Hanoi hochiminh-travel-guide-book


Published on

Published in: Travel, Education
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Hanoi hochiminh-travel-guide-book

  1. 1. introduction
  2. 2. introduction N OPoEMidnight t 8 AM 2 Hai Trieu St, District 1 tel: 3915 6066 hogsbreathcafe.com.vn info@hogsbreathcafe.com.vn
  3. 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. 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
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 18. FOOD
  19. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 31. DRINK
  32. 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. 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. 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. 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. 36. SHOPPING
  37. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 46. ACTIVITIES
  47. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 54. WHERE TO STAY
  55. 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. 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. 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. 58. DESTINATIONS Kevin Khoa Nguyen