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TRAVEL GUIDE

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18 TH EDITION - 2017

hong duc publishing house


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E E SSAIGON ot sgniht

There are 10 reasons why I have called Vietnam my home for the past decade, and why I’ll call it home for years to come.

editor's note

And then, the Vietnamese are Generous. My local family hosts us too often, and they love doing it. We never leave the house without receiving a gift. They always offer me the best piece of food – the nicest cut of meat, the freshest vegetables, the thickest spring roll.

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A sense of family values gives way to a Respect for others, and this respect, especially for elders, is an essential part of Vietnamese culture. A Confucian value deeply rooted in Vietnamese society, true respect for elders and for teachers is both expected and celebrated in Vietnam. The Vietnamese also hold a deep respect for Education, and for the educated. People of all ages in Vietnam pursue their education as far as they can. My sister-in-law began her PhD at 40 and her husband, who is 47, just graduated with a master’s degree. Both have full-time jobs and they never complained about their lack of leisure time.

With generosity comes hope, and for most Vietnamese, life is better now and it will get better soon. There is hope in the eyes of every parent and child that we meet. This buoyant Optimism is rather contagious and those who don’t feel it won’t survive long in this country.

Perhaps as a product of their respect for each other and for education, the Vietnamese people embrace Tolerance. There are 54 ethnic minorities in this country and different religions abound, all coexisting without conflict. Religious activities often span multiple belief systems. It is not uncommon to see a Christian praying at the Buddhist temple or vice versa.

You see for so many, life is hard in Vietnam, and without optimism life can be impossible. Hard Work is part of everyday life here – in the lives of the young and the old; of the farmers and the street sellers; of those who work 14/7 shifts to feed their families.

Finally, anyone who has lived here long enough will recognise that this country is Safe. Petty crime does exist due to poverty, but severe crime is rare thanks to a complete ban on arms, and thanks to a strong police force and army who do not tolerate disorder and violence.

It is this iron work ethic that produces inner strength and Resilience. Vietnam has been invaded by some of the greatest and most powerful civilisations in history, their sovereignty threatened again and again, and every time they have come out as the victors. Yet they are humble and magnanimous about it.

I hope these 10 reasons will inspire you to explore this beautiful country further, and help you discover your own special reasons why Vietnam is a place you’ll never forget.

citypassguide.com

editor's note

Let us begin with the people. The Vietnamese are their country’s greatest asset. Having lived here for 10 years, I know that most are Kind at heart. You only have to get onto the streets to know this – just walk and count how many open, honest smiles you share with passing strangers before you reach your destination.

Possibly this attitude can be attributed to culture. The core of Vietnamese society is the strength of its Family Values, an intrinsic part of Vietnamese philosophy. It was in Vietnam that I discovered the true meaning of family values; here we learn to live with the family, by the family and for the family.

things SAIGON to SEE

10 Reasons Why I Live in Vietnam

Patrick Gaveau, CEO & Editor-in-Chief saigon

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E E SSAIGON ot sgniht table of contents

where to DRINK 39-44 coffee 40 bars 41 nightlife 42 clubs 43 further suggestions 44 where to SHOP 45-58 souvenirs 46-53 shopping streets 54-55 malls 56-57 further suggestions 58 things to DO 59-70 tours 60-62 tours | activities 63 entertainment 64-67 golf 68 spas | beauty 69 further suggestions 70 4

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where to STAY 71-74 72-73 hotels 74 further suggestions 75-84 76-77 78 79 80-81 82-84

where to VISIT mekong delta southern coast vung tau phan thiet | mui ne phu quoc

85-95 86-87 88-89 90-91 92-93 94-95

districts 1 & 3 districts 1, 5 & 10 district 7 districts 2 & binh thanh tan binh & phu nhuan districts

table of contents

where to EAT 27-38 local 28-30 international 31-37 further suggestions 38

things SAIGON to SEE

things to SEE 7-26 introduction 8 district 1 9-17 district 3 18-19 districts 3 & 4 20 district 5 21 districts 6 & 7 22 district 9 23 districts 9 & 10 24 districts 10 & 11 25 binh thanh & cu chi districts 26

MAPS

need to KNOW I II-III vietnam fact sheet IV price guide V climate VI-VII things to keep in mind VIII visas IX-X money XI-XII communication XIII-XIV electronics XV-XVI health XVII dental XVIII-XXII transportation XXIII airline listings XXIV embassy listings XXV consulate listings XXVI-XXVIII faq XXVII-XXIX history

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EOUR E S otTEAM s g n i ht

Benjamin Giroux Senior Account Manager / Partner Born in Orléans, France, Ben has been living in Vietnam for over 11 years. Working for City Pass Guide, he serves some of Vietnam's biggest brands in hospitality. Experience in advertising and sales has given him a keen interest in customer service with an astute eye for detail. He lives in Saigon with his wife and two daughters.

contributors

Personal insight: He used to work for ‘Le Petit Fute’ – a well-known travel guide in France, before moving to Vietnam to work with us.

Arik Jahn Content Writer German in origin, Arik developed a penchant for foreign languages early in life and followed his passion by studying French literature in university. After stops in Amiens, France, and Prague, Czech Republic, he first set foot on Asian ground in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015 and stayed to pursue a career in publishing and creative writing. Personal insight: Arik had never tried seafood before he came to Vietnam. Crab noodle soup is now among his favourite dishes.

Tung Dinh Senior Graphic Designer Tung studied International Relations in HCMC and then experienced the real thing during a year abroad in Spain. As it was good fun, he subsequently worked at a study-abroad consultancy, then joined City Pass Guide to step up our design game. Give him a good cup of lychee tea and some graphic design software and he’s a happy man. Personal insight: Tung has a brown belt in karate. So if you don’t like his designs, better not let him know. You've spotted a mistake? We've missed your favourite hidden-gem restaurant? Tell us at production@innovo.vn. 6

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SEE

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things to SEE

things to

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht introduction

Two Seasons Ho Chi Minh City has a tropical climate with an average humidity of 75%. There are two seasons: wet and dry. Be prepared for the inevitable downpours during the wet season from June to November, as they come almost daily and in hard bursts.

A Melting Pot of Past and Present Hanoi is the political capital of Vietnam, but Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial heart and a magnet for foreign investors. New business ventures and ambitious development projects pop up every year. Progress aside, Saigon is steeped in tradition, a living monument to the past that wears its culture proudly on its sleeve. Decorated with colonial and French architecture standing side by side with dilapidated, rickety homes and modern skyscrapers, Saigon boasts a unique mixture of past and present. Whether zooming by on a motorbike or sipping designer cocktails at a rooftop bar, there is much to explore. Attraction Accessible for People with Disabilities

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district 1

The city officially boasts a population of around eight million, although locals stipulate a few million more commute from the surrounding countryside.

The city life reflects the weather – a blend of harmony and chaos. Traffic is heavy, dense and never-ending, but you can always find locals lounging at streetside coffee vendors, content to admire the passing free-for-all.

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things to SEE

Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) has changed names several times. While sources dispute who originally controlled the land, the name was changed to Sai Gon in the 1700s by the local Vietnamese, then to Saigon by the French. The change to Ho Chi Minh City came in 1976.

City Hall At the end of Nguyen Hue sits the magnificent office of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. Completed in 1908, the design of the former Hotel de Ville is based on the original in Paris. It is one of the most stunning monuments in the city, especially when lit at night. The interior is not open to the public. However, the outside still makes for some very memorable photo-ops. Le Thanh Ton and Nguyen Hue, D1

Local insight: Marvel at the City Hall from the rooftop of the adjacent Rex Hotel. Happy hour: 5-7pm.

The Opera House Another great place for photo opportunities can be found at one of the city’s most prominent landmarks. The Opera House was built in 1897 by French architect Eugene Ferret. Today, classical concerts and operas are held here every week. It is only open to the public during events, so be sure to check their current schedule. The prices are usually very reasonable. 7 Lam Son Square, D1

Local insight: The critically acclaimed A O Show (page 65) is performed at the Opera House. saigon

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht district 1

2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1 Tue-Sun 8:00am-11:30am & 1:30pm-5:00pm VND15,000

Local insight: Have a chat with famous 90-year-old letter writer and translator Duong Van Ngo, usually sitting in the back of the building.

Local insight: Outside the rear entrance, enormous bronze panels detail Vietnam’s history.

Notre Dame Cathedral This twin-towered cathedral is one of the most prominent architectural marvels in the city. It was built in 1877 with materials imported from France. The streets outside are always bustling with tourists, locals and street vendors. Although the décor is austere, the church comes alive during services.

Saigon Zoo & Botanical Gardens The gardens feature a wide range of animals including rare snakes, elephants, giraffes and birds, but beware, some of the living conditions are cramped. If you want to avoid the most severely confined creatures, stroll through the gardens or catch a theatre performance.

Cong Xa Paris, D1 5:30am-5:00pm / Sunday English mass is held at 4:00pm, 5:15pm & 6:30pm Free

Local insight: The Cathedral is fenced in due to renovation until 2019, but mass is held as normal.

district 1

2 Cong Xa Paris, D1 Mon-Fri 7:00am-7:00pm / Sat-Sun 7:00am-6:00pm Free

National History Museum The National History Museum is devoted to Indochinese architecture. Trace the history of the Vietnamese people with displays of cultural significance that cover an area of more than 2,000m2. Note that you must pay VND40,000 extra for the privilege of taking photos in the museum!

things to SEE

Saigon Central Post Office Designed in beautiful French colonial style, the post office was built between 1886 and 1891. The vaulted roof and arched windows lend it a classic look, reminiscent of early European railway stations. Generally filled with tourists, it is still a working post office.

2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1 7:00am-6:30pm VND50,000 (adults), VND30,000 (children over 1.3m)

Local insight: Inside the main gate you will find the Temple of King Hung Vuong, built to honour the legendary founder of the Vietnamese nation.

Book Street The pedestrian book street has been open to the public since early 2016. It runs between the Saigon Central Post Office and Hai Ba Trung. Events include book exchanges, new publication promotions, calligraphy classes, book exhibitions and more; however, there are very few English titles. Nguyen Van Binh, next to Saigon Central Post Office 8:00am-9:00pm / Cafés 6:00am-11:00pm

Local insight: There are two cafés on the book street, so you can do some people watching while sipping on a coffee. 10

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht district 1

Local insight: After a morning stroll, step into nearby Au Parc for a latte and a croissant.

Reunification Palace This grand building was designed by Ngo Viet Thu for South Vietnam's former President Ngo Dinh Diem during the time of the American War. The official handover of power took place here on 30 April 1975, and the palace became a monument to that historic date.

Tao Dan Park This urban park covers 10 hectares with over 1,000 large trees and plenty of lush greenery. Early in the morning the park is filled with people exercising to booming dance music, walking and practising tai chi. Look for the replica of Nha Trang’s Cham Tower and the Hung King Temple, or venture to the east side of the park to find it adorned with statues.

Local insight: Go to the cafés near Cach Mang Thang 8 before 7am if you're into songbirds.

Rainbow Bridge The pedestrian Rainbow Bridge is near the State Bank in District 1 and crosses the river to District 4. A popular place to hang out for young Vietnamese couples, it is one of the oldest bridges in the city, and was built by Gustave Eiffel in 1882. While it’s a great vantage point to marvel at Bitexco Tower, the river view is obstructed by the current construction of a flood control system.

Pham Ngu Lao Area This is Saigon’s version of Bangkok's backpacker haunt Khao San Road. The area is a convenient place to find cheap accommodation, food and nightlife. It is also known for the large amount of tour agencies, clothing shops, tailors and street hagglers who cater to budget tourists. With a plethora of bars, clubs and restaurants, this area is popular amongst tourists and locals alike.

Local insight: On weekends, the bridge turns into a hotspot for wedding photographers. citypassguide.com

Truong Dinh (a five-minute walk north of Ben Thanh Market), D1

Local insight: Before the renovations of the Diem era, the building’s facade was Rococo-styled.

Adjacent to Pasteur and the Thu Thiem tunnel

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Le Duan (in front of the Reunification Palace), D1

Local insight: Beneath the museum is a network of tunnels that go as far as the Reunification Palace.

135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 7:30am-11:00am & 1:00pm-4:00pm VND40,000 (adults), VND20,000 (students), VND10,000 (5-17 years old)

district 1

65 Ly Tu Trong, D1 8:00am-5:00pm VND15,000

30-4 Park This small, shaded park takes its name from Vietnam’s Reunification Day, 30 April 1975. Connecting the Reunification Palace with the Notre Dame Cathedral, it is a common meeting place for young and old Saigonese alike. The park is perfect for people watching, as it is a popular place for many to chat with friends, grab some shade and sip a refreshment.

things to SEE

Ho Chi Minh City Museum Built around 1885, this elegant, yet understated building has been called, consecutively, the French High Commissioner’s Office, the Supreme Court, the Revolutionary Museum and, finally, the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. The exhibits include archaeological artefacts, old city maps, photos and much more, all showcasing the history of the city.

Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham and Bui Vien, D1

Local insight: Be careful with your belongings, as this area is notorious for bag and phone snatchers. saigon

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BEN THANH MARKET MAP Le Thanh Ton Street Entrance

MEAT & FISH

district 1

Intersection of Le Loi, Ham Nghi and Le Lai, D1 5:30am-6:00pm

Le Loi Street Named after the founder of the Le Dynasty, this street used to be lined with beautiful trees and boutique shops selling high-end art and various knick-knacks. Unfortunately, due to the construction of Saigon’s first metro system, a part of Le Loi is blocked off and no longer decorated with trees. It is still worth a visit to see the drastic changes being undertaken. Between Opera House and Ben Thanh Market, D1

Local insight: Shopping highlights include L'Usine (page 32) and the adjacent Mekong Quilts (page 49).

Dong Khoi Street Known as Rue Catinat during the French colonial days and Tu Do in the 1960s, this street was reborn during Doi Moi (the economic reforms of 1986) as the heart of the commercial and shopping district. It has local boutiques, international brands and restaurants housed in beautifully restored French colonial buildings. The street is home to historical venues such as the Grand Hotel and Hotel Majestic.

West Entrance (Phan Chu Trinh Street)

Local insight: The market moves outdoors when evening sets in, and it's a great place to have a quick dinner at one of the stalls.

Local insight: Most of Graham Greene's worldwide bestseller The Quiet American takes place here. 14

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EATERIES

FRUIT & VEG

ARTS & CERAMICS

DRIED GOODS

GIFTS

CONFECTIONERY

COSMETICS

CLOTHING

WEDDING MATERIALS

Runs from the Notre Dame Cathedral to the river, D1

MEAT & FISH

East Entrance (Phan Boi Chau Street)

tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht

Ben Thanh Market It can be a bit daunting to make sense of this market with its more than 3,000 vendor stalls. Luckily, everything is laid out in an organised grid (see opposite page). Be prepared, as sellers here are particularly persistent. There's a haggle-free, fixed-price area around the perimeter.

JEWELLERY

Le Loi Street Entrance Šcitypassguide.com

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht district 1

VND10,000

45 Ngo Duc Ke, D1

Local insight: The helipad on the 52nd floor was shipped to Vietnam in one piece from Korea.

Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque One of the 12 mosques serving the city, Jamia Al Muslimin Mosque was constructed for worshippers from southern India. Muslims from all over the world now come here to pray. The shaded veranda makes it an ideal place to sit during the heat of the day. Dine at the halal restaurant in the compound that offers cheap Indian and Malay food as well as at several halal food vendors who surround the area.

Huyen Sy Church At over 100 years old, this church is the oldest and second largest in Saigon. It was named after Huyen Sy, grandfather of the wife of Vietnam’s last king Bao Dai. You can find the tombs of Mr. and Mrs. Sy off to the side of the nave. It is closed during the day, but you can sneak a peek by wandering to its side entrance.

8:00am-9:00pm

Free

1 Ton That Tung, D1 3:30pm-6:30pm Free Mass 5:30pm / Sunday evening mass at 6:00pm & 7:30pm

Local insight: Remember to dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees.

Local insight: At night the addition of neon lights gives it a unique and dazzling exterior.

Mariamman Hindu Temple This temple seems out of place with a colourful facade that jumps out from its surroundings. Inside, the atmosphere is lively and incense hang in the air, thereby completing the tranquil setting. The temple was built by traders from Tamil Nadu and is named after the goddess Mariamman, worshipped for miraculous powers including curing tropical diseases and helping people find ideal spouses.

Jade Emperor Pagoda Built in 1909 by Saigon’s Chinese population, this atmospheric Cantonese pagoda harbours the Jade Emperor (heaven’s keeper), who keeps watch over an incense-filled room, while other hidden chambers house woodcarvings and altars. One of the halls honours the most important deity of fertility, Kim Hua, while the second storey represents heaven and features the goddess of Mercy, Kwan Ying.

45 Truong Dinh, D1

7:00am-7:00pm

Free

Local insight: Remember to remove your shoes before stepping onto the raised platform. citypassguide.com

Free

Local insight: Check out one of the first wooden elevators in Saigon, located at the main staircase.

66 Dong Du, D1

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9:30am-9:30pm

district 1

97A Pho Duc Chinh, D1 Tue-Sun 9:00am-5:00pm

Bitexco Financial Tower Opened in 2010, the 262.5m-high Bitexco Financial Tower is currently the tallest building in Saigon. The design was inspired by Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus. The Saigon Skydeck, found on the 49th floor, has breathtaking panoramas of the city for VND200,000. The building is also home to three bars and two restaurants on the 50th, 51st and 52nd floors.

things to SEE

Fine Arts Museum Set inside an exquisite colonial villa, this museum is home to art from the 7th to 20th centuries along with rotating exhibits of contemporary art. The second floor features a permanent collection of sketches, paintings and statues, many of which focus on the resistance to colonial rule. The third floor exhibits older works from Vietnam’s history.

73 Mai Thi Luu, D1

8:00am-5:00pm

Free

Local insight: The turtles in the pond next to the entrance are said to bring good luck. saigon

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht district 3

district 3

202 Vo Thi Sau, D3 7:00am-11:30am & 1:30pm-5:00pm Free

things to SEE

Southern Women’s Museum Dedicated to Vietnamese women, this museum has exhibitions covering three floors and focuses on ethnic dress, jewellery and women’s struggles. It was established in 1985 and is divided into 10 rooms. The museum is well laid out and there is a tour showcasing the invaluable contribution made by women in the fight for independence.

Local insight: The building once belonged to the Director of the General Police Department.

War Remnants Museum This museum is not for the faint-hearted, as it houses harrowing displays from the American War. Established in 1975, it is home to US armoured vehicles, bombs, infantry weapons and controversial images detailing the brutality of war. Not to be missed is Requiem, a homage to the photojournalists who lost their lives in the war. 28 Vo Van Tan, D3 7:30am-6:00pm VND15,000

Local insight: Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels (page 26) first for an understanding of the military tactics.

Vinh Nghiem Pagoda Vinh Nghiem is a blend of modern and traditional Japanese and Vietnamese cultures, and home to a sanctuary and a seven-floor, 40m tower. It was built between 1964 and 1971 and covers 8,000m2. People come here to pay homage to Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha himself), Samantabhadra the Lord of Truth and Manjushri. 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 1:30pm-6:00pm Free

Local insight: There should be no fee to enter the pagoda, so don’t be fooled by the scammers.

Ky Dong Church Once encompassing an entire city block, Ky Dong Church has been downsized, but it still boasts a school, religious souvenir shop and garden. It may not be worth a special trip, so only visit if you are already in the area or have some time to kill. The church is packed with worshippers during mass, so make sure to show up a bit early. 38 Ky Dong, D3 Sunday mass at 8:00am, 10:00am, 5:00pm, 6:30pm & 8:00pm Free

Local insight: Worshippers bring flowers to the St. Mary statue which stands prominently outside. 18

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht districts 3 & 4

Local insight: A special Buddhist ceremony is organised every Sunday from 8am-10am.

Local insight: The fish sold at the entrance are meant to be set free for good luck.

Tan Xa Palace Catholic Tan Xa Palace, made entirely out of wood and located on the premises of the Archbishop’s Palace, is said to be the oldest building in Ho Chi Minh City. It was built in 1790 in a different part of town for the French Apostolic Vicar of Cochinchina and moved to this spot in 1911. It is one of the most well-maintained examples of colonial architecture.

Thien Hau Pagoda This pagoda, also known as Chua Ba, was built by the Chinese in the early 19th century. It is one of the most active pagodas in Cholon, and has a worldly atmosphere with swirling incense and splendid furnishings. Ba’s reliefs decorate the walls and depict duels and arena fighting. The pagoda is dedicated to Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea.

180 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Free Mon-Fri & Sun 8:00am-11:00am / Sun 2:00pm-4:00pm

Local insight: Don’t forget to look up and take in the intricate carvings on the roof.

Ho Chi Minh Museum Once a French shipping company – Dragon House Wharf – this museum hosts a collection of the leader’s possessions, like his sandals and radio. See where Nguyen Tat Thanh, who later changed his name to Ho Chi Minh, began his struggle for independence. Outside are immaculate gardens with views of District 1 and the river.

Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagoda Built by the Chaozhou Chinese population, Nghia An Hoi Quan is noteworthy for its gilded woodwork. A carved boat hangs over the entrance and to the left is a large representation of Quan Cong’s horse and groom. The statue of Ong Bon, keeper of happiness and virtue, resides in a glass altar to the right of the main sanctuary.

Local insight: The name Dragon House Wharf comes from the two dragon statues on the rooftop. citypassguide.com

710 Nguyen Trai, D5 6:00am-5:00pm Free

Local insight: Breathe in the place's atmosphere during Sunday mass at 6am and 7am.

1 Nguyen Tat Thanh, D4 Tue-Sun 7:30am-11:30am & 1:30pm-5:00pm VND10,000

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118D Trieu Quang Phuc, D5 6:00am-6:00pm Free

district 5

89B Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, D3 7:00am-6:00pm Free

Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda Built by the Fujian Congregation in 1839, this lively pagoda has retained its rich design. Located on a small and quiet street, it is dedicated to Me Sanh, the Goddess of Fertility, and is frequently crowded with women praying for assistance in conception. Avoid Me Sanh’s altar at the back if you don’t want to deal with the crowds.

things to SEE

Xa Loi Pagoda This seven-tiered pagoda is home to a Buddha relic, a 32m bell tower and even a publishing centre. The pagoda was the focus for opposition in 1963 when 400 monks and nuns were arrested for civil disobedience. Thich Quang Duc, one of the monks who protested through self-immolation, has a memorial nearby.

678 Nguyen Trai, D5 6:00am-5:00pm Free

Local insight: Quan Cong was a deified Chinese general from the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280). saigon

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht

district 9

districts 6 & 7

things to SEE

Binh Tay Market This is the central market of Cholon. A mix of French and Chinese architecture, this market, built in 1928, is the largest in town and has a smorgasbord of items for sale. The building is famed for its intricate facade and reddish-brown tiles, along with (practically) hassle-free shopping. These features, plus the dominant yellow clock tower, make this a great spot for photography. 57A Thap Muoi, D6

6:00am-7:00pm

Local insight: The market deals in bulk and many businesses haggle for the best wholesale price.

Artinus 3D Museum If you’re a fan of creative photo shoots, there’s no way you can miss out on the Artinus 3D Art Museum. Divided into different sections such as the the Giant Zone or the Strange House Zone, this interactive museum invites you to become one with the fantastic 3D backdrops. 2-4 No. 9, Him Lam, D7 Sat-Sun 9:00am-8:00pm VND250,000 (weekend)

Mon-Fri 9:00am-6:00pm / VND200,000 (weekdays),

Local insight: Families can combine the trip with a visit of the Vietopia edutainment city next door. 22

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Suoi Tien Theme Park Suoi Tien Theme Park opened over 20 years ago, and it has become one of the best places for a family day in Ho Chi Minh City. Located in District 9, Suoi Tien has something for everybody: a waterpark; 4-D cinema adventures; a crocodile kingdom housing over 20,000 of the fearsome reptiles; and restaurants to satiate all your Vietnamese food cravings. Built with a Buddhist theme, beautiful pagodas and memorials to Vietnamese history are elegantly woven throughout. 120 Hanoi Highway, D9 1900 636 787 info@suoitien.com suoitien.com/en/ 8:00am-5:00pm VND100,000 (adults), VND50,000 (children)

Local insight: You don’t want to miss the “Parade of Giant Fruits” on the weekend during festival seasons. You’ll get to see colourful and whimsical costumes and carriages that celebrate the unique tropical fruits that grow in Vietnam. saigon

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht district 9 & 10

Local insight: Visit the Si Hoang Show (page 64) to experience the story of the ao dai first-hand.

FITO Museum This first museum of Vietnamese medicine displays nearly 3,000 items dating back to the Stone Age. Exhibits include medicine preparation, knives, mortars and pestles, documents and traditional implements. The museum regularly screens a documentary on the history of traditional medicine. 41 Hoang Du Khuong, D10 8:30am-5:00pm VND120,000 (adults) and VND60,000 (children under 1.2m)

Local insight: After your visit, go for a check-up with the in-house pharmacist.

districts 10 & 11

206/19/30 Long Thuan, D9 77 Nguyen Hue, D1 Mon-Fri 10:00am-8:00pm VND100,000, VND50,000 (students)

The Flower Market Flowers are plentiful at this market and are offered at reasonable prices, depending on your bargaining skills. Stroll along the narrow, flower-lined alleys; the locals are quite friendly and helpful. The flowers come from Dalat, the Mekong Delta and Hanoi, and the alleys are worlds away from the bustling traffic and chaos of the main road.

things to SEE

Ao Dai Museum Since its emergence in the early 18th century, the body-hugging ao dai has remained Vietnam's traditional dress. This museum in D9, set in lush surroundings, presents the development of the ao dai over the centuries. But be aware, it’s far from the city centre. Our tip: choose the little brother gallery in D1.

Ho Thi Ky, D10

Local insight: Come before 6am to find the market beautifully lit up and filled with the smell of freshly delivered flowers.

Khanh Van Nam Vien Pagoda Built between 1939 and 1942, Khanh Van Nam Vien is one of the only Taoist pagodas in Vietnam. Unique for its colourful statues of Taoist disciples, the main altar features a yin and yang symbol. Upstairs is a 150cm-high statue of Chinese philosopher Lao Tse with a halo that makes creative use of a mirror and fluorescent lighting. The pagoda also houses a care home for the elderly and a medical clinic. 46/5 Lo Sieu, D11

Free

Local insight: The drawing of the bodily organs ends with a figure representing the imagination.

Phung Son Pagoda This Buddhist temple, recognised as a cultural relic by the Ministry of Culture, was built in the early 19th century. The history of the spot, however, goes back to the fourth century AD, which makes it also an archeological site. Its major attraction is the large, gilded A Di Da Buddha in the main sanctuary. 175 Han Hai Nguyen, D11 Free

Local insight: The main entrances are usually locked. Try the side entrance during prayer times from 4 to 5 am, 4 to 5 pm, and 6 to 7 pm every day. 24

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binh thanh & cu chi districts

tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht

Cu Chi Tunnels Explore the vast network of underground tunnels from the 1940s that were expanded to 121km by guerrilla Viet Cong forces during the American War. The tunnels have now been widened to cater to larger frames, but are still a tight fit and not for the claustrophobic. It takes 90 minutes to get there by bus, or you can take the scenic route by fast boat. Ap Phu Hiep, Phu My Hung Ward, Cu Chi D 7:00am-5:00pm VND90,000

Local insight: Tasteless yet tempting, there is a firing range where you can shoot A K47s and M16s.

Binh Quoi 1 + 2 Eight kilometres north of D1, lush greenery and serenity can be found at Binh Quoi Village. Created by the government in the 1970s, Binh Quoi 1 features gardens, lakes and quality Vietnamese restaurants. Stop by for dinner at a riverside restaurant, a great setting to watch time float by, or rent a boat from Binh Quoi 2 to see the contrast between spacious villas and stilt houses. Binh Thanh D

Free

Local insight: Explore the area – it has villages, rice paddies and a very rural feel to it.

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South Vietnam's food relies heavily on spices, herbs and fresh vegetables. The preparation is simple with cooking techniques borrowed from neighbouring countries like Cambodia, China and Thailand. Be sure to try some of these highlights. Banh Xeo

local

These savoury pancakes are made with flour, egg and salt, then fried. They come stuffed with pork, vegetables and prawns with a side of herbs and fish sauce. Bun Mam

A rather pungent vermicelli noodle soup made with everything but the kitchen sink. It includes shrimp paste, aubergine, squid and more. Bun Thit Nuong

This dish is made of vermicelli noodles topped with fresh greens, peanuts and grilled pork. Some suppliers will even throw in a fried spring roll. Com Tam

Literally translated as “broken rice�, this hearty dish is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It comes with many different meat options, but the most common is a delicious barbecued pork chop. Hu Tieu

This originally Cambodian dish features long, thin rice noodles served with ground pork, pork heart and shrimp. You usually have the choice between a dry (fried) and a wet (with soup) version. Restaurant Price Guide (per meal) $ - up to VND199,000

$$ - VND200,000-499,000

$$$ - VND500,000 & above 28

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things to EAT where SEE

Di Mai $-$$ Di Mai is not what you would expect from a typical Vietnamese restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, with its sleek, modern ambience, high-quality street food and great prices. Historical elements from the 1920s to the 1960s Saigon are subtly infused alongside quality wood furnishing, creating a unique look. Food portions are small enough to order several dishes at once, letting you sample their delicious variety. Normally fatty dishes like Mi Quang and Fried Spring Rolls contain relatively little oil, allowing the chefs to highlight their excellent ingredients. The staff is attentive and communicates well in English. 136-138 Le Thi Hong Gam, D1 028 3821 7786 7:00am-11:00pm nhahangdimai.com

Local insight: Their super-fresh juices are served in glass bottles. Wondermelon is a refreshing watermelon-mint flavour. 30

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L'Usine $-$$ Since its founding in 2009, L’Usine has been the vanguard of Saigon chic, reinterpreting the classic colonial heritage of Vietnam’s cosmopolitan capital. L’Usine’s new spot on Le Thanh Ton reimagines the L’Usine experience. While the Dong Khoi venue delivers a sense of discovery, the Le Thanh Ton location gives visitors a luxe experience. The L’Usine Eatery on the top floor is a casual restaurant with a simple menu serving up some of the chef's current favourites, paired with an adventurous wine list. 19 Le Thanh Ton, D1 028 3822 7188 151/5 Dong Khoi, D1 028 6674 9565 6:00pm-10:30pm lusinespace.com 70B Le Loi, D1 028 3521 0703 7:30am-10:30pm 6:00pm-10:30pm reservations@lusinespace.com

Local insight: Come between 5pm and 7pm to get 50% off all alcoholic drinks and complimentary platters on selected drinks saigon

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Local insight: Try their Cheese Trolley, French Blue Lobster or The Seasonal Chef Menu.

TOKYO TONKOTSU

TOKYO SUNDUBU

The Convent is an elegant Eurasian fusion restaurant with a diverse drink menu from coffee to cocktails. Enjoy one of their signature dishes, like the beef brisket burger or the vegan gnocchi, in a classy atmosphere overlooking 30/4 Park, and don’t miss their savoury full fry-up. 15 Han Thuyen, D1 028 3823 3600 foodsociety.vn 8:00am–11:00pm info@foodsociety.vn

L5 - 09, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 028 3821 8869 oedoalley 10:30am-10:30pm (last order: 10:00pm)

Local insight: Wednesday is Steak Night at The Convent. VND220,000 ($10) for an Australian ribeye is a real bargain!

Local insight: The “alley” has all the restaurants located in a convenient, single-floor area, making it easy to go from one Japanese cuisine to the next.

Local insight: On weekdays, lunchtime diners benefit from a generous 20% discount on all menu items.

The Convent Bar & Restaurant

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RA-MEN BANKARA

Oedo Alley $-$$ Opened in July 2016, Oedo Alley Japanese Food Village is a collection of six restaurants serving under one banner. Located in the new Saigon Centre mall, these delicious eateries offer up everything from udon noodles to sushi, all served at reasonable prices and made by skilled Japanese chefs. Signature dishes that should be tried by any Japanese food fan: the Seafood Udon at Tamoya Udon; the Kakuni Bankara at Bankara Ramen; the Kaisen Sundubu at Tokyo Sundubu; sushi, sashimi and other fresh dishes at Sushi Sen; the Japan's Local Dish at Gourmet Yatai; and the Osaka Okonomiyaki at Botejyu.

51st Floor, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, D1 028 6291 8751 Mon-Fri 11:00am-2:00pm & 5:00pm-11:00pm eon51.com Sat-Sun 5:00pm-11:00pm reservations@eon51.com

$-$$

international

14 Ngo Quang Huy, D2 028 3898 2082 Mon-Sat 11:45am-1:30pm last order & 6:45pm-9:30pm last order lavilla-restaurant.com.vn

EON51 $$$ High above Saigon’s business district, EON51 offers a sophisticated space in which to enjoy their imaginatively cooked creations prepared in an open kitchen. In addition to the venue's original décor, guests’ eyes will naturally be drawn to the truly magnificent 360º views of the city.

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La Villa $$$ This tucked-away restaurant offers Michelin-quality French cuisine in a beautiful colonial-style villa. Dine in the serene courtyard or refined interior, served by experienced and polite waiters. Twenty minutes from the city centre, La Villa is the perfect choice for guests who are looking for true fine dining.

TAMOYA UDON

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things to EAT where SEE

Restaurant Le Bourgeois $$-$$$ Marvel at the iconic Saigon Opera House from this classy ground-floor restaurant, located at the Hotel Continental Saigon. In the morning, guests can go local with a variety of rice noodle dishes, or opt for the Continental breakfast. Lunch and dinner are dedicated to Western cuisine, and diners are accompanied by classic piano and violin melodies. 028 3822 6677 continentalhotel@vnn.vn continentalsaigon.com/le-bourgeois-restaurant

Local insight: Best to go at night when the Opera House is ablaze with atmospheric light.

Greenie Scoop $ If you want a cool refreshment, seek out Greenie Scoop’s Italian gelato. Enjoy sixteen fruity flavours including strawberry or coconut, and a durian version for the daring. Scoops are VND25,00060,000 and are 100% naturally produced! 52 Ngo Duc Ke, D1 4th Floor, Saigon Centre, D1 Minh Sang Plaza – Binh Duong 09 1684 7336 greeniescoop.com 10:00am-11:00pm

Local insight: It’s Friday? Then be sure to take advantage of their “buy two get one free” special.

The Sushi Bar $-$$ Enter The Sushi Bar and you’ll feel you have been transported to Japan. The sushi is made with fresh fish and there is a dizzying selection to choose from. The house special Sushi Bar Roll is a treat with no less than nine ingredients. Pair your sushi with sake or opt for green tea for authenticity. 2 Le Thanh Ton, D1 1st Floor, Zen Plaza, 54-56 Nguyen Trai, D1 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1 2nd Floor, Saigon Court, 149 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 Ground Floor, Capri Residence, Lot C6B-02-2, D7 Hikari, Ly Thai To, Binh Duong New City, Binh Duong Lot 3-A5.6, Bac Tuong Dai, Hai Chau D, Da Nang 11:00am-11:30pm (last order: 11:00pm) Reservation & Delivery Hotline 028 3911 8818 / 028 3911 8618

Local insight: Grab a seat at the bar to watch them prepare your dishes in front of you. 34

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13A Tu Xuong, D3 028 3932 0187 / 028 3932 0189 10:00am-10:00pm sales.teppankobe@gmail.com

Local insight: Kobe Teppanyaki offers The Tursan Red Wine from 3-star Michelin Chef Michel Guerard, best matched with imported A5 Kobe beef.

Tandoor $-$$ A sophisticated venue right off the Nguyen Hue walking street, Tandoor boasts a welcoming staff and delicious foods. Specialising in halal food from Northern India and clay-oven-cooked kebabs, they also offer Southern Indian cuisine and one of the largest selections of vegetarian options in the city. 39A-39B Ngo Duc Ke, D1 028 3930 4839 10:00am-11:00pm tandoorvietnam.com

Local insight: Looking for a filling meal? Try the Tandoori Grill, which includes chicken, paneer, seabass and mutton grilled in a tandoor oven.

Dynasty $$-$$$ This polished Cantonese restaurant is housed on the first floor of Saigon’s New World Hotel. Chef Wang is renowned for his seafood creations. The new menu is based on seasonal ingredients, and innovates some classics with a twist. Check out the dim sum buffet from 9am to 3pm on weekends! 76 Le Lai, D1 saigon@newworldhotels.com 028 3822 8888 newworldhotels.com/saigon

Local insight: Ask for the signature Kung Fu Soup served from a porcelain teapot. It’s meant to bring strength of body and mind! 36

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Kobe Teppanyaki $$-$$$ This is Saigon’s first restaurant specialising in famous Japanese teppanyaki and premium A5 Kobe beef. Teppan meaning "table" and Yaki meaning "grilled", the chefs at Kobe know how to put on a show. The staff here takes you through an authentically Japanese dining adventure.

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San Fu Lou $$-$$$ This Cantonese favourite is a house of three blessings: tasty food, healthy cooking techniques and perfect hygiene practices. It employs traditional concepts of a Cantonese kitchen with Oriental art deco ambience. San Fu Lou emphasises the contrast of flavours and textures. Gentle use of spices and careful preparation give this style of cooking superb balance. Located in the central areas of Ho Chi Minh City, San Fu Lou will delight your taste buds and completely redefine your idea of Chinese cuisine. Ground Floor, 76A Le Lai, D1 028 3823 9513 7:00am-3:00am 195-197 Phan Xich Long, Phu Nhuan D 028 3517 6168 24 Ba Thang Hai, D10 028 3862 0920 7:00am-11:00pm sanfulou.com Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, D7 028 5414 1193

Local insight: Book a table near the open kitchen – it’s a fun and fascinating experience. saigon

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Local Secret Garden Restaurant: Consistently good Vietnamese fare in a "hidden" rooftop garden. 158 Pasteur, D1

09 0990 4621

Vietnam House Restaurant: Vietnamese fine dining in a richly decorated venue that spans two floors. Try the King Crab Banh Xeo!

further suggestions

93-95-97 Dong Khoi, D1

028 3822 2226

Hum Vegetarian: Best vegetarian restaurant in town with three beautifully designed venues. 32 Vo Van Tan, D3 028 3930 3819 2 Thi Sach, D1 028 3823 8920 No. 32, Street 10 (Duong So 10), Thao Dien Ward, D2

Bep Me In: Set in a rustic ambience reminiscent of classic Vietnam, this restaurant gives travellers a taste of the country’s favourite traditional dishes accompanied by excellent service. 136/9+10 Le Thanh Ton, D1

028 3842 2666

Wrap & Roll: Pick the classics from the menu or create your own delicious rolls. 62 Hai Ba Trung, D1

028 3822 2166

5th Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1

028 3821 6396

International May Restaurant: Warm, welcoming staff and great international food make this ambient restaurant a lovely place for dinner or drinks. 19-21 Dong Khoi, D1

028 6291 3686

The Racha Room: Both a bar and a restaurant, they serve exquisite cocktails, imported ciders and has a menu of delicious Pan-Asian dishes. 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, D1

09 0879 1412

Au Lac do Brazil: A traditional all-you-can-eat Brazilian-style barbecue restaurant for the meat lovers out there. 238 Pasteur, D3 38

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028 3820 7157


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DRINK

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where E E StooDRINK t s g n i ht

Like most major cities, Ho Chi Minh City has its own thriving café scene. From the cheapest street "ca phe" or fresh fruit juice to a wallet-stripping cappuccino amidst high-class upholstery, free Wi-Fi and “luxury” air con, Saigon’s cafés offer some of the best coffees and freshest drinks in Asia.

coffee

But Vietnam is not only famed for its coffee exports and sugar-rich caffeine hits. Locals of all ages frequent the city’s cafe scene for a juice, smoothie or oddly delicious bubble-tea, which they sip as they chat about life. Cafés in Ho Chi Minh City are about relaxation, conversation and social life. Given its sweetness and buttery tang, Vietnamese "ca phe", black or with condensed milk, hot or cold, is something that every traveller must try when they visit this country. Roasted in butter and sometimes fish-sauce, Vietnamese coffee is thicker and sweeter than what you’re probably used to. With ice or without, it’s bound to keep you buzzing for hours. Grab a coffee to go in the typical miscellaneous plastic cup, or join smiling local women on their lawn chairs and sip from a glass mug. Clubs, Bars & Cafés Price Guide (per drink) $ - up to VND99,000

$$ - VND100,000-199,000

$$$ - VND200,000 & above 40

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144 Pasteur, D1 028 3823 9562 11:00am–11:00pm pasteurstreet.com cheers@pasteurstreet.com

bars

Coffee was introduced to Vietnam in 1857 by the French and began to develop as a major agricultural export in the decades following the American War, which ended in 1975. Production skyrocketed at the end of the 20th century with a new 1986 government initiative. Today, Vietnam is the second-largest global exporter of Robusta and Arabica beans after Brazil.

Pasteur Street Brewing Company $-$$ Since it opened in early 2015, Pasteur Street Brewing Company has become the premier venue for craft beer in Saigon. Enjoy their unique beer creations, like the World Beer Cup 2016 winner Cyclo Chocolate Stout, with great Western-style bites.

things to DRINK where SEE

Coffee

Local insight: Get their Sampling Flight with 175ml glasses of six different beers to find your personal favourite.

Chill Skybar $$-$$$ The city's original skybar and the crown atop AB Tower’s 26th floor, Chill Skybar is still the premier spot to mingle. Housing expert staff, Chill Skybar frequently hosts international DJs, entertainers and themed events. Be sure to try the bartender’s unique concoctions, as his international mixes yield spectacularly balanced cocktails. Rooftop, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai, D1 09 3882 2838 5:30pm-2:00am info@chillsaigon.com chillsaigon.com

Local insight: 5:30pm to 8:00pm, happy hour drinks start at VND90,000 and snacks at VND70,000.

Lush Bar $-$$ When you arrive at Lush, you know you've come to a party. At the cutting edge of Saigon nightlife for years, the stylish graphics, comfortable lounge seating and great variety of Western dance music is sure to offer something for everyone looking for an unforgettable night out. 2 Ly Tu Trong, D1 028 3910 4199 8:00pm to late lushsaigon

Local insight: Lush gets jumping on Ladies Nights (Tuesdays) and now they are bringing on a new themed party with Latin Nights on Thursdays. saigon

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things to DRINK where SEE

Nightlife Ho Chi Minh City is the nightlife capital of Vietnam: it is here that you will find the country's best bars, pubs, live music lounges and beer clubs.

nightlife

clubs

Drinking alcohol is a very important part of Vietnamese culture and few people would pass up the opportunity to share a drink with friends or colleagues. Beer is the most popular beverage. In Vietnamese beer gardens, people usually order beer towers containing several litres of their favourite brews. Expats usually quench their thirst in a few popular spots located in District 1, District 2 and District 7. The typical expat bar has several screens to watch sports, a pool table, fun games and a crowd of regulars. A more exclusive way to enjoy your evening with a classy drink is to visit one of Ho Chi Minh City's rooftop lounges. Once the sun sets, beer bars will start welcoming office workers, students and friends. Also called beer gardens, you could count over 100 of them in Saigon. They are great meeting places for an after-hour drink with colleagues. Some are super luxurious, with loud techno music and strict door policies, while others are much more easygoing, consisting of a few tables in the open air. Nightclubs in Ho Chi Minh City will please even the most demanding party-goers. Trendy venues will not look very different from the places you could visit in Europe or the US. They will play the latest music, as well as the mainstream club hits. Prices are generally low: A cocktail or a glass of wine rarely costs more than $10, even in trendy venues. Most nightclubs will close around 3am, but you can keep the party going until the early morning in several after-hour drinking holes. Considering the wide variety and diversity of bars and clubs spread across the city, it is never a difficult thing to find one that you like.

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Catwalk $$-$$$ Catwalk is hosted by the International Tourist Club (ITC), conveniently located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City in the annex wing of New World Saigon Hotel. Opened in 1995, this modern nightlife centre spans three floors, and features a live band and DJ zone, 14 private karaoke rooms, a karaoke bar and a great lounge area to round off your evening. Looking to organise a social or business party? A graduation or holiday party? Catwalk has something for everyone. Come enjoy your favourite cocktails and sing your heart out at Ho Chi Minh City’s premier nightspot. International Tourist Club, 76 Le Lai, D1 7:30pm-2:00am 028 3824 3760 itclubsaigon.com.vn

Local insight: Jam out to Catwalk’s DJ beats or their live bands, who play international music in a variety of languages. saigon

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where E E StooDRINK t s g n i ht

Cafés Càfê RuNam: Upscale café in the heart of District 1. Great coffee with pleasantly kitsch décor. 96 Mac Thi Buoi, D1

028 3825 8883

further suggestions

L'Usine: This fashion boutique, café and bistro is a local favourite – and somewhat the epicentre of Saigon's coffee shop scene. 151/5 Dong Khoi, D1

028 6674 9565

Bars Whiskey & Wares: It’s all in the name: this is the first port of call for lovers of spirits. This is the perfect location for people looking for affordable, high-quality liquors and craft beers in a laid-back atmosphere. 196 De Tham, D1

0163 279 4179

Upper Saigon: This relaxed rooftop bar is an excellent spot for an early evening sunset cocktail. They also serve delicious food. 308 Dien Bien Phu, D3

0123 87737 74

Phatty’s: A great place for sports enthusiasts to catch the game on any of their seven screens. 46-48 Ton That Thiep, D1

028 3821 0796

Clubs Envy: This glamorous nightclub hosts spectacular light shows and acrobatic performances in its artdeco-style setting. 74-76 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1

028 3913 8168

Glow Skybar: A sophisticated, hip rooftop bar with stunning views of the city. Dress up a little when you go there. 93 Nguyen Du, D1 44

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Local insight: Marble sculptures are often quoted at up to four times their actual selling price. Porcelain & Ceramics

After Chinese rule, ceramics developed over time to become distinctly Vietnamese. Traditionally, cobalt blue and white are the most common colours, though there are others available. Teapots, large bowls and other household items are decorative and functional. Prices vary with quality; a beautiful tea set and tray starts at VND250,000. Local insight: Two streets are famous for cheap and exquisite porcelain: Nguyen Thong and Le Quy Don, both in D3. Bargaining is expected and careful inspection is a must. Buffalo Horn

A few Saigon-based jewellers work with buffalo horn. It is used in products like jewellery, eating utensils, pipes and hair decorations. It is said that the horn contains the buffalo spirit, and the power is transferred to those who wear or use it. So select a piece and inherit the strength of the mighty buffalo! Local insight: Lighter shades of horn can cost up to three times the price of darker shades. Shopping Price Guide (per main item) $ - up to VND299,000

$$ - VND300,000-499,000

$$$ - VND500,000 & above 46

things to SHOP where SEE

Marble

Long held to be the most luxurious stone, marble carvings are usually only available for the wealthy. Fortunately, the exquisite mineral is no longer limited to 5-star hotels and Italian museums. Vietnamese marble comes in a wide variety of colours, patterns and shapes. Peruse the souvenir shops to find the perfect piece.

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Minh Long $$-$$$ Centrally located, this is one of the largest porcelain showrooms in Southern Vietnam. It is a shopping paradise of porcelain products including tableware, jewellery and souvenirs with unique designs rich in Vietnamese culture. These designs mix national identity with exotic patterns and traditional daily life. Beautiful landscapes and historical monuments remind visitors of Vietnam’s origin. The work succeeds in bringing Vietnamese culture to the world, which is Minh Long’s declared mission. 17 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, D3 9:00am-9:00pm 028 3930 2634 4th Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, D1 10:00am-9:00pm 028 3821 8268 Minh Long also has multiple locations in Hanoi minhlong.com sales@minhlong.com

Local insight: Since 1970, Minh Long’s ceramics have spanned over four generations. saigon

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Wood Carvings

A thriving craft, local wood is carved into trinkets, figurines and burl furniture. Choosing the type of wood is important: hard woods are more difficult to shape but have greater longevity, while softer woods are easier to carve, but are more vulnerable. Especially impressive are the carvings made from entire tree branches, where the curvature of the wood is incorporated into the piece. Local insight: A life-size carving will cost about $3,000, as it’s made out of one block of wood.

1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, D1 mekong-plus.com

souvenirs

Local insight: Look inside the hats to see the designs cut into the leaves.

Mekong Quilts $$ This nonprofit organisation specialises in high quality, hand-stitched bed covers together with a collection of baby quilts, bamboo bicycles, accessories, giftware and more. Mekong Quilts provides employment, training and benefits to women in rural Vietnam and Cambodia and they have employed over 200 women.

things to SHOP where SEE

Conical Hats

Created out of necessity given Vietnam’s tropical climate, there is not a more iconic souvenir than the Vietnamese non la, or leaf hat. This distinctive headpiece has become a national symbol representing the hardworking spirit of Vietnam. The conical hat is fashioned out of bamboo, with coconut or palm leaves hand-sewn into the frame. The non la can be found in most markets and on Vietnamese people everywhere.

028 2210 3110

Local insight: They also have locations in Hanoi, Hoi An, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Ao Dai

Translated in Vietnamese as “long dress”, the form-fitting but flowing ao dai, a long tunic worn over silk trousers, is very feminine and flattering. As an author once wrote, “The ao dai covers everything but hides nothing.” It is the Vietnamese national dress for women and is used in traditional ceremonies. The government actively promotes it. The dress is often called the "Ao Dai Vietnam” in government events and publications. Local insight: Body sizes vary, but it usually takes about four metres of fabric to make an ao dai.

Lacquerware

Vietnamese lacquerware is sought after by collectors for its beauty and durability, and is applied to everything from paintings to dishes. Lacquer is a natural varnish made from a tree in the cashew family. Production in Vietnam dates back to the 18th century. The best lacquerware is handmade. A labour-intensive process, it can take more than 12 stages of production to make each piece and a tray requires 75 days. Local insight: Look for details like air bubbles in the lacquer to evaluate the quality of production. 48

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Authentique Home $$-$$$ Inspired by nature, Authentique upholds fine Vietnamese craft traditions. All home ceramics, textiles and wood items are masterly handcrafted with refined designs and materials by dedicated artisans at their workshops. 71/1 Mac Thi Buoi, D1 028 3823 8811 113 Le Thanh Ton, D1 028 3822 8052 3rd Floor, 316-2, Saigon Centre, D1 028 8858 1699 9:00am-9:00pm authentiquehome.com

Local insight: Check out Couleurs d'Asie (1st Floor, 151/7 Dong Khoi, D1) for some stunning photo art.

Local insight: They also stock other special, locally handmade products.

Lacquer Painting

Antiques

Nowhere in the world is the diversity and availability of lacquer arts more evident than in Vietnam. With a range that spans from museum pieces to holiday ornaments, it is expansive. Vietnamese have been processing lacquer for more than 2,000 years. Following the influence of French lacquer teachers in the 1930s, the art form developed into a technique that combines the traditional Asian and European styles.

Le Cong Kieu Street, near Ben Thanh Market, is one of Saigon’s best kept secrets. Packed with more than 60 antique shops, each and every shop is full of hundreds of interesting items. Rummage through the treasure trove of stone statues, lamps, ceramic pots and clocks to unearth a rare find. But be aware that only around 30% of the goods on display are genuine antiques and the rest are reproductions.

Local insight: For the perfect piece, check Dong Khoi and Mac Thi Buoi in District 1.

Local insight: The government controls the export of genuine antiques, so keep your receipts.

Traditional Art

Bamboo

Vietnam’s local artisans and folk artists produce stunningly ornate work, be it lacquerware, block prints, silk paintings or calligraphy. Since the 1960s, the ancient practice of embroidery expanded to include majestic scenes and detailed portraits. Larger works can take over a month to produce, and subjects include beautiful landscapes, animals and traditional Vietnamese flowers.

Bamboo is a fast-growing grass with a delicate grain that makes it distinctive and elegant. A large range of bamboo products are produced in Vietnam including vases, trays and platters. With the plant growing abundantly in the countryside, prices are reasonable. Bamboo is also used as the frame for most non la, the iconic Vietnamese conical hat.

Local insight: Browse the shops around Dong Khoi and try XQ (106 Le Loi) for a vast selection of embroidery.

Local insight: Test the quality of the bamboo by running your hand over it, as there should not be any splinters.

souvenirs

Contemporary art spaces in HCMC are few and far between. However, this looks poised to change for the better, which is good news for both artists and collectors. Unfortunately, finding original pieces can be difficult, since knock-offs proliferate on the market. The mostly hidden art scene provides opportunities for art collectors to find stunning creations at low prices, and for window shoppers to marvel at avant-garde artistry.

things to SHOP where SEE

Contemporary Art

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things to SHOP where SEE

Propaganda Art

souvenirs

souvenirs

Propaganda art is usually made for political purposes, but it has also been used for campaigns promoting public safety. Vietnam’s propaganda art truly came into its own during the American War. Trumpeting everything from fighting to industrial production, this socialist style now has a very retro feel and can be found on old posters, T-shirts and handbags. Not surprisingly, many propaganda artists call HCMC home. Local insight: Saigon Kitsch (43 Ton That Thiep, D1) has a collection of Vietnamese propaganda art. Zippos

Once a faithful companion to US soldiers during the war, these enduring lighters can be found scattered throughout Vietnam, and each one tells a unique story. Most are still functioning and only require a top-up of lighter fluid and a new flint. These iconic lighters are priced according to the year, design, quality and condition. Most are under VND100,000; get them at Yersin Market (104 Yersin, D1). Local insight: Although there are a few genuine ones left, most sold are copies – even the one Martin Sheen had in Apocalypse Now wasn’t real. Coffee

You might have tried the almost mandatory ca phe sua da (iced milk coffee) or spent a relaxing afternoon at one of Saigon’s myriad coffee shops. If you liked what you drank, why not bring some home? Locally sourced coffee beans and traditional filters can be found at any of the Phuc Long shops across the city (f. e. 63 Mac Thi Buoi, D1). They also have tea. Local insight: Vietnam is the origin of the worldfamous coffee that went through a weasel – a great souvenir to dare relatives to try at home. 52

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Maison Marou Saigon $-$$ Since its start in 2011, Marou has grown to be Vietnam’s premier chocolate institution. Their internationally acclaimed chocolate bars are all made with Vietnamese cacao. In addition to the well-known Single Origin dark chocolate range, you can discover the exclusive Maison Marou bars made and sold at Marou’s café/patisserie/chocolate factory. Sit down, take a break from your busy tour of Saigon and pick one of their many fresh pastries, all made with their world-class chocolate. It’s also the perfect place to find a gift for friends with a sweet tooth. 167 Calmette, D1 028 7300 5010 Mon-Thu 9:00am-10:00pm, Fri-Sun 9:00am-11:00pm we@maisonmarou.com maisonmarou.com

Local insight: Make sure to try Maison Marou Saigon’s hot chocolate and eclairs. You won’t find any better in town. saigon

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LOCATED BETWEEN

LOCATED BETWEEN

STREET NAME

PRODUCT

NO.

Mac Dinh Chi

Bars, Cafés

11-59C

Dien Bien Phu Le Duan

Le Loi

Souvenirs, Art

15-121

Ben Thanh Market Dong Khoi

Dong Khoi

Souvenirs, Boutiques

1-211

Ton Duc Thang Le Duan

Le Thi Hong Gam

Shoes, Wallets

2-78

Calmette Pho Duc Chinh

Nguyen Trai

Fashion, Restaurants

1-147

New World Saigon Ton That Tung

Luong Huu Khanh

Signs, Signboards

Whole street

Nguyen Trai Bui Thi Xuan

Bui Thi Xuan

Mid-Range Hotels

1-59

Cach Mang Thang 8 Le Thi Rieng

159373

Nguyen Thai Hoc Cong Quynh

201269

Pham Ngu Lao Tran Hung Dao

1-207

Tran Hung Dao Cong Quynh

STREET NAME

PRODUCT

NO.

Ton That Tung

IT Appliances

7C-145

Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Nguyen Trai

Thi Sach

Hotels, Bars

7-15C

Le Thanh Ton Tran Hung Dao statue

Nguyen Cu Trinh

Computers

20-74

Tran Hung Dao Cong Quynh

Ly Tu Trong

Fashion

75-213

Truong Dinh Thu Khoa Huan

Huyen Tran Cong Chua

Sporting Goods

Whole street

Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Nguyen Du

Le Cong Kieu

Antiques

1-27

Pho Duc Chinh Nam Ky Khoi Nghia

Hai Ba Trung

Fashion, Restaurants

137A447

Tran Quang Khai Nguyen Thi Minh Khai

Huynh Thuc Khang

Housewares, Perfume

1B-75

Ben Thanh Market Nguyen Hue

Mac Thi Buoi

Fashion, Restaurants

33-97

Hai Ba Trung Nguyen Hue

Ham Nghi

Banks

79A-99

Ben Thanh Market Sai Gon River

Ly Thai To

Old Vespas

7-105B

Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Le Hong Phong

Le Thanh Ton

Boutiques, Restaurants

1-245

Ton Duc Thang Ben Thanh Market

Le Van Sy

Fashion, Cafés

311B351

Tran Quang Dieu Pham Van Hai

Thai Van Lung

Restaurants

9-29

Mac Thi Buoi Le Thanh Ton

Cao Thang

Fashion, Restaurants

1-169

Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Ba Thang Hai

Ton That Thiep

Restaurants, Bars

3-49

Nguyen Hue Pasteur

Nguyen Dinh Chieu

Fashion, Restaurants

131567

Truong Dinh Nguyen Thien Thuat

citypassguide.com

1

Pham Ngu Lao De Tham Bui Vien

3

Travel Agents, Cafés, Restaurants, Souvenirs, Bars

saigon

shopping streets

shopping streets

DISTRICT

DISTRICT

things to SHOP where SEE

Shopping Streets

You might think it wouldn’t be a good idea to open a shop next door to your competitor, but in Vietnam people believe success breeds more success. Stores with the same products are often bundled together, whether it’s a row of places selling safes or a strip of snail restaurants. Listed below are the streets where specific types of products can be found.

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where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht

Bitexco

The 262.5m-high Bitexco Financial Tower was once the tallest building in Vietnam. The centrally located tower has four floors of shopping with international and local brands and a cinema on the fourth floor.

Saigon Centre

Russian Market

malls

65 Le Loi, D1

saigoncentre.com.vn

Start with Armani and Jimmy Choo before going down to a great food court that includes many international and Vietnamese restaurants. 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1

Saigon Square

A cross between a shopping mall and a market frequented by expatriates and locals, Saigon Square’s three locations are packed to the roof with everything from DVDs to jeans. Cheap copies of designer sportswear rub shoulders with fashion brands. The quality is fake, but the price is right. Just remember to bargain hard. 77 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1 179E-181-183-185 Hai Ba Trung, D1

Diamond Plaza

If you want to go ten-pin bowling, see a movie or just hang at the mall, Diamond Plaza is the place to be. The mall hosts a range of cosmetics, branded clothing and toys, as well as an energetic arcade and a food court. Family Medical Practice is also here if you need some Western-style medical care. 34 Le Duan, D1 56

citypassguide.com

Located in an air-conditioned building near one of Saigon River's canals, the Russian Market offers brand-name winter gear, shoes and sportswear at unbeaten prices. The merchandise is disorganised and may require some digging around, but it’s well worth it. Little example? Top-notch Northface jackets can be purchased at less than $50. 328 Vo Van Kiet, D1

Vincom Center B

171 Dong Khoi, D1

45 Ngo Duc Ke, D1

malls

Saigon Centre is Ho Chi Minh City's dazzling new shopping mall. Offering over 400 world-renowned brands, many in Vietnam for the first time, it provides a highly exclusive selection of products. The new mall also features over 50 restaurants and food stalls.

things to SHOP where SEE

Malls

The Saigonese aren’t as mall-crazy as their neighbours in Singapore, but HCMC still has its fair share of malls, and more are planned. It’s a great way to beat the heat during the hot, dry months.

Crescent Mall

Located in suburban Phu My Hung (D7), Crescent Mall offers an array of recognised international brands in air-conditioned comfort. Along with shopping, there are a number of food and drink options and a cinema that shows all the latest films. If you feel a bit shopped out, take a scenic walk around Ho Ban Nguyet Lake. 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7

SC VivoCity

The impressively designed five-storey mall features a diverse variety of outlets, including an education centre, restaurants, designer stores, a rooftop garden and a children’s play area. There is also a CGV IMAX theatre. 1058 Nguyen Van Linh, D7

Parkson Plaza

With locations throughout the city, Parkson boasts a comprehensive selection of cosmetics and a wide range of clothing. This is the place to go for quality kitchenware and appliances. 39-45 Le Thanh Ton, D1 184 Le Dai Hanh, D11 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh D saigon

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where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht

Fashion Khai Silk: Hoang Khai’s flagship store has an extensive selection of top-notch fashion. 101 Dong Khoi, D1

028 3829 1146

Paris With Style: Céline, the Saigon-based French

further suggestions

personal shopper and image consultant for men and women, from changing image to shopping new trends. 0165 223 0055

pariswithstyle.com

Tailors Kenn Smith: This American tailor offers some of the best bespoke clothes in Saigon, with amazing service to match. 09 0841 9879

MostInterestingTailorInSaigon

Home Decor & Lacquerware Nga Art & Craft: These high-quality Vietnamese products, handmade by skilled artisans, blend innovative modern art with traditional styles. 81 Mac Thi Buoi, D1

028 3823 8356

Hanoia: Artful home décor, jewellery and lacquer silk full of Vietnamese character. 107 Dong Khoi, D1

028 3827 9383

Galleries Apricot: This premium gallery features Vietnam’s leading artists. Paintings start at $2,000. 50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, D1

028 3822 7962

Ben Thanh Art & Frame: This shop supplies artwork to some of Saigon’s leading hotels. 7 Nguyen Thiep, D1

028 3823 3001

Jewellery Therese: This reputable jeweller is a favourite of the Saigon expat crowd, making unique pieces of jewellery. 9 Nguyen Thiep, D1 58

citypassguide.com

028 3824 6011


things to

DO

Si Hoang Show saigon

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Walking Tour (see map) Total distance: 4.7km Duration: 2.5-3 hours (without stops) Starting point: The Majestic Hotel HOANFinancial R U O Bitexco G SA Ending point: Tower N

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NGU OAN A YEN G EN V Y BIN U Begin G MA H KH P LE VANyour journey at the Majestic Hotel located N H C DI H UNG T IEM near theSYSaigon River at the beginning of Dong O N I KHA H CH V A TRU TON C KH KH Khoi. Walk along this street to take a peek at I ONG U H H DUC OAN P IN HOAN SA the various souvenir shops and art galleries. The GAN THA G SA BIEN PHAM N VAN HI M GN O T N N Opera House (page 9) is on your right. Turn left A G ID EN GOC EN T. C TRU THA NAM AN N DU C GUY NG. PAS TRAN VAN DANG onto Le Loi to reach Nguyen Hue, then turn right U N C D H E H T KY K and head to the City Hall (page 9) with the Ho EUR UM LE NGUY NGUY ANH HOI Chi Minh statue in front of it. Afterwards, make a EN PH N TRIN G UC NG H H IA NGUon Le Thanh Ton to get back on Dong Khoi. UYEN right S NG CACH L E Y E EN T QUY O V. OD NG MANG O H NAM H U R D X B H ContinueONon Dong Khoi; after one block, you will E THAN O A U A 4 D 30- k 5 HUYE N G T I . B X G TAM see the Notre r A N THA (page 10), andTR on E Dame Cathedral a L TRU P A 4 UON N NG the right the Central Post OfficeH Q(page UAN 10). Turn THA AI GD N E H Y I VA K I U D back to the cathedral and tour 30-4 Park (page NH O H H N LU NG K T N . I H T NG M H H M 13) to the west. I I O G E I S I H N A H T CH UO NG IN N H H 6 O O E U U R H Y Y T 2 ND Head through the park U T 3 TON UAN EU NGU EN TRAN HU to the Reunification NGO OX I DI Pthe UYE LY T H H H G N N Palace G(page 12) at end of Le Duan. Facing T C N E A Tao Dan ONG H BI NGU YEN N turnIEright CHU the Palace, LE T YEN Park CACH TurnNGU D N on Nam Ky Khoi Nghia. THA A 3 NGU T MATao left onto Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and you will find RUN NG TH YEN G TR Dan Park on your left (page 13). Venture around A N UC G TAM U IE HUE 1 a left onto TruongHIEDinh H T N T the park and take until you TON THA HC 1 2 Ton, then turnDINleft. N TA N reach Le Thanh After 8 3 H TO O VAa short . ANH N N E V HANG A K Y C H U N H T U T walk, you will reach the fruit and flower section of U H 4 N Y E G HU L 7 PH Ben Thanh Market (pageN14-15). NG SUO XUAN BIEN PHAM HONG THAI T N HAM NGHI C O E . AO T N TH .T DI I HAN diagonally left to Huynh Thuc A E THI BRIENG M I k r Turn right, O A A a R P L G T 9 BAN then cross L G 23H EN LE ONG Khang. Follow the road past the local market on CO I BIN NGUY LAI NGU LAO HI H THA T . LE G M E A N L Ton That Dam. Turn right onto Ho Tung Mau, then PH Things to see ATM left at Ngo Duc Ke to reach Bitexco KY C HCON Financial N A H G O CBreath Cafe Majestic Hotel Central Post Office Q T N U Tower (page 17). Stop at Hog’s on Hai E Y I NH V EN DON Palace PHAMInside Bitexco, venture Trieu before continuing on. BUI VI ATM G DAO Reunification Opera House AN

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on up to the Observation Deck and take in the breathtaking views of the city – a perfect way to end the tour.

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Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht tours

Boat Tours For a different view of the city, take a trip with Les Rives (lesrivesexperience.com) or Saigon River Tour (saigonrivertour.com). Try the daily scheduled trips to Cu Chi District instead of the standard bumpy bus ride – it's a one-hour scenic speedboat trip up the Saigon River. A private guide ensures a relaxed pace, topped off by a picnic lunch on the return journey. Prices range from $50-80. Local insight: Book a private charter sunset cruise along the canals of Saigon – you won’t regret it.

Cyclo Tours Another way to explore Saigon is by the traditional cyclo. Don’t worry, you don’t do any of the pedalling as you sit back, relax and let the drivers do the work. At a leisurely pace you are able to take in the sights and sounds this dynamic city has to offer. Beware though, there are many scammers out there. Better ask your hotel to arrange a cyclo tour for you. Local insight: Always set a price before you ride, and keep your personal belongings close to hand. Activities Price Guide (per visit) $ - up to VND299,000

$$ - VND300,000-499,000

$$$ - VND500,000 & above 62

citypassguide.com

tours / activities

Local insight: Vespa Adventures and XO Tours are only two out of many providers.

Bicycle Tours One of the great ways to explore the city and all its winding alleys is by bicycle. The relatively flat topography means bicycling is fairly effortless. Free-wheeling in Ho Chi Minh City gives you a totally different perspective and provides an alltoo-rare glimpse inside busy Vietnamese life. You might want to wear a facemask though, as some of the highways are unbearably shrouded in smog. Group and private tours are widely available.

things to DO SEE

Motorbike Tours See the city like a local and rev up your stay with a tour on a motorbike. Whether it’s on a stylish Vespa or with an ao dai-clad tour guide, weaving in and out of traffic like a true Saigonese is a great way to experience the vitality of the city. Luckily, while riding tandem with a motorbike tour you don’t have to drive through the manic traffic.

Local insight: Note that bicycles are at the bottom of the traffic food chain, so ride carefully.

Street Food Tours With an abundance of fresh ingredients and a multitude of local dishes to sample, one of the best ways to experience authentic Vietnamese culture is through its street food. While intimidating for travellers due to the sheer variety, there are several tour operators specialising in food tours. Their invaluable knowledge allows you to sample tasty dishes in a controlled and hygienic environment not normally found on the tourist trail. Local insight: The best tours usually take place in the evening – and on the back of a motorbike.

Cooking Classes Can you tell the Phu Quoc fish sauce from that of Phan Thiet? Vietnamese cuisine is hip now, so show off your skills when you get home. Secrets and techniques passed down from generations are taught in most large cities and can include a market visit to shop for guaranteed-fresh ingredients. Culinary prowess is the perfect souvenir – the gift that keeps on giving. Local insight: Be sure to ask about Western alternatives for the ingredients that may only be found in Vietnam. saigon

63


Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht entertainment

Local insight: Why not come early and visit the adjacent ao dai gallery for free while you wait?

Suoi Tien Theme Park $ ATV is popular elsewhere, but it’s still new in Vietnam. At Suoi Tien Theme Park, adventurous families can take advantage of the first ATV track in the country, courtesy of Vinaracing. Here you’ll find 27 ATVs with three different tracks: the child’s course, the advanced track and the desert track. 120 Hanoi Highway, D9 1900 636 787 suoitien.com/en/ info@suoitien.com

Local insight: If you’ve never ridden an ATV before, don’t worry! A free training session will make sure everyone gets the chance to drive safely.

Dam Sen Water Park $ Beat the Saigon heat! Dam Sen includes several pool areas, 30 water games to choose from and the mildly terrifying Twister Bowl. Explore the expansive park and enjoy the carnival rides, animal shows, lake outings and vibrant people-watching. 3D Hoa Binh, D11 Mon-Sat 9:00am-6:00pm / Sun & Holidays 8:30am-6:00pm www.damsenwaterpark.com.vn/en/ 028 3858 8418

Local insight: The wave-making pool has a surface area of 3,000m2 . 64

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Saigon Opera House, 7 Cong Truong Lam Son, D1 luneproduction.com 012 4518 1188 Ticket box opens daily from 9:30am-6:00pm reservation@luneproduction.com

entertainment

2nd Floor, 77 Nguyen Hue, D1 8:30pm-10:00pm 0901 394 779 / 028 6683 2740 (Mr. Vu) sihoangshow.vn

A O Show $$$ At the Saigon Opera House, A O Show is an acrobatic mix of bamboo circus act, live music and gravity-defying stunts, that capture the essence of Vietnam from peaceful hamlets to vibrant cities.

things to DO SEE

Diem Mot Thoi - Si Hoang Show $$$ Experience Vietnamese culture through the story of the ao dai, accompanied by traditional Vietnamese music. The dazzling 90-minute show highlights the development of the ao dai over 300 years and features some beautiful ethnic costumes. After the event, you can order your own ao dai on the 3rd floor.

Local insight: Many call the A O Show the Cirque du Soleil of Ho Chi Minh City. Camera use is forbidden during the show.

Water Puppets $ Originating from the Red River Delta during the 11th century, this style of theatre uses a shallow pool of water as a stage. Accompanied by a traditional orchestra, singers tell stories about the daily life of the locals, national history and folklore while the lacquered puppets glide, float, fly and swim across the stage. 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 028 3930 2196 6:30pm & 8:00pm

Local insight: The puppets are controlled by a long bamboo rod below the water.

Cai Luong $ A traditional form of folk music, cai luong is similar to Western operettas with the flash and glitz of a Broadway production. Performers are adorned in ornate costumes to sing and dance their way through comedic and dramatic storylines with verve. The unique sound combines guitars and dan kim, a local stringed instrument, to enthrall the audience. Tran Huu Trang Theatre, 515-517 Tran Hung Dao, D1

Local insight: Cai luong requires intense training and has evolved to include less traditional songs. saigon

65


Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht entertainment

entertainment

La Habana, 152 Le Lai, D1 Maxim’s, 13-15-17 Dong Khoi, D1 La Salsa, 212 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3

Local insight: Even if you don’t dance, the live music shows are well worth the visit.

Casinos Along with independent venues, many of the top hotels have gaming rooms attached. Until recently, casinos in HCMC were few and far between. Now, gambling is alive and well here, but generally only available to those with international passports. Craps, slots, poker and roulette – name your game and it’s here. Most of the cards are dealt by unregulated machines, but you can still take a spin to see if Lady Luck is on your side. Local insight: Some gaming venues are open 24 hours, allowing you to test the stakes any time.

Karaoke The Vietnamese take their singing seriously, so if you’re a keen wailer check out some of the karaoke bars around town. Karaoke is a Japanese word that means “empty orchestra” and is usually done in a private room. Prices average around VND100,000-150,000 per hour, depending on the room’s size. There are a few social venues in town, but most singing is thankfully done behind closed doors. Local insight: Some decent karaoke venues include King Karaoke and iBox Karaoke. 66

things to DO SEE

Dancing There are a number of venues in which to bust a move, or learn how to, in Ho Chi Minh City. Try La Habana on Wednesdays at 8:30pm for a free swing class, or check La Salsa's schedule for social dances. Maxim’s ballroom also has dancing every night accompanied by live music.

citypassguide.com

Chats Slot Gaming Center $$-$$$ The International Tourist Club (ITC) sits at the annex wing of New World Saigon Hotel and features the Chats Slot Gaming Center and the Catwalk next door. Chats is full of e-gaming machines, accessible at any hour of the day. Try your luck at digital slots, baccarat, blackjack and roulette. For the high-rollers, an exclusive VIP roulette room offers some true high-stakes thrills. Stop by Catwalk next door for live bands and a pumping dance floor, or sit back and sing the night away at any of their 14 private karaoke rooms. Be sure to check out the Chats Rewards Programme, which offers exclusive members benefits and privileges. International Tourist Club, 76 Le Lai, D1 24/7 028 3824 3760 itclubsaigon.com.vn

Local insight: Entry to Chats is restricted to holders of current foreign passports. Bring yours! saigon

67


Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht

Saigon South Golf Club This nine-hole, par three course in Phu My Hung is an old and compact option for those looking to play a quick round. Located right inside the city, it’s perfect for a short jaunt onto the green.

Local insight: Try their Total Pain Release Massage, ideal to sooth away the strains of daily life.

Nguyen Van Linh, D7

028 5411 2001

Long Thanh Golf Club If you’re looking to get away from the city for a bit, this 36-hole course can be found about 30km north of Ho Chi Minh City. Be sure to take in its scenic surroundings of former paddies. National Highway 51, Tan Mai II, Phuoc Tan Village, Bien Hoa 0251 627 8899 longthanhgolfresort.com

Vietnam Golf & Country Club Located 20km north of the city centre, this was the country’s first 36-hole course. The holes were carved out of the existing woodland with minimal land movement, creating a natural layout. Long Thanh My Ward, D9 028 6280 0101 pgavietnam.com

Song Be Golf Resort Just 22km north of the city, this resort features lakes, tree-lined fairways and undulating greens. The 27-hole course offers a challenge for any level. 77 Binh Duong Blvd, Lai Thieu Townlet, Thuan An D, Binh Duong 0274 375 6660 songbegolf.com 68

citypassguide.com

26-28 Dong Du, D1 028 3910 2174 9:00am-11:00pm (last appointment: 10:00pm) senspa.com.vn rsv@senspa.com.vn

spas / beauty

golf

Sen Spa $$$ A beautiful interior within walking distance of Dong Khoi Street. Calm your senses with a panoramic view of Saigon and a first-rate, specialised treatment: care for your mind, body and soul in an exquisite setting. For those looking to unwind in the heart of the city, this is the place to do it.

things to DO SEE

Golf in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam has excellent golf opportunities, including international-level courses. If you want to fit in a round of golf it’s as easy as calling up the course and booking directly. On weekends, slots fill quickly and courses run a strict tee-off schedule, so arrive with time to spare. The alternative is to use an agent. Golfing equipment rentals are affordable. The standard tip for a caddie is the price of a coffee.

Massages & Spas Massage and spa culture in HCMC is constantly evolving, offering a large range of options with prices to suit all budgets. From facials or mud baths to aromatherapy, whether it’s Thai, deep tissue or four hands that you’re after, you can find it here. Particularly charming are the spas adorned by antique décor left untouched in old villas, often accompanied by swimming pools and full gardens. Prices will vary depending on the type of treatment. Local insight: Tell your masseuse how much pressure you need beforehand – some don't ask.

Hair Salons Pamper yourself at one of Saigon’s numerous hair and nail salons. At most salons, VND130,000 will buy you a hair wash and a head massage. If you’re willing to pay for a little more, the city’s luxury salons offer experienced hair gurus at prices that will truly amaze. There are also many street-side stations willing to do quick, cheap cuts. However, if you want a stylish trim, it is worth going to a salon and paying a little extra. Local insight: Don’t say yes to every question or you will have to shell out for additional services. saigon

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Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht

Bowling Diamond Plaza Bowling: Typifies a modern, noisy, yet fun bowling alley. 4th Floor, 34 Le Duan, D1

Cinemas CGV Cinemas: This chain has many locations, with standard seats, couple’s chairs and VIP seating.

further suggestions

1st Floor, Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint Hotel, 59 Pasteur, D1 028 3822 3111 cgv.vn

Galaxy: This large theatre showcases the latest films in their original language. 116 Nguyen Du, D1

028 3823 5235

galaxycine.vn

Cooking Classes Saigon Cooking Class: The place to learn the secrets of delicious, local cuisine. 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Hoa Tuc Restaurant, D1 028 3825 1676

Fitness Centre Vincharm Health Club: Modern gym with updated equipment spread over 2,000 square metres. Vincom Center B, 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1

028 3911 1166

Spas Q Spa: Set in a beautiful French villa, this is one of the most luxurious spas in Ho Chi Minh City. 31 Ly Tu Truong, D1

028 3507 3787

The Spa: A great location to relax, unwind and feel refreshed. New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1

028 3822 8888

Luxury Spa: Rejuvenate and refresh both your body and mind. It takes five minutes to drive from Tan Son Nhat International Airport to Luxury Spa. 3rd Floor, Tan Son Nhat Hotel 202 Hoang Van Thu Phu Nhuan D

028 3842 0268

Tours Vietnam Bike Tours: Cycle the Mekong, climb mountains and go off the beaten track. 6F 163-165 Tran Hung Dao, D1 70

citypassguide.com

028 6653 0372


where to

STAY

The Reverie Saigon saigon

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hotels

where E E S to ot sSTAY g n i ht hotels

things to STAY where SEE

New World Saigon Hotel Excellent guest services and facilities make New World Saigon Hotel a prime 5-star hotel. The beautiful pool and terrace give guests the sensation of a tropical resort. New World Saigon Hotel provides 533 guestrooms and suites offering the perfect ambience for both concentrated work and undisturbed relaxation. 76 Le Lai, D1 saigon@newworldhotels.com 028 3822 8888 newworldhotels.com/saigon

Local insight: Don’t miss out on the Seafood Buffet at Parkview.

The Reverie Saigon The Reverie Saigon is a luxury hotel renowned for its beautiful interior designs. The 12 types of magnificently furnished accommodation are offered as 62 suites and 224 rooms and are crafted to perfection. The highest hotel in the city, the rooms and suites start from the 27th floor with beautiful panoramic views of the central business district and the winding Saigon River, seen through floor-to-ceiling windows. Featuring a high-class bar, European and Indochina-inspired fine dining, a luxurious spa and world-class facilities, this iconic hotel will transform the way you look at Vietnam. Times Square Building, 22-36 Nguyen Hue & 57-69F Dong Khoi, D1 028 3823 6688 info@thereveriesaigon.com thereveriesaigon.com

Local insight: The Spa is one of the biggest and most luxurious in Vietnam. “The Origin of Love” is an amazing spa experience for couples. 72

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ibis Saigon Airport Just five minutes from Tan Son Nhat Airport, ibis Saigon Airport hotel features signature rooms that combine design with comfort. Facilities include an all-day dining restaurant, 24h room delivery service and a rooftop pool and bar with views of the airport. The hotel also has free Wi-Fi, a wellness centre and meeting rooms. Day-use option is available. 2 Hong Ha, Tan Binh D h9468-RE1@accor.com 028 3848 5556 accorhotels.com/9468

Local insight: To make yourself literally at home, choose one of the hotel’s studios or apartments.

Sanouva Saigon Hotel This trendy location sports a youthful vibe and is within walking distance to Saigon’s greatest landmarks. Sanouva Saigon caters to meet the demands of both busy business executives and the discerning leisure traveller of today. Its combination of well-appointed rooms, a dedicated staff and all-inclusive amenities deliver top-quality comfort. 177 Ly Tu Trong, D1 028 3827 5275 sanouvahotel.com sales@sanouvahotel.com

Local insight: Enjoy beautiful views of the city from a higher room. saigon

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where E E S to ot sSTAY g n i ht

Hotels Le MĂŠridien: A sophisticated hotel geared towards travellers with a penchant for new places, new tastes and new cultures. 3C Ton Duc Thang, D1 028 6263 6688 lemeridien.com/saigon

further suggestions

Eastin Grand Hotel Saigon: The ideal home away from home for those looking for comfort as well as luxury. Conveniently close to the airport. 253 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan D eastingrandsaigon.com

028 3844 9222

Sofitel Saigon Plaza: Sophisticated design and dĂŠcor mixed with a prime location, Sofitel serves as a luxurious retreat from the bustling city. 17 Le Duan, D1

028 3824 1555

sofitel.com

Pullman Saigon Centre: Opened in 2013, this hotel caters to both leisure and business travellers. 148 Tran Hung Dao, D1 028 3838 8686 pullman-saigon-centre.com

Rex Hotel: Built by the French in the 20th century and refurbished in 2013, Rex Hotel is part of the cultural heritage of Saigon. 141 Nguyen Hue, D1 028 3829 2185 rexhotelvietnam.com

Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers: Equipped with 401 guest rooms and 84 suites in a prime location in the heart of the city. 88 Dong Khoi, D1 028 3827 2828 starwoodhotels.com

Hotel Continental Saigon: A historically charming 4-star hotel right next to the Saigon Opera House. Immortalised in The Quiet American. 132-134 Dong Khoi, D1 continentalsaigon.com

028 3829 9201

Hotel Nikko: This Japanese-run hotel offers some of the largest rooms in HCMC. 235 Nguyen Van Cu, D5 028 3925 7777 hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn 74

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where to

VISIT

saigon

75


where E E S to ot VISIT s g n i ht mekong delta

My Tho This is one of the closest and most popular locations of the Delta’s trade and tourism hubs. My Tho is a perfect springboard for day tours of the surrounding tributaries, rivulets and islands. First, though, explore the town itself – the capital of Tien Giang Province is a real charmer and you can still see French architectural influences in the shops and villas. The Vinh Trang and Cao Dai Temples display this region’s unique cultural past. My Tho’s economy is firmly based on tourism, fishing and agricultural products such as bananas, coconuts and longans. Don’t miss out on Dong Tam Snake Farm, where you can learn about the many rare species of snakes. Local insight: While you’re there, hop on a bike and have a drink at The Island Lodge (theislandlodge. com.vn), one of the best resorts in the area. 76

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mekong delta

Local insight: The Can Tho bridge, an engineering wonder, is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Southeast Asia, stretching nearly 2,750 metres.

things to VISIT where SEE

Can Tho One of the most delightful stopovers in the South, it will be hard to leave once you see its beauty and meet the friendly locals. Can Tho, on the southernmost tributary of the Mekong, is the Delta’s largest provincial capital city and commercial hub. Due to its strategic location, it thrives as an agricultural centre and major rice milling town. Along the pier, thousands of conical hats bob and weave as exotic fruits and Dong notes change hands. Visit the buzzing central market on Hai Ba Trung, but go early to catch it at its peak. Afterwards, join the sampan boat traffic jams in the three floating markets of the surrounding areas, Cai Rang, Phong Dien and Phung Hiep. The best way to see the Mekong and Can Tho is by boat, so be sure to take one and join in on the festivities.

Bassac Welcome aboard the Bassac, three authentic wooden cabin cruisers that will let you discover life on the Mekong River. Spend the night on the river in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Built according to local tradition, without compromising safety or comfort, the Bassac is the ideal size to navigate remote areas and offer wide living spaces open to the surrounding scenery. Learn about the local culture of the Mekong Delta and taste specialties cooked afresh and served by a caring crew. Take in the ambience of the Mekong as you go by. Office: 142-144 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City 0292 382 9540 transmekong.com bassac@transmekong.com

Local insight: When in Can Tho, be sure to take a short cruise to a Khmer pagoda in the countryside. saigon

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vung tau

where E E S to ot VISIT s g n i ht southern coast

things to VISIT where SEE

Vung Tau A 120km excursion from Ho Chi Minh City, best done by boat shuttle, Vung Tau has long been a popular tourist destination for local and international travellers alike. Its name translates to "anchorage", derived from a time when European traders stopped there in the 14th and 15th centuries. During the American War, the peninsula at Vung Tau was populated by American soldiers on shore leave. The two beaches, Bai Truoc and Bai Sau, offer a broad range of hotels, bars and restaurants. During the weekend the beaches are awash with locals and Saigonese taking a break from the city, so go during the week for a quieter experience. The top place to visit is the 32-metre statue of Jesus on Mount Nho. Another great vantage point is the Old Lighthouse. As one would expect, seafood here is first-class and centred around fish, crab, shrimp and lobster. The best restaurants can be found on Vung Tau’s southwestern shore. Local insight: Ganh Hao at 3 Tran Phu is famous for high-quality, yet affordable seafood. This place is a favourite among locals, so it must be good!

Long Hai Travel to Vung Tau by the Greenlines DP hydrofoil, then take a relaxing cab ride to Long Hai, 40km from Vung Tau. Situated on and around a small mountain range that overlooks the ocean, the area benefits from a microclimate that keeps it relatively rain-free. Long Hai enjoys the slow-paced lifestyle of a small Vietnamese fishing village, except on weekends when the urban population flocks to its sands. Local insight: Local taxis do not stand at the beach area. Book your return in advance or ask at a nearby hotel. 78

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Pullman Vung Tau Pullman Vung Tau is the only international 5-star hotel in the city and an absolute eye-catcher thanks to the breathtaking architecture of its two 12-storey atriums and a convention centre that can house 2,500 guests. A favourite for large-scale business meetings, it is also only 400m away from Vung Tau Beach. The smart, modern design and top-class service, along with an outstanding choice of local and international foods, make Pullman Vung Tau the perfect location for a relaxing beach escape near Saigon. 15 Thi Sach, Vung Tau 0254 355 1777 pullmanvungtau.com 24h h7133@accor.com

Local insight: Banh Khot, a Vietnamese mini rice pancake topped with shrimp, is a culinary must-try in Vung Tau. Try Pullman’s traditional home-made version of it. saigon

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where E E S to ot VISIT s g n i ht phan thiet / mui ne

Those looking for a more relaxed experience can partake of the various spa treatments, with most resorts offering on-site spa services. The area is also known for restaurants serving unique delicacies, so foodies with an open mind can try something new here. A unique site of Mui Ne are its famous sand dunes about 10km beyond the main resort strip boasting stunning views of the coast. Local children with friendly smiles offering plastic sandboards are everywhere, so those who want to ride down the dunes can do so for a small fee. While you are there, head north about 5km to Hon Rom. The deserted beach is almost an island, as it is only connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sand. It’s definitely worth a visit. Local insight: Phan Thiet is often mistakenly called Mui Ne, which is its most famous ward. 80

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mui ne

Phan Thiet has lots to offer adventure lovers. Although there’s no snorkelling or scuba diving, Phan Thiet provides the chance to go surfing. This area is extremely popular among the kitesurfing circle and it’s not uncommon to see dozens of kitesurfers and jet-skiers zipping by on any given day. There are over 20 kitesurfing schools in the area with classes for all levels of experience.

things to VISIT where SEE

Phan Thiet/Mui Ne The Phu Hai/Ham Tien/Mui Ne strip is 20km east of Phan Thiet, and is a popular destination for tourists and Saigonese looking to escape manic city life. The solar eclipse on 24 October 1995 started the transformation of the beach between Phan Thiet and Mui Ne from an isolated stretch of sand into the resort area it is today. There are many quality resorts that now line the beach here. These are great for family vacations, and feature clean beach areas where you can enjoy a more private swim than at public beaches.

Pandanus Resort This breathtaking resort was built in 2004 within a most serene setting, disturbed only by the occasional fisherman or kite surfer. The vast pool is surrounded by tropical palm trees, and the buildings artfully complement the natural surroundings. Professional masseuses offer massages in the garden, at the Lotus Pond, or in the luxurious spa, and local Cham musicians perform soothing music while you dine at one of the first-class restaurants or enjoy seafood BBQ by the pool. This is truly a relaxing destination. Quarter 5, km25.6 0252 384 9849 pandanusresort.com rsvn@pandanusresort.com

Local insight: The Pandanus Resort offers guests a free wine and cheese reception every afternoon, plus a unique walking tour of Mui Ne's fishing village every morning. saigon

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where E E S to ot VISIT s g n i ht phu quoc

Phu Quoc is perfect for a quick weekend getaway, where visitors can experience a variety of watersports that include snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, jet skiing and windsurfing. For a more low-key visit, indulge in spa services provided by the hotels in the area, or take a peek at Dinh Cau Rock (Cua Temple) or the Cao Dai temples. A unique must-visit is the Phu Quoc Prison. Being one of the most visible historical landmarks left from the Vietnam War, it was South Vietnam’s largest prison camp in 1973 and is a moving experience for all visitors. Local insight: For those looking to get scuba certified in Vietnam, this is the place. Phu Quoc’s unusual warm water boosts their coral growth, making for a worthwhile underwater experience. 82

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phu quoc

As the largest island in Vietnam, Phu Quoc is part of Kien Giang Province and bustles with a population of 100,000. With the Phu Quoc National Park spanning more than 50% of its area, much of the island is protected against construction to help conserve its natural beauty. However, this is likely to quickly change due to the commencement of the Phu Quoc Development Plan, which will have an enormous impact over the next 15 years. Mostly known for its famous fish sauce (nuoc mam) and peppercorns, Phu Quoc also boasts delicious seafood. Browse the Duong Dong night market and try out local eats.

things to VISIT where SEE

Phu Quoc Within the past 10 years, Phu Quoc has become a popular destination thanks to its pristine whitesand beaches and tropical landscapes. Located on the Gulf of Thailand and only 12km south of the Cambodian coast, this tropical paradise is a quick 40-minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City and boasts an international airport. As the rainy season is from June to November, the best time to explore Phu Quoc is December to May.

Novotel Phu Quoc Resort Novotel Phu Quoc Resort, located on Truong Beach on one of the most beautiful islands in Vietnam, overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. Phu Quoc is famous for its long stretches of natural white-sand beaches. Novotel Phu Quoc is a short 10-minute drive from the International Airport, 40 minutes away from Ho Chi Minh City by plane and only a two-hour flight away from Hanoi. The resort’s design is something uniquely between a contemporary, vogue resort and a comfortable, elegant fishing village, with natural designs featured throughout. Ultimately, visitors feel that they are in their own idyllic private beach hide-away. Duong Bao, Duong To, Phu Quoc 0297 626 0999 novotelphuquoc.com H9770@accor.com

Local insight: The superb beachfront villas indulge guests in unrivalled luxury right at the water’s edge. saigon

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where E E S to ot VISIT s g n i ht

Eden Resort Phu Quoc This romantic 4-star beachfront resort is truly an island paradise. Boasting two restaurants, a huge illuminated infinity pool and a beach bar, you will be spoilt for choice with countless ways to relax. Their Eden tour allows guests to explore all Phu Quoc has to offer.

phu quoc

Cua Lap, Duong To, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang 0297 398 5598 edenresort.com.vn reservations@edenresort.com.vn

Local insight: Book an Ocean View room to witness breathtaking sunsets from Long Beach.

Mango Bay Resort This serene island resort is the perfect eco-friendly escape, with only 44 rooms spread over 10 hectares of sunny coast. The exotic bungalows naturally melt into the environment, and the ambience provides endless calm throughout your stay. Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang Province 09 0338 2207 mangobayphuquoc.com reservations@mangobayphuquoc.com

Local insight: Get 25% off most drinks and 20% off tapas during happy hour. Also try the terrific mezze platters and crispy squid and anchovies.

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Saigon

MAPS Lao Cai Sapa Halong Hoa Binh

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Park Royal

Ho ang Vie t

ATM

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2

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Nguyen Ba Tong Hien g n a u Q ng Tra anhNam C h T hau Vo

ATM

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94

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need to KNOW

vietnam fact sheet

Geography Geographic coordinates: 16 10N 107 50E Total area: 331,210km2, half the size of Alaska, US Country size comparison to the world: 66th Total land area: 310,070km 2 Total water area: 21,140km2 Coastline: 3,444km Total land boundaries: 4,639km Border countries: Cambodia 1,228km, Laos 2,130km China 1,281km Time: UTC/GMT + 7 hours Regions: 58 provinces, 5 municipalities Highest point: Mount Fansipan at 3,144m Natural resources: phosphates, manganese, rare earth elements, bauxite, chromate, coal, offshore oil and gas deposits, timber, hydropower Natural hazards: occasional typhoons (May-January) with extensive flooding Geographical note: Extending 1,650km from north to south, the country is only 50km across its narrowest point. Major rivers: Mekong, Red, Ma, Perfume

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citypassguide.com

KNOW

need to

II

Population Total population: 94.52 million (January 2017) Major urban areas – population: Hanoi (Capital): 7.56 million (January 2017) Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC or Saigon): 8.43 million (January 2017) Hai Phong: 1.99 million (January 2017) Danang: 1.05 million (January 2017) Population comparison to the world: 14th Population from ages 0-14: 23.1% Population from ages 15-64: 70% Population over the age of 65: 6.9% Population below the age of 30: 48.6% Population growth rate: 1.08% Population below poverty line: 10% (January 2017) Literacy: 97.3% Life expectancy: ~73.4 years Minorities: 54 ethnic groups Ethnic groups: Kinh (Viet) 85.7%, Tay 1.9%, Thai 1.8%, Muong 1.5%, Khmer 1.5%, Mong 1.2%, Nung 1.1%, others 5.3% (2009 census)

things to SEE

I


need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

Miscellaneous Land line telephones: 5.8 million (2016) Mobile/cellular telephones: 129 million (2016) Comparison to the world in mobile phone use: 17th Internet country code: .vn Internet users: 45.5 million (2015) Paved runway airports: 52 (2016) Railways: 2,652km Roadways: 302,000km Waterways: 47,650km Ports and terminals: Cam Pha, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu My, Quy Nhon, Ba Ngoi, Nha Trang, Can Tho, Van Phong Bay

Government Capital: Hanoi Independence: 2 September 1945 Constitution: 28 November 2013 Ruling Party: Communist Party of Vietnam Governance: Political Bureau (14 members) Central Committee of the Party (125 members) National Assembly (500 members) Prime Minister: Nguyen Xuan Phuc (since 2016)

vietnam fact sheet

8.37 1.54

40,000 190,000 35,000 17,000

Pho (noodle soup) Meal (mid-range restaurant) Milk (1 litre) Taxi (per km)

need to KNOW

price guide

0.97

22,000

0.75

1.76

0.88

20,000

Beer 33 cl. bottle (local restaurant)

0.88

0.66

1.32

0.66

0.44

Cigarettes

15,000 20,000

Fruit shake (street)

Soft drink (restaurant) Coconut juice (street)

15,000 30,000

Soft drink can (street)

10,000

Small bottle of water (street)

2.20

0.53

12,000 50,000

Vietnamese street coffee

USD

VND

Western-style cappuccino

Exchange rate: $1 = VND22,700

18,000 5,000 15,000 6,000

Petrol (per litre) Postcard International postcard stamp English-language newspaper

Thick rain poncho

Thin rain poncho

Laundry (per kg)

Shampoo

Shoe shine (per pair)

50,000

10,000

25,000

25,000

20,000

100,000

60,000

Cyclo (per hour)

T-shirt (market)

5,000 20,000

Motorbike taxi (short hop)

VND City centre bus fare (short hop)

Exchange rate: $1 = VND22,700

2.20

0.44

1.10

1.10

0.88

4.41

0.26

0.66

0,22

0.79

2.64

0.88

0,22

USD

IV

If you’re wondering how much money to withdraw at the ATM to see you through, check below for some of the average costs that you will find in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1. Hanoi prices are just a bit more expensive.

Economy GDP: $198 billion (2016) GDP comparison to the world: 47th GDP growth rate: 6.21% (2016) GDP per capita: $2,215 (July 2016 est.) GDP per capita comparison to the world: 134th Labour force: 54.4 million (2016) Unemployment rate: 2.3% (2016) Minimum wage in urban Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City: VND3.32 million / month (2016) Currency: Vietnam Dong: $1=VND22,700 (2017) Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.74% (2016 est.) Inflation rate comparison to the world: 67th Imports: $173.3 billion (2016) Main imports: machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles Exports: $175.9 billion (2016) Main exports: clothes, shoes, electronics, seafood, crude oil, rice, coffee, wooden products, machinery Industrial production growth rate: 7.6% (2016 est.) National debt: $116 billion (2016 est.) Member of WTO: Since 2007

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need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

need to KNOW

things to keep in mind

Keep your phone and wallet out of sight Violent crime is rare, but like any large city, Saigon and Hanoi have their fair share of pickpockets. These

Get your hotel details Remember to take your hotel’s business card to make your return to the hotel much easier by handing it to your taxi, xe om or cyclo driver.

Water Don't drink tap water if you can avoid it – stick to bottled water. Ice is usually safe, as the Vietnamese use mountains of it and there’s a huge commercial icemaking industry; if the ice is cylindrical in shape, it is probably made by a commercial distributor who uses safe, filtered water.

VI

Walk slowly when crossing the street Crossing the street in Vietnam is scary but can be fun nonetheless. Remember that motorbikes are trying to anticipate your movements to avoid hitting you. Keep a slow but steady pace and raise your arm to let the motorcyclists know that you are actually crossing the street. Beware of cars and buses.

Motorbike safety Always wear a helmet (which is required by law anyway), avoid dangly jewellery and miniskirts, and clip your bag or store it underneath the seat of the bike to keep it safe from snatchers. Blend in with the other motorbike riders and stick to their sedate pace. Check the fine print of your travel insurance. For more information on motorbike issues, see page XVIII.

Take your plastic with you Vietnam has developed a more sophisticated payment system in recent years. Shops are now accepting more credit cards and ATMs can be found easily in big cities. In the countryside, however, most venues are still on a cash-based billing system.

thieves can be quite brazen; be very aware in Hanoi’s Old Quarter and Saigon’s Pham Ngu Lao area.

Things to Keep in Mind Eat everything Vietnamese food is delicious and you will want to try it all. Go ahead and buy a kilo of that strange-looking purple fruit, but be aware of hygiene when you’re eating street food. To be cautious, opt for vendors who already have customers. See also “Health” on page XV.

Local insight: Remember to bring a raincoat to Dalat. The province experiences nearly double the average rainfall of the rest of Vietnam.

South Vietnam The South experiences little variation in temperature during the year, fluctuating from 27-37 degrees Celsius, and has rainy and dry seasons. Rainy season lasts for seven months from May to November while dry season dominates the rest of the year. To beat the heat, take a trip to Dalat where temperatures are always a bit cooler than in Saigon.

Local insight: One positive aspect of the monsoon season is the "surfable" waves around the region. Head to Danang from September to March to catch the peak surf season.

than the Central Highlands. However, unprotected parts of the coast have more typhoons and storms than the North from November to March. Nha Trang experiences a longer dry season, which runs from January to September with high temperatures and little rain. With cooler temperatures, the Central Highlands experience more than double the average rainfall of the country, so prepare to get a bit wet.

climate

Central Vietnam Central Vietnam can be split into two sub-regions. The Coastal Lowlands are generally drier and hotter

Local insight: The air conditioner that kept you cool in the south will keep you warm in the north.

North Vietnam The North is generally cooler than the rest of the country. The winter months of November to January can be unexpectedly cold, especially in the mountainous areas along the Chinese border. Even in Hanoi, you will need a jumper to keep warm. The hottest period of the year is May to October, when temperatures can rise to 37 degrees Celsius. During these months, the North will have the occasional typhoon.

There are three distinct regions where the climates differ: North, Central and South Vietnam.

Vietnam lies in the East Asian monsoon zone and is affected by the southwestern (May-September) and northeastern (October-April) monsoons. Because of the country’s 1,600km length, each region has varying weather patterns that should be factored in when planning your trip.

Climate

V

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need to KNOW

visas

Fees Tourist visas are valid for 30 or 90 days and can be single or multiple entry. The stamping fee varies from $25 for a one-month, single entry visa, to $50 for a three-month,

Visas on arrival are available through various travel agencies and online visa services who, for a fee, will fill out the appropriate paperwork for a visa approval letter. It’s not really a “visa on arrival”, but this makes it easier than having to deal with sending your passport off to the Vietnamese consular office or embassy in your country. This is only accessible for those flying into the country, so if you are entering through a land border, you will have to apply for one in your home country or one of the countries bordering Vietnam.

Vietnam Visas Most foreigners wishing to visit Vietnam need to apply for an entry visa in advance. The only exception is if your country has a bilateral consular agreement for visa exemptions. You can check on your government’s website to find if yours is one of the few that apply for this programme. A recent change in policy has allowed international tourists a 30-day visa exemption for Phu Quoc if they enter the island by sea or through the international transit lounge at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh City.

It gets cold in Hanoi Hanoi has four seasons with very hot and sticky summers and rather cold and humid winters. If you are heading to the North from November to February, you will want to bring a jumper or a heavy fleece.

Shoes Vietnamese take off their shoes when entering a house. It’s common courtesy to do likewise. It may also be expected in hotel rooms and some shops.

Cover up When visiting temples or pagodas, make sure to pack a shawl or extra shirt and wear knee-length clothing. Remember that you are visiting a piece of history, so try to show some respect to the local culture.

Take a break in the afternoon It can get quite hot visiting the attractions; take breaks in the middle of the day to keep refreshed for the afternoon’s activities. Try and do most of your sightseeing early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and keep in mind that the sun sets quickly.

Tipping Tipping is not expected, especially at local restaurants, but international venues have become used to the practice. Leave enough for coffee: VND10,000+.

VII

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need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

Ho Chi Minh City Immigration Office 254 Nguyen Trai, D1 028 3920 0365 8:00am-11:30am & 1:30pm-4:30pm

Hanoi Immigration Office 44-46 Tran Phu, Ba Dinh D 024 3826 4026 8:00am-11:30am & 1:30pm-4:00pm

VIII

Extensions Visa extensions are available for a fee of $10 if you go directly to the immigration office. However, this takes some local language skills and quite a bit of patience. Due to this, most travellers rely on travel agents to deal with their extensions. This comes with a fee but definitely saves time and hassle. Most travel agencies offer this service for a fee and it can take up to 10 days to process. The length of your visa extension is dependent on your original visa. You can only extend the same amount as your original visa – for example, a one-month visa can only be extended by one month; a three-month visa can be extended for up to three months. The visa extension should be applied at least five days before it expires.

multiple entry visa. For an additional “expedite service” fee, you can bypass the normal processing time of three to four working days. Check with your local Vietnamese embassy or consulate, or with a travel agent or online visa service.

Don't forget that you are on holiday! There is so much to do and see, but don’t forget to stop every once in a while to pull up a plastic chair, order a ca phe sua da, and take it all in. Sights and activities hold interest, but sometimes you can learn more about a country by adjusting to the local pace.

Bargain Remember that negotiating is not rude but expected, even if a fixed price is advertised. Haggle for the best price or risk paying over the odds. Try "walking away" to get a better price. If that doesn’t work, you can always go back to the vendor later, after trying a few others to get a feel of what's realistic. Remember to keep smiling.

Be a sensitive snapper Most people in Vietnam love having their photo taken and will ask to have one with you, but it’s polite to ask first. Bear in mind that there are some places like Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum or military buildings where taking photos is prohibited.

Don’t lose your temper This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties and should be avoided. Try to maintain a cool demeanour and it will be reciprocated with kindness. Smiling always works wonders.

things to keep in mind


028 3823 0211

need to KNOW

money

Local insight: Make sure your foreign bank notes are clean and crisp with no tears or writing. They will not be accepted otherwise.

Xuan Hung 176 Le Thanh Ton, D1

Mai Van 1A Nguyen An Ninh, D1 028 3823 1836 Mon-Sat 8:30am-8:00pm / Sun 8:30am-12:00pm

Ho Chi Minh City

Techcombank 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh D 024 3724 5959 Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:00pm / Sat 8:00am-12:00am

ACB bank 40 Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem D 024 3927 4800 Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm / Sat 8:00am-11:30am

Hanoi

Don’t exchange too much at one time as you won't get a good rate when selling back your Dong. Generally, larger bills like $100 give a better rate than smaller notes like $10 or $5.

Currency Exchange Most hotels offer the same rate as banks but may charge an extra fee. There are currency exchange shops in the tourist with good rates. If you want to be sure to get the official rate, head to a bank.

ATMs Most major foreign-issued credit and debit cards are accepted at ATMs in HCMC. Travellers can access Plus and Cirrus networks via HSBC, Vietcombank, ANZ and many other ATM machines. The standard withdrawal limit may be very low, but you should be able to withdraw several times up to your home maximum. Use common sense when withdrawing money. Key in your PIN inconspicuously and keep to well-lit, busy cash terminals. These ATMs are

Local insight: The VND20,000 and VND500,000 notes are very similar in colour. Remember that the VND500,000 note is just a bit larger.

As with most modern banknotes, there are safeguards in place against counterfeiting. To check if you have an authentic note, check the transparent window to see the hidden image. Also, most counterfeit notes do not have the same feel as the plastic polymer.

Currency The official currency of Vietnam is the Dong and it fluctuates around VND22,500 to the US Dollar. The notes are quite colourful and those printed after 2003 are made out of plastic polymer. The denominations are 200, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000.

IX

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need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

X

Local insight: Check this link to know more about the process: immivietnamvisa.com/how-to-getvat-refund-in-vietnam.

• Purchased goods must be bought from a single shop on a single day and must have a value of at least VND2 million.

• Purchased goods must have invoices and VAT refund declarations issued within 30 days of departure.

• Purchased goods must not appear on the list of export prohibitions or restrictions.

• Purchased goods must be subject to VAT, unused and allowed on airplanes.

According to the Ministry of Finance, VAT refunded goods must meet these four requirements:

VAT International travellers are entitled to obtain a refund that accounts for 85% of the 10% Value Added Tax (VAT) on eligible goods that were purchased from a registered VAT refund shop, thanks to a pilot scheme that was introduced in 2012. While the procedure may not be worth it for small purchases, if you are planning to buy expensive items, it is a substantial saving.

Local insight: To get around any unnecessary embarrassment, be sure to contact your bank and let them know you are travelling, or your card may be blocked for “suspicious activity”.

Debit & Credit Cards More and more businesses in Vietnam are now accepting credit cards, however it is advisable to carry cash, especially at places where the payment policy is unknown or vague. It is always good practice to make enquiries before assuming that your credit card will be accepted, as neither side wants to lose face at payment time. It is pretty much guaranteed that most luxury hotels in the major cities will accept credit cards. Some establishments add a 3% charge for credit card use and charge a higher user fee for holders of an American Express card.

Local insight: To avoid the large denominations issued, request an amount not divisible by VND500,000.

commonly found inside major banks, western-style grocery stores and hotels, or on busy streets. More often than not, ATMs will issue notes in VND500,000 denominations, which can be frustrating if you intend to pay for a motorcycle taxi ride or a roadside bowl of noodles.

money


need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

FedEx Hanoi 35C Nguyen Huy Tuong, Thanh Xuan D Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:30pm 024 3557 8899

The postal system in Vietnam is fairly reliable, although not overly quick. If you need your package delivered in a hurry, there are several shipping companies to choose from. Don’t seal parcels before taking them to the post office, as you will be required to show the contents to customs before having the package weighed and priced. DHL and FedEx are also available.

need to KNOW

communication

Express Mail-DHL 10 Le Thach, Hoan Kiem D Mon-Fri 8:00am-6:00pm 024 3825 7124

DHL International Hanoi 17 Pham Hung, Tu Liem D Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:30pm 024 3775 3999

International Post Office 75 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem D Mon-Fri 6:30am-10:00pm 024 3825 4403

Hanoi

If you are planning to receive a package, make sure the shipping company will track the package for the whole journey. Postcards cost around VND15,000 to send overseas – good to know when you want to fire off that quirky propaganda art postcard.

Mail

Local insight: Viettel has the best coverage throughout the country and is a better choice if you are heading to more remote areas.

Ho Chi Minh City

028 3844 6203

XII

Local insight: Whilst the Old Saigon Post Office is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city, it is worth remembering that it is still a working post office and the best in town.

FedEx HCMC 6 Thang Long, Tan Binh D Mon-Fri 7:30am-6:00pm 028 3948 0370

DHL International HCMC 6 Thang Long, Tan Binh D Mon-Fri, 8:00am-6:30pm

Vietnam Internet, Phones and Post Office 125 Hai Ba Trung, D1 028 3827 0888 & Fax 028 3 8270 777

Saigon Central Post Office 2 Cong Xa Paris, D1 7:00am-7:00pm 028 3829 6862

09 1497 7987

028 6655 1205

028 3822 8171

Viettel 166C-D-E Tran Hung Dao, D1

Mobifone 80 Nguyen Du, D1

Ho Chi Minh City

The international country code for Vietnam is +84. Note that Vietnam has recently undertaken an extensive area code change. Listed below are the old

024 3825 4320

Vinaphone 80 Nguyen Du, D1

Vinaphone 75 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem D

024 6258 0186

024 3843 3433

Danang: 0511 - 0236 Ho Chi Minh City: 08 - 028 Hue: 054 - 0234 Nha Trang: 058 - 0258

Viettel 50 Van Cao, Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh D

Mobifone 140 Cau Giay, Cau Giay D

Hanoi

Dalat: 063 - 0263 Hanoi: 04 - 024 Hoi An: 0510 - 0235 Mui Ne: 062 - 0252

and new prefixes for the country's major destination cities.

communication

Phones Vietnam’s network is GSM-compatible and will work with most carriers. You can buy a local SIM card and minutes from around VND100,000. The most popular providers are Mobifone, Viettel and Vinaphone, and their rates are very good compared to many other countries. 3G service is usually available in metropolitan centres and pre-paid data packages are cheap. Plus, 4G is on its way.

Local insight: If you are going to spend a few hours in a coffee shop using their Wi-Fi, buy an occasional top-up coffee or snack.

Internet Vietnam is is currently the most dynamic internet market in Southeast Asia, with over 50% household saturation of ADSL in urban cities and rising. Cafés, once an atmospheric meeting place for Vietnamese, have morphed into internet connection hubs and most will give you a login password for the price of a drink. Access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. is generally possible.

XI

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09 0945 5440

028 3838 6666

need to KNOW

electronics

Computers Both cities have shops that carry a wide range of computers and accessories. Also, there are plenty of places to get your laptop or tablet fixed. However, finding one that has English-speaking staff might be a problem. We recommend Phong Vu in Ho Chi Minh City, as it is an electronics superstore with some English-speaking staff. In Hanoi, your best bet is to head to any one of the 14 Tran Anh stores. If you own an Apple product, then go to Futureworld, located in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. All these stores will have accessories galore for you to choose from, but note that the prices might be higher than what you would pay in neighbouring countries.

Le Bao Minh Co. 95B-97-99 Tran Hung Dao, D1

Pham The (General repair) 11 Le Cong Kieu, D1 028 3829 5888

Camcare (General repair) 12 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1

Authorised Nikon repair – VIC Vietnam 139A Pasteur, D3 028 3914 6361

XIV

Local insight: Such is the high number of personal devices owned in the country now, that internet cafés, where you can use their equipment, are very few and far between.

iKnow 94 Xuan Thuy, D2 028 6252 4141 / 016 5658 1652 briancaleda@iknow.com.vn

Futureworld 240 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 028 3930 7673 3F Unit 19-20A Crescent Mall, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, D7 028 5413 7316

Phong Vu 264A-264B-264C Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 028 3933 0766 / 028 9290 8777

Ho Chi Minh City

Futureworld Kiosk L4-92, 4th Floor, Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1 024 3726 4111 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung D 024 6253 5025

Hanoi Tran Anh 2 Dai Co Viet, Hai Ba Trung D 1174 Duong Lang, Dong Da D 1900 545 545 ext: 8202 trananh.com.vn

Ho Chi Minh City

Vu Nhat Camera (General repair) 20B Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem D 024 3826 5161

Hoang Trong Camera (General repair) 3A Vong Duc, Hoan Kiem D 024 3937 8666

Authorised Nikon repair 2nd Fl., Viet Hong, 58 Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung D 024 3941 0286

Authorised Canon repair Le Bao Minh, 130A Giang Vo, Ba Dinh D 024 3771 1966

Authorised Canon repair 10A Tran Hung Dao, D1 1900 558 809

Mai Nguyen 27 Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1 028 3910 1227

Ho Chi Minh City

Hoang Ha Mobile 95B Pho Hue, Hai Ba Trung D 09 6866 8995

Hanoi

If your phone is broken, there are several places in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City that specialise in phone repair, for instance: Hanoi

You can also find accessories including memory cards, off-brand battery chargers and tripods. If you need to get your Canon or Nikon repaired, we recommend that you use one of the authorised repair centres in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The shops also carry pre-paid SIM cards for local phone carriers – and they will probably be a lot cheaper than what you’re used to at home, so consider switching to a local pre-paid number during your stay.

Remember that almost all of these accessories will be off-brand and might not be of the best quality.

Cameras There are a plethora of shops around the Dong Khoi and Nguyen Hue area of Ho Chi Minh City and the Old Quarter in Hanoi that sell new and used camera equipment. They are also great spots to look for rare World War II-era and American War-era film cameras, but prices tend to be a bit inflated. Luckily, shopkeepers are always open for negotiations and you may score a rare bargain.

need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

Mobile Phones

electronics

With 1.3 mobile phones per person in Vietnam, it’s not surprising that there seems to be a mobile phone shop on every street. Almost all of these shops will have cases, chargers and screen covers for the latest smartphones on the cheap.

XIII

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028 3829 8424

028 5411 3333

need to KNOW

health

Although the selection of popular pharmaceutical drugs available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City pharmacies are good, you would be wise to bring a supply of medicines and contraceptives from your home country to tide you over until you find a reliable chemist. If you do need a pharmacy, write down the exact medicine you require for the pharmacist. Depending on your requirements, some pharmacies

Pharmacies

Raffles Medical Clinic 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 24/7

FV Hospital 6 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 8:00am-6:00pm

CMI 1 Han Thuyen, D1, HCMC 028 3827 2366 Mon-Fri 8:30am-7:00 pm / Sun 9:00am-1:00pm

Victoria Healthcare International Clinics 79 Dien Bien Phu, D1 20-20Bis-22 Dinh Tien Hoang, D1 135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan D 152 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7 028 3910 4545 (24/7 Emergency Hotline)

Ho Chi Minh City

Clinics & Hospitals The quality of care at international hospitals in Ho Chi Minh City is quite good. Besides treatment and care of minor ailments, the city's international-standard clinics offer a wide range of services and treatments.

If you are bringing prescription medication into Vietnam, we advise you carry it in your hand luggage and carry a copy of your prescription. Regarding vaccination concerns, please refer to page XXVI.

Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad as well as repatriation, because you may have to pay first and claim later (check the fine print). Also, it may be a bit morbid to think about, but it’s advisable to complete the next-of-kin details in the back of your passport before travelling to any country.

Health Concerns Be aware that health care in rural areas is extremely basic and it’s best to head to an urban centre even for minor injuries. There is a sufficient standard of health care in the cities for treating such injuries, but more complicated treatment may require evacuation to another nearby country.

XV

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need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

024 3826 4545

Eco Pharmacy 397 Hai Ba Trung, D3 028 3820 7476 6:00am to midnight

Pasteur Pharmacy 156 Pasteur, D1 028 3822 3737 Mon-Fri 8:00am-9:00pm / Sat-Sun 10:00am-5:00pm

Ho Chi Minh City

Nghia Hung 145 Doi Can, Ba Dinh D 024 3722 7491 7:00am-10:00pm

Mega3 Pharmacy 31 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh D 024 9288 2288 7:30am-7:30pm

Hanoi

XVI

will refill your empty containers without validating a new prescription. If you are leery of local pharmacies, the previously listed medical clinics have their own pharmacies but may require a doctor’s appointment to receive a prescription. Feminine hygiene products can be found in supermarkets. When purchasing any medication, check the expiry date.

Viet Duc Hospital 40 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem D Open 24hrs 024 3825 3531 / 09 1495 0458

L’Hôpital Français de Hanoi No 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da D Open 24hrs 024 3574 1111 / 024 3577 1100

Raffles Medical Clinic 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho D Open 24hrs

Hanoi

Bear in mind that if your insurance provider does not have an agreement with the medical centre, you will need to pay the doctor or hospital/clinic for treatment received before you leave. If this is the case, be certain to keep your receipts so that you can claim reimbursement from your medical insurance provider.

A full range of services such as health check-ups, dental implants, laser eye surgery, joint replacement, spinal surgery and cosmetic surgery are all available.

They take walk-ins, but you would be wise to book an appointment beforehand to avoid long waiting times. Bring your passport and medical insurance card if you have one.

health


need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

need to KNOW

transportation

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Local insight: Manuals rent for VND100,000 per day. Automatics will cost a bit more, at around VND140,000 per day. Local insight: A cyclo tour is a great way to see the Old Quarter in Hanoi and the area around Binh Tay Market in Ho Chi Minh City's D5.

Cyclos Cyclos are an interesting way to take in the city. You can sit on a giant cushioned seat while your cyclo driver navigates deftly through traffic. Negotiate a price beforehand, about VND100,000 (Hanoi) and VND60,000 (HCMC) an hour, and make sure you have exact change. Cycling through the city is a hard job and deserves a tip.

Local insight: Anything with a strap, mainly bags and cameras, should be kept in a backpack to deter bag snatchers.

Motorbikes Local traffic doesn’t really flow so much as it lurches in waves. Leave everything you learned about traffic rules at the airport arrival gate. Officially, you drive on the right side of the road, although in practice that is not always the case. Vietnam has recently banned all foreigners from renting motorbikes without a Vietnamese driver’s licence. So, check with your travel insurance to make sure that you are covered in case of an accident (refer to page VI for more information). To rent a motorbike, you will need to provide a passport, sign a rental agreement or pay in advance. Longer rental periods may require you to leave your passport or a cash deposit equal to the motorbike’s market value. Make certain that your rental motorbike is roadworthy and has functioning brakes, lights etc. It is a good idea to park your motorbike at an attended parking lot to diminish the chance of theft. Just make sure to keep your parking ticket: if you lose it, you will need to verify ownership of the bike, which means contacting your rental place. Helmets are mandatory for drivers and passengers.

Local insight: A check-up and clean will set you back about VND100,000-250,000 at a local dental clinic and around VND500,000-800,000 at an international clinic. For major work, you may want to stick with the international clinics.

Westcoast International Dental Clinic 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, D1 028 3825 6999 Mon-Fri 8:30am-8:00pm / Sat 9:00am-5:00pm

Nha Khoa Minh Khai 199 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 028 3925 3399 Mon-Sat 8:30am-12:00pm & 1:30pm - 8:30pm

Smile Dental Clinic 173 Ton Dat Tien, D7 028 5413 6634 Mon-Fri 8:00am-7:00pm / Sat 8:00am-5:00pm

Starlight Dental 2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, D3 028 3822 6222 Mon-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm / Sat 8:00am-5:00pm

Elite Dental 51A Tu Xuong, Ward 7, D3 / 57A Tran Quoc Thao, D3 09 0255 9888 / 028 7306 3838 Mon-Sat 8:30am-7:30pm / Sun 8:00am-12:00pm

Ho Chi Minh City

dental

Walking One of the best ways to check out a city is on foot. A leisurely stroll through Saigon’s District 1 or Hanoi’s 36 Streets is a great opportunity for photographers or street-food enthusiasts. However, it can be a bit maddening when motorbikes are parked on the sidewalk and you have to share the road with traffic. Make sure you walk with purpose and be quick on your feet. Crossing the street is an art form – watch how the locals do it, and copy them.

Peace Dental Clinic 2nd Floor, 51A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh D 0904 483 511 Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:00pm

One Dental Clinic 8 Quang An, Tay Ho D 024 3718 6168 Mon-Fri 8:30am-6:00pm / Sat 9:00am-5:00pm

Australian Dental Clinic 3 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung D 09 0620 0434 Mon-Sat 8:30am-7:00pm Sun 8:30am-5:00pm

Hanoi

A full range of treatments is available including preventative care, cosmetic dentistry, teeth whitening, implants, veneers, crowns, bridges and extractions.

Vietnam is near the top of the list when it comes to affordable dental care. Thanks to a good quality of care and unbeatable prices, dental tourism is booming. Foreign-owned and operated clinics, especially in Ho Chi Minh City, offer high standards. These dental clinics provide the latest services and techniques along with a personable and gentle approach.

Dental Clinics

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need to KNOW

transportation

Local insight: For some buses, you may need to bring headphones or earplugs, or prepare yourself for karaoke and dubbed movies on your journey. This is not as common as it used to be, though.

Convenient, low prices come with a small catch: the bus may bring you to various hotels at each stop and ask if you would like to stay there. If you do not want to, politely tell the driver to drop you off at your preferred destination.

Many tour companies run multiple bus-stop journeys called Open Tours that run up and down the country. For a ridiculously low price, you can choose to stop in a destination and stay for as long as you like. When you decide to get back on the bus, go to their office the day before you plan to leave.

Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam, and tickets can be purchased at the main bus stations. However, Vietnam is a very large country with a coastline that runs for 3,444km. It is advisable to break your bus journey into destinations within six hours’ drive. Several companies run sleeper buses that have reclining seats. Some of these buses may have lights that stay on most of the night, so just in case, bring an eye mask.

City-to-City Bus Service

Local insight: Since 2016, the new Yellow Bus 109 operates between Saigon's Pham Ngu Lao area and Tan Son Nhat Airport. The smaller Yellow Bus 49 is a little pricier but will bring you directly to some of the

Buses, too, are an option to get around the city in airconditioned comfort (at least, in the newer models). Most major streets are accessed via a bus line and cheap, at VND5,000 for a short trip. During heavy traffic, buses can actually be faster, as they have an informal right of way on the streets. If you want to get on, be sure to wave when your bus arrives, or they might just drive by.

City Bus Service

Local insight: For more convenient and cheaper alternatives, try the GrabBike and UberMOTO services on the Grab and Uber apps.

Motorbike taxis are an easy and fun way to see the city. Most xe om jockeys can be found sitting (sometimes sleeping) on their bike. Pronouncing street names can be challenging, so point out your destination on a map or have it written down. If the driver does not have a passenger helmet, find another driver for hire. Short trips will cost around VND30,000. Make sure you agree on a price beforehand.

Xe Om

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HCMC

From

Hanoi

From

290km 554km

Siem Reap

1,106km

Hue

1,609km

1,012km

Hoi An

Hanoi

451km

Phnom Penh

310km

223km

Mui Ne Dalat

198km

Phan Thiet

Nha Trang

96km

1,609km

HCMC

Distance

1,517km

To

1,420km

Dalat Phan Thiet

Vung Tau

28 hours

798km 1,293km

Hoi An Nha Trang

12 hours

6 hours

33 hours

XX

19.5 hours

15 hours

10 hours

7 hours

4.5 hours

4 hours

2 hours

Duration

33 hours

30 hours

16 hours 26 hours

670km

Duration 13 hours

Distance

To Hue

Vinasun HCMC Hotline 028 3827 2727

Hanoi Taxi Hanoi Hotline 024 3853 5353

Mai Linh Hanoi Hotline 024 3861 6161 HCMC Hotline 028 3838 3838

Local insight: The Grab and Uber apps offer cheaper fares and more polite drivers than regular taxis – and a better level of English.

Taxis Taxis are numerous and cheap compared to some neighbouring countries. Don’t assume that your driver knows how to reach your destination, as they typically grab fares from all over the city. They also speak very little English (if at all), so it pays to write down your destination or at the very least carry a small map or a smartphone. All reputable taxi companies will start the meter as soon as you start the journey. Make sure you have small notes with you. For quality assurance, choose larger taxi companies such as Hanoi Taxi, Mai Linh or Vinasun. Check the spelling of the taxi company – you could be stepping into an off-brand company.

major hotels in the city. In Hanoi, bus routes 7 and 17 connect Noi Bai Airport with the city centre.

transportation


need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

8 hours

Nha Trang

21 hours 33 hours

Hue Hanoi

18 hours

4 hours

Danang

37 hours

HCMC Phan Thiet

15 hours 25 hours

Hue Danang

8 hours 13 hours

Sapa

Nha Trang

Duration

To

need to KNOW

transportation

Local insight: Make sure you keep both white and yellow duplicate customs forms, as you will need them for your departure.

XXII

Local insight: Check your flight status online at hochiminhcityairport.com/flight-status-arrivalsdepartures.

028 3848 5383

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) Located only 10km from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, this is the busiest airport in Vietnam. It has separate domestic and international terminals. Walk out of the terminal and turn right to find the yellow shuttle buses to District 1 (see page XIX). A taxi ride between the airport and the city centre should cost about VND130,000. International Flights The two main ports of entry are Hanoi’s Noi Bai (HAN) and Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat (SGN), with Danang (DAD) in a distant third. Due to congestion, the number of direct flights into and out of Vietnam from these airports is limited and most will involve a transit stop along the way. Luckily for international travellers, two new international airports have opened in Cam Ranh and Phu Quoc.

Ward 2, Tan Binh D, HCMC hochiminhcityairport.com

Local insight: Check your flight status online at hanoiairportonline.com/flight-status.

Phu Minh, Soc Son D 024 3886 5047

Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) It is located 27km from Hanoi’s city centre via the new Nhat Tan Bridge. Expect to pay around VND200,000 for a taxi ride and allow up to 40 minutes to get into town, depending on traffic. Alternatively, exit the terminal and turn right for shuttle buses no. 7 and 17 (see page XIX). The Grab and Uber apps (see page XIX) are another option worth considering.

HCMC

Hanoi

From

Local insight: Bring socks and a thick jumper in a sleeper car, as the air-conditioning often runs full blast throughout the night.

1 Nguyen Thong, D3 028 3843 6528 028 3846 6091 / 1900 6105

Ho Chi Minh City Train Station

120 Le Duan, Hoan Kiem D 024 3942 3697

Hanoi Train Station

transportation

Local insight: Vietnamairfare.com is an excellent resource for domestic flights.

vietnamairlines.com jetstar.com / vietjetair.com

Local Airlines There are three carriers offering domestic flights in Vietnam. Flights are relatively cheap and are a faster and more comfortable alternative to buses or trains. The national carrier is Vietnam Airlines. Jetstar Pacific Airlines also operates locally. A newcomer to the market is VietJet Air, which offers budget pricing. But watch out: the cheaper airlines are notorious for delays.

Trains usually leave on schedule but allow some time for delays. For a detailed schedule of departure and arrival times as well as fees and availability, check seat61.com/vietnam.htm.

Train tickets can be purchased through travel agents for a fee or directly at the train station. Ticket classes include hard seat and soft seat, and hard-berth and soft-berth compartments for overnight trips. A drink and light snack are usually included in the ticket price. Many train routes have dining cars with fair rates and snack carts that roam the aisles, so bring your own food if you don’t care for basic Vietnamese fare.

The north-to-south railway line is known as the Reunification Express and is an excellent way to see the countryside, not least because the ride is much less jarring than road travel on Highway 1. The train system is slowly being modernised with technological advances and more comfortable trains. Sleeper cars are available for long trips, and there is one private company that does a sleeper run from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet and Nha Trang called the “Golden Train”. It’s a bit more expensive, but more modern and comfortable than the normal train. Check the schedule at baolau.com.

Trains

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024 3934 7242

024 8242 688

need to KNOW

embassy listings

Argentina 41A Ly Thai To 024 3831 5262 Australia 8 Dao Tan 024 3774 0100 Austria 53 Quang Trung 024 3943 3050 Bangladesh 675 Lac Long Quan 024 3771 6625 Belgium 49 Hai Ba Trung 024 3934 6179 Brazil D6/7, 14 Thuy Khe 024 3843 2544 Bulgaria 5 Nui Truc 024 3845 2908 Cambodia 71 Tran Hung Dao 024 3942 4788 Canada 31 Hung Vuong 024 3734 5000 Chile 14 Thuy Khue 024 3935 1147 China 46 Hoang Dieu 024 3845 3736 Cuba 65A Ly Thuong Kiet 024 3942 4775 Czech Republic 13 Chu Van An 024 3845 4131 Denmark 194 Tran Quang Khai 024 3823 1888 Finland 31 Hai Ba Trung 024 3826 6788 France 57 Tran Hung Dao 024 3944 5700 Germany 29 Tran Phu 024 3843 0245 Greece 27 Au Co 024 3715 2254 Hungary 360 Kim Ma 024 3771 5714 India 58-60 Tran Hung Dao 024 3824 4989 Indonesia 50 Ngo Quyen 024 3825 3353 Ireland 41A Ly Thai To 024 3974 3291 Israel 68 Nguyen Thai Hoc 024 3843 3140

Embassy Listings in Hanoi

Vietnam Airlines vietnamairlines.com 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem D 024 6270 0200

Thai Airways thaiairways.com 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 024 3826 7921 / 024 3826 7922

Singapore Airlines singaporeair.com 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem D 024 3826 8888

Qatar Airways qatarairways.com 2nd Floor, Sentinel Place Building, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem D 024 3933 6767

Malaysia Airlines malaysiaairlines.com 2nd Floor, 01 Ba Trieu 024 4458 3372

Korean Airlines koreanair.com 11th Floor, Lotte Center Hanoi, 54 Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh D 024 3934 7247

Etihad etihad.com 09 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da D

China Airlines china-airlines.com 4th Floor, 60 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem

British Airways britishairways.com 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da D 024 3934 7239 Ext 121

All Nippon Airways ana.co.jp 25 Ly Thuong Kiet, Ba Dinh D 024 3926 2808

Italy 9 Le Phung Hieu 024 3825 6246 Japan 27 Lieu Giai 024 3846 3000 Laos 22 Tran Binh Trong 024 3942 4576 Malaysia 43-45 Dien Bien Phu 024 3734 3836 Mexico 11th Floor, 14 Thuy Khue 024 3847 0948 Myanmar 298A Kim Ma 024 3845 3369 Netherlands 360 Kim Ma 024 3831 5650 New Zealand 63 Ly Thai To 024 3824 1481 Norway 49 Hai Ba Trung 024 3974 8900 Philippines 27B Tran Hung Dao 024 3943 7873 Poland 3 Chua Mot Cot 024 3845 2027 Qatar 43 Tran Hung Dao 024 3943 0222 Russia 191 La Thanh 024 3833 6991 Singapore 41-43 Tran Phu 024 3848 9168 South Africa 31 Hai Ba Trung 024 3936 2000 South Korea 360 Kim Ma 024 3831 5110 Spain 4 Le Hong Phong 024 3771 5207 Sri Lanka 55 B Tran Phu 024 3734 1897 Sweden 2 Nui Truc 024 3726 0400 Switzerland 44B Ly Thuong Kiet 024 3934 6589 Thailand 63-65 Hoang Dieu 024 3823 5092 Turkey 4 Da Tuong 024 3822 2460 Ukraine 6 Le Hong Phong 024 3734 4492 United Kingdom 31 Hai Ba Trung 024 3936 0500 United States 7 Lang Ha 02 4 3850 5000

XXIV

Air France airfrance.com 130 Dong Khoi, D1 028 3829 0981 All Nippon Airways ana.co.jp 028 3821 9612 Sun Wah Tower, 16th Floor, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 American Airlines aa.com 194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3 028 3933 0330 British Airways britishairways.com 028 3930 2933 2nd Floor, 170-172 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D3 China Airlines china-airlines.com 7th Floor, Crescent Mall, 105 Ton Dat Tien, D7 028 54141 008 Emirates emirates.com 028 3911 3099 1409 Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, D1 Etihad Airways etihad.com 028 7300 1300 11th Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 02 Hai Trieu, D1 Jetstar Airways jetstar.com 1A Me Linh, D1 028 3825 8101 Korean Airlines koreanair.com 9th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, D1 028 3824 2878 Qatar Airways qatarairways.com 1-3-5 Le Duan, D1 028 3827 3888 Singapore Airlines singaporeair.com Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan D1 028 3827 3888 Thai Airways thaiairways.com 173 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1 028 3925 6479 Turkish Airlines turkishairlines.com Room 6, 8th Floor, 76 Le lai, D1 028 3936 0360 VietJet Air vietjetair.com 028 3845 4640 2C Truong Son, 48 Phan Dinh Giot, Tan Binh D Vietnam Airlines vietnamairline.com 49 Truong Son, Tan Binh D 028 3844 6667

024 3825 3484

Airline Listings in Ho Chi Minh City

need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

Air France airfrance.com 01 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem D

airline listings

Airline Listings in Hanoi

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5B, 45 Phung Khac Khoan, D1

Cuba

028 3743 2717 028 3822 8289

028 3825 1888

028 3933 3510

028 3827 5445

261 Dien Bien Phu, D3

93 Nguyen Du, D1

need to KNOW

FAQ

Health If you plan to eat street food, keep some Imodium in case you run into digestive or intestinal problems. Stick to well-frequented venues, and always peel fruit. Malaria is not endemic in the cities but dengue fever is still a possibility, so be aware and make sure to use mosquito repellent, especially if you are travelling in more remote areas. Anti-malarial

Dining Dining out in Vietnam can stretch from a street-side stall to a lavish buffet at one of the 5-star hotels in town. The range of food available is wide and everyone should be able to find a venue to suit both taste and budget. Keep in mind that the sanitary conditions at the street food level won’t be as high as at Singapore’s famous hawker stalls.

Business Business hours in Vietnam are 8:00am to 6:00pm, Monday to Friday. Some businesses open from 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Banks usually open from 8:00am to 4:00pm and most close on Saturdays and Sundays. Retail shops are mostly open from 9:00am to 9:00pm, seven days a week.

FAQ

Japan

Italy

028 3827 4462 028 3823 7050

18 Phung Khac Khoan, D1

55 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1

Indonesia

India

80 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D1

Iceland

028 3822 4385

016 8422 5328

126 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, D3 9-11 Ton Duc Thang, D1

Germany

27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1

France Hungary

028 3520 6800

111A Pasteur, D1

Finland

028 3827 2029

72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3

028 3821 9373

Denmark

175 Hai Ba Trung, D1

028 3829 2457

Villa Famosa, 121A, 38st., D2

Chile China

028 3829 0585

028 3827 9899

028 3829 2751

18 Bis/28 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1

235 Dong Khoi, D1

41 Phung Khac Khoan, D1

Czech Republic

Canada

Cambodia

028 6281 8001

028 3521 8100

47 Ly Tu Trong, D1 No 105, Duong Van An, D2

Australia Belgium

Consulate Listings in Ho Chi Minh City

XXV

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4 Le Duan, D1

028 3825 1380 028 3822 9433

XXVI

Local Travel Travel is restricted near military installations, and some areas of Vietnam are fairly inaccessible. Do not stray off main routes in rural areas and check with your tour operator before travelling. Follow safety guidelines and procedures and ensure that such activities are undertaken under the supervision of reputable guides.

Hotel Stays When checking into a hotel, you will have to surrender your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. Once registered, ensure that your passport is returned to you and keep it in a safe place. Passports should not be used as a deposit for renting hotel rooms, or in place of a fine in the event of any possible traffic offence. It is advisable to carry photocopies of the data and visa pages from your passport, which can be used as proof of identity.

tablets can also be taken (there is no prophylactic against dengue yet). Contaminated water is a major cause of a sickness, so make sure to drink only bottled or boiled water – the five-litre containers of bottled water from supermarkets are cheap. In terms of vaccinations, the Centre for Disease Control recommends Hepatitis A & B, Japanese Encephalitis, Rabies and Typhoid vaccinations.

United States

028 3911 8304 25 Le Duan, D1

72 Le Thanh Ton, D1

028 3932 7638

028 3962 1745 77 Tran Quoc Thao, D3

182 Le Dai Hanh, D11

United Kingdom

Ukraine

Thailand

028 3519 2334

028 3822 5757 37th Floor, Bitexco, 2 Hai Trieu, D1

028 3821 9580 Taiwan

028 3930 3936 028 3914 2937

107 Nguyen Du, D1

65 Le Loi, D1

186 Nguyen Van Huong, D2

Switzerland

Sweden

South Korea

Singapore

40 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, D3

028 3518 0045 Russia

028 3825 0334

40/5 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh D

7A Le Thanh Ton, D1

028 3822 1696

028 3822 6907

028 3823 5932

028 3829 3132

235 Dong Khoi, D1

29 Le Duan, D1

21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D1

Philippines

Panama

Norway

New Zealand

Netherlands

need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

028 3829 7667

2 Ngo Duc Ke, D1

93 Pasteur, D1

Malaysia

Laos

consulate listings


need to KNOW

FAQ

Travelling with Children Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are kid-friendly with attractions galore. Vietnamese love children, so don’t be alarmed at all the attention your child receives.

When addressing Vietnamese, use anh (male) or chi (female) if the person you are addressing is older than you, and em if they are younger. Vietnamese will appreciate any attempt to speak their language. Learn the numbers for a chance to barter for cheaper prices.

There are six distinct tones and each word can have a different meaning depending on the tone.

Language The Vietnamese language is considered one of the hardest languages in Southeast Asia to learn due to its reliance on tones. When first heard, it has an almost sing-song quality and can be confusing to understand for Westerners who aren’t used to a tonal language. This can be quite frustrating at times, especially when people don’t understand your attempt to speak Vietnamese because you can’t get the tones right. On the plus side, the modern written language is entirely based on roman script and is much easier to read compared to some of its neighbours.

Security Petty crime is not confined to the backpacker districts and also occurs in the main tourist shopping areas. Do not walk in secluded locations alone, or with people

Media Vietnam has a few English-language publications. Tuoi Tre (tuoitrenews.vn), Vietnam News (vietnamnews. vn) and VnExpress (e.vnexpress.net) are the main players in Vietnamese news. For business news, get the monthly Vietnam Economic Times magazine and weekly Vietnam Investment Review newspaper.

1 January – Western New Year’s Day First to seventh days of the first moon (between January and February) – Tet Nguyen Dan April – Hung King Festival 30 April – Liberation Day / Reunification Day 1 May – International Workers' Day 2 September – National Day

Holidays Though Vietnam traditionally has many holidays, religious or otherwise, these are the only ones publicly recognised by the government:

XXVII

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Ambulance 115

XXVIII

For more information, check the NGO resource centre in Hanoi (ngocentre.org).

Volunteering If you are looking to give back to the community, there are a number of non-governmental organisations based in Vietnam. Do your research to ensure that your money and efforts go to a good cause.

Electricity The standard electrical supply in Vietnam runs at 220V, 50Hz. If you have appliances that run at lower voltages, make sure you have a converter if the appliance doesn’t convert automatically. The most common sockets are two round pins without a ground pin, which will often take two-flat-blade plugs as well. Hotels with international clientele may also have combined sockets that take a wide variety of plugs. If you just need an adaptor, you can find them at most markets.

Also, for those travelling with babies, supplies are available, but stock up if you plan to travel outside major city centres. Child safety seats are not readily available for any type of transportation and it’s best to bring your own. Be aware that there are few diaperchanging stations in restaurant bathrooms.

The call centre (they can speak English) will give contacts of your location’s nearest station.

For other supports, call: 024 1080 (Hanoi) 028 1080 (Ho Chi Minh City).

Emergency cases: Police 113 Fire 114

Important numbers

Drugs Penalties for possession, distribution or the manufacture of drugs can be severe. In Vietnamese law, anyone found in possession of even a small amount of drugs can face the death sentence. So remember to just say no.

Use hotel safety deposit boxes to store valuables, money and passports and carry a photocopy of the data and visa pages of your passport. There have been reports of scams targeting tourists, that involve fake charities, gambling and taxis. Fortunately, violent crime is rare.

you do not know. To lower risk, be on your guard against pickpockets and avoid carrying handbags or wearing expensive-looking jewellery or watches.

FAQ


KNOW

need to

This era of history ended when Bao Dai, the last emperor from the famous Nguyen Dynasty (18021945), abdicated in 1945.

Monarchy A number of dynasties ruled by Vietnamese kings held sway from 939 AD to 1945. During this period, Vietnam was repeatedly attacked by foreign invaders and the borders flowed back and forth.

Since 179 BC, Vietnam was ruled by the Chinese Empire for many centuries.

In the third century BC, King An Duong Vuong founded Au Lac and ruled until 179 BC.

Proto-history According to legends, the first Vietnamese Kingdom was founded in the seventh century BC by the Hung Kings and named Van Lang.

Pre-history Ancient Vietnam originated from circa 400,000 years (Paleolithic) to 4,000 years (Neolithic) ago. Early cultures in the area included Son Vi, Hoa Binh, Bac Son, Ha Long and Hoa Loc.

Vietnam’s history can be roughly divided into the following periods:

XXIX

need EES tooKNOW t s g n i ht

Since then, the economy has grown at an annual rate of 7%. In 2000, a bilateral trade agreement between Vietnam and the United States was a significant milestone for Vietnam’s economy.

Doi Moi As the Soviet Union began scaling back its commitments to the rest of the Communist world, Vietnam was forced to follow suit in 1986. Reformist Nguyen Van Linh was chosen to lead the Vietnamese Communist Party, and one of his first acts was to institute a radical economic reform policy: the Doi Moi.

Reunification On the first day after the American War, the government changed Saigon’s name to Ho Chi Minh City. Damage from the war was extensive and rebuilding efforts were put in place. A rapid transition to Socialism in the South proved to be a harder task than expected.

American War North Vietnam fought the United States from 1954 until the Americans pulled out in 1975.

French War Vietnam battled French colonialism from 1858 to the August Revolution in 1945. The final victory was secured at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

history


Welcome to Vietnam Hanoi

Cat Ba Island Vietnam Hoang Sa Archipelago Vietnam

Danang

Phu Quoc Island Vietnam

Saigon

Con Dao Island Vietnam

Truong Sa Archipelago Vietnam

----------------------------------------------------------------------------What's on the Cover? Lions and dragons symbolise luck and prosperity in Vietnamese culture. Hence, you’ll find the so-called “lion dance”: a colourful mix of costumes, dance and acrobatics accompanied by booming drum rhythms, performed not only around Lunar New Year, but also at opening ceremonies of new businesses. You might just be lucky enough to witness one strolling along the bustling streets of Saigon or Hanoi.


meet the team

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Project Coordinator

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3


E E S oHANOI t s g n i ht table of contents

21-28 22-23 24-25 26-27 28

where to DRINK bars | cafĂŠs bars further suggestions

29-32 30 31 32

where to SHOP souvenirs fashion shopping streets further suggestions

33-44 34-41 42 43 44

things to DO tours activities spas | beauty tours entertainment further suggestions

45-54 46, 48-49 47 50 51 52-53 54

hotels further suggestions

MAPS hoan kiem & ba dinh districts hoan kiem, hai ba trung & dong da districts ba dinh, dong da & tay ho districts tay ho district

table of contents

where to EAT local local | international international further suggestions

where to STAY

55-58 56-57 58 59-67 60-61 62-63 64-65 66-67

things HANOI to SEE

things to SEE 7-20 introduction 8 hoan kiem district 10-13 ba dinh district 14-15 ba dinh & dong da districts 16-17 cau giay district 18 nearby 19-20

need to KNOW I II-III vietnam fact sheet IV price guide V climate VI-VII things to keep in mind VIII visas IX-X money XI-XII communication XIII-XIV electronics XV-XVI health XVII dental XVIII-XXII transportation XXIII airline listings XXIV embassy listings XXV consulate listings XXVI-XXVIII faq XXVII-XXIX history Hong Duc Publish House 65 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Disst., Hanoi Publishing Liability: Bui Viet Bac Content Liability: Ly Ba Toan Editor: Phan Thi Ngoc Minh Licence Info: 3215 - 2017/CXBIPH/14 - 60/HĂ?

License No.: 129/QD-NXBHD Issued on 22 September 2017 ISBN: 978-604-89-1138-6 Copies: 20,000 Dimension: 10,5cm x 15cm

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SEE

hanoi

things to SEE

things to

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht introduction

sub-section

Vietnam's Proud Capital Unlike its southern counterpart Saigon, Hanoi experiences distinct seasons. The city is sticky and hot in the summer and wet and chilly in the winter. The lush greenery in Hanoi adds some cool relief during summer months, while the mist rising from the city’s enchanting lakes adds a dreamy touch to the winter landscape.

things to SEE

From hidden, cosy coffee shops in ageing buildings and an emerging contemporary art scene to the luxury cars driving through the city’s intricate streets, Hanoi surely knows how to welcome modernity while remaining true to its authenticity. Stylish, nostalgic, romantic and tested by the extremes of its seasonal weather, this is a city bursting with character.

Vietnam’s splendid capital sits rife with historical monuments, colourful pagodas and impressive temples. Look for well-maintained colonial houses coloured in the quintessential yellow ochre, often repurposed as clothing boutiques or government buildings. From plentiful street markets to trendy boutiques and upmarket, modern malls, the city also boasts a plethora of shopping outlets. Unwind Like a Hanoian Hanoi is a melting pot of delicious and affordable street food and fancy local and international fare. After lunch or dinner it is customary to relax on short plastic stools in one of the cafés surrounding the cathedral. Warm up with some tra nong (hot tea) served in little glasses during the winter, or with the customary tra chanh (lemon iced tea) in the summer months. Nibble on some sunflower seeds to enjoy a true Hanoian local experience. Attraction Accessible for People with Disabilities

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Truc Bach Lake & West Lake hanoi

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht hoan kiem district

hoan kiem district

Between Le Thai To and Dinh Tien Hoang Streets

Local insight: Check out the impromptu waltz classes in the evenings, they are a joy to watch.

Quan Su Pagoda The Quan Su Pagoda, or Ambassador’s Pagoda, is the Buddhist headquarters of Vietnam. Although it doesn’t boast a long history or impressive architecture, it is one of Hanoi’s treasures as a hub of religious activity. When most of the pagodas were burned down at the end of the Le Dynasty, Quan Su was saved for posterity. 73 Quan Su, Hoan Kiem D 7:30am-11:30am & 1:30pm-5:30pm

Free

The market spreads along Hang Dao and Dong Xuan Streets, Hoan Kiem D Fri-Sun 6:00pm-11:00pm

Local insight: Aim to pay 50% of the item’s starting price and don’t forget to smile while haggling.

Long Bien Bridge Designed by French architect Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame, the cantilever Long Bien Bridge was completed in 1902. A beloved Hanoi landmark, the bridge connects Hoan Kiem and Long Bien districts and provides stunning views of the Red River – if you’re adventurous enough to brave the potholes. Keep in mind that the bridge is not open to car traffic.

Old Quarter This section of the city has a 1,000-year-old history of commerce. Even though much has changed, items are still sold according to category. Entire streets are dedicated to single items. The streets are aptly named “Hang” (merchandise), followed by the product they sell. For travellers looking to experience Hanoi’s nightlife, the Old Quarter also houses countless bars. Be sure to grab a map – winding through the streets can get disorienting.

Local insight: The on-ramp is located on the bike road near Gam Cau. Follow the train tracks. citypassguide.com

Hanoi Night Market This market, held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, is a bustling affair in the heart of the Old Quarter. Stroll through the myriad of stalls offering clothes and souvenirs, or stop by and grab some mouthwatering street food at one of the many food stands. This popular haunt is a pedestrian-only area.

Local insight: Originally, the complex was a place for ambassadors to bring the emperor gifts.

Linking Hoan Kiem and Long Bien Districts

10

things to SEE

Hoan Kiem Lake (Turtle Lake) This is, in many ways, the focal point of the city. Sitting on the edge of the Old Quarter, this beautiful lake sees hundreds of people coming out in the early morning and late afternoon to exercise. Come before sunrise and watch old ladies do tai chi. A legend surrounds the lake about a Golden Turtle God called Kim Qui who surfaced to ask emperor Le Loi for his magic sword.

Local insight: Check out our shopping guide on pages 33-44 for more detailed information. hanoi

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht hoan kiem district

hoan kiem district

36 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 8:00am-5:00pm VND30,000, VND15,000 (students)

Local insight: A permanent exhibit showcases the roles played by Vietnamese women in family, history and fashion over the years.

Hanoi Opera House Built between 1901 and 1911, the design was based on the Palais Garnier, the older of the two main Paris Opera Houses. Also known as Nha Hat Lon, this impressive building is certainly a cultural and historical landmark in the capital city. It opens its doors for numerous performances, allowing day visitors to see inside. 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem D

Local insight: If you have time to see a show, purchase a seat in the balcony to get the full experience.

National Museum of History An extensive collection of over 7,000 artifacts of ancient history makes this museum worth a visit. Don’t miss the bronze Dong Son drums and 2,500-year-old coffin canoe. The exhibits focus on ancient history. Be sure to visit the Vietnam Museum of Revolution across the street afterwards. 1 Trang Tien – 25 Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem D 8:00am-5:00pm (closed first Mon of every month) VND40,000 (adults), VND15,000 (students)

Local insight: A small, shaded café in the museum’s courtyard is a nice place to grab a coffee or beer. 12

things to SEE

Vietnamese Women’s Museum Located in downtown Hanoi, the newly renovated museum sits amongst French-style buildings, foreign embassies, hotels and government offices. The museum opened to the public in 1995, and now contains over 25,000 objects and materials.

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Hoa Lo Prison Built in 1896 by the French, this prison was just one of a number of incarceration centres in the North. Most of the prison was demolished in the mid1990s to build a hotel and office complex. What's left are chilling displays of its past as a prison for Vietnamese patriots – and later American POWs – who referred to it ironically as the 'Hanoi Hilton'. 1 Hoa Lo, Hoan Kiem D 8:00am-5:00pm VND30,000 (adults), free for children

Local insight: American Senator John McCain was a prisoner of war here for six years.

Police Museum Organised tours won’t lead you here, but the Hanoi Police Museum, covering the history of Hanoi’s police force since 1945, is more than worth a visit. Fans of detective stories will enjoy the displayed documentation of some solved crime cases. Exhibit information is provided in Vietnamese, French and English. 67 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D Mon-Fri 8:00am-5:00pm Free

024 3939 6941

Local insight: Ask for a museum tour. It’s free of charge and usually offered in excellent English. hanoi

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tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht ba dinh district

9:00am-12:00pm

Free

Ho Chi Minh’s House Built in 1958 as a representation of a traditional stilt house for then-president Ho Chi Minh, he preferred this modest abode to the opulent Presidential Palace next door. This simple house contains only a bedroom and study, which reflects Ho’s humble beginnings. The well-tended garden and pond are a great place to escape from the crowds. Ngoc Ha and Doi Can, Ba Dinh D 7:30am-4:30pm, except Mon & Fri afternoon VND40,000

Ancient Citadel While digging the foundation for a new national assembly building in 2002, workers began to unearth remnants of a much older building. Archaeologists discovered the ancient foundations of an imperial city that dated back 1,300 years to Dai Viet, when Hanoi was known as Thang Long. 12 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Ba Dinh D Tue-Sun 8:00am-11:30am & 2:00pm-5:00pm VND30,000, free for children under 15

Local insight: There's an old building (D67) on site where communists plotted during the American War.

Ho Chi Minh Museum Located near Ba Dinh Square, this museum depicts the revolutionary struggle of the man affectionately known as Uncle Ho. While there's a clear lack of English information, it is worth a visit for its spectacular third-floor exhibitions, which include photographs from the life of the man himself.

Quan Thanh Temple Built in the 11th century, this is one of the four sacred temples, each built in one of the cardinal directions to protect Hanoi’s Citadel from evil spirits. The namesake spirit of the temple, Huyen Thien Tran Vu, is remembered for feats like driving away the ghosts in Co Loa Citadel and protecting Vietnam’s northern border.

Local insight: Make sure that you abide by the strict no photography policy of the museum. citypassguide.com

Local insight: Many of the paintings were kept in safe storage during the American War and were temporarily replaced with copies.

Local insight: Clap your hands above the carp pond to summon the fish to the surface.

19 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh D VND40,000 8:00am-11:30am & 1:30pm-4:00pm, except Mon & Fri afternoon

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66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh D 8:30am-5:00pm VND40,000, VND20,000 (students)

ba dinh district

Hung Vuong, Ba Dinh D

Local insight: Visitors have to leave bags and cameras at a luggage area.

Fine Arts Museum First opened in 1966, this museum is a perfect introduction to traditional and contemporary Vietnamese art. It is also the country’s main art museum, with the second in Ho Chi Minh City. Explore the various exhibits, including impeccably crafted 1,000-year-old silk paintings.

things to SEE

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum The mausoleum stands on the side of the imposing Ba Dinh Square in the heart of Hanoi. The queues to see the great man lying in state are huge every day. They do move very quickly, though. 'Uncle Ho' lies in a glass sarcophagus guarded by four soldiers in smart white uniforms. It is a sobering experience to look at the man of whom so much is thought by so many.

Gates are on the corner of Thanh Nien and Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh D VND10,000

Local insight: Adherents of vo co truyen, a Taoist, Buddhist and Confucianist martial art, train here. hanoi

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things to SEE

Tran Quoc Pagoda Tran Quoc Pagoda, located on a small island on West Lake, is Hanoi’s oldest Buddhist temple that dates back to the sixth century, and is known for the unrivalled intricacy of its designs. The fig tree in the garden is said to have been grown from a cutting of the Bodhi tree, under which Buddha found enlightenment.

ba dinh & dong da districts

On the eastern shore of West Lake, just off Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh D Free

Local insight: The area around the lake has become a hotspot for Hanoi’s culinary aficionados.

Cot Co Tower A later addition to the Hanoi Citadel complex, this three-tiered flag tower was built in 1905 and offers elevated views of the surrounding area. It is located in the grounds of the Military Museum and hosts a grand view of what is left of the once-mighty Hanoi Citadel. 28 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh D 8:30am-5:00pm, open every day, except Mon & Fri VND40,000

Local insight: Sun shines through its 36 flowershaped and six fan-shaped windows.

Temple of Literature Built in 1070, this temple was established in 1076 as Vietnam’s first university, educating the elite ranks until 1779. The temple features five courtyards and a small museum. Check out the stone stelae, where those who passed the notoriously difficult exams have their names engraved. Be sure to rub the stone turtles for good luck. 658 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da D 7:30am-5:30pm VND30,000, free for children under 15

Local insight: Students cramming for exams still come here to pray for good grades. 16

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nearby

tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht cau giay district

things to SEE

Ethnology Museum Dedicated to Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups, this is Hanoi’s most impressive museum; it also serves as a research centre. Don’t miss the exterior, where the life-sized architectural styles of the various ethnic groups are reproduced. You’ll be scrambling up ladders and ducking through tiny doorways whilst immersed in cultural history. 6 Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay D Tue-Sun 8:30am-5:30pm VND40,000

Local insight: The museum offers an outdoor water puppet theatre in a small pond on the grounds.

Hanoi Museum Shaped like an inverted pyramid and with a total floor space of nearly 5.4 hectares, this four-storey museum opened in October 2010 to mark the capital’s millennial anniversary. The displays showcase the country’s history, culture and architectural heritage, featuring everything from ornamental trees to 600-year-old weapons. Pham Hung, Tu Liem, Cau Giay D Free Tue-Sun 8:00am-11:00am & 1:30pm-5:00pm

Local insight: The Hanoi Museum is home to 50,000 unique historical artefacts.

Bat Trang Ceramics Village Located in a clay-rich area, much of the famed Bat Trang pottery is now imported from elsewhere but you can still find some gems if you search a little. This do-it-yourself operation is perfect for anyone feeling nostalgic for art class or wants a break from the city. Take a stroll, make a pot, vase or bowl and come home with a souvenir. Turn right just after crossing Chuong Duong Bridge and head south about 9km

Local insight: Check for the Bat Trang stamp to guarantee your ceramics were produced here.

Co Loa Citadel & An Duong Vuong Temple This ancient citadel was commissioned by King An Duong Vuong, in whose honour the An Duong Vuong Temple was built. It was once the capital of the Au Lac state, and all that remains are two outer walls and the interior citadel. The fortress is a spiral-shaped compound that has revealed many Bronze Age relics from the Dong Son culture. 20km north of Hanoi

8:30am-5:30pm

VND20,000

Local insight: The Co Loa festival is held annually after Tet holiday to honour King An Duong Vuong. 18

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nearby

tEhings E S ottosgSEE n i ht

Perfume Pagoda This complex of pagodas and shrines is built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich Mountain. Buddhist pilgrims, believing that Buddha once paused by the river to wash himself clean of the dust of humanity, make the pilgrimage in hopes of rinsing off bad karma. The two-hour boat trip meanders through rice paddies and looming limestone cliffs. 60km southwest of Hanoi VND130,000, including boat fee

Local insight: The main pilgrimage season starts on 15 February and runs until mid-March.

Van Phuc Village This mecca of all things silk, southwest of Hanoi, is a good place to stock up on fabric, pre-made clothing and scarves at prices that are slightly cheaper than in the city centre. It was once a hotspot for bargain hunters, but local shops have now caught on. Even so, the selection is still excellent and it’s a great half-day trip out of town. Located 8km from town on the banks of the Nhue River on Nguyen Trai

Local insight: The village has no official hours, but visitors will find most shops closed on Sundays.

Le Mat Snake Village Order snake prepared in seven traditional dishes with none (and we mean none) of the parts going to waste. As authorities have been working to stem the tide of endangered animal trafficking, do your part by making sure that no endangered animals appear on the menu. About 7km northeast of Hanoi off Highway 1A

Local insight: Locals believe that swallowing a reptile’s beating heart together with a shot of rice wine can bring unmentionable benefits to a man’s virility. 20

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where to

EAT

hanoi

21


w EE here S ottosgEAT n i ht local

A paper-thin rice pancake rolled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms, accompanied by a fragrant dipping sauce, which can include essence of ca cuong, a water beetle. Banh Tom Ho Tay

This crunchy shrimp cake consists of deep-fried prawns with slices of sweet potato laid out on a bed of lettuce and herbs. Bun Cha

Hanoi’s favourite lunch food, this noodle dish includes ground pork patties and vermicelli noodles in a sweet broth made from fish sauce, pickled vegetables and vinegar. Pho

Perfect for those chilly Hanoi mornings, the city’s take is more nuanced in flavour than its Southern equivalent. Most pho stalls will serve a bare minimum of garnishes. Xoi Cuc

This timeless Hanoian snack mixes mung beans with pork or bacon fat and is wrapped in glutinous rice and topped with fried shallots. Restaurant Price Guide (per meal) $ - up to VND199,000

$$ - VND200,000-499,000

$$$ - VND500,000 & above 22

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local

Banh Cuon

things to EAT where SEE

Northern Vietnamese cuisine is heavily influenced by China, which explains the abundance of stirfried noodles, spring rolls and MSG. Due to the cooler climate, Northern dishes use herbs less liberally than in the South, but do not mistake the modest toppings for a lack of flavour. Whatever you do, don’t dress up your pho too much. Hanoians could mistake you for a Southerner!

Ngon Pho $-$$ Ngon Pho provides quality street food in luxurious surroundings. They opened their first restaurant in 2015. Combining the very best of traditional cuisine from Hanoi, Hoi An and Saigon, all three of their critically acclaimed restaurants serve Vietnam's most famous street food. T345, 3rd Floor, AEON Mall Long Bien, 27 Co Linh 59 Huynh Thuc Khang 8 Da Tuong 09 0324 6963 10:00am-10:00pm

Local insight: Try their Lau Tom Ngon Pho, an excellent take on this superb prawn hotpot.

Quan An Ngon $$ This well-established restaurant chain is filled with traditional Vietnamese themes. They serve a wide selection of domestic cuisine from around the country, and have been voted as one of the best restaurants in Asia for many years. 18 Phan Boi Chau 25T2 Hoang Dao Thuy 34 Phan Dinh Phung B2-R6 Vincom Royal City 09 0324 6963 7:00am-10:00pm quananngon.com.vn

Local insight: Try their Banh Xeo, it's a popular rice pancake stuffed with slivers of fatty pork, shrimp, diced green onion and bean sprouts. hanoi

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w EE here S ottosgEAT n i ht

Madam Yen Restaurant $-$$ Located near Hoan Kiem Lake, this upscale eatery fuses unique contemporary architectural design with the elegance of the Old Quarter. The diverse menu hosts authentic, yet refined food from Hanoi along with other distinctive Northern dishes.

local / international

99A Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem D 024 3926 4999 10:00am-11:00pm madamyenrestaurant.com info@madamyenrestaurant.com cookingclass@madamyenrestaurant

Local insight: Join their half-day cooking class. They even give away certificates of completion.

Ming Restaurant $$-$$$ The 5-star Ming Restaurant offers some of the best Cantonese delicacies to be had in Hanoi, along with an elegant Oriental setting. The large windows provide a great view of the hotel’s peaceful gardens for each and every table. 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh D 024 3823 8888 dining.pphan@panpacific.com

Local insight: The Dim Sum is a must-try. The Har Kau Shrimp Dumplings and the Clam Abalone Dumplings are warmly recommended.

Tomato Seafood $-$$ Travellers looking for a truly Vietnamese dinner shouldn't miss out on this local favourite for first-rate seafood. Given the quality you get, prices are very reasonable. This restaurant serves various kinds of flavourful seafood like oysters, clams, prawns, green crabs, fish, mantis shrimp and sea snails. 33 Nguyen Thi Dinh, Cau Giay D 9:00am-11:00pm 82 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung D 09 8569 9148 tomato.hanoiseafood@gmail.com

Local insight: You have to try the Ca Mau Crab and their delicious signature spicy sauce! 24

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w EE here S ottosgEAT n i ht

$$$

Launched in 2008, La Badiane provides a true feeling of intimacy and elegance, and focuses on high-end international gastronomy. Chef Benjamin Rascalou’s dishes are the outcome of an encounter between continents and cultures: a subtle mix of scents, tastes and spices.

international

“At Press-Club Hanoi, experience my Michelin-Star menu”

international

10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem D 04 3942 4509 labadiane-hanoi.com labadianehanoi@yahoo.fr 11:30am-2:00pm / 6:00pm-9:45pm Closed Sunday. Local insight: Try their new menu, which was launched in September.

Maison Vie Restaurant $-$$ Nestled in the heart of Hanoi, you’ll find authentic and delicious French food at Maison Vie Restaurant. Designed in an elegant neoclassical style, French master chef Thierry Panner excels at delivering exquisite French cuisine. 024 3633 0206 – 09 0415 0383 10:00am–10:00pm info@maisonvie.vn 28 Tang Bat Ho, Hai Ba Trung D maisonvie.vn

Local insight: If you’re looking for a special date night, reserve a table on their small balcony – it’s sure to impress!

Da Paolo West Lake $$ Enjoy an authentic Italian meal in one of Hanoi’s most beautiful and popular locations, West Lake. Da Paolo attracts locals and expats alike with their home-made pastas and savoury appetizers. Try one of their pizzas baked in a traditional woodburning oven. 32 Quang Khanh, Tay Ho D 024 3718 6317 / 024 8585 1443 11:00am-12:00am dapaolowestlake@gmail.com

Local insight: The owner is a partner of a wine import company, hence the large selection available. 26

things to EAT where SEE

La Badiane

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From VND 300,000/Person for lunch VND 1,200,000/Person for dinner

La Table du Chef $$-$$$ La Table du Chef offers French bliss in the name of “haute cuisine”. Located in the Press Club Building, former home of Vietnamese writers and journalists, La Table du Chef is a sophisticated dining space for corporate and creative minds alike. The interior boasts polished stone walls, lacquered tables, and Hermès wickerwork wallpaper. The menu, created by 2-star Michelin chef Alain Dutournier, includes foie gras from Landes, Perigord truffles, Guérande sea salt and more. 3rd Floor, Press Club Building, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem D 024 3934 0888 / 09 0406 7686 info@hanoi-pressclub.com latableduchef.com.vn 11:30am-2:00pm & 6:00pm-10:00pm

Local insight: The wine menu has 450 labels from the most famous producers in the world, as well as some great discoveries from Alain, all stored in the on-site open cellar. hanoi

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w EE here S ottosgEAT n i ht

Local Indochine: This restaurant has a really friendly atmosphere and an extraordinarily extensive menu with more than 100 traditional Vietnamese dishes from which to choose. 38 Thi Sach, Hai Ba Trung D

024 3942 4097

further suggestions

Andochin: Located in a beautiful villa, Andochin treats you to an authentic Vietnamese culinary experience to be enjoyed in a cosy atmosphere. 52 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Hai Ba Trung D

024 3728 6999

White Cloud: A quality vegetarian restaurant serving a range of national dishes, with a beautiful view across West Lake. 2 Ngo 12 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho D

024 6258 1622

Wild Rice: This restaurant serves a range of Vietnamese classics with a modern twist and Pacific Rim fare. 6 Ngo Thi Nham, Hoan Kiem D

024 3943 8896

Softwater: This tranquil retreat in the centre of the city often hosts wedding ceremonies. Here you'll get savoury Vietnamese fare in a lush garden overlooking the Red River. 42, F361, Road 9, An Duong, Tay Ho D 024 2260 8968

International Kimono: Visit this restaurant for traditional Chadostyle dining, with fresh, authentic seafood dishes using ingredients flown in weekly from Japan. 52 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D

09 0414 3369

Don’s – A Chef’s Bistro: Overlooking Hanoi’s West Lake, this bistro-style restaurant serves all your favourites, including wood-fired pizzas, rich, creamy pastas, risottos, classic Vietnamese dishes and other Asian cuisines. 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho D 28

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024 3719 2828


where to

DRINK

hanoi

29


where E E StooDRINK t s g n i ht bars / cafés

024 6686 6150

bars

112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho D

things to DRINK where SEE

Savage Lounge $$-$$$ This hip underground hideaway in West Lake attracts both local and international trendsetters. It's the perfect spot to enjoy the signature cocktails in a relaxed, yet sophisticated ambience. On the weekend, this place is packed with an exciting crowd listening to disco/house tunes on the best sound system in town. Wed-Sun 6:00pm-3:00am

hello@savage-hanoi.com

savageloungehn

Local insight: Definitely try their Hot Feeling cocktail that comes with a hint of red Thai chili.

The Rooftop $$$ This elegantly retro-styled bar, lounge and restaurant was established in 2010 and offers superb views across the Hanoi skyline. It caters to local business people, expats and tourists who come to enjoy lunch, dinner, soft drinks or great cocktails whilst listening to deep house music and watching the city. 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 09 1370 6966 / 09 0222 0700 10:00am-12:00am TheRooftopHanoi

Local insight: Try the super Tiamo cocktail, which unsurprisingly is their top seller.

Vpresso Coffee $-$$ Hanoi’s Vpresso café, with several locations across the city, is not just a coffee and tea shop, but also a barista training school. The café also offers some of Northern Vietnam’s delicious traditional dishes. 49 Hai Ba Trung 016 6509 6060

45 Ly Quoc Su vpressocoffee vpressocoffee.com.vn 24/7

Local insight: Check out their rooftop bar at the Ly Quoc Su location. Clubs, Bars & Cafes Price Guide (per drink) $ - up to VND99,000

$$ - VND100,000-199,000

$$$ - VND200,000 & above 30

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Press Club–La Plume Bar & Lounge $$-$$$ Located in the historical part of Hanoi, La Plume tells you beautiful stories about Vietnamese culture. The stunning decor is inspired by the design of the legendary Long Bien Bridge. La Plume is a hotspot for all-day snacks and evening drinks. Awesome cocktails are mixed by Vietnam’s champion Pham Tien Tiep, whilst the wine list is comprised of an impressive 450 labels. Executive chef Dao Van Son, who has worked with many Michelin-starred chefs, prepares authentic snacks using local organic and imported products. Items on the menu range from European to truly Vietnamese specialties. 3rd Floor, Press Club Building, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem D 024 3934 0888 / 09 0406 7686 info@hanoi-pressclub.com 8:00am-12:00am laplume.com.vn

Local insight: Try the signature Pho or Full Moon cocktails – these are real winners. hanoi

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where E E StooDRINK t s g n i ht

Cafés Hanoi Social Club: An artist hub in a little old house, selling a number of Western-style meals and drinks at good prices. Regular live music. 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem D

024 3938 2117

further suggestions

Joma Bakery Café: A slice of North American coffee culture in Hanoi. Joma gives part of its profits back to the local community. 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem D

Tan My Design Café: Take a break from shopping and sip a creamy latte at this café tucked away on the first floor. 61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem D

024 3938 1154

Bars Bar +84: A casual bar with Godfather movie posters on the walls and a great variety of daily live music performances. 23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem D

09 6639 4968

Summit Lounge: This lofty night spot has great cocktails and wines with spectacular West Lake views. 20th Floor, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh D

024 3823 8888

RockStore: This is the hippest place to be in Hanoi, with four to five rock bands performing weekly. 61 Ma May, Hoan Kiem D

016 5333 6087

Minh’s Jazz Club: This bar is the only place in Hanoi to catch live jazz. 3rd Floor, 65 Quan Su, Hoan Kiem D

024 3942 0400

Clubs Hanoi Night Club: A one-stop shop for Hanoian nightlife. Get ready to party local-style. D8 Giang Vo, Ba Dinh D

024 3845 2270

Camelia Lounge: A trendy party venue boasting

excellent house music and fantastic cocktails. 3rd Floor, Melia Hotel Hanoi, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 09 3969 3223 32

citypassguide.com


things to SEE

where to

SHOP


where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht souvenirs

Ceramics While not famous for the high quality of its ceramics, Vietnam is an excellent place to stock up on exotic regional household items at reasonable prices. Most products are painted in the traditional white and blue pattern, but stores have begun carrying a wider variety of colours. Shoppers can pick up a full tea set for as little as VND100,000. Local insight: Head to Bat Trang Ceramics Village (page 19) to try your hand at making and decorating your own ceramic products.

Wood Carving This time-honoured craft has been passed down through generations. Most of the Buddha sculptures are intended for temples and altars, but small, ornate carvings make great gifts. Especially impressive are the carvings made from entire tree branches. The curvature of the wood is incorporated into the pieces, dynamic fusions of nature and craft. Local insight: Ironwood is the most expensive type of wood, but it will last for centuries. Shopping Price Guide (per main item) $ - up to VND299,000

$$ - VND300,000-499,000

$$$ - VND500,000 & above 34

souvenirs

Local insight: Fine examples of porcelain are produced in Bat Trang in Hanoi’s Museum of Art.

things to SHOP where SEE

Porcelain The Chinese perfected porcelain in the 10th century and Vietnamese artisans soon followed. Using kaolin, a type of white clay, fired at blistering temperatures, they produced marvellous porcelain products. More fragile and costly than ceramics, they are often blue and white. Take a bowl home, but be sure to pack it carefully.

citypassguide.com

$$ Minh Long With a total area of 4,500 square metres, Minh Long is the biggest porcelain showroom in Vietnam. More than 1,000 products are displayed in their modern, luxuriously furnished showroom, like tableware, sculptures, figurines and other delightful souvenirs. Asian and European-style products are arranged in separate areas. Visitors will enjoy the handcrafted products, such as their hand-painted vases and porcelain jewellery, created by specially skilled artisans.

3-5 Nguyen Van Linh, Gia Thuy, Long Bien D 8:00am-9:00pm 09 4138 5445 106 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh D 8:30am-7:00pm 024 2210 8868 Minh Long also has multiple locations in Saigon minhlong.com sales@minhlong.com

Local insight: Many of the pieces draw inspiration from Vietnamese culture and traditions. hanoi

35


where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht souvenirs

souvenirs

Local insight: Some of these hand-woven masks can be as expensive as $60 or more!

Minority Handicrafts Handicrafts, made by Northern ethnic minorities, have become a big hit with travellers in recent years. They're especially famous for their quilts, which employ ancient techniques in neon colours. The selection has expanded to include caps, tapestries, shirts and jewellery. To ensure that the artisans are earning a fair wage for their products, buy from one of the fair trade shops. Local insight: Go to 54 Traditions at 30 Hang Bun for an introduction to the many ethnic groups.

Zippos Once a faithful companion to US soldiers during the war, these enduring lighters can be found scattered throughout Vietnam, and each one tells a unique story. Most are still functioning and only require a top-up of lighter fluid and a new flint. They are priced according to the year, design, quality and condition, and most are under VND100,000; a unique collector’s item. Local insight: There are a few genuine ones left but most sold are copies – even the one Martin Sheen had in Apocalypse Now wasn’t real. 36

things to SHOP where SEE

Masks Found hanging in shops throughout the narrow, winding lanes of the Old Quarter, these faces, painted on woven, round bamboo or coconut trays, mimic the characters in Vietnam’s traditional musical theatre, cheo. Each of the masks are painted in a theatrical style and are meant to represent a single emotion. Embrace your inner drama queen and buy some to represent all the colours of your personality.

citypassguide.com

Mekong Quilts $$ Mekong Quilts was founded in 2001, employing only 35 women. The organisation specialises in handcrafted quilts and accessories using sustainable raw materials. Working with disadvantaged women from rural Vietnam and Cambodia, Mekong Quilts has engaged over 200 of them in full-time employment and has contributed to development initiatives within their communities. The quilters receive training, a fair wage and other benefits. All profits from products sold are returned to the quilters’ villages. 13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem 024 3926 4831 mekong-plus.com

Local insight: Looking for something different? Mekong Quilts also accepts custom orders, ensuring unique products to outfit any home. hanoi

37


where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht

things to SHOP where SEE

souvenirs

souvenirs

Tan My Design $$-$$$ This design house has quietly become the destination of choice for Vietnamese fashion, art, jewellery and household products. Located right in the heart of the famous Old Quarter on Hang Gai, the store is unlike anything else. The space combines old and contemporary designs covering three floors across three connected terraced houses, bridging classical Hanoi architecture with international design. Dating back to 1969, Tan My Design offers three generations of the finest quality and one-of-a-kind products that cannot be found at the smaller silk and craft shops in the Old Quarter. 61-63 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem D 024 3938 1154 8:00am-8:00pm tanmydesign.com

Local insight: The café has one of the best espressos in the city along with a delicious range of Asian and Western meals to choose from and various artworks for sale. 38

citypassguide.com

Hanoia $-$$ Hanoia is the leading haute-lacquer house in Vietnam. The ultimate quality of its products has been recognised for years by prestigious luxury brands worldwide. Hanoia has developed its own collections of home décor, jewellery and lacquer silk, which feature a perfect blend of contemporary design and Vietnamese traditions. Hanoia’s stores are located in cultural places or luxury hotels throughout the country. Its main store, Hanoia House, is nestled in a heritage space in Hanoi’s Old Quarter that has been renovated to welcome the entire collection. Find all sales points, including their recently opened shop in Saigon, on www.hanoia.com. 38 Hang Dao, Hoan Kiem D 024 3710 0819 9:00am-8:00pm hanoia.com

Local insight: Visibly crafted with love and emotion, Hanoia lacquerware embodies the quintessence of Vietnamese craftsmanship. hanoi

39


where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht souvenirs

souvenirs

Local insight: See them in action at the Water Puppet Theatre near Hoan Kiem Lake (page 52).

Buffalo Horn Often combined with lacquer to make hair ornaments, cutlery and jewellery, buffalo horn can be found in many of Vietnam's souvenir and houseware shops. Items range from brilliant white to tar black, depending on the horn used. Remember that buffalo horn must be hand-washed, as foods like mustard or vinegar can stain light-coloured cutlery. No buffalos are specifically slaughtered or harmed to collect the horns. Local insight: The lighter the colour of the horn, the more expensive the item.

Embroidery Famous for its handmade quilts and embroidered tablecloths, Hanoi is an excellent place to stock up on gifts and housewares to bring back home. Equally impressive are the embroidered scenes of local animals and village life so intricate that they appear to be paintings. Aesthetically pleasing and skilfully made, they are the perfect souvenirs. Larger pieces take more than a month to complete. Local insight: Hillary Clinton bought a tablecloth at Tan My (page 38), purported to be Hanoi’s oldest continually running embroidery shop. 40

things to SHOP where SEE

Water Puppets The water puppets you see in souvenir shops may not date back to the 11th century, but the art form does. The puppets perform classic Vietnamese folk tales and stories, and the performances are accompanied by traditional music. After watching these wooden marionettes glide effortlessly across the water, we can guarantee you’ll want a set for the bathtub. You’ll be staging your own productions in no time.

citypassguide.com

Maison Marou Hanoi $-$$ After its raving success in Saigon, Maison Marou has now opened its doors in Hanoi. Just 500m from Hoan Kiem Lake, the ‘Cacao Embassy’ brings together a café, a pastry shop and a chocolate factory under the same roof to put on a real show. Relax over a steaming cup of heavenly hot chocolate and some of the city’s best French pastries while watching how locally sourced cacao is turned into world-class chocolate bars and bonbons in the show kitchen. Warm up here during Hanoi’s dark and damp winter months, and be sure to bring some of the goodness home. 91A Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem D 024 3717 3969 Maisonmarou.com

Local insight: Their award-winning Single Origin chocolate bars are sourced from different Vietnamese provinces, from the Highlands around Dalat all the way down to the Mekong Delta. hanoi

41


where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht fashion

Tailors Although most travellers head to Hoi An for a new wardrobe, Hanoi offers a decent smattering of tailors. Bring your favourite suit to get it replicated or a picture of the dress you’ve always wanted and get it made from scratch. Go crazy and specify details like buttons, thread colour and pockets. You can even stop by the fabric market on Pho Hue to pick out your own material. Local insight: Be sure to turn clothes inside out and check the quality of work along the seams, as good looks can be deceiving.

Silk This luxurious fabric produced, most notably, by the mulberry silkworm, was once reserved for those of noble blood. Nowadays, anyone can pick up a candy-coloured silk scarf, shirt or even a sleeping bag along Hang Gai. Perhaps a flowing Vietnamese ao dai has caught your eye? No problem, you’ll find it here. Treat yourself like royalty and bundle up in style. Local insight: To test the silk for authenticity, burn a strand. If it leaves a fine, powdery ash, it’s the real deal. 42

citypassguide.com

STREET

PRODUCT

STREET

PRODUCT

Bat Dan

Wooden Bowls

Hang Hanh

Onions

Bat Su

China Bowls

Hang Hom

Cases

Cha Ca

Roasted Fish

Hang Huong

Incense

Cho Gao

String Instruments

Hang Khay

Trays

Gia Ngu

Rice

Hang Khoai

Sweet Potatoes

Hai Tuong

Fish

Hang Luoc

Combs

Hang Bac

Sandals

Hang Ma

Votive Papers

Hang Be

Rafts

Hang Mam

Pickled Fish

Hang Bo

Baskets

Hang Manh

Bamboo Screens

Hang Bong

Cotton

Hang Muoi

Salt

Hang Buom

Sails

Hang But

Brushes

Hang Ngang

Night Market

Hang Ca

Fish

Hang Non

Hats

Hang Can

Scales

Hang Phen

Aluminium

Hang Chai

Bottles

Hang Quat

Fans

Hang Chi

Threads

Hang Ruoi

Clam Worms

Hang Chieu

Mats

Hang Than

Charcoal

Hang Thiec

Tin

Hang Thung

Barrels

Hang Tre

Bamboo

Silk Dyes

Hang Trong

Drums

Hang Dau

Beans / Oils

Hang Vai

Cloth

Hang Dieu

Pipes

Lo Ren

Blacksmiths

Hang Dong

Copper

Lo Su

Coffins

Hang Duong

Sugar

Ma May

Rattan

Hang Ga

Chicken

Ngo Gach

Bricks

Hang Giay

Paper / Shoes

Thuoc Bac

Herbal Medicine

Hang Chinh

Jars

Hang Cot

Bamboo Lattices

Hang Da

Leather

Hang Dao

hanoi

shopping streets

Local insight: When looking for clothes that fit, try the large collection of shops around St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

The Old Quarter is often referred to as the '36 Streets'; in reality there are more than 50. The street names refer to the original trades that were represented there.

things to SHOP where SEE

Clothes Shopping for Western sizes can often be an exercise in futility in this small-boned country, even at shops selling international brands. Luckily there is an increasing number of vendors and boutique shops that cater to those of more ample proportions – and they don’t equate high fashion with garish colours and sparkling sequins. Head to Hang Bong for athletic clothes.

43


where E E Sto otSHOP s g n i ht

Fashion Ha Dong Silk: This shop is one of the largest and most renowned silk sellers in Hanoi, located on silk street, Hang Gai. 102 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem D

024 3928 5056

further suggestions

XQ Embroidery: Hand embroidery combining snapshots of traditional Vietnamese lifestyles, colours and culture with intricate craftsmanship. 13 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem D

024 3938 1905

Galleries 54 Traditions: This gallery focuses on antiques and classic textiles from Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minority groups. 30 Hang Bun, Ba Dinh D

024 3715 0194

Apricot: Apricot is the self-proclaimed home of Vietnam’s leading artists and showcases beautiful traditional works. 40B Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem D

024 3828 8965

Manzi Art Space: An independent art space, café and bar situated in a 20th-century French villa. 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh D

024 3716 3397

Souvenirs Tan My Embroidery: This shop offers a collection spanning three generations of Hanoi’s finest silk and embroidery products. 66 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem D

024 3825 1579

Three Trees: Stocks beautiful, unusual jewellery, and is located just yards away from the cathedral. 15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem D

024 3928 8725

Bookstores Bookworm: Excellent selection of new and used books in English and French. 44 Chau Long, Hoan Kiem D 44

citypassguide.com

024 3715 3711


things to SEE

things to

DO


Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht

Total distance: 5km Duration: 2-2.5 hours (without stops) Starting point: Temple of Literature Ending point: The Hanoi Opera House

tours

Continue on Dien Bien Phu and make a left on Tran Phu. Turn left at the first intersection on Ton That Thiep / 34A Tran Phu. At your first right, cross over the train tracks and make a right on Hang Ga. Make an immediate left on Hang Bo followed by another right onto Luong Van Can. Explore the streets of the Old Quarter (page 11). Make a right onto Hang Gai and a left on Hang Hom. Go down the street, make a left on Bao Khanh and keep going until you reach Hoan Kiem Lake (page 11). Walk around the left and cross the famous red bridge to make a stop at Ngoc Son Temple. Walk around the lake and make a left onto Trang Tien. Gaze at the decorated street with its beautiful hotels, shops and restaurants. This will lead you to the Hanoi Opera House (page 12), a perfect place to end your tour. citypassguide.com

activities

Starting at Vietnam’s first national university, the Imperial Academy, the Temple of Literature (page 17) can be found on Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam. From there, walk down Van Mieu and turn left onto Nguyen Thai Hoc to visit Hanoi’s Fine Arts Museum (page 15) across the street. Take a left out of the museum onto Nguyen Thai Hoc, left onto Hoang Dieu where you’ll reach the Colonial Quarter Houses in Lenin Park at the corner of Tran Phu. Continue straight. Keep going to visit the Ancient Citadel (page 15), or make a right on Dien Bien Phu. Stop at the Cot Co Tower (page 17).

46

things to DO SEE

Walking Tour (see map on pages 48-49)

Lotte Observation Deck $$ Located in the Lotte Center Hanoi, the Lotte Observation Deck is Southeast Asia’s first glass skywalk and the place to go for the most breathtaking view of the city. Only a 15-minute ride from Hoan Kiem District, visitors can enjoy the city’s hustle and bustle from far above, sipping on a cup of coffee or having a hearty snack after a long day of sightseeing. High up on the 65th floor, you really feel like you're walking on Hanoi’s clouds. Watch for the other fun activities offered, including art exhibitions, live music and a photo zone. Lotte Center Hanoi, 54 Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh D 8:30am-10:30pm 024 3333 6565 / 098 724 3922 lottecenter.com.vn huyennguyenOD@lotte.vn

Local insight: Go there at sunset to watch the city light up right under your feet. hanoi

47


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TAN

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Thong Nhat Park

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Hanoi Opera House

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Cot Co Tower

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Ngoc Son Temple

Colonial Quarter Houses

NH

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Ancient Citadel

NGUYEN

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Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht

Local insight: Get a hot stone massage to warm yourself up in the winter months.

Local insight: There’s no better provider to take in the amazing landscapes close to the Chinese border.

Nails Vietnamese nail artists paint exquisite and elaborate designs at reasonable rates. Been peeling too many pomelos? Too much snorkelling? Sooner or later your nails will need some attention. After your massage, spruce them up! Depending on the design (and there are quite a few from which to choose), nail art can run anywhere from VND20,000-500,000.

HA Travel Created in 2006 by Hung Vu (Bill), a man of passion with 20 years of experience in hospitality, HA Travel offers innovative packaged tours throughout Vietnam as well as multi-country tours in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Leisure and business travellers will find all their needs satisfied with HA Travel’s professional and culturally adaptive services.

Local insight: There are many good nail salons around Hoan Kiem Lake (page 11).

Hair Salons Pamper yourself at one of Hanoi’s numerous hair salons. At most salons, VND100,000 will buy you a hair wash and a head massage. If you’re willing to pay for a little more, Hanoi’s luxury salons offer experienced hair gurus at prices that will truly amaze. There are also many street-side stations willing to do quick, cheap cuts. Local insight: Be careful answering questions, you may end up paying for additional services. Activities Price Guide (per visit) $ - up to VND299,000

$$ - VND300,000-499,000

$$$ - VND500,000 & above 50

citypassguide.com

83 Ma May, Hoan Kiem D 024 3642 5420 mrlinhadventure.com 8:00am-5:00pm info@mrlinhadventure.com

tours

spas / beauty

Mr Linh's Adventures What started as a homestay in 2008 has become one of Vietnam's best tour providers. Their love of Vietnam and extensive research really set them apart. The tours never fail to provide a unique experience, be it exploring the sublime national parks of Cat Ba and Ba Be or trekking in the northern highlands.

things to DO SEE

Massages & Spas In Vietnam, massage therapy and spa treatments are plentiful, and an intrinsic part of the culture. With massage and spa salons located on almost every street corner, visitors have a vast selection of great deals and top-of-the-line relaxation oases. Prices can range from as little as $10 to $80 at the more high-end venues. Whether you're seeking traditional Vietnamese, Thai, deep tissue or fourhands massage, you can find it in Hanoi.

sales@hatravel.com.vn 09 8626 9111 hatravel.com.vn

Local insight: If you have any special request, write to Bill and he'll incorporate it into the tour.

Cyclo Tours $-$$ A carryover from the colonial era, these bicycle taxis carry anything and everything from passengers to broken-down motorbikes. These days, they mostly ferry tourists around the Old Quarter. The going may be slower than the motorbikes that buzz about you, but it gives you plenty of time to take in all of your surroundings, and it is a leisurely way to spend an afternoon. Local insight: Tour costs can range from VND100,000-600,000 depending on how long and how far you choose to ride. hanoi

51


Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht entertainment

entertainment

Star Galaxy Theater, 87 Lang Ha, Ba Dinh D. 024 3664 6969 ionah.vn Regular schedule

Local insight: Grab their free shuttle bus from Hoan Kiem Lake to Star Galaxy Theater; contact them to book the service 12 hours before show time.

Water Puppets $ Vietnamese water puppetry originated in the 11th century when villages in Hanoi's Red River Delta started staging shows on the ubiquitous rice paddies. Stories of local and national history are told using handmade, lacquered wooden puppets. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, 57B Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem D Mon-Sat 1:45pm, 3:00pm, 4:10pm, 5:20pm, 6:30pm, 8:00pm and 9:15pm / Sun 9:30am

citypassguide.com

$ Cheo This form of satirical musical theatre encompasses dance and is traditionally performed in the countryside by touring companies. Increasingly, modern cheo is performed indoors. The Cheo Theatre at 71 Kim Ma has weekend shows designed for tourists. For a more traditional experience, head to the Hanoi Cheo Theatre at 15 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Hai Ba Trung District.

Local insight: Water puppet figurines are available in the Old Quarter as souvenirs (see page 41).

Local insight: Cheo comes from folk stories passed down orally through generations, and it uses minimal scenery or props.

Gaming Care to test your luck and fortune in Vietnam? Gambling is really catching on in Vietnam, though it was reserved only for foreign passport holders until 2017. From posh hotels to independent venues, gambling is alive and well here. Slot machines, poker, roulette and other gaming tables are all popular forms of gambling – just the job if you fancy trying your luck.

Ca Tru $ This UNESCO cultural heritage performance art was originally developed throughout Northern Vietnam in the 15th century in the form of religious chants and court entertainment. Sung without amplification and open to improvisation, it is usually performed to intimate audiences since it cannot be performed in larger venues. Music lovers won’t want to miss this authentic highlight.

Local insight: Some casinos are nothing more than a couple of electronic card games, so research your venue before becoming a card shark. 52

things to DO SEE

$$$ Ionah Show at Star Galaxy Theater After two years of further refining Hanoi’s performance art to international quality, Ionah Show continues to deliver a spectacular combination of circus, dance, music and leading theatrical technology in a surreal setting. With its excellent artistry, Ionah Show is a must-see show in Hanoi.

87 Ma May, Hoan Kiem D

012 2326 6897

Local insight: There are 56 different melodies in Ca Tru, which are called the "cach". hanoi

53


Ethings E S ot to sgn DO i ht

Shows Lang Toi - My Village: The poetic beauty of Vietnamese village life, recreated using iconic bamboo, breathtaking acrobatics and live music. Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem D 012 4518 1188

further suggestions

Cinemas CGV Cinema: New releases are shown in English. Be sure to specify if you want your popcorn salty or sweet. 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung D 024 3974 3333 cgv.vn 4th Floor, Aeon Mall Long Bien, Long Bien D 024 3269 3335 / 09 7282 6472 5th Floor, MIPEC Tower, Dong Da D 09 4368 4841 54A Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da D 09 8629 7902

Beauty Anam QT Spa: This spa has a holistic approach to mental and physical well-being. 42 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem D

024 3928 6116

Cooking classes Hanoi Cooking Centre: Australian-run cooking school. It also provides great street food tours. 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh D

024 3715 0088

Games Hanoi Star Bowl: One of the largest bowling alleys in town, where games are VND10,000-30,000. Call ahead on weekends to reserve a lane. 2 Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da D

024 3574 2002

Casinos Win’s Club: A casino slot centre with a variety of gaming options, machines and a new blackjack table. 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 54

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024 3822 2800


where to

STAY

The Ann Hanoi


where E E S to ot sSTAY g n i ht hotels

hotels

38A Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung D 024 3871 3838 theann.com.vn info@theann.com.vn

things to STAY where SEE

The Ann Hanoi Located in the city's central business district, The Ann Hanoi offers 101 exquisite guest rooms bathed in natural light thanks to the large windows, as well as seven high-class serviced apartments. The Ann meeting room, the all-day dining Western-Asian Onyx House and the health club, including a Jacuzzi and a sauna ,make The Ann one of the best hotels in town.

Local insight: Relax on the rooftop swimming pool with its panoramic view overlooking Hanoi.

Sofitel Legend Metropole Experience the grandeur and elegance of one of Hanoi's most famous 5-star accommodations. Located just yards from the Opera House in the French Quarter, this legendary building brings guests into contact with the opulence of a bygone age. This award-winning hotel has 364 rooms including 22 suites. 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem D 024 3826 6919 sofitel.com

Local insight: The rooms’ dÊcor reflects either classic French or elegant neo-classical themes.

Fortuna Hotel Hanoi Located in the financial center of Hanoi near many of the city's embassies and government offices, Fortuna Hotel has been serving business and leisure clients since 1998. The hotel meets all guest requirements under one roof: 350 well-furnished rooms, a luxurious Capital Lounge with exclusive amenities and many event and meeting spaces. 6B Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh D 024 3831 3333 fortuna.vn fortunahanoi@fortuna.vn

Local insight: Fortuna has three restaurants for Chinese, Japanese and Western favourites.

Pan Pacific Hanoi With the beautiful West Lake as its backdrop, Pan Pacific Hanoi offers modern guest rooms, expansive meeting spaces and a wide range of dining options and recreational facilities for both business and leisure travellers. 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh D 024 3823 8888 panpacific.com/hanoi info.pphan@panpacific.com

Local insight: The rooftop bar The Summit offers the most scenic view of the sunset and signature cocktails. Be sure to give it a try. 56

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57


where E E S to ot sSTAY g n i ht

Hotels Intercontinental West Lake: The Intercontinental has excellent, exclusive views of West Lake and offers a great dining space, as well as a range of entertainment options.

further suggestions

1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho D 024 6270 8888 intercontinental.com

JW Marriott: This luxurious hotel is an impressive and futuristic glass structure in the middle of Hanoi’s business district, and is surrounded by lush, green lawns. 8 Do Duc, Tu Liem D 024 3833 5588 marriott.com/hanoi

Moevenpick Hanoi: Offering top-quality Swiss hospitality in the middle of beautiful Hanoi, this classic hotel has one of the best buffet breakfasts in town. 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 024 3822 2800 moevenpick-hotels.com

Hotel de l'Opera: This elegant hotel is a convenient three-minute walk from the Hanoi Opera House, and features 107 rooms and suites with theatrical interior design and furnishings, from custom-made beds to claw-foot bathtubs. 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem D 024 6282 5555 hoteldelopera.com

Mercure Hanoi La Gare: This centrally located hotel boasts 100 contemporary rooms, a patio courtyard restaurant serving Western and Asian cuisine and a terrace cafĂŠ. The hotel offers 24/7 quality-guaranteed service. 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem D 024 3944 7766 mercure-hanoi-la-gare.com h7049@accor.com 58

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Hanoi

MAPS Lao Cai Sapa Halong Hoa Binh

Hai Phong Cat Ba island Ninh Binh

Points of Interest ATM

ATM Quang Tri

Currency Exchange

Hoang Sa Archipelago Vietnam

Hue

Clinic / Hospital

Da Nang

Pharmacy

Hoi An

Airport Market Supermarket Police Station Church Pagoda Tay Ninh

Railway Station Bus Station

Chau Doc

Boat Pier Gas Station Post OfďŹ ce Ancient Citadel

Phu Quoc Island

Da Lat

Nha Trang Cam Ranh

Bien Hoa Phan Thiet Ho Chi Minh City Ho Tram Long Hai My Tho Vung Tau Can Tho Vinh Long

Con Dao Island

Truong Sa Archipelago Vietnam


Chau L ong Cua Bac

Hang Bun

Alley 2 5

Hang Cot

Phu Doan

Quan Su

Thuoc B ac

Bat Su

Hang Ga

Hang Dieu

PHUNG HUNG

Hang Da

De Ly Nam

Alley 3 4A

Thiep Ton Th at

Hang Th iec

Nguyen Tri Phuo ng

Hoang Dieu

Stadium

Nguyen Tr i Phuong

LE DUAN

ATM

HOAN KIEM LAKE

GE RID GB ON DU G ON CHU

Bao Linh

Things to see Ancient Citadel Ba Dinh Square Colonial Quarter Houses Cot Co Tower

P

hu Dong Xuan Market c

Ta n

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Long Bien Bridge Fine Arts Museum Ngoc Son Temple

DINH TIEN HOANG

Nguye n Canh

Hung Vu ong

Doc Lap Khuc H ao

Giam

Van Mieu - Qu oc T u

Hang Dau

Chu Van A n

Ong Ich Kh iem

Hung V uong

Gia Ngu

Ng. Huu Huan

Trinh Hoai Duc Ph an Ph u Tien Ton Du cT han g

2

Hang Be

12

en hY an h T

AT DU AT NH AN TR Ma May

u Trie Au

Maison D’Hanoi Boutique Hotel

9

ATM

Tho Nha

an cT Phu

Tu Duy Dao

TRAN G TH I

n uye oH Ng

Where to stay Golden Silk

Hang Bac

Cau Go

i Ga ng h Ha ATM Han ng a H 1 hanh oK Ba

TO

Nam Cua

u iV Ho

ATM

Ta Hien

ATM

ATM

ATM

ATM

ong g Tr Han

an yT Du g n ng Bo To ng Ha

uat gQ Han

i Ga ng Ha Cam an Ch

Ngoc Quyen

ATM

ng Chu Nha

Ngu yen Khu yen

ram oT Ng

ATM

ATM

Hang Non

Thai Yen

ATM

ng

Hang Bo

Bat Dan

om g Bu Han

I LE THA

Cao NGU ATM Ba Q YEN uat THAI 13 HOC ATM

ATM

Lan O ng

ng Tro ng Su Ha uoc Ly Q

8

Alley 9

y Hang Gia

LENIN PARK

ATM

ATM

uat N.Thien Th

Hang Vai

ieu en S Nguy

o Lu o g Da Han ang g Ng Han an an C ng V Luo

3

4

Lo Ren

ATM

ATM

u Hang Chie

Ca Hang

m Ho ng Ha anh gM Han

U PH

ao Ch ng Ha

Cat Lin

Hang Ma

ATM

h han ng T Duo

EN BI

TRAN PHU

60

ATM

Cua D ong

EN DI

ATM

ATM

g uon gD Han Ca Cha

m t Da Tha Ton

Phong

ATM

Alley 12a

ANCIENT CITADEL

1 30 ng ai ATM Tha lley Kho A o a g C Han Old Quarter 5 g n o D h Ha u an Th a ATM C

uan gX Don

Le Hon g

u

g Da Han

1

Bac So n

Chua Mot Cot

ATM

PHUNG

C Big To

7

iay gG Han

2

ATM

oc Lu ng Ha

6

Chau L ong

PHAN D INH

ATM Hoang V an Thu

10

ATM

Dang Du ng

Nguyen Bieu

Dang Tat

THAM

Chan

HOANG HOA

Ho ng Ha Than Hang

hoan kiem & ba Ethings Edinh S otdistricts to sgn DO i ht

ATM

MIDDLE WARP

er Riv Red

Thuy Khue

Xa An

Ngu yen Truo ng T o

ATM

Quan Thanh

a cX Phu

11

u Ph

Tran V u

n Ye

TRUC BACH LAKE

ATM

Ng uye Ph nK oD hac Pha uc Nh mH Ch u ong inh Tha i

ATM

One Pillar Pagoda

ATM

Quan Thanh Temple St. Joseph’s Cathedral Temple of Literature

61


n Da Xa

ATM

ATM

Chu

PHAN CHU TRIN H

BA TR IEU

Ngo Quye n Ng. K hac C an

Le Ngoc Han

Ngo Thi Nham

P. Khac Khoan

Phan Huy

Dinh Tien H oang

HANG B AI

N.Ch e Ng hia Ngo Q uyen

PHO HUE

ATM

an Soan Tran Xu

o hH Din m a Ph 5 ATM

Hoa Ma

Thai Phien

ATM

Van Cao Tran

Le Gia Dinh

Doan Tran Nghiep

Cong Tru Nguyen

Yen Bai

Van Ho III

h an iH Da Le

Moevenpick Hanoi

BAY MAU LAKE

PHO HUE

The Giao

LE DUAN

ATM Hanoi Sofitel Metropole

ATM

TRA N HU NG D AO

C DU LO

BA MAU LAKE

Zephyr

uyen Han Th

ATM

To Hien Thanh

The Ann Hanoi

2 ATM

u Do Ngoc D H u o n g V i

Kh am

Hotel de l’Opera

Tue Tinh

ATM

Than D.Thai

Tong

Hilton Garden Inn

ATM

ATM

u Hu Van Le

ATM

Mai Hac De

ATM

THONG NHAT LAKE

Nguyen Du

ATM

ATM

Hilton Hanoi

Mercure

62

g Ho Xuan Huon

1

o Bat H Tang uoi g Ch Han

Th ien Ma rke tA lley

Lien Tri

Tran Nhan Tong

Where to stay

Th oQ ua nA lley

THIEN QUANG LAKE

Trieu Viet Vuong

Police Museum

ATM

Ham ATM Lon g

N G TIE 3 TRAN 1

anh Tran Th

Vietnamese Women’s Museum

Nguyen Quyen

Tran Quoc Toan

Thanh 5 Ly D.

uoi g Ch Han

Revolution Museum

Alley 1 - Kham Thien

Quan Su Pagoda

N.Thuong Hien

Thieu

ATM

Vong Duc

ATM

Trieu Viet Vuong

Kham Thien

Museum of History

Nguy en Gia

Ng oV an So

Bui Thi Xuan

Hoa Lo Prison

Tran Binh Trong

Ngu yen Du Thien Qua ng V.H.Loi

Ha Ho i

Quan g Tru ng

Tuc M ac

Yiet Kieu

y Things to see Alle g an u Q Hanoi Opera House h Lin

Tran Quo c To ATM an

7 TRAN G TIE N 3

ieu Le P. H

Lao Ngu Pham

LINH QUANG LAKE

ATM

L

Y TH Th 6 UON oN G KIE T hu om ATM ATM

TRAN HUN G DA O

Dinh Le

HAI BA T ATM RUN G

BA TRIEU

ATM

Nguyen Binh Khiem

ATM

HANOI TRAIN STATION

HAN G KH 6 AY

19 Th ang 1 2

Hoa Lo

ONG KIE 4 7 T

Da T uong

Chau

8

Quan Su

LE DUAN

Tran Quy Cap

Phan Boi

Van Mie u

Ngo Si L ien

ATM

TRU NG

Th oN 2 hu LY T om HU

Tong hanh Le T

hai ba trung, hoan kiem & dong E E Sda ot districts s g n i ht

HAI BA

Nam Ngu

i ha gK ua n nQ Tra

4

Dan Tong

ATM

Tran Ngu yen Han Le Lai Le Lai Le Thach o hai T Ly T

Gia m

TRAN G TH I

o hai T Le T

GIAM LAKE

Quo c Tu

HOAN KIEM LAKE

n rsi Ye

HAI BA TRUNG LAKE

en

Tho Lao

63


ATM

Daewoo

Alley 6 5

Doc Ngu

BACH THAO PARK

ATM

ATM

KIM MA h Ngoc Khan

Nguye n Chi T hanh

Alley 290

Lane 15 - Doi Ca n Alley 100

1

AY SON T

ATM

Tran H uy

m Na

o Ca

GIANG VO LAKE

ATM

ATM

Nguy en Th ai Ho c

KIM MA

ATM

ATM

u Lie

NGOC KHANH LAKE

Alley 42

ATM

ATM

2

c ru iT Nu

ATM

2 ATM Doi Can

ATM

ATM ATM

ATM

Lane 535

Nui Truc

ATM

ATM

Ly V an P huc Trinh Hoa i Du c

1

Alley 294

ATM

ATM

Van Phuc

Van Phuc

Dao Tan

A KIM M

Doi Can

Giang Van Minh

Giai

Van Bao

3

Lieu Giai

ATM

- Lieu

ATM

Van P huc

THU LE LAKE

La Th anh

ATM

ATM Alley 21 6

Binh

Lane 81

THU LE PARK

ATM

Lane 19

Van Bao

Phan Ke

Ngu yen Van Ngo c

Linh Lang

Lane 3 6 Lane 12

ATM

Dao Tan

Lane 71

Lan e2 60

ATM

ATM

ATM

a Ngoc H

Linh Lang

Do i Ca n Kim Ma Thuong

ATM

Ngoc Ha

Thanh B ao

ATM

G AN GI

VO

ATM

Alley 59

Doi Can

Alley 104

Lane 463

Hoa ng H oa T ham

Van C ao

Alley 97

Lane 459

Lotte Hanoi Hotel

ham Hoa T ng a Ho

Alley 58

Pullman

Th uy Kh ue

Hao Na m

Where toDo stay i Nhan

Quan Ngua

h Thi Din yen u Ng

ATM

Alley 18 9

cN Do

Ho Chi Minh Museum

WEST LAKE

ATM

gu

Ho Chi Minh’s House

Nguy en D inh T hi

Alley 173

Things to see

Doi Can

64

Van Cao

Ho an gH oa ATM Th am

Van C ao

ba dinh, dong da & tay E Eho S odistricts t s g n i ht

Th uy Kh ue

ATM

Cat L inh An Trac h

65


a ng B Qua

y 67 Alle

Etay E Sho otdistrict s g n i ht

a ng B Qua

11 Alley

n La an Ph

Alle

3

Co

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ATM

Tam hi Ng 0 31

R VE RI

Au

D RE

ATM

ATM

TAM HI NG

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ai iM ha T ng Da

MIDDLE WARP

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m Xo

Tr i

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ATM

ATM

4

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412 ey l l A

ATM

Xu ai an iM Tha SOS Hospital Di g n eu Da ATM eu Di an u X

n gA an Qu

217

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A ll e

-

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To Noi Bai Airport 25 km

CO AU

a ng B Qua Al ley 2

- To

ATM

CO AU

a ng B Qua

n oc Va To Ng ATM

Alley 76

ATM

g uon An D

ATM n Ye

WEST LAKE

nh Tha An

ATM

1

Hanoi Club

ATM

32 ley Al

Ye

Where to stay

M TA HI oa NG nH

Tran Quoc Pagoda

ng Duo An

Things to see

HU NP YE Hoa

Qua ng Kha nh

Pan Pacific Hanoi

o Ph

Intercontinental

1

Th an hN ien

Sheraton Hanoi

66

2

Duc Chi nh

Tru cB ach

TRUC BACH LAKE

ATM

YE N

PH U

Ng hia Du ng

67


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2017 - Hanoi | Saigon City Guide 17 Ed.

978-604-951-247-6 | 100,00

18 TH EDITION - 2017

TRAVEL GUIDE

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Citypassguide Saigon Hanoi Guidebook 2017  
Citypassguide Saigon Hanoi Guidebook 2017  
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