1895. anyarena.com 95 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 08 3827 5198 blanchystash.com events@blanchystash.com 6pm to late Lush Lush plays the hottest music in Vietnam to a crowd of locals and expats alike. The main attraction is Lush’s buzzing interior, where stylish graphics join comfortable lounge seating. International DJs regularly stop here so check the website for a schedule of events. Local insight: On Tuesdays, free drinks for ladies until midnight. 02 Ly Tu Trong st., D.1 lush.vn 09 1863 0742 8pm to late Last Call Popular with both expats and young modern Vietnamese, Last Call is Saigon’s answer to the very late night blues. Artisan cocktails take centre stage here, sipped to the mellow sounds of Motown and 70s beats. Local insight: The bar hosts DJs every Friday and Saturday nights ‘til late. 59 Dong Du st., D.1 08 3823 3122 lastcallsaigon lastcallsaigon@gmail.com Mon. to Wed. from 6pm-3am Thu. to Sat. from 6pm to late, Closed Sun. 60 see more at www.citypassguide.com Catwalk Club The International Tourist Club (ITC) is conveniently located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, in the annex wing of the New World Saigon Hotel. Opened in 1995, the elegant International Tourist Club features Catwalk Club and Chats Slot Gaming Centre. Catwalk Club features a live band zone, a chill out party area, singing lounge and deluxe karaoke suites. Come and enjoy your favourite libations and test your vocal prowess at Ho Chi Minh City’s Premier night spot. Local insight: The Catwalk Privilege Card is now available. International Tourist Club, 76 Le Lai st., D.1 08 3824 3760 itclubsaigon.com.vn 8pm-2am HCMC 61
  • 35. drink further suggestions Cafes Highlands Coffee / 65 Le Loi st., D.1 / 08 3914 3282 / This coffee chain offers light lunches to go with the caffeine hit. L’Usine / Floor 1, 151/1 Dong Khoi st., D.1 lusinespace.com / 08 6674 9565 / A hip, warm space creatively designed to the last detail. Bars La Fenetre Soleil / Floor 1, 44 Ly Tu Trong st., D.1 / 08 3824 5994 / One of the best panoramas in town. Prices are high and no slippers and shorts permitted. Red Bar / 70-72 Ngo Duc Ke st., D.1 / 08 2229 7017 / Rooftop bar and lounge. Phatty’s / 46-48 Ton That Thiep st., D.1 08 3821 0796 / Phatty’s is a great place for sports enthusiasts to catch the game on any of the seven screens. Clubs Apocalypse Now / 2C Thi Sach st., D.1 08 3825 6124 / Apocalypse is an institution, one of the oldest and wildest nightclubs in Saigon. Fuse Saigon / 138 Le Lai st., D.1 / 09 1920 6461 / One of the hottest clubs in the city featuring local and international DJs. Velvet / 26 Ho Huan Nghiep st., D.1 / 09 3822 2262 / Velvet has stylish design, lounge seating and a classy cocktail and wine selection. 62 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 36. SHOPPING
  • 37. shopping souvenirs souvenirs shopping Bamboo Bamboo is a fast growing grass with a delicate grain that makes it distinctive and elegant. A large range of bamboo products are produced in Vietnam including vases, trays and platters as well as larger pieces of furniture. With the plant growing abundantly in the countryside, prices are reasonable. Bamboo is also used as the mould for some lacquerware and the frame for most non la, the iconic Vietnamese conical hat. Local insight: Test the quality by running your hand over it as there should not be any splinters. Water Hyacinth Water hyacinth is a free floating plant that grows with such exceptional speed that it has become a problem in the Mekong Delta where it clogs the waterways and suffocates river life. The spongy stem is used in products such as table mats and sofas as it has a naturally soft texture. Its distinctive smell is a cross between leather and a cigar. Local insight: Mekong Creations makes a wide selection of water hyacinth products including handbags with wooden or leather handles. Model Boats Boat modelling is a craft as old as shipbuilding, dating back to the development of water transport. In Vietnam, the boats hail from a woodworking village in Dong Nai. Models range from miniatures to complex, full-masted scale models. The time taken to complete one ranges from five to ten days. There are replicas of famous vessels and ships in bottles. Local insight: Prices start at VND30,000 for a small bottled boat and they are available at shops around Lam Son Square. 64 see more at www.citypassguide.com Mekong Quilts & Mekong Creations Mekong Quilts is non-profit organization that specializes in high quality hand stitched bed covers. The organization provides employment, training and benefits to women from rural Vietnam and Cambodia. Mekong Creations specializes in unique, locally produced household and gift items including rag rugs, paper mache, bamboo and water hyacinth products. Local insight: Mekong Quilts also has three locations in Hanoi along with locations in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap in Cambodia. Floor 1, 35-37 Ngo Duc Ke st., D.1 08 2210 3110 S17 - Skygarden 1, Nguyen Van Linh st., D.7, PMH 08 6271 7758 9am-7pm mekong-quilts.org mekong-creations.org HCMC 65
  • 38. shopping souvenirs souvenirs shopping Porcelain & Ceramics Most Vietnamese ceramics following Chinese rule were influenced by Chinese art, but they developed over time to be distinctly Vietnamese. Often cobalt blue and white, but available in a variety of colours, teapots, large bowls and other household items can be used decoratively and functionally. A tea set with a tray costs about VND250,000. Local insight: Minh Long is one of the most prolific ceramic producers in the world. Buffalo Horn Buffalo horn is used in products as diverse as delicate jewellery, eating utensils, pipes and hair decorations. Colours run the gamut from pale cream to ebony. It is said that the buffalo horn is where the buffalo spirit lives and it has great power. That power is transferred to those who wear or use it, so pick up a piece and inherit the strength of the mighty buffalo. Local insight: Items made of the lighter shade of horn can cost three times that of the darker shade. Marble Long held to be the most luxurious stone, marble carvings and interiors have existed for millennia. Fortunately, the exquisite mineral is no longer limited to five star hotels and Italian museums. Vietnamese marble comes in a wide variety of colours, patterns and shapes, ensuring that you will find something to suit your taste. Peruse the souvenir shops to find the perfect piece. Local insight: Marble sculptures are generally quoted at four times their actual selling price. 66 see more at www.citypassguide.com Minh Sang Plaza Located 45 minutes from downtown Ho Chi Minh City, Minh Sang Plaza is home to a collection of upscale shopping and dining venues. The highlight is the first floor, dedicated to Minh Long, one of the premier porcelain makers in Asia. Its high quality handpainted vases are produced using a technique that is seldom used in Vietnam. Their well trained staff can help you with any questions about the porcelain and other wares in the shopping venues. Local insight: Have fun in their shop where you can handpaint your own plate! 888 Binh Duong Highway, Thuan Giao, Thuan An, Binh Duong 8am-8pm 065 0371 8090 minhsang.com info@minhsang.com HCMC 67
  • 39. shopping souvenirs souvenirs shopping Straw Hats There is no more iconic souvenir than the Vietnamese non la, or leaf hat. This distinctive headpiece has become a national symbol representing the hardworking spirit of Vietnam. The conical hat is fashioned out of bamboo, then coconut or palm leaves are hand sewn into the frame. Non la can be found in most markets and on Vietnamese people everywhere. Local insight: Raise hats to see the designs cut into the leaves. Prices start at VND10,000. Woodcarvings A thriving craft, local wood is carved into trinkets, figurines and burled furniture. Choosing the type of wood is important: hardwoods are more difficult to shape but have greater longevity, while softer woods are easier to carve but are more vulnerable. Vietnamese woodcarving combines artistry with the natural curvature of the tree, an impressive fusion of nature and craft. Local insight: A lifesize woodcarving will cost at least USD3,000. Lacquerware Vietnamese lacquerware is sought after by collectors for its beauty and durability. Lacquer, a natural varnish from a tree of the cashew family, is applied to everything from paintings to dishes. Production in Vietnam dates back to the 18th Century and the best lacquerware is created by hand. It can take more than 12 stages of production to create one piece, and a tray needs 75 days to make. Local insight: Look for details like air bubbles to evaluate the quality of production. 68 see more at www.citypassguide.com Nga Art and Craft Nga Art and Craft designs and produces high quality Vietnamese products that blend innovative modern art with traditional styles. Every piece is handmade by skilled artisans, creating beauty beyond function. Lacquerware pieces range from wall decorations to plates and trays and decorative lamps to illuminate the night. For something exceptional, exquisite original lacquer furniture adds colour to any home. The pieces can be stand alone focal points or complements to each other, drawing a theme across several rooms. Local insight: The two drawer wine cabinets make the perfect gift. 41 Mac Thi Buoi st., D.1 8am-10pm nga@huongngafinearts.vn 08 3823 8356 huongngafinearts.vn HCMC 69
  • 40. shopping Zippos A companion to U.S. soldiers during the war, these enduring lighters can be found scattered throughout Vietnam and each one tells a unique story. They are priced according to the year, design, quality and condition and most are under VND100,000. There are few genuine ones left, but many copies are made. Local insight: Most are copies, but the one Martin Sheen had in Apocalypse Now wasn’t real either. Propaganda Art Propaganda art is usually made for political purposes, but it has also been used for campaigns promoting public health and safety. Vietnam’s propaganda art truly came into its own during the American War. Trumpeting everything from fighting to industrial production, this socialist style now has a very hip retro feel and can be found on old posters, t-shirts, handbags and souvenirs. Local insight: Dogma (43 Ton That Thiep st., D.1) has the largest collection of Vietnamese propaganda art in town. Antiques Le Cong Kieu is one of Saigon’s best kept secrets. 100m long and packed with more than 60 antique shops, every shop is in turn filled with hundreds of items. Rummage through the treasure trove of stone statues, lamps, ceramic pots and clocks to unearth a rare find. But be aware that only around 30 percent of the goods on display are genuine antiques and the rest are reproductions. Local insight: The government controls the export of genuine antiques, so keep your receipts. 70 arts souvenirs see more at www.citypassguide.com shopping Traditional Art Vietnam’s local artisans and folk artists produce some stunningly ornate work, be it lacquerware, block prints, silk paintings or calligraphy. Since the 1960s, the ancient practice of embroidery has been elevated to include majestic sceneries and detailed portraits. Larger works can take over a month to complete, and popular topics include landscapes, animals and flowers. Local insight: Browse the shops around Dong Khoi st. and try XQ for a vast selection of embroidery. Contemporary Art Ho Chi Minh City has a number of art galleries showcasing modern work. Unfortunately, finding original pieces can be difficult as there is a roaring trade in knock offs and replicas. The mostly hidden art scene provides opportunities for art collectors to find stunning creations at low prices and window shoppers to marvel at avant-garde artistry. Local insight: Head to Galerie Quynh at 65 De Tham st. or Out-2 Studio at 6 Thai Van Lung st. Lacquer Painting Nowhere in the world is the diversity and availability of lacquer arts more evident than in Vietnam, with a range that spans from museum pieces to holiday ornaments. Following a French lacquer painting class in 1930, the art form developed into a technique that combines traditional Asian and European styles. Local insight: For the perfect piece, check Zen Collection on K300 - D05, Ben Chuong Duong st., D.1. HCMC 71
  • 41. shopping Houseware If you can imagine it, they can create it. From luxurious silk bedcovers to handmade paper lamps, knicknacks to fill your cupboards, easy chairs, scatter cushions, teak tables and marble statuettes, everything you could imagine can be found here. Tailor made furniture is produced using the finest craftsmanship that combining functionality and finesse. Local insight: For eclectic furniture and houseware, try Red Door Deco at 31A Le Thanh Ton, D.1. Embroidery Traditionally, girls are taught to decorate pillowcases and tablecloths with embroidery, but since the 1960s, hand embroidery has been raised to an art. Majestic sceneries and detailed portraits unfold under the steady hands of artisans who work for weeks to create one piece. Popular subjects include landscapes, animals and flowers. Local insight: XQ on 37 Dong Khoi st., D.1 has artwork so realistic you’ll think they’re photographs. Catherine Denoual Maison Serenity and elegance define this authentic designer brand whose bed linens, table linens, tableware, decorative lamps and home fragrances have become the luxe signature of countless stylish residences and high-end hotels worldwide. Local insight: This brand offers Egyptian Cotton Satin 500 thread count in an array of signature embroideries. Floor 2, Saigon Centre Building,15C Thi Sach st., D.1 08 3823 9394 65 Le Loi st., D.1 08 3914 0269 72 houseware/clothing houseware/clothing see more at www.citypassguide.com shopping it’s happened to be a closet (Ethophen) Fresh from Bangkok, this exquisite brand transcends mere clothes. Italian coffee, a beautician and bakery live alongside its fabulous ethnic creations. In Saigon, “It happened to be a closet” and sister brand Palette – with its own brand of colourful originals – combine under one roof. Local insight: It has to the only place in Saigon where you can buy a new wardrobe have a manicure and surf the net. 89 Mac Thi Buoi, st., D.1 ItsHappenedSaigon 09 0244 4088 10am-9pm 7th Heaven Browse a range of unique women’s fashion designs in a relaxed atmosphere in the heart of Saigon’s bustle. Select a dress, skirt or shirt and take home something wearable and designed in Vietnam and created from local fabrics - now that’s a souvenir! Local insight: Your selection can be customtailored for you. Floor 2, 151/6 Dong Khoi st., D.1 09 0802 9805 7thheaven.home@gmail.com Cincinati Leather Boutique Cincinati Leather Boutique is a Vietnamese brand of genuine leather bags and personal goods, created by skilled craftsmen for customers looking for classic and individual beauty. We use only the best leather including cow and goat. Local insight: We also mix and match leather and other materials to create our unique products. 78A Dong Khoi st., D.1 08 3521 0112 cincinati.vn customerservice@cincinati.vn HCMC 73
  • 42. shopping clothing clothing shopping Tailors If you walk around any major Vietnamese cities, you will be aware of the wide variety of tailoring services available. Any city’s tailors can fashion haute couture or everyday wear in as little as two days. Tailors offer their own designs and have magazines and pattern books, or you can create your own. The average cost for a man’s suit is around USD300. Most shops also stock ready to wear clothes if you’re in a rush. Local insight: Check the quality along the seams and ask them to redo any sub-par stitching. Silk Vietnam has a centuries old tradition of silk weaving and embroidery. The silks drape beautifully and have enough body to make them easy to sew. Diverse in colour, weave and quality, various silk products promote a distinctive feature of Vietnamese culture. From clothing to shoes to silk paintings, you’re bound to find something in silk that you’ll love. Local insight: To check you’re getting silk, burn a piece of fabric. If it smells like plastic, it’s synthetic. Ao Dai The form fitting but flowing ao dai or long tunic, worn over silk trousers, flatters every figure. As the Vietnamese say, the ao dai covers everything but hides nothing. The ao dai is the Vietnamese national dress for women and is supported by the Vietnamese government. It is often called the ao dai Vietnam to link it to patriotic feeling and is used in traditional wedding ceremonies. Local insight: It takes about 4m of fabric to make an ao dai. 74 see more at www.citypassguide.com H & D Tailor Stocking high quality fabric imported directly from Italy, H & D is one of the finest tailors in the city. In as little as three days, their professional, internationally trained staff will design and create a suit to perfectly complement your stature. The preferred choice of the well heeled traveller, off the rack labels include Ermenegildo Zegna, Reda, F. Lli Cerruti and more. Despite their reputation for dapper duds, their prices remain extremely competitive. Local insight: Every suit purchased comes with a complementary tie. Shop 6 Pham Hong Thai st., New World Hotel, D.1 08 3824 3517 hdtailor.vn info@hdtailor.vn Mon. to Sat. from 8am-8pm, Sun. from 9am-7pm HCMC 75
  • 43. shopping shopping streets shopping streets Shopping Streets You might think it wouldn’t be a good idea to open a shop next door to your competition, but in Vietnam people believe success breeds success. Stores with the same products are often bundled together, whether it’s a row of places selling safes or a strip of snail restaurants. DISTRICT STREET NAME PRODUCT shopping ADDRESS NUMBER LOCATED BETWEEN Mac Dinh Chi Bars, Cafes 11-59C Dien Bien Phu Le Duan Le Loi Souvenirs, Arts 15-121 Ben Thanh Market Dong Khoi STREET NAME PRODUCT ADDRESS NUMBER LOCATED BETWEEN Dong Khoi Souvenirs, Boutiques 1-211 Ton Duc Thang Le Duan Ton That Tung IT Appliances 7C-145 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Nguyen Trai Dong Du Bars, Restaurants 9-59 Hai Ba Trung Dong Khoi Thi Sach DISTRICT Hotels, Bars 7-15C Le Thanh Ton Tran Hung Dao Statue Le Thi Hong Gam Shoes, Wallets 2-78 Calmette Pho Duc Chinh Nguyen Trai Fashion, Restaurants 1-147 New World Hotel Ton That Tung Luong Huu Khanh Signs and signboards Whole street Nguyen Trai Bui Thi Xuan Nguyen Cu Trinh Computers 20-74 Tran Hung Dao Cong Quynh Ly Tu Trong Fashion Shops 75-213 Truong Dinh Thu Khoa Huan Whole street Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Nguyen Du Huyen Tran Cong Chua Sporting Goods 1 Le Cong Kieu Pho Duc Chinh Nam Ky Khoi Nghia Bui Thi Xuan Mid Range Hotels 1-59 Cach Mang Thang 8 Le Thi Rieng Hai Ba Trung Fashion, Restaurants 137A-447 Tran Quang Khai Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Pham Ngu Lao Nguyen Thai Hoc Cong Quynh Household, Perfume 1B-75 Ben Thanh Market Nguyen Hue De Tham 201-269 Pham Ngu Lao Tran Hung Dao Fashion, Restaurants 33-97 Hai Ba Trung Nguyen Hue Bui Vien Backpacker District - Travel Agents, Cafes, Restaurants, Souvenirs, Bars 159-373 Mac Thi Buoi 1-207 Tran Hung Dao Cong Quynh Ham Nghi Banks 79A-99 Ben Thanh Market Sai Gon River Ly Thai To Old Vespas 7-105B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Le Hong Phong Le Thanh Ton Boutiques, Restaurants 1-245 Ton Duc Thang Ben Thanh Market Le Van Sy Fashion, Cafes 311B-351 Tran Quang Dieu Pham Van Hai Thai Van Lung Restaurants 9-29 Mac Thi Buoi Le Thanh Ton Cao Thang Fashion, Restaurants 1-169 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Ba Thang Hai Ton That Thiep 76 1-27 Huynh Thuc Khang 1 Antiques Restaurants, Bars 3-49 Nguyen Hue Pasteur Nguyen Dinh Chieu Fashion, Restaurants 131-567 Truong Dinh Nguyen Thien Thuat see more at www.citypassguide.com 3 HCMC 77
  • 44. shopping Crescent Mall Located in suburban District 7’s Phu My Hung, Crescent Mall is the newest shopping centre in Saigon. An array of upscale retail outlets ply international brands in airconditioned comfort. Along with shopping, there are a number of food and drink options along with a cinema which shows all the latest Vietnamese and international films. If you feel a bit shopped out, take a scenic walk around Ho Ban Nguyet lake. Ton Dat Tien st., Phu My Hung, D.7 Diamond Plaza If you want to go ten-pin bowling, see a movie or just hang at the mall, Diamond Plaza is the place to be. The mall hosts a range of cosmetics, branded clothing and toys as well as a noisy arcade and a food court. The Family Medical Practice is here if you need some Western-style medical care. 34 Le Duan st., D.1 Hung Vuong Plaza This shopping mall is a bit out of town but is definitely worth the drive. Along with four floors of shopping, there is an array of entertainment options like ten-pin bowling, a top notch fitness centre, an arcade game entertainment area and the biggest cinema complex in the city. 126 Hung Vuong st., D5 NOWZONE Fashion Mall This is not just a shopping mall- this is a fashion mall. See what’s hot in ladies’ and men’s clothing, accessories, shoes and more. All the latest trends and fashions from the US, Japan and Korea are at this compact mall. Conveniently located in District 1 but close to Districts 3 and 10. 235 Nguyen Van Cu st., D.1 78 malls malls see more at www.citypassguide.com shopping Parkson Plaza With locations throughout the city, Parkson boasts a both comprehensive selection of cosmetics and a wide range of clothing. Parkson is the place to go for quality kitchenware and appliances.39-45 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1, 126 Hung Vuong st., D.5, 182 Le Dai Hanh st., D.11, 60A Truong Son st., Tan Binh D. Saigon Centre Centrally located with three shopping levels, this upscale mall caters to the high end office workers who inhabit the building. It’s a great place to browse for electronics, clothing and handicrafts. 65 Le Loi st., D.1 Saigon Tax Trading Centre At the Tax Centre, you can find clothes, cosmetics and luggage as well as reasonably priced electronics and cameras on the ground floor. There is a small supermarket on the second floor with imported products and a selection of wines. 39 Le Loi st., D.1 Vincom Center A & B One of the largest mall in town, the Vincom Center A boasts five levels, starting with Armani and Jimmy Choo before taking you down to a Carl’s Jr. hamburger outlet on the bottom level. The newest mall in town, Vincom Center B can’t be beaten for it’s location and it’s 5 floors of shopping madness. 72 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 Zen Plaza A centre for international fashion and shoes, Zen Plaza is home to many foreign brands like Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Levi’s, Kappa, Geox, Ecco and Skechers as well as a number of Vietnamese designers. 54-56 Nguyen Trai st., D.1 HCMC 79
  • 45. shopping further suggestions Fashion Khai Silk / 107 Dong Khoi st., D.1 / 08 3829 1146 Hoang Khai’s flagship store has an extensive selection of top-notch fashions for all. L’Usine / Floor 1, 151/1 Dong Khoi st., / 08 6674 9565 / This design heaven has hip clothing, eccentric furnishings and unique accessories. Mai Lam / 132-134 Dong Khoi st., D.1 08 3827 2733 / Mai Lam is a boutique store with an eclectic mix of vintage designer clothes and accessories. Tailors Takayuki / Floor 1 , 44 Ly Tu Trong st., D1 08 3822 0722 / The first flagship store of Japanese designer Taka Sawamura in Saigon, selling high quality designer goods. Home Deco / Lacquerware My Way / 113 Nguyen Thiep st., D.1 / 08 3823 8532 / My Way is one of the leading designers of decorative arts and home decor. Galleries Apricot / 50-52 Mac Thi Buoi st., D.1 08 3822 7962 / Apricot is a premium gallery featuring Vietnam’s leading artists. Paintings start at USD2,000. Ben Thanh Art & Frame / 07 Nguyen Thiep st., D.1 / 08 3823 3001 / Supplies artwork to some of Saigon’s leading hotels. Jewellery Therese / 09 Nguyen Thiep st., D.1 / 08 3824 6011 / This reputable jeweller is a favourite of the Saigon expat crowd, creating unique pieces of jewellery. 80 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 46. ACTIVITIES
  • 47. activities tours Bike Tours When we say bike, we don’t mean the motorised kind. We’re talking about pedal power. Freewheeling from the city to the mountains or seashore gives a totally different perspective on Vietnam and provides a glimpse inside rural life. Group and private tours are widely available. Grab a pair of wheels and get going. Local insight: Contact Vietnam Bike Tours at 08 6653 0372 to ride with the best. tours activities XO Tours Experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Vietnam from the back of a motorbike with XO Tours! We offer unique day or night motorbike tours driven by female tour guides in traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai. Local insight: The Foodie tour takes you at night all around the city to sample genuine street food. 09 3308 3727 xotours.vn info@xotours.vn Boat Tours For a different view of the city, splurge on a trip with Saigon River Express. There are daily scheduled trips to Cu Chi that replace the standard bumpy bus ride for a one hour scenic speed boat trip up the Saigon River. A private guide ensures a leisurely pace, topped off by a picnic lunch on the return journey. Prices start at USD60 for the Cu Chi trip. Local insight: Book a private charter sunset cruise along the canals of Saigon. Saigon River Express Saigon River Express offers unique ways to explore the Mekong Delta, Cu Chi tunnels, the city and its canals. Go off the beaten track for an authentic experience with all the necessary luxuries. Local insight: For even more adventure, combine the Mekong by speedboat with cycling. 02 Ngo Duc Ke st., D.1 012 8592 0018 saigonriverexpress.com bookings@saigonriverexpress.com Cooking Classes Can you tell the difference between handmade rice paper and the factory variety? Can you discriminate between fish sauce from Phu Quoc and Phan Thiet? Chefs’ secrets and techniques are taught in most large cities and can include a market visit to shop for ingredients. Culinary prowess can be the perfect souvenir, the gift that keeps on giving as long as you can remember the tricks. Local insight: These tours are a great opportunity to see areas of the city that are off the beaten track. 82 see more at www.citypassguide.com Intrepid Travel Vietnam Uncover back streets, hidden gems and fascinating sights with Intrepid Travel. Intrepid provides outings to the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Tunnels along with other unforgettable adventures in and out of Ho Chi Minh City. Local insight: Each small group tour has daily departures and is accompanied by an expert local guide. 149/42 Le Thi Rieng st., D.1 09 0990 4100 hochiminhcityurbanadventures.com vietnamsales@intrepidtravel.com HCMC 83
  • 48. activities entertainment entertainment activities Karaoke The Vietnamese take their singing seriously, so if you’re a keen wailer check out some of the karaoke bars around town. Prices average around VND100,000 to 120,000 per hour, depending on room size. While there are a few social venues in town, most singing is done behind closed doors. Local insight: There is a high concentration of karaoke venues on Ngo Van Nam st., D.1. Dancing There are a number of venues to bust a move or learn how in Ho Chi Minh City. From salsa to swing, this city knows how to groove. Try Cafe Molinari on Wednesdays at 8.30pm for a free swing class or head to La Salsa any night for social salsa. If you are looking for something a bit more modern, try Lush. Generally, there is no need to take a dance partner, just show up and feel the rhythm. Cafe Molinari, 5 Le Duan st., D.1 La Salsa, 212 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.3 Local insight: Even if you don’t dance, it can be fun to go along and watch. Cai Luong A traditional form of folk music, cai luong is similar to Western operettas. Performers don spectacular and ornate costumes to sing and dance their way through comedic and dramatic storylines with equal zest. The unique sound combines guitars and dan kim, a local stringed instrument, to enthrall the audience. Tran Huu Trang Theatre, 515 - 517 Tran Hung Dao st., D.1 Local insight: Cai luong requires intense training and has evolved to include less traditional songs. 84 see more at www.citypassguide.com Chats Slot Gaming Center The International Tourist Club (ITC) is conveniently located in the heart of HCMC, in the annex wing of New World Saigon Hotel. This elegant Club features Catwalk Club and Chats Slot Gaming Centre. Chats offers a VIP Roulette Room, Table Games and the most luxurious slot experience. Coupled with our mystery jackpots and Fa Fa Fa progressive jackpots, the winning never stops. Also available is the Chats Power Rewards Program which offers our members benefits and privileges like no other in HCMC. Local insight: Entry to Chats is restricted to holders of current foreign passports. International Tourist Club, 76 Le Lai st., D.1 08 3824 3760 Open 24/7 itclubsaigon.com.vn HCMC 85
  • 49. activities entertainment activities Gaming Care to try your luck? Along with independent venues, many of the top hotels have gaming rooms. Gambling is alive and well here, but only available to those with international passports. Craps, slots, poker and roulette, name your game and you can find it. While most of the cards are dealt by machine, you can still take a spin to see if lady luck is on your side. Local insight: Some gaming is open 24 hours, allowing you to test the stakes any time of day. Water Puppets Said to have originated in the Mekong Delta during the 11th century, this unusual style of theatre uses water as the stage. The puppets are made of lacquered wood and supported by a large underwater rod.The characters glide, float, fly and swim accompanied by a traditional orchestra. 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D.1 performances at 6.30pm and 8pm / 08 3930 7196 or 08 3877 3653 Local insight: Water Puppet Theatre can also be found in Hanoi. Vegas Club Located in the heart of Saigon, e-gaming casino Vegas Club takes its namesake seriously. It offers the latest in international gaming tables and modern slot machines with the most frequent mystery jackpot hits in Saigon. The more you play, the quicker you are rewarded and earn privileges. There are special events and promotions every day including a Vegas draw, wild cash and a monthly party. A variety of cashable party vouchers is issued based on the points earned within a month. Local insight: On the last Saturday of every month, enjoy a free buffet dinner. Floor 1, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D.1 08 3824 7140 09 0820 0945 vegas@koreagames.co.kr Open 24/7 86 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 87
  • 50. activities spas/beauty Spas There is an large range of spas throughout HCMC, and prices to suit all pockets. From facials to mud baths to aromatherapy and hot stone massage, Saigon’s spas will smooth out your kinks and provide respite from the outside world. Particularly charming are the spas with antique decor housed in old villas, completed by swimming pools and full garden menus. Local insight: Most of the spas in town offer special rates for couples if you want to pamper yourself with a special someone. Massage Massage therapy is a Vietnamese medical tradition focusing on the body’s largest organ: the skin. Ancient therapists learned that tweaking the countless nerve endings invigorated soft tissue and helped promote relaxation. Whether it’s Thai, deep tissue or four hands that you’re after, you can find it here. Local insight: With massage therapists, size does not matter, only skill and strength. Nails Beauty depends on style, fashion and confidence, from the top of your head to the tips of your perfectly painted toenails. Nails need attention for health and colour for fun. One of its top national exports, we suspect that the Vietnamese paint more foreign nails per capita than any other country. Splurge on a foot spa and some creative nail art to add colour to your day. Local insight: Use salons for manicures instead of street beauticians without access to sterilisation. 88 see more at www.citypassguide.com spas/beauty activities Sen Spa Nurturing in the pureness of nature, Sen Spa is a sanctuary for those who seek the ultimate Zen experience. Lose yourself in a sensory haven and wash away the pressures of Ho Chi Minh City life at Sen Spa. Local insight: Try their hot stone massage using heated basalt stones. Floor 10, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan st., D.1 08 3910 2174 rsv@senspa.com.vn senspa.com.vn last booking at 9.30pm An Nam Spa Walking distance from Dong Khoi, calm your senses with a panoramic view of Saigon and a specialized treatment. Care for your mind, body and soul in an exquisite setting at An Nam Spa. Local insight: Receive a VIP couples session in one of their deluxe private suites. 26-28 Dong Du st., D.1 08 3825 1250 Last appointment at 10pm annamspa.vn service@annamspa.vn The Spa The Spa is designed as a pure, simple and elegant retreat to create a contemporary oasis of harmony and relaxation. The extensive spa menu offers a wide range of body and beauty treatments for both men and women. Local insight: The two VIP Spa Suites, equipped with a private jacuzzi or steam bath, provide a spectacular setting for couple treatments. Floor 2, New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai st., D.1 08 3915 5393 saigon.newworldhotels.com HCMC 89
  • 51. activities spas / beauty spas/beauty activities Menard Spa Utilising international advances in shiatsu massage techniques, Menard brings you luminous beautiful skin and the chance to completely relax the upper body. Reishi, collagen and vitamins will rejuvenate your skin from the inside. Local insight: Shiatsu Massage is the first choice for discerning women in Japan and Vietnam. 94 Vo Thi Sau st. Parkson Huong Vuong New World Hotel menard.vn Parkson CT Plaza 08 3820 0425 Ngoc Huong Massage This spa has been a centre of relaxation and rejuvenation in central Saigon for the past three years. Herbal treatments, aromatherapy and massage services are available at reasonable prices. Let Ngoc Huong Massage help you relax and recover both physically and spiritually. Local insight: Try their Thai foot massage if you have been on your feet all day shopping. 30/2 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 09 7989 9162 tuyethangus@yahoo.com 10am-1am Huong Sen Sai Gon Spa Rejuvenate your body, regain your sense of calm and vitality with natural oils and flowers in this oasis in Saigon. Relax in the pure botanical aromas that nourish your body while nurturing your soul. There are half day and full day packages that include a full range of Spa services. Local insight: The Spa exclusively uses Phytomer and Shiseido skin care products. 21S Nguyen Van Troi st., W.12, Phu Nhuan D. 08 3842 2218 Hotline 09 3818 2326 10am-10pm senspasaigon.com 90 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 91
  • 52. activities golf golf Playing golf in Vietnam Vietnam Golf and Country Club Vietnam has excellent golf courses including international level ranges. If you want to fit in a round of golf, phone the golf course and book directly. On weekends, slots fill quickly and courses run a strict tee off schedule, so arrive with time to spare. activities 20km north of the city centre, this club has two 18-hole championship length golf courses. The holes have been carved out of the existing woodland with minimal land movement, lending a natural layout and design. Long Thanh My Ward, D.9 / 08 6280 0101 The alternative is to use an agent who will organise everything for you. This is probably your best shot at getting on the green. Try Vietnam Golf Tours at 08 3833 4083. Golfing equipment is categorised as a luxury item, attracting a 100% import tax, but rentals are affordable. The standard tip for a caddie is the price of a coffee. Saigon South Golf Club This nine-hole, par 3 course situated behind FV hospital in Phu My Hung is a nice compact option inside the city and perfect for a quick hit. The driving range is superb and there is a restaurant, pro shop, tennis courts and a swimming pool in the complex. Nguyen Van Linh st., D.7 / 08 5411 2001 saigonsouth.com pgavietnam.com / VGCC Song Be Golf Resort 22km north of Saigon, this resort hosts the first international standard championship course in Vietnam. Song Be Golf Resort features lakes, tree- lined fairways and subtly undulating greens. The 27 hole course offers a challenge for any level. 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Lai Thieu Townlet, D. Thuan An / 65 0375 6660 / songbegolf.com Bochang Dong Nai Golf Resort 50km north of HCMC, this 300 hectare golf resort includes a 27-hole course. The entire resort area covers some 260 hectares and is situated next to a 1,000 hectare natural lake. The first five holes on the A course wind around the side of the lake. Trang Bom Town, D. Trang Bom / 06 1386 6288 / dongnaigolf. com.vn Twin Doves Golf Club The first private and exclusive golf club in the south, this course has a members only policy, so if you’re not in the club, you will not be able to play. 68 Tran Ngoc Len, Dinh Hoa Ward, Thu Dau Mot / 065 0386 0123 / twindovesgolf.com Long Thanh Golf Club A 36-hole course 36km north of Ho Chi Minh City set in the scenic surroundings of former rice paddies. National Highway, Tan Hai II, Phuoc Tan, Long Thanh, Dong Nai / 06 1351 2512 / longthanhgolfresort.com 92 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 93
  • 53. activities further suggestions Bowling Diamond Plaza Bowling / Floor 4, 34 Le Duan st., D.1 / This typifies a modern, noisy but fun bowling alley. Cinemas Galaxy / 116 Nguyen Du st., D.1 / 08 3822 8533 galaxycine.vn / This large theatre showcases the latest films in their original language. Megastar / Floor 7, 126 Hung Vuong st., D.5 08 2222 0388 / megastar.vn / This modern facility screens new movies five to six times a day including 3D films in English and Vietnamese. Cooking Classes Saigon Cooking Class / Hoa Tuc Restaurant 74/7 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 / 08 3825 8485 The peaceful courtyard is the place to learn the secrets of local cuisine with a Vietnamese chef. Fitness Centre Vincharm Health Club / Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 / 08 3911 1166 / A full service, modern gym with updated equipment spread over 2,000 square metres. Spas Xuan Spa / Park Hyatt Hotel, 2 Lam Son Square, D.1 / 08 3824 1234 / Specialises in spring inspired rejuvenation and massage. Tours Vietnam Bike Tours / 7F 163 - 165 Tran Hung Dao st., D.1 / 08 6653 0372 / Cycle the Mekong, climb mountains and go off the beaten track. 94 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 54. WHERE TO STAY
  • 55. where to stay hotels hotels where to stay Caravelle Hotel PARKROYAL Saigon Local insight: It is located right in the centre of the city. Local insight: Complimentary Wifi and cable internet connections are provided in all guest rooms and a daily shuttle to city centre. The Caravelle is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s leading five star hotels, offering 335 luxuriously appointed rooms including exclusive Signature Floors and Signature Lounge. There are six wining and dining venues and complimentary Wifi. 19 Lam Son Square, D.1 08 3823 4999 caravellehotel.com hotel@caravellehotel.com Whether you are visiting Ho Chi Minh City for business or pleasure, PARKROYAL Saigon is the ideal starting point to explore Vietnam’s largest city. All the 186 rooms are tastefully accented in soothing colours for your comfort. 309B-311 Nguyen Van Troi st., Tan Binh D. 08 3842 1111 parkroyalhotels.com enquiry.prsgn@parkroyalhotels.com Mövenpick Hotel Saigon Royal Lotus Hotel Saigon Local insight: Conveniently located between Ho Chi Minh City international airport and city centre. Local insight: Complimentary Wifi is provided in all guest rooms and the lobby lounge bar. The modern contemporary five star Mövenpick Hotel Saigon combines personalised service with Vietnamese hospitality and offers a variety of cuisines to excite all tastes. The freshest local seafood, Cantonese and Japanese all at an affordable price. 253 Nguyen Van Troi st., Phu Nhuan D. 08 3844 9222 moevenpick-hotels.com/saigon Hotel Nikko Saigon Hotel Nikko Saigon is a five star luxury hotel with 334 rooms and suites and 53 serviced apartments in a high rise 23-storey building. Offering excellent service and facilities, we cater for the needs of both business and leisure travellers. Local insight: Ideally located in the business district of Ho Chi Minh City for easy access to local areas. 235 Nguyen Van Cu st., D.1 08 3925 7777 reservation@hotelnikkosaigon.com hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn 96 see more at www.citypassguide.com Managed by H&K Hospitality, this is one of the top four star business and leisure hotels in Ho Chi Minh City. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel offers guests a touch of Vietnamese hospitality with international standards and impeccable services. 22-24, Thi Sach st., Ben Nghe Ward, D.1 08 3823 3999 royallotushotelsaigon.com ibis Saigon South ibis Saigon South is the first international hotel in District 7, opposite the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Centre and 15 minutes from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. There are 140 stylish designed rooms with timber floors, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access along with one restaurant/bar and three meeting rooms. Local insight: A free shuttle service is provided to major corporate offices and the city centre. 73 Hoang Van Thai st., PMH, D.7 08 5410 1111 ibishotel.com H7177-RE@accor.com HCMC 97
  • 56. where to stay hotels/serviced apartments serviced apartments where to stay Ruby River Hotel Here on business or for leisure, this fresh new boutique hotel in downtown Saigon is your home away from home. We’re close to all the major city attractions. Enjoy the friendly and relaxing atmosphere. Local insight: The hotel provides car and motorbike rentals as well as air travel ticketing. 59-61 Nguyen Thai Binh st., D.1 08 3914 3636 rubyriverhotel.com.vn info@rubyriverhotel.com.vn Hotel Family Inn Saigon Recognized as one of HCMC’s best three star hotels. Family Inn Saigon provides an excellent service and is strategically located (right at the heart of the city centre) with 72 modern spacious rooms and gorgeous rooftop restaurant. Local insight: The owner has opened a beautiful restaurant, Viet Village, 15 Dinh Tien Hoang st. D.1. 84A Bui Thi Xuan st., D.1 08 3925 7461 familyinnsaigon.com info@familyinnsaigon.com Saigon Domaine Saigon Domaine is only a short hop from the city centre but feels like a resort in the countryside. Domaine’s private residences achieve a seamless balance between classic simplicity and contemporary luxury. Local insight: Saigon Domaine won the Travellers Choice Award for 2013 on TripAdvisor for their Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Vietnam. 1057 Binh Quoi st., Binh Thanh D. 08 3556 6163 / 08 3556 1145 saigondomaine.com sales@saigondomaine.com 98 see more at www.citypassguide.com Riverside Apartments These serviced apartments are a tropical sanctuary away from the bustling city centre. Participate in sport activities such as tennis, football, basketball, badminton and many others. Riverside offers fully serviced apartments with a wide choice of accommodation from one to five bedrooms units on the banks of the Saigon River with stunning views of the sunset. Ideal for those looking for natural serenity, Riverside is the number one choice for long and short term accommodation. Local insight: A complimentary shuttle boat will take you to the city centre within minutes. 53 Vo Truong Toan st., Thao Dien, D.2 08 3744 4111 ext 216 sales@riverside-apartments.com riverside-apartments.com HCMC 99
  • 57. where to stay further suggestions Five star hotels An Lam Private Residences / 21/4 Khu Pho Trung, Thuan An District / anlam.com 06 5378 5555 Hotel Equatorial / 242 Tran Binh Trong st., D.5 equatorial.com / 08 3839 7777 Intercontinental Asiana Saigon / Hai Ba Trung st. & Le Duan st., D.1 / intercontinental.com 08 3520 9999 Sofitel Saigon Plaza / 17 Le Duan st., D.1 sofitel.com / 08 3824 1555 Park Hyatt Hotel / 2 Lam Son st., D.1 / hyatt. com / 08 3824 1234 Sheraton Saigon / 88 Dong Khoi st., D.1 starwoodhotels.com / 08 3827 2828 Four star hotels Catina Saigon Hotel / 109 Dong Khoi st., D.1 hotelcatina.com.vn / 08 3829 6291 Grand Hotel / 8 Dong Khoi grandhotel.vn / 08 3823 0163 st., D.1 Liberty Central Hotel / 179 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 / libertyhotels.com.vn / 08 3920 1939 Norfolk Hotel / 117 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 norfolkgroup.com / 08 3829 5368 Novotel Saigon / 167 Hai Ba Trung st., D.3 accorhotels.com / 08 3822 4866 Palace Hotel / 56-66 Nguyen Hue st., D.1 palacesaigon.com / 08 3829 2860 100 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 58. DESTINATIONS Kevin Khoa Nguyen
  • 59. destinations phu quoc phu quoc destinations This tear-shaped island in the Gulf of Thailand has been compared to Koh Samui and Phuket before the hordes of tourists invaded. Vietnam’s largest island is surrounded by 40km of white sand beaches and turquoise seas. Phu Quoc National Park ensures protection for almost 70% of the island. Pearls are harvested locally and fish sauce is made on the island. Major development plans are in the pipeline, so now is the time to go before natural beauty is overtaken by progress. As well as relaxing and taking in the natural scenery, you can go river swimming, navigate old cave systems or explore by motorbike. If that sounds like too much effort, take a dip in the ocean and enjoy some deliciously fresh seafood, followed by a cocktail or two. Of the unique sights and smells when travelling around the island, the many racks of drying anchovies and squid are the most potent. Anchovies are the special ingredient used to make Phu Quoc’s pungent fish sauce, an important part of the Vietnamese diet. Many of the fish sauce factories are open to visitors, but be warned that the smell can be unsettling. The rainy season is from July to November, but the temperature is hot all year round. Phu Quoc is an hour’s flight from Ho Chi Minh City and a new international airport opened in 2012. Book flights and accommodation well in advance during peak periods. Local insight: Many of the airlines do not allow fish sauce on board, so pack it securely in your luggage. 102 see more at www.citypassguide.com Famiana Resort & Spa Situated on Phu Quoc’s picturesque central coast, Famiana Resort & Spa has sweeping views of the Gulf of Thailand with a private and secluded golden sandy beach. The resort’s architecture and contemporary design is inspired by Asian culture and combined with all the modern facilities demanded by today’s international travellers. Spread over two hectares and surrounded by exotic tropical gardens, the resort has 60 rooms including suites, beach villas, and deluxe ocean and garden view rooms. Local insight: The resort is only ten minutes from the new and recently expanded Phu Quoc International Airport and Duong Dong town. Tran Hung Dao st., Cua Lap Hamlet, Duong To Commune 07 7398 3366 famiana-resort.com info@famiana-resort.com 103
  • 60. destinations mekong destinations Can Tho Legend has it that those who visit Can Tho wish never to leave as it’s one of the most delightful stopovers in the South. Lying on the southernmost tributary of the Mekong, Can Tho is the Delta’s largest provincial capital city and commercial hub. It thrives as an agricultural centre and major rice milling town. At the piers, thousands of conical hats bob and weave as exotic fruits and Dong notes change hands. Visit the buzzing central market on Hai Ba Trung st., but go early to catch it at its peak. Then join the sampan boat traffic jams in the surrounding areas three floating markets, Cai Rang, Phong Dien and Phung Hiep. Take a boat out and join the festivities. Local insight: The best way to see the Mekong and Can Tho is by boat. Chau Doc Thanks to a change of hands between the Cham, Khmer and Vietnamese, this bustling border town on the banks of the Bassac River is a rich mix of ethnicities and religions. It is a busy trading port and famous for its high quality fish sauce and catfish. If you’re ready to explore more temples, you’ve come to the right place. For a change of scenery, visit the Chau Giang Mosque that serves the local Cham Muslims. At the many floating houses and fish farms, you can see Vietnam”s fishing industry up close and splashing. There are many markets touting local goods along with Cambodian imports, ensuring that you will never leave the area empty handed. Local insight: Stay overnight at the Victoria Chau Doc, overlooking the river for the best sunset views. 104 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 105
  • 61. destinations mekong mekong destinations My Tho My Tho is one of the closest and most popular of the Delta’s hubs to Ho Chi Minh City, My Tho is the perfect springboard for day tours of the surrounding tributaries and islands. First things first, explore the town itself, the capital of Tien Giang province and a real charmer. The name translates to “beautiful reed” and despite the shanties on the water’s edge, was host to Miss World 2011 and 2012. It’s also easy to find your way around as this riverside town on the northernmost tributary of the Delta is set out in blocks. With a population of 160,000, there is always an activity to match the natural beauty. Local insight: While you’re there, hop on a hired bike or local boat to investigate the small islands. Vinh Long The capital of Vinh Long province is halfway between My Tho and Can Tho. Like My Tho, this is a perfect base for exploring the intertwining waterways. The famous six hour boat tour will carry you through flower-lined canals and drop you off at the islands of An Binh and Binh Hoa Phuc, where you can enjoy a front row seat at the theatre that is life on the Delta. See thatched houses poking out of flower gardens, floating markets and step into the seemingly timid Tien Chau Pagoda. Inside, lurid murals portray the dead being eaten by serpents, trampled on by stallions and eternally decomposing, typical scenes of Buddhist hell. Pay your respects and get a few karma points to avoid a similar fate. Local insight: Head to the nearby farms to discover traditional Mekong life. 106 see more at www.citypassguide.com Bassac Welcome aboard the Bassac, three authentic wooden cabin cruisers that will take you to discover life on the river in the Mekong Delta. Spend the night on the river in a caring and relaxed atmosphere. Built according to local tradition without compromising safety or comfort, the Bassac are just the right size to navigate remote areas and offer wide living spaces open to surrounding scenery. Taste freshly cooked Mekong delta specialities served by the crew whose attention to detail ensures simple and personal care. Local insight: Even the bread and croissants for breakfast are baked fresh on board every day. transmekong.com bassac@transmekong.com 071 0382 9540 107
  • 62. destinations con dao Con Dao is an archipelago of islands situated in the South East Sea. The French used the main island to keep anti-colonial prisoners and the South Vietnamese continued the practice, sending political dissenters to the 11 prisons during the American War. The main island, Con Son, is home to a coastline of steep, rocky hills and long sweeping coves, boasting some excellent spots for swimming and snorkelling. If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. Most of the archipelago is now a National Park with some good beaches, clear water, lush tropical forest and coconut groves. The national park is characterised by a diverse ecosystem: many species of coral and sea turtles are found here. The park management works with the WWF to develop sustainable usage for locals and tourists alike. Con Dao is located at a point where cool and warm ocean currents converge and create a localised climate. This weather pattern allows swimming, snorkelling and diving all year round and Con Dao has arguably the best underwater seascapes to explore in Vietnam. For a touch of luxury, Six Senses has opened the first five star resort in the archipelago. Their 50 villas sit on a mile of sandy beach, sheltered by the green forested hills behind, with stunning vistas of the deep blue sea and the curve of the bay. Local insight: There are daily flights from HCMC to Con Dao, taking 45 minutes. Book flights well in advance. 108 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 63. destinations long hai destinations Just 40km from Vung Tau, Long Hai is easily accessed by taking the hydrofoil to Vung Tau and a relaxing cab ride onwards. Situated on and around a small mountain range that overlooks the ocean, Long Hai enjoys the slow paced lifestyle of a small Vietnamese fishing village, except on weekends when the urban population flocks to its sands. The eastern end, with its white sand beaches, is pictureseque, while the western end of Long Hai”s beach is where fishing boats moor. You will find more activity, but also more pollution. For an even prettier shoreline, keep heading east. On weekdays, there are so few visitors that you may feel like you have your own private beach. This is the perfect place to take a few deep breaths away from the city, an oasis of calm in a country of activity. The area around Long Hai benefits from a microclimate that brings less rain than other parts of the south. This may be why the last emperor of Vietnam chose to build a holiday residence in Long Hai, now the Anoasis Hotel. This coastal destination is fun to visit just after the Tet Festival (January to early February) when hundreds of fishing boats converge at Long Hai on a pilgrimage to worship at the Mo Co Temple. Other local attractions include the caves at Minh Dam, the underground tunnels at Dia Dao and the Phap Hoa Pagoda. Local insight: Favourable winds make Long Hai a good destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing. Lessons are available at the Vung Tau Beach Club. 110 see more at www.citypassguide.com HCMC 111
  • 64. destinations phan thiet phan thiet destinations Once part of the Champa Kingdom, Phan Thiet is now a bustling town of around 100,000 inhabitants. For a small place, the Phan Thiet area has its fair share of sights and history. From 1773 to 1801, there was fierce fighting between the forces of the Nguyen Dynasty and Tay Son Dynasty in the area. Those looking for cultural enlightenment will find it in the Cham ruins, pagodas and the school where Ho Chi Minh used to teach. Fishing is Phan Thiet’s main industry, as evidenced by the fleet of colourful boats in the port. Locals boast that 100 different varieties of fish are caught here. Phan Thiet is famous for its fish sauce, a staple seasoning in Vietnamese cuisine. Most visitors pass straight through Phan Thiet to the 21km long stretch of beach at Mui Ne, 14km down the road. Mui Ne is the premier destination for kitesurfing, sailing and other water sports. There are red sand dunes 10km out of town and white sand dunes 40km away. Ranging from gold to pure white, the landscapes are reminiscent of the Sahara. After a long day in the sun, relax in one of the beautifully presented spas along Nguyen Dinh Chieu st. Finish the day relaxing over a cocktail as you watch the sun sink into the water. This is what beach holidays are all about: fun, sun and just a touch of luxury. Local insight: If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take kitesurfing lessons for USD60. 112 see more at www.citypassguide.com Pandanus The Pandanus resort was built in 2004 within a ten hectare lush tropical garden on a three hundred metre long secluded beach. Adjacent to the beach is a huge free-form pool, surrounding an island covered with palm trees. The buildings are designed to complement the natural surroundings and the beach is serene, disturbed only by an occasional fisherman or kite surfer. Professional masseuses offer massages on the beach, around the pool, or in the luxurious spa and local Cham musicians perform soothing music while you dine. This is true relaxation. Local insight: The Pandanus Resort offers both a free wine and cheese reception every afternoon and a complimentary walking tour of Mui Ne every morning for all guests. Quarter 5, km25.6 pandanusresort.com 06 2384 9849 rsvn@pandanusresort.com 113
  • 65. destinations dalat dalat destinations Dalat is a slice of Europe in the central highlands of Vietnam. Mild temperatures, attractive colonial gardens, lakes, rolling hills and the oldest golf course in the country make it popular with travellers today. The market is worth a visit for its Dalat wine, preserves and candied strawberries. Be sure to go upstairs, as the second floor houses food stalls which make for a tasty and cheap meal. In the evening, the roads around the market are closed off and the festivities spill out into the streets. Dalat Palace Golf Club is the oldest and perhaps most beautiful course in Vietnam. During the week, it is almost deserted. Take your time and sink that perfect shot. Dalat is famous for its waterfalls and lakes. Most impressive is the 30m Pongour Waterfall. Located 45km from Dalat, it is a slight hike and due to an upstream dam, it has slowed to a trickle. In the dry season, you can take in the view from atop a vertigo inducing cliff. Don’t forget to check out the Crazy House, Emperor Bao Dai’s summer palace and the XQ centre and village. There is also the Linh An Pagoda 30km outside of the city, a quiet temple nestled in a mountain hamlet that houses one of the region”s best known treasures: a massive, smiling Buddha. For a change of pace, visit the area with Easy Riders, guides that take you around on motorbikes. Meet them at 66 Cong Dinh and ask for Rocky. Local insight: Dalat is one of the best places in Vietnam for outdoor activities: hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and more. 114 see more at www.citypassguide.com Ana Mandara Villas Dalat Resort & Spa The Ana Mandara is a 70 room resort set in the rural highlands of Dalat, comprising seventeen fully restored colonial-style villas, each originally constructed in the 1920s and 1930s by the French settlers of the time. The villas retain the unique personalities of their original owners while being lovingly restored to their former glory – albeit with a touch of luxury, with all care taken to preserve the original design, decor and charm. Picture clawfoot tubs, billowing sheer curtains and elegant four-poster beds. Local insight: It is possible to rent an entire villa if travelling in a group. Le Lai st. 06 3355 5888 anamandara-resort.com reservation-dalat@anamandara-resort.com 115
  • 66. destinations nha trang Nha Trang is a charming city on the southcentral coast of Vietnam known for its beaches and scuba diving sites. It is becoming a popular destination for both local and international tourists looking for a spot of relaxation or a splash of adventure. The city was known as Kauthara under the Champa. Visitors can still see the famous Po Nagar Tower perched on a hilltop at the mouth of the river. The ancient Champa temple was restored by a local king in 784 AD after being ransacked by invaders who made off with its treasure. While Nha Trang is a centre for marine science based at the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute, it is now more known for its fun in the sun mentality. If you prefer your marine life served on a plate, it is also the best place in Vietnam to order lobster. One of Vietnam’s most scenic drives, Tran Phu Street runs along the ocean and is known as the Pacific Coast Highway of Vietnam. If you don’t have time to take a drive, fear not, for your taxi will take this road to the airport. From the beach, you will be able to see Hon Tre Island (Bamboo Island), a tropical paradise complete with a five star resort and theme park. The motorised cable car system is the world’s longest, linking the mainland to the five star resort and theme park. The myriad of other islands in the bay, from Hon Tam, the setting of an extensive eco-resort, to Hon Lao, the home to troops of wild monkeys, will ensure that your stay is anything but ordinary. Local insight: Start at the Louisiane Brewhouse for local beers and poolside lounging then make your way to the Sailing Club for a massive dance party. 116 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 67. MAPS OF HCMC Sapa Lào Cai Hà Nội Hạ Long Hòa Bình Hải Phòng Cát Bà Island Ninh Bình KEY TO MAPS ATM ATM Currency Exchange Quảng Trị Huế Clinic / Hospital Đà Nẵng Pharmacy Hội An Airport Hoàng Sa Island Vietnam Market Supermarket Police Station Church Nha Trang Pagoda Railway Station Tây Ninh Biên Hòa Bus Station Boat Station Phú Quốc Island Gas Station Post Office Cam Ranh Đà Lạt Phan Thiết Hồ Chí Minh City Châu Đốc Vĩnh Long Cần Thơ Mỹ Tho Hồ Trầm Long Hải Vũng Tàu Trường Sa Island Vietnam Cà Mau Côn Đảo Island
  • 68. TRAN QUANG KHAI HOANG SA NG. DO NG DU KY D ONG LY CH INH T HAN G TRA N T T LY CHINH THANG attractions QUO C TO AN attractions DISTRICT 1 & 3 2 KY AM K NAM AU AU H M H.T..M O TON VO V AN K IET B T N AT EN TA N UY NGUY N RS N ERSI A HAM DT DE T H NH THAN Y Y HC HOC HI THA YN YEN NU NGU M HAM EH DE T DU DAU N NG Q QUA D DO AI M DM T.. DA U EUR AS E PAST NG TN T TU N NG TRA V.TR N..V TON DUC THANG P A GH A NGHI KH KHOII N UN HUA O OA IIEN GH ONG HO THU O OI N NG.. CHU N CH UN VUO N EN HIEN G EN NGUY NGU YEN TR EU TRAN QUANG DIEU NG. PHI KHANH N PHA U T.THI T PHA MAI TH HIE HANH PHA N NGU 400m DIN N KE B I LUU DINH C NL HDIN INH YEN NG T EN IEM H HI NGU Hoa Lu T OA ENNH HOANG RU O Le Van Tam ATM THU SA NG GOAN Stadium 11 NG S A AN Park 16 ATM ATM UYEN EN V ATM G BIN UYM H KH PHU NG AC LE VAN ATM ATM HAI I U ATM DIN ATM NG IEM BA T SY ATM ATM I SA ATM KHA H CH KHA 15 H Port I U RUNG ATM C KHO INH ATM VO T PH P GAN IM NAM AN N H N EN HAM ATM T TON BI VA NG KY K 17 AO NGO YEN D TRU HOI ATM DIEN T. C C TH N DU ATM UC THA NG. NGU NGH PAS ACH 3 UA N NG G ATM ATM IA TEU ATM LE D NGUYE CHU MA 8 R ATM NH ATM 20 TRIN TRA ATM LE Q H NGU NQ NG UY D ES YEN D UOC G O V. ON THO NAM UON RHO T BA H NG 3 ATM HAO TU X UYEN . DE ark 19 EX P THAN TRU M AL 0-4 ATM C.X. 12 H QU ONG ATM 3 P 4 THA AN ATM DIN YEN ARIS I HAI U ATM H BA T THI VAN LUN U DONG ATM .TH H SAC ND G RUN 18 HIEM KH YE NG G H NG OI IN HUO NGU H. T THO TRO 5 AN 13 U RAN 9 IEU XU 14 NGO PHU LY T 10 TON HO ATM THI D ATM 1 Tao Dan CONG G EN BIEN NH NGU CHU Stadium AN HA GUY A YEN CACH DIEN ATM LE T 3 TH MANG N THU ATM TRUN GHIEP NGU Tao Dan THAN G TR KH H.H.N ATM Y G TAM UC Park EU 1 HIE EN ATM THU THIEM N CHI U ONG TON THAT T ANG HUE 2 N TA NH EN D FERRY U TR I H DI KH VA UY YT N I 3 N O L N TO NG VO H. THUC ANH 1 UYE KHA G N. A .T.XUAN LE L U 4 H NG ATM LE TH INH ON 2 B ATM PHAM H. THAI HI MTON SU NG HAM NGHI CAO N T THA LE THI RIE THA UYE AM Park NG BAN HAM SONG SAIGON (SAIGON TUNNEL) 23-9 NG NG G ATM TRAI NH CO I BI5 YEN LE LAI 23-9 Park M NGU LAO ATM THI HO 4 7 NGU THA LE PHA NG. ATM ATM WHERE TO STAYATM THINGS TO SEE H C ATM ATM K 6 CHAN ONG QU 1 Ben Thanh Market 16 TanEDinh Church 11 National History 1 Caravelle Y CON 6VIET N AI ON HAM HCM Museum YNH Museum ATM I VI ATM P ATM NHU H BUVinh NghiemO ND A 2 Family Inn 2 Bitexco Financial Tower 7 Huyen Si Church 12 Notre Dame Cathedral 17 DOAN NV ATM Pagoda DA G LEE Q 3 Novotel 3 Central Post Office 13 Opera House 8 Ky Dong Church 18 Xa Loi UN ATM H Pagoda UOC NRemnantsO BAC 4 Royal Lotus HUN 4 Fine Arts Museum C 9 Jamia Al Muslimin 14 Reunification Palace 19 War ATM TRA G ATM Museum Mosque N.K H CU TRIN HAC 5 HCM City Hall 20 Women’s Museum 5 Ruby River 10 Mariamman Hindu 15 SaigonYBotanic & Zoological Garden ATM NGU EN NH U 118 119
  • 69. attractions DISTRICT 2 N THANH DA ATM ATM 66 40 64 HEM 21 6 ANH T H THU PHU B H TRAN NAO New Port 27 29 ATM NGO C DI EN TRA N 32 12 TRAN LUU CAO DUC 8 VU TONG PHAN LAN INH CUA LUONG D 12 24 4F 8 - KHU B 7D1 3 31 34 N PHA ONG N VU T THUA PHAP UC LAN CAO D 5 ATM 7 1 ATM AN G VAN DUON ATM ATM 8 H YEN HU UC 3 N THAI THUA Cantavil An Phu ATM 12 1 Riverside Serviced Apartments MY PHU 2 NSaigon Domaine GU H NINH UY N O U VO D 120 NGUYEN HUU CANH WHERE TO STAY A D XO V I ATM 2 Park Metro An Phu ONG ONG VA VANH DAI TR ATM 20 ATM 22 23 5 1 9 Parkland 8 Supermarket OI XA LO HA N ATM SONG HANH A ANH 21 Van Thanh Park NGO TA T TO TRAN NAO 19 ATM 12 TOAN VO TRUONG G UYEN NGUYEN HOAN IDGE SAIGON BR I XA LO HA NO 10 U UB 4 H 14 - K ET N GH ATM ATM TRAN NAO CAU VAN N PHU TRAN NAO (304) DIEN BI E TRAN NAO C C EN QUY NGUYEN E TI N H ATM D1 ATM EM KHIE A K VAN UG UNG ATM 4 1 5 NGUYEN U DI K 44 ATM ATM INH HUU D TONG IEN 41 ATM LE VAN M NG HUY ATM A NGO QU UY XUAN TH UU PHO DANG H Y DUY HIEU NGUYEN XUAN THU NG GIAI NGUYEN DA O OAN V V.T. T D3 41 IIEN OD HO THA XO VIET NGHE TINH D5 58 AN B U BA HU GU EN A NGUY DO QUANG U 54 D E U YEN C NGUY NG UON N HU VAN YN YEN N NGU L DINH BO LI D2 UNG VA N KHIEM ATM HU A P AN P D5 APSC Compound NG UON HU AN NV YEN NGU O UONG O HU QUOC 44 XO ATM 61 62 ATM NH E TI NGH VIET BINH QUOI 63 ATM QUOC LO 13 NGU YEN XI ANG ME LINH attractions 400m 2 BINH QUOI 1 121
  • 70. I TA THA NH TA THA DON GN AI 1 Nghia An Hoi Quan ATM TO N HIE THA NH UONG THINGS TO SEE ATM 2 Thien Hau Pagoda ATM TO N HIE THA NH ATM 2 Nikko LUONG NHU HOC TRAN QUANG PHUC PHUNG HUNG VAN TUONG NGUYEN THI NHO TR P. VA N I EU E B EN BI N Y NGUY ATM N TRAI NGUYE G T N TRON BIINH RA B TRAN DUONG D INH NGH E LO SIEU ONG NG VU N DUO A ATM ONG P ON NG PH L O LE HO BACH VAN ATM U CU Street N N N EN VA NU NGUY HU NP RAArt T ATM ATM D DAT ATM 2 1 N MAN HU H HUYNH ATM U IA U NGHIA BU BUI HU PHU NH A B AN BII H CH DONG N TRA N.V.DUNG G HUONG LAN ONG T HAI T VO VAN KIE NGUYEN NGUYEN TRI PHUONG NG N EN GO E NGO QUY TAN DA TRAN HUNG DAO K HI KY HT HO T An Dong Market HA HK MIN THI NG. THAI TO ATM NG XUO N N TA O VA V I 4 3 UONG AN DUONG V CHO LON Market NGUYEN TRAI NH N TO TRAN NHA ATM ONG P ON NG PH L O LE HO N N EN IM NGUYEN K VAN LIEM CHAU VAN LI 1 A ANH SU H SU VAN H E II E T HAC THACH 2 G UON NG V HU ATM ATM BA HONGATMNG ATM G NG Y ON DUY DU N YEN NGUYEN NG ONG K ATM NHAT TAO VINH VIEN ATM HOA HAO DAO DUY TU ATM ATM N EN O YE NGO QU LY H U LY T H U HOA HAO C TAN PHUO THANH NGUYEN CHI UAN THUAN KIEU NG C DO NGO HAI THUONG LAN ONG THAP MUOI N ANH AH AI H LE LE D O CO DIE PHO CO DIEU NG NG NG GIA DUONG TU 122 LE QUANG SUNG VINH VIEN ATM BA HAT G PH ONG TRI PHU NG EN NGUYEN NH HAN AII H LD LE D TAN THANH NHAT TAO LY THAI TO ATM NG 2 3 THA BA HAT TRAN QUY CHI PHAM HUU ATM ATM ATM ATM LANH BINH THANG UYE TA UYEN EN YEN A TO Y HA TON QU 3 ATM Phu Tho Stadium NG 2 3 THA ATM ATM CAO BAN THA NGU CO NG YEN THIE ATM N TH IEU UAT H HC DIN ATM EN Y NGU LY ATM LA TIEU LA NG EN NGUYEN THOI BINH NG CU DOI LE THI BACH CAT QUAN SU EN ATM ATM C LOC N C NGOC Y YEN N NGU 3 Windsor PHU IEN EN B DI T. M .QUY EN ATM NGO GIA TU O CO 1 Equatorial ATM NG 2 3 THAATM HIEN U EN H NGUY A AU CU XA LU GIA 2 LU GIA ATM ATM ATM G G HN PHO OG ONG LE LE H WHERE TO STAY CAO THAN G ATM ATM ANH NH AN SV SU V 5 Fito Museum BA H UY 400m EN THANH TU NGO GIG N AO TUI GA TU 3 A THAII NH T THAN T ATII H TH TH N THAN U GIA CU XA L 4 Flower Market attractions N E EN T..HI EN T YEN NU HO NGU HUOI NC UN VUO Ky Hoa Park ATM 3 Binh Tay Market 5 MANG THAN G TAM V LY CH INH T HA NG HOA HU ATM HOANG DU KH AN V. QUANG CACH KY D attractions DISTRICT 5 & 10 NGUY EN HANH BUU AI BAC H G DAO TRAN HUN CAO DAT VO VAN KIET HUNG PHU Y EN DU NGUY IEN THE H 123M A DA N Q
  • 71. TRAN XUAN SOAN TAN THUAN 14 A ATM PHAN HUYTHUC 17 45 ATM HUYNH TA N PHAT 47 38 ATM ATM NGUYEN CAO YEN NGU PHU THUAN BRIDGE ridge ieu B hay T T GO O NE TRA DIEN VAN RAN MON T RAY ATM PU PHU TA TAN NGUYEN BINH ATM TO ATM AI N TH G VA 1 OAN H ATM TRAO TAN 16 17 MOI ATM ATM 18 C NGUYEN DUC CA NH ATM ATM Exhibition Center G ANG G BA NG LUO YEN GY NGU NGUYEN DUC CANH ATM PHAM THAI BUONG HA HUY TAP 10 N AT TIE TON D VAN LI NH TAN MY DANG DAI DO BUI BANG DOAN PHAM VAN NGHI NGUYEN HUU THO LE V AN L UON G HA HUY TAP NGU YEN DON G CH I ATM ATM ATM FV HOSPITAL DGE BRI MY PHU T P AT N PH HA H TA UYN HUY NGUYEN PHAN CHANH ATM ATM EN V EN C VI KHA YEN GY NGU NGUYEN VAN LINH NGUYEN VAN LINH Golf Phu My Hung 2 PHAN KHIEM ICH ATM TRAN TRONG CUNG ATM ATM AT AT TIEN ND 124 ATM ATM ATM G BN BAN NG UON N LU YEN NU NGU 1 iBis Hotel NGUYEN THI THAP HI NG C NGUYEN D O ATM WHERE TO STAY 30 N LY PHUC MA ALLEY 142 ATM 53 75 ATM ATM ATM HAT H TAN HUYNH TAN P MAI VAN VINH ATM 17 NGUYEN VAN LINH 19 LAM VAN BEN 2 ATM N BUI VAN BA TAN THUAN TAY 27 attractions THUAN TAN 400m 7 Tan My Lake 12 10 15 LE VAN LUO NG NGUYEN HUU THO attractions DISTRICT 7 TAN MY TRAN XUAN SOAN 19 125
  • 72. THANG LONG HAU GIANG PHAN THU C DUYEN H OA N PHAM VAN H AI DANG VAN NGU ATM AI BAC H VAN NG TRI DAN TROI ATM 1 ATM NG DA ATM LE VA N TRUONG SA ATM ATM LOC VIN H O ATM CACH HO B A KIEN ATM MANG THAN G TAM H ATM HAN IEN T TO H P ATM HUYNH VAN BANH TRUO HOANG SA NG SA Le Thi Rieng G AI HUN AC H Park NH B CHA NGUY EN G THOI IAN T ATM CHAU LONG HANH BUU HAN NH CHI UC N. D TAN DUY ATM U HOA NG VIET T NG KIE O LY T H U SON H TRAN MA I NINH UNG LE L AI ATM ATM TRUO NG S ON A4 HOANG HOA THAM C18 LAC LON G QUAN NH THA DAT ATM ATM G DIEU TRAN QUANG DIEU T PHA HIA NG NGUY EN VA N ATM C HC HAC NK RN TR A ATM SY TRUONG SA HOANG SA K N KIIEM ATM ATM ATM BANH VAN TRAN XUAN ATM LE MINH VAN DONG SON COI A PHU HO 2 NGUYEN TRONG TUYEN EU ATM HOANG VAN THU LIEU TR TRAN HUY LIEU 2 Park Royal ATM ATM MANG THAN G TAM CAT EC BEN 1 Moevenpick CACH ATM A AN TA U TAN XU WHERE TO STAY ATM INH CHI NGUYEN D ATM ATM G G DUN TRUONG Q.DU PHAM PHU THU LE BINH ATM NGUYEN BA TONG N UANG HIE Q ANG H TR HAN NAM CHAU VO T HON G LA C 126 NHA ATM ATM EN LE VA N ATM ATM AN X AN HII XU BUII T BAU PHAM CAT CA VA PHU THU N THIN H YEN T U ATM U N TH G VA N HOA DAO DUY ANH O C PHANTHUC DUY T R A Hoang Van Thu Park ATM TT UT TICH II KHO NH DIIN N NG.. ATM TRUO NG CH NGU INH BINH THAI YEN NGU G AN HO HUYNH LAN KHANH ATM XUA ND IEU HONG H A E E N Y NGUY ATM LE TRUNG NGHIA NGUYEN MINH HOANG PHO QUANG G G I OT XOA I GIAI PHONG ATM CONG HOA U NQ N D II N H DON G ATM N M GIA NH MI ATM ATM ATM HONG HA NG CUU LO NG SONG THUONG TIEN GIA attractions 400m Gia Dinh Park HO V AN H UE Tan Son Nhat Airport YEN THE TRUONG SON ATM P N PHAN HOANG HOA THAM attractions TAN BINH DISTRICT LAM SON HONG HA SY CAO T H ATM ATM TRU ON HOANG SA G SA TRAN VAN DANG NGUY NGU EN PH YEN UC NG UYEN THO ATM NG 127
  • 73. TRAVEL TIPS
  • 74. II TRAVEL TIPS vietnam facts sheet Geography Geographic coordinates: 16 10 N, 107 50 E Total area: 331,210 km2, half the size of Alaska, U.S. Country size comparison to the world: 66 Total land mass: 310,070 km2 Total water mass: 21,140 km2 Coastline: 3,444 km Total land boundaries: 4,639km Border countries: Cambodia 1,228km, China 1,281km, Laos 2,130km Time: GMT + 7 hours Regions: 58 provinces, 5 municipalities Lowest point: East Sea at 0m Highest point: Mount Fansipan at 3,144m Natural resources: phosphates, coal, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, timber, hydropower Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding Geographical note: extending 1,650km from north to south, the country is only 50km across its narrowest point. Population Nationality Noun: Vietnamese (singular and plural) Adjective: Vietnamese Total Population: ~94 million (July 2012 est.) Major cities - population Hanoi (Capital): ~11 million (2012 est.) Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC): 7-8 million (2012 est.) Danang: ~807,000 Haiphong: ~1.9 million Population comparison to the world: 13 Population from age of 0 - 14: 24.9% Population from age of 15 - 64: 69.9% Population over age of 65: 5.5% Population below 30 years: 65% Population growth rate: 1.054% Population below poverty line: 10.54% (2012 est.) Literacy: 94% Life expectancy: ~72 years Minorities: 53 ethnic groups Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet) 85.7%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.8%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.5%, Mong 1.2%, Nung 1.1%, others 5.3% Economy GDP: ~USD136 billion (2012) GDP comparison to the world: 42 GDP growth rate: 5.4% (2012) GDP per capita: USD1,600 (2012) GDP per capita comparison to the world: 166 Labour force: 48.23 million Unemployment rate: 3.6% Minimum wage in urban Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City: VND2.35 million / month Currency: Vietnam Dong Inflation rate: 9.21% Inflation comparison to the world: 33 Imports: USD97.83 billion (2011 est.) Main imports: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles Exports: USD96.91 billion (2011 est.) Main exports: clothes, shoes, marine products, crude oil, electronics, wooden products, rice, machinery, coffee, pepper, seafood Industrial production growth rate: 6% National debt: 57.3% of GDP (2011 est.) Member of WTO: Since 2007 Government Capital: Hanoi Independence: 2 September 1945 Constitution: 15 April 1992 Ruling Party: Communist Party of Vietnam Governance: Political Bureau (14 members) Central Committee of the Party (125 members), National Assembly (500 members) Prime Minister: Nguyen Tan Dung (since 27 June 2006) Misc. Land line telephones: 10 million Mobile/cellular telephones: 127 million Comparison to the world: 8 Internet country code: .vn Internet users: 23.382 million Paved runway airports: 44 Railways: 2,632 km Roadways: 108,549 km Waterways: 17,702 km Ports and terminals: Cam Pha Port, Danang, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh, Phu My, Quy Nhon vietnam facts sheet TRAVEL TIPS III
  • 75. IV TRAVEL TIPS price guide Climate If you’re wondering how much money to withdraw at the ATM to see you through, check some of the average costs below. Exchange rate is USD1 = VND20,830 VND USD Exchange rate is USD1 = VND20,830 VND USD Vietnamese street coffee 10,000 0.48 City centre bus fare 5,000 0.24 Western style cappuccino 45,000 2.16 Motorbike taxi – short hop 20,000 0.96 5,000 0.24 Cyclo – per hour 40,000 1.92 Soft drink can (street) 10,000 0.50 Petrol – per litre 23,000 1.10 Soft drink (restaurant) 30,000 1.50 Postcard 5,000 0.24 Coconut juice (street) 10,000 0.48 0.50 18,000 0.86 Stamp for international postcard 10,500 Fruit shake (street) Beer (33cl. bottle in a local restaurant) 20,000 0.96 5,800 0.28 T-shirt from a market 60,000 2.89 Cigarettes 20,000 0.96 Shoe shine per pair of shoes 15,000 0.72 Pho (noodle soup) 30,000 1.45 Hairwash 25,000 1.20 Meal (mid-range Vietnamese and Western restaurant) 150,000 7.20 Laundry per item 10,000 0.48 Milk (1 litre) 23,000 1.10 Thin rain poncho 5,000 0.24 Taxi – per km 14,000 0.67 Thick rain poncho 50,000 2.40 Small bottle of water (street) English language newspaper Vietnam lies in the East Asian monsoon zone and is affected by the south-western and the winter monsoon seasons. Because of the country’s 1,600km length, each region has definite different weather patterns that must be factored in when planning your trip. and hotter than the Central Highlands. However, unprotected parts of the coast have more typhoons and storms than the North during the months of November to March. Nha Trang has a long dry season which runs from January to September. With cooler temperatures, the Central Highlands experiences more than double the average rainfall of the country so prepared to get a bit wet. There are three distinct regions where the climates differ: North, Central and South Local insight: One positive aspect of the monsoon season Vietnam. are the surfable waves around the region. Head to Danang Northern Vietnam North Vietnam is generally cooler. The winter months of November to January can be unexpectedly cold, especially in the mountainous areas of Sapa and Cao Bang along the Chinese border. Even in Hanoi, you will need a jumper to keep warm. The hottest period of the year is May to October where temperatures can rise to 37 degrees Celsius. During these months, the North will have the occasional typhoon. from September to March for peak surf season. South Vietnam South Vietnam experiences little variation in temperatures fluctuating from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius and has two seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season lasts for seven months from May to November while the dry season dominates the rest of the year. Temperatures tend to drop in January and February and this is the best time to travel through the South. To beat the heat, take a trip to Dalat where the temperatures are Local insight: Remember that the air conditioner that kept always cooler than Saigon. you cool in the south will keep you warm in the north. Local insight: Remember to bring a raincoat to Dalat. The Central Vietnam province experiences nearly double the average rainfall of Central Vietnam can be split into two sub- Vietnam. regions. The Coastal Lowlands is generally dryer climate TRAVEL TIPS V
  • 76. VI TRAVEL TIPS things to know Things to be aware of when travelling Drink lots of water. Make sure to hydrate throughout the day while taking in the sights. Walk slowly when crossing the street. Crossing the street in Vietnam is scary and a bit dangerous but fun nonetheless. Remember that motorbikes are trying to anticipate your movements to avoid hitting you, so keep a steady pace. It’s also advisable to hold out your arm to let the motorcyclists know that you are actually crossing the street. Eat everything. Vietnamese food is delicious and you will want to try it all. Go ahead and buy a kilo of those strange looking purple fruit, but be aware of hygiene when you’re eating street food. Motorbike safety. If you’re going to brave the To be cautious, opt for vendors who already have traffic, make sure you take proper precautions. customers. Always wear a helmet, avoid dangly jewellery and Get your hotel details. Remember to take your miniskirts and clip your bag to the bike to keep hotel’s business card to make your return to the it safe from snatchers. Also, see if there is a hotel much easier by handing it to your taxi, xe storage area underneath the seat. om, or cyclo driver. Pavements as motorbike parks. Parking space Leave the plastic at the hotel. Vietnam, for motorbikes in Vietnam is at a premium and especially once you get out of the major cities, some pavements have become de facto parking is still a cash-based economy. Most places won’t lots. Sometimes this means that pedestrians accept credit cards and ATMs can be scarce. have no option but to share the road with traffic. In this case, be on high alert and get back to the Keep your phone and wallet out of sight. Violent sidewalk as soon as possible. crime is rare, but Hanoi and HCMC both have their fair share of pickpockets. Be especially Tipping. While tipping is not always expected, aware in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Saigon’s Pham especially at local restaurants, international Ngu Lao. There is no need to be overly cautious, venues have become used to the practice. Leave simply be aware of yourself and your belongings. enough for coffee: VND5,000-10,000. Take a break in the afternoon. Break up your sight seeing and go early in the morning and the late afternoon. It can get quite hot visiting all the attractions so taking a nice long break in the middle of the day from the heat can keep you refreshed for the afternoon’s activities. Don’t trust the taxi meter. Ripping off unsuspecting passengers is an art form for dishonest drivers. Not all taxi drivers are dishonest but to be safe, stick with reliable companies such as Hanoi Taxi, Mai Linh and Vinasun. Cover up. When visiting temples or pagodas, make sure to pack a shawl or extra shirt to cover your shoulders. Remember that you are visiting a piece of history so show it some respect and cover up those shoulders. Don’t lose your temper. In heated discussions, keep your cool and don’t raise your voice. Losing your temper is considered a serious loss of face for both parties and should be avoided. Try to maintain a cool demeanour and you will be reciprocated in kind. It gets cold in Hanoi. Unlike Saigon, Hanoi has four seasons with very hot and sticky summers and rather cold and humid winters. Pack accordingly if you plan to be there from November to January. The air conditioning unit that kept you cool in Saigon can also keep you warm in Hanoi’s cold winter months. Be a sensitive photographer. Ask permission before taking anyone’s photograph. Most people in Vietnam love having their photo taken and will ask to have one with you, but it’s always nice to ask. Also, there are some places like Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum or military buildings where taking photos is prohibited. Bargain. Remember that negotiating is not rude but expected. Haggle for the best price or risk paying well over the actual price of an item. Try “walking away” to get a better price. If that doesn’t work, you can always go back to the vendor later. Enjoy yourself. There is so much to do and see, but don’t forget to stop every once in a while to pull up a plastic chair, order a ca phe sua da, and take it all in. While sights and activities are of great interest, sometimes you can learn more about the culture by adjusting to the local pace. Remember that you are on holiday! things to know TRAVEL TIPS VII
  • 77. VIII TRAVEL TIPS visas Vietnam Visas A Vietnamese entry visa is required for all foreigners wishing to visit the country. The only exception is if your country has a bilateral consular agreement for visa exemptions. You can check on your government’s website to find if yours is one of the few that apply for this programme. Visas on arrival are available through various travel agencies who, for a fee, will fill out the appropriate paperwork for a visa approval letter. Not really a “visa on arrival” but it makes it easier than having to deal with sending your passport off to the Vietnamese Consular Office or Embassy in your country. However, this is only accessible for those flying into the country so if you are entering through a land border, you will have to apply for a visa in your home country or one of the countries bordering Vietnam. Fees Tourist visas are valid for 30 or 90 days and can be single or multiple entry. As of 1 January 2013, visa fees have increased. The fees can be quite confusing so we have listed them below for your reference. One month single entry USD45 One month multiple entry USD65 Less than six months multiple entry USD95 More than six months multiple entry USD135 Extensions Visa extensions are available for a fee of USD10 and visas can be extended for a maximum of 90 days. Most travel agencies offer this service for a fee and can take up to 10 days to process. Applications for visa extensions are also available at the Immigration offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City but require a bit of patience. Speaking Vietnamese is a plus. Hanoi: 40A Hang Bai st. Hoan Kiem D. Ho Chi Minh City: 254 Nguyen Trai st. D.1 Office hours: Mon. to Fri. (8-11am) (1.30-4pm) Office hours: Mon. to Fri. (8-11am) (1.30-4pm) Currency The official currency of Vietnam is the Dong and it fluctuates around VDN21.000 to the U.S. Dollar. The notes themselves are quite colourful and the post 2003 notes are made out of plastic polymer. The denominations are 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000. Even though there are some coins floating around, they are rarely used so it is basically a note driven currency. As with most modern currencies, there are safeguards in place against counterfeiting. To check if you have an authentic note, check the transparent window in the note to see the hidden image. Also, most counterfeit notes do not have the same tactile feel as the plastic polymer. sense when withdrawing money. Key in your PIN inconspicuously and keep to well-lit, frequented cash terminals. These ATMs are commonly found inside major banks, western-style grocery stores and hotels, or on busy streets. More often than not, ATMs will issue notes in VND500,000 denominations, which can be frustrating if you intend to pay for a motorcycle taxi ride or a streetside bowl of noodles. Local insight: To get around the large denominations issued, request a non VND500,000 cash withdrawal. Debit / Credit Cards Although more and more Saigon businesses are accepting credit cards it is advisable to carry cash, especially at places where payment policy is unknown or vague. It is always good Local insight: The VND20,000 and VND500,000 are practice to ask before assuming that your similar in colour. Remember that the VND500,000 credit card will be accepted as neither side note is just a bit larger. wants to lose face at payment time. It is pretty much guaranteed that most luxury hotels in HCMC will accept credit cards. Be ATMs aware that there is no extra charge for using Most major foreign-issued credit and debit your American Express Card. cards are accepted at ATMs in Hanoi and HCMC. Travellers can access Plus and Cirrus networks Local insight: Make sure your bank knows you are via HSBC and ANZ ATM machines. Use common travelling in the region or your card may be blocked. money TRAVEL TIPS IX
  • 78. X TRAVEL TIPS money Ho Chi Minh City It is probably a good idea to bring a stash of U.S. Mai Van 1 1A Nguyen An Ninh st., D.1 / 08 3823 7248 Dollars with you if most of your time will be spent Open 7 days a week from 8am to 6pm in Hanoi or HCMC. U.S. Dollars are welcome in places frequented by tourists but you will most Ha Tam likely be offered a less than favorable rate. Most 2 Nguyen An Ninh st., D.1 / 08 3823 1836 hotels offer the same rate as banks but may Open 7 days a week from 7am to 6pm Currency Exchange charge an extra fee for the exchange. Don’t exchange too much at one time as you will get a less than favourable rate when selling back your Dong. Saigon Tourist 45 Le Thanh Ton st., D.1 / 08 3827 9279 Open 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm Local insight: Make sure your foreign bank notes are clean and crisp with no tears. They will not be accepted otherwise. Hanoi Vietcombank, 120 Hang Trong st., Hoan Kiem District Open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm and Travellers Cheques With the growing number of ATMs accepting Saturday 8am to 11.30 am international bank cards in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh ANZ Bank, 14 Le Thai To st., Hoan Kiem District City, it is becoming less common for visitors to carry travellers cheques. If you plan to cash Open Monday to Friday from 8am - 5pm and travellers cheques at one of the authorised Saturday from 8am to 11.30 am foreign banks in Saigon, make sure to bring your passport and any other ID. HSBC Bank, 6 Nha Tho st., Hoan Kiem District Local insight: It is worth noting that Vietcombank Open Monday to Friday from 8am - 5pm and will not levy an exchange fee on American Express Saturday from 8am to 11.30 am travellers cheques. VAT As of July 2012, foreigners are eligible to receive Value-Added Tax (VAT) sales refunds. Under a new programme foreigners are entitled to obtain a refund that accounts for 85 percent of VAT on eligible goods that were purchased from a registered VAT refund shop. When purchasing the goods, you must submit your passport to the retailer so they can create the VAT refund declaration form. They will issue you with the original copy but make sure to check that all your information is correct. Once you are at the airport, go to the VAT refund customs inspection office where you will need According to the Ministry of Finance, VAT to present the goods you have purchased, your refunded goods must meet these four passport and the invoices and VAT declaration forms. requirements: 1. Purchased goods must be subject to VAT, Once you’ve taken care of the paperwork to get your declaration form, you will need to submit a unused and allowed on aircraft boarding pass from an international flight and 2. Purchased goods must not appear on the list invoices along with your VAT declaration form to the VAT refund counter. This is where you of export prohibitions or restrictions will receive your refund. It will be in Vietnamese 3. Purchased goods must have invoices and VAT Dong so you will then have to go to a currency refund declarations issued within 30 days of exchange to convert it to the currency of your next destination. At Noi Bai, there is a departure Maritimebank and Vietcombank while you will find 4. Purchased goods must be bought from a single BIDV and VietinBank exchanges in Tan Son Nhat. shop on a single day and have a value of at least Local insight: For a list of VAT refund shops, check out VND2,000,000 To get the VAT refund, this procedure must be followed. these links: tphcm.gdt.gov.vn or hanoi.gdt.gov.vn VAT TRAVEL TIPS XI
  • 79. XII TRAVEL TIPS electronics Cameras Vu Nhat There are a plethora of shops in the Old Quarter 20 Thang Thi st., Hoan Kiem D. in Hanoi and around the Dong Khoi and Nguyen 04 3826 5161 Hue area of Ho Chi Minh City that sell new and used camera equipment You can also find Ho Chi Minh City accessories including memory cards, off-brand Authorised Canon repair battery chargers and tripods. If you are in need 10A, Tran Hung Dao st., D.1 of camera repair and have a Canon or Nikon 08 3838 9383 camera then we recommend that you use one of the authorised repair centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Authorised Nikon repair Minh City. If you are looking for a cheaper option, Vietnam Business Centre there are a number of shops that offer repairs. 57 – 59 Ho Tung Mao st., D.1 But always keep in mind that sometimes you get 08 3914 6361 what you pay for. General repair Huy Camera Hanoi 29 Huynh Thuc Khang st., D.1 Authorised Canon repair 09 0927 2818 No.130A Giang Vo st., Ba Dinh D. 04 3771 1966 Authorised Nikon repair Viet Hong Building 2nd Floor 58 Tran Nhan Tong st., Hai Ba Trung D. 04 3938 1412 General repair Nguyen Long 17 Ba Trieu st., Hoan Kiem D. 09 1260 6066 Computers Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City both have computer shops and there are plenty of places to get your laptop or tablet repaired. However, finding one that has English speaking staff might be a problem. In Hanoi, your best bet is to head to any one of the nine Tran Anh stores. We recommend Phong Vu in Ho Chi Minh City Futureworld as it is a veritable electronics superstore with 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D. 3 08 3930 7673 / Hotline 09 0909 1635 some English speaking staff. If you own an Apple product, then go to Futureworld in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City which is an official Apple distributor. All these stores will have accessories galore for you to choose from but note that the prices are higher than what you would pay in neighbouring countries. Hanoi Tran Anh 2 Dai Co Viet st., Hai Ba Trung D. 1174 Duong Lang st., Dong Da D. trananh.com.vn Futureworld 305 Kim Ma Road 09 8809 3573 Ho Chi Minh City Phong Vu 264A-264B-264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D.3 08 3933 0766 Laptopshop.vn 200 Vo Van Tan st., D.3 / 08 3834 0984 Mobile Phones With 1.2 mobile phones per person in Vietnam, it’s not surprising that there seems to be a mobile phone shop on every street. Almost all of these shops will have cases, chargers and screen covers for the latest smartphones on the cheap. Remember that almost all of these accessories will be off-brand and might not be of the best quality. For repairs, there are several places in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City that specialise in phone repair and are listed below. Hanoi 340 Tran Khat Chan st., Hai Ba Trung D. 04 6292 8799 Ho Chi Minh City Halo 82-84 Pasteur st., D.1 / 08 3914 4111 Tan A Long Shop 76 Bui Vien st., Pham Ngu Lao Ward electronics TRAVEL TIPS XIII
  • 80. XIV TRAVEL TIPS communication Internet Mail FedEx Hanoi The postal system in Vietnam is fairly reliable, 5B Le Van Thiem st., Thanh Xuan D. although not overly quick. Don’t seal parcels 04 3557 8899 before taking them to the post office as you will Open Mon. to Fri. from 8am to 5.30pm be required to show the contents to customs before having the package weighed and priced. Ho Chi Minh City DHL and FedEx are also available in both Hanoi Saigon Central Post Office and Ho Chi Minh City. 2 Cong Xa Paris st., D.1 / 08 3829 6862 Open Mon. to Fri. from 7am to 8pm If you are planning to receive a package, don’t take any chances and make sure the shipping company Vietnam Internet, Phones and Post Office 125 Hai Ba Trung st., D.1 will track the package for the whole journey. 08 3827 0888 Hanoi International Post Office 6 Dinh Tien Hoang st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3825 5948 Open Mon. to Fri. from 6.30am to 10pm DHL International Hanoi 778 Lang Road, Dong Da D. 04 7753 9999 Open Mon. to Fri. from 8am to 5.30pm Express Mail-DHL 10 Le Thach st., Hoan Kiem D. Open Mon. to Fri. from 8am to 6pm DHL International HCMC 4 Phuc Thuc Duyen st., Tan Binh D. 08 3844 6203 Open Mon. to Fri. from 8am to 6.30pm FedEx HCMC 6 Thang Long st., Tan Binh D. 08 3948 0370 Open Mon. to Fri. from 7.30am to 6pm Local insight: Postcards cost around VND10,000 to send overseas, good to know when you want to fire off that quirky propaganda art postcard. Vietnam is the fastest growing internet market in Southeast Asia with over 50% household saturation of ADSL in urban cities. Most restaurants and cafes will freely give you a login password. Once an aromatic meeting place for Vietnamese, these cafes have morphed into internet connection hubs. Some tech- savvy netizens have even ditched the traditional office for a hooked-in café table. As of print, the government is slowly opening up access to social networks such as Facebook. Dalat 063 / Danang 0511 / Hanoi 04 / Ho Chi Minh City 08 / Hoi An 0510 / Hue 054 / Mui Ne 064 / Nha Trang 058 While you can pick up a SIM card and/or pre-paid credit at a number of shops in both cities, we have listed office locations should you need any assistance. Hanoi Mobifone / 34 Dien Bien Phu st., Ba Dinh D. Local insight: If you are going to spend a few hours in a 04 3843 3433 coffee shop using their WiFi, buy something. Viettel / 32 Phan Chu Trinh st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 6287 0198 Vinaphone / 75A Dinh Tien Hoang st., Hoan Phones Vietnam’s network is GSM compatible and will work Kiem D. / 04 3825 6686 with most carriers. However, to avoid exorbitant Ho Chi Minh City roaming rates, check with your local carrier for Mobifone / 80 Nguyen Du st., D.1 international packages. You can buy a local SIM card 08 3822 1573 and minutes for around VDN100,000 in most local Viettel / 53-55 Cao Thang st., D.1 convenience stores and the most popular providers 08 6290 1101 are Mobifone, Viettel and Vinaphone. 3G service Vinaphone / 80 Nguyen Du st., D.1 is easily available in the metropolitan centres The 08 3939 0491 international country code for Vietnam is +84. To make a landline call, use the city prefix then dial the Local insight: Viettel has better coverage throughout number. Listed below are the prefixes for the major the country and is a better choice if you are heading to more remote areas of the country. destination cities in Vietnam. communication TRAVEL TIPS XV
  • 81. XVI TRAVEL TIPS health Dental Clinics Vietnam is near the top of the list when it comes to countries that offer affordable dental care. Foreign owned and operated clinics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City operate at a high standard. They also have English speaking staff. These dental clinics provide the latest services and techniques along with a personable and gentle approach. A full range of treatments is available including preventative care, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, implants, veneers, crowns, bridges and extractions. Ho Chi Minh City European Dental Clinic 17-17A Le Van Mien D.2 09 1874 9204 Open Mon. to Fri. from 8am to 8pm and Sat. from 8am to 5pm Grand Dentistry Sun Wah Tower, Ground Floor, 115 Nguyen Hue D.1 083 8219 446 Open Mon. to Sat. from 9am to 7pm Starlight Hanoi Australian Dental Clinic 2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te st., D.3 3 Nguyen Du st., Dong Da D. 083 8226 222 04 3944 5216 Open Mon. to Sat.from 8.30am to 5pm Open Mon. to Fri. from 8.30am to 7pm and Sat. from 8.30am to 9pm Westcoast International Dental Clinic Level 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi st., D.1 Peace Dental Clinic 083 8256 777 Floor 2, 51A Nguyen Khac Hieu st., Ba Dinh D. 27 Nguyen Trung Truc st., D.1 04 3715 2286 083 8256 999 Open Mon. to Fri. from 8am to 5pm Local insight: A checkup and cleaning will cost you about VND100,000 - 250,000 at a local spot and around Westcoast International Dental Clinic Floor 2, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho D. VND500,000 - 800,000 at an international clinic. 04 3710 0555 SIAN Skincare Laser Clinic Australian and Canadian managed, SIAN Clinic offers a wide range of skincare and medical therapies to treat problems such as dull skin, unwanted tattoos and acne. The clinic also has the latest therapies including laser hair removal, Botox, fillers and placenta cellular treatment. Local insight: Treatments are 1/3 the costs compared to Singapore and Hong Kong. Dr Tran Ngoc Si is the clinic’s director and lectures internationally on advance techniques for Botox and fillers. Floor 2, 71-79 Dong Khoi st., D.1, HCMC info@sianclinic.com sianclinic.com 08 3827 6999 Westcoast International Dental Clinic An ISO standardized international dental clinic equipped with the latest technology. The three clinics offer the highest standard of dentistry including orthodontics, cosmetic and dental implants with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free. Local insight: Every year, hundreds of patients fly to visit Westcoast for dental implants which are performed by Dr Andrew H.F. Tsang, a Canadian dentist. Floor 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi st., D.1, HCMC dongkhoi@westcoastinternational.com 08 3825 6777 27 Nguyen Trung Truc st., D.1, HCMC benthanh@westcoastinternational.com 08 3825 6999 Floor 2, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu st., Tay Ho D., Hanoi westlake@westcoastinternational.com 04 3710 0555 westcoastinternational.com skincare/dental TRAVEL TIPS XVII
  • 82. XVIII XVII TRAVEL TIPS TRAVEL TIPS Health Concerns health L’Hôpital Français de Hanoi There is a sufficient standard of health care in 1 Phuong Mai st., Dong Da D., Hanoi the cities for treating minor injuries but more 04 3574 1111 complicated treatment may require evacuation Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to a third country. Health care in rural areas is extremely basic. Make sure you have adequate Viet Duc Hospital travel health insurance and accessible funds to 14 Phu Doan st., Hoan Kiem D., Hanoi cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad 04 3825 3531 - 09 1495 0458 and repatriation. Complete the next of kin details Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. in the back of your passport. Ho Chi Minh City Family Medical Practice Hospitals/Clinics The quality of care at international hospitals Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan st., D.1 in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is good. Besides 08 3822 7848 treatment and care of minor ailments, these Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week international standard clinics offer a wide range of services and treatments. Health check-ups, FV Hospital dental implants, Lasik surgery, joint replacement, 6 Nguyen Luong Bang st., D.7 spinal surgery and cosmetic surgery are all 08 5411 3333 available. Bear in mind that if your insurance Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week provider does not have an agreement with the medical centre, you will need to pay the doctor CMI or hospital/clinic for treatment received before 1 Han Thuyen st., D.1 08 3827 2366 you leave. Mon. to Fri. 8.30am to 7pm. Sat. 9am to 1pm Hanoi International SOS Local insight: Keep your receipts so that you can claim 51 Xuan Dieu st., Tay Ho Dist. 04 3826 4545 reimbursement from your medical insurance provider. Pharmacies Although the selection of popular pharmaceutical drugs available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City pharmacies is good, you would be wise to bring a supply of medicines and contraceptives from your home country to tide you over until you find a reliable chemist. If you do need a pharmacy, write down the exact medicine you require for the pharmacist. Ho Chi Minh City Pasteur Pharmacy 156 Pasteur st. D.1 08 3822 3737 Open Mon. to Sat. from 8am to 8.30pm Open Sun. from 8am to 4pm Eco Pharmacy 397 Hai Ba Trung st., D.3 08 3820 8487 Depending on the drugs you require, some Open 7 days a week from 6am to 8pm pharmacies will even refill your empty containers without validating a new prescription. If you are HTP Pharmacy 191 Tran Hung Dao st., D1 leery of local pharmacies, the medical clinics 08 3920 9170 listed above have their own pharmacies but Open 7 days a week from 6am to 8pm some require a prescription. Note that feminine hygiene products can be found in supermarkets. No 1 Pharmacy 367 Nguyen Trai st., D.1 08 3920 0300 Hanoi Open 7 days a week from 7am to 8pm Nguyen Luan Pharmacy 3 Trang Thi st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3826 8644 Local insight: Make sure you read the expiry date on Nha Thuoc Thanh Thuy 180 Xuan Dieu Road, Tay Ho D. 04 6258 0214 any medication you buy at any pharmacy. health TRAVEL TIPS XIX
  • 83. XX Walking TRAVEL TIPS transportation One of the best ways to check out Hanoi or Saigon is on foot. A leisurely stroll through Hanoi’s 36 Streets or Saigon’s District 1 is a great opportunity for photographers or street food enthusiasts. However, it can be a bit maddening when motorbikes are parked on the sidewalk and you have to share the road with vehicular traffic. Make sure you walk with purpose and be quick on your feet. Crossing the street is an art form and remember to commit and follow through Motorbikes Saigon traffic doesn’t really flow so much as swarms and lurches in waves. You would do well to leave everything you learned about traffic rules and etiquette at the airport departure gate of your home country. Officially, and in theory, you drive on the right side of the road, although in practice that is not always the case. Allow right of way to any vehicles larger than your own. Think carefully before riding at night as many motorbikes have broken lights. Helmets are Local insight: Hang anything with a strap, mainly bags mandatory for both driver and passenger. and cameras across your chest for safety. To rent a motorbike you will need to provide a passport, sign a rental agreement or pay in Cyclos advance. Longer rental periods may require you Cyclos are slowly disappearing, but are an to leave your passport or a cash deposit equal interesting way to take in the city. This contraption to the motorbike’s market value. Make certain features a giant cushioned seat for passengers that your rental motorbike is roadworthy and has strapped to a bicycle propelled through traffic functioning brakes, lights, etc. The rental price is by a cyclo driver. Negotiate a price beforehand dependent on the type of bike. When parking in a about VND 100,000 (Hanoi) and 40,000 (HCMC) public lot, make sure to keep your parking ticket. If you lose it, you will need to verify ownership of an hour, and have the exact change. Local insight: A cyclo tour is a great way to see the Old the bike, which means contacting the place you Quarter in Hanoi at a slow pace, but avoid rush hour. rented the bike. In HCMC, visit Binh Tay Market in Dist. 5 by cyclo to get Local insight: While manuals go for VND100,000, up close and personal to this bustling Chinese area. automatics will run a bit more for around VND120,000 per day. Xe Om Literally meaning “motorbike hug”, catching a motorbike taxi is an easy and fun way to see the city. Pronouncing street names can be challenging, so point out your destination on a map or have it written down. If the driver does not have a passenger helmet, find another driver for hire. Local insight: Short trips around town will cost between VND10,000 to VND20,000 but make sure you agree on a price beforehand. City Bus Service There are benefits to taking local buses around Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, especially if you are an adventurous person and appreciate gliding around the city in air conditioned comfort. While schedules on the internet are written in Vietnamese only, there are colour-coded route maps that will at least give you a rough idea of the routes. Taxis Don’t assume that your driver knows where your destination is located. Taxi drivers in Hanoi or Saigon typically grab fares from all over the city but that doesn’t mean they are expertly versed in the coordinates of every street, alley or district. After all, both cities are huge. It pays dividends to write down your destination or at the very least carry a small map or a 3G smart phone with GPS capability. The first kilometre ranges from around VND11,000, next kilometre costs around VND13,500 depending on the company. All reputable taxi companies will start the meter as soon as you start the journey. Make sure you have small notes with you. For quality assurance, choose larger taxi companies such as Hanoi Taxi, Mai Linh or Vinasun. Mai Linh Hanoi Hotline 04 3861 6161 HCMC Hotline 08 3838 3838 Hanoi Taxi Hanoi Hotline 04 3853 5353 Vina Sun HCMC Hotline 08 3827 2727 Local insight: The cheapest route to Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, is the 152 bus route which takes you from Ben Thanh Market directly to Local insight: Check out the spelling of the taxi the airport. In Hanoi, bus route 17 connects Noi Bai company before you get in. You could be stepping into an off-brand company airport with Hanoi’s city centre. transportation TRAVEL TIPS XXI
  • 84. XXII TRAVEL TIPS transportation From Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam and tickets can be purchased at the Ben Thanh Bus Station. However, Vietnam is a very large country with a coastline that runs for 3,444 kilometers. It is advisable to break your bus journey to destinations within 6 hours drive. A multitude of tour companies run multiple bus stop journeys called Open Tours that run up and down the country. For a ridiculously low price, you can choose to stop in a destination and stay for as long as you like. When you decide to get back on the bus, go to their office the day before you plan to leave. But there is a catch to this convenience and low price. You may be brought to a wellestablished network of hotels at each stop and pressured to stay at each. If so, hold your ground and insist on being dropped off at your destination. Local insight: Bring some headphones or earplugs or prepare yourself for hours of karaoke and badly dubbed movies on your journey. Duration 460km 14 hours Hoi An 554km 18 hours Nha Trang Hanoi Distance Hue (overnight) City to City Bus Service To 1,115km 29 hours Dalat 1,256km 35 hours Mui Ne 36 hours 1,368km 37.5 hours HCMC From 1,343km Phan Thiet 1566km 43 hours To Distance Duration Vung Tau 125km 2 hours Phan Thiet HCMC 198km 5.5 hours Mui Ne 223km 6 hours Dalat 310km 7 hours Nha Trang 451km 10 hours Hoi An 1012km 15 hours Hue 1106km 19.5 hours Hanoi 1566km 43 hours Siem Reap 554km 12 hours Trains The north to south railway line is known as the Reunification Express and is an excellent way to see the countryside, not least because the ride is much less jarring than road travel on Highway 1. The train system is slowly being modernised with technological advances and more comfortable trains. Sleeper cars are available for long trips and there is one private company that does a sleeper run from Ho Chi Minh City to Nha Trang called the “Golden Train”. It’s a bit more expensive but more modern and comfortable than the normal train. Tickets can be purchased through travel agents for a fee or directly at the train station. Ticket classes include hard seat, soft seat, hard-berth and soft-berth compartments for overnight trips. A drink and light snack is usually included in the ticket price. Many train routes have dining cars and snack carts that roam the aisles. Trains usually leave as scheduled although departure times may shift. For a detailed schedule of departure and arrival times as well as fees and availability, please check seat61.com/Vietnam.html Hanoi / 120 Le Duan st., Hai Ba Trung D. 04 3942 3697 Ho Chi Minh City / 01 Nguyen Thong st., D.3 08 3931 8952 Local insight: Basic Vietnamese food is readily available but if that is not to your taste, get a takeaway before you leave. From Duration 8 hours Hue Hanoi To Sapa 13 hours Danang 15 hours Nha Trang 25 hours HCMC 37 hours Phan Thiet 4.5 hours Nha Trang HCMC 8 hours Danang 18 hours Hue 21 hours Hanoi 33 hours transportation TRAVEL TIPS XXIII
  • 85. XXIV TRAVEL TIPS airlines Local Airlines There are four carriers offering domestic flights in Vietnam. Flights are relatively cheap and are a faster and more comfortable alternative to buses or trains. The national carrier is Vietnam Airlines. Jetstar Pacific Airlines and Air Mekong also operate locally. A newcomer to the market is VietJet Air, which offers budget pricing. Local insight: Vietnamflight.net is a great resource for domestic flights. International Flights There are a plethora of airlines offering flights to Vietnam. There are 8 international airports in the country but the two main ports of entry are Hanoi’s Noi Bai (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat (SGN) international airports. Airline Listing in Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport 30km from Hanoi’s city centre, a VND400,000 taxi ride, leave yourself up to an hour to get there, depending on traffic. If you are arriving, you can take a taxi to Hanoi but be sure to get a fixed rate. Quang Tien, Soc Son D., Hanoi 04 3884 3563 Local insight: Check your flight status online at hanoiairportonline.com/fight-status. Tan Son Nhat International Airport Only 10km from Ho Chi Minh City’s city centre, Tan Son Nhat is the busiest airport in Vietnam with over 16 million passengers travelling through every year. It should only be a VND200.000 taxi The number of direct routes is limited and most ride to the airport from the centre of town. flights departing from these regions to Vietnam involve a transit stop. This will likely change in Ward 4, Tan Binh D., HCMC / 08 3844 1039 2020 when Long Thanh International Airport Local insight: A new airport is currently being built opens in the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City. Local insight: Make sure you keep both white and yellow duplicate customs forms as you will need them for your departure. 50km outside the city and should be operational in 2020. Air France / 01 Ba Trieu st. / 04 3825 3484 / airfrance.com Air Mekong / Floor 2, Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu st. 083 8463 999 / airmekong.vn American Airlines / 99 Ba Trieu st. / 04 3933 0330 / aa.com All Nippon Airways / Floor 4, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh st. / 04 3934 7237 British Airways / Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh st. / 04 3934 7239 Ext 121 / britishairways.com Emirates / 25 Ly Thuong Kiet st. / 04 3934 7240 emirates.com Jetstar / 152 Le Duan st. / 04 3851 5350 / jetstar.com Korean Airlines / 519 Kim Ma st., Ba Dinh D. 04 3934 7247 koreanair.com Malaysia Airlines / Sofitel Metropole, 15 Ngo Quyen st. 04 3826 8819 / malaysiaairlines.com.my Qatar Airways / Floor 2, 41A Ly Thai To st., Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3933 6767 / qatarairways.com Singapore Airlines / 17 Ngo Quyen st. / 04 3826 8888 singaporeair.com Thai Airways / 44B Ly Thuong Kiet st. / 04 3826 7921 thaiairways.com Vietnam Airlines / 94 Tran Quoc Toan st. / 04 3942 0848 / vietnamairlines.com.vn Airline Listing in Ho Chi Minh City Air France / 130 Dong Khoi st., D.1 / 08 3829 0981 / airfrance.com Air Mekong / Ground Floor, Centre Point Building, 106 Nguyen Van Troi st. / 08 3846 3999 / airmekong.vn China Airlines / 37 Ton Duc Thang st., D.1 08 3911 1591 / china-airlines.com Jetstar / 112 Hong Ha st., Tan Binh D. / 08 6299 9399 / jetstar.com Korean Airlines / Floor 9, Diamond Plaza Building, 34 Le Duan st., D.1 / 08 3824 2878 / koreanair.com Malaysia Airlines / Ground Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang st., D.1 / 08 3829 2529 / malaysiaairlines.com.my Singapore Airlines / Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan st., D.1 / 08 3823 1588 / singaporeair.com Thai Airways / 29 Le Duan st., D.1 / 08 3822 3365 / thaiairways.com Turkish Airlines / Room 6, Floor 8, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai st., D.1 / 08 3936 0360 / turkishairlines.com VietJet Air / 1A Cong Truong Quoc Te st., D.1 08 3521 0628 / vietjetair.com Vietnam Airlines / Floor 16, SunWah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue st., D. / 08 3832 0320 vietnamairlines.com.vn 1 airline listing TRAVEL TIPS XXV
  • 86. XXVI TRAVEL TIPS embassies Embassy Listing in Hanoi Argentina / 360 Kim Ma st. / 04 3831 5209 Australia / 8 Dao Tan st. / 04 3831 7755 Austria / 53 Quang Trung st. / 04 39433 050 Bangladesh / 675 Lac Long Quan st. / 04 3771 6625 Belgium / 49 Hai Ba Trung st. / 04 3934 6179 Brazil / 17 Thuy Khue st. / 04 3843 0817 Bulgaria / 5 Nui Chuc st. / 04 3846 2908 Cambodia / 71 Tran Hung Dao st. / 04 3942 4788 Canada / 31 Hung Vuong st. / 04 3734 5000 Chile / 14 Thuy Khe st. / 04 3935 1147 China / 46 Hoang Dieu st. / 04 3845 3736 Cuba / 65A Ly Thuong Kiet st. / 04 3942 4775 Czech Republic / 13 Chu Van An st. / 04 3845 4131 Denmark / 17-19 Dien Bien Phu st. / 04 3823 1888 Finland / 31 Hai Ba Trung st. / 04 3826 6788 France / 57 Tran Hung Dao st. / 04 3944 5700 Germany / 29 Tran Phu st. / 04 3845 3836 Greece / 28 Thanh Nien st. / 04 3715 2254 Hungary / 360 Kim Ma st. / 04 3771 5714 India / 58-60 Tran Hung Dao st. / 04 3824 4989 Indonesia / 50 Ngo Quyen st. / 04 3825 3353 Ireland / 191 Ba Trieu st. / 04 3974 3291 Israel / 68 Nguyen Thai Hoc st. / 04 3843 3140 Italy / 9 Le Phung Hieu st. / 04 3825 6246 Japan / 27 Lieu Giai st. / 04 3846 3000 Laos / 22 Tran Binh Trong st. / 04 3942 4576 Malaysia / 43-45 Dien Bien Phu st. / 04 3734 3836 Mexico / Floor 11, 14 Thuy Khue st. / 04 3847 0948 Myanmar / 298A Kim Ma st. / 04 3845 3369 Netherlands / 360 Kim Ma st. / 04 3831 5650 New Zealand / 63 Ly Thai To st. / 04 3824 1481 Norway / 191 Ba Trieu st. / 04 3974 8900 Philippines / 27B Tran Hung Dao st. / 04 3943 7873 Russia / 191 La Thanh st. / 04 3833 6991 Singapore / 41-43 Tran Phu st. / 04 3848 9168 South Africa / 31 Hai Ba Trung st. / 04 3936 2000 South Korea / 360 Kim Ma st. / 04 3831 5110 Spain / 360 Kim Ma st. / 04 3771 5207 Sweden / 2 Nui Truc st. / 04 3726 0400 Thailand / 63-65 Hoang Dieu st. / 04 3823 5092 Turkey / 4 Da Tuong st. / 04 3822 2460 United Kingdom / 31 Hai Ba Trung st. / 04 3936 0500 United States / 170 Ngoc Khanh st. / 04 3850 5000 Consulate Listing in Ho Chi Minh City Netherlands / 29 Le Duan st., D. / 08 3823 5932 1 Australia / 5B Ton Duc Thang st., D. / 08 3829 6035 1 New Zealand / 9th Floor, 235 Dong Khoi st., D. 1 08 3822 6907 Cambodia / 41 Phung Khac Khoan st., D. / 08 3829 2751 1 Canada / 10th floor, 235 Dong Khoi st., D. / 08 3827 9899 1 Chile / 102 Bis Le Lai st., D. / 08 3925 7422 1 China / 175 Hai Ba Trung st., D.3 / 08 3829 2457 Denmark / 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D.3 08 3821 9373 France / 27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D. / 08 3520 6800 1 Germany / 126 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.3 / 08 3822 4385 Hungary / 22 Phung Khac Khoan st., D. / 08 3829 0130 1 India / 55 Nguyen Dinh Chieu st., D.3 / 08 3823 7050 Indonesia / 18 Phung Khac Khoan st., D. / 08 3825 1888 1 Italy / 91 Nguyen Huu Canh st., Binh Thanh D. 08 6258 6473 Norway / 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai st., D. 1 08 3822 1696 Philippines / 40-5 Pham Viet Chanh st., Binh Thanh D. 08 3518 0045 (ext 112 or 104) Russia / 40 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan st., D.3 08 3930 3936 Russia Danang / 22 Tran Phu st., / 051 1382 2380 Singapore / 65 Le Loi st., D. / 08 3822 5173 1 South Korea / 107 Nguyen Du st., D. / 08 3822 5757 1 Sweden / 8A/11 Thai Van Lung st., D. / 08 3823 6800 1 Switzerland / 42 Giang Van Minh st., D.2 / 08 3744 6996 Thailand / 77 Tran Quoc Thao st., D.3 / 08 3932 7638 Japan / 13-17 Nguyen Hue st., D. / 08 3822 5314 1 United Kingdom / 25 Le Duan st., D. / 08 3825 1380 1 Laos / 93 Pasteur st., D. / 08 3829 7667 1 United States / 4 Le Duan st., D. / 08 3520 4200 1 Malaysia / 2 Ngo Duc Ke st., D. / 08 3829 9023 1 consulates TRAVEL TIPS XXVII
  • 87. XXVIII TRAVEL TIPS faq sheet Hotel stays When checking into a hotel, you will have to surrender your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. Once registered ensure your passport is returned to you and keep it in a safe place. Passports should not be used as a deposit for renting hotel rooms, or in place of a fine in the event of any possible traffic offence. It is advisable to carry a Dining photocopies of the data and visa pages from your Dining out in Vietnam can stretch from a street passport, which can be used as proof of identity. side stall to a lavish buffet at one of the 5 star hotels in town. The range of food available is wide Local travel and everyone should be able to find a venue to suit both taste and budget but the sanitation at the Even though most of the country is open street food level won’t be as high as Singapore’s for tourism, there are some areas that are restricted for travellers. Travel is restricted famous hawker stalls. near military installations and some areas of Vietnam are fairly inaccessible. If a police officer Health or soldier tells you to turn around, do so as it can If you plan to eat street food, keep some Imodium just in case you run into any intestinal problems. get you in trouble with the provincial authorities. Malaria is not endemic in the cities, however, if Do not stray off main routes in rural areas and you are travelling in more remote areas, make check with your tour operator before travelling. sure to include mosquito repellent. Contaminated Follow safety guidelines and procedures and water is a major cause of sickness so make sure ensure such activities are undertaken under the supervision of reputable guides. to drink bottled or boiled water. FAQ Business Business hours in Vietnam are usually 8am to 6pm from Monday to Friday. Some businesses open from 8am to noon on Saturdays. Banks usually open from 8am to 4pm and most are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Most retail shops are usually open from 9am to 9pm. Security Petty crime is not confined to the backpacker districts but also occurs in the main tourist shopping areas. Do not walk in secluded locations alone, or with people you do not know. To minimise risk, be on your guard against pickpockets and avoid carrying handbags or wearing expensive looking jewellery or watches. Language The Vietnamese language is considered one of the hardest languages in Southeast Asia to learn due to its reliance on tones. When first heard, it has an almost sing-song sound and can be confusing to understand for westerners who aren’t used to a tonal language. On the plus side, the modern written language is entirely based on roman script and is much easier to read as opposed to their neighbours. Use Anh (male) or Chi (female) if the person you are addressing is older than you and Em if they are younger. Also, if they are a lot older than you, use Bac (male) and Co (female). Yes, it sounds a bit pedantic but etiquette is very important in Vietnamese language. Drugs Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs can be severe and Vietnam retains the death penalty. In Vietnamese law, anyone found in possession of even a small amount of drugs can face the death sentence. Be aware that drugs are much stronger and of a high potency in Asia and tourists have suffered fatal overdoses in the past from very small amounts. Media Vietnam has a few English-language publications. Thanh Nien News (thanhniennews.com), Tuoi Tre (tuoitrenews.vn) and Vietnam News (vietnamnews.vn) are the main players in Vietnam news. For business news, get the monthly Vietnam Economic Times magazine and weekly Vietnam Investment Review newspaper. Volunteering If you are looking to give back, there are a plethora of non-governmental organisations that are based in Vietnam. Check the NGO resource centre in Hanoi (ngocentre.org). faq sheet TRAVEL TIPS XXIX
  • 88. XXX TRAVEL TIPS faq sheet Holidays Though Vietnam traditionally has many holidays religious or otherwise, these are the only ones that are publicly recognised by the government. Electricity The standard electrical supply in Vietnam runs at 220V. If you have electronics that run at lower voltage, make sure you have a converter. The sockets you usually find are two round pins without a ground pin but hotels with international 1 January – Western New Years Day First to seventh days of the first moon (usually clientele will usually also have the standard two from late January to mid-February – Tet Nguyen flat blade and a ground pin. If you need an adaptor, you can find them at most markets and if you are Dan in a pinch, ask your hotel to borrow one of their Early April – Hung King Festival adaptors until you can buy one. 30 April – Liberation Day/Reunification Day 1 May – International Worker’s Day 2 September – National Day (Vietnam) Important numbers Travelling with Children Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are kid-friendly with attractions abound. Vietnamese love children so don’t be alarmed at all the attention your child receives. Also, for those travelling with babies, supplies are readily available but stock up if you plan to travel outside major city centres. Child safety seats are not readily available for any type of transportation and it’s best to bring your own. There are few facilities for changing babies in restaurants. Operator 110, Police 113, Fire 114, Medical Aid 115, Enquiries 116, Information 1080 Hanoi Police Department 87 Tran Hung Dao st. 04 825 3131 Ho Chi Minh City Police Department 266 Tran Hung Dao st., D.1 08 3836 8426 Vietnam’s history can be roughly divided into the Reunification following periods: On the first day after the American War, the government changed Saigon’s name to Ho Chi Pre-history Minh City. Damage from the war was extensive From circa 400,000 years (Paleolithic) to 4,000 and rebuilding efforts were put in place. A rapid years (Neolithic) ago, cultures in the area included transition to Socialism in the South proved to be Son Vi, Hoa Binh, Bac Son, Ha Long, and Hoa Loc. a harder task than expected. Proto-history According to legends, Vietnam originated in the seventh century BC when the Hung Kings founded Van Lang. In the third century BC, King An Duong Vuong founded Au Lac and rules until 179 BC. Doi Moi In 1985, the winds of change came to Vietnam’s biggest ally in the USSR. As the Soviet Union began scaling back it’s commitments to the rest of the communist world, Vietnam was forced to followed suit in 1986. Reformist Nguyen Monarchy Van Linh, was chosen to lead the Vietnamese Vietnamese kings ruled from 968 to 1945 Communist Party and one of his first acts was to institute a radical economic reform policy called Doi Moi. French War Vietnam battled French colonialism from 1858 From the period of 1986 to 2000, more than to the August Revolution in 1945. Victory was 30,000 private businesses were created and the secured in the battle of Dien Bien Phu economy grew at an annual rate of 7 percent. In 2000, a bilateral trade agreement between the Vietnam and the United States was a significant American War Vietnam fought America from 1954 until their milestone for Vietnam’s economy. pullout in 1975. history TRAVEL TIPS XXXI
  • 89. TRAVEL TIPS
  • 90. MAPS OF HANOI Sapa Lào Cai Hà Nội Hạ Long Hòa Bình Hải Phòng Cát Bà Island Ninh Bình KEY TO MAPS ATM ATM Currency Exchange Quảng Trị Huế Clinic / Hospital Đà Nẵng Pharmacy Hội An Airport Hoàng Sa Island Vietnam Market Supermarket Police Station Church Nha Trang Pagoda Railway Station Tây Ninh Biên Hòa Bus Station Boat Station Phú Quốc Island Gas Station Post Office Cam Ranh Đà Lạt Phan Thiết Hồ Chí Minh City Châu Đốc Vĩnh Long Cần Thơ Mỹ Tho Hồ Trầm Long Hải Vũng Tàu Trường Sa Island Vietnam Cà Mau Côn Đảo Island
  • 91. A HO HO NG H OA T THINGS TO SEE HAM ATM ATM HOANG HOA ATM VAN PHUC NGUYEN CHI THAN H Ngoc Khanh Lake VAN BAO ATM ATM ATM KIM MA ATM ATM ATM NGOC KHANH NGUY LANE 535 ATM ATM ATM MC NA Giang Vo Lake AO ATM ATM ATM 2 DOI CAN ATM SON TAY 1 THANH BA O DOI CAN ATM ATM 1 ATM ATM VAN BAO LIEU G IAI N NG OC LA THA NH PHAN K E BINH ATM LANE 15 - DOI CA N ATM GIANG VAN M INH LINH LANG KIM MA THUONG NGUYEN THAI KIM MA ATM NUI TRUC ALLEY C R RU II T N NU 88 ATM ATM NGOC HA E N VA LANE 36 Thu Le Lake ATM LANE 173 ATM DAO T AN KIM MA Bach Thao Park HA NGOC HA Thu Le Park THAM ATM ATM ATM ALLEY 189 VAN CA O DOC NGU ATM DOI CAN YEU THU TINH YK HUE HO AN GH OA TH AM QUAN NGUA 1 Daewoo ATM ATM ATM DOI NHAN WHERE TO STAY West Lake VEN HO 1 Ho Chi Minh’s House 2 Ho Chi Minh Museum attractions 200m N THU YK HUE VO NG GIA ATM ATM CAT LINH ATM HOC TRINH HOAI DUC attractions DISTRICT BA DINH 89
  • 92. NGU YEN CHI THA NH CHUA LANG ATM 2 EN P HUC LA NGUY LANE 57 2 Dong Da Lake TUAN DON G CA C GIE NG 97 H ALL OAN EY GC AU A LLEY QUA NG DIE U ATM H UU ATM TR A N LAN G HA THA I TH INH ATM DA NG TIE N ATM DO NG ANG 2 Fortuna Hotel LIET NG TRU TAY SON ATM HA II H T THA YE NK 1 CalidasHLandmark 72 THA IH AM OI ATM NGU WHERE TO STAY ATM ATM TON ATM 2 6 562 ATM NGO 56 THA IH A ATM ATM ATM KHAM THIEN ATM TRA N ATM ATM ATM Y EY AL ALL AN DA EY ALL VU N GOC PHAN DUO NG LAN G 90 ATM G HO HON ANG N EN GOC Y PHA NGU CH ANH X XA TRU C KH E QUA ATM N TH O AL LEY LA T II H H NH AN TH AT LA DE N DE DAN X XA HUY NH ATM THU C KH ANG MAI AN H HOA NG CAU LAN G HA LANE 3 ATM Thanh Cong Lake QUA N TH O AL LEY I I LANE 5 ATM ATM NGO 3 60 THANH CONG G YEN NG NGUYEN HO ATM ATM TRIN H HA O AL LEY I ATM ATM THANH CONG NGU YEN HON G ATM PHAN VAN TRI TON DUC THAN G ATM LA THANH O GV IAN ATM G TUO C ALLEY 112 VU T HANH HAO NA M To Calidas Landmark 72 7 km N NH H HA C CK GO NG ALLEY 84 ALLEY 112 NH HN T HA L LA 1 attractions 200m N Giang Vo Lake NGUYEN CONG HOAN NGU YEN LUO NG B ANG attractions DONG DA DISTRICT NGO 418 PHAM HU A THA NH ATM ATM HO D AC D I NAM Xa Dan U NG Lake AN GV DAN G DON 91
  • 93. ATM CAN PHAN H UY CHU NGO Q UYEN TRINH NG. KH AC LE NGOC HAN ATM HOA MA DOAN TRAN NGHIEP THAI PHIEN NG TRU NGUYEN CO YEN BAI BUI THI XUAN TRIEU VIET VUONG MAI HAC DE ON DINH TIEN HOA NG HANG BAI BA TRI EU PHO HUE PHUNG KHAC KHOAN BA TRIEU PHAN CHU 19 THA NG 12 ATM HO DINH AM PH 5 ATM LE GIA DINH III Bay Mau Lake VAN HO 6 Zephyr Hotel ATM TUE TINH ATM ATM TRAN C N AO VA SIN YER Hai Ba Trung Lake V HU HUON G VIE 92 ATM N 5 Sunway Ba Mau Lake H H AN II HA D DA L LE A DA OA HO XA 4 Mercure NGUYEN BINH KHIEM THE GIAO LE DUAN KIIM TO HIEN THANH 3 Hotel de L’Opera ATM PHO HUE LIEN T RI KHA M TH IEN MAR KET ALL EY 2 Hong Ha ATM TRAN HUNG DAO U UC LO D DAN N SOAN TRAN XUA DO NG DO NGOC DU ATM 1 Conifer EN HAN THUY H HO 1 WHERE TO STAY ATM ATM G BAT TANG 5 Revolution Museum CHIEU THO QUA NA LLE Y Thong Nhat Park ATM UU AN H LE V ATM ATM TRAN NHAN TONG 4 Quan Su Pagoda HO XUAN UONG H NHAM NGO THI NHAM 3 Museum of History ATM ATM HAM ATM LON G TRAN QUOC 1 TOAN NGUYEN DU ATM Thien Quang Lake VONG DUC ATM I THAN DANG THA TO H TONG AN NH TRAN THA 2 Hoa Lo Prison NGUYEN QUYEN NGO VAN SO ATM 4 2 UI CHUO H G HANG 1 Hanoi Opera House ALLEY 1 - KHAM THIEN ATM THINGS TO SEE TRAN BINH TRONG VU LOI NG. THUONG HIEN KHAM THIEN HA H OI QUANG TRUNG YIET KIEU TUC MA C TRAN QUOC ATM TOAN NGUYEN NGUY GIA THIE EN DU U EY ALL NG A QU 7 ATM THANH 3 HAI B A TRUN ATM G ATM LY DAO 1 ATM 2 NG H N NH TO T AN LE TH H LIN TRAN HUNG DAO TIEN 6 O LAO VAN CHUONG ALLEY LY THU ONG KI ET THO NH UO M I EU LE P HUNG H DINH LE TRANG ATM 3 5 ATM Huy Van Lake 6 DA TU ONG QUAN SU ALLEY H. KHA Y GU A NG PHAM ATM Linh Quang Lake HOA LO CHAU PHA N BOI LE DUAN TRAN QUY CAP LY THU ONG K IET NGUYE N DINH LIEN NGO SI ON HU OM THI HAI G KH ANG QUA ATM TRANG HAI B A TRU NG TH NAM NGU RN TR A VAN HU ONG ATM 4 attractions 200m N N ON A TONG D THO NG P HON G AL LEY GIAM N LE LAI LE THACH II TO LY A LY THA QUO C TU Giam Lake T AI TO L H LE TH HAIattractions DISTRICT BA TRUNG N THO LAO 93
  • 94. HANG BUN ATM LE DUAN HANG COT HG. DIEU HG. DA LY NAM D E PHUNG HU NG QUAN S U AM TU GI QUOC IEU - HANG GA BAT SU HANG THIE C THUOC B AC NGUYEN TR I PHUONG HOANG DIEU Stadium TON THAT THIEP K H U C H AO CHU VAN AN ONG ICH KHIE M HUNG VUO NG VAN M 4 12 St. Joseph’s Catheral N UA TU Q HAM 4 13 Temple of Literature WHERE TO STAY ATM Golden Silk 1 ATM 2 Maison D’Hanoi Boutique AI KHA GK NG UN QUA Hoan Kiem 4 Ngoc Son Temple 9 PHU C TA 4 10 One Pillar Pagoda N 4 11 Quan Thanh Temple R TRAN DUC THA NG 9 4 Fine Arts Museum 8 O TO THAI LY TH HANG D AY PHA N PH U TIE N TON ATM N N UC TA PHUC ATM CAU GO HG. DAU THI GIA NGU HUAN NG. HUU HUAN TRANG HANG BAC HG. BE HG. BE NAM ATM T UT DUA HT HAT NN RN TRA MA MAY CUA ATM ATM ATM TA TA HIEN ATM N Y TA DU 4 G NG G BO OI VU TON HAN H M N CA CHA ATM EN HUY NGO THO IEU NHA U TR 12 A O TH TO LE THAI T 13 ATM TRAM O DAO HA G HANG LINH NGUYE ATM CAO B A QUA N THA T I HOC NGUY EN KH UYEN NGO ATM UG HUNG H H NHA C 94 ATM G ONG GR G TR HN HAN CAT TRAN PH Park U I G GA H HAN G HAN ATM AN H 3 NH KHA BAO S SU QUOC LY QU O O CA G CH HN HAN 8 QUAT HANG 1 ATM OM G HO AG HAN ANH M MN A HANG 3 Lenin HANG NON HAI YEN T HANG BO CA CAN 4 BAT DAN H H HAN G H NG T UN DUO ATM Ancient Citadel ATM ATM VAN NG VA LUON ATM ATM PHONG ATM CUA DO NG 1 HU PH E IEN NB NB DIIE LE HONG ATM TU MOT COT DAM ATM ATM UY UY DA DAO D THAT TON ATM LU CHUA BAC SON NGO 12A G U G DUON H G HANG 10 2 THINGS TO SEE OAI ATM 1 Ancient Citadel G KH Old Quarter HAN5 G 2 Ba Dinh Square DON THANH HA ATM CAU EN 3 Colonial Quarter Houses Y NH HANG CHIEU THA 4 Cot Co Tower HANG MA HO IEU E BAO LINH P NG. S RIDG LO REN HANG CA NG B 4 Dong XuanOMarket 5 DU BUOM ONG 2 HANG 4 HoU Minh Mausoleum 6 CH Chi LA N ONG O N ATM ATM 4 Long Bien Bridge 7 G N GOC QUYEN ATM U XUAN D G DONG 6 DOC LAP HOANG VA N THU DAU HANG DINH TIEN HOA NG ATM 7 E RIDG IEN B NG B LO A AY G II HG. G NGUYEN C ANH CHAN PHAN DIN H PHUNG PHU DOAN CHAU LON G CUA B AC NGUYEN BIEU DANG TAT DANG DUN G TH ATM e er ATM HON GH A H HAN HA T HANG T HOANG HOA THAM Riiv THUY KHUE Middle Warp R Red 11 ATM attractions 200m N A N A AN X TRAN VU NGU PH Y OD PHAM EN KHA U HON C NH C CHIN G TH U H AI NGUY EN TR ATM UONG QUAN THA ATM TO NH C XA HC PHU Truc Bach HU PH YN YEN attractions HOAN KIEM DISTRICT 1 Maison D’Hanoi Hanova 3 4 Silk Path 95
  • 95. attractions 200m TAYattractions HO DISTRICT N ATM ATM Y Y 67 A ALLE G BA QUAN AN NGOC V 11 - TO ALLEY G BA QUAN To Noi Bai Airport 25 km U CO 2-A Y 17 E ALL CO U CO AU BA BA AG QUAN C VAN TO NGO O TAY H ATM DANG T HAI iive E ALL rr ATM ATM AM I TA NH NGH UA CHU O XOM AI IM HA GT N DA CO TAM GHI 0-N Y 31 dR dR -- AU N GA AN QU ATM Y 15 LEY DA MT RI Y Y1 2- ATM AL A A L LE ALL EY Middle Warp Re Re MAI ATM CO - AU A AN N NL HA PH G G BA Q N QUAN ATM ATM O U O AU C XU A AI AI M SOS Hospital N DI EU G TH DAN 2 24 EY 1 ALL 6 ALLEY 7 ATM UONG - AN D ATM ATM N NG PHU A HA Y YEN EN HO YE 1 3 32 -LEY ALL TAM HI ATM G UN UON ND AN THINGS TO SEE West Lake H HAN AN T G G UON N U AN D HU N PH YEN A H HO E YEN QUA NG K HAN H 1 Tran Quoc Pagoda WHERE TO STAY ATM 1 PHO TRU CB ACH ATM YEN PH U H HINH U C DUC 96 2 Oriental Palace THA NH NIE N 1 Hanoi Club Truc Bach Lake NG HIA DU NG 97 NG
  • 96. DESTINATIONS Kevin Khoa Nguyen
  • 97. destinations halong halong destinations Halong Bay, or Descending Dragon Bay, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular travel destination along the coast 170km east of Hanoi. The Bay features thousands of limestone karsts and isles dotted with caves and grottos. Halong Bay is 1,553km2 and includes 1,960 islets, most made of limestone. It was once called the “rock wonder in the sky” by poet Nguyen Trai in his verse Lo Nhap Van Don. The geo-diversity of the environment has created an incredible range of natural wonders spread over tropical evergreen, oceanic and sea shore ecosystems. While tourism and industry have taken a toll on the ecology, constant efforts to practice sustainable biotourism ensure that we will continue to enjoy this natural wonder in a responsible manner. After enjoying the above ground wonders, step into another world through the expansive caves dotted throughout the islets. Each cavern contains jagged stalactites and stalagmites in a vast spectrum of shapes, all open to interpretation. A fine example of aging with grace, the bay has been in geological transformation for 500 million years. Halong Bay has also been the setting of two James Bond films. Though it may be difficult to imagine a speedboat chase through such serenity, how can you blame them for taking advantage of the cinematic scenery? Local insight: Due to its years round popularity be prepare to queue to see the more popular sights. 76 see more at www.citypassguide.com Heritage Line A remarkable collection of fine cruise vessels plying the Mekong and Halong Bay, Heritage Line makes every onboard experience enchanting. The unique line of boutique and luxury junk boats in Halong Bay makes an irresistible accompaniment to the historic waters of Indochina and have personalities all their own. The Ginger is sturdy and graceful, the Jasmine languid and contented and the Violet, the latest and most extravagant junk in the bay, is charming, fascinating and fiery. Local insight: Heritage Lines also runs the most extravagant cruises on the Mekong River with the individually themed Jayavarman and Jahan. 68 Street Nr. 10 - Nam Long Residences, Than Thuan Dong Ward (D.7), HCMC 08 3773 8555 heritage-line.com sales@heritage-line.com 77
  • 98. destinations halong ninh binh halong destinations Golden Lotus Cruise Sail the bay on the luxurious Golden Lotus, a threestorey boat with deluxe cabins and an expansive sundeck. Let the friendly and professional crew set your course for relaxation. Local insight: Onboard activities to choose from include tai chi at sunrise and squid fishing at night. 26 Lo Su st., Hoan Kiem D., Hanoi khanhsinh.com info@khanhsinh.com 04 3935 2390 04 3926 1718 Local insight: Novotel Halong Bay is the only international brand hotel located in Halong City. Golden Lotus Junk Eleven cabins with luxurious services, each cabin is a personal retreat. Feel at home in our fully equipped spacious timbered bedrooms with large private bathrooms, providing true comfort and privacy. Local insight: Enjoy the spectacular view of Halong Bay night and day through the wide windows. 26 Lo Su st., Hoan Kiem D., Hanoi goldenlotusjunk.com contact@goldenlotusjunk.com 04 3935 2390 04 3926 1718 Halong Phoenix Cruiser Modelled on old Vietnamese court vessels, you can enjoy timeless charm while attentive staff and modern amenities assure your utmost comfort on board. Book a Kayak explorer excursion to Lan Ha Bay and Van Boi or visit Cat Ba Island. Local insight: The Cruiser hosted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during his Christmas holiday in Vietnam. 32M Ly Nam De st., Hoan Kiem D. halongphoenixcruiser.com sales@halongphoenixcruiser.com 7878 see more at www.citypassguide.com Novotel Halong Bay Hotel With 214 rooms, a great restaurant and a funky bar, Novotel Ha Long Bay Hotel is an ideal stop for both leisure and business traveller. Offering unparalleled views of the bay and an elegant interior of polished stone, glass and marble, the hotel fuses classic Vietnamese elegance with contemporary style. 04 3747 8006 Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong, Quang Ninh 03 3384 8108 novotelhalongbay.com info@novotelhalong.com.vn Square Restaurant The Square Restaurant in Novotel Halong Bay Hotel offers all day dining in a modern tropical setting overlooking magical Ha Long Bay. Serving international and traditional Vietnamese food, The Square also has an open grill counter and an extensive range of fine wines. For a romantic evening, enjoy the menu’s international flavours and dine by the poolside. Local insight: Be sure to order the delicious signature Novotel Seafood Platter. Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong, Quang Ninh 03 3384 8108 novotelhalongbay.com info@novotelhalong.com.vn 79
  • 99. destinations sapa 350km from Hanoi, Sapa is a stone’s throw from the Chinese border. The area’s Hoang Lien Son mountain range includes Vietnam’s highest peak, Fansipan, at 3,142m. The trek can be done in a day, but it is recommended that hikers go overnight as you don’t want to run down a muddy trail to beat the sunset. The climate is moderate and cool in the summer, wet from May to September and foggy and cold in winter with occasional snow. Sapa is home to many ethnic minorities, namely the H’mong and Yao group, the Tay, Zay and a small number of Xa Pho. Most of them live in small villages in modest huts and hamlets scattered throughout the district. If you’re in the market for ethnic minority handicrafts, the villagers will be more than willing to oblige. Sapa is a bit off the beaten track compared to other destinations in Vietnam, making for more enthusiastic active locals. Especially popular are the traditional quilts and clothing. One of Vietnam’s best hiking destinations, it is easy to hire a local guide for both day hikes and longer trekking adventures. Don’t be surprised if your guide effortlessly scales cliffs in nothing more than plastic sandals while you trudge behind. There are daytime and overnight sleeper trains between Hanoi and Lao Cai. Sleeper trains leave Hanoi at 9.50pm and arrive in Lao Cai at 6.15am. Local insight: Take the train to Lao Cai and grab a tourist bus for VND50,000 to Sapa town. Traditional handicraft 80 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 100. destinations danang danang destinations With a developing economy, Danang is fast becoming a modern world-class city, but it has managed to retain its cultural charm. Highrise buildings stand adjacent to local markets and cyclos are still present in traffic despite the growing emergence of cars. Established by the Champa Kingdom in the 2nd Century, the name Danang derives from the Cham word for “opening of a large river.” Recognising its value as a major port, French imperialists began their Vietnamese campaign in Danang and the city rose in prominence. Now, it is the fifth most populated city in the country. As Vietnam’s leading centre of urbanisation and industrial production, Danang’s economy is growing and diversifying to include everything from textiles to aviation technology. For a look at Danang’s historical commercial hub, browse Han Market for an extensive array of consumer goods and souvenirs. The surrounding area is known for its natural wonders, most notably the stretch of beaches offering pristine sand and gentle waters. In the mountains, head to Bana Hill, a former French hill station converted into a vacation hub. With hotels, restaurants, historical sights and a children’s Fantasy Park and arcade, this idyllic jungle hideaway is perfect for the whole family. For thrill seekers, head to the Hai Van Pass with its hairpin turns and stunning views of the Truong Son Range. Local insight: There is some surf, but the primary beach activity is lounging back and enjoying the scenery. 82 see more at www.citypassguide.com Hyatt Regency Danang Resort & Spa Located on Vietnam’s picturesque central coast, Hyatt’s second property in Vietnam is ideally situated on an immaculate stretch of white sand beach. Easily accessible from major international destinations, the idyllic oceanfront setting and sweeping views amaze. The resort features an array of international dining outlets, spa and wellness facilities, dedicated meeting and event services and extensive family friendly leisure activities in addition to their 200 guest rooms, 182 hotel residences and 27 ocean villas. Local insight: The resort is steps away from two world class golf courses, Montgomerie Links and Dunes. Truong Sa 051 1398 1234 danang.regency.hyatt.com danang.regency@hyatt.com 83
  • 101. destinations hoi an hoi an destinations This picturesque town is a wonder and a beautiful example of a Southeast Asian trading port straight out of the 15th Century. Hoi An has something for every kind of traveller: UNESCO World Heritage Sites, custom tailoring, unspoilt beaches, gourmet restaurants, traditional crafts, one of a kind attractions and much more. Once the commercial capital of the Cham Empire, Hoi An is now the garment centre of Vietnam. Whether you’re looking for a reproduction of your favourite ensemble, an outfit clipped from fashion magazines or simply a tailored suit, Hoi An is the place to shop. It’s easy to get to Hoi An and let your quest for a new wardrobe overtake your sightseeing agenda, but don’t miss out on some of the ancient treasures tucked in this town. In addition to the countless old houses featuring well maintained traditional architecture, there is a wealth of colourful markets, grand halls, natural formations, stunning pagodas, and fishing villages just a motorbike ride away. This may be a traditional city better known for its shopping and historic architecture, but that does not preclude the presence of quality restaurants, innovative cuisine and informative cooking classes. The food scene is alive and thriving, a magnet for gourmets and amateur eaters alike. Top off your touring with a trip to the coast and a dip in the ocean at one of the nearby world class beaches. Local Insight: Try Hoi An’s most popular dish, Cao Lau. 84 see more at www.citypassguide.com Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort Perfectly positioned along Cua Dai Beach, Sunrise Hoi An Beach Resort offers enchanting views to a simply stunning coastline. Boasting 222 rooms, suites and beachfront villas, guests are pampered with residential touches while enjoying beachfront elegance. Indulge yourself at the Sunrise Spa or sample international cuisine at one of the many restaurants and bars (see Sao Bien Restaurant and Beach Bar). Sunrise Hoi An is from the same hotel group of Sunrise Nha Trang and StarCity Saigon. Local insight: The spacious conference room and business centres make Sunrise ideal for meetings. Au Co st. sunrisehoian.vn 0510 3937 777 resa@sunrisehoian.vn 85
  • 102. destinations ninh binh Often referred to as Halong Bay on land, Ninh Binh’s unique views include farmland dotted with Catholic churches against a backdrop of dramatic limestone cliffs. Head to the Van Long Nautre Reserve to see the rich and well protected biodiversity of the region. Hoa Lu served as the country’s capital until 1010 AD. Located about 12km from the centre of Ninh Binh, it now contains two small temple complexes and approximately eight million trinket stands. Watch your step entering and exiting the ancient gates as the bottom half of the gate is raised to keep out evil spirits. Tam Coc and its less frequented twin Trang An are not to be missed. You should leave at least two hours for the trip up and down the river at Tam Coc, most likely propelled by a pair of feet. The peaceful trip in the wooden rowboat in the shadow of limestone karsts, through dark grottos and fields of pond lilies, is pleasant. At the end, the serenity is shattered as you have to fight off hawkers trying to convince you to buy just one more embroidered tablecloth. You’ll probably end up tipping your driver to whisk you off to safety. The seat of Catholicism in the north, Phat Diem is Vietnam’s most impressive cathedral. At 20km, it is a bit of a drive from Ninh Binh centre, but its massive dimensions make it worth the trip. Local insight: A battle in the movie adaptation of Graham Greene’s The Quiet American was filmed at Phat Diem. 86 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 103. WHERE TO STAY
  • 104. where to stay hotels hotels where to stay Hanoi Daewoo Hotel Daewoo Hotel blends contemporary decor and traditional Vietnamese art into luxury. The hotel of choice for famous visitors such as Miss Universe 2008, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin and other foreign dignitaries. Local insight: Visit their collection of over 2,000 original Vietnamese sculptures and paintings. 360 Kim Ma st., Ba Dinh D. 04 3831 5000 hanoidaewoohotel.com.vn reservation@daewoohotel.com.vn Calidas Landmark 72 Residence With 378 luxury units, a rooftop observatory, the largest fitness center in Hanoi, tennis courts, indoor golf, swimming pool, a spa, and a beer garden, Calidas Landmark 72 has something for everyone at any time of day or night. Local insight: With 72 floors this is the tallest building in Indochina to date. Keangnam Landmark72, Plot E6, Pham Hung, Cau Giay 04 6282 3020 landmark72.com Silk Path Hotel Hanoi Find a pampering retreat in this splendid four star business boutique hotel in the Old Quarter, designed with comfort and luxury in mind to provide the absolute best of firstclass amenities and friendly service. Local insight: The Silk Bar and Bellissimo restaurant offer live traditional music on weekends and holidays. 195-199 Hang Bong st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3266 5555 silkpathhotel.com info@silkpathhotel.com 68 see more at www.citypassguide.com Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi - MGallery Set in the historic quarter of the city, near the historic Hanoi Opera house, the hotel’s period accents recreate the glamour of an evening at the opera. Each room is decorated with traditional silk drapes, parquet flooring and flamboyantly coloured furniture. The theme continues in the Café Lautrec and Satine restaurants. Guests and visitors are invited to join in the ritual tasting of the mythical absinthe, a journey of discovery in itself. Local insight: Ask for the Memorable Moment package, an epicurean journey through Hanoi. 29 Trang Tien st., Hoan Kiem D. contact@hoteldelopera.com hoteldelopera.com 04 6282 5555 mgallery.com HANOI 69
  • 105. where to stay hotels hotels where to stay Mercure Hanoi La Gare Centrally located, this international Accor mid-sized hotel has 102 rooms and a patio courtyard restaurant offering a wide range of French and Vietnamese specialities. Local insight: Walking distance from Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Vietnam Women’s Museum. 94 Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3944 7766 mercure-hanoi-la-gare.com h7049@accor.com Sunway Hotel Hanoi Club Hotel & Lake Palais Residences Strategically located on the shore of West Lake with a superb panoramic view, the Hanoi Club is sure to dazzle and delight. With their Elite Membership Club, boutique hotel and luxurious serviced residences, they provide an exceedingly courteous and relaxing atmosphere. Whether you are a local looking to socialize or an international visitor, this social and recreational centre is the place to meet. The Hanoi Club is the perfect venue for banquets, conventions and company retreats, all under one roof. Local insight: Dedicated service and superior location truly make it “The Jewel of West Lake Hanoi”. 76 Yen Phu st., Tay Ho D. 04 3829 3829 thehanoiclub.com enquiry@thehanoiclub.com 70 see more at www.citypassguide.com This romantic yet modern international four star hotel, located in the heart of Hanoi, is ideal for business or leisure. Its Allante Restaurant serves excellent international and Vietnamese cuisine. Local insight: The Sunway was voted Best Boutique Hotel for six consecutive years. 19 Pham Dinh Ho st., Hai Ba Trung D. 04 3971 3888 sunwayhotels.com reservation@sunwayhotel.com.vn Golden Silk Boutique Hotel Situated in the heart of the Old Quarter and surrounded by art galleries and fashionable silk shops. The hotel decor is stylish and the spacious rooms are tastefully decorated and comfortable. Local insight: Guest return again and again because of the friendly staff and the excellent service. 109-111 Hang Gai st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3928 6969 goldensilkhotel.com info@goldensilkhotel.com HANOI 71
  • 106. where to stay hotels hotels where to stay Maison d’ Hanoi Boutique Hotel Oriental Palace Local insight: The hotel is walking distance to the famous Hoan Kiem Lake and shopping. Local insight: Serviced apartments, villas and conference facilities are available. Stay in the centre of town at this newly opened 42 room boutique hotel with superior service. The understated yet stunning design throughout the hotel bridges Vietnamese and French aesthetics.The all-day restaurant offers top value international cuisine. 49 Lan Ong st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3923 4999 hanovahotel.com info@hanovahotel.com West Lake’s exclusive residence offers guests full amenities and stunning lakeside views. Peacefully removed yet still close to the centre of Hanoi, it is no wonder that many business executives and expatriates choose Oriental Palace as their home away from home. 33 Tay Ho Road orientalpalacehanoi.com 04 3829 1200 orientalpalace@fpt.vn Conifer Boutique Hotel Hanoi Hong Ha Hotel Local insight: Their 21 Deluxe rooms all have private balconies with stunning views of Hanoi. Local insight: Hong Ha is the ideal place for travellers and business people. Just mere minutes walk to the Old Quarter’s sights and restaurants, Conifer Boutique Hotel pays homage to Hanoi’s bygone colonial era. The boutique hotel has 34 elegant rooms, all furnished with modern amenities. 09 Ly Dao Thanh st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3266 9999 coniferhotel.com.vn info@coniferhotel.com.vn Elegantly situated in the heart of Hanoi, Hong Ha Hotel is the combination of French colonial architecture and contemporary Vietnamese design. Just a five minute walk from Hong Ha are the ancient Hoan Kiem Lake, the beautiful Opera House, and traditional Water Puppet shows. 204 Tran Quang Khai st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3938 7786 info@honghahotel.vn honghahotel.vn Zephyr Hotel Steps away from Hoan Kiem Lake and designed by the same architect who restored the Opera House, this boutique hotel features artwork from traditional artefacts to contemporary Vietnamese paintings and is equally well-suited for tourists or business travellers. Local insight: Don’t miss the impressive breakfast buffet and delight in the homemade pastries midday. 4-6 Ba Trieu st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3934 1256 zephyrhotel.com.vn in-fo@zephyrhotel.com.vn 72 see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 73
  • 107. where to stay further suggestions Hanoi Golden Lotus Luxury / 53-55 Hang Trong st., Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3938 0904 / Let the friendly and professional crew set your course for relaxation Hanoi Hilton Opera / 1 Le Thanh Tong st., Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3933 0500 / hanoi.hilton.com Located next to the famous Grand Opera House, this hotel was voted the leading hotel for five consecutive years by the World Travel Awards. InterContinental / 1A Nghi Tam st. intercontinental.com / 04 3829 3939 / Offers the comfort of a five star resort in easy reach of the city’s top restaurants and attractions. Melia / 44B Ly Thuong Kiet st. / meliahanoi. com / 04 3934 3343 / An ideal venue for business conventions with 306 rooms in the city centre. Mövenpick / 83A Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. moevenpick-hotels.com / 04 3822 2800 The latest five star hotel in Hanoi, tailored to meet the needs of discerning corporate travellers. Sheraton Hanoi Hotel / K5 Nghi Tam st., 11 Xuan Dieu Road, Tay Ho D. / thesheratonhanoi. com / 04 3719 9000 / Excellent exclusive view of West Lake. Sofitel Plaza / 1 Thanh Nien st., Ba Dinh D. sofitel.com / 04 3823 8888 / With stunning views of the city, two fine restaurants and chic bars, this hotel is a magnificent experience. 74 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 108. ACTIVITIES
  • 109. activities While you could spend your entire visit strolling past sidewalk vendors, impromptu badminton games and scenic lakes, there is a wealth of activities here in the capital. Don’t miss out on unique cultural events, Western imports and all of the other engagements this city has to offer. For a slice of authentic Vietnamese leisure, start at the local theatres performing traditional pieces for locals and tourists alike. The Water Puppet Theatre at Hoan Kiem Lake is always a big draw and Cheo, a satirical form of musical theatre, is showcased at a number of indoor and outdoor venues. The athletically inclined can enjoy a round at one of the many first class golf resorts in the area, a shimmy up a rock wall or a tour through the city by bike. After exerting yourself, cool off with a rubdown at a lavish massage parlour or a revitalising treatment at a beauty salon. Bringing organised activity to the streets, impromptu gatherings of Hanoians meet at Hoan Kiem Lake for yoga, tai chi and general calisthenics. Join a massage train or loosen up with some stretches at sunrise. There is also an extensive supply of modern entertainments, everything from karaoke and gambling to state of the art cinemas and bowling. Whether you’re harmonising with a hostess or taking in a taste of home, it’s a safe bet that Hanoi will put a smile on your face. 60 entertainment / tours introduction see more at www.citypassguide.com activities Ca Tru The UNESCO cultural Heritage performance art form originally developed in the 15th Century as religious chants and court entertainment throughout Northern Vietnam. Sung without microphone and open to improvisation, it is usually performed to selective audiences as it cannot accommodate larger venues such as the Opera. 87 Ma May st. / 012 2326 6897 Local Insight: Attend a Ca Tru Thang Long performance and you will not be disappointed. Water Puppets Originating in the rice paddies of the Mekong Delta, traditional puppet theatre uses the water as a stage while the gliding puppets are controlled by actors hiding behind a screen. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre / 57b Dinh Tien Hoang st., Hoan Kiem D. / Performances every day at 3.30pm, 5pm, 6pm, 8pm & 9.15pm and a special 9.30am performance on Sunday Local insight: Water puppets are commonly available in the Old Quarter as souvenirs. Cyclo Tours A carryover from the colonial era, these bicycle taxis carry everything from passengers to broken-down motorbikes. Nowadays, they mostly ferry tourists around the Old Quarter. The going may be slower than the buzzing machines about you, but it gives you plenty of time to take it all in and it’s a great way to while away an afternoon. Local insight: Tours can be anywhere from one hour to an entire day and price depends on your haggling skills. HANOI 61
  • 110. activities beauty spa activities Massage / Spas Massage therapy is an ancient medical tradition which focuses on the body’s largest organ: the skin. Ancient therapists learned that tweaking the countless nerve endings invigorated soft tissue and helped promote relaxation. In Vietnam, this knowledge is an intrinsic part of the culture and massages of all types are available. Whether it’s Thai, deep tissue or four hands, you can find it here. Local insight: Your masseuse may look tiny, but just wait until she’s walking on your back. Hair Salons At most salons, VND100,000 will buy you a hair wash and a head massage. If you’re willing to pay for a little more, Hanoi’s luxury salons offer experienced hair gurus a range of treatments at prices that will truly amaze. There are also many streetside stations willing to do quick, cheap cuts, although if you want a stylish trim, it is worth going to a salon. Local insight: Don’t say yes to every question asked or you will have to shell out for additional services. Nails One of the top national exports, Vietnamese paint exquisite designs at a reasonable rate. Nail art can run anywhere from VND20,000 to VND500,000, depending on the design. Splurge on a foot spa and some creative patterns to add some colour to your day. Local insight: Use salons for manicures rather than street beauticians without access to sterilised equipment. 62 see more at www.citypassguide.com Amadora Wellness & Spa Located in Ba Trieu Street, next to the busiest shopping centre in Hanoi, Amadora Wellness & Spa is the ideal place to start to lift your mind, body and spirit. Situated on five floors including fourteen spa rooms dedicated to skin care, two rooms for hair treatment and one water-based treatment pool, Turkish style sauna rooms and an elegant consultancy area, Amadora will transport you from your busy life Local insight: Japanese, Thai and French massage techniques are combined with natural herbs and seaweed to provide a genuinely different experience. 250 Ba Trieu st. 04 3978 5407 amadoraspa.vn booking@amadoraspa.vn 9am-10pm HANOI 63
  • 111. activities Gaming Care to test your luck and fortune in Vietnam? From posh hotels to independent venues, gambling is alive and well here as long as you’re carrying a foreign passport. Slots, poker and roulette are all a big gamble, but just the trick if you need a little lady luck in your life. Local insight: Some casinos are nothing more than a couple of electronic card games, so check out your venue before releasing your inner card shark. Karaoke Hanoians, like other Vietnamese, like to sing. Not just in the shower or after a few drinks, but on the street and at 12pm lunch hour karaoke sessions. Let out your inner songbird and join in the fun. Rates depend on the venue and time of day, but you can expect to spend around VND100,000 per hour. Choose a private room if you feel self-conscious. Local insight: Make sure you check the music selection before committing to the venue or you may be in for an evening of Vietnamese love ballads. Cheo Cheo is a form of satirical musical theatre which encompasses dance and traditionally performed in the countryside by travelling touring companies. The Cheo Theatre at 71 Kim Ma st. has weekend shows designed to be accessible to tourists. For a more traditional experience, head to the Hanoi Cheo Theatre at 15 Nguyen Dinh Chieu street. Local insight: As Cheo comes from folk stories and was orally passed down, it uses little scenery or props. 64 golf gaming see more at www.citypassguide.com activities Playing golf in Hanoi If you want to fit a game or two of golf into your holiday, contact the course and book accordingly. On the weekends, slots fill up quickly and courses run a strict tee off schedule, so make sure you arrive with plenty of time.The alternative is to go through an agent, your best shot at getting on a green. Golfing equipment is reasonably priced in Vietnam and you can rent. Hanoi Golf Club - This 18-hole course is situated on 103 hectares and is 45 minutes from the city centre. It is the only Japanesemanaged course in Vietnam. Minh Tri commune, Soc Son District / 04 3599 1365 / booking@ hanoigolfclub.vn / hanoigolfclub.com King’s Island Golf Resort - 45km from Hanoi, the resort’s 36-hole Lakeside Course opened in 1993, followed by a Mountain Course in 2004. Dong Mo, Son Tay / 04 3368 6606 / booking@ kingsislandgolf.com / kingsislandgolf.com Tam Dao Golf and Resort - This 18-hole par 72 course is located in the mountains of Vinh Phuc Province, 65km northwest of Hanoi. Tam Dao, Vinh Phuc / 0211 3896 554 / tamdaogolf. com Chi Linh Star Golf & Country Club When finished, all of the 36 featured holes will be designed to international standards. It is 68km from Hanoi. Sao Do, Chi Linh, Hai Duong 032 0358 5617 / booking@chilinhstargolf.com.vn chilinhstargolf.com.vn HANOI 65
  • 112. activities further suggestions Cinemas Cinematheque / 22A Hai Ba Trung st., Hoan Kiem / 04 3936 2648 / This film club shows a wide variety of local and international flicks, both classics and new releases. Megastar Cinema / 191 Ba Trieu st. / 04 3974 3156 / megastar.vn / New releases shown in English. They even have fresh popcorn, salty or sweet. Beauty Annam QT Spa / 42 Hang Trong st. / 04 3928 6116 / Holistic approach to mental and physical wellbeing. MGallery Spa / 29 Trang Tien st. / 04 6282 5555 / A full service beauty salon and massage facility housed in one of Hanoi’s top hotels. Vincharm Health Club / Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton / vinhcharmhealthclub / 08 3911 1166 Games Hanoi Star Bowl / 2B Pham Ngoc Thach st. 04 3574 1615 / One of the largest alleys in town, games are VND10,000 - VND30,000. Call ahead on weekends to reserve a lane. Win’s Club / 83A Ly Thuong Kiet st. / 04 3822 2800 / A casino slot centre with a variety of gaming options, machines and a new blackjack table. 66 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 113. SHOPPING
  • 114. shopping souvenirs souvenirs shopping Porcelain The Chinese perfected porcelain in the 10th Century and, lucky for us, the Vietnamese quickly caught on. Produced using kaolin, a type of white clay, fired at blistering temperatures, porcelain products are generally more delicate, fragile and expensive than their ceramic counterparts. Grab a set to take home, but be sure to pack it carefully. Local insight: There are some excellent examples of 14th Century porcelain produced in Bat Trang in Hanoi’s Museum of Art. Ceramics While not famous for the high quality of its ceramics, Vietnam is an excellent place to stock up on household items at reasonable prices. Most products are painted in the traditional white and blue pattern, but shops have begun carrying a wider variety of colours. Shoppers can pick up a full tea set for as little as VND100,000. Local insight: Head to Bat Trang Ceramics Village to try your hand at making and decorating your own ceramic products. Wood Carving Most of the larger than life sculptures of Buddha are intended for temples and altars, but small ornate carvings make great gifts. Especially impressive are the carvings made from entire tree branches. The curvature of the wood is incorporated into the pieces, dynamic fusions of nature and craft. Local insight: Price and durability depend on the type of wood: ironwood is the most expensive, but works will last centuries. 48 see more at www.citypassguide.com Minh Long Minh Long was founded in 1970 by Mr Ly Ngoc Minh, a young man devoted to creating exquisite porcelain. A family owned company, Minh Long has developed a characteristic style passed down through generations. From functional dinner sets to sculptures and spectacular handpainted vases, the attention to artistry is legendary. Local insight: Many of the pieces take inspiration from daily Vietnamese life. 32 Hang Than st., Ba Dinh D., Hanoi 04 3733 6958 8.30am-7.00pm every day 17 Ba Huyen st., D.3 HCMC 08 3930 2634 9am-9pm every day Floor 2, Le Loi st., D.1 HCMC 08 3821 8268 9.30am-9pm every day minhlong.com sales@minhlong.com HANOI 49
  • 115. shopping souvenirs souvenirs Home Decor Embroidery Local insight: Everything you need to decorate your new home can be found in the Old Quarter’s 36 streets, whether it be lacquer picture frames or a selection from bedding street. Local insight: Hillary Clinton bought a tablecloth at Tan My, purported to be Hanoi’s oldest continually running embroidery shop. [see page 52] Hanoi has interior design shop to inspire anyone’s imagination. If you can imagine it, they can make it. From wildly patterned silk throw pillows and duvet covers to intricately carved teak furniture and knick knacks, there is a craftsman who can bring your vision to life. Propaganda Art While most of the propaganda posters sold in the Old Quarter are reproductions, the Soviet bloc style and bright colors of the socialist campaigns cover everything from public health to American-war era nationalism. If you’re not looking for wall decorations, the retro designs can be found on purses, shirts, caps, postcards and coffee table books. Local insight: The Old Propaganda Poster shop at 110 Hang Bac has a wide selection of posters. Zippos Once companions to US soldiers during the war, each of these lighters tells a unique story through the messages and symbols carved on the side. Most still work and just require lighter fluid or a new flint. Zippos are priced according to the year, design and condition and most remain under VND100,000. The Dogma Collection 50 shopping Local insight: Most war era lighters are copies, but the one Martin Sheen had in Apocalypse Now wasn’t the real deal either. see more at www.citypassguide.com Famous for its handmade quilts and embroidered tablecloths, Hanoi is an excellent place to stock up on gifts and houseware. Equally impressive are the embroidered scenes of local animals and village life so intricate that they appear to be paintings. Aesthetically pleasing and skilfully made, they are the perfect souvenir. Minority Handicrafts Famous for their quilts employing ancient techniques in neon colours, ethnic minority handicrafts have become a big hit with travellers in recent years. The selection has expanded to include caps, tapestries, shirts and jewellery. To ensure that the craftsmen are earning a fair wage for their products, buy from one of the fair trade shops. Local insight: Go to 54 Traditions Gallery on Hang Bun st. for an overview of the 53 ethnic groups. Masks Found hanging in shops throughout the narrow, winding lanes of the Old Quarter, these faces painted on woven round bamboo trays mimic the characters in Vietnam’s traditional theatre Cheo. Each of the masks is painted in the theatrical makeup style and is meant to represent a single emotion. Embrace your inner drama queen and buy one for every mood of the week. Local insight: Often translated as popular opera, Cheo is a mixture of folk songs, dance and narration. HANOI 51
  • 116. shopping souvenirs souvenirs shopping Clothes Shopping for Western sizes can often be an exercise in futility in this small boned country, even at shops selling international brands. Luckily, there is an increasing number of vendors and boutique shops that cater to those of more ample proportions and don’t equate high fashion with garish colors and sparkling sequins. Local insight: When looking for clothes that fit, try the collection of shops around St Joseph’s Cathedral. Tailors Tan My Design Tan My Design has quietly become the destination of choice for Vietnamese fashion, art, jewellery and household products. Located right in the heart of the Old Quarter on Hang Gai, the store is unlike anywhere else in Vietnam. The space covers three floors across three connected terraced houses, bridging classical Hanoi architecture and international design. It offers a quality and consistency of product not available at the smaller silk & craft shops throughout the Old Quarter. Tan My Design is the destination of choice for visitors to Hanoi. Local insight: The cafe has one of the best espressos in the city along with a delicious range of Asian and Western meals. 61 Hang Gai st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3938 1154 52 see more at www.citypassguide.com 8am-8pm tanmydesign.com Although most travellers head to Hoi An for a new wardrobe, Hanoi offers a decent smattering of tailors. Bring your favourite suit to get copied or a picture of the dress you’ve always wanted and get it made from scratch. You can even stop by the fabric market on Hue street to pick out your own material. Local insight: Be sure to turn clothes inside out and check the quality of work along the seams as good looks can be deceiving. Silk Originating from the cocoon of the silk worm, this luxurious fabric was once reserved for those of noble blood. Nowadays, anyone can pick up a candy coloured silk scarf or even a sleeping bag along Hang Gai street. Treat yourself like royalty and bundle up in style. Local insight: Bring a lighter along to make sure you’re getting the real deal: 100 percent silk will burn while acrylic blends melt, giving off the smell of burning plastic. HANOI 53
  • 117. shopping souvenirs arts Buffalo Horn Traditional Art Local insight: The lighter the horn, the more expensive the item. Local insight: If you don’t want to splurge, or an original head to the corner of Hang Be and Hang Bac to get good copies. Often combined with lacquer to make hair ornaments, cutlery and jewellery, buffalo horn can be found all over Vietnam’s souvenir and houseware shops. Items range from blinding white to tar black, depending on the horn used. Remember that buffalo horn must be hand washed as foods like mustard or vinegar can stain light coloured cutlery. Lacquerware Made from the resin of trees that grow only in east Asia, lacquer has a history in Vietnam that stretches back over 2,000 years. Once an art shrouded in secrecy, lacquerware paintings, boxes and dishes are now commonly sold and make excellence and easily portable gifts to take home. Traditional pieces were limited to red, black and green, but you can find an entire array of colours in today’s markets. Local insight: Good quality lacquerware takes months to make. Water Puppets The water puppets you see in souvenir shops may not date back to the 11th Century, but the art form does. New models can be purchased in most trinket stores. After watching these wooden marionettes glide effortlessly across the water, we can guarantee you’ll want a set for the bathtub. You’ll be staging your own productions in no time. Local insight: See them in action at the Water Puppet Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake. 54 shopping see more at www.citypassguide.com While Vietnam’s lacquer paintings may be more celebrated, the country also has a rich tradition of canvas paintings. After making the rounds of the galleries, you may find yourself saturated with bicycles, monks and conical hats, so make sure you find something unique before you buy. Many Western prints are also available. Contemporary Art Hanoi’s contemporary art scene has exploded in recent years, with galleries popping up faster than mushrooms. This revolution can be seen in everything from music, painting and multimedia art installations. Works often have a political bite, an ideological edge reflecting the artists’ stylistic breaks from tradition. Local insight: Check out the Bui Gallery (23 Ngo Van So st.), for examples of the new style. Lacquer Painting Introduced to Vietnam by China, lacquer paintings are created by coating wood with several layers of resin, each of which must be dried and sanded before more colours are added. These complex and beautiful works often take months to create but will make a dramatic statement in any home. Buy from a reputable gallery to avoid inferior work. Local insight: As it is extremely hard to tell the difference between high and low-quality lacquer work, be sure to do your homework. HANOI 55
  • 118. shopping 36 streets Beginning as an alligator infested swamp nearly 2,000 years ago, the Old Quarter’s winding streets are the heart and soul of the capital. The area began to garner its reputation as a crafts location when the Vietnamese people gained independence in the 11th Century and King Ly Thai To had his palace built there. To ward off thieves, the entire area was surrounded by stone walls. Two hundred years later, the artisan villages inside evolved into craft guilds. Though history refers to the 36 streets, there are actually closer to 50. Historians believe that 36 refers to the number of guilds with workshops in the area, with many of the streets named after guilds and the merchandise they sold. In the table to the right, the highlighted vendors have been selling the same goods for hundreds of years. Despite the consistency of some, there has been significant turnover reflecting the current business scene. Ma May, which once sold religious items and was home to an infamous bandit, is now a hub for tourism offices. shopping 36 streets STREET PRODUCT STREET PRODUCT Bat Dan Wooden Bowls Hang Giay Paper Bat Su China Bowls Hang Giay Shoes Cha Ca Roasted Fish Hang Hanh Onions Chan Cam String Instruments Hang Hom Cases Cho Gao Rice Hang Huong Incense Gia Ngu Fish Hang Khay Trays Hai Tuong Sandals Hang Khoai Sweet Potatoes Hang Bac Silversmiths Hang Luoc Combs Hang Be Rafts Hang Ma Votive Papers Hang Bo Basket Hang Mam Pickled Fish Hang Bong Cotton Hang Manh Bamboo Screens Hang Buom Sails Hang Muoi Salt Hang But Brushes Hang Ngang Transversal Street Hang Ca Fish Hang Non Hats Aluminium Hang Can Scales Hang Phen Hang Chai Bottles Hang Quat Fans Hang Chi Threads Hang Ruoi Clam Worms Hang Chieu Mats Hang Than Charcoal Hang Chinh Jars Hang Thiec Tin Hang Cot Bamboo Lattices Hang Thung Barrel Hang Da Leather Hang Tre Bamboo Hang Dao (Silk) Dyes Hang Trong Drum Hang Dau Beans Hang Vai Cloth Hang Dau Oils Lo Ren Blacksmiths Hang Dieu Pipes Lo Su Coffins Rattan Hang Dong 56 Ma May Sugar Ngo Gach Bricks Hang Ga see more at www.citypassguide.com Copper Hang Duong Chicken Thuoc Bac Herbal Medicine
  • 119. shopping further suggestions Fashion Chi Vang / 63 Hang Gai st. / 04 3936 0027 Home furnishings and embroidered decorations available in the Old Quarter. Ha Dong Silk / 102 Hang Gai st. / 04 3928 5056 / One of the largest and most renowned silk shops in Hanoi. It’s on Silk Street. Khai Silk / 26 Nguyen Thai Hoc st. / 04 3733 3991 / Hoang Khai’s store has an amazing selection of top-notch fashions for all. Galleries 54 Traditions / 30 Hang Bun st. / 04 3715 0194 / Focuses on antiques and textiles from Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups. Apricot / 40B Hang Bong st. / 04 3828 8965 The self-proclaimed home of Vietnam’s leading artists and traditional works. Souvenirs Tan My Embroidery / 66 Hang Gai st. 04 3825 1579 / Offers three generations of Hanoi’s finest silk and embroidery products. Three Trees / 15 Nha Tho st. / 04 3928 8725 Beautiful and unusual jewelry steps away from the cathedral. Bookstores Bookworm / 44 Chau Long st. / 04 3715 3711 Excellent selection of new and used books in English and French. 58 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 120. DRINK
  • 121. drink cafes cafes/bar Crumbs Deli Crumbs Deli is renowned for its homemade pastries, cakes, buns and breads with ingredients made from the finest quality and reasonably priced for everyone’s enjoyment. They have something for all occasions that you wish to celebrate. Local insight: Come after 7pm and percent discount. Joma Bakery Cafe This contemporary and stylish café offers a wide selection of Western cuisine. If you want to escape from the downtown bustle, this is your sheltered haven. Local insight: All menu items are made to order to guarantee the freshest taste. enjoy a 50 76 Yen Phu st., Tay Ho D. 04 3829 3829 thehanoiclub.com enquiry@thehanoiclub.com 22 Ly Quoc Su st. 04 3747 3388 54 To Ngoc Van st. 04 3718 6071 joma.biz info@joma.biz Fanny Ice Cream Don’s Oyster Bar Local insight: Choose from over 40 flavours including Green Tea, Madagascar Vanilla, and Vietnamese Young Rice. Local insight: Stop by the ground-floor for a true “Cheers” neighbourhood-pub feel. This centrally located shop is the newest in the Fanny Ice Cream chain. Come and taste not only the true French style ice cream specialties but also many unique flavours that cannot be found anywhere else. 51 Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. fanny.com.vn 04 3937 8170 7.30am-11pm The four-floor hike through eclectic art is worth this stunning view of West Lake. Enjoy live music daily, ranging from jazz to traditional Vietnamese. Dine or enjoy a cocktail while smoking shisha or a premium cigar. 16/27 Xuan Dieu st., Tay Ho D. 04 3719 2828 dons-bistro.com 11am-12am (weekdays) and 9am-12am (weekends) Ciao Cafe Paris Deli Local insight: Try the Lover’s Cup from the dessert menu. Local insight: A hot chocolate and warm croissant will cut the winter chill. This stylish cafe has been serving up dishes from Veal Cutlet Cordon Bleu to a special fried rice clay pot with chicken with mushrooms and everything in between. It has been serving Hanoians around the Hoan Kiem Lake area for the past 17 years. 02 Hang Bai st., Hoan Kiem 04 3934 1494 ciaocafehanoi@gmail.com ciaocafehanoi.com 7 days a week from 7am to 10.30pm 42 drink see more at www.citypassguide.com Located near two Hanoi landmarks, the Opera House and St Joseph’s Cathedral, this café and deli is a slice of Paris in the heart of Hanoi. Serves an extensive array of salads, sandwiches and lunch fare. 13 Nha Tho st. 6B Phan Chu Trinh st. 7am-11pm 04 3928 6697 04 3934 5269 HANOI 43
  • 122. drink bars bars Vedette Cafe & Lounge The Rooftop Local insight: Smart young foodies flock to experience chef Michael Bao Huynh’s artful Vietnamese cooking again and again. Local insight: Not only for drinks, the Rooftop is also the perfect choice for breakfast, lunch, tea or dinner. Located in a large space in the centre of Hanoi, Vedette is an elegant and modern café and lounge designed by renowned architect Thai Cong. Three years ago Vedette was fortunate to attract Chef Michael Bao Huynh, voted by New York Magazine as one of the best chefs in the city for 2003. The restaurant is also famed for its lively night scene which attracts many of Vietnam’s leading acts and DJs and is a magnet for local livewires. 27 Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. 09 0249 7777 Vedette 44 drink see more at www.citypassguide.com Perched atop the Pacific Place building, The Roof top more than lives up to its name. Of fering a prime view of the city for miles around, the restaurant and bar are equipped with inviting booths, a wraparound deck and a bar serving an extensive wine and cocktail list. Ideal for everything from af ter work cocktails to late night carousing, be sure to swing by for events featuring DJs spinning the latest hits long into the night. This is the one stop shop for Hanoi’s party crew. Floor 19 Pacific Place 83B Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3946 1901 therooftop.vn 9am to late HANOI 45
  • 123. drink bars / further suggestions La Fee Verte Bar Named after Absinthe, the infamous beverage of the Belle Epoque, the signature bar of Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi makes every evening a lavish event in the manner of turn of the century Parisiens. Local insight: Don’t miss Z hour from 5pm to 7pm daily for 50% off selected drinks. 29 Trang Tien st., Hoan Kiem D. h7832-fb1@accor.com hoteldelopera.com 04 6282 5555 7am-2am mgallery.com Cafes Hanoi House / 47A Ly Quoc Su st. (Floor 2, enter through alley) / 04 234 89789 / Cute artsy café with a great view of the Cathedral. Hanoi Social Club / 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem D. 04 3938 2117 / Great atmosphere in a little old house with western style items at good prices. Bars Daluva / 33 To Ngoc Van st. / 04 3718 5831 This hip bar serves up late night wine and cocktails. Hanoi Night Club / D8 Giang Vo st., Ba Dinh D. 04 3845 2270 / A one stop shop for Hanoian night life. Minh’s Jazz Club / Floor 3, 65 Quan Su st. 04 3942 0400 / The only place in Hanoi to catch live jazz and the best local talent. Taboo / 4 Thuy Khue st. / 04 3728 2996 Hanoi’s hottest ticket, sophisticated locals and expats mix over music on a boat docked at West Lake. 46 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 124. FOOD
  • 125. food local - the north specialities local food Northern cuisine is heavily influenced by China, explaining the abundance of stir-fried noodles, spring rolls and the flavour additive MSG. Typically, northern dishes are less liberal in the use of herbs and spices, but do not mistake the modest toppings for a lack of flavour. Pho Vietnam’s most famous export, and variations of this beef or chicken noodle soup are served up throughout the country. Traditionally served for breakfast, its international popularity has led to streetside cafes serving Hanoi’s speciality at all hours of the day. Cha Ca Fish is fried at your table. Throw in vermicelli noodles, peanuts, chili, spring onions and dill. Add a dash of shrimp paste and fish sauce and you’ve got a winner. Banh Cuon A paper thin rice pancake rolled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms and accompanied by a fragrant dipping sauce. Bun Cha Hanoi’s favourite lunch food, this noodle dish includes ground pork patties and vermicelli noodles in a sweet broth made with pickled vegetables, vinegar and fish sauce. Banh Tom Ho Tay This crunchy shrimp cake consists of deep fried prawns with slices of sweet potato laid out on a bed of lettuce and herbs. 28 see more at www.citypassguide.com Club Opera Novel Housed in French colonial grandeur, Club Opera Novel sets a new standard for authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The beautiful architecture and décor are definitively a part of the experience while each dish surpasses the other in both taste and presentation. The cuisine is traditional with a touch of sophistication. The extensive imported wine list from the in-house cellar adds a touch of class unparalleled in Hanoi. The staff is attentive and knowledgeable. Local insight: The chef’s selection sample platter is a must have appetizer. 17 Trang Tien st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3972 8001 clubopera@orientalstars.com.vn 11am-2pm / 6pm-11.30pm HANOI 29
  • 126. food local - the centre specialities local food Labelled the most colourful cuisine of the three regions, the food here dates back to the ancient kingdom of Champa. Influenced by the imperial past, meals are often more lavish than those of the North and the South. Bun Bo Hue This popular vermicelli soup has beef as its main ingredient. Additional fillings include oxtail, pork and cubes of congealed pig blood resembling gelatin. Mung bean sprouts, limes, raw onions and leaves are added to taste. This dish may sound unusual, but most find the broth exquisite. Com Hen This rice dish is topped with clams, peanuts, sesame seeds, crispy noodles, basil, pig skin and greens. A bowl of hot clam broth accompanies the dish. Mix well before you tuck in. Banh Khoai These small pancakes pack a flavourful punch and are beautifully crisp, offsetting the juicy goodness inside. They come filled with mung beans, whole shrimp and pork. Banh Beo This small steamed rice cake has a dimple in the centre that is filled with savoury ingredients including shrimp, scallions, mung bean paste, shallots and fish sauce. Banh Nam Often served in a banana leaf, banh nam is soft and rectangular shaped. Inside is ground pork, shrimp and wood ear mushrooms. 30 see more at www.citypassguide.com Ben Chuong Duong Seafood Restaurant Choose from a variety of dim sum and fresh seafood in this elegant Hoan Kiem restaurant. Their extensive menu lists standard Chinese and Vietnamese fare along with speciality items not found in most Hanoi restaurants. A full bar with beer and wine is complemented by an ample selection of whiskeys. Choose fresh seafood from the tanks located at the front of the restaurant and then watch as your selection is cooked in front of you in their open kitchen. Local insight: A favourite with Hanoians, the restaurant can get packed to the gills on the weekend. 14 Chuong Duong Do st., Hoan Kiem D. Open 7 days a week from 9.30am to 10pm 09 3224 6776 benchuongduong.com.vn HANOI 31
  • 127. food local local Quan An Ngon Pho ngon 37 Pho ngon 37 fuses the spirit of the 36 streets in Hanoi’s Old Quarter with modern creations. With nearly 300 authentic items from the Northern, Central and Southern regions to choose from, there is a dish for every palate. Local insight: If you aren’t too peckish, there are a plethora of Vietnamese street snacks on the menu. Floor 5, Indochina plaza, 241 Xuan Thuy st., Cau Giay 04 3795 4042 hotline: 1900 6622 37street.com.vn 10am-10.30pm One of Hanoi’s most charming spots to grab a bite, the Miele Guide voted it one of Vietnam’s top 5 restaurants. Local insight: The Phan Boi Chau location has been the true original Quan An Ngon in Hanoi since 2005. 18 Phan Boi Chau st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3942 8162 34 Phan Dinh Phung st., Ba Dinh D. 04 3734 9777 1st Floor, 25T2 Hoang Dao Thuy st. 04 3556 0866 Trung Hoa Nhan Chinh ngonhanoi.com.vn B2, Vincom Royalcity, 72A Nguyen Trai st. sales@ngonhanoi.com.vn 7am to 9.45pm Pots ‘n Pans Wild Lotus Local insight: Managed by Koto graduates, Pots ‘n Pans contributes to local social programmes and minimizes its environmental impact. Local insight: In addition to the standards, the vegetarian options get rave reviews. The unique design blends tradition and modernity while the fusion cuisine is Vietnamese with an international flair. Consult the extensive wine list and dine at the private chef’s table with an exclusive kitchen view. 57 Bui Thi Xuan st., Hai Ba Trung D. potsnpans.vn 04 3944 0204 / 5 info@potsnpans.vn Step across a flower strewn pond into the zen garden of Wild Lotus. The extensive menu offers classic Vietnamese food including spring rolls and spicy pumpkin soup with a contemporary spin. 55A Nguyen Du st., Hai Ba Trung D. 04 3943 9342 wildlotus@fpt.vn 11am-10.30pm 09 0490 9049 wildlotus.com.vn KOTO The Little Hanoi Local insight: Rated as one of the best places in Hanoi for great Vietnamese food. Local insight: The extensive wine list is sure to keep you occupied until closing time. KOTO on Van Mieu is a favourite haunt for expats and tourists looking for delicious Vietnamese and European food. Located opposite Hanoi’s Temple of Literature, KOTO is widely known for the excellent service of its trainees. 59 Van Mieu st., Dong Da D. 04 3747 0337 koto.com.au customerservice@koto.com.au Mon. 7am-4pm / Tue. to Sun. 7am-9.30pm 32 food see more at www.citypassguide.com This fantastic and authentic Vietnamese eatery features local street food in a trendy wine bar setting. The Club Banh Mi, a delicious filling served in a fresh baguette, will give you all the energy you need for the entire day. 23 Hang Gai st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3928 5333 7.30am-11pm littlehanoi@orientalstars.com.vn HANOI 33
  • 128. food international local - further suggestions food Local Club de L’Opera / 59 Ly Thai To st. / 043 8246 950 / This cosy eatery is located just a few steps from the Opera House. Ginger / 87C Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3941 2099 / The dishes are Vietnamese with an international twist, the artwork hip and the ambience undeniably modern Indochine / 38 Thi Sach st., Hai Ba Trung 04 3942 4097 / Extraordinarily extensive Vietnamese menu with more than 100 dishes to choose from. Madame Hien / 15 Chan Cam st., Hoan Kiem D. An ode to the traditional Vietnamese flavours, Madame Hien displays the rich culinary diversity of Vietnam. Seasons of Hanoi / 95B Quan Thanh st., Ba Dinh D. / 04 3843 5444 / This restaurant serves classic cuisine like soft shell crab, banana flower salad and vegetarian spring rolls. Sen Xanh Pho Xua / 40 Trieu Viet Vuong st., D. Hai Ba Trung / 04 3943 6760 / Great place with decoration mainly involving lotus, together with a good range of special dishes. White Cloud / 2 Ngo 12 Dang Thai Mai st. 04 6258 1622 / A vegetarian restaurant on West Lake serving quality produce with a view to match. Wild Rice / 6 Ngo Thi Nham st., Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3943 8896 / Wild Rice serves up Vietnamese classics with a modern twist. 34 see more at www.citypassguide.com Don’s - A Chef’s Bistro Created by famed Montreal-born Chef Don Berger, the impressive menu ranges from authentic international specialities and an oyster bar to sophisticated fusion dishes all mastered to perfection. Pair your meal with wine from the in-house wine cellar and end it with a premium cigar. Dine indoor or outdoor, chic or casual, smoking or not smoking, all with eclectic art, tasteful décor and dazzling view. Local insight: The wood-fired pizzas, organic salads, chilled prime U.S. beef and imported oysters are among the best in town. 16/27 Xuan Dieu st., Tay Ho D. dons-bistro.com 11am to midnight (weekdays) 9am to midnight (weekends) 04 3719 2828 HANOI 35
  • 129. food international international food La Badiane This chic restaurant is dedicated to a fusion of international gastronomy. La Badiane’s rich mix results in inventive cuisine designed by Chef Benjamin Rascalou. Local insight: Secluded with a serene courtyard, La Badiane offers true calm and elegance. 10 Nam Ngu st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3942 4509 labadiane-hanoi.com labadianehanoi@yahoo.fr 11.30am-2pm / 6.30pm-10.30pm Cafe Lautrec The brasserie restaurant of Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi is inspired by French painter ToulouseLautrec and serves Mediterranean dishes in an operatic ambience. Situated in the heart of the city, each dish is a work of art. Local insight: Ask for grilled lamb rack with pepper sauce 29 Trang Tien st., Hoan Kiem D. 6.30am-10.30pm 04 6282 5555 h7832-fb1@accor.com hoteldelopera.com mgallery.com La Salsa Take a break from the manic Hanoi streets at La Salsa’s serene garden on the lake. A favourite with locals and expats alike, this restaurant offers Mediterranean fare such as tapas, sangria and a famed paella. Local insight: If you are in need of something a bit more filling, try the 1kg Rib of Beef. 53 Xuan Dieu st., Tay Ho D. lasalsa-hanoi.com lasalsaxuandieu@gmail.com 36 see more at www.citypassguide.com 04 3718 5656 7am-11pm Bluebird Wine Cellar & Restaurant This Italian designed bistro is heaven for wine lovers. Sample world class wines in the amply stocked wine cellar or dine in the elegantly furnished restaurant. Whether it’s a bottle from Argentina, Chile, U.S., or Spain, expect the best tasting experience in Hanoi in the Far West Wine Cellar. Along with their internationally awarded wines, there is a fully stocked bar with cocktails and a wide selection of beers. The menu features imported steaks, fresh salads and divine desserts. Don’t forget to ask their experienced staff for recommended pairings. Local insight: They also sell snacks in the cellar if you are a bit peckish. 7 Xuan Dieu st., Ho Tay D. bluebirdwine.com sales@bluebirdwine.com 04 3722 4165 9am-11pm HANOI 37
  • 130. food international XUAN Restaurant XUAN is famous in Hanoi for its Cantonese gourmet cuisine specially prepared by its wellknown Chinese chef. The setting and ambience is ideal for private banquets and business functions. Local insight: Enjoy the sumptuous all you can eat dim-sum buffet lunch on Saturday and lunch & dinner on Sunday. 76 Yen Phu st., Tay Ho D. 04 3829 3829 thehanoiclub.com enquiry@thehanoiclub.com Kimono Japanese Restaurant The traditional Chado style dining and high quality ingredients have made Kimono a hit since 2008. Fresh seafood is flown in weekly from Japan and prepared by highly trained sushi chefs. Local insight: Come on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday for their highly regarded Sushi Buffet. 52 Ly Thuong Kiet st., Hoan Kiem D. 09 0414 3369 kimono.com.vn mkt.kimono@gmail.com kimono@hado.vn 10am-2pm / 5pm-10pm Namaste Hanoi Located in a cosy two storey restaurant, Namaste Hanoi serves authentic southern and northern Indian cuisine at reasonable prices. The quality of the dishes is what people come for but it’s also the service that keeps them coming back. Local insight: There are five chefs from different parts of India in the kitchen. 47 Lo Su st., Hoan Kiem D. 04 3935 2400 / 2401 namastehanoi.com gopi@namastehanoi.com 11am-2.30pm / 6pm-10.30pm 38 see more at www.citypassguide.com international food Da Paolo West Lake Have an authentic Italian meal at one of Hanoi’s most beautiful and popular locations, West Lake. Da Paolo West Lake is popular with locals and expats alike. Sample their homemade pastas, traditional appetizers or pizzas baked in a traditional wood-burning oven. Local insight: They serve their pasta “al dente”. Nr 18, lane 50/59/17, Dang Thai Mai st., Tay Ho D. 04 3718 6317 / 04 8585 1443 dapaolo.vn dapaolowestlake@gmail.com Mediterraneo Italian Restaurant Mediterraneo’s truly traditional Italian cuisine and ambience will immediately transport you to Italy. Just a few steps from St Joseph’s cathedral, you will be enjoying a glass of wine on Hanoi’s prettiest street. It is a nonsmoking restaurant. Local insight: A true landmark, the restaurant opened on Nha Tho Street in 1997. 23 Nha Tho st., Hoan Kiem D. 10.30am-11pm 04 3826 6288 mediterraneo Ola de Tapas Spanish Restaurant Serving the most extensive Spanish menu in Hanoi, Ola de Tapas has something for every taste. Share a paella in the dining room or order a few tapas at the downstairs bar for a more casual ambience. The delicious sangria washes down any meal, pairing sweet with savoury. Local insight: Try their Italian restaurant, Mediterraneo. 26 Lan Ong st., Hoan Kiem D. 10.30am-11pm 04 8585 2563 Oladetapas oladetapas@yahoo.com HANOI 39
  • 131. food international further suggestions International Benkay / Hotel Nikko, 84 Tran Nhan Tong st. 04 3822 3535 / Fresh sushi, sashimi and tempura served daily for lunch and dinner. Green Tangerine / 48 Hang Be st., Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3825 1286 / Offers French food with a Vietnamese twist made from the freshest ingredients, accompanied by service that compares well with international standards. Halia Hanoi / 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3946 0121 / Halia is a true oasis of tranquility among the city bustle. The extensive wine list will make you linger. Khazaana / 36 Ly Thai To st., Hoan Kiem D. Long established Indian restaurant serving traditional curries and an extensive selection of vegetarian dishes. La Verticale / 19 Ngo Van So st., Hoan Kiem D. / 04 3944 6317 / East meets West as Chef Didier Corlou combines fresh French cuisine and Vietnamese spices. Pane E Vino / 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem D. / This restaurant offers a glimpse into the Italian lifestyle. Softwater / 42, F361, Road 9, Duong / 04 2260 8968 / A tranquil retreat in the centre of Hanoi, the stunning garden and river view complete your relaxation. Vuvuzela Beer Club / 2A Tran Thanh Tong st. 04 3518 6186 / Serves draught beer in a bar settings. This is an enchanted rendezvous for customers who desire draught beer and feel excited about new tastes. 40 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 132. THINGS TO SEE
  • 133. things to see things to see Introduction From hidden cosy coffee shops in aging buildings and an emerging contemporary art scene to the luxury cars riding through the city’s intricate little streets, Hanoi truly knows how to welcome modernity while keeping true to its identity. Stylish, nostalgic, romantic and tested by the extremes of its seasonal weather, this is a city bursting with character. The city is sticky and hot in the summer and wet and chilly in the winter. A little more greenery than Ho Chi Minh City adds some cool relief in the summer while the mist rising from the city’s enchanting lakes adds a dreamy touch to the winter landscape. From historical monuments to ancient pagodas and temples, a treasure trove of French architecture and creative new development all around you are sure not to get bored as you explore Vietnam’s capital. From colourful street markets to trendy boutiques and upmarket modern shopping malls, the city also boasts a plethora of art galleries and shopping outlets. Hanoi is a melting pot of delicious and affordable street food and fancier local and international fare. After lunch or dinner, it is customary to relax on little plastic stools in one of the cafes surrounding the Cathedral. Check out the street scene or chat to some of the city residents. Warm up with some tra nong (hot tea) served in little glasses during the winter or with the customary tra chanh (lemon iced tea) in the summer months. Maybe also nibble on some sunflower seeds and taste a true Hanoian local experience. 10 see more at www.citypassguide.com Old Quarter The 36 streets that make up the Old Quarter are famously difficult to navigate. This section of the city has a 2,000 year old history of commerce and though much has changed, items are still sold according to type with entire streets dedicated to single items. For travellers looking to experience a taste of Hanoi’s nightlife, the Old Quarter houses countless bars. Local insight: Check out our shopping guide for more detailed information. [see page 56] Long Bien Bridge Designed by French Architect Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame, the cantilever Long Bien Bridge was completed in 1903. One of Hanoi’s most beloved landmarks, the bridge provides stunning views of the Red River if you’re adventurous enough to brave the potholes. The bridge is not open to car traffic, only motorbikes and pedestrians. Local insight: The on ramp is located on the bike road near Gam Cau Street. Follow the train tracks. HANOI 11
  • 134. things to see things to see hanoi things to see St Joseph’s Cathedral This neo-gothic structure rising from the Old Quarter’s twisting streets was erected by the French in 1886 on the site of a former pagoda. Now, it offers services in Vietnamese and French that often overflow into the street. Stop for a coffee at one of the cafes next door. 40 Nha Chung st., Hoan Kiem / 5am to 5.45pm Free admission. Local insight: After investigating the interior, grab a cup of coffee across the street at Hanoi House. Hanoi Opera House One of the few places in Hanoi to catch a symphony, this century old French colonial building is a popular landmark. Erected by the imperialist administration in 1911, it was modelled on the Palais Garnier, the older of Paris’s two opera houses. Check out the programme and buy tickets at ticketvn.com. 1 Trang Tien st. / Box office open from 10am to show time. Local insight: If you see a show here, be warned that the air conditioning is not the best. Vietnamese Women’s Museum Be they national heroes, mothers, intellectuals or fashion icons, the women’s contribution to the Vietnamese nation and society is told beautifully through visual and audio imagery. From family to history and finally fashion, each floor presents a different dimension of women’s life in Vietnam. 36 Ly Thuong Kiet st. 8am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday / Admission VND 30,000. Local insight: An entire section is dedicated to the Vietnamese cult of the Mother Goddess. 12 see more at www.citypassguide.com see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 13 St Joseph’s Cathedral
  • 135. things to see things to see Hanoi Night Market Hanoi Night Market is a hustling and bustling nocturnal fair in the heart of the Old Quarter. Stroll through the myriad of stalls offering practically everything from clothes and souvenirs to mouth-watering food. This popular haunt is a pedestrian-only arena and held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening. The market spreads along Hang Ngang and Dong Xuan streets. Local insight: Aim to pay 50% of the item’s starting price and smile while trying to clinch your deal. Hanoi Museum Shaped like an inverted pyramid and spread over nearly 5.4 hectares, this four-storey museum opened in October 2010 to mark the capital’s 1,000 year anniversary and showcases the country’s history, culture, and architectural heritage. The exhibits can feel a bit scattered, but its unusual architecture is the main attraction. Pham Hung st., Tu Liem. Kevin Khoa Nguyen Ho Chi Minh’s House Built as a representation of a traditional stilt house in 1958 for then-president Ho Chi Minh, who preferred this gardener’s hut to the opulent Presidential Palace next door, the simple but elegant house contains only a bedroom and study. Ngoc Ha st. & Doi Can st. / 8am to 11am & 2pm to 4pm / Admission VND15,000. Local insight: It is home to 50,000 historical relics, many of which have never been displayed before. Local insight: Clap your hands above the carp pond to summon the large, brightly coloured fish to the surface, trained by Ho Chi Minh himself. Cot Co Tower Ancient Citadel st., / Tues - Thurs & Sat - Sun 8am to 11.30am & 1pm to 4.30pm / Admission VND20,000. 1.30pm to 5pm / Free admission. The flag tower was built in 1905 and offers excellent views of the surrounding area. It currently stands in the grounds of the Military Museum. Standing 33.4m high, it offers a grand view of what’s left of the once mighty Hanoi Citadel. 28 Dien Bien Phu Local insight: The park across the street was where the Emperor’s soldiers washed the imperial war elephants. 14 see more at www.citypassguide.com While digging the foundation for a new national assembly building in 2002, workers began to unearth remnants of a much older building. Archaeologists discovered the ancient foundations of an imperial city that dates back 1,300 years. Hoang Dieu st. / 8am to 11.30am & Local insight: The site was granted UNESCO World Heritage status just in time for Hanoi’s 1,000 year anniversary in 2010. HANOI 15
  • 136. things to see things to see One Pillar Pagoda (Chua Mot Cot) The original pagoda was built in 1049 by Emperor Ly Thai Tong to mark the birth of his heir after a dream in which a goddess gave him a son floating on a lotus. Fittingly, one of Hanoi’s most sacred sites rises out of a pond covered in lotuses.Ong Ich Khiem st., between the mausoleum and the museum / Free admission. Local insight: Before abandoning Hanoi in 1954, French troops destroyed the original pagoda, but it was rebuilt the following year. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Silence reigns as visitors file by the preserved body of Vietnam’s revered leader, Ho Chi Minh. Although the embalming was against the former leader’s wishes, it still makes for an interesting yet gruesome morning tour. No photography is allowed and appropriate dress is required. 7.30am to 10.30am Tue. to Thu. and holidays, 7.30am to 11am Sat. and Sun. / Free admission. Local insight: The line can get quite long so wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Ba Dinh Square On 2 September 1945, Ho Chi Minh read Vietnam’s Declaration of Independence from the spot where his mausoleum now stands. The grassy square in front is crowded in the evenings. Keep to the path as standing on the grass is not permitted.36A Dien Bien Phu st. adjacent to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Local insight: The microphone used to broadcast the Declaration of Independence is now housed at the Revolution Museum. 16 see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 17 Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • 137. things to see things to see Quan Thanh Temple Built in the 11th Century, this is one of the four sacred temples built in each of the cardinal directions to protect Hanoi’s Citadel from evil spirits. The temple’s namesake spirit, Huyen Thien Tran Vu, is remembered for feats like driving away the ghost in Co Loa Citadel and protecting Vietnam’s northern border. Entrance on the corner of Thanh Nien st. and Quan Thanh st. Local insight: Temples are most crowded over Tet and the first and fifteenth of each lunar month. West Lake & Tran Quoc Pagoda Quan Su Pagoda shore of West Lake, just off Thanh Nien st. Quan Su st., Hoan Kiem. Local insight: The area around the lake has become a hotspot for Hanoi’s culinary afficionados. Local insight: Originally, the complex was a place for foreign ambassadors to bring the emperor gifts. With a shoreline of 17km, Tay Ho, or West Lake, is the capital’s largest lake. Tran Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple, dates back to the 6th Century. The bodhi tree in the garden is even said to be grown from a cutting of the very tree under which Buddha found enlightenment. On the eastern The headquarters of the Buddhist Church of Vietnam, this pagoda doesn’t boast a long history or impressive architecture, but it is one of Hanoi’s treasures as a sacred hub for religious activity. When most of the pagodas were burned down at the end of the Le Dynasty, Quan Su was saved for posterity. 73 Temple of Literature Built in 1070, this temple was established in 1076 as Vietnam’s first university which educated the elite ranks. It remained open until 1779. Check out the stone stelae where those who passed the notoriously difficult exams have their names carved and rub the stone turtles for good luck. 58 Quoc Tu Giam st., Dong Da / 8am to 5pm / Admission VND10,000. Local insight: Students cramming for exams still come here to pray for good grades. 18 see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 19
  • 138. things to see hanoi attractions Museum of History An extensive collection of artefacts makes this museum worth a visit. Don’t miss the bronze Dong Son drums and 2,500 yearold coffin canoe. As the exhibits focus on ancient history, visit the Revolution Museum afterwards to learn about more recent events. 1 Pham Ngu Lao st., Hoan Kiem / 8am to 4.30pm / Admission adults VND20,000 students & children VND10,000. Local insight: A small, shady cafe in the museum’s courtyard is a nice place to grab a coffee or beer. Ho Chi Minh Museum This museum depicts the revolutionary struggle of the man affectionately known as Uncle Ho. It is worth a visit for its spectacular third floor exhibitions which include giant fruit sculptures and photographs from the life of its namesake. 19 Ngoc Ha st., Ba Dinh / 8am to 11.30am and 2pm to 4pm, every day except Monday and Friday afternoon / Admission VND25,000. Local insight: Photography is forbidden, so you can only take mental pictures of the surreal exhibits. Revolution Museum This homage to Vietnam’s independence movement offers the usual blurry photographs along with some more interesting artefacts. Unless you have extensive knowledge of Vietnam’s revolutionary fighters, bring your text book. 25 Tong Dan st. / Open 8am to 11.30am and 1.30pm to 4.30pm / Adults VND10,000, children VND5,000 Local insight: Don’t miss the guillotine tucked away in a side room that appears to double as furniture storage. 20 see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 21 Ho Chi Minh Museum
  • 139. things to see things to see Fine Arts Museum Co Loa Citadel & An Duong Vuong Temple 66 Nguyen Thai Hoc st. / 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Sunday adults VND20,000, children VND7 ,000. Admission VND3,000 / 8am to 4pm daily. First opened in 1966, this museum is a good introduction to ancient and contemporary Vietnamese art. The collection includes everything from 1,000 year-old silk paintings to more modern work. No photography is allowed inside the museum. Located 20km from Hanoi, this ancient citadel was commissioned by King An Duong Vuong. Once the capital of the Au Lac state, all that remains are two outer walls and the interior citadel. The fortress is a spiral shaped compound and the site has revealed many Bronze Age relics from the Dong Son culture. Local insight: Many of the original paintings were hidden during the American War and replaced with copies. Local insight: The Co Loa festival is held annually after the Tet holiday to honor King An Duong Vuong. Ethnology Museum Van Phuc Village Nguyen Van Huyen st. / 8.30am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday / Admission VND25,000. Located 8km from town on the banks of the Nhue Thi River on Nguyen Trai Road. Local insight: The museum offers outdoor water puppet theatre in a small pond on the grounds. Local insight: The village has no official hours and visitors will find most shops closed on Sundays. Dedicated to Vietnam’s 53 ethnic minority groups, this is Hanoi’s most impressive museum. Don’t miss the exterior where the architectural styles of the various ethnic groups are reproduced life size houses. You’ll be scrambling up ladders and ducking through tiny doorways in no time. This mecca of all things silk is a good place to stock up on fabric, pre-made clothing and scarves at prices that are slightly cheaper than the city centre. While it was once a hot spot for bargain hunters, local shops have caught on but the selection is still excellent. Hoa Lo Prison Built in 1896 by the French, most of the prison was demolished in the mid-1990’s to make room for a modern skyscraper. What is left are chilling displays of its past as a prison for Vietnamese patriots, and American pilots who sarcastically referred to its as the Hanoi Hilton. 1 Hoa Lo st., Hoan Kiem / 8am to 11.30am and 1.30pm to 4.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday / Admission VND10,000. Local insight: John McCain, American Senator, was a prisoner here for six years. 22 see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 23
  • 140. things to see outside the city things to see Bat Trang Ceramics Village Located in an area rich with clay much of the famed Bat Trang pottery is now imported from elsewhere. This do it yourself operation is perfect for anyone feeling nostalgic for art class. Take a stroll, make a pot and come home with a souvenir. Turn right just after crossing Chuong Duong bridge and head south about 9km. Local insight: Only ceramics with the Bat Trang stamp on the bottom are guaranteed to have been produced here. Le Mat Snake Village A snake here will come prepared in seven traditional dishes with none (and we mean none) of the parts going to waste. As authorities have been working to stem the tide of trafficked endangered animals, do your part by making sure that no endangered animals are on the menu. About 7km northeast of Hanoi off Highway 1A. Local insight: According to the locals, swallowing a reptile’s beating heart together with a shot of rice wine can bring unmentionable benefits to men. 24 see more at www.citypassguide.com HANOI 25 Silk Weaving Machine
  • 141. things to see outside the city Perfume Pagoda This complex of Buddhist pagodas and shrines built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain is extremely popular among Vietnamese tourists and Buddhist pilgrims. Some believe that Buddha once paused by the river to wash himself clean of the dust of humanity. Subsequently, many pilgrims bathe their faces and hands in Long Tuyen Well in hopes of rinsing off bad karma. An inspiration for countless pieces of literature and legends, take one look at the majesty within and understand the historical fascination with the complex. The main pilgrimage season is during the Huong Pagoda festival which officially starts February 15, but the site is packed from mid-January to mid-March. Enjoy the scenic boat cruise to the base of the mountain and then choose between a steep climb to the top or a ride on the cable car. 60km southwest of Hanoi / Admission price changes regularly but is under VND100,000. Local insight: Hawkers here can be particularly aggressive, sometimes trailing visitors all the way to the top of the mountain. 26 see more at www.citypassguide.com
  • 142. table of contents table of contents Things to see introduction to hanoi hanoi outside the city Food local further suggestions international further suggestions Drink cafes cafes / bars bars further suggestions Shopping souvenirs arts 36 streets further suggestions Activities introduction entertainment beauty spa gaming golf outside the city for further suggestions 9 10 11 - 22 23 - 26 27 28 - 33 34 35 - 39 40 41 42 43 44 - 45 46 47 48 - 54 55 56 - 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 - 73 74 75 76 80 82 84 86 87 88 90 92 94 96 Where to stay hotels further suggestions Destinations - 79 81 83 85 halong sapa danang hoi an further suggestions to ninh binh - 89 91 93 95 97 ba dinh dong da hai ba trung hoan kiem tay ho Maps II - III IV V VI - VII VIII IX - X XI XII - XIII XIV - XV XVI - XIX XX - XXIII XXIV - XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII - XXX XXXI Travel tips vietnam facts sheet price guide climate things to know visa money vat electronics communication health transportation airlines embassies consulates faq sheet history
  • 143. company info license Innovo JSC. 42/37-38 Hoang Dieu st., D.4, HCMC +84 8 3825 4316 info@citypassguide.com Administration / Management Patrick Gaveau Chairman / owner patrick@citypassguide.com Sales executive Julien Robellet Business Development sales4@citypassguide.com Benjamin Giroux Vice Chairman / owner benjamin@citypassguide.com Hieu Nguyen Sales Executive hieu@citypassguide.com Thanh-Son Hoang Office manager thanhson@citypassguide.com Edward Nguyen Sales executive sales3@citypass.com Uyen Nguyen Chief accountant accountant@citypassguide.com Hoa Nguyen Assistant office manager aom@citypassguide.com Information Technology Stefan Georg CTO stefan@citypassguide.com Thinh Vo Software engineer thinh@citypassguide.com Hung Ly Junior programmer program@citypassguide.com Ngan Nguyen Web administrator web@citypassguide.com Hong Duc Publishing House 20 Ly Thai To st., Hanoi Publishing Liability: Bui Viet Bac Editor: Quynh Trang 101-2013/CXB/16/02-04/HD Issued on 7 February 2013 Distribution distribution@citypassguide.com Editorial Vinh Dao Associate Managing Editor Photographer editor@citypassguide.com Barbara Clarke Consultant Editor barbara@citypassguide.com Risyiana Muthia Hanoi representative hanoi@citypassguide.com Kevin Khoa Nguyen Chief designer graphics@citypassguide.com Chi Ho Senior designer design2@citypassguide.com Thao Tran Junior designer design1@citypassguide.com Freelance photographers: Aaron J. Santos; Linh Phanroy; Peter Stuckings; Quinn R. Mattingly; Pierre Espardeille; Tan Nguyen