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JUNE 2012


The editorial and design of WORD is carried out by Duong Huynh Advertising JSC


JUNE 2012


DEBBIE CLARE Managing Editor

Art Director



Photo Editor

Layout Designer



Staff Photographer

Staff Writer





Staff Writer




Chief Editor & Deputy Director

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General Director

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AartNGUYEN THUC DOAN HIEN Graphic Designer

Sales Manager & Office Manager

SUBSCRIPTIONS For advertising enquiries please call Giang on +84 934 640668 or Bao on +84 902 361561 Word would like to thank Isabella Pierangelo for her model hand, JC Smith, Natalie Krebs, Luke Dale-Harris, Rachel Jenagaratnam, Luu Tung for the tummy, Dr WB McNaull, Truong@bookworm, Nguyen Bao Ngoc, Steve Jackson and Nguyen Tuan. Word would also like to say a special thank you to staff photographer Dominic Blewett for his contribution to the magazine over the past two years. We wish you a wonderful life in Berlin — you will be sorely missed. E M P












































































Crossword Answers See p110 for the original puzzle. Pluzzle by Frank A. Longo Edited by Will Shortz

2 | Word June 2012

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© Tất cả hình ảnh và nội dung trong Ấn phẩm này thuộc bản quyền của Ấn phẩm Word (Ho Chi Minh city và HaNoi) của C.ty CP TM–DV–QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh. Mọi sự sao chép không được phép sẽ bị xem là vi phạm luật Sở Hữu Trí Tuệ hiện hành của nhà nước Cộng Hòa Xã Hội Chủ Nghĩa Việt Nam.

CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH & ẨM THỰC Chịu trách nhiệm xuất bản: Lê Huy Hòa Biên tập: Hồ Phương Lan Sửa bản in: Nick Ross Trình bày: Dương Vy Bảo Bìa: Duong Huynh Advertising JSC

Thực hiện liên kết xuất bản: Chi Nhánh Công Ty CP TM–DV– QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh 54/26 Nguyễn Cư Trinh, P.PNL, Q. 1, TP. HCM. ĐT: + 84 8 3838 6908 / Fax: + 84 8 3838 6971 Email: Website: In tại Công Ty In Trần Phú 71–73–75 Hai Bà Trưng, Q. 1, TP. HCM.



028 Q

007 l The Big Five


010 l Our Man 014 l The Exhibitionist 016 l The Buzz 022 l In the Papers


An honourable exception

069 l Street Snacker Breadward Banh-MyHands

073 l Business Buff 076 l Destination Zero

094 l Cinema Buff


101 THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT HANOI Celebrating the city



Beyond Petronas and Chinatown

066 WOMAN Inspiration and motivation

098 l Book Buff 101 l Medical Buff 108 l Map - Central Hanoi 111 l Photo of the Month


The Luthier

068 l Mystery Diner


040 TIME

030 l Many Faces Giấy XNĐKKHXB của Cục XB số: 161/CXB-QLXB ngày 18/01/2012 Quyết định xuất bản số 178 QĐCN/LĐ Nhà xuất bản Lao Động cấp ngày 18/05/2012 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu năm 2012.


086 l Food Buff

Splitting hairs with four generations of barbers



Collective culture uncovered

024 l Calendar 026 l Overscene


A brighter future with

008 l Just In


Nhà xuất bản Lao Động 175 Giảng Võ, Hà Nội ĐT: + 84 4 3851 5380 Fax: + 84 4 3851 5381 Chi nhánh phía Nam 85 Cách Mạng Tháng Tám, Q.1, TP. HCM ĐT: + 84 8 3839 0970 Fax: + 84 8 3925 7205 Email: cn–


004 l The Prelude



Trivia Buff Answers See p111 for the original puzzle 1)Six (6) 2)Pearl 3)Wystan Hugh 4)Harry Hudini 5)Steven King 6)Slovenia 7)Argentine 8)Oliver Twist 9)Molluscs 10)Bangladesh 11)Holograms 12)K 13)Roger Bannister 14)John Gorton 15)Dijon 16)Slim Pickens 17)Maldives 18)Vacuum and Thermos flask 19)Count Basie 20)Syphilis

110 l Me You and Everyone We Know Pronouns and identity 116 l Last Call Making the cut in Hanoi June 2012 Word | 3

The Prelude


or months on end the lotus fields at the top of Tay Ho lake lay redundant and melancholy, with the only sign of ‘life’ being the dried, moulding stalks that were once stems for blooming lotus leaves. But over the past few weeks, crowds of delighted onlookers have been flocking to lakeside spots, to photograph and be photographed, against the stunning backdrop of luscious greenery. The return of the lotus flower is a reminder that Hanoi is a city of seasons, and

that although there are ugly times which seem hard to get through, this city will always deliver when it comes to making everything attractive and okay again. A city with a lot to offer, a city worth celebrating; this month’s magazine pays homage to only 101 items on the extensive list of Things to Love About Hanoi. And who doesn’t love a list? From the gloriousness of the banh my trung to the unavoidable descent into an addiction to toothpicks, we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did

putting it together. On another note, we had a record number of responses to our Annual Readership Survey — just over 1,000 of you gave us your feedback. So, expect to see some shiny new changes over the next few issues. That wasn’t your only chance to get in touch with us, though, and tell us your thoughts. If you’ve got something to say — positive or critical — we’re always pleased to hear from you. Just pen an email and send it to Now then, onto that list…


JUNE 2012


THIS MONTH'S COVER Photo: Dominic Blewett Design: DH Advertising

INBOX TONE IT UP Something I've always wondered about is why Word doesn't use the tones when writing Vietnamese words. Especially on the cover of the coffee issue, the word ca phe looked strange without the tones on it. Can you explain why you do this? — GP The standard international method for making a newspaper or magazine is putting foreign words in italics without their original tones. For example, if we were printing a word in German, we wouldn't put the umlauts over the vowels that require them. This doesn’t mean we won’t change this in the future. It’s just what we’ve followed for the time being. 4 | Word June 2012




I know you publish at the beginning of each month, but every time I go to your distribution spots all the copies have already disappeared. Where do they all go? Is someone stockpiling them? And how can I ensure I always get my own copy? — JL If you want to ensure you always get your copy, then for VND60,000 per month you can have Word delivered to your door. Email to get on board.

I don’t understand why you would have a guy who doesn't like coffee review a bunch of coffee shops in your last issue (Ca Phe, May 2012)? I think it’s pretty lame. — JE I used to be a huge coffee drinker until I recently read the label on Trung Nguyen coffee. After that I stopped drinking all forms of it. How does coffee have fat in it? Because it is roasted in some mystery oil and it ain’t clarified butter? What oil is it? Something cheap and bad for the heart is my guess. Since I’ve stopped drinking Vietnamese coffee I’ve lost weight quickly and my arteries are quickly cleaning themselves of that gunk. Whoever makes real organic ca phe in Vietnam, I will buy it off them immediately and in large amounts. —D


Please don't leave out the crossword puzzle ever again. I'm lost without it. I think that crossword puzzles are tools that sharpen our minds — I love sharpening my mind. Trivia’s fun, but it’s no crossword. — RD

The Talk



Noi, Hanoi will have its fourth installment on Jun. 17. Local poets, fiction writers, storytellers and performers will be sharing their work around the theme of ‘Shades’ in the last of these monthly events before taking a break for summer. Participants range from the absurd to the profound, from morbid to humorous, from dark to light. In the process of becoming a bi-lingual event, Noi Hanoi has been collecting a balance of Vietnamese and English readings that provide some insight into Hanoi's diverse communities. The event will conclude in an Open Mic session. Bring sunglasses. Noi, Hanoi is will take place at 8pm on Jun. 17 at Tadioto, 12 Truong Han Sieu, Hai Ba Trung. To submit your writing or ideas, email noihanoisubmissions@gmail. com by Jun. 5 (late submissions WILL be considered!). Find out more information at


Alive But Not Kicking Traditional stage performance is taking a battering. Photos by Dominic Blewett


recent article in the Viet Nam News expressed a concern that has long been affecting the performance arts in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. “With various kinds of TV music shows,” ran the piece, “audiences can stay at home and watch their favourite songs on television instead of going out for live concerts.” Such a problem has been taking its toll on a range of musical genres and figures within the industry. Well-known pop singer Dam Vinh Hung, for example, continues to selffund his live shows at the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, while theatres like the Non La Theatre, which stages traditional music such as ca tru and tuong, lost VND200 million each month last year. The performers on stage at Hanoi’s Hong Ha Theatre often outnumber bums on seats, while the music hall-style phong tra venues in Saigon have undergone a similar battering. Which all suggests that live performance is losing out to the far-reaching prowess of television. Indeed, the fact that 2,000 TV serials are planned to be made this year in Vietnam as opposed to just 300 four years ago, suggests it’s through this medium that you’ll really be able to search out your audience.

6 | Word June 2012

Doom and Musical Gloom Without a dedicated Arts Council or large volumes of funds available to boost music and the arts, on first evaluation performance in Vietnam is at the behest of the market. Advertising revenue from television helps fund the largest slice of the artistic pie — TV. And that artistic pie adjusts itself for audience ratings and viewer demographics. All meaning that with the revenue stream going into television, live performance can no longer compete. Or can it? In other areas performance is coming into its own. Take, for example, the recent MTV Exit concert in Hanoi. Headlined by Simple Plan, the show at My Dinh stadium brought in an audience of 40,000. It also helped to spread an anti-human trafficking message — except for the CAMA Festival, few concerts in this country have assisted such a cause. April’s SoundFest in Ho Chi Minh City also managed to pull in the masses. Headlined by Big Bang and Taio Cruz, 30,000 screaming teenagers and young Vietnamese played witness to what at that point was Vietnam’s largest ever musical event. It has now been bettered. And then there are all the smaller shows organised by the likes of Hanoi Soundstuff,

RockFanClub or those hosted at venues like Hanoi Rock City or the Van Ho Exhibition Centre, which all suggests that people are still loving it live. And that’s despite iconic venues such as Vasco’s in Ho Chi Minh City throwing in the towel and putting an end to regular live music — they are turning themselves into a lounge bar.

Don’t Blame it on the Box The problem isn’t so much TV stealing the audience from theatres or music venues. Rather, the nature of going to concerts has changed, as has the market. It’s become something for young people to do, an experience very much enjoyed by the country’s youth. Which means that traditional forms of music and opera either need to search out a new audience or find another way to compete. But if you think that means artistic performance is being given the boot, don’t. Take, for example, the water puppet shows that have long delighted tourists. And then there is the Vietnam Drama Theatre and the Youth Theatre. In an attempt to minimise costs and yet have the ability to increase audience sizes, the two are merging to become the Vietnam National Drama Theatre. They will be housed in a purposebuilt 7,000-seater, 1,200sqm venue in Hanoi’s My Dinh. Which is the kind of response that’s required. Changing times mean changing interests and audiences. Fail to adapt and you will become a distant memory, a bit like most of the dotcoms that didn’t deal with the fallout at the turn of the millennium.



CAMA FESTIVAL 6 Featuring acts from Hong Kong, China, Japan, The Philippines, the USA, the UK and of course, Hanoi, the sixth


Everyone knows that it's not just the winning that counts, it's the participating... well, that might be true for other quizzes, but not The Ultimate Hanoi Social Quiz. Quizzes are places where likeminded people can get together, share knowledge, learn some new facts and drink beer. They're also places where nerds can get nasty and friendships can end. Such random subjects as chemical symbols, famous TV animals and the first line of that song from that film with that guy in it... what's his name? What's his name? What's his bloody name? Oh God, give me a minute... Get your team together, pack your facts, stare out your competitors, and try to remember everything you've ever learnt, at this popular and engaging event. The Quiz takes place at 7pm on Jun. 23. Register your team (a maximum of 5 people) by emailing no later than Jun. 13. Cinematheque is located at 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem



all-day international CAMA Festival looks set to be bigger and better than ever before. Music lovers in the capital can enjoy rap, hip hop, electro, rock, reggae and afro-beat while relaxing on the grass with friends and soaking up the activities for kids, both big and small. It’s Hanoi’s biggest party, so whatever you do and wherever you go, make sure you get back for the capital’s biggest day out. CAMA Festival 6 takes place on Jun. 2 at The American Club, 19 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem from 1pm to 11.30pm. Tickets are VND300,000 in advance, VND400,000 on the door with a 50 percent discount for those with a valid Vietnamese student card. For more information see


THE PIKNIC RETURNS Piknic Elektronic is back with its blissful Sunday afternoon programme. At its new location at the The Keangnam Landmark Tower, Pham Hung, My Dinh, revelers can enjoy lounging by the pool or laying about on the lawn, with food, drinks and ample space for families and children. Chill out to a soundtrack of electronic music courtesy of Synergy DJs and occasional special guests. Piknic Elektronic runs every Sunday from 4pm to 11pm, from Jun. 3 to Nov. 11. Entrance and pool access are free. For more information visit


A young musician and composer causing a stir, not only on the club scene, but also in classical concert venues is probably a world first. It may also be the first time that purists from the classical and techno camps actually agree on something — that they don’t know quite what to make of this young musician who refuses to stick to the rules. When Francesco Tristano and his trio, Aufgang, began to play techno using sheet music, the audience were puzzled. Classical music lovers may feel equally baffled when they hear a pianist blend and mix his own composition — just like a DJ — into a piece by Frescobaldi. The Belgian piano virtuoso will be wowing the audience at CAMA ATK on Jun. 26 from 9pm. See www.cama-atk. com for more information on the artist and tickets.

June 2012 Word | 7

Just In



For those who love coffee and the environment, CentroFarms offers the perfect combination — top-grade organically-grown coffee from the Central Highlands of Vietnam. It's the true taste of natural coffee. Owner Cuong Van Dinh has over 35 years of experience in the industry with cafes and processing plants in California and even an apprenticeship with coffee farmers in South America. He believes that “in order to control the quality of the beans, we have to have some control over it and cultivation is one aspect of that control. Our coffee, especially the Arabica is grown in the shade so we try to keep the trees around the coffee and not cut them down as many do in Vietnam. Conserving the environment is very critical for us.” For more info, visit or call 0902 988616




MIDNIGHT FEAST You know the drill. You wake up at two in the morning, you’re desperately craving a cup cake, a tuna salad and a mango smoothie, and you can’t get back to sleep until you’ve got them in your belly. Well, you don’t have to go through this kind of torture anymore. PUKU has launched its late night delivery service, aptly named Puku-2-Your-Door. From 6pm to 6am you can get food, beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks delivered directly into your hands without even stepping outside your perimeter fence. To place an order, call PUKU on 3938 1745 or check out and www.

New to the Old Quarter is Belgian gourmet fries restaurant FRY (Fresh.Real. Yummy), which has now opened its doors on Hang Buom. Serving freshly cut, twicefried potato treats with a selection of tantilising side dishes, it looks set to be a hit with those with a penchant for hot and crunchy fast-food snacks. Fresh.Real.Yummy (FRY) can be found at 24 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem. Find them on Facebook @freshrealyummy or check out (by the way, the ‘Belgium Isn’t Boring’ marketing video is also highly recommended!)

IN WITH THE NEW If your living space is in dire need of a spruce-up, get yourself down to La Casa from Jun. 8 to Jun. 10 as the designer objects and furniture store is offering up to 50 percent off purchases. All items are produced by skilled artisans and craftspeople in Northern Vietnam, and will brighten up even the gloomiest of spaces. La Casa is located at Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho and 2C Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Visit to see what’s in store

FORTUNA ONE In an attempt to make tedious business meetings a bit more exciting, Fortuna Hotel is offering a summer deal for big groups with an agenda. With huge reductions available when you book 10 or more rooms, plus annual staff party discounts, it’s not just the food, drink, music and decoration that will get your team feeling motivated. Offers are available until Aug. 30. For more summer deals including accommodation, contact the sales team, Tel: 3831 3333, ext. 6466. Fortuna is located at 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh. Visit for more information

8 | Word June 2012

TOPPERMOST OF THE POPPERMOST Team Word loves a list, and so does TripAdvisor. The popular public review website has released its list of top world destinations for 2012, with London ranking first place. For Asia’s top destinations, Hanoi makes a respectable appearance at no. 9, Ho Chi Minh City trails behind at no. 22 and Ha Long Bay is in at no. 25. Log on to TripAdvisor for the complete list

June 2012 Word | 9



Messiah’s face seen in bowl of pho! Oh those crazy headlines — if anything proves to us that we’re in a less than developed country, it has to be Vietnam’s media. Doesn’t it? Recently, in just a few minutes I unearthed the following stories, all printed in one day: Caught on camera — The crazy moment when a shopkeeper clung to the bonnet as the disgruntled customer drove away. Health — Bungling doctor tells tragic TBstricken teenager she’s lovesick and should see spiritual healer. China — ‘Sneaky’ Chinese get all the best spots in overseas universities by spending fortunes on interview coaching. Meanwhile ‘dumb’ Chinese builders attempt to build underground car park beneath a high rise *after* building it. Animals — Domestic cats can kill you and there’s a new dance craze for dogs. Sex — Women who ride bicycles don’t enjoy sex. Oh you crazy Vietnamese.

British Quality? Except these aren’t Vietnamese headlines. These are all headlines from just one issue of the Daily Mail — Britain’s second biggest daily newspaper. It’s owned by a trust that is headed by a real live viscount. Its editor Paul

10 | Word June 2012

Dacre is chairman of the Editors’ Code of Practice Committee, which is part of Britain’s Press Complaints Committee. However, it seems to be that newspapers here in Vietnam are read by the country’s foreign residents in a fundamentally differently way to how they are in England. In the west, tabloids are read to pass the time. The ‘puff’ pieces are mildly amusing, and the same old foreigner/immigrant bashing is irritating but sadly pretty standard. But just like Vietnam, the Daily Mail loves a health scare. There’s even a website devoted to attempting to track all of the things that the Daily Mail says will give you cancer — this includes everything from biscuits to blow-jobs. On a hunch I just searched the Daily Mail for ‘Jesus’ face’. There are 714 results — the top five being the Messiah’s features popping up on a cider bottle, a guitar, a newly plastered ceiling, a baby scan and a flip-flop. Yet when non-Vietnamese read a paper in Vietnam we somehow see its freakish content as symptomatic of the whole country. In a couple of seconds the link is copied and pasted on Twitter or Facebook or it is blogged. Look at this, these crazy Vietnamese papers. What will they write next? For a true comparison, can you imagine how Daily Mail stories would read if they were first translated by staff then edited by

inexperienced migrant workers?

British Tripe? Personally I’m a Guardian reader, Britain’s soft left, chattering-classes broadsheet. Surely not much to get you annoyed there. Except there is, daily. Will The Voice beat Britain’s Got Talent in the ratings? World leaders meet up — check out what their wives wore. Here’s a gallery of Brad Pitt’s best hair cuts. Quality press in action there. But this is what newspapers do. They provoke, they irritate and they goad you into a reaction. For a few extra hits they’re not averse to scraping the good-taste barrel. They’ll be as dumb as they need to be. I used to work for a local paper in the UK where the weekly columnist labelled pensioners “scroungers” for claiming free bus passes. When the editor had to publish a front page apology he did so gleefully. Love it or hate it — you can’t ignore it — after the apology was printed, circulation went up. Frankly I can’t imagine the population of any country being entirely happy with its media but in the end, the issue here isn’t that the Vietnamese media is so different to that of the west. The problem is that it’s depressingly similar.

June 2012 Word | 11

The Exhibitionist CARPE DIEM!


Italians and Hanoians alike are invited to celebrate Festa della Repubblica (Italian National Day) at Hanoi Opera House on Jun. 2 for the Gala Italiano concert. The Associazione Concertistica Romana will perform a unique repertoire of Italian Opera arias: from Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti to Verdi and Puccini, with guest performers including soprano Lucia Conte, mezzo-soprano Paola Cacciatori, tenor David Sotgiu, baritone Juan Possidente, pianist Antonio Cama and director Carlo Magni. The event is organised in collaboration with the Italian Red Cross, with all ticket revenue being used to implement projects across Vietnam. Gala Italiana takes place at 8pm on Jun. 2 at Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets are priced from VND200,000 and are available to buy in advance from the venue, or from,, 0913 489858, 0983 067996 or 3565 1806

Catherine De Clippel will display 30 years' worth of her photography work in West Africa. The French visual anthropologist focuses on the traditional initiation rites of Bamana boys in Mali. On display at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, the photographs document two phases of initiation that have similarities to some of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Through this exhibit, museum director Vo Quang Trong hopes to introduce cultures of other parts of the world to the Vietnamese audience. Becoming a Man will exhibit until November at the Museum of Ethnology at 1 Nguyen Van Huyen, Cau Giay

JAPANESE ART AWARDS The Embassy of Japan in Vietnam and the Consulates-General of Japan in Ho Chi Minh City are calling for entries from enthusiastic Vietnamese manga artists for the 6th International Manga Award. The International Manga Award was established to share Japanese pop culture, promote understanding and to honour manga artists who have contributed to the promotion of manga overseas. One gold prize and three silver prize winners will be invited to travel to Japan to attend the award ceremony, visit publishing companies and meet Japanese manga artists in Japan. Deadline is Jun. 15. For more info on the conditions of entry, visit announce/announce/2012/4/0427_02.html. The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam is located at 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem. Check out or call 3944 7419

- Authentic Indian Cuisine Serving both North & South Indian dishes - Cozy & Ambient setting - Halal Food - Free Home Delivery - Indoor Party facilities & Outdoor catering services - For details contact Gopi 0903 266 997 Or Ms Dung 093 657 2277 Add: 47 Lo Su Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi Tel: (84 4) 3935 2400/01 Email: Fax: (84 8) 3935 2402 Website:

CLASSICAL DADS If you’re trying to think up a more inventive way of showing you care this Father’s Day, you could treat your dad to the Japan Foundation’s first Garage Concert. With the aim of offering diverse musical events in Hanoi, a Vietnamese classical trio will perform Japanese music in the first of a series of concerts. The show takes place at 8pm on Jun. 15, at The Garage, Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem. Admission is free and no registration is required but admission will be on a first come first served basis. For more information contact Mr. Yoshioka on 01233 844138 or Ms. Huong 3944 7419 (ext. 106)

INTREPIDATION If you’re one of those people whose get up and go is fully intact, you might prefer a holiday of the adventure kind. Intrepid Travel is offering a 20 percent discount on five-day tours departing from Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, giving travellers the chance to explore life throughout Vietnam with expert local guides. This offer is valid for bookings made before Aug. 31, for a maximum of 12 people. To find out more, visit www.intrepidtravel. com/vietnamsales or email, tel: 0904 193308 or 0909 904100.

12 | Word June 2012


SNAP HAPPY Australian photographer cum Hanoi resident Michael Fountoulakis, is running a series of workshops throughout June to help photography hobbyists get greater insight into the world of lenses, apertures, lighting and shutter speed. Workshops include photographing food, how to properly capture the spirit of Hanoi’s Old Quarter (including the chance to sample street food along the way), and a DSLR camera operation class to help you get the best out of your camera and all its functions. For more information email or call 01252 881063. To check out Michael’s work, visit his website at

In the five years that visual artist Lolo Zazar has lived in this city, its walls have fascinated him. Until Jun. 11, L’Espace is housing the voices and history that Lolo has captured on public walls around Hanoi. The phone numbers of the drilling and cement cutting businesses in particular are evidence of the city's metamorphosis. None should miss the opportunity to see the city's walls through Lolo's eyes. Voice of the Wall will be on exhibit until Jun. 11 at L'Espace, 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem

June 2012 Word | 13

The Buzz

the talk FRESH FACED

HIGH FIVES For those of you who have been laying awake at night wondering if you’ll ever get the chance to try squid beak, the opportunity has finally arrived. This new dish has become something of a specialty in the southern coastal resort of Phan Thiet, and it now makes its debut at Highway4 Hanoi. Try crunchyfried squid beak, squid beak roasted with salt or squid beak sautéed in a five-spice sauce, all available from Jun. 1. And if that wasn’t enough to get you through the door, on Thursday throughout June from 6pm to 12am, the restaurant is also offering a buy-one-getone-free deal on every cocktail purchase. For a full list of Highway4 restaurants, visit www.


Quy Nhon’s Life Resort and Spa has been around for more than a decade, which means it was well due for a face-lift. Getting freshened up were the award-winning resort’s in-house product range, staff services, treatment suites, lounge and surrounding gardens. Notable additions to the treatments on offer are coffee and yoghurt scrubs and banana leaf body wraps. Go on, you know you want to. For information or bookings with Life Resorts in Quy Nhon contact




PLAY gaming lounge is now offering Friday night cocktail deals, getting you in the mood for some seriously competitive action. The reduced price of VND240,000 buys you four signature cocktails. But be warned, virtual tennis on Kinect can get very messy after two mojitos. Play can be found at 104 Bach Dang, Hoan Kiem

Ba Dinh district favourite, The Bistro, is serving up specials for those in the hood. If you’re at a loose end between 2pm and 5.30pm they’ll sort you out with a cake and coffee/ tea for only VND50,000, while a three-course meal with tea/ coffee will only set you back you VND165,000. All the encouragement you need to meet friends or head down with a good book. The Bistro is at 2/2C Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, Kim Ma, Ba Dinh. For more info on their promotions and opening hours call 3726 4782 or email

There's a food truck here that makes peanut butter and Siracha donuts. Expect me to be five to 10kg heavier when I get back. I would never give myself a name that had ‘poo’ in it Countries like Africa Air-conditioning is ruining my sex life

SURF AND TURF AmCham’s next networking event for members and their friends will take place on Jun. 6 at Jackson’s Steakhouse. Wash down seafood and steaks with a selection of delectable drinks, as you work the room and make new contacts. With happy hour drink offers available, it might be a good idea to fill your belly before the cocktails get there first. For more information call 3934 2790 or visit Jackson’s Steakhouse is located at 23J Hai Ba Trung, and the event on Jun. 6 starts at 6pm

HELLO PUMPKIN If you’re already addicted to the pumpkin salad at Hanoi Social Club you’re in for a treat this month. Every Monday throughout June, HSC is stripping away 50 percent of the price on all meals from 6pm to 8pm. Fans of the veggie burger might want to wear an elasticated waistband prior to the visit, in case you end up eating two. Hanoi Social Club is located at 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi

14 | Word June 2012

I am married and not allowed to go to a bar I think that might be an accent that only exists within gated complexes in Dubai

THE GREAT ESCAPE Far from the pesky tourists of the beach and the grit and grind of the city, 150km southwest of Hanoi, lies Ngoc Son — Ngo Luong Nature Reserve. Between Cuc Phuong National Park and Mai Chau, this brand new ecotourism destination is also a sustainability project. Kick back and relax under palm roof stilt houses knowing you’re contributing to the greater good. This tourism site is about three hours from Hanoi by car. Tours are operated by ACA Voyage, Handspan and Topas Travel. For more information visit,

She didn't say it, she DID it A lot of people think it comes down to dairy, and I am one of them

PANNING THE OPPOSITION Pots ’n Pans is hotting up for summer with a new bar menu and a happy hour. From 5pm to 7pm every day, it’s buy one get one free for all customers. Another reason to check out this swanky KOTOaffiliated spot. Pots ’n Pans is located at 57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3944 0204 or check out

A PEEK AT PARADISE Five-star Ha Long Bay tours just got more luxurious thanks to Paradise Peaks’ time-keeping. Instead of joining a carousel of 200 other boats for tours leaving at 12.30am and arriving back at 10.30am a few days later, Paradise Peaks lets you take a chill pill and set off after the midday sun has cooled off at the much more civilized time of 3.30pm. All this means that the hoards of other tourists won’t be able to bother you when you’re enjoying the cruise ship’s on-board library, massage rooms, Jacuzzi, sauna, beauty treatments and foot massages. For more info contact

Wind and Hanoi? You’re joking, right? I never realised how good bia hoi can taste. Are you sure there’s formaldehyde in it? June 2012 Word | 15


BEBER! Argentinean Steakhouse El Gaucho will host a wine tasting event on Jun. 6, giving you the chance to practice your serious wine face. With an a la carte Argentinean menu available, it’s probably a good opportunity to show off your Spanish and slurp some wonderful wines. Reservations are recommended, contact or Tel: 3718 6991. El Gaucho Argentinean Steakhouse is located at 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho


EURO TRASH-TIC Football fans will be delighted to learn that all Euro2012 games will be shown live on the big screen complete with surround sound at Son Tinh Bar Lounge, Xuan Dieu. With a free Euro2012 calendar available from the bar, you can keep up to date on all matches in Europe’s premier football competition which runs from Jun. 8 to Jul. 1. With drink discounts and guest European beers, there’ll be plenty of good cheer to go around — even if your national team gets knocked out in the first round. Son Tinh Bar Lounge is located at 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho



Finding yourself stressing about how to enjoy the football this month when the only channel you can get is Star World? Want a change from watching all the matches at Jaspa’s? Wipe that sweat away and head to Puku because from Jun. 8 games will be shown on multiple giant TVs, and your first beer is on the house. Games will be screened at 11pm and 1.45am throughout June. Puku is located at 16/18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem

Think you can’t afford the Hilton? Maybe now you can. Scheduled to open within the next six months, the mid-range Hilton Garden Inn will boast 11 storeys, 86 bedrooms, a restaurant, lounge bar, spa, meeting rooms, car parking and complimentary Wi-Fi. The Hanoi Hilton Garden Inn will be situated at the intersection of Tran Hung Dao and Phan Chu Trinh, Hai Ba Trung. For more information see

FEELING CHILE Lovers of Chilean wine are in for a palatable treat as the Chateau Los Boldos vineyard presents samples of its finest fare at Warehouse on Jun. 8. Almondy, fruity, woody or light, swirl, sniff, taste and talk amongst fellow wine fans. The event takes place from 7pm to 9pm on Jun. 8. Warehouse can be found at 59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0988 507234 for more information

Novotel Ha Long Bay’s Spa Delight in June consists of a one-night stay, a sumptuous buffet breakfast, and a 60-minute foot reflexology massage overlooking Ha Long Bay, all for VND1,450,000 per person (until Sep. 30). With a poolside BBQ buffet, one hour of free flow local beers and house wines, and live music every Saturday from 5.30pm to 9.30pm, there are plenty of reasons to treat yourself to a weekend away. For inquiries, email Novotel Ha Long Bay at, Tel: 0333 848108 or visit The fun on Saturdays is priced at VND525,000 and VND262,500 for children.

ONE CANAPE IS NEVER ENOUGH Swing by Tong Duy Tan’s Delicious Wines on a Saturday and you’re in for a few treats. Fancy, affordable wines and delicate, mouth-watering canapés are on offer, with VND180,000 getting you five glasses of vino, while the 200g Aussie Scotch Fillet Steak will only set you back VND159,000. Delicious Wines is located at 14 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem

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SUMMER ENRICHMENT For those of you who are looking forward to a break from work or study this summer, look away now. If, however, you just can’t stop learning and you’re a Year 1, 6 or IGCSE student at Singapore International School, you can get onboard the EFL summer course absolutely free of charge. For enrollment, contact SIS, Tel: 3726 1601. The course is only available to students who pay full tuition by Jun. 30

OCEANSIZE You don’t have to be a golf lover to enjoy a stay at Novotel Phan Thiet Ocean Dunes & Golf Resort. The hotel is offering a two-night package from Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday, with a seafood barbecue buffet dinner on Saturday night, full American buffet breakfast and daily use of the tennis courts and fitness centre. Offers are valid from Mar. 1 to Dec. 23 and prices start from VND2,721,000 per person based on double/ twin share. Tel: 0623 822393 or email for more information

SO YOU’RE A FOODIE, A tech geek and a traveller, and you’re craving a good meal wherever you happen to be in the world. Well there’s an app for that. Foodspotting is the latest smart phone app for those who want to hit the pavement in search of their next meal, without the whole wandering around aimlessly part. Going to www.foodspotting. com is like having high-tech food porn in your hand, giving you the ability to search for whatever food you’re craving. You can browse through pictures of the dishes and get treated to a host of reviews from other users. If you see something in particular, like a plate of fried rice dripping in grease calling your name, then just click on the image and directions will appear taking you directly to your next meal. So far, a few foodie pioneers have used Foodspotting to create small guides to the food of Vietnam. Naturally, their spotted dishes include favourites such as pho bo, bun cha and banh xeo. But there’s more to Vietnamese cuisine than that and it’s likely that the fare here will soon be all over Foodspotting. If you want to be part of it, now’s the time to start.


VACANCES EN FRANCE If you were thinking about nipping over to France to compare the snails to those of Hanoi, now might be a good time to go. From now until Jul. 31, Air France is offering savings for passengers travelling between Jun. 1 and Oct. 31. With the chance to save up to VND4 million, there are also discounts available on journeys from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Amsterdam, Rome, Munich and London. Visit before Jul. 31 and enter the special discount code as indicated on the webpage before confirming the booking. You can also contact Air France ticketing offices in Hanoi. Tel: 3825 3484.

@JAWPHOTO @stickyinhanoi @wordvietnam @ thecomicalhat Plus, like, you know, that Bobby Chinn's is soooooo fantastic. Way better than street food. May 24

@JAWPHOTO @stickyinhanoi @WordVietnam @ TheComicalHat Think 10 years ago xpats ate more local. Now with better foreign options, eating less vina food. May 24

@STICKYINHANOI sorry but irony is expats mostly order in, eat western food RT @WordVietnam: The best thing about #Hanoi is... tinyurl. com/7lj8vwx #Vietnam May 24


@PECHAKUCHAHANOI Thanks for the support @WordVietnam for #PechaKucha #Hanoi no.4 this Thursday. Now with added big screen and air-con options. May 14

@ROBERTOAUST RT @WordVietnam: The European Union is coming to #Hanoi and it's bringing a film festival with it #Vietnam May 12

@HOAVINHLE Take @WordVietnam's readership survey to help us better meet your reading taste. You can win tempting prizes too! May 8

FAMILY GETAWAYS IN NHA TRANG Looking for a family summer holiday destination? Well, the Sheraton Nha Trang has a bunch of tempting offers to make you consider heading south. The School Holiday Getaway package starts from VND2,700,000++ per room per night, including a daily buffet breakfast for two adults and various discounts on meals and services. The offer is available from now until Jun. 15 for stays between Jun. 1 and Aug. 15. For more information on eligibility and discounts, email or Tel: 0583 529008 and quote “HOTSKOL”

There’s something for everyone at Sofitel Plaza this month, with a smorgasbord of celebratory events. International Children’s Day and Father’s Day are marked with special seafood buffets, and Miss Behave Ladies nights will take place every Thursday with two free shots for each cocktail purchased. For more information Tel: 3823 8888. Sofitel Plaza is at 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh

VERY NGON Christmas is a while off yet, but no doubt housewives up and down the country are hoping Santa brings them something from Very Ngon Homewares’ latest range. Noticing a dearth in the market, the group started making tea-towels featuring particularly Vietnamese images such as a beautiful Saigonese woman strumming a guitar and Duy Tan, the young boy who became emperor at the age of 7, staring out imperiously. Now their popular range is expanding to include hand-printed fabric drink coasters, aprons and oven mitts, with cushion covers still to come. World domination awaits. For more on Very Ngon Homewares’ products contact

MUD ON YOUR HANDS Handspan Adventure Travel is organising a weekend dedicated to loving the environment on Jun. 16 and Jun. 17. For the sixth consecutive year, the group will meet in Hanoi and travel to the remotest parts of Lan Ha Bay for kayaking and cleaning. The not-for-profit event is a unique way to discover the quieter parts of Ha Long while promoting responsible travel and raising consciousness among locals. For more information and reservations, drop by Handspan Adventure Travel at 78 Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 2828 or email Price per participant is VND1.6 million

@WORDVIETNAM May 2012 edition of @WordVietnam #Hanoi now available to download via Issuu May 7

@MIGUELCOULIER 'Maybe I will be featured in the Word Magazine' :-) The Ultimate #Hanoi Social Quiz, soon: @WordVietnam @ HanoiGrapevine May 7

@DAY_DREAMER168 The Vietnam Daily is out! Top stories today via @indochinavalue @randomgrrl @anthonysmalley @jmpasricha @ wordvietnam May 7

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BIKINI ON BOARD Vietnam’s low-cost airline has just opened a daily new Hanoi to Nha Trang route. Leaving at 9.35am, the flight will arrive at its destination at 11.55am. But your holiday will start much earlier as the staff on each flight will be in beach attire to put you in the mood for sun, sand and tanned bodies. VietJetAir will also soon announce a Hanoi to Danang route. Staff uniforms yet to be confirmed. For further information on VietJetAir’s new services and promotions check out or call 1900 1886 from 8am until 10pm every day.

PELVIC THRUSTS Have you ever tried a Vietnamese Yoga Buffet? Unfortunately, it doesn’t involve any food; it’s a serving platter of Yoga, Zumba, Pilates and Tai Chi tasters, which are all taught in Vietnamese. Zenith is also offering a Touch & Feel massage workshop and a two-part Pelvic Floor Workshop. Zenith Yoga is located at 111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, for more info email

OUT WITH THE OLD Café des Arts has been reborn as Millenium. To celebrate the name change and accompanying refit, the café will be offering live music and BBQ on the terrace every Friday and Saturday night. There will also be a weekend brunch and BBQ menu at VND340,000 per person including one beer or wine. Millenium is located at 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hai Ba Trung


VIETNAM’S BIZARRE SKIN DISEASE The Health Ministry has yet to identify the cause of a mysterious skin disease that has affected 205 people and killed 21 of them in Quang Ngai Province. The strange disease is characterised by thickened skin (keratosis) over the palms and soles, causing stiffness in the limbs and ulcers on victims' hands and feet that look like burns. There has been no disease in the world so far that is exactly identical to the strange syndrome that first occurred in Ba To District in 2011. According to deputy health minister Nguyen Thanh Long, the strange syndrome might be caused by toxic substances that have affected malnourished people with poor immunity systems. Many fungi, in particular aflatoxin, which can cause

damage to the liver and even cancer, have been found in samples of non-whitened rice, which is a popular food for people in Ba To. Aflatoxin contents in non-whitened rice have been found to be up to five times higher than in whitened rice and in people eating non-whitened rice, the risk of contracting the strange syndrome is 4.8 times higher than in people eating whitened rice.

DIGITAL KICKS i-dosing is a new kind of music that mixes sharp explosive noise with other forms of sound and is considered a “digital drug”, designed to induce drug-like effects. “This kind of music can be mixed by specialized software. I tried and I was shocked. The feeling was indescribable. Young people can be highly addicted to this kind of music,” says Nguyen Xuan Hieu, director of an audio company in Hanoi. In Vietnam, i-dosing is shared among youngsters on social networks. “My friends talked a lot about i-dosing. I downloaded it from the Internet and tried. It made me dazzled, giddy and buzzing in my ears,” a fan wrote on an online forum about his first experience. This kind of music may harm the listener’s health and warnings have been issued in many countries in the world.

HO CITADEL BECOMES HERITAGE SITE NOT FOR VIETNAM Last month, the Vietnam Department of Cinema banned Le Van Kiet’s teenage horror movie Bay Cap 3 (High School Trap) because of its violent and vulgar content. According to Ngo Phuong Lan, deputy director of the department, the movie was suspended because it depicts teenage sex and revenge killings. “Such a movie is not suitable for Vietnamese culture and social morality, especially with teenagers,” she said. Before the ban, the movie caused a stir when its trailer revealed scenes containing semi-nudity. Earlier this year, The Girl with the Dragon and Tattoo and The Hunger Games were also banned from release in Vietnam due to sensitive and violent content.

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The Citadel of the Ho Dynasty in Thanh Hoa Province will officially become a World Cultural Heritage Site on Jun. 16. From Jun. 15 to Jun. 17 to mark the occasion, events such as folk games, a photo contest and tours around the heritage site will be held. Located in Thanh Hoa Province’s Vinh Loc District, the citadel, which was a great work of architecture, was the capital of Vietnam from 1397 to 1407.

FOREST THREATENED BY SUA HUNTING Three weeks after the news that sua logs worth VND300 billion were found in Hung Tri, people have been pouring into Phong Nha-Ke Bang national forest in Quang Binh with the dream of getting rich from sua. Sua wood, or dalbergia tonkinensis, is a species of the fabaceae family found in China and Vietnam. Smelling like aloe wood the trees are insect-resistant. The sua trees have been listed as an endangered species in Vietnam.

SCARRED FOR LIFE Vietnamese teenagers are opting for a new form of extreme tattooing called flaying tattoos. Flay tattoo creators use specialised knives to flay pieces of skin. After that they cover the area with chemicals or let the wounds to turn into scars. Nguyen Tien Hai, an experienced tattoo artist, says that Vietnamese tattoo artists are not skilled enough to create these kind of tattoos, so only affluent locals can get them by going to Thailand or Taiwan.

June 2012 Word | 21



To have your event included in our calendar, please email news@wordhanoi .com by no later than Jun. 17 with a description of the event and a high-res photo



FRI 01


YOUNG SCULPTORS EXHIBITION TALK @ Exhibition House on Ngo Quyen, 9am FRIDAY NIGHT ON THE TERRACE @ Press Club, 5pm to midnight ALL YOU CAN EAT ICE CREAM BUFFET @ Fanny’s, 6.30pm to 11pm




LATIN AMERICAN FILM FESTIVAL @ Cinematheque, 6pm GAELIC FOOTBALL TRAINING @ Dang Thai Mai street, 8pm to 10pm EXHIBITION “WOMEN AND FLOWERS” @ NAME Art Space 87 Ma May until June 10


EXHIBITION “VOICE OF THE WALL” @ L’Espace until June 11



BAKING ING CLASS @ Kitchen Art, 6pm

HANOI PUB QUIZZERS @ R&R Tavern, everyy Tuesday 9.30pm to 11.30pm PELVIC FLOORR WORKSHOP PART 1 @ Zenith nith Yoga


HIGH TEA @ Summit Lounge, every day 4pm to 8pm

MARGARITA NIGHTS @ Don’s, every Monday 5pm to 10pm STREET HOCKEY NIGHTS @ UNIS every Monday, 6.30pm to 8pm


50% OFF ALL FOOD @ Hanoi Social Club every Monday in June, 6pm m to 8pm

ARGENTINE TANGO CLASS @ Thanh Cong Secondary School, every Monday, Wednesdayy and Friday 8pm to 10pm

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AMCHAM HAPPY HOUR @ Jackson’s Steakhouse, 6pm



WINE TASTING @ El Gaucho, 6pm POKER NIGHT @ Play Gaming Lounge, every Wednesday 8pm


FLIGHTS AND BITES WINE TASTING @ Southgate, every Wednesday 6pm to 10pm FREE VIETNAMESE CLASSES @ PUKU every Wednesday, 7pm CA TRU PHO THI KIM DUC CONCERT @ L’Espace, 8pm

20 OPERA NIGHT @ Luna d’Autunno

ROGER MURARO RECITAL @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm

07 7


CHILEAN WINE TASTING @ The Warehouse, 7pm to 9pm

STRAIGHT NO MIXER @ ATK, 8pm WALL OF DUB @ Hanoi Rock City, 9pm

CARMINA ARMINA BURANA @ Hanoi Opera House, ouse, 8pm


BOGO FREE COCKTAILS @ Son Tinh every Thursday, 6pm to 12am

FREE COCKTAILS FOR WOMEN @ La Fee Verte Hotel de l’Opera every Thursday, 6pm to 9pm


SYMPHONY CONCERT @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm

GUILLAUME LIVE BAND @ Hanoi Rock City, 9pm


DJ NIGHTS @ Southgate every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, aturday, 9pm

SAT 02 GALA ITALIANO CONCERT @ Hanoi Opera House, 8pm OFFICIAL CAMA AFTER PARTY @ Hanoi Rock City, 11pm to late


EURO 2012 @ Puku all month long. Matches at 11pm and 1.45am


POKER NIGHT @ Play Gaming Lounge, every Wednesday 8pm

MISSBEHAVE @ Summit Lounge, every Thursday 4pm to 12am

FLIGHTS AND BITES WINE TASTING @ Southgate, every Wednesday 6pm to 10pm

THIRSTY THURSDAY 2 FOR 1 @ Press Club, every Thursday 6pm to 9pm

EXHIBITION “BECOMING A MAN” @ Museum of Ethnology

FRENCH TUESDAYS @ Summit Lounge, 50% off all French Wines every Tuesday 4pm to 12am

SUNDAY FAMILY CONCERT @ Worker Theater, 10am

VVIETNAMESE YOGA BUFFET @ Zenith Yoga, Y Yo 10am to 11.30am


MASSAGE WORKSHOP @ Zenith Yoga, 9am to 1pm OLD QUARTER PHOTOGRAPHY WALK WITH MICHAEL FOUNTOULAKIS @ Hanoi Cooking Centre, 4pm to 7pm NOI HANOI @ Tadioto, 8pm GARAGE CONCERT @ Japan Foundation, 8pm to 9.30pm


BAKING CLASS @ Kitchen Art, 2.30pm 2.3 KID’S COOKING CLASS @ Hanoi Cooking Centre, 3.30pm Jun. 9 and Jun. 23




17 1 OVEN-FREE BAKING CLASS @ Kitchen Art, 2.30pm








BAKING CLASS @ Kitchen Art, 2.30pm


DJ NIGHTSS @ Summitt ery lounge every Friday andd Saturday, 9pm to 12am

THE GIRL IRL FROM MAXIM’S M’S @ Nha Hat Kich June 1 and June 3, 2.30pm 30pm ppm m and 8pm


CAMA FESTIVAL @ American Club, 1pm to 11pm






SPOTLIGHT @ Hanoi Rock City, every Sunday 8pm


WINE TASTING @ Delicious Wines, every Saturday 6pm to 12am NORTHERN EXPOSURE @ Hanoi Rock City, 8pm

MOVIE NIGHT @ L’Espace every Friday, 8pm SYNERGY NIGHTS @ ATK, 8pm

June 2012 Word | 23



NOI, HANOI The city's aspiring laureates presented a wealth of wisely woven words at the everpopular monthly spoken word event, Noi, Hanoi

JEANS TEAM Hanoi got a taste of German electronica, as the Berlin duo Jeans Team brought a packed-out crowd to the dance floor

OPERATION SMILE Students from Hanoi International School presented gifts to children undergoing surgery at Vietnam-Cuba Hospital. Visit www.operationsmile. org to find out more and to make a donation



The world's media flocked to the grand reopening of The Metropole's wartime bunker, which is now open to hotel guests and members of the public. Just mind your head as you go down...


24 | Word June 2012

Future leaders, speakers and presenters untwisted their tongues in a night aimed at improving the art of impromptu speaking, "I'd like a gin and tonic" is usually the first step, for me

June 2012 Word | 25





FLIPPING THE SWITCH Climate change isn’t everyday news in Vietnam, but organisations like are doing their best to make sure that it’s gaining momentum. Natalie Krebs sat down with the company’s Vietnam Coordinator Hoang Thi Minh Hong to find out more about their work. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos What does “350” stand for? Three hundred and fifty represents 350ppm or parts per million, which is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. That number right now is, in fact, 393. So we are well above the safe limit for our health and the planet’s health. The mission of 350 is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gas emissions down to the safe limit of 350 again. How can we reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Vietnam? In Vietnam we are a developing country, so I’m not saying we have to stop all development plans or stop all the factories or anything like that. Because we are at a grassroots, community-based campaign level, we just want to inspire the public, including individuals, communities and business corporations to reduce their impact on the environment. More or less, improve their green living habits by promoting behaviour like driving motorbikes less often,

2288 | W Word Wo oord rrd d JJu June une ne 220 2012 00112

using fewer plastic bags and practicing more environmentally friendly habits. We hope to change people’s behaviour and awareness by getting them to think a little bit more about the environment when they do something every day. That way the whole [country] will be improved. What is doing in Vietnam to bring awareness to the issue of climate change? We are part of 350 Global, so every year we have projects and campaigns that 350 Global mobilises. Last year we had Moving Planet Day on Sep. 24. We encouraged people on that day to use vehicles that don’t require gas or fossil fuels. We encouraged people to bike, ride horses or walk, limiting the use of cars and motorbikes. On May 5 this year we had a ‘Connect the Dots’ campaign. We used the image of the dot to represent, for example, a disaster or some effect caused by climate change. We took pictures of communities suffering from climate change, such as a houses blown

away or dried up rivers. The campaign was to alert people to the connections between climate change and the natural calamities that happen in a lot of countries. How is Vietnam reacting to the push for change? What attitude and improvements have you seen? Well last year when we started out, people didn’t really know what 350 was, and it took us months and months of knocking on doors, going to schools and going to villages. Now I think people are a little bit more aware than last year. Also, the number of volunteers is increasing rapidly. The great thing about 350 in Vietnam compared to other organisations is that every single activity and action that we

have has been built or developed by the volunteers. We think of the current situation in the country, and we think about whether this is an activity that we should do or not — rather than doing all the activities that 350 Global is doing. You know in other countries they would go to coal plants and say, “hey stop using coal!” You can’t do that in Vietnam because it’s Vietnam. So we promote the positive side and good things rather than criticising bad things. What are some of the other major environmental issues facing Vietnam right now? There are so many. I think right now the big one would be climate change because we are one of the countries most affected by it. Another issue would be the degradation of natural resources and biodiversity as well as the awareness and needs of some of the local communities living in the forests. [They] need to make money and make their living. If they can’t find any alternative income, they have to destroy the environment. The general level of awareness is really low. Young people are a lot better than adults, though. A whole generation of adults like me lacks a basic understanding of the environment because they didn’t build environmentally conscious habits. The current generation is a lot better. They are

connected to the world. They are connected to the internet. They’re more open-minded. organised Earth Hour. Tell me about Earth Hour in Vietnam. What brought on the idea? We’ve been doing Earth Hour for three years, and every year it’s been exactly the same model. People light candles, go to the event, have fun and talk a little bit about climate change, and that’s it.

"The general level of awareness is really low. Young people are a lot better than adults, though. A whole generation of adults like me lacks a basic understanding of the environment because they didn’t have one in the past" This year we did everything differently. So for example, at our event we didn’t use any candles because candles produce a lot of CO2 emissions. So this year the candles were LED batteries. They use teeny tiny lights and can last up to 180 hours. And at our event, all of the lights used solar energy and we worked with a solar company that provided all the

batteries. They put [solar] panels up that collected the sun’s energy throughout the day to provide energy for the event in the evening. We also used environmentally friendly materials. Like for the backdrop — we used a coconut shell fiber [backdrop], which is totally biodegradable. We had something like 12,000 volunteers [at Earth Hour this year]. How would you like to see Vietnam in ten years? I just hope that I see greener habits in everyday life. I would want to see no plastic bags in supermarkets any more. I hope that public transportation will be a lot better than it is now so people use fewer motorbikes and more bicycles so the air is more breathable. I would love to see more solar and renewable energy as well. Right now we have so much sun and we don’t use it; the trend in the next 10 years should be to stop using fossil fuels and use solar energy. And we want people to respect nature and the environment a bit more. Right now, they think that because the house is theirs, they keep it clean. But look at the roads. Because [they’re] public, they don’t have that attitude of appreciating what’s public, and what’s in the surrounding environment. To find out more about getting involved in check or

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The Luthier Words by Luke Dale Harris. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos


trange scales emanate from the windows of Do Viet Dung’s house while I wait for the young boy to let me in. He shouts over his shoulder for his father as he struggles with the lock. As no-one appears, he leads me into the display room where a mustachioed man in a cowboy hat sits draped over an electric guitar; warped notes come from an amplifier on the other side of the room as he bends the strings. He points upwards to the boy who beckons for me to follow him. We head through the kitchen and up the stairs, and as we climb higher we pass more and more piles of wood and shells of unfinished guitars. We reach a small room on the fifth floor where a man works away at a piece of wood with a chisel. “Ah, welcome to my home,” he says, looking up. “I see you’ve met my son”. The boy scuttles off back down the stairs. In the future he will, Dung hopes, take over to become the fifth generation of luthiers in this family. First, though, he must study. In the face of ever growing competition from big multinationals such as Fender, Yamaha and Gibson, he will need a good understanding of business and economics to compete. Yet such things feel a long way removed from the intimate studio built into Dung’s family home where, drawing on the inherited knowledge and craftsmanship of his ancestors, he makes some of the finest guitars in Vietnam for musicians all across the world. The family business, Thanh Cam, has always been shaped by forces from overseas. At the beginning of the 20th century, Dung’s great grandfather was running a small business in Hanoi making traditional Vietnamese stringed instruments like the dan nguyet (two stringed lute) and the dan ho (upright violin). With the country under colonial rule at the time, occasionally a Frenchman would bring in a guitar for repairs, prompting him to learn on his feet so as to open himself up to this new market. The newly acquired knowledge was handed down to his son, Dung’s grandfather, who started making guitars from scratch, along with other western stringed instruments that were more suited to the Vietnamese musical style, such as the mandolin and banjo.

East Meets West The French, in their attempt to bring their

30 | Word June 2012

own brand of civilisation to the country, chose Vietnamese musical tradition as something that necessarily needed westernisation. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries they handed out western instruments such as violins, mandolins, saxophones and accordions across the country to almost anyone who asserted their belief in the Christian God. As a result, in the depths of the Vietnamese countryside, there are still many people who possess and can play these instruments, though not in the style they were intended. As typical for Vietnam, the foreign influence was taken on but morphed to meet Vietnamese tradition. Often the instruments were re-tuned to suit the Asian pentatonic scale rather than the western chromatic. Dung’s grandfather latched onto this trend and started altering the western instruments to further meet Vietnamese requirements. Most inventively, he created a scalloped neck for the mandolins and guitars that, with the strings lying over dug out fret boards, allowed the player to bend the strings downwards to hit the mid tones so important to Vietnamese music. The successive wars that followed Vietnam’s independence brought with them a need for a new type of music. Sparked on by the Eastern European songs that started to play on Vietnamese radio after 1945, the guitar was adopted. Simple, versatile and capable of holding a song together on its own while groups of people sang over the top, it was the perfect instrument for the urgent and uplifting songs of the period. The government quickly realised its morale-boosting capacity and in the 1950s started up factories that made up to 4,000 guitars a month, most of which were sent off to the soldiers on the front line. Dung’s father, out of work in his private luthier business, took up a job at the biggest of these factories in 1960, beginning his specialisation in guitars that would then go on to inform Dung’s business.

Supply and Demand The wood Dung is working when I meet him will eventually be the neck of a guitar that he will sell to a shop in England for somewhere close to VND42 million. “I have to be careful with this one,” he tells me. “The wood alone is worth over VND25 million. Any mistake would be

very expensive.” The room he is working in has guitars of varying shapes and sizes hanging from the walls, all in different stages of completion. Each one will sell for over VND21 million , almost exclusively to the west. As Vietnam has been drawn in by globalisation, Dung’s business has seen many changes and no longer sits just on the receiving end of foreign influence. His small team makes about 400 guitars a month, and while the majority are cheap and quickly produced to sell to amateur players in Vietnam, his best business is in selling high-end guitars abroad. “Like in almost every industry nowadays, we are in competition with companies who outweigh us completely,” he says. “In China there are huge factories making guitars where the low labour costs and huge quantities in production mean we cannot compete over price. To survive, we have to find our own place in the market.” In general, high quality guitars are made by individual luthiers in the country where they are to be sold. As Dung prices his labour lower than in the west, he can produce the same quality guitars for a fraction of the price. Dropping his own brand name and imprinting that of his customer onto the guitars, they can be sold in foreign markets without garnering the suspicion that many westerners hold against Asian goods. During the time I am with him, Dung shows me about ten different types of wood, making me smell and feel each piece and talking enthusiastically about their different qualities. “It’s all in the wood,” he tells me. “The luthier’s job is just to do it justice, though that’s not easy. It takes a lifetime of experience to know each type, its character, its failings. My father taught me a lot but I still have things to learn.” I ask him if he feels that the intimacy of the instrument is lost in rebranding it and posting it off across the world. “Not at all,” he replies. “When I was younger, before I got married, I used to go to sleep holding the guitar I was working on. It makes me very happy to think that someone thousands of miles away might be doing the same thing with a guitar I have made for them.”

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TEAM SPIRIT Words by Debbie Clare Photos by Aaron Joel Santos


omeone, somewhere once proclaimed, “there’s no ‘I’ in team”. So highly has this been heralded that it has become a phrase that has been coined universally. We use it as a motivator, as a reminder of how we’re stronger when we’re more than one. It’s a nod at how getting together and doing something with our fellow humans can work like an elasticated net to launch us upwards, and be there to catch us gracefully when we fall. Team spirit. Team work. Pushing ourselves to achieve new things, or just being among kindred

spirits. Sharing a skill and contributing, seeing if it’s still possible to learn, finding out what we’re made of, cooperating and communicating with others, consciously choosing to live our lives with curiosity and with vivacity. This is what it means to be part of a team. So, in a country so focused on community and achieving things collectively, we pay homage to some of this city’s teams. But rather than looking at the conventional teams we find in Hanoi, we meet groups that are bringing a less orthodox sense of team spirit to the capital.


Competing in international tournaments in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea, the Hanoi Ladies Gaelic Football Team is one of the few internationally influenced teams that can boast such a high number of Vietnamese players. “We strive to get Vietnamese players involved at all times,” explains team captain Claire Coughlan. “Most teams support us in tournaments because we are the only team who have locals that play. Currently we have around four or five, which is the highest ever number of Vietnamese players, so we’re delighted. They absolutely love it.” Since 2007 the club has continued to move forward, even when having to tackle

issues such as the availability of pitches or being low on members. The sheer determination to win trophies keeps the team motivated. “We have been so close in the last two Asian Gaelic Games where we reached the final and were beaten marginally in both by Kuala Lumpur.” The success of the Hanoi Ladies Gaelic Football Team is, according to Claire, based on a pure and simple love of the sport. The Hanoi Ladies Gaelic Football Team is open to all and actively encourages new members to participate. To learn how to keep your balls when all around you are losing theirs, contact Claire Coughlan at clairecoughlan100@ or check out

HIGHFLYERS For most of us, being seen at 6am on a Sunday is a rare and unwelcome occurrence that we try our damnedest to avoid. For one group of aviation enthusiasts, however, they aren’t just up and awake, they’re up and flying high. Formed under the Ministry of National Security back in 2004, the Hanoi Helicopter Club is one of many similar groups who are active in all of the country’s major cities. While a major league hasn’t yet been set up, the cities will meet to compete against each other. At these events, the ‘pilots’, who have to under-go

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examination in order to receive their flying certificate, are judged on technique, tricks, presentation and erm, whether or not the vehicle can successfully carry flowers. With the desire to create a platform for lovers of everything aviation, the club hopes to one day invite teams from other countries to come to Hanoi to compete. If you’ve got your head in the clouds and want to be among like-minded people, get in touch with Duong Quy Don on 0989 146393 to find out about joining the group. If you are a foreigner, you must have proof of legal residency in order to join

IN KEY Driven by the joy of singing, the desire to perform in world-class venues and the excitement of working in harmony with Vietnamese counterparts, Graham Sutcliffe has been directing the Hanoi International Choir for an impressive 11 years. In collaboration with the Vietnam Opera and Ballet, the choir mostly performs at the Hanoi Opera House, but has also folded itself into other spaces such as the Goethe Institut and some of the city’s hotels. On what is required to get into the choir, Graham is positive about general singing ability. “I believe most people can actually sing if they practise a bit,” he explains. “Too many

people believe they are ‘tone deaf’. In 11 years I have only had to refuse two people membership to the choir due to them not being able to sing.” With a string of outstanding performances under its collective belt, the choir has taken on some of the greatest and most challenging choral works around, including Verdi’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, Rutter’s Requiem, Puccini’s La Boheme, Bizet’s Carmen and much more. If you can hold a note, and even better, can read music, email Graham at to find out more about joining the choir

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So committed to their cause that they wear Hanoi Bowling Club branded t-shirts to practice, the team, which is in its 12th year of ball-play, meets three times a week at Star Bowl on Pham Ngoc Thach. Under the misty hue of neon bowling alley lighting, and against the backdrop of sickly-sweet pop music, the familiar bomp! roll! clatter! of the bowling sequence echoes around the room among strike congratulations and spare groans. Motivated by their desire to represent

Vietnam at international level, such as at the SEA games, the club competes around Vietnam to bring its best players to the surface so as to advance them to the national team. With no joining fee, and an open door to anyone under the age of 50, the team hopes its personable approach to the sport will help raise its profile within Vietnam. For more information search for Hoi Bowling Ha Noi on Facebook or call Binh on 0983 923868


“The best thing that we have achieved is seeing our students, aged from four to 40, who have never danced before or imagined themselves being able to perform on stage, become a dancer or a dance teacher,” says ISIS World Dance Company leader Phuong Lien. Proud of her club’s achievements, the troupe has an impressive CV of clients for whom they have performed including Mercedes, VTV, CNN, VCTV and FPT. The company has been meeting several times a week since 2006, and is a regular contributor at organised dance events.

From pole dancing to jazz, belly dancing to Zumba, burlesque to hip hop, the group’s vision is to bring people the opportunity to explore, through movement, their own body’s ability, and to learn about the origins of dance. “We believe that the quickest way to get to know different cultures and countries is through music and dance,” explains Phuong, who hopes this year to expand the company by opening a number of ISIS dance schools across Vietnam. For more information about ISIS check out www.

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STANDING TALL While cheerleading is still a relatively new sport in Vietnam, the cheerleaders at Hanoi Amsterdam High School have been shaking their pompoms for the better part of seven years. Not exactly standing on the shoulders of giants, the girls have still been able to reach new heights including a string of winning appearances on the TV show Blue Dance, and a number of consecutive annual trophygrabs at the Ba Dinh Aerobics Competition. Team leader Bich Thao Le feels inspired by

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what her group has already achieved. “Such wonderful achievements as these make all of us proud and [make us want to] try really, really hard,” she says. “But the spirit, the energy, the passion and the love each member puts in one team, might just be the biggest achievement overall.” Membership is currently only available to students at Hanoi Amsterdam High School, including freshmen, juniors, seniors, boys and girls. But the team hopes to welcome students from other schools in the future.

JUST FOR KICKS Standing barefoot, still, and dressed in matching black suits, the congregation of the Wing Chun Club is an intimidating sight to behold. All eyes stare unblinkingly ahead, arms raised to shoulder height, awaiting direction from the master. Then with the synchronised motion of a group familiar with the routine, there is the sound of movement and the exhalation of breath, broken only by the directive barks of the master. Meeting three times per week in a dully-lit mirrored gym, the group has been active for some 10 years. Motivated by the will to improve health

and promote truthfulness and fairness, the Wing Chun Club is sponsored by UNESCO to compete and perform at local events and festivals. As it actively welcomes new members, the single-most vital factor in joining the group is a strong ethical mind. “We don’t want anyone to use this to harm or attack other people,” explains long-term member Manh. “There are blind people in my class because the teacher encourages everyone to participate.” If you want to improve your high-kicks, breathing and balance, give Manh a call on 0903 255375

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The Final Cut Rusting scissors and crumbling walls; Douglas Pyper tours the decaying premises of one of Hanoi’s long-standing coiffeurs. Photos by Dominic Blewett


he fire-damaged old building, which has been the family home and business for the last three generations, is an embarrassment to him. So much so that he won’t give his name or allow photographs to be taken inside the house. So let’s call him The Barber. The Barber comes from a long line of barbers. The family’s four generation trade is irrevocably marked in stone on the family building; an impressively decrepit

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old three-storey house on the corner of Hang Bong and Quan Su. Hieu Hot Toc va Nha Tam is part of the brickwork, etched in the kind of art-deco font Europeans these days reserve for cinemas and theatres. The building echoes the grandeur of the past but shows decay throughout: the family’s fortunes wrapped up in their house and business. The original wooden beams that used to hold up the outside awning are now just charred stubs thanks

to an electrical fire in the 1980s. For 30 years, the family hasn’t had enough money to fix it and the upper two storeys of the house have been propped up on the inside by a network of scaffolding. The building’s public shower room is long gone.

For Generations Stepping over the original tiles that The Barber’s grandfather installed three generations ago, customers head straight

to the high-ceilinged room’s only chair: the same Japanese-made chair that The Barber’s grandfather bought from a French colonialist three generations ago. The chair’s original red has been rubbed to a fascinating yellow by three generations of customers who would’ve enjoyed its builtin ashtray. The central cushion is split up the middle by three generations of bums whose owners would have chatted with three generations of The Barber’s family or read whatever newspaper happened to be lying on the thick wooden table facing them. The Barber has always taken part in the family business. His father taught him “everything” at the age of 16, allowing him to help out in the shop while studying. Later, when The Barber started teaching music theory at a local high school, he still worked part-time in his father’s shop to supplement the low wages. When he retired in 1991, he didn’t receive a pension, just a golden handshake, “all together, enough to buy a TV.” So he came back to the family

trade that was starting to serve the family increasingly badly. Today, business isn’t good, only long-term regulars still drop by for some of the same old.

Etched in Stone The Barber is the last in a long line of barbers. His two children are both studying in Singapore on development scholarships. It’s a safe bet that they aren’t studying hairdressing. So, too, The Barber’s business is one of the last remaining shops to have its name carved into the brickwork of a building. Plenty of examples are still dotted around Hanoi — the radio shop at the crossroads between Hang Bong and Dien Bien Phu, which has sold ao dai for the last two generations, still attracts plenty of attention. But their time has passed. People aren’t born into trades anymore, and few trades can remain from generation to generation. And so it is that 100 years of hairdressing knowhow and a much older architectural practice will stop here.

“Customers head straight to the highceilinged room’s only chair: the same Japanese-made chair that The Barber’s grandfather bought from a French colonialist three generations ago. The chair’s original red has been rubbed to a fascinating yellow”

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HANOI WRITTEN BY DEBBIE CLARE, HOA LE, ISABELLA PIERANGELO, DOUGLAS PYPER, KAITLIN REES AND NICK ROSS Whether you live here, or you’re passing through, or you have no idea how long you’ve been here or how long you’re staying, Hanoi is a city of opposites; a city of contradictions. For every good thing that happens to you, another less good thing might follow along behind. For every moment of euphoria, there is a moment of angst, for every charmingly framed corner there is a scene that makes you want to look away, and for every euphonious song there is an ear-splitting clatter. With such contrasts at play, putting together the following list required us to believe that there really could be as many as a 101 obvious things to celebrate about Hanoi. As we discovered, the problem was agreeing what to leave out. Hanoi is a place where you don’t have to dig deep to find

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the cracks of light. All you have to do is leave your front door and walk to the end of your alley to see, smell, hear or taste something curious. It’s where smiling at a stranger can trigger a series of events which might improve your day, or even your quality of life, where taking a left when you should have gone right could lead you to a startling new place that you would never have known about before, where simply keeping still can turn you into a human magnet, prompting people to move towards you with their stories, their questions or their wares. It’s tiring and it’s exciting, it’s vibrant and it’s stressful, it’s rewarding and it’s frustrating. But it’s just not the same as any other city anywhere, even in Vietnam. So this month, we’re shouting about some of the things that make Hanoi one of the most unusual and enticing places to live in the world. So, in no particular order…


As a city built around lakes, we all know next to one is the best place to catch a breeze in the summer. Sitting beside a lake is also the best place to see a game of chess get nasty, or to guzzle a coconut or tug on a banh my trung. They might not be the cleanest lakes in the world, but the mere presence of them sets Hanoi apart from other concrete jungles that cannot boast the murky magic these bodies of water bring to the city.

— Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

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In other countries you might go to the Botanical Gardens to spot squirrels or a blue tit, but in Hanoi you go to see a gaggle of wedding dresses frolicking in the park. From the Botanics, to the Metropole, to the shores of West Lake, every day in Hanoi, scores of couples aren't getting married yet, they're just popping out in flowing white wedding gowns for their engagement photos, which all makes for an incongruous sight to beautify up your day.

There’s no need to ever feel left out in Hanoi. Trying to decide which club to join is as challenging a task as deciding which street food to eat. Rowing, bridging, cheerleading, frisbeeing, footballing, climbing, dancing, laughing yoga-ing, miniature helicopter flying, Scrabbling… The list goes on, and the more odd it is the more likely there is a club for it in Hanoi.

Hanoi has its own spots and seasons full of flowers. Heading down from Au Co to the Red River on any given day, you’ll find yourself surrounded by fields of flowers and wedding photographers making the most of the petals. Perhaps most spectacularly, every June, the Bang Lang and Hoa Phuong trees bloom. The sight of these striking purple and red buds, which ring Truc Bach Lake as well as many other places in the capital, is strong in the popular consciousness of the city as it represents the graduation and the coming of age of another year of school leavers. And of course, they look absolutely beautiful.

Want to open a clothing shop? Get in touch with my friend who knows someone. Want to listen to music that mixes dub step and industrial punk? Let's start a band. Want there to be a place where people read poetry to each other? Make one. Hey, we need a model for our new line of business casual, can you do it? Can. I want to make a short film about the migration of colour across the city. ME TOO. Hanoi is a place where if you say you are something, you become it. Where if you need something, you can get it. Hanoi is a place where you get to be and become something that you might never have expected.

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YOUNG LOVE — Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

Teenagers perched on motorbikes beside lakes, on bridges and in parks being totally in love. This is young love in Hanoi — the blushes, the giggles, the camera phones and the staring off reflectively into the distance. Being a teenager in Hanoi and being in love is the endeavour to find a private place among millions of kindred spirits, who all happened to pick exactly the same spot as you on the very same star-lit night.

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CARES WHAT YOU’RE WEARING No. 8 NO-ONE Though one may get a week’s worth of fashion tips from spending a few minutes observing some key octogenarians around town, there is little pressure to rise to this standard. Though everyone may comment on your appearance here, there is a surprising lack of judgment behind those comments. Everyone notices, no-one cares as a mantra for dressing each morning allows one much space for experimenting. So from the flamboyant floral print tie and striped vest made out of duck fur, to the beaded ball cap and paisley polka-dotted button down, all is fair game. Here the bedazzled evening gown-high heels combo gets about as much attention as the sweat suit-sandals. With the space between kinds of attire as vast as it is, one may plunge into the fashion gap wherever one wishes.

BA & ONG — Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

In other cities in the world, old people stay inside and watch daytime soap operas and order hand creams on the Home Shopping Network. In Hanoi, they play cards by lakes, shop in markets, wield butcher knives, and do trunk twists. In other cities in the world, old people yell at the kids in the streets to “turn down that damn music”. In Hanoi, they dance to it. And most of all, in other cities, old people just don’t look as good. From tweed jackets, berets and smart ties, to starched button down blouses with black silk pants and pearls, Hanoi’s elderly population is without doubt our fashion and energy inspiration.

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PUBLIC GROOMING No. 9 Nostril exploration, squeezing of spots and unabashed belching from even the sweetest of sweet old ladies sets Hanoi apart from all the other cities in the world where personal hygiene has been sent to private bathrooms. Like the tweezing of grey hairs. It is gentle, it is primal, it says “I pay attention to myself” and “I don’t care if you’re watching.” Aging happens, nose blockages happen, gas happens, and we all try to pretend like it doesn’t, and when we pretend in private, sometimes it makes us sad. Public preening reminds us that, though we may be losing some melanin in our hair follicles, we are not alone. It’s hard to name; one word might be sweet, another, edgy. And still another might be liberated. Perhaps even character defining. We live in a place that is all of those things.

HAIR WASHING No.10 The family kind. Handily doubles as a head and face massage, leaving



No.15 Summer's too hot; winter's too cold; but autumn, autumn is absolutely perfect. Enjoy 20 — 25-degree weather, low humidity and no rain for practically the whole of November. Not too hot for jeans, not too cold for shorts, and you can even move without sweating.

BELLY WEATHER — Photo by Dominic Blewett

you relaxed and warmed up in winter, or cool, coiffured and stress free in the summer. It’s also a great opportunity to catch a nap.

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A place to eat; a place to get your hair cut; a place for a family feud; a place for a wedding, or a funeral; a place to set up a business; a place to park. In Hanoi, everything has its place and everything’s place is out on the street, or more specifically, on the pavement. Whether you’re after the best café or the best restaurant, you can be sure it won't have four walls.

— Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

One of the most evocative sounds in the city. Whether cried, or coming out of a crude cassette player hooked up to a battery that seems to be made of wood and held together by elastic bands, the hawker’s cry is a very welcome reminder that you’re in Hanoi, the most convenient city in the world. “Who wants to buy a toad? A toad to make ruoc.” That’s real poetry.

— Photo by Aaron Joel Santos







Why can’t you play with children that you don’t know? What’s wrong with two men touching each other’s thighs? In Hanoi, being tactile doesn’t make you suspect, it makes you friendly. Compared to other cultures where sexuality has invaded all interactions, the casual closeness with which Hanoians hold each other (literally), is a breath of fresh, Hoa Sua infused air.

This celebrated writer, made much more public as a result of the photocopied book sales around Hoan Kiem Lake, is a living legend of Hanoi. Though it’s pedaled alongside the Lonely Planet that we all want to pretend we never touch, The Sorrow of War is prolifically photocopied for good reason. Published first in its English translation in 1991, the book had to wait over 10 years for approval to be published in Vietnamese. The waiting was a product of the book’s unbiased account of the American War as told through a nuanced and reflective lens. Bao Ninh’s novel is one of the few texts of the war from a North Vietnamese soldier’s perspective that doesn’t carry the rhetoric of propaganda. Through a fractured narrative, moments of war are recounted with a pained honesty while running throughout is the slightly more chronological story of a romantic love that holds its own kind of heaviness. Since The Sorrow of War, Bao Ninh has remained quiet in his home in Hanoi.

As the proverb goes, “the living need light and the dead need music.” The evocative, atonal music that can be heard emanating from alleys all over the city, provides safe passage for dead souls to travel from the land of the living to the land of the dead. Accordingly, funeral music typically starts early, from the moment the deceased enters the coffin, until the corpse is lowered into the ground. Cashflow permitting a troupe of around eight musicians will play the strains that accompany one on these trans-realm journeys using a variety of evocative Vietnamese instruments like the ken bau, dan bau or dan nguyet. The sound they create is unlike anything else.

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MANNEQUINS — Photo by Dominic Blewett

Nothing lasts in Hanoi. Build a new road and in a few months it’ll be as pot-holed and cracked as any other. Wash your clothes and in a few weeks they’ll be greener than month-old milk. But some people have gone to incredible lengths to preserve some very old stuff. The cult of do co was born out of necessity in a time when everything had to be fixed as no replacement could be found; a time when everything had value and was built to last. The fact that French soldier’s velvet helmets complete with metal spikes, cast iron fans, vintage reel to reel cassette players or beautiful Singer sewing machine table legs can still be found in Hanoi, is down to the perseverance of the people. It’s also the reason they’re so incredibly expensive.

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— Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

No. 27 MECHANICS They’re everywhere, and every time you break down

PERSONAL No. 28 GETTING You can pretend to get annoyed, but part of you

SINGLE SYLLABLE WORDS No. 29 Uh. Vang. Roi. Uh. Vang. Vang. Di. Vang. Roi. Roi. Di Roi. Uh. Uh. Oi. Oi. Vui! Co? Khong! Sau? Dau? Day!

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— Photo by Dominic Blewett

It’s expensive, it’s chaotic, it’s inconvenient and it makes you pile on the pounds. But what other time of the year can you see kumquat and peach blossom orchards? When else do you feel like you’re hurtling towards a New Year as people rush to make preparations for the complete shut down? And have you ever seen the Old Quarter quite so uncluttered and peaceful? It only happens during Tet, and for those of us who crave some respite from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, if you can avoid the temptation to leave, here it sits on your doorstep.

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they’re on hand and able to fix your bike in minutes. Unless of course you’re still driving a Minsk, in which case you should go home for a shower.

lights up, doesn’t it, every time you’re asked your age? And you know why? Because you are always so young. Every year, younger and younger. And because everyone has an age, you ask right back. And then it turns out your new friend is also so young and you have something in common. There is sharing, there is smiling. And how about that husband you don’t have yet? Don’t worry, let’s talk about it. After all, it takes a village, you know? And though it is of course none of your business how much money I make, the fact that you feel comfortable asking is sweet. And the fact that I evade your question in a humorous way shows my sweetness too. We’re sweet, we’re smiling, we know small pieces of information about each other. It may be an inch that is taken for a mile, but think about how many people don’t even bother with the inch.


THE TANNOY — Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

The speakers have been hanging from the same spot for the last 30 years, ejecting the clear and firm voice of the MC to all households in the neighbourhood for 30 minutes every day from 4.45pm. Today, we have news about a baby that was kidnapped and rescued. After the news, some important announcements arrive such as what time our houses will get a power cut, or a request for everyone to get out of the house and clean the street. Then come the songs, reminding us of Vietnam’s glorious past. The tannoys are a familiar part of life in Hanoi, a constant reminder of where and who we are.

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Hanoi is a place where eco awareness is just starting to wake up and get out of bed. National support of green initiatives and sustainable development haven’t gotten fully dressed yet and the morning coffee of widespread conservation efforts is still brewing. However, recycling, in some form or another, has been up since dawn and is already making its third bird feeder out of a used soda can. From the buying and selling of paper, aluminium, cardboard and scraps of old machines that make up someone’s livelihood, to the creative second uses of bottles and cans for just about anything (paint brush holders, candlestick holders, berry fetching devices), in Hanoi people know the value of stuff and how to get the most out of it.

We’ve gushed about coffee before. For example, when we dedicated an entire magazine to reviewing its history, its growing process, its impact on the current economy and culture of Hanoi, and the best places to get a cup (see May issue). Coffee’s permanent fixture in the city, the centrality of its presence and its power to bring people together, makes it a true marker of Hanoi. And as Hanoi contains multitudes, coffee drinkers in the city make up a group about as diverse as den da khong duong is to nau nong nhieu sua. And yet for all, the drips drop just as slowly.

Traditionally, this accolade belongs to Ho Chi Minh City, but it’s getting increasingly hard to tell. Hoan Kiem Lake is nightly ringed with a plethora of hues, from trees dripping with multi-coloured globes to LED panels fringing the lake itself. Elsewhere, heading down Dien Bien Phu, there are sheets of fairy lights directing the Sunday night cruiser down the avenue and inviting them to stop for a photo. Year on year, the nation’s capital is getting more and more sparkly — not in a garish, shiny, bling kind of way — but in a twinkling, Hanoian kind of way.

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No.37 GETTING PHYSICAL Laughing yoga in the square, aerobics by the lake, badminton on the pavement, tango in the park, hacky in the alley, chess on corners, skating, break-dancing, wiggling, gyrating, body-popping. And of course making yourself be a bridge between two park benches and then doing press-ups on them whilst being on tip-toes. You can easily feel ashamed of yourself for not exercising enough, especially when the activity starts at 5am every morning, and then again at night. Is there any other city in the world where old ladies get together and pretend to brush their teeth with giant invisible toothbrushes?


No.39 OBSERVATIONAL THERAPY Everybody’s doing it, watching, because every street in Hanoi is never the same twice. Never exactly the same, that is. There may always be a bustle of bikes, bicycles and pedestrians, but never the same bustle. Whether watching confused tourists in the Old Quarter, or observing vendors in the market, you can be sure of finding something different every time. Then of course, there are the complete surprises. The dragons crashing into electricity pylons; the two neighbours fighting; the funeral procession; the near-miss traffic accidents; all recurring in different formations like a mad, ad lib-ed play.




LONG BIEN ISLAND (MIDDLE WARP) — Photo by Aaron Joel Santos Stepping onto the muddy path that winds through the island, it feels as if you’ve escaped to the countryside, miles away from the city. Long Bien Island, or Middle Warp as it is also known, is a lump of fertile land, rising up through the Red River like the Adam’s Apple of a sleeping man. Snakes slide across the dusty paths, banana trees bend with the weight of their fruit, corn fields stand weary under the blazing hot sun, shoeless children play on the muddy banks and tired ponies sleep standing up. Long Bien Island is a place where naked men play football and swim together, it’s where a cluster of rusting houseboats bob together on the shores, and where stilt-houses are made from the plastic that was once deemed useless and thrown away. Long Bien Island has a jungle, it has grass, and it has peace. Hanoi’s own country park, it is one of the city’s best-kept secrets.

No. 40 SUNDAY NIGHTS Heels? Check. Balloon? Check. High pony-tail and glittery nail varnish? Check. Sunday nights in Hanoi — it’s about seeing and being seen on the scene. It’s a weekly street party to mark the end of the week, and it’s the city at its busiest and most colourful. Get on a motorbike, get an ice cream and get moving (very slowly in a lot of traffic).

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— Photo by Dominic Blewett

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STREET FOOD We recently ran a poll on our website inviting readers to vote for their favourite thing about Hanoi. Well, it’s probably no surprise to discover that street food was the stand-out winner, attracting a startling 98.8 percent of the votes. Hanoi’s concrete cuisine clearly needs no introduction, you’re already won over. But have you ever actually tried making it yourself? Door To My Kitchen food blogger Chi Anh Dao guides you through her own twist on a street food classic.


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Sauteed beef with Vermicelli Long before I knew what the Hanoi food scene was like, I had already been enjoying this signature Hanoi street food dish at home as a kid. The name of this dish is quite ironic, because ‘Nam Bo’ means southern, and to my disappointment, I could never find this dish in Ho Chi Minh City! My mom would often make this on weekends and let me participate in many steps of the preparation, from chopping fresh herbs to crushing peanuts (I have very vivid memories of crushing the peanuts with a bottle of mineral water as we did not have a pestle and mortar or a rolling pin). And when it came to the part of sautéing the beef, I would always be standing close beside her to try the first slice of juicy beef fresh off the skillet to see if it tasted ‘right’. Of course it always did. Then came my favourite step: assembly. First into the bowl goes the bouncy vermicelli (the dried noodles are no comparison to the fresh ones you can get at the market), then the tender, juicy sautéed beef, together with fresh fragrant herbs, bean sprouts and crunchy peanuts. Finally, we top it all with the sweet and sour nuoc cham dressing (a concoction of vinegar, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and plenty of garlic). Then it’s mix and mash-up time, we coat every strain of vermicelli with the zingy dressing and distribute the herbs and peanuts to have every type of texture in one mouthful. One bowl is never enough! Nowadays I occasionally enjoy Bun Bo Nam Bo on Hang Dieu (Bun Bo heaven), but nothing beats the fun and excitement of making Bun Bo fresh at home with your family or friends. It’s also great for entertaining guests at home if you don’t want to sweat over your meals and have everyone help with the preparation.


400g stir-fry beef thinly sliced (choose lean and tender parts) 200g peanuts (unroasted, with skin on) 300g bean sprouts 1.2kg fresh rice noodles / vermicelli 12-15 bulbs shallots, thinly sliced, deep fried and drained on kitchen paper Fresh herbs — one big bunch of coriander, one big bunch of shiso or other fragrant herb, chopped Juice of a lime 5 cloves garlic to marinade beef, 3 cloves for the nuoc cham dressing, and 2 cloves to sauté with beef Vegetable oil for sautéing For Nuoc Cham dressing Good quality Vietnamese fish sauce 1 tsp rice vinegar Sugar Salt and pepper to taste

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Mix the beef with crushed garlic and a teaspoon of vegetable oil, then add salt and pepper to taste. Let the beef marinate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the other ingredients. Add bean sprouts to the boiling water for ten seconds then put aside in a colander. On street food stalls you would probably eat raw bean sprouts but you can ask them to blanch them for hygienic purposes. Roast the peanuts on a skillet under a low flame for about 15 minutes, until the skin is brown and fragrant. Remove the skin by rubbing over the peanuts with a sheet of newspaper. Finely crush the peanuts with a pestle & mortar or use a rolling pin to crush the peanuts on a chopping board. Prepare the dressing (nuoc cham). Add about four rice bowls of drinking water into a big bowl, add the crushed garlic, then mix in half a bowl of fish sauce, two tablespoons of sugar, the juice of one lime and one teaspoon of vinegar. Stir and taste as you go, and adjust accordingly to taste (if too salty, add water; if too sour, add sugar; if too sweet, add lime juice). You should hit the right balance between sour, sweet and savoury. Don’t rush through this process because it is the deciding factor of a good, lip-smacking bowl of Bun Bo Nam Bo. Heat a wok or sauté pan on high heat. When the oil is very hot (and starts to smoke), add the crushed garlic. Let it sizzle for a minute, then add the beef. Stir the beef quickly in the pan to make sure all pieces come into contact with the pan. Once the beef turns from pink to light brown (about two to three minutes later), remove from heat immediately. Speed is of the essence during this step as the meat toughens as it cooks on the heat. Divide the rice noodles into the bowls. Spoon beef and its juice over the noodles, then garnish with herbs, bean sprouts, peanuts and fried shallots. Scoop a ladle of nuoc cham dressing over the bowl before serving. Make sure you serve while the beef is still hot for the best texture and flavour.


BANH MY TRUNG — Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

When Vietnamese girls are pontificating about potential future spouses, it’s common for them to suggest that a man whose father is rich would be the most suitable husband. But they also say that he should have a house facing the street. And the reason for this? Well, according to the fairer sex, it’s because they can potentially earn good money by renting out the ground floor of the house (and the space in front of it) as a tea stall. There are probably more tea stalls on the streets of Hanoi than there are tea leaves in a tea plantation; the plastic furniture, the trees that are doubling up as shelving units, the plastic stools and of course the sunflower seeds. It might not be the place to find a husband, but it’s certainly the place to talk about one. June 2012 Word | 53





— Photo by Aaron Joel Santos They pop up on every street corner and greet you with a grump or a smile. “Motorbike, you,” or “You, you,” they call, sometimes interspersed with a dog whistle or two. “I’m here,” they’re saying. “Ride with me! Let me take you to your destination! I know you want to get there. And I don’t mind telling you that again, again and again! And again!” Love 'em or hate 'em, these breakers of the peace, the noble xe om are the lifeblood of this city. They are the motorbike taxis that take us from A to much more than just B. Without them we would be lost. This is xe om city. And we should be proud of it.




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YELLOW BUILDINGS — Photo by Aaron Joel Santos Pagoda yellow, you are the colour of Hanoi. So don’t let the developers drive you away. As the old fairy tale goes: Yellow, yellow, on the wall, Who’s the fairest of them all?

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Much of it is going, those crumbling stone walls, painted wooden shutters, wedding-cake decorated villas and mansions. But much is staying and being restored. The legacy of the French gives this city its ambiance, its unique, Asian but European feel. Long may it stay that way. Hanoi would not be Hanoi without its architecture.

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— Photo by Dominic Blewett

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HANOI (AND COMING BACK) No. 77 LEAVING How many times have you left Hanoi in anger, desperate to put this frustrating yet charming city behind you? And yet for every moment of irritation, for every departure made under a darkening cloud, how many other times have you left this city with regret or with a sense that you are leaving someone or something behind? Let’s face it. Living in Hanoi is not an easy affair. No matter how much we fall in love, with its bad traffic, creaking roots, age-old traditions and dusty chaos, we always need to get out, to have a break, to reassess and look beyond. Leave Hanoi. Recuperate and recycle yourself. Rid yourself of all that love and hate. You know you’ll come back. It’s one of those places that once smitten, remains forever etched on the soul


TAILORING — Photo by Dominic Blewett “My tailor is amazing” - Sh*t Expats Say In Hanoi

Think the name Donald Berger and you can associate this restaurateur with many a Hanoi nuance. Take, for example, probably the best gourmet pizzas in this city. Then, of course, there are all those Cuban cigars and the moreish oysters he often hand-carries in from Hong Kong. But if there’s one accolade that really sets the king of ham ‘bergers’ apart, it’s his role in popularising Chilean wine in Hanoi. He didn’t do it single-handed — certainly not. But through wine tastings, wine dinners and showing how, when it comes to price versus quality, Chilean vino is in a league of its own, he helped to bring this South American product to this South-East Asian clime. He also has a pet Dalmatian called Batman.

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— Photo by Aaron Joel Santos

There was a time when the non-traditional local music scene consisted of a Vietnamese pop diva performance in a theatre or nightclub, another ill-thought out orchestral symphony at the Opera House or a night out at Minh’s Jazz Club. It was dull, uneventful stuff. It’s taken 10 years. But how that has changed. CAMA, their festivals and their individual gigs are just the tip — their offbeat, leftfield performances from overseas bands and DJs have now become commonplace. Hanoi Rock City has come on board, providing venue, attitude and more, as have Synergy, the metal and rock of Ngu Cung and their contemporaries, the beat boxers and rap artists, the DJs, the composers and off-the-wall musicians, the cultural centres with their cultural fare, the branded MTV or Tiger Beer concerts and the non-branded, experimental Soundstuff. All in just 10 years. Ten very short years. We now have a scene to be proud of. It’s not yet something that is being talked about the world over. But a seed is growing here and has already sprouted roots. Nurture it and it might just turn into something a little special.

Hanoi is bursting with people, groups and organisations keen to make their mark on the city's creative landscape. In a list which could be as long as a wise-man’s beard, just some of those adding colour to the palette are L’espace, the Goethe Institute, the Japan Foundation, DocLab, In:Act, Nha San, Future Shorts, The Onion Cellar, Pecha Kucha, Noi Ha Noi, Art Vietnam… and by the time this goes to print, there will probably be at least ten more.


CAMA FESTIVAL — Photo by Aidan Dockery / Provide by CAMA

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ONLINE COMMUNITY No. 90 THE Yes we've got the internet and we're not afraid use to it (for the most part). From the insights of bloggers like The City that Never Sleeps In, Hanoi Ink, Our Man in Hanoi, Door to My Kitchen and Sticky Rice to the titillating Tweets of @thecomicalhat, @HanoiGrapevine, @ RidicAlice, @missgillypants, @pechakucha, @ brownmariannes, Hanoi has got its hands busy on the keyboard (or hand held touch screen devices). Also, the YouTube sensations of Oi Gioi Oi and Sh*t Expats in Hanoi Say are by no means one-time-watches and in no time at all are sure to be timeless classics.

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No. 97 NGOs Vietnam is no longer a ‘poor’ country, a nation steeped in poverty. Classified as middle income, much of the once plentiful overseas aid has dried up. But while the source of the funding may have changed, together with the scope, the work of the NGOs continues on. A quick look at the VUFO-NGO resource centre website ( shows how NGOs, both local and international, continue to proliferate. Jobs, news, NGO listings, resources, events and more. It’s all here, like a mini community.


DRAGON No. 98 BLUE Michael Brosowski started informally helping street kids in Hanoi almost 10 years ago with free English lessons. By 2004, Michael had quit his job as a university teacher and Blue Dragon was an official organisation. Today, the NGO is on the verge of opening its biggest ever centre to meet the huge demand for their services. Douglas Pyper caught up with Michael to find out how he has made Blue Dragon so successful.

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What was the straw that broke the camel’s back to push you to quit your job and put all of your savings into Blue Dragon? It was pretty scary but there were just kids coming all the time. I’d get home from work and there would be kids hanging around in the alley near where I lived. I don’t think there was one straw, but definitely the constant stream of kids coming along and asking for help — that was what caused it.


Why were they coming to you? Really there was no-one else. There was no-one else and there is no-one else that I’ve ever found out about who was saying, “come on over here, and we’ll get you a meal, and help you get some classes, or get you some clothes, or whatever you need.” I guess they didn’t have a lot of choice.


Since then Blue Dragon has been expanding all the time. Does it still survive purely on funding? Yes, and we always will. The idea of becoming self-sustaining has become really popular, but we work with little children. You can’t do anything to make them generate an income to support your organisation. We really rely on donations and grants.

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How do you avoid donor fatigue? In Hanoi we’re really concerned about that. You might notice that we don’t do any fundraising of our own in the city. [One] reason we don’t want to go out publicly asking for money is that we feel that Vietnamese NGOs need to be able to do that. We can ask someone in Australia to donate, but a local orphanage can’t, so we’re trying not to compete with them. Something like 90 percent [of the funding] is coming from abroad.



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The range of programmes at Blue Dragon seems

very comprehensive and far reaching, what is the core of the organisation’s approach to social care? Education. Whether we’re rescuing a child out of trafficking, or finding a child who has run away from home and is living on the streets of Hanoi, the key common element is that they are out of school, and to go back to school they need a lot of short term and possibly long term intervention. In a relatively short period of time Blue Dragon has gone from organising free English classes to rescuing teenagers from traffickers. Have you ever felt out of your depth? No, because every single kid is different. For the sake of explaining what we do, we create a programme with a certain structure, but in a way it’s all the same — “what does this kid need to change their life?” That’s probably one of the things that has helped us to get good results — that we accept that every kid that we work with is very different, with different needs and different wishes for the future. Is it difficult to get highly skilled, competent staff on fairly low wages? We are permanently understaffed. One reason is that no-one else is doing the same work that we are doing, so we can’t just advertise and recruit someone with two years’ experience of rescuing kids out of factories. We’ve got a lot of staff who’ve been with us for four, five, six years. They’re committed to the cause. And because there aren’t a lot of other organisations working like Blue Dragon anywhere in the country, the staff are thinking, “I love doing this social work and individual case work like this, and I can only do it here”. What does the future hold for Blue Dragon? We want to extend our reach out onto the streets and at the same time we’re looking at developing our anti-trafficking work. There are lots of organisations that do anti-trafficking, so we have to look at what’s being done and ask ourselves what can we do that will help this whole field. We’ve done a couple of really successful rescue trips into China with the Ministry of Public Security. No-one else is doing that, so we’re thinking, “can this become a model to get girls out of brothels?” Big challenge Yeah, or a big opportunity.

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Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?


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Pride Yau Bee Ling

Night in Venice Chin Kong Yee


CITY OF ART A trip to Kuala Lumpur need not be focused on Chinatown, The Petronas Towers and the Golden Triangle. This is a city with a booming art scene. Rachel Jenagaratnam speaks to the industry insiders and discovers that there are only more exciting times ahead

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irst thoughts on Kuala Lumpur usually steer towards the city’s record-breaking twin towers and its street food. But the city’s more recent developments see its cultural side stealing the limelight. Things are a far cry from what they were even 10 years ago, with young fine art graduates now finding themselves on fertile ground to hone their craft, gallerists busy plying their trade, and collectors and the general public enjoying lots of great art. So just what is KL’s art scene like? “Malaysia is a multi-racial society, therefore the diversity makes for good ingredients in terms of aesthetics and histories,” argues Nazli Aziz of Galeri Chandan (www. His gallery is one of those to have popped up in the last few years, and he’s benefitted from the changing currents. “Commercially, I would say that it is ‘healthy’,” he adds. “There is a much broader appreciation of art, the market is evolving well, and art is now beginning to be traded and validated in the secondary market. This is a good foundation for growth.” Other gallery owners also note the positive changes in the industry. “It has been an exhilarating time for the

industry as we have seen many positive developments over the last decade,” says gallery owner Lim Wei-Ling. “[We’ve seen the] introduction of more discerning collectors and a growing number of artists who refuse to compromise on their art for the sake of commercialism.” Running Wei-Ling Gallery and Wei-Ling Contemporary (www., Lim boasts almost a decade’s worth of experience both supporting and promoting contemporary Malaysian art.

Serious Business Things getting more serious means that contemporary artists in KL have begun to elevate their practice — the business side included — to a more sophisticated level too, she says. “Most of the artists I work with only produce 12 to 15 pieces over a course of two years. More often than not, there are not enough works for collectors as there is not enough supply to meet the demand. As a result, prices of artworks have appreciated significantly over the last six years.” Still, prices in KL are still fairly reasonable compared to contemporary art from China or India, for instance. Works by emerging artists

cost from RM1,800 to RM12,000 (VND12 million to VND80 million), but ballpark figures for senior artists will set you back RM20,000 to RM150,000 (VND135 million to VND1 billion) — sometimes much more. And you’ll be spoilt for choice over where to go for your purchase, as Bayu Utomo Radjikin points out. Galleries have been mushrooming over the city. “I think KL’s art scene has been very vibrant for the last five to ten years,” he observes. He’s in the right place to comment. An established artist himself, Bayu helms the art space HOM (houseofmatahati.blogspot. com) in Ampang, a surburb of KL. “It’s more exciting today and the audiences are more curious too,” he adds, going back to the simple calculation that more galleries mean more artists and more exhibitions. “You need that buzz,” he concludes. At HOM, the key to their programmes is nurturing young artists, and the gallery is also big on exchange — they have three residency programmes, including the Open Residency, which allows any artist to set up camp at their studios for a specific period. To date, they’ve hosted artists from Brazil and Latvia, while artists from Indonesia and the

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Blueprint Artist Book II: Anurendra Jegadeva

Philippines have been part of their regional residency called SAGE. But it’s not just the galleries and their stable of artists who are enriching the local art scene. Recent developments have also come by way of new events that add colour and clout to the industry, the very sort it needs to capture international attention. The art fair Art Expo Malaysia takes place annually around the end of October and attracts international galleries, eager to have a share of the pie that is the advancing art market here. And to boot, the Malaysian government has been marketing contemporary art as a tourism product through its annual 1Malaysia Contemporary Art Tourism Festival — advertisements for the festival have been spotted as far away as Europe. Local aficionados, however, have had their eyes and ears peeled to developments at home, especially the pounding of hammers at Henry Butcher Art Auction Malaysia. Its third installment was just this May, and this year’s outing garnered a standing-roomonly crowd and eager bidding that totalled RM4million in sales (about VND27.3 billion) and a RM797,500 (VND5.45 billion) hammer sale for the late Malaysian artist Ibrahim

INFORMATION GETTING THERE AirAsia offers cheap flights to and from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Kuala Lumpur. Go to Return flights can be bought for as little as VND2.5 million. Alternatively, return flights with Malaysia Airlines ( start at just under VND5 million. Kuala Lumpur acts as a great hub for travelling onto other locations in the region. ACCOMMODATION Check out the following websites:

Wei Ling Gallery, Brickfields Hussein’s abstract painting Red, Orange and Core (1984). So clearly, big bucks — or make that Ringgit — are at stake here. In fact, forecasts are so promising that the auctioneers have even decided to make their auction a twice-yearly affair.

Altered Perspectives The marked boom in KL’s art scene has undoubtedly changed things. There are now art events or openings every other day of the week, and those in the industry remark that it’s sometimes a struggle to attend them all; it’s not unknown for someone to squeeze in two or three openings in a single night, just to stay in the loop. But one big problem remains — Joe Public isn’t exactly struggling to attend these events himself. The notion of art appreciation isn’t nationwide (KL remains the hub, with its northern counterpart, Penang quickly catching up), and the average individual will still struggle to name five Malaysian artists off the cuff. In short, the old adage that art is only for the one percent remains.

House of MATAHATI's SAGE Residency artists Working against this problem are two salient individuals on the art scene, Nani Kahar and Peter Kiernan. The architects behind labDNA, they have been the creative and conceptual brains behind landmark art spaces in the city. Their first project from 2007, Annexe Gallery, made great headway in terms of altering the city’s cultural landscape, as well as rejuvenating a part of KL’s city centre that had a rep for being a little rough around the edges. “We’re more interested in creating social spaces,” argues Peter, now busy with Nani spearheading creative matters at Publika (, KL’s latest retail and commercial development. Publika is unique in that art and culture are central to its blueprints, and it’s already made a discernable difference to the city’s cultural landscape in the short time that it’s been around; they run a busy schedule that balances events from all across the cultural spectrum (so it’s not just the visual arts), and they have also secured a high number of art tenants for the development; art galleries

like Segaris, RA Fine Arts, and even Nazli’s aforementioned gallery have all set up base here, the latter two abandoning previous spots elsewhere in KL. Publika knows that their main audience is the general public, so public art here is a priority. There are artist-designed murals within the actual retail space, installation art in the mall, and even artworks that were made from the construction site’s electrical spools around the development. Theirs is a bona fide case of ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’, and just how close have they brought art to the people? Very, as even the public toilets here feature specially-commissioned artworks. Peter and Nani speak about their efforts being firmly rooted in the principles of egalitarianism, and they argue that it’s about “adjusting eyes” and getting the public attuned to art’s many possibilities. Arguably, theirs is a slow but pertinent revolution, but with so much optimism in their voices, it’s safe to say that KL is experiencing great shifts in its art scene. And with all the good people in the industry, it’s also safe to say that KL’s art scene has the prospect of an even more exciting future.

WHAT'S ON To find out what's going on in the KL arts scene, check out the following websites: TIME OUT KUALA LUMPUR ARTS SECTION THE KUALA LUMPUR PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE VISON KL EXPAT KL (click on the events link)

The Black Box at Publika




NGUYEN TRINH THI Kaitlin Rees chats to the founder of DocLab, documentary filmmaker and video artist. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos


or Nguyen Trinh Thi, much of her life as a documentary filmmaker and video artist has been a negotiation of form. After years of studying journalism, international development and public policy in the United States, Thi discovered film and felt it click. Here was a medium, documentary, that told a story as well as fit into her interests in visual art. And yet, never quite at home in the film industry while abroad, it was only when Thi returned to Hanoi in 2007 that things started to take shape. Falling in step with the Nha San group of experimental artists, over time her films became more and more experimental, though her interests in the narrative aspects of documentary filmmaking held. Thi knew she wanted to make documentaries but “when I came back here, I found that there was not really any community for this kind of thing.” And where community is lacking, it must be built.

Building the Community So in 2009, after two years of small group meetings and screenings, Thi opened DocLab. The foundations for DocLab rest upon Thi’s ideas about her own work, which strives to bridge the abstract elements of experimental, performance, installation and video art with the narrative structures of documentary filmmaking.

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DocLab is very much a lab. It’s a space that offers education and training through workshops and courses with room for experimentation. With courses limited to 10 students, quality and personal attention for each student is high. Because of this, the selection process is fairly rigorous: a full week of screenings of a range of films, essays, conversations, and some tests of visual ability. Once in, the work is equally demanding and rewarding. Thi’s sincere focus on each individual student is really an investment in the future of the independent film community in Hanoi as a whole. She hopes her students “discover something about themselves and their abilities. This way, there is a better chance that they will stay committed.” After two-and-a-half years of operation, the lab that encourages independent thinking and personal exploration is starting to run itself. Thi is organizing new programmes, bringing in outsiders and continuing to build bridges to the art world. She is also getting back to her own work, which is increasingly focused on the artists of previous generations. “I have realised that we really have a huge disconnection with the past, with history… The facts [of the past] give me a lot of insight about society, its connection to and explanation of the situation today.” It sounds as if more bridge building is in the works.


Moving marginalised voices to the centre of conversation. Words by Kaitlin Rees. TIG OL’ BITTIES, TITS AND JUGS: A REMINDER TO MIND THEM Being the most common cancer among women, education around mammograms and self-exams has steadily improved in recent years. Let the fact sheet below be a simple reminder to mind your mammaries. What: A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast consisting of two pictures

per breast, one top view and one profile. A self-exam consists of simple steps that can be done at home: a visual and physical inspection of the breasts for any abnormalities, changes, unexpected fluids or lumps. Who: Women 40 years old and above. If breast cancer

runs in the family, starting earlier is recommended. Self-exams should start around the age of 30. How often: Mammograms should be done every two years. Yearly exams are recommended for women taking hormone replacement therapy or who have a family history. Self-exams should happen once every month with

mazin Lethi splits her time between the United States and Europe and has a pretty good sense of who is saying what in these parts of the world. The voices she’s listening to are those of HIV activists who raise awareness and get funding for research and treatment. However, the voices she doesn’t hear so well are those from her home country, this one. “In the Asian community, part of our culture is that we don’t tend to talk about these kinds of social and health issues,” she explains. Having started in January of this year, the Amazin Lethi Foundation is the result of one woman’s desire to get the conversation going around HIV in the public sphere. “People always ask ‘why HIV?’” she says. “But you don’t have to be HIV positive to be an HIV activist. As a woman, as an Asian woman, as a body builder [yes, she’s a body builder], I know what it feels like to be marginalized, I know what it feels like be discriminated against.” It’s this social stigma attached to HIV that the Amazin Lethi Foundation targets, through programmes that reintegrate displaced individuals back into their communities, provide sustainable income generation projects, and offer activities for children with HIV to just be children. “Initially, for me, it was all about awareness and starting this conversation in the public domain to talk openly about HIV and break the social stigmatization,” she says. “And the more I delved into it, I realised that HIV is the focal point, but there are so many issues surrounding it.” In addressing HIV, the foundation is addressing other communities who are often silenced as well. Lethi has her eyes on issues such as gender inequality, human trafficking and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Her goal for the foundation is for it to expand across Asia in the next ten or 20 years, and draw more mass media attention to this part of the world. If you’d like to contribute to the conversation and support Amazin in her work in Vietnam, visit

attention to any changes. Where: VinMec International Hospital 458 Minh Khai, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3974 3556 The French Hospital 1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da Tel: 3577 1100 AmTic Clinic 11 & 21 Phan Chu Trinh,

Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 2456 How Much: Mammograms alone cost around VND2.5 million. Mammograms with ultrasounds cost around VND4.3 million. Why: Early detection seriously reduces the rate of mortality. And we should really be worshipping our boobs anyway.

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Breadward Banh-My-Hands Words by Phillip Turo. Photos by Dominic Blewett


espite Hanoi’s tourism industry relying on a heavy dose of French Indochinese nostalgia, there’s precious little in the way of authentic French eateries in this town — a French business name is often nothing but a flag of convenience for generic western food targeted at tourists. The hope is to score something that at least vaguely resembles the taste of home. St. Honore have managed to avoid this trap. They’ve replaced one generic sounding French name — Maison Vanille, the former business that stood on the same site — with something a little more culturally subtle. St. Honore is in fact the name for the French patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs, and it’s no accident that when arriving you’re greeted by the homely aroma of freshly baked breads and pastries; and what a selection. St Honore’s patron saint wouldn’t have felt out of place in this veritable temple to the gods of baked goods. St. Honore is a smart refit of the building that used to hold the first iteration of The Vine. A classically cool exterior gives way to a warming combination of reds and golden yellow. The downstairs can be a little crowded with the tables on the banquette feeling a bit cramped, but combined with the steady flow of customers dropping in for pastries there’s no doubting it’s got some charm and makes a welcome change to many Hanoi restaurants that seem to excel in all the enthusiasm and vibrancy of a morgue.


filling holding nubby bits of ham. The pastry was fantastically moist, making a change from some of the sawdust textured excuses for crusts I’ve experienced in the city. Another French classic is the vol au vent chicken, which once again excelled. Great baking and a gorgeous velvety cream sauce held a perfect mushroom-chicken concoction, an ideal snack and one I’d return for (VND85,000). Darting across the Mediterranean for a spot of greenery, I couldn’t resist the taboule salad (VND115,000). I was surprised to see it was the most expensive individual item I’d chosen, but realised it was probably due to the huge amount of lemons used. One at least was used solely to decorate the border of the sparkling emerald salad, with ruby spots of tomato highlighted in what seemed acres of finely chopped, curly parsley and mint. The salad screamed freshness and made a nice contrast to some of the more dairy based dishes. Zinging with lemon juice, this felt like a real health pick-me-up and a nice break from the Asian salad-herb flavours. Finally I concluded with an innocuous looking apple tart (VND35,000) that proved a stunningly good conclusion to the meal, its crisp apple topping revealing an under layer of crème Anglais. Top work. St. Honore, 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3933 2355

An Honourable Exception In a quest to find tasty French fare, our mystery mangeur checks in at one of West Lake’s busiest boulangeries. Photos by Dominic Blewett

Not Just for Francophones Having been hooked on the visit by the promise of French food, I was slightly disappointed that it appeared discretion had been the better part of valour in terms of the menu. Francophone favourites nestle up against their Latinate neighbours such as spaghetti Bolognaise, Andalusian gazpacho and paninis. French I’d come for and French I’d have.

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With a fixation on all things Gallic, I went for the French onion soup for starters (VND75,000). This is a surprisingly easy dish to completely destroy, and although there was a hint the onions might have been on the verge of burning, the attractive, big bowl was happily complimented by a lavishly gooey slice of toasted baguette lying half submerged on the surface. Good, but a hint more seasoning would have been nice. I’d been a bit random on the selection of another dish. I’d spotted the ham but had forgotten that persille was parsley (and the menu only had a Vietnamese translation), so a gelatine coated cube with suspended parsley and ham proved a bit of a shock (Jambon Persille VND95,000). Being someone who generally dispenses of even the thinnest sliver of fat found on low-cost ham slices, I made the best of my poor choice and enjoyed the rather bizarre combination of salty jelly with the sweet balsamic and crunch of the artfully curved, wafer thin fresh bread garnish.

It’s a Classic That done, I moved onto the old favourite of Quiche Lorraine (VND105,000). This was just what places like St. Honore are about — classics done well, the eggy custard

Food, Decor and Service are each rated on a scale of 0 to 15. 13 — 15 extraordinary to perfection 10 — 12.5 very good to excellent 8 — 9.5 good to very good 5 — 7.5 fair to good 0 — 4.5 poor to fair The Word reviews anonymously and pays for all meals


11 9 10 FOOD



Prologue A dark night. Snow is falling. A little girl lies in bed, dwarfed by its size. “Where does snow come from?” she asks her Grandma. “Well dear,” rasps Grandma, settling herself into an armchair. “I suppose it all begins with bread.” “Bread?” “Bread. And an inventor, who made a man who was incomplete and alone.” “Did the man have a name?” asked the little girl. “Yes dear.” Grandma looked out the window at the falling snow. “His name was Breadward.”

Act 1, Scene 1 Aerial shot: a city street, all the houses are painted yellow, street vendors are dotted here and there. A woman wearing a conical hat, Phuong, is selling things door-to-door. She drives through the wrought iron gates of an old mansion, gets out of her car and walks through an area of immense, doughy sculptures — dragons, centipedes and angels among them. “Oh my!” she exclaims. “How beautiful!” Phuong enters the house. Rays of sunlight that slice into the deep shadows reveal machinery and vast ovens. The floor is covered with a thick layer of flour. She senses a movement. “Hello? Is anybody there?” She climbs the staircase and enters the top level of the building. It’s unfurnished except for a bed, and the roof has fallen in in places. She sees a figure crouched in the corner. There’s a dull, rubbing sound. “Why are you hiding over there?” The figure stands, moves towards her. Phuong gasps as he moves into the light. He’s pale and bedraggled, and his face is decorated with lines of orange and brown stuff. His hands, outstretched, are made of ten slim banh my que. “Oh my! What happened to you?” Breadward waggles his fingers and says,

“I’m not finished.” “Oh you poor thing!” exclaims Phuong. “You’re coming home with me.”

Act 1, Scene 2 Phuong gives Breadward her daughter’s bedroom. He sees a photo of the girl – blond, beautiful. “That’s Quynh,” says Phuong. Breadward smiles, touches the picture with a finger, leaves a scrap of dried onion behind. Phuong’s husband, Bich, and their son, Tuan Anh, return home. Over dinner, Breadward struggles with the food, turns all into bread. Eventually he eats a few of his fingers, smiling anxiously at the family. He offers them a taste. “Delicious! So warm! And the mixture of pate, chilli, dried onion and coriander is just divine!” His fingers grow back before their eyes, as they always have.

Act 1, Scene 3 The next day, Bich is relaxing in the garden. Breadward runs his fingers over the hedge, trailing sprigs of coriander through the leaves, and then… “Oh Breadward!” says Phuong as she emerges from the house. “You made croutons!” … whrrr… shame on you for buying a cheap DVD… it’s broken down… you miss Scene 4… whrrr…

Act 1, Scene 5 The family have a barbecue. Breadward proves to be a hit, turning all manner of things into pastries. In the evening, when all the guests have left, Breadward stands alone in the garden. He walks over to a fan and reaches into the moving blades. Inside the house, Quynh sees flakes of white land against the window. She goes outside and, arms raised above her head, dances smiling in the snow-like spray of crumbs. …s-k-k—k… the screen goes black…

download next time why don’t you? In the darkness the townsfolk have turned against Breadward, Quynh has fallen in love with him (which has angered her boyfriend, Dung), he’s had a run-in with the law, and more bread has accidentally been made (and otherwise)… whrrr…

Act 2, Scene 5 In his mansion, Breadward stands with Quynh, illuminated by moonlight. “Hold me,” she says. “I can’t.” Quynh gently places his arms around her and kisses him, whispers, “I love you. Goodbye.” Dung emerges swaying from the shadows. “I knew it!” he shrieks. He runs at Breadward and they collide. In the struggle, Breadward transforms Dung into a huge doughnut. The doughnut rolls out of a broken window and hits the ground several floors below. Jam pumps forlornly out of its flesh. The townsfolk arrive, grumbling. Quynh runs down to meet them, snatching up a handful of banh my que. She shows them these and says, “He’s dead. They killed each other. Go home all of you.”

Epilogue “So that,” says Grandma, “is the story of snow.” “Is he still alive?” asks the little girl. “I think so.” “How do you know?” “Well,” Grandma pauses, looks at the white flakes landing on the window pane. “It never snowed here before Breadward came, but now, every year, it does.” Thanks to Andrew Riley for starring as Breadward in the photo. If you’d like to read the full version, untroubled by a skipping DVD, please visit Banh My Que cost VND4,000. Phillip ate at the corner of Phuong Mai and Luong Dinh Cua, but these places are cropping up everywhere.

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ACCOUNTING & AUDITING BEVERLY INVESTMENT Room 919, Suite 8, Song Da Building, Me Tri, Tu Liem, Tel: 794 9669 Professional investment company dealing with real estate resort, hotel and senior housing projects all over the country. Working to promote sustainable development, Beverly provides good value for its partners, investors, customers and society.

TMF GROUP Unit 06-023, 6th Floor, Prime Center Building, 53 Quang Trung, Ha Dong 8th Floor, 53 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3944 9733 39A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 2660 Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC, Tel: 3910 2262 TMF is headquartered in the Netherlands, with over 100 offices in 75 countries. Provides accounting, tax and payroll services. Also specialises in helping international investors establish a presence in Vietnam. This includes services such as incorporation of companies and representative offices, opening of bank accounts, licensing and tax stamps.

KPMG 16th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 1600 Worldwide firm specialising in auditing, accounting, tax and management consulting services. Also does executive search and selection.



Business Buff 073 Destination Zero 076 Food Buff 086 Music Buff 089 Cinema Buff 094 Book Buff 098 Medical Buff 101 70 | Word June 2012

7th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem . Tel: 3946 2246 Provides business services including auditing, business and technology solutions and tax and legal consulting. Has more than ten years experience in Vietnam and works in all major industry sectors throughout the country.

THANG LONG AUDITING COMPANY 23 Tran Duy Hung, Trung Hoa, Cau Giay Tel: 4976 2055 A Vietnamese company with more than 30 representative branches outside of Hanoi, Thang Long provides a full range of services, including audit, accounting, tax, corporate secretarial and business consultancy.

TMF VIETNAM COMPANY LIMITED 2811, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Ho Chi Minh City, Tel: 3910 922 With over 3,300 professionals working out

multinational clients by combining local know-how with a worldwide network. Works to create powerful campaigns that address local market needs while still reinforcing universal brand identity.

visit for a comprehensive list of our listings STUDIO TADA


of 86 offices in 65 countries, TMF provides independent accounting and corporate secretarial services to companies worldwide. TMF is expanding rapidly throughout the world. Learn more about our unique network and our services by visiting our website.

ADVERTISING & MARKETING CRUNCHY FROG 8 Xom Chua, Tay Ho, Tel: 01283 443579 Crunchy Frog is a personable and experienced western design and branding agency. They offer high quality creative and strategic solutions to both local and global clients. Services include research, brand and marketing strategy, and design of communications materials, brand identity, packaging and websites.

GREY GROUP 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 Founded in 1917 in New York, Grey is a full spectrum global communications company offering branding, advertising, marketing, digital, and PR, with offices in 100 countries. Grey is the only agency with a specialised HoReCa team. In Vietnam, the client roster includes Nike, Vinaphone, Levis, TNT, ESPN, Bayer, Samsung Mobile, BaoViet, P&G, BAT, and 35 other top local and international brands.

LEONITO 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1459 In addition to their own clients, Leonito works in partnership with the Grey Group, a major full-spectrum marketing and communications company with offices in nearly 100 countries. Services include research, branding, activations, events and public relations.

LEONITO MARKETING CONSULTING 10 Ho Ham Long Alley, Lane 1 Au Co Street, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 1459 Leonito develops marketing campaigns & behaviour change communications strategies for commercial brands and nongovernment organizations. Services: brand development; design & printing; gifts & premiums; marketing; public relations & events. Clients include multi-national brands and NGOs.

OGILVY & MATHER 8/F Tien Phong Newspaper Building, 15 Ho Xuan Huong, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3822 3914 International marketing communications company that leverages the brands of

2nd floor, 63 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2246 0682 A small, young and elite designing and branding agency that has been working with well-known local and global brands like DMC, Hermes, Kenzo and Porsche. The company offers services in branding, event, print and digital. With a youthful, energetic and experienced team, Tada has played an important part in international graphic design and advertising projects across Vietnam and France.

RED BRAND BUILDERS Level 8, 142 Le Duan, Dong Da Working from Vietnam to Australia, the Red team creates and shapes unique brand personalities to international and local brands. The team specialises in brand consultancy and marketing, regularly sharing industry trends, news and views at their blogsite,

T&A OGILVY JVC LTD. 3rd Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 6008 T&A is a marketing services company set up in Hanoi in 1995. Since then, they’ve offered their marketing services to several large overseas companies. They also work in co-operation with WPP, a world-wide brand communications firm.

BUSINESS CONSULTING BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON, INC. Room 703, 7th Floor, MOF Project Building, No. 4, Lane 1, Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3971 9662 A US-based private consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton is one of the most notable names in the business. This firm has a long track record of assisting governments and multi-nationals in risk assessment and mission development.

DELOITTE 8 Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da, Tel: 3852 4123 One of the Big Four, this firm offers a broad range of audit, tax, consulting, risk, and financial advice to businesses. Over 182,000 employees in more than 150 countries, Deloitte serve more than 80 percent of the world's largest companies, Vietnam now being one of them.

DICKERSON KNIGHT GROUP 33A Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 2692 Established in 1991, this international firm has extensive experience in emerging markets. Their speciality is in providing advisory and training products to private sector enterprises and NGOs.

ERNST & YOUNG Daeha Business Centre, 15th Floor, 360 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh, Tel: 4831 5100 Provides a broad spectrum of services to help businesses capitalize on opportunities for growth, improve financial performance and manage risk. Works with a range of firms including private, stateowned and foreign.

T&C INVESTMENT HOLDING L3-14 Thuy Khue. Ba Dinh, Tel: 3728 0776 A well-known Vietnamese conglomerate of companies operating since 1994, T&C’s focus is on providing internationalstandard consultation to engineering and

infrastructure projects. They also provide market research consulting.

BUSINESS GROUPS AMCHAM M Floor, Business Center, Hilton Hanoi Opera, 1 Le Thanh Tong. Tel: 3934 2790 An independent association of American and international businesses, the objective of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam is to promote trade and investment between the United States and Vietnam.

AUSCHAM Room 2707, 1010 Lang Ha, Dong Da Tel: 3562 5786 ext. 107 An organisation bringing together Australian companies and individuals doing business in Vietnam, the Australian Chamber of Commerce offers advice on doing business. Also offers networking opportunities and social events.

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP OF VIETNAM 193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 0906 240159 The first foreign business group to set up in Vietnam, BBGV’s goal is to both promote the interests of its members as well as the more general interests of British business. Organises business luncheons and seminars as well as regular social and networking events.

ICHAM Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1 Thanh nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3715 2393 The Chamber has the main purpose of undertaking activities to support com-


The place to go for all things related to the arts in a city that is developing its own, vibrant contemporary arts scene. Has event calendars, event postings, blogs, addresses and contact details, and covers anything from classical music through to installations, rock concerts and more.


Provides the expat community with essential information for living and working in Hanoi including comprehensive and up-to-date events listings as well as address lists of galleries, cinemas, theatres, hotels, housing agencies, embassies and much more. Subscribe to receive their weekly newsletter.


Event photos, a what’s on calendar, restaurant and bar listings and in fact, pretty much everything you want to know about nightlife in Hanoi can be found on this popular website. Also organize regular events and parties.


The city’s best known website, The New Hanoian provides user-generated listings, reviews and event information on pretty much anything and everything in the capital. Register, create your profile, write a review and receive frequent newsletters.


The online extension of The Word, contains both content from the print edition as well as blogs, events, news, a what’s on calendar, party photos and much more. Also has downloadable PDF versions of the whole publication.

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mercial exchanges with Italy and to assist economic agents, as well as to foster the development of economic relations and cooperation among entrepreneurs of the various countries. The Chamber will not engage in commercial activities with the aim of producing profits.

LAC VIET COMPUTING CORP Hanico Building 110 Thai Thinh, Dong Da Tel: 3512 1846 Since its founding in 1994, professional services and innovative solutions has led LAC VIET to a recognized position of leadership in Vietnam. LAC VIET employs more than 400 professionals in IT services and product development. LAC VIET is a certified MicrosoftTM Gold Partner; CiscoTM Premier Reseller; Dell Distributor and Authorised Service Provider(DASP).

CCIFV Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 2229. A business group with over 240 members that supports the French business community in Vietnam by listening to their members’ needs and expectations. Also promotes Vietnam to French companies and helps them in developing their businesses here.

EUROCHAM G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 2228. A confederate organisation with strong ties to national business associations in its member countries, Eurocham looks after and provides advice and support for the business interests of European Union members in Vietnam.

NORDCHAM Suite 504, Thanh Ha Building, Linh Dam Tel: 3641 6864. Provides support to Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise and experience.

SINGAPORE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION VIETNAM Business Center, Ground Floor, Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Dong Da, Tel: 4772 0833 An association that actively fosters business relations with other business communities while promoting social, cultural, recreational, educational and charitable activities.

COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY NOI PICTURES 25/158 Ngoc Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3747 8611 Photography and film agency specialising in commercial assignments, stock photography and production services in Vietnam. Has a number of mainly overseas photographers in their books both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


REGAL PREMIUMS 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 0685 7167 Regal Premiums produces trendy corporate gifts, premiums gifts, promotional gifts and branded mass giveaway items. Professional team helps with design to fit your brand and production and logistics to fit your budget.

HOUSING & REAL ESTATE CB RICHARD ELLIS (VIETNAM) CO., LTD 6 Floor, BIDV Tower,194 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 0220 Finding the perfect accommodation to

meet your various demands in Hanoi is made simple thanks to CBRE’s residential leasing team. Our services are inclusive of site finding, travelling fees, contract negotiation and resolving any other issues which arise during the term of the lease, all of which are free of charge for the tenant.

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM 9th floor, Vinaplast, Tai Tam Building, 39A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 2220 5888 Represent property investors, developers and occupiers in all matters related to commercial and residential property. Services include leasing and sales, valuation and research, property management and support services. Attempt to accelerate the success of their clients by making their knowledge your property.

DALUVA HOME 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Thoughtfully appointed and decorated, Daluva Home features a cosy bedroom for true rest, plus open living, dining, and work areas. Extras include two LCD TVs, iPod dock, and outdoor patio. Housekeeping, and daily breakfast from the Daluva Breakfast Menu are also included. Private car and tour booking service available.


residential addresses by providing high quality architecture, residential design, interior design, commercial consultancy, marketing and branding solutions. A onestop-shop to finance, design, brand and build for the finest residential products.

VIETNAM LAND 38 Phan Boi Chau Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3787 0188 Vietnam Land was incorporated in Vietnam in 2002 as a commercial and residential real estate services, real estate property management and real estate development company. Since that time Vietnam Land has successfully developed two residential towers at the Chelsea Park project in Hanoi and a residential land sales project in Hung Yen province called Villa Park.

INSURANCE AIG Suite 5-01, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3936 1455 Offers a range of insurance products and services including property, casualty and marine exposure insurance. Also has comprehensive travel and accident coverage, as well as healthcare packages for expats residing in Vietnam.


Quang Trung Building, Room 203, 39 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0983 336336 This company can assist you in finding an apartment that meets your living and budget requirements. Though they specialise in high-end, high-rise apartments, they do have a range of options. The website contains most listings.

4th Floor, 5 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3936 5370 Emergency: 0903 732365 Specialises in medical, employee benefits and personal lines insurance advice to expatriates. The company has been operational in Vietnam since 1994 and offers free advice and comparative quotes.



40 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem UK real estate agent providing a wide range of services including property sale, lease, management, price appraisal, counselling and market research.

16th Floor, Hoa Binh International Towers, 106 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay Tel: 3755 7111 Provides a quality range of insurance services to both commercial enterprises and individuals. Coverage includes property, liability, business interruption, marine cargo, automobile, home and travel, as well as expat healthcare packages. Toll free hotline in Vietnam: 1 800 599 998.

MEGALAND 2nd Floor, 43 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 5556 Specialising in meeting housing needs of expatriates and overseas Vietnamese, Megaland offers a wide range of serviced apartments, villas and commercial spaces.

SAVILLS VIETNAM 6th floor, Sentinel Place, 41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 1300 A leading global real estate service provider listed on the London Stock Exchange with over 200 offices worldwide. Provides consultancy services, property management, space planning, facilities management, corporate real estate services, leasing, valuation and sales to the key segments of commercial, industrial, retail, residential and investment property.

TAN LONG HOUSING Moongate Building, 5th & 6th Floor, 107 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho , Tel: 3719 9864 Tan Long has been concentrating on assisting individuals in the process of buying, selling and renting property in Hanoi since 1999. They also have several branch offices, and a useful website that can help to fill residential or commercial needs.

THREE TEMPLES 73B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3747 3366 Three Temples is a full-service, design-led property development and marketing company that specialises in creating

PRUDENTIAL 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 5999 Operating in Vietnam since 1995, has over 70 customer care centers throughout the country.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI CMC Tower, Duy Tan, Cau Giay Tel: 3795 8878 International brand, Concordia, has highly performing schools in both Hong Kong and Shanghai at the top tier of the educational system. All instructors and teachers are native English speakers and admission applications are accepted throughout the year.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL 48 Lieu Giai Boulevard, Ba Dinh With schooling available for students studying at the elementary through to secondary levels of education, HIS is one of the few private, international education options in the capital. The institution offers Cambridge IGCSE and IB Diploma for students at the secondary level. Located near the Japanese Embassy.

KINDERWORLD INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra Tel: 3743 0306 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 7243 Classes are kept small with a foreign teacher leading the class with the assistance of a Vietnamese teacher according to the teacher-student ratio. KinderWorld provides pre school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years.

QSI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF HANOI #17 Lane, 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6418 With nearly four decades of experience in international education, QSI International School of Hanoi is next in the long line of ‘quality schools’ that have been established by the Quality Schools International. The institution specialises in instructing pre-school and lower elementary age students.

SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SSCHOOL 2D Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 46 Van Bao, 726 1601, Block C3, Ciputra Tel: 3758 2664 An international school with an excellent record in a host of countries around the world, now available to those in Hanoi within its salubrious surrounds in Ciputra.

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS) Ciputra International Village, Tay Ho Tel: 3758 1551 With more than 800 students from 50 different countries, UNIS is a non-profit IB World School that instructs students from as young as three years old through to grade 12. Established in 1988 by agencies representing the United Nations, the pristine campus has a broad range of facilities and is located in the gated community of Ciputra.

INVESTMENT & FINANCE DRAGON CAPITAL 11th Floor, Hanoi Lake View Bldg, 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho, Tel: 3936 0203 An integrated financial services provider with an exclusive focus on Vietnam’s capital markets. Established in 1994, the group is one of the largest and most experienced asset managers in Vietnam with total group assets in excess of US$2 billion. Has offices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and the UK.

INDOCHINA CAPITAL Floors 9-9A, 60 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3930 6399 A leading investment firm operating in the ASEAN region with a particular focus on Vietnam. Assists partners, co-investors and clients to achieve financial objectives while focusing on four core areas: corporate finance and advisory services, investment management and real estate development.


12th Floor, HAREC Building, 4A Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4888 A private equity firm which focuses on the growth equity of companies in the developing Vietnamese economy.

SG VIETFRANCE VIT Tower, 18th Floor, 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 2220 8979 The Vietnamese subsidiary of France’s Societe Generale, the company recently opened a Hanoi. This was the first financial company in Vietnam to focus entirely on consumer credit.

TOTAL WEALTH MANAGEMENT 66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City Tel: 3820 0623. TWM provides information related to inter-country personal financial planning. They will walk you through the solutions and products available and will constantly monitor and manage your portfolio through opportunity and instability in global financial markets.

VIET TIN FINANCIAL CO. 1st & 2nd Floor, 40 Pho Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3941 1566. A locally based securities and stock brokerage firm whose stated mission is to provide valued returns to partners and shareholders.

VINACAPITAL 5th Floor, Sun City Building, 13 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3936 4630 A leading investment fund management company with extensive experience in the emerging Vietnam market. Manages the Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF), which is a an investment fund currently listed on the London Stock Exchange.

LANGUAGE SCHOOLS APOLLO 67 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3943 2051 Established in 1994, Apollo offers highquality and cost-effective English language classes including general English, English for teens, English for business communication and a pronunciation clinic. One of the country’s leading language centres.

BRITISH COUNCIL 20 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho, Tel: 3728 1922 The cultural arm of the British government’s presence in Vietnam, the BC offers a variety of English language courses – business writing, corporate training and general English – in a large learning centre close to West Lake.

CLEVERLEARN Building 3, 2C Diplomatic Compound, Van Bao, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3726 1698 With two main schools in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Cleverlearn offers mainly conversational and business English courses. An authorised in iBT test site by the ETS.

LANGUAGE LINK VIETNAM 62 Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3733 8402 With four schools around Hanoi, Language Link runs international English language courses endorsed by Cambridge University. One of the top language centres in the capital.

LEGAL SERVICES ALLENS ARTHUR ROBINSON Suite 401, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3936 0990 Australian law firm working in Asia for over 30 years. Besides providing the standard legal services to corporate clients, has an excellent website containing the Vietnam Laws Online Database English translations of over 3,000 Vietnamese laws. Also publishes a monthly Vietnam Legal Update.

BAKER & MCKENZIE 13th Floor, Vietcombank Tower, 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 1428 One of the first international law firms to establish representative offices in Vietnam, Baker & McKenzie provide onthe-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating,



GETTING AHEAD Last month our guest columnist Daragh Halpin looked at the structure and content of a CV. Now onto the next stage — the cover letter. THE COVER LETTER ACCOMPANIES the CV and is an essential aspect of your marketing documents, and I use the term ‘marketing’ advisedly. These two pieces of writing (your CV and the letter) at this stage are the only marketing tools available to you. Together they will present an ‘image’ of you to your prospective employer — they will project your professionalism, your skills and abilities, your experience and value as a potential employee. Many people fail to make full use of the cover letter as a marketing tool and instead see it only as an introduction to the CV. “Dear Sir, Please see the attached CV. I look forward to hearing from you soon” is the most basic approach. While this may be an exaggerated example, it highlights how people can miss out on an invaluable opportunity to ‘sell’ themselves and get invited to that all important interview. The cover letter should be used to highlight and expand upon key aspects of your CV as they relate to the job being applied for. The letter can trumpet some of your greatest achievements and highlight elements of your work experience in a way that your CV cannot. There is no hard and fast rule as to which document an employer will read first, but the construction, content and format of one will most certainly colour the reader’s perception and opinion of the other. If the CV reads well, the cover letter should enhance this impression and add value to it and vice-versa. BOOKS AND COVERS The letter, like the CV needs to make a strong impression and requires time and thought. Commence with a strong opening.

Consider the following: Dear Sir, I wish to apply for the position of research assistant as advertised recently in the Vietnam Express newspaper. An alternative to this might be: Dear Ms Oanh (because I’ve taken the time and trouble to research the company and find out the HR manager’s name) So Dear Ms Oanh, As an internationally qualified research graduate with a masters degree in molecular biology, I believe I am ideally suited to fill the role for which you are currently recruiting. Which opening would you find more engaging and interesting? The letter needs to develop a reasoned explanation in support of your opening statement, which confirms that in your opinion you are ‘ideally suited to fill the role’. This means that your letter should also reflect the position description and the key selection criteria set out by the employer. Lift key phrases from the position description such as ‘organised’, ‘passionate’, ‘able to work under pressure’, ‘competitive’ etc., and weave them into your description of yourself and your key skills. Look at the key selection criteria and see if you can use ‘dot’ points to show how your skills match up these key selectors. Conclude your letter with a ‘thank you’ for considering the application and a wish to meet in person to discuss the position in more detail. Competitive Edge Consulting provides career coaching, interview preparation, scholarship application and a range of individual and corporate training programmes. Visit www.competitiveedgevietnam. com for more information.

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negotiating and implementing projects in the country.

FRASERS LAW COMPANY Unit 1205, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3946 1203 As the first legal firm licensed as a foreign law company in Vietnam, Frasers provides legal advice on all areas of business and commerce within the country. They provide international legal advice in a Vietnamese context, and are ranked in the top tier of international law firms practising in this jurisdiction.

FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER #05-01 International Centre, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3824 7422 This law firm works in 19 countries and is one of the world’s largest. They regularly advise large clients on international investment, banking and finance.

GIDE LOYRETTE NOUEL A.A.R.P.I. Pacific Place, Suite 505 – 507, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 2350 A leading international law firm with 24 offices worldwide including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The Vietnam offices offer their clients (companies and international institutions) high quality services which combine legal expertise and a highly commercial approach to clients’ needs, across all sectors of business law.

J&P LAW LLC Room 1204B, Floor 12, Tower B, Handi Resco Tower, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3724 5201 This Korean law firm offers international legal services and has additional branches in Ho Chi Minh City, Beijing and Ulaanbaatar. The Vietnam offices provide high-quality legal services in English, Korean, and Vietnamese across all sectors of business law.

LAWYERS ASSOCIATION OF THE CITY OF HANOI 35 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da Tel: 3835 3548 The Lawyer’s Association is a collective of Vietnamese lawyers speicialising in many fields. They can provide legal and representation services.

ROUSE LEGAL (HANOI BRANCH) 7th Floor, VIT Building, 519 Kim Ma, Dong Da Tel: 3577 0479 Rouse is an international intellectual property law firm. From HCMC and Hanoi we advise on protection and enforcement of trade marks, patents, copyright and domain names; commercial IP, IP management/strategy.

RUSSIN & VECCHI 11/F, Hanoi Central Office Bldg., Suite 1104, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Tel: 3825 1700 A financial law firm which focuses on commercial and investment matters for corporate clients. In some cases they can provide assistance to individual clients.

MANAGEMENT TRAINING BRITISH UNIVERSITY VIETNAM 193 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 7596 The first university offering prestigious UK degrees in Vietnam. Courses offered in 2010 include International Business Administration, Banking & Finance, Accounting & Finance, Marketing Management, Accounting & Business. Pre-university courses are also available.

G&H MANAGEMENT SERVICES HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: 3762 3805 A 100% foreign-invested company focusing

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on management services and consulting with in-house programs to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic-based business and management programmes.

RMIT Hanoi Resco Building, 521 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3726 1460. A leading international provider of skills training and professional staff development, RMIT offers both short and longterm courses, customised courses, and can provide for either on or off-campus clients. Known for its Business MBA which is open to both Vietnamese and overseas students.

MARKET RESEARCH CIMIGO 142 Le Duan, Dong Da. Tel: 3518 6696 Independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in Hanoi and the Asia Pacific region in general. Services include auditing and optimising research programs, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models, and assessing market opportunities.

INDOCHINA RESEARCH 7th Floor, 73 Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4661. Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina. Focus is on developing partnerships that leverage their market knowledge and on enhancing their client’s competitive position in the region.

THE NIELSEN COMPANY 3rd floor, 85 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3933 1161 . Media company offering integrated marketing and media measurement information and analytics. Offers full service capability across qualitative, quantitative, media and retail measurement for FMCGs, consumer products, finance, telecoms and more.

VINALINK 11th Floor, Lang Ha Building, 14 Lang Ha, Dong Da, Tel: 3772 4234 Specialising in online survey-based market research, Vinalink is a subcontractor for a few global market research firms, including CALEB Global and Pulse Group.

PUBLIC RELATIONS MEDIA ONE Rm 207, 40A Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3939 3966. PR company with offices both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Focuses mainly on the Telecom and IT industries, providing a range of services including events, product activation, consulting, marketing and advertising.

PIONEER COMMUNICATIONS Floor 6, 58 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3945 4398. Pioneer Communications is one of the leading agencies in providing integrated marketing and public relations solutions for businesses and organiastions in Vietnam.

TQPR Room 109, House K, 7, 2ha, Vinh Phuc Ward, Ba Dinh., Tel: 32474 028 One in a group of companies from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, the company offers international standard consultancy services and value-added

results to local, regional and global clients.

VENUS COMMUNICATIONS 4 Da Tuong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3944 7066 Well-known PR and communications company with offices in both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Offers the full range of PR, advertising and consultancy services.

RECRUITMENT & HR AON VIETNAM LIMITED 14th Floor, Vietcombank Tower, 198 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 0832 Founded in Vietnam in 1994, among other things, Aon now concentrates on human capital consulting, assisting their clients with compensation, benefit analyses and outsourcing.

HR2B Suite A6, 3rd Floor, Horison Office Center, 40 Cat Linh, Dong Da , Tel: 3736 6843 The forte of this company is placing highly talented Vietnamese and expat candidates into executive positions at medium to large companies. Rapidly growing, in the past years they’ve added Coca Cola, DHL and Prudential to their client list.

MANPOWER VIETNAM 12th Floor, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung , Tel: 3974 4574 Established in Vietnam at the beginning of 2008, Manpower is the first global recruitment company to set up locally. Offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle.

NAVIGOS GROUP Suite 1401, Vincom City Tower B, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung , Tel: 3974 3033 Adept at solving human resource challenges through excellence in matching and management talent. Has offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3826 0334 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is currently a leader in the field. Has offices in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 3A Alley, 49 Huynh Thuc Khang, Tel: 3773 7191 Established in 2000, Resident Vietnam was the first dedicated Expatriate Service Provider in Vietnam. Resident Vietnam provides full relocation and immigration management services to several multinational companies in Vietnam and ser vices the Global Mobility industry.

SANTA FE RELOCATION SERVICES Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Union Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0908 096222 Santa Fe Relocation Services offers moving, home search, pet transport, orientation and immigration services. We are proud to be the only moving company with both ISO 9001 – 14001 certification in Vietnam.

SERVICED APARTMENTS ATLANTA RESIDENCES 49 Hang Chuoi, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 0912 239085 Atlanta Residences fully serviced apartments have been created to provide a space where you can ‘feel at home’. Within walking distance from Hanoi’s Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake, this building offers a panel of 51 spacious apartments for you to choose from. The serviced apartments here offer the luxury of a hotel mixed with the peaceful comfort and privacy of your home, under one roof of course.

DALUVA HOME 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 5831 Whether traveling or on a temporary stay, Daluva can provide space & comfort. Thoughtfully appointed Daluva Homes feature a cozy bedroom for true rest, and an open living area that opens up to a terrace with plants.



95E Ly Nam De, Ba Dinh , Tel: 3936 6741 Offering both family and corporate relocation services locally and internationally, Crown prides themselves on being a kidfriendly company.

IMAGE GROUP HOUSING No 17 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 4375 A one-stop housing service that specialises in relocation, trained professionals can take care of housing rentals, short and



51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 8877 Great location in Syrena Tower on West Lake, Fraser Suites offer a tranquil repose from the busy city. Has several apartments with excellent views and provides gold-standard service.




8 Cat Linh, Dong Da, Tel: 6275 2824 The international home moving company helps make the burden of moving a lot easier. As the largest home moving company in the world, Allied Pickfords moves over 1,000 families in over 175 countries every day. Available with a full range of services — domestic moves, office moves and storage — whether you are moving within Vietnam or across the world. Inland Customs Depot Area (ICD), Pham Hung, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: 3768 5882 Asian Tigers Group is committed to its mission of moving households without disruption to family life. They also offer pre-move advice regarding customs and shipping.


long term as well as car rentals. They also have an extension showroom for furniture rental and custom furniture, making your transition as easy as possible.

SEDONA SUITES No. 96 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 0888 175 well-designed, furnished apartments and villas combining the comforts of home with the conveniences of a fine hotel.

SOMERSET GRAND HANOI 49, Hai Ba Trung, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3934 2342 Internationally-managed accommodation with personalised services and extensive facilities. 185 fully furnished apartments, car park, 24-hour reception and central location.

visit for a comprehensive list of our listings NHA TRANG 079 NORTH-EAST 079 NORTH-WEST 080 PHAN THIET / MUI NE 080 PHU QUOC 080 SAPA 080 TAM DAO 080 TRAVEL SERVICES 080



$$$ 10 Halong Road, Halong , Tel: 0333 849 009 Close to the pier and the new bridge, what this hotel lacks in character is made up for in cleanliness and comfort. There are 184 rooms priced between VND2 million and VND6 million. Other facilities include indoor pool, health club and sauna.



$$$ 8 Halong Road, Bai Chay, Halong Tel: 0333 845810, One of the many large tower-type hotels in Halong City, Halong Plaza has pretty much everything you’d expect from a 4-star hotel. 200 rooms, a bar and a restaurant that touts its seafood and barbecue.



DALAT BLUE MOON HOTEL RESORT AND SPA $$$ 4 Phan Boi Chau, Tel: 063 357 8888 Ideally situated in the centre of Dalat, this hotel has 71 rooms, all with good views, and modern amenities, including flatscreen TVs and DSL connections. Also has a heated swimming pool, gym, spa, and prices to match. CREDIT

DREAMS HOTEL $ 151 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel: 063 383 3748 The excellent value at this small private place has made it justifiably popular. You get a large room with cable TV, free breakfast and Internet access, starting from $10 per night. The staff are friendly, too. Just round the corner are bike rentals (watch those hills) and other tour facilities.



$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat , Tel: 063 382 2663 You get door-to-door service from Saigon at this budget hotel – it has links with the Sinh Cafe people and this is where their


BELOW VND630,000


VND651,000 TO VND1,680,000


VND1,701,000 TO VND3,171,000

$$$$ ABOVE VND3,171,000



bus stops. Apart from that convenience, it is a fairly basic hotel, but it’s right in the middle of town.

DANANG DANANG BEACH RESORT $$$ Son Tra, Dien Ngoc Coastal Street Hoa Hai Ward, Ngu Hanh Son, Tel: 0511 396 1800 With six different styles of villa units that offer views of the ocean, the mountains and a green of a golf course, the Danang Beach Resort is one of the most luxurious places to stay in this much overlooked city. The property also offers 33-storey twin towers housing a five-star hotel and golf courses adding up to 36 holes. CREDIT

HALONG & CAT BA BAI TU LONG ECOTOURISM RESORT $ Halong Commune, Van Don , Tel: 0333 793156 Stay in a beachside bungalow or a traditional resort-style hotel on the shores of Van Don Island. Bai Tu Long Bay is situated just up the coast from Halong City. The staff here can help you arrange tours that will offer scenery a bit different than the standard tours of Halong Bay.

BHAYA CRUISES, HALONG BAY $$$ 47 Phan Chu Trinh Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 04 3944 6777 (Sales Office) Bhaya combines oriental style with contemporary luxury, offering tours of beautiful Halong Bay aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three-night tours are available and customers have a wide range of cabin styles to choose from: standard, deluxe or royal. CREDIT

EMERAUDE CLASSIC CRUISES $$$$ Tel: 04 3934 0888 This reproduction of a 19th-century paddle steamer trawls around Halong Bay in colonial style, with onboard overnight accommodation in impeccably maintained cabins. The great food and service adds to the already beautiful setting. They also offer transfers directly from Hanoi.

$$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh. Tel: 0333 848108 Located three hours from Hanoi, the beachfront Novotel Ha Long Bay is in close proximity to major attractions such as bay cruises and local markets. Featuring 214 rooms, one restaurant, two bars and one professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, including a pool with swim-up bar overlooking the limestone bay. Ideal for business travel or family holidays.



$$$ This resort is on a private island just off of Cat Ba Island. Around VND600,000 will get you a comfortable room in a bungalow close to the beach. Fee also includes the boat ride from Cat Ba. For more information check on the web.

PEACE HOTEL $ 39 Vuon Dao, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 846009 Found just outside Halong City on Bai Chay beach, this is clean, honest accommodation for a reasonable price. Located on “Hotel Alley”, there are a lot of options here. The rooms are fairly well looked after and clean. You can usually get one for under VND400,000, but prices vary depending on the season.

PRINCES HOTEL $ Nui Ngoc, Cat Ba Island, Tel: 0313 888899 This is one of the better hotels on Cat Ba Island. Large, clean rooms with all the modern conveniences, as well as a restaurant and a popular bar. The front desk can also arrange tailor-made tours around the bay.


HAI LONG JUNKS, HALONG BAY 32 Anh Dao, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 846099 Hai Long Junks is one of the three largest cruise operators in Halong Bay. The company boasts 11 overnight cruise vessels with a total of 160 cabins and 15 traditional junks with capacities from 25-48 passengers each for day trippers,


hotels, the aircon old but clean rooms come in all shapes and sizes and have satellite TV, a fridge and a mini bar. The front-desk staff speaks English and can help sort out any travel arrangements. Rates from around VND250,000 per night.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong Tel: 0313 880 888 Located 100km east of Hanoi, the fourstar Best Western Pearl River Hotel is the only internationally branded hotel in Hai Phong. All 101 suites and rooms offer bathrobe and slippers, digital safety box, free internet access, satellite TV and 24-hour room service. Facilities include the Jade restaurant, offering western and Asian fare, several bars, a deluxe spa and fitness center with separate hot and cold Jacuzzis, sauna, steam room, relax lounge and VIP massage room.




34B Tran Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3733 0030 A building with a great location, and some of the largest apartments you’ll find. The Mayfair is popular among the diplomatic and international business communities.

providing cruise services for travelers with a mid-range budget.


$$$$ 66 Pho Ha Long, Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848999. The four-star Royal Hotel boasts villas, well-landscaped gardens and a pool, all overlooking Halong Bay. Just two minutes walk from Bai Chay, the property has a resort feel and the rooms are housed in several buildings. If you’re feeling lucky, there’s also a ‘Gaming Club’.

HAI PHONG BACH DANG HOTEL $$ 42 Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 384 2444 One of the best of the town’s best budget


$$$ 4 Tran Phu, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 382 7827 Hai Phong’s most prestigious address, this cool, retro French-colonial style property is the only international standard hotel in town. Designed with panache without being pretentious, room rates at this 122-unit property start at around VND2.5 million.



$$$ 60A Pho Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 384 2706, One of the larger hotels in town, Huu Nghi offers some of the comforts you might miss at the other places. In addition to the clean up-to-standard rooms, the hotel also has a swimming pool and tennis courts.

MAXIM HOTEL $$ 3K Ly Tu Trong, Hai Phong, Tel: 031 374 6540 New and tidy, with cable TV and airconditioning, Maxim is one of the best mini hotels in town. Rooms are small but have good modern conveniences like satellite TV and new, clean bathrooms done in designer tiles. Room rates around VND250,000 to VND300,000 a night.

MONACO HOTEL 103 Pho Dien Bien Phu, Hai Phong Tel: 031 374 6468 One of the more modern hotels on Dien Bien Phu Street, the prices here are competitive and it’s possible to request a room with a kitchen. Standards with aircon and a TV start at VND350,000 per night.

HANOI – INTERNATIONAL CROWNE PLAZA WEST HANOI $$$ Lot X7, Le Duc Tho, My Dinh, Tu Liem Tel: 6270 6688. My Dinh’s first five-star property. This 24-storey mixed-use complex lies next to My Dinh National Stadium and close to the National Convention Centre. Boasting 393 guest rooms (including 40 suites), two swimming pools and a spa and fitness centre, Crowne Plaza also has some of the best meetings and conference facilities in town. CREDIT



$$$ 360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3831 5555 This enormous structure offers the most modern of amenities, and with four restaurants and two bars, the events staff is well equipped to handle any occasion. Close to the National Convention Center, and a favourite of the business traveller, Daewoo even boasts an outdoor driving range. Shortly to become a Marriot property.

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DESTINATION Escape to the



76 | Word June 2012

Jungle Love Popular Vietnamese writer Nguyen Tuan has more than once confessed his love for the beauty and charm of this island. “How can I name the colour of the sea today? Why does it have such an unreasonable blue? Is this the colour of a young banana leaf? Or an old banana leaf? Or is it like the green colour of the young rice field?” he wrote in his book A Journal to Co To. Tuan finally gives up as “the moment you say the colour, it has changed to something different.” The island has all of the best ingredients for a dream getaway. Hong Van and Van Chay beaches are referred to as sunrise and sunset beaches, respectively. They are 20 minutes away from each other by motorbike and both offer pristine long, sandy beaches. While Hong Van has smaller waves and is great for swimming, the latter will better suit those who have a penchant for paddling and surfing. You’ll need to bring your own board, though. On Bac Van beach you can rent a local fishing boat (VND600,000 round trip) that will take you to Co To Con — a little island east of Co To that remains uninhabited. A further forty minutes around the island is the east beach of Co To Con, which has the island’s clearest water with beautiful coral and scores of starfish.

$$$ 17A Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3734 9988 A contemporary boutique hotel a stone’s throw from Hang Cot in the Old Quarter. Colonial era accents throughout and an oriental themes lobby. 32 upmarket rooms and an intimate top class restaurant make this a strong contender in an area with plenty of competition.



$$$$ 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 8877 A good alternative to staying at a five-star hotel while you’re in the capital, Fraser Suites offers short-term stays for as little as VND2.5 million a night when they’re having a promotion. In the West Lake area, you can expect the gold-standard service with a quiet atmosphere and excellent views. PHOTOS BY BUI DANG QUANG

t’s one of those blessed four-day national holidays, so thirteen of us decided to board a van and head to Co To Island — a place in the north east of Ha Long Bay that I’ve always dreamed of visiting. Our itinerary is to get to Cai Rong Wharf in Van Don City, about 50km north of Ha Long City, and take a boat from there to Co To. There is no official website about the boat schedule, but I was told by a friend who had just done the same trip that there is one fast boat (90 minutes) at 1.30pm and one slower boat (three hours) every morning. But as it’s the holiday weekend more crossings would be available. The roads out of Hanoi are crammed with long lines of cars, buses and other vehicles all trying to escape the city at the same time. After a five-hour drive we finally make it to the wharf, and are soon informed that the only fast boat has left. Owners of other boats immediately offered us carriage on their boats, and we get on one that’s ready to depart — it’s overcrowded. The light breezes, the ocean smell, the deep blue water and tiny green islands along the way make the three hours on board pass quickly, and soon our destination appears on the horizon.


$$$ 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3831 3333 This 350-room four-star set up in the heart of Hanoi’s financial district has a variety of rooms on offer, a “capital lounge” and three restaurants that serve Japanese, Chinese and international cuisine. And like you’d expect, there’s a fitness centre, night club and swimming pool, too, and even a separate spa and treatment facility for men and women. Set to the west of town, Fortuna often offers business deals on rooms and spaces to hold meetings, presentations and celebrations. CREDIT


Hoa Le and her gang of travellers escape Hanoi, forgoing the crowds of Halong Bay for the isolation of Co To Island. Photos by Bui Dang Quang


For those who aren’t beach bound, renting a motorbike is another fun way to explore Co To. It gives you the freedom to explore the green rice fields, the peaceful residential areas and the tree-lined streets. You can also test your driving skills on the hilly, rough and unpaved road that will lead you to Cau My, where you can enjoy views of the island’s most striking cliffs. Love Valley at the bottom of the hill has huge copper-coloured rocks with a surface similar to that of a fish’s scales, crafted by the water over thousands of years. A must is a ride to the mountaintop lighthouse for panoramic views of the entire island.

INFORMATION Non-Vietnamese visitors require permits to visit Co To. Visit the Quang Ninh Immigration Office’s website at or call (03) 3379 8114. To apply for permits, Mr Minh from Coto Lodge can also offer assistance and advice. Visit www.coto. vn or email him at Remember to bring your original passport and visa upon your arrival. Copies will not be accepted GETTING THERE For the fast boat contact Mr Quang on 0985 351833. For the slow boat contact Mr Huong on 0912 263597 ACCOMMODATION Coto Lodge Thanh Trung Hotel Expect to pay VND150,000 per person for a seafood meal, and between VND300,000 to VND500,000 per person per room

GOLDEN SILK BOUTIQUE HOTEL $$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 3928 6969, With 55 rooms and suites, the four-star Golden Silk Boutique Hotel, which is located in the centre of the Old Quarter, is the only hotel offering a complimentary (free!) and daily replenished minibar and snacks service in every room. Facilities include a spa with Jacuzzi, sauna and steam rooms, a comprehensive range of business amenities, the Orient restaurant, serving international and Vietnamese fare, and the Rendezvous Piano Bar with wines and cocktails. CREDIT



$$$$ 1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem , Tel: 3933 0500 Located next to the Opera House, this fivestar is not to be confused with the famed “Hanoi Hilton” that housed American POWs. Reproduction colonial architecture is matched by an elegant and spacious inside area. Has all the standard facilities of a top-end hotel as well as an attractive, courtyard pool area.



$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3733 0808 This 250-room hotel no longer boasts the sparkle of a few years ago, but nonetheless has good quality rooms with all the mod-cons and a cavernous lobby. Decent but slightly old gym area and a good outdoor pool.



$$$$ 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6282 5555 Resting just a step away from the Opera House, the hotel mixes colonial architectural accents and theatrical interior design to create a contemporary space. The first boutique five star in the heart of Hanoi, the lavish, uniquely designed 107 rooms and suites contain all the mod cons and are complimented by two restaurants, a bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.

INTERCONTINENTAL HANOI WESTLAKE $$$$ 1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 6270 8888 This stunning property built over West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort. Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable, top-end accommodation and all the mod-cons make up the mix here together with the resort’s three in-house restaurants and the Sunset Bar, a watering hole located on a thoroughfare over the lake. Great gym and health club. CREDIT




$$$$ 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3934 3343 Excellently located in central Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws plenty of business travellers and is also a popular venue for conferences and wedding receptions. State-ofthe-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make inhouse guests satisfied.

MERCURE HANOI LA GARE $$$ 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3944 7766 When your train arrives from Sapa at 5am, you will be overjoyed if your bed is just across the street from the station in one of the 102 spacious rooms at this smart hotel. A stone’s throw from both the Old Quarter and the Temple of Literature, Mercure Hanoi boasts a French brasserie, an internal courtyard, a fitness centre and a retail outlet of wine importer and distributor Da Loc. CREDIT


HANOI – MID-RANGE 6 ON SIXTEEN 16 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Another boutique hotel to grace Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the six rooms here mix contemporary and fresh with handicrafts and antique. Breakfast is included and in the long, lounge restaurant on the second floor, home-style Vietnamese fare is served up with fresh fruit juices and Lavazza coffee.

GIABAO HANOI & GIABAO GRAND $$$ 38 & 23 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 2222 Two mid-range hotels situated in the heart of Hanoi,just 150 meters from Hoan Kiem Lake. Built using a blend of western and oriental architecture, the properties have 28 and 35 rooms respectively, all with mod-cons. For a bit more luxury stay at the Giabao Grand. CREDIT



$$ 32 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8583 The interesting arty decor of this place is a bonus, as is its value for money – it’s not often you pay under VND1 million for a modern hotel room slap bang in the middle of town. Try to get a front room (with balcony) to look out over the bustling Old Quarter. They’ve also opened a second Golden Lotus just down the street at number 39.



$$$$ 83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3822 2800 With its distinctive French architecture and top end service, Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is aimed squarely at corporate travellers. An all-day restaurant and a lounge bar are available to satiate their clientele while the kinetic gym and wellness studio offer an excellent range of equipment. Massage and sauna facilities are available for guests seeking to rejuvenate. Of the 154 well-appointed rooms and suites, 93 are non-smoking.

$$ 38 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 8500 One of the only hotels in the Old Quarter to have a balcony with each room, this new boutique is middle of the range but feels higher. Run by Australian expats and partners with a wealth of experience in the hotel industry, expect great service. Awesome western breakfasts and Vietnamese lunch and dinners. The top floor honeymoon suite has perfect views of St Josephs Cathedral.


$$ 5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1048, Just to the side of St. Joseph’s Cathedral, this is a well-appointed, comfortable boutique hotel. Brightly decorated, the property’s 10 rooms have Wi-Fi, flatscreen TV and a mini bar. Prices start at VND650,000 a night. No smoking except for on the upstairs balconies.



$$$$ K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 9000 Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and tranquil courtyards, this peaceful property features picturesque views of West Lake and is less than 10 minutes from downtown. In addition to the luxurious rooms, the hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool and great relaxation and fitness facilities, including a tennis court and spa. There are well equipped conference rooms and a newly refurbished Executive Club Lounge.

SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI $$$$ 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 6919 The finest hotel of the French colonial period is probably still the finest in today’s Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was) anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where the service is impeccable and the luxurious facilities complement the ambiance of a bygone era. Definitely the place to put the Comtessa up for a night. CREDIT

SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI $$$$ 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3823 8888 Boasting Hanoi’s best views of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake and the Red River, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi soars 20 storeys above the city skyline. The 5-star hotel features 317 luxurious, comfortable guestrooms with spectacular lake view or river view ranking in 7 types from Classic Room to Imperial Suite. CREDIT



MAISON D’HANOI HANOVA HOTEL $$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 04 3938 0999 Just a short walk from Hoan Kiem Lake, this boutique hotel is fitted with 33 comfortable guest rooms, 18 deluxe, and four luxurious suites. All rooms have wi-fi access, and the cozy lobby has both a gallery and a piano bar. Prices range from VND2.5 million for a guest room to VND4.5 million for a suite. CREDIT



$$$ 24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 2222 9988 Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addition to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this elegant property has 81 well-appointed rooms including four suites.

THANG LONG OPERA HOTEL $$$ 1C Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3824 4775 This hotel houses 71 spacious, comfortable rooms all equipped with high speed CREDIT

internet, bath tub and room service. They have a meeting room, which can accommodate up to 60 people, as well as a restaurant and bar downstairs.



$$$ 4 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3934 1256 A mid-size boutique hotel with a prime location, Zephyr offers a range of packages and special offers on rooms that are clean and stylish. The lobby boasts a coffee house and restaurant with both Asian and Western Cuisine.



$$ 44 Hang Giay, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3824 3667 Basic rooms and friendly service at this well-known hotel. One of six properties of the same name in Hanoi, internet terminals are located in the lobby, and the property also offers a host of tour itineraries. Rooms vary in price from VND500,000 to VND700,000. Some of their other locations are more budget-friendly.

HANOI BACKBACKER’S HOSTEL $ 48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 5372 Probably the cheapest, European-style hostel in town, with bunk-style beds mixed or single-sex dorms starting at VND150,000, plus a couple of double suites from VND250,000. A place to meet like-minded fold in the Old Quarter.

HONG NGOC HOTEL $$$ 34 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 5053 With four locations right in the Old Quarter, this is a good option close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Friendly staff can help you with any detail like renting a car, motorbike, or bicycle. Rooms are compact, with small but clean bathrooms, and all have the quality amenities of a proper hotel. Either ADSL or Wi-Fi connections available. Some of the locations include sauna, steam bath and fitness facilities



$ 58 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3928 8648 Spacious rooms with ADSL broadband connections starting at around VND600,000 a night. The rooms at the front are more expensive, and breakfast is included. The staff speak good English and are very helpful. Has a number of sister hotels in town, two of which are located next to the cathedral. The third is on Tue Tinh, close to Lenin Park. Check the website for details.



$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1 , Tel: 3823 4999 The only hotel in Vietnam to make the Robb Report’s 2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels. Facilities include the popular ninth-floor Saigon Saigon bar, Nineteen and Reflections restaurants, Club Vegas for a flutter, a swimming pool seven floors up and Qi salon and spa.



$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3829 9201 Fêted in literature and film, this huge old hotel with huge old rooms stands at the absolute centre of town and is the best of the Saigon Tourist chain. Hard to beat on charm, and a favourite with tour groups, this would be one of your first choices if you wanted to impress a newcomer to the city.

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AIRLINES AIR ASIA 25 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 5351

AIR FRANCE First Floor, 1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 3484

AIR MEKONG 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 37186 399

AMERICAN AIRLINES 99 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3933 0330




$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 3920 6992 You’ll need your laptop to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi offered in every room and you’ll probably be impressed with the low price, friendly welcome and well-appointed, clean rooms. A modern oasis just a few steps from the street-level mayhem of the backpacker area.




CHINA AIRLINES 4th Floor, Opera Business Center, 6B Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 6364


G/F, Hanoi Tower, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7298

EVA AIR 2nd Floor,17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 1600

JAPAN AIRLINES 5th Floor, 63 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6693

$$$$ 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: 3520 9999 Luxury accommodation with a stylish club Lounge boasting panoramic views, as well as the finest meeting and banquet facilities in town – all designed with the savvy traveller in mind. The 21-floor tower includes 305 elegantly appointed rooms, including 18 suites and a Presidential Suite.





40 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 5362

LOT AIRLINES R402, 4th floor, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da Tel: 3577 2202

MALAYSIA AIRLINES Somerset Grand Hanoi, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 8820

SINGAPORE AIRLINES International Centre, 17 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 8888

THAI AIRWAYS 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7921


VIETNAM AIRLINES 25 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0200

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$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1. Tel: 3827 2828 Sheraton has bagged one of the best locations in town and made the most of it, with its usual mix of luxurious rooms and first-class facilities topped by an open-air restaurant 23 floors above the city. The conference and business facilities are unmatched – the enormous ballroom is just one of 17 meeting venues.

SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA $$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: 3824 1555 True class on an attractive (and historic) street, offering a mix of rooms and suites, top-notch facilities, and restaurant cuisine which can match anything in the city. Without a doubt one of the nicest places to stay in the city. CREDIT


$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1. Tel: 3822 8888 Its list of former guests ranges from U.S. presidents – two Bushes, one Clinton – to Korean teeny bop sensation Rain. If Knut the polar bear came to town, he’d probably stay here. It’s an ongoing event as well as a hotel. Fends off newer, glitzier competitors to hold its place as one of the best luxury stops in town




$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 386 2231 Pleasant, small, family-run hotel with a spacious and faintly colonial air located between the town and the beach, with comfortable air-conditioned rooms and pleasant staff.


2nd Floor, VIT, 519 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3934 7247



$$$ 46 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1. Tel: 3822 7926 You can’t get much more central than Ben Thanh Market and this modern hotel (one of many in the area) offers every amenity you would expect from a mid-range hotel while keeping its prices close to budget level. The staff are friendly and helpful.




$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: 3839 7777 Big and businesslike, with seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting and function rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. Also boasts the biggest banquet facilities in the city. $ 171A Co Bac, Q1, Tel: 3837 8885 A place for exchanging views as well as sleeping, with its communal kitchen and TV room, this venue ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, cleanliness and amenities. A stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.


$$$$ 8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1. Tel: 3822 0033 If you’ve never swum in a pool 21 floors up, you could rectify that at this luxury hotel by the Saigon River. As you would expect from a Marriott property, there’s plenty more here to appreciate – the full range of fitness, spa and business facilities plus one of the best-regarded Chinese restaurants in the city.

FURAMA RESORT & SPA $$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang Tel: 3821 1888 (HCMC office) Among the first resorts to open in the country, this venue still scores highly because of its stunning beachside location allied to some indulgent touches – the smallest room measures 40 square metres – and a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar. CREDIT

HUY HOANG 1 $ 73 Phan Boi Chau, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 386 1453 Boasts that it is just 0.025km from the city centre, which translates into being an excellent base for exploring the old town. Added to that, you get simple and comfortable rooms for around VND400,000.




$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1. Tel: 3824 1234 Fabulous-looking hotel in a prime location, with an attractive lobby bar and all the attention to detail you would expect from the Hyatt. But wait, there’s more. The Square One restaurant has garnered an excellent reputation and the Xuan Spa by the landscaped pool is unbeatable.

$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An. Tel: 0510 391 4555 Recently refurbished after a recent flood, this award-winning resort is located close to the charm and bustle of the Old Town and maintains an emphasis on wellness and pampering. Its spa combines the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.




$$$ 323 Le Van Sy, Q3. Tel: 3843 9999 A 4-star business class hotel, The Ramana Hotel boasts 293 guestrooms and suites and offers a complete range of service facilities including a Business Centre, a well-equipped Fitness Room, an outdoor swimming pool and the Sawasdee Health Club, The hotel is situated in District 3 – an area of Ho Chi Minh City only 2 km from the city centre and 3 km from the airport.


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 0510 394 0000 Setting the standard for luxury resorts in Vietnam, the Nam Hai is the ultimate relaxation space. Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Each massive room comes with its own espresso machine, pre-programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers. Entire villas,

spa villas and pool villas complexes are also available for rent and each villa has a view of the sea. A great place to forget about the city.


Tel: 0510 392 7040 Pull up some (private) beach and relax, at this unique and charming resort, which has been laid out to replicate a traditional fishing village with small streets, ponds and village houses. The Annam Asian restaurant overlooks the sea, there’s also a spa, Thai or Swedish massage, and fitness centre.



$$$$ Thuan An Town, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam, Tel: 08 6291 3030 Located on Thuan An Beach, a 20-minute drive from central Hue, the five-star Ana Mandara is the only beach resort with pool villas in the area. The property has a total of 78 rooms and villas, including beach pool villas, beach villas, duplex rooms and deluxe rooms in a wide range of styles and decor designed with modern facilities. Offers private rice paddy dinners, beach BBQs and cruises through the local fish farms.

GUESTHOUSE VAN XUAN $ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue, Tel: 054 382 6561 An excellent option for those on a tight budget, with a comfortable room plus balcony and satellite TV coming in at around VND200,000. An additional bonus is the pleasantness of the staff.



$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue Tel: 054 388 2222 One of the best hotels in the city, and certainly in the most convenient downtown location, this high-rise hotel has luxurious rooms with great city views, a selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa. You can even hire your own butler. Internet rates start at VND2.4 million ++ for a deluxe city view room.



$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue Tel: 054 383 7475 Built around a core of the former colonial governor’s mansion, and maintained in nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s unique experiences. With ceiling fans and dark-stained wood furnishings, this is traditional Indochine at its best. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you have a heady mix.

LE DOMAINE DE TAM HAI $$$ Tel: 0510 354 5105 If you’re looking for something a bit different, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai, with just a dozen traditional-looking (but modern) villas with private gardens and true tropical ambience may be the answer. There is endless beach, a swimming pool, and a restaurant to take advantage of the fresh seafood. CREDIT

PHUONG HOANG HOTEL $ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue Tel: 054 382 6736 A budget option which offers a reliable and acceptable level of comfort for the sub-VND400,000 price with the additional benefit of being near the Perfume River and having attentive service.


$$$$ 130 Minh Mang, Hue. Tel: 054 388 5461 A collection of rustic villas located in the countryside close to Hue and its historical landmarks. Villas range from the traditional Vietnamese pool house to the family bungalow. The boutique, imperial-era Vietnam styled resort also holds cooking classes, makes tour arrangements and has an on-site spa.



$$ My Canh, Bao Ninh, Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Tel: 052 384 2999, This top-end resort offers elegant, comfortable pool villas and bungalows, and is the only luxury accommodation in Quang Binh, about 150 miles from Hue. An ideal base for trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Phong Nha caves.

MAI CHAU & HOA BINH COMMUNAL GUEST HOUSE 1 $$$ Poom Village, Mai Chau, Tel: 0912 320990 One of the larger stilt houses in Poom Village, the bamboo floor you can expect to sleep on is more comfortable than you might expect, and this house has a pleasant view of a lotus pond. Like at all the other stilt houses here, drink and dance can be arranged.



$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh, Tel: 018 382 5662 This eco-village in Hoa Binh caters to visitors in search of nature. 30 rooms of varying design in ten houses are surrounded by rice fields, lakes and hills. Has its own spa and restaurant.

NAM DINH & NINH BINH CUC PHUONG GUEST HOUSE $$$$ 396 Quoc Lo 14, Dong Xoai, Binh Phuoc Tel: 0651 387 9764 Accommodation here is quite basic, but this place offers a good deal in relation to the other places around, if you want a place to sleep before a long day of park touring.

CUC PHUONG NATIONAL PARK $ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh Tel: 030 384 8006 Park accommodation, in modern rooms, stilt houses and detached bungalows, includes basic amenities and comforts in proportion to prices, which range from VND100,000 to VND500,000 per night. Rooms available at park hq, the park centre, and on the road linking the two.

THANH THUY GUEST HOUSE $ 128 Le Hong Phong, Ninh Binh Tel: 030 387 1811 Refurbished in 2004, this has big, clean rooms that are great value for the money. There is an in-house restaurant that will make it redundant to eat elsewhere. Prices range from VND100,000 to VND400,000 for a double deluxe room. The staff speak very good English.

THUY ANH HOTEL $$ 55A Truong Han Sieu, Ninh Binh. Tel: 030 387 1602 This hotel is slightly more expensive than its neighbors, but the reason is apparent once you walk in. The rooms in the newer building are especially nice and, together with the better than decent restaurant downstairs, this one can make for a good stop over.

MAI CHAU GUESTHOUSE At the farthest end of town, Mai Chau Tel: 0218 386 7262 This hotel seems to offer bare-bones amenities, but if you don’t fancy sleeping on the rattan floor of a stilt house, this is a couple good steps above, and the rooms are quite inexpensive. Be prepared for the noise from the karaoke bars which surround the place.



$$$ Tel: 0218 386 8959 If real comfort is what you want, this is surely the best bet in Mai Chau. The rooms are modern and classy, with room service, sauna and internet connections. The newly built Water Lily Cottage offers a luxury version of the house on stilts. Give a call for exact directions, or you can check their website.

MAI CHAU NATURE PLACE House 38, Ban Lac Village Tel: 3938 1443 A perfect mix between a home-stay experience and comfortable hotel. The private rooms are beautifully quaint while the communal sleeping option is more typical of rural lodges. Both options come with modern and clean bathrooms, traditional home-cooked meals, free bicycles and friendly, in-the-know, staff.

NGOC BACH $$$$ House 100, Quarter 2, Mai Chau Tel: 0218 386 7340 If a sturdy bed is what you crave, this might be your answer. The rooms are large and clean, with a working television and shower with hot water. Might not be the Hilton, but for an aching back it’s a step above a bamboo floor and a mat.

NOVOTEL NHA TRANG $$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 625 6900 This stylish four-star hotel is centrally located on the main street of the resort city of Nha Trang. Along with 154 modern rooms, each with terrace and a stunning sea view, Novotel Nha Trang offers a pool, spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room catering for up to 200 delegates. CREDIT

SAO MAI HOTEL 99 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Nha Trang Tel: 058 382 7412 Try to get a seaview room with private balcony at this friendly and very cheap hotel, which also has a rooftop terrace. Rooms have basic but adequate facilities and it is well located.

SUNRISE BEACH RESORT $$$ 12-14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 382 0999 Luxury boutique hotel in the city centre and right across from the beach is well geared up for the family and business trade, with kids’ room, beach recreation, restaurants offering Japanese, Vietnamese and European cuisine, pool bar, beach bar, sky bar and a Qi spa. CREDIT



$$ Tel: 058 384 0501 This remote and unspoiled island some 60km north of Nha Trang has been made into a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and plenty of opportunity for serious nature watching, with abundant marine life and an array of birds. Onsite seafood restaurant and bar.

NORTH-EAST BANG GIANG HOTEL $ 1 Kim Dong, Cao Bang. Tel: 026 385 3431 A large, government-run hotel popular with tour groups. Rooms are super-sized, with big windows and some even have views. They also take credit cards, which might not be expected here. Room rates are around VND400,000.

HOANG NGUYEN HOTEL $ 84 Pho Tran Dang Ninh, Lang Son, Tel: 025 387 0349 This place offers basic accommodation at a good price. Don’t expect too much, but as an en route stop-over, Hoang Nguyen will definitely do.

HOANG SON HAI 57D Thanh Tam, Lang Son. Tel: 025 371 0479 Although it may be a bit hard to communicate with the staff if you’re Vietnamese isn’t up to snuff, they are eager to help. The rooms are exceptionally nice for the area.



$ 14 Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang Tel: 0219 386 1288 The large, comfortable sleeping quarters here may come as a surprise in these parts. But these are the things that have made Huy Hoan so popular. Several tour groups use the place as a stopover, and the staff is adept at fulfilling their needs.

SAO MAI HOTEL $ Nguyen Trai, Ha Giang. Tel: 0219 386 3019 One of the first guesthouses you see as you arrive in town, location has made this guesthouse a popular stop off point. The sleeping accommodations are clean and comfortable, enough to enjoy a good night’s sleep and shower.


$$$$ Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang Tel: 058 352 2222 There’s a generous 2.6 hectares of private beachside garden to get lost in here, and much to marvel at, with villa-style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, verandah dining, pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.

JUNGLE BEACH RESORT $ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa (40km north of Nha Trang). Tel: 058 362 2384 On a secluded – almost deserted – promontory north of Nha Trang, with accommodation ranging from comfortable guest rooms to basic outdoor bamboo shelters, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature – certainly a change from mainstream tourism. The owners arrange pick-up from Nha Trang and the down-to-earth resort maintains a deliberate, family atmosphere. A real gem.


$$$$ Van Dang Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa. el: 058 372 8222 The upmarket Tatler magazine voted this its top hotel of 2006, and it’s not hard to see why. The location is stunning, on a bay which can only be reached by boat, and all the accommodation, amenities and facilities are top-drawer. So, naturally, is the price. Internet rates start at VND15 million++ for a beach pool villa.

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$ V159 Vuon Cam, Cao BangTel: 026 385 7026 Thanh Loan is a smaller hotel with more attention paid to the details. Still, expect basic accommodation, but, all said, a good bargain.

$$ 4 Duong, 26-8 Rd, Son La Tel: 022 385 5313 The explanation of the name is a mystery, but with 100 rooms it could probably house a mid-size union. Not the cheapest place in town, but the rooms are extra large and fairly well-kept. If you want to spend some time with satellite television, this is your place. Price range is VND500,000 to VND600,000, breakfast included.

$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982888 / 3823 7645 (Sales office) Boutique luxury among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, La Veranda has beautifully-designed rooms with cool tiles in traditional designs and dark woods, a stunning swimming pool, an all-natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant overlooking the beach.

THAI NGUYEN HOTEL 2 Hoang Van Thu, Thai Nguyen, Tel: 0280 385 2803 Your standard two-star establishment, Thai Nguyen is one of the best (and one of the only) choices in the vicinity. It’s quite a large hotel considering its location, so booking shouldn’t be a problem.

NORTH-WEST HUYEN TRAN GUEST HOUSE $$$ 2 Hoang Van Thu, Lai Chau Tel: 0231 387 5829 Offers reasonable guesthouse-style rooms with air conditioning, some of them with balconies. Take a look at the rooms before you rent as the quality may vary.

KHACH SAN DIEN BIEN PHU $$ 849 Duong 7-5, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu Tel: 0230 382 5103 Pretty much what it sounds like: a Dien Bien Phu guest house. Rooms are made for sleeping and not much else, but at good prices. Cleanliness and comfort are acceptable and about average for this type of establishment. CREDIT

MUONG THANH HOTEL $$ 25 Pho 1, Muong Thanh, Dien Bien Phu Tel: 0230 381 0043 This Soviet-era hotel has a unique style that makes it one of the most visited. So, despite its size, it may be a good idea to book in advance. There’s a charge for the swimming pool, even if you’re staying there. But, hey, there’s a pool. The rooms are better than average and have satellite TV. CREDIT



SUNRISE HOTEL $ 53 Duong 26 – 8, Son La Tel: 022 385 8798 Sunrise makes for a decent stay for those travelling between Hanoi and Dien Bien Phu. In relation to the other hotels on the road, the rooms are very clean and the staff helpful. A night here will run around VND400,000.

PHAN THIET / MUI NE BLUE OCEAN RESORT $$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 384 7322 After renovation in 2007, Blue Ocean Resort is now under the management of Life Resorts. Its luxury makeover includes a large swimming pool and swim-up pool bar as well as a children’s activity playground. Another new addition is an Irish bar. One of the better appointed resorts in the area. CREDIT

PRINCESS D’ANNAM RESORT & SPA $$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan. Tel: 062 368 2222 The first all-villa luxury boutique resort in Vietnam, the Princess d’Annam is set on Ke Ga Bay, about a four-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh Ciry and 35km south of Phan Thiet. With a sumptuous spa, original architecture, eight swimming pools and a 24-hour butler service, this is one of the most luxurious resorts in the country. Definitely one of the most exclusive. CREDIT

SHADES APARTMENTS $$$ Tel: 062 743 237 Top quality resort offering a small selection of luxury and attractively designed apartments and studios right on the beach, with fully equipped and modern units. Entertainment options include windsurfing, kitesurfing, antique sidecars, bike tours and dune buggy rides. Has a decent pool and dining options. CREDIT

MR CAO MOTORBIKE RENTAL 106 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912 094464

QUAN’S MOTORBIKE & BICYCLE RENTALS 70 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 244941 Standard rental shop doing hire by the day and by the month.

VIETNAM MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURES 36 Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem (down alley in between No. 34 & No. 36) Tel: 3904 5049 Bespoke motorbike tours, rental of automatic and manual bikes plus repairs.

VIP BIKE RENTALS 64, Alley 71 Tan Ap, Tay Ho (off Tan Ap Street, close to Sofitel Plaza) Tel: 0914 931390 Bike rentals and repairs. Good reputation. Formerly part of the Blue Dragon Foundation.

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$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet Tel: 062 384 7440 Much more than its name suggests, with beautiful landscaped tropical gardens leading onto a stretch of pristine beach and an outdoor bar, well-positioned to make the best of the scenery. Has a mix of comfortable rooms and bungalows, and has recently done some refurbishment. Offers quad-biking, kitesurfing, paragliding and, of course, sailing.

PHU QUOC CHEN LA RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang, Tel: 0773 995895 Open since Nov. 2008, this 37-bungalow resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first-class spa treatment and a mediterranean-themed restaurant.




$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc. Tel: 090 338 2207 A getaway in the true sense, combining an eco-friendly approach with a gorgeous beachside location. Wildlife abounds on land and in the sea, the bungalows are made of rammed earth, and there are no TVs and telephones around. Excellent sunsets from the beach bar, which also serves up excellent food in the restaurant on the edge of the sea.


$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0918 073 494 / 0773 985002 Secluded budget bungalow-style resort, which lies in a beachside coconut palm plantation with small basic bungalows adding to the castaway effect. The restaurant serves fresh seafood. It’s laid-back and simple. And cheap.


$ 7 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 1243 Despite being in the centre of town, some of the back rooms offer nice views. There is also a good French-style restaurant downstairs, which is what you might expect considering the décor and name. Prices vary, but a room should generally cost around VND400,000.


$$ 18 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 1075 One of the best things about the Bamboo Hotel is the view, so make sure you check out the room first – some are better than others. There is aircon if needed, but you might want to ask for extra blankets in winter, in spite of electric heaters. Rooms here are between VND700,000 and VND1 million a night. The premium here is on the views.

CAT CAT GUESTHOUSE $$ Cat Cat Road. Tel: 020 387 1218 Notable for having probably the best view in town from its bar restaurant, Cat Cat Guesthouse has plain rooms at very reasonable rates. A fairly steep set of steps leads to the block of rooms, most of which have big windows and balconies, and, for the cold winter, log fireplaces.

HMONG MOUNTAIN RETREAT $ Km 6 Sapa, Ban Ho Road Sapa, Lao Cai Tel: 020 3872 130 A large stilt house, five clay-clad bungalows and one 70-year-old Hmong House is what waits for you amid the rolling hills of Lao Cai, 6km outside of Sapa. The ecoresort’s team are all local and will help you enjoy the surroundings of the Muong Hoa Valley.


SAPA ROOMS $$ 18 Phang Xi Pan, Sapa. Tel: 020 6505 228 Located in the heart of Sapa town this simple but comfortable boutique hotel occupies an unprecedented corner location

overlooking the terraced valleys of Sapa and not far from the energy of the local market. Rooms are decorated with antique hardwood furniture and contemporary artwork from local artists with touches of ethnic minority culture.

caters to both corporate and international travel. Services include ticketing, hotel reservation, travel insurance, transfer and visa arrangement. Outbound tours and packages throughout the world are also available.




$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa. Tel: 020 387 2404 For the environmentally conscientious, the only place to stay in Sapa is the Topas Ecolodge. 25 individual lodges are located on the hills overlooking the valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility give it eco-cred. Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours. It takes over an hour to get from Sapa to the lodge; transportation is provided.

7 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 0615; 21 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 3449; Crowne Plaza, 36 Le Duc Tho, Tu Liem Tel: 6265 4558 An active supporter of the Loreto Program, AsianaTravel is a tourist information company that offers a wide range of customised itineraries, and reservations throughout Indochina. Have daily departure tours available in Saigon, Hue and Hanoi.




$$$ Tel: 020 387 1522 Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria is not priced for the backpacker (rooms range from $135 to $250 per night). The many amenities include satellite TV, in-room coffeemakers and safes, and a hilltop health club, tennis court and pool. The entire resort is tastefully decorated with panoramic views of the town below.

TAM DAO GREEN WORLD HOTEL $ Khu Nhi Mat, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4315 A big new hotel, Green World has 100 rooms ranging in price from VND400,000 to VND600,000 a night. Because of its height, the top rooms have nice views of the town and surroundings. There is a restaurant and bar with billiards, and internet in the lobby.

HANG KHONG HOTEL $ Khu 1 Thi, Tam Dao, Tel: 0211 382 4208 Another one of the newer hotels in Tam Dao, Hang Khong caters mainly to Vietnamese tourists. But the price is right, hovering around VND500,000. Many of the rooms have balconies, but all have comfortable beds and hot showers.

HUONG LIEN HOTEL $ Khu I Thi, Tam Dao, Tel: 0211 382 4282 Just your basic hotel, but if what you want is a bed and satellite television, this is your place. Can’t beat the price at around VND200,000. Beware, though, prices are subject to change.

MELA HOTEL $$ Thi Tran, Tam Dao. Tel: 0211 382 4321 Probably the prime place to stay in Tam Dao, the Mela has a swimming pool that might come in handy if you’re in the mountains to escape the heat of Hanoi summer. Rooms are comfortable and clean, with two double beds and balcony. The staff can assist if you want to explore the natural surroundings. Prices between VND800,000 and VND1.6 million.

TRAVEL SERVICES AIR MEKONG 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 37186 399 With presence in eight different cities including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Con Dao, Phu Quoc and Pleiku, Air Mekong is the ideal way to see more of Vietnam. It offers 30 daily flights and is a realistic alternative to the time-consuming train and bus combo.

ASIA WINGS TRAVEL COMPANY Ground Floor, Hanoi Towers 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 9343 0888 Founded in 1998, the travel company

94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist., Ha Noi Tel: (84-4) 3 828 0702 A boutique Travel Agency at the service of all Vietnamese and expatriate residents in Vietnam offering easy, hassle-free travel around the world and in Vietnam, with the highest standards of customer care. This premium Travel Agency has been created to help travelers select their destinations and organize their trips, take care of the time-consuming procedures and ensure that all journeys are enjoyable and successful. BTA customizes leisure and corporate travel plans while offering a selected range of small group tours.

EXOTISSIMO 26, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 2150 9 XuanDieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 5555 Golden Westlake, 151 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: 3728 2735. A one-stop, all-in-one travel agency with an extensive operational track record in the Indochina region and beyond. Providing up-market services, Exotissimo brings their clients close to culture through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

FREEWHEELIN TOURS 2nd floor, 2A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 2743 Responsible travel tourism company offering intimate, bespoke tours that give customers a more “authentic” taste of Vietnam. Motorbike journeys, homestays, visits to ethnic minority villages, national parks, waterfalls and spectacular scenery are all part of the mix, with part of the proceeds going to a number of responsible tourism initiatives.

HANDSPAN TRAVEL 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 2828 Established in 1997, Handspan provides customers with safe, high quality, diverse, small-group adventure tours to both popular and isolated locations in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Has a focus on off-the-beaten-track sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives. Also provides to excursions to more well-worn destinations.

HG TRAVEL 47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3944 8844 Travel company specialising in small-group tours around Vietnam and further afield in Indochina. Is also the sole representative agent for Kenya Airways (for 40 cities in Africa —, American Airlines ( and Turkish Airlines (

INDOCHINA LAND 61 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 2852 Indochina Land is a French local travel

agency for expatriates and tourists who want to see northern Vietnam in a personal and tailored way. Think small knowledgeable teams of Vietnamese and French who share their passion for discovery during varied itineraries, usually focused on freedom, family, health trips and classic home stays. They will show you around Ha Giang, too.

INTREPID TRAVEL VIETNAM 57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 193308 Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992, offering innovative day tours, short breaks and small group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed departures, Intrepid focuses on real life experiences in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and beyond to get you up close to Vietnam's people, cuisine, history and culture.

JEWEL OF THE DELTA Tel: 01282 471716 A cruise boat on the Red River offering cocktail and party cruises every week with free snacks, a free cocktail and free shisha in one of the VIP rooms. Private cruises are available for parties, meetings, receptions, and dinners for groups or organisations. A unique place to chill out.

LOT AIRLINES R402, 4th floor, Dao Duy Anh Tower, 9 Dao Duy Anh, Dong Da, Tel: 3577 2202 LOT serves Poland and back three times a week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. The flight arrives in Warsaw in the early morning, and because of the city’s location in the middle of Europe, it’s an ideal airport for transit to and from other European hubs.

LUXURY TRAVEL CO., LTD 5 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3927 4120 Vietnam’s First Luxury Tour Company, offers you carefree luxury travel so you and your family can focus on the fun, not the details. Challenge your skills at the country’s most spectacular golf courses. Soak up the sun while being soothed by the sound of breaking surf. Hunt for high-fashion couture in the most elegant cities of Vietnam. Envision any vacation experience you want; name it, we deliver

SYRENA CRUISES 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 7214 If you’re thirsty for a Halong Bay experience while enjoying luxury comfort, Syrena Cruises could be the quencher you’re looking for. Forget drinking games and backpackers by relaxing on one of the two wooden boats from the fleet. Alone, as a couple or with a group, 34 luxurious cabins and suites are all ready for action. All you have to do is decide on how long you want to holiday for.

THE SAPA SISTERS Tel: 01282 273717 The best trekking guides in Sapa showing you the key spots with the guarantee of an unforgettable experience. Sapa Sisters aims to empower young H’Mong women and give them fair pay for their skilled services. Read their reviews on Trip Advisor.

XIN CHAO HANOI Forget the inaccuracy of Google Maps, for a real quality plan of the capital, the meticulous versions created by Xin Chao Hanoi are the presently the best available. Providing tourists with access to the city's hidden charms, secret lanes, gardens and pagodas, check their website for a list of vendors.

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BARS & NIGHTCLUBS 17 COWBOYS MUSIC HALL/LONG BAR 98B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 6822 5pm to 12am Cowgirls, lasers, belly dancing and Filipino bands who never shy away from a good Guns N' Roses cover. Drinks are a little pricey, but part of the money is going to the show. Expect a lively atmosphere and the band will take requests, but 1980s rock tunes are favoured.



TOURIST BAR/CLUB 32 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem This newcomer to Ta Hien’s Bia Hoi Junction is an Aztec-themed three story drinking hole and dance space. Balcony on the second floor, which provides a great view over the beer drinkers below, and dance space on the third floor. CDJs and a promise of dubstep and drink specials on the board outside are bound to go down well among the area’s party massive.

BAMBOO BAR CLASSIC FRENCH Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 7am to 10pm Set up like a traditional colonial-era bar space with dark wooden plank flooring, bamboo roofing, wicker chairs and handheld fan crafted ceiling fans, both during the day and at night there is a relaxed, timeless ambience here. The drinks focus here is on Martini-based and classic cocktails with a huge wine list and aged spirits also making an appearance. Also a great place for a morning or afternoon coffee.




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BAR BETTA RETRO CAFÉ BAR 34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3734 9134 8am to midnight This bar is every bit as quirky as the Czech moped it’s named after. Inside every surface is festooned with a medley of objects ranging from gramaphones to retro TVs. The rooftop terrace is an awesome place for a sundowner or a morning coffee. Eclectic and like nothing else in Hanoi.

CAMA ATK MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Thursday to Saturday 7pm to midnight With well-poured drinks, a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be — and that’s refreshing. The space is a part time venue for smaller acts and DJs. The venue is hip, comfortable and will likely provide the serious drinker with a reliable place to pull up a stool and take pulls in a relaxed haven.

CHEEKY QUARTER LATE NIGHT LOCAL 1 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0904 032829 8pm to late Last building on the right before Hang Buom, this popular with the French (and everyone else) watering hole is a classic. Has the same Old Quarter vibe; small, cosy and personal with funky twists – and an awesome logo. Spread over two floors with good tunes, drinks specials and a foosball table, Cheeky is open till late. Also does tasty paninis into the early hours.



DANCEHALL LOUNGE 15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem 93 Phung Hung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 4926 2177 11am — late One of the better venues in the Old Quarter for dancing on the weekends. Although crammed into a small space, cheap drinks and a mix of chart chits makes Dragonfly the regular go-to for younger Vietnamese crowds, tourists and the foreign resident looking to get up on the dance floor. If you don’t feel like dancing, relax upstairs with shisha and friends with one of the two lounges on the second floor. The sister venue on Phung Hung has a bigger menu and an earlier opening hour (11am instead of 6pm) but still keeps with the shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.



POOL HALL / LIVE MUSIC / CLUB 55 Ma May, Hoan Kiem 8am to midnight A potential gem in the heart of the Old Quarter. While it’s themed to the Easy Rider vibe out front, this huge two-storey venue is a jack of all trades – it has a bar, live music stage, pool tables, hookahs, a VIP

room and a night club with a decent sound set up. Ideal for private functions and party promoters. Club stays open till late.



DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 5333 6087 4pm to late Straddling Bia Hoi Corner and the cobblestoned end of Ta Hien, FatCat Bar is a small establishment from the minds behind the party and event organisers, LinkHanoi. The bar has tables filling the first floor and spilling onto the sidewalk as well as a small loft area for lounging. Nightly cocktail specials, reasonable bottles deals starting at VND500,000 and a DJ on the decks make up the mix.



DANCEHALL/BAR 61 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem 5pm to late Previously known as Dracula Bar, this watering hole tucked upstairs behind a hotel is around the corner from Ta Hien. A double-sided bar splits up a pool table space, lounge area and dance floor. The smoke machine can be a bit much, but the music is a decent mix of pop and house. Never crowded and open late, free shots are given out every hour on the hour.



ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem 8pm to late Owned by the people behind Face Club, the low, LED-lit venue has the feel of a VIP room situated in a larger club, only it's not. While techno and trance are the genre's of choice spun in the establishment by live DJs, patrons treat the space more like a lounge than a dancehall and typically order bottle service and cocktails. One of the Ta Hien mainstays.



LATE NIGHT LOCAL / LOUNGE 32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem 10am to late In the same building as the old Bucket Bar, Hair of the Dog, the first floor offers a large drinking space, graphic artwork, sidewalk seating and a dance floor. Up the spiral staircase, there’s the late-night bar and shisha lounge complete with beanbags. Drawing in a mix of expats, backpackers and locals, when the bars across the street shut down, the mayhem continues in ‘The Dog’.



LATE DIVE BAR 62 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 1943 3pm to late Often a bit dark and somewhat gloomy, “The Noodle” is still a hit with long term residents. With its all-hour eating options — ranging from cheese toasties and pizzas to grilled cod and bun cha — and its popular happy hour, this Old Quarter old-timer is still up there with the options. Between 11pm and 12.30am, local beers go for VND15,000 and mixers go for VND30,000. Friendly staff and talkative patrons included.

HANOI ROCK CITY LIVE MUSIC VENUE 27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 01887 487 426 5pm to midnight With a downstairs, English-style pub garden area and an upstairs space dedicated to live music and live production, Hanoi Rock City is the only venue in the capital of its kind. Has weekly live events featuring bands both from Vietnam and overseas — established and up and coming. Email for more information or check out their page on Facebook.



STAGE AND TABLE CLUB 32 Le Thai To, Tel: 3828 8806 8pm to 11.45pm Just a few yards from the banks of Hoan Kiem Lake, this giant pantheon of a nightclub seems more at home in Bangkok than in the capital. With DJs, go-go dancers and an ear splitting sound system, Ho Guom Xanh is a great place to ‘dance’ around a table, if you’re willing, while enjoying expensive top shelf bottle service in the heart of the city.

LAID-BACK FIX 2 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0917 897630 A curving neon sign marks the small entrance to May Pub, which stands on the corner of Nam Ngu and Phan Boi Chau. The pub hosts a laid-back bar atmosphere with old Hollywood photographs, free billiards and darts and low-key live music. The menu combines traditional cocktails with offerings like Russian string cheese — a late-night brew and dairy fix. Wednesday and Friday nights are Buy One Get One Free for ladies.

HOUSE OF SON TINH LIQUOR LOUNGE 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6377 8am to 11.30pm As part of the Highway 4 group, which now has its offices in the establishment’s upstairs areas, this bar-cum-restaurant outfitted with comfortable, stylish furnishings is famed for its luxurious rice wine liquors and newly created cocktail class. Does regular events on the first floor and also has a creative Vietnamese food menu based on cuisine sold at other restaurants in the chain.



IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 2212 6821 8am to 2am The open-air watering hole with seating on the pavement is a great spot to enjoy a tall dark stout or light pilsner at anytime, day or night. What it lacks in gaudy decorations, it makes up for with a constant stream of regulars, occasional live Irish music and billiards on the third floor. Has a decent food menu and even better pizzas.

LA FÉE VERTE FRENCH-STYLE CONTEMPORARY Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 7am to 2am Meaning the green fairy — an allusion to the hallucinatory effects of absinthe which was drunk extensively in colonial Vietnam — understated lighting, a laid-back lounge atmosphere, a good music selection and ultra-contemporary interior design make up the mix at this downstairs bar in Hotel de l’Opera. Expect a good selection of creative cocktails and an extensive wine list. Opens late with a DJ taking to the decks on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

LONG PLAY CAFÉ LATE NIGHT LOCAL 9B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0914 339439 9am to late This quirky bar and living room gets busiest in the later hours. Down in the bar, plasma screens and an iPod station mix with a dance floor and comically named cocktails. Upstairs, there’s a cushioned living room — a pleasant space with a low ceiling and shisha. Throw in a dartboard, “sell and swap” book shelves, Jenga and some tasty toasted sandwiches, and it can be hours of fun. The dried buffalo “nosh” from Tay Bac in the north is a must.

MAO’S RED LOUNGE LOUNGE AND BAR 7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 3104 5am to 2am One of the few staple bars in the city that hosts an equal number of ex-pats, locals and tourists. With cheap drinks, funky, slightly ethnic decor and one of the most amiable owners in town, Mao's is always a great place to start off or finish the night. Sing-a-longs and dancing welcome at one of the most popular drinking spots on Ta Hien.


MODEL CLUB CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem 8pm to late Lasers, pulsating trance, bottle service and nightly model shows. This venue is largely filled with flashy Vietnamese youngsters or older business types flashing their wads. Bottle service is a must, which is a little pricey, so if you ain't got enough money then you probably won't be sticking around to see the honeys.

PHUC TAN ELECTRO GRUNGE CLUB 51 / 4A Phuc Tan, Hoan Kiem 6pm to late Hanoi's favourite after hours dancehall/ trance den. Throw shapes on either of the two floors that have regular DJs while dancing to rapacious electronic beats or enjoy the Red River's breeze and snack on a kebab as you catch up with all of the city's regular night owls. The terrace out back has great views of Long Bien Bridge at night.



EUROPEAN BREW HALL 10 Nguyen Bieu, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3734 2288 Modeled after a brewery, bar and bowling alley in the Czech Republic, Pilsner Urquell has an old Europe feel — particularly in the private rooms lined with glass beer mugs, thick cuts of dark wood furniture and semi-circular booths. With the UNmeeting-of-a-menu, customers can choose from goose dishes, noodles, fried apples, an assortment of cheeses and several other options. Perfect location for big gatherings.



LONG BAR 5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 0959 A bit musty and jaded, despite being one of the oldest pubs in the city, this staple watering hole on Bao Khanh continues to be a hit. Probably the closest thing Hanoi has to an authentic English-style pub, Polite is frequented by a steady mix of locals and expats who find solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, billiards and live football matches.




REGGAE CHILLOUT BAR 2 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem 5pm to late With a reggae theme, the French-run Roots stays open late playing African and Caribbean music with some salsa thrown in for good measure. Laid back vibes. A good, late-night, Old Quarter option set on a first floor. The entrance is next to the Irish Wolfhound.

SUMMIT LOUNGE ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 ext. 5314 4pm to Midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 4pm to 2am Thursday to Saturday While there are a few ‘rooftop bars’ in the capital, few hold a candle to the view on offer at the Summit Lounge. With a chilled but lively ambience, top shelf cocktails, and a Southeast Asian fusion bar menu, the Summit Lounge is a great place to pitch yourself above the madness and peer down at the chaos below in peace. Sunsets are particularly special.

TADIOTO 12 Truong Han Sieu, Ba Trieu Leftfield, Indochine, contemporary and artsy, all thrown into one, the latest incarnation of Tadioto rolls together café, bar and gallery. Always with an attractive ambience and friendly service, a garden out back adds a nice touch to the space inside.



GAMING LOUNGE 104 Bach Dang, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0621 0212 9am to midnight If you’re looking for a more active night out, this gaming lounge has it all. White leather sofas, and plasma screens hooked up to Xbox 360 Kinect, Playstation 3 Move etc and more. Challenge your friends to games while enjoying a western-style food menu and a decent selection of beverages. When you get a little too competitive, you can cool down in the lounge area and gear up for your next big win.


hostesses, bottles of whiskey and a DJ — usually playing a mixture of trance and house. Runs a number of spirits offers on different days of the week. Ask for details.


BOTTLE BASED DANCE CLUB 61 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0915 381180. A glitzy, spacious basement club tucked away in the corner where Luong Ngoc Quyen meets Hang Giay. It’s a laser, mirrors and disco ball affair with high tables,


DANCEFLOOR / LONG BAR 8 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 6675 7908 7pm to 2am A relative newcomer and an instant favourite, located in party mile, Temple Bar is a good choice for late night fun. The long, thin establishment is a bar out front with decks and some tiles out back – usually hosting electro pop DJs or sets from the likes of Link Hanoi. Has drinks specials most days and is guaranteed to be crammed at the weekend. Popular among locals, expats and tourists.



MEET-UP SPOT 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6917 Filled with wooden furnishings and a downstairs bar with two beers on tap — as well as wine, cocktails and spirits on the shelves — this newcomer venue has a grill menu catering to the tastes of both East and West. For those in search of a good old-fashioned Sloppy Joe or grilled cheese, you’ll be glad to know the kitchen is stocked to the ceiling with comfort foods.

TET BAR LATE NIGHT LOCAL 2A Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 3050 6pm to 5am This small and personal one-and-a-half floor bar starts to get busy at around 11pm and is popular with expats of all nationalities, despite having a French flavour. Run by the indomitable Thanh and once called Le Maquis, the Tet Bar these days has a slightly cluttered feel to it, but nonetheless continues to pull in the punters. Open very, very late.

THE SPOT LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 1874 8am to midnight A stone's throw from Ta Hien, this barcum-lounge-cum-restaurant has all of the atmosphere present in bars scattered throughout the Old Quarter without being a dive. Enjoy a mixed drink, tacos or a Vietnamese staple starter with the

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occasional live DJ breaking out classic funk, soul and hip hop in the comfortable furnishings or on the back patio.

TRACY’S PUB AND GRILL SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 6675 9838 11am to 12am This Canadian-run, miniscule sports bar on the main drag of Xuan Dieu is perpetually crowded with regulars drinking out front on plastic stools. Notorious for its mouth-watering burgers, cooked fresh to order, Tracy’s is most famous for their draft beers, claiming to serve the coldest draft beer in Hanoi, and always in a frosted mug. For those missing their dose of North American sports, they play all day via satellite on two plasmas.

TUNNEL BAR INTERNATIONAL / FRENCH 11B Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0936 063303 4pm to late Slim but stylish two-storey bar located just at the bend on Bao Khanh. The friendly staff can make a range of well-made and colourful cocktails. Frequent DJ nights and parties are commonplace at this watering hole that caters to both foreign and Vietnamese. Does an excellent happy hour with specials on Ricard.

WINE’S CORNER WINE AND CIGAR LOUNGE 2 Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3939 3477 9am to 1am The ambience at the relaxed wine bar near the Metropole screams red wine — the walls are painted a warm yellow, the exposed brick adds a touch of cool and the wine barrels-turned-tables are tasteful. Too bad it’s often awkwardly empty. Features fine wines, cigars and Vietnamese and international snacks.

CAFES ALIGN 3D POPULAR VIETNAMESE 1 Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 10A Khuc Hao, Ba Dinh 7am to 11pm Popular with young Vietnamese, the Align cafes are always busy. The younger venue on Khuc Hao is hidden down a bamboo alley and has three outdoor seating areas, one of which makes you feel like you’re sat under a waterfall. The other two are on the roof, and from the middle of this embassy-type street, the sound of motorbikes is replaced with tweeting birds. 3D pictures on the walls of each floor take you back to the old city, before KFC and Parkson. Even to times before the French.

AVALON CAFÉ LAKE VIEW LOUNGE 73 Cau Go; 9 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 0801, 7am to 11.30pm Popular for its views of Hoan Kiem Lake, this lounge and bar is always busy. With comfy seating and balconies, the lounge and sky garden offer a pleasant escape from city-centre chaos. The smoothies are creamy and renditions of popular street dishes are spot on. Elsewhere in the eclectic menu, pizzas and pastas cost around VND100,000 and steak in red wine sauce goes for VND179,000. Classic pop instrumentals play by day, and come night, the chilled vibe is tainted slightly with electro pop.

CAFÉ LAM 91 Nguyen Huu Huan Always busy, the café has traditional charm in old quarter. Lining the walls, old world drawings line the walls floor to ceiling. They serve a variety of teas and coffee, as well as many jars of pickled looking vegetables and less identifiable things. Grab a seat on the low wooden tables and take advantage of their strong

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CHILL OUT CAFE TEEN SCENE CAFÉ 89A Ly Nam De, Ba Dinh Tel: 3223 3246 9am to 10pm This hangout spot is styled for locals in their teeny-bop years and early twenties. The décor is kitschy and cozy, there is even a piano, used occasionally in live music shows. They serve sweet drinks at a reasonable price along with lots of treats like brownies in a variety of newwave flavors.

CIAO CAFÉ RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 1494 7am to 11pm A stone’s throw from the shores of Hoan Kiem Lake, this Saigonese franchise tries it’s hand with a variety of different western dishes at reasonable prices, especially considering the location. Loaded with booths and a steady, young Vietnamese crowd, the establishment is a great place to squash a sandwich or bowl of pasta and people watch. Oh, and they also do coffee, too.

COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE 28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3715 4240 7am to 10pm Finally the newest addition to the Hanoi coffee scene has opened a little closer to town than the first outlet in Pico Mall. Famous for the exceptional quality of the coffee and tea, the latest Coffee Bean is a multilevel, indoor/outdoor café overlooking Westlake. With its LA coffee and office feel, when you walk in you might just forget that you’re in Westlake.

CONG CAPHE LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE 152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 8am to 10pm With a kitsch, communist-driven theme saturating this quaint cafe, most patrons are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats. Sip on a blended cup of joe with beans from the Central Highlands, knock back one of the many different types of tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the Spartan cups in one of the hippest cafes on 'cafe street'. If you like pre-doi moi nostalgia, here is the place to go.

ESPRESSAMENTE ILLY ITALIAN COFFEE 75 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 2065 8am to 11pm International standard, Italian-style espresso drinks are the name of the game at this undeniably chic chain coffee shop. Boasting a wide range of drinks, including spirit coffees with tequila, and a small selection of pastries and panini sandwiches, the café’s clientele is a mix of tourists and Vietnamese who are tired of ca phe nau da. It is connected to a tour agency and in the central hub of the Old Quarter.

HAPRO CAFÉ CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 6th floor, 38-40 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7984 7.30am to 11pm Take the dilapidated elevator to the 6th floor and emerge onto a balcony with one of the best views of Hoan Kiem. The big draw to this café is the vantage point — the drinks are a secondary concern, though there is about every coffee and juice concoction known to mankind on the menu and plenty of yoghurt and smoothie options too. Graze on French fries, sandwiches, salads and typical Vietnamese rice plates. Perfect for watching the city wake up or catching a sunset.

HIGHLANDS COFFEE CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 6 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 0444 7am to 11pm As with any chain that attempts selfreplication, there is a tried and tested formula. At Highlands it is comfortable seating, good Wi-Fi, unobtrusive music and a mid-range, generic atmosphere. It works, too. The Starbucks of Vietnam, a French-influenced, international and pan-Asian food menu sits alongside the teas, coffee and cakes. Has other locations at 49 Hai Ba Trung, The Opera House, The Syrena Centre, Pacific Place and more.


away a couple of hours. The food menu mixes Vietnamese fare with sandwiches, western and pan-Asian mains.

MARILYN CAFE ROOFTOP CAFE 4 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Considering the amount of flat rooftops in this city, it’s a crime that most go under utilized. However, the top floor of Chim Yen boutique and Marilyn Cafe is home to one of the more pleasant spaces in the Old Quarter. With a great, stone’s-throwview of St Joseph’s cathedral, food and beverages, this spot can turn a temperate afternoon into something a bit more special.

COFFEE/BAKERY 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3747 33 88 54 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6071 7am to 9pm With two branches, Joma has brought a little slice of “home” to Hanoi for expatriates with a contemporary western feel to the counter-style service and atmosphere. The food is all there too: breakfasts, salads, soups, ice cream, muffins, cakes, cereals and bagels. Starting in Laos in 1996, Joma moved to Hanoi in 2010 and is looking to open in Ho Chi Minh City in 2011. Has a play area for kids up in the West Lake café and bakery.

TRADITIONAL TEA ROOM 25 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 01887 785977 8am to 10pm A stylish, two-storey traditional but contemporary tea house with great views of West Lake. Specialises in “precious” Vietnamese tea from the northern hills, handpicked by ethnic minority tribes and presented to the public by a passionate French owner. Well worth your time hanging out here on a lazy day.



PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE 252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 0216 7am – 8pm A must-go-to place on a lazy day, Mr Chi’s long-standing patisserie is somewhat famous for its honest, home-cooked food, no frills-but-relaxing environment and sour yoghurt fit for celebrities — Catherine Deneuve ate here daily during her time shooting Indochine. Hot fresh milk, exclusive coffee, awesome croque madames and local dishes, too. Replace WiFi with a book and aircon with ceiling fans; eat in, take away, the pastries are great and the price is always right.

MUSIC CAFE 25 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 0909 061982 8am to late Slightly rough around the edges and with an artsy vibe, this is nonetheless a place that welcomes all comers. There’s live music four nights a week (Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat), but it’s not uncommon to find someone strumming away at the piano here at any time of the day. Friendly staff, good coffee, juices and cold beers.

LA PLACE CONTEMPORARY / VIETNAMESE 6 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3928 5859 7.30am to 10pm This tall, narrow lounge café with rooftop seating is a quintessential Hanoi spot. The decoration is bright and casual and the all-day menu has food from both the east and the west. Draw with crayons on brown paper covering the tables as you while away the hours over coffee or cocktails, and take in the view of St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Has some interesting food options including spinach fried rice along with old standbys like tuna salad sandwiches and coconut chicken curry. No MSG is used here.

LOVE CHOCOLATE CAFE QUIRKY CAFE 26 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3243 2120 10am to 10pm, Closed Sundays Bathed in pink and decorated to mimic a French salon, Love Chocolate Cafe carries decadent chocolate desserts like mocha lava cake, espresso pepper brownies and tons of cookies. It doesn’t end there, hot chocolates, shakes and even coffee blends like minty java are on the menu. The sign out front reads, “All you chocoholics, We are open!”. A rare but terrific find in Hanoi.

MOCA CAFE CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 6334 8am to 10pm Set in a deliciously attractive slightly run down colonial villa, the tourist friendly location gives Moca a large amount of guidebook-driven clientele. But don't let this put you off. The faded but charmingly run down French-styled retro interior, good WiFi and some of the best coffee in town makes this a great spot to while


PARIS DELI CAFÉ / BOULANGERIE 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 5269 7.30am to 11pm Time has been good to this airy, bistro-style café and patisserie opposite the Opera House. One of the original international-style establishments to hit the capital, despite its prime location prices remain reasonable — espresso-style coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger café-cum-restaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.

SAINT HONORE CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3933 2355 7am to 10pm Decked out in maroon, dark browns and cream, this cafe and French-style boulangerie is best visited in the morning when that Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma of bread, croissants and patisseries hits you as you walk through the door. Serving all day long, the downstairs space is split into the bakery on one side with a small non-smoking dining space on the other. The homely upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa seating. Simple but tasty French and international fare is served at meal times.

SEGAFREDO ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 1476 7am to 11pm Names of some of the world's greatest cities cover the front wall of Segafredo, an Italian cafe and eatery serving up some of the best espresso-based coffee in town. Red and white decor, lifestyle black and white coffee drinking images and an open plan space make up the mix. Besides the caffeine-based drinks, also does granita, teas, shakes and modern Italian fare rang-

ing from panini and focaccia through to pizza, pasta, salads and desserts.




FRENCH DELI 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 9433 8am to 11pm Situated on Hanoi’s not-so-serene ‘Pub Street’, Stop sponges up the surrounding atmosphere, which gives the French delicatessen a relaxed vibe that avoids pretension. The spot specializes in serving a mixture of western, French and Vietnamese fare, along with coffee, shakes and juice. The venue is more affordable then it’s sister location upstairs, Café de Arts, and is prime real estate to nibble on some quiche and quaff a juice on a sunny day.




PAVEMENT / VIETNAMESE 27 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Walk by this old café and you’ll see why it’s favoured by the locals. Grab a stool on the sidewalk to enjoy the lemon-y tea and sunflower seeds, or a strong drip coffee and people watching.

THE CART SANDWICH SHOP/CAFÉ 18 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem (entrance on street behind Au Trieu) 8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: 3928 7715 7:30am – 5pm Small a cozy café hidden on the quietest of Hanoian streets, with a new outlet on Nghi Tam, which is more like the big-windowed coffee shops you expect to see in Europe. The Cart serves and delivers tasty baguettes, homemade juices, quiches, pies, muffins and cakes. The delivery service is quick and reliable, which makes this lunchtime favourite ideal for when you need to eat at the desk.

THE COFFEE BEAN AND TEA LEAF Picomall, 229 Tay Son, Dong Da Tel: 6276 1004 8.30am to 9.30pm Known for the quality of its coffee and tea, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf has landed in Hanoi — in the form of an air-con, western-style drinking space in Hanoi’s newest shopping mall. The five first coffee shops in Vietnam started in Ho Chi Minh City, and this the first one in the capital. Hanoians are finally able to taste the beverages already quenching the thirst in 20 countries across the planet. New stores to open on West Lake soon.

THE DOLL HOUSE 26 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3935 2539 8am – 10am This new café, which fills a coffee-shopshaped gap in the market for this area, has the feel of half green house, half design-conscious doll house, and is a welcome alternative for when your favourite hang out begins to get samey. Focusing on fresh ingredients to suit the fresh design, the Doll House also has a garden terrace, and is open for party bookings and private events. Enter through the shop out front.

THE HANOI SOCIAL CLUB 6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem 8am to 11pm Situated on one of the quieter Old Quarter streets just off Hang Bong, The Hanoi Social Club is a cozy midsize café/restaurant where you can forget the heat and bustle of Hanoi. The atmosphere is relaxed and you can imagine, for a second, that you’re sitting in a European café. The food is fresh and internationally inspired, and the design is complimented by the work of Tadioto’s Nguyen Qui Duc. To top it off, the coffee here is said to be up there with the best in the country.


FRENCH BISTRO 10 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 1327 8am to 11pm Thanks to its original tiled floor, cast iron backed chairs and wall-hung black and white photography, there is something decidedly charming about this tiny Parisianstyled bistro and bar. Serving up a simple menu of snacks such as quiche Lorraine, Paris beurre and croque monsieur, there is also a selection of classic but unpretentious French mains. Has a daily specials board and a decent range of pizzas.

GREEN TANGERINE 48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 1286 10am to 11pm daily A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green cast-iron backed chairs greets you as you walk into this French era-built villa that houses the main section of this Indochina-styled restaurant. Serving up an enticing mix of classic and contemporary French cuisine, blended in with Vietnamese ingredients and cooking styles, the resultant fare has had customers coming back again and again. A traditional Vietnamese and kids menu is also available, as is a wine list focusing mainly on French wines.

TOP-END LA BADIANE 10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3942 4509 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm. Closed Sunday night. A white-washed, colonial era villa replete with period wooden shutters greets you as you enter this contemporary French restaurant. Guests can either dine indoors in aircon comfort or take to the leafy covered terrace out back with its walls lined with art and photography from 21st century Hanoi. The menu here mixes modern Gallic cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean and Vietnam thrown in, all creating an innovative and evocative selection of fare. Has an extensive wine list and an excellent, well-priced three-course lunch menu.

SATINE CONTEMPORARY FRENCH Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555. 6pm to 10.30pm Designed for strictly dinner only indulgence, the opulent Satine provides diners the option of ordering a la carte or from one of the venue’s 12-course menus. Lavish design, royal-styled chairs and tables, three private dining rooms and the option of dining in a glass-covered courtyard are all part of the mix, with the cuisine prepared by executive chef Ms. Frédérique Nguyen.

RESTAURANTS — INDIAN MID-RANGE FOODSHOP 45 INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3716 2959 10am to 10.30pm Lakeside location, low bamboo seating and a history that screams empathy make this eatery one of the most popular Indians in town. Selling an international version of the mighty curry — they even sell pork and beef here — the menu keeps to the northern part of the subcontinent with masala, dopiaza, korma and the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage. Also has a good range of breads and tandoor-cooked kebabs.

the front, the décor here is traditional yet contemporary Indian. The fourth floor with sweeping views over West Lake is given up to Dakshin, a vegetarian restaurant selling mainly South Indian fare.

KHAZAANA INDIAN/HALAL 1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 5657 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10pm One of the two oldest Indian restaurants in Hanoi, the menu at Khazaana encompasses the entire subcontinent, complete with heavier chicken korma and northern curry dishes alongside lighter southern dosas and uttappams. The venue is homey albeit harsh, but with quintessential masala tea, naan and raita to round out the meal, the focus here is on the food and filling your belly… or overfilling, as is more likely the case. All cuisine here is halal.

NAMASTE HANOI 47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 2400 11am to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm The latest newcomer to the Indian restaurants family, Namaste specializes in dishes from both northern and southern India — using Halal meat throughout. A meal will cost you between VND150,000 and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts. Available to dine in or out with a free delivery



78 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 5995 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm India Palace is the fourth member of owner Ravi Kumar’s family of restaurants which includes Tandoor. The menu takes the cuisine of North India and combines it with a South Indian-inspired menu, to create a pan-Indian menu appealing to all. Occupying a large four-storey villa with unobstructed views of West Lake at

24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 5359 11am to 10.30pm A long-popular, Indian-food enclave specialising in Northern Indian cuisine. Has an indoor and upstairs, white tablecloth aircon area with a more casual dining and bar space out front. Does excellent kebabs served from an authentic tandoor oven as well as the full range of mainly North

LA VERTICALE 19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3944 6317 11.30am to 2pm, 6pm to 9.15pm Situated in an art-deco villa that was once owned by a Vietnamese mandarin, this establishment is now owned and run by perhaps the most famous French chef in the country. With modestly priced set lunches and subtle Vietnamese touches on the dishes, which primarily come from carefully selected domestic spices, the up market establishment lures in its high class customers with quality VietnameseFrench fusion cuisine.

LE BEAULIEU Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 6919 6am to 10am, 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm Classic French Indochine décor and subtle lighting give the Sofitel Metropole Legend’s signature restaurant an elegance rarely found in Vietnam’s capital. The a la carte menu pits classic French cuisine against contemporary Vietnamese cooking with dishes like Nha Trang lobster with saffron pot au feu, the pan fried veal tenderloin on a lemongrass skewer and the calisson parfait marinated with orange, pomelo and lemon balm. Has an extensive wine list.

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Indian curries. Also has a branch in Saigon and does excellent set lunches.


may have been switched for basa and sea bass, but everything else is authentic, from the beer batter and mushy peas through to the newspaper wrapping, Scotch eggs and vinegar. Has an airy, upstairs two-room dining area.

CAFÉ 129


MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3821 5342 7.30am to 9.30pm Service at this “slow food café” is seriously snail paced, but that is part of the charm of this modest eatery with only a few tables and small stools. Popular as a weekend hangover mainstay for the greasy eggs with cheese, the café is best known for its not-quite Mexican food. But hey, when there’s guacamole, salsa fresca, beans and cheese, what can go wrong? Be sure to try the fresh juices, like the super-booster with beetroot, and the coffee with whipped egg.

OPEN AIR EATING 41, Ngo 76, An Duong, Tay Ho. Tel: 0915 085305 Though it’s a bit far from the centre, the expansive wooded area, chilled out atmosphere and good food makes it worth a visit. The menu is well equipped to satisfy cravings for fish and hearty meat dishes. If you’re in a DIY mood, you can Grill Yourself a plate of meat and seafood or choose from the gourmet selection of strip loin, ostrich or salmon to throw on the tabletop grills. Regularly holds live music events.


VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 34 Chau Long, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3942 4448 Open from 7am to 10pm This restaurant, which schools and employs disadvantaged youths, has been popular for 11 years — as a grand villa and courtyard setting tucked away in the corner of Ha Hoi. Popular with business types, tourists and expats alike, who enjoy good food while supporting a good cause, mains like cha ca and steaks go for VND99,000 and VND289,000 respectively, and there are six set menus available which take in Vietnamese, French and Italian cuisine.


CANTONESE/DIM SUM 317 Kim Ma, Dong Da. Tel: 3846 1327 9am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm One of the most underrated Chinese restaurants in the city, the place itself is not much to look at, but they serve above average dim sum. A variety of other Cantonese style dishes including noodle soup and rice dishes are on offer here, all at very affordable prices.



GRILLED VEGETABLE SALAD During his stay in France, Southgate's co-owner, Luu Tung created this refreshing and healthy treat. The ingredients found in the grilled vegetable salad are a popular choice among the people of the Provence region, which is why Tung often refers to it as the “Salade Provencale”.

MAIN INGREDIENTS 50g red capsicum 50g zucchini 50g eggplant 50g potatoes 40g broccoli 60g mixed lettuce 20g cherry tomatoes

GOAT’S CHEESE VINAIGRETTE INGREDIENTS 3 tablespoons of olive oil 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar ½ tablespoon of grain mustard 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped 2 teaspoons of shallots, finely chopped A sprinkle of goats cheese, grated A pinch of salt A pinch of pepper A pinch of thyme

METHOD Slice the red pepper, zucchini

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and eggplant then grill quickly on an open flame. Put aside until everything cools down and then store in the fridge. Sauté the broccoli, then set aside. Slice the potatoes, then heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the potatoes until golden and crunchy, set aside and then fry the broccoli. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and shred the mixed lettuce into smaller pieces. In a smaller bowl, combine all the ingredients for the goat’s cheese vinaigrette, adding the cheese and spices last. Mix carefully. Lay out your vegetables on a plate and place the vinaigrette on top. Serve with slices of toasted baguette. Southgate is located at 28 Ton Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem. Check out for menus, directions and more information

CUPCAKE SERVICE Tel: 01219 499523 The cupcake obsession has caught on. A new baking project by Westlake’s infamous Anna and Mia brings custom cupcakes cooked to order to your front door. Offering a variety of cupcakes and butter cream frostings, check out their speciality flavours like New York cheesecake, brown eyed girl and creative monthly specials. Are you drooling yet? Although a delivery only outlet, the cupcakes are available for purchase at Daluva and Oasis.

MID-RANGE AL FRESCO’S AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 5322 8.30am to 11pm With a real ‘diner’ kind of feel, Al Fresco’s serves up munchies-busting Aussie inspired food from a number of locations across the city including their original restaurant at 23L Hai Ba Trung. Topping the menu are the jumbo ribs at VND395,000, with generous helpings of pizzas, pastas, burgers, Tex-Mex, soups and salads going for less. The set business lunch is three courses for VND155,000. See the website for delivery numbers and don’t forget to ask for delivery deals. Have an efficient delivery service, but make sure you ask for knives and forks.


MEXICAN / TEX-MEX 48 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: 7300 0206 11am to 12am Smack in the middle of the Old Quarter and close to Ta Hien, this is probably Hanoi’s the best place to get your fix of chilli, lime, coriander, refried beans, tacos and tomato. Sit in the upstairs loft for Asian-style seating, or out on the sidewalk for people watching. The open-style kitchen ensures your food is cooked to order and fast, and doubles as a bar. Their margaritas are strong and the salsa is spicy.

BRITANNIA FISH & CHIPS Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 2254 If you want a product closest to quintessential British fish and chips, then your best option by an arm and many a leg is Britannia. The cod, plaice and haddock


KITCHEN INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE Ngo 40, Nha 7A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2679, 7am to 9pm Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracottatiled terrace out front, a great space for eating the decent breakfasts (check out the breakfast burrito), the creatively titled sandwiches and the selection of international salads. Also does a range of Mexican dishes (available after 5pm) and an innovative smattering of healthy, smoothiestyle drinks. Has amiable know-your-name staff and a good delivery service.

KOTO ON VAN MIEU RESTAURANT / CAFÉ / BAR 59 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3747 0337 All profit is invested back into the cause at Koto, which is a school and workplace for disadvantaged students opposite the Temple of Literature. Authentic Asian and European cuisine comes out of a visible and frenetic kitchen and is served over four big floors of restaurant space. It’s cushioned, comfortable and has a rooftop terrace, too. Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken Kievs and sandwiches all under one homely roof.

LA RESTAURANT VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 25 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 8933 8am to 10pm The complimentary warm bread with rosemary is reason enough to visit this homely spot featuring hearty lentil and black bean soups, along with a range of international and Vietnamese options like New Zealand beef tenderloin or tofu with chilli and mushrooms. We aren’t quite sure why the Miele Guide nominated it as one of Asia’s finest restaurants as service is lackadaisical and tables could use candles to improve the lackluster ambience, but the immaculately tasty dishes more than make up for any quips.

LA SALSA IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN 25 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 9052 8am to 11pm A small but eternally popular Spanish-

themed café and bar with an extensive list of reliable cuisine. Tapas are available, as well as full courses such as veal, and duck with currant sauce. Known for its good, European-style coffee and fantastic first-floor terrace area with views over the cathedral. Western staff speak English and French.

LE MARRAKECH MOROCCAN 88 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3710 0389 10am to 11pm. Closed Monday Family-run Moroccan restaurant in a charming terrace-fronted house close to the start of Xuan Dieu. Focus of cuisine is on authentic couscous, tagines and kebab dishes made with a mixture of local and imported ingredients, all cooked up by a Moroccan chef. Uses Halal meat.

LITTLE HANOI VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Dist Tel: 38285 333 7:30am — 11:00pm A tourist hotspot and one for locals, too, Little Hanoi near Hoan Kiem Lake has been going sturdy since 1994 — mainly for its central location, range of sandwiches, pastas and Vietnamese cuisine. Baguettes go from VND95,000 and mango salads VND99,000, not to mention the coffee at around VND50,000, wines and fresh fruit juices. With Indochina-inspired art on the walls and jazz in the background, Little Hanoi is a little escape from the chaos of the central lake.

MATCHBOX INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3734 3098 11am to 11pm Located in the grounds of the Fine Arts Museum, this classy restaurant and wine bar mixes attractive décor with western cuisine, all cooked up by a New Zealand-trained Vietnamese chef. Famed for its salads, good cuts of steak, lamb shank and its various pasta fare, the menu here also incorporates a number of well-known Vietnamese dishes.

PROVECHO TEX-MEX / BURGERS / INTERNATIONAL 18 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 0912 223966 The successor of My Burger My, this American-run, self-styled burger bar and restaurant fits a lot into a tiny, multi-storey space. Specializing in tasty, American-style, chargrilled burgers from around VND50,000 with a range of additional toppings including jalapeno peppers, smoked bacon, mushrooms, cheddar cheese and avocado, the creative menu also has a good range of Tex-Mex fare, a number of pan-Asian dishes and a decent delivery service.

SPOON ASIAN FUSION 15-17 Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3823 5636 6.30am to 10pm An extension of Soul furniture and lifestyle store, the restaurant and lounge bar at Spoon serves up a fusion menu in a setting that screams homeliness and style. Asian dishes, seafood and steaks are among the go-to menu choices. Attentive and competent staff top it all off in this chic restolounge.

TAMARIND CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 0580 5.30am to 10.30pm Perhaps the only restaurant in Hanoi to cater to vegetarians that doesn’t focus on faux meat, Tamarind features a wide range of juices and shakes in a crunchy granola backpacker atmosphere. Breakfast is served all day and with Asian favourites, like vegetarian pho, Ma-Po tofu and Thai glass noodle salad, along with some falafel and western influences, vegetarians and carnivores alike will find something to try on this menu.



FRENCH FLAIR 2/2c Van Phuc, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3726 4782 A modern eatery offering western cuisine with shades of French influence in a comfortable setting. Think gardens in a courtyard, drink and food deals and a warm indoor atmosphere — you know, just how the French do it.

THE HOUSE FUSION FARE / WINE 10 Truong Han Sieu. Tel: 6270 2611 The House, once Annie’s Corner, is one of the latest restaurants to occupy an old French building in the quiet streets nestled between Ba Trieu and Quang Trung. It serves Vietnamese food but with international twists. The affordable and eclectic menu ranges from local tenderloin steak to lemongrass tuna salads with a decent wine list and an ideal bring-yourown VND100,000 corkage fee per bottle of wine.



WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3928 9916 7.30am to 11.30pm Sophisticated restaurant set inside an Old Quarter boutique hotel. Formerly a school, and now also on Cat Ba Island, Green Mango serves Vietnamese and western food, ranging from sandwiches and pasta to lamb chops and VND700,000 Angus rib-eyes. Buy-one-get-one-free deals on cocktails and beers every day from 4pm to 6pm and Lavazza coffee at all hours. With comfy seats and a soft setting, the function room at the back often hosts charity events and semi-formal get-togethers.

JASPA’S INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 8325 6.30am to midnight With attentive service, tasty food and large portions, this place has something for everyone and has proved itself to be popular with both the western and Asian expat communities who come back again and again. The comprehensive menu is a fusion of western and Asian cooking. Also has a large and spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.



CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ / RESTAURANT 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 2886 8 am to 10 pm If you can't afford the labels at Luala you can still enjoy the cuisine in this small cafe run in conjunction with the high-end fashion concept store, Luala and The Press Club. Offering a large menu specialising in creative but chic cafe fare as well as the prerequisite quality coffee, the outdoor terrace seating offers great views of the downtown area.

SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 0121 11am to 11pm. Closed Sundays A secluded courtyard in the heart of Pacific Place plays host to one of the capital’s best restaurants. A two-floored venue split into a downstairs tapas and bar area,with a refined dining space located on the level above, the menu includes Singaporean specialities such as the shrimp satay salad and the chilli crab spaghetti. A pan-European classical menu mixed in with light Asian flavours is also on offer, with dishes such as pan-braised Alaskan cod with sea winkle crust and the braised pork belly in shoyu and sweet mirin making an appearance. Has an extensive wine list.



6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 3845 5224 11am to 2pm, 5pm to midnight A nicely themed Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse offering all you can eat grilled meat and seafood on the skewer, Au Lac do Brazil is not for the feint of stomach. In typical Brazilian rodízio fashion, waiters bring cuts of meat to the table for patrons to pick and choose, all for a set price. They also offer wine pairings, a salad bar and an a la carte menu, with a creative selection of fruit caipirinhas on hand to wash it all down. The prices aren’t for anyone on a budget, but the amount and quality of meat is more than worth cost.

CAFÉ LAUTREC MEDITERRANEAN / INTERNATIONAL Hotel de l’Opera, 29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 6am to 10pm Featuring both à-la-carte and buffet dining as well as an innovative Sunday brunch, this namesake of the French artist Toulouse-Lautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterranean-style fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.


INTERNATIONAL / CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3936 9897 6am to 11.30pm Converted from a wing of an old church, this upscale restaurant with extensive Vietnamese and international offerings is just a stone’s throw from the Opera House. Sophisticated but cozy, the salon is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea. Expect about VND1 million for a set topend six-course meal and VND600,000 for the more downscale five-course offering.

CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 3719 Monday to Friday, 10am to late. Weekends 8am to late A bakery, bistro, restaurant, wine retailer, oyster bar and top floor lounge bar all in one, this lake-facing venue is the work of charismatic Canadian restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done well, the main restaurant menu includes anything from wood-grilled rare tuna steak with fragrant Chinese black bean beurre noir to gourmet pizza and pasta dishes such as the likes of Iberian pata negra ham egg pasta served with crushed roasted garlic and manchego. Does an excellent range of imported oysters and has an extensive wine list.




BELGIAN / EUROPEAN 1 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1769 10 Alley 27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 5853 10am to 10pm An airy and spacious long-running Belgian-themed eatery with a location by the cathedral and a second out in West Lake. Although this is not the place to wash down your Chimay, Leffe or Duval with moules frites on a daily basis — the mussels are only available seasonally — a number of other traditional Belgian dishes fill the menu including carbonade, jambonneau and boulettes sauce tomate as well as the more Swiss-sounding beef and cheese fondue. Hearty fare in a nice environment.

99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6991 4pm to late This welcomed eatery combines traditional Argentinian recipes and preparation with great service in a contemporary and thoughtfully designed space over three floors. Already with two venues in Saigon — one near the Opera House and the other in Saigon South — the essence of this popular chain is quality top grade meats off the grill. Steak is the mainstay, but everything from chicken, pork and seafood is also up for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low, subtle lighting and an extensive wine list and that’s another reason to head to El Gaucho.

JACKSON’S STEAKHOUSE 23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 8388 9.30am to midnight Then newest venture from the team behind Jaspa’s and Pepperoni’s is an all-day eating and drinking lounge fit for all occasions. It has three floors for different vibes – lounge bar, restaurant and “boardroom” – but fine imported steads can be found on each, as well as seafood and a huge wine list. A popular venue.

MILLENIUM PAN-FRENCH / INTERNATIONAL 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 134490 Clean and fresh with a fine-dining vibe, the Millennium restaurant is the minimal and chic result of a Café Des Arts makeover. The street’s new go-to for a high standard of eating and drinking goes over two floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and cables of the Old Quarter.

MING PALACE PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 Lunch 11am to 2pm, dinner 5pm to 10pm A fine dining destination at the Sofitel Plaza serving Cantonese and pan-Chinese cuisine in a sleek modern setting with private dining rooms. With more than 80 dim sum selections available along with Chinese entrees, Ming’s is an ideal eatery for those hungry for higher end Chinese fare.

NINETEEN 11 INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 4801 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm Named after the completion date of the Opera House under which it is located, walk inside and a labyrinthine-like, barebrick wall hallway leads you through to the main dining area. With dark browns, deep yellow tablecloths and a refined ambience aided by background classical music, the menu takes in western, panAsian and seafood fare and even has its own section dedicated entirely to foie gras. Has a 100-strong old and new world wine list that includes Bordeaux vintages and also boasts a cheaper, outdoor garden space next to Highlands Coffee.

PRESS CLUB CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 3rd Floor, 59A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 0888 11.30am to 2pm and 6pm to 10.30pm. Closed Sunday lunch Wooden flooring, paneling and bold but subtle colours pervade this traditional but contemporary, fine-dining 70-seater venue close to the Opera House. Serving up quality cuisine for over a decade,

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Press Club boasts a bar area, two private dining rooms, including a wine room, a library and a vast selection of cigars, all in an elegant atmosphere. Does four excellent wine pairing menus, put together through the aid of the Press Club’s extensive new and old world wine list. Also hosts a popular first-Friday-ofthe-month party.

RESTAURANTS — ITALIAN MID-RANGE CIELO CASUAL ITALIAN DINING 172 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 0680 9am to 10.30pm An Italian eatery in West Lake with a large selection of authentic, pan-Italian cuisine, Cielo is a place which goes back to basic, using homemade Bufala mozzarella on their pizzas. The word Cielo means sky, which is reflected in the fresh airy dining room. And while their takeaway service is prompt, eating in ensures a much better experience. Prices are very reasonable.

DA PAOLO CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 8585 1443 11am to 11pm This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to the famed lawn chair and coconut café on West Lake has all the right ingredients to become a classic. Run by the long time former manager of Luna D’Autunno, it features scrumptious wood-fired oven pizzas from VND120,000 and other Italian delicacies. Open every day for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.

LUNO D’AUTUNNO CLASSIC ITALIAN 78 Tho Nhuom, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3823 73338 11am to 11pm This old-favourite Italian restaurant has been going for 10 years. It uses traditional wood ovens to prepare some of the city’s finest pizzas, which range from VND60,000 to build-your-own-skies-the-limit. Set inside a large, thoughtful space with over 35 covers and an outside courtyard, seasoned chefs also make fresh pastas, soups and cheeses — the latter often bought by other restaurants. Monthly photo exhibitions and opera nights make it well worth a visit, as does the large wine list and choice of desserts.

MEDITERRANEO PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha To, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 6288 10am to 11pm This long-running, cozy restaurant near




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the cathedral serves all the traditional Italian fare you could need — homemade mozzarella and fresh pasta, spinach and ricotta ravioli, cold cut boards, soups, salads and fish. Throw in an extensive wine list, a traditional wood fire oven and a balcony spot looking over Hanoi’s trendy café scene and you’re onto a winner.



PAN-ITALIAN 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 38269 080 Just a stroll away from the Hanoi Opera House and Hoan Kiem Lake in the heart of Hanoi, Pane e Vino serves up authentic Italian food and has done for as long as anyone can remember. Renowned for the highly rated, oven fresh pizzas and large variety of pasta and salad dishes — look forward to fine food done well at this eatery that has the feel of Europe. Huge wine lists, friendly staff and a loveable owner.

ZPIZZA Floor 1, Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 5959 10.30am to 10.30pm Californian pizza chain in the now open in West Lake. — currently the only place to eat from this American pizza brand in Hanoi. The new pizzeria prides itself on its 100 percent certified organic wheat dough and different dishes found nowhere else, like the strawberry and goat’s cheese salad. Also serves up curry chicken sandwiches and meatball penne pasta.



CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3826 6919 11.30am to 2.30pm and 6.30am to late (restaurant) 11am to 2am (bar) There are only two truly top-end, contemporary Italians in Vietnam and Angelina claims pride of place in this elite group. This doesn't mean that prices here are off limits — take a similar eatery in Europe and here you are paying a third, which all makes a meal here a special affair. The carpaccios are to die for, the pastas are all home made, the pizzas are wood-fired and the steaks are chargrilled. Does a great three-course set lunch for VND520,000++. Nick Ross


BONG-CHU JJIM-DAK KOREAN CHICKEN B40 Nguyen Thi Dinh, Thanh Xuan Tel: 6680 1423 Visit 11am – 10pm In typical Vietnamese fashion, Bong-Chu Jjim Dak restaurant only serves one dish it knows best: chicken. A light kimchi soup is served alongside the steamed bird mixed with cellophane noodles packed in a mildly peppery but sweet combination. It’s simple — ordering options include half chicken, whole chicken, chicken and a half, or all of the above. Select the answer that best fits your appetite and escape from the ubiquitous boiled chicken on streets.

GIM BAB KOREAN 50A Ngoc Khanh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3201 2989 One of the longest running Koreans in town, this down-to-earth eatery just off Kim Ma specialises in the Korean nation’s version of sushi rolls. These can be ordered either plain or deep-fried. Other Korean fare includes bibimbab and a range of barbecue dishes. The cuisine is brought to your low tables with floor seating and in typical Korean fashion, all meals are served with free side dishes (banchan) of kim chi, pickles and eggplant.

KY Y JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3978 1386 11.30am to 1.30pm, 5pm to 10.30pm, closed Sunday Sushi, soba, sake. Buy a big bottle of sake and the staff will put your name on it and keep it until next time. Dine at the downstairs bar or in one of the private rooms with sliding doors for an authentic Japanese experience. Although Ky Y specialises in rice-style working man’s fare, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu, but the Japanese omelets, tempura and saucy eggplant dishes are perennial crowd pleasers.

IZAKAYA YANCHA JAPANESE BBQ 121 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 8437 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 11pm Just a stone’s throw from Ky Y, this Osakabased chain does the same cuisine, but entirely differently. The small plates on the large menu are best shared among a group and with bottles of beer or sake. The tofu in amber sauce will leave you licking the plate and the chicken with udon and vegetables is off-the-charts delicious. The tidbit barbeque sticks of okra or bacon are also great, but more as a snack than anything else.

RESTAURANTS — VIETNAMESE BUDGET BANH CUON PHU LY BANH CUON 39 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem 6am to 3pm Put the warm fish sauce in the small bowl with squeezed lime, chilli and fresh herbs and then dip. This is the Ha Nam version of banh cuon (rolled wet rice paper) with the gio lua (pork cake) substituted for barbecued pork and bacon. The street side, flaking paint wall location may be off putting for some, but the fare tastes great.

BUN BO HUE BUN BO HUE 36c Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung 7am to 4pm This is the second branch of the ninemonth-old restaurant on Food Street. Like the Tong Duy Tan favourite, which is more restaurant than street-side affair, the new location serves up the same staples from further south including bun bo Hue, bun thit nuong and nem lui. Authentic, tasty and cheap

NISA MALAYSIAN / HALAL 32 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3926 1859 10am to 2.30pm, 5pm to 10pm A two-storey fresh looking Malaysian restaurant with affable staff and authentic cuisine. Difficulty in obtaining ingredients means that these days the menu is limited, but a nasi campur buffet-style counter in the downstairs space and photos on the wall of other classic Malaysian fare allows customers to choose what to eat. Think nasi lemak, mee goreng, roti canai, beef rendang and more. It tastes good, too.

MID-RANGE BAAN THAI NORTHEASTERN THAI / LOUNGE BAR 3B Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 8588 10am to 10pm This venue serves arguably the best Thai food in the city. With Thai owners and staff from the country’s Isaan region in the kitchen, the place specializes in spicy staples that come from the northeastern provinces in the country. After a meal in the more traditional ground floor space, relax in the comfortable furnishings of the venue’s chic first-floor lounge.

THAI ELEPHANT INTERNATIONAL THAI 73 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 8586 7090 11am to 11pm For those with sensitive taste buds, this small restaurant serves up authentic Thai food that is lighter on the spice. Owned by a Bangkok native, the space itself is a small two-level restaurant with traditional Thai décor. At a convenient location near


BANH XEO / BUN BO 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: 01296 290015 12pm to 11pm A recently opened slither of an eatery selling — wait for it — a Hanoi version of a Saigon version of a Hue dish. It's a bit of a mouthful but worth it — for all its augmentations the banh xeo (beef, beansprout and egg pancakes) served up for self rolling with rice paper and fresh herbs are pretty tasty. Also does a sweet and spicy to-die-for bun bo Nam Bo.

TRADITIONAL JAPANESE 34 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 7565 10am to 2pm, 5pm to 10pm This Japanese eatery might be easy to walk past without noticing, but venture inside and you will find a small but neat interior. The food ranges from traditional Japanese to dishes that lean towards fusion. Very reasonable prices, compared with other Japanese establishments.


Debbie Clare highlights the bands, venues, acts and performers making a noise in the world of music this month





Hoan Kiem and Vincom Towers, Thai Elephant covers all the delicious bases with efficient, fast service and delivery.

BUN BO NAM BO BUN BO 67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3923 0701 7am to 11pm Dressed up like an indoor version of a streetside eatery, this megalith of a skinny bun bo restaurant is famed not only for its northern interpretation of a southern dish that you can't buy in the south, but also for its ga tan (stewed marinated chicken). The bun bo itself, a concoction of sauteed beef, peanuts, beansprouts, white noodles and sweet and sour sauce, is one of the better versions available in the city. And the beef is excellent.

BUN CHA DAC KIM BUN CHA 1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 5022 10am to 7pm With the help of over 40 years of customer loyalty and repeated mentions in overseas press, Dac Kim has become the powerhouse of eateries serving up bun cha (white rice noodles with barbecued pork and herbs). The formula is simple. The mini pork patties are perfectly rounded, the bacon is perfectly grilled and then the portions are humongous. If you're feeling ravenous, the servings here will fill that merry gap, but if you want quality over quantity, look elsewhere. Has a second eatery at 67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem.

CHICKEN STREET BBQ STAPLES Ly Van Phuc, Ba Dinh Perhaps the most well known street food Mecca in all of Hanoi, the lane is flanked with BBQ chicken joints from north to south. At the Nguyen Thai Hoc entrance, the food stalls boast proper chairs, while the venues at the opposite end offer stools and host much larger crowds. No trip to Hanoi or tenure in the capital is complete without a trip to Chicken Street. Honey grilled banh my and potatoes provide vegetarians with savory alternatives.

KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY Trying to find ways to keep the family entertained at weekends can be an arduous task, especially when you can only spend ten minutes outdoors before melting into a blubbery mess. Keep it cool, keep it indoors, and keep up with the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra, as they present their Sunday Family Concert at Hanoi’s Worker Theatre. Conducted by Honna Tetsuji and MC-narrator Dao Mai Anh, the progamme on Jun. 10 features Sergei Prokofiev’s 1936 composition Peter and the Wolf and Jean Sebelius’s symphonic poem Filandia. The concert takes place on Sunday Jun. 10 at 10am and 2pm at the Worker Theatre, 42 Trang

Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets are from VND150,000 to VND300,000, and can be booked at the Worker Theatre or at Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets can also be reserved and delivered to your door, call 0913 489858 or 0983 067996.

FRENCH FANCY Hailed as an “ambassador of the new classical guitar”, French musician Thibault Cauvin was just 20 years old by the time he collected 13 awards from international guitar competitions. Now aged 28, Cauvin is one of the most in-demand solo guitarists worldwide, having performed at festivals and venues everywhere from New York to Hong Kong, Sao Paolo to Istanbul, London to Melbourne

and Singapore to Tel Aviv. After a staggering 600 concerts to date, Cauvin continues to be inspired by new cultural experiences. “Every concert and meeting is a good memory,” he says, “and it’s fantastic to tour around the world, discover new countries, new cultures, and people. It’s great to have important discussions about music with incredible musicians but it’s also magical to have a discussion, for example, with an Algerian fisherman about his boat.” The show starts at 8pm on Thursday Jun. 7 at L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets are VND120,000, or VND60,000 for L’Espace members and students. For more information, check out or www.

Carmina Burana was written between 1935 to 1936 by German composer Carl Orff, and is based on 24 of the poems found in the medieval collection of the same name. Its full Latin title is something of a tongue-twister, but just for the sake of argument, it is Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanæ cantoribus et choris cantandæ comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis. Names aside, this looks to be quite a spectacle of a show. If you were lucky enough to see the Hanoi International Choir perform Verdi’s Requiem last year, you’ll know that when it comes to belting out a tune, HIC have got it under control. They’re loud, they’re in key and for this special concert they’re collaborating with artists from Vietnam National Opera and Ballet. Fans of the marimba will also be pleased to hear the instrument as it stars in the first section of the show in Concerto for Marimba and String orchestra — by Brazilian composer and percussionist Ney Rosauro. The show starts at 8pm on Thursday Jun. 7 at Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets start at VDN150,000 and can be reserved and delivered to your door. Call 0913 489858 or 0983 067996.

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The fish is boneless, which helps set this place apart from others selling the same dish. One bowl is VND30,000.

VEGAN 79A Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3942 4140 9am to 9pm The set meals for one person or a group of six people make this a popular lunchtime eatery. Signs clearly demarcate the way through the alley on Tran Hung Dao to this casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Everything on the menu is vegetarian, from standard tofu with tomato sauce to more obscure fake meat dishes. The walls are moldy but the food is fresh.

MAI ANH PHO GA 32 Le Van Huu, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3943 8492 5am to 4pm Ignore the doubters, this infamous eatery serves up some seriously wholesome pho ga (chicken noodle soup) in a hygienic, shared table indoor environment. The secret? The broth, a perfectly rounded chicken stock consomme. Portions are big, too, and diners can order chicken on the bone or off and can even get an extra egg added to the soup for good measure.

COM GA HOI AN HOI AN CUISINE 1 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3923 3856 7am to 11pm A four-storey restaurant and café specialising in food from the centre of Vietnam — or, as the name suggests, the ancient town of Hoi An. It serves everything from the famous cao lau noodles and my quang tom, to bun bo nuong and com ga Hoi An. Also sells Thai and Chinese cuisine, cakes and ice cream. A spiral staircase, a second floor terrace and pictures of the ancient town top it all off.

PHO CUON STRIP PHO CUON / PAN-VIETNAMESE 71-77 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh 9am to midnight For a dish purported to be invented by French chef Didier Corlou, it is phenomenal how this wet rice paper filled with beef and herbs affair has so quickly been absorbed into the street food fold. Dipped into sweet fish sauce with a touch of chilli, it tastes good, too. The biggest proponents of this dish are on Truc Bach — a row of five street-side eateries that also sell standard, quan nhau meat and seafood fare. There is also another strip of joints just round the corner on Ngu Xa.

DAC SAN HUE HUE CUISINE 150 Nguyen Khuyen, Dong Da. Tel: 6674 7917 6.30am to 10pm A no frills, ten-table restaurant easy to miss at the end of Nguyen Khuyen, just opposite the Temple of Literature. Specialises in dishes from Hue, like banh beo and banh khoai, all at local prices. The staff is friendly and helpful and the bun bo Hue is spot on.

QUAN 32 PHO GA / PHO BO / PHO XAO 32 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem 5.30am to 11pm A hearty, slightly salty broth accompanies the pho ga at this well-known, 40-year-old street corner eatery also lauded for its tasty pho xao and pho bo. It's a simple, typically Hanoian streetside affair here with red plastic tables on the street and foot-high stools. The soup comes with an accompanying basket of slightly stale but buttery banh quay.

DUONG SOM CHAO CA FISH PORRIDGE / CHAO CA 213 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3829 5281 Serves perhaps some of the best chao ca in the city. This rice porridge with fish is garnished with a healthy amount of fresh herbs and, if you choose, strips of banh quay – the Chinese style fried bread.


and non-vegetarians alike.

PHO GA / BUN BO NAM BO 49 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 6am to 4pm A stilt-hutted street food eatery and cafe in the shadow of Elite Fitness doing a tasty version of the sweet and sour bun bo Nam Bo (southern-style beef noodles). Ladle in the chilli and mix up with the beansprouts, fresh herbs, peanuts and sauteed beef, and you have a spiced-up, filling meal. Also does decent pho ga (chicken noodle soup) and pho xao (fried noodles). Has a semi-mezannine cafestyle space out back.


TRUC LAM TROI VEGAN 39 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 6278 1848 7am to 9pm Vegetarians delight in being able to order anything off this more-creativethan-normal traditional Vietnamese Buddhist restaurant situated on a quiet street. Corn juice is the drink of choice here, as everyone around sips the tepid yellow stuff, and the array of fried tofu vegetable dishes makes you reconsider vegan cuisine as “health food.” Order an office lunch plate or dine in during the weekend surrounded by families and walls adorned with traditional Buddhist imagery.

WHITE CLOUD VEGAN Nha 2, Ngo 12 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 1622 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm Simplicity is the key at this small but airy, zen-like bamboo-table eatery located behind the Syrena Centre. A rarity in Vietnam — the cuisine here doesn’t only focus on faux meat imitation — the menu mixes canh (broth) with a range of light dishes, Vietnamese-style salads and a selection of tofu and gluten-inspired mains. Worth a try for both vegetarians

CHA CA LA VONG CHA CA 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 3929 11am to 2pm, 5pm to 9pm A funky wooden-floored two storey, one-dish-only eatery on a street devoted to one of Hanoi's best known dishes, cha ca. Claiming to be the oldest restaurant in Vietnam (established 1873) the deal is straightforward. The butter-coated, premarinated fish is sauteed with dill and spring onions on the table and served up with sides of peanuts, bun noodles and fresh herbs. It's not street food prices cheap by any means, but it's darned tasty. Popular with tourists and locals.

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PAN-VIETNAMESE 17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3972 8001 10am to 2pm, 6pm to 10.30pm Indochine elegance mixes with top-end culinary flair to create one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in town. Fine dining it isn't — this country's cuisine doesn't really lend itself to that type of cooking. But quality ingredients and a twist of creativity makes the fare here well worth the higher price tag — think creative spring rolls and lobster cooked up with a passion-fruit sauce. This is just the start. Also has a great downstairs lounge bar.


TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 65 Ngo Hue, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3976 0633 Situated in a turn-of-the-century French townhouse in a tucked away alley, the ‘whistling bird’ continues to offer some of the best ‘traditional’ Vietnamese food in the capital. Sit on the floor upstairs or enjoy seating downstairs, regardless this eatery serves up simple Vietnamese staples that are well executed and presented in a setting that makes one feel like a regal Hanoian.

IMPERIAL / CONTEMPORARY 63 Pham Hong Thai, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3927 5920 11am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm After shutting the doors at its former location, Com Viet is nestled in the tranquil neighbourhood near Truc Bach Lake. The ‘imperial’ staple, with its pristine décor and antiques, traditional bites and regal atmosphere, specialises in serving up traditional treats with contemporary fusion — think cheese wrapped in beef with a side of pickled cucumbers and a glass of red. Go on the right night and catch live traditional music in the courtyard and feel like a king.




CONTEMPORARY STREET FOOD 26 A-B Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 6133. 7am to 10pm Large and always busy restaurant set in two colonial buildings. The courtyard is filled with tables and fairy light covered trees, which are circled by 18 cooking stoves. Here the chefs serve Vietnamese classics from all over the country a la carte style. Good for street side classics done well in the comfort of an airy restaurant. Of the 14 dining spaces, one room holds 30 guests. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner.

57 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3944 0204, 11.30am to late Brought to you by a group of former disadvantaged youth from Hanoi’s own KOTO, this unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like profiteroles with green tea and café fillings, a private chef’s table with a kitchen view, and an extensive wine list combined with modern formal styling bring a unique experience to Hanoi.

VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC 5 Hang Tre, hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 4200 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3711 6372 54 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3796 2647 25 Bat Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 0639 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6377 10am to midnight Always busy, often hectic, this multifloored restaurant is for diners who don’t mind loud noises and sitting on the floor. It’s best for groups so you can order an array of dishes ranging from the more


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VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 38 Hang Hom. Tel: 3928 7241 An unassuming establishment that rarely fills up, which means that customers often benefit from better service and the servers utmost attention. What the restaurant lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for with a large menu that is chalked full of reasonably priced Vietnamese fare and some western staples.


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STEAK / CHINESE NOODLES 52 Le Ngoc Han, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3978 2251 7am to 10.30pm Located on the corner of Hoa Ma, this steak served sizzling-on-the-griddle eatery packs no punches when it comes to getting your beef. Get the standard banh my affair and the imported US steak is doled up with meatballs, fried egg, chips and lots of fat. It's a cholesterol mess of a meal but really tasty. Also does bun bo Hue, Phuc Kien noodles and the Khmer Chinese hu tieu Nam Vang. Has restaurants at 349 Doi Can and 71 Tran Duy Hung.



exotic frog legs, buffalo and ostrich, to the trusted standbys; catfish spring rolls, papaya salad and fried tofu. But it’s the exclusive Highway 4 flavoured rice wines that can be taken as shots or mixed into cocktails that keep this place crowded.



The Cart


L’s Place


St. Honore; Vine


Oasis; Red Apron


Segafredo; Tracy’s; Kitchen


Vine Cellar Door


Mandarin; India Palace




Al Fresco’s; Tay Tap


Kitchen Art


House of Son Tinh


Santal Spa; Bamboo Village


Don’s Tay Ho


City Zoo; Better Day


Da Paolo; Coconut Cafes


Collective Concepts


La Salsa


Binh’s Salon


White Cloud






Pure Heaven


Bobby Chinn


International SOS


Le Marrakech


Ham Long Mini Market




Module 17




George’s Fashion


Hanoi Rock City




Love Chocolate Cafe


Zenith Yoga


El Gaucho

GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 1355 9096 10am-2pm, 5pm-10pm Gordon Ramsay once filmed a show at this restaurant in a renovated French villa and now the ribs carry his namesake. But it’s the twist on old world favourites, think fried snail spring rolls and miniature vegetarian banh xeo, in a casually elegant setting that make this spot near the train tracks standout. Be sure to try the rollyour-own cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music.

QUAN AN NGON CONTEMPORARY STREET FOOD 18 Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 8162 7am to 9.30pm Long-time favourite serving up Vietnamese classics in a large French villa and courtyard. Menu is huge, made up of street-food options and higher end dishes from Hanoi, Hue and Ho Chi Minh City. Quick service makes it ideal for lunch and the array of options makes it perfect for newcomers to Vietnamese cuisine. Order loads and share, of course.

MID TO TOP AU LAC HOUSE INDOCHINE / VIETNAMESE 13 Tran Hung Dao, Tel: 3933 3533 Set in converted colonial villas and frequented primarily by travelers that unload in front of the establishment on massive tour buses, this venue is imbued with the nostalgia of Indochine, replete with chess boards, stylish fans and waitresses outfitted in ao dais. Boasts a large menu filled with Vietnamese favourites and much more.


definitely for those who have guests in town or business clients to schmooze. Quite an experience. Nick Ross




CLASSY FUSION 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 5831 A popular hang-out for expats and trendy Vietnamese in the Xuan Dieu area on West Lake. This bar and restaurant offers casual dining with a classy twist, as well as wine, tapas, events and attractive décor. Additional services include catering, BBQ rentals, playroom, kids menu, takeaway and local delivery.

ETE BAR FRENCH LOUNGE 95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0976 751331 10am to midnight A favourite among those who roam further west of the city centre, this multi-storey restobar has been going strong for more than two years. It has balconies, mezzanine seating and a long bar guarding exactly 50 different cocktails. For many the Ete burger is right on the mark as are the sandwiches, tartines and salads. It’s always crowded — especially during the weekends. Amiable staff, pleasant vibes.



INTERNATIONAL The Clubhouse, Ciputra, Tel: 3758 2400 7am to 11pm One of the larger and more comfortable bars in Hanoi, J.A.F.A. is a great place for drinking cocktails by the pool. The beverages are not the cheapest, but this is made up for by service and ambiance. They also have a full menu featuring familiar western dishes such as pizza and cheeseburgers and cater for large parties or dinner functions. Periodic buffets and drink specials are also offered.

The venue also gets involved in the local community through regular events. Has a second Le Pub at Third Floor, 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho.



SPANISH 26 Lan Ong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 8585 2563 9am to 11pm Nestled just off the main Old Quarter drag, this bar and restaurant daubed in the colours of the Spanish flag is the first genuine Iberian tapas bar in town. Sells a range of fare from paella through to tapas, a selection of tortilla and Spanish mains, and also serves lethal but tasty sangria. Spanish tempanillos and reds make up the enigmatic mix.

PUKU INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1745 Open 24 hours This spacious spot on food street is open around the clock, offering Aussie-inspired comfort food along with more eclectic Irish nachos, cottage pies and pan-Asian fare. Upstairs is fit for social gatherings and live music while the no-smoking downstairs space is filled with people working and socialising. Serves as community centre, catering both to ravenous backpackers who’ve just arrived off the night train from Sapa and locals looking to meet up.

ROOFTOP SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3946 1901 8am to midnight If location counts for anything, then here it is spectacular. With a 270-degree view over the whole of the city, the up-on-high theme of the Rooftop is used to its full. The bar is pretty cool, too, with bare brick, sofa-style seating, glass fronted wine displays and a private room out back for more intimate drinking. Also does day-time office lunches, coffee and decent bar food.

VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 42 Duong 9, F361, An Duong, Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: 2260 8968 10am-10pm Imperial-era architecture, a rock garden with trees almost 300 years old, a beautiful lawn area and contemporary Asian-influenced international fare make up the mix at this quite unique top-end restaurant. The cuisine and drinks don’t come cheap, but then establishments such as Softwater are a rarity. Has both an international and a Vietnamese menu and is located by the river in An Duong at the end of Road 9, close to the Sofitel Plaza.


TRUNG DUONG VIETNAMESE SEAFOOD 55 Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 6270 0787 10am to 10pm There are two of these restaurants in Vietnam and the other is in Phu Quoc, the location of probably the best seafood in the country. Every type of ocean-breathing animal is available here in addition to an array of tofu and vegetables. From crab to Russian sturgeon and grouper, most of this seafood harks from down south or Halong Bay. The restaurant is set up so that every day is a banquet and you can pick your poisons from the tank.

ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hai Ba Trung 8am to 10pm Located on the corner of Quang Trung, this large new cafe, restaurant and bar is housed in a restored colonial building. The beautiful courtyard is liberally decorated with plants, fans, blowlight jets of water, and shade is provided by tasteful cream parasols. Inside, a non-smoking, airconditioned room is the perfect place to escape the heat. Western and Vietnamese fare is on offer, they have a huge range of wine, beer and coffee and they serve excellent fries too.

CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL 28 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3398 1979 An American-run casual yet sophisticated restobar on Food Street with a great outdoor terrace area, a shared indoor bar space, a chef’s table and upstairs seating. Matched by contemporary décor, the creative food menu focuses on doing comfort food well, while a decent new and old world wine list and innovative cocktails make up the mix. Popular with the media and artsy set.




CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE 55A Nguyen Du, Tel: 3943 9342 10.30am to 10.30pm One of the city’s most popular Vietnamese restaurants is a delight from the entrance inwards. Walk over water features and 100 roses and up the spiral staircase into subdued lighting, warm colours and a menu that mixes subtle, well-executed Asian flavours. Not for those who love the sharpness of some street foods, but

BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 2104 7am to midnight Dark red walls and even darker brown seating run through the homely and casual Le Pub, one of the few bars in town with a regular stream of clientele. A long list of imported beer, Tiger draft, a decent international cum Vietnamese food menu, happy hour specials and live sport make up the comfortable mix.

OLD SKOOL 1 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3939 2888 This ‘Chill Lounge’ is not too far from the Opera House and is ideal for drinks against a bright backdrop. Its large bar serves up test tube shooters and the Party Animal Bucket offers a range of shots. Of course, it’s a café/restaurant, too and be sure to check out the owner’s collection of boom boxes next to the DJ Booth. Live music on Wednesdays and a DJ at the weekend.

23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 8388 This new addition to the city from the Alfresco’s Group is definitely the meatiest yet. In the shape of a four floor, chic restobar — which has a bar lounge on the ground, a restaurant vibe on the second and third, and a “boardroom” on the fourth — Jacksons Steakhouse serves of well presented plates of imported Oz and New Zealand steaks as well as seafood. Of course, the large restaurant wouldn’t be complete without a large wine list to match.


SANDBOX INTERNATIONAL / WINE AND JAZZ 12 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3927 5708 5.30pm to midnight Tucked into a quiet street close to Truc Bach, this romantic, Parisian-styled lounge exhibits art from up-and-coming Hanoi artists and is best experienced on the nights with live music. The menu offerings are rich and robust, from chicken curry to spaghetti and roast duck, all created to pair well with wine. Come for dinner and stay for the live jazz and well-curated wine selection.



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AMUSEMENT COSMOS 168 Ngoc Khanh, Dong Da This bowling alley may be small, but if you’re hankering for a night at the lanes, this one has instant replay cameras that will show your strike again in slow motion.

HANOI STAR BOWL 2B Pham Ngoc Trach, Dong Da Tel: 3574 1614 Plenty of lanes, and the zany colours add to the festive feel. A game will cost VND27,000, plus a little extra for the shoe rental. All in all it makes for a night of good fun.

QUAN TOM 89 Bui Thi Xuan. Tel: 3294 47844 The staff at this karaoke bar is quite friendly. Large, comfortable rooms, and – their claim to fame – a vast English language track list, makes for a good night.

BOOK SHOPS BOOKWORM 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 3711 Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanoi’s literary scene since 2001. It has been around the block quite a bit and now shares a space with Hanoi Cooking Centre. With over 15,000 new and secondhand fiction and nonfiction titles in stock, the shop also buys used books and offers free travel advice.

HIEU SACH THANG LONG 55 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 7043 A large bookstore with mostly Vietnamese material, but there is also a selection of French and English books and even some literature.

XUNHASABA 32 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3825 4068 Often referred to just as ‘The Foreign Language Bookstore’, you’ll find a decent selection of both books and magazines. Their biggest section is composed of ESL materials, but you will also find fiction.

CINEMAS CINEMATHEQUE 22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3936 2648 Not a movie theater per se, but a private film club that charges a membership fee in return for entrance to a wide selection of movies, new and old. The management has an eclectic taste and shows films from all over the world.

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visit for a comprehensive list of our listings


MEGASTAR Vincom Towers, 191 Ba Trieu, 6th floor, Hai Ba Trung, Tel: 3974 3333 Inside Vincom towers, this big, westernstyle multiplex shows some of the latest English language and Asian foreign films. The experience includes fairly wellstocked concession stands, comfortable seats, air conditioning and a booming sound system.

MEGASTAR PICO MALL 299 Tay Son, Dong Da The second Megastar outlet in the city in the newly renovated Pico Mall. Generally less crowed than the theatre at Vincom Towers, but the same concept. For real Hollywood and American fast food fans, has a Pizza Hut and Swensen’s within the same cinema complex.

NATIONAL CINEMA CENTRE 87 Lang Ha, Dong Da. Tel: 3514 2278 Cineplex with several smaller theaters and an arcade. Movies are quite cheap, especially matinees. Be sure to ask if the movie is subtitled in Vietnamese or dubbed.

CLUBS & SOCIETIES DEMOCRATS ABROAD – VIETNAM Affiliated with the American Democratic Party, like-minded and politically active individuals can stay in touch and continue to affect the political winds that are blowing Stateside. Hosts regular events for every major election cycle.

AMERICAN CLUB 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 1850 A bit worn around the edges, but the facilities are still useful and the grounds pleasant. They host frequent events that are open to the public. Wide lawn, volleyball and basketball courts may make the place worth a visit.

HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3823 8115 The exclusive social and fitness club is located on the banks of West Lake. Golfers hit balls into the lake from the driving range and swimmers enjoy a lovely view from the pool. The gym is small and classes are not included as part of the steep yearly membership fees.

L’ESPACE 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem The cultural arm of the French Embassy is

very active in the cultural life of the city. They both organise and host many functions – music, performing arts, film. Large French language library as well as classes and workshops.

COOKING CLASSES HANOI COOKING CENTRE 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 0088. Hanoi Cooking Centre is a school, retail outlet and café, where you can find classes on not just Vietnamese cooking, but international cuisine, held in a beautiful setting. They also offer culinary tours.

HIDDEN HANOI 137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho. Tel: 0912 254045 A wide range of Vietnamese culinary classes are offered in these well-appointed and clean facilities. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through the secrets of Vietnamese cooking in an open air courtyard.

HIGHWAY4 COOKING CLASS 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3715 0577 The well-known restaurant also offers one-off cooking courses in the kitchens at their Truc Bach location. Don’t worry if you forget some of the tricks, as the class includes a recipe booklet.

KITCHEN ART STORE AND STUDIO Lane 38/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 6680 2770 Well stocked and modern cooking store offering cooking classes with one of Vietnam's popular food personalities. Kitchen Art Basic Baking Classes also open to non-Vietnamese speaking students. The friendly staff ensures that everyone is able to follow the instructor.

KOTO Lane 52/28, House 9, To Ngoc Van Tel: 3747 0377 This charitable organisation, which helps street kids gain the skills to succeed in the hospitality industry, also offers cooking classes to the public on Tuesdays at their training centre. Learn how to make some of the items on their menu at home. Pick up is also available at their Van Mieu location.

DANCING ASPARA DANCE STUDIO 137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 7916 Located in the same building as Hidden Hanoi, Aspara is a multi-genre dance studio. Will provide instruction in everything from belly dance, to meringue, salsa and bachata.

FITNESS ELITE FITNESS 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6281 The luxury gym features top-of-the-line fitness equipment, separate cardio and spinning areas and an indoor swimming pool with a retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural light make it a welcoming place to squeeze in a work out, but be prepared to pay. This place is top of the range.

FOUR SEASONS SWIMMING POOL 14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da. Tel: 3537 6250 This beautiful hotel has a swimming pool for VND40,000 per day, and another VND10,000 for a locker to keep your pantaloons. It might be a good idea to go during the off hours, as it’s a well used

pool. But if laps are what you want, the pool is large and, at times, quiet.

HANOI BOOTCAMP BEEACTIVE To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho The successor to the weekly bootcamp famously run by fitness professional Helen Kindness, BeeActive continues the community spirit by bringing together both the fit and unfit to work out on the streets. To take part, drop them an email. Sessions are all held around the To Ngoc Van area, unless stated otherwise: Mon — 6am to 7am (Ciputra) Mon, Tues, Fri — 9.15am to 10.15am Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs — 6.30pm to 7.30pm Sat — 7am to 8am

NSHAPE FITNESS 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da. Tel: 6266 0495 This gym with American Life Fitness cardio and weight machines, provides a clean, uncrowded environment and expertly staffed facilities with a selection of fitness classes for its members. Classes include boxing, yoga and groupX with both Vietnamese and foreign fitness trainers on hand to give exercisers advice. Membership starts from VND1.5 million per month with no joining fee.

STAR FITNESS 4th Floor, The Garden, Me Tri, Tu Liem Tel: 3787 5353 This lifestyle, top-end gym in My Dinh offers massage rooms, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, cold plunge baths, gym areas, exercise studios, locker rooms, and a swimming pool. It is a great option for residents living on the outskirts of the city.

SUNWAY HEALTH CLUB 19 Pham Dinh Ho, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3971 3888 Very good equipment in this small gym, housed in a little hotel. None of the extra frills that you might expect at a larger place, but all the machines are running and well maintained. Monthly price of membership for non-guests is about VND1.4 million.

VIETCLIMB So 40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho. Tel: 5321 9235 Although a little hard to find, VietClimb is a French-owned, 200-meter climbing gym with state-of-the-art courses. There are 100 different climbing routes within the gym that are changed every few months. They offer clinics, classes and children’s events. Membership and group rates are available, but be sure to check out the three-month pass.

VINCHARM SPA AND GYM 6th & 7th floor Vincom Centre, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3974 8686 Far more Zen then your average gym, work out to toned-down music while toning up on state of the art equipment, and have a post workout drink at the juice bar. There is even a separate swimming pool for tots, and a full service spa. Top-end equipment and services come with top-end monthly fees — not for the feint-hearted.

FOOTBALL, SOCCER & RUGBY HANOI CAPITALS FOOTBALL CLUB Hanoi Capitals don’t play. This football club is serious about their sport. The uniforms and attitudes alone tell you they’re no Bad News Bears. If you want to let your skills shine get in contact with Ricky at 0903 413339.

HANOI YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE The biggest youth football league in the capital. Youths aged 8 to 16 years old come together to play regular tournaments.

VIET CELTS The first and only Gaelic Football league in Hanoi has recently added a women’s team. The teams play in the Southeast Asia Gaelic League as well as in tournaments all over the region. Bring a sporting spirit as a spectator or a player. Call Gareth for more information: 0904 228629.

VIETNAM SWANS In true Aussie style, the Vietnam Swans footballers hold not only weekly matches and training sessions, but social and drinking affairs as well. Concerned just as much with fun as with winning, this club is welcoming to anyone who is willing to have a good time.

GALLERIES APRICOT GALLERY 40B Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 8965 This centrally located space houses art by some of Vietnam’s best-known contemporary artists, such as Hoang Hai Anh and Dinh Quan, as well as up and coming artists.

ART VIETNAM 7 Nguyen Khac Nhu, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3927 2349 One of Vietnam’s best known and respected galleries, features contemporary Vietnamese art in all its forms: sculpture,

painting, lacquer, photography and video, from both up-and-coming and wellestablished artist s. Check their website for a list of exhibitions and events.

of the mountains at Tam Dao. It is about two hours from the city, but does provide an 18-hole course with a clubhouse and a spectacular view, surrounded by green



23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3944 8595 Housed in a picturesque French colonial villa, Bui Gallery is one of Hanoi's newest and boldest modern art galleries. Features cutting-edge contemporary art from Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Brazil, the US and Europe.

HANOI ART CONTEMPORARY GALLERY 36-38 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 7192 This art space is home to a large collection of your standard tourist fare along with a smatter of more unique pieces.

MAI GALLERY 113 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3938 0568 Several floors of paintings, regularly changed, by some of the best known contemporary artists in the country, some of whom they’ve helped in gaining international recognition. Mai specialises is finding the perfect décor for both homes and offices.

MAISON DES ARTS 31 Van Mieu, Dong Da. Tel: 3747 8096 A gallery near the Temple of Literature with several floors bills itself not only as an art gallery, but a multi-purpose social and cultural space. Frequent exhibitions feature both Vietnamese and international artists. Mlle. Nga, who runs the space, also involves herself in several other cultural projects around Hanoi.

ARMY HOTEL 33C Pham Ngu Lao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 2896 FOUR SEASONS 14 Dang Tien Dong, Dong Da Tel: 3537 6250 HANOI CLUB 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 HORISON FITNESS CENTER 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh Tel: 3733 0808 MELIA HOTEL 44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 3343 OLYMPIA 4 Tran Hung Dao, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 1049 SAO MAI 10 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 3161 SOFITEL PLAZA FITNESS CENTER 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8888 THAN NHAN Vo Thi Sau, Hai Ba Trung, (Inside the park) THANG LOI HOTEL 200 Yen Phu, Tay Ho

DINH HAIR SALON 2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh. Tel: 09877 18899 A small but popular hair salon that serves both expats and locals. The many repeat customers go back because of Dinh’s willingness to both follow instructions, or to be creative when asked. Services include scalp massage, shampooing, colouring and styling.

FRANGIPANI SPA 405 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh. Tel: 6329 2915 New garden-themed day spa named after the frangipani flower, known in Vietnam for its healing properties. Services include hair salon, nail care and massages. Details to amenities like bathrobes, slippers and towels provide a comfortable atmosphere.

TA SALON Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3716 1754 / 3758 2940 (Ciputra). Hotline: 0912 267613 Multi-functional hair and body salon with a range of treatments running from haircut, highlights, shampoo, straightening and perm to hot stone foot and body massages, a range of facials, waxing, bikini lines and body scrub. With a first salon in Ciputra, TA number two is at the Hanoi club. Popular with both western and Asian expats as well as A-class Vietnamese.


7 Hang Khay, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 9071 This small gallery has focused on building a collection of traditional Hanoi images with a modern twist since it opened in 1990. The gallery actively seeks out talented young contemporary artists.

49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 5980 Located in Hanoi Towers, The Hair Workshop has a number of hairdressers used to cutting and styling all types of hair. The prices are significantly higher than they would be on the street, or at a smaller shop, but there are many people who refuse to go anywhere else. A full service salon that also offers such services as waxing.



35A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Don’t be fooled by the signs hawking café sua da. Hidden within the coffee shop interior is a small gallery showing some of Vietnam’s newest talent.

137 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho. Tel: 0912 127554 Run by an Australian expat named Cat, this is a small but comfortable and well-run hair studio located in the Hidden Hanoi building. There is only Cat and her one assistant, so be sure to make an appointment.




VIET FINE ARTS GALLERY 96 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3928 6667 If you’re looking for a well-known name, and a high price tag to match, Viet Fine Arts sells work by some of Hanoi’s more famous artists.

54 TRADITIONS GALLERY 30 Hang Bun, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3715 0194 The only gallery in Vietnam focusing on the antiques, artifacts and art of Vietnam’s 53 minority groups and the Kinh majority people. Has over 1,000 items on display and objects in the collection have been exhibited in museums both in Hanoi and abroad.

GOLF COURSES HANOI CLUB DRIVING RANGE 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3623 8115 A fitness club that also boasts a two-level driving range where the balls are hit into the water. No net means you can gauge your driving. The price for a bucket of golf balls depends on whether or not you’re a member.

TAM DAO GOLF AND RESORT Relatively new golf club near the base

TRAN HUNG HAIR CREATION 5 Ho Xuan Huong, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3943 4946 Located near Reunification Park, Hung has a long list of satisfied clients, both western and Vietnamese. Be prepared to allot one to two hours for a cut and more for colour as Hung is a perfectionist.

KIDS HANOI ZOO Off Kim Ma, opposite Daewoo Hotel Tel: 3834 7395 Really as much a park as it is a zoo, you can find Vietnamese families on picnics here on any given day. Strewn throughout, sometimes in curiously small cages, you’ll also find a number of animals large and small, all indigenous to the country. Also, there are other attractions for children such as a fun house, and big, floating plastic balls they can climb into. The One Man Cinema operates out of here at weekends.

KINDERPARK 614 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Tel: 3710 1666 A huge international indoor playground for children of all ages founded by three likeminded mums. The indoor playground covers an impressive 2,000 sqm, and offers

activities, birthday parties and a welltrained staff. There is a café for parents to sit in while their children run amok.

THANG LONG WATER PUPPET THEATRE Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan Kiem Daily shows of traditional rustic Vietnamese carved puppets, animate folkloric tales accompanied by music. This can be fun for adults as well as children.

THE LITTLE GYM OF HANOI 4th Floor, 402A Vincom Center, Long Bien Tel: 3515 8555 The newest addition to the Hanoi family entertainment scene, this globally-known brand has more than 300 locations across the world. Has a range of programmes for kids aged four months to 12 years old including gymnastics, karate, dance classes, sports skills and more, with the activities focusing on developing both cerebral and physical capacity. Also hosts birthday parties, organises camps and arranges parents nights.

TINIWORLD 51 Xuan Dieu, Syrena Towers; 229 Tay Son, Pico Mall An indoor play-haven for children inside the safety of a shopping centre. Pay an entry fee of VND50,000 and let your kids loose on the jungle gym and video arcade-style games. Small and with enough staff on hand so you can let your kids play, and head out to do a little shopping next door.

VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung There are a bunch of toy stores and shops for children in the mall area of the second tower. Also, near the food court, you’ll find an arcade with video games and tiny rides for very small kids.

LEISURE GENERAL FRIENDS OF VIETNAMESE HERITAGE A non-profit organization devoted to the culture of Vietnam. People from all over the world join together to educate themselves and others on Vietnam and preserve its heritage. The organization holds events such as lectures, city walks and excursions available to the public.

HANOI HASH HOUSE HARRIERS This big, assorted “family” gets together every week to go on out of town excursions, for hour-long runs along paths marked by flour spots, and with no lack of beer stops along the way. Drink and get into shape at the same time, and add some sight-seeing into the picture. Emphasis here is on fun. Bus leaves on Saturdays from the American Club on Hai Ba Trung at 2pm in summer and 1:30pm in winter.

HANOI LITTLE LEAGUE BASEBALL If you’re looking for a little league baseball team in Hanoi, this is the website to check out. One of the first, if not still the only, such club in town, their mission is to teach young people about the game, teamwork and to have a great time. Practice every Saturday at Xuan Dinh Field from 6.15 to 8.30 am

MASSAGE JUST MASSAGE 237 Au Co, Tay Ho. Tel: 6671 2249 Aromatherapy, Swedish, shiatsu and pregnancy massages all given by the hands and touch of nine visually impaired therapists. The massages here are professional and, of course, in aid of a great

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cause. Check their website for their range of promotions.

cinema buff


Hoa Le takes a peek at what's on in cinemas this week SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN Director: Rupert Sanders Stars: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron Genre: Action, adventure, drama

second of these three films left off, the animals are in Monte Carlo where they gatecrash a party and attract the attention of Animal Control. The penguins, King Julian, the monkeys and a performing llama join a Madagascar-style travelling circus, and try to pass through Europe without attracting attention.

all across Europe. The film follows the story of a handicapped millionaire who is looking for a live-in caretaker. A young man arrives, who at first seems like a criminal, but honesty and humour create a strong connection between the two men and a touching friendship ties them together. This French comedy will hit MegaStar cinema in Vincom Tower (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) and Pico Mall (229 Tay Son, Dong Da) on Jun. 15

THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE (2003) Director Rupert Sanders instills new life into the ever-popular Grimm fairly tale, with an actionpacked, visual marvel. Snow White is the only person fairer than the Evil Queen. Unable to tolerate the insult to her vanity, the Evil Queen decides that Snow White must die. The Queen sends a huntsman to kill Snow White. However, the huntsman finds himself unable to murder the innocent young woman, and instead ends up training her to become a warrior capable of threatening the Queen's reign. The film hits the screens on Jun. 1 at MegaStar cinema in Vincom Towers (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung), Pico Mall (229 Tay Son, Dong Da) and at Lotte Landmark Cinema (Keangnam Tower, Pham Hung, Tu Liem)

Les Triplettes de Belleville Director: Sylvain Chomet Stars: Michèle Caucheteux, JeanClaude Donda and Michel Robin Genre: Animation, comedy

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THANH GIA 18 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung 38 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem One of a number of foot massage parlours in town that has treatments focusing as much on the pressure points of your feet at they do on the rest of your body. Strong hands, unbranded oils and, if you ask, tiger balm oil.

NAILS FANCY SPA 26 Dinh Ngang, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 4183 A small Vietnamese spa and salon. Prices are quite high, but the shop offers a wide range of services in addition to manicure/ pedicure.

LINKQ 271 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3725 2359 One of a chain of all-purpose beauty salons that specialises in manicures and pedicures. This place has a lot of business from word of mouth, so it’s best to call ahead and make an appointment.

THU CUC EXOTICAL SPA 57 Nguyen Khac Hien, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 0316 This all-purpose beauty salon offers spa pedicures in a Zen-like atmosphere where your manicurist won’t be chatting on her mobile phone.


Released Jun. 8 at Lotte Landmark Cinema (Keangnam Tower, Pham Hung, Tu Liem) and Jun. 12 at MegaStar cinema in Vincom Towers (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung) and Pico Mall (229 Tay Son, Dong Da)

52 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 8344 They offer a long-lasting, professional manicure and pedicure service for barely more than you would pay to get your nails cut on the street. The staff doesn’t speak much English, but they have an extensive menu to choose from.


THE INTOUCHABLES Directors: Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy and Anne Le Ny Genre: Comedy, drama

MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED (3D) Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon Stars: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith and Chris Rock Genre: Animation, adventure, comedy Lion Alex, zebra Marty, hippo Gloria and giraffe Melman long to return to New York City’s beloved Central Park Zoo. But before they can go back, they need to find the penguins. Picking up where the

14 Yen Phu, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3945 4548 Trained at the Tue Tinh Traditional Hospital, the therapists at this no frills, traditional Vietnamese massage centre use a variety of techniques including tuina, aromatherapy, ayurvedic and shiatsu. Also offer a range of healing treatments as well as not-so-traditional laser and plastic surgery.

This irreverent, uplifting comedy about friendship, trust and humanity has broken box office records in its native France and

Madame Souza’s grandson Champion is a cycling pro, and after a grueling training regime it’s time for him to compete in the Tour de France. During a mountainous leg of the race, Champion and two other competitors are kidnapped. With the family’s faithful pet dog Bruno at her side, Madame Souza goes looking for her grandson. When the old woman and her dog meet three eccentric jazz-singing elderly women, the rescue journey really begins. This movie will be shown in French with Vietnamese subtitles at the French Culture Centre (L’espace) at 8pm on Jun. 29

67 Tran Nhan Tong, Hai Ba Trung For VND50,000, see an array of live performances, both human and animal. Bears ride motorbikes, monkeys do tricks. The acrobatic performances are particularly amazing.

HANOI INTERNATIONAL THEATRE SOCIETY (HITS) Hanoi’s premiere community theatre group has been entertaining audiences around the city since 2001. The amateur acting society both draws from and gives back to the local community. All profits from the bi-yearly performances are donated to charities in Vietnam.


YOUTH THEATRE 11 Ngo Thi Nham, Hoan Kiem A few blocks south of Hoan Kiem Lake, this community theatre space hosts both music events and theatre productions.

SPAS KIM DUNG 38 Nguyen Cong Hoan, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3483 50079 Face massage, hair care, manicure, pedicure, this is a one-stop shop for all sorts of comfort services and products. Facilities are clean and modern. Hairstyling also available.

annual Hanoi Triathlon and the Song Hong Half Marathon, which are community events that help to add a different, more social dimension to fitness and sport in the capital.

UNIS COMMUNITY EDUCATION UN International School, Tay Ho. Tel: 3758 1551 The UN International School is located between West Lake and the highway heading to Noi Bai Airport. They have great facilities and offer a number of different classes throughout the year.


LANCY SPA 35 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 9461 This all-purpose spa offers the full menu: massage, nails, skincare at reasonable prices. Discounts offered to regular customers.

LE SPA DU METROPOLE Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15A Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3826 6919 A five-star spa for a five-star hotel, this colonial-style centre of relaxation is pure luxury. Choose the genre of music you want to hear in your treatment room from a menu, select anything from themenamed facials through to traditional, Vietnamese-style massages, and indulge. It comes at price, but when you’ve just got to treat yourself…

ORCHIDS SPA 34 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 4862 Just a few steps away from bia hoi corner, the unisex Orchids spa recently one a VTV award for being one of the top spas in Hanoi. Treatments range from facials through to waxing, saunas and slimming treatments.

SANTAL SPA 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 4686 Private rooms with showers, a beautifully designed interior, well-trained and professional staff. The place to go if you want to forget a busy work week, or the busy streets.

THU CUC EXOTICAL SPA 57 Nguyen Khac Hien, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3715 0316 Near Truc Bac, Thu Cuc is an all-purpose spa where you can get a full-body massage, a facial, manicure or pedicure in a relaxing environment. Both prices and service are comparable to the West.

ZEN SPA 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 9889 Brushing up against the banks of the Red River, this Indochine-styled day spa hideaway comes replete with an oasis-like bonsai garden and peace and quiet, a perfect tonic to the chaos of the city. Has a range of five-element spa packages as well as just one-off facials and waxings and other treatments. Has a second outlet at 100 Xuan Dieu as well as spas in Hoi An.


1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3933 0113 This French colonial building hosts a packed schedule of cultural events throughout the year, everything from the New York Philharmonic to cutting edge Vietnamese performance art has graced its stage.




25 Tong dan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3665 54608 Head to this theatre, lodged on the campus of the Vietnam Revolution Museum, for a taste of one of Vietnam’s most traditional musical forms. The Red River Runners meet every Saturday to run through the fields and suburbs skirting the Red River in Hanoi. The group organises races, such as the

59 Hoang Cau, Dong Da. Tel: 3511 8030 The distinction of this fitness centre is that they have a large space, filled with a “number of different fields of different sizes”. Includes areas for aerobics, football and rugby. Classes depend, according to the season.

THUY LOI SPORTS COMPLEX 95 Chua Boc, Dong Da A wide sports pitch that also offers a swimming pool and a football field – if you get tired of tennis. Football fields are almost always crowded, but even for tennis it might be good to go during the off hours.

VAN TUE THANG LONG 136 Ho Tung Mau, Tu Liem A little bit hard to find, but Van Tue Thang Long offers quite a bit of room, with a sit-down restaurant and a few tennis courts. Facilities are a bit run down, but a place to go if you want to play tennis on concrete courts.

VIETNAMESE CLASSES VIETNAMESE TEACHING GROUP 164 Le Thanh Nghi, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 7236 9842 Offers not only Vietnamese classes, but also a variety of excursions and events that will help foreigners and expats to better understand Vietnamese culture. Organised and professional, classes are usually sold in blocks, which you pay for in advance.

VIETNAM NATIONAL UNIVERSITY B7 Bis, Bach Khoa, Dong Da Tel: 3869 4323 This national university also offers some language and culture classes to foreigners. Teaching standards are high, and prices are not unreasonable, at around VND150,000 for a one-on-one lesson.


A western-style yoga studio with three practice rooms offering different types of yoga, pilates, tai chi, meditation and dance. Certified professional teachers provide up to seven classes a day, with private classes also available. Workshops and retreats are also held, both at the studio and further afield.


3B Dang Thai Than, Ba Dinh Tel: 3913 5497 One of the only yoga studios in town exclusively devoted to the practice. Professional instruction with well-trained teachers, and a very low monthly fee.


3rd floor, 111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 0904 356561 A premier studio offering some of the best yoga, pilates and tai chi in town. Kids’ yoga, prenatal yoga and meditation are also available. Professional instruction along with a peaceful atmosphere creates one of the most zen places in Hanoi. Drop in classes are available for VND200,000 and a month unlimited class pass costs VND1.8 million.




ACCESSORIES & FOOTWEAR BOO SKATESHOP 84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3923 1147 This skateshop offers a variety of clothes, shoes and skateboarding equipment. Most of the T-shirts are made and designed in Vietnam, while the shoes and other equipment are made for export, often rejected due to minor defects. Staff is knowledgeable about Hanoi’s best skateboarding spots.


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LOUIS VUITTON Sofitel Metropole, 15 Ngo Quyen. Tel: 3824 4977 This boutique offers an exclusive collection of the French designer handbags and accessories.


15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8725 The jewellery on offer, designed by a Belgian expat, often features chunkier gold shapes with small, well-placed diamonds. Hidden in the back of the store there is also a display case featuring less-expensive costume jewelry.


26, 84/16 Ngoc Khanh Tel: 0904153041 While you may have to dig through piles of mismatched or orthopaedic-looking shoes, this shop is full of hidden gems in larger sizes, a rare find in Hanoi.

17 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7616 An eclectic assortment of costume jewelry and Chula dresses are scattered among a wide collection of bags by one of Vietnam’s most popular designers, Ipa-Nima. Check out the seasonal sales for heavy discounts.



320 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem If you’re looking for a diamond in the rough, head for Euro shoes, which has a wide selection of options, many of which you’ll want to give a pass. Often carries larger sizes than most Vietnamese retailers.

HANDMADE SHOES 18 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 5357 This cobbler’s shop repairs shoes and makes shoes to order. The staff speaks limited English, so it’s best to bring along your favourite pair to get copied.

HUONG’S JEWELLERY SHOP 62 Hang Ngan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3828 1046 A small store specialising in silver necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings and pendants. While Huong’s merchandise is mostly silver or pearl, the staff will also make jewellery to order.

IPA-NIMA 73 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 4000 Started by Hong Kong born designer Christina Yu, Ipa-Nima’s stores are filled with their one-of-a-kind purses and accessories. Their use of colour, a unique design philosophy and hand done embellishments appeals to jetsetters and fashionistas from Los Angeles to Paris. Always eye-catching and trendy, Ipa-Nima accessories are tangibly timeless and sophisticated.

KINH MAT HA THANH 2 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh Tel: 3928 6556 Large selection of lenses as well as biomedic contact lenses imported from the US. But buyer beware, lenses in Vietnam usually aren’t scratch-resistant.

LONDON DIAMOND GALLERY 21 Nguyen Huy Tu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 4972 6327 Home to the world’s finest gemstones, master craftsmen and jewellery experts, London Diamond Gallery is among the most established jewellery houses in the world, with an international presence that spans across England, Japan, Hong Kong and South-East Asia.

138B Giang Vo, Ba Dinh Tel: 3736 5505 This all-purpose eyewear shop offers free eye exams and a wide selection of frames. Usually there is at least one English-speaking staff present. The quick and easy service means you will be out of the store, lenses in hand, in an hour.

CLOTHING BEO BOUTIQUE 54 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 8997 The answer for women who struggle with the Hanoi heat. A locally owned boutique selling simple, unfussy clothing in light and easy to wear styles, perfect for when the humidity rises. Most clothing is made from cotton or silk, but they also have felted jackets for the colder weather. As well as off the rack, do custom orders.

CALVIN KLEIN 19-21 Dinh Tien Hoang ; 61-63 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem If it’s all in a name then Calvin Klein’s lakeside store has got it pretty much sewn up. Underwear sits next to jeans going for around VND2.5 million and a range of quality CK shirts, belts and more. By Hanoi standards, prices are high, but think relative. VND5 million for an original, welltailored pigskin jacket is pretty good going.

COCO SILK 37A Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: 3747 1535 High-end silk clothing retailer located near the Temple of Literature carries contemporary looks based on traditional Vietnamese styles.

CONCEPT DESIGN HOUSE No 5 Alley 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3668 5509 Located just down the hill from Xuan Dieu, Concept Design House is set in a multi-level white-washed building. Sells clothes for all ages, catering for kids through to mums, dads and more.

CONTRABAND 23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 9891 Launched in Hanoi in 2007, Contraband

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targets young hip working women. Garments are made from versatile fabrics that are comfortable to wear and easy to look after – making them ideal for work and travel. New styles are introduced each month with limited production runs, offering a sense of exclusivity.

EOS FASHION AND DÉCOR 45 Phan Dinh Phuong, Ba Dinh Tel: 3629 78574 The limited stock in this clothing store is made up for by the unique design of the pieces, which are refreshed by the designer every month.

GEORGE’S FASHION BOUTIQUE 36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6233 With new styles arriving in store every second day, this shop offers a huge range of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts and accessories in local and imported fabrics. Clothes fit all sizes, from petite to average to the generous figure. Alterations and a made-to-measure service are available at no extra cost.

GINKGO T-SHIRTS 44 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem; 79 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem An environmentally conscious and fairtrade company that offers unique designs and a quality product, Ginkgo t-shirts sport ethnic and modern graphics in a rainbow of colors. The company began in Ho Chi Minh City and now has five outlets around Vietnam. These shirts make great gifts or souvenirs, perfect for proving to disbelievers overseas that you’ve visited the home of the conical hat.

SUPERMARKETS BIG C SUPERMARKET 222 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay CITIMART HANOI TOWERS 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem CITIMART VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung FIVIMART 210 Tran Quang Khai, Hoan Kiem 10 Tran Vu, Ba Dinh 671 Hoàng Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh 71 Nguyen Chi Thanh, Dong Da 51 Xuân Dieu, Tay Ho 93 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Online shopping: HANOI STAR SUPERMARKET 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da INTIMEX 22 & 23 Le Thai To, Hoan Kiem 131-135 Hao Nam, Dong Da 17 Lac Trung, Hai Ba Trung 27 Huynh Thuc Khang, Dong Da METRO 126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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HANOI SILK Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho Tel: 3716 3062 Located on the ground floor of the Sofitel Plaza Hotel, this silk shop offers a highquality selection of ready-made items. The most popular sellers include robes, linensilk blend shirts, ties and jackets.

ISALYNA 1 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3762 4405 The retail outlet for local designer Teddie Tran, who believes that fashion is all about “attitude”. Accordingly, the store’s pieces are mostly basics that can be combined with a range of high-quality leather accessories and jewellery for a unique fashion statement.

KANA 41 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6208 Reasonably priced handmade silk clothing and accessories in a wide range of patterns sized to fit western bodies.

KEN SHOP 108 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6270 0256 A popular stop for silk lovers, this store is all about soft and light fabrics. Silk, cotton and silk cotton mixes in creamy summer colours or eclectic prints. Ken has a wide range on offer, from casual summer skirts to fancy dresses. A cute collection of toys made of cotton and imported jewellry and accessories are also for sale.

KENLY SILK 108 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 7236 Instantly recognizable with its two-pillared shop front, Kenly prides itself on professional guidance and high-quality materials from a design’s conception to finish. The shop caters to everything from fashion shows to personal designs.

KHAI SILK 133 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 4237 One of the better established silk shops in Hanoi, this store also has a satellite shop in the Sofitel Metropole. With outlets throughout the country, this household name is a great place to go for ready-made silk items. You may find better deals at other shops, but with the highest quality silk, at Khai you pay for what you get.

L’ATELIER No 33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3668 5509 Same owners as Concept Design House, this little shop has men and women’s clothing along with accessories and shoes. Featuring designers such as Duyen Huong creation and Valérie Cordier, the clothing is trendy and collections change often.

LUALA BOUTIQUE 61 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 9899 Close to the Opera House, this “concept store” dressed up as a spacious boutique and café is aimed at the luxury, lifestylefocused end of the local market. Has clothing and accessories for men and women and stocks the likes of Vera Wang, Nina Ricci, Elie Saab, Paul & Joe and much more. Also slated to show contemporary Vietnamese art. Check out their website for latest arrivals and their full range of brands.

MAGOON 19 Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 9 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem A small fashion house with many outlets

around the city, Magoon offers one-of-akind lady like fashions. They have a bit of everything from jackets and dresses to knitwear. The prices are affordable and the merchandise changes often. The main studio is on Au Trieu.

MARIE-LINH COUTURE 11 Nha To, Hoan Kiem 74 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Parisian-style clothing combined with quality Vietnamese dressmaking skills. The beautiful clothes are available in silk, organza and linen. Also available for online orders. With the accompanying home décor and accessories shop on 38 Hang Trong, it is possible to live an entire life of couture.

METISEKO 40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s move to the capital will see them bring us their creative, poetic prints designed for an eco-chic lifestyle. The products — clothing, accessories and furniture — are made from natural silk and organic cotton certified to global organic standards. Metiseko is also certified by the fair-trade, Textile Exchange.

MOON 111 Ma May, Hoan Kiem This small shop carries handmade embroidered linen and silk clothes that are usually less expensive than those found at the larger stores. The shop owners make most of the clothes themselves, so they will adjust designs to fit personal tastes.

NAGU 20 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Walk past the rows of teddy bears and head for the small rack of clothing, which offers unique Japanese-designed dresses and shirts. The second floor has a selection of home goods. There is a loyalty program for frequent customers.

NUNA NUNONG 100 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Racks of flowery frocks line the walls, and handmade fabric garlands hang from the ceiling. You will also find a wide selection of handmade goods, such as hand-painted mugs, totes and baskets of increasingly popular animal pillows.

PURE HEAVEN 55 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6290 If the classic storefront doesn’t draw you in, the clothing will. The Scandinavian showroom is clean and streamlined, emulating the modern but simple clothing contained within. Cottons and knitwear are the main focus in the European designed clothing for women and children. Prices are affordable and the quality is great.

SONG 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 6965 This boutique, whose name comes from the Vietnamese word for “life”, stocks high-end linen and silk clothes in a serene store awash with the fresh scent of mint. Located just across the street from the cathedral, prices are on par with its higher-end neighbours.

TAN MY 66 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3825 1579 Located in the heart of the old quarter, on “silk street”, Tan My claims to be Hanoi’s oldest silk and embroidery shop and boasts customers like Hillary Clinton. The three-storey shop offers everything from clothes and hand-embroidered baby pillows to sumptuous silk bedding.



61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 1154 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-of-a-kind pieces to add to your home furnishings or wardrobe. Located across the street from the other Tan My, one of the oldest silk and embroidery stores in Hanoi.

36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3936 0737 Shopping mall includes international designers such as Versace collection, Dolce and Gabbana, and Roberto Botticelli.

THINGS OF SUBSTANCE 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 6965 This shop’s motto “Western sizes, Vietnamese prices”, says it all. While mostly retailing women’s separates in soft cotton jersey and linen, the store also carries a range of accessories like embroidered canvas totes and printed tees. Has a good selection of unique men’s shirts.

RUNWAY 13 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 6260 The second branch of the flagship store located in Ho Chi Minh City, Runway sells only authentic designer collections from all over the world. The large store located in the Sun City Building mimics what a designer boutique should look like, with an all white interior. If you are in need of a designer fix, Runway is your answer, but be warned, the prices match the labels.

SOLE 21 21 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 1968 A distinctly designed boutique around the corner from the cathedral, bringing the latest from European and American Designers. Think Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Top Shop. Mark-up seems high on some pieces, but all designers are authentic. No fakes here.

VINATEX 25 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem In-town factory outlet for the Vinatex clothing corp. Carries items for men, women and children at low prices.

LINGERIE ANA MAI 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho This small boutique stocks lingerie similar to Parisian designers Agent Provocateur and Cosabella.

AUBADE 52 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3822 9051 Pretty, lacy underwear imported from France. Carries mostly small sizes, up to a western sized medium.

MINOSHE 59 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem This popular store carries a wide range of bras and underwear. Additional locations in Hanoi Towers and Vincom Towers.

SHOPPING MALLS HANG DA GALLERIA Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2220 9999 This small shopping mall is conveniently located in the centre of the Old Quarter, with all the standard small stores as well as a range of boutiques selling the wares of Vietnamese designers. The Highlands outdoor café is a perfect place to sit and watch the Old Quarter ebb and flow.

HANOI TOWERS 49 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem The retail space on the first floor of this complex includes everything from a golf shop to a hair salon. After shopping you can enjoy a cup of coffee at the Highlands Café or a sandwich at Papa Joe’s.

PARKSON Cnr. Thai Ha & Tay Son, Dong Da This Malaysian-owned department store prides itself on making the shopping experience one that is “more exciting and fun”. Unlike many of Hanoi’s retailers, this megastore is also appealing to those who just want to browse. Departments include men’s, women’s and children’s clothing as well as home furnishings.

PICO MALL 299 Tay Son, Dong Da Newly renovated mall housing international stores like French Connection, Nike, and Adidas. A touch far from the centre, but distance brings lower levels of noise and customers, making it a nice option for shopping spree. Also has a movie theatre, a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and a food court.

TRANG TIEN PLAZA 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This large shopping centre located at the southern tip of Hoan Kiem Lake includes shopping options for every price range. Bargain bins full of locally-produced clothing stand beside a Nike retail outlet. Offerings also include a cosmetics department and multiple electronics retailers.

VINCOM TOWERS 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3974 9999 A shopping plaza offering a range of international brands such as Levi’s, United Colours of Benetton, Nike, Adidas and Geox.

SPORTSWEAR ADIDAS 83 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel:3828 7190 The capital city’s flagship store of the international retailer of sport clothing and equipment.

B.BALL 65A Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da Tel:3224 10780 This hoops-themed store sells balls, basketball shoes and jerseys of the madein-China variety.

HANOI CLUB GOLF SHOP 76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho Tel: 3823 8115 A small shop on the first floor of the Hanoi Club sells a range of equipment to fulfill your golfing needs, including clubs, balls and clothes.

NIKE Trang Tien Plaza, 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem; Vincom Towers, 191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung With multiple locations open, and more to come, Nike retails high-end sports clothing and accessories, including yoga mats and water bottles.

TOLIA Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Also known as the “Russian shop”, Tolia retails overstock outdoor wear made for export. Brands include Jack Wolfskin, The North Face and Patagonia.

ZONE GOLF Hanoi Towers, 49 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3936 3233 This centrally-located shop carries all the

equipment and gear you need for a day at the course.

TAILORS CAO MINH TAILORS 250 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3939 3594 Located near Cua Nam street at the western-most end of Hang Bong, this established tailor with over 50 years of experience specialises in quality materials from Italy and England. The go-to place for top-of-the-range suits and shirts for all occasions. The shop is new and the service spot on.



CO 18 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 9925 Though this tailor offers both men’s and women’s clothing, the well made dresses displayed in the window and the range of bright colours and patterns caters mostly to female tastes. Located in the shadow of the cathedral, it’s a little pricier, but you pay for the view.

NGOC SHOP 64 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4747 This English-speaking tailor located near the fabric market off Pho Hue offers a seasonal collection of ready-made designs. The owner will also copy clothing or sew from your own designs. Fabric can be picked out in the shop or you can bring your own.

MS TAM Tel: 0989 098903 With a long list of foreign clientele, Ms Tam works from her home not too far outside of central Hanoi. She will pay a visit to where you live to take measurements and then bring the final clothes back a few days later. She also carries a book of fabric swatches for those who truly want to skip the shopping experience.

THANH HA 114 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Located in the heart of the old quarter, this tailor caters mostly to tourists, but a large collection of Vogue pattern books makes communication very easy.

OPTICIANS & GLASSES SUNGLASSES STREET Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem If it’s all in a name, well here its all in a number — two of them in fact, 51 & 58. Not exactly conventional opticians — the rows of shops here do sell frames with lenses and have basic eye-testing services — but if its sunglasses with brand names super-glued on top, here is the place.

THU HA KINH THUOC 134 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3943 4570 Free eye testing in this well-known, German-trained opticians that also doubles up as a medical clinic and pharmacy specialising in eye problems. Sells a range of branded and no n-branded spectacles and sunglasses. Located opposite the National Hospital of Ophthalmology.


48 Hai Ba Trung, Hai Ba Trung & 231 Nguyen Trai, Thanh Xuan Tel: 3736 5505 Chain of opticians, glasses and sunglasses stores selling a range of branded and Chinese-imported frames starting at VND100,000 a go and rising to over VND2 million. The in-store optometrist gives free eye tests. Helpful, English-speaking staff.


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tion, which helps disabled and underprivileged children in Hanoi and northern provinces.

8 Nguyen Hoang Ton, Tay Ho Founded as a donut shop, it now also offers a wide range of German-inspired breads for those who favour nutrition over sugar. A loaf of rye bread rings in at VND40,000. Donuts, breads, cookies and sandwiches can be ordered online and delivered to your home or office. The bakery employs mostly disabled persons and is dedicated to providing them with high-quality training and care.



58 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem; 9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 0473063682 Community development non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and accessories. Styles vary from traditional to patterned and Asian-inspired. Founded in 2001 and with outposts in several locations around the region, the shop employs women in rural areas, enabling them to make an income and care for their families.

252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem One of the oldest and most wellestablished bakeries in the city, maybe best known as Catherine Deneuve’s former haunt, Kinh Do has been around much longer than any expat. But their breads, pastries and quiches keep foreigners and Vietnamese coming back. Extensive Western and Vietnamese menu as well.

38 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 0436 This newly-opened shop sells specially designed decorative objects in traditional Vietnamese lacquer and pottery in unique styles. It also retails small accessories that are easy to pack in your suitcase. Items are sold in the shop and online.



LE CROISSANT 21 Ha Hoi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3943 6707 A well established and well respected Hanoi institution. Le Croissant not only makes excellent baked goods of all kinds, but is also part of the NGO Hoa Sua, a school for disadvantaged children that teaches them life changing skills.

PARIS DELI 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6697 With two locations, one by the Opera House and the other by St. Joseph’s Cathedral, the Paris Deli makes a good job of their breads, tarts and pastries. Both are sit-down restaurants, but are happy to sell you their baked goods over the counter, to go.

THU HUONG BAKERY 35C Phan Dinh Phung, Ba Dinh Tel: 3734 3868 A small but popular Vietnamese-style bakery selling all types of sweets and cakes, luxuriously decorated. They also sell baguettes and sliced breads. They also deliver.

CRAFTS CRAFTLINK 43 Van Mieu, Dong Da Tel: 3843 7710 This non-profit organisation helps traditional artisans seek new markets. for sale in the retail space include handmade textiles from the northern provinces.

INDIGENOUS 36 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0977 799911 A crafts and home furnishings shop stocked by the Hold The Future organisa-

BAMBOO FURNITURE CORNER Cnr. Quang Trung & Tran Nhan Trong, Hai Ba Trung This cluster of furniture shops offer lowpriced bamboo products from baskets and desks to drawers.

BELLIZENO 130D Thuy Khue, Ba Dinh Tel: 3825 1343 The factory location of the Bellizeno bedding company includes a retail space for their high thread count sheets and bedding.

CARPET STREET There are a number of made-to-order carpet and rug stores along Kim Ma from roughly number 239 to 299.

CHI VANG 63 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3936 0601 Located near the lake, this store offers a wide range of embroidered bedding and tablecloths. Items can be purchased in the store or hand-embroidered to order.

COTYLEDON 1A Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7887 This shop stocks high-end duvet and cushion covers, quilts and tableware like runners and placemats.

DARLING HANOI Tel: 01282 273717 Photowalls and Wallpaper of the highest quality. Create a photowall from your own image or choose an image from their large online catalogue. Inspiring and unique wall décor for private homes, offices and reception areas, hotel rooms and foyers, restaurants and bars. PVC-free,

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UV-resistant and moisture-resistant, all the paper is made in Sweden and shipped free within Hanoi.

showroom showcases floor to ceiling windows, which allows for a bright open design centre.



10 Yen The, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3843 6036 Internationally run furniture store with three large outlets in Hanoi. They offer ‘affordable luxury’ goods such as pillows, bed linens and other home wears, in addition to making custom furniture.

22 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 6181 Hard to miss, this bright green boutique blends Vietnamese traditionalism with modern flair. The result is a shop selling intricate lamps, lacquers and fun home wears. Handmade jewellery and crafts are also scattered around the store.

EUROPEAN IKEA SHOP 35 Ngo Thanh Mie, Dong Da This tiny shop carries a small collection of IKEA brand furniture, but can order more from the catalogue.


Bookworm’s Truong provides us with this month’s set of recommended reads SOMETIMES I CAN’T HELP IT. MY eyes wander to the kids’ books and I spend a few hours hiding away in a comfy space, letting myself escape back a few years. There are lots of high quality children’s books out there, and I always feel like giving a standing ovation to the kids who deliberately pick out books that stretch their minds and imaginations. When I meet parents who read such books aloud to their kids, I am really glad for their children. One book that continues to make me laugh is The Bravest Bear Ever by Ahlberg and Howard. It confronts a lot of the stereotypes and gender constructs that smother kids wherever they look. It’s won loads of UK awards and beats all the other bear books, paws down! It’s also one of the very few little kids’ books that most parents don’t mind reading again and again, because through copious amounts of giggles, that’s what their youngsters will want them to do. An example of one of the eleven stories in the book: THE THREE BEARS Once upon a time there were three bears… a cottage… some porridge… a girl named Goldilocks… a police chase… a trial… and six weeks’ community service… The End. (‘Serves her right!’ says a bystander bear). NAUGHTY BUT NICE If your child is obsessed with princesses then this book might be the cure. The princess in this book

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cannot stand her role, and chucks it in to run away and get a proper job. Every slightly naughty kid will enjoy the wolf, the troll, the dragon, the dissatisfied penguin, and the sausage that wants to be a cook. And if you want your pre-eightish daughter to eschew prettyand-pink and pick up on a feisty character, you should get her into the Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker. It starts on a Monday when she’s sent to the Principal for cutting off her friend’s hair. The week escalates as Clementine puts some spectacular ideas into play. Even though her parents love her dearly, by Friday she even has her mother mad at her… but all ends well with just a hint of mischief to come in the future. All kids with homework-eating black holes under their beds will love Clementine, as will all those parents who didn’t toe the line way back when they were third graders. Adults who love pretty-pretty should stay far away. They’ll probably be angry at all the awards the books got. There’s a new series of children’s classic tales that have been beautifully re-told and illustrated, all in the manner of world famous artists. There are 30 books in the series, accompanied by an easyto-follow DVD featuring bedtime stories, visuals and an interactive question and answer section. Any parent who appreciates art will enjoy these books, and there is also an appendix at the back of each book that focuses on child/ parent interaction.

My favorite title at present is The Musicians of Bremen, a series that starts in the style of Edvard Munch, and travels through the styles of Botticelli and the Renaissance artists, and then dips into the Dutch school with Rembrandt and Vermeer. It has a bit of Baroque and Romanticism, a lot of French Impressionists, Russian constructivists, futurists, German moderns, and starts to creep into the 1950s. For art-loving parents it’s a must, even if Picasso and friends don’t feature. The series has already done wonders for my own art appreciation. The most exciting read of the month was the young adult novel Little Brother by Corey Doctorow. Think George Orwell and you, the reader, realise the sort of story it’s going to be. It certainly doesn’t pull any punches. It takes the reader on a ride with a teenage hacker and very IT savvy protagonists. With extreme events such as a San Francisco terrorist plot, a terrifying forced stay in a Guantanamo-esque detention centre, and the cold realisation that Homeland Security are in on the plot, the young geeks decide to risk all and bring Homeland Security down by hacking their systems. Apart from being a hugely enjoyable adventure, it has a feel that perhaps we should all be aware… very aware. It’s a great book and features a new set of heroes that kids will love. Bookworm can be found at 44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh

Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This high-end wooden furniture store located on the first floor of Hanoi Towers has offered best-selling designs for a decade. The classic pieces are mostly constructed out of dark wood and are complemented with cream-coloured linen lampshades and cushions.

HANOI MOMENT 101 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7170 This shop makes sifting through lacquer kitchenware and accessories easy. While its stock may not differ from the stores next door, the display is less overwhelming.

LA CASA Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 4084 2C Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 9616 A shop whose speciality is designing furniture and other household objects, this spot has everything from beds and bookshelves, to tableware and silverware. The items are all locally made by skilled artisans from Hanoi and the surrounding regions.

MAI LONG 71 Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3822 5393 This shop sells material for curtains and window blinds. They make house calls to measure and install.

MAROON 156 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 7264 Nestled in the heart of the old quarter, Maroon sells accent pieces to brighten up any household: lacquer picture frames, lamps, and silk bedding.



L’S PLACE 3 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho; 34 A Phan Boi Chau, Hoan Kiem Cramped and crammed to the bursting point with imported food products, making your way around the maze that is L’s Place can often be a tight affair, but it’s worth it. The canned and packaged goods together with fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products and more can provide the dietary solution for anyone craving for a change from pho ga or bun cha.


CT 6 My Dinh, Tu Liem; 147 Doi Can, Ba Dinh; 210 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3972 7412 Designers and retailers within the interior industry, each branch sells trendy furniture for modern living as well as interior design for all types Vietnamese houses.

62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 3510 Punto Italia is an authentic Italian supplier importing the finest espresso coffee as well as Italian coffee machines for professional, home and office use. Real Italian granita, ice-cream and much more is now available in Vietnam with the support of a professional and friendly service.



87 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 6758 This store is an impressive mix of fusionwestern furniture and home accessories. All furniture is hand crafted by artisans meaning top-end quality, but with price tags to match.

VELVET UNDERGROUND Tel: 3716 0400 This shop offers a range of ready made items, from bedding to hot water bottle covers as well as the option of designing your own item from a choice of fabrics. The friendly and helpful English-speaking staff make shopping a pleasure instead of a chore.

GROCERIES AU DELICE 3 The Giao, Ha Ba Trung Tel: 3972 0584 A European style deli and grocery store with all sorts of imported products for your dinner parties or a homesick night in. Their claim is to have the best selection of cheeses in Hanoi.

BETTERDAY 100 A Xuan Dieu Tel: 4258 3511 Hanoi’s speciality organic shop has a small stock of locally grown products including coffee, tea, cashews, a range of spices and beauty products produced in Sapa. Better Day Organics products are also available at the following stores: L’s Place, Oasis and Donkey Donuts

40-42 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem A lifestyle brand that started out life in Hoi An, Metiseko’s move to the capital will see them bring us their creative, poetic prints designed for an eco-chic lifestyle. The products — clothing, accessories and furniture — are made from natural silk and organic cotton certified to global organic standards. Metiseko is also certified by the fairtrade, Textile Exchange.

19/298 Ngoc Lam, Gia Lam Tel: 3873 6079 The place to go for imported foods such as foie gras, high-quality meats, pastas and dairy products. Although they specialise in the wholesale market, they occasionally do retail sales.



83 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 7247 Open since 2002, this interior design firm and home store creates modern and simple collections. They use local materials and traditional craftsmanship for a cool mix of contemporary Vietnamese living spaces. Their

71B Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 6220 This little store around Westlake has the feeling of one of those small ethnic markets you find in London or New York, but the ethnicity is Western. Reasonably priced canned foods, potato chips, cookies and other snacks that may be difficult to find elsewhere in the city.


28 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6492 9597 If you have a sweet tooth this store was made for you. Near the corner of Ly Quoc Su, Rock Candy specializes in the obvious, traditional rock candy. You can sample before you buy, and Rock Candy is available for weddings, private and corporate functions.

VEGGIE’S 99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 4719 4630 International grocer at the end of Xuan Dieu, Veggie’s remains one of the best suppliers of western foods in the city. Stock includes organic granola bars, frozen corn dogs and shelves full of cereal. When searching for baking supplies, this store is your best bet. Also, due to having their own farm in Dalat, sell some of the best locally grown non-standard vegetables in town.

VINE CELLAR DOOR 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2922 With a huge wine cellar, a tasting bar, a new array of gourmet foods and a deli case with imported meats, cheeses and olives, Vine Cellar Door Wine & Gourmet Market is a good spot to find the perfect bottle and the foods that go well with it. Also offers glassware, wine & cigar accessories, espresso, gourmet tea and a small café menu from the kitchen of Vine Restaurant.

THE OASIS 24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 1196 A great place to get all kinds of imported groceries and home-made foods. All of the breads and pastas are made in the in-house kitchen. A great variety of fresh sauces, a limited, but well-chosen selection of wines and a fantastic deli and cheese case. Free delivery.

YUKI’S 54 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6192 New on the scene, this grocer on Xuan Dieu has a large selection of fruits and seafood downstairs. Upstairs is reserved for a grocery store carrying western goods.

KITCHEN PRODUCTS KITCHEN ART 38/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 6680 2770 Kitchen Art is a little haven for all foodies,

cooks and bakers to grow their love and passion for cooking and baking. Come to Kitchen Art Store to buy restaurant-grade tools and ingredients to cook like a chef, take part in regular demonstrations and workshops at the Studio, or simply read and relax at the cookbook cafe corner while enjoying the peaceful West Lake view.

PUNTO ITALIA 62 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 6258 3510 Trendy, reliable and stylish coffee machines for the workplace or home, specialising in authentic Italian coffee. Also sells their own brand coffee in capsules, ready ground or as the original roasted mix of beans.

LIQUOR & WINE BACCHUS CORNER 1C Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3935 1393 Part of the Tan Khoa chain, the largest liquor and wine distributor in the country, the walls here are lined with a decent selection of wines, pleasantly arrayed and back lit. Besides their selection of new and old world wines Helpful staff and free delivery.

DA LOC 96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem; 94 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3934 1325 This wine importer and distributor has over 250 different types of wine in its portfolio and is doing its part to bring a culture of fine wine to Hanoi. The main office and showroom is on Hai Ba Trung and an upscale outlet is located within the grounds of the Mercure Hanoi hotel on Ly Thoung Kiet.

HANOI GOURMET 1B Ham Long, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3943 1009 Not just a wine shop, the long-running Hanoi Gourmet specialises in imported cheeses, meats and artisan breads. After browsing the mainly French selection of wines, you can take a look at the deli and sit down for a light snack.

PANE E VINO WINE SHOP 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 9080 This Italian favourite with a huge food menu also has a huge for-retail wine list that is 100 percent focused on fine wines and liquors from Italy. Owner Hoang has great knowledge of Italian wine and a passion to match, which is sure to land you with the best wine for any occasion.

RED APRON 18 Yen The Tel: 3747 4889 15a Ngo Van So Tel: 3943 7226 28 Xuan Dieu Tel: 3719 8337 #6, Lane 1, Au Co Tel: 3718 6271 Hanoi Club, 76 Yen Phu Tel: 3823 8749 The retail face of wine distributor Celliers d’Asia, this small wine shop is in the French Quarter, adjacent to the Metropole. The focus here is on quality and the portfolio ranges from French to Chilean to the barrage of wines coming from Down Under. Delivery service available.

ELECTRONICS CAMERAS A DONG PHOTO CO 128 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 0732 This camera shop retails a wide range of cameras, including both analogue and DSLR models, as well as film and accessories like flashes and lenses. ALPHA LAPTOP 95D Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 4418 This laptop retail and repair shop also carries camera accessories and cases. FUONG MAY ANH 5 Trang Thi, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3213 1568 This small store has a wide selection of Viet Nam-produced Pentax cameras. Also has a selection of imported lenses. NGUYEN CAU 1 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem This camera shop overlooking the lake develops both digital and film prints. Services include photo mounting and passport photos. COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS DK COMPUTER 29 Ngoc Kha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3772 4772 This large electronics retailer deals in computers, printers, as well as external storage devices. HI-TECH USA 23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 6261 A small, but good all-around electronics store, selling all kinds of electronics. Speakers, I-Pods, headphones, cables and phone accessories. Many name-brands. PICO PLAZA 35 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem This is a super-sized electronics shop with each floor devoted to a specific kind of electronics. You’ll be able to find pretty much anything you’re looking for here, from a phone to a computer to a washing machine. PROFESSIONAL COMPUTER CARE AND IT SERVICES 28B Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computerrelated task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes. VIETSAD 34B Ly Nam De, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3747 8771 Located on bustling “computer street”, this shop offers a range of computer accessories including keyboards and USB drives. They also do computer and laptop repair.

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THE WAREHOUSE 59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0439 287666 The Warehouse is Vietnam's ultimate premium wine importer, distributor, and retailer, representing many of the greatest wines from the best wine-growing regions on the planet. The portfolio mixes the best of both old and new world wines.

VINE CELLAR DOOR 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2922 With a huge wine cellar, a tasting bar, a new array of gourmet foods and a deli case with imported meats, cheeses and olives, Vine Cellar Door Wine & Gourmet Market is a good spot to find the perfect bottle and the foods that go well with it. Also offers glassware, wine & cigar accessories, espresso, gourmet tea and a small café menu from the kitchen of Vine Restaurant.

MARKETS CHO HOM Corner of Pho Hue and Tran Xuan Soan, Hai Ba Trung One of the best places in the city to buy fabrics. Found a tailor, want to make clothes? Here you’ll find everything you need, stuff imported and domestic, silk, cotton, linen. Also any sewing materials you might need can be found here.

CHO SINH VIEN Xuan Thuy and Pham Hung, Cau Giay The Student Market, across from Hanoi National University, caters to students. Mostly durable goods, clothing and accessories here. As far as style and size of clothes, selection is a bit limited, but if you take your time you may find something worth the trouble. The market, as well as the food stalls surrounding it, are open quite late. Prices are also tailored for the student budget.


Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem The biggest market of it’s kind in Hanoi, Dong Xuan is filled with pretty much any durable good you can think of: from jeans to jewelry, from leaf tea to livestock. The indoor market spills out onto the streets, which can also serve a good place to get a meal pretty much any time.


Au Co, East Side of Street The name can be a little deceptive, since it’s more of a distribution point, where flowers come in to vendors all over the city. Of course you can buy directly from sellers here at a good price, provided you’re up late enoug`h. The other reason to come is for the pho stands. The market begins late at night and continues well past dawn.

PETS CITY ZOO 114A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 6660 7749 Hanoi pet lovers take notice. A real pet store selling all your pet needs exists. City Zoo caters to dogs, cats, birds and fish. Dog beds line the walls at this small shop which also offers a range of imported pet food, accessories like collars and pet toys. You can even pick up a hamster while you’re here. Delivery is available on pet food.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE DR. TRAN HUONG 80 Ngo Nui Truc, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0913 540907 Dr. Tran Huong is well-known in Hanoi thanks to his long experience as both a practitioner of traditional Chinese and Western medicine. The clinic treats severe and chronic pain with a variety of drugfree methods, including acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and moxibustion.

YAKUSHI CENTER Lane 28, No 6, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3719 1971 The centre offers such services as acupuncture, massage and traditional Chinese medicine. One of their specialties is the hot rock massage. Run by Dr. Thuy, a qualified practitioner, the Yakushi Center has a clean and relaxing environment and takes a holistic approach to health, designed to take care of both body and mind.

COSMETICS PARKSON Cnr. Thai Ha & Tay Son, Dong Da One of the newer malls in the city, Malaysian-owned Parkson offers international name brand cosmetics. For those days when you feel like treating yourself, do your shopping in a real mall atmosphere.

TRANG TIEN PLAZA 24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Stop here for everything from moisturizer to lipstick before heading upstairs to continue the shopping trip. Keep in mind, imported cosmetics don’t come cheap.

COUNSELLING INTERNATIONAL SOS VIETNAM, LTD. 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3934 0666 In addition to emergency healthcare, the clinic also offers consultations by in-house specialists, full counselling and psychotherapy services. Call to make an appointment.

FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE Van Phuc Compound, 298 I Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3843 0748 (24 hours) Family Medical Practice provides psychotherapy and nutrition counselling services by in-house specialists. For more information or to book an appointment, please call the clinic.

COSMETIC SURGERY NEW LIFE CLINIC 6 Nguyen Thi Thap, Khu do thi moi Trung Hoa, Nhan Chinh, Tel: 6261 6166 www.newlifevietnam.comA small clinic that offers cosmetic dental work, skin treatments and minor cosmetic surgery. The on site doctor, Ms. Ha, was trained at the University of Southern California.

DENTAL AUSTRALIAN DENTAL CLINIC 3 Nguyen Du, Dong Da. Tel: 3944 5216 A clinic with modern facilities and interna-

FRENCH HOSPITAL visit for a comprehensive list of our listings

PHARMACIES 100 SUPPLEMENTS 100 VETS 100 ARTICLES MEDICAL BUFF 101 tionally trained dentists. The prices here are more than competitive than the other international dental clinics in town.

HONG NGOC HOSPITAL 95 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3716 3972 The dental practice is located on the first floor of this well-organised health clinic. The waiting time is short and the doctors competent.


1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da. Tel: 3577 1100 This was the first international hospital created in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical treatment. Offers everything from standard medical and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff that speak good French and English.

INTERNATIONAL SOS 24-HOUR CLINIC 1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho. Tel: 3934 0666 Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from standard GP-style check-ups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.

PHARMACIES H CLINIC 24T 1 Hoang Dao Thuy, Cau Giay. Tel: 6251 2835 A clinic with a very large pharmacy that can fill pretty much any prescription you get in Hanoi. They also offer minor medical consultations.

No 8, Lane 27, Xuan Dieu,Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6168 Providing quality dentistry in a calm, relaxing environment where patients can enjoy the dental experience. Has an attentive and experienced mixed foreign and Vietnamese dental team who are there at all times to assist with any questions or concerns.



Tel: 3759 2515. Sells high quality vitamins and supplements imported from the USA including multivitamins, probiotics, joint care, herbals, fitness and anti-aging products. Free delivery in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Available online and at select retailers.

51a Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3715 2286 Established in 2001, it is run by an American dentist named Frederick. The clinic has a number of dentists trained in such places as Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic – so the doctors are also fluent in many languages.

INTERNATIONAL SOS 1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Tel: 3934 0666 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. This is the place to go when your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the night, or you fall down and break a tooth. Competent doctors and fast service.

WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC 2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho District, Hanoi Tel: 3710 0555, www.westcoastinternational The Westcoast International Dental Clinic is composed of dental professionals who share a vision to deliver modern, highlevel dental services throughout Vietnam. From the waiting room to the chair, the clinic is designed to provide the highest quality technology, comfort and afterservice care to patients.

MEDICAL FAMILY MEDICAL PRACTICE 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3843 0748 On the little street directly below Kim Ma, with all sorts of specialists including OB/ GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A Medium-sized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service.

FMP PEDIATRIC UNIT Van Phuc Compound, 298 D Kim Ma Road, Ba Dinh. Tel: 3726 5222 At the new Pediatric Unit of the Family Medical Practice Hanoi, services include routine newborn and well-child check-ups, updated immunizations and vaccinations, out-patient treatment and follow-up. FMP’s pediatric specialists provide professional consultancy for every milestone in your child’s life, from infancy to adolescence.

medical buff

625 Hoang Hoa Tham, Ba Dinh While it appears to be your basic street pharmacy, this small shop front stocks some hard-to-find medicine.


ULTIMATE NUTRITION Hotline: 0917 295091. Protein supplements, high quality vitamins, testosterone, muscle gain and fat loss supplements for those looking for professional sports nutrition to help their exercise or training regime. Call the hotline for free delivery to your home or office.

VETS ANIMAL CARE 16 ngo 424 Thuy Khue, Tay Ho Tel: 2246 1946 / 0978 776099 Locally-run clinic specialising in treating cats and dogs as well as providing a range of pet-care accessories, from animal food to clothing, toys and much more.

ASIAN VETERINARY & LIVESTOCK SERVICES (ASVELIS) 98 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho. Tel: 3178 2779 English, French and Vietnamese-speaking veterinarian providing a range of medical services as well as grooming, boarding and certification for pet import and export. Also sells a range of pets toys as well as other products.

DR. BAO, MOBILE VETERINARIAN Tel: 0903 223217, On-call, English-speaking veterinarian who does the rounds in Hanoi. Well-respected, knowledgeable and, according to the feedback, very funny.

INTERNATIONAL LABORATORY & VETERINARY SERVICES 31 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho District. Tel: 3719 9994 A Vietnamese-owned small-animal veterinary clinic with English-speaking vets. Offers a range of healthcare and laboratory services as well as a selection of products for all animal needs. Products can be ordered online via their website.

WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY IS an annual event held on Jun. 14 and originates in Johannesburg in 2004. World Blood Donor Day builds on the success of World Health Day 2000, which was devoted to the theme Blood Saves Lives. Safe Blood Starts With Me. The enthusiasm and energy with which this day was celebrated was powerful. The day provided an opportunity to thank the millions of people who give the precious gift of life through their donation of blood every year. The aim of designating this annual day and linking it to a global celebration was to promote voluntary nonremunerated blood donation throughout the world. By designating one special day to celebrate the role of

voluntary blood donors, it is hoped that a new generation of blood donors will emerge, providing sufficient supplies of the safest blood possible for use wherever and whenever it is needed. Last year about 92 million people worldwide donated their blood. However more is needed! In Vietnam only 0.88 percent of the population donates blood on a regular basis. The Vietnamese Ministry Of Health has set a goal to reach the 1 percent mark by 2015. There are several types of blood donation:

WHOLE BLOOD This is the most common type of blood donation with approximately a pint of whole blood given. The blood is then separated into its components — red cells, plasma, platelets.

PLATELETS This type of donation uses a process called apheresis. During apheresis, the donor is hooked up to a machine that collects the platelets and some of the plasma, and then returns the rest of the blood to the donor. To be eligible to donate whole blood, platelets or plasma, you must be in good health, aged at least 17 years old (the minimum age varies by country but there's no upper age limit), weigh at least 110 pounds and able to pass the physical and health history assessments.

ARE THERE ANY RISKS TO THE DONOR? Blood donation is safe. New, sterile, disposable equipment is used for each donor, so there's no risk of contracting a blood

borne infection by donating blood.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR DONATION? Maintain a healthy diet that includes iron-rich foods such as spinach, red meat, fish, poultry, beans, ironfortified cereals and raisins. Avoid fatty foods, such as hamburgers, fries or ice cream before donating as this may affect your tests. Drink an extra 16 ounces (about half a litre) of water and other fluids before the donation. At FMP we operate a ‘Walking Blood Bank’. For information please contact our office. Dr WB McNaull MB ChB MPhil (Cambridge) DTM&H FRSTM (London) is the medical director of FMP, Hanoi

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NGƯỜI LÀM ĐÀN Vieát bôûi Luke Dale Harris. AÛnh bôûi Aaron Joel Santos


am nhaåc laå phaát ra tûâ cûãa söí nhaâ anh Ðöî Viïåt Duäng khi töi àûáng àúåi möåt cêåu beá múã cûãa cho mònh. Cêåu beá goåi lúán böë khi cêåu khöng thïí múã àûúåc chiïëc khoáa. Khöng thêëy ai ra giuáp, cuöëi cuâng cêåu cuäng múã àûúåc vaâ dêîn töi vaâo möåt cùn phoâng trûng baây àaân núi möåt ngûúâi àaân öng àïí ria, àöåi muä cao böìi àang ngöìi vúái möåt chiïëc ghi-ta àiïån; nhûäng nöët nhaåc meáo phaát ra tûâ möåt chiïëc loa úã phña bïn kia cuãa phoâng khi anh ta uöën cong nhûäng súåi dêy àaân. Anh chó lïn phña trïn vaâ cêåu beá vêîy tay ra hiïåu cho töi ài theo cêåu. Chuáng töi ài qua gian bïëp, lïn cêìu thang, röìi treâo lïn cao hún, ài qua haâng àöëng göî vaâ voã cuãa nhûäng chiïëc ghi-ta chûa hoaân thiïån. Chuáng töi túái möåt cùn phoâng trïn têìng nùm vaâ thêëy möåt ngûúâi àaân öng khaác àang laâm viïåc miïåt maâi, àuåc àeäo nhûäng maãnh göî. "AÂ, múâi anh vaâo," anh êëy noái vaâ ngûúác lïn nhòn töi. "Chaáu laâ con trai töi." Cêåu beá vöåi vaä chaåy xuöëng cêìu thang. Tûúng lai, anh Duäng mong con mònh seä trúã thaânh thïë hïå thûá nùm laâm àaân trong gia àònh. Nhûng àêìu tiïn, cêåu phaãi hoåc àaä. Trong giai àoaån khi maâ nhûäng cuöåc caånh tranh tûâ nhûäng thûúng hiïåu quöëc gia àang ngaây caâng maånh meä nhû Fender, Yamaha vaâ Gibson, cêåu beá seä phaãi hiïíu roä vïì kinh doanh cuäng nhû kinh tïë àïí coá thïí caånh tranh àûúåc. Nhûäng thûá àoá, tuy nhiïn, khöng àûúåc caãm nhêån roä raâng úã xûúãng saãn xuêët nhoã ngay taåi gia àònh cuãa anh Duäng, núi anh sûã duång nhûäng kiïën thûác vaâ sûå kheáo leáo thûâa hûúãng tûâ töí tiïn mònh vaâ laâm ra nhûäng cêy àaân tinh xaão nhêët taåi Viïåt Nam cho nhûäng nghïå syä trïn khùæp thïë giúái. Cöng viïåc saãn xuêët vaâ kinh doanh àaân cuãa gia àònh anh – Thanh Cêìm àaä luön ài theo caái duyïn vúái nhûäng ngûúâi khaách nûúác ngoaâi. Tûâ àêìu thïë kyã 20, öng nöåi cuãa anh Duäng àaä

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coá möåt cûãa haâng nhoã taåi Haâ Nöåi chuyïn laâm nhûäng chiïëc àaân dêy truyïìn thöëng cuãa Viïåt Nam nhû àaân nguyïåt vaâ àaân höì. Khi àoá Viïåt Nam àang laâ thuöåc àõa cuãa Phaáp, thónh thoaãng möåt ngûúâi àaân öng Phaáp laåi mang àïën chiïëc àaân ghi-ta àïí sûãa, viïåc naây àaä gúåi cho öng yá nghô hoåc thïm àïí múã ra möåt hûúáng kinh doanh múái. Nhûäng kiïën thûác hoåc àûúåc àoá, sau naây öng truyïìn laåi cho con trai mònh, chñnh laâ böë cuãa anh Duäng, ngûúâi àaä bùæt àêìu cöng viïåc laâm nïn cêy ghi-ta tûâ nhûäng maãnh göî nguyïn sú song song vúái nhûäng nhaåc cuå coá dêy cuãa phûúng Têy khaá, thñch húåp vúái thïí loaåi nhaåc Viïåt Nam nhû laâ mandolin hay banjo.

Đông Tây Kết Hợp Nhûäng ngûúâi Phaáp vúái yá àõnh mang nhaän hiïåu vùn minh hoáa túái àêët nûúác naây àaä quyïët àõnh choån truyïìn thöëng êm nhaåc Viïåt laâ möåt thûá cêìn thiïët phaãi àûúåc têy hoáa. Qua cuöëi thïë kyã 19 túái àêìu thïë kyã 20, hoå àaä mang túái caác loaåi nhaåc cuå Têy Êu nhû violin, mandolin, saxophone vaâ accordion túái khùæp nûúác Viïåt Nam, túái gêìn nhû têët caã nhûäng ai giûä vûäng niïìm tin tûúãng tuyïåt àöëi cuãa mònh vaâo Thiïn Chuáa. Vò thïë úã nhûäng vuâng quï heo huát úã Viïåt Nam ngûúâi ta vêîn bùæt gùåp nhûäng ngûúâi súã hûäu vaâ chúi nhûäng cêy àaân naây, mùåc duâ theo phong caách khöng phaãi truyïìn thöëng cuãa chuáng. Vaâ cuäng rêët àùåc trûng cuãa Viïåt Nam, nhûäng aãnh hûúãng cuãa Têy Êu mang àïën àûúåc thay àöíi àïí phuâ húåp vúái truyïìn thöëng úã àêy. Thöng thûúâng caác nhaåc cuå naây àûúåc chónh laåi dêy àïí phuâ húåp vúái nhõp àiïåu Chêu AÁ hún laâ cuãa Chêu Êu. Böë cuãa anh Duäng àaä bùæt kõp xu hûúáng naây vaâ bùæt àêìu thay thïë nhûäng nhaåc cuå Têy Êu àïí biïën noá trúã nïn phuâ húåp vúái nhûäng yïu cêìu tûâ Viïåt Nam. Öng àaä rêët saáng taåo vaâ laâm ra nhûäng phêìn cêìn àaân cuãa mandolin vaâ ghi-ta coá cùæt raänh àïí ngûúâi

chúi coá thïí uöën cong dêy àaân nùçm trïn phñm vaâ chúi nhûäng nöët giûäa rêët quan troång trong êm nhaåc Viïåt Nam. Nhûäng cuöåc chiïën nöëi tiïëp nhau tiïëp sau khi Viïåt Nam giaânh àöåc lêåp àaä mang túái möåt nhu cêìu cêìn coá möåt thïí loaåi êm nhaåc múái. Khúãi nguöìn tûâ nhûäng baâi haát Ðöng Êu àûúåc phaát trïn àaâi phaát thanh, tûâ àoá àaân ghi-ta àaä àûúåc sûã duång röång raäi. Vúái tñnh nùng àún giaãn, linh hoaåt vaâ khaã nùng àöåc lêåp thïí hiïån möåt ca khuác hay àïåm cho möåt nhoám ngûúâi haát, àaân ghi-ta laâ nhaåc cuå hoaân haão trong giai àoaån höëi thuác cêìn phaãi coá nhûäng ca khuác laâm phêën chêën tinh thêìn. Luác naây chñnh phuã nhanh choáng nhêån ra khaã nùng phaát huy chñ khñ chiïën àêëu cuãa cêy àaân vaâ trong nhûäng nùm 1950, caác nhaâ maáy saãn xuêët àaân àaä phaát huy hïët cöng lûåc vaâ laâm ra 4000 cêy àaân möåt thaáng, phêìn lúán àûúåc gûãi cho nhûäng ngûúâi lñnh ngoaâi chiïën trûúâng. Böë cuãa anh Duäng àaä gaác cöng viïåc kinh doanh àaân riïng àïí vaâo laâm taåi möåt nhaâ maáy lúán nhêët nûúác vaâo nùm 1960 vaâ bùæt àêìu hoåc caách chuyïn nghiïåp hoáa laâm àaân ghi ta, sau naây kinh nghiïåm àoá àaä trúã thaânh nïìn taãng cho viïåc kinh doanh cuãa anh Duäng hiïån giúâ.

Cung và Cầu Têëm göî maâ Duäng àang laâm khi töi gùåp anh sau naây seä trúã thaânh phêìn cêìn àaân cuãa chiïëc ghi-ta maâ anh seä baán cho möåt cûãa haâng úã Anh vúái giaá khoaãng 42 triïåu àöìng. "Töi phaãi rêët cêín thêån," anh noái vúái töi. "Têëm göî naây khöng thöi àaä coá trõ giaá 25 triïåu. Bêët kyâ sai soát naâo cuäng phaãi traã giaá àùæt." Trong cùn phoâng anh àang laâm viïåc, caác cêy àaân ghi-ta coá àuã moåi hònh daång, kñch cúä treo trïn tûúâng, têët caã àïìu àang àûúåc hoaân thiïån úã caác giai àoaån khaác nhau. Möîi chiïëc seä àûúåc baán vúái giaá trïn 21 triïåu àöìng, gêìn

nhû hoaân toaân cho thõ trûúâng Têy Êu. Cuâng vúái sûå gia nhêåp cuãa Viïåt Nam trïn thõ trûúâng quöëc tïë, viïåc kinh doanh cuãa Duäng cuäng coá nhiïìu thay àöíi vaâ khöng chó ngöìi möåt chöî vaâ tröng chúâ vaâo nhûäng aãnh hûúãng cuãa nûúác ngoaâi nûäa. Ðöåi nguä thúå nhoã beá cuãa anh saãn xuêët khoaãng 400 chiïëc àaân möåt thaáng vaâ mùåc duâ phêìn lúán laâ àaân reã, saãn xuêët nhanh àïí baán cho nhûäng ngûúâi chúi nghiïåp dû úã Viïåt Nam, nhûäng chiïëc àaân cao cêëp baán ra nûúác ngoaâi mang laåi nguöìn thu àaáng kïí nhêët. "Cuäng nhû trong phêìn lúán caác ngaânh cöng nghiïåp hiïån nay, chuáng töi phaãi caånh tranh vúái nhûäng cöng ty khöíng löì lúán hún hùèn mònh," anh noái. "ÚÃ Trung Quöëc, coá nhûäng nhaâ maáy lúán saãn xuêët ghi-ta vúái giaá nhên cöng reã vaâ söë lûúång rêët nhiïìu. Ðiïìu àoá coá nghôa laâ chuáng töi khöng thïí caånh tranh vúái hoå vïì mùåt

giaá caã. Ðïí söëng soát, chuáng töi phaãi tòm ra chöî àûáng cuãa riïng mònh trïn thõ trûúâng." Nhòn chung, nhûäng cêy àaân ghi-ta chêët lûúång töët àûúåc saãn xuêët riïng búãi nhûäng ngûúâi thúå taåi nûúác maâ chuáng àûúåc baán ra. Vò Duäng sûã duång nhên cöng vúái giaá reã hún úã caác nûúác phûúng Têy nïn anh coá thïí laâm ra nhûäng chiïëc ghi-ta vúái cuâng möåt chêët lûúång nhûng giaá chó bùçng möåt phêìn nhoã nhûäng cêy àaân khaác. Anh boã thûúng hiïåu cuãa mònh ài, thay vaâo àoá laâ tïn cuãa khaách haâng, vaâ chuáng seä àûúåc baán úã thõ trûúâng nûúác ngoaâi maâ khöng bõ nghi ngúâ nhû caái caách maâ ngûúâi phûúng Têy hay nghô vïì àöì chêu AÁ. Trong caã buöíi töi ngöìi noái chuyïån vúái Duäng, anh cho töi xem khoaãng 10 loaåi göî khaác nhau, àûa töi ngûãi vaâ súâ tûâng maãnh göî trong khi anh say sûa noái vïì chêët lûúång cuãa chuáng.

"Têët caã àïìu laâ úã göî," anh noái. "Cöng viïåc cuãa ngûúâi laâm àaân chó laâ lûåa choån thöi, mùåc duâ cuäng khöng phaãi laâ dïî. Noá cuäng àoâi hoãi caã cuöåc àúâi àïí coá àûúåc nhûäng kinh nghiïåm nhêån biïët caác loaåi göî, tñnh chêët vaâ nhûúåc àiïím cuãa noá. Böë töi àaä daåy töi rêët nhiïìu, nhûng töi vêîn phaãi hoåc nûäa." Töi hoãi Duäng liïåu anh coá caãm thêëy sûå gùæn kïët vúái nhûäng nhaåc cuå cuãa mònh bõ mêët ài khi noá bõ boã ài thûúng hiïåu cuãa anh vaâ mang baán khùæp thïë giúái. "Khöng möåt chuát naâo," anh traã lúâi. "Khi töi coân treã, trûúác khi cûúái vúå, töi thûúâng ài nguã vaâ öm theo chiïëc àaân ghi-ta töi àang laâm. Noá laâm cho töi thêëy haånh phuác khi nghô rùçng ai àoá, úã caách àêy haâng ngaân cêy söë coá leä àang öm lêëy chiïëc àaân ghi-ta tûúng tûå nhû töi — chiïëc àaân maâ töi àaä laâm cho hoå."

June 2012 Word | 103


Nhöõng chieác keùo ñaõ hoen ræ vaø nhöõng böùc töôøng söùt seïo. Douglas Pyper tìm ñeán moät cô ngôi ñang coù daáu hieäu xuoáng caáp theo thôøi gian cuûa moät trong nhöõng ngöôøi thôï caét toùc laâu ñôøi nhaát ôû thuû ñoâ. AÛnh bôûi Dominic Blewett

lêu röìi. Böë cuãa öng àaä daåy cho öng "moåi thûá" khi öng múái 16 tuöíi, trong thúâi gian raãnh röîi khi khöng phaãi àïën trûúâng. Sau naây, khi Öng Cùæt Toác bùæt àêìu daåy nhaåc úã möåt trûúâng cêëp 3, öng vêîn laâm thïm úã cûãa haâng cuãa böë àïí kiïëm thïm trïn àöìng lûúng ñt oãi cuãa mònh. Luác öng nghó hûu nùm 1991, öng àaä khöng nhêån àûúåc lûúng hûu, chó möåt chuát tiïìn vaâ möåt caái bùæt tay caãm ún. "Têët caã töi nhêån àûúåc khi vïì hûu chó àuã àïí mua àûúåc möåt chiïëc TV." Vò thïë öng quay trúã laåi cöng viïåc kinh doanh cuãa gia àònh, nhûng noá àang ngaây möåt luåi dêìn. Ngaây nay, chó coá nhûäng khaách haâng cuä tòm àïën vúái öng.

Khắc Dấu Lịch Sử

Toâa nhaâ àaä tûâng bõ lûãa phaá huãy naây laâ núi sinh hoaåt vaâ kiïëm söëng cuãa ba thïë hïå, nhûng sûå xuöëng cêëp cuãa noá cuäng laâm öng xêëu höí. Ðïën nöîi öng khöng cho chuáng töi nïu tïn mònh vaâ khöng muöën chuáng töi chuåp aãnh bïn trong ngöi nhaâ. Vò vêåy chuáng ta haäy taåm göåi öng laâ Öng Cùæt Toác. Öng Cùæt Toác xuêët thên tûâ möåt gia àònh coá truyïìn thöëng laâm thúå cùæt toác. Dêëu vïët cuãa böën thïë hïå úã àêy laâ khöng thïí phuã nhêån qua nhûäng gò noá àïí laåi úã cùn nhaâ gia àònh öng úã, möåt cùn nhaâ ba têìng úã goác phöë Haâng Böng vaâ Quaán Sûá. Hiïåu Húát Toác vaâ Nhaâ Tùæm coá phña ngoaâi xêy bùçng gaåch, haâng chûä traåm khùæc theo kiïíu Chêu Êu maâ ngaây nay chó coân thêëy úã nhûäng raåp chiïëu phim hay nhaâ haát.

104 | Word June 2012

Toâa nhaâ phaãn chiïëu aánh haâo quang cuãa quaá khûá nhûng cuäng àöìng thúâi coá neát xuöëng cêëp: nhûäng giaá trõ lúán nhêët cuãa caã gia àònh nùçm trong ngöi nhaâ vaâ cuäng laâ cûãa hiïåu naây. Nhûäng chiïëc xaâ göî nguyïn baãn àûúåc duâng laâm truå giûä maái hiïn phña ngoaâi nay chó coân laâ nhûäng miïëng cuãi àaä thaânh than sau vuå chaáy do chêåp àiïån vaâo nhûäng nùm 80. Qua hún 30 nùm, gia àònh öng vêîn khöng coá àuã tiïìn àïí sûãa vaâ hai têìng trïn cuãa cùn nhaâ nay àûúåc gia cöë bùçng möåt giaân giaáo àùåt úã phña trong. Phêìn nhaâ tùæm cöng cöång trong cùn nhaâ àaä bõ boã ài tûâ lêu.

Dấu Ấn Nhiều Thế Hệ Bûúác qua nhûäng viïn gaåch vuöng úã saân nhaâ

maâ öng nöåi cuãa Öng Cùæt Toác àaä laát tûâ ba thïë hïå trûúác, khaách haâng seä tiïën túái möåt cùn phoâng coá trêìn nhaâ cao vaâ möåt chiïëc ghïë cùæt toác duy nhêët: chiïëc ghïë Nhêåt naây àaä àûúåc öng nöåi cuãa Öng Cùæt Toác mua tûâ möåt ngûúâi Phaáp trong thúâi kyâ Viïåt Nam bõ àö höå. Maâu àoã nguyïn thuãy cuãa chiïëc ghïë àaä bõ maâi moân vaâ chuyïín sang möåt maâu vaâng thuá võ búãi ba thïë hïå khaách haâng, nhûäng ngûúâi coá leä àaä thñch thuá vúái caái gaåt taân ài keâm vúái chiïëc ghïë. Phêìn àïåm phña giûäa àaä bõ raách búãi ba thïë hïå àaä ngöìi lïn vaâ taán gêîu vúái ba thïë hïå thúå cùæt toác trong gia àònh öng hoùåc àoåc moân têët caã nhûäng túâ baáo àùåt trïn chiïëc baân göî phña trûúác mùåt hoå. Öng Cùæt Toác àaä theo nghïì naây tûâ rêët

Öng Cùæt Toác laâ ngûúâi cuöëi cuâng trong gia àònh theo nghïì naây. Hai con cuãa öng àïìu àang hoåc úã Singapore theo hoåc böíng cuãa nhûäng chûúng trònh phaát triïín. Coá thïí khùèng àõnh khaá chùæc chùæn rùçng hoå khöng theo hoåc nghïì cùæt toác. Vò thïë, tiïåm cùæt toác cuãa öng cuäng seä laâ möåt trong nhûäng cûãa hiïåu cuöëi cuâng coá tïn noá àûúåc khùæc trïn bûác tûúâng gaåch cuãa ngöi nhaâ. Khaá nhiïìu nhûäng cûãa haâng khaác cuäng tûúng tûå nhû vêåy, nhû cûãa haâng radio úã ngaä tû Haâng Böng, Ðiïån Biïn Phuã, núi àaä baán aáo daâi qua hai thïë hïå vaâ àaä thu huát àûúåc rêët nhiïìu sûå chuá yá cuãa khaách qua àûúâng. Nhûng thúâi cuãa hoå àang dêìn tröi qua. Ngûúâi ta khöng coân sinh ra vaâ tiïëp tuåc kïë nghiïåp nïìn kinh doanh cuãa gia àònh nûäa, rêët ñt cûãa haâng kinh doanh coân truyïìn àúâi tûâ àúâi naây sang àúâi khaác. Vò vêåy truyïìn thöëng cùæt toác haâng trùm nùm qua vaâ nhûäng kiïën truác coân lêu àúâi hún thïë cuäng seä dûâng laåi úã àêy.

June 2012 Word | 105


ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW For the novice, Vietnamese kinship terms are confusing at best. They also help define a person’s identity. Words by Kaitlin Rees. Image by Eddy Coubeaux


t doesn’t take long for one to realise that in Vietnam, you are never just ‘you’ and I am rarely just ‘I’. The fact that there are so many words, or kinship terms, that can mean “me” and “you” in Vietnamese keeps us all aware of a hierarchy and our positioning within it. This structure can be hard to embrace. Well, I should say, for me it was hard to embrace. For those of you who quietly cringe every time you have to make yourself diminutive in conversation with, for instance, a male colleague who is actually a year younger, who want to roll their eyes at all the rules for talking to someone older, and who’d just prefer to always say uh instead of vang, a little history.

A Matter of Identity The origin of how one refers to another is rooted in Vietnam’s collective tradition and notion of the individual. In ‘Individual’ and ‘Self’ in Twentieth-Century Vietnam (2000), US historian David Marr states, “Individuals were often compared with cells in the body, each one having a legitimate role in sustaining and enhancing the vitality of the organism, but meaningless and incapable of surviving on their own.” Thus ‘I’ was rarely used in isolation and personal pronouns often came in pairs: em-anh, chu-chau, ban-ban. Marr highlights the Confucian doctrine underlying Vietnamese society promoting loyalty and respect for authority. “For the self to succeed,” he explains, “it must fragment and function according to the five relationships (ngu luan): rulersubject, father-son, husband-wife, elder brother-younger brother, and friendfriend.” Except for this last one, these are inherently vertical dynamics in structure; one must necessarily be above or below the person to whom one is talking. If a spirited twenty-something American with healthy feminist foundations were to find this hierarchical structure of communication off-putting, that spirited feminist would not be alone. In the late 1930s, young writers like Nguyen Hong and Phan Khoi used certain words, particularly the first-person singular of toi (I), “to startle readers into re-thinking comfortable assumptions.” But even before that, in the 1920s, Nguyen Duc Nhuan encouraged women to use toi “just like the men,” rather than em (younger sister), con (child), or to (servant). Toi gave identity to the self without reference to another, either higher or lower, male or female, familial or strange. The use of toi paralleled a growing sense of individuality in Vietnam throughout the 20th century.

Alphabet Games It’s clear that language and identity have

106 | Word June 2012

gone hand in hand for some time. For centuries under Chinese rule, the written language of Vietnam was composed of Chinese characters. In the early 16th century, Catholic missionaries, most notably Alexandre de Rhodes, introduced the Roman alphabet of to Vietnam for proselytising purposes. In the early 20th century, the question of the Vietnamese national language was intricately and substantially linked to the questions of Vietnamese national identity. Vietnamese intellectuals debated quoc ngu alongside various dialogues of individualism versus collectivism.

"If a spirited twenty-something American with healthy feminist foundations were to find this hierarchical structure of communication offputting, that spirited feminist would not be alone" Anti-colonialists championed the adherence to Sino-Vietnamese characters while the western ideals of Francophones went as far as to push for full adoption of the French language. According to Marr, “Well into the 20th century, intellectuals continued to salt their Vietnamese speech and writings with French language terms.” Notable examples of such were the French personal pronouns of ‘moi’ and ‘toi’ as a means of avoiding the pairing based on status, gender, or age. Yet in the end, “sociolinguistically, toi needed a second person singular like vous [in French] to hook up with.” At the time, Vietnamese options like ngai (traditionally used to address people of higher status) or nguoi (traditionally used by rulers to address inferiors) or dong chi (eventually referring only to Party members) were attempted but never quite cut it. “All in all,” Marr explains, “toi was like a lusty adventurer who had accumulated partners in various ports, but then grew old without finding his true equal.”

Me, Myself and I Maybe the fact we need another in order to be an I is the product of a human discomfort with being alone. One Vietnamese friend who regularly travels internationally for work once told me the thing he misses the most when he’s away is the chit chat. In Hanoi, it is so easy to go to a café or food stand and find friends for an hour. This openness and accessibility to perfect strangers perhaps stems from everyone being labeled as family members in Vietnamese. While chatting with a bus driver (a person of the ‘older brother’ variety in relation to myself) on a solitary trip away from Hanoi, my attention was drawn to a quality of the language I hadn’t considered before. After referring to myself as his little sister all morning and getting invited to lunch and drinks and tours of the city, I realised how the familial pronouns actually seemed to create a semblance of family. I realised that within the tight structures of language, there exists an intimacy that can open pathways to communication rather than stifle them with rules and formalities. Maybe the fact that ‘you’ and ‘me’ are complicated simply serves as a reminder of the fluid nature of identity and our need for others to help us define ourselves.

KINSHIP TERMS Vietnamese has no formal word for ‘you’, instead it uses words to state your position in relation to who you’re talking to. Typical pronouns are: Anh — older brother Em — younger brother / sister Chu – uncle younger than your father Bac – uncle/aunt older than your parents Di – aunt younger than your parents Chau — child / grandchild Con — child So, a sentence between an older brother and a younger sister can read as follows: “Older brother is going to work. What is younger sister doing today?” “Younger sister is helping younger aunt at her stall this afternoon.” The words formally used to mean ‘I’ and ‘you’ are: Toi — I Ban — friend (used to mean ‘you’ or even ‘I’)

June 2012 Word | 107

D. Th ai



Khac Can





Pham Su






Hien Ta

To Thai



19/2 Ho i Ha

Dinh Liet



H. Thiec

Hang Da



Hoa Lo

Da T uong


Hang Cot

H. Ruoi

H. Dong

Ga Hang

Bat Su



Phung Hung Ho i


Qua n

Tran Binh Tron g



Phung Hu


Ly Ta n



Boi Phan


Cap Quy

Ngo Si Li Ngo Si Lie n

Van Mie u


De Nam

HOANG Khuc H ao






P. P hu Tie n

h an Kh


n Pha nH uy Ich

ng Ha



Doc Lap





Dung Chau Long


Dang Tat an

Dang Tat

Ng. Can h Chan



Hung V uong


Ong Ich Khiem

Hoa i D uc




Vong Duc


Opera House





h Than


Thanh L. Dao



Phu ng





Dinh Le


Dan g Tra n Co n



Van Chu Ho



Le Thach


ng Da ch Ba

Tran Ng. Han


i Vo




Hoan Kiem Lake




h Din

Nh uo m

H. T

Ph uc Ta n

g hun



re gT Han


Huan Huu Hang Be


Hang Mam


g Tron

ng Chu Nha

Bich Cau


o Ba

Tho Nha


Q uyen



ng Ha


hinh H. C


ao g D Han Van

Thanh B ao


a Tu



n c Ta Phu



g Luon


r AT DU AT NH uy


g Luon Hang Giay

Buom Hang

g gan H. N n g Ca Han



uat Th

n Xua



en Thi

Ly V an P huc






Th o



Su uoc Ly Q



Tran Quo c


An a Ch


ng uo


ng Do



ao C. G ieu S n e Nguy

ai gG n Ha Hanh




uat gQ Han

en Huy Ngo ong u Trie T ho





o Ph

Huo n



am nC Cha


Va n

oc Lu


ng Bo


Nam Ngu

Hanoi Train Station

Hang N on

P hu

Dong Da


Hang C

Hang Bo

m Ho ng Ha anh gM Han

Gia m

m Na Cu a HAI

Marke t

hieu Hang C


nh Tha


Ngo Qua nT ho 1



Nguy en K huyen


m uo Nh

P. Va n




Tho 1 N


Quo c Tu Ng o Ta t To QuGi am

ng Ha

gD Ton


Doa n

Han g B ot

Ba Qu at

Ngo rung Ha T



Ha n g

Ca o


ng ha oT a C


Hoan Kiem

ai Kho

g Don anh Ha Cau D o n gTh X u an

Thai Yen

Ng. Van To m Tra


g Han

Lo Re n

Bat Dan

Lenin Park






Hang Ma Hang Vai





y G ia




e Ho





ai Nh

ng Duo







hao gC Han

g an Gi

Ngu yen Tru ong To QU A

g Han




Ng Duc uye C n K hin h a Hon g T c Nhu hai

Pha m

ng Ha

Ha Ngoc

Ba D i n h S q uare



H. Van









n Vu



Ba Dinh

Bach Th ao P ar k






Q uan

Nguyen Huu Huan - C6, D6 Nguyen Khac Can - F7 Nguyen Khac Nhu - A4, A5 Nguyen Khuyen - E2, E3 Nguyen Sieu - C6 Nguyen Thai Hoc - D1, D2, D3, E4 Nguyen Thien Thuat - B5, B6 Nguyen Tri Phuong - A4, B3, C3, D3 Nguyen Truong To - A4, A5 Nguyen Van To - D4, D5 Nha Chung - E5, E6 Nha Tho - D5 Ong Ich Khiem - C2, D2 Pham Hong Thai - A4, A5 Pham Ngu Lao - F7 Pham Su Manh - F7 Phan Boi Chau - E4, F4 Phan Chu Trinh - F7 Phan Dinh Phung - A2, A3, B3, B4 Phan Huy Ich - A4, B4 Phan Phu Tien - D2, E2 Pho An Xa - A5, A6 Pho Duc Chinh - A4, A5 Phuc Tan - B6, C7, D7 Phu Doan - D5, E5 Phung Hung - B4, C4, D4 Quang Trung - E5, F5 Quan Su - D5, E4, E5, F4 Quan Thanh - A2, A3, A4, B4, B5 Quoc Tu Giam - E2, E3 Son Tay - D1 Ta Hien - C6 Thanh Ha - B6 Thanh Nien - A2 Tho Nhuom - E4, F5 Tho Xuong - D5, E5 Thuoc Bac - C5 Thuy Khue - A1, A2 Ton Duc Thang - D2, E2, F1 Tong Dan - D6, E7 Tong Duy Tan - D4 Tran Binh Trong - F4 Trang Thi - E4, E5, E6 Trang Tien - E6, F7 Tran Hung Dao - F4, F5, F6 Tran Quy Cap - E3, F3 Tran Nguyen Han - E6, E7 Tran Nhat Duat - B6, C6 Tran Phu - D2, D3, D4 Tran Quang Khai - C6, D7, E7 Tran Quoc Toan - F4 Tran Vu - A2, A3 Trinh Hoai Duc - D1, D2 Van Mieu - D2, E2 Vong Duc - F6 Yen Phu - A4, A5, A6 Yen Thai - D5 Yet Kieu - F4

Truc Bach Lake



108 | Word June 2012

Hang Giay - C6 Hang Giay - B5 Hang Hanh - D5, D6 Hang Hom - D5 Hang Khay - E6 Hang Khoai - B5, B6 Hang Luoc - B5, C5 Hang Ma - C5 Hang Mam - C6, C7 Hang Manh - D5 Hang Ngang - C5, C6 Hang Non - D5 Hang Quat - D5 Hang Ruoi - B5, C5 Hang Than - A5, B5 Hang Thiec - C5, D5 Hang Thung - D7 Hang Tre - C7, D7 Hang Trong - D5, D6, E6 Hang Vai - C5 Hang Voi - D6 Ha Trung - D4, D5 Hoa Lo - E5 Hoang Dieu - B3, C3, D3 Hoang Hoa Tham - A1, A2, B1 Hoang Van Thu - B2, B3 Hoe Nhai - A5, B4, B5 Hoi Vu - D5, E4 Ho Van Chuong - F2 Hung Vuong - A2, B2, C2, D2 Khuc Hao - C3, D2, D3 Lan Ong - C5 Le Dao Thanh - E7 Le Duan - D3, E3, F3 Le Hong Phong - C2, C3 Le Lai - E6, E7 Le Phung Hieu - E7 Le Thach - E6, E7 Le Thai To - E6, D6 Le Thanh Tong - F7 Lo Ren - C5 Lo Su - D6, D7 Luong Ngoc Quyen - C6 Luong Van Can - C5, D6 Ly Nam De - B4, C4, D4 Ly Quoc Su - D5 Ly Thai To - D7, E7 Ly Thuong Kiet - E4, F4, F5, F6, F7 Ly Van Phuc - D1 Ma May - C6 Nam Ngu - E4 Ngoc Ha - B1, C1 Ngo Huyen - D5 Ngo Quan Tho 1 - E1, F1 Ngo Quyen - E7, F6, F7 Ngo Si Lien - E3 Ngo Tat To - E2, E3 Ngo Tram - D4, D5 Ngo Van Chuong - F1, F2, F3 Ngo Van Huong - F1 Nguyen Bieu - A3 Nguyen Canh Chan - B3



19/2 - E4 Au Trieu - D4, E4 Bach Dang - E7 Bao Khanh - D5, D6 Bat Dan - C4 Ba Trieu - E6, F5, F6 Bat Su - C5 Bich Cau - E1 Cao Ba Quat - D2, D3 Cao Thang - B6 Cat Linh - D1, E1, E2 Cau Chuong Duong - C7 Cau Dong - B5 Cau Go - D6 Cau Long Bien - A6, A7, B6 Cha Ca - C5 Chan Cam - D5 Chau Long - A4 Cho Gao - C6 Chu Van An - C2, D2 Cua Bac - A4, B4 Cua Dong - C4, C5 Cua Nam - E4 Dang Dung - A3, B3 Dang Tat - A3 Dang Thai Than - F7 Dao Duy Tu - C6 Da Tuong - F5 Dien Bien Phu - C3, D3, D4, E4 Dinh Le - E6 Dinh Liet - C6, D6 Dinh Tien Hoang - D6, E6 Doc Lap - B2, C2 Dong Thai - C6 Dong Xuan - B5, C5 Duong Thanh - C5, D5 Gam Cau - B5 Gia Ngu - D6 Giang Vo - D1 Ha Hoi - F5 Hai Ba Trung - E4, E5, F6, F7 Hang Bac - C6 Hang Bai - E6, F6 Hang Be - D6, C6 Hang Bo - C5 Hang Bong - D4, D5, E4 Hang Bot - D2 Hang Bun - A4, B4 Hang Buom - C6 Hang Ca - C5, C6 Hang Can - C5 Hang Chao - D2 Hang Chieu - C5, C6 Hang Chinh - C6 Hang Cot - B5, C5 Hang Da - D5 Hang Dao - C6, D6 Hang Day - D1, D2 Hang Dieu - C5, D5 Hang Dong - C5 Hang Ga - C5 Hang Gai - D5, D6

We s t L ake

4 h


3 T

Street Index


Nguyen Bieu



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54 59

55 60














ACROSS 1. Like calories in foods that have little or no beneficial nutrients 6. Food placed in the “meat and beans” category 10. Layer of mattes earth 14. Loud racket 15. Not decorated at all 16. ____ about (roughly): 2wds. 17. Food category of which 2 ½ cups should be eaten every day 19. Jacob’s twin, in the Old Testament 20. Pot topper 21. Not as much 23. President Bush’s former press secretary Fleischer 24. Prefix with light 26. Yaks in yokes 28. Bother persistently: 2wds. 30. Arty Manhattan district 31. Negative vote 32. First public appearances 33. Muscle-building nutrient found in meat, fish, cheese and soy 35. More bashful




110 | Word June 2012














19 21




18 20



36. Feel sick 37. Sharp ___ tack: 2wds. 38. Hustle and bustle 39. Give assistance to 42. New Jersey county whose seat is Newark 44. Me at such as chicken and turkey 46. See the ____ (go to various tourist spots) 48. Thing spun by a spider 49. Cries upon seeing mice 50. Ham ____ (deli sandwich): 2wds. 51. Actress Ryan of “Star Trek: Voyager” 52. Record store purchases 53. Genetic stuff 54. Street 56. No longer working: Abbr. 58. “____ to please!”: 2wds. 60. Sweetening stuff not naturally present in foods that should be consumed only in moderation: 2wds. 65. ____ Reader (alternative digest since 1984) 66. Uriah ____ (clerk in Dickens’s “David Copperfield”) 67. ____ fat (very unhealthful ingredient in some baked and fried foods) 68. Small plateau

69. Federal org. associated with the food pyramid 70. “Credit or ____?” (cashier’s question) DOWN 1. It gets stuffed and stamped: Abbr. 2. Bartender on “The Simpsons” 3. Source of bacon and pork chops 4. Poet whose work inspired “Cats”: 3wds. 5. Himalayan creature also known as the Abominable Snowman 6. Flow back, as the tide 7. Kitchen in a ship or plane 8. Dark ____ (color of some nutrient-rich 17-Across) 9. Congressional meeting: Abbr. 10. Foot part 11. Like the heart-healthy fats in nuts, avocados and plant-based oils 12. Threaten like a lion: 2wds. 13. Food category of which 2 cups should be eaten every day 18. Very handsome young men 22. “Later!”: 2wds. 24. Singer Amos or actress Spelling 25. Kinds of cereals, breads, etc., of which 3 ounces should be eaten every day: 2wds. 27. Prescription anti anxiety drug 29. President Lincoln, for short 30. Health club 32. Pigeon’s extinct cousin: 2wds 34. Holiday when baskets are hidden 35. Capricious escapade 40. Annoys 41. Prefix with functional 43. Bashful 45. Long, preachy talk 46. Mineral essential to the human body that becomes a health risk when ingested excessively 47. Existing from birth 48. Joined in marriage 51. Carvings made from green gems 55. Hawaiian island where Honolulu is 57. Abbr. followed by a date on a town welcome sign 59. “Give ____ break!”: 2wds. 61. Org. concerned with air quality 62. Chitchat 63. Punk/folk singer Di Franco 64. Letters after Q

by Catherine Wilkie

Do you ow na photograp h that would look good here? Ema il it to editor@wo rdhanoi. com

Shady Characters

1) How many players are there in an ice hockey team? 2) In traditional anniversaries what is given for the thirtieth?

{trivia buff} 8)In which novel does Fagin appear?

9)Which type of animals find their way home using magnetism? 10)Dhaka is the capital of which country?

3)W.H. Auden was a famous poet what does W.H. stand for? 4)Who is Erich Weiss better known as?

11)Denis Gabor of Hungary won the 1971 Nobel Peace Prize for Physics with which invention?

5)Who wrote the novels The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile?

12)What is the chemical symbol for Potassium?

6)Which of the former eastern bloc countries, now a member of the EU, is the only one to have adopted the euro as its currency?

13)Who was the first man to run a sub four minute mile?

7)What nationality was Che Guevara?

14)Name the Prime Minister of Australia from 1968 to 1971 who fostered Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War?

15)Which French town is famous for its mustard? 16)In the film Dr Strangelove, which actor rode on the atom bomb as it was dropped? 17)Which country's currency is the Rufiyya? 18)What was invented by James Dewar in 1872? 19)Which big band leader used, as his signature tune, "One O'clock Jump"? 20)What did Italian explorer, Christopher Columbus die of? To see the answers, please turn to page 3.

June 2012 Word | 111


Word takes a pho break with Hanoibased Sicilian designer Valentina Bottari to find out how to make the cut in Vietnam

BEING SICILIAN MAKES ME… Hey, how do you know I am Sicilian?! That makes me feel like a black and white movie! I’m like una granita con panna — a delicious speciality of Sicily


WHEN I FIRST CAME HERE I THOUGHT... I don’t know why, but I want to be here! I felt good instantly, and at that time you lived with just the essential things, there was nothing frivolous. It felt right.


HAVING FRESH AND UNIQUE IDEAS… is what I would love to have daily. However, it does happen!

IN DESIGN, CREATING A LASTING IMPRESSION IS ABOUT... doing it right and having a feeling of accomplishment.

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE MY BUSINESS HAS FACED IS… its beginning in 1996. Manufacturing furniture and making ‘pretty objects’ at the time was very challenging; there was no sense of what quality meant, of how to 'deliver’ a nicely varnished piece and how to cope with delays. You had to teach everything you knew. The basics of life! The language barrier was also very hard.

I RESPECT… good energy and good will

I COULD NOT LIVE WITHOUT… a bowl of pho — honestly! And vino, of course


112 | Word June 2012

I'VE ONLY JUST REALISED THAT… you can live without smoking.

IF I COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT HANOI… I would change taxi drivers and bikers, and people sending text messages while driving! Valentina Bottari is the director of house wares and interior design company La Casa. Check out for more details

The Word Ha Noi June 2012 Issue  

The what's on guide to life in Vietnam's capital

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