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Wishing all of our students a safe and wonderful holiday!

A truly international learning environment with over 40 nationalities, and Ho Chi Minh City's only school with an IB program for ALL students aged 2 to 18 years.

Fostering Individual Ability 28 Vo Truong Toan, An Phu Ward, D2, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: (84-8) 3898 9100 Email:

AsiaLIFE volume 51

22 front

08 News & Events 12 Dispatches


and Waffles

16 Q&A with Edge Pamute

43 Blue Crab

18 Photo Essay: Streets of

on the cover

22 The Burgeoning Business of


28 The Snake Charmer

41 Stix 42 Willy Woo's Chicken

13 Street Smart: Nguyen Trai


40 Sterling's Saigon

style & design

44 Luxury Reimagined 46 Summer Stylin' 50 Connoisseur: Christian

International Schools

Louboutin 30 Have Ring, Will Travel


32 Bad Medicine

88 Odd One Out

36 The Maharaja's Palace

89 The Two of Us

38 A Country Idyll

90 Pub Quiz

34 Cover Art Direction Johnny Murphy Photography Fred Wissink

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78 Spotlight 80 Street Guide

34 Saigon Underground


52 The List


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note from the editor contributors Nancy Pappas Being of mixed Congolese, Greek, and American heritage, Nancy Pappas is all kinds of mixed up. From Zanzibar to Seattle, Nancy has spent the last few years traveling, working odd jobs and meeting odd people. Her decision to pick up and move to Vietnam stemmed from an interest in the far East plus a need to finish the second half of her degree which she had been avoiding like the plague for nearly half a decade. She attends RMIT University and loves living in Vietnam. Two of Us, pg 89.

Brett Davis Making the right choices for your children’s education is one of the most important decisions any parent has to make. As an expatriate here in Vietnam those choices can be even more of a challenge. While there are undoubted benefits for kids growing up and going to schools in an international environment – exposure to different cultures and nationalities, a broad spectrum of curriculums – there are also possible drawbacks such as the possibility of relocating due to the often transient nature of expat life. There is also the question of meeting the comparatively higher fees in international schools than many schools back home. Like much else in Vietnam, the international education sector is growing and changing rapidly. A little more than a decade ago there were only a couple of schools servicing this market. Now, international schools seem to be proliferating all around the city. Much of this new growth is also being driven by an increasingly affluent Vietnamese middle class that wants an international standard education for their children and all the subsequent opportunities that come with it. As with any industry experiencing rapid expansion, there are some growing pains and obstacles to overcome. Maintaining teaching standards, finding adequate space for facilities in an increasingly crowded city, and managing the needs and expectations of both students and their parents can be a difficult job. In our cover story this month we take a look at the state of play in the international school industry, and talk to educators and parents about how schools are meeting these and other challenges in the Vietnam of the 21st century. I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce AsiaLIFE’s new columnist Dana Filek-Gibson, who will be taking over where Tabitha Carvan left off, and providing readers with her own unique take on the trials, tribulations and (small) triumphs of expat life in Vietnam. Finally, there are some exciting developments in the works at AsiaLIFE. In the coming months we look forward to unveiling new ways you can connect with the magazine and get more out of your experience here in Vietnam and further afield, while still enjoying informative and engaging writing. Watch this space.

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Alice Tran Truc Tran has been working in marketing since 2006. However, two years ago she discovered her passion for photography and fashion. She began reading books and magazines to develop her knowledge and skills and has now styled and shot numerous fashion spreads. Tran only does a limited number of projects so she can maintain a high degree of quality in her work. While she still keeps up her day job, she believes fashion is in her blood. Summer Stylin' Pg 46.

062012 ISSUE66

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NEWS Khai Silk Resort Opens

Tamajsago, a luxury boutique resort inspired by India’s Taj Mahal, opened last month in District 7. The resort is a Khai Silk-branded property, the brand’s ninth in HCMC and its first luxury boutique resort. Set on the bank of the Crescent in Phu My Hung, the resort includes 15-luxuriously appointed guest suites, a cinema, library, a private viewing room, a spa and gym with outdoor swimming pool.

Restaurant Bobby Chinn Officially Opens in Saigon

Celebrity Chef Bobby Chinn officially opened his flagship restaurant in the heart of District 1 on 5 May. This is the second restaurant in Vietnam for the renowned chef and the opening has been highly anticipated from both local and international diners. Chinn has become a household name across the globe with his successful show on Discovery TLC. His TV career was met with critical and com-

EVENTS mercial success making it one of the top rated shows across Asia, which has earned him several awards. Chinn’s cuisine displays classic Vietnamese aspects as well as North African and North and South American elements, allowing customers to revel in unusual flavour combina tions. The restaurant is located in the Kumho Plaza at 39 Le Duan Street, District 1.

Gartenstadt German Restaurants Celebrates 20 Years

In May, the Gartenstadt German Restaurant celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Ho Chi Minh City. The event was held on the first floor of Gartenstadt and included games, authentic German cuisine, and imported German beer. Mr Tran Chi Vinh, Restaurant Manager, kicked-off the event with a toast and opening message showing his appreciation to the loyal customers of Saigon’s oldest German Restaurant. All guests were treated to a meal of seven sausages types,

from bratwurst to white sausages. These traditional dishes represent the authentic flavours that have been served every day since 1992. Gartenstadt also offered free flow imported Krombacher draught beer, which strictly follows the German purity law.

AIS Opens Second Childhood Centre

The Australian International School has opened its second Early Childhood Centre at Xi Riverview in Thao Dien. Xi Early Childhood Centre is a new, purpose-built kindergarten with five spacious classrooms, shaded outdoor areas, playgrounds and a swimming pool. On Saturday 16 June the school will host ‘Open Day’, where there will be lots of activities for children and parents have the oppurtunity to meet the teachers and watch some demonstration classes to see the teaching quality at AIS. For information please contact or call (08) 37446960 Ext 106.

Flash Mob for World Environment Day

In anticipation of World Environment Day, a flash mob of up to 100 dancers from the Caravelle Hotel is scheduled for 3 June at the front of the Saigon Opera House. After the mob, the group will disperse to take part in a cleanup of the Opera House surrounds and front yard. This is the second year that the Caravelle has undertaken a beautification project in Lam Son Square for World Environment Day. In 2010, the hotel’s staff planted more than 1,200 flowering bushes and spread 100 bags of soil and fertilizer around the Opera House gardens. This year, in addition to its clean up efforts, the Caravelle is staging the flash mob in a bid to encourage the public.

Greg Norman at Saigon Golf Course Fans and fellow golfers had the opportunity last month to breakfast with legendary golfer

Service Improvement Workshop with Ron Kaufman

Ron Kaufman, one of the world’s most sought-after educators, consultants, and thought-leaders in achieving Greg Norman at the construction site of Saigon Golf, Country Club and Residences in District 2. Norman, who designed the golf course for SGCCR, is also the principal behind the exclusive branded real estate ‘Reflections by Greg Norman’. The event highlighted the most exclusive

superior service and uplifting service cultures, will hold a workshop on 29 June at the Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers. The energizing and entertaining presentation will highlight the key principles that everyone in every company and organisation should apply to deliver superior service. This high-content workshop clears the fog, giving an understanding and concrete steps needed for immediate service improvement. The price of the workshop is VND 12 million per person. Call (08) 62 9292 88 or email for more details. Residences at SGCCR – 52 unique villas branded with Norman’s signature brand, which is applied only to very high-end products and his first signature residences in Asia. Located on a private island parcel overlooking the 18-hole Greg Norman Signature championship golf course,

Baby and Child Massage Course

On 6, 13 and 20 June, L’Apothiquaire Artisan Beaute will host a massage course for parents that will benefit both parent and child. The course will be instructed by Karen Spencer-Harty, a British midwife and infant massage certified birth educator working at Family Medical Practice. The course will cost VND 2.8 million for three hours over three weeks. For more information contact ‘Reflection by Greg Norman’ will be one of the most prestigious, exclusive and luxurious addresses in Vietnam. SGCCR will be the first development in Vietnam to offer a combination of golf, resort lifestyle and family entertainment in one location just minutes from the city centre.

Cannes Predictions 2012

Leo Burnett Vietnam will present its annual predictions on 14 June at the Reunification Palace for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the global advertising industry's most prestigious event. The predictions

Ho Chi Minh City: 161 Dong Khoi street, District 1 ( Unit 1C, 1st Floor) Tel: 3.822 5034 Fax: 3.832 6941 email:

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reel is culled from award-winning commercials and campaigns from the top advertising award shows. For over two decades, the reel has been prescient in

identifying and highlighting some of the best new work produced by the global marketing industry. For more information, visit www.

Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI Quattro Comes to Vietnam

The new Audi Q3 2.0 TFSI quattro, a sporty premium compact SUV, is scheduled to be delivered to Audi dealerships in Vietnam this month. The design of the Q3 is classic Audi: its coupe-like styling is one-of-a-kind among SUVs and symbolizes its sporty identity. Distinctive lights add a striking touch and the very flatset rear window emphasize the sporty nature of the Audi Q3. Customers can opt to supplement the standard specifications with the optional package designed for Vietnam, which includes numerous options straight from the luxury class like adaptive light technology in the xenon plus headlights to illuminate the road ahead including in corners. As usual with Audi in Vietnam, the warranty has unlimited mileage for two years.

Al Fresco’s Au Parc Baan Thai Bernie’s Bar & Grill Black Cat Blanchy’s Tash Boat House Boomarang Bistro Bouchon de Saigon Hog’s Breath Kim Hai Kita Coffee Latin Café

Le Pub L’usine Mekong Merchant Pacharan Phattys Refinery Sheridan’s The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf The Deck The Tavern Tourist Information Center ZanZBar

Winners of Hoa Sen Short Story Writing Competition

La Restaurant

Rainbow Divers Mia Nhatrang

Mia Muine

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The winners of Australian International School’s 4th consecutive Hoa Sen Short Story Writing have been announced. The 1st place prize winners were: Category One: Jenna Delinicolas (9yo) Category Two: Pham Phuong Thuy Linh (12yo) Category Three: Alishia Mary Binh Healey (13yo) Category Four: Hoang Anh Nguyen Huynh (17yo) Outstanding Achievement Award: Alishia Mary Binh Healey (13yo) The Prize Giving Ceremony was a tribute to all the creative stories from the young authors of HCMC.In a fitting speech, Mr Nick Holland, deputy principal of AIS, spoke of the importance of using your imagination.

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Travel news from around the region and beyond

Shopping Colonial Style Apart from a number of five-star hotels and the odd seafood restaurant, the area around the Chao Praya river in Bangkok never held much appeal. All of this has now changed with the opening of Asiatique the Riverfront, a massive new shopping and lifestyle complex packed with stores, bars and restaurants. The new entertainment includes the longest waterfront promenade in Thailand and also houses a traditional puppet theatre and famed ladyboy cabaret Calypso. The design was inspired by Bangkok’s illustrious history as a riverside trading post during King Rama V's reign (1868-1910), with shops set in storefronts made to resemble warehouses. Some of the outlets visitors may recognize from Suan Lum Night Bazaar, which was forced to close its doors last year. The new entertainment venue is open daily from 5pm to midnight and easily accessible by shuttle boat from sky train station Saphan Taksin. For more information, visit thaiasiatique. com or call 66 2108 4489. – Ellen Boonstra

The Yangon Heritage Project Yangon’s unique architectural heritage and collection of 19th and early 20th century buildings are in peril. In an attempt to protect these buildings, the Yangon Heritage Trust assembled for the first time last month to develop a preservation plan for the world’s most significant, extant collection of Edwardian-era architecture. The idea is a simple one: to protect as much of Yangon’s architectural heritage as possible. These heritage areas largely exist in ‘old Yangon’, between Inya Lake and the river, which represents only a small fraction of today’s city. The Trust says conserving these buildings and streets would not significantly restrict space for modern development adding that if Yangon’s architectural heritage is destroyed in the months to come, a big part of its legacy as a cosmopolitan, multi-faith and multi-ethnic city will be lost as well.

Tokyo Perspective

The Palace Hotel Tokyo, a US $1.2 billion investment project opened its doors in May and is now considered the most exclusive estate in the city. Located beside the Imperial Palace the 290-room hotel will succeed two previous hotels that had occupied the same spot since 1947 and will contend for position as one of Japan’s finest independent properties. The hotel will include an evian® SPA, a constellation of Michelin-star restaurants, expansive views of the city, 17 retail outlets and an underground passage to the Otemachi subway station. It’s location next to the Imperial Palace, a 3.5-square-kilometre green space in the heart of the city, will give the hotel a naturally vibrant perspective. Reservations are now being accepted. For more information visit

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Street Smart NG UY E N


Famous amongst young people as clothing central, Alex McMillan discovers food and fashion on District 5’s Nguyen Trai. Akira Shop 319 Nguyen Trai This has to be the absolute highlight of the street. Walking around in the store full of novelty gifts, iPhone lenses, fake poop, Canon lens mugs, disappearing ink, wooden clocks, laser pointers, and other endless kitsch was second to the warmth from the staff. Think ‘Come and Buy’ in the Pham with better prices and selection. While you’re there, grab a lima bean with an inscription for VND 5,000 that says: ‘I miss you’.

Pho Le 413 Nguyen Trai Wanna try the real deal? Pho Le has got to be hands down one of the most famous places to get pho aside from Pho Hoa on Pasteur Street. What do you think? Can you taste a difference? Locals claim its broth is amazing and boasts its own famous recipe, which keeps ‘em coming back again and again. Boy-z For Men 348 Nguyen Trai Is it Boy-z or should it be ‘boyz’? The slightly odd title asialife HCMC 13

aside, the store has some pretty cool graphic T-shirts. Sizes run a little small, but prices are reasonable in the VND 100-200,000 range.

imagine from the brand of the same name. Prices are around 150,000 for a pair, but seem to be of high quality. There is a range of different sizes, too.

Backpack Shop 338 Nguyen Trai Furry monkey backpacks. Need we say more? This store has some interesting bags and backpacks which are undoubtedly meant to keep the young at heart happy.

Junbekiku Mengxuander 147 Nguyen Trai One of the most ridiculous and simultaneously interesting fashion concepts along the street. The theme of this store is camouflage, which has been envisioned and decorated in 1,000 different ways. Worth a peep, but it’s easy to miss. Hey, it’s camo, it’s supposed to be invisible.

Grammy Fashion 271 Nguyen Trai Flowing femme fashion. You probably can leave the mannequins’ funny hats behind, but they have cute clothes for women of the light and airy variety. Their aesthetic appears to focus on white and sheer materials. ABC Bakery 229 Nguyen Trai If you’re tagging along with your partner on his/her shopping spree, stop in ABC Bakery for a respite in the form of cakes. They’re around VND 80,000 each, but there is an amazing assortment to choose from. Try their fruit jelly in the shape of a koi fish, or one of their ridiculous white chocolate animals with strangely sublime looks plastered on their faces. Flippers 171 Nguyen Trai Full of imported sandals of every single colour you can 14 asialife HCMC

YaMe 190 Nguyen Trai This store got our attention when we saw many young customers at the door of the shop’s wooden facade taking off their shoes to peruse the store’s goods barefoot. Upon inspection, the store contains many name brand items that could pass as real. You be the judge. Tea Stall Outside 440 Nguyen Trai To wrap up the busy day shopping, an absolute must is some tea for VND 5,000 a glass. Popular with the locals and located all along the street, this type of stall isn’t difficult to find, just look for the row of glasses along the front of the cart. The Dark green variety is seaweed and the light brown is artichoke. Both are worth trying.

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Edge Pamute (aka Scrambled Edge), originally from the Phillipines, has been leading the Asian dance and eclectic music scene since 2001. He has played in venues all over the globe, and brings his experience and creativity to the off-the-wall roaming dOSe parties he throws right here in Saigon. Claire Jowell catches up with him to find out about his favourite spots for music in the city and the upcoming dOSe party. Photo by Fred Wissink. How did the dOSe parties begin? It was started with a good friend Sunny from 20 years ago. We used to do warehouse/ rave/roving parties in different places in Asia, mainly the Philippines, where like-minded music and art individuals cooperate into one music consortium. We had been doing these parties called "Consortium" and then the main guys started doing their own things. I was reunited with Sunny, a Consortium regular, in Vietnam fourand-a-half years ago. We were missing the groove and we said, "Let us do our own thing and see where the music takes us." It was a project for fun and also to promote Sunny's company, Orchid Symphony, hence the name dOSe (D' Orchid Symphony Experience). It started with 100 people at Le Fenetre, then 300, then grew and grew. Now it's about 1,500 people that are into the music. It has become a music community of people with

more sophisticated tastes. When you are at dOSe we always offer good vibes, good music and good people. You have performed all over the world, and are said to be one of the pioneers of the dance and eclectic music scene in Asia. How would you personally describe your musical style? Groovy – most of the time – with a Latin-tinge and spice of jazz. It’s gotta make my head sway. It is moodfood. The genre could be anything, from bass lines to bassey, uptempo to cooltempo house, afro and nu-jazz beats, bossanova and beyond. How long have you been based in Ho Chi Minh City and what brought you here? I’ve been here for four years and was coming here before that on a regular basis for the start up of the dOSe parties. I came here because I was invited

to set-up a local music TV channel, YanTV. What do you think about Saigon's music scene at the moment, and where is your best spot to DJ? The best spot is where the people have good vibes and appreciation for the music I play; my music is not that mainstream. We like to always move the dOSe parties around at off-the wall places and match our music to keep it fresh and I think that is one of the most appealing things about the party. The next dOSe is on 9 June, at the Crea TV Studio warehouse. The last warehouse party was a success, because it’s a perfect venue for the underground music feel. DOSers are always asking us to do it again, hence the 9 June party. I also play at Blanchy's Tash rooftop for my monthly regular gig called ‘Good Vibes’. It has a good atmosphere up there. I love afternoon park parties,

street parties, warehouses, old buildings and sunset yacht parties. Where is your favourite place to hang out in the city? Bootleg is really my regular place and would like to find more time to jump on the decks there. I like to get a drink at Centro Courtyard, Living room, Sparkle and then its nice to spend Sunday afternoons at The Deck. Another cool non-descript place is the poolside of New World Hotel where I bring a Tanduay Rum bottle. Are there any other projects that you are busy with in HCM City that we can look forward to? Yes, I am organising a Sunday afternoon flea market with some cool tempo/dance music. Another concept we are playing at is BPM, or Beer Pizza and Music, on a Sunday afternoon. We realise that there is not really much to do on a Sunday, so we will make something! asialife HCMC 17

• P H O T O E S SAY •


The history of Israel's capital city of Jerusalem is as long as long as it is complex. These photos show the every day characters that can be found on the streets of modern-day Jerusalem. The diversity of the characters that make up the colourful personality of the city centre run the gammut from musicians and street performers to junkies. Photos by Leon Blankleyder.

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The international school industry in Vietnam is booming, giving parents a wide array of choices when it comes to deciding where to send their kids. Fortunately there are plenty of quality schools to choose from, but there are also many that leave much to be desired. Chris Mueller and Michael Tatarski talk to some of the leading figures in HCM City’s international school business about the industry, as well as some expat parents about what makes a good school and how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Photos by Fred Wissink.

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Moving your family to a new country comes with its inherent set of difficulties. Probably at the forefront of most expatriate parents’ minds is how or if their children will receive a quality education in their new home. Fortunately for expats in Vietnam there is no shortage of international schools. In fact, local and expat demand is causing the industry here to boom and international schools are cropping up everywhere. Some of these provide world-class education with, of course, worldclass tuition prices. Others offer little more than a place to drop your kids off during the day and a building with the words ‘international school’ tacked on. In recent years, as a nascent Vietnamese middle class has appeared thanks to the country’s rapid economic growth, the number of local children in the international school system has also risen. Many Vietnamese parents want their children to be exposed to international cultures and ways of thinking so they can have the chance to study abroad or get high-paying jobs, and that is not something the Vietnamese education system can yet provide. This explosion of international schools has left many wondering if quality is being sacrificed to meet demand and how Vietnam’s international schools compare to the rest of the world. A shifting market Like nearly every other business sector, international schools have been impacted by the global economic crisis. Multinational corporations have less money to spend on sending employees and their families abroad on assignments, so they are instead choosing to send people without children to overseas offices. When they do send a family, corporations are now less willing to pay for the education of their employee’s children, forcing many parents to pay the lofty school fees themselves. Some companies are also focusing on hiring in-country talent instead of flying in foreigners. This reduction in the number of families being sent abroad means fewer children for schools to enroll. Shaun Williams, principal and CEO of the British International School (BIS), says there has been a noticeable drop in the number of expat families coming to Saigon. As a result many schools have started to tweak their marketing by beginning to advertise more to Vietnamese families. There has been so much interest from Vietnamese clientele that BIS has opened a new school called the British Vietnamese International School (BVIS), which is tailored to the local market. At BVIS students are taught by both Vietnamese teachers and native English speakers, although all teachers are trained in the same methodologies as 24 asialife HCMC

those at BIS. This allows students to maintain their Vietnamese while hopefully becoming fluent in English, and they still take the same exams and have access to the same overseas universities that BIS offers its students. If this market shift deepens in the future, it is entirely likely that more schools like BVIS will be created. One potential pitfall to increasing local admissions is that many Vietnamese parents want their children to be in a truly internation-

al environment and don’t want them to study with too many other Vietnamese students. In order to stem the concerns of parents, many schools implement nationality caps. At International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC), one of the longest running international schools in Saigon, the nationality caps have been set at 25 percent, says Brian Rogove, the Asia Pacific CEO of Cognita, which owns ISHCMC. Right now ISHCMC’s student body is made up of about 20 percent Vietnamese,

19 percent Koreans, 16 percent Americans, eight to 10 percent Australians and smaller percentages of other nationalities. Another way to lessen the worries of Vietnamese parents is by offering very high-quality schools with professional teachers. Once parents see the quality of education at upper echelon schools, they tend to care less about what nationalities are at the school, says Rogove. Foreign teachers with education degrees teach all of the classes, and many of these schools have an English only policy where all curriculum is delivered in English and students are required to speak English in all school activities. Peter O’Sullivan, the principal of Australian International School (AIS) – which is owned by Academic Colleges Group (ACG) – says increasing local demand has not changed the quality of the education at the higher end schools. “It doesn’t matter if you are born in Vietnam or if you come from another country, the expectations from the parents are very similar now.” O’Sullivan also says that a larger Vietnam-

ese student body adds an interesting and productive “flavour” to the school environment. “The discipline and the attitude of the students within Vietnam is far more pleasant and far more appropriate. The Vietnamese culture has a strong influence on how the other nationalities interact and mix,” he says. O’Sullivan adds that strong family values and an emphasis on education in many Vietnamese families pushes local students to work hard, in turn causing students of other nationalities to follow that lead. With the obvious advantages, from both a business and educational standpoint, of enrolling more Vietnamese in international schools most schools are looking to develop the local market. Although ISHCMC’s reputation as one of the foremost international schools in Saigon has kept enrollment steady, they too are looking to the Vietnamese market for more students, says Rogove. “I think for us, Vietnam is the most interesting market in all of Asia,” he says. “If you look

at the aspirations of the Vietnamese growing middle class, the local Vietnamese market is being short changed with the quality of schools. There is a big gap and hopefully we can participate in raising the standards of education in Vietnam.” Other countries in the region are also seeing a growing international school industry driven by local demand. In Hong Kong, for example, the local market makes up most of the industry, says Rogove. He says there, 65 percent of the students at international schools are locals. Singapore and Thailand, and more recently Kuala Lampur, have also lifted quotas that had previously limited the number of local students who could enroll. In Vietnam, however, Vietnamese students need special permission to attend international schools. The schools are also required to offer the Vietnamese national curriculum in their programs for the Vietnamese students, says O’Sullivan. Fortunately the Vietnamese government seems to understand that international schools can provide Vietnamese students asialife HCMC 25

with the quality education that could help push the country forward and have supported the development of most schools. Question of quality Like many successful industries in Vietnam, the international school sector is being flooded with lower quality schools that are popping up simply to make money. Many of these schools tend to not hire properly trained teachers or provide quality facilities for students. “Everyone and their mother wants to be in international schools,” says Rogove. “In a way that’s good for customers because that gives them more choice. But because there are a great many schools the majority of them aren’t high quality.” Rogove says that in order to make sure parents are sending their children to a quality school and not wasting their money, one of the most important things to keep in mind is who is running the school. He says meeting the head of the school should be done be26 asialife HCMC

fore a decision is made. If the head is always too busy to meet parents, that could be a red flag for a poorly run school. He also says the parents should understand exactly what curriculum is being taught and how the school measures up to international standards. O’Sullivan also says it is important to have a clear understanding of what the curriculum is before making a decision, in addition to whether a school has any partnerships or programs with quality universities that their children could move on to. Schools like ISHCMC, BIS and AIS are very expensive, and despite increased competition the prices have not really changed. Since higher quality schools offer careers rather than temporary job placements they have not had much trouble recruiting quality teachers, but they do cost more to employ. “If you want to maintain a high-quality school then you have to pay your teachers well,” he says. Hiring at AIS has also not been affected by increased competition since Vietnam is still

on the radar of a lot of international teachers as a destination for both work and a cultural experience, says O’Sullivan. The parent perspective Expat families in Saigon don’t have much of a choice when it comes to deciding on whether to send their children to an international school. Margo Aluwihare, head of the BIS Primary school Parent Teacher Group, has three kids attending the school. She says sending her children to a quality international school was a way to ensure they did not fall behind their classmates back home. “You want them to keep up with the mainstream and maintain continuity, so if you get posted somewhere else or go back home they won’t be behind,” Aluwihare says. Vietnamese schools can’t offer that continuity, although she notes that if there was a national education system conducted in English that offered international-level classes a lot of parents would possibly opt for that, especially if they are paying their own school fees.

they are actually getting a better education. Evelyne Kobberger and her husband send their three boys to AIS, where she says they are getting a better education at an earlier age and faster pace than back home. “The kids learn more,” she says. “The information they get … is immense.” Overall, parents seem pleased with the fact that their children are able to attend an international school. One of the main benefits children at such schools receive is the ability to become a global citizen as they interact with classmates from around the world on a daily basis. While international schools may not have everything children are used to from their home country, they do offer experiences and opportunities that can’t be matched.

Advice from top international schools I think the most important thing that parents want to know is what their child would ‘gain’ from a school. Different international schools offer differing educational benefits. Think about which of these benefits appeals most to your current, as well as future, family situation. Mark Thompson, head teacher at German International School

Before visiting or approaching any school and subjecting yourself to their marketing do a little family soul-searching and make a short “shopping list” of what you think are the three to five most important qualities for your child. Gary Benfield, headmaster at Anglophone British Curriculum International School

Ask about the school’s curriculum, accreditation, educational philosophy and management approach, i.e. who makes the decisions and what is the tuition money spent on. Katie Rigney-Zimmermann, director of admissions and marketing at Saigon South International School

Aluwihare says that many of the challenges associated with sending children to international schools stem from the realities of life as an expat, where people come and go on a regular basis and social circles can change quickly. With many families here on two- or three-year rotations it can be difficult for children to form deep friendships at school. Two other BIS parents shared that it can be a challenge to find a proper balance between

children absorbing the cultural experience of living in Vietnam while maintaining the courses and extracurricular activities they were used to in their home country. They added, however, that international schools here are constantly updating their programs, so this may be less of an issue in the future. Although changing to an international school from their old schools back home can be difficult for children, many parents here feel

They should look for a school that provides opportunities for a balance of academic, social and cultural development. It is also important to ensure that the school has a comprehensive and accredited curriculum that promotes academic success and prepares the student for further education. Matt Dyer, principal at Singapore International School at Saigon South

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The Snake Charmer


After fighting in the war between America and Vietnam, Jake 'T. Snake' turned to music for catharsis during the years he lived on the street in the US. Now, in the six years since his return to Vietnam, he has played with many of the big names in Vietnam’s music industry. He relates his story to Michael Tatarski. Photo by Fred Wissink. Jake 'T. Snake' doesn’t have what you would call a common name. He introduced himself as just Jake, and when I asked what his surname was he smirked and handed me his business card. I wondered aloud where the Snake part had come from. Jake explained that as a high school student in Detroit he would cut class to go visit the part of the city where Motown musicians gathered. He says at first everyone wondered what a white kid was doing in that part of town, but he gradually ingratiated himself into the community and was occasionally taken into a set of recording studios nicknamed the Snake Pit. Later, when he was living in California, Jake was bitten by a rattlesnake on the left calf. That experience, combined with his fond memories of Motown, inspired him to take on the name Snake. He even has a tattoo of one uncoiling where he was bitten. His first exposure to Vietnam was not pleasant. He fought in the war from 1967 to 1969 and admits that his time here left him mentally broken, and life after returning to the US from his deployment was difficult. He wandered the country, homeless, for several years before finding himself in California in 1974. To help ease the emotional pain Jake began playing a few different wind instruments in an effort to restore his soul, but none of them matched the mood he was trying to evoke. He then decided to attend the Ali Akbar Khan School of Music outside of San Francisco, where he studied under a master Indian flautist.

This inspired Jake to take up the flute, specifically the bamboo flute, since it recalled the images of rural Vietnam he saw during his time here. At first he had little interest in playing regular music, so instead he focused on ambient sounds. He recalls, “I would play music in laundromats because I would sync with what the washing machines were doing and what the overhead fans were spinning and what the dryers were doing, and I would create a sound in relation to those goofy ambient sounds.” Eventually he moved on to playing actual songs, combining what he learned in San Francisco with the Motown music he grew up with in Detroit. Playing music was deeply personal for Jake, and for many years no one even knew he could play the flute. “I was a closet musician, and sometimes I would just let my flutes sit for a while. I would go through these phases where I would want to express myself musically, so I did.” As people began to discover that Jake could play they would ask him to do so, but he repeatedly refused. After living an itinerant life for years he returned to Asia in 1999, and has been living in Saigon for six years now. The decision to come back to the country he fought in was agonizing, but necessary, he says, “It was in an effort to complete the circle of regret, of guilt, that revolved around my years as a warrior. But it took 30 years.” He continued to play music when he arrived, though it was still largely personal. He then worked up enough courage

to begin playing to the public, mostly around the Opera House and the Caravelle Hotel since they were two of the only buildings he recognized from his time here in the 60s. He began going to the Sax n’ Art Jazz Club on Le Loi to watch musicians, and one day he was asked to play in the breaks between acts. He did that for a bit but the pressure became too intense and he stopped, preferring to play to people on the street. Since then his musical life has evolved and he has worked with many of Vietnam’s most prominent musicians, including Curtis King and Juram Gavero. He still plays outside though, usually by the Continental Hotel, and loves seeing the reactions of passersby, especially the locals, as he plays everything from Jethro Tull to hip-hop on his flutes. As painful as Jake’s return to Vietnam was at first, he is now visibly happy to be here. His move to Saigon has turned into a personal renaissance after years of sleeping in cars and under bridges in the US. He is raising his young boy with his Vietnamese wife and is even contemplating moving his family back to Michigan so his son can go to school there. While Jake’s family has become his number one priority, music will always be linked with his time in Vietnam. It was part of his healing process, and it was part of his rebirth. Next month he will be travelling to Europe to tour with several of Saigon’s most well-known musicians, adding a new milestone to what has already been a remarkable journey. asialife HCMC 29

Michael Tatarski looks into the growing destination wedding market both in Vietnam and further afield. Photos by Justin Mott.

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etting married is one of the most significant things someone can do in their life. Understandably then, great importance is placed on weddings. Movies and television shows often portray weddings the classic way, including a church and hundreds of friends and family members, but in reality many couples are now looking for something more exotic and unique on their special day. This is evident in the rapidly growing destination wedding market. A destination wedding is one in which the entire wedding party travels, usually to another country, to perform the ritual at, say, a five-star resort, or on an isolated beach. Such weddings usually involve a smaller number of guests than a traditional one, with an average of about 50 people, but that does not mean they are any less lucrative for the companies involved in planning them. According to a study by Destination Wedding & Honeymoon magazine, in 2011 the destination wedding market was worth US $18 billion, up from just US $3 billion in 2001. Between 2006 and last year the market grew by 84 percent in the face of the global recession. Demand for these weddings is

growing fast, and more resorts and companies around the world are getting in on the game. The Caribbean is by far the most popular region for destination weddings, accounting for just over half of the market, but southeast Asia draws its fair share as well. Thailand has been a popular location for years, and now Vietnam is starting to attract more of these weddings as its reputation as a good place to visit has spread. Hoi An Events began offering wedding planning services two years ago in response to the increasing number of enquiries from couples wishing to get married in Vietnam. According to Nadine Ziegeldorf, a manager at the company, the growth in interest in the country has coincided with the opening of new budget airlines and the establishment of more air routes into cities like Danang and Nha Trang. Ziegeldorf’s clients include expats living in Vietnam and other countries in the region, as well as couples from opposite ends of the world – for example Australia and the UK – who are meeting somewhere in the middle. Location is key to any destination wedding, and in Vietnam that is especially true.

“Due to the complex legalities, or lack thereof, most weddings in Vietnam are symbolic only, so couples choosing Vietnam as a destination put great importance on the place, setting, and meaning of their ceremony,” Ziegeldorf says. Wedding planning services here offer to hold events in some amazing places, so the appeal is obvious. Browse through Hoi An Event’s wedding website and you will find that it is possible to get married in a minority village in the mountains, on a boat, or even underwater. Clients are also afforded the option of having a traditional Vietnamese wedding or a western ceremony. Since couples choosing Vietnam for their destination wedding look for a wide range of scenery, resorts and planning services need to be versatile when it comes to selecting a setting. As a result places like Nha Trang, where mountains and beach are both easily accessible, are the most popular areas in the country for such events. Both the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and the Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang offer to plan and host weddings either on their grounds or on the beach. The packages the resorts advertise include numerous ser-

vices before, during, and after the ceremony, as is common. One of the appeals of destination weddings is that the resort or company a couple books through will plan everything, allowing the wedding party to step off the plane and be ready to go. Nguyen Hiep Thai Hoa, from Evason Ana Mandara’s sales and marketing department, notes that the resort is one of the most popular beach wedding destination in Vietnam. They organize an average of two to three weddings every month, both for foreigners and Vietnamese, although the number fluctuates depending on the season. With international-caliber resorts and professional planning companies now offering comprehensive destination wedding packages, it appears that the market in Vietnam is set to grow strongly in the future. If the global growth of such occasions over the past few years is any indication, destination weddings could become a significant part of Vietnam’s tourism industry, assuming those involved in the sector play their cards right. After all, what sounds more enticing: getting married in a stuffy church, or making your vows on a stretch of pristine sand in Vietnam? asialife HCMC 31

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Rhino horn has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. A recent spike in demand, particularly in Vietnam, has placed already endangered species of rhinoceros in greater peril. But what magical properties do its adherents believe it possesses and what does modern science have to say? By Brett Davis.

For millennia the horn of the rhinoceros has been thought to have healing powers. These beliefs persist and it is to a great extent why the global rhinoceros population has, by some estimates, been reduced by about 90 percent in the last 40 years. Last year the western black rhino was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, while around the same time the last Javan rhino in Vietnam was found shot dead with its horn sawn off in Cat Tien National Park in Lam Dong province northeast of Saigon. In recent years the price of rhino horn on the Vietnamese market has exploded. A recent AFP report quotes an expert in traditional medicine who says the product is worth US $50,000 per kilo, while other estimates have put it as high as US $65,000 a kilo. This would make the street value of rhino horn greater than gold or cocaine. So what has made rhino horn such a prized treatment in eastern medicine for thousands of years? Its supposed versatility, for starters, may be an indication. According to the 16th century text of Chinese pharmacologist Li Shi Chen, rhino horn could be used to treat ailments as diverse as snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, fevers, delirium, fear and anxiety, to name just a few. Interestingly, and seemingly at odds with much of the purported benefit of wildlifederived products in traditional Chinese medicine, rhino horn was not prescribed to increase male sexual potency. However, the recorded use of the substance as a medicine

goes back much further. In the Divine Plowman’s Herbal, attributed to Shennong Bencao Jing and written sometime between 200BC and AD200, rhino horn was classed as a medium category drug for use against all “intoxications and deliriums”. The ancient Greeks and Persians were using the powdered horns to purify water and detect poisons in liquids in the 5th century BC. Rhino horn is actually agglutinated hair and is made up primarily of keratin, the main component of our own fingernails and hair. A recent study at Ohio University revealed the horn of the rhino is also similar to horse hooves, turtle beaks and cockatoo bills, and contains dense calcium and melanin deposits. There have been numerous studies over the years into the medicinal properties of rhino horn, with overwhelmingly negative results. Major research undertaken by Swiss global healthcare company HoffmanLaRoche in 1983 for the World Wildlife Fund and the International Union for Conservation of Nature found no fever reduction, pain relief, anti-inflammatory or anti-bacterial properties associated with rhino horn. Summing up the results, Dr Arne Schiotz of the WWF said, “This proves that rhino horn is of no use to anyone except the original owner.” These results were re-confirmed recently after extensive analysis by Dr Raj Amin at the Zoological Society of London. His team was also able to isolate unique identifying properties in the rhino horn, which will help authorities determine where seized horns have come from and which populations are being targeted by poachers.

In traditional Chinese medicine, Rhino horn is often prescribed for its antipyretic, or fever reducing, effect. This is because it is deemed to be a ‘cold’ medicine and can be used take the heat out of parts of the body and detoxify blood. In 1990 the Chinese University of Hong Kong conducted a study on the antipyretic properties of Rhino horn, using rats that had been induced with fever. The animals were then given dosages of ground rhino horn dissolved in hot water (also the most common means humans use to ingest the substance). The researchers found there was a significant reduction of fever in the rats 30 minutes after treatment, and that this effect lasted about 90 minutes. However, the dosage administered was 0.5 grams per milliliter, over 100 times the normally prescribed human oral dose. Yet despite all this research the demand for rhino horn as a medicine continues, and here in Vietnam it has soared over the last few years. There are a number of theories for this, but several wildlife protection groups attribute it mainly to a rumour that a former highranking Vietnamese politician was cured of his liver cancer by taking rhino horn. Several investigations have found no basis for the story, and even most members of the traditional Chinese medicine fraternity discount the cancer curing properties of rhino horn. Unfortunately while such rumours and long-held beliefs in the efficacy of medicinal rhino horn persist, the world’s rhinoceros populations will continue their march towards extinction. asialife HCMC 33

Saigon Underground Chris Mueller looks at the growing underground metal scene in HCM City and the difficulties some of the bands face. Photos by Fred Wissink. A common gripe amongst expats and locals alike in Saigon is that there is no original music coming out of the city. Cover bands seem to be preferred at the few bars that even offer live music. These bands seem content covering songs from the top of the charts to clueless crowds at bars like Yoko and Acoustic. But when you take a closer look at some of these bands, it’s no surprise to see some genuine talent. Many of these musicians only play in cover bands to make some extra cash while they stoke their darker musical passions in Saigon’s growing underground metal scene. Most of the underground scene here, which is made up of between 10 and 20 bands at any given time, has a preference for metal music and the genre’s offshoots, like death metal, grindcore and black metal. Bands with names like Disgusted, End of Road, Wu’u and Rot scream to crowds of moshing Vietnamese fans. Underground music is typically defined as music thriving outside of the mainstream. While many of Vietnam’s underground bands may not be particularly original when compared to western metal, it certainly falls outside of mainstream music in Vietnam. Metal started to gain traction in Vietnam in the mid-80s and early 90s and was defined by what music was brought back 34 asialife HCMC

by overseas Vietnamese or family members travelling abroad, says K, a self-described “insider” of the underground music scene in Saigon, who is also a former singer and now works in the music industry. Then in the late 90s and early 2000s, a passionate Vietnamese metal fan living in Australia brought back metal albums that ended up being pirated and sold at CD shops. Pirated copies of CDs were expensive, around VND 130,000 compared to about VND 8,000 now. These were the days before wide-spread internet and anyone wanting to listen to this type of music had to be willing to pay the price. This first taste of metal that had made it to Vietnam became popular with many of the locals who went on to start bands, some of which have enjoyed success. Bands like Black Infinity and Microwave are becoming popular in Vietnam, though with a more toned-down sound that appeals to a wider audience than the underground bands. Since the introduction of metal, the scene has grown but it is still small, with only about 200 to 300 devoted fans. Despite the size of the scene, those involved have formed a very tight-knit and passionate group. While the screaming and anger appeals to some, many Vietnamese find it difficult to enjoy if they don’t understand

the lyrics, which are mainly sung in English. Bands tend to prefer English over Vietnamese because the tones of the latter can be difficult to understand with the rough singing typical of metal, says Nguyen Van Trung, the former singer and current guitarist for death metal band Disgusted. Trung, who grew up in Pleiku in the Central Highlands, first became interested in metal when he was 12, after his uncle had introduced him to it. About 11 years ago he moved to HCM City to fill what he viewed as a void in the music scene. “We thought, ‘Everybody is listening to metal, so why don’t we play it?’” When he first started playing, Trung says it was common for shows to be stopped by the police. He remembers his first gig at a bar called Cacophony was broken up shortly after it began. Right now most shows are held at Metallic bar and Cacophony or in private homes in districts 2 and 7. Tom Banks, 24, from Manchester, who has recently taken over as singer for Disgusted, says the shows are surprisingly exciting and energetic. “The shows are a riot,” he says. “There is a lot of enthusiasm, dancing, head banging. Vietnamese youths are often very polite and courteous in public and it is amazing to see them really letting their hair down and having a blast doing whatever they want.” Banks says another thing he has noticed is that it can be very difficult and costly to put on shows here, especially for young bands without any money. He says he even knows some who had to sell their equipment after a show just to cover the overhead. “I think this is a good example that shows the dedication of some of the

metal heads here,” he adds. Another noteworthy band that has recently started to become more popular is Quai Vat Ti Hon. The manager Bao, describes the band as ‘alternative Vietnamese’, mixing traditional styles of singing with modern rock music. Quai Vat Ti Hon prides itself on writing in Vietnamese for Vietnamese, rather than catering to western ears. Though they are not part of the underground scene, the band shows that young Vietnamese have a thirst for music beyond K-Pop and cheesy pop love songs, especially if the music is written for them. Although they are becoming more well-known, Bao says trying to become a successful band in Vietnam is extremely challenging. He says one of the biggest challenges is getting permits for shows and getting their lyrics approved by the authorities so they can sell CDs. Bot, the singer of Quai Vat Ti Hon, describes the music scene

in Vietnam as a painting that does not represent the country. “Someone painted it, but it’s not our culture,” he says. He adds that he hopes bands like Quai Vat Ti Hon and those in the underground scene will help repaint the Vietnamese rock scene as something original and unique. asialife HCMC 35


Maharaja’s Palace A newly opened boutique resort on the Crescent lake in Phu My Hung re-imagines the ancient palaces of the Indian Maharaja’s. Brett Davis took the short trip to District 7 to have a look. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.

On first hearing the Khai Silk group was opening a resort in District 7, my response was to wonder where they had put it. When the location was explained I knew the building immediately, as I had often passed its three-story Indian inspired façade and wondered what was inside. Now, after two years of construction, the TajmaSago resort has thrown open its doors. What is inside is dizzying to say the least. Decked out in the trademark Khai Silk style of black and white with little splashes of colour, everything about the places typifies high-end local style. With only 19 rooms, the resort will never be over crowded. Every room has a private balcony and they are equipped with the latest technology including 3D flat-screen televisions, iPads from which you can order room service 24 hours a day, and an iPod docking station. All the linen is from Catherine Denoual. None of this luxury comes cheap, with standard rooms going for over VND 5.355 million plus a service charge and tax. However if you really want to 36 asialife HCMC

splash out you could opt for the Presidential suite which will set you back VND 13.65 million a night. For this you get a private dining room and lounge, enormous bedroom and bathroom, plus a reception area featuring its own fountain. There are two restaurants to choose from, Montalcino on the ground floor serves up Italian fare from either a buffet or a le carte menu, while on the first floor is the French restaurant Le Taj. If you feel like a drink before dinner, the King George bar is well stocked and has a view of the terrace and the lake beyond. Elsewhere on the property is a boutique spa with a full range of treatments, and even a 50-seat movie theatre which you can book out for private screenings. If this sounds like too much activity you could just laze by the infinity-edge pool and watch the sun go down. It would be fairly safe to say there is no other hotel or resort in Vietnam quite like the TajmaSago. It is pitched to a very specific clientele, but there is no denying it would make for a very unique experience. asialife HCMC 37

A Country Idyll

On a recent holiday in the English countryside, Hanh Edbrooke finds there are at least some things that the place has in common with Saigon. Photos by Jonny Edbrooke.

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ittle Ness, with a population of less than 100 and tucked away in beautiful Shropshire in the UK, was recently our home for four days. It is picture-perfect English countryside, with narrow lanes running through fields of wheat accented by the bright yellow of rapeseed flowers. However, it was not easy getting use to the fact that often the lanes are only wide enough for one car and my husband drives fast. This is an agricultural hamlet, so tractors and huge combine harvesters were coming out in the late evening sun each day. Peaceful can’t begin to describe it. An old Norman Church sits

on an ancient motte-and-baily, eggs and jams are left outside of gates with a tea cup to put your money in. The thing about the British countryside is that you are never far from something interesting. A 20-minute drive from our friends’ house is the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway, where you can take a narrow gauge steam train ride through the picturesque Banwy Valley between Llanfair Caereinion and Welshpool. Thomas the Tank Engine is high on the list of our kids favourites, so this was a must. The cries of, “look mum a sheep”, did get somewhat tiresome though.

Castles abound in this part of the country, originally to keep the Welsh at bay, and just a few minutes away from the railway is Powis Castle. Built in the 1200s as a medieval fortress it has gone through four centuries of remodeling by the Herbert family. The grounds of the castle, one of the few baroque gardens to survive almost intact since the 1680s, were a massive hit with the boys. It is almost impossible to find anywhere in Saigon that kids can run free. Fifteen minutes in the other direction is the Shropshire Aero Club at Sleap Airfield, which was used as a training base for Spitfire pilots during the second

world war. Here for US $150 you can get an hour of flying with instructor. We flew over our friends’ house and then on to Iron Bridge, the home of the Industrial Revolution, taking in the spectacular views. The flying was not too difficult, as easy as driving a car, my instructor told me while at 5,000 feet. I did point out that I can’t drive one of those either. On our last night walking through the deserted narrow lanes between hedgerows and thinking of the return to the chaos of Saigon streets, a horse and trap, complete with bowlerhatted driver, nearly ran us over. Maybe it’s not so different.

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Mister Tea The preparation, serving and drinking of tea has a social importance seldom appreciated by western visitors. Serving tea in the home or office is more than a gesture of hospitality, it is a ritual. It precedes the conduct of business, scholarly pursuits or meditation, meeting new people and getting acquainted. It’s even a prelude to romance. Politicians and tycoons trying to ease tensions at the negotiating table will call for tea to be served, and all will halt until the rituals are performed, and calm restored. Enter a Vietnamese home and, sometimes even before making introductions, you will be offered tea and a moment to collect yourself. Don’t refuse, not even politely. At least touch the cup to your lips. At weddings tea often precedes and follows the ceremony. Funerals and other farewells are occasions for the drinking of tea. Couples, after a nasty spat, will take tea together rather than ‘kiss and make up’. At a party where both tea and liquor are offered, the liquor is borne by servants, but only the host or hostess prepares and serves the tea. In northeastern Thai Binh province tea is almost a cult. On moonlit nights its devotees set out in boats on the lakes and ponds when the lotus flowers are in bloom, the air heavy with their pungent aroma. They open the about40 asialife HCMC

to-bloom lotus flowers and place a pinch of tea inside each blossom, then close them with ribbon or string. Then they gather the moonlit dew from the lotus leaves. By dawn, the living scent of lotus permeates the tea, and the gatherers have enough dew to add to their tea pots. After a few hours of sleep, they have a blissful afternoon of tea. All classes of people drink tea. Soldiers drink it in the field; fishermen on their boats;

and what there was might have smelled like swamp water. People often turned to artichoke tea as a substitute. By paring out the hearts of artichokes, drying and cutting them finely like tea, they could produce a refreshing infusion, one that many still enjoy from time to time. But it ain’t tea. Worst of all, people didn’t have time for tea. They had to work from the time they rose to they time they went to bed. They held two

"All classes of people drink tea. Soldiers drink it in the field; fishermen on their boats; wealthy people in parlours; monks in their monasteries; ladies dressed in ao dai and fashionable youths in Levi’s." wealthy people in parlours; monks in their monasteries; ladies dressed in ao dai and fashionable youths in Levi’s. A peasant might drink his tea in a banana leaf rolled up into a cone. The rich drink their tea scented with rare flowers; poets and scholars opt for jasmine; lotus for the pure and the chaste, and those who would have you think they are pure and chaste. In the not-too-distant past, tea production and distribution were in a sorry state. Tea could be in short supply,

jobs if they could. And this is a land of few appliances or electric conveniences. Merely keeping house can be a 16hour-a-day job. Tea requires time. Time to prepare it, time to contemplate it, time to talk about it, time to savour it. And then time to think back upon it. It must have a good part of an afternoon, or an evening. It is to the average Vietnamese what the finest wines are to the western connoisseur. If you cannot give it its due respect, you must leave it lie.

Stix When you walk through the front door of Stix you are immediately greeted by the sight of a two-storey wine rack, the first hint that this isn’t your usual Vietnamese restaurant. Spread over four floors on the corner of Le Quy Don and Nguyen Dinh Chieu, this sprawling establishment features a ground-floor patio with plush couches, a rooftop terrace, and rooms for private parties or business meetings. Vietnamese cuisine is the focus of Stix, with an emphasis placed on seafood. There is also a huge wine selection featuring bottles from around the world, as well as a five-course set lunch for VND 119,000. Some of the more offbeat items on the menu

This stylish District 3 restaurant serves up high-quality traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a modern twist. Photos by Fred Wissink.

include bird’s nest soup and a few shark fin dishes. Prices are mostly reasonable, although a few of the fish and crab dishes are a definite splurge. We start off with Oriental Kai Lan Salad with seafood and mixed meat (VND 145,000). The salad is well-spiced and provides a tangy kick, and includes shrimp, squid, and scallops. This incredibly freshtasting dish was a good start to the meal. Next up were the durian seafood spring rolls (VND 145,000), which I was a bit skeptical about at first. I’m not a big fan of durian, so I had no idea how this would taste. Luckily, my concerns were eased after one

bite. There was only a subtle hint of durian, and the seafood stuffed inside was delicious. The accompanying durian and mayonnaise dipping sauce was surprisingly good as well. We finished up with seafood rice in a coconut (VND 129,000), another interesting take on two items you see on menus all over the place, but not normally together. You could definitely taste the coconut in the rice, and there was plenty of shrimp and squid thrown in as well, making for a satisfying finish to the meal. All three of these dishes were stylishly presented, just like the restaurant they are served in. Their somewhat unconventional

nature, especially the durian spring rolls, caught me off guard at first, but they all tasted great and were a nice break from the things you see at most other Vietnamese restaurants. Overall Stix provides an enjoyable dining experience, with its slick interior and well-crafted dishes combining to create a very contemporary meal. This restaurant wouldn’t look out of place in central District 1, but you don’t have to worry about the prices or traffic that come with such territory. Stix 15 Le Quy Don Tel: 08 2224 1781 6am-midnight, seven days asialife HCMC 41

Willy Woo’s Chicken and Waffles To many, the American soul food combination of chicken and waffles may seem like an unlikely pairing, but it is one that works and has for a long time. Willy Woo’s Chicken and Waffles is bringing this decadent dish to Saigon. Like many foods, the history of this sweet and savoury marriage has varying accounts. One version credits Thomas Jefferson with bringing back a waffle iron from France, while others credit freed southern black slaves and the Pennsylvania Dutch. Whatever the origin is, it’s widely accepted that the dish became popular and widespread during the 1920s-40s when an explosion of artistic creativity was taking place in Harlem, New York. Jazz was popular and many shows and 42 asialife HCMC

parties would end early in the morning. To accommodate the partygoers, restaurants would offer a pairing of fried chicken and waffles for those who couldn’t decide between dinner or breakfast. Now, chicken and waffles are not considered a party food, but rather a treat when you feel like indulging yourself, and one that has become very popular in the South or in black neighbourhoods in the US. For those who are still wary of the combo, Willy Woo’s also offers other soul food. When we went in for a tasting, we were greeted with a huge platter of options that would make any Southerner proud. We start with the namesake, the fried chicken and waffles (VND 200,000 for

A delivery service offering a taste of southern American soul food. Photos by Fred Wissink.

a fried quarter chicken, Belgian waffle and choice of two sides). The chicken is tender and juicy, with just the right amount of fried skin that is lightly floured, seasoned with salt and pepper, and fried to perfection. The waffle is also nice and I drizzled the remaining syrup over the chicken, which gives it an amazingly unique taste. Then we try the Americanstyle foot long hot dog (VND 99,000), which brings back childhood memories of summer and barbeque. We’re also given a huge serving of red beans and rice with smoked ham hocks and sausage (VND125,000) and a piece of corn bread (VND55,000), both of which are available as sides with the chicken and waffles combo. The red beans and

rice, one of my all-time favourite Southern dishes, is the perfect combination of spicy and smoky. We’re also given a serving of cheesy homemade mac and cheese (VND 110,000), which is available as a side or an entrée in different versions like classic mac and cheese or Alfredo mac and cheese with blackened chicken. If you feel like a little indulgence, Willy Woo’s is a great place for some American soul food. Right now Willy Woo’s is a delivery only service with online menus on both and Willy Woo’s Chicken and Waffles Delivery only Tel: 08 3941 5433 or 11am to 11pm, seven days

Blue Crab On a busy stretch of road in a very local section of Thao Dien, the restaurant Blue Crab has a comfortable but very unassuming feel about it. What it does have inside the ground floor establishment, with wooden tables covered in sheets of brown paper, is a menu packed with some of the best quality and, frankly, most absurdly good value seafood you will find anywhere in Saigon. Opened on the auspicious date of 29 February this year, Blue Crab is run by the husband and wife team of Alex and Van Huynh. The idea behind the restaurant is to serve up high-quality food but keep it at a price that is accessible to both the expatriate and local market.

Fresh and delicious seafood at rock-bottom prices make this casual District 2 restaurant a must. Photos by Fred Wissink. The menu is divided into four sections to provide plenty of options for everyone. The ‘home cart’ has traditional-style noodles with a few variations in a crab, shrimp and pork broth. The ‘kitchen specialties’ include glass noodles with veggies, shrimp, scallop and lobster (VND 95,000), while the barbeque selection features Alex’s signature pork ribs (VND 25,000 per piece). Finally the ‘specialties from the sea’ allow you to have your favourite crustacean prepared with a selection of condiments including tamarind sauce, salt and chilli, garlic butter, steamed natural, with beer and also in coconut juice. The eponymous blue crab is only VND 40,000 per 100

grams, as is the Norway lobster and black tiger prawns. Slipper lobster is a snip at VND 42,000 for 100 grams and scallops are just VND 46,000. Given that Blue Crab acquires its seafood from the same source as a number of five-star hotels and high-end restaurant in town, it really is astonishing value. On our visit we started with the tiger prawns in garlic butter. The secret to this dish is the garlic is toasted in the wok before being added to the butter so the end result has a lovely smoky flavour. Next up were two impressively-sized whole blue crabs in tamarind sauce. Unlike many restaurants, here they dilute the tamarind so it is not overpowering and serves to complement the delicate

sweetness of the crab meat. Finally, we try the magnificent banh canh ghe from the home cart, complete with whole crab, pork and shrimp. With silky, almost udon-thick noodles and a wonderfully complex broth, it is the unexpected highlight of the meal. Everything at Blue Crab is superbly fresh, perfectly executed and the equal to anything you will find in the finest restaurants but at only a fraction of the cost. If you don’t live in District 2, it is well worth the trip. 49D Quoc Huong, D2 Tel: 08 3744 2008 Tuesday to Sunday 5pm to 12am. Lunch deliveries from 12pm to 2pm. asialife HCMC 43

The Sofitel Plaza Hanoi has unveiled its most significant renovations to date, offering guests a chance to experience Hanoi like never before. By Chris Mueller. Ho Chi Minh City may seem like a more happening city than Hanoi, but I’ve always found the capital to be much more fascinating. With a 1,000-year-old history that has left monuments, museums, ancient streets and buildings to explore, Hanoi is the epitome of Vietnamese culture. The city comes even more alive if you are lucky enough to be able to afford a stay in one of its luxury hotels. Probably one the most inspiring of these hotels is the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, a 317-room property overlooking West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the meandering Red River. The hotel has recently had a complete overhaul that fuses Hanoi’s Vietnamese tradition with French elegance, offering visitors to the ancient capital a luxurious blend of two of the city’s cultures. The most impressive part of the hotel’s makeover is the Summit Lounge on the 20th floor, which arguably has the best views in the city. Architect Victor Loh of DP Design Singapore,

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who was responsible for the hotel’s new concept, designed the lounge so each part offers guests a different experience. “The Summit Lounge … is transformed into a chic watering hole that is a pavilion in the sky with spectacular views of Hanoi,” says Loh. The small elevator that brings guests to the lounge opens up to a large, airy space decorated with dark furniture and soft lighting. Along the edges of the room, guests can sit in plush furniture next to floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping views of the streets and lakes below. The centre of the bar is “disappeared” using mirrors to reflect the surrounding cityscape, says Loh. The real star of the lounge, however, is the outside patio area; a large outdoor wooden deck surrounded by a glass railing with wicker chairs, sofas and tables scattered around. Although each area of the lounge is different, it is all well connected with the perfect

amount of dark oak accents. The view from the deck is spectacular. Both West Lake and Truc Bach lake can be viewed from the deck, as well as the growing Hanoi skyline and the wide boulevards below. The deck is strategically placed for a perfect view of the sun setting over the city. On the second floor of the hotel Ming, a high-quality Chinese restaurant, has also undergone a full redesign. The restaurant blends traditional Asian design with a more modern chic concept. Ming leaves behind the cliché Chinese designs of red dragons and gold banners and opts for a more modern interpretation of Oriental design, with potted bonsai trees, paper lanterns and jade accents. An elegant tea lounge and three VIP rooms overlooking a leafy boulevard were also added. The VIP rooms can seat 20 at a round table and feature birdcages hanging in the corners of the room. The addition of two interactive show kitchens offers

guests the chance to watch noted Chinese chef Peter Li Qun Xu prepare Ming’s already celebrated dim sum selection. Some of the hotel’s more luxury accommodation has also undergone a renewal. The popular Luxury Club Rooms were remodeled to give guests a more open area to relax. The transparent bathroom doors, wooden lattice divider and floor-to-ceiling windows all contribute to the more spacious rooms. All of the rooms have clear views over either the lakes or the Red River and are painted with a palette of earth tones and vibrant purple accents with polished marble bathrooms giving an earthy, modern feel. Overall, these renovations have brought about a new energy within the hotel, says general manager Antoine Lhuguenot. He adds, “This renovation is about fulfilling the potential of this magnificent lakeside property, in a way that we always knew was possible.”

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Stylist & Photograper Alice Tran 46 asialife HCMC

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Christian Louboutin “As she struts down the boulevard radiating confidence, elegance and sassiness, the flick of her foot reveals that seductive and royal red sole." This distinctive feature of Christian Louboutin’s famous footwear allows a woman to subtly tell the world that she has attained a certain status and possesses discerning tastes. Coveted by women across the globe, these shoes are worn by the affluent or the lucky, and unfortunately for the vast majority of us this image will remain fiction. The man behind these luxurious shoes was born in Paris in 1963. After being expelled from school several times, Louboutin ran away from home at the age of 12. He claims his enchantment with shoes began when, in 1976, he visited the Musée National des Arts and saw a sign on display which forbid women from entering the building with stilettos for fear their shoes would damage the wooden flooring. Louboutin says that this made him want to, “create

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something that broke rules and made women feel confident and empowered”. He began sketching shoes in his early teens, but his real inspiration came from his first job at the famed Paris cabaret, Folies Bergère. He noticed the show girls would parade around with elaborate headdresses on, but no attention was paid to their shoes. “That's where I learned that shoes are all about posture and proportion,” he says. Louboutin spent a year in India in his late teens on a kind of artistic sabbatical, sketching and soaking up the local culture. He returned to the avenues of Paris with a portfolio of elaborate high heel designs and approached all the large couture houses, before eventually becoming an apprentice of Roger Vivier, who is acclaimed as having invented the stiletto. In 1992, Louboutin opened his own shop at the end of a 19h century Parisian arcade on the Rue Jean-Jaques Rous-

seau, where the business is still run from to this day. Princess Caroline of Monaco was one of his first customers and her enthusiasm for his designs in the presence of a journalist helped propel Louboutin's shoes to becoming the object of desire of fashionistas worldwide. His brand now boasts over 40 boutiques in 16 countries, including right here on Dong Khoi Street in Saigon. The distinguished and simultaneously fabulous red soles supposedly came about when Louboutin was designing an early prototype in his studio, where he was trying to match a shoe to Andy Warhols's colourful Flowers sketch. He was struggling to figure out what was missing until he suddenly realised that the sole was too dark, and painted the sole red with a bottle of nail polish that he grabbed off an assistant who was painting her nails nearby. Never again would a bottle of nail polish accomplish such greatness.

Louboutin's designs range from the quirky to the absurd at times, but they of course remain fabulous and extravagant throughout. He has covered shoes with everything from golden studs to googly eyes and feathers, and gives every pair an equally far-out name. The legendary Very Prive is a curvy open-toed high heel with a hidden platform which has been described as ‘Louboutin's ipod’, and it makes its predecessors look fit for your granny. All the shoes carry the same voluptuous and indisputably elegant silhouette. More than 500,000 pairs of Louboutin shoes are sold every year, with prices ranging from US $95 up to US $6,000 for a crystal encrusted pair. Desired by women from around the world, worn by the rich or the indebted, these shoes exude style, confidence and kick-ass girl power. As Marilyn Monroe once said, “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

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Heated swimming pool, art gallery and cooking classes in organic garden.


Turkish Airlines 8th floor, AB Tower 76A Le Lai, D1 Tel: 3936 0360 Awarded as the Best Airline in Europe offers the brand new Comfort Class to E conomy class: 46inch leg room, personalised entertainment screen and globally awarded cuisine on-board.

hotel & travel AIRLINES

Air Asia 254 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3838 9810 Asia’s largest low-cost airline operates one daily flight between HCM City-Hanoi, as well as international flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. Air France 130 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 0981 ext. 82 Fax: 3822 0537 An airline with a vast and effective global network. Now flies direct to Paris. Cathay Pacific 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3822 3203 Hong Kong-based airline makes three flights daily to HCM City and two flights daily to Hong Kong’s international airport. Malaysia Airlines Unit G8 Ground floor, SG Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 6663 Offers daily flights from Hanoi and HCM City to Kuala Lumpur, with four economy class fare levels: low, basic, smart and flex.


Vietnam Airlines Hanoi: 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200 HCM City: 16th Floor, Sun Wah, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3832 0320 The domestic route map is extensive, with several flights daily between major and less touristed cities throughout Vietnam. Flies internationally throughout Asia and to Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Sydney, Melboure, Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Six Senses Con Dao Dat Doc Beach, Con Dao Dist, Ba Ria Tel: 064 3831 222 The first 5 star resort with 50 villas stretch across a mile-long beach, each villas has its own infinity-edge pool facing the ocean and a stunning restaurant.


Ana Mandara Villas Resort & Spa Le Lai, Ward 5, Dalat Tel: 063 3555 888 Luxury 35-acre resort encompasses 17 restored early 20th-century villas and 65 rooms set in the rural highlands. La Cochinchine Spa offers wide range of treatments. Le Petite Dalat Restaurant serves Vietnamese and fusion cuisine.

Dalat Easy Rider Tours 70 Phan Dinh Phung Ride pillion with English-, French- or German-speaking tour guides on motorbike adventures that start in Dalat and snake through mountains, jungles and deltas, lasting anywhere from three to 21 days.


Intercontinental Westlake Hanoi 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 04 6270 8888 Located on the waterfront with contemporary Vietnamese design, restaurants, business services, fitness centre including exercise classes and pool. Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi 83A Ly Thuong Kiet Tel: 3822 2800 Conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai International Airport and only 5 minutes from the city centre, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is the latest five-star hotel in town, tailored to meet the needs of discerning guests and especially corporate travellers. Sheraton Hotel Hanoi K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 04 3719 9000 “Resort within a city” boasts 299 spacious guest rooms with panoramic views, fitness centre, international restaurant and Hemisphere Vietnamese restaurant. Sofitel Metropole 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3826 6919


Caravelle Hotel 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 One of the city’s most prestigious venues. Features a casino, Reflections Restaurant and al fresco 9th-floor Saigon Saigon Bar.

Equatorial 242 Tran Binh Trong D5 Tel: 3839 7777 On the intersect of 4 districts, with 333 rooms, Orientica Seafood restaurant and bar, Chit Chat cafe, pool (swim-up bar), gym.

InterContinental Asiana Saigon Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9999 305 rooms/suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, five restaurants/bars, meeting/ banquet facilities, spa/health club and lounge with panoramic view. Mövenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Has 278 well-appointed rooms/suites, five restaurants/bars, meeting/banquet facilities and a shopping arcade as well as a popular e-gaming centre.

take flight with travel promotions around the region

Caravelle Summer Room Promotion 

The Caravelle Hotel is offering a room promotion until 30 September where a Deluxe Single starts at VND 4,065,000++per night. The room comes with daily buffet breakfast, two-way airport transfers, and unlimited use of internet in the room. The promotion is only valid for a minimum two-night stay. For bookings or information, email:

Summer Package at Boutique Hoi An Resort

From now until 30 September, the Boutique Hoi An Resort is offering a summer package for two starting at VND 5.5 million for a Superior Room to VND 8.9 million for a Boutique Deluxe room. The package includes two nights accommodation for two, daily breakfast at Le Café restaurant, one-time set dinner for two, round trip airport transfer, and a 30-minute massage. Visit for reservations and more information.

Mia Resort Mui Ne Vietnam Residents Special

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activities Located downtown. Colonial-style hotel with well-regarded restaurants/bars serving French & Vietnamese cuisine, plus Italian steak house.

Mia Resort Mui Ne is offering a special “stay three nights pay two” package for all expats and local residents of Vietnam. Prices range from VND 4,080,000 for a Sapa House Room, VND 5,800,000 for a Superior Garden View Bungalow and VND 7,020,000 for a Deluxe Garden View Bungalow, not valid for Beachfront Bungalow. The promotion is valid until 31 August. The package includes daily breakfast for two people at Sandals Restaurant, free Wi-Fi and in-house guest cocktail hour vouchers. For more information email

Vous Spa Promotion

Vous Spa at the Novotel Nha Trang has launched a new Vietnamese Traditional spa package. This deal is a combines traditional Vietnamese massage designed to relax the muscles with an herbal footbath followed by a natural Vietnamese facial and scalp massage. The package is for a 2-hour, 50-minute treatment. Price: VND 1.800.000/person. The spa is also offering a free 60-minute body massage or body scrub this month when guests order any package at Vous Spa. Vous Spa, floor 3, Novotel Nha Trang, 50

Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa. Tel: 058 625 6938.

Golfer’s Paradise in Mui Ne

Anantara Resort and Spa in Mui Ne is offering a golf package until 25 December. The package includes a two-night stay in a Deluxe, Deluxe Ocean View or One Bedroom Pool Villa at Anantara, inclusive of a daily buffet breakfast for two. The package also includes one day of golfing at the Sea Links Golf & Country Club (inclusive of green and caddy fees). Prices range from VND 3.4 million to VND 7.7 million. Visit for details.

Summer Holiday in Dalat

Ana Mandara Villas Dalat is offering a promotion until 31 August for expats and Vietnamese. The package starts at VND 3.9 million and includes two-nights accommodation in a villa room, daily breakfast, a choice between a 30-minute foot massage or an hour city tour, plus 20 percent discount on food, beverages and spa treatments. Email for more details.

Park Hyatt 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Luxury colonial-style hotel includes 21 suites, lobby lounge with live music, Xuan Spa, pool, gym, international dining at Square One. Windsor Plaza 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 services@windsorpla- Located in a main shopping hub. Three restaurants, modern discotheque, conference centre, shopping centre, supermarket.


Vietnam Vespa Adventures 169 De Tham, D1, Pham Ngu Lao Tel: 3920 3897 Offers 3-day trips to Mui Ne, 8-days to Nha Trang or half-day tours of HCMC on classic Vespas.


Victoria Hoi An Beach Resort & Spa Cua Dai Beach Tel: 0510 3927 040 Set on its own stretch of beach with 105 rooms spread through a traditional fishing village design of small “streets” and ponds.


Pilgrimage Village Resort & Spa 130 Minh Mang Tel: 054 3885 461 Boutique resort with hut, bungalow and villa accommodation draws on natural environment and local culture. Features Vedana spa, two restaurants serving Vietnamese & Western food and imported wines and three bar/lounges. Vedana Lagoon Resort & Spa 112 Minh Mang Tel: 054 3830 240 Nestled on the shore of a peaceful and serene lagoon, vedana lagoon resort & spa is ideally situated between the two cities well-known as world heritage sites: hue and hoi an. The resort designed with a stylist harmony between the local traditional culture and a modern art concept with 27 villas, bungalows and 2 houseboats.


Evason Hideaway at Ana Mandara Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 3728 222 An island hideaway accessible only by boat, 58 private pool villas, international and local restaurants, wedding services, water sports and scuba diving. Evason Ana Mandara Nha Trang Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 3522 222 Beachside resort set in 26,000 square metres of tropical garden, with 74 guest villas, three restaurants, Six Senses Spa. Mia Resort Nha Trang Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa Tel: 58 398 9666 Ultimate luxury resort with 50 rooms divided into villas and condos, catering by wel-known restaurant Sandals and Mojito's bar.

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Anatara Beach Resort Mui Ne Beach, KM10, Ham Tien Ward Tel: 062 3741 888 Beachfront resort with 90 fully equipped rooms, business centre, spa, fitness centre and outdoor pool. Princess D’Annam Resort and Spa Khu Hon Lan, Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan Tel: 062 3682 222 Located on Ke Ga Bay with 57 exclusive villas, eight swimming pools, two restaurants and 1,800 square metres spa complex. The Sailing Club 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3847 440 Open bar overlooking the sea, spacious rooms, restaurant, swimming pool and day spa. Victoria Phan Thiet Resort and Spa Mui Ne Beach Tel: 84 62 3813 000 Located on a private beach, 60 cosy bungalows, natural spa experiences among other great activities on offer at the resort


Victoria Sapa Resort Sapa District, Lao Cai Province Tel: 020 0871 522 Mountain chalet perched over the village wth cosy but modern guestrooms overlooking the lawn and garden. Ta Van restaurant overlooks Mount Fansipan and Ta Fin bar has a stone hearth fireplace. Connection from Hanoi by private train.


Note: AsiaLIFE only lists dive centres recognized by international dive training programs, such as the Professional Association of Dive Instructors (PADI) and Scuba Schools International (SSI). We strongly advise against diving with unaccredited dive centres in Vietnam. Rainbow Divers 55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6825 Diving tours and career/instructor development offered by Vietnam’s first PADI centre. established in the mid-90s. Operates dive centres in Nha Trang, Whale Island, Hoi An and Phu Quoc.

VUNG TAU Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa Ho Tram Village, Xuyen Moc Tel: 06 4378 1525 Located about 45km from Vung Tau in the Phuoc Buu Reserve Forest, Ho Tram Beach Resort & Spa boasts uniquely designed bungalows and villas.


Buffalo Tours Agency HCMC: Tel: 3827 9170 Hanoi: Tel: 04 3828 0702 Exotissimo HANOI:

vironment. Plenty of room to relax inside or out, plus a pool table on premise. 


Corso Steakhouse & Bar Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Located in the chic Norfolk Hotel Corso Steakhouse & Bar is well known for its steak imported from the US and Australia. Good destination for both lunch and dinner.

food & drink BAR RESTAURANTS

Alibi 11 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 3240 Hip without being showy, this versatile venue has a pleasant front porch, stand up bar and comfortable lounge seating with bright, warm décor and great tunes. Drinks list is extensive and the food menu boasts French-style mains. Buddha Bar 7 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2080 An Phu institution serves up tasty meals and good drinks in a friendly, chilled en-


La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Tel: 3829 5180 This charming little place has seating indoors and outdoors, upstairs and downstairs to fit your dining pleasure.Relaxed environment with frequent live music. Offers Spanish and Cuban fare including paella and a tapas fiesta comprising three plates. Open late daily. Le Pub 175/ 22 Pham Ngu Lao, D1 One of Pham Ngu Lao’s favourite watering holes, Le Pub also has a good menu of well-executed pub grub and international favourites. Hearty breakfast is available all day and specials are offered daily.

Pasha Bar & Restaurant 25 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 08 629 136 77 Turkish–Mediterranean restaurant located in heart of HCMC serves halal and high quality food with ingredients imported from Turkey, Spain, Singapore, Egypt, New Zealand, Japan and France. Long happy hour half price by glass. Various shisha flavours. Phatty’s 46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 0705 Jaspa’s Steve Hardy and Ben Winspear’s sports bar has five widescreen TVs, a large drop-down screen and lots of pub grub and beer for fans looking to take in a game or two. Qing 110 Pasteur, D1 Sophisticated downtown bar just off Le Loi specializes in Asian tapas, Asian/ South American fusion dishes and a few delectable deserts. Variety of good wines by the glass or bottle.

Sheridan's Irish House 17/13 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 0793 Cosy Irish pub with authentic Irish decor, a pleasant atmosphere and regular live music. Wide range of classic pub grub, East Asian dishes and a fantastic breakfast fry-up available from 8 am. The Tavern R2/24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, D7 Tel: 5410 3900 Boasts good international food, a pool table, dartboards and sports coverage on large screens. Outdoor seating on mutiple levels. Second floor sports lounge hosts DJs at the weekends.  Vasco’s Bar 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 2888 Chic bar decked in deep reds that gets

broaden your palate with promotions around town

British Lunch Week

From 4 to 9 June, Restaurant Nineteen is offering a buffet consisting of traditional cuisine from the four corners of the United Kingdom. The buffet will feature British favourites such as roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, Bubble and Squeak, Irish lamb stew, beef Wellington, and fish and chips with malt vinegar and tartar sauce. Classic British appetizers, soups, savoury pies and desserts round out the lunch. The buffet costs VND 512.000++ per person and will be at Restaurant Nineteen on the ground floor of the Caravelle.

Exclusive Dinner at Park Hyatt Saigon

The Park Hyatt Saigon is offering a culinary and wine event on 6 June starring the newest additions to the kitchen, Soren Lascelles and Bertrand Sommereux. Lascelles has created a four-course menu paired with matching wines, while Sommereux provides a fifth course as a finish for the palate. The dinner will begin with canapés in the Ballroom Foyer at 6.30pm, followed by dinner in the Ballroom at 7.30pm. Admission is VND 6,240,000 per person and is subject to a 5 percent service charge and 10 percent VAT. Advance reservations are required and space will be limited. For reservations and enquiries visit or call 08 3824 1234.

Children’s Discount Buffet at Novotel Nha Trang

On 1 June, kids can enjoy a discounted buffet dinner at the Square Restaurant at the Novotel Nha Trang. The buffet is open from 6pm to 10pm and costs 420.000++ /adult

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Mogambos 50 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 1311 This restaurant has been around since the mid-1990s, which offers an insight into its enduring quality. Specializes in American grain-fed steaks, hamburgers and salads served in a pleasant atmosphere. 

and half price for children under 12 years old and free for children under 6 years old. For more information, call 058 625 6936.

Champs Elysees

From 8 to 14 June, Reflections Restaurant at the Caravelle is offering the ‘Champs Elysees Menu’, a classic French fourcourse set dinner with traditionally prepared French favourites such as foie gras, cognac lobster bisque and Grand Marnier ice-cream parfait. Guests can also choose between slow braised lamb shank on potato and puy lentil stew with Toulouse sausage, or seared sea bass with braised fennel, potato mousseline and red wine reduction. VND 1,098,000++ per person at Reflections Restaurant on the 3rd floor of the Caravelle.

Steak and Chops Promotion at Corso Steakhouse

This month, the Corso Steakhouse & Bar will be offering a special menu including New Zealand Fillet Steak and Double Lamb Chop as one of its signature dishes from their Steak and Chops menu. Guests can also try Corso’s US t-bone steak as well as a New York strip with Roquefort steak butter. Other highlights include a tender of pork-loin chop marinated with honey and grain mustard, char-grill topped with crispy Onion, or Classic Prime US short-rib. The menu also has more than red meat, with dishes like their field green salad, lobster bisque, baked potato with sour cream and chopped bacon. Corso is located 117 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, HCM City.

Shanghainese Food Festival at Sheraton Saigon

From 20 June to 2 July, Sheraton Saigon will be hosting two guest chefs from Shanghai at Saigaon Café and Li Bai. These two chefs, Jackie Chen and Allan Li, are currently working for Starwood at Le Royal Meridien Shanghai. During their visit to Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers, they will be showcasing the art of Shanghai cuisine with signature dishes such as braised pork belly with soya sauce, fried rice with egg Shanghai style, fried noodles Shanghai style and so much more which will bring you a great experience of Shanghainese food. The Food Festival will be happening all day at Saigon Café from 20 June to 2 July and at Li Bai on Sunday nights June 24 and July 1 with a live performance from Shanghainese guest chefs. For reservations, call (08) 3827 2828 or email sheratonsaigon@sheraton. com.

Champs Elysees

Every Sunday from 11.30am to 2.30pm, the Hotel Equatorial will host a champagne brunch, which includes a free flow of Jacques Picard champagne, wine, beer, soft drinks, drinking water, tea and coffee. The weekly brunch has been re-branded with a new concept featuring European specialties. New highlights showcase a vitamin drinks bar, new range of fruit smoothies, Scandinavian smorgasbord together with a deli corner with over 20 choices of pickled seafood and home made terrine. In addition, traditional European desserts, pastries, cakes and puddings together with an international cheese trolley offering will be served. For more information contactHotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City, 242 Tran Binh Trong Street, District 5, HCMC. Tel: 3839 7777 ext: 8061.

street gourmet

Nowzone, 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D5 Metropolitan Bldng, 235 Dong Khoi, D1 International café chain with a wide variety of coffees and teas, as well as light snacks and food. Also sells freshroasted coffee beans and tins of whole leaf tea.  Mojo 88 Dong Khoi, D1 A top-end cafe with an attractive interior, outdoor terrace at street level and comfortable lounges upstairs. Good business coffee or lunch venue. That’s Café Rivergarden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7 Hailing from the U.S., That’s Café is a new Khai Silk initiative. Claiming to provide the best coffee in town in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere, it’s a great place to hold a business meeting or catch up with friends.

banh day Banh day could be the Western equivalent of bologna on white bread, but thankfully, it’s a bit more flavourful than the classic American sandwich of yesteryear. Eaten primarily for breakfast, banh day is made with two small, round gelatinous pieces of sticky rice that sandwich a piece of slightly spicy pork

packed to capacity on weekends. Open Monday to Saturday with live music on Fridays. Food menu by chef with over 10 years experience at La Camargue. Also does excellent pizza.  ZanZBar 41 Dong Du, D1 Funky, modern interiors and varied international breakfast, lunch and dinner cuisine. Imported beers, cocktails, gourmet espresso coffee, and happy hours make ZanZBar a great after-work spot. Open late.

sausage. Although banh day is sold year-round by bicycle-riding vendors, during the Tet holiday it goes by the name banh chung. But regardless of when you eat it and what you call it, there’s no debating that at 8,000 VND a fix, banh day is a delicious mini-meal and economical way to fill your stomach.


Cay Da Cafe Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 118 Stocks the Moevenpick’s chef’s most delicious cakes, pastries, ice cream and sandwiches. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf 12-14 Thai Van Lung, D1 94 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3

X Cafe 58 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3914 2142 Bright, spacious foreign-run cafe decorated in the style of an Alpine chalet. Popular with local makers and shakers, has a great open-plan upstairs area and two outdoor terraces. Regular live music and homemade ice cream.


Li Bai Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Imperial-styled restaurant named after a famous Chinese poet. Excellent lunch time dim sum buffet for USD $17.00. Nightly à la carte menu with dishes going from 100,000 VND. Lotus Court 1st floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 168 Dim Sum and exciting Cantonese cuisine in a unique and elegant setting. Ming Dynasty 23 Nguyen Khac Vien, Phu My Hung Tel: 5411 5555 Decorated in Ming Dynasty-style; offers 100 dim sum varieties and 300 dishes prepared by a chef from Hong Kong. The restaurant’s Imperial Buffet includes free flow of wine.

Ngan Dinh Chinese Restaurant Windsor Plaza Hotel, 18 An Duong Vuong, D5 Tel: 3833 6688 Beautiful wood paneling, colourful hanging lanterns and a sparkling mineral gallery make for a relaxing dining experience at the Windsor. Feast on roasted Pi Pa duck, giant grouper and steamed king prawns. Be sure to check out monthly specials. Shang Palace Restaurant Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3823 2221 An upscale Chinese restaurant with a spacious and welcoming atmosphere. The menu boasts a wide range of Hong Kong Cantonese cuisine, including both dim sum, a la carte and set menus, regularly changed by the creative chefs. Yu Chu InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Specializing in authentic Cantonese and Peking cuisine. Award-winning chef prepares dishes including handmade noodles, dim sum and wok-fried items. Wide selection of live seafood. Five interactive kitchens.


Au Manoir de Khai 251 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: 3930 3394 This top-end contemporary French restaurant is set in a picturesque colonial villa with a lush courtyard and a lavish interior. Full of private rooms and opulent lounge areas, this unique eatery is the brainchild of Vietnamese fashion guru Hoang Khai of Khai Silk fame. Offers up dishes such as lobster consomme, pan-fried duck liver, salmon medallions with Moet and escalope de foie gras. Le Bouchon de Saigon 40 Thai Van Lung, D1 This French diner-style restaurant has an emphasis on hearty home cooking, courteous service and a relaxed atmosphere Chefs David Thai an Alexis Melgrani are well known industry figures and this venue can hold its own among the city`s many French restaurants

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street gourmet

banh gai Love Wine? Join the Club! By Darryl Bethea Sharing good wine and food with friends can do more than just make you tipsy or fill your stomach; it can truly make the day memorable and take it to a higher level. That is why I am encouraging you to join a wine club, go to wine dinners and join a private wine society. In many parts of the world you can join a monthly wine club directly from the winery. Membership is free and you are placed on a newsletter list. You will be the first to know about new releases, stock in limited quantities and special discounted prices. However, in Vietnam this option isn't feasible due to shipping laws and cost. Going to wine dinners, however, is another great option. At these events you pay a reasonable amount for a four or five course dinner with perfectly matched food and wine. The reason this is such a great deal is because you are only paying for a gourmet meal; the cost of the wine is basically free. This gives you the chance to try some outstanding wines – sometimes first releases in the market place – in an informative, comfortable environment. Usually the winemakers themselves host the dinners, so you get an intimate look at the wine from a true insider. However, many of the dinners are only advertised in four or five star hotels for their guests, but I am looking to change that. Send me your email address and I will inform you about

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upcoming events. Another great option is joining a wine society like the International Wine & Food Society. This organisation is the world’s oldest and most renowned gastronomic society. Since 1933 the society has thrived with branches existing worldwide. The society’s goal is, “To Bring together and serve all who believe that a right understanding of good food and wine is an essential part of personal contentment and health, and that an intelligent approach to the pleasures and problems of the table offers far greater rewards than the mere satisfaction of appetite.” The membership is limited and exclusive, but Saigon’s branch is currently looking for new members. A non-member can be invited to attend a dinner by an existing member (like myself) and after attending two dinners an invitation to join can be extended. Contact me for more info and checkout the website at  You should never drink alone; join a community of wine lovers and enjoy with friends, old and new. Cheers! Darryl Bethea is Group Sales Manager for Fine Wines of the World (09 3378 5005) and is a Certified Sommelier from the Court of the Master Sommeliers. Contact Darryl at 09 3378 5005 or email Darryl@

The saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” was made for banh gai. At first glance it’s not the most enticing piece of street food, but look closer and you’ll find that this treat is all about the inside. Unwrap the several layers of neatly wrapped banana leaf that surround it and you’ll see what we mean. The prize


Saigon Indian 73 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 5671 Popular venue with an enormous menu. Serves both southern and northern Indian dishes like tandoori, biryani, dosa and idly snacks, plus a wide range of vegetarian dishes. Offers a set lunch menu. Cater service is available.  Tandoor 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3930 4839 Part of a chain of restaurants covering Hanoi and Saigon, Tandoor features a large selection of standard northern Indian dishes, including a good vegetarian selection. Excellent cheap set lunches and reasonable prices all around. Will organize catering for events. 


Al Fresco’s 21 Mac Dinh Chi D1 Tel: 3823 8427 27 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3822 7317 D1-23 My Toan 3, D7 Tel: 5410 1093 400 Nguyen Trai, D5 Tel: 3838 3840 Theme restaurant boasting a range of Tex-Mex, Italian and Australian-style BBQ dishes. Huge portions and tasty Australian ribs coupled with a good atmosphere and helpful staff. Good lunch menu.  Amigo Grill 55 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3824 1248 Outstanding steaks made with Australian, U.S. and Argentine beef, served in a cosy, family-friendly environment with large tables and banquette seating. Dishes like leg of lamb and seafood are also on the menu. Open 11 am to 11 pm. Au Parc 23 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3829 2772

is a small, square cake made from shredded coconut encased in a sticky, blackish-coloured leaf. The taste is mildly sweet and the texture is slightly chewy. Ban gai originated in the Red River Delta but can easily be found in residential neighbourhoods around town. A piece will run you approximately 3,000 VND.

Lavishly decorated brasserie borrowing from Moroccan and French styles and popular during lunchtime with expats. Specializes in Middle Eastern and North African food. The salad menu is a favourite, and a great range of lush smoothies and juices are on offer.  Blanchy's Tash 93 - 95 Hai Ba Trung, D1 A high-end bar and restaurant with outdoor terrace. With ex-Nobu London Chef at the helm, Blanchy’s offers tapaslike snacks that fuse Japanese and South American influences. Expect great things here from international DJs and renowned mixologists Black Cat 13 Phan Van Dat, D1 Tel: 3829 2055 Tiny but popular District 1 restaurant serving up an excellent selection of Western and Vietnamese fare and an extensive range of sandwiches and burgers.  BoatHouse 40 Lily Road, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6790 Riverside restaurant with umbrella-shaded tables spread across outdoor deck and small indoor dining room. Serves remarkably fresh and inspired dishes made with choice local and imported ingredients—favourites include the sirloin burger and pan-fried fish and chips. Boomarang Cresent Residence 2-3-4, No. 107 Ton Dat Tien, PMH, D7 Tel: 3744 6790 Riverside restaurant with umbrella-shaded tables spread across outdoor deck and small indoor dining room. Serves remarkably fresh and inspired dishes made with choice local and imported ingredients—favourites include the sirloin burger and pan-fried fish and chips.

Cafe Saigon Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 234 An international buffet with unique food concepts that is perfect for gathering family and friends. Cham Charm 3 Phan Van Chuong, Phu My Hung Tel: 5410 9999 The highlight of this upscale, beautifully decorated Asian restaurant is a special seafood buffet that includes Portuguese oysters, Alaskan crab, lobsters, sushi, sashimi, Japanese-style seafood, Langoustine prawns, American Angus beef and much more. Errazuriz wines are also included in the buffet. Part of the Khai Silk chain. El Gaucho 5D Nguyen Sieu, D1 Tel: 3825 1879 Cresent Residence 1_12, No. 103 Ton Dat Tien, PMH, D7 A classic Argentine steakhouse where beef is the main attraction. There is still plenty of other options on the menu, in addition to an extensive wine list. Open from 4pm until late every day. The Deck 38 Nguyen U Di, D2 Tel: 3744 6632 Serves upmarket takes on regional specialties made with fresh local and imported products. Well-designed, minimalist dining space and bar on the river are a serious draw. The Elbow Room 52 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3821 4327 American-style bistro offering a wide range of appetisers, soups, salads, sandwiches, mains and desserts, plus an extensive wine menu. Open daily 7.30 am to 11 pm. Breakfast served all day. Gartenstadt 34 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 3623 Opened in 1992, it’s the first venue in town to offer German food with specialities such as pork knuckle and authentic German sausages prepared fresh each day. Also offers imported German draught beer. Good Eats NTFQ2, 34 Nguyen Dang Giai Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6672 Easteran and Western dishes are low in saturated fat and made from all-natural ingredients. Organic vegetables, herbs and spices accompany meals. Even the French fries are healthy.  Halal@Saigon 31 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 3824 5823 Serving up a range of Vietnamese and Malaysian dishes prepared according to

halal guidelines including ban xeo, pho and roti chennai and seafood favourites such as shrimp, squid and mussels. Hog's Breath 02 Hai Trieu, D1 Tel: 3915 6006 The popular Australian eatery's first foray into Vietnam. Centrally located on the ground floor of the Bitexc Financial tower. The legendary Prime Rib steaks are the centrpiece of the menu which also includes burgers, seafood and bar snacks.  Jaspa’s 33 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3822 9926 Unpretentious brasserie-style restaurant specializes in Australian-influenced international fusion cuisine. Full range of drinks including Australian and French wines and good cocktails. Hosts monthly Spam Cham networking event.  Kita Coffee House 39 Nguyen Hue, D1, Tel: 3821 5300 Four-level restaurant serving a wide menu of mains, pastas, salads, sandwiches, soups and appetizers for lunch and dinner, as well as a variety of coffee and fresh fruit juices. Includes a bright ground floor cafe, sophisticated Old World second floor bar and rooftop dining. Set dinner everyday from 5pm. 

until late. Specializes in certified U.S. Black Angus steak, and features a fully stocked wine cellar. Guests are invited to bring their own wine on BYOB Mondays. Orientica Hotel Equatorial, 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 Top-end seafood and grill restaurant boasting modern decor. Good service and excellent food presentation make this a pleasant alternative to the downtown scene. Pacharan Tapas and Bodega 97 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 6024 This tapas restaurant and bar serves up superb Spanish fare crafted from authentic imported ingredients. The exclusively Spanish wine list is extensive and Sangria is half price during happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm and all day Wednesday.

The Refinery 74/7C Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 0509 Authentic bistro with cane furniture outside, informal indoor restaurant section and a bar area. Cuisine is light, modern European. The menu spans a price range to suit most budgets. Reflections Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Contemporary fine dining that combines Asian flavors with classic Mediterranean cuisine in an ambiance of understated elegance and European style. Special culinary events include guest chefs from Michelin-star establishments around the world. Private rooms are available. Riverside Cafe Renaissance Riverside, 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 International venue opening onto the bustling river sidewalk, open for break-

Koto 151A Hai Ba Trung, D3, Tel: 3934 9151 This is the Saigon arm of the renowned organisation that began in Hanoi a decade ago. Vietnamese food is prepared with innovative twist by young people Koto are helping get a start in the hospitality industry and on a path for a better life.  Market 39 InterContinental Asiana Saigon Ground Floor, Corner Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Seven interactive live kitchens offering French, Vietnamese and Southeast Asian cuisines, including a bakery, French patisseries, pancakes, tossed salads, grilled steak, seafood, wok-fried items, noodles and pasta dishes. Mekong Merchant 23 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 4713 Set in a courtyard, this rustic Australianstyle brasserie has brought modern international cuisine to suburban An Phu. Popular for weekend brunches. Weekly specials and seafood flown in from Phu Quoc.  New York Steakhouse & Winery 25-27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 7373 Chic dining venue designed in a classic New York City Art Deco. Open every day

LOUISIANE BREWHOUSE Beachside Nha Trang Asian & Western Cuisine Swimming Pool & Private Beach

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fast, lunch and dinner, and particularly noted for its sumptuous buffet selection which combines Asian, Western and Vietnamese cuisine. Signature Restaurant Level 23, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Fine dining with panoramic views over central HCM City. Food is stunningly presented, top-end European cuisine with Asian influences cooked by German chef Andreas Schimanski. A la carte or five-course set menu available. Skewers 9A Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3822 4798 Rustic Mediterranean restaurant where subtle colours and exposed brickwork combine with jazzy tunes. Serves tabouleh, falafel, couscous and kebab. Highly rated for its grilled meats, bread and dip combos, soups and pastas. 

Square One Park Hyatt Saigon, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3520 2359 Specializing in high-end Western and Vietnamese cuisine, Square One serves charcoal-grilled meats and seafood, as well as steamed and wok-cooked Vietnamese fare. Warda 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3822 Chic, middle-eastern themed eatery swathed in oranges and reds serving Lebanese cuisine prepared by Damascan chef, Nouman. Mezze and tapas are the main draw, but you can also puff on hookas post-meal. Xu Saigon 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3824 8468 Inspired restaurant with an F&B director with a passion for mixing Vietnamese cooking with flavours and styles from

around the world. Sleek but sparsely designed, the restaurant serves nouveau takes on Vietnamese cuisine.


Basilico InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Ground Floor, Corner Nguyen Du and Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Contemporary and casual trattoria-style restaurant specializing in authentic Italian dishes and homemade desserts. Woodfired pizza oven and a wide selection of Italian wines. Casa Italia 86 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 4286 Serves home-style Italian cooking including pasta and pizza as well as a selection of steak and seafoodd dishes. Open daily 10 am until late. Good Morning Vietnam 197 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3837 1894 Popular authentic Italian restaurant with additional outlets around the country. Specializes in thin-crust pizza, pasta and a range of Italian dishes. Good selection of Italian wines.  La Braceria 11 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3824 7446 A Mediterranean-style grill house that serves imported prime steaks, lamb, duck and fresh seafood as well as pasta and pizza. Great selection of old and new world wines La Hostaria 17B Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 1080 Rustic eatery specializing in top-end traditional cuisine from various regions in Italy. Main courses from 130,000 VND with daily specials on offer. Serves excellent pizza. 

17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, HCMC T: (84-8) 3822 6111 Ext.101 M: 0918 802 526

F: (84-8) 3824 1835


W: Managed by Norfolk Group

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Opera Ground floor Park Hyatt Hotel, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Slick, contemporary eatery with exposed brick and glass. The space revolves around an island kitchen from which chefs produce gourmet Italian fare. Internationally trained chefs work with the freshest and finest ingredients around to produce some superb dishes.


Chiisana Hashi River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6683 5308 0903 669 252 Serves authentic Japanese cuisuine including sashimi, sushi, tempura, sukiyaki and shabu shabu.

Kissho 14 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3823 2223 Fax: 3823 3343 Saigon’s newest Japanese restaurant boasts a multi-concept cuisine set in a cutting edge interior. Specialties include teppanyaki, yakiniku, sushi and sashimi crafted by expert chefs. The freshest imported meats and seafood round out the menu, accompanied by an extensive selection of fine wines and Japanese spirits. Open 11.30 am to 2 pm and 5.30 pm to 10 pm. Iki Ground floor, Moevenpick Hotel Saigon 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 ext. 127 A Japanese restaurant that turns the notion of the common hotel sushi eatery on its head thanks to an affordable menu and a fun atmosphere. Nishimura Mövenpick Hotel Saigon, 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 9222 Exquisitely prepared sushi and sashimi from a globetrotting chef with three decades’ experience. A wide range of cooked dishes and monthly meal promotions are also available. The Sushi Bar 2 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8042 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3911 8618 This brightly lit Japanese-style restaurant serves over 40 varieties of sushi at reasonable prices. Sit at the sushi bar or in private rooms upstairs. Open until 11.30 pm, delivery available on request.  Zen 20 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 0782 Located amid the sea of Japanese restaurants on Le Thanh Ton Street, Zen offers a wide range of Japanese dishes. The yakitori station grills up fantastic steak and quail’s eggs, and the chilled udon noodles are also a standout.


25 Si 8A/6D Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3824 6921 Traditional Yasik-style drinking restaurant. Winter and summer scene murals fill the walls of this dual level eatery. Large menu with favs like budae jjigae, a mix of chilli paste, Spam, hot dog and tofu, as well as super spicy duruchigi. Hana 8 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Tel: 3829 5588 Japanese-Korean fusion in the heart of District 1. Contemporary decor with a private, yet open feel. Broad menu including cooked and raw fish and traditional hot pot with fish eggs, rice and vegetables.

Kim Bab Chun Gook R4 42 Hung Phuoc 2, Phu My Hung Tel: 6296 9057 Korean boonshik/snack food eatery serving up a wide variety of light but substantial foods including dumplings, rameyon and fish cakes.


Baan Thai 55 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 5453 If you have been missing the delights of Bangkok nightlife then this restaurant and bar should be for you. The Thai chefs whip up all the traditional dishes you know and love, while in the bar there are a host of drinks and activities to help while away an evening. Lac Thai 71/2 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 7506 An elegant restaurant tucked in an alleyway and decorated with art-deco furniture. Authentic Thai cuisine prepared by two Thai chefs. Food is tasty but less spicy than you’d find in Thailand.  Little Manila S2-1 Hung Vuong 2, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5410 0812 Small, no -frills eatery with outdoor and indoor seating located on a quiet street. Serves a range of dishes from the Philippines (pictured on menu for those unfamiliar) and draught San Miguel. Thai Express 8A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 6299 1338 Modern restaurant with a massive menu of Thai specialties served in moderate proportions. The menu inludes chef’s recommendations and background on Thai cuisine. Warning: some dishes will test your tongue’s threshold.


Hoa Dang 38 Huynh Khuong Ninh, D1 Swish vegetarian restaurant on a quiet street that serves up nutritious dishes, including meatless versions of bun bo, pho and steamboat. Cosy bar serving non-alcoholic drinks, fruits and other sweets. Saigon Vegan 378/3 Vo Van Tan, D3 Tel: 3834 4473 Rustic vegan restaurant with extensive menu of healthy food at moderate prices. Lots of tofu dishes and soya chicken/beef, soups, banh bao and more. Also has a kids menu. Viet Chay 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3526 5862 Upscale vegetarian restaurant specializes in fake meat dishes. The attractive dining room is suffused with natural light. Located within the walls of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda.


Banian Tree River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6683 5308 – 0903 669 252 A fine dining Vietnamese restaurant that serves authentic cuisine. Offers a set lunch, set dinner, International breakfast is served from 6.30 am - 10.30 am. Cha Ca Viet Nam River Garden, 170 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6683 5308 0903 669 252 Serves Hanoi specialty Cha Ca—turmeric grilled fish with noodles and dill. Com Nieu 19 Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 6288 The house specialty, com nieu (smashed rice), comes with a shattered-crockery and flying-rice show at this well-known

restaurant, prominently featured in Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour. An extensive and tasty selection of southern Vietnamese cuisine rounds out the menu. Hoa Tuc 74 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3825 1676 This comfortable high-end restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese fare with a contemporary, classy twist. Expect to find your local favourites as you’ve never experienced them before. Beautifully plated, this is Vietnamese cuisine at its best. Lang Nuong Nam Bo 285/C145 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D10 Tel: 3862 2569 Warehouse-sized quan well-regarded among locals serves everything from beef, chicken and fish to porcupine, weasel and field mouse. Great destination for intrepid gastronomes. Has standard hot pot, rice and noodle dishes too. Mandarine Restaurant 11A Ngo Van Nam, D1 Tel: 3822 9783 Fine dining Vietnamese-style courtesy of two sumptuously decorated colonial villas, an antique wooden stair and a menu spanning all regions of Vietnam. Traditional music performances are available for dinner. Nam Phan 34 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: 3933 3636 Well known at its previous corner location on Le Thanh Ton, Nam Phan continues to serve modern Asian cuisine including asparagus and crab meat soup, stewed bellyfish in pineapple and grilled duck breast in orange sauce. Set in a restored colonial villa, the interior is alive with reproductions of Cham-era bas-reliefs and is inspired by Euro-Zen. Quan Bui 8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, D1 Tel: 3602 2241 Well executed and delicious Vietnamese food at almost criminally affordable prices. Tucked away at the top end of District one, this place is worth seeking out for five-star food in a casual setting that will certainly not strain the budget. Temple Club 29 – 31 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3829 9244 This high-end restaurant attached to an elegant lounge bar is a must-try for its art deco atmosphere as much as for its food. Mains go from around VND80,000 to VND150,000. Wrap & Roll 62 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3823 4030 SA1–1, My Khanh 1, Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Attractive downtown venue that brings street-style food into air-conditioned and uncluttered comfort. Choose prewrapped appetisers such as the cha gio (spring rolls) or roll-it-yourself mains with ingredients like pickled shrimps, beef on sugar cane, fish, grilled eel and pork. 

nightlife BARS & LOUNGES

See bar restaurant listings for more popular watering holes. The Library InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Unwind with a glass of wine or a cup of tea. The Library provides a welcoming atmosphere for those in search of calm, comfort and personalized service.

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Purple Jade InterContinental Asiana Saigon, corner of Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3520 9099 Chic lounge blends the stylistic influences of contemporary design and opium dens. Hosts live music and serves special drinks, including Shaoxing and Maotai rice wines and an exclusive selection of luxury spirits.


Fuse Bar 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 A popular bar that plays primarily hiphop music. Every Tuesday Fuse hosts a ladies night where women drink for free. Lush 2 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3824 2496 A large and lavishly decorated bar and club popular on weekends. Good DJs playing the latest in beat-based music and the city’s beautiful people add to the sights and sounds. It’s on-par with Western clubs in both ambience and drinks prices.

at home BAKERIES

Harvest Baking 30 Lam Son, Tan Binh Tel: 3547 0577 This authentic bakery offers a range of specialty baked goods for delivery. Offering bagels, scones, breads, desserts,cakes, tarts and more. Chocolate fudge cake and cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing highly recommended. Pat A Chou 65 Hai Ba Trung, D1 25 Thao Dien, D2 The home of the long and crusty baguette. Supplies many restaurants but also sells wholesale. The miniature patisseries such as crème brulée and cheesecake are worth a taste. Opens at 6.30 am. Tous Les Jours 180 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Part of the Korean bakery chain, Tous Le Jours stocks a superb range of freshly baked good from sugary treats like pain au chocolat to superior quality baguettes and loafs. Voelker 17 A7 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 7303 8799 39 Thao Dien, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6296 0066 Small bakery turns out sweet and salted pies and mousses in addition to baguettes and a range of Western sweets.


Saigon Catering 41A Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9286 Provide services of catering, banquets, event planning, BBQ’s. For a custommade quotation e-mail SaigonGG@ or call Huong on 0913 981128.


Caravelle Hotel Cooking Classes Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Full-day Vietnamese cooking classes for groups of up to 20 people. The classes include a visit to the market with the sous chef. Saigon Cooking Class by Hoa Tuc The Courtyard, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, D1

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Tel: 3825 8485 Cooking classes available from Tuesday to Sunday 10 am-1 pm/2 pm-5 pm.



KITCHEN Tel: 0974 444 001 Visit the website and start an account to begin ordering fresh, homemade meals to your home. Options include beef lasagne, big chicken and mushroom pies and pork dijon as well as a variety of sausages and vegetarian dishes. Must order a minimum of three dishes at a time. Pizza Hut Delivery (PHD) Tel: 3838 8388 Serving up pizza, pasta, chicken wings and much more. PHD guarantees 30minute delivery or a free pizza at your next order (you must live within 2 km from a PHD store).


Annam Gourmet Market 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 2630 SB2-1 My Khanh 4, Nguyen Duc Canh, D7 Tel: 5412 3263 / 64 Boutique grocer with wide selection of foreign foods; Annam-brand coffee, tea and spices; and household products. Wine and premium beer, full deli counter, produce, dairy-frozen and baked goods on second floor. Kim Hai Butchery 73 Le Thi Hong Gam, D1 Tel: 3821 6057 or 3914 4376 Excellent chilled imported beef, lamb, veal and other meats sold at reasonable prices. Metro An Phu, D2 Tel: 3740 6677 Warehouse wholesaler located just off the Hanoi Highway in D2 between the Saigon Bridge and the tollbooths. Sells bulk food, fresh fruit and vegetables and meat, as well as paper products, cleaning supplies, housewares--basically everything. Organik 11A Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 090 273 3841 Online grocer based out of Dalat selling a range of organic vegetables and groceries, as well as imported all-natural products such as cereal, soymilk and tea. Operates a retail shop in An Phu. Veggy’s 29A Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3823 8526 Sky Garden Pham Van Nghi, Bac Khu Pho, D7 Riverside Apartments 53 Vo Truong Toan, Thao Dien, D2 Popular expat market with a huge walk-in fridge area stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and a range of meats. Imported canned and dried foods, wines, beers, soft drinks, spirits and snacks also available.


The Warehouse 178 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3825 8826 924 Tran Hung Dao, D5 Tel: 6261 1525 One of the city’s premier wine distributors, The Warehouse is an aptly named, stylish wine store that stocks a full range of both New and Old World wines, sparkling wines, Champagne, spirits, imported beers and accessories.

Seared giant scallop with leek mousse, tomato and nori Serves 4

For scallops 12 giant scallops Salt White pepper For leek mousse 300 gr leeks, white and green parts 250 ml cream 100 ml chicken stock 200 gr blanched spinach METHOD OF PREPARATION For scallops 1. Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat 2. Add enough oil to only cover the bottom of the pan 3. Add scallops one by one

and sear on both sided until brown For leek mousse 1. Sauté leeks in oil until translucent, about two minutes on medium heat 2. Add the cream and chicken stock and continue cooking another 10 minutes. 3. Transfer to a food processor and add pre-blanched spinach 4. Blend well and strain To serve 1. In the middle of a plate, spoon a little bit of the leek mousse 2. Stack the scallops overlapping each other 3. Sprinkle with finely diced tomato and ground nori

Recipes provided by Ana Esteves


Tel: 3775 2520 Modern cinema with four-way sound system. D7 location houses luxury theatre Charlotte with 32 seats and eight sofas.


me phim HCM City-based film initiative that provides support to local filmmakers and hosts regular film screenings/discussions. Email for information or join the Facebook group.


AngelsBrush by Vin Tel: 0983377710 Oil painting course gives learners the opportunity to work from the different objects; explore different mediums, materials and techniques; and interpret line, tone and colour. Instructor works with students on individual basis. Helen Kling Oil Painting 189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0903 955 780 Helene is a French painter who teaches beginners (children and adults) various techniques and the art of working with different mediums. She is also a fantastic tool for advanced artists who are looking to increase their creativity. Both day and night courses are available. Helene has a permanent exhibition at FLOW, located 88 Ho Tung Mau, D1. Printmaking Classes are held at Alpha Gallery taught by the gallery owner Bernadette Gruber, who offers the chance to learn monotype, intaglio and etching techniques.


Bobby Brewer’s Movie Lounge 45 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 3610 2220 86 Pham Ngoc Thach Popular top-floor home cinema showing movies five times a day on a large screen. Email for the latest schedule. Cinebox 212 Ly Chinh Thang, D3 Tel: 3935 0610 240 3 Thang 2, D10 Tel: 3862 2425 Cinebox cinemas show both original language films with Vietnamese subtitles and the dubbed versions. Future Shorts Vietnam branch of the international network screens foreign and local short films around town. Events often incorporate other media and elements, including live music, performances, installations and discussion. Submissions accepted. Galaxy Cinema 116 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3822 8533 230 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3920 6688 Large, modern cinema that shows the latest foreign releases in English (with Vietnamese subtitles). IDECAF 31 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3829 5451 French cultural centre and cinema theatre. Showcases French movies with English and Vietnamese subtitles. Also hosts movies and documentaries from a number of overseas film festivals. Lotte Cinema Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 7897 LotteMart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, D7

Megastar Hung Vuong Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 Tel: 08 2222 0388 CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: 6297 1981 State-of-the-art cinema complex screening the lastest blockbusters with plush, reclining seats. All movies shown in original language with Vietnamese subtitles.

This year the CMI celebrates his 20th birthday: All of the CMI’s profit are dedicated to the Foundation Alain Carpentier that supports cardiac surgery for destitued Vietnamese children at the Heart Institute of Ho Chi Minh City. 3 927 children saved since 1992


a little blah blah OUT-2 STUDIO, L6 FAFILM Annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Operates as an engine for contemporary art by organizing projects, exhibitions, screenings and talks. Runs one major art project each year and a reading room with more than 1,000 texts on art, design and creative culture. Free for everyone and open Tue to Sat 10 am to 6 pm. Blue Space Contemporary Arts Center 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3821 3695 Busy, working gallery with easels propped up outside situated in the grounds of the beautiful Fine Arts Museum. Holds regular exhibitions by local artists. Duc Minh Gallery 31C Le Quy Don, D3 Tel: 3933 0498 Housed in an opulent colonial mansion, private museum and art gallery showcases the private art collection of Vietnamese business tycoon Bui Quoc Chi. Containing more than 1,000 pieces that range from traditional to contemporary. Galerie Quynh 65 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 8019 The city’s only international standard gallery, housed in a modern, two-floor space. Organizes regular exhibitions featuring established, emerging local/ international contemporary artists, publishes original catalogs in both English and Vietnamese. Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum 97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tel: 3829 4441 Institution housing contemporary/traditional works by Vietnamese and foreign artists. Pieces date from as early as the 7th century. Includes Vietnamese antiques, art crafted by the Cham and Funan peoples. San Art Independent Artist Space 3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 0898 Artist-run, non-profit exhibition space featuring contemporary work by young Vietnamese artists. San Art hosts guest lecturers and curators. A reading room of art books and magazines is open to the public. TuDo Gallery 53 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 0966 Hosting permanent exhibitions of works by the city’s artists, Tu Do deals in oils, silk paintings and lacquerware. More than 1,000 pieces on show.

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out area and all kinds of classes including spinning, KickFit, yoga and more.


sports & leisure Sport Street Huyen Tran Cong Chua, D1 between Nguyen Du and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Services include mending and restringing broken tennis rackets. Products range from badminton birdies and rackets to basketball hoops, free weights, roller blades, scooters, soccer jerseys and all manner of balls. Trophies & Custom Signage Street Le Lai, D1 between Truong Dinh and Nguyen Thai Hoc Offers custom engraving on trophies and plaques made of plastic, wood, metal and glass.


Saigon Cricket Assocation Social cricket league plays 25 overs a side matches Sunday mornings at RMIT’s District 7 pitch. Season runs November through May, with friendly games throughout the pre-season. Practice on Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. Australian Cricket Club Terry Gordon saigonaustraliancricketclub@yahoo. com English Cricket Club Richard Carrington Indian Cricket Club Manish Sogani, United Cricket Club Mr. Asif Ali,


DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien,

District 2 Tel: 3840 6974 Purpose built studio with foreign trained dance instructors. Classes in jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, yoga, zumba, belly, hula, capoiera and more. Kids can start from 4+ and adults of all ages and levels are welcome. Schedule and news on events available on-line. Salsa Dancing at La Habana 6 Cao Ba Quat, D1 Six-week salsa package at 350,000 VND for single persons and 550,000 for a couple, run by Urko. Lessons every Tuesday (beginners L.A. style at 7.30 pm; intermediate L.A style at 8.30 pm). Registration required.


California WOW Xperience Parkson Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong, D5 28/30-32 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6291 5999 The world’s biggest fitness centre chain is one of Saigon’s most modern places to get your sweat on. Located in Hung Vuong Plaza, CWX offers a huge work-

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Caravelle Club Spa 19 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3823 4999 Modern and stylish gym with lots of cardiovascular machines and free weights. The swimming pool is a great place for a dip, and the massage parlour, sauna, steam room and jacuzzi are there for winding down.

counsel corner

Equinox Fitness & Leisure Centre Equatorial Hotel, 242 Tran Binh Trong, D5 Tel: 3839 7777 Decent-sized 3rd-floor gym with modern cardio and weights machines, sauna, steambath, jacuzzi, and large 4th floor pool great for swimming laps. Suzanne & Saigon Yoga Tel: 090 835 2265 Suzanne is an ERYT- 200 (Experienced) Yoga Alliance Instructor. She boasts two decades of experience, offering various yoga styles in District 2 and yoga retreats in Vietnam.


Australian Rules Football Tel: 093 768 3230 The Vietnam Swans play regular international footy matches around Asia. Training sessions are held weekly in HCM City (2.30 pm Saturday, RMIT D7) and Hanoi (midday, Saturday, UN International School, Ciputra). All skill levels and codes welcome. RMIT Vietnam A new player on the SIFL scene with a team made up of students from the University. They have their own football ground on-site consisting of two brand new pitches. Contact Landon Carnie. Saigon Raiders Sociable football side who are always on the lookout for new talent for their weekly matches and training sessions. The team participates in the Saigon International Football League and also has regular fixtures against local teams in the outlying provinces and also participates in international tournaments. Saigon Rugby Club Tel: 0903 735 799 Social, mixed touch rugby played every Saturday afternoon for adults at RMIT from 4 pm until 6 pm. Regularly welcomes visiting teams and tours the region for men’s contact and women’s touch rugby tournaments. Beginners welcome.


Dong Nai Golf Resort Trang Bom Town, Trang Bom Tel: 061 3866 288 / 3677 590 Large golf resort with 27 holes, plus a villa complex, bar, sauna. jacuzzi and billiards. The resort sits on 160 hectares of land in Dong Nai Province, about 50 kilometres from the city. Ocean Dunes Golf Club 1 Ton Duc Thang, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 3821 995 Designed by Nick Faldo, the 6,746-yard par-72 course winds through seaside dunes, with the variable coastal breezes changing its character each day. An enjoyable and eminently playable course and has become a favourite venue for expatriate tournaments.

Time to Say Goodbye – Again By Briar Jacques For me, this time of year evokes mixed emotions. Having grown up in the southern hemisphere my years used to run January to December. Summer holidays meant Christmas, sunburn and planning for a new year. Here my years run August to June. When June comes around my thoughts are of summer (this was hard to find equilibrium with the first couple of years), travel and loss of friends. The exodus that often happens at this time of year is something I have found very difficult. An expat community is fertile ground for close, intense friendships. In some ways you become each other’s family. I wasn’t prepared for the feelings of loss I experienced the first time I had good friends leave. Nor had I realised just how reliant I had become on them – in a way I hadn’t experienced in my home country. The first time it happened was awful and made worse by how I tried to cope. Firstly, I found myself pulling away and having ‘problems’ with my departing friends a good couple of months before they went. It’s obvious what this was about – avoidance, trying to lessen pain. It’s easier to separate when you are already feeling distanced. What also worried me about my reactions to loss was how I dealt with new people when I came back from summer holidays. I was closed off to forming new friendships. I remember talking with a long-

term expat lady at this time and it really woke me up to the danger of what I was doing. She said in terms of new friends here that she could tell in five minutes if someone was worth pursuing. I thought this was a scary attitude (or maybe I was just upset because I didn’t pass her five minute audition). So, after having gone through friend loss a few times and handling it in not a great way I did a lot of thinking about what friendship really means. Of course so much of friendship is based on shared experience but I have come to believe (to know) that someone doesn’t have to live around the corner to be in your life in a meaningful way. Learning lessons from having had friends leave has made me more present with the friends who are here, more involved with the daily lives of those special to me in other countries and more prepared to invest in new relationships. I guess it has made me ‘friend-brave’. Everything will end and for most things we don’t know when. So, with your friends who are leaving Vietnam soon don’t waste the time you have left together trying to make goodbye easier. The fact is it’s never going to be easy to say goodbye. Briar Jacques is a trained Australian counsellor who deals with issues like expat adjustment, depression, anxiety and drug abuse. Call 0121 480 8792.

Saigon South Golf Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, D7 Tel: 5411 2001 Nine-hole mini golf course and driving range set amongst attractive gardens just behind FV Hospital. Club, shoe and umbrella hire is also available. Song Be Golf Resort 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Thuan An Tel: 0650 3756 660 Located 22 kilometres from the city centre, the premier golf course in the area features an 18-hole, 6,384-metre course. Also has tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a gymnasium. Vietnam Golf and Country Club Long Thanh My Village, D9 This facility consists of two courses of 18 holes each, one of which is designed in a more traditional Asian style, and the other in international style. Has other attractions such as boating, tennis and a restaurant area.


Hash House Harriers Running club that meets every Sunday at 2 pm at the Caravelle Hotel to go on a run in different locations out of town with their traditional balance of exercise and beer. Phun Runner Social running group that meets Saturdays at 7 am for a scenic run around Saigon before breakfast. Great way to explore the city, meet fellow runners and get fit for future events. Rangers Baseball Club A baseball club always looking for additional players of any age, race or experience level. Plays Saturdays or Sundays, often against Korean or Vietnamese teams. Saigon International Dart League A highly popular group in town, the darts club runs a competitive yearlong league for 16 pub-based teams. There are some excellent players in this sociable and international group. See website for details of how to join and latest 180 scores. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 0913 733 360 A standout facility offering pony rides, riding lessons, horse clinics and pony rentals. Also hosts events and birthdays. Ultimate Frisbee RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Join in this exciting popular sport every Sunday afternoon from 3pm to 5pm in Saigon South. Pan-Asian competitions also organised for the more experienced. Contact David Jensen at 0909458890 X-Rock Climbing Phan Dinh Phung Sport Centre 75 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Tel: 6278 5794 Offering safe and professional climbing for anyone aged 4 and up. Featuring mountain climbing routes rated from beginner to advanced, climbing and belay-safety courses and training, birthday parties, corporate team building. Excellent facilities for children and annual membership for kids.

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questions for the coiffeur


American Chiropractic Clinic 8 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3930 6667 A chiropractic, physiotherapy, foot care clinic staffed by American-trained chiropractors speaking French, English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. Treats back pain, neck pain, knee pain, also specializing in sports injuries, manufacture of medical grade foot orthotics. Theta Healing – Jodie Eastwood Tel: 091 859 1933 A unique energy healing technique for mind, body and spirit. Jodie is a UK qualified practitioner based in HCM City.


European Dental Clinic 17 - 17A Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0918 749 204/08 3744 9744 Expat English and French-speaking dentist. Performs full range of dental treatment including whitening, aesthetic fillings, porcelain crowns, full ceramics, veneer and orthodontic treatment. 24hour emergency line: 0909 551 916 or 0916 352940. Starlight Dental Clinic Dr. Philippe Guettier & International Team of Dentists 2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D1 Tel: 3822 6222 With 14 years’ experience providing dental treatment to expat and Vietnamese patients, this well-known dental surgery is staffed by both foreign & local practitioners. Au fait with the latest treatments and techniques, the surgery prides themselves on their high standard of equipment & sterilization. Tu Xuong Dental Clinic 51A Tu Xuong, D3 Tel: 3932 2049/050 Provides general and cosmetic dental services at reasonable prices. Specialises in implants, orthodontic treatments and making crowns and bridges. Staff are professional and speak English. Westcoast International Dental Clinic 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, D1 Tel: 3825 6999 71-79 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 6777 Canadian-run dental clinic staffed by French, Japanese, English and Vietnamese speaking dental professionals.


Lloyd Morgan International Hair Studio 234 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 090 8422 007 International stylist Lloyd Morgan is one of the best in town. He’s been in the business for over 30 years and brings his expertise to this established, top-notch salon. Qi Spa 151 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3844 1719

By Lloyd Morgan Q. I had my hair lowlighted because my hairdresser was making me too blonde, but I’m not happy with the results. What should I do? A. In my previous articles I have written that this is a common problem with blondes. Just look at some of the blondes you see and usually it can be observed that their hair is dry and way too blonde. I’ve talked to ladies who have what looks like a full head of colour, yet they tell me their stylist foils it. The proper effect that highlights have is achieved when the right amount of natural hair remains uncoloured. This of course gives contrast, and without contrast you might as well pour colour all over your head. This is what I commonly see here. Going back to the salon and telling your stylist that your hair is getting too blonde and needs lowlights can get you into more trouble than its worth. Lowlights that try to replicate natural hair colour never really work, as they are either too dark or too light. Most stylists will use a lighter colour to try to produce natural hair colour, but in the case of blondes it usually fades quickly and turns gold after a while. Now you’re blonde with gold lights. The trick is to not let your stylist over-colour your hair, unless that’s what you want. Q. I’ve tried lots of salons and am never really happy, how do I pick the right one?

A. You will never be happy if you keep changing salons. You are also being unfair to the stylist because they have no prior knowledge of what you like or don’t like. There is not one salon in this city that keeps all of its clients, however every stylist has clients that will stay loyal but there are the ones that bounce around. I get clients from lots of salons in An Phu and the city, and I would be naïve if I didn’t think some of my clients try other salons too. We can’t please a client that goes from salon to salon looking for the miracle that doesn’t exist. Clients need to stay with one stylist, unless that stylist is repetitively not producing results you are happy with. One lady came to me recently after she had gone to two foreignrun salons, one in An Phu and one in the city. She had so much colour in her hair that in the end I had to put micro-foils in her hair and she was happy with the result, but not before I had an exhaustive consultation with her about what she had done to her hair. It’s not always in a stylist’s best interests to try and repair another salon’s mistake because then the problem shifts to you if you don’t get it right. Lloyd Morgan runs the Lloyd Morgan International Hair Studio at 234 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2. Contact him at 0908 422 007 or lloydart@

Caravelle Hotel Tel: 3824 7150 Mövenpick Hotel Saigon, Tel: 3997 5437 High-end salon and spa offers the standard range of services in a calming atmosphere with good service. Waxing, nail services, hair dressing as well as luxurious facial and massage treatments on offer.


CARE1 Executive Health Care Center The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 0757 Sister clinic of Family Medical Practice, CARE1 is an executive health care centre offering comprehensive preventative-care checkups in a modern and professional setting. State-of-the-art technology provides fast and accurate diagnoses. Centre Medical International (CMI) 1 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3827 2366 Located downtown next to the cathedral, the centre provides a high standard of medical care from qualified French and Vietnamese physicians. Its range of services include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, gynaecology, osteopathy, pediatrics, psychiatry, speech therapy and traditional Eastern medicine. Family Medical Practice HCMC Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1

Tel: 3822 7848 Leading international primary healthcare provider, with a 24-hour state-of-the-art medical centre and highly-qualified multilingual foreign doctors. Extensive experience in worldwide medical evacuations with car and air ambulance on standby. Also in Hanoi and Danang. HANH PHUC International Hospital Binh Duong boulevard, Thuan An, Binh Duong. Tel: 0650 3636068 The 1st Singapore Standard Hospital in Vietnam. 260 –bedder, provide a comprehensive range of quality healthcare services: Obstertrics, Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Immunization, IVF, Health checkup, Parentcraft, Woman Cancer, Cosmetic Surgery… Just 20- minute driving from HCMC. HANH PHUC International Hospital Clinic 2nd fl., Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1. Tel: 3911 1860 The 1st Singapore Standard Hospital in Vietnam. The clinic is located at the center of Dist. 1, provides a comprehensive range of services specializing in Obstertrics, Gynaecology, Peadiatrics, Immunization, General Practice and Emergency. Open hours: Weekdays: 8am to 5pm; Saturday: 8am to 12pm. International SOS 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 Tel: 3829 8424 Globally-renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare. Specializes in offering medical transport and evacuation both within and outside of Vietnam for urgent medical cases. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists. Has multilingual staff.

Victoria Healthcare 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3997 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, D1 Tel: 39104545 Well-regarded clinic offering general

examinations and specializing in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology and women's health. Offers a membership program and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad. Open with doctors on call 24/7.


OPI 253 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 International brand of nail care offering a variety of treatments from standard manicures at 50,000 VND to the whole host nail services such as acrylics, powder gell, cuticle treatments and French polishing.


The Body Shop 87 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3823 3683 31 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3926 0336 International cosmetics retailer with strong commitment to environment sources natural ingredients from small communities for its line of more than 600 products. L’Apothiquaire 100 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Parkson Saigon Tourist Plaza Parkson Hung Vuong Plaza The Crescent, 103 Ton Dat Tien, D7 64A Truong Dinh, D3 07 Han Thuyen, D1 Tel: 3932 5181/3932 5082 French-made natural products for all types of skin. Also offers exclusive natural Italian skin, body and hair care from Erbario Toscano. Marianna Medical Laser Skincare 149A Truong Dinh, D3 Tel:3526 4635 Professional Laser Clinic in Ho Chi Minh City, Marianna owns the excellent experts in Aesthetic Medicine and the modern technologies such as Laser, Botox, Filler and all solutions can help you more beautiful and younger day by day Sian Skincare Laser Clinic 71–77 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel:3827 6999 Skincare laser clinic offering the latest in non-surgical esthetic treatments including Botox, laser, acne treatments, hair loss regrowth, hair removal, skin rejuvenation and anti-aging treatments. Led by Dr. Tran Ngoc Si, a leading esthetic dermatologist from the hospital of Dermatology of HCMC.


Aqua Day Spa Sheraton Saigon, 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 2828 Recently revamped luxury eight-room spa with a holistic approach to treatment, using natural Harnn products plus hot stone therapy and seaweed treatments. Renaissance Riverside Spa 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3822 0033 No-frills Vietnamese, shiatsu and aromatherapy massages plus a room dedicated to foot massages at the atrium level. Also has sizable steam and sauna rooms at the club Xuan Spa Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, D1 Tel: 3824 1234 Beautiful spa with highly rated Swedish massage and water therapy including the unique 60 minutes Vichy shower to soften and smooth skin or the Indian Shirodhara with special oil for 45 minutes. Spa packages aimed at rejuvenation, calming, and hydrating are also available.

BEDSIDE TO BEDSIDE Everything is included and additional family or friends can travel with the patient. We make all the arrangements to include: – Complete full service bedside to bedside – Obtain required medical clearances from the airlines – Coordinate with attending and receiving facilities – Provides medical staffing and equipment as required – All ground transportation


When the medical necessity and cost of a private air ambulance isn‘t necessary and the patient is ambulatory we can provide the assistance of a “medical escort.” Our medical crew will consult with the patient’s Physician(s) then evaluate his/her medical condition as it relates to air travel and advice on the best method of transport.

Trained & experienced medical crew members in Aviation Medicine. − Neonatologist − Pediatrician − Intensive Pediatrician − Emergency Medicine − Cardiologist − Intensivist − NICU Nurse − PICU Nurse − ICU / CCU Nurse − Flight Nurse

All staff and personnel maintain the latest updates to licensing and credentialing in their respective fields. Our medical personnel must have at least five years experience in critical care and maintain current certifications and licensing from Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Aeromedical Transport Department Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital 488 Srinakarin Road. Suanluang Bangkok 10250. Thailand Tel: +66 2 378 9000 Fax: +66 2 731 7044 E-mail:

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DanCenter 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, District 2

Tel: 3840 6974 Children and teenagers from age 4+ can enjoy jazz, ballet, tap, hip hop, acro dance and break dance classes at this professionally run, newly built dance studio. Schedule and news on events available on-line. Helene Kling Painting Offers classes in oil painting to both children and adults for 150,000 VND and 300,000 VND respectively. Classes are paced to suit each student. Briar Jacques Cel: 0122 480 8792 Helping families, individuals, couples, children and teens. Caring and confidential counselling to address issues such as expat adjustment, depression, anxiety and substance abuse. We take a holistic approach to enhance wellbeing on mental, emotional and physical levels. Saigon Pony Club Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, D2 Tel: 0913 733 360 Close to X-rock climbing centre, kids from three and upwards can ride one of the stable’s 16 ponies. Lessons with foriegn teachers last 45 minutes and cost 350,000 VND for kids from age six. Tae Kwondo BP Compound, 720 Thao Dien, D2 and Riverside Villa Compound, Vo Truong Toan, D2 Private and group classes are run after school three times a week by the friendly Mr. Phuc. Anyone over the age of five is welcome to join in the course, which costs USD $50 for 12 classes/month with a $25 fee for non-members. Contact Mr. Phuc directly on 0903 918 149.


Belli Blossom 4F-04 Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5413 7574 Belli Blossom catering to moms and babies with imported brands of maternity and nursing wear and accessories, infant clothes, baby bottles and feeding products, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags, and many others. Brands available include: Mam, Mamaway, Quinny, Maclaren, Debon, Luvable Friends, Gingersnaps. Maman Bebe Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 8724 Stocks an assortment of modern strollers and car seats. Also sells various utensils and practical baby products. Small selection of clothing for ages newborn to 14 years. Me & Be 230 Vo Thi Sau, D3 40 Ton That Tung, D1

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141D Phan Dang Luu, Phu Nhuan 246 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 101-103 Khanh Hoi, D4 287A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan The closest thing to Mothercare the city has to offer. Stocks a substantial range of apparel for babies including bottles and sterilizers, cots (including travel cots), clothing, toys, safety equipment and more, all at reasonable prices. Me Oi 1B Ton That Tung, D1 A small shop adjacent to the maternity hospital bursting at the seams with everything you need for your baby. Clothing, footwear, bottles, nappies, nappy bags and toys all at reasonable prices.


Debenhams Vincom Center, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1 A superb range of unique and beautiful clothing for young children (from newborns to 12 years old) imported brand from UK. High to mid-range prices. DLS Paris 17/5 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A superb range of unique and beautiful clothing for young children (from newborns to pre-school age) at high to midrange prices. The quality compensates for the price. Bedding, baby equipment and furniture and organic and natural supplies also kept in stock. Ninh Khuong 44 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 7456 Well-known hand-embroidered children’s clothing brand using 100% cotton. Newborn to 10 years old (girl) and fourteen years old (boy). Also stocking home linens. Prices are reasonable.


ABC International School 2,1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh Tel: 5431 1833 UK standards-based curriculum awards diploma with IGCSE’s & A Levels certified by Cambridge Universit examinations board. From playgroup to pre-university matriculation. Served by 80+ British teachers. Good facilities and extra-curricular activities. ACG International School East West Highway, An Phu, D2 Tel: 3747 1234 Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG offers comprehensive education from kindergarten to senior high school and a range of extracurricular activities. International curricula (IB PYP and Cambridge International Examinations). The Australian International School Saigon Xi Early Childhood Centre 190 Nguyen Van Huong Thao Dien, D2 Early Childhood & Primary

School Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus 1, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3744 6960 Middle & Senior School East-West Highway,An Phu, D2 Tel: 3742 4040 ext 7119 An international curricula and PYP/MYP candidate school. Senior students follow IGCSE and Cambridge A levels. Only school in Vietnam authorized to deliver University of New South Wales Foundation Studies grade 12 curriculum. Wellresourced classrooms, highly trained and

experienced expatriate teachers, outfitted for academic, sport, creative activities. British International School Primary Campus 43 - 45 Tu Xuong, D3 225 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Secondary Campus 246 Nguyen Van Huong, D2 Tel: 3744 2335 With campuses all over the city and expansion underway, BIS offers a mixture of both English and International curriculabased education alongside excellent facilities and extra-curricular activities. Senior students follow the IGCSE and IB programmes. ERC 86-88-92 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan Tel: 6292 9288 ERC Vietnam is a member of ERCI Singapore. Founded by a group of successful business leaders around Asia Pacific. Our primary objective is to groom and mentor a new generation of business leaders in Vietnam equipped with skills to analyze and solve real-world business challenges of today. German International School 257 Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh Tel: 7300 7247 A bilingual English and German school, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, where children can learn subjects in both languages. The curriculum follows the National Curriculum of Germany, which provides students the assurance they can enter or re-enter the German Education System at any time. Horizon International Bilingual School HCMC 6 Street 44, D2

Te: 5402 2482 The only bilingual international school offering dormitories for their students. Located in the most prestigious area in HCMC offering from kindergarten up to grade 12. The school apply 100% Vietnamese curriculum, MOET as well as an intensive English program. HIBS also has 2 campuses in centre Hanoi. International School HCMC 28 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3898 9100 One of 136 schools around the world to be accredited as an IB World School. Offers all three of the IB programmes from primary through to grade 12. The school is fully accredited by CIS and NEASC and has a strong focus on community spirit and fosters an awareness of other languages and cultures. KinderStar Kindergarten 08 Dang Dai Do, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5411 8118/9 Offering bilingual preschool program with capacity up to 900 students with the most updated international standard. The Little Genius International Kindergarten 102 My Kim, Phu My Hung, D7 Tel: 5421 1052 Kindergarten with U.S.-accredited curriculum, modern facilities and attractive school grounds. Montessori International School International Program 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 Tel: 3744 2639 Bilingual Program 28 Street 19, KP 5, An Phu, D2 Tel: 6281 7675 Montessori utilizes an internationally recognized educational method which

focuses on fostering the child’s natural desire to learn. The aim is to create an encouraging environment conducive to learning by developing a sense of self and individuality. A wide array of curriculum/ extra-curricular activities are on offer including Bilingual programs. Renaissance International School 74 Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Tel: 3773 3171 IB World school, one of Vietnam’s international schools operating within the framework of the British system. RISS provide a high quality English medium education in a stimulating, challenging and supportive environment. The purpose built, modern campus has excellent facilities. RMIT 702 Nguyen Van Linh, D7 Tel: 3776 1369 Australian university located in District 7, offers a highly regarded MBA and undergraduate courses in various fields. Saigon South International School Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5413 0901 An International school environment offering an American/international program in a large, spacious campus, to children from age 3 to grade 12. Great facilities, extra-curricular activities and internationally trained teachers giving unique opportunities to learn. Singapore International School (SIS) No.29, Road No.3, Trung Son Residential Area, Hamlet 4, Binh Hung Ward, Binh Chanh District Tel: 5431 7477 44 Truong Dinh, D3 Tel: 3932 2807 Ground floor, Somerset Chancellor Court, 21 - 23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1. Tel: 3827 2464 The Manor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh. Tel: 3514 3036 Students play and learn in an environment where the best of Western and Eastern cultures amalgamate to prepare KinderWorld’s students for today’s challenging world drawn from both the Singapore and Australian curriculum. The school offers International Certifications such as the iPSLE, IGCSE and GAC.


Gymboree Play & Music Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3827 7008 The Gymboree Play & Music offers children from newborn to 5 years old the opportunity to explore, learn and play in an innovative parent-child programmes.


Beatrice’s Party Shop 235 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A lovely little shop selling everything you need to throw your little ones a good party. A catalogue of entertainers showcases a number of party favourites such as magicians, circuses and more. Nguyen Ngoc Diem Phuong 131C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 A curious shop stocking a range of handmade fancy dress costumes such as masks, superman outfits and much more. The stock changes seasonally, so this is a good place to stock up on Halloween, Christmas and other holiday-specific party costumes. The Balloon Man Tel: 3990 3560 Does exactly as his name suggests – balloons. Great service has earned this chap a reputation around town for turning up almost instantly with a superb selection of balloons. Also provides helium balloons. almost instantly with a superb selection of balloons. Also provides helium balloons.

Join our IB World School today Call or email us for an application pack or a personal tour of the Kindergarten, Primary and Secondary School ACG International School Vietnam offers: s ANAuthoriseDINterNAtioNALedUCAtioNfoRSTUdeNTSofALLNAtioNALItIES s KindergArteNtoYEARSchoOLINGoNoNESTAtEofTHEArTCAMPUS s WorLD cLASSLEArNINGANDSPortINGFACILItIES s ANAdvANceD)4enviroNMeNTtOINSPIrEANDeNHANcELEArNINGOutcoMES s ConvenieNTANDquicKAccESStODistricTvIA4hU4hieM4unneL

Phone: +84 (0)8 3747 1234 | Email:

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AmCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 323 Tel: 3824 3562 AusCham TV Building, Suite 1A, 31A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3911 0272 / 73 / 74 British Business Group of Vietnam 25 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 8430 CanCham New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 305 Tel: 3824 3754 Citi Bank 115 Nguyen Hue St, D1 Tel: 3824 2118 Citibank Vietnam offers a wide range of banking services to both consumer and corpo-rate. Services include Corporate and Investment Banking, Global Transaction Services, and Consumer Banking. In Vietnam for 15 years, Citibank has a presence in both HCMC and Hanoi. Eurocham 257 Hoang Van Thu, Tan Binh Tel: 3845 5528 German Business Group 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Singapore Business Group Unit 1B2, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3823 3046 Swiss Business Association 42 Giang Van Minh, Anh Phu, D2 Tel: 3744 6996 Fax: 3744 6990 Email: Hong Kong Business Association New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Business Centre, Room 322 Tel: 3824 3757 / 3822 8888 NordCham Bitexco Building, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3821 5423


Hung Hai 75 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1 A good place to purchase hard-to-find gear and some rare equipment, mainly auto focus lenses. Le Duc 5B Huynh Tinh Cua, D3 A shop for all your professional accessory needs. From lighting equipment to tripods and reflectors, the shop offers the best equipment and service in HCM City.

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Pham The 11 Le Cong Kieu, D1 An authorized service centre for Nikon camera that also specializes in repairing all camera makes. Measurement equipment and spare parts also available.


Shop 46 46 Nguyen Hue, D1 Small shop run by photographer and collector. The owner’s more collectible pieces are pricey, but entry-level manual focus SLRs from the 70s and 80s are affordable.


Computer Street Luong Huu Khanh, D1 between Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Nguyen Trai This stretch of District 1 is literally wall to wall with small shops selling computers, printers, monitors and everything computer related, more so toward the NTMK end of the drag. iCenter 142A Vo Thi Sau, D3 Tel: 3820 3918 Professional, polished Apple retailer and repair centre with an attractive showroom featuring some of the latest in accessories and audio. English-speakers on staff. Honours Apple service plans. Future World 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Authorized reseller of Apple computers and products, as well as some off-brand items like headphones. Excellent service and English-speaking staff. Accepts credit cards. Phong Vu Computer 264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3933 0762 The biggest and busiest of the PC stores in town. Known for good, efficient service, in-house maintenance and aftersales repair on the second floor. SYS Vi Tinh Saigon 96C Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 A superb place with an excellent reputation for after-sales service with competent English speaking staff and a wide range of products and services. Freeware and shareware also available on the store website.


Concetti 33 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1 Tel: 3911 1480 Consulting and research company for technology transfer and investment. Embers-Asia Ltd. Level 9, Nam Giao Building, 80-8 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan Tel: 3995 9163 With a focus on experiential learning, Embers-Asia has been creating and delivering high-performance training and development solutions for corporations, embassies, international schools and NGOs throughout Southeast Asia since 2002. Ernst & Young Saigon Riverside Office Center, 2A-4A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3824 5252 Professional service firm specializing in advisory, assurance, tax, transactions and strategic growth markets. Flamingo Corporate Services Tel: 2217 1662 Email: Specializes in business immigration, providing services like visas, work and resident permits, police clearance, APEC cards, authentication and legalization of work experience certificates and degrees in Vietnam and abroad.

Math and the Financial Crisis By Shane Dillon David X Li might not be known to many of you but his work is often blamed with being one of the main causes of the global financial crisis. Mr Li, a Chinese born quantitative analyst and qualified actuary, pioneered the use of the ‘Gaussian Copula Model’ for the pricing of collateralized debt obligation, or CDOs, in the early 2000s. The Financial Times once called him, “The world’s most influential actuary”. He was also once a favourite for a Nobel Prize nomination, but in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis his model was called “a recipe for disaster”. Investors had once been limited by the sheer complexity involved in calculating risk. But Li's formula allowed them to bundle dozens of bonds together into giant, pulsing money piles called collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). With his magical formula bankers could convince themselves and their clients that their money was safe. Li's breakthrough made it possible for investors to bet more money faster and with less ‘thought’ than ever before. In layman’s terms, he proposed there is a relationship between two different but related events, i.e. ‘House A’ defaulting and ‘House B’ defaulting are measurable using

correlation. While under some scenarios (such as real estate) this correlation appeared to work most of the time, the underlying problem is that past history ultimately could not predict the future. With the rush of money entering this market, more mortgage brokers started making more loans borrowers with less than perfect credit scores and the institutional lenders could keep mitigating the risks on their balance sheets by using his formulas. The dollar amounts are impossible to comprehend. Prior to Li's formula, the market had US $275 billion invested into CDOs. By 2006, speculation in this market had increased to US $4.7 trillion. Credit default swaps, essentially ‘bets’ that a company would be able to pay back its loan, grew from US $920 billion to US $62 trillion. Li himself apparently understood the fallacy of his model. In 2005 he said, "Very few people understand the essence of the model."  Kai Gilkes of CreditSights says, "Li can't be blamed, although he invented the model, it was the bankers who misinterpreted and misused it.” Shane Dillon is a partner at Total Wealth Management. He welcomes your questions or comments at

Grant Thornton Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 9100 International business advisors specializing in auditing, management consulting, corporate finance, risk management and information technology. IF Consulting IBC Building, 3rd Floor 1A Me Linh Square, D1 4th Floor, 5 Ba Trieu Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: 3827 7362 Fax: 3827 7361 Email: Private insurance and finance. Indochine Councel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 Business law firm specializing in legal services to corporate clients in relation to their business and investment in Vietnam. Inspired Image 42/2A Ho Hao Hon, D1 Tel: 091 635 2573 Image consultant and personal stylist. Previous clients include business leaders, TV presenters and busy professionals.

a full range of IP services including patent and trade mark agency services. Star Management Limited 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3897 2765 Business advisory services for companies investing in Vietnam, business project advancement and a range of business development services. TMF Vietnam Company Limited Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 3910 2262 ext. 113 Fax: 3910 0590 With headquarters in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, TMF Vietnam specializes in accounting outsourcing and consulting. PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLANNING

Total Wealth Management 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3 Tel: 3820 0623 Specialists in selecting and arranging tax-efficient savings and pension plans for expatriates. Offers councel on private banking services, wealth protection in offshore jurisdictions, currency risks and hedging strategies.

International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV) The International Management Initiative for Vietnam (IMIV), a non-profit initiative within VinaCapital Foundation that promotes excellence in business leadership and management by bringing to Vietnam proven international executive education and professional development programmes.

Towers Watson Vietnam (formerly Watson Wyatt and SMART HR) Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Suite 808, D1 Tel: 3821 9488 Global HR consulting firm specializing in executive compensation, talent management, employee rewards and surveys, HR effectiveness and technology, data services and total rewards surveys.

Phuong Nguyen Consulting TPC Business Center, 92-96 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3829 2391 Specializing in business facilitation, conferences, education counselling, market-entry research and IT/business consulting.

Antique Street Le Cong Kieu Street, D1 between Nguyen Thai Binh and Pho Duc Chinh A variety of antiques and faux antiques from Thailand, China and Vietnam including silverware, compasses, lighters, brass knockers, urns, vases, abacuses, religious and pagan statues, candlestick holders, furniture and watches.

Prism Information Technology Services Level 4, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3829 6416 A foreign-owned information and communications technology company that offers value-added IT solutions. Enables local businesses to attain and maintain international IT standards to be more competitive in the marketplace. Rouse & Co. International Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 Tel: 3823 6770 Global intellectual property firm providing

Chieu Stock up on shower heads, kitchen supplies (juicer, spatula, grater, etc.), coat racks, clothes hangers, pots, pans, champagne flutes, bowls, coolers, trash bins, ironing boards, magazine racks and the like. Chau Loan 213 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3825 7991 Gallery based in a colonial shophouse stocking mainly Vietnamese-themed oil paintings and images of Buddha. Also deals in better-known reproductions. Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide-range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures.

Custom design services available upon request. Dogma 175 De Tham, D1 Tel: 3836 0488 Located upstairs from Saigon Kitsch, this art gallery deals in Vietnamese propaganda posters, apparel, accessories and random paraphernalia. Large prints are sold at USD $60 each and small prints cost $25. Mekong-Quilts 64 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3914 2119 NGO enterprise specializes in quilts and sells a range of appealing handmade products created by underprivileged women in Binh Thuan Province. Mekong Creations 64 Ngo Duc Ke, D1


Asian Fish 34 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Boutique-style arts and crafts store selling locally made gifts and souvenirs, all designed by the Japanese owner. Products include clothing, bags, crockery, sandals, chopsticks and jewellery. Aquarium Street Nguyen Thong Street, D3 between Vo Thi Sau and Ly Chinh Thang Dedicated street has everything one needs to display fish: tanks, decor, feed, filters and the fish themselves. Budget Housewares Street Corner of Pasteur and Nguyen Dinh

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Tel: 3914 2119 NGO enterprise specializes in quilts and sells a range of appealing handmade products created by underprivileged women in Binh Thuan Province. Minh Boutique 15 Nguyen Thiep, D1 Lacquerware pieces, tea boxes, teapot warmers, ice buckets and sake drinking sets all handmade in Vietnam. Also sells a range of silverware, egg holders and ice tongs. OUT-2 STUDIO L6 Fafilm annex 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 3825 6056 Studio space for independent designers to showcas their wares, sell their work and meet with clients. Open Monday t Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. Phuong Mai 213C Dong Khoi Gallery specializing in original oils by Vietnamese artists. The works here are a mish-mash of styles but do contain some standouts, particularly well-known local artists La Hon, Quy Tam and Pham Trinh.

Don’t Burn Bridges By Gary Woollacott There's a saying about being nice to people on the way up, as you may see them again on the way down. I was reminded of this the other day when a resume came in from an expat being sent home – of course he wanted to stay. When this happens some people's first thoughts are, 'Who can help me stay?’ and 'who can find me a job?' Well, I guess that's where we start being useful. The problem is that so often these are the people who have been hard to reach beforehand. Perhaps we've met at a networking event and discussed business; it's normal for us to follow up and request a meeting but sometimes they just disappear. 'He's in a meeting, he'll call back.' 'She's on a conference call; don't know when it will finish.' Or a business trip. We’ve heard them all. Try as we might, they are impossible to get hold of – until they need our help. Then we are their new best friends and they are falling over themselves to meet us. It's really quite funny. Someone who has been in meetings for three years (some meetings are very long) is now completely free to discuss their career options with us. The problem is that it doesn't really work that way. Everyone expects to be

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treated with respect and we executive search consultants are no different. We value those people who are accessible and straightforward and don't waste our time – an honest response is always appreciated, even if it's a negative one. Someone who ignored us now wants our help urgently: what would you do? If you are a senior manager at a large corporation your world could be turned upside down by any number of factors. The most common are restructuring or a merger. Then you might want a frank discussion about escape routes if the worst should happen and you are retrenched, or sent home. Keep that in mind the next time you get a call from someone who seeks to develop a business relationship. You might not need it now but don't burn bridges, you never know when you will need to turn around and cross one. As usual, let me know if you have any particular topic you would like to see covered here. Gary Woollacott is the CEO of Opus executive search in Vietnam and Thailand. He can be reached at +84 8 3827 8209 or via Opus is a partner of Horton International.

Sapa 125 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Offers a better selection of hill tribe handicrafts than most of its rivals. Concentrates mainly on the hand-woven clothing of the indigenous tribespeople of the region. There is also a line in ladies’ shoes and the standard range of silk wraps and bags. Unity 12 Dang Tran Con, D1 Tel: 3823 9375 Located opposite Galaxy cinema, Unity offers accessories that are designed to seamlessly blend in with your life. Familiar basics are given a contemporary update with the use of modern, alternative materials like silicone, rubber, and brushed aluminum. From orbital lamps and eggshell-white china, to wire-clasped water bottles, each individual piece complements the others in the collection to give your home a sense of Unity.


Hi End Audio 84 Ho Tung Mau, D1 A standout that stocks the very latest and greatest in home entertainment. Retails in everything from giant plasmascreen TVs to audio equipment. Most top brands are available. iDEAS Shopping Centre 133-141AB Cach Mang Thang Tam, D3 The largest of the electonics stores along the street, the three-storey iDEAS sells every type of electronic and home appliance imaginable. Offers proper warranties. Staff speaks some English. Nguyen Kim Shopping Centre 63-65 Tran Hung Dao, D1 Tel: 3821 1211 Stocks DVD/CD players, cameras, TVs, hi-fis and more from Sony, Sanyo, Panasonic, Philips and other major manufacturers. Also a good place to pick up electronic kitchen supplies like coffee makers and rice cookers, as well as large and small appliances, from hot water heaters to regrigerators. Phong Vu 125 Cach Mang Thang Tam, D1 Tel: 6290 8777 Two-storey electronics store retails in international products conveniently grouped by brand. Carries computers, home audio, printers, hard drives and

more, as well as a variety of mobile phones, handheld electronic devices and accessories. Savico 117 Ho Tung Mau, D1 Tel: 3821 7993 One-stop electronics and home appliance superstore. All products have a one to three-year warranty. Tech Street Huynh Thuc Khang Street between Ton That Dam and Nguyen Hue, D1 Sells compact discs, DVDs, electronic money counters, video games and systems, Discmans, mp3 players and portable DVD players.


Appeal 41 Ton That Thiep, D1 Tel: 3821 5258 A small, upscale shop that offers modern accents for the sleek dining room. The colours of the over-sized vases and fruit bowls are either glistening red or lacquered black. AustinHome 20 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 3519 0023 Outstanding quality and style for your home. The shop says its products are hand-picked by an American furniture expert from the best factories in Vietnam. Upholstery, accessories, antiques and more. Catherine Denoual 15C Thi Sach, D1 Tel: 3823 9394 Beautiful showroom with clean lines and a sumptuous array of bedroom products including bedside lamps, linens, pillowcases and duvet covers. Decosy 112 Xuan Thuy, D2 Tel: 6281 9917 Producer of a large selection of European styled furniture and interior fittings, specializing in wrought iron and patine (distressed) wood finishes. Also stocks a wide-range of decorative accessories, crockery and fixtures. Custom design services available upon request. Esthetic 11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3514 7371/7372 Fax: 3514 7370 Design and manufacture as order with a mixture of antique and modern furniture. Friendly staff speak excellent English. Furniture Outlet 3A Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 2243 7955/3911 0104 Wide selection of well-crafted and carefully constructed pine wood pieces at good prices, aimed at customers craving a taste of Europe. Furniture Street Ngo Gia Tu, D10 between Ly Thai To and Nguyen Chi Thanh Very affordable furniture can be found on this stretch: couches, mattresses, desks, chairs, etc. It often takes some looking to find a gem. A connected sidestreet, Ba Hat, features woodworkers’ shops. Gaya 1 Nguyen Van Trang, D1 Tel: 3925 1495 Four-floor store featuring the work of foreign designers: home accessories and outdoor furniture by Lawson Johnston, linens by Corinne Leveilley-Dadda, furniture and lighting by Quasar Khanh, laquerware decor by Michele De Albert and furniture and decor by vivekkevin.

LINH‘S WHITE 37 Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 6281 9863 Furniture shop that focuses on solid wood furniture and decorative items ranging from pillows and lamps to

bedding. Also offers kids’ furniture and custom pieces. Rare Decor 41 Hai Ba Trung, D1 Tel: 3822 2284 137/1 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: 3840 6304/5 Leading home furnishings company in Vietnam, supplying high quality, unique products. Also offer custom made furniture, accessories and lighting for commercial projects and home use. Remix Deco 222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 Tel: 3930 4190 Boutique furniture store in sprawling white with modern furniture including sofas, tables and seating from around the world. Featured designers include Le Corbusier, Ray & Charles Eames, Philippe Starck and Ludwig Mies Van der Rhode. The Furniture Warehouse 3B Ton Duc Thang, D1 Tel: 6657 0788, ttpnam@ Offers a range of reasonably priced Italian, European and French colonial sofas, indoor/outdoor wooden furniture, lighting and interior décor, as well as custom designs based on clients’ specifications. The Lost Art 31 Nguyen Cong Tru, D1 Tel: 3829 0134 Extensive product range as well as comprehensive interior design service, from initial conceptualization to design, manufacture and installation of unique products. Tran Duc Homes 47-49-51 Phung Khac Khoan, D1 Tel: 7300 0777 B2-25, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9700 Wood solutions partner for high-end residential and resort projects. Experienced in manufacturing and installing wooden modular housing, interior fittings and contemporary indoor and outdoor furniture.


Allens Arthur Robinson Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 Australian law firm for law translation services and legal advice on foreign investment and business in Vietnam. Baker & McKenzie Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3829 5585 International law firm providing on-theground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in Vietnam.

Frasers International Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3824 2733 Full service commercial law firm providing international and Vietnamese legal advice to both foreign and local clients specializing in transactions in Vietnam. Indochine Counsel Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3823 9640 Business law practitioners specializing in mergers & acquistions, inward investment, and securities & capital markets. Limcharoen, Hughes and Glanville Havana Tower, 132 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 6291 7000 Full service international law firm with head office in Thailand. Main focus on real estate in Asia. Lucy Wayne & Associates Law firm providing legal services across the board from entertainment and environmental law to health care and real estate. Phillips Fox Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3822 1717 Full service law firm providing legal services in healthcare, education, crime, banking and hospitality among others. Pricewaterhousecoopers Legal Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, D1 Tel: 3823 0796 Part of a network of international legal and financial advisors, PWC gives both specialist and general legal advice with a focus on mutli-territory projects. Rödl & Partner Somerset Chancellor Court 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 Tel: 3824 4225 European legal firm assisting foreign investors with structuring/establishing companies, investment projects, and mergers & acquistions.


Luxury Light 1483 My Toan 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, D7 For those who really want to bring a touch of luxury to their homes, this place deals with Italian imported lighting from the ultra - modern to the traditional Murano style chandeliers. Extremely expensive reflecting the quality of the design and workmanship. Mosaique 98 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 One of the best and most diverse selections of lamps in town with everything

112 Xuan Thuy Ward Thao Dien District 2 Ho Chi Minh City Tel/Fax. (+84) 8 62.819.917

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from the ordinary decorative lotus silk lamp to more inventive and original designs in lacquer and silk.


Bike City 480D Nguyen Thi Thap, D7 Luxury motorcycle shop carries a range of accessories, including apparel. Sells Vemar helmets, a brand that passes rigorous European Union standards. Protec Helmets 18bis/3A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 248C Phan Dinh Phung, Phu Nhuan 417B Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 American nonprofit manufacturer makes helmets with densely compressed polystyrene shell with ABS, PVC or fiberglass exterior, available with polycarbonate shatter-proof shield. Options for kids. Zeus Helmets Founded in Taiwan to manufacture cool, comfortable helmets that meet worldwide safety standards. Basic models feature thermo-injected shells constructed from lightweight ABS composite with interiors lined with moisture-absorbant brushed nylon.

Ties That Bind By Brett Davis Given southern Vietnam’s steamy climate, I have always thought it to be one of the greater sartorial injustices that male English teachers are almost all required to wear a tie in class. There are of course people in other professions who wear ties, yet in the business and professional spheres it somehow seems more appropriate. This probably explains why I have come across many teachers with less than impressive neckwear. After all, if you are mainly interacting with a classroom full of screaming kids or bored teenagers, who the hell cares about what tie you wear? A fair enough call, but remember that appearances do count in the workplace, and even if the students could care less, your presentation will have an impact on how your colleagues and, more importantly, management, will view you. Firstly, you need to think about tie colour and patterns and how these will suit the clothing you wear. Obviously bolder colours will draw more attention, while going for something subdued will look a little more restrained. The red tie, for instance, is known as ‘the power tie’ for a reason. Next time you are watching the news take notice of how often you see world leaders doing the dark suit/white shirt/ red tie combo. If you want to move from a solid colour tie to something with a stripe or pattern, just make sure the colours in

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the tie actually complement each other and do not clash with whatever else you are wearing. I think pattern ties are fine if the pattern is fairly small and subtle. Likewise, it is hard to go wrong with a nice diagonal stripe (also known as a regimental style) to stand out a little more but still look professional. Also take care when matching the tie to your shirt. This is not an issue if you have on a plain white shirt as any tie will work, but if you are sporting coloured or striped shirts it gets a little more complicated. As a rule of thumb, you want to make sure there is a clear distinction between the colour of your shirt and tie, and don’t combine stripes of a similar width. Now that you have gone to the effort of choosing the right tie, you should really learn how to make a classic tie knot. This means learning to do a Windsor or half-Windsor knot. They look strong, symmetrical and are not really that hard to do. There are plenty of excellent instructional videos online. The most popular tie knot is the four-in-hand or schoolboy knot. We all know this one because, well, it was how we did our ties as school kids. They never seem to sit quite right so perhaps it is time to try a more mature knot. Oh yes, and I should mention that if you wear novelty ties or a bowties (unless it is part of a tuxedo) you deserve to be ridiculed in the street. Enough said.


CB Richard Ellis Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 Tel: 3824 6125 International property consultants and developers with both commercial and private properties for sale, lease and rent. Diamond Plaza 34 Le Duan Street Tel: 3822 1922 Located in the heart of District 1, connected to Diamond PLaza. Services 1- to 4-bedroom apartments with gym, swimming pool and panoramic views of the city. InterContinental Asiana Saigon Residences Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Nguyen Du, D1 Tel: 3520 8888 Contemporary residential space in the heart of the major business and cultural area in District 1. There are 260 one, two or three-bedroom units plus health club and outdoor swimming pool. Namhouse Corporation 48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, D2 Tel: 0989 007 700, 0989 115 511 Provides rental properties, construction services and interior decorating. Supports professional services and after-sales. Riverside Apartments 53 Vo Truong Toan, D2 Tel: 3744 4111 One of the first luxury serviced apartments in town located next to the Saigon River set in lush tropical gardens. Savills Viet Nam Level 18, Fideco Tower, 81-85 Ham Nghi, D1 Tel: 823 9205 Savills Viet Nam is a property service provider that has been established in Vietnam since 1995 offering research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, retail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and more. Sherwood Residence 127 Pasteur St., D3 Tel: 3823 2288 Fax: 3823 9880 Hotline: 0917470058 Sherwood Residence is a luxury serviced apartment property and the first property certified by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism. Modern living spaces meet prime location, comfort and class with 5-star facilities and service. Snap Tel: 0989 816 676 Online Real Estate service providing information on rental properties exclusively in District 2. Full listings online.


HR2B / Talent Recruitment JSC Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3930 8800 HR consulting advises businesses on how to improve employee productivity. The search team specializes in matching senior level Vietnamese professionals and managers to top level opportunities in both major cities. Opus Vietnam 2A Rolanno Offices, 128 Nguyen Phi Khanh, D1 Tel: 3827 8209 Established in HCMC in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. An Associate of Horton International, one of the world’s leading search groups with over 30 offices worldwide. For more info contact


Allied Pickfords Satra Building, Room 202, 58 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 08 3823 3454 Kevin.hamilton@alliedpickfords. Moving and relocating services company specializing in business and office moves. Overseas and specialist movers also available. Crown Worldwide Movers 48A Huynh Man Dat, Binh Thanh

Tel: 3823 4127 International moving company serving diplomats and private customers, employees and expats, providing domestic and iternational transportation of household, office and industrial goods. Santa Fe Relocation Services Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, D3 Tel: 3933 0065 Provides a range of services including home/school search, language/ cultural training, tenancy management and immigration/visa support.

STATIONERY Fahasa 40 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 3822 5796 Bookstore chain carries an expansive stock of office and home stationary; a one-stop shop for basic needs. Pi-Channel 45B Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3822 0253 Boutique shop carries up-market collections of pens and notepads, as well as desktop organisers, clocks, calendars and frames. Corporate services offered.



Accessorize Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Fashion-forward accessories including necklaces, handbags, wallets, flip-flops, sunglasses, hair accessories, belts and more. Alfred Dunhill Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 A timeless style in male luxury providing formal and casual mens accesories tailored for the discerning man. Also stocking handcrafted leather goods. Anupa Boutique 17/27 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3825 7307 The ever-changing boutique retails in the elegant design of anupa accessories made from high-quality leather. Collections available range from men, women, executive, travel, spa, yoga, board games, boxes and semi-precious stone jewellery. Collection changes on weekly basis. Also carries toys, stationery, Unitdot Bamboo eye wear, Ella Charlotte scarves and ladies' apparel brand Things of Substance. Bally Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Flagship store in the Rex Hotel providing luxury Italian-made accessories for men. Among these are shoes, belts, wallets and a collection of male jewellery. Banana 128 Ly Tu Trong, D1 Women’s accessories and more, from bags, clutches and belts to clothes and jewellery, all at reasonable prices. Cartier Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan This well-known designer brand displays a wide range of accessories for men. Famous for its watches, Cartier also stocks pens, key rings, belts and sunglasses. Cincinati 177P Dong Khoi, D1 Vietnamese brand of genuine leather bags, shoes, accessories and personal goods for men and women: notebooks for a classic vagabond look. Quality leather from crocodile, horse, snake and fish made by local craftsmanship. Cleo-Pearls 30 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, D2 Tel: 091 3587 690 Jewellery designer Birgit Maier operates Cleo-Pearls from her home, specializing in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, key holders and bag accessories. All pieces created with gemstones, fresh water pearls and beads. Coconut 100 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Bags of all shapes and sizes rule the roost in this small shop. Made of silk and embroidered to the brim, these unique

bags start at about USD $30, and many are suitable for both day and night. Creation 105 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 5429 A two-storey shop selling scarves, intricate handbags (from USD $30), tailormade silk dresses and tops. Has a wide range of materials on the second floor. Gallery vivekkevin FAFILM Building, 6 Thai Van Lung, D1 Tel: 6291 3709 Handcrafted pendants, necklaces, rings and bracelets. The gallery’s focus is on design, craftsmanship and finish, as well as educating clients on the intricacies of each piece. Gucci 88 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 6688 Located on the main shopping street in HCMC, this flagship store brings Florentine fashion to an array of luxury leather goods such as briefcases, luggage and a selection of men’s shoes for office or more casual occasions. Ipa-Nima 71 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 3652 77 Dong Khoi, D1 Well-known Hanoi-based fashion brand. Founder Christina Yu is a former lawyer turned designer who produces eclectic and eye-catching handbags. Also stocks costume jewellery and shoes. J. Silver 803 Nguyen Van Linh Parkway, D7 Tel: 5411 1188 Make a statement without being ostentatious with handcrafted silver jewellery from the boutique store. Expect big, interesting pieces that are simple yet glamorous. Laura V Signature 11 Dong Du, D1 Tel: 7304 4126 Vintage designs aplenty with everything from jewellery and hair accessories to funky styled sunglasses, umbrellas and colourful maxi dresses. Louis Vuitton Opera View, 161 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3827 6318 Designer brand name housing traditional craftsmanship of luxury leather goods for men and women. An array of bags, wallets, cuff links and watches are available. Mai O Mai 4C Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3829 4007 A superb little place with beautiful jewellery and accessories to suit all budgets. Silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and more in both classic and imaginative designs, as well as gorgeous handembroidered bags. Mont Blanc Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Notable for fine writing instruments, Mont Blanc also houses cuff links and other male accessories

Rimowa Level 2 OperaView Tower, 161 Dong Khoi, D1 Tel: 3832 6941 The German luggage maker is popular with a who’s who of the celebrity world. Their range of cases come in varying sizes and are made from high-tech materials to provide exceptional durability while remaining very light weight. Scorpion Vincom Center B1, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9889 Selling high-end leather products for both men and women, including shoes, handbags, belts and other accessories.

femme fashion

Features a variety of leather in bright colors and styles. Tic Tac Watch Shop 72 Dong Khoi Tel: 0838 293519 Elegant show room displaying some of the world’s most recognized Swiss brands such as Rolex, Tag Huer, Baume & Marcer, Omega and Hirsch. On-site watch repair service and complementary watch evaluation available. Also carries a small collection of vintage Rolexes. Tombo 145 Dong Khoi, D1 Of all the embroidered and sequined bags, shoes and tidbits (or “Zakka” shops) that can be found in Dong Khoi, this shop’s has products that are prettier than most. Shoes can be custom-made and the sales staff is friendly.

Style Icon By DB Khoi What makes a style icon? Is it simply how they dress, how they carry themselves or something a little more indefinable? Because ‘style’ is such a subjective term, what one finds stylish may be a total disaster to someone else. Just ask Bjork about her swan dress or look at Celine Dion and that infamous Christian Dior reversed suit she wore to the 1999 Academy Awards. When we think of traditional style icons, we usually think of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Coco Chanel or Jacqueline Kennedy. These women were sophisticated, graceful, poised and most importantly, rich. There was no such thing as ‘stylists’, couturiers were your designers and stylists, and they certainly didn’t come cheap. A modern day style icon to me isn’t always about couture or even about fashion. It’s how a person carries themselves in any outfit, drab or spectacular that makes them an icon. They are confident in their own skin, always evolving and there’s that glimmer in their eyes that tells us they know something the rest of us have yet to understand. It is innate thus always natural, never put on. But in this day and age of internet fashion blogs and celebrity stylists, how do you differentiate between a stylized personality and a true style icon? Who is a product of their management team and who is really worthy of the term ‘Style Icon’? Below is my list of three celebrities worthy (or becoming worthy) of the title:

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Victoria Beckham The former Posh has grown into her moniker in recent years with her critically praised fashion line and personal style that’s captured the attention of the world many years past the Spice phenomena. Although always impeccably polished, Beckham contrasts her stiff style with the candidly wicked sense of humour of a woman confident in her style but not taking herself too seriously. Once just a spoilt footballer’s wife, this lady is fast becoming a style icon to reckon with. Kanye West Sure, Diddy may have bespoked the average rapper/ musician but West brought real fashion influence to the masses in the form of Louis Vuitton collaborations and shutter shades. Love him or hate him, West has changed the way a man thinks about fashion and through his style choices have single handedly broken many gay stereotypes on how a straight man should or shouldn’t dress. Gillian Zinser Most well known for her role as Ivy Sullivan on 90210, Ms Zinser has caught a lot of attention through her bohemian, thrift-shop-girl style. Although a New York native, Zinser displays a surprisingly Californian beach girl aesthetic, mix and matching flea market items with couture effortlessly and with so much suave you’d think she was a Clooney. This girl is a mustwatch in the years to come!

Umbrella 35 Ly Tu Trong, D1 and 4 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 6276 2730 Sophisticated boutique showcasing a diverse range of imported women’s accessories. Also houses women’s garments from office wear to cocktail and party creations.


Roxy and Quiksilver Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 The original active living and extreme sports brands, Roxy and Quiksilver products combine form and function. Choose from outdoor gear to cool indoor clothes. TBS Sports Centre 102 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan This store stocks a range of good sports clothes and equipment from big name brands such as Puma, Adidas, Ecco, Nike and Converse. Volcom Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Chic and funky ladies’ apparel brand from America. Lots of tank tops, minis and shorts for day tripping with girlfriends or lazing on the beach.


BAM Skate Shop 174 Bui Vien, D1 Tel: 0903 641 826 In addition to a range of decks, wheels and trucks, this small shop is stocked with bookbags, skate sneakers, track jackets and t-shirts emblazoned with your skateboard company of choice. FCUK 127 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3914 7740 Trendy UK brand with a selection of fashion-forward dresses for women and smart workwear and funky casual wear for men, all at middle-market prices. L’Usine 151/1 Dong Khoi, D1 Lifestyle store and cafe housed in a period building restored to evoke the aesthetic of an early 20th-century garment factory. Carries an exclusive, frequently refreshed line of imported men’s and women’s fashion, including T-shirts and footwear, and a range of unique accessories. Entrance via the street-level Art Arcade. Replay Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 116 Nguyen Trai, D1 187 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3925 0252 Wide variety of shoes, clothing, denim for teens and university-age men and women. Carries boots, sandals, pumps and sneakers at mid-range prices.

Runway Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Tel: 3993 9988 Massive and minimalist design-led interior lets ultra high-end designer garments stand out. Carries men's, women's and children’s clothing, swimwear, shoes, accessories along with home décor. Brands include Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Balenciaga, Sergio Rossi and Eres. Versace 26 Dong Khoi Designer brand in men’s formal wear. Houses suit jackets and trousers, shirts as well as an array of men’s accessories. Also stocks womens clothing and shoes.


Lucas 69A Ly Tu Trong, D1 Tel: 3827 9670 Fashion store housing contemporary designs in casual, office and evening wear imported from Hong Kong. Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212 Bespoke menswear shop also boasts its own brand of contemporary preppy attire tailored for the tropics. Carries a line of European-quality shoes, bags and accessories designed in-house, as well as exclusive Orobianco unisex bags, designer fragrances and eyewear. Mattre 19 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 3412 This local men’s clothes shop has some funky tops and jeans for more fashionforward males. Apparel in sizes that fit the typical Western man’s frame are often available. Milano Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi A conjoining shop with D&G offering a selection of men’s shoes and accessories with a sideline in women’s clothing. D&G provides a collection of menswear, from casual jeans and T-shirts to uniquely designed suit jackets. Timberland Parkson Plaza, 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Sells everything the brand is known for, from heavy-duty boots to tops and trousers that are both smart and casual. The emphasis is on muted tones and unobtrusive logos for men who don’t like to show off.


Axara Vincom Center B1, 70 - 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 21 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3993 9399 Carries women’s clothing suitable for work, weekends or evening. Luxurious fabrics and simple cuts and styles all at reasonable prices. Also carries handbags and accessories. Balenciaga Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue Tel: 6291 3572 Sporting modern shapes and elegant items crafted from natural, raw and artificial materials. BCBGMAXAZRIA Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 American brand sells women’s day dresses and tops, evening gowns and wear-to-work attire in many prints and colours. Also carries a small selection of accessories, sunglasses and watches. Bebe Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3914 4011 An international brand that specializes

in contemporary, modern tees and sexy, elegant dresse, tops and party attire. Chloe Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue, D1 Tel: 6291 3582 Parisian-influenced fashion house specializes in simple, traditional designs with a feminine and fashionable twist. Jeans, satin dresses and a wide array of accessories are on display. Gaya 1 Nguyen Van Trang, D1 Tel: 3925 1495 Carries a range of couture and pret-aporter garments and silk and organza dresses in vibrant colours created by Cambodia-based designer Romyda Keth. Geisha Boutique 85 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3829 4004 Facebook: Geisha Boutique Australian fashion label offering a contemporary range of casual and evening wear with an Asian influence. Printed tees, singlets, shorts, skirts, jeans, summer scarves, dresses, silk camisoles and satin maxi dresses. Kookai Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi French brand stocking classic, feminine, styles with a twist. Gypsy day dresses and classic little black dresses at mid- to high-range prices are perfect for twenty- and thirty-something women. La Senza 47B–47C Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 3925 1700 65 Le Loi, Saigon Centre, D1 Tel: 3914 4328 Boutique carrying a wide range of bras, panties, pyjamas, accessories and lounge wear. Mango 96 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 Tel: 3824 6624 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 A favourite with fashion-conscious women, this mid-range store stocks clothes from simple tees and jeans to evening wear. Marc Jacobs Rex Hotel, 155 Nguyen Hue , D1 Tel: 6291 3580 This spacious shop with high-ceilings carries up-market clothes, shoes and accessories from the internationally recognized designer brand. Song Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 76D Le Thanh Ton Offers women’s fashion designs by

Valerie Gregori McKenzie, including evening dress, tops and hats. Valenciani Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 Tel: 3821 2788 66-68 Nguyen Trai, D1 Tel: 7302 4688 Homegrown luxury boutique carries silk dresses, velvet corsets, chiffon shawls and a range of accessories, all designed in-house.


Charles & Keith 10 Mac Thi Buoi, 18-20 Nguyen Trai Tel: 3925 1132 Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 Singapore brand housing youthful and trendy shoes of a contemporary, high fashion design. Converse 186 Hai Ba Trung, D1 148 Nguyen Trai, D1 122 Ba Thang Hai, D10 Tel: 3827 5584 Sells iconic Chuck Taylor, Jack Purcell and All-Star sneakers and Converse brand clothing and accessories. Also at department stores around HCMC. Dr. Marten’s 173 Hai Ba Trung, D3 Tel: 3822 4710 Air Wair sandals and shoes here feature the classic yellow stitching and chunky rubber soles. Also stocked with clothes and accessories by Replay and Kappa tracksuit tops. Sergio Rossi 146AB Pasteur, D1 Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, D1 World-renowned Italian brand stocks a diverse European-style collection of up-market shoes and bags made of quality materials, from crocodile and python skin laterals to garnishings of Swarovski crystals and colourful beads.


Dieu Thanh 140 Pasteur, D1 Tel: 3824 5851 Experienced tailor shop specializes in swimwear and cotton clothing, as well as business suits, evening dresses, luxury fabrics and accessories. Massimo Ferrari 42-A1 Tran Quoc Thao, D3 Tel: 3930 6212 Traditional Italian sartorial techniques are employed to offer a full wardrobing service and custom tailoring for men. Stocked with imported fabrics primarily from Italy. In-office and workplace fittings available.



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Bobby Chinn Opening

Gartenstadt 20th Anniversary

Photos by Alex McMillan and Johnny Murphy.

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Grandmaster Flash

Saigon Beerfest

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o Da asialife HCMC 81


radar Manning up In the modern, politically correct world it can sometimes be confusing to be a guy. Finding that balance between sensitivity and masculinity can be difficult, and that is where The Art of Manliness aims to help out. A lifestyle compendium of all things ‘guys’, the site’s creators say they want to help men everywhere become better people, fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. Filled with interesting and informative articles in sections on relationships, health and sports, grooming, lifestyle, and general man skills and knowledge, the site embraces guy stuff without being buffoonish. On this one site you can learn useful man things as diverse as how to build a snare trap and field-dress game, choose the right suit or improve your listening skills. Everything you need, really, to be the fully rounded modern male.

List bliss If you are one of those people (just like me) who loves to make lists of your daily tasks and then derive even greater satisfaction from crossing items off, then this little site is for you. As with much technology, Teux Deux does away with the pen and paper and presents an elegantly simple interface to create datebased lists. Adding an item is as simple as writing it in the text bar at the top of the day’s list, and then clicking on the item when complete to put that lovely line through it. Uncrossed items automatically roll over to the next day. There is even a ‘Someday’ section for those tasks you are meaning to get around to. An iPhone app is also available so Teux Deux is just as portable as your trusty old notepads.

Pass the hat around If you are collecting money for a cause or just pooling funds between friends to buy a birthday gift, it is a cinch with Chip In. Getting started is as simple as creating an account detailing what the money is being raised for, how much you are aiming to raise and when it is needed by. To help promote your campaign you receive a special widget that has details of your campaign and how people can contribute which you can embed on your favourite social networking sites, blogs or web pages. If you don’t have any of these, they can also provide a web page of your own at no charge to help you get the word out. People are then able to contribute to your campaign via PayPal and you can track donations as they come in.

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Snow White and the Huntsman


The Intouchables

Madagascar 3

In the epic action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Charlize Theron) out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) dispatched to kill her.

Ridley Scott, director of Alien and Blade Runner, returns to the genre he helped define. With Prometheus, he creates a groundbreaking mythology, in which a team of explorers discovers a clue to the origins of mankind on Earth, leading them on a thrilling journey to the darkest corners of the universe. There, they must fight a terrifying battle to save the future of the human race.

An irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust and human possibility. Based on a true story of friendship between a handicap millionaire (Francois Cluzet) and his street smart ex-con caretaker (Omar Sy), The Intouchables depicts an unlikely camaraderie rooted in honesty and humour between two individuals who, on the surface, would seem to have nothing in common.Â

Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.

Opening Dates CINEMAS

The Intouchables (15 June) Madagascar 3 (1 June ) Prometheus (22 June )

G: Galaxy

Snow White and the Huntsman (1 June )

M: Megastar Cinema

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The information on this page was correct at the time of printing. Check cinema websites for screenings.

bookshelf The Newlyweds Nell Freudenberger Knopf

Amina and George are newlyweds, but their union is not exactly lovey-dovey. Nell Freudenberger’s novel begins when Amina leaves her native Bangladesh to live with George in an upstate New York town. The couple have met over the internet and, after some email correspondence and a visit from George, they decided to marry. Freudenberger has focused on culture clash in her previous novels, and The Newlyweds follows along the same lines. But as Amina and George come to know each other, it is not only their cultural differences but their secrets that they must confront.

This Will Be Difficult to Explain: And Other Stories Johanna Skibsrud W.W. Norton & Company

Canadian poet Johanna Skibsrud tackles the short story form with her first collection This Will Be Difficult to Explain. As with her novel, The Sentimentalists, Skibsrud writes prose with a poetic sensibility, describing the mundane details of everyday existence with a delicate melancholia. The stories take place in settings as far-reaching as South Dakota, Paris and Japan, with characters traversing memories of the past and tensions within the present. At the heart of these tales is the struggle of communication, as the narrators attempt to connect with those around them and find some understanding of their own lives.

On The Front Line: The Collected Journalism of Marie Colvin Marie Colvin HarperPress

Published three months after her death in Syria, this collection features the writings of American war correspondent Marie Colvin. Her work spans from 1986 to 2012, covering Iraq, Kosovo, Chechnya, Libya and most of the major conflicts of recent history. On The Front Line is a powerful collection of articles, highlighting humanity within some of the most horrifying situations imaginable. Colvin’s writing reveals a woman committed to sharing stories of suffering, despite the dangers. Also included is her final dispatch from Homs, sent days before the fatal bombing. Not only a tribute to Colvin’s legacy, the book also provides valuable insight into the art of war reporting.

Imagine: How Creativity Works Jonah Lehrer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Where does creativity come from? New York Times journalist Jonah Lehrer explores the process of forming bright ideas in Imagine. Using varied examples of brilliance — such as Bob Dylan’s song writing process, the work of animation studio Pixar and the invention of the Post-it Note — Lehrer deconstructs the catalysts for developing innovation. A hodgepodge of historical and cultural references, the book takes a scientific approach that is accessible to the layman reader. With possibilities to engender both enlightenment and inspiration, this is an intriguing look at how people can foster creativity and spark epiphanies.

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soundfix album review

by Mai Lynn Miller Nguyen

Jack White

Beach House

Killer Mike



R.A.P. Music

Master of My Make-Believe

In the 15 minutes of fame music industry, game changers are few and far between. Jack White is one exception. With his bands The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, White has swept up both critical and commercial success. Performing since 1990, the singer/ multi-instrumentalist/songwriter/producer has defined a sound which is unmistakeably his own — a mix of garage rock, folk and blues. White’s long awaited debut solo album, Blunderbuss, is pretty much what you’d expect it to be: A consistent example of adept musicianship, with electrifying guitar, earnest vocals and pensive lyrics. Although his more recent ventures — such as collaborating with and producing Loretta Lynn — have inclined more towards an American sound, White mostly returns to the rock ‘n’ roll attitude he finessed with The White Stripes. Although it’s difficult to pick a favourite, the twangy ‘Love Interruption’ is a strong example of the Jack White sound.

Beach House’s fourth album starts out on a high with Myth, a heady opener with a melody that’s hard to forget. The song is destined to be snatched up for indie film soundtracks, but cinematic in a way that’s still subtle. It’s such a good start that one might be tempted to think that album can’t build any further. But Bloom does just that. The Baltimore-based duo has, simply put, blossomed. This album’s take on electronic pop is soft and dreamy, yet still controlled in structure. The band’s two members trade off on the vocals, and each complements the other’s voice in a way that just feels right. ‘Wishes’ is perhaps the album’s most impressive song, with an earnest wistfulness that listeners can’t help but be moved by. Bloom resonates with hope and inner-reflection, creating quiet moments of inspiration.

Listen up, California and New York. Although the rap game is dominated by the two American states, there’s still reason to pay attention to what’s going on in the South. Killer Mike represents Atlanta hip hop, with a distinctly southern style that’s heavy, confident and yet relaxed. Although he’s stayed largely under the radar — most notably known for his part on OutKast’s ‘The Whole World’ in 2000 — R.A.P. Music seems to be the album that propels him into the spotlight. The record is a consistent exercise in rhythmic hip hop, with Killer Mike’s MC skills in fine form. Rather than dwell on the familiar topics of most chart-topping hip hop, Killer Mike takes a critical stance on politics with tracks like ‘Reagan’ and ‘War on Drugs’. Not only thought-provoking, the album’s flow is strong enough to stand out as one of Killer Mike’s best efforts.

On her 2008 debut album, Santi White — then Santogold, now Santigold — showed us how hard Brooklyn can go. White’s appeal expanded from her initial hipster fan base when the chorus of her single ‘Shove It’ was picked up by Jay-Z for a rap single. Like her contemporary M.I.A., to whom she is often compared, White is all about crossing genres. She mines the fields of hip hop, dancehall and dub to create fun, textured pop. Kicking off with the bouncy ‘Freak Like Me’, which re-imagines Fiddler on the Roof’s ‘Rich Girl’, the album’s other highlights include the mellow ‘Pirate In The Water’ and the anthem ‘Disparate Youth’. On first listen, Master of My Make-Believe isn’t as impressive as White’s debut, but it’s nonetheless a rousing, versatile record that lends itself to either the dance floor or road trip soundtracks.

86 asialife HCMC



xoneFM top ten Official xoneFM Vietnam Top 10 this last

week week


artist Justin Bieber The Wanted Taylor Swift feat The Civil War One Direction Maroon5 feat Wiz Khalifa Linkin Park Jason Marz Carly Rae Jepsen Gotye feat Kimbra

1 2 3

4 10 2

Boyfriend Chasing the Sun Safe & Sound

4 5

Re 9

Up All Night Payphone

6 7 8 9

1 5 3 6

Burn it Down Everything is Sound Call Me Maybe Somebody That I Used to Know Break Yah Back



Timberland feat Dev

US Top 10 this last

week week




2 3

1 3

4 5

4 6

6 7 8

5 9 10

Starships What Makes You Beautiful Glad You Came Call Me Maybe Payphone

9 10

8 7

Rumour Has It Part of Me

Somebody That I Used to Know We Are Young Wild Ones

artist Gotye feat Kimbra Fun feat Janelle Monae Flo Rider feat Sia Poe Boy Nicki Minaj One Direction The Wanted Carly Rae Jepsen Maroon 5 feat Wiz Khalifa Adele Katy Perry

UK Top 10 this last

week week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10




5 3 4 2 8 New 6 New 9

We Are Young Call Me Maybe Too Close Young Where Have You Been 30 Days Drive By Oliver Twist Somebody That I Used to Know

artist Rita Ora feat Tinie Tempah Fun feat Janelle Monae Carly Rae Jepsen Alex Clare Tulisa Rihanna Saturdays Train D'banj Gotye feat Kimbra

Ngan Nam Tinh Su By Vu Thi Quynh Giao Ngan Nam Tinh Su is a recent musical produced by Idecaf. It tells of Ly Thuong Kiet, a brilliant Vietnamese military commander back in the 11th century. The VND-400-million production particularly depicts the so-called ‘Vietnamese psyche’, always sandwiched between big and small, grief and optimism, fighting and winning. It’s not surprising that an important part of the musical is about an unsolvable tension between China and Vietnam that leads to war, because ‘war’ is still very much ingrained within the Vietnamese mind. To many people, especially the older ones, war is something as recent as last Sunday when you awakened in the middle of the night to find your house burning. The fight led by Ly Thuong Kiet resulted in an ultimate victory, and Vietnam’s first ever declaration of independence in 1077. The rest of the play focuses on another side of the hero’s life, in which he struggles to serve his country and be with the woman he loves. She loved him in return, but ultimately became the wife of the king. As depicted in the show, Ly Thuong Kiet became a eunuch because he wanted to be a dedicated public servant and to stay close to his love, knowing that only females and eunuchs could interact with the King’s wives. A Vietnamese living a thousand years after him may feel equally tortured wondering

how, in the collective history of the country and a culture that endorses heroism and selfsacrifice, we can ever find our personal narratives, those with true sentiments. In his case, as symbolized by the Idecaf production, the hero poured the purest water over his body, trying to relive as Ngo Tuan, his birth name and his true self, instead of Ly Thuong Kiet, a name given by the King. The performance of Thanh Loc, playing Ly Thuong Kiet, is simply exhilarating. His voice changes dramatically as he portrays the hero’s development from when he was 18 to finally an accomplished but lonely 86-year-old. The music for this historical play, composed by Duc Tri, paradoxically belongs to the pop category, through which the hero’s ups and downs are contrasted. When beautiful, joyous music rises you know Ly Thuong Kiet has found his soul mate, and Thanh sings as purely as new morning dew. Then the heavy music rolls across the theatre making you see in your own heart the weight of Vietnam totally losing direction because of the King’s death. In recent years it has been reported that 98 percent of Vietnam’s 12th graders scores below average on History when taking the entrance exam to universities. Perhaps if there were more musicals about history and love like this, those score might start to improve.

asialife HCMC 87

In her first column for AsiaLIFE, Dana Filek-Gibson discovers that persistence can pay off when settling into a new environment. Everything becomes relative over time. The death-defying dash you made your first week in Vietnam is now known as crossing the street, 4am construction has turned from an unwelcome wake-up call to the soundtrack beneath your earlymorning dreams (or, perhaps, still an unwelcome wake-up call), and what you might have previously termed ‘torrential downpour’ has been reduced to ‘rain’. After 18 months in Vietnam, I too have become about as normal as I can be. In my apartment building, the security guards are used to the odd hours I keep, my strange teacher-luggage, and the bags upon bags of takeaway food I bring home to my shiny, unused kitchen. They are patient with my Vietnamese, which rivals that of a six-yearold. Even when I turn up at 3am and have to slip sideways through the front gate, they say hello. I like to think I've become 88 asialife HCMC

an odd-but-loveable tenant. Yet, every so often, I am reminded that no matter how routine my take-out orders become, I am far from inconspicuous. A few weeks ago, heading to a local cafe, I passed the motorbike repair shop near my home. The boss sat across the street in the shade, chain-smoking and shirtless. “OI!” he shouted to me, loud enough that I jumped. This expression is stress-inducing: I was always taught that interjections are for emergencies, like when a building has caught fire – not for when you see someone on the street. No matter how long I live here, this will never fail to startle me. But once the adrenaline subsided and he had my attention, the motorbike man put down his cigarette and shouted, “HELLO”. Slightly startled, I replied, “Hello”. And then, as I rounded the corner, laughter erupted behind me. Loud, knee-slapping peals

of laughter. My odd-but-loveable character was a little disappointed. This was a distinction I'd been hoping to earn throughout the neighbourhood, or at the very least in places where food and coffee are served. The next day, I retraced my route past the repair shop. Again, Motorbike Man shouted his greetings, and I replied. Again, he laughed. I get it: my freckles are a little weird and my front teeth overlap one another. There are plenty of reasons to find me strange and amusing. But apparently the humour has nothing to do with my appearance. Instead, it's my “hello” that's hilarious, though, as far as I can tell, it's pretty ordinary. To this day, I'm not sure what the joke is. For the rest of the week, we went back and forth: Motorbike Man shouting, me saying hello, everyone at the repair shop doubled over in stitches. I tried new responses to test whether

“how are you” and “xin chao” elicit the same amusement as a standard “hello”. They do. Stumped at how to make myself odd-but-loveable to the repair shop, I decided that repetitive contact was the best I could do. If I kept showing up, the joke had to get old sometime. Finally, I made progress. One day, on my way into District 1, I pulled up to the repair shop to get a flat tyre inflated. Motorbike Man and I exchanged our usual hellos, but instead of riding away I got off my bike. He stared at me, uncertain, and in my child's Vietnamese, I explained the predicament. Motorbike Man not only solved my problem but, to my surprise, insisted that the tyre air was free of charge. As I set off, Motorbike Man eyeing up my bicycle, that flat tyre got me downgraded from full-blown laughter to a chuckle. Odd-but-loveable qualities prevailed. I think we're going to be friends.

THE TWO OF US RMIT Lecturers and Malawi natives, Clara and Matthews Nkhoma tell Nancy Pappas the story of how they met and what life is like as a travelling family. Photo by Alex McMillan.

Clara I’m from Lilongwe, Malawi. I teach management and accounting at RMIT here in Vietnam where I live with my husband and two children. I grew up in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi, and I did the first part of my education there up to my first degree. Then I went to England for better studies where I received an MBA in Finance – that’s where I met Matthews and now we’ve been married for six years. So we’ve been moving around together, went to the Middle East and here we are. We got married in Malawi. We partly had a traditional wedding. On the evening before the wedding they did the traditional thing. My parents and I had to drop into his parent’s place and do a traditional ceremony. About three girls come covered in their African cloth and they have to identify whether its me or not. They’ll bring in the first girl and say that’s not her and

Matthews bring in the next one and say that’s not her and finally they bring me in and they need to identify me as the one joining their family. So we had that kind of ceremony. We moved back to England after the wedding and started talking of travel. Once you leave home for the first time you become more curious, you just want to see more and more. Our children are two and four; they were born in London and Dubai. As young as they are, they are not so sure, they are just excited. As long as they have friends and they go to school, they can’t see much difference. Moving around is great but we will reach a point where we need to consider the children since as they get older they will become a bit more sensitive. But concerning Vietnam, there are so many things about the culture and the place that remind me of home so, I feel comfortable here.

I’m from Blantyre, Malawi. I did my masters in internet engineering and PhD in London, and I specialize in information security. I lectured in London at the same university I attended and then we moved to the Middle East where I worked as an assistant professor. After the Middle East is when we moved to Vietnam. Now I’m a lecturer with the Bachelor of Business at RMIT. Clara and I met while studying in London. There was no chance we would have met in Malawi because we are from different regions. We met through my cousin. It was by chance, well I wouldn’t say chance. I wanted to marry a Malawian so my cousin and Clara were sort of friends and that’s how I met her and we started a relationship from there. We got married in 2006 in Malawi where I paid dowry to Clara’s family. After we went back to London and it was after that we decided

we needed to start moving around, just to see other places and travelling as well so that we can experience other cultures. The more you travel the more you learn about different cultures and how you can approach people and stuff like that. We’ve been out of Malawi for years. Right now, we just want to keep on travelling until we reach a point where we say enough is enough, we have to go back to Malawi and settle down. With our children we try and emphasise that they have friends that they can talk to and though we are working parents we try to provide time for them as well. I’d say so far so good in Vietnam – the culture, the people and the expat community are so open and welcoming. RMIT has a diverse culture and everyone is just so open. We don’t have any other plans for now. So far I can say that we will stay in Vietnam.

asialife HCMC 89

pub quiz

Celebrity Mimes 26)

Birds of a Feather 6) Who played DJ Adrian Cronoir in a 1987 film? 7) Whose cricket score of 299 is the highest innings by a New Zealander in Test history? 8) In the nursery rhyme, how many blackbirds were baked in a pie? 9) Which explorer had the middle 27) name Falcon? 10) Which politician set a record by downing a yard of ale in 11 seconds?

Jane 21) Who wrote the novel Jane Eyre? 22) What name is shared by a former Bond girl and a wife of Henry VIII? 23) Who played the title role 90 asialife HCMC

Nhaø XuaáT baûn toång hôïp TP. Hoà Chí MINH 62 Nguyeãn Thò Minh Khai, Q1 ÑT: 38225340 – 38296764 – 38220405 – 38296713 – 38223637 Fax: 84.8.38222726 Email: - Thöïc hieän lieân keát xuaát baûn: Coâng ty TNHH QC TM DV Ba traêm saùu möôi laêm ngaøy In laàn thöù nhaát, soá löôïng 4000 cuoán, khoå 20,5cm x 27,0cm GPXB soá: 79-12/CXB/536-04/THTPHCM Ngaøy 04/02/2012 In taïi Coâng ty ITAXA, ñòa chæ 126 Nguyeãn Thò Minh Khai, Q.3. In xong vaø noäp löu chieåu thaùng 06/ 2012 365 Days Advertising Trading Services Co.,Ltd L4,159 Phan Xich Long, P7, Phu Nhuan District Tel: +84 8 3517 2208 Managing Editor: Brett Davis

Director: Jonny Edbrooke

Deputy Editor: Chris Mueller

Photo Editor: Fred Wissink

Contributing Editor: Michael Tatarski

Art Director: Johnny Murphy

Production Manager: Nguyen Kim Hoa Editorial Interns: Claire Jowell, Lieu Anh Vu

Photography Interns: Alex Belikov, Alex McMillan


Hello John! 16) Which John refused The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964? 17) Who won four Wimbledon Men’s Doubles titles with Peter Fleming? 18) Ullo John! Gotta New Motor? was a chart success for which comedian? 19) Who played Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction? 20) At a Royal Variety Show, who asked “Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewellery”?

Chòu traùch nhieäm xuaát baûn: Nguyeãn Thò Thanh Höông Bieân taäp: Nguyeãn Vónh Trung Söûa baûn in: Löu Thuûy Trình baøy: Coâng ty TNHH QC TM DV Ba traêm saùu möôi laêm ngaøy Bìa: Coâng ty TNHH QC TM DV Ba traêm saùu möôi laêm ngaøy

Senior Designer: Nguyen Mai Anh

Service 11) Who has a valet called Alfred Pennyworth? 12) What was the name of the Addams Family butler? 13) What famous butler was created by P G Wodehouse? 14) Whose butler was Paul Burrell? 15) Where would you see the Maid of the Mist?

Thoâng tin du lòch vaø vaên hoaù ôû Vieät Nam ASIALIFE HCMC

For advertising and marketing enquiries please call: Nguyen Kim Hanh +84 908 298395 / +84 8 3517 2208 Distribution: Super Long +84 937 633283 AsiaLIFE is a registered trademark. No content may be reproduced in any form without prior authorisation of the owners. © Ba Sau Nam Co,Ltd Vietnam


4 1

7 29)



3 8





2 9


6 2


5 9




4 8


5 6


Pub Quiz Answers

1) How many letters are there in the Greek alphabet? 2) How many is DLV in Roman numerals? 3) How many astronauts manned each Apollo flight? 4) How many people appear in Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper? 5) In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet's birthday is revealed to be on Aug. 1. How old does she expect to turn?

in the science fiction film Barbarella? 24) Which actress co-starred with Marylin Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? 25) What was the nickname of Martha Jane Cannary, famous in the late 19th century?

1) 24 2) 555 3) 3 4) 13 5) 14 6) Robin Williams 7) Martin Crowe 8) 24 9) Robert Scott 10) Bob Hawke 11) Bruce Wayne/Batman 12) Lurch 13) Jeeves 14) Diana, Princess of Wales 15) Niagara Falls 16) John Paul Satre 17) John McEnroe 18) Alexei Sayle 19) John Travolta 20) John Lennon 21) Charlotte Bronte 22) Jane Seymour 23) Jane Fonda 24) Jane Russel 25) Calamity Jane 26) Bruce Willis 27) Rihanna 28) Sandra Bullock 29) Jean Paul Gaultier 30) Eddie Murphy

A Numbers Game

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2012 The Year 13 Graduation Ceremony took place on Saturday, 26th May 2012, at the Intercontinental Asiana Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City with Mr. Douglas Barnes - HM Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Director for UK Trade and Investment in Vietnam as the guest speaker. Congratulating and celebrating with the students were 250 teachers, close family members and friends.

Front row L to R Ting Ting Cooper, Christiana Louise Gentile, Young In Choi, Holly Anne Keel, Lisa Fawcett, Anh Phuc Yeo, Patricia Noble Gonzalez, Sutinie Srisatitvatana, Meemee Ploem, Chang Yu-Hsing, Yun Ji Choi, Da Seul Jung, Kim Keun Young, Mai Ngo, Tran Thi Thien Trang Second row L to R Hsu Chia Yu, Fiona Nguyen, Quynh Anh Do, Arianna Dominique C. Danganan, Tram Tran, Melissa Mary Tobin, Lauren Michelle Carr, Clementine May Planchon, Heather Jean Forrer, Charlotte Chu-Wen Huang, Achira Kapoor, Subinh Noh, Kim Grosvenor, Aqsa Javaid Third row L to R Min Yeol Yoon, Dylan Rhys Long, Pham Minh Quan, Nguyen Vu Tri Kien, Ho Minh Phat, Huang Wei Hsiang, Teoh Jhik Shern, Seung Jun Oh, Bryne Patrick V. Rodil, Nguyen Phuong Dong, Irene Yun-Hsuan Wu, Duy Le, Tran Huong Giang Back row L to R Paul Pham Arnald, Osvaldo Joaquim Kallabinski, Paul Minogue, Phuong Pham, Thomas Alexander Schmitt, Lee Yeong Ho, Josh Nixon, Jim Cullen, Nguyen Huynh Thanh Phuc


Central St Martins University of the Arts, London University of Durham University of Essex University of Exeter University of Glasgow University of Leeds University of Liverpool University College London University of Nottingham University of Reading University of Warwick University of York


Carleton University University of British Columbia University of Toronto


Duke University Emory University Indiana University Bloomington University of Massachusetts Amherst Northeastern University Northwestern University University of Pennsylvania Savannah College of Art and Design University of San Francisco University of Southern California


Australian National University Curtin University University of Melbourne Monash University University of Queensland


Lausanne School of Hospitality Les Roches International School of Hotel Management Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality

South Africa

University of Cape Town

The Netherlands

University College Utrecht


University of the Philippines








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AsiaLIFE HCMC 51  

Education Issue

AsiaLIFE HCMC 51  

Education Issue