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JULY 2012




July 2012 Word | 1

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


JULY 2012


DEBBIE CLARE Managing Editor

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For advertising enquiries please call Giang on +84 934 640668 or Bao on +84 902 361561 Word would like to thank Andy Engelson, JC Smith, Natalie Krebs, Rose Arnold, Sarah Clarke, Mark Smith, Lucy Porter, Michel Anderson, Daragh Halpin, Huyen Trang, Hoang @ Pane e Vino, Lam Vissay, Dr WB McNaull, Truong @ Bookworm, Nguyen Bao Ngoc, Steve Jackson, Nguyen Tuan, Mathilde and everyone @ Metiseko, and the old woman across the alley who kicks the most annoying dog in the world when it barks C A O



























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Crossword Answers See p106 for the original puzzle. Pluzzle by Frank A. Longo Edited by Will Shortz

2 | Word July 2012

© 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.







Word is a registered trademark. No content may be reproduced in any form without prior authorisation of the owners.































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.

006 l The Complaints Board

010 l The Exhibitionist 012 l The Buzz 014 l Our Man 016 l In the Papers 018 l Calendar 020 l Overscene


On track with the man in Seat 61

007 l The Big Five 008 l Just In

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 25/06/2012 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu năm 2012.

026 l Many Faces The Flower Girl

062 l Mystery Diner King of the Road

063 l Street Snacker A Mouthful of Clouds

062 COLUMNS 067 l Business Buff

024 Q 028 PIPE


The trials and tribulations of one neighbourhood's waterworks



070 l Destination Zero 080 l Food Buff 083 l Music Buff 088 l Cinema Buff

Life's an uphill climb, especially for die-hard verticle runners

032 THE


Sit back and enjoy the ride, the destination can wait



There's more to Hoi An and Da Nang than just sun, sea and sand

060 WOMAN Medicine, fashion and payroll


CHUYÊN ĐỀ DU LỊCH & ẨM THỰC 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 THE TALK




092 l Book Buff 095 l Medical Buff


Trivia Buff Answers See p107 for the original puzzle 1) In My Opinion 2) Maria Sharapova 3) Sooner state 4) 1605 5) Indonesia 6) Brains 7) Bow 8) Quark 9) Coffee 10) Bouncers 11) Keystone 12) Teddy Pendergrass 13) The Return Of The King 14) Safari 15) Hammersmith Bridge 16) Colonel Sanders 17) Silver 18) Topaz 19) Pegasus 20) Prince Charles

102 l Leading a Horse to Water An experiment in openlearning 108 l Last Call Going overseas with Lam Vissay July 2012 Word | 3

The Prelude


anoi is a transient place. We make friendships that, at the time, feel like they’re going to last forever, and then like the passing of the seasons, people leave and things change. But it’s never just one person. It’s two, three or more. Leaving, it seems, becomes contagious, and suddenly you find yourself restructuring your routine around the remaining souls you know still living in this city. Whether or not Hanoi has always been this way is hard to say. But emerging as one of Southeast Asia’s most desirable destinations, it’s inevitable that more people will pass

through its alleys and weave through its traffic. The city, too, also changes as shops and businesses pop up one day and are pulled down the next. From humans to businesses to the lifeline of a city, we’re all on our very own journey. While we’re in the midst of it we tend to be more consumed by how to make it as meaningful as possible, as opposed to focusing on that inevitable destination. So, what happens if we apply that same logic to the physical journeys we make? Quite often, the exact opposite. The journey itself tends to be the uninteresting part, while it’s the destination that counts. This month’s edition pays


homage to the concept of journeys. But importantly, like life, it pays homage to the journey itself, rather than just the destination. And with that comes stories and inspiration from those who have, at some point, passed through Hanoi — whether it was just for a day, a night or far longer. With all of our usual features and columns, we hope that your own journey through this month’s Word is indeed a pleasant one. If it is, or even if it isn’t, please let us know. We value your feedback. So, feel free to drop us a line at if there’s something you want to shout about.


JULY 2012




THIS MONTH'S COVER Photo: Aaron Joel Santos Design: DH Advertising Clothes: Metiseko Model: Huyen Trang


MISSING YOU ALREADY Hi just saw the new Word. Great work! Makes me want to come back to Hanoi already. — Cache

CAFÉ D The coffee is roasted in butter and/or chicken fat according to my sources — which is why it's so effing delicious! (Filtered Out, Inbox, June 2012) All [the writer] needs to do is buy the fair trade coffee to not have the delicious bit. BTW, butter and fats are good for you! Try the shop on Xuan Dieu next to Pet Zoo. — C 4 | Word July 2012

GIVING THANKS Thank you very much for 101 Things to Love about Hanoi (June 2012) […] I really like the phrase you wrote in the Team Spirit article “to launch us upwards, and be there to catch us gracefully when we fall”. Thank you for everything. — Nguyen Manh Hien July 2012 Word | 5


The Talk



Patience is a virtue, and few know that better than understated electronic beat-maker Daisuke Tanabe. After carefully y honing g his craft from the age of 16, it was his first EP release in 2006 that brought him to the attention of Gilles es Peterson and Pete Adarkwah. Since then he has remixed artists such as Elan Mehler and Aaron on Jerome, and released music on the ever-reliable ble Ninja Tune label. Taking inspiration from jazz, z, folk and reggae as well as the whole canon off electronic music, the young Japanese nationall will be playing his laidback electronica for one night only in Hanoi. Daisuke Tanabe will be performing at CAMA ATK, 73a Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung on Jul. 14. Tickets are VND120,000 on the door or VND80,000 00 in advance from the venue. To see if Daisuke’s left-fi eld field electronica is your cup of tea, check out his music att or via his Soundcloud page


Antisocial Media GIGGLES WERE BARELY SUPPRESSED in tourism industry circles recently when a VNAT spokesman announced that they would soon be marketing Vietnam using new technologies, “especially internet, and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter”. Presumably the gentleman in question is unaware that for many people in Vietnam, accessing Facebook still requires the use of proxy servers, DNS tweaks and other technological jiggery-pokery, as a result of a much-publicised block on the world’s most popular social network. And while this may not affect people overseas searching for information about their trip to Vietnam, it does affect the alleged 6 million tourists who visit Vietnam every year and who, were they able to access it, would be using Facebook to share their travel pictures and videos, tell their friends what a wonderful time they’re having, and generally provide vital (and free) word-of-mouth marketing. The situation sums up Vietnam’s bizarre relationship with the internet. The country’s young population means

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that over 30 percent of the population are internet users (over 50 percent in urban areas), and many of these young people are highly entrepreneurial, yet internet/social media marketing in the country remains non-existent at worst to amateurish at best, and nowhere is this more true than in tourism and hospitality.

Time to Share Compare, for example, the country’s national tourism website (current headline — “Seminar on Cultural Heritages”) with that of, say Costa Rica, and the problem is immediately summed up for you — one focuses on heritage, culture, seminars etc, and is designed to look like a newspaper; the other is colourful, interactive and, most importantly, shows foreign people having fun, which is as close to a perfect definition of tourism as you will get in my opinion. In Vietnam itself, bars, cafes, restaurants and hotels all offer free Wi-Fi, but don’t tweak their routers to allow Facebook access, meaning that the tourist who’s popped in for a coffee can’t tell his friends back home

2 what a wonderful place this is. No venues are encouraging clients to review their business on Tripadvisor, THE social media tool for tourism and hospitality businesses. And when I open the new version of Foursquare, which provides local recommendations for me when I’m out and about, I see no cafes, bars or restaurants offering special deals for Foursquare checkins — yet when I’m in Bangkok, Berlin or Birmingham, pretty much every café on Foursquare is vying for my custom by offering me a 10 percent discount, a free espresso or a free gift if I check in and thus share my experience with my friends and followers. What’s even more surprising is that so many businesses in Vietnam ignore free marketing channels such as these and persist with expensive, intrusive, garish and scattershot banner ads, which render so many local websites virtually unreadable and which deter me from patronising the businesses they are designed to promote. So come on Vietnam, you have more free Wi-Fi than pretty much anywhere else in the world — start using it to its full potential and make it easy for your clients to tell the world how wonderful you really are!


Power-chords, chugging riffs and wailing guitar solos — it has to be the Tiger Translate winners’ showcase. The beer brand has been on the look out for Hanoi's best local bands, and on Jun. 16 it delivered its verdict. Crowned winners Oringchains will perform alongside the act in second-place, Hot Sky, followed by runners-up Nu Voltage. Dig out your ripped jeans and Sabbath tee; it’s time to get down the front and get your mosh on. The show starts at 8pm on Jul. 7, entry is VND100,000 and includes one free beer. Hanoi Rock City is located at 27/52, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho


From the graffiti-covered walls of East Germany to the lacquer-filled rooms of the University of Fine Art in Hanoi, German artist Martin Schuster has developed a style particular to his experiences. His work is often composed of big frenetic scenes with a tension between the landscape and the characters that produces a bit of mystery for the viewer. Having spent most of his life in a small town best known for its asparagus, moving to Hanoi has been an understandable shock to Martin’s sense of peace and his environment. “I am mostly interested in places that promise salvation,” the artist says, though that salvation may not always come as expected. Through large oil paintings, lacquer works, pencil drawings and etchings, the viewer is taken into various ‘Mental Places’ and questions his or her own dreams, desires and perceptions. Mental Places exhibits for one day only on Jul. 13 at house 18, alley 275 Au Co, Tay Ho



Grammy-award nominees Berliner Symphoniker will be causing a stir when they arrive at Noi Bai airport this month. The 66-piece orchestra, complete with an impressive array of instruments, will arrive in the city for a highly anticipated concert at Hanoi Opera House, featuring a collaboration with Vietnamese violinist Bui Cong Duy. Having spent the last two years preparing for the event, this monumental performance will feature extracts from globally-celebrated operas such as Ruslan and Lyudmila, Leichte Kavallerie, Carmen and Polka Unter Donner und Blitz. Dig out your best frock and tuxedo (not to be worn by the same person at the same time) and have a very grand night out. The concert starts at 8pm on Jul. 14, and tickets are priced from VND800,000. Hanoi Opera House is located at 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets can be purchased directly from the venue or from


SUB ELEMENTS BASS PARTY Local collective SUB ELEMENTS continue their regular bass parties with a bash at breezy Chez Xuan at the end of July. From the more concrete sounds of deep house, garage, and basement low bass, to the figurative spaces of reggae, dub and dubstep, expect to enter a journey of sound. The DJs and selectors include Unconventional Science from Los Angeles, Slo-Lo from Dalat and Tung Do from Hanoi. The SUB ELEMENTS bass party will take place on Jul. 28 at Chez Xuan (Number 41, Lane 76 An Duong, Tay Ho). Entrance is VND50,000 on the door with the first act starting at 8pm

July 2012 Word | 7

Just In

the talk ON A BLUE NOTE An ambitious new venue in the heart of the Old Quarter, Blue Note intends to host live music performances every night once they battle through their soft opening phase. With reasonably priced drinks, an extensive menu offers Illy coffee from 8am and draught beer until late, all providing the feeling that Blue Note reckons it can be all things to all men. Stop in if you’re feeling blue. Blue Note is located at 61A Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem above Mix Bar. Check their New Hanoian page for updates on live shows and to see how the soft opening is coming along

IN THE RED The Red River Tea Room, which officially opened last month, is a new haven for sipping and sitting and is certainly something to get psyched about this summer. Though it serves tea, tea is not necessarily the focus. The name comes straight from the favourite watering hole of one of the owner’s grandfathers in Georgia, USA. Specialising in beer, wine, whiskey, and a variety of spirits, coffee, tea and milkshakes, in theory you could be enjoying a mulberry milkshake with a side of bourbon while gazing into the eyes of a stranger and feeling seductive. You could even be enjoying that today. Maybe you just should be. The Red River Tea Room is located at 25 Ven Ho, Tay Ho, on the tiny road behind Xuan Dieu running between The Sheraton and Alley 27. Drop an email over to for more information

- 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:

GOING BANANAS Banana&Rose, the minimally chic new clothing line of bright colours and flattering cuts, has opened a rooftop barbecue and bar space as part of their fashion venture on Lo Duc. As to be expected when designers and artists open a bar, it's beautiful — Pham Viet Hung and Le Ngoc Dung have given the space a casual and intimate setting. With reasonably priced drinks, a nicely-curated music selection, stairs leading up to a tucked away swinging love seat and more green potted plants than a garden nursery, there is a lot to love about this place. The couple is around every night from 4pm until late with the bar and their clothing shop, which will open earlier at 10am in the autumn. Banana&Rose is located at 125d Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung on the 8th floor

ON TOUR Internationally acclaimed liquor brand Son Tinh Premium Liquors has commenced its ‘Taste the Culture’ distillery tours. Have you always wondered what magic ingredients go into those awardwinning bottles of liquid fancy? Well, now you can discover the mysteries behind the success of one of the leading Vietnamese spirit brands, complete with a truly Vietnamese dining experience of an international standard. Located just 25km from central Hanoi, the Son Tinh Distillery tour offers an afternoon away from the city, and an insight into the craft of liquor production. At VND899,000 per person, and with a minimum of 4 guests per group, the price includes private transport, tour leader and translator, welcome drinks, a full tour, information brochure, Son Tinh liquor sample set (4 shots) and dinner at Highway 4. For July only, this price is available with a 25 percent discount. To make a reservation email tours@highway4. com or call 3718 6377 / 0976 848301

8 | Word July 2012

July 2012 Word | 9

the talk

The Exhibitionist




IN DISGUISE Masks, the decorative layers behind which we hide our insecurities and protect ourselves from the world, are no strangers to society. A Transformative Disguise, the solo travelling exhibition by Ho Chi Minh City-based artist, Le Hoang Bach Phuong, will show in Hanoi this month and shed new light on what our masks might mean. Bich Phuong, using sources from Vietnamese and Japanese mythology and fairytale, combines ideas of reflection, transparency and identity. Through a series of silk portraits representing herself, her friends and strangers, Bich Phuong re-imagines human faces with animal masks. Through impeccable hues of watercolour and startling depictions of donkeys, bears, pigs, and foxes, the exhibit engages the audience to question the nature of their own masks. A Transformative Disguise will show in Hanoi from Jun. 28 to Jul. 27 at the Japan Foundation, 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem

PULLING ON THE HARP STRINGS Aki & Kuniko, the Japanese duo with Aki on acoustic guitar and Kuniko on the Koto/Japanese harp, are bringing their unique blend of sounds to Hanoi for two concerts this month. Since their formation in 2002, the musicians have toured the world, released two albums, and received much praise from critics. Some of that praise includes phrases like “original, genre defying work” and “innovative musical partnership”. It's up to you to decide if you agree, which you can do on Jul. 9 and Jul. 10, when Aki & Kuniko will perform for the first time in Vietnam. Tickets for Aki & Kuniko are free and can be picked up from the Japan Foundation at 27 Quang Trung, Hai Ba Trung. The shows will take place at the Vietnam National Academy of Music on 77 Hao Nam, Dong Da. Doors open at 7.30pm.

If you find yourself lying awake at night wondering where to get your next gyoza fix, there’s a new kid in town, and it aims to be a contender. Fortuna Hotel Hanoi has opened its outstanding new Japanese Emperor KTV restaurant, which boasts traditional Japanese cuisine with a sophisticated twist of traditional and innovative style. If you’re looking for something intimate, or need an interesting setting for a business lunch or a celebratory dinner, you could do a lot worse than book one of its five private dining rooms that can accommodate 10 to 20 guests. Leave the flip-flops at home though — there’s a polite request for ‘appropriate’ dressing. Fortuna Hotel Hanoi is located at 6B Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh. Lunch is served from 11.30am to 2pm, and dinner is available from 6pm to 10.30pm. Reservations are recommended so call 3831 3333 to make an advanced booking, or email For more information visit

People don't follow traffic rules here when it rains. Or when it's sunny, or when it's too crowded, or when it's late at night. So basically all the time Did that old woman just say ‘mother f*!?er’?

FEELING FINE From Sunday Jul. 8 the Yet Kieu Fine Art School will display their installation, photography and musical/performance pieces at Hanoi Rock City in an insightful five-day exhibition. Entitled ‘EAT’, the exhibition aims to showcase the best of Hanoi’s up-and-coming young artists, in the rock ‘n roll surroundings of one of the city’s most popular venues. The exhibition runs from Jul. 8 to Jul. 12, entrance is free, and Hanoi Rock City is located at 27/52, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

So the Dairy Milk dog-head fondue is out then? One of my Facebook friends had a Disney wedding. I think humanity is officially too sick to survive Cigarettes are costing US$11 in Seattle these days. It's pretty avant-garde I was talking to my cat the other night My computer is broken so I've been slumming it with a work PC all week It sounds like Queens of the Stone Age, but in 1960s Vietnam

I DRAW MYSELF ROOM WITH A VIEW The wide, open spaces of Vietnam are coming into view in the heart of the capital during a month-long panoramic photo exhibit at the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. Surprising Beauty, an exhibit by photographer Bui Hong Thang, presents 360-degree sprawling views of some of Vietnam's most scenic locales. Viewers can

10 | Word July 2012

expect to be transported to fascinating corners of the country not only through 30 wide-angle prints, but also through an interactive setup on a large LED screen allowing viewers to scroll through 100 landscapes in brilliant hires colour and definition. For this work, Hong Thang expanded his original concept of Hanoi from Above to

include outstanding Vietnamese vistas from Phu Quoc to Ha Giang, with landscapes from the Truong Sa Archipelago as the highlight of the exhibit. Until Jul. 28, the show will run 24 hours a day in the hotel lobby, for hotel guests and visitors. The Sofitel Plaza Hanoi is located at 1 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho

In the age of narcissism, which, like, I totally think of myself as being in, we spend more time in front of bathroom mirrors, we steal glances in the cool black reflections of our sleeping computer screens, we post photos of ourselves, we blog about ourselves, we Google ourselves, and we draw ourselves. Until Jul. 14 at L’Espace, you can check out how eight illustrators living and working in Hanoi have done so. I Draw Myself exhibits how these eight comic writers, each with a different style, different job and different age, are connected in their journey for self-discovery through illustration. The show features the work of Ta Huy Long, Le Chi Hieu, Ta Lan Hanh, Nguyen Thanh Phong, Do Huu Chi, Bui Hai Nam, Nguyen Thanh Son and Tran Thu Huong. I Draw Myself will run until Jul. 24. L’Espace is located at 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Check out www. for more information

You’d better say something nice about me! If you don’t I’ll syphon all the gas out of your bike again I went to Hoi An to get away from everyone, but I think half of Hanoi had the same idea as me July 2012 Word | 11

the talk

The Buzz



Zenith Yoga, equipped with air conditioning, has a few summer promotions that will make us bend over backwards and look inward with excitement. This month, all Vietnamese nationals will receive 50 percent off passes, anyone who buys a monthly pass will get three friend passes, a 25 percent discount is in store if you buy a monthly pass in a group of five, and a free raincoat comes with the purchase of any pass. In the autumn (from October to November), a special yoga certification course will be offered with Vinyasa teacher Dominique Renucci who follows the style of Sri Krishnamacharya. For more information about the 200-hour intensive course, check out Registration is VND50 million with a 10 percent discount for early birds until Jul. 31. Zenith Yoga is located on the 3rd floor of 111 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Visit www. zenithyogavietnam. com for more information

NOT FAR FOR A SPA Palm Garden Beach Resort and Spa, right in Hoi An's Cua Dai Beach neighbourhood, is offering a special package to anyone living in Vietnam. For around VND6.5 million, the resort offers three days and two nights of accommodation at their five-star hotel, including transfers and return tickets. If Hoi An is not far enough away from the capital for you, Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa is an alternative with equally tempting deals. With all rooms looking out to the beach and with its own stretch of sand reserved just for its guests, the resort city’s only colonial-style property is offering the same threeday, two-night package for around VND8.2 million. Contact the team at Palm Garden Beach Resort and Spa Hoi by emailing or by calling 0946 082525. To find out more about Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel & Spa ping an email through to or call 0946 082525


CHECK-IN WITHOUT THE QUEUES VietJetAir has gained a jump on its competitors by launching a kiosk check-in option, making it the first airline in Vietnam to catch up with the rest of the aviation world by applying a self check-in service. These new self check-in kiosk facilities are currently in place at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in that city down south, Da Nang International Airport, Noi Bai International Airport and VietJetAir’s sale offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Seeing as this is a new service in Vietnam’s aviation market, VietJetAir staff will be on hand to help bewildered passengers negotiate the kiosk check-in machines before their mouths froth and brains reject the technological advancement. For added convenience (or extra confusion), the carrier will soon launch a web-based check-in service. For further information on VietJetAir’s new services and promotions visit


HILTON HOSTS The Hanoi Hilton is pulling out all the stops — not John McCain’s teeth — this summer with an array of offers. Fridays and Saturdays will feature regular BBQ feasts of the finest meats and seafood, while Sunday Brunch is given over to families. It’s free entry for children under six and a there’s kids corner to keep them occupied while mums and dads overindulge in free flow wine and beer. Get the lowdown on all of the Hilton’s July promotions by checking their website or calling 3933 0500

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A DAY IN THE BAY Novotel Halong Bay is offering a new package called Spa Delight that consists of a relaxing and luxurious one-night stay, a breakfast buffet and a 60-minute foot reflexology session to bring you out of any food induced negative feelings. Use of the swimming pool is complimentary and encouraged. All for just VND1.5 million per person (for twin or double occupancy), this offer is valid until Sep. 30. There is also a poolside BBQ buffet and live music from 6.30pm to 9.30pm, including one hour of free flow beer and house wine. Booking in advance is recommended, and prices are around VND525,000 per adult. For inquiries, please contact Novotel Ha Long Bay on 03 3384 8108, or

Slowly getting their act together, Hanoi’s first speakeasy is finally rolling out its food menu and happy hour. From Jul. 18, ATK will be open every day from 6pm with half-priced beer and wine until 8pm as well as grilled satay chicken skewers, edemame and other tasty treats. More reasons to get down early before it’s all over at midnight. CAMA ATK is at 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. For all the latest promotions, and to see which international performers CAMA are bringing to Hanoi next, check

SORTING THROUGH LEANING towers of dog-eared business cards is one of the worst experiences ever, making it near impossible to quickly locate the one person you have to get in touch with before the world explodes in a blaze of charred contact details. Enter CamCard, a life (and career) saving smartphone app for those who have a hard time keeping track of all their business cards. Ingeniously, CamCard takes high quality scans of business cards so users can quickly find their contacts without breaking into a sweaty rage. The take photo button allows users to capture any business card they desire, and select a photo of a business card or copy and paste an email signature to save the contact information to the card holder. The app even manages and syncs business cards across multiple devices with Cloud Sync. Users can share their collection of cards via email, SMS, QRMeCard or QRVCard, rotate the card to view at a different angle, add another side of the business card and edit or add notes to the contact information manually. However, the real fun begins once users tap on a stored business card. A set of buttons appear at the bottom of the screen allowing users to call the contact directly, send an SMS or email, locate the address on Google Maps, connect to the contact’s LinkedIn page or go directly to their homepage. Camcard is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry

July 2012 Word | 13

the talk



@ZUBERMAUS Just seen my (gorgeously presented) feature on Malaysian art for @ WordVietnam. So chuffed! Jun. 12




couple of years back I was sat in a Hanoi pub with some friends, when a woman who had joined our group started talking about her experiences in telesales back home. “It was disgusting,” she said. “Half of the people I had to speak to spoke no English at all.” Our group exchanged glances. There we were; a group exclusively made up of white people, in a pub with an English name and with just about enough language ability required to order another beer, and this person decided that the time was right to start laying into migrants. As is the case with racists everywhere, she had assumed that everyone would just be in agreement with her. She was yet to experience that epiphany when you realise that expats and migrants are one and the same. Right wing lunatics and their news channels will always have it in for migrants, and of course politicians know that when all else fails they can ‘blame the foreigners’, and in doing so, take advantage of people’s most shameful instincts. But for my money, there aree two main lessons you need to learn ass an overseas resident of a country such h as Vietnam. The first is that when something goes wrong you should learn to blame the immediate cause — not the country you’re in. The second d is that other overseas residents can live how they like as long as they aren’t hurting g anyone else.

Liberal Thinking You kind of expect the liberals among g us to be more understanding, but when you meet a liberal who is also a migrant, that understanding can be strangely absent. nt. Their attitude is that ‘they’ should be applauded for bringing their food and d traditions to foreign shores, and ‘we’ must eat only local food while in ‘their’ country. untry. I’ve tired of seeing the inverted snobbery of foreigners living in Hanoi oi who look scornfully at those who choose not to eat all their meals on the street. I doubt bt the same people would sneer at migrantss back

14 | Word July 2012

home when they’re tucking into a bowl of pho on a London high street. Likewise what’s the verdict on Vietnamese eating western food in Vietnam? Should they also only eat local food? If tays should only eat local and avoid expensive restaurants, are Vietnamese allowed to frequent such places? While on a flight back from Kuala Lumpur recently, I caught a quick 15 minutes of a Jamie Oliver show. I learnt that pies were brought to the UK by the Romans and fish and chips to London by Jews. Meanwhile the hamburger came from the Russians via, of course, Hamburg, and it’s now considered an American staple. This is how food evolves — pho is an adaptation of a French dish.

Boiling Point There is a lot of fantastic Vietnamese food — it’s gloriously fresh, perfectly seasoned

and manages to be simple yet creative. But there is also (whisper it quietly) bad Vietnamese food. Vegetables that are boiled to death, lumps of fat and gristle, appetite-sapping synthetic fish sauce… It would, of course, be a shame for tourists to visit Vietnam and eat only pizza and burgers, but migrants are not tourists. It’s fantastic to see a Belgian restaurant opening in Hanoi this month. Good luck guys. In the past week I’ve eaten Indian, Chinese, Italian and American as well as Vietnamese. I’m not advocating big brand franchises taking over Hanoi, but if they do, it’s because there’s a market for them, and if that’s how people want to eat, then so be it. Multiculturalism is supposed to be a good thing, right? In the end migrants are migrants, we establish ghettos, suck at languages and eat our own food. But we should leave the judgemental stuff to desperate, voteseeking politicians and Fox News.

INTELLIGENT RICE Be smart and escape the intense heat and storms of summer inside the air-conditioned comforts of Highway4 Restaurants with their new ‘Intelligent Rice’ promotion. Throughout July and August the popular restaurant chain is offering a 30 percent discount on this special lunchtime treat, so expect to pay just VND299,000 for a group of four people or VND199,000 for two people. Menus for four people include four main dishes, while the two-person menus offer three main dishes. All menus are supported by steamed rice and Vietnamese sour canh chua broth, complete with free unlimited iced tea and a free ice cream or Vietnamese coffee. The Intelligent Rice menus are available from 11am to 2pm daily from Monday to Friday inclusive, and will be on offer throughout July and August. For a full list of Highway4 restaurants, visit

PAID TO PLAY Paying people to come to your resort may smack a little of desperation, but that’s certainly not the case at the wellappointed, four-star Blue Ocean Resort in Mui Ne. Until Aug. 31, the resort, which features a 153-metre beach and a 26-metre swimming pool, will be reimbursing guests the cost of a one-way ticket by bus or train from Ho Chi Minh City. Stay two nights and the resort pays one fare both ways. Stay three nights and three one-way fares are reimbursed. Will you look a gift horse in the mouth? For more information, contact the sales office in Mui Ne by calling 062 384 7444 or email If that fails, contact Life Resort’s sales and marketing office in Ho Chi Minh City by emailing sales@

MATCHING EXPECTATIONS After a two-month renovation, Matchbox is reinventing itself with a new concept, finer décor and a new chef. Having worked for Sofitel Metropole for 10 years, their prized head-of-cuisine intends to expand their menu from western fare to include some traditional Vietnamese classics. Matchbox 2.0 will be rolling out from Jul. 20 and can be found inside the grounds of the Vietnam National Fine Art Museum, Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh

@MADLYDUCK @WordVietnam if the next issue does not feature Ray Bradbury in some form, I will stop reading the mag Jun. 10 @SANDRABISIN Sunday morning bliss... Reading "101 things to love about Ha Noi" @ WordVietnam Jun. 9 @OURMAN Another beautiful magazine from @ WordVietnam - nice work Jun. 9 @MATTCOWANSAIGON @Vietnam720 @WordVietnam how many people laid does that equate to? Any chance of some estimates on that? RT @WordVietnam: Apocolypse Now turns 21 today! Lots of free food, drink and prizes tonight in #HCMC #Saigon #Vietnam Jun. 6 @MIGUELCOULIER Question for #Hanoi tweeters: where can I rent these (industrial) fans (cheaply) for one night? @ TNHVietnam @HanoiCooking @ WordVietnam Jun. 6 @MYNAMEISNU @WordVietnam Home RT @ WordVietnam What’s your favourite #Hanoi watering hole? Vote now! Jun. 6 @NODDYQ @WordVietnam lots of noise about this for a long time but very little action. Perhaps the powers that be are nomads too. Jun. 5

July 2012 Word | 15

In the Papers

the talk


VIETNAM GROWING UP FAST Vietnam is the world’s 22nd fastest growing country, according to Business Insider, a US-based business website that uses a semi-annual World Bank report for compiling a list of fastest growing economies. Vietnam's GDP growth is estimated to reach 6.3 percent in 2013 and 6.5 percent in 2014. For this year it is forecast to be 5.7 percent by the bank, which said exports are a major driver of growth for the country. Vietnam’s major exports include garments, oil, electronics, rice, and machinery. However, Vietnam trails some other Southeast Asian countries like Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia, which rank 4th, 18th, and 21st, respectively.

EXPLOSION IN HANOI A handmade bomb exploded in the capital during a botched attempt to rob a jewellery shop last month, reported Thanh Nien, injuring 15 people, including shop staff and passers-by. A 25-year-old male suspected of attempted murder and robbery is being held. Apparently he entered Hoang Tin Gold Shop on Nguyen Thai Hoc with a bomb, made out of four kilogrammes of explosives and an industrial detonator, in a plastic bag, along with a knife, and a taser. He gave the shop owner a piece of paper that said: “I just need money, don't touch this bag.” Pretending to ask the man how much money he needed, the shop owner grabbed the bag and threw it into the street, shouting for help. The man fled immediately but was arrested in an alley 20 minutes after the explosion. The man told the police he attempted the robbery because of his desperate poverty.

VIETNAM 2ND HAPPIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD Vietnam is the second happiest country in the world, according to a survey by a British think tank, which, unusual for such surveys, has not focused on a nations' economic performance. The New Economics Foundation's Happy Planet Index (HPI) shows the extent to which 151 countries across the globe produce long, happy and sustainable lives for their people. The three component measures of the HPI are life expectancy, experienced well-being and ecological footprint. The countries with the lowest scores are Qatar, Chad and Botswana while Cost Rica beats Vietnam to the happiest country throne. But you could have probably guessed that.

E-TEXTBOOK EDUCATION The Education Publishing House has signed a contract with the Advanced International Company (AIC) to publish the first e-textbook for school education (grade 1 to 12) in Vietnam. AIC staff said the electronic English textbook will be available by the year end and the natural science book will completed by August 2013. They will first be used on a trial basis. E-books on other subjects will be available by 2015. At a recent conference on basic education, many experts said traditional textbooks have become outdated and will soon be replaced by e-books that offer easier access to knowledge and better interaction between teachers and students.

RARE EARTH CENTRE OPENS Vietnam’s first rare earth research and technology transfer centre has opened in Dan Phuong, Hanoi. It will train Vietnamese workers in processing the ore, which exists in large amounts, mainly in the northwest of Vietnam, before being exported to Japan. The centre was established following an agreement between Vietnam and Japan, and was signed last October. Under the framework of the agreement, the two countries will promote the rare-earth industry through collaboration in training Vietnamese in technology transfer relating to selecting rare earth, refining and applying it in Vietnam. According to the Vietnamese Department of Geology and Minerals, Vietnam has one of the world's largest rare earth reserves. However, mining is still in its infancy.

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July 2012 Word | 17


MON 30

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

MARGARITA NIGHT @ Don’s every Monday, 5pm to 10pm 50% OFF ALL FOOD @ Hanoi Social Club every Monday, 6pm to 8pm STREET HOCKEY NIGHTS @ UNIS every Monday, 6.30pm to 8pm


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

MARGARITA NIGHT @ Don’s every Monday, 5pm to 10pm 50% OFF ALL FOOD @ Hanoi Social Club every Monday, 6pm to 8pm STREET HOCKEY NIGHTS @ UNIS every Monday, 6.30pm to 8pm



To have your event included in our calendar, please email by no later than Jul. 20 with a description of the event and a high-res photo




PIKNIC ELECTRONIC @ The Keangnam Landmark Tower every Sunday, 4pm to 11pm

HANOI PUB QUIZZERS @ R&R Tavern every Tuesday, 9.30pm to 11.30pm


HOSPITALITY NIGHTS @ Southgate every Tuesday, 7pm


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

WOMEN’S GAELIC FOOTBALL TRAINING @ Dang Thai Mai football field every Tuesday, 8pm to 10pm

FREE VIETNAMESE CLASSES @ Puku every Wednesday, 7pm

HANOI PUB QUIZZERS @ R&R Tavern every Tuesday, 9.30pm to 11.30pm

POKER NIGHT @ Play Gaming Lounge every Wednesday, 8pm


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

FREE VIETNAMESE CLASSES @ Puku every Wednesday, 7pm



17 I DRAW MYSELF EXHIBITION @ L’Espace every day until Jul. 24, 6pm

MARGARITA NIGHT @ Don’s every Monday, 5pm to 10pm 50% OFF ALL FOOD @ Hanoi Social Club every Monday, 6pm to 8pm STREET HOCKEY NIGHTS @ UNIS every Monday, 6.30pm to 8pm

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FRENCH TUESDAYS @ Summit Lounge, 50% off all French wines every Tuesday, 4pm to midnight HANOI PUB QUIZZERS @ R&R Tavern every Tuesday, 9.30pm to 11.30pm


HOSPITALITY NIGHTS @ Southgate every Tuesday, 7pm

WOMEN’S GAELIC FOOTBALL TRAINING @ Dang Thai Mai football field every Tuesday, 8pm to 10pm HANOI PUB QUIZZERS @ R&R Tavern every Tuesday, 9.30pm to 11.30pm


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

FREE VIETNAMESE CLASSES @ Puku every Wednesday, 7pm POKER NIGHT @ Play Gaming Lounge every Wednesday, 8pm


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




THE SONG OF THE EARTH @ Hanoi Opera House, Jul. 12 & 13, 8pm




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



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


OPENING OF MATCHBOX @ the Vietnam National Fine Arts Museum


FRIDAY NIGHT ON THE TERRACE @ Press Club, 5pm to midnight

DJ NIGHTS @ Southgate every Thu, Fri & Sat, 9pm SURPRISING BEAUTY EXHIBITION @ the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi (every day until Jul. 28)

DJ NIGHTS @ Summit Lounge every Fri & Sat, 9pm to midnight


EAT EXHIBITION @ Hanoi Rock City, Time TBC


FREE VIETNAMESE CLASSES @ Puku every Wednesday, 7pm POKER NIGHT @ Play Gaming Lounge every Wednesday, 8pm



POKER NIGHT @ Play Gaming Lounge every Wednesday, 8pm

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


WOMEN’S GAELIC FOOTBALL TRAINING @ Dang Thai Mai football field every Tuesday, 8pm to 10pm

AKI & KUNIKO @ the Vietnam National Academy of Music, Jul. 9 & 10, 8pm



HOSPITALITY NIGHTS @ Southgate every Tuesday, 7pm






BEER & BURGER SUNDAY @ Southgate every Sunday

MACHETE.SEX. MIX FINAL SHOW @ Hanoi Rock City, 9pm


SKATE FESTIVAL STIVAL @ Hano HHanoi a i ano Rock City, 44pm



22 2 2

A TRANSFORMATIVE DISGUISE EXHIBITION @ the Japan Foundation (every day until Jul. 27) Ju

29 2

WINE TASTING @ Delicious Wines every Saturday, 6pm to midnight

WALL OF DUB 1ST BIRTHDAY @ Hanoi Rock City, Time TBC

July 2012 Word | 19





Another year, another smash-hit CAMA Festival. Capacity crowds braved the rain, danced in mud and took the (tarpaulin) roof off

CHEF FOR A DAY Fortuna Hotel Hanoi invited media and friends to get rolling at their Dim Sum Making Class, in celebration of Journalist’s Day

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HANOI SOCIAL QUIZ Tempers flared and friendships frayed as only the geekiest of geeks achieved a podium finish

ANIMALS ASIA BEAR RESCUE CENTRE Excited spectators went down to the woods in Tam Dao to check out the virtuous work that Animals Asia is doing for sun and moon bears in Vietnam





PIKNIC ELEKTRONIC Back with a splash, Piknic revellers enjoyed green grass, good music and plenty of accidental belly flops

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y train or ferry you get to see where you're going, unlike planes where you're strapped in like a piece of freight and told to sit still like a naughty child,” says creator Mark Smith. “[On a train or a ferry] you can move freely, sleep in a bed, walk around, read, think, watch the scenery, talk and interact with other passengers.” A self-proclaimed ‘career railway man,’ Mark left his native Oxford in the UK to launch a career on the railroads in rural Kent. He worked his way up through the ranks in various guises, and eventually ended up as the UK’s expert on rail fares and ticketing for the Department of Transport in London. In 2001, he launched his website, A one-stop shop for those looking to travel by train or by ferry, lists train schedules, fares and general train travel advice for numerous countries across six continents. Mark’s philosophy for the site is split into two parts — the first goal is to help people easily find information on alternatives to travelling by plane, while the second is to inspire people to travel far, far beyond the airport. “Travel should be about journeys, and not merely destinations — you might say it’s like food, which should be about flavours and not just keeping you alive,” he says.

First Class


ON LAND AND SEA In today’s world of budget travel and no-frills airlines it has become all too easy to plane-hop your way down the Southeast Asian tourist trail. However, one man is trying to put the romance back into travelling by rail and boat. Natalie Krebs chats to the passenger in Seat 61, Mark Smith

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In September 2007, Mark quit his job and began working on the site full time — a move he doesn’t regret. The effort it takes to keep the site running is, according to Mark, much more fun than ‘real work’. Yet 12 years, two books and a TV series proposal later, Mark still protests that he had no idea the site would get this big. “It was a cry in the wilderness, and I didn't really expect anyone to read it,” he explains. “And now it has over one million visitors each month.” Mark’s enthusiasm for train travel in Vietnam is evident from the extensive amount of information available on his website. The Vietnam page, which is always among the ‘top ten most visited’ pages on the site, lists everything you need to know in order to get from Lao Cai to the Mekong Delta. I asked Mark a few more questions about his experiences travelling by train in Vietnam. How do you compare trains and train travel in Vietnam to the rest of the world? In terms of modernity and comfort — we're talking Southeast Asia, not Europe here — I'd say DSVN's airconditioned 'SE' trains are better than many Indian trains, though not as good as Thai trains. Nevertheless, they're an ideal way to get around and see Vietnam at ground level. What are the common misconceptions that people have about train travel in Vietnam? It's all about expectations. Any seasoned traveller who has visited Asia or Africa before will find Vietnamese trains a great way to get around. However, those western travellers who have never been outside their own country before, and who expect to see the world

from westernised airliners, western-standard tour buses and western chain hotels will find them scarily, well, Southeast Asian. They're the real Asia, of course, not the 'tourist Asia', a real means of transport and not a deluxe tourist facility — but then that's the point of using them; to be a participant, not a mere spectator in the country you're visiting. If that sends some people scurrying for the plane, that's a great shame, as the journeys in Vietnam are as much part of the experience as the city sights. Sharing a four-berth also comes hard to inexperienced westerners when it's no real problem and even part of the experience; you may meet some Vietnamese this way. Ironically, the same travellers will happily share a cabin with 400 others trying to sleep slumped in a seat, elbows touching their neighbours’ elbows, knees in the small of someone else's back, on the plane into Vietnam, because that's what they've been conditioned into thinking is ‘normal’! What's your favourite part of the north to south train journey in Vietnam? The coastal section between Hue and Da Nang is easily one of the most scenic sections of railway in Southeast Asia. The train snakes from cliff to cliff with the sea breaking on the rocks below, passing under the higher peaks through a series of tunnels, each with a watchman holding a yellow flag at the entrance. Then it heads inland through a densely wooded valley to the Hai Van Pass itself. Fabulous! What changes have you seen in both the country and the railways since your first visit to Vietnam? I first came in 1999, since then both the quantity and quality of trains has increased significantly. The whole country is far more orientated towards tourism than it was, and in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City it now seems that every erstwhile cyclist now has a motorbike, and every motorcyclist a car. How do you view the interaction between foreigners and the locals on the train? In the tourist cars to Lao Cai from Sapa, you're more likely to be sharing with westerners than Vietnamese, but on the trains between Hanoi, Hue, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City you'll likely be with Vietnamese. I've shared a four-berth soft sleeper with a Vietnamese family, and it's always interesting seeing how other people live — and they do ‘live’ on the train, making themselves at home! What's the most extraordinary thing you've ever had the opportunity to eat on a train in Vietnam and worldwide? I always regretted being insufficiently brave to try the sautéed chicken penis at Saigon's wonderful (and cheap) Bo Tung Xeo restaurant. I can't imagine it’s very big, and since then I’ve always wondered if you got a heap of them, or just one, beautifully presented. Last year I returned to Vietnam, and to the restaurant, but sadly the menu is now far less exotic.

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The Flower Girl Words by Kaitlin Rees. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos


t would take the whole afternoon if we were going to talk about details,” Linh says, referring to her family’s lotus pond that hugs the shores by the Ferris wheel alongside West Lake. The 28-year-old flower farmer knows all the details, though, and it’s impossible to not go into them. What else would we talk about? Lotus flowers are complex organisms. There are 12 petal flowers, and there are 100 petal flowers. The seeds, the stems, the roots, the leaves, the petals, the pollen, and that mystifyingly fragrant white part in the centre all serve a specific function. And all have their own kind of separate elegance as they populate the still water. Linh’s real name is Do Hong Hoa, or Pink Rose. It’s a name that is too pretty, she claims, for the hard life she has, and so people call her by her nickname. Linh married young and is the mother of two children. One is seven years old and one is 15 months. She doesn’t say much more about them, but continues to offer up numbers. One thousand flowers make 1kg of tea. One flower at her family’s shop sells for VND7,000. Also at her family’s tea and flower shop, next to the 12-petal loti that wait in bundles by the road, is a collection of loose petals that anyone wanting smoother and better smelling skin, or cockroach repellent, can take. Mats are laid out on the floor for those who want to stop for the family’s renowned tea. According to Linh, the soil of her family’s pond is more nutritious than those of her competitors, which makes the flowers’ perfume stronger and the tea taste, well, better.

Pause for Thought The post-rain romance surrounding West Lake and the delicately sweet lotus tea at Linh’s shop produces an air of serenity that embraces all. Even the incredulously drunk post-lunch crowd of men cannot help but wax poetical in this place, spouting profundities on time and space while sipping

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their tea. This setting of calm and polite patience is where Linh has worked for the last 12 years, after her family decided to start farming flowers. Before there were lotus, there were fish. For Linh’s family at least. The higher maintenance and lower benefits of farming fish fuelled the decision to transition to lotus. Linh also transitions to lotus when asked about her dreams of doing something other than farming. “I’ve had dreams of doing something different,” she says, “but my educational background is not good and I don’t think that

“I’ve had dreams of doing something different but my educational background is not good and I don’t think that I can. My wish now is to be able to keep this pond so that everyone can enjoy the lotus” I can. My wish now is to be able to keep this pond so that everyone can enjoy the lotus.” The lotus flowers can be enjoyed for about four months of the year. If you want help remembering, the season is from Ho Chi Minh’s birthday on May 19 to the day of his death on Sep. 2. This interesting fact about flowers makes up for the more routine facts of how and why to clear the pond of dead stems in the off-season, when to bail out the water, and when to reinforce the banks for best growing. When starting out, Linh and her parents didn’t know much about lotus farming. They just did it to produce flowers for themselves

and a few relatives. “Then many women started to come who were interested in buying lotus. They were people who were already making lotus tea so we picked up the tea making techniques from them.”

Best of the Bunch Linh has come a long way since those early days, and thanks to her attention to detail, her family’s plot of pond land and tea stall are rumoured to be of the best around. Linh’s field of expertise would seem to reside within these pond waters, right down to the three kinds of small fish that are permitted to stay due to the size of their teeth. And while these waters take up an impressive 2,000sqm, the distance is by no means as far as her international tea-drinking patrons have travelled. This modesty is palpable in the way that Linh brushes away compliments and perches on the balls of her feet during the interview, as if ready to rush away if she is needed for something more important than talking about herself. However, as she holds one fully blossomed flower close to my face for a more intimate inspection, the miniature universe that unfolds from the centre of the lotus would seem to offer a different kind of exploration and travel. It is within this universe that Linh has learned to manoeuvre with fluency and grace. “People can’t imagine how you navigate throughout the pond. It looks [very dense], but actually there is a pathway to go on so that you don’t destroy the flowers.” A trip to the lotus pond, particularly the one facing a giant wheel that carries people round and round, up and down, inevitably incites quiet reflective thoughts for those who stop for a cup of tea and a chat. For Linh, her work is wrapped up in providing this peace for others, though it’s not necessarily a peaceful job. She describes her life as hard, but also feels that she is at least “doing something good for society”. And who would argue with that?

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Pipe Dreams The neglected waterworks of one downtown residential highrise are causing all manner of problems for its inhabitants. Douglas Pyper investigates. Photos by Francis Roux


he courtyard of apartment block 2C on Le Phung Hieu, Hoan Kiem, hums. Entering feels like stepping into a ship’s hull as the vibrations of rapidly turning gyros fill your ears. Ironically, among the reverberations is the rush of running water, ironic because this seemingly idyllic apartment block has a water shortage. Built in 1989, a stone’s throw from Hanoi Opera House, the building’s design

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had inherent failings regarding the water system. Both the connection from the water factory to the well, and the pumping system to get the water up to people’s houses, have never worked. That explains the humming sound. The apartment block’s courtyard is home to a cage containing a maze of water pumps, all working away in unison. Below, they are connected to a well that the residents paid to have dug when the original became

too polluted. Fanning out from pumps is a dizzying jungle of pipes. At the well, where they are thickest, the pipes resemble the roots of bamboo. They crawl in parallel directions following the balconies and vertically up the corners of the courtyard, always taking the path of least resistance, like light-hungry creepers.

Ingenuity Minh Chi runs an electrical repair shop on

the third floor of the apartment block. He was one of the first tenants and was part of the group who built the network of pipes in 1993. He explains how each of the 100 apartments has their own pipe coming from the grid of communal pipes. Some houses have two or three because when one breaks, they just build a completely new pipe and don’t bother to take away the old one. Each house sets up and repairs their pipes themselves, learning through necessity and practise. Minh Chi studied how to repair electrical equipment in Germany but, like all the other residents, has no plumbing background or education. “At first we spent a lot of time trying to repair the pumps because nobody had any experience of fixing them,” he explains. “We had to work it out ourselves. It started with a couple of houses making their own system and everybody learning from each other.” Such resourcefulness and ingenuity is

visible every day on the streets of Hanoi. It’s the reason why your motorbike may often be fixed with whatever comes to hand, be it a hammer or the foil wrapper of a packet of crisps. But of course, it’s also the reason why everything breaks. “It’s not smart,” says Chi. “It’s completely wrong! The west does things properly. What we’ve done isn’t an improvement, it’s a step backwards!”

Responsibility When the residents first realised that their new homes were faulty there was no one to blame. Minh Chi says they argued and blamed each other before getting on with finding a solution as it became clear that nobody was going to take responsibility for this communal problem. More than 20 years later the situation hasn’t moved on. A housing committee made up of residents was given a quote to install a new system but the cost is beyond their means.

A woman in her mid-40s has a stall selling crisps and ice tea at the entrance to the apartment block. “It’s been in newspapers and on TV,” she complains, “but still the water can’t get up to the houses. All day people come and take photos […] we’ve still got a water shortage.” An old man is wandering around happily holding his granddaughter. He has no doubts about the future of the issue. “We’ve been talking about it forever, but nothing happens,” he says. “The people in charge aren’t doing anything, each house has to sort it out privately.” The predicament of the residents and the sight of the jungle of pipes brings to mind the Vietnamese saying ‘cha chung, khong ai khoc’ (‘nobody cries at the death of the communal father’), which essentially means something very visible on every street in Vietnam’s capital: when it’s nobody’s responsibility, nobody cares.

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The Vertical Challenge More than just Vietnam’s tallest building, Hanoi’s Landmark 72 Tower is soon to play host to one of the most gruelling races on earth. Kaitlin Rees finds out what it takes to make it to the top


n 1492, Christopher Columbus proclaimed the world to be round. In 2005, Thomas Friedman argued it now to be flat. Uploading, outsourcing, and offshoring in this globalised age, Friedman said, has fundamentally changed the landscape of our modern world. Though our earth may no longer be as round as it was 500 years ago, it is by no means flat. Take for instance, Landmark 72 Tower in Hanoi. Have you seen it? It’s really tall. The tallest in Vietnam. It’s got 1,914 stairs. Take that Thomas. Though it’s probably the case that soaring buildings all over the world are further evidence of our globalised, ‘flat’ earth, a few of these modern day monuments are being re-imagined with activities far removed from the typical financial endeavours associated with skyscrapers. On Sep. 30, over 500 runners will compete in a race from the bottom to the top of Hanoi’s Landmark 72 Tower. And these runners will in fact be RUNNING.

Survival of the Fittest? Running up the steps of a skyscraper could seem a bit puzzling. What does it mean? Is it a statement about the return of physicality to a world that has become increasingly digital? Is it symbolic of a post-colonial conquering of the new frontiers of sky? Is it because someone lost a bet? Is it for buns of steel? The race marks Hanoi’s entrance into the club of other cities with skyscrapers up which people run. The Vertical World Circuit (VWC) as it is called, includes New York, London, Basel, Berlin, Taipei, Milan, Singapore, and Sao Paulo. “Vertical races”, the organisers say, have been around since the 1970s (but probably before that if you count social climbing). Stair-climbing clubs can currently be found across North America, Europe and Asia, with professional stair-climbers training yearround to be the first to reach the top of some

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of the world’s tallest buildings. Though a relatively new sport, fitness enthusiasts are stepping up, especially those intrigued by the different urban settings that it can bring them, as well as those who enjoy the fact that walking uphill, compared to the same exercise on flat ground, consumes up to 10 times more calories.

Director of the event, David Shin, believes it is. “One of the main objectives of the Landmark 72 Vertical Run is to promote Hanoi as a leading destination for competitive sports, business and tourism,” he explains. “And as the event is being held in Vietnam’s tallest building, it will naturally attract significant attention overseas.” And, dear reader, your attention too. Both amateur and elite athletes are expected to turn out on Sep. 30 at the foot of Vietnam’s tallest building. Elite participants in this year’s inaugural event in Hanoi include reigning world champions, Thomas Dold and Valentina Belotti. Included in the amateur category will be Word magazine’s own managing and deputy chief editors, Debbie Clare and John Thornton. You, too, can take part in this event, to climb stairs like you’ve never climbed them before, with a purpose that few in the world have had. You, too, can have buns of steel and scream “King of the world!” as you ascend the one thousandth nine hundredth and fourteenth step. Online registration is open now and the fee is VND300,000. Prize money totalling VND105,000,000 will be divided and awarded to the first three male and female overall winners with the fastest times. What will happen after you register is a lot of self-affirming goal setting, training and probably a little anxiety. On race day you’ll toe the first step with a pack of runners, equipped with a timing chip, and move with beauty, grace, and poise Landmark 72 all the way to the top. That, or you’ll sweat, pant and heave your Sky High quivering limbs to the finishing line. Either A skyscraper is defined as having 100 metres way, you’ll most likely reach the top about or more of vertical climb at a 33 percent 20 to 25 minutes later. If you are elite, you incline. Like hiking up a mountain, but with may get there in 10. fewer bugs and chances of getting lost, stair To register for the race, visit www. climbing requires strength, endurance, and a, and to read up more about touch of faith that the view is worth it. vertical running go to

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Journey “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go,” said the novelist Robert Louis Stevenson. “I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” But how many of us truly find a simple pleasure in moving? And how many of us get more excited about the journeys we take than the actual destinations we’re heading to? From the arduous 30-minute ride to work, to the long-haul overnight flight that we use sleeping tablets to knock ourselves out for, journeys often seem like wasted intervals in time, periods of necessary but unwelcome transit that move us from one scene to the next. For most of us such journeys are about saving time. It is no surprise, then, that we no longer see bicycles, buses, trains and ferries as convenient. Instead we just want to get there, to that new scene, and are prepared to miss out on everything in-between. But as Stevenson would be glad to hear, it’s not always that way for everyone.

So, time to stretch out, put your seat back and enjoy the ride. Time to enjoy what’s in between.

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What follows is an insight into the lives of many of this planet’s travellers. From the myriad of passengers found waiting at Hanoi’s central train station to against-the-grain globetrotters, long-distance truck drivers, pilgrims and travelling performers. It’s not just about the final destination, but the journeys themselves.

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Stories from the

Station Words by Debbie Clare Photos by Francis Roux

A French colonial building built in 1902, Gare Hanoi, also known as Tran Quy Cap, Hang Co or Le Duan station, takes pride of place at 120 Le Duan. It stands like a proud being with a protruding, puffed-out chest, but it didn’t always look the way it does today. December 1972 saw the central building become flattened by American bombs. And so, in 1976 the grey concrete structure that there stands today was built, dividing the two remaining yellow buildings. Outside of the station there is a hive of activity; bikes are being parked or driven away, taxis are picking up and dropping off, confused tour groups are congregating, banh my sellers are fanning themselves down, stall owners are topping up glasses of cold tea and adjusting their displays of Oreos. Everyone here is doing something or going somewhere; with every move a journey is beginning. The beige hue of light inside the bustling station makes every scene seem like a moving version of an Instagram photo. Corners of these rooms have been

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left unchanged from days of old, yet smatterings of modern comfort in the form of vibrating massage chairs and luminous green butcher’s grass don’t seem too out of place in this room full of curio. Buzzing LED boards display times, platforms and destinations, and are bookended by large yellowing illustrations of old trains in coastal Vietnam settings. The timetables that are dotted around the building are curling with age, and above them, flat-screen TVs advertise vitamin supplements and beauty products. Lines of plastic chairs are bolted to marble-effect floors that are peppered with sunflower seed cases and plastic bags. Children yawn, men stare, women fan. The station’s waiting rooms are crammed, everyone has somewhere to be; under the relentless clattering of oscillating fans, and the abrupt, incomprehensible voice of the tannoy, crowds of people weighed down with baggage move in different directions. Where are they all going?

Tham Van Nhan, 78 Nhan sits cross-legged on the hard plastic chair and counts the cotton buds that a generous xe om driver has just bought for him. His standard-issue military helmet casts a shadow over his grave and tired face. “I fought in Dien Bien Phu,” he says. A member of the Tay ethnic minority, travelling home to Binh Phuoc after visiting his wife and two sons in Cao Bang, Nhan’s trip does not begin and end with just a train journey. “It takes two days and one night to get home,” he says. “This morning I took a bus from Cao Bang to Hanoi, now I’m going by train from here to Binh Phuoc, and then after that it’s a 60km bus journey to my house.” Nhan’s luggage consists of a large green sack, packed with clothes, a mosquito net and a blanket, “just in case it gets cold on the train.”

Nguyen Thi Chuyen, 50 “Most of the preparation for my journey is in convincing my husband to let me go — that and travel sickness pills.” Chuyen laughs so much when she speaks that one would be forgiven for thinking that she could keel over at any moment through an overdose of sheer joy. Surrounded by her colleagues with whom she is about to holiday, school teacher Chuyen’s journey started earlier in the day when she left her home town on the outskirts of Hanoi and travelled into the city by bus. With three days of downtime planned for the break, this is Chuyen’s first visit to Hue. “This is the longest journey I’ve ever taken,” she says, “but I’ve reserved a reclining chair so it should be quite comfortable.” Milliseconds after saying this, Chuyen collapses into another fit of uncontrollable giggles and can no longer speak through her hysteria.

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Nguyen Viet Dung, 23 Dung’s relaxed appearance defies his anxieties about leaving his friends, his family and his girlfriend in Hai Duong. He sits listening to music on his MP3 player, and looks smart and street-cool in his green Versace t-shirt and shiny new jeans. His concerns about the journey ahead are a mixed bag of emotions. “Train travel in Vietnam is interesting because you get to meet and speak to people from all over,” he says. “But, the trains are noisy, and the journey is really tiring. Today the hardest thing for me is leaving the people I love behind.” With the aim of studying English in Da Nang, Dung will live with his aunt in Vietnam’s third largest city. “I packed some presents for her from my family, but other than that, I just packed necessities — a year’s worth of necessities.”

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Sean McMahon, 24 & Daniela Scarampi, 23 Daniela’s earliest memory of train travel is the tube journey she took as a child from London’s Harrowon-the-Hill to Norfolk Park station. And although that memory is a far cry from the journey that she and her partner Sean are currently on, the pair anticipate their voyage from Hanoi to Nha Trang to be an enjoyable one. “We haven’t heard any horror stories about trains in Vietnam, so we’re expecting it to be quite good — especially compared to travel in Laos!” Having endured a gruelling journey from Vientiane to Vang Vieng in a non-air-conditioned transit van, and then witnessing a fatal road crash en-route to Hanoi from Halong Bay, the couple were surprisingly upbeat about the next stage of their three week holiday. “We’ve got eye drops, medicine and an iPad with free Wi-Fi — we’ll be fine!”

Tran Duc Cuong, 65 “The only way I can get to see the world is through my work,” explains Cuong, who is on his way to Vinh University in his role as professor. “When I went to France, I felt like I already knew the place — through literature and through France’s influence on Vietnam, it felt really special being there, and really familiar.” Cuong’s work takes him away from his home in Hanoi every two to three months, and he enjoys travelling by train. “You get to see the beautiful landscape of Vietnam, and have interesting experiences. That doesn’t happen so much on airplanes.” Having studied social science in Washington and New York, Vinh is keen to see the rest of the world. “I’d love to go to the Middle East or Africa, but I just go wherever my work takes me.”

Dinh Thi Kim Quy, 32 & Dinh Thi Lan, 23 At the end of their five-day holiday in Hanoi, sisters Quy and Lan sit opposite the ticket counters in one of the station’s wings, and pass Quy’s fidgeting baby between them. A businesswoman who manages a furniture shop in Quang Binh, Quy is keen to get back to work, and is not remotely melancholy about this being the end of her holiday. A celebrant of train travel in Vietnam, Quy states matter-of-fact that “the staff are friendly and the journey is comfortable”. The longest trips Quy has ever taken include a train ride from Quang Binh to Ho Chi Minh City, and a bus ride from Quang Binh to Dalat for her graduation exam. On what to pack to make the journey go quickly, Quy looks down at her healthy son. “Definitely a baby,” she says. “They make the 12-hour journey a lot more interesting.”

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“After a 35hour train journey down India to pick up their Minsks in Calcutta, Tomas, Chema and David found that their motorbikes were nowhere to be seen”

The Great

Words by Rose Arnold Flying (unless of course you’re scared of it) is a fairly pleasant and very quick way to get from one place to another. Nothing is required of you, other than to turn up on time, sit, watch films and eat the neatly packaged food and drink that’s brought to you. Apart from seeing the route map on the screen in front of you or, occasionally, the lights of cities far below, there is no connection between you and the places you’re flying over. Stepping off the plane can be a strange and disconnected feeling, like you’ve appeared in the country of your destination by falling down an Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole. There are, though, more steps to enlightenment than a train ticket, a few spare months and a Lonely Planet guidebook. At times, long journeys can be as boring as hell, not to mention uncomfortable and tiring. There is a certain truth, however, that there is a relationship between what you put into something and what you get out. Travelling by train, bus, bike or boat cannot guarantee adventure or a meaningful experience, but being actively involved in your journey and being open to what comes along seem like good first steps. And so now to the stories of those who have braved the open road and dived headfirst into the unknown.

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Hanoi to Barcelona by motorbike Tomas Pujol-Xicoy Valls, ‘Chema’ Jose Maria Costa Anadon and David Graupera Fabregas travelled 17,000 kilometres from Hanoi to their native home of Barcelona. They did this trip for no other reason than for the joy of being on the road with good friends. They agreed, over a bottle of whisky, that it was a trip that needed to be made. And they were going to do it by motorbike. Planning was fairly minimal; they bought Minsks in Hanoi, made a list of the countries they thought they would cross and headed north. As it happened, not everything went according to those minimal plans — they had intended to ride through Myanmar, but the borders were closed, and so instead they had to go across Laos and Thailand. They shipped their bikes to India and then journeyed by boat to The Philippines where they stayed for a month. The next stage of the adventure saw them travel through China on the QinghaiTibet railway line, with a stop-off in Nepal

where they went trekking in the Himalayas’ snowy peaks of Annapurna. After a 35-hour train journey down India to pick up their Minsks in Calcutta, Tomas, Chema and David found that their motorbikes were nowhere to be seen. Towering piles of paperwork suggested that the bikes could be lost forever, but 15 days later the bikes reappeared and they were able to continue on their journey. They spent one month in India, which they found to be full of fascinated locals and cricketplaying children, of dust and poverty, of eye-poppingly bright saris, sunbathing sacred cows and perfect sunsets. When they reached the Pakistan border they were again separated from their motorbikes. Customs officials insisted that the bikes could not be ridden there, and so the Minsks went by train to the Iranian border while Tomas, Chema and David waited for their visas. During those ten days of waiting, they hired a jeep and a driver and went north. They were

blown away by the wild beauty of the surrounding mountains and also struck by the “incredible Islamic hospitality”. When they did finally get to Iran they had to be escorted by the military police (riding pillion on their bikes) for the first 500 kilometres. At this point they decided to abandon the original plan of going through Saudi Arabia and up to Spain via Morocco. They realised that problems at borders would likely mean more money and paperwork and, preferring to have more time riding, headed back to Barcelona via Europe. The journey took them nine months in total. A life-affirming video exists; there’s mud, banter, lots of motor biking, beaches, showing off for the camera and new friends made along the way — it’s essential viewing for anyone about to embark on a similar adventure, or those just in need of inspiration.

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“I didn’t want to be stuck in the mud, like everyone else back in Holland. I felt a pressure; you plan out your life, you buy a house, get a proper education, get a proper job. If you fail you are deemed miserable”

Reinoud Weirs Everywhere by every mode of transport available Reinoud Weirs seems a bit bemused by questions about his ‘journey’. “Well, first I go here and here,” he shows me on the map I have printed out, “then here, and another time I go through here.” Reinoud, it turns out, has spent much of the last 10 years of his life travelling. “I wanted to see some places in the world. I didn’t plan, I just went.” Originally from Holland, Reinoud, now 31, made his way from his home country to Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey. He has lived and travelled in Iraq, has travelled though Pakistan, India, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. These journeys were made overland, on foot, by bus, by train, by hitchhiking, and at some points cycling. Very occasionally, if there was no other way of making the journey, and if he had enough money, he travelled by plane. “I try to avoid planes if at all possible. I want to have this continuation.”

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Reinoud found the expectations at home restrictive and stifling. “I didn’t want to be stuck in the mud, like everyone else back in Holland. I felt a pressure; you plan out your life, you buy a house, get a proper education, get a proper job. If you fail you are deemed miserable.” Reinoud learnt to speak Farsi while working in Iran as an English teacher, and while he was there he decided to visit India and crossed into the country via Pakistan. At the time there were a number of very dangerous, tribal areas, which he had to pass through, and so, to ease his journey, he travelled as a Muslim. Once in India, Reinoud attempted a trip to Kashmir. Despite being told by police that the route was dangerous and not for tourists, he travelled across the mountains in the snow. At times he was able to journey by jeep, but a few hundred kilometres had to be done on foot. There were no facilities for tourists so he had to rest in any place he could find. At

one particularly low point a monk took Reinoud to his monastery where he was told about beautiful valleys nearby. Spirits recovered, Reinoud decided to stay a little longer and later returned to explore and set up guided tours for visitors to the area. Reinoud came to Vietnam to find work. He travelled through China, which at the time was entry-restrictive due to the 2008 Olympics. He managed to get the relevant paperwork that enabled him to travel across China by train, and a gruelling 50hour ride pushed him to his limits. “I went almost crazy, it was like prison.” Despite having lived in Vietnam for the last four years, Reinoud has still managed to feed his hunger for adventure. One of the highlights includes a thigh-trembling 1,400-kilometre bicycle ride from Hanoi to Sisophon that required covering 240 to 280 kilometres per day. “I want to experience life, have something to do. I want to escape, to live a life.”

“We saw some of the great natural and human triumphs the world has to offer, and by getting off the beaten track we really got a taste of local life”

Ben and Iola Hanoi to London by train

Ben Ward and Iola Woodward had been living in Hanoi for 18 months when they decided it was time to return to Britain. They were going back to their families and back to the ‘reality’ they had known before. They wanted their trip to be an unforgettable experience, so 16,000km, 30 trains and two-and-a-half months later, their plan was deemed a success. Ben and Iola planned their journey carefully. Many travellers value spontaneity above planning routes and itineraries, but on hearing about their trip it's clear that planning had advantages. Over the course of their travels they were able to stay in interesting places, including Mongolian and Russian home-stays, rather than ending up at whichever hotel would take them. In Mongolia they stayed in the

ancient capital of Karakorum and enjoyed “eating Mongolian dumplings and playing volleyball with our host family’s children.” In Krasnoyarsk, Russian host Julia took them on a visit to her family's home in a local village. Here, they were regaled with incomprehensible stories, fed barbequed food, taught Russian dancing, treated to a sauna, and, of course, plied with endless vodka. Ben says that travelling by train was a great way to meet people from all walks of life. “We saw some of the great natural and human triumphs the world has to offer, and by getting off the beaten track we really got a taste of local life. We met Russian squaddies, Soviet journalists, a compartment of fluent English-speaking Russians, Mongolian farmers, a Berliner

who saw the Berlin wall come down and who had also done almost exactly the same journey as us 30 years ago, a Slovakian guy who’s grandmother had escaped from a concentration camp. The list goes on.” Reaching London, and the end of their journey, was bittersweet. Although they were both excited to be home and to see friends and family, it meant the end of an extraordinary experience and back to worrying about jobs. Still, Ben says, St. Pancras is a beautiful station and “there couldn’t be a better welcome home”. To mark the occasion they had a glass of champagne at the longest champagne bar in the world, and then each of them headed to get their 31st train, back to their respective families.

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Alastair Beal Land’s End to Hanoi by bicycle, train and bus

Al Beal started his epic journey in the UK with a 1,349-kilometre bicycle ride. He pedalled from Land’s End to John O’Groats — the two points furthest apart in Britain — and then took the train through Europe, Russia and China. He stopped off en-route to go climbing, and saw sensational sunrises at the top of mountains in China after night-time climbs. While he made many friends further along the way, in the very early days he spent quite a bit of time on his own. Al says he went from being a bit nervous about it to really enjoying the space to be by himself, to sit and think. He would now definitely recommend travelling solo. Al travelled a total of 14,000 kilometres overland.

Jody O’Dea Hanoi to Helsinki by plane and train

Darren and Jo St Petersburg to Hanoi by train and bus St Petersburg to Hanoi is a long way — it is, in fact, 10,000 kilometres as the crow flies, but Darren Paine and Jo Fearnley found a way to make the trip even longer. They traversed 30 Russian cities and slept in 60-bed platzkart train carriages, and also managed to travel on the BaikalAmur Mainline (BAM) — a route that few tourists have taken. “People are so friendly, so generous,” Darren says. “We were regularly given salo — big lumps

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of raw salted pig fat on paper. We’re vegetarians but it was kind.” They crossed over into China on a midnight train via Harbin, then spent two months exploring the country by train. For the final leg of the journey to Hanoi they took a 14-hour sleeper bus across the border, and then, after just one final 14-hour bus journey, Darren and Jo arrived in their new home.

“We were regularly given salo — big lumps of raw salted pig fat on paper. We’re vegetarians but it was kind”

Jody O’Dea travelled from Beijing to Helsinki via the Trans-Siberian Express with his wife Jen and two friends. He did the whole trip in 15 days, which meant they had to spend long periods of time on the train, the longest being three nights in a row. Being in one of the private berths they didn’t have huge amounts of space and by the end of the journey they did get a bit of cabin fever. At one point they took a detour, via taxi, to Lake Baikal, “one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen,” Jody says, “the only friendly people in Russia” (there is a Russian proverb in fact that says, “the colder the climate, the warmer the people”). The highlight of the trip for Jody was a three-day off-road excursion by Jeep in Mongolia – they had barbeques and slept in a ger.

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Road On the

Douglas Pyper meets the men who have time and time again tried to kill him, and finds himself oddly sympathetic to these kings of the road. Photo by Francis Roux

The average motorist in Vietnam will probably cite long distance trucks as the most dangerous thing on the road. Whether stuck behind one as acrid, black smoke belches from its exhaust, when its overloaded cargo spills everywhere, when encountered driving straight at you on the wrong side of the road, or as they force you to the side in an aggressive attempt to overtake, these behemoths of the road are an ill omen for the living and those on the move. So, who are these death-defying, harbingers of fear and doom, and the bane of the casual motorist’s road trip? One such person is Hoa, who’s been driving since he was 15 years old when he started his life on the road without a licence. Now, drinking tea and smoking by the side of the road, he waits for his five-tonne truck to be offloaded at the Hanoi Fruit Market. Shy but polite in conversation, Hoa makes very little eye contact, while his answers are short and unelaborate. For Hoa, truck driving was a way to avoid going to school. He could travel the country, make some money and avoid all the things he didn’t want to deal with at home in Moc Chau. This month, his routine involves nightly trips from his parent’s house to Son La, where he picks up a full load of fruit and brings it down to Hanoi before driving back home. His day starts at 2pm and finishes at 6am. His life is transient, lived in the moment with no girlfriend, few friends and no idea as to what he’ll do in the future. “I’ll know when it comes,” he assures.

Reinventing the Wheel With six years’ experience, Hoa is at the beginning of his mobile life. But at the other end of the scale is a man 30 years his senior; a man who’s been trucking for over three decades. He won’t give his name, but he looks around 10 years younger

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than his stated age of 50. Thick laughter lines threaten to completely consume his face while he chortles closed-mouth, and as he sucks on a White Horse cigarette he points directions to passing trucks, and pauses endlessly in the middle of sentences, leaving you unsure whether he’s finished or not. For this man, truck driving was a way to see the world. “It’s not that I have a poor IQ score,” he reasons. “I love adventure, I love visiting places, so I decided to learn to drive. My dad taught me that if I travel for one day, I can learn a pile of new things and become wise. So I became a truck driver.” His business management degree has never been put to use, but he’s been all over the country. A typical journey is from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. Two drivers will make the 2,000 kilometre journey in 48 hours, taking turns to sleep in their seats and stopping only to eat a basic meal of com binh dan. “It’s a job; it’s boring,” says the driver, “we listen to the radio or sleep. I’ve trained myself to fall asleep as soon as I close my eyes.”

Road Kill This driver claims to have never had an accident during his 30 years of making deadlines on winding mountainous roads and through chaotic traffic. He does, however, have a good idea of what causes a lot of them: fines, explaining that drivers, particularly those transporting fruit, are fined per hour of lateness. A seven-tonne load of rambutans, which can earn a driver VND21 million, can carry a one-hour lateness fine of VND2 million; two hours late and the fine doubles, while missing the deadline by three hours can result in a driver losing 50 percent of the contract. With that in mind, it’s small wonder that some drivers are reckless when literally every hour counts on a 48-hour journey.

“Everybody is scared of dying, but let’s worry when it comes,” says the driver. “The Vietnamese have a saying: ‘If one can think far enough ahead, he can avoid tragedy’, so I’m always well prepared.”

Keeping the Faith Some of the drivers in the southern half of the country have installed altars in their trucks for good luck, but this is almost unheard of in the northern region. Our driver chooses instead to put his faith in his Hyundai truck, rather than the spirits. “If you love your truck then it will love you back. You have to love the truck like a son and love the petrol like your blood. Trucks are like people, they have souls.” To this end he keeps his truck as clean as possible and never lets anyone smoke in it. But the truck remains stoically bare, with a radio and few personal effects such as a blanket and spare clothes, but nothing else. Over the course of 30 years of driving, he has experienced the worst of everything long-distance travelling can offer. He’s driven up to 17 hours without a break; battled the winding, potholed mountainous passes on the way from Hanoi to Lao Cai; broken down far from the nearest village; avoided the police by giving and receiving signals with the trucks indicators, drank endless cups of coffee to stay awake and slept endless hours sitting up straight in his old Korean truck as it bounces over poorly maintained roads. For him there is now only one part of the journey to look forward to (“When I get home safely and hug my wife.”), yet, for all the hardship, boredom and danger, he has no regrets. “I’ve learned a lot about good behaviour, and how to treat people well,” he says, before revealing that the lust for travel born in his youth hasn’t completely diminished. “I’ll teach my children to explore Vietnam and the world — but not to be truck drivers.”

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Pilgrimage One of the perks of living in Hanoi is the opportunity to travel all over Asia — it’s a great base to explore onward. But sometimes you need something more meaningful than beaches, backpacker hostels and five-star luxury. Andrew Engelson considers the challenges of turning a holiday into a pilgrimage

down and walk to a temple or take a day to wander the sites of Angkor. You can’t get in touch with the sacred while riding in a car or checking your text messages. Stop and listen to the birds. Observe the pace of life that precedes our modern world.

It must possess magic or mystery

I have a thing for sacred places, not that I’m especially religious. There are many travellers who, like me, feel a need to embark on a more meaningful journey. In years of travel, I’ve made trips to all sorts of holy places: Angkor in Cambodia, Bodhgaya in India (where the Buddha attained enlightenment), Jerusalem, and Uluru in Australia. Each experience was magical in its own way. People have been making pilgrimages for centuries, whether to Santiago de Compostela in Spain or the Haj to Mecca. In fact, pilgrimage was in many ways the birth of travel as we know it today: travel not because you need to visit family or do business, but to

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travel for the sake of seeing a place. So what goes into a successful modern-day pilgrimage?

It must be meaningful Maybe you’re a Christian and find something moving in seeing the sites in Jerusalem. Or perhaps you admire an author and want to visit her gravestone. Whatever — it just has to be sacred to you. For example, one of my favourite temples in Hanoi is Huyen Thien, near Dong Xuan market. It’s not listed in guidebooks and doesn’t receive a lot of visitors. But one day I stumbled upon it, and now it’s my oasis of calm in the city.

It’s sacred to me because I made a personal connection to it.

It has to be difficult Some sacrifice is required, whether it’s time, money, or inconvenience. Whether you’re trekking 40km in Nepal or just walking up a small mountain outside Hanoi, it can’t all be easy. You’ve got to earn that sense of peace.

It has to involve walking To connect with the long tradition of pilgrimage, you need to use your own two feet — that doesn’t mean you have to walk all the way to Tibet, but you do need to slow

This is the ineffable, unpredictable aspect of a sacred journey. Going to a place that has been revered by generations can increase your chances of finding this, but it’s not essential. At Angkor, when I stepped into the dark sanctuary in the centre of the ruins of Bayon, it was a quiet, moving experience. The incense, the intense dark, and the knowledge that thousands of years of history had passed through this place put me in touch with something larger than myself.

Go as far as Tibet or as close as the Perfume Pagoda A pilgrimage doesn’t require you to venture far from Hanoi. Take a hike up to the quiet cave sanctuary at the Perfume Pagoda, a two-hour drive from Hanoi (just don’t visit right after Tet, or you’ll share your moment of

bliss with 30,000 fellow pilgrims!), or visit the pagoda at the summit of Yen Tu Mountain, outside Ninh Binh, where one of Vietnam’s Zen sects was founded.

Plan something grand, like Tibet Over 10 years ago, I found myself at the top of a 5,500m pass during a trek around a remote mountain in Tibet. I was tired, thirsty, and my head and heart were pounding. Buddhist prayer flags fluttered over stones carved with mantras. My feet were sore, and I was exhausted, yet immensely happy. The experience was part of a pilgrimage I made to Mount Kailash, Tibet’s holiest mountain. It required a three-week jeep journey over thousands of kilometres of barren tundra to visit a mountain few people ever see. I had a fascination with Kailash. My wife would probably more accurately call it an obsession. I was curious about Tibetan Buddhism, and I have a thing for remote mountains. So Kailash had a pull I found hard to resist. It’s holy to both Tibetan Buddhists and Indian Hindus. Plus it has an uncanny appearance, with its stupa-like

summit. To trek around the peak is to have your soul reborn. How could I say no? We met plenty of difficulty along the way, including a sulking guide who did nothing but drink beer and hold on to our Chinese travel permits. But we saw incredible things: Tibetan nomads dressed in colourful traditional clothing, sublime snow-capped peaks, and an array of wildlife from wolves to chiru — the rare Tibetan antelope. During the day we baked under a harsh sun and at night we froze. The trek itself took three days and took us over a pass where the air was thin and clear. Near the summit I met an Indian pilgrim who had nearly finished 89 circuits of the mountain, one each day. I was sufficiently humbled. Beyond the pass we stopped at a place with hundreds of mantra stones. Here pilgrims are supposed to leave behind a piece of clothing to symbolise their rebirth into a new life. I did the same. In the process I connected to a larger mystery. Even today in Hanoi, Kailash seems a remote and rare experience I may never repeat. I’ll continue to take journeys to sacred places, and hopefully be reborn once again.

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Sound The Journey of

Douglas Pyper looks at the history of travelling musicians and finds people and culture constantly on the move. Photo by Aaron Joel Santos In 16th century Europe the commedia dell’arte was doggedly migrating west out of Italy like American settlers would do later on. They brought with them entertainment in the form of masked stock characters representing universal themes such as mockery, sadness, gaiety and confusion; the miser, the charlatan, the philanderer, the virtuous hero, the servant and the master. Similarly, the 16th century was also when hat cheo was assuming its present day form in Vietnam. Like comedia dell’arte, hat cheo is a form of musical theatre featuring melodies, plays and masked characters that are instantly recognisable to the audience. Today, cheo is more widely known as the music which accompanies water puppet performances. Flute, assorted string instruments and the dan bau provide the bulk of the cheo sound along with the ever constant, plonking percussion of the phach. All act as support for the lead vocal – usually a female and undoubtedly the focal point of any cheo performance. The music rises and falls and seems almost formless as it supports the narrative of the vocal. From its peasant roots, hat cheo spread far from its origins in the north of Vietnam via travelling troupes of actors, singers and musicians. By buffalo-drawn wagon they would journey from village to village, town to town in rural, feudal Vietnam; cap in hand, on the search for new audiences. Having begun singing at the age of 15, Thanh Hoai has been performing hat cheo for some 50 years. She explains the evolution of the form as it has migrated throughout the country. As troupes arrived in new villages, they would perform their routine, using rhythms and melodies that they’d learned and practiced before. But for each village they would ad-lib lyrics praising the appearance or achievements of that place. Performing in public spaces like pagodas and by village ponds, they would sing of the bountiful harvest that the village had enjoyed, or of the beautiful scenery nearby.

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Through this process, hat cheo was passed among the villages of Vietnam. The travelling troupes would act as pollinating bees, spreading melodies, rhythms and songs around the country and picking up regional variations and instruments as they went. Today, these regional variations persist with the Nam Dinh and Hai Duong variations being particularly distinctive. Modern hat cheo groups still create new plays and songs, only now they sing of the history of Thanh Long or praise the achievements of Ho Chi Minh and The Party as they travel the country. Despite the resistance of many traditionalists to anything that spoils the purity of traditional forms and the rather stolid content, Thanh Hoai believes that the modern version of the art form has lost none of its creativity. “Hat Cheo is developing, but we have to keep its origin. We can wander a little.”

Going Global Hat cheo has taken Hoai around the world. Touring for up to five months at a time in Europe, Hoai met other pilgrims from the Vietnamese diaspora. As she walked the streets of Switzerland and Germany in 1991, she met old Vietnamese men of 60 or 70 years old, who were astounded at the traditional headdress she wore proudly on first-world streets. “They said it had been 30 or 40 years since they’d seen these things,” she recalls. “They felt proud to see Vietnamese culture in Europe.” Like those who practise it, hat cheo is also on a journey. Thanh Hoai has taken part in collaborations with French composers who have brought a hint of European opera and elegance to the ancient, peasant form. Vietnamese artists, too, are starting to play. Thanh Hoai demonstrates the subtle differences that Quoc Trung brought to hat cheo. She sings a classic melody in its original 2/4 time, then compares it to the faster and more regular 4/4 beat that Trung gave it. All the refrain needs is a loop and a thick bass kick and you’d have a ready-made Madlib or Onra track; two other artists appropriating traditional music for modern audiences. In this regard, hat cheo is not alone. Last year, Hoai collaborated with pianist Pho An My and musical director Dang Tue Nguyen. They created a conversation between hat van — a form of traditional Vietnamese music featuring regular and hypnotic rhythms commonly used in exorcism rituals — and modern classical piano. The collaboration “is like a dialogue,” says Hoai. “There isn’t much overlap between modern piano and hat van, but it’s still a combination and there are many ways that traditional music can be mixed with other forms.” For her, the constant journey of traditional forms keeps them endlessly fresh. As she

sat on the judging panel for a national competition of Vietnamese traditional music, she was constantly hearing new hat cheo songs, rhythms and melodies that had eluded her 50 years of experience. “There are still so many songs from the past, in the history [of this art], that I haven’t discovered yet. I’m still finding more melodies and lyrics all the time.” The cultural journey continues for Hoai, but, being past retirement age, the physical journeys are finished. Even a trip of two months is too much of a strain. She wants to return to her home, her family and everything that is permanent, familiar and comfortable to her. Nowadays, like Vietnamese cultural commentator Huu Ngoc, Thanh Hoai wanders through culture rather than roads.

The Stage In stark contrast is the philosophy of percussionist Minh Chi. He lives within the compound of the Vietnam Hat Cheo Theatre. Entering through the ever-open gates, visitors pass a parked tour bus and van that look ready to jet off into the countryside at a moment’s notice. Chi has an almost perfectly round face. His protruding front teeth accentuate his constant smile and his eyes disappear almost completely during his very genuine laughs. He shows us a picture of himself outside the Houses of Parliament in London from a tour in 1993. Back then he had a long curly mullet and was wearing a blue tracksuit unzipped to show his white t-shirt underneath. With a multi-compartment bum-bag wrapped around his waist, he looks straight out of the former Soviet Union, a place he’s never been; Soviet culture came to him. Hat cheo has taken Chi all over Vietnam. He’s visited every province bar a couple in the Mekong Delta. Vietnamese session musicians like Chi play and tour almost constantly, just as his artisan forefathers did centuries ago. For Chi, the joy in travelling is recognising the similarities and differences between the music of the place he visits and the northern style of hat cheo that he has grown up with. In the same vein, journeying abroad has taught Chi more about his own culture. “When I play chau van in Europe, people ask me where Vietnam learned the rhythm from, which European country brought it to Vietnam. It shows the similarities that music all over the world has. A strong, almost disco-like beat is universal. Chau van is like Vietnamese rap!”

A Band Apart When talking about music, it’s almost impossible for Chi to stay in one place, either geographically or regarding genre. “Hat xam also has many similarities with many types of music in the world like rock, blues or rap,” says Chi. “Mongolian farmers make music very similar to hat xam.”

Essentially a kind of busking, hat xam artists would perform impromptu in the street or public place and sing of misery and poverty in order to make money. Its most similar international counterpart is American hobo blues from the early 20th century. It usually has a poetic narrative based in nature and folk tales while the musician riffs improvisations between lines. The oldest and most revered living exponent of hat xam is Ha Thi Cau. Ha Thi Cau has lived a transient, day-today, hand-to-mouth existence, surviving by busking hat xam like a Southern American bluesman. In one televised interview, shortly after she was awarded the status of Outstanding Artist (Nhac Si Uu Tu), the thick lines of Ha Thi Cau’s face can be made out — pointing towards her black teeth, invisible in the darkness as she chews betel nut. “If you’re hungry then sit outside the market, or sit in the street at night and make as much as you can,” she spits. “That is hat xam.” For Minh Chi, this lifestyle — so prevalent in musicians the world over — has a powerful attraction. “It’s a lifestyle I want to live one day, too. Just travel and sing, buy a truck and just go.” His philosophy is to keep experiencing new things for as long as he lives: new food, new melodies, new rhythms, new styles and new experiences.

Everyone’s a Musician Minh Chi’s journey’s with hat cheo represents something of a quest. He was awarded the title of Outstanding Artist 15 years ago for spreading the form throughout the country, directly training 12 different troupes. Sitting in his living room, he suddenly jumps up and declares, “I’ll make musicians of you all!” He returns later with percussion instruments made out of bamboo — an instrument he discovered on his travels to the Central Highlands. In some places people hit the open top with sticks, others bang the tubes on the ground, while others trap the tube in their feet and clap air into the tubes. After a brief jam, he sings a northern melody, and then contrasts it with the equivalent from the south and another variation from Hue. He tells his young students that they only need to learn the basics, then they can travel around the country. “Pick up on the regional variations,” he teaches, “and you can play any type of music.” In an average year Minh Chi travels to play more than 100 shows. “There’s always a festival somewhere,” he says. Just then his young daughter arrives, her big, beautiful smile strikingly similar to that of her father. She is invited to sing us a song. She does it brilliantly while sitting on the stairs, her foot tapping away to the rhythm. It feels like a new journey is just beginning.

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For a lucky few, Hoi An is their first port of call and, quite often, a place to put down roots Trinh Diem Uyen


Notorious for its miles of tailor shops, time to weave out the best from the rest


oi An has long been synonymous with tailoring. Suits, party frocks, all-in-one terry towelling roller disco jumpsuits — if you can imagine it, they can make it, in no time at all and for next to nothing. Sadly, however, the pursuit of speed and the lowest possible price has also meant that, for the most part, Hoi An isn’t Saville Row. A few savvy stitchers are, however, bucking the trend. Meet Trinh Diem Uyen. A petit fashionista with a gamine haircut, like many of her contemporaries Uyen grew up surrounded by tailors. By the age of 13 she was a regular assistant in her neighbour’s tailoring business, picking up tips and techniques handed down from more senior garment makers. She first started out in fashion in 1994. “Of course at that time there were no fashion schools,” she laughs, “all my training was on the job.” It wasn’t until 2007 that she decided to combine another early childhood

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interest — fabric painting — with her sewing. “I started first with acrylic, but the colours were all wrong,” she explains. After travelling to India where she found the perfect colours, albeit at a less-than-perfect price, Uyen started to create her own dyes from natural products, including sap, bark and leaves. The result is her range of gorgeous hand painted garments (wearable art) all created onsite in her studio-cum-boutique. Never one to stand still, this fashion entrepreneur recently converted the ground floor of her house into a fabric printing workshop to address the difficulty of finding “the right fabric with the right print” here in Vietnam. And her recent signing of a contract to develop a factory and fashion school on 5,000sqm of land will help ensure that the future generation of Hoi An tailors have their customers exclaiming with delight over more than just the price. You can find Uyen’s creations at Papillion Noir30, Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An

TINKER TAILOR So many tailors, so little time. Here are just a few that offer both value for money and quality that is a cut above: DUNG TAILOR 23 Le Loi Tel: 0 510 3863 Since he first opened in 1994, Mr Dung has continued to have all his tailoring done in-shop, rather than outsourcing, allowing him to keep a watchful eye on the quality. LANA ALLURE 90 Le Loi Tel: 0 510 3929 559 One of the few tailors in town who insists on investing more time on their tailoring, leaving you impressed with the garment itself, and not just the speed with which it was finished. YALY 47 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Tel: 0 501 3910 474 47 Tran Phu, Tel:0 501 3861 119 358 Nguyen Duy Hieu, Tel: 0 501 3914 995 If you’re happy to pay a little more for top-quality craftsmanship, Yaly is the place for you. A fantastic range of imported fabrics coupled with efficient service make this tailoring chain worth every penny.


or the vast majority of foreigners who travel to these shores with a view to staying a while, the key decision is north or south? Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City? What is it that draws people to Hoi An? Undoubtedly, the near-by beaches of Cua Dai and An Bang are a pretty good draw, as is the beauty and history of the Ancient Town. The clean air, the sunshine, the allure of a laid-back beachside lifestyle… there is no doubt Hoi An possesses myriad charms. Perhaps the greatest hook, however, is the opportunities it offers for reinvention: an environment in which taking a risk seems not so, well, risky. The relatively small foreign community gives Hoi An something of a frontier feel. Opportunity abounds, all you need are ideas and perseverance, qualities Gordon and Michele North possess in spades. Having decided to spend a few years in Southeast Asia, the couple were passing through Hoi An on their way to Thailand in 2010. With political unrest in Bangkok making headlines, they decided to rethink their destination, and within an astonishingly short time, they had set up a company, found a teacher to homeschool their kids and had created the Dingo Deli — an air-conditioned haven serving giant plates of comfort food to homesick tourists and expats alike. “We wanted to create the kind of place that we missed when we were travelling,” says Gordon with a smile. The swathes of happy backpackers sipping on their Lavazza cappuccinos — a welcome respite from the ubiquitous ca phe phin — seem pretty happy

with the North’s decision. Another gap in the market, identified by Erwan and Florence Mussou, is that of retail. Seeing a thousand souvenir shops in Hoi An, but distressingly few that actually offered anything one might want to buy, they developed a range of homewares and apparel created out of organic silks and cottons. Metiseko was born, products that speak of Vietnam in dulcet tones.

A Japanese Story Less than a dozen of Hoi An’s small foreign community hail from the Land of the Rising Sun. Hoi An’s ties with Japan go back to the 16th century, when the town was a major port, furnishing Japanese traders with raw silk, swallows nests and precious woods. A remnant of this era — the Japanese Bridge — has since become the emblem of Hoi An. According to legend, a giant dragon lived beneath the seas with its head resting in India and the tail curled around Japan. The backbone of this mighty beast ran through Hoi An. In order to calm and sooth the dragon, and thus prevent the earthquakes that accompanied his tossing and turnings, the bridge was built and within the bridge, a temple. In recent years, the town has once again started to attract Japanese entrepreneurs. Each comes for his or her own reason but they all share a desire to once again build a cultural bridge between Japan and Vietnam. Watching programmes on Vietnam back in Japan, Genta Miyagawa found himself musing that Hoi An might be a good place to

retire. Somehow, for reasons that are not quite clear even to himself, he quit his job almost immediately and headed here. The place and people suited him perfectly though the one thing he missed was Japanese food. From this longing emerged Samurai Kitchen — a sweetly rustic restaurant, just metres from the iconic bridge, which serves home-style Japanese favourites. Right next door, Yoko Ishikawa has created a boutique — Kinu — to showcase her garments, homewares and accessories all created from vintage kimono (making this stretch of road not so much Little Tokyo as Teeny-Tiny Tokyo). After four years in Hanoi, Haruka Matsunaga has made the sea change to help Yoko with her new project — Kisetsu: Hoi An Life Style Boutique & Cafe — with a view to weaving Japanese culture ever more intricately into the fabric of Hoi An. While Yoko has the classic-with-acontemporary-twist side of things covered, Yuki Hirukawa brings the weird and the wonderful straight from her homeland to her gift shop, Cool Japan in Hoi An. Proffering an eclectic mix of souvenirs, gadgets and Manga memorabilia, Yuki has been known to mimic her wares on special occasions. Keep an eye out for her around town sporting one of her various Manga guises. As the foreign community continues to grow, Hoi An may lose some of its frontier feel and abundant opportunity. Yet what it gains is a deepening sense of community, enriched by the cultures and customs of those that have chosen to call Hoi An home.

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AN AUDIENCE WITH A KING An unforgettable moment with royalty

Hoi An holds a special place in the heart of any gastronome familiar with Vietnamese cuisine


e’re on our way to meet Y Kong, an 88-year-old woodcarver and (former) king of the Co Tu nation. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to have tea with a (former) king. I’m excited. Dressed as I am in camo pants stained with oil from my Minsk and a black cotton shirt that entirely fails to hide the sweat and the dust, I am hoping that this particular king is not too much of a stickler for protocol. We pull up at a modest concrete dwelling with a miniature bamboo stilt house in the front garden. As we enter we are greeted by a smiling man in a bright orange singlet, his jovial face adorned by a wispy grey beard. This is the king. I feel instantly more at ease. He ushers us first into his workshop, housed in the concrete building. Memorabilia line the walls along with good luck charms and amulets. His coffin, carved by his own hand, dominates one room with its swirling protective totems.

Clockwise from left: Duc, Cao Lau Noodles, Bun Thit Nuong Xoai


t’s difficult to imagine now, but between the late 18th and late 20th centuries, this thriving port town became something of a sleepy backwater, with the major trading port moving to Da Nang, just tens of kilometres north. The influences already gained had an opportunity to meld undisturbed into a unique set of culinary traditions, developed and refined by a community that takes all things culinary very, very seriously. Perhaps the most famous of all Hoi An’s dishes is cao lau. A tangle of noodles, pork and herbs, a symphony of texture and flavours, this seemingly simple dish adds up to so much more than the sum of its parts. The chewy smoked noodles that are central to this dish are argued by some to have been influenced by vendors wishing to fulfil the longing of Japanese traders missing their home-style dishes. Cao lau noodles are, nonetheless, a breed unto themselves, their toothsome chewiness allegedly deriving from the addition of lye to water drawn from an ancient Cham well located just outside Hoi An. Noodles made with water from any other sauce are just not the real deal. Enliven with a dollop of Hoi An’s equally famous chilli sauce and let your taste buds delight!

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To discover a huge range of the town’s delicacies, head to the central market — Cho Hoi An. One end of this recently renovated historic building is dedicated to keeping shoppers and vendors sated. Com Binh Danh stalls teeter with plates and trays offering a vast variety of tasty morsels. Tiny, crispy banh xeo beg to be wrapped with herbs and rice papers and crammed into a hungry mouth. With nothing costing more than a dollar or two, you can graze to your stomach’s content.

Mango Fandango You can’t talk about food in Hoi An without mentioning Duc. The undisputed local master of contemporary Vietnamese cuisine, Tran Duc somehow manages to cram a lifetime of travel and adventure into every one of his eclectic dishes, creating a cuisine that is as unique as he is. Arriving in the US as a teenager, Duc was taken in by a Mexican family in Texas. He spent time in Cuba and Latin America, before heading off to New Zealand, Australia and eventually Europe. Nine years ago, he returned to his homeland and elected to settle in Hoi An; a decision influenced in no small part by the incredible produce — seafood, duck, organic herbs, just


to name a few — available in this small town on the river. Duc’s wandering ways are evidenced in his first two ventures, both in the menu and the decor. Mango Rooms wears its colourful Latin influences up-front and centre (and no doubt raised a few eyebrows in this quietly conservative town). Mango Mango is a little less exuberant, yet still full of colour and movement and joy — like Duc himself. “Food is inevitably influenced by your environment,” he says. These restaurants were created not long after his return and the menu is a distillation of his experiences gleaned as he roamed the globe, while retaining a self-assured sense of integrity. The past nine years, however, have been a return to the fold. He’s gained a deeper understanding of the food of his youth, the food of his roots. A third restaurant is on the horizon. It promises to showcase this new understanding, underpinned by the contentment he has found and no doubt seasoned with his ineffable joie de vie. After all, as the man himself says, “wherever you go... well ... there you are”. Have the Duc experience yourself at Mango Rooms, 111 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and Mango Mango, 45 Nguyen Phuc Chu

"As we enter we are greeted by a smiling man in a bright orange singlet, his jovial face adorned by a wispy grey beard. This is the king" Moving to the bamboo “receiving room” we settle down for a cup of tea and the obligatory dose of rice wine, sipped from a very ceremonial communal pink plastic cup. His wife joins us. They make a fine looking couple and must have been a force to be reckoned with in younger days. They have been married for 47 years. Y Kong recently stepped down from his formal duties as king, leaving something of a power vacuum — exacerbated by the recent death of the chief of Ba Hom. These days Y Kong spends his days woodcarving. A master carver, he has provided many examples representing the various ethnic groups found in central Vietnam for the Museum of Ethnology in Hanoi. Numerous examples of his work line the stilt house in which we sit. Despite my appalling lack of Vietnamese, we manage communication of a sort, aided and abetted by their gracious hospitality, and the enthusiastically proffered rice wine. I am hoping this will not be my last audience with this royal couple.

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Fusion Maia Spa

BEACHES & BEYOND What to do when the allure of your very own tailor-made wardrobe is eroded by endless fittings in 40oC heat?


hose in the know head to the beach for some spanking fresh seafood washed down with an icy cold beer or at least a beer with ice. But those really in the know head to An Bang beach. Just a few short kilometres up the coast from its better known counterpart, Cua Dai, An Bang has become a favourite hangout for locals — both Vietnamese and foreign. Like most hidden gems, it won’t stay hidden for long and even now increasing numbers of tourists are finding their way to the white sands, clear seas and beachside bars and restaurants. While it is easy to get sucked into the languid luxury of the restaurants lining the dunes, take a moment to pull up a mat on the sand around sundown and enjoy

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the beach, Vina style. Every afternoon, at around 5pm, the beach takes on a festival feel as local families hit the sand for a chance to swim and chat, and snack on dried fish. Head for the old ladies with the smoking braziers and make your selection. Eat with chilli sauce and accompanied by giant rice crackers. Delicious!

Island Hopper For those seeking an aquatic expedition, catch a boat out to Cham Island. Cu Lao Cham is actually a set of seven islands, all of which form part of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Sadly, UNESCO recognition has turned out to be something of a mixed blessing. The vast influx of tourists that followed the announcement took its toll on an

infrastructure unprepared for such volume. The waters became overfished in order to feed the hungry tourists and the environment was degraded through littering and overuse, with little of the benefits of tourism actually reaching the island communities. Since that time, there have been greater efforts to involve the communities more meaningfully in the development of their islands and to preserve what is left of the marine habitats. Nonetheless, there are still opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving that offer a fun day out and a welcome break from pounding the pavements in search of the perfect pair of handmade boots.

Resort-a-Rama It seems that not so long ago the stretch

The Hyatt Resort and Spa of road between Da Nang and Hoi An took nearly an hour to negotiate. Small fishing villages dotted the coastline and Marble Mountain was actually home to a community, rather than a conglomeration of stone carving companies. Then, sometime in the first decade of this century, the resort explosion began. One by one the villages were demolished to make way for wall-to-wall luxury. A new highway means you can now you can reach Hoi An in less than 30 minutes from the airport (traffic permitting), gliding by endless temples of leisure in air-conditioned comfort. All of which begs the question: just because you build it, will they come? To the casual observer it seems somewhat optimistic, to say the least. However, according to Hoang Anh, The Hyatt’s marketing manager, apparently they will. “Each resort caters to a different style of guest,” she says. The vast spaciousness of the Hyatt with its internationally recognised brand is very popular with domestic and regional tourists seeking both a change from cramped city dwelling and reliably excellent service. A little further down the coast Fusion Maia, another new kid on the block, has

chosen a different tactic. Much more compact and cosy in scale, each of their rooms is a pool villa, affording their guests a rare sense of seclusion and privacy. Somewhat bijou compared with the behemoth it neighbours, the resort nonetheless exudes a sense of spaciousness and serenity — as to be expected from a resort whose signature service is inclusion of free treatments at their outstanding spa. The majority of their guests are of European origin except during the Vietnamese summer holidays, when Hanoians head to the coast for some much needed rest and relaxation.

Spabulous Fusion Maia quite rightly makes much of their spa. Each guest can enjoy unlimited treatments during their stay with a guaranteed minimum of two per persons per day. The steady flow of blissed-out guests wandering through the spacious spa grounds during our visit suggests that this is an offer most choose to accept. Private treatment rooms, pre-treatment consultations and efficient well-trained staff all combine to create a sense of contented well being.

It’s clear that the inclusion of a spa as a central part of any resort has become almost de rigeur. The Hyatt Resort and Spa has created a mini resort-within-a-resort with a maze of secluded private treatment rooms, swimming pools and serene spaces in which to get your chi flowing and your ying and yang in balance.

Heads I Win Naturally, the benefits of such developments do not come without a cost. Villages along the coast have been relocated to new and undoubtedly less desirable locations, most without access to the sea. For families who have for generations survived on subsistence fishing, this is can be a tough pill to swallow. Advocates of the resort development argue that the employment opportunities afforded by the resorts outweigh the loss of traditional streams of income. This indeed may prove to be correct. Currently, however, many resorts are operating at well below full capacity, leaving their future operations somewhat uncertain. This situation is compounded by the lag in transportation infrastructure. At peak times — such as public holidays and

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MISTY MOUNTAINS Time to leave the pristine beaches of Hoi An for the beautiful mountains of Danang

summer weekends — it can be well neigh impossible to get an air or train ticket from either of Vietnam’s major cities to Danang without booking several weeks, or even months, ahead. Conversely, many resorts and hotels still struggle to reach capacity during what should be their busiest times. The next few years may prove crucial for the future of the region. If the global economy continues its slow and shaky recovery, if new markets of tourists discover this stretch of coastline, if the new Danang International Airport is allowed to function at capacity, the visions of the developers may well turn the sands of this expansive bay to gold.

What’s Up Danang? Danang. A city boasting some gorgeous colonial architecture, sprawling along a curving golden bay, with wide tree-lined avenues — on the surface it sounds ideal. Yet it still somehow manages to receive a bad rap: the place you fly to so you can get the hell out and head somewhere else. Slowly, slowly, however, change is coming. Fuelling the change is the shifting demographic of foreign residents. Previously,

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the vast majority of foreign workers came and went on short-term contracts: not ideal for fostering a sense of community. These days, greater — albeit still small — numbers

"On the surface it sounds ideal. Yet it still somehow manages to receive a bad rap: the place you fly to so you can get the hell out and head somewhere else. Slowly, slowly, however, change is coming" of people are choosing to put down more permanent roots. The upshot of all this is that a few visionary souls are setting up

restaurants, bars and businesses. Places for folks to gather together and forge the bonds that give a city soul. Leading the charge in creating community is Phillip Bossley. Phillip arrived in Danang a little over 18 months ago after 10 years in Ho Chi Minh City and two years in Hanoi. Despite the foreign community currently being somewhat segregated by employment groups, income, nationality and lifestyle, he believes that Danang has “huge potential. It’s a very different choice from Nha Trang [or] Mui Ne and has a much cleaner slate to work from”. Through his company, Silversun, which distributes GoPro HERO cameras, Phillip recently organised Danang’s first sandcastle building competition. Entry was oversubscribed, competition was fierce and the beginnings of a Danang tradition were forged. Currently underway are the Summer Sessions, a series of events held over four months to unearth hidden musical talents. With miles of beach, great food, fresh air and a burgeoning cultural scene, keep your eye on Danang. It just may be the city of the future.


orming the northern curve of Danang Beach, the Son Tra Peninsula wraps a protective arm around the city, sheltering it from the fierce winter storms. Once the site of brutal fighting during the American War, Son Tra still maintains a military presence in the form of naval installations but has now been classified as a national park. The wooded mountain slopes are home to an impressive diversity of flora and fauna, including red-cheeked gibbons and several varieties of langur. Riding up the winding road, the panoramic views take on a mystical lustre in the soaking drizzle. Wisps of mist writhe through the tree trunks and giant fern leaves. If the fairies of legend descended to play a game on the giant flat rock atop Chess Board Peak or to play and bathe at Thien Sa (Fairies’ Landing), they would not seem out of place. At the moment, Son Tra is blissfully untouched, a slice of natural beauty presiding over the vast sprawl of

development below. Rumours bubble away regarding the future of the peninsula and the construction of an InterContinental resort at its base may be an indication of things to come, so take the opportunity to visit while the monkeys still gambol on the mountain.

HAMA Time The sun has already well and truly burned through the morning mist as I meet Mark Wyndham at his garage at 8am. A raft of mechanics is hard at work tinkering with his 35-strong fleet of Minsk and Minskhybrid motorbikes. A former tour leader for Intrepid Tours, Mark settled in Hoi An in with his German girlfriend, Simone (now his wife). Needing a break from working from a big international organisation, Mark quit his job and planned to spend a few weeks or even months planning his next move while taking in some much needed r’n’r. Luckily for him, Simone had other ideas. A talented web-designer (among other skills, Simone is also one of the

founders of Hoi An Events, a destination wedding and event planning company), she created a website almost overnight and Hoi An Motorbike Adventures (HAMA) was born. Mark’s somewhat gruff and sun-lined exterior hides an inquisitive mind with an obsession for all things military and an unexpected attention to detail. He may be the most Aussie man in town (not always, or even rarely, a compliment) but bike tours come with picnic lunches, replete with gourmet sandwiches and a fascinating array of anecdotes and trivia. If there’s a book on the American War that he hasn’t read — send it to him! His years of travelling the highways and byways coupled with his open attitude (not to discount the role of the odd — sometimes very odd — bottle of rice wine) have allowed him to forge friendships with the fascinating folk he meets along the way. All this adds up to a conduit into the history and lives of those in central Vietnam that few get to access.

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From arts and fashion to public policy and activism, Kaitlin Rees presents a column dedicated to women and women’s issues

Remedies from the Ground Walking into Yen’s shop (257 A6 Thanh Nhan, Hai Ba Trung) could be like walking into any of the hundred nha thuoc (pharmacies) sprinkled across the city. It could be like that but it’s so much better. Her shop looks like an old-fashioned candy store with glass jars full of colourful and curious goodies and smells as rich and layered as a Victorian novel. It’s a place that incites a bit of wonder for those accustomed to sterile offices and pharmacies that house white plastic bottles of pills. Yen is a trained traditional medical doctor who is married to another. For the last 17 years the husband and wife team have specialised in oriental medicine and treatments. I go to ask Yen about women. She tells me she sees all kinds, from the age of first periods through stages of fertility, pregnancy, pre-menopause and menopause. There is a saying, “it’s not the medicine itself but how it’s manipulated that matters.” As the patients who come in have different needs — not just in what’s ailing them, but also in their physical makeup, family history and daily habits — the combinations of treatments vary widely. After some observation and a series of questions, Yen will usually have a sense of what’s going

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on and what to prescribe. What follows is a very basic introduction to some treatments Yen relies on for women’s bodies. All are from the earth, all acquired, detoxified, dried, boiled and home-fermented by hand. Menstrual pain/Irregular periods: The medical term for menstrual pain translates as “stuck blood”. There are four leaves that increase blood flow and take away pain. Thuc dia, quy dau, suyen khung, and hong hoa originate in China and were used in Imperial Vietnam. The leaves have medicinal properties that increase blood flow, release blockages, and are also used for headaches and trouble sleeping. Osteoporosis: In the west, people often use calcium or glucosamine for stronger bones. Oriental ingredients to strengthen the bones include mau le and thach quiet minh, two kinds of minerals found in ocean shells, lang cot, minerals found in fossils, and cop dai bo, a medicine that heals broken bones and makes them stronger. Infertility: Depending on the man’s contribution to the cause, prior abortions, pH levels, hygiene, ovary health, infections

and levels of oestrogen, different treatments are necessary. Sleep and diet are very important as well. Bach tat le is a herb that increases levels of oestrogen. Other options for infertility treatments include the fruit called bach qua and a herb called tana kah, which also improves memory. Libido stimulation: Bao xuan literally means “maintaining youth” and is a herb that helps to increase moisture in one’s body. Weight loss: There are medicines to take, but again, this is coupled with other lifestyle choices. Lotus seeds, son tra and tao meo (a Chinese apple) are all good for weight loss as they work to release fats and excess fluids from the body. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): Long ba and thuang chuan are organic diuretics that work quite well for some. Also, the roots of a weed called re co chang, native to Vietnam, will make you pee. Cosmetic services: Yen also offers massages, acupuncture, an interesting light ray treatment to release stress, and face masks made from traditional herbs to improve skin.

Like all good ideas, Luyen Shell’s clothing line was inspired by a late 1990s movie starring Keanu Reeves. Though we could talk about the layers of symbolism in The Matrix for days, the whole story of Luyen’s long black silk dress collection, of course, involves influences and experiences much more profound. The fabric is that which her mother and grandmother wore in her countryside hometown in the Mekong Delta. Before moving to the United States in the late 1970s, Luyen purchased 300 metres of what the locals called “peasant fabric” with the intention of promoting it abroad. Across Illinois, northern California, Arizona and Georgia, women wore this material to debutant balls and swanky dinner parties. Though she would sell them “to those who knew how to enjoy it”, it was never about the money for Luyen. Her motivation was to help her home-girls, whom she connected with her friends in America for work opportunities. The initial purchase of the silk — silk that curiously resembles leather — was a way for Luyen to preserve a tradition that she valued. The making of dresses from this fabric as a sustainable means to enfranchise women wouldn’t happen until much later. After 20 years of residing in the United States, Luyen packed her suitcases and moved her family back to Vietnam. She left a great deal behind her, but not her black silk. Luyen is a woman who believes in the power of women. “Women can multitask… If a woman is confident and organised, her family is in good shape.” And if she’s not these things? According to Luyen, the chances are the family is not either. Luyen focuses her work on empowering women; enabling a woman to contribute to her


Fashion Forward


family’s income gives her a louder voice and creates greater opportunity. Providing work for women has always been a prerogative for Luyen, whether through her latest venture of dress-making or in earlier projects such as Donkey Bakery — a local bakery and catering service that employs people who are physically, visually, or hearing impaired and from disadvantaged communities. With a number of non-profit organisations seeking, for instance, to educate women on how to better provide nutritious diets to their children, there is often a lack of information about where the money will come from to facilitate the improvements. Having an income, in Luyen’s words, is a way to “give [women] the means to apply that teaching to reality”. Luyen follows up her self-description


FACTS & FIGURES FROM AROUND THE WORLD — As a global average, women are paid 16 percent less than their male co-workers — The higher education of women does not necessarily lead to a smaller pay gap; the gap actually increases with the level of education obtained — Women’s pay is not rising in a globalised labour market; instead it is driving down the wages of men AFRICA Large informal economies and unpaid family work

make record keeping and official pay data by gender difficult. ASIA The gap between men’s and women’s earnings in Asia is wider than the world average, with the largest gaps found in Japan and Korea, and the smallest gaps in Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. AMERICAS In Canada, women earn 72.5 cents per each dollar earned by a man, a gender pay gap of 27.5 percent. In the United States, women are paid 77.6 percent of men’s hourly

wages, an average gender pay gap of 23 percent. Figures vary by state and profession. The largest gap is for female physicians, who earn 58.2 percent of what their male counterparts earn. In Latin America, the largest gender pay gaps are in Paraguay, Columbia and El Salvador. EUROPE The average gender pay gap in Europe is 14.5 percent. In the UK, occupational segregation by gender is more pronounced and the gender pay gap is wider at 20 percent. OCEANIA

of being “a fighter” with also being “a bit old-fashioned in the way that I like to have a role in the family as a woman; keep things friendly, as women do.” When asked about changing roles, Luyen points to how in the younger generation, both partners tend to work. However, “I still see that even though women work, husbands still sit there and wait for the food to be served. It’s tradition, and I respect that. But I think the next generation will change when both contribute to their family.” To find out more about Luyen Shell’s Matrixinspired dresses made from the rare-becauseit’s-so-common silk of the Mekong Delta, visit her shop at 8 Nguyen Hoang Ton, Tay Ho or call 3758 9877. The shop is also the site of the delicious Donkey Bakery, visit donkeybakery. com to learn more

New Zealand’s gender pay gap has steadily declined, falling to 12.8 percent from 18 percent. In Australia, the data shows that the gender pay gap has widened from 13 to 16 percent. VIETNAM There is a gap between men and women despite provision and implementation through law-enforcement. Sexdisaggregated statistics are lacking. Inequalities lie in the informal sector with regards to promotions, rights, wages, maternity leave regulations, and annual bonuses. The national mandatory retirement age for women is five

years earlier than men. The World Bank evaluated Vietnam as one of the counties in Southeast Asia most quickly eliminating gender inequality. SOURCES: The Global Gender Gap information is taken from the International Trade Union Confederation study, 2008 The Vietnam information is taken from a report commissioned by the International Labour Organisation, Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs as part of a UN-government of Vietnam joint programme on gender equality

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amaste might well be a derivative of an ancient Sanskrit greeting, but it should rather be ‘welcome home’ for Hanoi’s curry king. Gopi, Namaste’s owner and manager gained a peerless reputation while ruling over his former kingdom at Khazaana, and now, his latest venture has usurped the pretenders upon his return from exile. The bemoaning, pulling of hair and wails of despair expressed by this city’s residents on hearing of Gopi’s previous departure was akin to the best melodramatic scenes you could find in a Bollywood drama. So what could be more perfectly scripted than the returning hero reclaiming the throne that was rightfully his? A visit to Namaste is more than a trip down an aromatic meandering memory lane, as Gopi’s new restaurant is located in what was once home to another stalwart of Hanoi’s scene — the R&R Tavern. The transformation is profound, so much so that despite remembering the familiar address on Lo Su, I still drove past, thinking the brightly lit, marbled exterior couldn’t be the same spot as the old bar. But there it was, luxuriating in bright lights, brass name, and yellow vanilla cream interiors. Service as per usual was warm and efficient; it was our unruly group of four that caused the delays. And as any Indian food critique deserves no half measures, we chose to sample as many dishes as possible.


King of the Road

would take almost the entirety of this review to unravel, as despite the dish being firmly ensconced on Indian restaurant menus the world over, the truth is its origin probably owes more to the Indian diaspora community of the UK (give or take the apocryphal tale about Cambell’s tomato soup providing the base for the sauce). In any case, it proved good value with succulent and ample chicken cubes submerged in a thick, reddish-terracotta sauce enlivened by a vivid splash of cream on the surface. The apparent grittiness that could be seen but not tasted in the sauce clearly indicated the hand-made masala spice-blend used as its basis. Our vegetable side added sufficient bulk, combining potatoes, green peppers and onions done in a medium spiced turmeric hued sauce. For mopping up and sauce absorbance, we plumped for a cheese stuffed and plain naan (VND45,000 / VND32,000), both of which were excellent, neither too fatty nor thick. In summary, Namaste has all the makings of a classic feel-good movie plot, and left us all with that warm-fuzzy feeling that only good food, service and company can provide. Welcome home, Gopi. Namaste Hanoi, 47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3935 2400

Our undercover reviewer finds out why the spice is right for one of the city’s most celebrated restaurateurs. Photos by Francis Roux

All You Can Eat Gingerly flicking through the menu we eventually compiled a list of mains, vegetable side plates, starters, breads and rice that met our mixed Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese palates. Each of the four papadams provided a crunchy appetiser, accompanied by the typical chutney, mango and mint dips

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(VND48,000 for four). This was followed by the bhindi Rajasthani (VND55,000), which consisted of fried okra and came coated in a light gram flour batter. The dish was delicately spiced, with a hint of cumin and seemed to come in a vast serving with a large yoghurt accompaniment for dipping. The only drawback for me was the ladyfingered okra, which proved a little too slim for my taste, as it had less give and more chew than I was looking for. However, the vegetable samosas (two pieces) were packed full of pureed vegetables and a thick, but light and crunchy pastry casing (VND55,000 / 2 pieces). Obviously concerned about underordering, we perhaps overcompensated, choosing a treble main course of mutton Shangrilla (VND125,000) and chicken tikka masala (VND100,000), with a vegetable side of aloo simla mirch (VND65,000). The mutton dish consisted of excellently slow-cooked meat cubes, dowsed in a slight dry sauce pepped up by green peppers, onion and tomato, and while it had a noticeable edge to it in terms of spiciness, it caressed, rather than shocked or awed, our taste buds.

In the Red The historical roots of chicken tikka masala

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


12 12 10 FOOD




guyen Manh Hung’s unassuming house sits on the corner directly across the street from Puku on Tong Duy Tan. His family has been serving Hanoians from the house’s no-frills ground floor area for over 65 years, under the restaurant name of Banh Cuon Ky Dong. A 100 percent family-run business, Hung's grandmother originally served banh cuon from the outlet, and then some 30 years ago my van than found its way onto the menu. My first ever bowl of this wonton noodle soup was served to me by Mr Hung, and ever since that fateful day I have been hunting down and conquering the dish throughout the city. More often than not, though, I'm left disappointed. Like a dog chasing its own tail, I end up right back where I started — at Mr. Hung's place. My van than is not a traditional Vietnamese dish — it originates from Guangdong province in southern China, which also happens to be the ancestral homeland to a large portion of Vietnam's Chinese population. Hung and his wife Loan were given the recipe by a Chinese friend in 1979, just before being evicted from the country. Despite being around since the 18th century, my van than didn't start appearing on Hanoi streets until the 1990s.


A Mouthful of Clouds

ingredients, and then Banh Cuon Ky Dong opens its doors at 6.30am. Although the stall’s location on Food Street means the stall could stay open until much later, Hung believes that closing at 8.30pm every night proves that serving these specialist dishes is a craft, and that people will make time during the day to plan a visit. And they do. With the help of Hung’s sister-inlaw, the shop serves around 150 bowls of floating cloud soup every day — and that's on top of the other offerings on the menu. Hung and his family offer a welcome respite from the bustling streets of Hanoi. Loan’s warm smile and Hung’s jolly demeanour are as inviting as the dishes, but a word of warning: Hung is a sunglasses fiend. If you go there wearing a stand-out pair, don't be alarmed if he snatches them off your face and presents them back to you under his extraordinary eyebrows. Don’t worry, though. You’ll get them back. Thanks to Huyen Quy Nguyen for assisting with the translation, and to Mr Hung and co. for offering up their knowledge and time. My Van Than is priced between VND30,000 and VND40,000 a bowl, and Banh Cuon Ky Dong is located at 11 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem

Sixty-five years of service — and counting. Our guest gastronome finds out how pocket-sized parcels have been a hit for one Hanoi family business. Words and photos by Michel Anderson a few generous slabs of xa xiu (Chinese sweet-roasted pork), a wedge of boiled duck egg, and a single slice of pork liver accompany the wontons. My kho tron offers a more varied textural experience than its soupier counterpart; it’s topped with fresh basil, bean sprouts, and deep-fried onions, with the wontons served in a small bowl of broth on the side. The noodles themselves also derive from China and are fluffier and lighter than standard noodles. Hung’s day starts early. Every morning he visits Hang Da market to source the freshest

Pass the Parcel During the hot summer months, many people prefer to eat the dry version of my van than, known as my kho tron. The most foreign ingredient in this dish is the sui coi — the wontons — which when translated literally means ‘cloud swallow’. Sui coi is a soft, boiled pastry parcel that is stuffed with minced pork and chives, and floats in a clear broth made from steamed shrimp, simmered pig bones, and boiled sa sung (a type of seaweed). Boiled cai cuc (a green vegetable),

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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 067 Destination Zero 070 Food Buff 080 Music Buff 083 Cinema Buff 088 Book Buff 092 Medical Buff 095 64 | Word July 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

business 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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business 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.




GETTING AHEAD Last month our guest columnist Daragh Halpin looked at the structure and content of a CV. Now onto the next stage — the interview. TOP 10 GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS & ANSWERS You’ve completed your CV, written your covering letter and been called for interview. Congratulations! This interview could change the course of your career and the direction of your life. You must prepare! The following are some commonly asked questions with suggested answers — be sure to personalise them and set yourself apart from other candidates.

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.

1) WHY DO YOU WANT THIS JOB? Stress the positive aspects that have attracted you to apply for this position. Don’t mention anything negative.


2) WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU THINK WILL BE REQUIRED FOR THIS JOB? The job description might be a guide, but think of the other qualities that may be required; including leadership ability, supervisory skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, analytical skills, etc.

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,

3) WHAT CAN YOU CONTRIBUTE? This is your chance to shine. Tell them about your achievements in your previous position(s) that are relevant to the new position you are applying for. 4) WHY DO YOU WANT TO WORK FOR THIS COMPANY? Emphasise the positive reasons why you want to join their company, but avoid aspects such as more money or shorter hours. 5) WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THIS COMPANY? Give them a run down of everything you know about their services.

6) WHY SHOULD WE EMPLOY YOU? Based on your previous experience and achievements that relate to the company, say that you think there is a good fit between you and the job. Ask the interviewer for their opinion. 7) HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE BEFORE YOU START MAKING A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE TEAM/ COMPANY? If you think that you can contribute from day one then say so, ask what their expectations are. 8) WHAT DO YOU LIKE AND DISLIKE ABOUT THE JOB WE ARE DISCUSSING? Imply there is nothing to dislike about the job, which is why you are so interested. Stress things such as a new challenge or the opportunity to bring fresh experience to the company. 9) WHY DID YOU JOIN YOUR PREVIOUS COMPANY? DID THEY LIVE UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS? WHY ARE YOU LEAVING NOW? Always be positive — stress that you are looking for a new challenge and that you feel that the company who is interviewing you fits the bill! 10) WHY ARE YOU CHANGING CAREERS? This question will only be asked if you are making a radical change in your career. Be positive and stress the transferable skills you have. Competitive Edge Consulting provide 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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business 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.


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.

JVK INDOCHINA MOVERS 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.

RESIDENT VIETNAM 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.

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.

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.



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.

CROWN RELOCATION SERVICES 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




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




$$$ 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.




$$$ 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


$ 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



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.

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


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.


$$$ 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.


$$$ 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


$$$$ 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.


$ 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.


$ 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,



$$$$ 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’.


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

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.



$$$ 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.


$$ 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.


$$$ 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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The Coral


On the Malaysian island of Langkawi, Lucy Porter meets the world’s only marine and coral curator n a blisteringly hot and sunny afternoon on the tropical island of Langkawi, a small group of tourists huddle together on a white sandy beach talking excitedly about the fish they have just seen. They shake water out of their hair, peel off their wetsuits and make their way to the bar. Like many people who have just experienced snorkelling for the first time, they are keen to recall their own accounts of what they’ve witnessed over a few drinks. But as I move closer, I realise their enthusiastic gestures are not directed at the azure Andaman sea that laps lazily at their feet, but towards a large pool of water 20 metres inland from the sea shore. I wander over to the water and peer into its glassy depths. It’s not a swimming pool, and it doesn’t appear to be like any of the other ornamental ponds housed inside this five-star hotel.


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A Malaysian man, who looks like he works at the hotel, is floating on his stomach at the far end of the pool. He tells me his name is Randy and it’s his job to look after the water and all that lives in it. His official title is Marine and Coral Curator and proudly tells me that he is the first the hotel has ever had. In fact, he assures me that he is the first Marine and Coral Curator the world has ever seen. “How do you know?” I ask. Because he created the job title himself, he replies. Randy gets out of the pool and towels himself dry. Changing into his onduty attire of trousers and a shirt, he begins to tell the story behind the pool.

Reefer Madness “It all started on December 26, 2004”, he explains. “The island of Langkawi, unlike its Indonesian and Thai neighbours, was untouched by the Boxing Day tsunami as

the surrounding underwater corals acted as a shock-absorber. These, however, were obliterated.” My eye follows Randy’s finger to a shimmering patch of blue water directly in front of The Andaman Hotel. He sadly shakes his head. The hotel’s house reef was no exception. “A year and a half ago, the hotel embarked on a beach clean-up programme to remove the remaining debris caused by the tsunami, and to recycle it into the hotel’s design,” he continues. “The rubble left in the tsunami’s wake was itself causing more damage, as the waves would churn up the dead coral and pelt it at the living reef. This would stunt its growth and eventually kill it. So, around one year ago, the hotel and its staff decided to do more to help the reef and that’s when we starting growing our own coral.” He throws an arm behind him towards the pool of clown fish. “That’s when we built this coral nursery; just in the same way you would nurture a sapling and replant it in a forest, we nurture coral snippets and replant them in the sea after they’re fully-grown and healthy.” Randy explains this takes about three years, and the ‘transplanting’ into the ocean is a privilege enjoyed by those staying at The Andaman hotel. “We offer guests the opportunity to glue a cutting of coral to a piece of limestone from those cliffs up there and plant it in our nursery.” He motions to the large outcrop of grey stone that pierce the tranquil sea. “We have invested in underwater cameras with GSP programming, so we can take pictures of the coral in its new home. We then email these photographs to the guest who planted it all those years ago.” He and his team see the project as an educational programme, which is the reason why the hotel is now allowing nonguests to visit the coral nursery and house reef for a fee. “I really do see the project as an educational tool,” concludes Randy as we say our goodbyes. “Only 0.1 percent of the world’s oceans are inhabited by coral reefs, yet 25 percent of all marine life calls it its home. If all we are doing here can influence just one youngster to study marine biology at degree level, then the programme is doing its job!” Hidden amongst Langkawi's ancient rainforests The Andaman hotel is located on a white arch of sandy beach on the northwestern tip of the island. Non-guests are charged MYR150 (VND987,000) to use the hotel’s five-star facilities, snorkel on its house reef and plant coral in its coral nursery.


$$$ 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



$$$$ 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.


$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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



$$$ 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.



$$$$ 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.


$$$ 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


$$$$ 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. CREDIT



$$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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


$$$$ 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

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.


$$$ 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.



$$ 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.


$$$$ 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.


$$$ 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.


$ 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.


$$$ 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

destination DUC VUONG HOTEL


$ 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.


$$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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.


$$$ 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.





$$$$ 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


$ 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.


$ 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.


$$$ 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


$ 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.


$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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, 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.


$ 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.


$$ 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.


$$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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.


$ 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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$$$ 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.


$$$ 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 $ 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.


$ 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.


PHUNG MOTORBIKE RENTAL & SALES 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0904 253491 Well-maintained motorbikes for hire at reasonable rates, plus servicing and repairs for modern and vintage bikes.

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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$ 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.


$$$$ 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


$ 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.



$ 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.

$$$$ 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.




106 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem Tel: 0912 094464

$$ 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. CREDIT


$ 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.


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.

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.


$$$ 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.


$$ 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



$$$ 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



$$$ 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.


$$$$ 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 CREDIT

$$ 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, CREDIT

along with first-class spa treatment and a mediterranean-themed restaurant.



$$$$ 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.



$$ 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 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.


$ 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.


$$ 18 Phang Xi Pan, Sapa. Tel: 020 6505 228 Located in the heart of Sapa town this simple but comfortable boutique hotel oc-

cupies 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.



$$ 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.



$$$ 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.


$ 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.


$ 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.


$ 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.


$$ 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.


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.

ASIAN TRAVEL MATE 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.

BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY (BTA) 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.



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.

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 (



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

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

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out & about 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.



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.


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.


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. 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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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.



visit for a comprehensive list of our listings





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

out & about 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.



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.



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.



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,

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out & about 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.



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.



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.

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.


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.

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.




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 occasional live DJ breaking out classic

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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 Wi-fi.

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.

JOMA 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.

KINH DO 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.

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.

mixes Vietnamese fare with sandwiches, western and pan-Asian mains.





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.

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.




OCHAO TEAHOUSE 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.

PANACEA CAFE 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.

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.


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.

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.



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 away a couple of hours. The food menu

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.

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 Indochinastyled 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.

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.

out & about 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.

INDIA PALACE & DAKSHIN 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 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.



SPAGHETTI PICCANTE Even on a hot summer day people love pasta. But, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen cooking traditional sauces? Try an alternative with this quick, no-sauce pasta recipe. MAIN INGREDIENTS Spaghetti: 1 pack Garlic: 2 cloves 70g chorizo salami (cut thick) Artichoke hearts: 2 chopped Cherry tomatoes: 200g Fresh chilli: 3 pieces (optional) Parsley: 1/2 bunch (optional) Oregano: 1 pinch Olive oil: 1 tablespoon Pepper: 1 pinch Salt: 1 pinch

METHOD Place a pot of water (two litres) on the hob and add a large spoon’s worth of salt. Wait until the mixture comes to the boil, add the spaghetti and stir.

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Meanwhile, fry the garlic with the olive oil in a pan, and wait until the garlic turns a yellowish colour. Then add the chorizo, artichoke hearts, parsley, chilli, cherry tomatoes and oregano, and season to taste. Finally, turn the second stove off and wait until the spaghetti is cooked. Once done, take it out of the water and transfer into the pan along with the other ingredients. Quickly stir the mixture and serve onto a dish. Job done. Pane e Vino is located at 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem. For more information, call 3826 9080

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

TANDOOR 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


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.

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


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.

WESTLAKE CUPCAKE 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.

LUALA CAFE 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.



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.

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out & about HALIA HANOI 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.

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




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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, 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.


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.





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.

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++.

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


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.


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

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

Aki & Kuniko

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.



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


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.


out & about

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.




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.

Phong Pistol (Photo by Liz Glennard)

TURNING JAPANESE There are two chances to see acclaimed Japanese acoustic duo Aki & Kuniko in July, as the pair will take to the stage at the Vietnam National Academy of Music for two nights of traditional acoustic music. Combining acoustic guitar and Japanese harp, Aki & Kuniko have been hailed by critics as making “original, genre defying work”. Having toured across Europe, Asia and the US and performed at Open Strings — the world’s largest acoustic music festival — Aki & Kuniko have released two albums on the German label Acoustic Music Records, successfully fusing that all-important dynamic between forceful and delicate sound. This is their first trip to Vietnam. The show takes place on Jul. 9 and Jul. 10 at 8pm at The Vietnam National Academy of Music, 77 Hao Nam, Dong Da. Admission is free — to obtain tickets visit The Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam at 27 Quang Trung, Hoan Kiem, or call 3944 7419 HEART STRINGS Wagner fled Dresden for Zurich in 1849 after a warrant was

posted for his arrest for his participation in the unsuccessful May Revolution. Leaving behind both his wife and his position as conductor of the Dresden Opera, he became financially dependent on wealthy silk trader Otto Wesendonck, who bankrolled the composer for several years. During his time spent in Zurich, Wagner became spellbound by the legend of Tristan und Isolde, a romantic tale of which various versions exist, the earliest dating back to the 12th century. On composing an opera inspired by the story, Wagner described his vision in a letter to Franz Liszt. “I have devised in my mind a Tristan und Isolde, the simplest, yet most full-blooded musical conception imaginable,” he wrote. “And with the ‘black flag’ that waves at the end I shall cover myself over — to die.” With guest soprano Anna Eirnasson and tenor Nguyen Thanh Binh, the Vietnam National Symphony Orchestra will also present Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde for two nights at Hanoi Opera House. Subscription Concert Vol. 53 “The Song of the Earth” will take place on Jul. 12 and Jul. 13 from

Wilhelm Richard Wagner

8pm at Hanoi Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem. Tickets are priced from VND200,000 to VND500,000, and can be purchased directly from the venue, or from MASSIVE DIRGE If dubstep was a cake it would probably be made up of layers and layers of buttery-fat sponge, with loads of cream and jam wedged in-between those layers, and topped off with a thick, brown, chocolately coating. It would somehow also be extremely wobbly, and although eating all of it might make you sick, you probably won’t be able to stop yourself once you start. With those facts in mind, consider whether or not you want to be down the front for Phong Pistol’s headline slot at Hanoi Rock City’s Viet Dubstep Summer Party. With performances from a plethora of producers and DJs, you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel your eyeballs vibrate — don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Doors open at 9pm on Jul. 13, and the entry fee is to be confirmed. Hanoi Rock City is located at 27/52, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho

July 2012 Word | 83

out & about

out & about


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: 3771 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

leisure & arts 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 Level 3, 141 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6869 Gate 3, Hanoi Academy, Ciputra, Tel: 3743 0455 Cosy, friendly and well equipped dance studios offering dance and fitness classes for adults and children. Classes include ballet, folk dance, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, belly dance, salsa, zumba and yoga for family. Instructors are qualified and certified from Vietnam Dance College or overseas.

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.


SWIMMING POOLS 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

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.

SUFFUSIVE GALLERY 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.

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


BINH’S SALON 3 Lane 31/10 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2656 A salon and spa offering a variety of cosmetic services, and specialising in western cuts and colour.

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.

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.


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.

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.




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.

THE HAIR WORKSHOP 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.

HAIR SPACE 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.

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.

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

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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 cause. Check their website for their range of promotions.

cinema buff

Hoa Le takes a peek at what's on in cinemas this week


BRAVE Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell Stars: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson Genre: Animation, action, adventure

documentary austerity and a minimalist style, this emotional drama is likely to leave a lasting impact on audiences.

before it's too late. The film features Copenhagen as the main character; the people are just bit players whose job it is to draw out the distinctive features of the protagonist. This movie will be shown under DocLab’s film project at Geothe Institut Hanoi (56-58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh) at 6pm on Jul. 20


Set in a rugged, mythical Scotland, Brave features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Under the strict tutelage of her loving but demanding mother, Elinor, Merida has learned the necessities but is a wild lass at heart. Desperate to make her own path in life and granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse. Brave hits the big screen on Jul. 6 at MegaStar Cineplex 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)

WELCOME Director: Philippe Lioret Stars: Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana Genre: Drama To impress and win back his wife, lifeguard Simon risks secretly helping a young Kurdish refugee named Bilal to cross the English Channel. Bilal sets off on an adventure-filled journey across Europe, with the desire to reach England, where his love resides. Through

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This movie will be presented in French with Vietnamese subtitles at the French Culture Centre (L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem) at 8pm on Jul. 20

COPENHAGEN DREAMS (DRØMME I KØBENHAVN) Director: Max Kestner Genre: Documentary

Director: Christopher Nolan Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy Genre: Action, crime fiction, thriller, drama Following the death of district attorney Harvey Dent, Christian Bale’s Batman assumes responsibility for Dent's crimes to protect his reputation and is subsequently hunted by the Gotham City Police Department. Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Batman returns to Gotham from his self-imposed exile, where he encounters the mysterious Selina Kyle and the villainous Bane, and must confront the latter's plans to destroy the city.

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.

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.

TOP SPOT 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.

PERFORMING ARTS HANOI CIRCUS 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.

This documentary film portrait of Denmark’s capital focuses on the physical surroundings that are believed to play the main part in shaping our lives. It’s about the buildings we wake up in, the front doors we walk out of, the streets we traverse. It is also a film about how the way we live our lives affects our physical surroundings. About the places we dream of and the walls onto which we scratch the names of our loved ones,

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.


The film will be shown at MegaStar cinema complexes and the Lotte Landmark Cinema from Jul. 27

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.

pus of the Vietnam Revolution Museum, for a taste of one of Vietnam’s most traditional musical forms.

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.

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.

SPORTS CLASSES HOANG CAU SPORTS CENTRE 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.



25 Tong dan, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3665 54608 Head to this theatre, lodged on the cam- 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 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.

TENNIS 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.

EURO FASHION SHOES 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.

EURO SHOES 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.

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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.

THREE TREES 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.

TINA SPARKLE 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.

VIETNAM OPTICAL 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.



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.

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.



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.

23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 9891 Launched in Hanoi in 2007, Contraband 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.

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fashion 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, el: 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.

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

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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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 Designer store where Le Duyen Huong features her creations and matching accessories and shoes. The trendy shop exudes a pleasant and warm atmosphere and collections change often. Offers tailoring for local and export markets.

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.

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.



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.

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.



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.

52 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh Tel: 3822 9051 Pretty, lacy underwear imported from France. Carries mostly small sizes, up to a western sized medium.

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.

TAN MY DESIGN 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.

THINGS OF SUBSTANCE 5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3828 6965 This shop’s motto “Western sizes,

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.

OCEAN PARK LUXURY MALL 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3936 0737 Shopping mall includes international designers such as Versace collection, Dolce and Gabbana, and Roberto Botticelli.

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.

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.


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.

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





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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.

PHUONG LINH TAILOR 99 Son Tay, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 083674 Exceptional quality at very reasonable prices, Phuong Linh may not speak English but her and her team make every effort to understand the task at hand. From copying your favourite garments to creating something new or from a magazine, Phuong and her girls succeed in getting it right time and time again.

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.


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 THE FUNNIEST BOOK OF THE MONTH has to be David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress. The story will delight any male who has ever felt the desire to cross dress, and will entertain females who can’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s a kids book aimed at the 10-years-and-over market, but will also strike an empathetic chord with a lot of men who gruffly suppress their desire to wrap up in female apparel. Luckily for Dennis, the book’s 12-year-old protagonist, everything eventually works out in an increasingly hilarious fashion, which even sees the school football team take to the pitch in ball gowns, while masculine adults allow themselves to strut their stuff in high heels, skirts and saris. 14-year-old Lisa is the brains behind all the fun and is the type of girl we all want to fall in love with, at least once. Another humorous book that I’ve been reading on and off with delight over the past couple of months is Soseki Natsume’s comic masterpiece, I Am a Cat. Comprising of a string of anecdotes and bitingly jokey comments, the collection was penned between 1904 and 1906, and contains three volumes in one. It satirises the follies of the uppermiddle class Japanese and is voiced by an acerbically witty and worldweary stray kitten. Having wandered into the house of a schoolteacher, the kitten regales us with its own, and its master’s, observations. The cat thinks itself far superior to humans, whom, it declares at one point, have ugly, hairless faces that are as shiny as kettles. The stories

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often delve into the inscrutable relationships between Japanese and western cultures, and it’s easy to put down and pick up again. The kitten in this story is in the same mould as Don Marquis’ Mehitabel, the alley cat, who, with the help of Archy, a typewriting cockroach, made satirical comments about society in New York in the 1910s and 1920s. One of the best reads for me this year has been Mr. Pip by New Zealand author Lloyd Jones. It’s set in 1990s Bouganville, near Papua New Guinea, where rebels and government soldiers fought for control of the copper-rich island. The Europeans have fled, all except for the eccentric and reviled Mr Watts who lives with an islander named Grace. Watts takes over the deserted local school in a bid to keep the children’s minds away from the horrific ebb and flow of fear and ominous slaughter. He does this by reading to them from a tattered version of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Thirteen year-old Matilda is the narrator in this book, and through her eyes we live through Dickens’ story. Intertwining the lore of the island with filaments of Watts’ own life, we also live through the horror that follows when the island’s pigs develop a penchant for eating human flesh. Matilda’s story is one of terror and of escape, yet she survives to write her story in the same way as Dickens allowed his character Pip to tell his. Vietnamese author Ho Anh Thai

wrote about the inhabitants of another Island — one he names ‘Cat Bac’, the island we know as Cat Ba. It’s the early 1980s and Cat Bac has become home to a large number of women who have resettled in this new and isolated economic zone. The women are the detritus of the American War — volunteers who had returned from the conflict and found that there were not enough men to go around. They returned to a society that they had defended but which in many ways had no place for them. Published in 1988 when Ho Anh Thai was 28, the novel added a strong voice to the debate about the place of unmarried women in society and in particular the place of unmarried women with children. Through the experiences of The Women On The Island he encapsulates the agonies associated with the temptation and frustration that unmarried Vietnamese women generally faced as second-class citizens in a patriarchal society. Thai also added a voice to the ways and wiles of corruption by having the manager of a government enterprise playing a major male role in the story. Hoa, who refuses to accept corruption as a norm, is brought down by others whose positions and incomes are threatened by his honesty and moral stance. Like all of Ho Anh Thai’s translated books, it’s a great read and one that adds to an outsider’s understanding of Vietnam. Bookworm is located 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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medical 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.


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.

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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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 094 SUPPLEMENTS 094 VETS 1094 ARTICLES MEDICAL BUFF 095 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.

ONE DENTAL 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.

PEACE DENTAL CLINIC 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.

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.

medical buff

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.

NHA THUA VINH PHUC 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.

SUPPLEMENTS AMEVITA SUPPLEMENTS 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.

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.

INFECTIOUS DISEASE DURING MONSOON SEASON THE RISK OF DISEASE DURING and after the monsoon season in Vietnam becomes greater in northern and central Vietnam from June through to October, and with the rain comes an increased incidence of water and mosquito borne diseases. Here are some of the most common.

CHOLERA This bacterial disease is already in the ground water in the major cities of Vietnam. Flooding that occurs regularly after heavy monsoon rains raises the water table and may increase the chance of contamination of vegetables and herbs by the cholera bacteria. Only about one in 10 infected people develop the typical signs and symptoms of cholera, which includes the severe and sudden onset of watery diarrhoea. Cholera diarrhoea is often voluminous and may have a pale, milky appearance that resembles water in which rice has been rinsed (rice-water stool). What makes cholera diarrhoea so deadly is the loss of large amounts of fluids in a short time. The main risk to health is that of rapid dehydration from fluid loss with possible shock and even death in a small percentage of cases.

PREVENTION Wash your hands Frequent and thorough hand

washing — especially before eating or preparing food, after using the toilet, and when you return from public places. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for times when water isn't available. Avoid untreated water Contaminated drinking water is the most common source of cholera infection (and other bacteria). Drink only bottled water. Carefully wipe the outside of all bottles and cans before you open them. Avoid ice. Use bottled water to brush your teeth Eat food that's completely cooked and hot. Cholera bacteria can survive on room temperature food for up to five days and is not destroyed when food is frozen. During an outbreak, don't eat raw or improperly cooked fish and seafood of any kind. Avoid unpasteurized dairy products Make sure that all fruits and vegetables that you eat are cooked or that you peel them yourself. Sterilize all leafy vegetables before consumption. Cholera vaccine The cholera vaccine is about 60 to 70 percent effective, but during an outbreak it is an important defence against contraction of this potentially fatal disease.

DENGUE FEVER Dengue fever is a disease ranging from mild to severe, and is caused by four related viruses spread by the aedes mosquito. Mild dengue fever causes a high fever, a rash, a severe headache, and muscle and joint pain. More severe but much rarer forms of the disease, such as dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, can additionally cause severe bleeding, a sudden drop in blood pressure (shock) and even death (very rare).

PREVENTION The best way to avoid dengue fever is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes that carry the disease. No vaccine is commonly available as yet to prevent dengue. Minimise your exposure to mosquitoes To reduce your risk of mosquito bites, avoid being outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening, when more mosquitoes are buzzing about. Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks and shoes, and stay in well-screened housing. Apply to your bed netting mosquito repellent containing permethrin. You can also buy clothing made with permethrin already in it. Use repellent with a 10 to 30 percent concentration of DEET on your skin but be aware that chemical repellents can be toxic. Don't use DEET on the hands

of young children or on infants; instead, cover your infant's stroller or playpen with mosquito netting when outside. Pools of stagnant or standing water attract dengue-carrying mosquito (Aedes) to breed, so remove containers with standing water in them from around the house.

LEPTOSPIROSIS This disease is caused by exposure to several types of the leptospira bacteria, which can be found in fresh water that has been contaminated by animal (mainly rat) urine. Symptoms can take 2 to 26 days to develop, and may include a dry cough, fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and shaking chills. Avoid walking or wading unprotected (wear rubber boots if possible) through floodwater!

OTHER BACTERIAL INFECTIONS Other bacteria prevalent in floodwater such as shigella, typhoid, e. coli and campylobacter as well as viruses such as hepatitis A can all cause severe gastro-intestinal symptoms. Pay attention to the careful washing/ sterilising of all salads and ensure that all food is cooked well. Dr WB McNaull MB ChB MPhil (Cambridge) DTM&H FRSTM (London) is the medical director of FMP, Hanoi

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Không chỉ là tòa nhà cao nhất Hà Nội, LandMark 72 Tower sẽ sớm trở thành nơi diễn ra một trong những cuộc đua sức cam go nhất trên thế giới. Kaitlin Rees tìm câu trả lời cho bí quyết giành chiến thắng.

ùm 1492, Christopher Columbus tuyïn böë traái àêët hònh troân. Nùm 2005, Thomas Friedman phaãn biïån rùçng noá laâ mùåt phùèng. Trong thúâi àaåi toaân cêìu hoáa naây, viïåc àûa thöng tin lïn maång, liïn kïët nûúác ngoaâi, yïëu töë haãi ngoaåi, theo Friedman têët caã àaä laâm thay àöíi bïì mùåt cuãa thïë giúái hiïån àaåi. Nhûng mùåc duâ traái àêët cuãa chuáng ta khöng coân troân nhû caách àêy 500 nùm, noá cuäng hoaân toaân khöng bùçng phùèng. Haäy lêëy möåt vñ duå, toâa nhaâ Landmark 72 Tower úã Haâ Nöåi. Baån àaä thêëy noá chûa? Noá rêët cao. Cao nhêët Viïåt Nam. Noá coá 1.914 bêåc. Hoaân toaân khöng bùçng phùèng, phaãi khöng Thomas? Mùåc duâ viïåc caác toâa nhaâ choåc trúâi moåc lïn nhû nêëm trïn khùæp thïë giúái laâ bùçng chûáng roä hún cuãa quaá trònh toaân cêìu hoáa hay thïë giúái phùèng, möåt söë nhûäng cöng trònh naây àang taåo dûång hònh aãnh múái qua caác hoaåt àöång hoaân toaân khaác hùèn hònh aãnh cuãa nhûäng trung têm taâi chñnh vöën àûúåc gùæn liïìn vúái chuáng. Vaâo ngaây 30 thaáng 9, trïn 500 vêån àöång viïn seä hoaân thaânh cuöåc àua tûâ chên túái àónh cuãa toâa nhaâ Landmark 72 Tower taåi Haâ Nöåi. Vaâ nhûäng vêån àöång viïn naây seä thûåc sûå CHAÅY.

Tìm Ra Người Khỏe Nhất? Chaåy lïn tûâng bêåc thang cuãa toâa nhaâ choåc trúâi nghe coá veã khaá trûâu tûúång. Thûåc chêët àiïìu àoá nghôa laâ gò? Coá phaãi àoá laâ möåt caách àïí thïí hiïån sûå quay trúã laåi cuãa khaái niïm thïí chêët, vêåt lyá vúái thïë giúái àang ngaây trúã nïn söë hoáa? Coá phaãi laâ biïíu tûúång cuãa viïåc chinh phuåc bêìu trúâi vaâo thúâi àaåi hêåu thûåc dên? Cuöåc àua naây àaánh dêëu sûå gia nhêåp cuãa Haâ Nöåi vaâo cêu laåc böå nhûäng thaânh phöë coá toâa nhaâ choåc trúâi maâ ngûúâi ta àaä chaåy lïn túái àónh cuãa noá. Höåi Thïë Giúái Thùèng Ðûáng (VWC) nhû caái tïn goåi cuãa noá, bao göìm New York, London, Basel, Berlin, Taipei,

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Milan, Singapore, and Sao Paulo. "Nhûäng cuöåc àua thùèng àûáng", nhaâ töí chûác noái "àaä töìn taåi tûâ thêåp niïn 1970 (nhûng coá leä tûâ trûúác àoá nûäa nïëu baån cöång caã nhûäng hoaåt àöång leo nuái giao lûu). Nhûäng cêu laåc böå leo cêìu thang hiïån taåi coá thïí àûúåc tòm thêëy úã Bùæc Myä, Chêu Êu vaâ Chêu AÁ, vúái nhûäng vêån àöång viïn leo cêìu thang chuyïn nghiïåp luyïån têåp quanh nùm àïí tòm ra ngûúâi àêìu tiïn vïì àñch cuãa möåt trong nhûäng toâa nhaâ cao nhêët thïë giúái." Mùåc duâ laâ möåt mön thïí thao khaá múái meã, nhûäng vêån àöång viïn àêìy nhiïåt huyïët naây àang gia tùng, nhêët laâ nhûäng ngûúâi thñch khaái niïåm thïí duåc trong khuön khöí àö thõ, cuäng nhû nhûäng ngûúâi thñch möåt thûåc tïë laâ viïåc ài böå trïn àõa hònh àöìi nuái, tiïu töën gêëp 10 lêìn calories so vúái viïåc ài böå trïn àõa hònh bùçng phùèng.

Cao Chọc Trời Möåt toâa nhaâ choåc trúâi àûúåc àõnh nghôa laâ coá àöå cao 100 meát hoùåc hún thïë khi coá àöå nghiïng thùèng àûáng 33 phêìn trùm. Cuäng giöëng nhû leo nuái nhûng coá leä laâ coá ñt cön truâng hún, vaâ ñt khaã nùng bõ laåc àûúâng hún, leo cêìu thang cuäng àoâi hoãi sûác khoãe, àöå deão dai, vaâ möåt niïìm tin rùçng têìm nhòn trïn àónh laâ xûáng àaáng. Giaám àöëc sûå kiïån naây, David Shin, tin laâ nhû vêåy. "Möåt trong nhûäng muåc tiïu chung cuãa chûúng trònh Chaåy Thùèng Ðûáng Landmark 72 laâ quaãng baá àïí Haâ Nöåi trúã thaânh möåt àiïím àïën dêîn àêìu cuãa nhûäng mön thïí thao thi àêëu, kinh doanh vaâ du lõch," anh noái. "Vaâ vò sûå kiïån naây diïîn ra úã möåt toâa nhaâ cao nhêët Viïåt Nam, noá seä tûå nhiïn thu huát sûå chuá yá lúán tûâ nûúác ngoaâi." Vaâ caác baån àoåc thên mïën, noá thu huát caã sûå chuá yá cuãa chuáng töi nûäa. Nhûäng vêån àöång viïn caã chuyïn nghiïåp lêîn nghiïåp dû

àûúåc chúâ àoán seä coá mùåt úã chên toâa nhaâ cao nhêët Viïåt Nam ngaây 30 thaáng 9. Trong söë nhûäng vêån àöång viïn chuyïn nghiïåp úã lïî khai maåc sûå kiïån nùm nay taåi Haâ Nöåi seä coá sûå goáp mùåt cuãa nhûäng nhaâ àûúng kim vö àõch thïë giúái Thomas Dold vaâ Valentina Belotti. Nhûäng vêån àöång viïn nghiïåp dû seä bao göìm biïn têåp vaâ phoá töíng biïn têåp cuãa taåp chñ Word, Debbie Clare vaâ John Thornton. Caác baån cuäng coá thïí tham gia sûå kiïån naây, leo cêìu thang nhû thïí caác baån chûa tûâng bao giúâ laâm thïë, vúái möåt muåc àñch maâ rêët ñt ngûúâi trïn thïë giúái coá. Caác baån cuäng coá thïí coá möåt cú thïí theáp vaâ heát lïn "Ta laâ vua cuãa thïë giúái!" khi vûúåt qua möåt nghòn chñn trùm mûúâi böën bêåc thang. Ðùng kyá qua maång àaä bùæt àêìu coá hiïåu lûåc vúái lïå phñ 300.000 àöìng. Giaãi thûúãng töíng trõ giaá 105 triïåu VND seä àûúåc chia ra vaâ trao cho ba vêån àöång viïn nam vaâ nûä thùæng chung cuöåc vúái thúâi gian chaåy ngùæn nhêët. Sau khi baån àaä àùng kyá tham gia, baån seä bùæt àêìu àùåt ra nhûäng muåc tiïu vûäng chùæc cho mònh, luyïån têåp thûúâng xuyïn vaâ coá leä caã möåt chuát höìi höåp nûäa. Túái ngaây cuöåc àua diïîn ra, baån seä àùåt chên mònh lïn bêåc thang àêìu tiïn cuâng vúái rêët nhiïìu vêån àöång viïn khaác, àûúåc trang bõ vúái möåt con chip àiïån tûã ào thúâi gian vaâ baån di chuyïín vúái sûå dõu daâng, duyïn daáng vaâ thùng bùçng cho túái khi baån lïn túái àónh. Hoùåc laâ baån seä àöí möì höi, thúã höín hïín, nùång nhoåc nhêëc tûâng bûúác chên àang run rêíy vò moãi cho túái khi chaåm vaåch àñch. Nhûng duâ vúái caách naâo, baån seä túái àûúåc àónh sau khoaãng 20 túái 25 phuát. Nïëu baån taâi nùng, baån coá thïí vïì àñch sau 10 phuát. Ðïí àùng kyá tham gia, vaâo trang www., vaâ àïí àoåc thïm vïì böå mön chaåy thùèng àûáng, vaâo www. Landmark 72

“Tôi muốn cho phép sinh viên của mình tự quyết định xem họ có đủ hứng thú để tới học mà không phụ thuộc vào việc điểm danh hay không”


hi töi múái vaâo giaãng daåy úã möåt trûúâng àaåi hoåc, möåt àöìng nghiïåp àaä khuyïn töi rùçng "Chõ nïn mùåc àöì tröng trûäng chaåc hún, àïí sinh viïn súå mònh hún vaâ lúâi noái cuãa mònh seä coá troång lûúång." Ðoá laâ lúâi khuyïn àïí töi coá thïí daåy töët sinh viïn cuãa mònh. Töi àaä cûúâi phaá lïn khi nghe cêu noái àoá. Töi khöng tin rùçng viïåc laâm sinh viïn súå hay eáp sinh viïn phaãi hoåc laâ caách daåy töët nhêët. Töi khöng tin rùçng àoá laâ caách duy nhêët. Nhûng sau hai kyâ daåy Tiïëng Anh úã àoá, möåt söë sûå kiïån àaä xaãy ra khiïën töi phaãi ngêîm nghô laåi lúâi khuyïn àoá, dêîu sao cuäng coá lyá do vaâ caã giaá trõ àùçng sau noá. Trúã vïì Viïåt Nam sau baãy nùm du hoåc úã nûúác ngoaâi, töi – cuäng nhû bao baån treã traân àêìy nhiïåt huyïët vaâ hoaâi baäo – khao khaát àûúåc cöëng hiïën cho xaä höåi. Töi muöën mang nhûäng gò töi àaä hoåc úã nûúác ngoaâi aáp duång vaâo cöng viïåc úã Viïåt Nam cuãa töi, vò thïë töi àaä choån daåy taåi Khoa Tiïëng Anh trûúâng Ðaåi hoåc Ngoaåi Thûúng, möåt trong nhûäng trûúâng àaåi hoåc danh tiïëng nhêët úã Viïåt Nam

Phương Pháp Khác


BỊ THỬ THÁCH Khi đi học, có lẽ sẽ rất ít người không cảm thấy thích thú khi được học tập một cách cởi mở, tự do, nhưng Hoa Lê lại cho khám phá ra rằng thực tế không phải luôn luôn như vậy. Ảnh bởi Aaron Joel Santos

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Khi coân hoåc úã nûúác ngoaâi, töi hoåc àûúåc caách trên troång sûå àöåc lêåp vaâ tû duy tûå chuã trong hoåc têåp. Hay noái caách khaác, àoá laâ "khaã nùng tûå chõu traách nhiïåm vïì viïåc hoåc cuãa mònh". Caách naây khaác xa so vúái nhûäng phûúng phaáp giaãng daåy truyïìn thöëng úã Viïåt Nam maâ töi àaä quen trong nhûäng nùm thaáng hoåc troâ, caái caách maâ ngûúâi thêìy luön nùæm quyïìn quyïët àõnh vaâ quaãn lyá tuyïåt àöëi trong lúáp hoåc. Vò thïë, khi trúã vïì Viïåt Nam, töi muöën sûã duång möåt caách tiïëp cêån khaác àöëi vúái sinh viïn cuãa mònh. Töi muöën giaáo viïn laâ nhûäng ngûúâi "hûúáng dêîn" vaâ cho pheáp sinh viïn phaát huy sûå saáng taåo vaâ tûå chõu traách nhiïåm vúái nhûäng quyïët àõnh cuãa mònh – àùåc biïåt laâ nhûäng quyïët àõnh liïn quan àïën viïåc hoåc têåp. Lúáp hoåc àoá laâ möåt lúáp viïët Tiïëng Anh úã trònh àöå trung bònh, vaâ bûúác àêìu tiïn töi thûåc hiïån trïn lúáp àoá laâ boã qua viïåc àiïím danh luác àêìu giúâ. Ðiïím chuyïn cêìn chiïëm 10 phêìn trùm töíng söë àiïím cuöëi kyâ, vaâ thöng thûúâng thò caác giaáo viïn àiïím danh àïìu àùån vaâo àêìu giúâ hoåc caác lúáp àïí tñnh

àiïím naây. Töi muöën cho pheáp sinh viïn cuãa mònh tûå quyïët àõnh xem hoå coá àuã hûáng thuá àïí túái hoåc maâ khöng phuå thuöåc vaâo viïåc àiïím danh hay khöng, àöìng thúâi, töi cöë gùæng coá nhûäng hoaåt àöång thuá võ vaâ giao tiïëp nhiïìu trïn lúáp àïí traánh teã nhaåt. Trong giúâ hoåc, sinh viïn cuäng àûúåc khuyïën khñch thoaãi maái àùåt cêu hoãi vaâ ngùæt lúâi giaáo viïn bêët cûá khi naâo. Ðïí khuyïën khñch tû duy saáng taåo vaâ tûå chuã cuãa sinh viïn, töi luön àûa ra nhiïìu chuã àïì àïí caác em choån khi viïët, vaâ khöng yïu cêìu hay cung cêëp nhûäng daân baâi mêîu buöåc caác em phaãi laâm theo. Ðïí sinh viïn khùæc phuåc nhûäng haån chïë vïì vöën tûâ, töi cho caác em tûå do duâng tûâ àiïín khi laâm baâi thi viïët, nhûng cuäng caãnh baáo caác em khöng àûúåc copy taåi liïåu trûåc tiïëp tûâ Internet. Kïë hoaåch nghe coá veã hoaân haão, sinh viïn coá veã haâo hûáng, vaâ töi hoaân toaân tûå tin. Nhûng sau àoá khöng lêu, töi bùæt àêìu thêëy xuêët hiïån nhûäng vêën àïì.

Không Hiệu Quả Sau möåt söë buöíi àêìu tiïn, möåt söë sinh viïn bùæt àêìu nghó hoåc thûúâng xuyïn, hoùåc nïëu coá àïën lúáp, caác em cuäng khöng tham gia vaâo caác hoaåt àöång maâ caác baån khaác àang laâm. Mùåc cho töi cöë gùæng àöång viïn, sinh viïn vêîn khöng thoaãi maái trong viïåc baây toã nhûäng suy nghô cuãa caá nhên cuãa mònh trïn lúáp hay kïí caã qua nhûäng baâi viïët. Möåt lêìn, töi giao cho sinh viïn möåt àïì taâi tûå viïët úã nhaâ, trong àoá hoãi caách em suy nghô thïë naâo vïì viïåc coá baån trai hay baån gaái trong khi hoåc àaåi hoåc; caác em coá uãng höå yá kiïën cuãa nhûäng phuå huynh phaãn àöëi viïåc àoá khöng. Töi khaá ngaåc nhiïn khi nhêån àûúåc caác baâi viïët cuãa caác em, trong söë 35 baâi viïët, khöng coá möåt baâi naâo phaãn àöëi laåi yá kiïën cuãa phuå huynh. Töi àùåc biïåt ngaåc nhiïn vò töi biïët chùæc möåt söë em trong lúáp àang coá baån trai, baån gaái. Trong kyâ thi cuöëi kyâ, töi cuäng phaát hiïån ra coá túái möåt phêìn ba hoåc sinh trong lúáp àaä gian lêån, mùåc duâ töi àaä cho pheáp caác em duâng tûâ àiïín trong khi viïët. Rêët nhiïìu em àaä giaã vúâ tra tûâ àiïín qua àiïån thoaåi di àöång cuãa mònh nhûng thûåc chêët caác em àaä taãi nguyïn vùn baâi vùn trïn maång xuöëng

vaâ viïët vaâo baâi thi. "Cho duâ chõ coá daåy hay àïën àêu, sinh viïn vêîn khöng ài hoåc nïëu chõ khöng nghiïm vaâ khöng àiïím danh," möåt àöìng nghiïåp khaác noái vúái töi vaâ chia seã àoá laâ kinh nghiïåm ruát ra tûâ böën nùm giaãng daåy cuãa cö.

Sai Phương Pháp? Liïåu töi coá choån sai phûúng phaáp tiïëp cêån sinh viïn? Coá thûåc sûå rùçng nhûäng sinh viïn nùng àöång vaâ tûå giaác hoåc àoá chó hoåc töët khi töi eáp caác em? Coá thûåc sûå rùçng hoå thñch àûúåc yïu cêìu phaãi laâm gò, hún laâ àûúåc quyïìn quyïët àõnh? Möåt trong nhûäng nhaâ nghiïn cûáu kyâ cûåu vïì quyïìn tûå chuã cuãa ngûúâi hoåc ngön ngûä David Little àûa ra àõnh nghôa quyïìn tûå chuã laâ sûå kïët húåp cuãa "khaã nùng taách biïåt, tûå àaánh giaá phï phaán baãn thên, quyïìn tûå quyïët, vaâ nhûäng hoaåt àöång àöåc lêåp". Philip Candy, möåt nhaâ nghiïn cûáu kyâ cûåu khaác cuäng àaä viïët " phaãi mêët möåt thúâi gian daâi àïí phaát triïín quyïìn tûå chuã, […] viïåc àún thuêìn dúä boã nhûäng raâo caãn trong suy nghô cuãa möåt ngûúâi vaâ caách cû xûã cuãa anh ta chûa chùæc àaä laâm cho anh ta tûâ boã àûúåc nhûäng thoái quen hay tû duy suy nghô cuä." Trong baãn khaão saát cuöëi kyâ cuãa lúáp töi, 25 trong söë 30 baãn traã lúâi cuãa sinh viïn noái rùçng hoå muöën giaáo viïn laâ nhûäng ngûúâi hûúáng dêîn, thay vò laâ nhûäng ngûúâi quaãn lyá vaâ coá quyïìn tuyïåt àöëi trong lúáp hoåc. Nhûng möåt nûãa caác cêu traã lúâi noái hoå thñch giaáo viïn àûa ra nhûäng cêu traã lúâi hoaân chónh hún laâ àûa ra nhûäng gúåi yá, vaâ phêìn lúán sinh viïn noái rùçng hoå khöng tûå quyïët àõnh àûúåc nhûäng gò nïn hoåc, nhûäng gò coá thïí boã qua hay viïåc hoå coá chuêín bõ cêu hoãi trûúác khi lïn lúáp. Trong sên trûúâng phuã àêìy boáng cêy, tûâng nhoám sinh viïn àang say sûa luyïån têåp nhûäng àöång taác hip-hop múái nhêët theo tiïëng nhaåc. Moåi thûá seä thay àöíi nhanh choáng, vaâ caã nhûäng thoái quen, quan niïåm cuãa sinh viïn cuäng vêåy. Vaâ töi seä khöng tûâ boã viïåc tiïëp tuåc thûã nghiïåm vaâ niïìm tin rùçng trong hoåc têåp, coá nhiïìu hún laâ möåt caách hoåc truyïìn thöëng.

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Ho Chi Minh City The Illusionist Dubbed The King of Doves, this magic man has been mystifying audiences with more than just tricks up his sleeves. Words by Robert Stockdill. Photo by Quinn Ryan Mattingly


guyen Khuyen, 68, has been pulling rabbits out of a hat for 53 years. But it’s the diligently trained white doves he’s most renowned for — smart birds that emerge from a welltravelled sleeve or perch in a line on his shoulder upon command. Khuyen is respectfully known in magic circles as The King of Doves, a reference to an act he performed for years where 28 doves would appear on stage at the same time. If you see a local magician on stage in Vietnam, especially one making doves appear and disappear at will, chances are they’ve been trained by the king himself — both birds and performer.

Turning Tricks Khuyen first saw a magic trick performed when he was aged 11. “A herb doctor was performing tricks in the market, trying to attract customers and sell his medicine,” he recalls. Perplexed by how the man was making a dummy lying on the ground get up and dance with bare hands and no apparent strings, he went home to ask his grandfather, a professor at a French school, to explain. From then he was hooked. Khuyen soon learned the sleight of hand necessary for card tricks and his first performance was at an end of school year ceremony when he was just 15. Not long after that he was invited to appear at the Diamond entertainment centre, where the New World hotel stands today. In the 1960s, a fresh-faced young Khuyen travelled to Europe to learn off masters of the art and at the end of that decade he was honoured to be recognised as a professor of magic by the International Brotherhood of Magicians (IBM).

Magical Music On the top floor of his five-storey home hidden away in the back streets of District

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4, Khuyen breeds and trains his famous doves, the only person to do so in Vietnam. When Word visited, he had just shipped 200 to Hanoi, but young doves and recently born chicks are still growing up in rows of cages at his home now, edging closer to their moment under the bright lights on the big stage. He spends two hours a day feeding and training his flock. Khuyen, who has formal accreditation from the authorities as a trainer of magic, still teaches at the Vietnam Circus Arts and Vaudeville Secondary School (Truong trung cap nghe thuat xiec va tap ky Vietnam) in Hanoi, at local schools and at home where he has a complete stage set up for the purpose. “Many magicians in Vietnam are my students, but we really work together as brothers,” he explains. “We support each other and I have introduced many to become members of IBM.” Magic has taken Ho Chi Minh City’s most renowned magician as far afield as France, Germany and Belgium, and later this year he heads to the US for a six-week tour with fellow members of the IBM.

The Family Secret These days, Khuyen is comfortably off, but it wasn’t always that way. “Before 1975, the economy was really hard. I had no money and no equipment because everything we use on stage has to be meticulously made,” he says. “It was very difficult to survive on a meagre income and I nearly gave it up.” Instead, he turned to composing to earn a living, writing traditional Vietnamese music with romantic lyrics under the name Bao Thu. “It wasn’t easy, but I still maintained my passion for magic. When my life became easier and I had the resources, I focused more time on magic, not only for my own pleasure, but for Vietnam’s magicians of the

future,” he explains. “I owe many thanks to the government and my magician brothers for their support and help that maintained my enthusiasm.” Now he hopes he can repay that support by helping all of Vietnam’s magicians to “keep our chins up with the world”. Two years ago he became the inaugural president of the Vietnam Ring 378, this country’s very own magician fellowship. Along the way he found time to raise two daughters and two sons, each of whom have learned tricks since aged four or five. While none chose to follow in their father’s footsteps, they all still help out during his now rare appearances or when he is teaching at home. One daughter hand sews the heavy cloaks with their special secret pockets to house the doves — Khuyen doesn’t trust his magician’s secrets to public tailors.

The Dreamweaver In an age where entertainment seems dominated by special effects conceived in computers, does Khuyen fear for the future of the art of magic? Not at all. “Traditional magic or high tech effects on film are both entertaining, but traditional magic is different,” he explains. “Technology cannot make up for a magician’s skills. It requires special skill with your hands and long, hard training to be a magician. Traditional magic is always attractive and will always surprise an audience.” Khuyen claims to be retired these days, notwithstanding he will soon realise his dream by performing in America. He says he will continue to breed doves and teach his ‘brothers’, but won’t take to the local stage quite so often. Retired? Surely that’s an illusion… For more info about the magician, visit www.

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LEADING A HORSE TO WATER There are few students who would not be excited about the concept of open studying, but as Hoa Le discovers, the reality brings somewhat different results to the idea


ou should try to look older by dressing more formally — the students will be afraid of you. And make your voice deeper — it’ll give you more authority,” advised my colleagues at university. They were giving me pointers on how to improve myself in order to help my students obtain better results. I responded with a big laugh. I didn’t believe in forcing students to study as a means to achieve results, I didn’t believe that it had to be that way. But, after teaching English there for two semesters, events occurred that made me contemplate whether or not there is, in fact, some reason and value behind that advice after all. I came back to Vietnam after seven years of overseas study, and I — like any youngster full of energy and dreams — was very excited to give something back to society. I wanted to apply to my work in Vietnam the things I had learned abroad, so I decided to teach English at the Foreign Trade University, one of the best universities in Vietnam.

An Altered Perspective While studying abroad I learnt to value the independence and autonomy you are afforded with your study. In another words, ‘the ability to take charge of one’s learning’. It was different to the Vietnamese methods I had been accustomed to, where the teachers were the omnipotent manager and controller of the classroom. So back in Vietnam I decided to use a different approach with my students. I wanted to take on the role of ‘facilitator’ and allow the students to be more creative and responsible for their own decisions — particularly in relation to their study. The class in question was a preintermediate English writing class, and the first step was for me to not take a register at the beginning of the class. Student attendance accounts for 10 percent of the students’ grades, and it’s standard practise

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for it to be taken by the teacher in every class. I wanted to allow my students to choose whether or not they were motivated enough to study, regardless of whether there was a register or not, but at the same time, I ensured that my classes were interesting and interactive. While studying, students were encouraged to raise questions and to interrupt me whenever they wanted to. To encourage their creativity and autonomy, I gave them multiple topics to choose from, and I avoided fixed outlines for essay content. To overcome the problems associated with limited vocabulary, I allowed the use of dictionaries during writing tests, but warned students not to copy directly from the Internet. The plan felt perfect, the students were excited and I was feeling confident. But soon enough, I started to see some problems.

No-Show After the first few classes, some students stopped attending, or if they did come, they were not involved in the activities with their classmates. Despite my encouragement, the students were not comfortable in expressing their own opinions in class or in their writing. I gave my students a written assignment, which asked them to consider whether or not it’s ok for college students to have a girlfriend or a boyfriend while they are at school, and if they support parents who are opposed to that idea. To my surprise, not a single one of the 35 essays supported the idea of a student having a boyfriend or a girlfriend whilst being at school. I was particularly surprised because I knew that a number of the students were in fact in relationships. During the final exam I discovered that one third of the class had cheated, even though they had been allowed to use dictionaries during the test. Many pretended to use the dictionaries in their mobile devices but instead pulled the

entire essays from the Internet. “No matter how interesting your lesson is, students still don’t show up to class if you’re not strict and don’t take a register,” said another colleague who had experienced a similar scenario after four years of teaching.

Mistaken Method? So did I choose the wrong approach? Is it really true that these active and motivated students only learn well if I push them hard? Do they actually prefer to be told what to do, rather than make their own decisions? David Little, one of the pioneer researchers on language learners’ autonomy, defined autonomy as a combination of one’s “capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decisionmaking, and independent action”. Another researcher, Philip Candy, also said “it takes a long time to develop, […] simply removing the barriers to a person’s ability to think and behave in certain ways may not allow him or her to break away from old habits or old ways of thinking.” In my post-semester survey of the students of that class, 25 out of 30 responses said that they think the teacher’s role should be that of a facilitator/advisor, rather than an omnipotent controller/manager. But half of them said they don’t like it when teachers drop only a hint, rather than a complete answer, and almost everybody disagreed with the statement saying that they are aware of what should be learned or omitted, or that they should prepare questions to ask in class. Under the shades that are dotted around the sunny little campus of the Foreign Trade University, groups of students are practising their latest hip-hop moves to music. Things change fast and so do students’ perceptions or habits. For now though, I’m not going to give up trying or even believing that in terms of learning, there is another way.

July 2012 Word | 103

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


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



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



104 | Word July 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


July 2012 Word | 105


Photo of the Month

Answers on page 2










17 20






34 38




1. Foldable music holder: 2wds. 2. State in which Thelma Buchholdt was the U.S.’s first female Filipino-American legislator 3. More greasy 4. Not Suited 5. Halloween shouts 6. N.H.L legend Bobby 7. Letters after K 8. Homeland of film director Ang Lee 9. Ginger cookie 10. Baseball hitting stat 11. First Chinese student to graduate from a U.S. university (Yale, 1854): 2wds. 12. “Como ____ usted?” (Spanish greeting) 13. Look for things to buy 18. Suffix with Tokyo or Israel 22. Plan, as a route: 2wds. 25. Hourglass filter 26. Animal in a sty 28. “____ make something of it?” 30. Climbing plant 32. German for “never” 33. TV mogul Tumer 34. Get a laugh out of 35. South American country 36. Price 37. Bro’s sibling 38. One ____ million: 2wds. 39. See 17-Across: 2wds. 40. One of the Countries from which immigrant began to arrive in the U.S. after the Vietnam War 42. Mon’s mate 44. Ruminated naturally 45. Light snacks 46. Burlingame ____ (1986 document that encouraged Chinese immigration to the U.S.) 47. People who save the day 50. “Fuzzy Wuzzy was ____ …”: 2wds. 51. French nobleman 52. Washington’s ____ Locke, first ChineseAmerican governor 53. “A Streetcar Named Desire” director Kazan 55. Skirt edges 56. Poker payment 58. Month, in Mexico 60. “Gimme ____!” (Alabama cheerleader’s repeated cry): 2wds. 61. Suffix with cash, cloth or hotel

23 28 32








42 44

43 48 53



49 54 58


55 59


56 60








ACROSS 1. Louisiana's Joseph ____, first Vietnamese-American congressman 4. Letter-shaped fastening bars: Hyph. 10. Dark deli breads 14. 511, in Roman numerals 15. With 63-Across, 2011-06 U.S. transportation secretary who was the first Asian-American cabinet member 16. U.S. president who signed a law to pay $20,000 to each survivor or W.W.II Japanese internment camps 17. With 39-Down, mid 10th-century event in which many Chinese immigrated to the U.S.'s West Coast 19. Disappear ____ thin air 20. The way things currently stand: 3wds. 21. Typing speed abbr. 23. Space, as between teeth 24. ____ shooting (sport using clay targets) 25. Health resort 27. “Isn’t that baby adorable!” 29. Hearing organ 30. Full of oneself 31. Do like Monet or Rembrandt 34. Getting older

106 | Word July 2012

67. The “S” of G.P.S.: Abbr. DOWN














36. Chung who was the first AsianAmerican to be a nightly news anchor for a major network 37. Freud of psychoanalysis 40. Reclined lazily 41. Hawaii’s Daniel ____, first JapaneseAmerican senator 42. Ziti, penne or rigatoni 43. Sauce for tortilla chips 44. Chimney dirt 45. To the ____ degree 48. Lion’s lair 49. ____ and downs 50. Really love 52 Berlin’s land: Abbr. 54. Korean-American actor Philip who costarred in the TV sense “Kung Fu” 56. One who mistreats others 57. School reunion attendee, for short 59. 2001-09 labor secretary who was the first female Asian-American cabinet member: 2wds. 62. Ascend 63. See 15-Across 64. French for “summer” 65. Slangy affirmatives 66. Person gazing fixedly

Do you ow na photograp h that would look good here? Ema il it to editor@wo rdhanoi. com

by Christian Schenkl

Burning of straw after the rice harvest

{trivia buff} Answers on page 3

1) If you were in an internet chat room and you wrote the letters "IMO" what would you mean?

6) What was Hiram Hackenbacker's nickname in Thunderbirds?

2) In 2006 who was named as the highest paid female in the world of sport?

7) In the music hall song, where did Burlington Bertie come from?

3) What is the nickname of the Oklahoma state in the US? 4) In what year did the Gunpowder Plot take place? 5) The Komodo dragon is native to what country?

8) What is the name of a type of low fat curd cheese? 9) What does the alcoholic drink Kahlua taste of? 10) By what nickname are nightclub security staff commonly known?

11) What is the central wedge shaped stone in an arch called?

16) Who started the KFC fast food chain?

12) What famous soul artist was once the drummer of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes?

17) What metal is the best conductor of electricity?

13) What is the title of the third book in the Lord of the Rings trilogy? 14) What word comes from the Swahili language meaning 'journey'? 15) What was the first suspension bridge in London?

18) What is the birth stone for November? 19) Name the fabulous winged horse of Greek mythology? 20) Who admitted to adultery in a 1995 interview with Jonathan Dimbleby?

July 2012 Word | 107


Word chats to actor and musician, Lam Vissay, one of a growing number of overseas Vietnamese successfully pursuing an on-screen career in Vietnam BEING LAOTIAN-VIETNAMESE BUT BROUGHT UP IN GERMANY MEANS... Being punctual and reliable like the Germans, being brave and courageous like the Vietnamese, and remaining calm, devout and humble like the Laotians!

SPEAKING FIVE LANGUAGES FLUENTLY… Helps when people swear at me!

I STRUGGLE WITH BEING CULTURALLY GERMAN WHEN... I have to wait for someone who turns up late. Punctuality is a kind of respect.

I DECIDED TO GET INTO ACTING BECAUSE... It's a way to express myself and show true, authentic emotions. Through acting you can mirror the world and help fight injustice and misery.

WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT ACTING IS... That by playing different characters I can discover more about whom I am

WHEN THE CITY BELOW GOT NOMINATED AT THE 2010 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL, I FELT... Love and compassion towards the world.

MY ACTING ROLES IN VIETNAM... Are challenging.

VIETNAMESE TELEVISION… Is even more challenging.

WORKING ON HAI PHIA CHAN TROI, THE MOST EXPENSIVE VIETNAMESE TV SHOW EVER MADE, IS... Making me grateful for the trust and the responsibility people put in me.

MY WORST MOMENT AS AN ACTOR… Has been very valuable to me. I have used it as an opportunity to improve as a human being.


108 | Word July 2012

Word Ha Noi July 2012  

The what's on guide to Hanoi and beyond