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Chuyên đề du lịch, ẩm thực Vietnam EDITION

July 2013


Nhà Xuất Bản Lao Động


JUly 2013 THE TALK 008 | The Science of Flow

anoi H 152 | Zone 9

The Shoreditch effect is coming to our backyard

Getting the traffic moving

009 | The Big Five

154 | Like Mother, Like Daughter

Briefings 010 | The Space

158 | Unidentified Floating Objects

015 | The Run

162 | Good Music, Cool Summer

Events to look out for this month

Two generations of artists compare notes

Open Culture World opens

A mysterious object pops up in Hanoi

1,914 steps between you and glory

016 | The Poem


The Virtuous Wife…

Piknic Electronic is changing the city’s picnic scene

164 | The Real Bat Trang

Ho Chi Minh City 082 | The Café Generation

We day trip to a pottery theme park

Take a coffee crawl down District 3’s Tu Xuong

168 | Mystery Diner

0 88 | Flight of the Dragonflies

Bun moc beats the summer heat

Bluebird soars

169 | Street Snacker

The first of a three- parter pulling back the curtain on one of Vietnam’s premiere theatrical troupes

160 National

092 | Vovinam: Power with Purpose

042 The

Making the city’s streets just a little safer

106 | Food Promos

046 The


074 Stargazing

We look past supermoons to see what’s really in our sky

076 Advertising

2 | Word July 2013


Why we will always listen to smart-looking westerners in lab coats

140 | In the Coconut Kingdom

150 | Travel Promos

Summer Lovin’

Our team gets to those hot summer days — on the dunes, at the waterparks and in sandcastle competitions — before they fade away

Countless islands and flexible tacos

144 | Listings

Pastry Championships

Six hotels battle, Cake Boss-style, for the right to rep Vietnam at the 2014 Pastry World Cup

Travel 134 | Okinawa

Coconut monks and tourists, all in the sway of Ben Tre’s greatest export


Master Chuan reaches his healing hands toward Vietnam

094 | Overscene 096 | HCMC City Guide




A Posthumous Death Sometimes Mui Ne isn’t paradise


The Last Call

Former Gunner Freddie Ljungberg is in town to drum up some awayteam support

170 | Overscene 172 | Hanoi City Guide 181 | Hanoi Promos columns 100 | Business Buff 104 | Top Eats 112 | Medical Buff 116 | Body and Temple 118 | The Hobbyist 124 | Top Shelf 130 | Student Eye 180 | The Alchemist 181 | Book Buff 182 | Cinema Buff 183 | The Therapist 186 | Tieng Viet

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

EDITORIAL nick ross Chief Editor MADs monsen Creative Director

Ed Weinberg Deputy Editor

alexandre garel Photo Editor (HCMC)

derek milroy Features Editor

FRANCIS ROUX Staff Photographer (Hanoi)

elisabeth rosen Hanoi Editor

kyle phanroy Staff Photographer (HCMC)

kAREN HEWELL Online Content Manager


mark allan Graphic Designer

Hoa Le Staff Reporter (Hanoi)

loc nguyen Layout Designer

ADMINISTRATION Duong Vy Bao General Director

Le Dang Phuong Trang Chief Accountant

ADVERTISING Duong Thi Thanh Xuan Sales Manager

chau thi huong giang Sales Manager & Office Manager



For advertising enquiries please call Xuan on +84 1227 055122, Giang +84 9346 40668 or Bao on +84 938 609 689 Special thanks to Aaron Joel Santos, Douglas Pyper, Steve Wilson, Anna Nuzhdina, Exotissimo, Seamus Butler, Marc Forster-Pert, Matt Bender, Jacklynn Blanchard, Tess Somerville, Dragonfly Theatre, Shane Dillon, Family Medical Practice, Phil Kelly, Margaret Smith, Tae Jun Park, Humphrey Morgan, Amrita Shetty, Boris Zuliani, Huyen Tran, Nguyen Bao Ngoc, Karen Gay, Truong @ Bookworm, Douglas Holwerda, Rob Marsh, Tal Cohen, The British Consulate and Sofitel Plaza Saigon

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4 | Word July 2013

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: Công Ty CP TM–DV–QC–Truyền Thông Dương Huỳnh 87/21/6 Đường Số 4 Cư Xá Đô Thành, Phường 4, Quận 3, 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. Giấy XNĐKKHXB của Cục XB số: 1579/CBX-QLXB ngày 09/05/2013 Quyết định xuất bản số 208 / QĐCN-LĐ Nhà xuất bản Lao Động cấp ngày 29/05/2013 In xong và nộp lưu chiểu năm 2013.

The prelude


hen we launched Word, we had this innate, unbending belief that we needed to be a city publication, an urban entity attached to the metropolis where we were based. It was a blueprint we utilised in our previous incarnations — we then transferred it to Word Ho Chi Minh City and later, Word Ha Noi. Yet as Vietnam

develops, so does traffic between Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Danang and the rest of the country. Information flow, the movement of people, domestic travel — all have seen the country’s three regions move closer together. No longer is the north separated from the centre, or the centre disconnected from the south. So to cater for these changes we have re-constructed

and re-branded our publication to focus on the whole country. Enter Word Vietnam. Going national is a challenge, even more so as we are retaining much of our local flavour — as you’ll see, this issue covers both city-focused and countrywide topics. It’s a unique combination. In the future we will add Danang to the mix. In the mean time we hope you enjoy

our first offering of Word Vietnam. As ever, we both welcome and appreciate feedback. Email editor@, or catch us on facebook. com/word.vietnam or on Twitter (@ wordvietnam). Tell us what you think. If you like us, let us know. If you don’t, we’re prepared for it.


JULY 2013



THIS MONTH'S COVER Image by DH Advertising Location - Sofitel Saigon Plaza


Do you have any comments that you would like to air? If so, reach out and touch us AT — we’re now at your fingertips.

Mui Mui Spa


n my pre-treatment ignorance, shiatsu sounded more like a sumo-wrestling champion to me than a form of massage. But I was led to believe it was a highly regarded form of massage, and after my treatment I have to agree. The traditional Japanese practice was certainly in the ‘no pain, no gain’ category. Shiatsu is Japanese for ‘finger massage’ and is an alternative treatment using the finger and palm technique. Aimed at reducing stress and anxiety, it has been practiced for 70-odd years, and is apparently also performed on horses. The fingers did the damage and although I did ask for the strong-arm treatment, it was sore. There was certainly no chance of falling asleep during this particular therapy. The owner, Trang, recently expanded her premises and a few doors down the street is Mui Mui 2 — where I received my punishment. It was a tough assignment and although I really felt the benefits afterwards, it was like taking a 90-minute-long beating. Still as I sampled my post-massage green tea, I was so relaxed I could have fallen into a deep sleep there and then. The only problem was the motorbike journey home. I was so caught up in my Zen-like state, that I had to stop my bike a few times. The traffic just refused to appreciated my new-found chill. — De rek Milroy

W here : 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 W hat : Shiatsu Massage P rice : VND460,000 / 90 minutes

Changes Loved the last issue by the way. I'm looking forward to seeing how the new July issue works out! Exciting times! — AA Hope the magazine merge is going well! I'm looking forward to seeing the next issue. — KR

y hi l l bl o rr


Word would like to apologise to Miu Miu for consistently spelling their name wrong in the June issue of Word Ho Chi Minh City (The Treatment, page 94). We have already corrected the error online. Unfortunately, the nature of print means we can't change anything that has already gone on paper. Once again, big apologies.



The French-built, American-restored Dalat Palace Hotel should be part of the nation’s folklore. But the real story behind it involves an American lawyer and the enigma that was Larry Hillblom, one-third owner of logistics company DHL. Words Derek Milroy, photos Alexandre Garel


n 1994, US lawyer Barry Israel arrived in Hanoi to start working with Vietnam’s Ministry of Trade. It was the beginning of a journey that was to bring him in contact with the legacy of Larry Hillblom, the owner of the Dalat Palace Hotel. Part owner of logistics giant, DHL, Hillblom fathered a number of children in Asia Pacific, but refused to acknowledge their existence up until his mysterious death in 1995. Perishing in a fatal plane crash on a flight from Pagan Island to Saipan in the South Pacific, the bodies of the pilot and of a fellow passenger were found. But Hillblom’s body was never recovered. “I was involved in the legal fight and our team broke up the will of Larry Hillblom,” recalls Israel. “When the estate was closed, my client and the foundation that was set up in the will took control of the Vietnam properties. My client owned 30 percent and the foundation owned 70 percent. I was asked to represent Larry’s oldest son because of my ties with Vietnam and my history with Larry, who I had known since 1982.”

He adds: “Larry and I had been adversaries on a number of major deals in the Pacific region… Everyone connected to Larry knew about the kid, and they did things to cut him off. So we spent years fighting that. My client was from Palau, which is in the Pacific Islands, south of Guam. Two other children are from the Philippines, and one other kid is Vietnamese.”

The Will

Hillblom lived in Saipan in the South Pacific. There were eight children claiming descent and Israel and his legal team had to fight the foundation people to “keep them from stealing the money while figuring out how to prove that the kids were real”. Under US law, the family wasn’t required to provide DNA as proof. Yet Israel’s team discovered that the lawyers and the people from the foundation had gone in and cleaned out Hillblom’s house of fingerprints. The sinks had been scrubbed with muriatic acid and toothbrushes, combs, hairbrushes and clothes were found buried in the backyard,

making them useless for DNA testing. “Larry obviously didn’t instruct anyone to do this, but his people did, after he was dead,” continues Israel. “Under US law, if you are a manager of the foundation you are permitted to make a salary that is a percentage. So what Hillblom did in his will was to set the foundation up. He put his brothers in, and the guys who worked for them who then managed the foundation, which would provide them with a very good income.” This meant they had a vested interest in making sure that the whole legacy went to the foundation. Hillblom had already been in an airplane crash before the one that killed him. He lost an eye and his face was completely crushed. So, he went through all sorts of reconstructive surgery. “As a result of that, in 1982, he wrote a will,” says Israel. “His will set up the foundation — the money was to go to medical research. But, under US law, if you have children, you must provide for those children in the will, either saying that they get something, or they don’t get something.

74 | Word June 2013

Xuan Spa W here : Park Hyatt Hotel, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 W hat : Abhyanga Therapy P rice : VND1.89 million / 60 minutes


he Park Hyatt is a pretty impressive property in its own right and still remains top of the pecking order in the Saigon five-star stakes. Unsurprisingly, its in-house wellness centre, Xuan Spa, follows suit and really hits the luxury end of the treatment scale. Even the staff fit the image — dressed in white, together with the beiges and light colours of the décor, there is an otherworldly effervescence to this place, all giving you a sense of walking into something equivalent to heaven, or at least the media’s depiction of it. The larger-than-most-people’sapartments treatment room also adds to the excess, while the Abhyanga treatment had me out for the count. Soothing and more than worth the topend fee, Abhyanga Therapy is an Indian oilbased treatment which uses a range of oils to help eliminate friction and disperse heat evenly throughout the body. If adopted as a daily practice, this massage technique can

94 | Word June 2013

6 | Word July 2013

help rejuvenate the body. It also eliminates toxins from the body and if performed correctly is perfect for anyone trying to de-stress. A real soother, it can help cure insomnia. By the end of my 60 minutes of luxury mixed with pleasure, I was wiped out. And like my shiatsu massage, it took me time to return to the land of the living. Unfortunately, on leaving the spa I had to enter the world of Saigon traffic, bringing my chill time to an abrupt finale. — Derek Milroy

Really good effort again with your Hanoi mag. Some good stories and great photography in there. Shame it's the last one. I hope Word Vietnam manages to be more than just a Saigon magazine with a Hanoi section — MR

June 2013 Word | 75

Shadow Billionaire Thought your June issue was your best yet, although not sure about all that yellow in the cover story. I've heard bits of the Larry Hillblum stuff (page 74, Word Ho Chi Minh City), but never the whole story. A great read. — PJ

Illustration by Melanie Elfert

The talk

Junction redesign and new overpasses are easing traffic congestion in Vietnam

The Science of Flow

ith increasing numbers of vehicles on the road, getting from A to B in Vietnam’s major cities requires striking a balance between two things: tenacity and patience. Traffic jams are commonplace, and during rush hour the flow of traffic can often grind to a halt. Growing congestion is increasing commute time, and without a metro system, commuters have no choice but to take to the roads and wait. Although the country continues to pour cash into infrastructure projects to ease the excess — Hanoi, for instance, increased their allotment for their urban traffic project to US$460 million (VND9.66 trillion) earlier this year — the question remains: how does Vietnam get things flowing? Is the solution to build more roads?

thoroughfares, drivers will follow suit: with new roads comes new vehicles to fill them. You only need to look at the increased traffic over the last 12 months on Mai Chi Tho, the road leading to Thu Thiem Tunnel, to see how a freshly opened route can quickly attract growing numbers of vehicles. So if building more roads doesn’t necessarily ease congestion, what’s to be done about the streets that are already there? The answer lies in the science of speed. For drivers in Vietnam, speed is often made impossible by the obstructions in their path — crossing pedestrians, merging cars and motorbikes, badly kept roads or busy junctions. While constantly applying the brake may be bothersome, the slowing effect may actually be part of the answer, which has been demonstrated by a change of road layout at one major intersection in the UK.


More Options, More Trouble New research from the University of Toronto shows that increasing the number of roads in a major city only expands the demand for more. By studying traffic flow and infrastructure in a selection of American metropolises, researchers found that people drive more when the number of roads increases. So, by spending money on new

8 | Word July 2013

Junctions and Overpasses Located in Poynton in northwest England, the Fountain Place junction overhaul relied on maintaining flow. Designers replaced traffic lights at the intersection with two flat roundabouts, and narrowed entrance roads from two lanes to one. Skeptical town residents soon found that the perceived

‘obstruction’ of the roundabout and the narrower entrances were enough to slow traffic to a steady flow, eliminating the halting effect of signals and keeping traffic moving consistently through the junction. The redesign kept the intersection safer for pedestrians and vehicles, and shifted the assumption that traffic signals were essential to avoid chaos. A similar theory has been increasingly employed in Hanoi. Lights at previous bottleneck junctions — take for example the Daewoo Hotel junction at Kim Ma, Lieu Giai and Nguyen Chi Thanh — have been replaced by a one-way system. The traffic has slowed but importantly, like in Poynton, it keeps moving. Ho Chi Minh City is also heading in a promising direction. By building new overpasses around the city the authorities are easing traffic flow at busy crossroads. They are also separating two and four-wheeled vehicles, thus keeping motorists safer. Only the future will tell if the traffic woes in Vietnam are soon to be a thing of the past. But there is certainly some promise. Who knows, Vietnam may soon be at the forefront of traffic infrastructure, and leaders in harnessing the science of flow. — Karen Hewell

the big five


1. Arsenal vs Vietnam

ormer Arsenal Invincible Freddie Ljungberg was in Ho Chi Minh City last month to promote the Gunners’ clash with the Vietnam national team on Jul. 17 in Hanoi. Having retired from football last year, the Swede was on an Asian marketing trip that took him to Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan to promote Arsenal’s summer tour this month. While Manchester United and Barcelona will be playing in Thailand, Arsenal will be the first Premier League team to play in Vietnam.

At a press conference held at the British Consulate, said Ljungberg: “I hope we can help inspire young Vietnamese kids to aim for greatness. But they need to put in the hard work. There are a lot of factors to make it as a footballer, but putting in the work is the most important.” Arsenal will be playing Vietnam at My Dinh Stadium on Le Duc Tho in Tu Liem, Hanoi on Wednesday Jul. 17. The match kicks off at 7pm. For more information go to And for an interview with Freddie Ljungberg, please turn to page 192

2. Mega Manga Lurking just beneath dreamy smiles, the youth of Vietnam has whole worlds inside their heads. And — under the good stewardship of the Youth Culture House — these worlds will have a chance to make themselves known at the Manga Festival later this month. From anime singing competitions to cosplay tournaments to J-pop dance, there will be a lot for these kids to ponder, as they walk around in a world of their own crazy making. The Manga Festival will take place from Jul. 26 to Jul. 28 at the Youth Culture House, 4A Pham Ngoc Thach, Q1. Entry is VND30,000 the first day, VND45,000 on each of the next two. To register for the competitions, email


Tidal Wave of Japanese New Wave The Onion Cellar continues to pull mind-bending alternate realities into the Vietnamese mainstream with a Japanese progpsych-noise double bill featuring the proghardcore legends Zeni Geva, and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida’s solo project, Ruins Alone. Zeni Geva has been trailblazing the J-noise scene since their first album dropped in 1987, through collaborations

Zeni Geva will play Hanoi Rock City, 27/52 Duong To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, on Jul. 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets are VND100,000 (advance) or VND150,000 on the door. The Ho Chi Minh City gig is at Darts, Darts, Darts, 224A Pasteur, Q3, Jul. 28 at 7.30pm. Tickets TBC.

with noise legends Merzbow, The Boredoms and Acid Mothers Temple, with a “technically unorthodox and demanding style”. Their sound has been described as resembling Motörhead meeting King Crimson. Their name means Money Violence. They’ll be joined by psych rockers COCC and newly-formed Japanese new-wavers Striped Cobra. We’re not sure if Vietnam is ready for this, but we sure hope so.


Sandcastle Competition in Danang The second annual sandcastle competition will take place in Danang on Sunday Jul. 28. With the sculptures expected to take up 1.5km of beach and attract well over 10,000 spectators, the competition will also include a fashion show, music, food and beverage as well as some information booths. Says event organiser Phil Bossley of last year’s tournament: “We were stunned at the level of creativity, the variations in design and the outcome. The judges really struggled to select winners.” For more information on the GoPro Hero Danang Sandcastle email philbozz@ or call 0903 035272. A full feature on the event can be found on page 55


Hoi An Lantern Festival The Central tourist hub has many qualities, but one of its most endearing is its monthly lantern festival, celebrated on the 14th day of each lunar month. In July this falls on the 21st. With music, plays, parties, cultural performances and more, the streets of the town are shut down, motorbikes are banned and lanterns are lit up to great effect. Not to be missed. Just don’t get caught up in the crowds.

July 2013 Word | 9

FESTIVALS Tenjin Festival Osaka, Japan, Jul. 24 to Jul. 25 The festival of the ‘Tenmangu Shrine’, the event honours its principle deity Sugawara Michizane, the deity of scholarship. The idol is invited out of the shrine and paraded through the city, all to a backdrop of flamboyant festivities to entertain him. Traditional costumes, spectacular processions, evening firework displays and a celebratory atmosphere — this is one to be remembered.

Pchum Ben Festival Cambodia, Oct. 3 to Oct. 5 The most important festival in the Khmer religious calendar, respect is paid to deceased relatives and ancestors. Lay people offer food and alms to Buddhist monks in temples as indirect gifts to the dead; rice balls are thrown in the air and rice is sprinkled onto the fields in an attempt to help the spirits. Ubud Writers & Readers Festival Bali, Indonesia, Oct. 11 to Oct. 15 2013 marks a mammoth year for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in Bali, as Southeast Asia’s most renowned literary event gets set to

10 | Word July 2013

Nick Ross

brief ings the gETAWAY

Food for Thought We haven’t scoured the country, but we’ve certainly visited a growing number of the country’s resorts and hotels. When it comes to cuisine, here are five of the best (in no particular order).

1) Square One, Park Hyatt Saigon

The Dock of the Bay


n the other side of the bay is Nha Trang, its nighttime lights illuminating the sea. In front of it is one of two pools, this one an infinity version. A little way off is a saltwater pool, like a lagoon surrounded by sand. And beyond is a beach and tiny bay, with crabs scuttling among the rocks. The resort we are in has just opened and there are few customers to add chatter and laughter to the fan-cooled restaurant at night. It’s a pleasant change from the boisterous experience of Vietnamese summer, when the whole country converges on the beach areas between Mui Ne and Danang. Yet despite the tropical newness, already our resting place has got the cuisine right. It’s not Michelin star, but modelled on cicchetti cuisine — Italianstyle tapas — the Mediterranean-influenced fare mixed with a separate Vietnamese menu is on the money. The hummus is homemade, the gravlax salmon home-pickled with peppercorns and beetroot, and the mi noodles taste like they’re fresh. The seafood has also

celebrate its 10-year anniversary. The Festival comes full circle by returning to its original theme Through Darkness to Light, honouring RA Kartini, Indonesia’s beloved women’s rights pioneer. Vegetarian Festival Phuket, Thailand, Sep. 27 to Oct. 5 An event to celebrate the belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar

been well-chosen and in fact every dish is good. Prices are reasonable, too — a main course goes for around VND230,000 while the smaller dishes hover at the VND140,000 mark. That Amiana, located just 10km north of Nha Trang, has already got much right suggests a good opening. Even the lush greenery demonstrates foresight — normally it takes time to get the flora so lavish. But it all fits a growing trend. You can be in the middle of nowhere and yet you can eat international standard cuisine. Amiana is not finished yet — they’ve got a few months before the spa, fitness centre, dive school, jet-skis and pontoon are in place. But they’ve already got a lot to be proud of, even if there is the occasional hiccup with Wifi, phone coverage or service. They add a welcome dimension to the increasing highrise domination entering Nha Trang. Let’s hope the food remains just as good. — Nick Ross You can find Amiana Resort by clicking on or by just going there month of the Chinese calendar will help obtain good health and peace of mind. But it’s not cuisine. It’s performance, too, with fire walking and body piercings to show the power of the gods, strengthen faith and rid people of bad luck. This travel calendar was provided by Exotissimo. For further information on any of these festivals, email hanoiagency@ or saigonagency@

There is no substitute for quality here at this beautifully designed and well-run Asiancum-contemporaryinternational eatery. Everything is top draw.

2) Jungle Beach Resort, Nha Trang Family-style eating at a communal table, this is hearty Vietnamese fare, with the odd western variation thrown in for fun. Home cooking at its downto-earth best.

3) Ming, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi There are some damn fine Chinese restaurants in Vietnam, and the well-set-up Ming is certainly one of the better options, especially if you like your dim sum

4) 1888, InterContinental Danang Headed by the world-famous Michelin-star chef Michel Roux, it’s got to be good, right?

5) Signature Restaurant, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay As settings go, this one is unbeatable. Climb the stone steps — there are well over a hundred — and eat contemporary top-end fare with a to-die-for view of the bay.

July 2013 Word | 11

brief ings


A Work in Progress

O Saigon Outcast An event space made out of containers? The other place in Vietnam that has gone down that route is Saigon Outcast in Ho Chi Minh City. Located in District 2, it’s a joint with constructions made from bamboo, containers and anything that can be recycled. That Open Culture World is following a similar model is coincidental. Son and his colleagues had never heard of Outcast when it was mentioned to them. Which shows that good minds, no matter how far apart geographically, can think alike.

12 | Word July 2013

pen Culture World is one of those places that will never quite be finished — such is the nature of a space that is 47,000sqm. But only 2km along the dike road from Chuong Duong Bridge and a 10-minute drive from central Hanoi, the potential of this soon-to-be complete event space takes on Herculean proportions. Throughout Vietnam’s growing abundance of cities, there is a paucity of centrally located venues to stage events. From live music to theatre through to cultural celebrations, exhibitions and the hosting of international DJs, it’s a scarcity that complicates the already complex life of the dedicated promoter. In Ho Chi Minh City there are a couple of downtown, all-seated theatres, as well as Hard Rock Café and Q4. Besides that the options for 200 people-plus venues are paltry. Hanoi is equally deficient, with only the American Club fulfilling the needs of the downtown populous. Which all adds to the promise of Open Culture World, a space which will host offices, a bar, a farm, a swimming pool, living quarters for tourists and the real key — large-scale events.

Repurposed Once known as Lam Du Lake — the nine metre-deep body of water was filled up with construction debris over a decade ago — the land was subsequently set aside as a parking space for cars, trucks and coaches. But

Lost in translation

it was never used and was largely abandoned. So when the present owners took over just a few months ago, the snake and porcupine-occupied grasses were so high it took almost four weeks to clear. The space’s designercum-landscape gardener-cum-man-with-the-idea, Cung Duc Duy (Son), claims that there is “no big concept”. Instead they are just trying to “make the land alive”. But there are a number of restrictions. Due to the nature of the land itself, it’s almost impossible to do permanent construction. So, everything has been built from brick, bamboo, wood and converted transport containers. It was an idea that developed from Son’s previous incarnation — a mobile nightclub. “I live in the Old Quarter,” he explains. “There are not enough places for entertainment there. This is particularly difficult because everywhere has to close at 12pm. “So I had an idea. Let’s make a mobile bar or nightclub. We can place some containers somewhere outside of Hanoi, transport them there by truck, and then fix them together to make a bar. So, from that idea I decided to build a guest house and work on this space just outside of Hanoi where people can come and relax.” He adds: “I want to make it a place for people to get a job or to live. I am also trying to build up this place to get people to come and relax. It’s a place for meeting, relaxing and being creative. It’s something new for society.” — Nick Ross Open Culture World isn’t officially open yet, but you’re more than welcome to pop along, have a look, soak up the atmosphere at the café or take a look around the office space. The space is located at To 1, Lam Du, Phuong Bo De, Long Bien, Hanoi on the road to Bat Trang Village. It is next to the football pitch, San Bong Tu Dinh, just 2km from Chuong Duong Bridge

July 2013 Word | 13

brief ings

The Dude

the DJ


laying both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City this month is the DJ with probably the raddest name and most psychedelic set on the planet. Meet Jerome Doudet, aka The Dude of Stratosphear

In your own words, how would you describe the music you play? Vintage, groovy, exotic, strange..? I don’t think those words are enough to describe what my sound could suggest to an audience. They’re only words. Music speaks for itself.

The Dude will be playing at Sound Adventures, La Fenetre Soleil, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 on Friday Jul. 5. Entrance is VND100,000. He will then head up to Hanoi to play at CAMA ATK (73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung) on Saturday Jul. 6. Entrance is VND50,000 and doors open at 8.30pm. For further information or to hear his music go to djthedude or facebook. com/TheDudeGeneva

What does ‘psychedelic’ actually mean? Google it! Seriously, let’s say psychedelic music is related to the mind-altering experiences of drugs like LSD (which was discovered in Switzerland).

You’ve been playing a lot at the Isan Dancehall parties in Bangkok. How has this influenced the kind of tunes you play? How does your music fit in with the music played by the Zudrangma DJs? I’m a huge fan of molam and luk thung since I discovered the Paradise Bangkok radio show and met Maft Sai four or five years ago. I am good friends now with many Zudrangma DJs [the label run by Maft Sai], and I believe our friendship is mainly due to our common musical tastes. So it hasn’t changed much of my set. Maybe I throw in a few more of mid or slow-tempo tunes if the place is really hot.

The floor started to shake like an earthquake. They had to stop the band and ask the people to stay quiet.

You’ve shared the stage with some wellGrowing up with a DJ father must have known acts. What was your best moment? been an unusual experience. What My best moment could have been the worst memories do you have? when 1,200 people jumped together at a Run DMC show in a big concert hall in Geneva.

My first mix was at four years old and records of all styles were everywhere. And I

mean everywhere!

What should the crowds in Vietnam expect from your set? I’ll do my best to rock the dance floor! My selection has no boundaries except that the music is predominantly ‘vintage’. So mainstream music lovers should stay home.

Japandroids play SGN


anadian garagerock duo Japandroids are sweeping across the world and spreading their infectious good-time rock. Landing in Ho Chi Minh City Aug. 21 as part of the Loud Minority series, they will soon be bringing their overdriven sound and scorching stage presence to Q4. The British Columbian boys have the

14 | Word July 2013

quintessential rock-bottom to Top of the Pops story. After years of failing to burst onto the Canadian scene, and facing self-determined disbandment, the Japandroids final few online offerings exploded and garnered them international success. From there they went on to release their 2009 debut album Post-Nothing. No more than four years after believing

dismemberment was their best option, Japandroids’ latest album Celebation Rock has earned impressive critical acclaim from the most important music outlets in the US — the Paste Magazine song of the year in the single The House That Heaven Built, MTV’s album of the year, Spin Magazine band of the year and Rolling Stone culture blog Pop Life’s album of the year.

The pedigree these BC rockers have cultivated is enough to make any aspiring rock band salivate. Japandroids have taken over the North American rock scene, and this first tour of Asia signals a shift in their attentions. Although unsure about their future endeavours, their ever-expanding popularity is sure to have them filling stadiums around the world in the coming years. But more

importantly for local diehard rock fans, a band of this calibre coming to Ho Chi Minh City might be the start of a new trend — of successful international bands stopping in Vietnam rather than just flying over it. — Seamus Butler Japandroids play

Aug. 21, 7pm, at Q4, 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Ho Chi Minh City. Tickets are VND300,000 in advance and VND350,000 at the door, VND150,000 for students. Support is provided by Bangkok indie rockers The Standards and Saigonbased White Noiz

brief ings the RUN


Going Vertical

magine climbing 1,914 steps. Not the easiest of tasks. Now imagine doing it in a race format and competing against 500 people to be the fastest to the top. This is the vertical run, and on Sunday Sep. 15 it returns to Vietnam for its third outing, its second in the capital. The run, which kicked off in Vietnam in 2011 at the Bitexco Financial Tower in Ho Chi Minh City, takes place at the top of the nation’s highest building, Landmark 72. Though a relatively new sport, it has garnered serious enthusiasts who point to the fact that walking uphill, compared to the same exercise on flat ground, consumes up to 10 times more calories. Such is its increasing popularity that there are athletes plying a global professional circuit. While these enthusiasts train all-year-round just to be the first to reach the top of the world’s tallest buildings, there are many others who just do it for fun. The vertical run is an event for everyone.

Bumps and Bruises “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," explains David Shin, director of event organisers Sporting Republic. “As the event is being held in Vietnam’s tallest building, it will naturally attract significant attention overseas.” So how does it work? Runners start off in groups of 10 to 15 at five-minute intervals to avoid bumps and bruises on the way to the top. Each participant is equipped with an electronic timing chip that tracks his or her progress up the stairs and at the end provides the precise time the participant crosses the finish line. Most will take about 20 to 30 minutes, although elite competitors can do it in 10. If you are fit enough or bold enough, register online for just US$20 (VND420,000). For more information, check out hanoirun. com. — Derek Milroy


espite not having an office in Vietnam, Google is still intent on spreading its virtual tentacles here. And in this instance it’s the inaugural Vietnam Google in Education Summit, which will take place on the weekend of Sep. 14 and Sep. 15. Focusing on Google apps and education technology (EdTech), the summit will descend on Hanoi’s Concordia International School with the aim of developing an understanding in places of education and businesses on how Google apps such as Drive, Docs and Sites can help store files, make communication easier and build shared workspaces to manage projects. The focus will be to deliver knowledge for attendees to take away and utilise in their schools or offices. Google’s software has numerous advantages. In particular, everything is stored in that ether in the sky, known as the cloud, thus decreasing the need for servers and increasing security. It also means that documents can be accessed at any time or in any location, and by more than one person, making collaboration easier in an educational or business environment. Many schools are already using Google apps, but have yet to integrate them fully into their system. By showing the industry how to implement the software as well as demonstrating its advantages, the hope is that institutions in Vietnam will switch to Google, like Concordia and other schools around the world have already done.

The Gift Horse For some the summit, part of a global tour of Google EdTech events, is another of the

online monolith’s moves toward world domination. But David Elliot, Director of Technology at Concordia, believes the opposite — that Google is making life easier for schools. “Google wants to be an overlay of application suites that you can get from any computer,” he explains. The key is that much of the software is free. Daniel Noyes, Director of Technology at Lilla Gee Frederick Pilot Middle School, Dorchester, Massachusetts, was able to implement his school’s plans cost effectively. “Being free, it drew us in. But what’s wonderful about it is it does everything that some of these expensive tools do. It’s a fullon communication tool that any business could use.” Elliot agrees: “Microsoft wants you to pay a certain amount per year for the licenses of the software. But Google is definitely on the upswing, especially in the educational space.” The tour was a success in 2012 and some of the delegates from last year will be hosting sessions in 2013, accompanied by experts from Google. Participants will also be able to network with forward thinking members of the industry at specialised events as well as try out Google’s Chromebook at the aptly named ‘Chromebooks playground’ — a dedicated classroom where experts will be on hand to demonstrate the hardware. — Marc Forster-Pert Tickets for the summit cost US$300 (VND6.3 million) for the weekend (includes refreshments, buffet lunch and evening events). For more information and registration, click on vietnam. or email communications@

The Conference

Summit The Apps Here’s four apps that can help bring education into the 21st century. All are free.





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July 2013 Word | 15

brief ings the VIRUS

Fighting the Fever

The Poem

The Virtuous Wife… Doesn’t make her husband do the cooking Doesn’t make her husband do the washing Doesn’t make her husband mop the floor Doesn’t make her husband look after the children But she only needs to give him a sidelong glance… And he does whatever she wants.

Người Vợ Hiền… Không bắt chồng nấu cơm Không bắt chồng giặt đồ Không bắt chồng lau nhà Không bắt chồng trông con Mà chỉ cần liếc mắt là chồng … phải làm.

Eradicating SARS In early 2003, doctors and nurses clustered around the bed of Nguyen Thi Men as she emerged from a nine-day coma, urging her to stay alive. What she did not yet know was that the hospital staff and

16 | Word July 2013


nyone who’s spent time in Vietnam might have either contracted dengue or know someone else who has. Such is the virulence of the epidemic, that between 1998 and 2010 over a million cases were reported. Endemic throughout the southern region and central coast, and in large population centres in the north such as Hanoi, dengue fever is ranked by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the biggest mosquito-borne viral disease in the world — and the most rapidly spreading — with a 30-fold increase in global incidence over the past 50 years. However, thanks to the work of professor Scott O’Neill, an Australian medical entomologist who is currently conducting research on the biology of Wolbachia, a bacteria that occurs naturally in 70 percent of insect species, dengue could finally be eradicated. Lead scientist on the Eliminate Dengue research programme, O’Neill is working with colleagues both in Vietnam and from overseas to develop a natural approach to control the spread of dengue. “We have shown that the presence of Wolbachia within the dengue-carrying mosquito — Aedes aegypti — acts like a

family and friends had gathered to view an apparent miracle. She was the only survivor from among the six most critically ill patients infected with SARS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, when it broke out in the Hanoi French Hospital two months earlier. Her survival became a symbol for Vietnam, which on Apr. 28, 2003 was declared by the WHO to be the first nation to contain and eliminate the virus. The country earned that distinction by going 20 straight days without a new case after

‘vaccine’ for the mosquito and reduces its ability to pass the dengue virus to people,” he explains. “Our challenge is to introduce Wolbachia into wild mosquito populations in dengue transmission areas.”

In Practice Such an introduction is presently taking place on Tri Nguyen Island, close to Nha Trang. Home to over 3,250 residents, 95 percent of whom have signed up for the field trial, in April the first Wolbachia mosquitoes were introduced to the island. This has been followed up by weekly releases of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes containing the strongest dengue-blocking Wolbachia strain, wMelPop. “Our goal,” says O’Neill, “is to see if we can introduce and establish Wolbachia in the wild Aedes aegypti populations on Tri Nguyen Island, and to see how well it will spread. If Wolbachia spreads successfully and invades the wild mosquito population, we would move to a much larger field trial at a different site, which would also look at the impact Wolbachia Aedes aegypti would have on disease suppression.” Eradicating dengue fever may yet be a distant goal, but if the present field trials are successful, it might just become a reality.

recording 63 infections, including the six critical cases. Five people had died. The country’s success was, according to Aileen Plant, who led the fight against SARS in Vietnam for the WHO, “oldfashioned infectious disease containment”. Vietnam simply stopped “infected people from infecting other people”. After a meeting with members of WHO, the authorities formed a task force, information gathering was centralized and virtually the whole government was mobilized to deal with the

infection and its consequences. The disease had entered the country through just one infected person, an American who brought it with him from China. A 48-year-old businessman, Johnny Chen arrived in Hanoi in late February after a stay at the Metropole Hotel in Hong Kong, where many of the early cases were contracted. The case made international headlines and the authorities quickly moved to confine the outbreak to the hospital. Chen was later evacuated to Hong Kong where he died. — Derek Milroy

brief ings


Separated by a Common Language


nglish speakers like to talk about what’s across the pond, or the Atlantic in layman’s terms. But in Vietnam it’s all about what’s across the Hai Van Pass, that landmass separating Hue and Danang. Well, it’s not so distinct, but there’s certainly a substantial change in the lingo created by the mountain divide. So here’s a mini-guide to Saigonese for Hanoians and, erm, Vietnamese for Saigonese. You know how it goes, the language is only truly ‘chuan’ in the capital.

Mum’s the Word Where better to start than with that most basic and vital of words — ‘Mum’. And yes, it’s completely different — mẹ in the north and má down south. This is the tip of the tongue-berg. Some places in the north use the word u to describe their mothers, or sometimes mợ. And then in the Mekong Delta you often hear the word vú, meaning breasts. It’s all a bit of a muddle, really, and so much for women’s rights. Fortunately, the nation’s mothers are not the only ones burdened by phương ngữ, or words specific to a particular region. In


city-mate L’usine and Hanoi’s Chula as one of Vietnam’s first concept stores — one which sells design sensibilities and attitude as much as clothing. Its high ceilings and raw material walls will soon surround men’s and women’s clothing from high fashion designers from all over the world, highlighted by superstars like former All Saints designer Bolongaro Trevor from the UK and Filipino designer Gian Romano, as well as local talents like the Vietnamese design firm Kaarem. Out back there’s a coliseum arch-andglass art gallery, looking out on a palatial swimming

W ords



W atch O ut F or South

lợn heo pig dứa thơm pineapple kính kiếng glass mũ nón hat

Say it with Soy But the real tongue-curdler for every Thong, Duc and Ha out there has to be when it comes to food. Fortunately, while the spices, broth and condiments may vary from region to region, Vietnam’s national dish phở bò is the same everywhere. Just don’t get into the spring rolls conundrum. Down south they’re chả giò while up north it’s nem rán that you need to order. They taste different, too. And while dipping it into a nước mắm-based sauce may be standard wherever you go, don’t muck things up and order it with soy.



đĩa dĩa plate thìa

muỗng spoon

muộn trễ


nghìn ngàn thousand For a full list, do a Wikipedia search for “Phương ngữ tiếng Việt”

the Trend

McGinley-inspired pool parties. Creative director Quincy Teofisto had this to say — “hey man… gimme your email, I'll send you the marketing kit.” Okay. Their stated mission is a riff on

photo / image

dĩa nĩa fork

High Concept

pool and, hopefully by the end of the year, a café. Guests at the high-end hostel planned for the upper floors of the villa will be encouraged to have some very good looking, Ryan


quả trái fruit

‘Think global, act local’ — they’re trying to break local designers internationally by helping them to more effectively stake out their home markets, acting “as a bridge for

interaction with designers in the Asian market”. And, as unlikely as it sounds, they “are retaliating and rejecting all the ideals of commercial bombardment, we know it is a complicated irony — but we will still do it”. Or, in the less overwrought words of product manager Honey Nguyen, “Bringing up young designers, that’s what Blackmarket is all about. That and encouraging the positive movement — all while rebelling a little bit.” — Ed Weinberg Blackmarket No.3 is at 267/2 Dien Bien Phu, Q3, Ho Chi Minh City or click on facebook. com/blackmarketno3

July 2013 Word | 17

Photo by Francis Xavier

f you look at the Blackmarket No.3 Facebook page started last month, most of the posts to this point are of design elements — a sticker here, a beautiful dead branch in a reclaimed wood display case there, a casual-style girl with a fringe and sunglasses drinking a Saigon Red in front of an exposed brick wall. Some of the stickers say, “The content in this bag is not illegal.” The web slingers in their virtual stable refer to a stickered-up wall with the verb form, “Blackmarketed”. Opening this month in Ho Chi Minh City, this Singaporeoriginating boutique is looking to join its

Hanoi you have the fabulous ngõ and ngách to describe alleyways big and small, while in Saigon the word for both is a hẻm. Roads, too, have a different nomenclature. Phố up north and đường down south. So, to all those mums out there, you’re in good company. Weights also are part of the regional confusion. In Central Vietnam they measure in lô, while Hanoi uses cân or kilogram and the south is obsessed by its ký. And if you fancy watching a bit of soccer — football to us Anglophones out there — then in the North and Centre you’ll be taking in the đá bóng, while down south it’s the đá banh.

Nước tương just doesn’t exist in Hanoi. So, if you do want to get some of that salty black condiment to sprinkle over your food, make sure you order xì dầu. Which just proves that to truly be a global Vietnamese citizen, global at least in local terms, and to be able to cross that Hai Van Pass-created pond, then you need to know your mothers from your spring rolls, and your alleyways from your dipping sauce. Failure to differentiate could lead to linguistic disaster. — Nick Ross

Ho Chi minh city what s on

Algerian Weekend In conjunction with AJ Wine, North African restaurant Bahdja is running a weekend of Algerian cuisine mixed with dishes from further afield on Jul. 5 and Jul. 6. Paired with three wines - a white, a rose and a red - and served up with an open bar throughout the evening, this is an opportunity to taste with the best of all things Algerian, with a touch of Russian-influenced fare thrown in for fun. Costing VND1,050,000 per person, bookings need to be made early as seating is limited. Bahdja is at 87-91 Ho Tung Mau, Q1. Tel: 01227 631261

Charity Gala Pays Dividends Welcoming over 250 high profile guests at the end of March, Air France's first Charity Gala raised a massive VND1.35 billion for good causes. Thanks to the support of cash and in-kind sponsors, the French national carrier split the total raised equally between five charities: Consular Club HCMC, Mai Nha Children Foundation, the AFV or Association of Frenchspeaking community in Vietnam, Hy Vong 1 school for the deaf-and-dumb and the Hieu Ve Trai Tim Foundation. Each organisation received a cheque for VND270 million at the end of June.

Who Wants to Get Stoned?

Etch a Sketch When he’s not wreck diving, taking photos, setting up Six Senses’ bar menus or mixologising, Richie Fawcett takes quiet, meditative breaks to sketch out the city’s atmosphere. Over his two years in Vietnam, he’s taken enough time on this pursuit to generate the 60 sketches that will adorn the walls of Au Parc from Jul. 11. All works are for sale, with a 20 percent donation of sales going to the Saigon Children’s Charity for disadvantaged children living in southern Vietnam. The exhibition will run for one month. Richie Fawcett’s debut summer exhibition opens on Jul. 11 at 7pm, Au Parc, 23 Han Thuyen, Q1, and runs through August

Everyone’s a DIY Indie Electro Sleazy Punk Dance Kid Invading the normally classy Broma with their special blend of grindhouse dance, DJs Starchild and Superkid will be getting their Electric Kicks on Jul. 19, on the recurring Everyone’s a DJ dance party tip. It might be time again to party your ass off, it just might be. Broma is at 41 Nguyen Hue, Q1. The party goes from 9pm to late, and entry is VND50,000

18 | Word July 2013

After a rainout threatened to soak all the paper in the house, Saigon Outcast’s Rock Paper Scissors Tournament is getting a doover on Jul. 7. And people have been busy studying stratagems and strategies — such as wearing a scissor-themed dress, and throwing rock! It’s a good thing they have, as losers have to spin around three times after an embarrassing loss, or take shots of chilli vodka or lime juice. And of course, winners can compete for the ultimate prize — a cool VND1 million and massive respect. The SGOC Rock Paper Scissors Tournament will be held at Saigon Outcast, 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, on Jul. 7; registration is at 3pm, games start at 4pm. Tournament entry is VND20,000. There can be only one

Swans v. Warriors Swans are usually beautiful, delicate creatures, but the ones from Vietnam have been known to swear, spit and occasionally rampage across converted cricket pitches with Aussie Rules balls. And this Jul. 20, they’re gonna toss rugby balls past the much more fear-inspiring Warriors of Malaysia. If you can’t get enough of their violent ways, feel free to travel back to their RMIT University playing field Saturdays from 2pm to 4pm for an open practice. The Vietnam Swans are also in a bit of a recruitment drive. So, if you want to play some AFL in the confines of Vietnam, email

i can hear The Heart Beating as One Club Darts, Darts, Darts’ underground electronic dance party Heart Beat is back making hearts beat faster this Jul. 13, with disc droppers Silvio Marquardt and Albee driving the tempo faster and smooth jazzists Olaf Zeumann Ensemble ready to settle it all down. As Darts usually only turns into a werewolf around midnight, the after-party at Last Call will be held the night before on Jul. 12. Heartbeat starts at 9pm on Jul. 13 at Darts, Darts, Darts, 224A Pasteur, Q3. The “after-beforeparty” will be on Jul. 12 at Last Call, 59 Dong Du, Q1

Ho Chi minh city what s on

Donate for a Date Through cooperation with Operation Smile Vietnam, students and volunteers have devised a plan to help Vietnam smile. By donating to win a date with a special celebrity, do-gooders will help children in Vietnam to receive life-changing facial reconstruction surgery on lip defects, like cleft lips and palates. Help your love life and help those in need this month by getting frisky with Donate for a Date. Visit the project’s website at

BloodSugar Politik Friday Fix Saigon’s resident DJs Starchild, Nic Ford, Pe Dro, Doru and Hugh G can be seen on any number of stages in town — but they still manage to make some time for their bros. That time is Friday Jul. 5, and those feeling the spirit of brotherly love can head to Darts, Darts, Darts to absorb some of the good times, and maybe a falafel. Friday Fix is on Jul. 5 at Darts, Darts, Darts, 224A Pasteur, Q3

Sandrine Llouquet Exhibition Galerie Quynh presents Chapter 1: Where I attempt to drown the dragon — French artist Sandrine Llouquet’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. Alchemy, transformation, discovery and rebirth are recurrent themes in the show represented through highly symbolic images and metaphors. The ambitious exhibition is divided into two parts: nigredo (blackness) and albedo (whiteness), in reference to the first two of the four major stages of the Magnum Opus in alchemy. The show opened at the end of June but will run until Jul. 31. Gallerie Quynh is at 65 De Tham, Q1 and is open from 10am to 6pm, Tuesday to Saturday. For more information email or call 0838 368019

20 | Word July 2013

SGOC + deciBel = Castaway Carnival On the heels of the legendary Castaway New Year’s Eve boat cruise, where that one crazy girl jumped overboard into the Saigon River and some of the sickest beats on the seven seas were felt, Saigon Outcast and deciBel are once again teaming up to give the

people what they want. And that is, of course, a carnival-themed costume party. The carnival will be sprinkled with magic and exotic dancers, and an aesthetic somewhere between Bohemian and burlesque. There will be some kicking funk, trap and drum ‘n bass. There might be blood. But however this magic promise of a night turns out, at least your feather boa won’t go to waste. The Castaway Carnival is an all night thing set for Jul. 20, location and price TBD, tickets limited to 500. Check the latest at SaigonOucast

One of the headliners of the most recent ASEAN Music Festival in Hanoi, BloodSugar Politik is making a second trip to Vietnam from “the Iceland of the Middle East”, Myanmar. Sporting a Burmese blend of rock, punk, ska and folk, they’ll take the stage at Cargo Bar on Jul. 12 and Jul. 13, providing a high energy set “threatened by sweetness”. And this all makes sense because “politic is diabetic!” and they “are the antidotes”. BloodSugar Politik plays Cargo at 7 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Jul. 12 and Jul. 13. For more info, check cargosaigon

Party in the Sky Alto Heli Bar invites party-goers to enjoy their night at the top of Ho Chi Minh City on Fridays, with the introduction of Platinum Nights. Enjoy platinum Johnny Walker whiskey while elevating your sense of adventure with bar-top dancers and fiery entertainment, plus two international DJs to keep the bar dancing. Take advantage of special deals on Johnny Walker platinum whiskey, sofa seating and VIP rooms from VND7.8 million. Free welcome drinks are available to those who arrive before 10pm. Alto Heli Bar is located on the 52nd floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower at 1 Ho Tung Mau, Q1. Reserve VIP tables by contacting Ms Hieu at 0902 372364 or Daniel at 0907 502951

From Zero to Hero

ZeroStation, the District 3 notfor-profit arts space, is holding a seven-day photography workshop with Singaporean photographer and writer Zhuang Wubin, an explorer of the cultures and histories of the Chinese communities of Southeast Asia, and an editorial board member of Trans-Asia Photography Review. The workshop is geared towards serious hobbyists and professionals who want to develop their own projects, from conception right through to presentation. On the final day,

Jul. 20, ZeroStation will host a public slideshow presentation of the workshopped photo projects, to go along with some of their famous hospitality. ZeroStation is at 288 Nam Ky Koi Nghia, Q3. The workshop runs from Jul. 14 to Jul. 20, with a public slideshow presentation Jul. 20 at 7pm, followed by dinner and drinks. The fee is VND4.2 million for internationals, VND2.1 million for Vietnamese passport holders. For more info, email or go to

July 2013 Word | 21

Ho Chi minh city Just In

Rendezvous in the City

Photo by Alexandre Garel

Ho Chi Minh City welcomes a brand new wine bistro, Le Rendez-vous de Saigon. The bistro promises a warm and friendly atmosphere to wind down after a day of work with a stylish downstairs bar, or lounge on cosy leather seating in the upstairs section with a balcony to enjoy the fresh air. The intimate venue offers a tasty selection of wines from France to South Africa, and a delectable menu of French cuisine. Le Rendez-vous de Saigon is located at 9/A Ngo Van Nam, Q1. Contact the bistro by calling 0862 910396

If There’s One Thing This City Needs… …it’s more French restaurants. No, seriously! In a city with a crowded French dining scene, it only takes one visit to L’Essentiel to notice a difference between it and every other French restaurant in town. And another visit the following Thursday will confirm your suspicions, as the menu takes on a different array of starters and mains, informed by a Continental practicality in regards to freshness and spontaneous whimsy. Located in a refurbished colonial house downtown, Chef Vanessa’s 14 years of cooking skill gained in France have a chance to shine over two floors and a VND225,000 set lunch. L’Essentiel has only been open for four months, but it’s already becoming — how do you say? — essential. L’Essential is at 98 Ho Tung Mau, Q1

22 | Word July 2013

Bavarian Beer Garden Located amid repurposed land sites on the river end of Ngo Van Nam, the light wood panelling and tables, plastic grass and white and azure-checked cushions of Bavarian Beer Garden make it stand out from the construction close by. Boasting an open-air grill kitchen and bar maids dressed as Oktoberfest-style German beer girls, the focus here is not surprisingly on imported German beer, with Tiger on tap for anyone preferring to go more local. With Paulaner, Hacker-Pschoor and Salvator Bavarian beers on the menu, the bubbles are complemented by a German-influenced grill menu. So if you like your Bavarian sausage salad, Wiener schnitzel together with grilled clams, squid and pork skewers, you’ll be well catered for. Bavarian Beer Garden is at 4B Ngo Van Nam, Q1, or online at

100% Quality Although Thao Dien has its share of healthy choices, there’s been nothing as uncompromising as this newly opened grocery store, dedicated to safe, natural, local and traceable foods. Their stock list runs one or two items per row before connecting to a reputable source, like the panga fish from the Mekong Delta, or chocolate and bread from Bistro 9 in Vung Tau, all with one thing in common — sourcing and manufacture in Vietnam, in accordance with export quality standards of the EU and FDA. Certificates are available for inspection, and orders will soon be possible online. Walking into the main street store, it’s all clean lines and fresh foods, with loft-high ceilings framing artful wooden tables and shelves, and a small upstairs dining area. When you know what you’re putting in your body, everything just seems a bit cleaner. 100% is at 26B Thao Dien, Q2, or Tel: (08) 3519 4030

Treat your family and partners with one of the most superior dish Braised Shark’s Fin Soup, also known as “Buddha Jump Over The Wall” which boasts Shang Palace excellent cuisine.

cucumber especially combined with the unique cooking manners of our chefs, making it special like no others in Saigon. Promotional Code: 020901.

Mention this code at Shang Palace to get 10% discount on our F&B services. Conditions apply. Valid until: July 31, 2013 Shang Palace Chinese Restaurant 1st Floor , 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong St., Dist. 1, HCMC, Vietnam Tel: (84 8) 3823 2221 - (84 8) 3822 6111 Ext: 164 Fax: (84 8) 3822 6116 Email: Website:

July 2013 Word | 23

Ho Chi minh city Just In

Slow Train Coming People go to Dalat to escape their weekday lives, the crazy momentum that life in a more modern city forces on them. And it’s a pleasant surprise to most that Dalat sometimes goes in the opposite direction, digging up more of its rich past, as is the case with the soon-toopen Dalat Train Villa. With a beautifully restored two-storey French colonial villa from 1935 available for short or long stays sitting next to a 1910 French club car — renovated into a bar/café/ restaurant — the Dalat Train Villa will return us to a place in the indefinite, perfect past. The Dalat Train Villa will have its grand opening on Jul. 20. For more info, click on or stop by 1 Quang Trung, Villa #3 next time you’re in Dalat Photo by Alexandre Garel

Photos by Francis Xavier

BMV It hasn’t recently opened, but an extensive facelift has given An Phu’s BMV bar a new look. Located on Quoc Huong in District 2, this barebrick watering hole with a leafy outdoor terrace provides an additional drinking option to the Thao Dien area of town. With San Miguel and Red Rock on tap, the bar also stocks a range of imported beers including HB weiss beer, Bear beer, as well as some hard-to-find brews and stouts from Northern Europe. A pool table, dartboards, sofa seating, a stage for live music and that great, canopy-roofed garden area bring additional interest. All making BMV a great place to escape and avoid the pressures of life in the ‘burbs. BMV is at 38 Quoc Huong, Q2

24 | Word July 2013

Subway in RMIT The American sub chain has now opened its fourth outlet, this time at RMIT University (702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7) in the nether regions of Phu My Hung. Selling the same selection of subs and fillings that it has become well-known for around the world, the new store comes complete with a VND39,000 deal for a Subway ham sandwich. Not to be sniffed at.

Snug as a Pig in a Rug

Photo by Francis Xavier

The answer to everyone’s favourite Sunday morning question — “Where’s the bacon?” — is about to be answered by Saigon’s first bacon bar, The Hungry Pig. Beleaguered by the lack of bacon options in town, pork belly entrepreneur Christian Taylor is opening up his grub-n-pub on Jul. 28 — within smelling distance of the soon to be hungover drinkers on Bui Vien. The Hungry Pig is at 144 Cong Quynh, Q1, starting Jul. 28. To keep up with the opening festivities, check thehungrypigcafe

Squash is Back On Those who love squash — the game, not the food — will be happy to hear that Landmark Health Club’s squash court is back open. The grand re-opening comes after a month-long renovation that is the court’s first since its inauguration in 1994, stripping down original plasterwork to replace with brand new flooring. Get back to the game this summer! If you like the food but not the game, I don’t know what to tell you. Landmark Health Club is located at 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1. Get information online at


July 2013

Rock Paper Scissors Tournament


july 7 — saigon outcast

he jokey taunts have been circulating (“all mouth and no scissors”), but when rock comes to roll the RPS professionals of Saigon know there’s a lot of paper at stake. To win the VND1 million prize at the end of the pattywhack machine, serious shape throwers better get ready to cut down a lot of pretenders.

01 monday 02 tuesday 03 wednesday


s Myanmar fissures towards freer expression, bands like BloodSugar Politik emerge from the confusion to tell us that it will be alright. Fresh off their performance at the ASEAN Festival, they’re a band to listen to. And, from the sound of their frenetic mix of rock, punk, ska, folk and Burmese rock, it will also be quite a jam.

BloodSugar Politik

july 12 — cargo bar

08 Monday Stars ‘n Stripes buffet. Daily from Jul. 4 to 14 @ Hotel Equatorial scrabble showdown ii. 8pm @ Geisha Café

09 Tuesday 10 Wednesday Last day of Cargo Exhibition. @ deciBel

04 thursday

11 Thursday Art Inspired exhibition. 7pm @ Au Parc. See What’s On

12 Friday independence day in the us, BBQs out here

05friday platinum nights. Every Fri. @ Alto Heli Bar, Bitexco Financial Tower. See What’s On Friday fix. 9pm @ Darts, Darts, Darts. See What’s On

06 saturday saturday 06

bloodsugar politik live. From Jul. 12 to Jul. 13 @ Cargo Bar. See What’s On French Theme Night. 6pm every Fri. in July @ Saigon Café, Sheraton Saigon

13 Saturday Heart Beat. 9pm @ Darts, Darts, Darts. See What’s On The Beats Saigon presents SPIKEY TEE. 9pm @ Vasco’s @djtomoko n Ucca-Laugh. 10pm @ Cargo Bar bass republic 3rd anniversary. 9pm @ Lush

14 14 Sunday Sunday

07 sunday barcamp saigon — the biggest unconference in town. @ RMIT University SGOC Rock Paper Scissors Tournament. 3pm @ Saigon Outcast

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zerostation photography workshop. From Jul. 14 to 20 @ ZeroStation. See What’s On bastille day

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

Castaway Carnival


july 20 — secret/tbd

he crazy dreamers at Saigon Outcast and deciBel are teaming up again to provide some carnivalesque thrills in fancy dress setting — with some funk and deep electro bass lines rumbling in the background. Keep it rockin’ steady through all the “magic” and “erotic dancers” that are promised, there are sure to be some more surprises in store.

15 Monday

Manga Festival


hat do you get when you mix anime singing tournaments, amateur J-pop dancing competitions, cosplay costume contests and a whole city of youth keen on the stranger Japanese traditions? We don’t know — we really, really don’t know. july 26 — youth culture house

22 Monday 23 Tuesday

16 Tuesday

24 Wednesday

17 Wednesday

25 Thursday 26 Friday

Winter Garden exhibition. From Jul. 6 to 21 @ Ho Chi Minh City Labor Culture Palace

4th manga festival. From Jul. 26 to 28 @ The Youth Culture House. See Big 5 THE GRAND – HO TRAM STRIP OPENING

18 Thursday

27 Saturday

19 Friday

past perspective art exhibition. From Jul. 26 to 27 @ Cargo Bar MAD FYAH!!! 9pm @ Cargo Bar

Riedel Glass Tasting. 5pm @ Bacchus Corner. Call 0838 293306 for reservations electric kicks. 9pm @ Broma. See What’s On

28 28 Sunday sunday

20 Saturday swans vs warriors. See What’s On Sgoc — decibel castaway carnival. See What’s On zero station photography workshop public slideshow. See What’s On

21 Sunday Sunday 21

ZENI GEVA + RUINS ALONE + COCC + STRIPED COBRA. 7.30pm @ Darts, Darts, Darts. See Big 5

29 monday 30 tuesday 31 wednesday

battle of the year vietnam. A global hip hop competition (

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what s on

Get your Skanking Shoes On It is that time again. Skank the Tank Reggae Soundsystem, which provides the finest reggae selections from the early 1960s to the future dub sounds of tomorrow, is back at CAMA ATK. So put your skanking shoes on and come join the party people — it’s free. Skank the Tank Reggae Soundsystem returns to CAMA ATK, 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, on Friday Jul. 26

Folk Me Folk You for Charity With summer in full swing, the first Folk Me Folk You festival is here thanks to Hanoi Social Club and Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam. With a cracking line-up spread over two floors covering the wider folk gene, including Jordan Senior, Rabbit Hole, The Nerys Joseph Band, Dung Thuy and Chi and Christophe, it promises to be a good one and all in a good cause. There are art workshops and activities throughout the day and even raffles, for VND150,000 or VND100,000 for students at the door. All entry and raffle proceeds will assist Humanitarian Services for Vietnam (HSCV) programmes in Vietnam including its all-girl home in Hanoi which provides refuge to girls who have been living within an abusive, or potentially abusive, environment. Folk Me Folk You at Hanoi Social Club, 6 Ngo Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem is on Saturday Jul. 6 from 3pm to 8pm. For additional information about HSCV visit or

it’s Gunner Happen Football fans are happy that the last-minute hiccups have been sorted out in time for English Premiership team Arsenal to take the stage at My Dinh National Stadium to take on Vietnam’s national team. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has vowed to bring a first-team squad for the big game. Vietnam v. Arsenal will kick off on Jul. 17 at 7pm at My Dinh National Stadium, Le Duc Tho, Tu Liem. Ticket prices TBC

Capital in Season Hoang Manh Cuong and Nguyen Xuan Chinh may be a generation apart but they both see their home city of Hanoi and its seasons through the same eyes. The photographers’ passion for the capital and its French influence is for all to see at Sofitel Plaza Hanoi in the exhibition Season’s Pass as Cuong and Chinh get inside every little nook and cranny of the city, from small street corners to rows of trees on the sidewalk or an old French house beaming its beauty among the skyscrapers. In the process they trace the seasons and the way they change the look and feel of the Hanoi. The exhibition, featuring 25 photographs, is on display at the lobby level of Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. Check out Season’s Pass before Aug. 31 at Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh

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Reinventing Tradition Mercurial Nguyen Thuy Dung has tried her hand at reworking Ca Tru. Considered one of Vietnam’s finest musical art forms and registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Vietnam by UNESCO, Ca Tru is about to get torn up and stuck back together again by one of its brightest young stars.

Dung doesn’t mind reinventing tradition. Since graduating from the Hanoi Conservatory of Music in 2012, she’s taken her Dan Tranh to places it’s never been before. From electronic chillouts with Vu Nhat Tan, to pounding Mali rhythms, to an indie collaboration with the Guillemots, to astral adventures with Tone Ripples and even experimental improvised electronica with Luong Hue Trinh, Dung has done almost everything she can to drag Vietnamese music into the 21st Century. How she reinvents Ca Tru promises to be interesting. Catch Dung in action on Wednesday Jul. 17 at CAMA ATK, 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung

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what s on

Peel Yourself to Onion Cellar Japanese prog-hardcore / noise rock legend Zeni Geva, featuring KK Null (guitar, voice and Kaoss-pad) and Tatsuya Yoshida (drums and Kaoss-pad) who also performs a special prog-influenced solo set as Ruins Alone (where he drums and sings at the same time), are in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City 24 hours apart. Presented by the Onion Cellar, the opening show will take place at Hanoi Rock City (27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho) and will be opened by Vietnamese alternative rockers Augustory (fresh from their adventure at Battle of the Bands Vietnam 2013), and Gentle Ohm — a new hard-hitting project

from local noise enthusiast Josh Kopecek. In Ho Chi Minh City, Zeni Geva and Ruins Alone will be joined by psych rock trio COCC on one of their rare outings, as well as the newly-formed Japanese new-wave group Striped Cobra. The Hanoi Rock City gig is on Saturday Jul. 27 at 7.30pm. Tickets (presale and holders of valid Vietnamese student IDs) are VND100,000 or VND150,000 on the door. The Ho Chi Minh City gig is at Darts, Darts, Darts, 224A Pasteur, Q3, Sunday Jul. 28 at 7.30pm. Tickets TBC. For more information go to or email

Kids This Summer Looking for fun, safe activities for your children to participate in during the summer? Why not sign them up for a weeklong programmed designed to keep them active and content through the holidays. Karen Gay, certified physical education teacher, will safely lead kids in a variety of activities that promote physical activity, creativity and self-esteem. Go to for more information and registration for the programme which goes through Aug. 9, or email

Important Artist in Town As the result of a collaboration with Ho Chi Minh City-based Galerie Quynh, Hanoi Grapevine and the Prince Claus Fund, one of the nation’s most important young artists Nguyen Manh Hung brings his solo exhibition to Hanoi. Hung is known for his paintings depicting military fighter jet aircraft and lately has presented a selection of new sculptural installations. Nguyen Manh Hung’s solo exhibition will be at Manzi, 14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh from Jul. 6 to Jul. 28

Slam in the Tea Room Hanoi Slam! promises to be the next best thing for wordsmiths. The Red River Tea Room will present its debut, with all proceeds heading to the Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam. Story Slams are a combination of storytelling, stand-up and performance in a competition-style format that is a big hit in the US and Europe. Participants must tell a themed story, without notes, in less than six minutes. An eclectic panel of judges and volunteers will pick a winner, with some fantastic prizes promised. The first theme, fittingly, will be First Impressions. Even for those telling stories, the night promises to be entertaining and compelling. Tickets are priced at VND100,000 on the door including a draft beer or soda, with storytellers getting entrance on the house. Contact Hanoi Slam at hanoistoryslam@gmail. com, or check out for more information. Red River Tea Room is at 5 Duong Ven Ho Tay, Tay Ho

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Clone Empire is the Real Deal Hanoi Rock City introduces electronic trio Clone Empire, fresh from a packedhouse debut at Madake. Promising to present the dark side of technology with a blend of dub, drum-and-bass, electro and traditional music from around the world, this should be a night to remember. There is also live art from Hanoi’s Gypsy Doodle Collective, a selection of VJs and DJs as well as other surprises on the night. Clone Empire will play at Hanoi Rock City, 27/52 Duong To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho on Saturday Jul. 13

- 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:

July 2013 Word | 31

hanoi Photos by Nick Ross

Photos by Nick Ross

Just In

Mas for Module 7 Following her successful launch in May, Masooma Kachelo’s fun, easy to wear dresses, jumpsuits, pants and tops are still flying off the racks at contemporary home decor store Module 7. The brand, named Mas for Module 7, features this Hanoi-based designer’s love for intricate Pakistan inspired details on cotton jerseys and pure linen. In rich jewel tones adorned with handembroidered embellishments, no two designs in Masooma’s collection are identical. You can see the collection at Module 7 on 83 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho or by going to their Facebook page — fashion

The Rebirth of Daluva After a short hiatus, a newly refurbished Daluva has reopened at its old playground on To Ngoc Van. The work of chef Shahar Lubin, Daluva 2.0 has ditched the reds and maroons of yesteryear in favour of olive green, ocean blue, windswept white, barebrick walls and a more open use of the space with a range of seating arrangements. Designed to be both “singular” and “unique”, the concept even runs to the menu. Says Shahar, “Every menu has a completely different look. I’m also changing it weekly and with the seasons. The idea is to keep it fun.”

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Added to this is a range of unusual cocktails made with hard-to-find spirits, and in an attempt to appeal to the international community, the background music is in a range of languages — anything from Italian and Vietnamese, to Morrocan, Turkish, Greek and even English. From this month Daluva will open for lunch and dinner. And from August they will include breakfast in the offering. Expect a food menu of weekly changing small plates, taking in the gamut of Mediterranean cuisine, merged with touches of Mexico and Vietnam. Daluva is at 33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 0437 185831

Khu Chin Located at number 9, Tran Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem is a former pharmaceuticals factory converted into an arts space. Housing the new Tadioto together with arts space Workroom 4, Learning Project Asia, Bar Betta, a café, a bia hoi, a carwash and the offices, homes and studios of a range of architects, designers and artists, the opening of this area replicates the conversion of former industrial spaces into both living and working areas that has been such a feature of the last 20 years in the west. For more information on Khu Chin (Zone 9), please see our feature article on page 152

July 2013 Word | 33

hanoi Just In

Photo by Nick Ross

New Children’s Book A new children’s book in the Amara Para series, Global Friendship, has been launched in a celebration of Vietnamese culture and language. A collection of five books that are an A-Z guide to different countries around the world, says the author H Aitoro, “the aim of the book is to teach children about different countries, people, music, flags and introduce them to different languages from the different countries in the book.” Focusing on Minh and Kim, the two Vietnamese characters in the Global Friendship series, the collection of five illustrated books are “a great introduction for both children and parents to learn about places that they would not normally read about in popular English children’s books or on English-speaking children’s programmes.” Global Friendship can be purchased through

iFeel Cafe

Photo by Nick Ross

When people think of establishments with to-die-for views over the lake, they tend to think of Avalon Cafe or even Illy on the opposite side. But the recently opened fifthfloor iFeel Cafe is equally worthy of such consideration, if not more so. The space itself mixes outdoor terrace — the brown wicker-style lounge chairs are topped with pinstripe orange, red and cream cushions — with an indoor area constructed of greys, the same pinstripe and

34 | Word July 2013

a contemporary mix of dulled yet tasteful colours that give this space a real sense of comfort. And comfort is what iFeel is really all about. This is the perfect resting place to lounge for a few hours, take in the views, try the cocktails or go for the mixed western and Vietnamese cuisine menu. The music is deliberately low-key, too, all adding to the atmosphere. iFeel is on Floor 5, 63 Cau Go, Hoan Kiem

Kebab Haus 1.2.3 A Vietnamese version of a German version of the hearty kebab? All with a menu that “is made of beef”? That is the offering that you will find at the second outlet of this new kebab chain, which has set up in Xuan Dieu bang next door to L’s Place. With a menu made up of the standard triangular and over-bready kebab that you find on the streets of the capital, Kebab Haus has gone one step further, introducing the Turkish durum wrap (from VND50,000 with beef) as well as doner plates with noodles, rice, salad and a dish called the lahmacun, which is minced beef with fries and all of the above. The joint is already proving popular, just a shame that they shut up shop at 11pm. 49 Au Co, Tay Ho. Tel: 6273 6665 or 6258 1635 for delivery. Click on for further information

New Sports Bar in Hanoi PUKU café (16-18 Tong Duy Tan) has launched its new sports bar concept. The upstairs area is now home to Puku Sports complete with giant TV screens, an outdoor BBQ area and a state-of-the-art sound system to bring you all the latest international sporting events. So whatever your passion — football, rugby, NBA, AFL, golf, tennis — Puku Sports aims to have it all. To receive the bar’s weekly TV sports calendar, email or check their updates on Facebook

May de Ville The hotel chain has opened its second city-centre property on the edge of the Old Quarter at 57 Pham Hong Thai, Ba Dinh. Close to Nguyen Truong To and Hang Than, the three-star boutique offering is within easy reach of all Hanoi’s major historic sites and features 57 superbly appointed rooms in three categories — superior, deluxe and executive suite. Blending oriental and western décor, the elegant rooms feature the full range of modcons including that most necessary of necessities, Wifi and ADSL throughout the whole property. For further information call 0439 279999

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July 2013

The Triplets of Belleville


July 5 — l'espace

hat do you do when your grandson goes missing while racing a mountainous leg of the Tour de France? Why, take his dog and three elderly jazz singers and look for him of course! As hilarious as the premise of Sylvain Chomet’s first feature is, it’s the rich details and charmingly surreal touches that make this Academy Award nominee a perennial charmer.


The DJing, MCing and singing of Spikey Tee have taken him around the world many times over, between gigs doing frontman duty for Jah Wobble’s post-PiL group Invaders of the Heart, as an early pioneer on the nascent, reggae-tinged UK hip hop scene, touring New Zealand and producing a Playstation game based on the reggae sound clash battles he participated in in his youth. He’s a party professional, pure and simple.

dj spikey tee

July 12 — cama atk

01 monday

08 Monday

Seasons Pass By photo exhibition. Until the end of August @ Sofitel Plaza Hanoi. See What’s On

Autopsy of Days photo exhibition. Until Jul. 21 @ Goethe Institut

02 tuesday Fusion night. 6pm @ Pots 'n Pans

03 wednesday Yayoi Kusama exhibition. 9am to 6pm until Jul. 28 @ Japan Foundation Center

09 Tuesday 10 Wednesday Bao Cap Bowls exhibition. Until the end of Jul. @ Bookworm Too Goldfrapp night. @ FatCat Bar

11 Thursday

04 thursday Mark Sultan & Jordan Senior. @ CAMA ATK Italy Concert Tour. @ Hanoi Opera House

05friday Screening of cartoon Les Triplettes de Belleville. 8pm @ L'Espace

Tables exhibition on tableware design. @ L'Espace

06 saturday

12 Friday

The Dude of Stratosphear. @ CAMA ATK Folk Me Folk You. 3pm to 8pm @ Hanoi Social Club. See What’s On Opening of Nguyen Manh Hung exhibition. Until Jul. 28 @ Manzi. See What’s On

07 sunday UK DJ Spikey Tee. @ CAMA ATK Flamenco Night with Lang Du. Every Fri. 9pm to 10.30pm @ Star Club (87 Lang Ha, Dong Da inside the National Cinema Centre)

13 Saturday Technopolis. 8pm @ Hanoi Rock City

14 Sunday Piknic Electronik. Every Sunday from 4pm @ Softwater

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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

Vietnam v. Arsenal

july 17 — my dinh stadium


s a football club with one of the world’s largest fan bases, it’s surprising and exhilarating that Arsenal will make their first appearance in Vietnam to show our local legends a thing or three, and our local enthusiasts a thing times infinite. Footie fans will also thrill at the claimed 4,800sqm of stadium walls which had to be painted in preparation for this game, requiring a rather unorthodox match fee.

15 Monday happy hour. 4pm to 7pm, Mon. to Sun. Buy 1 get 1 @ Bluebird

16 Tuesday Hanoi Pub Quizzers R&R Quiz. 9.30pm @ R&R Tavern (256 Nghi Tam St, Tay Ho)

17 Wednesday


eni Geva — ‘money violence’ in translation — might be little known on these shores, but in the Japanese noise rock establishment their influence has been massive. Active since 1987, they’ve collaborated with and influenced the likes of Merzbow, The Boredoms and Acid Mothers Temple with their psych-prog-punk stylings. There’s a reason they’re said to be the love-children of Motörhead and King Crimson — because they’re awesome.

Zeni Geva

July 27 — hanoi rock city

22 Monday 23 Tuesday 24 Wednesday Hanoi Slam! Storytelling, performance and stand-up night @ Red River Tea Rooms. See What’s On

25 Thursday Thirsty Thursdays. @ Press Club

26 Friday Skank the Tank. Reggae Soundsystem @ CAMA ATK. See What’s On Contemporary Ca Tru. @ CAMA ATK. See What’s On Vietnam v. Arsenal. 7pm @ My Dinh Stadium. See Big 5

27 Saturday Saturday 27

18 Thursday Deeptouched. International deep house night every Thu. @ FatCat Bar

19 Friday

Onion Cellar presents Zeni Geva, Ruins Alone, Augustory and Gentle Ohm. 7.30pm @ Hanoi Rock City. See Big 5

28 Sunday Final day of Nguyen Manh Hung exhibition. @ Manzi Final day of Yayoi Kusama exhibition. @ Japan Foundation Center

29 monday Screening of La Princesse de Montpensier. 8pm @ L'Espace

30 tuesday

20 Saturday

Fusion Night. 6pm @ Pots ‘n Pans

21 Sunday

31 wednesday U2 night. 9pm @ FatCat Bar

Last day of Autopsy of Days photo exhibition. @ Goethe Institut

July 2013 Word | 37

in the papers The Best of the VietnameSe Press



Grand-Ho Tram Strip to Open This Month Ho Tram Project Company (HTP), an affiliate of Asian Coast Development (Canada) Ltd. (ACDL), announced that its first resort in Ho Tram Strip in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province will open to the public on Jul. 26 and operate under the name The Grand-Ho Tram Strip. The first part of the first phase of The Grand-Ho Tram Strip includes 541 five-star rooms, gaming facilities, meeting and convention space, ten bars and restaurants, a spa, children’s areas, three swimming pools and luxury retail shops. The property was to have operated under another international brand and operator. However, with the dissolution of that management contract, the owners will instead manage the property themselves, with 2,000 staff recruited and trained under the direction of MGM Resorts International. The Bluffs, a golf course designed by Greg Norman, is also under construction as part of the Ho Tram Strip. It is scheduled to open officially in early 2014.

Baby Benz Arrives in Vietnam

Free Wifi for Tourists The authorities are encouraging the mostvisited cities and provinces in Vietnam to launch a free wireless broadband program to attract more tourists, especially international visitors. At a nationwide web conference, Nhan said the tourist attractions of Ha Long and Nha Trang had started offering free Wifi, following in the footsteps of Hoi An and the coastal city of Danang. The central province of Quang Nam started free Wifi service in Hoi An in March at a cost of some VND25 billion, funded by various sources. After that, Danang began a similar scheme with 150 Wifi hotspots set up citywide.

One car which has already rocked up to this country via Mercedes-Benz Vietnam is the compact car A-Class, imported from Germany, which is the first luxury compact introduced by Mercedes-Benz to tap the potential segment in the country. The launch of the new car line is aimed at attracting a wider range of customers in Vietnam, targeting successful young people, given the rising trend in compact vehicle consumption in big cities. A-Class is not simply a car, but a companion, a statement of style and a milestone of success, according to the manufacturer. It is nicknamed Baby Benz. A lower coefficient drag helps the car save energy during operation, especially when accelerating and running at high speed. The new car comes with two versions, A200 and A250 Sport AMG, which are priced at VND1.264 billion and VND1.623 billion (VAT included) respectively.

Roll-Royce is Coming In case your worried about the disturbing lack of luxury cars on the streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Rolls-Royce sedans will be officially available in Vietnam starting next year, the CEO of the luxury car manufacturer says. “I’m confident in saying we will open an agency in Vietnam next year,” Rolls-Royce Motor Cars general director Torsten Muller-Otvos says. Based at the Goodwood plant in West Sussex, England, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is a wholly owned subsidiary of German automaker BMW. Last year, Rolls-Royce celebrated a third consecutive record year as 3,575 cars were delivered to customers across the world, marking the highest annual sales in the 109-year history of the brand. More Roll-Royce sedans have been imported to Vietnam in recent years. Some 80 vehicles of the two luxury sedan megabrands Rolls Royce and Maybach have arrived in the country, according to figures authorized importers released last year.

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Two Vietnamese Beaches in World’s Top 100 US-based Cable News Network (CNN) has named beaches in Vietnam’s Hoi An Town and Phu Quoc Island among the 100 best in the world. The announcement was issued based on opinions collected from its “most well-travelled friends, colleagues and cohorts” and readers, CNN said, without releasing any information on the number of people surveyed. Hoi An’s An Bang Beach was ranked 86th while Phu Quoc’s Bai Dai (Long Beach) stands at 93rd. CNN said An Bang has gentle waves and soft white sand. The beach is situated about three kilometres east of the centre of Hoi An and has a nearly four-kilometre coastline. It said Bai Dai, which has a 15km coastline, reminds some of Thailand’s beaches during the late 1980s, with local families offering motorcycles for rent for US$5 (VND105,000) per day and bungalows for $20 (VND420,000) a night. It is located in northwest Phu Quoc, which CNN said has fast become Vietnam’s best known island destination. Seychelles’ ‘archetypal’ Grande Anse Beach topped the list, followed by Italy’s Rabbit Beach. Completing the top five were Grace Bay (Turks and Caicos Islands), Anse Source d’Argent (Seychelles) and Anse de Grande Saline (Saint Barthélemy).

Authorities Fail to Find Solution for Tourism Fraud Tourism and relevant authorities held a web conference to find ways to protect tourists from illegal soliciting and fraud, but they failed to come up with a radical solution. In cities and provinces such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Hai Phong, Binh Thuan, Thanh Hoa, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Quang Nam and Danang, tourist safety is still at stake. Multiple cases of tourists being overcharged, deceived or coerced into paying for a service they don’t want have been reported extensively. Ho Chi Minh City alone has received 255 requests from diplomatic missions seeking effective coping measures. If the situation is not adequately addressed, they might consider issuing a travel advisory against the city. Therefore, the municipal government has taken drastic measures to repress tourist scams, such as strengthening the tourist security force and establishing a hotline for tourists. “Positive changes were seen at first, but the situation has almost got back to where it was,” said La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism. It is hard to completely solve this problem due to the absence of heavy sanctions. “Offenders are fined a mere VND150,000 and after being punished, they can move from one area to another to keep doing business, making controls almost impossible,” says another official based in Hanoi working in the industry.

July 2013 Word | 39


Photo by Mads Monsen

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“It is all about finding the key to a door. It is a door that has been locked with all the problems inside. The moment you find the right key, you open the door and you release whatever is not supposed to be there�

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The Gift Master Chuan was born for a purpose. That purpose is helping people via the powers at his disposal, be it energy work, self-help, hypnotherapy, psychic healing powers or even neuro-linguistic programming. Derek Milroy went under the Singaporean’s spell. Photos by Alexandre Garel

July 2013 Word | 43


f someone is sick they can take medicine. But what if the problem is deeper? What alternative is there to your local doctor as you search for answers? Enter Master Chuan, who believes he is that alternative. Equipped with an array of gifts, he can help heal a particular client’s woes, whether they’re emotional, mental, physical or even spiritual. Sometimes, says Chuan, sickness is an inner problem. Often there are signals that the sickness is trying to tell us what is wrong. Yet people are naturally suspicious about modern-day prophets claiming they have the power to help. Fortunately the Singaporean doesn’t promise gold at the end of a rainbow — but through his quiet determination he has ‘touched’ over 10,000 peoples’ lives. As a keen student he learnt the basics of energy and the power of self-help. Chuan studied Mahamudra, a Tibetan energy and meditation work. From there he picked up reiki and human electric energy. He has brought this knowledge to his life work. “The most important thing about my job is to see that what you do matters and it changes someone’s life,” Chuan says. “I feel I have a responsibility to help people with my words and things that I do. Maybe even a word I say. Many years later clients come back and thank me for touching their lives. I

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am not saying I want the credit; I don’t feel good for myself but for them.”

Consultation The past decade has seen Chuan hone his skills — now he can achieve in 10 minutes what used to take him an hour. He is at the height of his breathwork healing powers, explaining how his breathing technique can help to attract his clients onto a different, more enlightening path. “I have the confidence to do this,” he says. “If you interviewed me five years ago I would not have been as bold. I have studied so hard to reach this place. Breathing is a form of channeling the energy, a life force energy which gets stronger and stronger. The beautiful thing is that after I treat or heal someone I don’t feel tired. Before I did because I didn’t feel strong enough but now I have that power. If anything my energy levels are higher than before and I feel I have more energy.” He asks if there is anything he can help me with. When I tell him about my chronic sinusitis, he smiles, this is somewhere he has gone before. He explains that at some point in our lives we don’t want to take in whatever we can of the world outside. There is a level of resistance. That is why we don’t breathe smoothly — the respiratory system reacts to

this. Emotionally it will trigger symptoms related to your nose. He uses his powers for 10 minutes on my nose area and explains that there is a lot of disturbance here, but for his treatment to be a success he may have to look deeper into my psyche. The problem may not be treatable with medicine alone. “Until you take away the root, the problem will come back,” he explains. “If you have recurring problems you need to solve the emotional issue. Neuro-linguistic programming can help you overwhelm the bad experience, relax it, dissolve it or let go of it. “It is all about finding the key to a door. It is a door that has been locked with all the problems inside. The moment you find the right key, you open the door and you release whatever is not supposed to be there.” He gives an example. A friend went to see a psychiatrist for an anxiety attack and took medicine — she still suffered from anxiety. She just wanted to find out what was wrong and had nowhere to turn to. She contacted Chuan. He talked her through some mental imagery and guided her on how to cleanse negative thoughts and negative energy. In just two weeks she was back to normal. He explains his energy work on people can be successful for a short period, but the

Getting in character


aster Chuan also tries to help people find their energy levels by using their birth date and the time they were born to determine and help control their destiny. Here is my character analysis: Name: Derek Milroy Born: Scotland Date of birth: 24 / 11 / 1972 Time of birth: 1.15pm


problem will come back. “The route it takes is through our thinking,” he adds. His Vietnamese partner Hong Phuong Lan is an NLP expert and hypnotherapist. NLP creators claim there is a connection between the neurological processes (neuro), language (linguistic) and behavioural patterns learned through experience (programming). These can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. Chuan and Lan claim that together they are able to change people’s thinking in a short period of time. Healing emotionally, mentally and physically are the three main things to work on. Chuan gives a parable to illustrate how we can change our lives and let go. There are two monks trying to cross the river. There is a lady who also wants to cross but the bridge is flooded. She asks the monks, ‘Can you carry me over?’ Monk A says ‘no problem’ and carries her over the water with Monk B following behind. He feels very uncomfortable — as a monk you are not supposed to touch a woman. Later in the evening Monk B says, ‘I don’t understand — we are not supposed to touch women. How come you carried the woman across the river, you made a scene of yourself and broke the rules?’ Monk A says, ‘Who, the woman I carried this morning? Why are you still carrying her now?’

ou are eloquent; you can speak well and can explain things well. You are a person who is good in terms of picking up new knowledge, a person who can see things very easily. You see things once or twice and learn them easily. You always have ideas on how to make money. The only problem is that you are not focused enough. You need to find ways to focus. It is better for you to work with people who can push you now, to motivate you. If someone pushes you it helps you do it quicker and better. Emotion-wise you are quite strong; you are very passionate. In your mind you always feel you are the one who gives more emotionally. You are sentimental and you take care of your friends, buy drinks for them and take care of them. You love to have friends around you, guests in the house, parties. You enjoy this kind of company. From your chart I can see you are in the luck cycle. You are very strong in terms of career, you are in command and you are in a position to make a very hard decision. You have this kind of authority like a surgeon has a life or death decision with a patient. Your life is going through that hard decision phase. It is better for you to improve yourself in a developing country rather than a developed country. This phase from ages 36 to 46 is better for you to be in developing countries as you can extend your ability much more. You can break the rules when you want to. Not breaking as such but stretching the rules. You

are the type of person who doesn’t want to follow convention but wants to do something different. For example you go to a house and the door is locked, you say, ‘Okay, let’s look for a window.’ Your mind is now geared to solving problems quickly, this is the point your career will go to the next level and get better and better. You will reach a point in the future where you will gain a lot of respect and reputation but the problem you tend to have is your friends. Friends hold you back emotionally. By 46 onwards you will start to associate with friends who are close to you which may pull you back from doing what you really want to do. You will have a tough decision then, so be very careful. I feel you should look at something in a tropical country or tropical place, and it has to with fire, weapons, plastics, chemicals, oil, petrol, coal — things that are combustible. Writing is fine for you but something to do with fire is best for you. Fire is the element that will balance you. If you can use colours like red, orange and purple, these are good colours for you. They can help you. Use them when you are sleeping, it increases your exposure to that colour. If you cannot wear it outside, wear it inside. By coming to a tropical country your life has changed compared to living in Scotland because of the weather. Your body reacts to the temperature and when you come to a hot, tropical country, you will feel your body will have a reaction. You are not as gloomy and not as affected by emotions. The more south you move from the country you were born is good; the more tropical you move is good for you. If you come to stay in Hanoi it is not good for you, Ho Chi Minh City is much better for you. Malaysia or Indonesia may be the next places for you to think about. Conclusion: Chuan’s analysis is accurate. It is not going to rule my thoughts or decisions, but I don’t think it can hurt to find an alternative helping hand to a doctor and western medicine.

Workshops & Seminars Master Chuan’s Vietnam schedule is as follows:

H anoi

Jul. 24 — Applied U-Energy in Our Daily Life Seminar Jul. 27 — U-Energy and Healing workshop.

H o C hi M inh C ity

Jul. 30 — Applied U-Energy in Our Daily Life seminar Aug. 3 — U-Energy and Healing workshop

For further information email or check out Hong Phuong Lan can be reached on 0903 121215

July 2013 Word | 45

Food & Drink

The Vietnamese Pastry Championships Armed only with an empty stomach, cavity-prone teeth and a fork, Ed Weinberg gets a plate on the frontlines of the pastry wars. Photos Francis Xavier


here’s a Pacific Pastry Academy. And that’s where we are. It’s a state-of-the-art office park type of complex, fronted by an immaculate lawn and hybrid SUV, sided by the type of crumbling factories Ba Ria is better known for. The academy is one of the teaching arms of Dobla, a Dutch multinational that sells six million tonnes of chocolate annually, spreading the gospel of pastry along with their export. Everywhere fantastic-looking moulded chocolate pastry ornaments line white shelves and tables which — together with the wheels of restaurant carts, stainless steel chair legs and black nonslip soles — are the only things touching the polished concrete floor. The Pacific Pastry Academy is the setting for the 4th edition of the Vietnam Classic Pastry Cup, a competition held once every two years to decide Vietnam’s entrant to the World Cup of Pastry — the Mondial Des Arts Sucres in Paris. This year’s competition

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pits six man-woman teams of Vietnamese nationality from the country’s top hotels against each other over two June days, competing in four categories: chocolate bonbons, petit fours, small cakes and one massive sculpted sugar centerpiece that leaves me feeling like I’m at a very decadent Bar Mitzvah. The teams are a who’s who of Vietnamese five-star hotels: Sheraton Hanoi, Sofitel Metropole Hanoi, Hyatt Regency Danang, Sheraton Nha Trang, Intercontinental Asiana Saigon and The Caravelle. It’s Jun. 13, the second and final day of the competition, game on.

Pregame In prep mode, Truong Ngoc Lam of Hyatt Danang cribs a ladle handle with the crook of his shoulder, furiously spinning a drying ball of molten green sugar, surgically inflating it with furious hand-pumped bursts. 20 onlookers crowd the table, flashing cameras and cell phones.

Elsewhere, judges are weighing out one of Sheraton Hanoi’s bonbons, a perfect 10g. I hear one of the judges say, “Mmmm.” At the back table, the day’s other two combatants have already plated their bonbons. The Intercon’s offerings are especially delicate, marrying soft trickles of chocolate with a thin but firm shell overtop lusciously soft truffle fill. “Perfect,” mutters Jasper of Classic Fine Foods under his breath. Jasper should know. He’s one of three emissaries of Classic Fine Foods present today, an organisation that has built the backbone of this event over the previous seven years — and supported a nascent domestic pastry culture in many other, less glamorous ways. As he later tells me, “With San Pellegrino you can go into a place and sell. Not with pastry. So we train and bring the level up, little by little.”

Judges Row Victor Hasting, the new executive pastry

chef of Saigon Times Square’s soon-to-beopened Reverie Hotel, explains to me that he’s grading on a curve. “I look back at the best of yesterday,” he says, “and make sure I’m grading fairly.” He shows me his grading sheet from the day before, with a 158 petit fours high score for the Sofitel Metropole — comparing it with the 163 he’s just awarded Sheraton Hanoi. “But no,” he says, reassured, “this one is better.” Victor gives a running, sotto voce commentary — “good taste, nice, crispy, low sugar — tastes good!” as he scribbles down notes; “nice, very nice, the crunch is there,” after a spoonful of ginger-lemon cream, glace, dark chocolate, crisp on the bottom. He stops midway through a creampuff wrapped in a thin lemongrass bow. “Can’t eat, can’t eat,” he mutters. He seems disappointed.

“After some final touches, Ngo lifts his pedestalled sculpture. With onlookers in tow he carries it across the room and lays down the sugar sequoia — entirely made of sugar and water, and probably weighing over 15kg. The room breathes, then claps” Crunch Time It’s the last round and things are getting testy. “Are you giving points on praline?” Marcus Lem, formerly of L’Amour Bakery, asks across the table about Hyatt Danang’s small cake plate. “No,” Victor answers. “I give zero points on praline. It doesn’t fit.” The plate still finishes quite high, despite the zero. My teeth have started to sting from the sugar. I fork a very little corner off Sheraton Hanoi’s red currant-topped, pistachioraspberry dome, and miss the filling. Victor urges me to dig further and I’m pleasantly surprised. “A nice blend of acidity and sweetness,” he proclaims. Victor and the judge to his left debate relative merits — they’re not so much judges as a jury, a room of chefs working through flavours together, five hungry men.

As Jasper says, they want to help these chefs get even better. Across the room we watch Khiem Ngo of Sheraton Hanoi solder a white beakless bird onto the top branch of a whorled candy tree taller than his chef’s hat. “He’s getting better,” Victor says. After some final touches, Ngo lifts his pedestalled sculpture. With onlookers in tow he carries it across the room and lays down the sugar sequoia — entirely made of sugar and water, and probably weighing over 15kg. The room breathes, then claps. The judges soon make official what everyone’s suspected, and Sheraton Hanoi wins the right to represent Vietnam at the 2014 Mondial Des Arts Sucres. Ngo and his partner Nguyen Hong Ly smile for the camera. And the delicious entries on the table begin to harden and collapse in on themselves ever so slightly, ready to be reborn again and again.

Winners and Prizes 1st Place Sheraton Hanoi, 838/1050 points A week plus in Paris and an invitation to the 2014 Mondial Des Arts Sucres 2nd Place Intercontinental Asiana Saigon, 723/1050 points A three-day pastry training course in Malaysia, and the knowledge that their Gangnam-era Psy sugar centerpiece would have been the coolest Bar Mitzvah decoration of 2012 3rd Place Caravelle, 703/1050 points A three-day domestic pastry training course

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Summer Lovin' Summer lovin' had me a blast Summer lovin' happened so fast I met a girl crazy for me I met a boy, cute as can be Summer days driftin' away To uh-oh, those summer nights Extract from Summer Nights by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, from the movie Grease

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Aaron Joel Santos


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High Season Blues With school finishing up for the holidays, during the summer tourism in Vietnam goes domestic. It’s a phenomenon that ten or even five years ago was non-existent. Words by Hoa Le


ave you ever experienced the stress of not being able to buy a train ticket to Nha Trang or Quang Binh, although you tried to buy that ticket almost a month in advance? Or have you ever found hotels in Phu Quoc to just suddenly become a lot more expensive or get fully booked? This phenomenon, which was rarely the case a decade ago, can now challenge anyone making plans to travel during the long holiday weekends or summer months. The last 20 years have seen a huge increase in the number of Vietnamese domestic travellers. According to a report

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from the Institute for Tourism Development Research, in 1992 there were two million domestic tourists in Vietnam. 10 years later, this number had increased to 13 million. Last year the number surpassed 32.5 million, which means if each person is going on one trip a year, about 40 percent of the Vietnamese population travel. According to Euromonitor International, a market research website publishing reports on industries, consumers and demographics in Vietnam, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the domestic tourism industry this year will reach 10 percent. The equivalent growth in China is nine percent,

while in The Philippines it is 13 percent. For developed countries like France, Germany or the UK, whose citizens have a long tradition of travelling both inside and outside the country, this growth is between one and two percent. “10 years ago, we had only a few hundred clients a year, now we get thousands,” says Luong Duy Doanh, deputy director and coowner of New Star Tour, a travel company based in Hanoi. “The number of Vietnamese [domestic] travellers has increased [exponentially], especially in the last five years. Despite many businesses facing difficulties, the number of people travelling

Aaron Joel Santos

last year was still very high.”

New Ways of Travel

Along with the increasing number of trips taken, Vietnamese tourists are also choosing more diverse ways to travel. Young people often like the phuot style of travelling, namely self-designed tours, often on motorbikes in small groups of close friends or relatives. Names such as Huyen Chip — author of 2012’s Pack your Bag and Go travelog — or Do Thi Thuy Hang, CEO of, an online hotel booking service for Vietnamese, have recently emerged as inspiring examples of young Vietnamese people travelling the world. Both are female, in their twenties, and have had extensive experience travelling. They are now using that experience to start careers in their home country. Hang, an MBA graduate from Harvard, has travelled to over 30 countries. She was the Vietnam representative at the World Economic Forum held in Myanmar in June to share her “next great idea” for bridging Vietnamese youth with the world through her service and new technologies. Meanwhile, Huyen Chip is still busy with her idea of creating a wiki travel ‘how’ website specifically for Vietnamese backpackers (Wiki Du Lich Ba Lo), together

development at the country’s visitor sites. with the ‘Traveling is an Equal Opportunity Minh, owner of Cotolodge hotel on the Foundation’ to support young Vietnamese remote Co To Island in Quang Ninh, says who want to travel. that remote islands and destinations have To meet this growing desire to just get quickly become touristy. “We started our up and go, hundreds of forums and social business in Quan Lan Island [a neighbouring network sites have sprung up among island of Co To but closer to the land] about travellers themselves to share experiences. 10 years ago when it was still untouched. But The content includes anything from finding now, the island has become polluted. The new routes to fixing motorbikes and photos taken during trips., number of visitors is increasing every year and it’s full of overpriced hotels.” He adds vn or the The Gioi Anh Facebook group are that this is the reason he has opened one of among the most popular sites. the first hotels in Co To. He is trying to make Meanwhile, middle-aged and older tourists tend to prefer pre-arranged tours for it a better, more eco-friendly destination. There are other concerns, too, especially the convenience and worry-free experience. when travelling during the summer or But compared to the past, this group’s on holiday weekends. Accommodation demand for tours has become much more prices can get hiked dramatically in many challenging for tour companies. places, air and transport tickets run out “We always have to come up with new quickly and services are poor. One month initiatives,” says Doanh. “People are now before the long weekend of Apr. 30 this much more experienced in travelling, so we year, ferry tickets from Rach Gia to Phu have to keep looking for new destinations. Quoc were reported to be already sold out. Our clients have the internet and they can Many rooms were double-priced and full. check whatever the tour guides say, not like Sam Son Beach in Thanh Hoa is among before, when sometimes the tour guides made up stories and were not worried about the destinations that have the biggest reputation for hiking up prices during the being caught.” peak season. As the number of domestic tourists One reason for tourists being ripped off, continues to increase, new kinds of packages says Doanh, is a lack of planning. “It’s the such as spiritual or pilgrimage tours where people visit Buddhist temples, as well as golf habit of Vietnamese people not to book tours or explorations tours have also become things well in advance. So when they book close to the date, the service can’t be as popular. Ludwig Boinier, sales manager good.” He adds that his company often at Buffalo Tour Agency, which was once focused on tourists from overseas and expats receives bookings just one week before the living in Vietnam, says that their company is departure date. So if you’re thinking of investing in now targeting domestic travellers, especially tourism in Vietnam, there is great potential, the high to middle-income group as there is but you’ll need to come up with new a “huge market” there. initiatives to satisfy the more experienced Another popular method of seeing the customers. And if you’re planning to travel sites, which just 10 years ago would have in the summer, try to avoid the long holiday been hard to imagine, is by private car. As weekends and book things early. the number of cars owned by Vietnamese continues to soar — between 2006 and 2009 alone this increased from 600,000 to over one million — more families choose to drive to weekend getaway destinations or to take trips further afield. Long, 60, who only learned to drive at the age of 55, has just completed a three-week Here is a list of useful websites to get deals when cross country road trip with his travelling during peak season: wife. Describing the experience as “amazing”, he adds: “We swam 1) T rain tickets : Regular tickets available at the in 16 different beaches along our stations run out quickly, but several reliable trip. The roads are pretty good, agencies can help you find tickets so driving on your own is very comfortable.”

The Peak Season

A Long Way To Go

The revenue from domestic tourism in 2012 reached US$7.6 billion (VND160 trillion), a big jump from US$1.1 billion (VND23.1 trillion) in 2002 and US$143 million (VND3 trillion) in 1992. But at the same time, there is also an urgent need for a well-structured tourism system and sustainable

2) D omestic

hotel booking sites . The best way to get deals in Vietnam, regardless of the season (Vietnamese only) (Vietnamese only)

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Beyond the Pale More Vietnamese women are seeking out a tan. Is this an expression of independence? Words by Elisabeth Rosen


n Vietnam there is a traditional saying: Lan da mai toc la goc con nguoi. Skin and hair are a person’s most important assets. “This is how Vietnamese see and think about people, especially women,” explains Tra, 28, a graduate student. “They need to try to get smooth white skin and long, dark, smooth hair. Such people are highly appreciated in Vietnamese society.” Historically, there’s been a stigma attached to dark skin — in Vietnam as well as in other Asian countries — because of what it implies about social status. “Vietnamese definitely don’t like tanning. Dark or tanned skin is associated with working in the fields, so it’s a reflection of poverty,” explains Dr. Nguyen Ngan Ha, a dermatologist at SIAN Skincare Laser Clinic in Ho Chi Minh City. “Fair skin is sought by most Vietnamese as a sign of good health and prosperity.” But this longstanding norm may be gradually changing. Ha, a 26-year-old HR supervisor in Hanoi, takes pride in her

bronze glow. “Having a tan looks very healthy,” she said. “I’m not trying to make myself look tanned, but I go to the pool, the beach. Of course, if you do something outdoors, you get a tan.” Dung, 33, a translator, says she’s witnessed an increasing number of Vietnamese women sporting a tan. “I think that the mentality of white being equal to being pretty and attractive is gradually changing in the younger generations,” she says.

The Queen of Lingerie

This change can be seen in the variety of reactions to Ngoc Trinh, a model virtually unknown in the Western world, but a major celebrity in Vietnam. Growing up in a rural area, Ngoc Trinh had what celebrity gossip magazine Sao Viet terms “swarthy skin, dull teeth and a tubby body”. But after whitening her skin, the model became “a hot name, a social phenomenon”. Today, she’s known as the ‘Queen of Lingerie’.

Tabloid articles don’t just praise the beauty of white skin. They make the case that paleness gives a girl a huge advantage — in both her career and her relationships. The Sao Viet article states that the “first result” of Ngoc Trinh’s “flawless white skin” was to land her a husband: a wealthy Singaporean businessman 20 years her senior. Many of the young women I know take this for granted. As Nhung, 25, an editor, puts it: “Generally, people with white skin have an advantage, in life and in the workplace. Almost all Vietnamese men think that white-skinned girls are more luxurious and elegant.” It’s true that those with darker skin still face criticism, revealing social prejudices that still dominate Asian societies including Vietnam. “People stare at me. They think I look like a farmer,” Ha tells me. Maybe this is why many women still seek a paler look. At SIAN, about 20 patients each week undergo whitening treatments that range from simple creams to chemical peels and

placental injections. When Ngoc Trinh came up in conversation, Lien, 32, a bank teller, spoke wistfully but with an unmistakable bluntness: “She has very beautiful skin. I want my skin to look like hers.” Despite these challenges, ordinary women are increasingly choosing to stay natural — and even actively trying to get a tan. “Ngoc Trinh’s skin is way too white. It looks fake,” Dung, the translator, says. “I want to look like a real human being, not some porcelain doll.” Linh, 25, a reporter, agrees: “I think that being tanned is attractive. You look strong and active if your skin is a little brown.” These women all live and work in the capital, so they represent only a small segment of this country, where threequarters of the population still lives in rural areas. And many of them work in Westerninfluenced workplaces — international schools, English-language newspapers and magazines. Whitening creams still crowd the shelves at Intimex and Big C; it’s nearly

impossible even to find sunblock that doesn’t contain some kind of skin-lightening agent. The WHITENING FOR YOU Spa Facebook page has more than 100,000 likes, while Hanoi lacks a single tanning salon.

The Evolution of Taste

But Vietnamese beauty norms are slowly changing. “The white complexion is considered best in Vietnamese belief,” says Yen, 22, a student. “Now, that belief has been changing. Nowadays, many go to salons or spas to tan their skin.” Tanning, of course, has its dangers. As Dr. Nguyen points out, there’s no such thing as a safe tan. “The increase in skin pigment, called melanin, which causes the tan colour change in your skin is a sign of UV skin damage,” the dermatologist says. “This damage increases the risk of developing skin cancer.” But the tanning trend suggests that increased exposure to foreigners has radically altered social norms. Before the

1990s, Vietnamese had limited contact with people from overseas. Today, not only does the Internet make available ideas from all over the world — including beauty standards — but a growing number of Vietnamese women are also dating western men. Ha is dating a westerner, as is a friend of hers who spends hours tanning by the pool. “I have friends who go out to get a tan,” says Nhung, 26, a document control clerk. “All of them are dating Western guys.” It would be wrong to interpret the new trend for tanned skin as a sign that Vietnamese women are trading one arbitrary beauty norm for another. Rather, tanning might express a desire for western-style independence. In Vietnamese society, young women traditionally live with their parents until marriage. But lately, Ha has not only stopped avoiding the sun, she has asked her parents to let her move out. Although so far they’ve vetoed the suggestion, she still has hope. “I’ve raised my voice a few times, but I’ll keep asking,” she says.

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Castles Made of Sand There’s a competition for everything these days, and building sandcastles is one of them. Nick Ross speaks to the organiser of the tournament in Vietnam, Phil Bossley. Photos by Steve Wilson Why a sandcastle competition? And why in Danang? A sandcastle or sculpture competition is a no-brainer in terms of a cool ‘fun in the sun’ event. It’s open to all levels of skill, all ages and nationalities, and is simply a great way to create something in [a beach] environment. It is a wonderful spectator-drawing event with onlookers and photographers of all ages fascinated by the varying creations. Last year thousands of beachgoers strolling the beach enjoyed the display. Danang is the perfect location with its long, clean, white sandy beaches. The sand is also a high quality fine grain sand, which is very good to work with. There are some 60,000 university students in Danang and this is an affordable and fun way to have a break. In addition, with tourists from all over Vietnam (and abroad) visiting the city, it is a terrific way to show off and utilise Danang’s amazing beaches. Throughout July there are 5,000 to 10,000 people on the beach in Danang on a Sunday afternoon alone.

How many entrants were there last year? How artistic were the creations? The first event last year was organised in just three weeks. We ended up with over 70

teams and put approximately 300 metres of beach into action. We were stunned at the level of creativity, the variations in design and the outcome. The judges really struggled to select winners. The participants (and spectators) all had huge smiles on their faces throughout the day and really enjoyed the event. There are a number of ways to enhance a sculpture. The number one rule is to wet and pack the sand base and build this up to give a solid structure to carve from. Tools from the kitchen, an empty bottle, a feather duster, a stick or some driftwood on the beach can be used to sculpt with. Colouring can be added as well as a glue and water mix to extend the life of the detail and save it from eroding in the wind. Of course sticking a flag or using structural supports can be done. This depends on the event rules, though.

How important is this competition for creativity in Vietnam? On a simple level it gives people a tremendous amount of enjoyment and satisfaction. The level of creativity can explode with a little thought and some careful technical applications. Not only does this showcase the beach and creativity of the

people, but over time we hope the event will attract professional international sculptors. This year we hope to have some of the marble sculpting artisans from the Marble Mountain area in Danang taking part. We aim to build this in different beachside locations in Vietnam over the next few years and have the annual national championship in Danang.

What makes such an event so attractive to the public? As an onlooker or spectator you can’t help but slow down and stroll the length of the beach, oooooing and ahhhing all the way. Pointing, taking photos and chatting with participants is irresistible. Then you want to get down and create your own marvel. This year we are also planning other entertainment — a fashion show, music, food and beverage as well as some information booths to make it a great all-day event for entrants and spectators to enjoy. We will set up the main stage and shops at the end of Pham Van Dong on the beach side boulevard. The sculptures will spread left and right from here for up to 1.5km.

How are the sandcastles or 'structures made of sand' judged? What criteria do you use? What are the prizes? Because of the number of entrants, this year judging will be a long process. There will be different categories such as overall best sandcastle/s, best sculpture/s, most creative, largest, most detailed and best technical work. We will also include a category for different ages and possibly families. Prizes will include cash awards, GoPro HERO Cameras and vouchers from resorts and restaurants in Danang. The first 500 entrants will receive the official event shirt, a hat and an event certificate. The GoPro Hero Danang Sandcastle Competition is organised by Silver Sun Events and will take place on Sunday Jul. 28 in Danang. For more information email philbozz@hotmail. com or call 0903 035272. To get more of a lowdown, log onto

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Beach Weddings When there’s a wedding involved, a trip to the beach takes on a special meaning. Words and photos by Aaron Joel Santos


othing beats a great beach wedding. Most ceremonies are held in the late afternoon as the sun is setting in the distance and a breeze is gently rolling over the sea. Your feet are in the sand and you’re probably sipping on some kind of lime-iced cocktail, maybe fanning away the last remains of the heated day. Waves sigh in the background and the world is condensed to this one slivering edge with nothing but water crashing into the shore behind you. It’s a beautiful scene. I know, because I’ve been lucky enough to photograph it several times over. Whether it’s a five-star resort in Nha

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Trang, or an intimate boutique hotel in Hoi An, or just a small gathering of friends on Phu Quoc Island, beachfront weddings are in a league of their own. I’ve never seen an angry person drinking and dancing in the sand; I’ve never heard a guest huff and wish they were back in the city for a few extra days. There’s magic in every wedding, and there’s love and togetherness in every family gathering. But really. It’s always better on the beach. An online portfolio of Aaron Joel Santos and Mott Visuals Weddings can be found at and

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Organising a fashion shoot on the dunes to the north of Mui Ne was a harsh yet pleasant look at reality. Our day started with a climb up burning mounds of sand, past the tourist operations on the edge of this wilderness to a more secluded, interior hilltop. As we climbed and slid towards a far horizon, we felt a little of the endlessness of the desert. The noise stopped, except for the occasional “woohoo!� from passing dune kids. As Anna styled her French swimwear, the faraway ocean intruded on the edge of the frame. Behind us, the dunes ended in sparse forest. And in the middle of it all was an endless beach mountaintop to take it in from, a massive borderland of sun, heat and summer.

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Glam Bikini: VND3.6 million by Blue Glue

The Woman in the Dunes Photos and Styling by Francis Xavier Modeling by Anna Nuzhdina Swimwear provided by Blue Glue Mui Ne (82H Nguyen DinhJuly Chieu, Mui Ne) 2013 Word | 59

Pareo: VND600, 000 by Blue Glue

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Alhambra: VND3 million by Blue Glue

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Glam Bikini: VND1,920,000 by Blue Glue

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Located in downtown Mui Ne, Blue Glue Mui Ne is the newest ‘beach-chic’ store in the French chain’s 103-country swimwear cartel. For amping up your style with the kind of glam, handmade bikinis tyra Banks has been spotted in, visit — or the Mui Ne shop at 82H Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne

Sandal: VND975,000 by Blue Glue

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“You might hear onlookers in different parts of the world gasping ‘sh_t hot!’ or ‘axed!’ at these kite-or-die big air miracles — but we’re not in other parts of the world, we’re in Mui Ne during low season”

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Dreams and Kitemares In Mui Ne, two local prodigies have put Vietnam on the international kitesurfing map. Ed Weinberg investigates the rising tide. Photos by Francis Xavier, with additional photography provided by K!NN Team and Grahame Booker @


he idea came to Win (née Thang) while bobbing in his ghe — the round woven fishing boat where he spent his teen years, having moved on from cowhand work at the age of eight. Hewing close to the shore, he often watched people on the horizon getting pulled and lifted in the air on the strings of VND30 million kites. And the idea grew in his mind. He thought about it often, but didn’t know where to start. And one day, he says, “I see the paper in the coconut tree, and they have a phone number, and then I call. They say come there.” That was three years ago when he was 20. The ad was for work helping novice kiters organise their gear and takeoff — the work hundreds of ‘beach boys’ are employed for each high season. Win picked kiting up quickly. “Around 40 minutes,” he says of his

learning curve. “The guy who teach me, he say, ‘Whoa — really fast!’” His English was poor at first, too poor to coach first-timers on proper technique. But every opportunity he had he’d grab a kite and go as far as it would take him. “Beach boys get one hour [of kite time],” Win says, “but I’d go one hour, then go one hour more. They said, ‘Stop for one week.’ But I’d still go out again.” “I want to kite,” he adds with swelling enthusiasm. “That’s it — my life.” Win hooked up with the Bombora Surf Company in the past year, and his kiting life has rapidly taken off. Through the camera eye of Grahame Booker of Fisheye Productions, the not-quite publicist at Bombora, Win came to the attention of kite pro Ben Wilson — the man who kited the largest wave ever caught on film, an 11-metre perfect left called Cloudbreak off

the coast of Fiji — and the namesake of BWSurf, the company that made Win the first sponsored Vietnamese kitesurfer. Tall and athletic, with sun-bleached hair framing a cheeky smile, Win’s in the water when I get to the beach one Monday afternoon. He’s been there since dawn patrol, the way he is most days. When the wind isn’t up, he surfs — he’s a wave rider who uses a directional board without foot straps, the untethered style of most of the Wilson clan. Though still relatively unknown, it feels like he’s on track for big things.

The Best Freestyler in Asia

Just up the coast, K!NN Team’s Nguyen Duc Long rides a twin tip board, the kind most popular among freestyle riders, feet strapped in for mid-air 360s. After ranking third in Asia among

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freestyle riders in 2012, Long finished the four-stage Kiteboard Tour Asia 2013 top of the Freestyle Asia category — making him the best kitesurfer on a twin tip in Asia. He added new tricks to his quiver to get to this stage, like getting his black belt in Taekwondo last off-season. As it stands now, he’s one of the best 20-year-olds in the world. Stocky and powerful, Long’s explosive, trick-laden style seems at odds with his reserved manner. These competitive trips were his first trips abroad — in a rapid-fire, intense sequence, to Indonesia then Thailand then China — which he admits were “a little bit hard”. He’s one of only four Vietnamese kitesurfers who’ve travelled for competition purposes. “I’m pushing Long to be an example,” K!NN Team manager Yoann Coutherut says. “He’s of the second generation of Vietnamese kitesurfers. The first generation were the first, first ones. Kin” — King Kin, Killa Kin, at one time among the best Vietnamese kitesurfers, the sort of talisman for K!NN Team — “was one of them. And now they’re all in their 30s, they have a different lifestyle. And Long — bon! — he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t smoke. I want him to be the example.” All along the horizon, kitesurfers follow kites at zero to 60-degree angles from downwind. Every once in a while, you’ll see one tug at the spreader bar between

their kite and harness, flinging the kite behind them and soaring into the air like a pendulum — and after five or 10 seconds and 10 metres or so, dropping back down. You might hear onlookers in different parts of the world gasping “sh_t hot!” or “axed!” at these kite-or-die big air miracles — but we’re not in other parts of the world, we’re in Mui Ne during low season, and the few people out are beach boys texting their girlfriends or catching up on the Discovery Channel.

Kite City

“Even five years ago Mui Ne was very different. If you talk to the first guys that were here, it was like rows of coconuts. You can still see where they start” — Grahame points up the coast, to where the tree line thickens. Since Jibe’s became the first school to offer kitesurfing courses in 2003, the demand has blown the number of schools up to almost 35. These days, Mui Ne is well known around the world, but particularly among Australians and Russians — “Kiting for them with a 5mm wetsuit and gloves isn’t that much fun,” says Grahame. “It’s the most windy place in Asia,” Yoann says about Mui Ne’s emergence as a prime kiting spot. “But at the moment it has grown a little bit like a jungle, with all those different schools. There is no organisation.” The VND2 million to VND4 million

average cost of a night at a resort here is the town’s bread and butter, and kites just serve to clutter up the shoreline. “Mui Ne is the resort city of Vietnam, it’s not the kite city,” Yoann says. This is where the untouched bays elsewhere on the coast come in, where “conditions could be even better”. This is the future of kiting’s tourism development, at least in one way. Tony Bulcraig of Bombora agrees. “For about 500km or 600km of coastline, say from Ho Tram to Phan Rang or Cam Ranh Bay, you’ve got a whole host of reallyreally-really very good spots. And the most popular place is Mui Ne. So what we’re looking at and trying to promote is a little more adventure tied in with the whole kiting scene.” Tony is a 49-year-old South Hemispherer who came to Vietnam three years ago to try kitesurfing and ended up starting Bombora. He’s one of the people leading the niche tourism push — attracting visitors who don’t just view Vietnam as a Southeast Asian checkbox. He sees kiting evolving in a way “similar to what surfing has done. You go on a surf safari — the same thing applies with kiting.” One of the watersport fronts where Bombora is getting more active is in Ho Tram. “It was surprising to find how good Ho Tram was for kiting, because no one had really kited there before.” As the watersports operator for the The Grand Ho Tram,

“[Bombora’s Tony Bulcraig is] one of the people leading the niche tourism push — attracting visitors who don’t just view Vietnam as a Southeast Asian checkbox”

L ow S eason May to September is traditionally the low season for international travel to Vietnam, coinciding with the monsoon rains that drench almost everywhere in southern Vietnam, except Mui Ne. Mui Ne is geographically blessed to be on the other side of the sand dunes that preserve its microclimate from neighbouring Phan Thiet — which sees twice the yearly rainfall. The tourists thin out and the surf kicks up. Of the 35ish kite schools in the area, only 10 stay open for the low season — with the rest spreading their beach boys to the wind and rehiring at the start of the following season.

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B ad L uck S lang Dookie Dive — loss of momentum in the air, resulting in a crash

Hindenburg — when a kite stalls, then crashes Kitemare — an accident, mishap

Speedbumps — aka body boarders and surfers

Teabagging — popping and then dropping in and out of the water Taco — when the wind lets up and a kite folds in mid-air like a taco

Bombora is looking to establish Ho Tram as its southern base, with kitesurfing tours guiding surf seekers between there, Mui Ne and its school in Phan Rang, 150km to the north. “It’s an area of natural beauty which seems to be fairly well known,” Tony says. “For kitesurfing and windsurfing, it’s potentially another world-class spot.”

The Butterfly Effect

“The thing is,” says Tony, “everything matures. So that embryonic stage of a lot of kitesurfers that are Vietnamese coming through, you’re now getting guys who have been here for seven or eight years.” To someone who’s grown up with a surfing mythology in his head, the casual cool and pure life aesthetic of Lords of Dogtown and Point Break, these brown-skinned Vietnamese beach boys may seem like a natural and beautiful evolution in the local relationship with the ocean. They seem so to me. I ask Tony how this new breed pulled away from the 4pm hooded sweatshirt crowd, the fishermen who don’t know how to swim. “Yea, it’s a cultural thing to overcome,” he says. “But it’s happening. They’re saying, ‘Well, I’m really drawn to this.’ The kids are always looking, watching. It’s an identity for them — you can be a fisherman, you can be a coconut harvester, you can be growing rice or if you’re lucky enough, you can be in the kiting industry.”

M en W ithout K ites “There’s a big difference between just being a beach boy who’s helping kite people in, and also being a lifeguard,” Bombora’s Tony Bulcraig says about the future he’s envisioning for watersports in Vietnam. “They’re taking on a lot more responsibility. Some guys won’t be able to fulfill their role, purely because they might not be strong enough swimmers, English capability, etc. But it means that guys who do have those abilities can go into a higher role than what they currently are, which means that other guys can come in the role underneath. So you’re starting to get a little bit of progression — a career almost. “You’re talking about a full watersports professional. And that’s really what’s needed in Vietnam. It’s getting to the point now where the expectations from tourists are higher than what’s being provided. “We’re trying to feed their fire and their passion, and at the same time give them some skills.”

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Photos provided by Swim Vietnam

Treading Uncharted Waters Since starting up Swim Vietnam five years ago, Joanne Stewart has taught thousands of Vietnamese kids to swim. Derek Milroy spoke to the Scot who gave up the comfort of Singapore for a voyage into the unknown in Hoi An


itting at her desk, having achieved as much as she could in investment management, Joanne Stewart had hit a lull. She had already jettisoned corporate life in London for a position in Singapore. But it wasn’t enough. She needed something more, a challenge. By her own admission, the 41-yearold only took part in triathlons for social reasons. But an English friend, Bob Bowness, who had set up the triathlon organisation Tribob, decided to go on a fact-finding mission to Vietnam. It wasn’t a life-changing trip for him, but it was for her. “Bob went over to Vietnam to set up a triathlon race,” she recalls. “He said he wanted some Vietnamese kids who could run, cycle and swim well to take part in the race. The government told him: ‘We can’t

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send the kids into the sea as none of them can swim’. Bob did more research and found out that there was a huge problem with drowning in Vietnam. “He said he had money to invest in the first year [to teach kids to swim] as they had the sponsorship money for the triathlon from Nestle. But he had no one to do it. Through a chance series of meetings with Bob he knew I was looking for something special and a charity role. He sent me a onepage proposal. I was sold.” The reason for starting Swim Vietnam was that so many children in this country were drowning, something Joanne thought could be prevented. Initially the project was to be short term. Five years later she has turned something small into something spectacular. “It was meant to last for three months,”

she says. “We did it for six months the first year; it was supposed to finish then. I had done all the hard work, got the swimming pool and government contacts, now all we needed was the money to keep it going. I didn’t want to stop.” She adds: “When I first arrived in Hoi An, all I had was the telephone number of someone from the Hoi An Tourism Department. A meeting with the town administration was arranged and it approved my proposal to set up the club and introduced me to the education department. “After that first year, we had no more money from Tribob. I then approached people from Barclays and they paid for the next year — since then it has grown arms and legs. Now we have 10 people sponsoring us and Swim Vietnam will

hopefully go on forever. Lots of individuals do fundraising events to help us out, too.”

Tackling an Issue

The most recent estimates for child drowning deaths nationwide make grim reading. A Ministry of Health source calculates that 10 children drown every day (3,650 children per year). These are hospital reported deaths and it is believed that these are a gross underestimation of the reality. A TASC Survey (The Alliance for Safe Children) has tried to fill in this gap and through widespread community surveys and has compiled their own set of statistics. According to the figures, a staggering 32 children drown every day in Vietnam — the equivalent of over 11,000 per year. “I never knew there was such a huge problem with child drowning in Vietnam,” says Joanne. “A lot of kids die due to bravery in multiple deaths — one kid is in trouble, one goes in to save them, another goes in after them and they all drown. It is horrendous. They all want to go in the water on a hot day but can’t swim, so this is where the problems occur.” Indeed, having a beach home in Hoi An, Joanne has found herself rescuing drowning children a number of times during her fiveand-a-half-year stint in Vietnam. “When you live on the beach and know CPR, you have a responsibility whether you like it or not.”

Teach a Man to Fish

To date 120 swimming instructors have been

trained by Swim Vietnam, located in the flood-prone province of Quang Nam. 60 are currently in employment. With 5,000 Vietnamese kids learning to swim for free through the programme so far, now that the infrastructure and finance is in place Joanne says their aim is to train 5,000 a year. “A huge part of [our work] is training swimming instructors,” she explains. “It’s an industry that didn’t exist, especially in this part of Vietnam. We have trained about 120 and employ 60 of them. It is mostly men. Now we need to get more women involved.” She adds: “By directly training 5,000 children we have saved 17 lives. Indirectly

it could be in the thousands or even more. These types of deaths can be prevented if the children know how to swim and survive in the water.” Swim Vietnam holds eight classes every day for children aged between 6 and 14 years old. The younger you teach the children, the quicker you can stop them drowning. It seems logical enough, but for some reason it is just not happening yet in Vietnam. “I realised that what was needed was very simple,” she says. “To run a swimming programme, you essentially require three things. You need children, teachers and somewhere to teach them. I think that more people, especially parents, need to be more aware about the problem of drowning. “The authorities should work with the schools and media so that people realise how important this is and what Swim Vietnam is doing to help solve this problem. I think they should partner with organisations like ours, so that all children have the opportunity to learn to swim.” For more information on Swim Vietnam click on If you want to help out, donating just US$20 (VND420,000) puts one child through the Swim Vietnam programme, teaching them swimming and lifesaving techniques which could save their and others’ lives. US$1,000 (VND21 million) provides a training course for 30 instructors and US$8,000 (VND168 million) builds an aboveground swimming pool in a rural area

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Waterparks The Faerie Stream

The Big Chill

Suoi Tien Cultural Tourist Park, Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City


t’s a common sight on your way out of Ho Chi Minh City on AH1 — a benevolent concrete mountain god gazing down, beard streaked with water slides, giant elephant tusks framing the stairway to a magic kingdom. Suoi Tien is home to Buddhist gods, legends and shrines painted a hundred different colours of awesome, tunnels of creation and dungeons of Hell, Buddhist processions and festivals, an ice cave, 1,500 crocodiles and the first man-made beach in Vietnam. There’s a reason it’s been named one of the 12 best amusement parks in the world (in 2011, by the non-authoritative but sweet Now, the water park. For VND60,000 on top of the VND80,000 general park admission we’re in, kiddie pool trees in

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Dam Sen Water Park, 3 Hoa Binh, Q11, Ho Chi Minh City

psychedelic colours and smiling mountain deities creating a Garden of Eden effect. Foam mats shoot out from the mouths of dragons on a carpet of water, while jungle gyms keep the kiddies occupied. And just past paradise sits the wave pool, where one may “zorb” around in a giant hamster ball, propelled by the friendly shoves of waisthigh swimmers. Beneath it all, a 2km-long underground stream circulates magic. By turns bizarre, entertaining and insane, Suoi Tien makes for an interesting, if not 40m-drop-thrilling, day at the water slides. Annie Carrol of Vice Magazine sums it up aptly when she writes, “Whatever your fancy, be it daring or not, the Vietnamese seem to have taken the idea of the amusement park and fed it LSD for, like, a gazillion years.” — Ed Weinberg


wapping the magic vibes of Suoi Tien’s 2km underground stream for a more cyberpunk 2km monorail track, Dam Sen brings the adrenalin better than any amusement park in Vietnam. It’s a mix of watery freefalls and lame rollercoasters, butterfly gardens and “ancient” pagodas, subaquatic puppet theatres and Singaporean technology like a 28m-high blast of water that serves as a film projection screen. There are 30 areas in this 50-hectare fun zone, 20 percent of which is covered by lakes to complement the 60 percent covered by gardens and trees. Like many ecoattractions in Vietnam, these naturalistic elements are bent towards touristy purposes — hosting catchable fish, birds and a floating restaurant. Fake animals are

Can’t get to the beach? Here’s a salt-free alternative. Words by Ed Weinberg and Elisabeth Rosen. Photos by Francis Roux West Lake Waterpark

Cong Vien Nuoc Ho Tay, 596 Lac Long Quan, Tay Ho, Hanoi built out of coconut shells and scratched CDs. Scantily-clad westerners are pointed out and laughed at by oversized T-shirtwearing schoolgirls. For VND120,000 before 4pm or VND90,000 after, this slightly eccentric wonderland pretty much hits its target market — those wishing to travel to another, more watery world. — Ed Weinberg


s the Hanoi summer heats up, families and young people flock to this retro waterpark on the shores of Ho Tay (West Lake). Don’t expect high-tech rides or trippy entertainment — just no-frills water slides and lazy rivers. The park was built in 2000, but the faded colors (and the prices) make you feel like you’ve travelled back in time to the first waterparks of the 1950s.

When you get tired of the wave pools and swinging ropes, head over to Moon Park next door, where the giant Ferris wheel offers a precarious view of the lake and surrounding area. The selection of children’s rides includes miniature roller coasters and bumper cars. Also nearby is a branch of the famous Sen buffet restaurant, an ideal place for a postwaterpark feast, or even a wedding, if that’s what you’re after. — Elisabeth Rosen

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Marc Forster-Pert

Nick Ross

Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside On the hunt for perfect fish and chips and learning the lesson of how-not-to-avoid getting your flake nicked by a swooping seagull, Marc Forster-Pert went to a cloudy but mild Brighton to see what’s so special about the British seaside


t was about a second before the plane touched down that I could finally see land — welcome to the British summer, I thought. In atmospheric conditions so unsummerlike, I had to check my calendar to make sure it was June. I was, however, soon to discover that Brighton offers so much more than simply ‘being beside the seaside’, as it’s no longer a small fishing village but a vibrant, cosmopolitan city.

First Impressions Count

The arrival of the railway in 1841 turned what was a popular seaside retreat for the aristocracy into an affordable day trip that residents from polluted London could enjoy. Today, the Victorian arches of the station remain which, together with the sound of seagulls, make it unmistakably Brighton. I went first to Inside Out (24 Gloucester Road) to kickstart my day with a coffee and a good English breakfast, the likes of which are hard to find in Vietnam. It was dead, there was rubbish littering the streets. What had happened? “The dustmen have been on strike for seven days but Brighton’s slow to wake up; it doesn’t get going until 10am or so,” the cafe owner shouts over the coffee grinder. After a delicious breakfast, punctuated by lashings of HP sauce, I got chatting to a local resident. “Brighton is my beating heart — the town, the surrounding area, it’s really hard to beat,” he says. “There’s definitely a creative, entrepreneurial nature to the people here. Maybe it’s the sea air, but the community loves the independent shops.” He’s right. Walking through the North Laine and The Lanes shopping areas the ubiquitous chains are virtually nonexistent. Instead, the narrow streets and alleyways

are populated by attractive and longestablished independent businesses, a scene that is seldom paralleled in modern Britain. But what do the tourists think as the eerie mist descended on the pier? “We certainly haven’t come for the weather,” laugh day-trippers from London. “Brighton’s got everything you could want: the traditional and old-fashioned seafront, then at night and on the backstreets it all goes alternative, we love it down here.” A Mexican man, studying in Brighton, agrees. “It’s a bit cheesy here [on the pier] but I don’t get bored. It’s not about lying on the beach but doing things at the beach that makes it what it is. Brighton appreciates difference, allows you to be yourself.”

Encouraging Diversity

Maybe it’s this acceptance that has made Brighton the unofficial gay capital of the UK. It certainly adds to the colour and spice of the streets in Kemptown, the centre of the LGBT community. I went to Neighbourhood Bar (101 St. James Street), one of the hip, East-End-of-London type establishments — with the old, battered furniture, vintage signs and a giant Jenga set — only better. As the cute Swedish barmaid is keen to point out, “I love working and living here, it’s much better than London. Everyone that comes here is so friendly and chilled out, London doesn’t have that.” The manager, born and bred in Brighton, adds, “I can’t really pinpoint exactly what I love about my hometown, it’s just the atmosphere, it’s always buzzing!” When Pride (first weekend of every August) comes to town, they tell me it’s impossible to move but that everyone has a great time enjoying the scenes of the city’s celebration of sexual diversity, one of the

many highlights of a Brighton summer.

The Quintessentials

Lunchtime meant Bankers (116A Western Road), a popular and well-known fish and chips restaurant to enjoy, in my opinion, the epitome of the British seaside. It’s located in an area that’s known for its long terraces of regency-style villas, popularised by the patronage of the then Prince Regent, later to become George IV. He commissioned the Royal Pavilion — a secret hideaway where he escaped the rigours of London. It sits, incongruous with its Indian-inspired architecture, beautifully — and aptly — in the crown of Brighton’s city centre. A walk along the promenade was topped off with an ice cream which sadly lost its chocolate flake to a well-timed attack by a shrieking gull, the magpies of the sea. I didn’t care, though. I realised this is a city of independent-thinking pioneers, who have powered Brighton into one of the top tourist destinations in the UK and have kept it in line with tradition as well as modernity. It may not be Danang or Nha Trang, but nobody has a bad word to say about it; people of all ages and walks of life laugh, smile and joke through their visits to this seashore. The city’s council is the only authority in the UK run by the Green Party, and although their cuts had put the dustmen off going to work, they haven’t lessened the unique-mindedness and positive attitudes of the residents that voted them in. I left Brighton with a huge smile on my face, vowing to visit more often. Typically, as the train pulled away, the sun decided it was time to make an appearance. Here’s to the long British summer — long may it reign.

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Beyond the Smog The architect of the first private observatory in Vietnam, Astronomer Parag Mahajani tells us what’s beyond the gases, pollution and city lights. Words by Nick Ross


ight has fallen and the sky has cleared. Located above the celestial equator you can see Orion, with his belt and sword, together with a smattering of other stars and constellations. But the night sky is far from black, an orange glow coats the horizons, and the metropolis haze makes for bad viewing. Little is visible to the naked eye. The reason, says astronomer Dr. Parag Mahajani, is there is too much light and gas pollution. “You have to go 20km or 30km out of the city. You should also try to be as high as possible, on a mountain top is always better, because the lower the area, the higher the density of air.”

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Dr. Parag took up astronomy as teenager after a failed visit to observe Halley’s Comet. Orbiting close to the earth every 76 years, the comet has a place in history. Deemed as a bad omen by King Harold II, it was spied in 1066, the year the Normans conquered England. It is even featured in the Bayeux Tapestry, an artwork that tells the story of the conquest. Some think it may also be the Star of Bethlehem — the comet made an appearance in 12BCE. Observing the comet is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “My dad took me to the Naval planetarium in Mumbai in 1986 to watch the comet,” he recalls. “It was around 11 at night and I still remember the queue — there were

Photo by NASA APOD — Orion

The Observatory Located in Six Senses Resort on Con Dao, the observatory will be completed later this year. In August Dr. Parag will be making a return trip to Vietnam. “There are two types of observatory,” he explains. “One can be used to do parameter research. For that kind of observatory we need specialised equipment like photometers, spectroscopes, instruments that are highly sensitive because we are looking deep in space. Such an observatory must be on the top of the mountain because you cannot afford to lose a single bit of information. “The objective of the second type of observatory is for education and entertainment. This is what I am building on Con Dao.” Thanks to its dark sky, national park location and lack of both gas and light pollution, the Con Dao archipelago is a “unique place” for observing the stars. Lying close to the equator, its latitude also makes it

an unparalleled point from which to observe constellations like The Southern Cross (The Crux), St. Thomas and Sagitarrius. “There is a good combination of northern and southern constellations,” he explains. “For instance we can see the Pole Star the way we can see it from London, except the Pole Star is very close to horizon in Vietnam because the latitude of Vietnam is quite low, lower than the latitude of London. This gives us a different perspective on the sky as you can see the constellation in a different geometrical orientation and that is very interesting.” As with most private observatories, the purpose of the construction in Con Dao is to share the “joy and experience of the universe”. It’s not just for adults, but for children of all ages. “Most of us won’t get the opportunity to get into astronomy,” says the astronomer. “We are in other jobs, the instruments are expensive, we don’t have any specialised knowledge. So this will be an excellent place for the guest of Six Senses Con Dao to visit the observatory every night and experience the heavens.” Dr. Parag may not ever see Halley’s Comet — its next appearance will be in July 2061. But from being stuck in a queue of thousands and having a desire to own a telescope, he has gone from a young boy in Mumbai to an adult building observatories and planetariums so that everyday people can experience the stars. Dr. Parag will be visiting Con Dao from Aug. 12 to Aug. 24. He will then move on to Six Senses resort in Ninh Van Bay from Aug. 25 to Sep. 3. For more information please email susan@

The Constellations Above Vietnam Photo by ESA — Sagittarius

about 1,000 people. I was very depressed and I said to my dad I didn’t think we were going to see it. He said we should wait. But by the time we got to the planetarium the comet had disappeared from view. That was the point I decided to have my own telescope.” Giving his first speech on astronomy at the age of 20, in 2005 the wireless engineer and fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in London took up the profession full time. He is now a lecturer, an award-winning author and a die-hard stargazer. He is also the architect behind what will shortly be the first privately owned observatory in Vietnam.

According to Dr. Parag, in the summer, the best constellations to observe are:

Big Bear, Centaurus, Crux, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Leo, Cygnus, Ophiuchus and Libra In the winter, you can clearly see:

Orion, Canis Major, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Andromeda, Aquila, Hercules, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer From the observatory, guests will be able to watch the stars and the planets, see the rings moving around Saturn and watch the satellites “which are dancing around Jupiter”. They can observe the lunar surroundings and different kinds of phenomena which happen on the moon. It is unrivalled opportunity to see the sky at night above Vietnam.

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Advertising Archetypes Matt Bender digs into subliminal billboard culture in Vietnam. Photos by Francis Xavier and Nick Ross. Additional reporting by Hoa Le

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y bedroom window looks out onto one of the happiest couples I’ve ever seen — all pearly white smiles and coquettish cheek-to-cheek as they bathe in the glow of an HD Bank fluorescent sign. Pictures of chicks slurping cups of noodles line the street on my walk to the store. The cardboard cutout of a woman holding a Zorok next to the beer fridge catches my eye. Tempting, but I got sick off that stuff once and reach for a San Miguel. I’ve been living in cities for a long time, and one aspect of city life is being advertised to pretty much every waking moment of the day. Granted, Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi isn’t as aggressive as, say, Tokyo with its twentystorey laser reels on the sides of buildings, but that’s part of the charm. Advertising here is widespread but not part of your every waking moment. So, to know your beer girls from your bank shills, and your noodle slurpers from your ‘burbs bakers, here is an intro guide to the more common archetypes you’ll see in advertisements around Vietnam. Remember, in advertising the essential goals are:

A) Attract attention and stimulate interest. An image geared towards the sort of

people who ideally will be using the product (i.e. young people drinking Pepsi or a sexy lady wearing Prada)

B) Provide a model situation in which the viewer forms an emotional attachment to the image. A picture of a mother giving her child

a certain brand of milk shows that milk equals motherly love. A beautiful girl with a look of ecstasy on her face as she takes a sip of Pepsi means that chicks dig Pepsi.

C) Radiate solidarity. This is where the viewer envisions the

image as something that can be realised in his or her own life. If he loves his children he’ll buy milk. If he wants to get laid he’ll buy Pepsi.

Ho Chi Minh City’s own advertising guru, Debajit Banerjee, summarises this nicely while describing what the function of a highly successful advertising campaign would be. “Primary objective: make the cash register ring — drive purchase decisions,” he explains. “Secondary objective: over a period of time be memorable... and build brand equity — turn customers into fans [and] make them loyal.” Different slogans and images, of course, work for different people. If I just want to get laid then I’ll go out and buy some Pepsi, but won’t be all that concerned with what brand of milk babies should be drinking. However, if I do happen to be the type of person who cares about my child’s health and am having trouble deciding what the best washing detergent is that won’t make my kid all weird and covered in rashes, then maybe the smiling white guy in a lab coat can help me decide.

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The Innocent

Human Billboards

A common archetype in this country is the ‘Innocent’. This is usually a young, goodlooking girl who seems to be completely unaware of the fact that she’s incredibly good-looking. And interestingly enough, she is sometimes a white girl shopping in a mall in Vietnam, despite the fact that the majority of customers are Vietnamese. Innocents are malleable characters as their role isn’t as black and white as, say, a Sage’s. For example, if for some reason I want a giant wafer cookie and don’t know which brand is the biggest, then maybe the billboard with the adorable girl juxtaposed with a giraffe can point me in the right direction.

For a male twist on these female roles — a twist designed to make men marketable to women — one need think no further than Korea’s own Super Junior or, if you’re older like me, New Kids on the Block. Boy bands take advantage of this cocktail all the time: a bad boy, a sweet boy, a boy who bends gender lines and one with biceps that make him look as if his previous job was armwrestling horses. These types of dudes don’t generally hang out and start bands with each other. They are put together, arranged and airbrushed to perfection. What they’re selling falls under the broad banner of “product placement” and can be anything from white teeth to tennis shoes. Girl digs the shoes: guy who likes girl buys the shoes, therefore girl likes the guy. Perfect.

Pop stars used in advertising create billboards with a heartbeat. They are living archetypes, and the reason almost all of them go crazy at some point is because people weren’t made to live like that. Maybe Nicki Minaj was, but I hope the American Idol judges all just happen to really like Diet Coke and aren’t being forced to drink those giant cups of it. It’s kind of sweet, really: heavy investments in consumer research, brand positioning and panels of experts scratching their heads all in an effort to pick out an image or slogan that you, the consumer, will be the most attracted to. If you could forget about the underlying objective (to get your money) it’d be enough to make you feel like the most special-est person in the world.

“A common archetype in this country is the ‘Innocent’. This is usually a young, good-looking girl who seems to be completely unaware of the fact that she’s incredibly good-looking” The Face of Nescafé In order to get an inside view on the marketing world I set out to become the new face of Nescafé. No joke: I could be that guy with the after-school special smile blowing steam off of a red cup sometime in the next few months. They told me to smile like that. They said, “Look up, but not at the camera. Enjoy the smoke from the coffee and the fresh air and you are enjoying life.” I put on a lab coat and glasses and pretended to do green-screen experiments with invisible beakers. Honestly, it

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was really fun and they said they would give me money. The only odd thought is that they would own my image. I don’t even know what the Nescafé ad will look like, let alone what they’re going to do with those shots of me in a lab coat. I can’t help but think of those faded Coca-Cola and Tiger beer ads in the cobwebbed corners of com tam restaurants. The models on those ads are long-retired, yet their image lives on — which means it’s

The Sage This guy is the ‘Sage’ figure in Jungian iconography, or “the smart guy who knows what’s good for you”. See him smiling down at OMO brand laundry detergent? That’s the brand that doesn’t give you eczema. ‘Smiling white guy in a lab coat’ is a particularly funny image, as you’ll see it repeated pretty much all over the Asian continent. Thailand even used to have a pack of cigarettes where the warning was a white guy in a lab coat shaking the shame-shame finger at you. While the idea of a doctor being the best figure to sell (or advise against) healthrelated products seems pretty intuitive, global agencies spend countless dollars and labour

The Lover on developing their brand position, that is, numbers and market research are run through a strict formula until, as Banerjee explains, “one laundry detergent [is] positioned as ‘cleans faster’, whereas another one ‘cleans better’”. He adds: “Creatively, both brands can show guys wearing lab coats but message-wise both are uniquely differentiated. Local brands have more flexibility, but in most cases, because of lack of budget or expertise, they try to ape or shadow the formula of the global brands, and hence most commercials, print ads and billboards start to look the same.” Thus an archetype is born.

“Primary objective: make the cash register ring… Secondary objective: over a period of time be memorable”

not impossible that some kid could grow up looking at a picture of me every day 30 years in the future. Mothers will see me on the back of a tube of toothpaste and buy it or not buy it depending on how convincing I look in a lab coat. I’ll make milk and sugar-filled coffee look delicious even though I take mine black. In a post-apocalyptic world I’ll be the face on the half-burned billboard our hero stops under to light his last cigarette. Don’t you forget about me.

The ‘Lover’ is an older woman who is welldressed, fit and clearly has her sh_t together when it comes to life skills. The ‘Lover’ archetype can be spotted the most in the advertisement of banks, real estate markets, amusement or waterparks, as the target customers are mostly families. In addition to the traditional Jungian archetypes used all over the world, Vietnamese marketing strategy makers obviously believe in the extra effect that images of western men and women have on their customers. The ‘Lover’ advertising billboard for Royal City in Hanoi features western couples (although Vietnamese law does not yet allow non-Vietnamese to buy houses) while Vinpearl Da Nang is advertised by a happy family with a western father and an Asian mother. The ‘Lover’ role is a role applying specifically to women, as male buyers tend to go more for ‘Outlaw’ (good for selling cigarettes and motorcycles) and ‘Explorer’oriented images.

Epilogue: I got a missed call from my

Nescafé contact and, on calling back, was told they already gave the job to someone else. It’s not me I feel bad for, it’s those future mothers who — unconvinced by the paunchy second-choice scientist in the illfitting lab coat — will buy the wrong brand.

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HCMC Guide

BUSINESS 096 / EAT 102 / BARS 108 / CAFES 111 / ARTS 113 / LEISURE 114 / WELLNESS 119 / FASHION 122 / INTERIORS125 / ELECTRONICS 127 / GROCERIES 128 / GENERATION V 129 Photo by Alexandre garel


Business Buff Top Eat Food Promos Medical Buff Body & Temple The Hobbyist Top Shelf Student Eye

100 104 106 112

116 118 124 130

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Coffee Culture


Jacklynn Blanchard takes a stroll down the café corridor of District 3’s Tu Xuong to get caffeinated with the cool kids. Photos by Alexandre Garel July 2013 Word | 83

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here is a kind of youth that exists in Vietnam that no longer exists in the west. Enough removed from too many generations scarred by war, colonialism and famine, it’s as if this generation has been chosen to experience youth for the first time in decades. Or maybe it just feels that way. There is a buzz in the air and the caffeine and vitality is palpable. Anything is possible. The café is a second home for the youth of Ho Chi Minh City. The dimly-lit rooms with endless sweet drinks and soft music are ideal to steal away alone time with that special someone. However, cafés are not just a perfect getaway for couples; the free Wifi, lack of time limit and plentiful seating create a welcoming environment for studying or spending hours catching up with friends. And it is this perfect storm of privacy, cheap drinks, free Wifi, ample seating, relative

exclusivity and limited rules that seems to attract the young and hip of Ho Chi Minh City. It appears that Tu Xuong in District 3 is their chosen ground zero.

The Café Crawl First on the journey is ID Café (61B Tu Xuong), the brainchild of actress/model Trinh Minh Anh. The second ID Café in the city, this location has been open since September 2012. The décor is styled in pastels, blacks and greys, and everything appears like it could have been purchased from Etsy or a nice consignment shop, purposefully giving off a shabby-chic vibe. Norah Jones-like pop plays softly in the background and an artificial fruit scent, much like body spray, overwhelms the senses. If it weren’t for the menus on cute wooden clipboards and the sporadic patrons with smoothies and specialty

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coffees, one might confuse ID Café with an Anthropologie shop. Most appealingly ID Café is non-smoking and quiet, an ideal place to catch up with your reading or to chat quietly with friends. Just up the block, Den & Trang (47 Tu Xuong) has the feel of an abandoned house. First you walk down a long hallway with vines overhead and potted plants lining the sides. Seating is on lawn furniture outside and brown booth-like couches inside, but as the “house” is open it doesn’t make much difference where you sit unless you sit in the air-conditioned, closed-off non-smoking room. If you go any time past 4pm it’s dark inside and rather foreboding, much like you are intruding in a medieval house with 1970s furniture while the owners are out collecting berries. Den & Trang is curiously decorated with ladybugs, wind chimes, Buddhas, Chinese art, music notes, a disco ball and paintings of pigs — which all come together to create a very nonsensical theme, making it an ideal place to hide out. Last on our caffeinated exploration of Tu Xuong is Fly Cupcake Garden (25A Tu Xuong), which is basically a little girl’s daydream about an Alice in Wonderlandstyle cupcake shop come to life. There are birdcages outside as decoration as well as oil lamps and trimmed hedges; inside it is styled like an eclectic Pottery Barn but with a Victorian spin. The clientele is admittedly more female but the cupcakes would appeal to either gender. Fly Cupcake Garden is an ideal place to take pictures or to enjoy cupcakes and drinks with friends.

Subversive Q1 This assignment began with the question, “Where do the cool Vietnamese kids go?” and ends with a better question — “Where will the cool Vietnamese kids go next?” The next big thing in the café world is shaping up to be Banksy Studio (1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1), a fusing together of street art and café culture just opened this past month. Sam Nguyen has created her café around a classy graffiti theme mixed in with graphic design, with reading copies of art books and an upper loft where customers can buy art supplies and even work on their own art. The design is eclectic but welcoming with beautiful chairs that are mismatched but in the same style, and vintage tiles that Sam scoured the city’s old houses and factories looking for. Banksy Studio serves Italian coffee, espresso drinks, Italian soda, juice and late-night drinks too, staying open 24 hours for the inevitable rush.

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Honorable Mentions Things Café (14 Ton That Dam, Q1) is located in an old house connected to Banksy Studio’s building. Things Café evokes the charm of a 1950s house complete with memorabilia like an old typewriter, an old sink and a four-poster bed converted into a seating area — as well as some odd baby art. Thuy Linh Ta, the owner, intended for Things Café to be to be a café that felt like home, and she succeeds in spades, as long as your home is a little strange. Cooku’s Nest (13 Tu Xuong, Q3) is modeled after a Swiss chalet, with everything inside made of wood, with little in the way of colour except the lantern lights and fake roses on the tables. It is quite dim in the evening, and upstairs it is even darker. But the seating on the balcony is best for privacy and serves as a great location for watching the musicians that play after 9pm.

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Flight of the Dragonflies In the first installment of a three-part series on one of Vietnam’s premiere theatrical troupes, Karen Hewell pulls back the curtain on Dragonfly Theatre Company’s upcoming production of Dangerous Liaisons. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


o be fair, you don’t have to remove the corset to do it,” Belinda Shorland says, shrugging her shoulders. “It keeps everything… perky.” Her free hand traces a curve of cinched waist in the air. Aaron Toronto is slung back in his chair, contemplating. His counterpart, Jaime Zuniga, is nodding, a sneaky grin across his face. “Well, yea, but you’d rather,” Aaron says emphatically. “Otherwise it sort of limits the options.” The logistics under debate are just one part of what will make Dangerous Liaisons Dragonfly Theatre Company’s most risqué effort to date. Its lusty plotline — set to be unveiled in October — treads uncharted territory, including a stage adaptation of a steamy boudoir exploit between two of its main characters. Right now, the conversation is delving into the mechanics of stage-safe clothing removal. “Stripping off 17th century clothing is different than taking off a T-shirt,” says Jaime. “You know, ‘Okay, turn around… one, two, three, four…’” he leans forward, pinching at imaginary corset laces. “That’s not sexy.” The three are veterans of an ensemble that’s established itself as the premiere professional English-language theatre company in Ho Chi Minh City. Jaime and Aaron play dual roles of actor and

co-director, while Belinda has been a constant on the Dragonfly stage, starring in all three of the company’s previous productions. The conversation is light-hearted, jovial even. The three volley ideas while swatting and grabbing at the air in a game of bawdy charades. But even this salacious discussion of burlesque technique is crucial, since every detail — including the corset laces — is deliberate. “We are trying to create a world, and not just a world that the characters live in, but a world within each character,” says Aaron, interjecting. “So if we want to create a world that [the audience] can feel and touch, then we could talk for a year.”

Every Little Bit Counts Although not quite adding up to a year, the trio have certainly spent a substantial chunk of the last few months talking about nothing but Dangerous Liaisons. This conversation about corsets and stage romps comes months after choosing Liaisons as the next Dragonfly pursuit. Before this, there were direction meetings, and then production meetings — and all of them carried on for hours. Some were abstract and were of nothing but colour and theme, and others centred around a character’s internal conflict in the delivery of a single line. Big or small, abstract or specific, each and every detail was treated as key to the success of the

opening night. “Every element of the show is connected. I can’t just say: I’ll do it my way and you do it your way,” Aaron says. “You can tell when [the elements of a show] have been constructed, and that there’s a point to it. [An audience member] can feel when

Then and Now Dragonfly Theatre Company is the product of a conversation between Aaron Toronto and Jaime Zuniga. Together, they decided that the only way to improve the quality of English-language performing arts in Ho Chi Minh City was to do it themselves. Dragonfly debuted their first production of the classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest in 2011, and shortly after, the award-winning off-Broadway show The Last Five Years — a collaboration with the Ho Chi Minh City Choir and Orchestra. Their following show was an adaptation of the classic children’s book The Little Prince. The script was adapted by Dragonfly’s own Jaime Zuniga and Aaron Toronto, and starred Vietnamese TV and film starlet Nguyen Lan Phuong. Dangerous Liaisons, set to debut in October of 2013, will be the company’s fourth, and promises delicious scandal, salacious gossip and corsets… lots of corsets.

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Beyond Beyond the the Script Script “This is such a complex profession. It’s too little to make a decision in 30 seconds [into the audition], but you can tell a lot. You can see the lack of training or the lack of talent. But to see if they can pull a character off? That takes more time.” — Jaime Zuniga, on making the right casting choices “Acting is, psychologically, so crazy. Half of your brain — no, your whole brain — has to be completely in the mechanics of the scene. But then, you have to give in completely to the emotion that the scene requires, and react to what the other actor is giving you.” — Aaron Toronto, on the demands of the stage “For some strange reason, in real life, if I were to start screaming, you would react to that. Your tone of voice would change. If I whisper, you’d know that I was telling you a secret, and you’d whisper, too. But when [untrained actors] are on stage, they don’t react. It’s strange — the things that normal people do in real life are the things that you require training to do on stage.” — Jaime Zuniga, on the difference between trained and untrained actors “You can cast people according to their personality type. I mean, Tom Cruise is always going to be Tom Cruise. Some people are like him. They come in and audition, and what you see is what you get. Sometimes the personality of an actor fits with a character, so it works.” — Aaron Toronto, on strategic casting “I’d love to be in the same room with him, just to see what he eats for breakfast.” — Jaime Zuniga, on Daniel Day-Lewis

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“The three volley ideas while swatting and grabbing at the air in a game of bawdy charades. But even this salacious discussion of burlesque technique is crucial, since every detail — including the corset laces — is deliberate” something is random.” The dedication is evident in the stories both Aaron and Jaime recount: the saga of a costume that was mistakenly sewn with stripes running horizontally instead of vertically; the battle for a key prop whose dimensions threatened its storage backstage; the symbolism behind a set design that transformed from monochromatic to a burst of pastels. For them, nothing is insignificant — perfection is not the goal, but the standard. It’s part of why Dragonfly has made such an impact on the city in its short career. In 2011, their debut show The Importance of Being Earnest boasted hand-crafted costumes and meticulously constructed backdrops that rivaled their international counterparts in concept and execution. Dragonfly’s productions have subsequently been described as “magical” and “eye-catching” by critics, and with each new show, their audience grows. But even though Dragonfly continues to make waves on the theatre circuit in Vietnam — appearing on national television, playing sold-out shows and adding dates due to popular demand — they have their sights set on something much bigger. “We want to be good because we’re good, not because we’re good for Vietnam,” says Jaime. “We want to have an international

quality that [can hold its own] on any stage, and have people look at us and say ‘that’s professional theatre’ — here or anywhere.”

Ambitious Liaisons For Dragonfly, being the premiere professional theatre company in Vietnam simply isn’t enough. Instead, the troupe hopes to soon be dazzling audiences in places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok. It’s a lofty aspiration, since Dragonfly is up against challenges that are unique. While Dragonfly has defied expectation aesthetically speaking, the resources outside of textiles and paint are limited — that is, the kind of talent they can put on the stage. “When we think about a production, we already have an idea of what the pool [of actors] looks like,” says Aaron, who admits that most of Dragonfly’s choices for new ventures are based on a core group of actors that have been with the company from the beginning. Part of the issue is casting Vietnamese actors in plays that are written in English — and demand near perfection in delivery. “The texts we use are not simple English, so [in terms of Vietnamese actors] we need not only someone who is a great actor, but also has a level of English that is near fluency,” says Aaron. “It’s like, if the

audience thinks, ‘Oh, I missed that word,’ and it’s a very important word for the scene… we just can’t afford that.” Add that to the list of everything else, and the qualifications for a cast member are three-fold: a near fluent proficiency in English, a talent for acting and a physicality that matches that of a character they’ll play. Consequently, casting for a production like Dangerous Liaisons is, in a word, problematic. Undeterred, Dragonfly decided to try something new with Dangerous Liaisons — they held an open casting call. The hope was that, by casting the net wider, they would bring in some fresh new talent. The results were surprising. Both new and familiar faces arrived on the day of auditions, while video interviews rolled in from places like the United States and England. All were enthusiastic and eager to become a part of what Dragonfly was doing.

Since then, the major players in the production — including a full cast with brand new members — have come together. It’s enough to keep Aaron, Jaime and Belinda confident about what Dangerous Liaisons could mean for Dragonfly, and they agree that this could be a turning point. After all, with enough work, this could be the production that puts them in the international spotlight. “After a lot of trials by fire, [I believe that] we are now producing a show [that] will be able to play well not only here, but in any major city in the world,” says Aaron. He has big hopes and even bigger obligations as both lead actor and codirector for Dangerous Liaisons. He, like Jaime and Belinda, know that there is only one way to know if that’s been achieved, come on opening night. “Our audience will be the judge of whether that's true or not.”

“We want to be good because we’re good, not because we’re good for Vietnam,” says Jaime. “We want to have an international quality that [can hold its own] on any stage, and have people look at us and say ‘that’s professional theatre’ — here or anywhere” July 2013 Word | 91

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home turf

Vovinam: Power with Purpose Tess Somerville checks out the moves of Vietnam’s proprietary martial art, and the inner strength that fuels them. Photos by Kyle Phanroy


he most common crimes in Vietnam, namely purse-snatching and motorbike theft, may seem somewhat tame in comparison to the kind of violence that takes place in other major cities around the world. Nonetheless, the crime rate is on the rise and becoming increasingly brutal in nature. Last November, Ho Chi Minh City residents were staggered by an incident on the Phu My Bridge, where a woman’s arm was nearly chopped off by machete-wielding thieves attempting to steal her scooter. Although the problems surrounding the cause and prevention of crime in the city are manifold, many find some comfort in martial arts as a means of self-defense. Master Sen of To Duong Vovinam (31 Su Van Hanh, Q10) explains that their demographic, primarily children and young adults, has expanded recently to include those looking to protect themselves on the streets. While numerous styles of martial arts are practised in Vietnam, for example Japanese Aikido and Korean Taekwondo, homegrown Vovinam has been growing in popularity in the last couple decades, not only because of the physical prowess it necessitates, but also for the strength of character it promotes.

The History Vovinam was founded in 1938 by Grand Master Nguyen Loc. Loc drew from various forms of Chinese Kung Fu, fusing them with Japanese, Korean and traditional Vietnamese techniques to create a practice that would physically and spiritually empower Vietnamese people in their struggle against French colonisation. Though it has since been stripped of its radical undertones, it remains a source of national pride. Vovinam studios have popped up all over the Vietnamese diaspora, beginning with the opening of a studio in Houston, Texas in 1976. Recent successes in the Southeast Asia Games competition have enhanced the art’s

reputation throughout the region. Master Sen agrees. “When Vietnamese go overseas to compete in the Southeast Asia Games,” he says, “it creates a really good image of Vietnam.”

The Moves Each move falls into one of three categories. The first category involves rechanneling the momentum of an attacker in order to deflect the attack. The second involves finding an opponent’s weakness and attacking with force. The third involves getting free from any sort of hold or lock. Master Sen explains that unlike other martial art forms, which focus just on legs and arms, Vovinam utilises the whole body, making it excellent for physical fitness. Moves vary from simple kicks to running up and back-flipping off an opponent’s chest in order to disorient them. In one move, fighters run, jump and fly through the air to entrap their opponents’ heads between the legs and pin them to the ground.

The Philosophy The central message behind Vovinam denounces unprovoked aggression and encourages fighting in the name of something positive. Based on a Yin-Yang style theory of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’, it advocates a healthy balance between the two, in daily life as well as in combat. Part of the training is learning when to adjust levels of hard (courage, tenacity, assertiveness) and soft (fairness, modesty, tolerance) to adapt to different situations. According to Master Sen, Vovinam practice is especially important for young people, as it gives them “better direction, and a sense of how to work with others”. 14-year-old Tan, who will be leaving his family soon to live in the US, feels that Vovinam is helping him prepare for adulthood. “I feel more confident now when I go outside,” he says. “I won’t need my parents to protect me any more.”

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saigon comedy nights

darts darts darts Photos by Kyle Phanroy

Photos by Nick Ross

Two of English-speaking world’s cleverest comedians teased expats and juggled axes at this snort-fest at Cargo

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the indochina project Photos by Francis Xavier

As Blood Runs Black joined a number of local acts to bring heavy metal, moshing, stage diving and a general air of raucousness to a dark corner of Pasteur

The arts came together in an international, inter-disciplinary way at The Indochina Project’s coming-out party

If you have a noteworthy event which you think would fit into our coverage, please email and we'll take a look.

Hoa Sen fashion show Photos by Mads Monsen

Student fashion designers at the Hoa Sen University persuaded the city’s models to adorn their best offerings at their graduation event at The Gala on Mac Dinh Chi. Fashion magazine

lights camera murder!

editors played the role of judges and sponsors played the role of the money men. In a country so obsessed by looks and status, good to see original designs and clothing. Sorry Versace, Gucci et al. You’re not invited

cub scouts

shabazz palaces

Australia’s energetic indie popsters Cub Scouts packed their keyboards and their colliding harmonies for a night of fun on the dance floor at Cargo

If Bedouins herded beats instead of goats and settled in Seattle instead of the Atlas Mountains, this would be their band, playing their posiarrythmias at Cargo

Photos by Francis Xavier

Photos by Kyle Phanroy

Photos by Kyle Phanroy

30 of fake-Hollywood’s most darling and deceitful leading men and ladies got together at Saigon Outcast for backstabbing, butchery and beers

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BUSINESS From accounting to advertising to serviced apartments, our selection of some of the city's top businesses


4th Floor, Unit 17, Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 0220 An invaluable resource for expats, Globaleye provides consultation on investments, offshore banking, education planning, life protection, wills, pensions and more.




6th Floor, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: 0938 220 255 Specialising in U.S. personal income tax returns preparation, this firm is IRS Enrolled Agent qualified with big 4 experience. Also provides Vietnam tax and business legal consulting.


Unit 501, 5th Floor, Saigon Trade Center 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 2262 Headquartered in the Netherlands with over 100 offices in 75 countries, TMF provides accounting, tax and payroll services. Specialises in helping international investors establish a presence in Vietnam.




Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0796 With more than ten years of experience in Vietnam in all major industry sectors, PwC provides auditing, business and technology solutions and tax and legal consulting.

Advertising & Mktg

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2nd Floor, 18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6662 BBDO is an award-winning global advertising and communications company. Accolades include Network of the Year honours at Cannes four years running.


16th Floor, Bitexco Office Tower, 19–25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 3064 Working extensively across Asia, Cowean specialises in brand strategy and brand design for both local and international consumer and corporate companies.

Dentsu Vietnam

AB TOWER, 23rd Floor 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9005 A 100 percent foreign-

owned advertising agency established in 2003. We provide through-the-line communication services from brand consultancy, creative concept and development, promotion, digital to media planning and buying for Toyota, Aji-no-moto, Canon, Panasonic, Kao and Abbott among others.


404 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3929 1450 This full-spectrum marketing / communications company offers PR, retail management, events and database marketing. Major clients include Proctor & Gamble, SmithKline, Beecham, BAT and Mars.


Villa B, 12A Duong So 12, Tran Nao, Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 6388 Dutch industrial designers with over 10 years of work-

ing experience in Asia offer (re)design, design engineering (3D CAD) and innovation consultancy for plastics, consumer products, electronics, and metal parts.


113 Nguyen Thai Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 3615 Managing successful marketing campaigns since 2002 with four full-service offices and project management available nationwide. Marketeers Vietnam have designed and implemented locally and globally recognized campaigns.


12th Floor, Centec Tower, 72– 74, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9529 Well–known marketing communications company combines local know-how with a worldwide network to leverage the brands of multinational clients.


7th Floor, 11bis Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 6777 An independent, creative–led communications company helps brands connect and grow across Southeast Asia. Clients include The Coca–Cola Company, Asia Pacific Breweries, Piaggio and UPI.


Melody Tower, 422-424 Ung Van Khiem, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3898 1005 A leading communications company, Purple Asia offers a wide range of services such as graphic design, branding, interactive media, video, photography and production.


10 Phan Ngu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 0169 Long-established branding consultancy and marketing agency. The Red team

creates and shapes unique marketing strategies that add impact to international and local brands from Vietnam to Australia.


Tel: (08) 3925 2538 Communications network operating in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar for over a decade, specialising in advertising, design, activation, digital, media, PR, research, training, premiums and production.


3 Phan Van Dat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1207 Ranked among the top 100 global advertising agencies, S&S has worked with over half of the 50 best–known brands in the world, providing advertisement planning, direct marketing, marketing consulting and graphic design.


Unit 603, Rosana Tower, 60 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5315 TBWA is a Top-Ten worldwide advertising agency, with marketing services including strategic consultancy, creative development, events and activation, direct mail, shopper marketing and public relations.

Business Consulting BDG VIETNAM

11th Floor, Capital Place, 6 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 7858 bdg– Active in sourcing & production, strategic marketing and project management, BDG partners with clients in all sectors and regions to open perspectives, address critical challenges and promote successful business in Vietnam.


33 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 1480 concetti– Consulting and research firm with a range of clients including the Vietnamese government, global US consumer products companies, infrastructure developers, oil com-

panies and the World Bank.


Ho Chi Minh Office: Room 2B-2C, 2nd Floor, 180 Pasteur, District 1, HCMC. Ha Noi Office: Room 603, 6th Floor, 535 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi. VieclamBank is a brand of G.A. Consultants Vietnam - a Human Resources Consulting company with 100% Japan investment. Established in 2006 in Vietnam, the company focuses on recruiting executive and senior level, providing Vietnamese and Japanese candidates with experience studying abroad or working in foreign companies. A quick, effective and competitive service suitable for many types of business.


69A1 Tran Ke Xuong, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3551 2260 DL Technologies provides premium integrated technology solutions with emphasis on local “on the ground” support from a highly skilled international team. Services include home entertainment, security systems, air conditioning and energy-management systems.


28th Floor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 9100 Chartered accountants and management consultants work in a range of fields including Audit, Tax Advice, Corporate Finance and Advisory Services, Business Risk Services, Valuations and Due Diligence, Private Equity, and Mergers and Acquisitions.


Villa 15, Duong 58, Phu Nhuan Compound, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 0916 352573 An internationally accredited

Master in Image Consulting, Huong Nguyen offers personal consultations and corporate workshops on developing a professional and confident image, modern etiquette and business behaviour skills.


8th Floor, YOCO Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 6416 A professional information technology services company offering expertise in data security, email, document management, web hosting, information and communication technology (ICT) relocation services and a full-range of other IT solutions.


6th Floor, Abacus Tower, 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 6770 Specialist in intellectual property consultancy service providing the full range of IP services, from the implementation of global investigation and enforcement strategies, to the provision of commercial IP services.


161A/1 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 0965 Aids in the opening of representative offices and offshore bank accounts and provides licenses and tax stamps, business and marketing plans, reports and English-language editing to offshore businesses based in Vietnam.


Fideco Riverview Building, Mezzanine Floor, 14 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0904 410884 Powered by Haines Centre for Strategic Management, STRASOL strives to deliver superior results and sustained competitive advantage through the application of strategic solutions in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.


164 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2205 Tractus is a management consulting company that focuses on helping foreign investors gain success in Asia via corporate strategy development and implementation, site selection, trade promotion and market research.


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3402 An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Business Groups AMCHAM

New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 3562. 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.


2nd Floor, Eximland Building, 179EF, Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9912 A licensed foreign business group established to represent and promote the interests of Australian businesses operating in Vietnam, AusCham coordinates topical breakfast seminars, social networking functions, governmental relations meetings and charity events.


25 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 8430 BBGV promotes the interests of its members in addition to the more general interests of British business. Or-

ganises business luncheons and seminars as well as regular social and networking events.

entities and Vietnamese authorities.


WE Link

Room 305, New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3754 Open to all nationalities, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce aims to create an effective network of business associates together and to facilitate discussion forums about business in Vietnam.


12A Floor, Bitexco Building, 19–25 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 5423 Provides support for Nordic companies and individuals operating in Vietnam. A business and social network, members have the opportunity to meet, discuss, interact and share expertise.


40/5 Pham Viet Chanh, Ward 19, Binh Thanh A non-profit organisation that aims to promote and develop trade between the Philippines and Vietnam, to foster interaction and understanding and to serve as the voice of Filipino business entities.


6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3046 300+ members meet regularly to foster HCMC business relations, as well as to organise social, cultural, educational and charitable activities. Membership grants access to a wide range of discounts around town.


42 Giang Van Minh, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6996 The Swiss Business Association is a non-profit organisation that strives to promote economic and cultural activities, as well as cooperation between Swiss business

Coaching & Training 64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2900 Short–term courses and workshops on discovering and developing self, applying psychology for a healthier life (personal, marital, parental). Courses for specialists / practitioners in human service fields. Train the trainer. Practice with supervision.


14-16-18 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8364 One-stop-shop for corporate gifts and merchandise ranging from shaped USB disks through to apparel, clocks, bags, golf products, wine accessories and more.

Event Management EVECOO

Tel: (08) 0988 297990 Evecoo provides everything needed to plan, supply, organise, publicise, improve and implement a successful event. Evecoo gives every client specific attention and adds the touches to make any event memorable.


63 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6048 This luxury event hall has four ballrooms, a rooftop terrace, and banquet, catering and event services. Gala Royale is the ideal venue for meetings, conferences, product launchings, cocktail parties, weddings or anniversaries.


268/3-5 Nguyen Thai Binh, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6675 2620 Wedding planning business offers comprehensive services for weddings of any size or style. Delivers high-

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quality, detailed planning and resources to create dream weddings.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu, Tel: (08) 3812 6901 Offers everything from canapés and cocktails, buffets and set menus to barbeques and wedding catering. Combines excellent food, event management and exclusive venues to make any kind of event a success.

Expat Services CHUM’S HOUSE

121/21 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3920 7237 Dedicated to helping expats find housing, Chum’s House provides an extensive list of properties that fit any price range and preference. Also facilitates motorbike rentals and visa acquisition, all free of charge.



International Plaza Building, Room 16B8, 343 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 7553 A real estate agent providing a wide range of services including property sales, leasings, rentals, free brokerage and aftersales service.


Level 2, Pathfinder Building, 52 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 4707 Global real estate consultants, specialising in commercial / residential sales and leasing, project management, valuation and research & consultancy. The Easy Saigon website is a useful real estate website helping expats to find apartments in Ho Chi Minh City. Enquiries via their website are welcome.


Suite A, 7/F, VTP Office Building, 8 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 6777 Founded in 1896, Knight Frank has grown to become the world’s largest privately owned global property agency and consultancy. In Vietnam, they offer commercial, residential and residential development services.


48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0989 007700 Expert in providing rental properties, constructions and interior decoration, especially in District 2. Supports professional services and aftersales.

Housing & Real Estate CBRE

Unit 1201, Me Linh Point Tower, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 6125 Property developers and consultants with both private and commercial properties for sale, lease and rent. Issues a monthly newsletter with the latest property news. Also does research and management services.



Fideco Tower, 18th Floor, 81-85 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9205 Savills Vietnam is a leading property service provider in Vietnam since 1995, providing research, advisory services, residential sales, commercial leasing, asset management, retail advisory, valuation, investment advisory and other services.

SNAP Owners of Snap Café in District 2, Snap offers a web–based real estate search service with information on rental properties all around the city, as well as an advisory service for those averse to wading into the internet depths for their needs. Real value in a changing world

Jones Lang lasalle

26th Foor, Saigon Trade Center, 37 Ton Duc Thang Q1. Tel: (08) 3910 3968 Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. As a truly global firm, they work and collaborate closely with their colleagues across Asia Pacific and around the world to bring best-in-class services, people, and systems to their clients in Vietnam. Their offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Ha Noi offer: Tenant Representation, Office Leasing, Retail Services, Valuation and Advisory, Research and Consulting, Investment Sales and Acquisitions, Residential Agency, Industrial Agency, Project and Development Services, Property Asset Management Services, Hotel Investment and Consultancy Services, Integrated Facilities Management.

COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL VIETNAM Bitexco Office Building, 7th Floor, 19-25 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3529 Represents property investors, developers and renters in all matters related to commercial and residential property.

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Tel: 0934 874271 Represents insurance programs offered by Seven Corners, and other global insurers. Customized health and travel cover options available at competitive rates for corporations, individuals, families, students, and groups.


32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701, Q1 Tel: 01659 419916 Happy House aims to make Saigon life easier by offering practical solutions to every kind of problem — including bill payments, repairs, motorbike rentals, visa applications, maid placements, plant watering and pet transportation. Tel: (08) 2226 8855. The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides services from relocation and immigration to cross–cultural and business awareness training.

reputable medical insurers provide you with the best suitable medical cover for individual, family or company needs.


Capital Place, 6 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 2000 Vietnam Sotheby’s International Realty has access to residential real estate both for sale and lease around the world. Contact them to view high–end apartments, villas, resorts and island properties.


369/6 Do Xuan Hop, Phuoc Long B, Q9 Tel: 0903 198901 thenest– Well–known property search and real estate agency with a useful website listing properties available for rent and sale, orientated towards expats. Website is in English, French and Spanish.


Tel: (08) 3825 8416 Offers hospital costs paid up to VND40 billion with no hidden hospital sub–limits for anyone up to age 74. Also includes a routine heath check and dental care. No claims discount available.


1A Me Linh Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7362 Independent advisors that represent top

Blue Cross Vietnam

8th Floor, River View Tower, 7A Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 9908 Blue Cross Vietnam is part of the Pacific Cross group of companies with over 60 years’ experience in providing health and travel insurance to people and businesses who call Asia home. Their reputation for transparent, honest and reliable service means they are the strength behind your insurance. To make sure you are getting the most out of your insurance contact them for a free quote.


15th Floor, Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3812 5125 Provides a range of services to both commercial enterprises and individuals. Coverage includes property, liability, business interruption, marine cargo, automobile, home and travel, as well as expat healthcare.

Language Schools BELL VIETNAM

28C Mai Thi Luu, Q1 A partner of Bell International, BVN provides high–quality language education and related services worldwide. Focuses exclusively on language training for adults using the best multimedia materials.


51 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 6788 A foreign-owned education and training company that offers a range of educational programmes, such as English-language tuition, university pathway programmes, corporate training, teacher training and overseas study consultancy and placement services.


33/19 Quoc Huong, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0908 381492 Offers classes to francophone and other foreign children and adults. Classes include monitoring for the French Education Programme, preparing for official tests (DEFL, DAFL, TFL, IB), Vietnamese lessons and extracurricular activities.


135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh Thanh, Tel: 0916 670 771 A Vietnamese language school specialising in personalised one-on-one instruction at a comfortable and central campus or at your home, office or over Skype.


Unit 25F, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 0999 Operating in Vietnam since 1995, Prudential has over 70 customer care centres throughout the country.

Investment & Finance DRAGON CAPITAL

1901 Me Linh Point, 2 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9355 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.

THE ETHICAL INVESTMENT GROUP The Ethical Investment Group is dedicated to offering alternative investments to investors looking to make quality, above-average returns, while simultaneously expressing a social conscience with meaningful, measurable and sustainable environmental benefits.


66/11 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 0623 t– Offers personal financial planning for expatriates, portable retirement savings plans, tax minimisation strategies, asset allocation and money management, debt and cash–flow planning, life, disability and health insurance and family wealth protection.


17th Floor, Sun Wah Tower, 115 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9930 A leading investment fund management company with extensive experience in the emerging Vietnam market. Manages the Vietnam Opportunity Fund (VOF), which is a US$839 million investment fund.


110-112-114 Street No. 2, Hung Gia 5, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 3300 A fast-growing English language center in District 7’s Phu My Hung, UEC was founded in 2009. Now with 500 students drawn from 17 different nationalities, the classes are served by over 35 native English speaking teachers who are committed to providing a culturally diverse and engaging classroom atmosphere. Offers a wide range of classes from beginner levels through TOEFL, IGCSE, SAT and IELTS. UEC also provides support to students aspiring for a place in international schools.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 0168 Offers courses ranging from basic conversational Vietnamese to upper elementary, intermediate and advanced levels, as well as special courses including Vietnamese literature, composition or a 6-hour survival crash course.


37/54 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 0914 Provides Vietnamese language training by qualified and experienced teachers, and expert certification, notarization and translation for all types of materials and documents.


189 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 9800 One of the largest and most respected language institutions in the city, VUS offers programmes that are designed in cooperation with the City University of New York.

Suite 605, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1717 Australian law firm providing standard legal services to corporate clients, Allens’ website is also an excellent resource for English translations of over 3,000 Vietnamese laws. Also publishes a monthly Vietnam Legal Update.


12th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5585 Baker & McKenzie provides on–the–ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.


Unit 1501, 15th Floor, The Metropolitan, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2733 Frasers Law Company is an integrated team providing international legal advice in a Vietnamese context on all matters of business and commerce.


18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8599 A leading international law firm with 19 offices worldwide. The Vietnam office offers clients high quality service that combines legal expertise with a highly commercial approach, across all sectors of business law.


Unit 4A2, 4th Floor, Han Nam Building, 65 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 9640 A business law–focused practice established in 2006, Indochine Counsel assists both international and local clients in meeting the various legal needs related to their business and investment.


17th Floor, Saigon Tower, 29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8860 Operating in Vietnam since 1994, the firm provides clients with a full range of legal services in all areas, including corporate, real estate, banking and finance and all forms of inward investment.

Management Training EMBERS ASIA

4th floor, 4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4728 The first team-building provider established in Vietnam, Embers specializes in ensuring success in globally competitive markets. Embers’ HR performance management services include excursions, strategic planning retreats, conference facilitations and training workshops.


88 Huynh Van Banh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: (08) 6292 9288 With campuses throughout Southeast Asia, ERC offers a comprehensive range of business courses from soft skills development programmes to tourism and hospitality, all the way through to MBAs.


6th Floor, Yoco Office Building, 41 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 9919 A 100 percent foreign–invested company focusing on management services and consulting with in–house programmes to meet the particular requirements of its clients. Offers teambuilding and academic–based business and management programmes.


Tel: 0128 3327472 Innovative Training 2020 provides tailored


35A-1-2 Grandview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel: (08) 5412 3402 An international human resource management consultancy specialising in organisational and professional development. Services include assessment and development, team building, corporate training, HRM audits and HR systems design.

Market Research CIMIGO

9 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3822 7727 An independent marketing and brand research specialist operating in the Asia Pacific region. Services include auditing and optimising research programmes, knowledge management, developing marketing plans and business models and assessing market opportunities.


3rd Floor, 140 Nguyen Van Thu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 6965 Provides a regional perspective on consumer, retail and social research to a range of multinational organisations operating in Indochina.


91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 6258 6314 Providing business-to-business and industry market research since 1997. Clients include multinationals, investment funds and government commercial offices. Consulting services focus on market sizing, investment analysis and trade promotion.


CentrePoint Building, Level 4, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhan Tel: (08) 3997 8088 Global information and measurement company, with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence, mobile measurement, trade shows and related properties.


13th Floor, Room 1312, Kumho Asiana Plaza 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 6288 8785 A global market research company that works on competitive brand, product and customer experience strategies, Synovate combines global research capabilities with personalised service, local knowledge and flexibility to meet clients’ specific needs.


105–107 Nguyen Cong Tru, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 5727 With over 11 years in the marketplace, TNS Vietnam offers all three major market research services — customisation, access panels and media monitoring — to a range of local and international clients.


Level 5, 273-273B Ben Chuong Duong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 5517 Providing public relations and communications support to international and local firms operating in Vietnam. Specialising in corporate communications, media relations, corporate social responsibility and media and issues management and training.

M: 097 675 06 44 - M: 0122 514 1848 -


training courses combining soft skills with English, offering training and development in all industries — hospitality, banking, healthcare, IT and local government.

Hanoi: David Shinn HCMC: Joel Garbutt

Legal Services

{business Buff} ** The Costly Typo **

By Shane Dillon


1201, Block A, Indochina Park Tower, 4 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 2220 2989 universalmanagementasia. com UMA is an Australian/Vietnamese promotional and representation company providing promotional marketing solutions for business products and services within Vietnam.


7th Floor, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 0462 Vero Public Relations helps clients expand their footprints in Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand through effective public relations campaigns. Services offered include branding, media relations, event management, public affairs and issues / crisis management.

Recruitment & HR Adecco Vietnam

11th floor, Empire Tower, 26 - 28 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 3430 Adecco is the world leader in human resources solutions. Established in Vietnam in 2011, Adecco offers a wide array of global workforce solutions and specialises in finance & legal, sales, marketing & events, IT, engineering & technical, and office.



ne thing that really annoys me is typos (I cringe at the mistakes in people’s resumes and online profiles everyday) and before any of you come banging on my door, I know I make them, too. That annoys me most of all. And while I think typos do cost the maker some money in lost opportunities and credibility, the following are the most expensive typos ever.

some stocks he was trying to sell. After realising the mistake he went on a trading bonanza that ended up costing the company/ government US$175 million. Merrill Lynch was successfully sued for US$25 million for allowing the obvious mistaken trades. Since then the term ‘a Davila’ has been used to describe a screw-up of large magnitude.


1962, the US$80 million hyphen was called the most expensive hyphen in history by Arthur C. Clarke. Leading to a spectacular explosion just after takeoff of the Mariner 1, America’s first interplanetary probe from NASA in 1962, the missing hyphen was in the coding of the trajectory and speed operating code.

A car dealership in Roswell, New Mexico tried an advertising campaign involving 50,000 scratch-off tickets, with one winner getting a US$1,000 cash prize. The printer’s typo left all 50,000 tickets as winners with a total liability of US$50 million to the dealership. Unable to honour the debt, the dealership instead offered a US$5 Walmart gift certificate for every winning ticket.

Bad Stock

Number Crunch

In 1994, online trading was just kicking off when Chilean government copper trader Juan Pablo Davila mistakenly bought

In December 2005, Japan’s Mizuho Securities introduced a new member to its portfolio of offerings, a recruitment company

The Hyphen

100 | Word July 2013

called J-Com Co., nicely priced at 610,000 yen per share. Less than a year later, one of the company’s traders made the most expensive typo in history when he sold 610,000 shares at one yen apiece — he was supposed to sell one share at the true price. No amount of pleading with the Tokyo Stock Exchange could reverse the error, and it cost his company US$340 million to honour the trades.

P’s and Q’s A missing ‘P’ cost one eBay seller more than half-a-mil on the 150-year-old beer he was auctioning. Few collectors knew a bottle of Allsopp’s Arctic Ale was up for bid, because it was listed as a bottle of Allsop’s Arctic Ale. One eagle-eyed bidder hit a payday when he purchased the beer for just US$304, then immediately re-sold it for US$503,300. Shane works in financial services and studies economics. He can be contacted at shanedillon@bluecross.

1st Floor, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 8800 hr2b. com Established in 2003, HR2B is one of Vietnam’s top three HR consulting firms, specialising in finding opportunities for senior level professionals. Other services include payroll outsourcing, contract staffing and HR management consulting.


8th Floor, Resco Building, 9496 Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3911 0950 The first global recruitment company to set up locally, Manpower offers a range of services for the entire employment and business cycle.


130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5000 Well–known human resources agency with a wide range of services including executive search and online recruitment.


2A Rolanno Offices, 128 Nguyen Phi Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 8209 Established in Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Opus services local and multinational companies seeking to recruit high quality personnel. An Associate of Horton Inter-

national, one of the world’s leading search groups.


130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 1373 Online job-search website with one of the best selections of jobs in Vietnam. Also contains sections with career tips, CV writing advice and information on training courses.

Relocation Agents AGS Four Winds (Vietnam)

5th Floor, Lafayette De Saigon, 8A Phung Khac Khoan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0071 A global leader in international removals and relocations, with 130 offices globally, we can move your property to and from any location.

Allied Pickfords

Tel: 01225 141848 With more than 800 offices in over 45 countries, Allied Pickfords is one of the worldwide leaders in removal services. In Vietnam, Allied also provides tailored relocation services.


9th Floor, Unit 9.3, REE Tower 9 Doan Van Bo, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 7799 Asian Tigers is one of the largest regional move management specialists, with services including door-to-door moving, housing and school searches, local and office moves and pet relocations.


48A Huynh Man Dat, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 4237 Crown Relocations services include expense management, policy consulting and programme administration, storage, transit protection and domestic and international transportation of household goods.


6th Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, Tel: (08) 3826 7655 Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods, JVK is a leader in the field.


396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 Tel: (08) 3941 5325 Specialists in international, local, domestic and office moves for household goods and personal effects through our global partner network. Experts in exporting used scooters that do not have documentation.


Tel: (08) 2226 8855 The first dedicated relocation company in Vietnam, Resident Vietnam provides a full range of destination services, cross–cultural training and immigration management services.


7th Floor, 6-8 Doan Van Bo, Q4 Tel: (08) 3826 8850 SEAL offers a complete range of relocation services, including global and local relocation services to, from and within Vietnam. SEAL is also an accredited pet relocation agent.

Santa Fe Relocation Services

8FL, Thien Son Building, 5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3. Tel: (08) 3933 0065 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. Email

vn for info.

Serviced Apartments CAM LY HOTEL & APARTMENT

656 Cach Mang Tham Tam, Q3, Tel: (08) 3993 1587 With a total of 10 studio apartments for longterm lease, each unit comes fully furnished with a living room, kitchen and bedroom. Rates are subject to the duration of stay.


12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1111. Conveniently located only five minutes from downtown, Cityview has 69 fully–furnished apartments. Facilities include a gym, billiards lounge, kids playroom, restaurant and laundry.


Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van Huu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 8888 Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon you’ll find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The residences offer panoramic views of the downtown area.


17–19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 6111 Offers a wide choice of luxurious and modern furnished accommodation with attentive and discreet service. Facilities include an outdoor swimming pool, a gym, sauna and steam room, as well as two on-site restaurants.


53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 4111 riverside– Over four Saigon Riverbank hectares, Riverside Apartments combines a resort lifestyle

with the amenities of a fully serviced-apartment. Located minutes from downtown by high-speed boat shuttle.


65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9666 Located in the centre of town above Saigon Center, 89 well–appointed one to three-bedroom apartments come complete with full housekeeping services and fully–equipped kitchenettes.


127 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3823 2288 Sherwood Residence is a luxurious serviced apartment property where modern living spaces meet prime location, comfort and class, with five–star facilities and service.

Somerset Serviced Residences

8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8899; 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9197; 628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu, Q1 Somerset Chancellor Court, Somerset Ho Chi Minh City and Somerset Vista Ho Chi Minh City serviced residences combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the services of a top-rated hotel. They come with separate living and dining areas, as well as a fully equipped kitchen where guests can prepare a meal for themselves, their family and friends.


5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 65 serviced apartments located in the city centre overlooking the river. Also has a comprehensive health club for tenants and members, a squash court and a 16th floor swimming pool.




* *


Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants

French & Italian Bibi@Alibi

5A Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6257 The legendary chef Bibi’s newest creation, a convivial restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine using fresh products bought early morning at the market by Bibi himself. Delicious meats and fish dishes together with the famous tarte tatin.


NEW YORK-ITALIAN 11 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3329 New York-style Italian restaurant offering a range of tasty and affordable antipasti, pastas, and pizzas. Friendly staff and rustic bare brick walls adorned with Hollywood film legends make for a relaxed and attractive setting.


FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 Exuding a southern Gallic atmosphere with its tiled veranda, pastel-coloured walls and ficus trees, this traditional French restaurant has quarterly Michelin star promotions and an award winning pastry team.

la brasserie de saigon

FRENCH / PARISIEN 38 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3657 Chic art nouveau decor surrounds this dining experience ­– but the streetside seafood stand draws the focus back to where it should be, on the fresh, authentic Parisian cuisine.

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FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 4888 A romantic, indoor setting creates the atmosphere at this white tablecloth mainstay. Serving a mixture of French-influenced Mediterranean cuisine, it also boasts excellent desserts and a great old and new world wine list.

competitively priced world wines.


CLASSIC FRENCH 31 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8465 Unpretentious but tasty French fare in a relaxed garden setting within the French cultural centre. The robust, bistro-style cuisine is very well-priced, and excellent, cheap house wine is served by the carafe.

CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Ground Floor, Park Hyatt Hotel, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1234 Unpretentious, casual but elegant restaurant with a tried–and–tested Italian menu backed up by a compact wine list from regions like Umbria, Toscana and Veneto. Regular specials and impressive open kitchens.

FRENCH / MEDITERRANEAN 48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 2229 8882 This intimate, open-kitchened restaurant bathed in white specialises in a mix of contemporary Mediterranean and French cuisine. Has a small but well thought out menu, backed up with an extensive wine list.

La Plancha



TRADITIONAL ITALIAN 17B Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 1080 This downtown hideaway with rustic–style decorative trawls features fresh, light regional cuisine from across Italy. Try the carpaccio misto di pesce and agnello d’antico. Also specializes in excellent wood-fired pizzas.

TRATTORIA-STYLE ITALIAN 88 Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 3692 A contemporary trattoria in the heart of Saigon, serving home-cooked Italian cuisine with New York flair in a beautifully designed space with high ceilings. The menu features both traditional antipasti and substantial main courses.




CLASSIC FRENCH / EUROPEAN FUSION 40 Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9263 A sociable and popular French bistro serving up 100 percent organic, traditional Gallic staples such as French onion soup, escargot, and moules marinières, plus European fusion dishes, and


25 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 8521 Home-cooked, bistro-style fare at reasonable prices. Has a great outdoor terrace and the cuisine is embellished with the real taste of France and The Mediterranean. A popular local haunt.


FRENCH BISTRO 28 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: 0903 852956 French backpacker area mainstay attracting a clientele made up of Gallic expats and tourists. Excellent food menu with daily specials backs up a long bar seating area perfect for cradling a Ricard.





INTERNATIONAL 27 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: 0838 238424 The downtown outlet of one of Vietnam’s most successful restaurant chains, Al Fresco’s offers international, Australian-influenced comfort fare in a pleasant environment with efficient, friendly service to match. Excellent delivery service. BRAZILIAN / BUFFET 238 Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 7157 Latino ambiance with great meat dishes and attractive, spacious décor. The churrasco, with 12 cuts of barbecued and cured meats plus unlimited salad, is hand carved at your table. Can get busy.

PAN-ITALIAN 36 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 6253 2828 Opening out into a large, leafy terracotta-tiled garden area, this trattoria-style Italian restaurant serves up quality homemade pasta, risotto, gnocchi, excellent pizza and grilled dishes. Another branch downtoan at 87 Nguyen Hue, Q1.




ITALIAN / VIETNAMESE 119-121 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 9220 Two-storey Stella serves very reasonable Italian food — antipasti, pasta, pizza, insalata plus meats and fish — at reasonable prices. Also has Wi-Fi, cool aircon, and one of the best lattes around. Now no-smoking indoors.


CLASSIC FRENCH 18 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 4585 Trois Gourmands is the successor to the legendary Le Toit Gourmand in Tan Binh, and continues to serve up some of the best Gallic fare in town. The seven-course, wine-paired dinner remains excellent value.

popular two-storey eatery close to the river.

EUROPEAN / CAFÉ 23 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Consistently tasty European café fare — think deli-style sandwiches, salads and mezzes, plus coffees and juices — served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and green-tiled décor. LEBANESE The Courtyard, 74/13D Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: 3822 2188 A Lebanese restaurant and shisha lounge located downtown, encompasses a multiple-floored restaurant and extensive garden area. As the name suggests the menu has a Lebanese/Arabic theme.

Black Cat

AMERICAN 13 Phan Van Dat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2055 Creatively named burgers, tasty Vietnamese-styled sandwiches, spiced up cocktails, mains and more, all served up with a Californian edge at this small but

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior Compound, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6790 Live music, mini-festivals and functions are regular events at this spacious restobar in An Phu on the banks of the Saigon river. The menu offers seasonal dishes, classic mains and sharing plates.

INTERNATIONAL / GRILL CR-2 3-4 107 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 6592 Australian themed but Singaporean-owned eatery and bar on The Crescent with great terraced seating specializing in huge-portioned international fare, all set in a contemporary, spacious environment.


GERMAN / RESTOBAR Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 4206 The city’s first contemporary German beer bar and restaurant, Brotzeit offers well known German beer accompanied by authentic Bavarian Cuisine —sausages, schnitzels and more — in a relaxed yet chic drinking hall setting.

Central Parc Banh Mi

7 Bis Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8549 Part of the Au Parc group, this miniscule, New Yorkthemed sandwich shop does creative lunchtime fare at excellent prices — think baguettes, wraps, focaccia and bagels. Excellent delivery service.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3836 7622 This affable café is a rarity in the backpacker area for its genuinely good musical playlist. Excellent, build-

your-own breakfasts, baked potatoes, toasties, Vietnamese fare and more. Has a popular motorbike rental service.

the cuisine includes gourmet seafood and pastas. Bakery-style Bistro out front.


PAN-AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 50 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1311 Mogambo is one of the city’s longest running establishments. A well-known expat meeting spot, with dishes running from fajitas and burritos through to the coronary bypass burger, gumbo and ribs.

INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Level 51, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8751 Highest dining in the city. Modern international and pan-Asian fine dining cuisine with 360-degree sweeping views. Open theatre kitchen, mezzanine seating and 300+ label walk-in wine cellar.



STEAKHOUSE / INTERNATIONAL 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 5368 Although a hotel restaurant, the enticing range of US and Australian steaks plus great grill and comfort food menu in this contemporary eatery make for a quality bite. Decentsized steaks start at VND390,000.


AMERICAN 52 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 4327 The comfort food on offer at this striking USstyle diner ranges from meatball baguettes to chilli burgers, pizzas, blackened chicken salads and a selection of more expensive international mains.


ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE 5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1879 A pleasant downtown eatery mixing an Argentinian steakhouse theme with pork, chicken, lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can come off a grill.


AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 6006 Mixing hearty pub grub such as burgers, salads and prime rib steaks with a sports bar atmosphere, this Australian chain also offers regular promotions and a 4pm to 7pm happy hour. Excellent outdoor terrace.


INTERNATIONAL FUSION The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0931 Although a chain restaurant, the international offerings here are consistently good and creative. Excellent service, an attractive outdoor terrace area, and a good kids menu. Check out their pepper steaks.

Le Banh Mi

12 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1036 Imagine traditional Vietnamese banh mi, put it in a French baguette, add in a nice sauce or two and you have the diminutive Le Banh Mi. Excellent baguettes at cheap prices, with a choice of three sauces.


INTERNATIONAL BUFFET Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9099 Buffet restaurant specialising in a boutique selection of appetisers, local and imported seafood, succulent steaks from the grill, and hand-crafted noodles. Bakery operates throughout day to ensure that every dish arrives fresh.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE / SEAFOOD 23 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, el: (08) 3744 6478 The rustic looking, banana-leaf roofed Mekong Merchant has long been the place in An Phu. Set around a cobble-stoned courtyard

prime signature cuts of New York strip steak, rib eye, double strip loins and chateaubriands along with sophisticated sides, in a glitzy, Hollywood-esque atmosphere.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Great buffets draw daily crowds to this downtown hotel restaurant. Streamlined décor and clean lines create a modern ambience that makes an excellent backdrop for the extensive range of cuisine.



87-89-91 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: 0122 763 1261 Located just beneath Au Lac Saigon Hotel, Bahdja is Saigon’s first ever Algerian restaurant, serving authentic, multi-ethnic Berber North African and Mediterranean cuisine cooked and served in a traditional Algerian style. Best experienced in a group, this small but pleasant restaurant’s soothing ambience is matched by the owners’ genuine hospitality and complimented by an array of tasty tajines and couscous-based dishes. Make sure to try the excellent Moroccan wine, too.


AMERICAN / FRENCH 25–27 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7373 NYSW is well known for serving up formidable

SPANISH / EUROPEAN 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6924 Legs of Iberian ham hang in the downstairs bar at this multi-story bodega serving Spanish-styled tapas. Attractively decorated in warm reds, yellows and oranges, Pacharan’s food menu is traditionally Spanish.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Flagship restaurant of The New World Hotel, serving lavish buffets all day. Many cooking stations ranging from Chinese to Italian, sushi and seafood, to salads, cold cuts, cheese plates and desserts.


TURKISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 3677 Sumptuous, Turkish-themed restaurant close to the mosque with Islamic-style white dome décor and comfortable, cushioned seating. Authentically Turkish cuisine with a sprinkling of western fare thrown in.

{ TOP Eat } Photos By Alexandre Garel

** May Restaurant * *


ou are hit by a real sense of the Indochine when you enter May. But it’s not tainted by the extravagance and blatant glamour that you may discover in other époque-themed Vietnamese restaurants in Saigon. Instead, there is a workmanlike feel to this French-run eatery, a sense of era without all the unnecessary embellishments, something that greets you overtly when you catch the open kitchen as you walk up the stairs. The work of Thai Tu Tho, a French-born Vietnamese restaurateur, the theme at May is to bring back the Saigon cuisine of the past — lost recipes, vanished cooking styles, natural flavours and long-gone ingredients. The concept has been used at the well-known Cuc Gach Quan, of which Tu Tho was a co-founder, and such is her conviction of its merits that with the aid of her father she has brought it to her present carnation on the edge of District 1. It means no MSG, and no processed foods — as much as possible is processed on-site — and free-range meats purchased directly from the farm. Served in an atmosphere of high, French patisserie-style

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adorned ceilings, wooden floors, one-colour painted walls, dark wood tables and chairs and a range of antique-like oddities decorating the walls, the cuisine at the year-old restaurant has already garnered a following. Take the pickled cabbage soup with pork riblets (VND75,000). A variation on a dish typically found in home cooking but rarely discovered in restaurants, the version at May mixes a canh chua-style broth with the vinegary cabbage and the softness of the ribs. It’s an unusual combination, but tasty nonetheless.

Natural Taste The clay pot pork with egg (VND95,000) is equally

accomplished. One of those ubiquitous dishes seemingly available at every eatery, it comes in varying levels of quality. Here the quality — displayed by the tenderness of the meat and the richness of the sauce — is on the top end of the scale. Likewise the heart of palm and water lily salad with chicken (VND80,000) is also sitting in that higher echelon, each of the ingredients, from the water lily stems to the carrots, chicken to heart of palm have a different level of texture and crunch. Crisp, tasty and easy on the palate, when you eat this dish the natural flavours really come to the fore, making you realise how much MSG is used in similar salads elsewhere.

Top of the taste stakes, though, is the pink duck breast with ginger fish sauce (VND220,000). The word sensational comes to mind here. Like the best dishes at May, this one is a mix of Vietnamese and French — the duck breast is cooked pink and sliced as you would find it in France — making the skin crispy and meat tender, while the mounds of fish-sauce infused ginger ooze with flavour. — Nick Ross May Restaurant 3/5 Hoang Sa, Q1 Tel: 08 39101277


EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION 8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9838 This quirky but highly rated Italian / Japanese fusion pizza parlour serves wacky yet delicious pies such as tuna curry pizza and calamari seaweed pizza, as well as more traditional varieties.


FRENCH BISTRO / INTERNATIONAL The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0509 A slightly retro feel pervades this popular French-style bistro and wine bar which once housed the city’s opium refinery. The cuisine runs from creative salads through to Mediterranean influenced mains.


INTERNATIONAL / FINE DINING 3rd floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Old images of Saigon grace the walls while a pianist plays in the background of the Caravelle’s signature restaurant. The fare is surprisingly contemporary. Good choice for a particularly special meal.


INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN Renaissance Riverside, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Offers versatile all–day dining of international quality, with the bonus of being able to watch the action on the river sidewalk. Features western, Asian and Vietnamese buffets.


INTERNATIONAL 15-17 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: 0948 901465 Serving creative, all homemade comfort food, this restaurant boasts a full bar, ice-cold beer and an international wine list to complement meals. Has a focus on the creative use of local ingredients.


CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN 23rd Floor, Centec Tower, 72–74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 9631 A breezy terrace, indoor bar and separate dining room with sweeping views over central Saigon make up this enormous, comfortable space. A well-thought out and romantic venue, with excellent food.


INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 9A Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 4798 Simple, unpretentious Greek-influenced, international cuisine ranging from the zucchini carpaccio through to the saganiki, a range of dips, mousaka, osso buco and lamb chop skewers. Also has an excellent upstairs cigar room.


a Bali-style atmosphere, complemented by great cocktails and a long wine list.


MIDDLE-EASTERN 71/7 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3822 The deep colours, Arabic décor and cushioned outdoor terrace area give this popular venue its unique touch. The food is good, too, taking in tabouleh, houmous, falafel and mutabbal, shwarmas and more. Sells authentic shisha.


AMERICAN / TEX-MEX 169A Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 3897 This corner-located Vespa-infatuated venue is a café and restaurant by day and a sidewalk drinking joint by night. Friendly staff and American deli-style and Cajun fare makes it a regular expat haunt.

Japanese Blanchy Street

The Courtyard, 74/3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8793 The work of former Nobu chef Martin Brito, the Japanese-South American fusion cuisine at Blanchy Street is among the tastiest and most unusual in the city. All complemented by fresh, contemporary decor and a leafy terrace out front.


JAPANESE NOODLES 29 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0008 Bright, airy and spacious with sake bottles hung across the wall, the menu here focuses on ramen noodles, starting at around VND100,000 a dish. Also rice and dumpling options.

NORTH INDIAN / CHINESE INDIAN 17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 1372; 33 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2 Tel : (08) 3744 4177 Long-running, award-winning Indian restaurant famed for its excellent kebabs, creamy curries and Chinese-Indian fare.


A Taste of Authenticity

PAN-THAI 55 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 5453 Subtle lighting and comfortable sofa-like seating at this An Phu eatery. The menu has a whole page dedicated to tom yum soup as well as firey larb moo and Laotian som tam. Thai cuisine cooked up by no-holds-barred Thai chefs.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 164 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3838 6661 This pleasant, airy Indian does the full range of fare from all ends of the subcontinent, from dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka masala, kormas, kebabs and fiery vindaloos.


INDIAN MALAY 57-59 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: 0903 863114 Long running hole-in-the-wall halal restaurant formerly located close to the central Mosque but recently relocated to opposite the Bitexco Finacial Tower. Sells a selection of Malaysianstyle Indian cuisine. Simple fan-cooled dining area with all dishes costing well under VND100,000.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 0326 The restaurant of famed chef Ryoichi ‘Roy’ Iwashita, from Osaka, Inaho features some of the best sushi and sashimi in town, with faultless ingredients and presentation.


JAPANESE NOODLES 18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04, Lo H292, KP My Phat, Phu My Hung, Q7 Noodles can be found in every form in this sleek, open-kitchened eatery. Noodles are served in sets — the lunchtime offering goes for just over VND100,000 — or as individual dishes.


SUSHI / SASHIMI 53-55 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 0039 Sushi Dining AOI offers full-blown Japanesestyle sushi, sashimi, and other dishes such as tempura, pork cutlet and cold soba noodles in a warm and friendly atmosphere. Good value set lunches. Probably the best sushi in town.

INTERNATIONAL/ASIAN Level 50, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750 All-day restaurant and events venue offering a panoramic view of Saigon. Food offered includes an express business lunch, high tea, and buffet dinner, along with an a la carte menu.



JAPANESE / OKINAWA 13/1 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8433 yamaneko– Funky Yamaneko — down an alley off Le Thanh Ton — offers delicious, unpretentious Okinawan fare alongside mainland staples. Does a great set lunch deal.

MODERN ASIAN FUSION 38 Nguyen U Di, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6632 Set on the banks of Saigon River across from Thanh Da Island, this innovative restaurant serves up modern Asian fusion cuisine in

Pan-Asian ashoka

JAPANESE BARBECUE 15A6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2527 Japanese eatery specialising in all things barbecue, the charcoal-grilled beef cooked at the table is to die for, and various other meat and vegetable options are good, too. Great lunch set.


36 Tong Huu Dinh Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, HCMC Tel: 08 6253 2828 |Fax: 08 6253 2888 Email: Delivery service available daily, from 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM

87 Nguyen Hue St., District 1, HCMC Tel: (84.8) 3821 8181 Email: Monday to Friday: 11.00 - 14.00, and 18.00 - 22.00 Saturday and Sunday: 11.30 - 22.00

{F O O D Promos } **

Promotions of the Month



THAI / VIETNAMESE 185 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 1311 Owned by a Thai-trained Vietnamese chef this is one of the few eateries in town serving up very good pan-Thai cuisine. Great value, with mains generally around VND70,000.

DYNASTY CANTONESE / PAN-CHINESE New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8888 Elegant surroundings, top quality ingredients, attentive service and comfortable, roundtable dining makes Dynasty one of the top Chinese restaurants in town, with a classic dim sum menu. GANESH NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 15B4 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 3017 The ubiquitous mint sauce is thick and creamy and the curries are both authentic and smoky. Ganesh is rated by many as the best Indian in town. Very friendly service. GOLDEN ELEPHANT CLASSIC THAI 34 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8554 Excellent, long-running restaurant with classic Thai decor. The fare includes laab salads, curries, som tam, fish cakes and dishes such as deep-fried catfish with mango salad. Three VIP rooms upstairs. GOURMET’S DELIGHT ROAST KITCHEN CANTONESE Unit 15, 1/F, Kumho Asiana Saigon, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 8181 Hong Kong casual dining restaurant, Gourmet’s Delight Roast Kitchen is the first of its kind in Saigon serving authentic barbeque and traditional Cantonese dishes in a laidback atmosphere.

Dim Sum in District 1 Gourmet’s Delight Restaurant, best known for their barbeque and roast dishes, introduces the taste of Hong Kong with a new selection of dim sum options for lunch and dinner. Pan-fried and crispy dim sum for meat lovers and vegetarians are all priced from VND35,000, while diners can enjoy a fragrant salt-steamed half chicken for VND160,000, among many other delicious roast dishes. Located on the first floor of Kumho Link, get a taste of Hong Kong at Gourmet’s Delight for your next lunch or dinner out. Subway In Subway’s continuous game of limbo with low prices, they’ve set a new standard — VND39,000 for a six-inch ham sandwich with all the fixings. Available all day, every day, it’s also available in quite a few places, with three locations in

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District 1 and the new one at the District 7 campus of RMIT. Hatvala Hatvala, a recently opened tea house at 44 Nguyen Hue, Q1, is fighting unwholesome happy hours with its afternoon delights promo — buy any coffee, tea or smoothie between 2.30pm and 6.30pm and you get a free cake. But, beer and wine drinkers, don’t feel left out — they’ll also cut you some slack on your purchases during that same delightful period. New World Hotel It’s a brand new world at New World’s Dynasty restaurant this month, and appropriately their divine duck offering is called by its 21st Century name, ‘Beijing Duck’. The preparation is still traditional, served alongside twists on the classics like sesame-and-seaweed pancakes and homemade sauces. Every Friday, the esteemed Chef Ho gives your mouth a lunch and

dinner chance to do what all mouths were meant to do — bite into a perfectly prepared Beijing Duck pancake. Stars, Stripes and Food at Hotel Equatorial Hotel Equatorial celebrates the United States’ birthday in their two-week celebration of American cuisine this July. From the 4th to the 14th of the month, diners can get in the patriotic spirit with a daily buffet dinner and Sunday brunch buffet prepared by award-winning culinary team from Chit Chat. VND840,000++ gets guests access to an array of American classics, including a free flow of wine, beer and soft drinks. Children under 12 years will enjoy half-price access, while children under 6 eat for free. For a truly special experience, come in on Jul. 5 for a six-course menu featuring the best of US-Asian fusion food together with an American wine selection for VND1,098,000++ per guest.

KABIN CANTONESE Renaissance Riverside Hotel, 8–15 Ton Duc Thang. Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Offers authentic, gourmet Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, classic setting, with striking décor and the bonus of views over the Saigon River. Dishes range from VND80,000 to VND900,000. KOH THAI CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4423 Modern Thai fusion restaurant serving Thai classics alongside tom yam cappuccinos and more. Koh Thai’s creative cocktails merge Thai flavours with local seasonal fruits and herbs. LION CITY SINGAPOREAN 45 Le Anh Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8371 Friendly, authentic five-storey Singaporean eatery, plating up the likes of nasi lemak, mee rebus, and awesome chicken curry, as well as specialities like frog porridge, chilli crab and fish head curry. MONSOON PAN-SOUTHEAST ASIAN 1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1, Tel: (08) 6290 8899 Traditional pan-Southeast Asian favourites served in a visually arresting setting within a French colonial-era villa, just minutes from the backpacker area. Reasonably priced, with healthy juices and smoothies. SEOUL HOUSE KOREAN 33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4297 Seoul House was the first Korean restaurant

in town and continues to be popular with a cosmopolitan clientele. Food includes banchan starters, bulgogi, awesome spicy tofu and minced pork soups.


PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE 1st Floor, Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 2221 (Ext: 164) Featuring over 200 dishes and 50 kinds of dim sum prepared by chefs from Hong Kong, Shang Palace has nine private dining rooms and a main dining area seating over 300. Good for events.


NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN 74/6 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3930 4839 Downtown location, and extensive menu taking in anything from creamy korma and rogan josh curries through to vindaloo, sambhar, dosa, and kebabs. Also a great range of vegetarian fare.


PAN-CHINESE 1st Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9099 Skillful chefs prepare authentic hand-pulled noodles, fresh dim sum and hot wok dishes within an impeccably designed open kitchen, as diners look on. Stylish and spectacular.

Street Food BANH XEO 46A

BANH XEO / HUE CUISINE 46A Dinh Cong Trang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1110 One of the best banh xeo — pork, beansprout and prawn pancakes served up with salad and fresh herbs — joints in town. No frills, outdoor, covered bench seating.


VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE 188 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917 Specialises in tasty Vietnamese or Australian steak served sizzling on a griddle with thick–cut fries, bread and salad, optional pate or eggs, all for well under VND100,000.


COM TAM (BITTY RICE) 26 Ton That Tung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0935 Downtown branch of the famous budget Thuan Kieu eatery. Broken rice with barbecued pork, bitter gourd broth, stuffed squid etc. Average meal price just VND35,000. English menu.


PHO EATERY 260C Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 7943 Huge sized portions dished up at this famous restaurant serving Vietnam’s national dish. Choose from a range

of cuts of beef, fresh herbs and spice to taste.


PAN-CHINESE / NOODLES 162 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 0824 Bustling 24-hour restaurant offering the full range of Chinese fare, including dim sum, homemade noodle soup, rice and seafood dishes. Perfect if you have an attack of midnight munchies.


CHINESE / VIETNAMESE BINH DAN 67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 7751 Few places do Hainanesestyle chicken rice as well as this multi-storey eatery. Prepared downstairs out front, choose from chicken, sweet-roasted pork, roasted duck, and a range of other options.

Vegetarian PHAP HOA

VEGETARIAN 200 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3839 5893 Good vegetarian eatery with a well-stocked and enticing com binh dan buffet-style counter in the entrance. It’s a pick and choose affair, with a range of faux meat dishes. The staff, though, are not know for their politeness.


VEGAN 378/3 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3834 4473 A pleasant, standalone eatery with the feel of a meditative retreat specialising in hotpots. The vegan menu, however, runs the gamut from faux meat through to noodle and rice dishes.


VEGAN 9 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 2538 One of the city’s oldest eateries (established in 1925) does some of the cheapest and tastiest vegan cuisine in town, all cooked up without onions, garlic or MSG.


VEGAN Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Set inside the city’s largest pagoda, this eatery has received many plaudits for its setting, reverent ambiance and interesting menu which includes salted tofu in claypot and hundred flowers hotpot.

Vietnamese 3T QUAN NUONG

VIETNAMESE BBQ Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631 A steamy, smoky rooftop homage to the art of barbecuing and grilling, with an expansive menu of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes on offer, all grilled at the table. Often packed to the brim.


VIETNAMESE / BARBECUE 135A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 3340 A charming, leafy outdoor terrace area lit up by fairy lights plays host to one of downtown’s most popular and alluring eateries. It’s a DIY barbecue on the table affair.


VIETNAMESE FRENCH 38 Dang Dung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3846 9853 MSG-free traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a French twist, cooked fresh to order. Dishes include noodle soup, steamed ravioli and beef stew, stir fries, hot pots and curries.


MODERN VIETNAMESE 10 Dang Tat, Q1, Tel: (08) 3848 0144 A converted French villa with mixed Indochine and rustic Vietnamese décor, the cuisine here is scrumptious, mixing street food dishes done well with quality ingredients and more contemporary options.


NORTHERN / PANVIETNAMESE 101 Vo Van Tan, Q3, Tel: (08) 3602 2069 Named after the mountain highway that skirts the Chinese-Vietnamese border to the north, Highway 4 serves up authentic north Vietnamese cuisine. Also does excellent Son Tinh branded rice wine. `HOA TUC CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1676 Highly rated restaurant with stunning outdoor terrace. Specialities include pink pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls, fishcake wraps and barbecue chicken in ginger, onions and a lime leaf marinade.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 1330 Famous for its signature dish, bo tung xeo — strips of grilled marinated beef, as well as its slightly more unusual offerings — scorpion, grubs, ostrich and crickets. Try if you dare!


INDOCHINE VIETNAMESE 3/5 Hoang Sa, Dakao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 1277 Meaning ‘Cloud’, May utilises homemade recipes and broths developed by the restaurateur’s father, such as pan-fried duck breast served with nuoc mam and ginger, and 1940s style spring rolls. This is the Saigonese cooking of old set in an Indochine atmosphere.

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HUE CUISINE 136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 38 250261 116 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 9996 Down an alley near Ben Thanh Market, this pleasant Hue-style eatery is known for its excellent central Vietnamese cuisine. Think banh beo, bun thit nuong, com hen, all at under VND50,000.


STREET FOOD 160 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7131 A well-spruced, leafy courtyard in a colonial villa provides the setting and the old-world charm for one of the city’s most frequented Vietnamese eateries which serves up quality street food.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 68 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 6258 1508 Papaya is one of the city’s unsung gems. The cuisine here is presented simply but beautifully with an emphasis on top quality ingredients. Prices are cheap and portions are large.


TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE 8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1, Tel: (08) 3602 2241 Make sure to try the sautéed shrimps with cashew nuts and crispy fried tofu with lime wedge, at this popular, high-quality eatery where all food is served in traditional crockery.


PAN-VIETNAMESE 1st Floor, Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 9244 Once a hotel for Indian dignitaries visiting old Saigon, the elegant and atmospheric Temple Club is one of the city’s best-preserved buildings. Serving quality Vietnamese and Indochine cuisine at reasonable prices.


MODERN VIETNAMESE First Floor, 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8468 Elegant Xu is a venue at the forefront of modern Vietnamese cuisine. Pushing the Asian concept of shared-plate dining, the fare includes pork wanton, seared beef crostini, and Xu-style chicken rice.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

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Drink and be done by, or as the t-shirt tells us, khong say, khong ve. Our pick of the best drinking haunts in Ho Chi Minh City. Think we've missed somewhere? Email us on

Bars & Restobars 2 Lam Son

TOP-END INTERNATIONAL Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 1234 International décor blends seamlessly with local themes. Style joins forces with a wide-ranging drink menu and hip dance tunes to create one of the most tasteful if pricier bars in Saigon.


LIVE MUSIC 6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 2239 Though only 1km from the city centre, Acoustic is well off most foreigners’ radars. Come see the Vietnamese house band play nightly, as well as performances from overseas bands and guest artists.

Alto Heli Bar

TOP-END LOUNGE BAR Floor 52, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8752 The jazzy, lightbox-lit space by the helipad in the city’s highest building is more than just great views. Top-end cocktails, a great tapas menu and a chilled ambience make up the mix.

Apocalypse Now

DANCE / NIGHTCLUB 2C Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6124 One of the oldest nightclubs in Saigon, Apo draws in a not-so-healthy mix of tourists, expats and locals, who dance to Top 40 tunes on the club’s two floors and outdoor terrace. This is a pick-up joint in every sense of the word.

Banana Bar

SA8-1 Parkview, Nguyen Duc Canh, Phu My Hung, Q7 A downstairs pool table, an open, street side terrace and specials on Tiger draft, this fun but slightly run-down joint is a local haunt for many a resident of Saigon South.

Blanchy’s Tash

RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB 95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 This popular downtown three-storied bar attracts late-night revelers thanks to its past midnight opening hours, regular DJ sets, and London-style bar décor. Has a great upstairs terrace.

Bootleg DJ Café

MINIMALIST CAFÉ BAR 9 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 0907 609202 Reminiscent of a New York or

London underground watering hole, this is a great place to enjoy Mediterranean influenced breakfasts, lunch by day and a variety of DJ sets by night.

Boudoir Lounge

HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Saigon Sofitel Plaza, 17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 Boudoir’s sun-drenched conservatory, plush salon, old-timey cigar room and upscale library will please any lounge enthusiast. Features breakfast, lunch and evening bouchées, as well as International DJ sets on weekend nights.

Bread & Butter

INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD 40 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 1720 With a free book exchange, and tasty Sunday night roasts, the tiny Bread & Butter is a perfect place for homesick expats and beer enthusiasts (excellent HueBrewed Huda beer served here exclusively in Ho Chi Minh City).

Live music all days of week

MUSIC BAR / CAFE 39 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan st, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3154 Facebook: Metallic Bar Saigon Starting 20:30 to 24:00 hrs Established in 2003, Metallic showcases a variety of different types of music — anything from rock, pop and rap to Latino — as well as the everlasting songs of Metallica, Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Santana and Guns ’n Roses. Covered live by The Tornado, NiBiRu and other well-known, Vietnambased Filipino bands, this is a place to enjoy the musical atmosphere and rock to the beat every day of the week, with the live music starting at 8.30pm and running until midnight.


COCKTAILS / ROOFTOP 41 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 6838 Broma’s medieval rooftopcocktail lounge conglomeration is a magnet for the city’s weirdest and coolest events/ random moments. A sophisticated cocktail menu and quite possibly the best lamb

burger in town. Check out their bun bo Hue-inspired cocktail.

Buddha Bar

RESTOBAR 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2080 Just across the lane from Mc’Sorley’s, this pub with an eccentric European tilt and some nice, authentic cuisine draws an older crowd with darts, pool and weekly poker tourneys.

Godmother Bar

RESTOBAR / VIETNAMESE / WESTERN 129 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3832 4589 Only a couple blocks from the bru-haha of Bui Vien, Godmother’s is a small watering hole with big attractions including excellent mojitos, good food, and the weekly Optimus Club featuring international DJ’s.

La Fenetre Soleil

FRENCH / JAPANESE RESTOBAR 2nd Floor, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5994 A seductive watering whole in a great corner location thanks to its old Saigon glamour, Japanese-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, imported beer, classic cocktails, and entertaining music events / DJ sets.

Last Call


HappyHourSaigon. Com Want to take advantage of the city’s discount drinking options? Looking for some Tiger Draft on the cheap or a two-hour freeflow to wet the juices? Check out this website for the what and wherefor-all of all the happy hours in Ho Chi Minh City.

AFTERHOURS LOUNGE 59 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3122 If you’re in need of dense, soulful atmosphere and maybe an artisanal cocktail on your way back from wherever, Last Call is your stop — and fast becoming that of the similarly inclined. Great happy hour deals for early evening starters.

Chill Skybar

Hard Rock Cafe

Le Pub

LIVE MUSIC / BAR 8 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 7699 Named after the famous opera, Carmen has built its reputation on offering a mix of nightly live Latin music, most notably flamenco. Its striking design is a treat for the eyes as well. LOUNGE RESTOBAR & TERRACE Floor 26 & 27, 76A Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5630 Chill’s view has only been improved by the addition of a magnificent VIP terrace. A substantial wine list and specialities from the owner’s native Denmark complement the primarily French-influenced cuisine.

Cloud 9

LOUNGE BAR & TERRACE 6th & 7th Floor, 2bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: 0983 160521 The creators of Velvet present this trendy, doubletiered escape, complete with upstairs garden space, an extensive wine list, top shelf spirits and unobtrusive music. Opens daily at 5pm


LOUNGE BAR Hem 36, Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 This hip marriage of living room-of-working-architects and opium den is populated with vintage furniture, records and a thoughtful, intimate vibe. Its only streetside markings are a few Chinese lanterns.


INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 187 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 9575 A slightly grungy corner joint banging out indie and pop tunes, Go2 draws in all walks of life at all hours. Whether you’re looking for affordable Thai / Vietnamese / western cuisine or late-night debauchery, Go2 delivers.

LIVE MUSIC / WESTERN RESTOBAR Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 7595 If you’re craving for American food, classic cocktails, rock n’ roll memorabilia, and live music, Hard rock delivers all three in large doses. Stages regular events including ladies’ nights and stand-up comedy.


LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 40/15 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0902 799962 With swings dangling playfully overhead, an expansive mural of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, multi-genre musical attractions, and famous western breakfasts and Mexican dishes, Hideaway awakens the senses and appeals to cosmopolitan sensibilities.

Ice Blue

EXPAT BAR 54 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2664 Expats keep returning to this smoky dive bar, largely due to its amicable service, brewsky-downing atmosphere, and spirited dart games. A mainstay in the local darts league.

La Habana

CUBAN / MUSIC BAR 6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5180 Cuban-themed bar and restaurant selling an exciting range of Spanish and Cuban cuisine, as well as a few German favourites such as curry wurst and Weiner schnitzel. Nightly live music and regular salsa classes.

INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR 175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 7679 Warm colors, artsy décor and a friendly ambiance combine to create a perfect setting for enjoying tasty international and Vietnamese cuisine. Check out their daily drink specials and Tuesday night pub quizzes.

Level 23 Nightspot

HOTEL MUSIC BAR 23rd floor, Sheraton Hotel & Towers, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Some of the most awe-inspiring views of the city make this a choice venue for enjoying live performances from the international house band. Expect a bit of everything from jazz to R&B, with five-star prices to match.

The Library

HOTEL LOUNGE BAR Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, cnr. Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9099 The Library captures the romance of a bygone era, offering a sophisticated snack menu and a nostalgic afternoon tea from 2.30 pm to 5pm. A great place to hang out in five-star luxury.

Long Phi

FRENCH / RESTOBAR 003 / 207 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3837 2704 French-run but universally appealing, Long Phi has been serving the backpacker area with excellent cuisine and occasional live music since 1990. Excellent late-night bistro cuisine.

Mask Lounge

3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Set on the main road, despite its location this lounge bar has one the best outdoor terraces in town. Lit up at night by fairy lights and with a lightbox-style bar, this is a great hangout for a glass of wine or five.


IRISH BAR 4 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4659 Standing in the former home of Gaudi, McSorely’s is full of surprises, including a beautifully backlit swimming pool, reggae parties, comedy nights, and sporting events projected onto the patio wall.

MZ Club

LIVE MUSIC / NIGHTCLUB 56A Bui Thi Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 5258 Cover bands of the pop, jazz, rock, and Latin persuasion, flattering lighting, and ample choices of vintage wines make this crafty cocktail bar a destination for Saigon’s 30-plus Vietnamese / expat population.


IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL 74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3198 This Irish-themed sports bar with classic pub décor is widely appreciated for its excellent international fare, large whiskey selection and upstairs pool table. Great pizzas. And for a real treat, check out their zesty rolls.


EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAFÉ BAR 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0908 208523 Up-cycling and innovative design form the foundation for this bar / arts venue / mini- skate park. Come for barbeque and reasonably priced drinks, stick around for entertaining events and adorable puppies.

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SPANISH RESTOBAR / LIVE MUSIC 97 Hai Ba Trung , Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6924 Legs of Iberian ham hang from the ceiling in the downstairs bar of this multi-storey homage to everything Spanish. Regular first-floor live music and excellent eats makes it a mainstay for the wining, dining and tapaseating crowd.


S57-1 Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5410 0999 Known as the ‘Curry Pub’, this pleasant Saigon South watering hole mixes the beer with all things curry — anything from Goan fish curries to beef rendangs and more. A popular local haunt.


AUSTRALIAN / SPORTS 46-48 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 0796 From its roots as the famed Café Latin, Phatty’s has become the go-to, Aussie beerguzzling / sports viewing emporium, showing everything from international cricket to Aussie rules and serving an array of pub grub favourites.

Rockfanclub Bar

ROCK BAR 25C Tu Xuong, Q3, Tel: (08) 6290 7489 The promoters of Rockfanclub (the long-running Vietnamese hard rock and metal night formerly hosted at Tadao Coffee Bar) have found a home for fans to mosh in every night from 9pm. This is rock in its rawest, most grass roots Vietnamese form.

Saigon Saigon

HOTEL MUSIC BAR 9th floor, Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Som Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 Live Latin music in its vari-

ous forms is this fan-cooled, Old Saigon-style bar’s main attraction. With the international bands performing nightly, Saigon Saigon also benefits from great views, polished service and a vibrant ambience.

Seventeen Saloon

THEMED MUSIC BAR 103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 0007 Wild West-themed bar doubles as a music venue, where three talented Filipino bands (B&U, Wild West, and Most Wanted) play covers of rock icons like Bon Jovi, U2, and Guns n’ Roses. Top-shelf spirits and friendly, hostessstyle table service are the name of the game here.

Spotted Cow

INTERNATIONAL / SPORT 111 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7670 Spotted Cow delivers the fun-loving atmosphere that its playfully decorated black and white spotted interior promises, as well as decent international comfort food, a range of happy hours, live sports, and darts.

Storm P

DANISH / INTERNATIONAL 5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 4738 Named after a Danish cartoonist, this Saigon long-termer with its wall-length mural of Copenhagen attracts a variety of patrons and provides them with a wellstocked bar and extremely tasty Danish-influenced pub grub.

The Tavern

R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan, Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900 The first bar established in Saigon South, great food, great music and loads of laughs. Has regular live music nights, theme nights and a variety of live sports events to please everybody. Big screens and outdoor

seating add to the mix, with BBQs available for parties and events.

Thi Café

LIVE MUSIC / LOUNGE 224 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 2210 2929 It’s a well-worn Saturday night path that starts at Thi Café, where Saigon’s better funk and rock cover bands can be danced to downstairs or listened to from the underutilized upstairs lounge. A Backpackers’ Area mainstay.

T&R Tavern

DIVE BAR 57 Do Quang Dau, Q1 T&R is a popular setting for late night fun and questionable decisions. The bar’s laptop allows patrons to choose their own soundtrack to a pool / darts game, danceoff, or…whatever else they’re doing.

Universal Bar

LIVE MUSIC / RESTOBAR 90 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 01633 343933 Just up from Bui Vien’s street beer nexus is Universal, a live music and sports-watching venue with an outdoor seating area that lets you take in the action from a more comfortable perspective.


MUSIC / LOUNGE BAR The Square, 74/7D Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 2888 A veteran fixture of Saigon’s nightlife scene, Vasco’s offers a softly lit downstairs patio, and an upstairs Blue Room chill out lounge area with regular live music.


WINE BAR / TAPAS The Square, 74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 1315 This downtown wine shop’s terrace is a popular after

work drinking spot, where one can select from 10 wines by the glass, a range of imported beer, and an excellent tapas menu. Alternatively, buy from the great selection of wines in the shop and pay a small corkage.


CAFÉ / LOUNGE BAR Ground Floor, 71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8468 This iconic upmarket downtown bar is known for its cocktails and wine list. It serves a range of international and Vietnamese dishes to be enjoyed in its richly decorated interior. Regular DJ nights.

Nightclubs Fuse

TECHNO / DANCE / HIP-HOP 3A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 0919 206461 Neon-lit Fuse is popular with the young, fashionable and affluent Vietnamese crowd. A small space means this place gets packed quickly, so arrive early to enjoy bumping techno, whisky and fruit platters.


PROGRESSIVE / MAINSTREAM 2 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 2496 Overseas DJ’s, Tuesday night ladies’ nights and cosmopolitan clientele converge in the red-velvet and cartoon-styled interior that makes Lush one of the city’s iconic clubs.


DANCE/HIP HOP 26 Ho Huan Nghiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2262 You will be hard-pressed to find another club as extravagantly furnished and über trendy in Saigon. Packed with socialites, celebrities, and fashionistas, Velvet’s the place to see and be seen in this city.

Wine Bar 38

38 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3968 With a huge selection of self-imported wines from Bordeaux, this classy but contemporary venue is a wine bar downstairs, and a lounge on the first floor. Has a French-Asian menu paired to all the wines, with a huge selection of the good stuff sold by the glass.

Wine Embassy

13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: 0902 810523 A two-storey, contemporarydesigned wine bar serving 30 wines by the glass, all at reasonable prices. Has an excellent food menu to complement the old and new world wines.

Quan Nhau Anh Duc’s

QUAN NHAU 18A/31/B22 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 This plastic-chair establishment is the effective living room of the room-renting expats in the alley surrounding, featuring cold beer, easy conversation and a friendswith-everyone proprietor.

Bia Tuoi 33

BIA HOI 102 Bui Vien, Q1 Beloved for its cheap, cold beer, prime people-watching, and elderly but toughas-nails hostess, Bia Hoi or “Grandma’s” is a favourite of locals, expats, and backpackers alike.

Minh Chau’s

BIA HOI 75 Bui Vien, Q1 Right across from “Grandma’s” you’ll find this comparable street-side establishment serving cheap beer. Minh Chau’s plastic chairs are populated by a more foreign crowd, due to the hotel upstairs.




If there's any industry where Saigon excels, it's the industry that is all things coffee. Here is our list of some of the best places to drink coffee, tea and everything else non-alcoholic in this city.

Cafes Agnes Cafe

Dalat Coffee & Flower Shop 11A-B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9772 A cozy and comfortable cafe in Thao Dien serving fresh coffee from Dalat, smoothies, juices, pastries and desserts all day. Offer a western-fare breakfast menu with a traditional egg breakfast sandwich, homemade breakfast burritos and more from 7am-11am.

serves one of the best lattes in town with a mid-range Italian menu including panini and other typical fare.

Chicco Dicaff Café

CONTEMPORARY CAFÉ BAR 213 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: 0902 514757 An up and coming hole-in-thewall cafe, Chicco Dicaff serves an extensive menu of coffee, ice blended drinks, lattes and Italian sodas at affordable prices. Delivery available.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 40C Tran Cao Van, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 3398 Eat, drink, and buy furniture at this beautifully designed café located down alleyway 38. Doubling as an interior design showroom, customers are invited to lounge with their coffees and browse simultaneously.

INTERNATIONAL Metropolitan Building, 235 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3508 7825 Large portioned coffee lures customers into the flagship store of this international café chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere is bolstered by comfortable seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Au Parc

Creperie and Café

An’s Interior Café

EUROPEAN / MEDITERRANEAN 23 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2772 Set in a shophouse-style building, Au Parc offers a chic colonial space to indulge in sensibly priced European and Mediterranean food complemented with good coffee and excellent desserts.

Bobby Brewer’s

INTERNATIONAL 45 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 4090 Choose from a full range of café beverages and a fast-food style menu as you watch the latest Hollywood hits in their upstairs lounge. Check website for movie locations and schedule.

Café Me

FRENCH 5 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 9117 Known for it's fantastic streetside seating opposite the park on Le Duan and savoury crepes, this hang out café will impress you with its location as much as its food.


CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 3565 70B Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0703 French-style wooden decor compliments the spacious, whitewashed contemporary interior of L'Usine. A simple, creative menu combines with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and art gallery out back.

INTERNATIONAL 41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 4222 Hidden in a colonial building with an outdoor courwrd, the ample soft, sofa seating renders a great spot to relax. The mouthwatering western menu is on the expensive side.

Highlands Coffee

INTERNATIONAL Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 5689 The flagship store of this upscale, somewhat pricey, coffeehouse offers western-style and local-style brews, with other branches also found in prime locations around the tourist area. Cappuccinos and a mediocre café experience costs above VND30,000. But the Wifi is good.

Himiko Visual Café

CAFE/ART GALLERY 324bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10 Tel: (08) 3888 1908 Renowned for its appreciation of art, Himiko is a hybrid of café and art gallery. Regularly displaying the work of young artists, an atmosphere unlike many others flourishes here.

Gac Hoa (Attic) Café

Kita Coffee


Givral Café

ITALIAN 11-13 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5946 Conveniently located near the Caravelle Hotel, this casual cafe


i.d. Café

INTERNATIONAL 92/17 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3, Tel: (08) 3507 1418 A unique theme and decor secluded from the city bustle create a warm space that values both art appreciation and coffee love, with drinks starting at VND30,000.


warm, luxurious design in this romantic French-style café. Menus change daily but the friendly staff ensures customer satisfaction.

INTERNATIONAL 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 6271 0115 Trendy without pretense, this two-floor, relaxed café offers beautiful decor and unique original events like live music, film screenings, and art exhibits. Great prices and food with daily specials.

CASUAL CAFE 8A Luong Huu Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3926 2828 This picturesque coffeehouse is full of charm, providing a quiet location to relax or read from their ‘Borrow-A-Book Nook’. A perfect blend of coffee and creativity. MIDDLE EASTERN Alley no. 59, Nguyen Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 8382 4130 This secluded Middle Eastern coffeehouse has both cozy indoor and rooftop seating to admire views of the city. With such a prime downtown location, expect prices to match.

throughout the city. It may not provide an authentic Vietnamese experience but it does offer comfortable seating and killer ice blended chillers to help beat the heat.

INTERNATIONAL 169 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8659 In typical French fashion with fresh pastries, groomed waiters, and elaborate portions of ice cream, Givral is located opposite Continental Hotel Saigon, offering prime city viewing but higher prices.

Gloria Jean’s

INTERNATIONAL 106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 International coffee chain found

CONTEMPORARY CAFE 34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2910 Centrally located near Ben Thanh Market, i.d offers casual café dining with a wide variety of food and beverages. Where modern design and a warm ambience meet for coffee. INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN 39-41 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6799 Kita's colonial-era building and bistro-style decor will have you thinking you've been transported to the streets of Europe. Pair your experience with an espressobased Italian coffee from their Mediterranean-based menu. Excellent sandwiches and salads.

L’An Mien Dining Cafe

INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 76A Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 2718 The outdoor, well-aired terrace is the centrepiece of this popular, contemporary café. Enjoy live music on weekends as you sip on reasonably priced Vietnamese or espresso-based coffee.

Le Petit Café

FRENCH 189 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 7868 A small space is met with a


Operation: Tearoom

TEA ROOM 335/31 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Traverse a wooden bridge over a bamboo-shaded goldfish pond to enjoy high quality tea, starting at VND35,000, in this quaint, openair tearoom. Tea and tea-ware available for purchase.

The Print Room

CONTEMPORARY CAFE 158 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4990 Second-storey coffeehouse offers a quiet atmosphere to chill out or read from their book-nook collection. Comfortable couch seating, open table space and a cappuccino costs VND40,000.

Stella Caffe

ITALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 119 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 9220 This pleasant, mid-range venue, best known for its coffee, offers some of the best lattes and cappuccinos in town. Choose from indoor and outdoor spaces as well as upstairs dining.

Trung Nguyen

INTERNATIONAL VIETNAMESE 80 Dong Khoi, Q1 One of a growing number of downtown locations of the everexpanding international homegrown brand, this pleasant twostorey café produces and serves their own coffee in distinct Vietnamese-styles in a comfortable, sophisticated atmosphere.

Zest Bistro & Café

INTERNATIONAL 5 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3911 5599 This two-storey building with a mezzanine level boasts an industrial style complex with block walls, steel structures and huge glass windows. The mid-range menu offers over 40 options from appetizers to desserts.

July 2013 Word | 111

{ MEDICAL BUFF } ** Staying Healthy in the Heat * *


s the thermometer climbs, we need to remind ourselves how to stay healthy in the heat. The danger for some is heat exhaustion, which is a condition whose symptoms may include weakness, headache, dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea or vomiting and rapid heart beat. All of this is a result of your body overheating. Causes of heat exhaustion include exposure to high temperatures, high humidity and strenuous physical activity (golfing!). Without prompt treatment it may become a lifethreatening condition. In hot weather, your body cools itself mainly by sweating. Evaporation of sweat lowers body temperature. However, when you exercise strenuously — especially in hot, humid weather — your body is less able to cool itself efficiently. If you suspect a heat-related illness, stop exercising and get out of the heat. In most cases, you can treat heat exhaustion yourself by doing the

112 | Word July 2013

following: Rest in a cool place. Get to an airconditioned building or at the least, find a shady spot. Rest on your back with your legs elevated higher than your heart level. Drink cool fluids. Stick to water or sports drinks like Gatorade. They can replace the sodium, chloride and potassium you lose through sweating. Apply cool water to your skin. If possible, take a cool shower, sponge down or soak in a cool bath. Loosen clothing: Remove any tight clothing which isn’t necessary. Contact us at Family Medical Practice if your signs or symptoms worsen, or if they don’t improve within 30 minutes.

Prevention Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, lightcoloured clothing. Dark or tight clothing holds in heat and doesn't let your body cool properly because it inhibits sweat evaporation. Avoid the midday sun. Wear a

lightweight, wide-brimmed hat. Use an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin. Exercise in the morning or evening — when it's likely to be cooler outdoors — rather than the middle of the day. Drink plenty of fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body sweat and maintain a normal body temperature. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty! Slow and easy. If you're used to exercising indoors or in cooler weather, take it easy at first. As your body adapts to the heat, gradually increase the length and intensity of your workouts. If you have a chronic medical condition or take medication, ask your doctor if you need to take additional precautions. Dr. WB McNaull MB ChB MPhil (Cambridge) DTM&H FRSTM (London) is the medical director of Family Medical Practice, Hanoi — 298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh. The Ho Chi Minh City branch is in Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1



From our columns - For the Record, In the Frame and Decks ‘n Drums - to our listings, arts-wise this city’s going from strength to creative strength

Arts Classes

you improve your photography skills.


THE SAIGON WRITERS GROUP; Peter Stuckings and Mark Stennett are professional travel photographers based in Ho Chi Minh City who offer workshops and tours to help

CINEMAS Showcasing the latest Hollywood blockbusters and 3D cinematic sensations, chains such as Megastar Media, Lotte and Galaxy Cinema offer the most up-to-date and modern cinema-going experiences in Saigon. For those partial to more esoteric and independent flicks, smaller outlets such as Cinebox and Idecaf carry little known Vietnamese and European efforts.


240 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3862 2425

Lotte Cinema

13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 38227897 3rd Floor, Lotte Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho, Q7 Tel: (08) 3775 2521

Galaxy Cinema

230 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 6688 116 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 5235 246 Nguyen Hong Dao, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3849 4567


31 Thai Van Lung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5451

Megastar Cinema

Level 5, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5412 2222 Level 10, CT Plaza, 60A Truong Son, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 6297 1981 Level 5, Parkson Paragon, 3 Nguyen Luong Bang, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5416 0088

Tel: 01642 078110 A creative group inviting new members every second Tuesday for feedback on work in progress and creative writing exercises to inspire. All levels are welcome from beginners to the more experienced.


4 Le Van Mien, Q2 Tel: 0983 377710 Vin’s Space is an intimate, light-filled space that offers artists a quiet space to work individually or share ideas. Weekly classes include oil painting, drawing and arts and crafts classes for all ages.

Books & Magazines ARTBOOK

43 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3502 1559 Frequent overseas imports of the latest magazines and books makes Artbook a rarity in this city. The stock covers art and architecture through to graphic design, fashion, cooking, interior design and landscaping.


40 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 5796 Although there are many branches of Fahasa dotted throughout the city, this is one of the largest, with three floors of books and related products in English, French, Chinese and Vietnamese.

FRENCH BOOKSHOP NAM PHONG 94 Ho Tung Mau, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 7859 Set in a mixed-colonial, Chinese shophouse building constructed in the early 20th century, this small Gallic-run bookshop specialises in mainly French language novels and non-fiction publications.


2A Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9650 Now with over 30 bookstores in Ho Chi Minh City, PNC is probably the leading book retailer in Vietnam. Stocks the full range of Vietnamese fiction and non-fiction books as well as over 2,000 English language titles.


175/24 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6599 The authorised distributor of Lonely Planet in Vietnam, they also stock non-copied works of fiction in English (both new and second hand) as well as postcards, maps, stamp books, coin collections and travel fiction.


97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 3695 Built in the 1920s by a wellknown local businessman, the rambling colonial building that houses the Blue Space Arts Center is an attraction in itself. Inside, Tran Thi Nguyen Nga curates a collection featuring artists from throughout Southeast Asia.


cum-gallery has a reputation for showcasing the work of Saigon’s bright young creative things including Himiko herself.


97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4441 Housed in a colonial-era building that also boasts what is possibly the first elevator ever built in Saigon, the exhibition space here covers three levels. There’s also a warren of galleries in the basement.


213C Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1366; 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 Established in 2004, these two galleries feature works by the likes of La Hon, Ton That Bang and Le Xuan Chieu. An eclectic range of styles is exhibited, including

abstracts, landscapes and impressionism.

rooms with two performances weekly.



3 Me Linh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3840 0898 san– San Art is an independent, artist-run exhibition space that offers residency programmes for young artists, lecture series and an exchange programme that invites international artists/ curators to organise or collaborate on exhibitions.


The City Opera House, 7 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7419 Ho Chi Minh City’s opera and ballet perform programmes of classical dance and music throughout the year. Depending on the show, tickets start at just VND60,000 for the sky seats, with circle seats priced at VND150,000.


112 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 3774 This colonial–era theatre holds classic piano recitals and orchestral performances, and is closely connected to performance groups in the city. There are two concert

Tel: 0903 930907 This 40–voice choir and 21-piece orchestra holds both private and public performances, with rehearsals held every Monday from 7.30pm to 9pm at the British International School at 43 Tu Xuong St, Q3.

SAIGON PLAYERS Composed of local and foreign thespians, Saigon Players hosts monthly drama activities that include club nights every first Wednesday of the month and script nights every third Wednesday.

Production Houses CREA TV

339 Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3823 7434 Established in 1995, Crea TV produces television programmes and commercials, corporate films, documentaries, and feature films. Services include location scouting, casting, authorisation and permits, art department work, production and direction.

27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1 Tel: 0908 878317 (Ms. Mai) Located in a quiet corner of District 1, Craig Thomas Gallery offers a compelling mix of up-and-coming and established local artists. In operation since 2009, its founder has been promoting Vietnamese art for a decade.


31C Le Quy Don, Q3 Tel: (08) 3933 0498 Housing over 1,000 works of traditional and contemporary art, this mock-colonial mansion constitutes the private art gallery of Vietnamese business tycoon Bui Quoc Chi. Prices start at VND2 million per painting and rise to the astronomic.


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 In addition to working with artists based in Vietnam, Galerie Quynh also exhibits the work of artists from around the world. This wellestablished gallery supports education through talks, lectures and publications.


324 Bis Dien Bien Phu, Q10, Tel: 0958 881908 (Ms. Hoang) A visit to Himiko’s Visual Saloon is never anything less than a feast for the eyes. Open for five years, this cafe- July 2013 Word | 113


Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work and propping up the bar, you know. Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time


Binh Duong Highway, Phuong Hiep An, Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong Tel: 0650 3845845 This huge amusement park is Vietnam's answer to Disneyland. A bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City gives you access to some amazing rides, a water-park and one of the better zoos in Vietnam. Located 45km away on Highway 13, just after Thu Dau Mot.


5th floor, Alta Plaza, 91B2 Pham Van Hai, Tan Binh Take the glass elevator to the top floor of Alta Plaza and you’ll soon find yourself in a dark playground holding a laser gun, ready for 15 minutes of sci-fi style fun.


2 Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3728 Dating from 1875, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a vast collection of rare orchids and ornamental plants, and a collection of over one hundred species of animals.

Clubs & Societies INTERNATIONAL LADIES IN VIETNAM This long–established social organization offers ladies a chance to socialise at their weekly coffee mornings (Thursdays at 10am) and participate in many cultural, social and sporting activities. Please see website for details.


628A An Binh, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3898 9000 The Parkland Country Club offers a wide range of activities on its extensive facilities including supervised children’s areas, a multiuse sports field, tennis courts, squash courts, pools, spa and a gym.


Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9666 This Club boasts two floors of modern facilities that provide sanctuary from the busy streets below. Facilities include tennis courts, a sauna and Jacuzzi. Members can enjoy alfresco dining at the ‘Coco Cabana’.

36bis Huynh Khuong Ninh, Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9734 Sunday 1.30pm to 5pm The Overland Club organises pottery classes, VietnameseJapanese cooking classes, cultural art events and monthly special activities, such as the Soba Festival, pottery painting classes, the art of decorating paper and multinational cuisine days.


74/7 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8485 Learn to cook quality Vietnamese cuisine with local specialist Hoa Tuc. The three-hour lesson, conducted by an English-speaking Vietnamese chef, includes a trip around Ben Thanh Market to gather fresh ingredients for the class.


Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 0349 Located in a pretty colonialstyle villa, the Vietnam Cookery Centre offers a hands-on guide to local gastronomy for persons of any ability. An introduction to traditional Vietnamese kitchen utensils is an added bonus.


53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Thao Dien, Q2; The Crescent Mall, Phu My Hung; Tel: (08) 3519 4490 Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, sing & dance, break,


No 96, Street 2, Cu Xa Do Thanh, Q3 To learn how to move your hips like Shakira, head over to this studio for courses in belly dancing and “sexy dancing”. Scheduling information is available online.

Queen Ann Building, 28– 30–32 Le Lai, Q1; 5F Hung Vuong Plaza and 126 Hung Vuong, Q5 Tel: (08) 2222 0355 One of the leading fitness and yoga centres in Vietnam featuring modern equipment with over 100 aerobic and yoga classes like Hot Yoga, Indian Dance, Pole dance, Zumba, Body Balance and Body Combat.





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acro and more in this modern, newly built studio.


Cherry Blossom 1 & Lotus Road 1 and 3, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien Road, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2549 (Ms. Chi) With a pool, astroturf play area, basketball court and outdoor gym equipment, AIS Sports Centre is a great venue to stay fit. Packages available for family members of students, couples and others.

Amaryska Kamionko

Tel: 0902 271830 personalfitnessathome. A private fitness trainer assisting with strength training, weight loss and allover body toning to obtain positive lifestyle habits and stronger bodies for females. Sessions take place at clients’ homes and generally last one hour. Group workouts or one on one. Email for details.


Tel. 0909 008985 Aquabiking classes help you strengthen and sculpt your body fast while keeping it safe for your joints and refreshing, thanks to the benefits of water. Suitable for all condition levels.

Body Expert Systems

Tel: (09) 3478 2763 Do you have limited time? Not seeing results? BES’s online software and memberships offer affordable and powerful tools to achieve fantastic fat loss, fitness improvement and overall wellbeing ­— anywhere.

19 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4999 This well–equipped gym has rows of cardiovascular machines and free weights, a massage parlour, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, with a pleasant swimming pool.


49 A Xa Lo Hanoi, Q2 Tel: 0947 771326 This sports centre in An Phu, started by fitness guru Cyril Terrones, features the same personalised mentorship Cyril's clients love. Includes Zumba, salsa, boxing and fitness for kids and adults every day. No membership fees. Pay for classes in installments of 10.



13th Floor, Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 A well–equipped gym with steam room, Jacuzzi, massage parlour and swimming pool can be found above this leading department store.


100 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 K1 offers martial arts, boxing, kick and Thai boxing, Krav–maga, grappling, MMA, kid’s martial art classes and private fitness and conditioning. Open to everyone from kids to adults, beginners to professionals.


Rex Hotel, 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1812 A colonial–themed gym in a

large, open–plan space, situated on top of the Rex Hotel. Includes a tennis court, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, cardio and resistance machines, sauna and steam rooms.


34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6672 Offers fitness classes and personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes include power yoga, pilates, circuit training, martial arts and spinning. There is also a spa and a restaurant serving calorie–calibrated meals.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 5181 Classes in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, Power yoga, Pilates, Tae Bo, Centergy, aqua–aerobics and body sculpting are offered by internationally certified teachers. There’s also a swimming pool, sauna, and steam room.

Panorama Fitness

206 Tran Van Tra, Q7 Tel: 01654 058401 / 01629 546534 Classes in cross-training, an interval-based circuit training program focused on functional movements. An intensive full body workout that increases strength, speeds up metabolism and burns fat, class are conducted by professional instructors and personal trainers. All fitness levels welcome.


8–15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 0033 Exercise with an unsurpassed city view at this health club with gym, swimming pool, steam room and massage parlour. There’s also a good place to take time out, by the poolside bar.


New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 4000 Medium–sized gym with new cardio equipment and spacious changing rooms with adjustable shower settings, Jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna. Also has an excellent guitar–shaped outdoor pool.


17 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1555 At this small but well– equipped gym the equipment is modern and staff members are extremely helpful. Yoga classes are just one of a number of fitness classes offered.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 0255 Steve Chipman, who had a hand in establishing gyms at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is behind Star Fitness — one of Vietnam’s largest and bestequipped gyms.


3rd Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5412 1277 Overlooking the Crescent complex’s lagoon, this centre offers modern facilities, a gym with Technogym equipment allowing users to track their progress. Includes fitness classes, yoga, squash courts, pool, steam bath and nutrition bar.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext. 176 In addition to the squash court, facilities include a fully–equipped gym room, a rooftop swimming pool and separate male and female saunas.

THE SAIGON RIVER CLUB Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 This gym is equipped with advanced equipment, cardiovascular, strength and free weight sections, sauna and steam rooms, plus studios offering Spinning, Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, and Belly Dancing. Includes a large outdoor pool with jacuzzi.


Football and Rugby



8 Vo Van Tan, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 6312 Home to the majority of hotshot Asian teams including Filipinos, South Koreans and Japanese. Mismo Ngayon, one of six Filipino teams, play there every Sunday morning.


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 Weekends The Saigon Cricket League includes teams from five nations — Australia, England, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka — plus a mixed–nationality team called United Cricket Club. New recruits are welcome.

VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA) Manish Sogani Tel: 0908 200598


Richard Carrington Tel: 0909 967 353

ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET CLUB OF SAIGON) Deeptesh Gill Tel: 01228 770038

ISCS (INDIAN SPORTS CLUB IN SAIGON) Munish Gupta Tel: 0986 973244


Samie Cashmiri Tel: 0976 469090

SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB) Steve Treasure Tel: 0903 998824

SSC (SRI LANKA SPORTS CLUB) Suhard Amit Tel: 0988 571010

UCC (UNITED CRICKET CLUB) Asif Ali Tel: 0937 079034

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 Tel: 0937 683230 The Vietnam Swans play international footy matches around Asia. Social functions aplenty for everyone. Regardless of age or ability, all are invited to become an active part of the club.

LES GAULOIS DE SAIGON This originally French team welcomes football enthusiasts looking for competition or conviviality both on and off the pitch.


Contact Fred on 0919 709024 or Viet Luu 0909 500171. This predominantly French side has been playing for over 10 years, winning the championship title for the last four years.

SAIGON RAIDERS This team is part of the Saigon International Football League, with regular games against local teams. A sociable football team always on the hunt for enthusiastic new talent.


RMIT University, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phong, Q7 saigonrugbyfootballclub@ The Saigon Geckos play social touch rugby and also welcome men and women to join and enjoy drinks afterwards. There are regular tours of the region, as well as games with visiting teams. Beginners welcome.

SAIGON SAINTS Players train weekly and tour across the region to play in local and international tournaments. New players are actively encouraged to join this SIFL expat football club, running since 1995.


ladiesfirst– A non–profit association of women golfers in Ho Chi Minh City, organising monthly tournaments whose format varies from month to month, including single stroke play, individual stableford and two–ball scramble.


Nguyen Van Linh, Tan Phu, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 2001 Visitors’ fees are around VND500,000 for a round of golf at this mini nine–hole course. 40 percent discount

on Wednesdays. On the driving range, 50 balls cost under VND60,000. Equipment hire available.


77 Binh Duong, Thuan An, Binh Duong Tel: 0650 756660 This resort incorporates tennis courts, a swimming pool and a gymnasium at its 18–hole, 6,384–metre course just 22km from the city.

VIETNAM GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB Long Thanh My Village, Q9 Tel: (08) 6280 0101 This facility just off Highway 1 has two courses. Both 18– hole courses are complemented by other attractions such as tennis, boating and an on–site eatery.

Miscellaneous HASH HOUSE HARRIERS Balancing beer and exercise, this long–established running club goes to various out–of–town locations to tear up a few kilometres and burn some of the weekend’s calories. Walking trails offered. Depart from the Caravelle Hotel on Sundays at 2pm.


Buddha Bar, 7 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0913 408146 Diving courses and trips offered by the longest established PADI dive centres throughout Vietnam. All courses can be started at their state–of–the–art centre in An Phu.

RANGERS BASEBALL TEAM A baseball team with over 25 international members. Practices and games are held on the weekends at RMIT and the Taiwanese Junior High School in District 7.

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL DARTS LEAGUE There are some excellent players in this fun and popular international darts league, which runs a highly competitive competition for a growing number of pub– based teams.

SAIGON INTERNATIONAL SOFTBALL LEAGUE The Saigon International Softball League invites you to play slo-pitch softball. Teams with players from all over the world compete every Sunday.

July 2013 Word | 115

{ body and Temple} ** The Cholesterol Myth * * By Phil Kelly


am constantly asked how many eggs are safe to eat per day or week. The myth that cholesterol causes heart disease and because eggs contain cholesterol and fats therefore are bad for us, is just plain wrong. As with all food we eat, an egg is only as good as the bird which it came from. It is not the cholesterol that is the issue but the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. A healthy freerange egg will contain a ratio between 1:1 and 1:4 where an industrially raised chicken egg can be as high as 1:16 to 1:30. This presents a problem as too much omega-6 fatty acid creates a state of inflammation in our bodies. Inflammation is now recognised as the leading cause of chronic disease. Despite the claims that eggs (in particular the yoke, as this is where all the nutrients are found) contain too much fat and cholesterol, a healthy egg also contains adequate lecithin. Lecithin is a compound that effectively emulsifies the fats and cholesterol in eggs, making the whole egg a well-balanced, natural food source that is very healthy. Quality free-range eggs

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can be enjoyed in abundance.

The Cholesterol Myth is Wrong The cholesterol myth has been turning people away from eggs for too long. The case against cholesterol, which was made nearly 30 years ago, was based on faulty evidence. This bogus science that incorrectly labeled cholesterol as the ‘bad guy’ has caused the public not to focus on the true causes of poor heath and heart disease. A large amount of research now proves that the true promoters of heart disease are inflammation, oxidative damage, stress and sugar. Cholesterol is actually crucial for a lot of functions within the human body as it: — Builds and maintains cell membranes — Aids in the manufacture of bile to help digest fats — Is important for the metabolism of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K — Is essential for healthy skin, as it is the major precursor for the synthesis of vitamin D — Is critical for growth and development of the brain,

nerves and sex organs, as it is the precursor of the various steroid hormones (including cortisol and aldosterone in the adrenal glands, and the sex hormones; progesterone, estrogens, testosterone, and derivatives) — It’s needed for the immune system — Is required by the brain. In fact low cholesterol can result in memory loss — Some research indicates that it acts as an antioxidant It’s these facts about cholesterol that make eggs very beneficial for children and young adults through the years of development. Dr Bernard Jensen, author of ‘Foods That Heal’, describes eggs as “having all the right nutrients for the brain, nerves and glands”. Below are some facts taken from the new book The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden (PhD, CNS) and Stephen Sinatra (MD, FACN): Myth: High cholesterol is a good predictor of heart attacks. Fact: High cholesterol is a terrible predictor of heart attacks.

Myth: High cholesterol is the cause of heart disease. Fact: Cholesterol is a fairly insignificant player in heart disease. Myth: The higher your cholesterol, the shorter your lifespan. Fact: In the Framingham Study, the people who actually lived the longest had the highest cholesterol. Myth: A high-carbohydrate diet protects you from heart disease. Fact: Diets that substitute carbohydrates for saturated fat may actually increase the risk of heart disease. To ensure you have a healthy heart, don’t worry about how many eggs you eat. Rather, focus on the aspects that really matter… reduce the stress in your life, reduce your consumption of sugars, exercise and consume more omega-3 and less omega-6 foods. Phil is founder and master trainer at Body Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763 or at his website bodyexpertsystems. com or through Star Fitness (


saigonshootersnetball@ A friendly mixed netball league, running on Monday nights, is open to both men and women from the ages of eight and up (including an adult competition).


Tel: (08) 7303 1100 Offers coaching for football, tennis, basketball and swimming for both children and adults. Private lessons are also available throughout the year.


The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2098 ext 176 Membership is open to non–Landmark residents for use of the courts. Private instruction is available for new players or those without a partner. Racquet rental with balls inclusive. Book in advance.


James: 0938 889899 Rina: rinabakher@yahoo. com. Founded in Singapore, they train every Saturday morning from 10am to midday. Everyone is welcome. For more information about games and the club in Vietnam contact James or Rina.


RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: 0909 458890 / 0903 042014 saigon– Pan–Asian competitions are often organised for the more experienced and everyone can join in this exciting modern sport held every Sunday afternoon in Saigon South from 4pm to 5.30pm.


74 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 6210 9192 Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.

Tennis KY HOA II

796 Su Van Hanh, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3706 Hourly hire for courts starts from VND80,000. Private coaching is available, and a small shop stocks all the equipment. Also has an excellent gym and swimming pool.


291 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3862 7144 Private coaching sessions and group lessons are available at this popular club. You can rent one of several courts from VND40,000 per hour. There is also equipment for hire.


Tel: 0908 604753 Contact outgoing and experienced instructor Mr Hoang, who takes individuals or groups from beginner level up to fluency. VND220,000 per hour.


45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 3175 This professional school has built a good reputation over 12 years. Offers set and tailor–made courses for all abilities in both northern and southern Vietnamese within high quality facilities.

Yoga & Meditation Anupa Yoga

9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 At anupa's private studio, we offer classes to individuals or small groups. The primary focus is to support students who want to regularly practise traditional yoga. For information contact us via email support@ or phone.


shivaprakashyoga@yahoo. com A qualified yoga master from India who has been teaching in Ho Chi Minh City in different locations including L’Apothiquaire and Nutrifort. Yoga styles include Asthanga, Hatha, Dynamic, Vital and Power yoga.


Tel: 0909 648193 E-RYT200-certified yoga instructor offering Vinyasa yoga classes at various locations around the city. Private and corporate yoga programmes available.

THE SAIGON RIVER CLUB Ruby Towers — Saigon Pearl, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 9009 Saigon Pearl’s luxury, stateof-the-art health club provides a number of Yoga

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classes held throughout the week with experienced practitioners at varied times in a specifically designed softfloored studio.


Tel: 0908 352265 Founder Suzanne Vian, has two decades of experience and is a Yoga Alliance ‘Experienced Instructor’. Iyengar-influenced classes, specialising in Hatha, Flow, Hot, Pre and Post-natal Yoga, Restorative, Injury Rehabilitation, Retreats and Trainings.


54/2/25 Bach Dang, Tan Binh Tel: (08) 3848 5347 modern yoga studio focusing on Ashtanga Yoga and suitable for all levels. Prenatal and postnatal classes also available. Classes are bilingual with internationally certified instructors in cooperation with Tirisulayoga Singapore.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0255 Yoga professionals teach regular yoga classes in three disciplines at this gym. Members get free access. Contact Star Fitness directly for schedules and non–member prices.


84T/4 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 5813 Soham Yoga Studio and Boutique specialises in highquality yoga training, offering Vinyasa Flow, Sivananda, Power yoga and more with Yoga Alliance-certified yoga instructors. Soham’s yoga shop also sells high quality yoga products.

VAJRAYANA BUDDHISM MEDITATION GROUP Meditation group specializing in the methods of Tibetan Buddhism. Help the practitioners understand and experience the nature of their mind and the nature of all phenomena.


Tel: 01266 626467 Daphne offers yoga classes, Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage across the city. Each session is unique and different to provide the perfect balance in nurturing the body and mind. July 2013 Word | 117

{ The Hobbyist}

Photos by Kyle Phanroy

** Demolition Derby * *


f there’s one thing anyone who knows me can tell you, it’s this: I’m not a good driver. Motorbikes are fine, but put me behind the wheels of a car and it’s a much different story. There is one car that you can drive as badly as you want, though: a bumper car. My friend Anthony had been telling my roommates and myself about the infamous Games World (B2 Floor, Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1) bumper cars for months. Sunday nights — usually an English teacher’s favourite party night of the week — had been sort of slow lately, so a few weeks ago we got a group together and

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attacked the arcade. One ride costs VND50,000.

The Bumper Bullies Plot Waiting in line at the bumper cars, the excitement in our group was palpable. As we watched the group before ours enjoy their ride, though, it became clear that Vietnamese and westerners do not enjoy bumper cars the same way. Kids and their parents were squealing with delight as they drove in circles around the racetrack, coming close to a hit but avoiding each other by inches at the last second. A murmur of consensus went around our group until it became clear that we were about to show

them what was up. Suddenly, a little Vietnamese boy — no older than seven or eight — had eased his way to the front and joined our group. We all looked down as he grabbed on to the railing, peeking over the edge to look at the racetrack. Whispers were shared around our group like a game of telephone: this kid didn’t know what he was in for.

Bump ‘n’ Grind The gates opened and we stormed the racetrack. I ran for a yellow car in the far right corner and jumped in. The bell rang as I eased out of my corner and boom! — my friend

Lee hit me from behind. Boom! — my roommate Ivey hit me on my left side. I finally hit my first target, getting stuck in a circle of five or so cars. Suddenly I saw a red car coming straight for us. Boom! — the little Vietnamese kid, with a devilish grin plastered on his face, had just hit us all. Laughing, he spun away. The game lasted for about five minutes, a laughter-filled adventure ride that left us all with bruises and aches. And the whole time this one little kid hit with the best of us, throwing himself in with no fear and attacking adults three times his age. Looks like he joined the right group. — Margaret Smith

WELLNESS From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town


161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 6667 A clinic providing chiropractic, physiotherapy, and foot care, staffed by Americantrained chiropractic physicians and an Americaneducated doctor of physical therapy. Includes treatment of back, neck, and knee pain, and sports injury rehabilitation.


Family Medical Practice Tel: (08) 3822 7848 American-educated and licensed physical therapist with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree in Vietnam. Specialising in orthopedic injuries, joint pain, sports

injuries and post-operative rehabilitation.


2B1 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: 01268 654202 American-trained and nationally certified massage therapist and National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer offering orthopedic manual therapy, corrective exercise and orthopedic massage, focusing on pain management well as injury rehab/prevention.


432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7 Tel: 0906 684969 Dr Kim Sung Soo offers a range of alternative oriental treatments, including acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, physical therapy, plus treatment for fertility, chronic pain (headache, backache,

arthritis, muscular), obesity, allergies and menopausal disorders.


273–275 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Q3 Tel: (08) 3997 1146 Apart from standard treatments such as acupuncture and massage, this hospital and training centre places emphasis on physiotherapy — the use of herbs to stimulate and protect the immune system.


Tel: 0903 098124 osteopathy– French–trained osteopath and physiotherapist specialising in treating back pain and other muscular, ligaments and joint problems. Osteopathy relieves pain and other discomforts using a global approach and gentle manipulative techniques.


179 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3932 6579 One of the city’s leading centres of traditional Chinese medicine infused with modern understanding. Up–to–date and clean with friendly staff, but you will need a translator.


5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759 www.americaneyecentervn. com American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children by an American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 17 years of experience. The American-standard facility is equipped with state of the art equipments for the early

detection and treatment of important eye diseases from Lasik and cataract surgeries to presbyopia, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery and Botox injections are also available.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3366 This modern international– standard hospital has a full cosmetic surgery department offering body contouring, breast augmentation, Botox, a range of facial surgery options, laser skin improvement, with expert French and Vietnamese doctors.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 Conveniently located downtown clinic providing modern, safe and fast treatments including Botox and restylane, by an experienced American doctor. Also provides cosmetic surgery consultations with French and Vietnamese doctors.


Level 2, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 6999 The Australian and Canadian managed SIAN Clinic offers a wide range of skincare medical therapies to treat problems by an experienced dermatologist and facial care team. The clinic utilises the latest therapies.


254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 Stamford Skin Centre offers a broad range of medical and

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From alternative medicine through to have that long sought-after nose-job and that once-a-year medical check, here are some the wellness options available in town

aesthetic skin treatments. Their international dermatologists and doctors ensure accurate diagnosis and safe treatment procedures. It houses excellent equipment for a variety of procedures.

Counselling WE Link

64 Ho Hao Hon, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 2900 Psychological counselling services for individual, group and family. Diverse counsellors and therapists, using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Art Therapy, Systemic Family Therapy. For adolescents and adults. Vietnamese, English, French and Spanish spoken.


Opera View Building, 161 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 8800 Accadent Vietnam is supported by Accadent Germany and offers high quality standards, high–tech materials and equipment, German precision and hygiene standards for your teeth.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3435 Full–service dental clinic at this international–class hospital covers the entire spectrum from examinations and cleaning to braces and implants, all carried out to the highest standards.


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8520 Globally renowned provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers full dental services in the clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.


173 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phong Ward, Q7 Tel: 5413 6634 9am to 12pm, 2pm to 6.30pm (Mon, Tue, Fri, Sat); 2pm to 6.30pm (Thurs); 9am to 12pm (Sun); Closed Wednesdays A contemporary Japanese dental clinic that provides a full range of standard and specialised dental services and treatments, including a 20-minute teeth whitening using Brillica mouthpieces and LED lighting systems; general check-ups and cleaning (polishing & prevention), and a range of orthodontic work. Smile Dental Clinic is open MonSat from 9am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm, closed on Sundays and public holidays. English - Vietnamese and Japanese are also available to call


2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Long–established, modern clinic with French, Canadian, Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the foreign residential community due to its modern and effective treatments allied with extremely reasonable prices.


Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung Truc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6999 The Practice, Level 1, 71-79 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 6777 An international dental clinic equipped with the latest

technology, the comfortable clinics offer cosmetic and implant dentistry with a focus on making each patient’s experience anxiety and pain free.


Fideco Riverview Building, 14 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 6475 anthony@aglondonsalon. Top British stylist “George” brings his unique flair to hair in District 2. A modern and professional salon, the products used here are exclusively Dermalogica, Schwarzkopf and L’Oreal.


37B Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 0908 A four–floor, one–stop hair salon for people who like highlights and a sharp– looking mane. Even the stylists here sport modern, funky styles. A cut above the rest.


48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4625 Open daily from 9am to 8pm Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated her long-standing flagship salon Venus Coiffure to a villa in Thao Dien. A full range of services is offered including a dedicated kids salon.


45 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2737 Spa–related salon with a good reputation for quality and comfort offers washes and leisurely haircuts from VND330,000 plus a range of related services.


41 Nguyen Trung Ngan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 6298 This salon can make you look naturally blond or help you


Commitment, Integrity, Quality

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to revamp your hairstyle. Using international brands like L’Oreal and Wella, your hair will be given that healthy, bouncier new look.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 Run by Canadian hair stylist Ky The Guy, YKC Hair Studio attracts a loyal expat clientele thanks to the welltrained staff and friendly English-speaking environment. Top industry products such as Tigi and Goldwell are used.

Medical AUSTRALIAN CLINIC & PATHOLOGY DIAGNOSTICS 273–275 Ly Thai To, Q10 Tel: (08) 3834 9941 Services includes general outpatient healthcare, corporate / visa health–checks, X–ray, full laboratory and in– house pharmacy including specialist medical services covering cardiology, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology, orthopedics and dermatology.


Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0757 Sister clinic of the Family Medical Practice, Care 1 opened in 2007 and offers preventative healthcare checkups as well as a full range of corporate health services for international companies in Vietnam.


1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy and traditional medicine.


8 Alexandre de Rhodes, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8888 Well–established and well– regarded, offers emergency and primary medical care with international and Vietnamese doctors on call 24 hours a day. Prices are very reasonable.


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7848 Full–service 24–hour healthcare provider with highly– qualified doctors handling everything from emergencies to tests and X–rays, in–patient and out–patient care, check– ups, travel medicine and medical evacuations.


6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon South Parkway, Q7 Tel: (08) 5411 3333 Emergency: (08) 5411 3500 International hospital whose standard of health care matches that found anywhere, with 19 full–time French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing expertise in 30 medical and surgical areas, especially maternity care.


45 Vo Thi Sau, 2nd Floor, Citilight Tower, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 6167 State–of–the–art medical centre located in District 1. Experienced American, French, and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health care. Plus sports medicine, cosmetic treatments, skin care and surgical consultations.


601B Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3977 8130

Mottoed “Building Stem Cell bridges for everyone”, HMIC comprises a medical clinic and associated pathology laboratory with Applied Research Center of Regenerate medicine.


1 Han Thuyen, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2366 cmi– This French medical clinic provides general practice and a range of specialties including cardiology, OB–GYN, ophthalmology, paediatrics, and sports medicine.


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8520 The world’s leading provider of medical assistance and international healthcare offers primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is available in many fields.


254 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1090 Stamford Medical Clinic offers services in internal medicine, dermatology, aesthetic medicine, infectious diseases, and general medicine.


135A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 4545 79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Well-regarded clinic offering general examinations and specialising in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology, women’s health and internal medicine. Offers a membership programme and cooperates with most insurance companies in Vietnam and abroad.

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among expats and visitors alike for its professional quality service.


3 Truong Dinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 0599 A nail spa in Saigon with a modern ambiance. Services range from classic manicures and spa treatment to acrylic and gel enhancements.


40 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 1407 Grooming salon for men which, as well as its standard hairdressing services, offers massages for the tired executive. A good place to escape the hustle and bustle of Saigon.


64A Truong Dinh, Q3 100 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1218 Award–winning salon very highly rated by foreign visitors offers body massages, facials, sports fatigue massages, slimming wraps and waxing. Also offers gentleman’s care.


23C Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Specialising in all forms of skincare, this is well–designed, ambient and outfitted day spa offers body treatments as well as facials and foot treatments.


Sheraton Saigon, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828 Natural and holistic treatments abound at this refurbished luxury hotel spa, from natural rainforest showers to the use of Harnn & Thann spa products.


61-63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 8926 Aimed exclusively at ladies and couples only, treatments at this Japanese spa include facial, body and foot care, and Japanese-style haircuts, as well as steam-sauna, paraffin and waxing services.


129A Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 8368 Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages lasting from 30 minutes, to two-hour hot stone therapy, includes one suite with a Jacuzzi bath; offers hand and foot care and a hair styling area.


69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7188 Indochine Spa provides a peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural French products in a clean and pleasant environment.

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Miu Miu Foot & Spa

4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: 6659 3609 2B Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: 6680 5652 10am to 11:30pm (Last booking 10:30pm) Located in the city centre, and standing for “Nyanya” (or “cry of the kitten”), Miu Miu is an elegant and serene Japanese spa offering various body, facial and foot massages, as well as several nail treatments including manicures, polish and design, and scrubs. Massages range from 60 minutes to two hours and rates are from VND65,000 to VND530,000. The spa also offers Thann and Harnn, popular beauty products in Thailand.


Nguyen Du Villas, 111 Nguyen Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 0885 High–end spa set in the elegant grounds of one of the city’s most enviable addresses. The spa itself is intimate and beautifully decorated. Treatments focus on relaxation therapies.


22nd floor, Sailing Tower, 111A Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 2220 2600 A luxury health spa that offers both relaxation and health care therapies to clients. Oriental remedies and therapies collected from the Traditional Medicine Institutes of Vietnam are used by the centre’s therapists.


112, Pasteur Street, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 0563 10am to 10pm (last booking 9.30pm) Mekong Bliss Spa is a top place to enjoy authentic Vietnamese spa treatments. As well as offering an impressive array of services, part of the proceeds help disadvantaged youth in the Mekong Delta.

Saigon River Club, Saigon Pearl, Ruby 1 Tower, 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3514 9006 The Manor, 1st Floor, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0290 Located at two serviced apartment locations, The Spa offers foot massages, body massages and treatments, facial skin treatments and pampering packages.


31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3905 4609 An old world, Indochineesque interior complete with wooden floors, flowers and flowing drapes makes this an excellent atmosphere in which to enjoy a massage. Also offers hair styling and facials.


110 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 589290 A new spa that offers services such as body massage, facial and hair treatments. The price list includes service with discounts for members.


3rd Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, crn. of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3520 9901 Spa InterContinental offers guests the professional spa expertise and a truly sensory experience. With an extensive menu, the Spa InterContinental provides the caring touch of local therapists.


79 2/1 Phan Ke Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 5575 spatropic. com Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the refurbished former Chilean Consulate. Spa Tropic has a long-standing reputation


New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4000 ext. 2235 Elegant facility offering relaxation at the highest level. Different treatment rooms are available to deliver contemporary rejuvenation treatments. Spacious changing rooms with jacuzzi, steam bath and sauna.


Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son Square, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 1234 Breathtaking luxury spa with a tranquil atmosphere, Vichy shower room and range of high–quality massages, facial, body and foot treatments, and overall spa packages complemented by the use of Comfort Zone products.


219 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 2791 Exceptional service and customer satisfaction has established YKC as a premier pampering destination for Saigon’s expats and visitors. YKC operates with the utmost integrity and respect in regards to serving its clients.

FASHION Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Ho Chi Minh City

Accessories & Shoes ACCESSORIZE

B1-37 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9308 Accessorize pulls in droves of shoppers thanks to their attractive range of globally sourced products, from beachwear and children’s clothing to underwear, swimsuits, hats, bags, sandals, jewellery, sunglasses, and more.

Anupa Eco Luxe

9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 2394 Monday to Sunday, 9am to 8pm This centrally located unique boutique has been converted into an eco-boutique which exclusively retails the complete Anupa leather and semi-precious jewellery range as well as other unique eco brands such as bamboo eyewear, pendant scarves and cushion covers.


B-42, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3936 9777 9am to 10pm Birkenstock sells shoes, sandals and clogs imported from Germany, offering similar products for kids. A pair of thong sandals starts at VND1.9 million for adults and VND1.6 million for kids.


1B Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 2084 8am to 10.30pm Well-known for recycled bags of various designs and colours. Other unique products includes quilts, ethnic bags, jewellery and scrap metal animals. Prices range from VND5,000 to VND2.1 million.


18-20 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1132 B1-62 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9306 9am to 10pm With two branches in town, this airy, well-displayed Singaporean store sells women’s shoes, bags, sunglasses and accessories. Prices are acceptable for an international brand.


127-129 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3832 3904 The bright yellow signage and the street style, wooden-shelf decor of this shop displays a range of shoes,

sandals and boots. With Dr. Martens, it’s all about the quality of the soles.


35 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 8162 9.30am to 8pm This retail-cum-gallery space specialises in contemporary and exclusive handcrafted jewellery made from handpicked gemstones and raw materials. Exhibitions and gallery talks run every month.


77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1. Tel: (08) 3822 3277 71 Pasteur, Q1. Tel: (08) 3824 2701 9am to 9pm One of Vietnam’s most renowned brands for designer handbags and jewellery, Ipa-Nima offers flamboyant designs, unique twists and funky embellishments in great fashionable shapes. Stocks shoes, dresses and hats.


146AB Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8382 10.30am to 8.30pm Features upmarket shoes and bags made from highquality materials such as crocodile or python skin, and garnished with a large variety of wooden, Swarovski crystal and European-style colourful beads.


115 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 9582 9am to 10pm One of the world’s most sought-after footwear brands. SKECHERS offers new and stylish designs for both genders from 5 to 70 years old. A pair of sports shoes starts at VND2 million.


20 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3807 393 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3929 0685 8am to 9pm TDC is the official dealer of Tissot, Swatch, Longines and Jacques Lemans. Stocks highend brands like Rolex, Cartier and Omega.


72 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3519 9am to 10pm TicTac, growing from a family watch specialist store to an elegant black-and-gold designer watch showroom, stocks luxurious brands such as Omega, Maurice Lacroix,

Hirsch and Swiza. Provides repairs and battery changes.


9 Nguyen Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 3756 8am to 7.30pm A great lap of luxury. Products vary from pearl rings to sapphire earrings, from a gold plain daisy brooch to cufflinks. Prices start at VND10 million for a ring.


Unit 66, Saigon Square, 7-9A Ton Duc Thang, Q1 11am to 8pm Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired tidbits and memorabilia including t-shirts, riding gear, Italian helmets, Respro face masks, DVDs, books, bags, magazines, posters and more. Rental scooters and bikes available.

Clothing - Budget MARATHON

147 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 7442 123A Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 0019 9am to 10.30pm Simple and accessible, Marathon offers colourful beach pants, t-shirts, flip-flops, caps and a small selection of sneakers and belts. Prices start at VND110,000 for a tshirt.


171 Bui Vien, Q1 9am to 10pm Specialises in 100 percent cotton t-shirts and offers a small selection of hats, safety pins and postcards. Profits from each sale are given to two charity organizations.


152 Bui Vien, Q1 180 Bui Vien, Q1 238B Pasteur, Q3 Tel: (08) 3820 2620 9am to 10pm With three stores throughout town, this well-known clothing outlet is aimed at teenagers and young adults, selling jeans, t-shirts, sandals and accessories. Prices are affordable, with t-shirts selling for VND180,000.


137 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 01222 210008 9am to 10.30pm A fashion store with streetwear, t-shirts, bags, sunglasses, sneakers, authentic Brazillian Havaianas flip-flops and Crocs sandals. Carries European-sized tshirts.

Clothing - Mid-Range BAM SKATE SHOP

174 Bui Vien, Q1; 148 Dien Bien Phu, Q3; 228 Vo Van Tan, Q3; 15H Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: 0903 641826 9am to 10pm This hip-hop-style-cumskate store stocks a mix of sneakers, tees, hoodies, jeans, oblique baseball caps and accessories. A range of skateboards are on sale, costing between VND1.5 million and VND2.5 million.


187A Hai Ba Trung, Q3 134 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: 0936 303632 BOO embraces street style in clothing and décor. BOO’s brands have their own street stalls in-store, stocking clothing and shoes made in Vietnam and designed by the youth-savvy staff.


54-56 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: (08) 6675 2281 9am to 10pm Quality, original, Vietnamthemed tees are the showpiece at this airy French-run store. Designs are inspired by anything from the Vietnamese flag, local telecom wires and motorbikes to creative, Siddharta-style imagery.


52 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3833 4299 150-152 Hai Ba Trung, Q3 Tel: (08) 3824 9534 8.30am to 10.30pm Best-known for its unisex clothing, MaxxStyle contains a wide range of apparel in different designs, fabrics and colours. A pair of jeans starts at VND450,000 while shirts start around VND279,000.


118-122 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 9689 8.30am to 10.30pm Set in a large, two-floor space with Renaissance-style columns, Ninomax offers both men’s and women’s clothing. As a brother to MaxxStyle, it has the similar prices and products.

Clothing Mid to Top BOSSINI

22 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3839 2292 9am to 10pm Hong Kong-brand retailer sells male and female casual wear of various designs, including plain, striped, V-neck and button-neck shirts. Prices range from VND900,000 for jeans and VND700,000 for shirts.


89A Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 5164 9am to 10pm Inspired by modern women and youth, D’Blanc intro-

duces an ageless brand that balances a feminine, sexy aesthetic with an electric, urban sensibility. Dresses start at VND1.5 million.


L1-08, Vincom Center, Dong Khoi Street, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7493 9am to 10pm Stocks both casual and formal wear for both men and women, including jeans, tees, shirts, party dresses and working skirts. A pair of men’s jeans costs around VND1.8 million.


Le Lai Corner, 1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 Clothing is designed and tailor-made by renowned designer Romyda Keth, and concentrates mainly on women’s wear. Gaya sells colourful, sexy evening dresses, embroidered floral skirts and cute chiffon tops.


85 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4004 8am to 10pm Contemporary ranges of casual and evening wear fused with Asian designs. The apparel includes floral dresses, jean skirts, printed tees and street-style bags. Enjoy a cup of coffee at their café after.


47 BC Nguyen Trai, Q1 315A-317 Ba Thang Hai, Q10

225 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3822 3281 9.30am to 10pm For those with Levi’s love, there are several of the selfbranded stores throughout the city that offer a range of the latest jeans and accessories. Prices normally start at VND2 million.


40D Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7114 10am to 7pm Stocks simple but vintage embroidered and crocheted clothing for women and kids, along with clocks, brooches, teapots, cups and other art deco-style products. A simple blouse starts at VND820,000.


First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 6674 3565 10am to 10pm Exclusive labels, elegant and sophisticated clothing and casual high-quality cottons are stocked at this boutique/ café. Lifestyle accessories include shoes, homewares, knickknacks, cameras, stationery and a range of vintage bicycles.


132–134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2733 9.30am to 9.30pm Run by designer Mai Lam, all products displayed are her own designs, with a mixture of vintage and modernised traditional clothes and ac-

cessories and a selection of artworks.

weekly and sold at factory outlet prices.



40-42 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1136 Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 7464 B1-43 Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9300 9am to 10pm This Spanish brand provides a range of clothing along with selections of bags, wallets, belts and scarves. A shirt costs from VND1.2 million and jeans starts at VND1.4 million.


61 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Parkson, Saigon Tourist Plaza, Level 2, 35 Bis - 45, Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Parkson, Flemington, Level 2, 184 Le Dai Hanh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3925 9993 Established in Punta Del Este, Uruguay in 1960, master-brand Lolita operates ladies fashion boutiques in 19 countries around the world, with this one offering stylish and comfortable clothing for work or play.


43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8019 9am to 9pm This designer fashion outlet sells a variety of clothing and shoes produced in Vietnam. All designs are brand new, delivered from the factory

23 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 9391 24/4 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 7688 9am to 8pm Stocks mainly women’s clothes, though men are also catered to. Prices are more top-end due to designs and high-quality fabrics. A party dress starts at VND6 million.


1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 5292 Stocks clothing by French designer Valerie Gregori McKenzie with a quaint, slightly Gallic feel, made from a mixture of linen, silk and cotton. A simple white tank dress costs VND760,000.


19 Vo Thi Sau, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3574 8am to 8pm One of the best-known garment brands in Vietnam, this luxurious shop stocks men’s and women’s clothing, including office attire, casual and evening wear, along with jewellery and accessories.


35 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 6276 2730 8am to 10pm Umbrella sells their own

BAMBOU since 2001

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{ TOP Shelf } ** Club Darts, Darts, Darts * *

women’s clothing designs including dresses, trousers, skirts, jumpers and blouses. Prices vary, from VND999,000 up to VND3,499,000 on selected items with more complicated craftsmanship.

Clothing - Top-End ANUPA

Eco Luxe Anupa, 9 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2394 Houses the complete Anupa Collection along with products of Anupa Horvil’s handpicked eco designers. Features luxury leather accessories including bags for men and women, yoga bags, and belts.


155 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3582 10.30am to 8.30pm One of the most popular international brands due to its well-tailored, traditional, feminine and fashionable products like low-rider fitted jeans, satin dresses, crocodile skin shoes, contemporary glasses and Sakia bags.

Photos by Kyle Phanroy


f you go to the Darts website, you’ll see some clever doodles over a variety of diverse content. Under “LIVE” there are two simple lines, one of which says, “Please spend a fun night in Ho Chi Minh City.” Another tab shows a skull-and-cross-darts (with a red circle above the eyes — dart wound?) next to the boldfaced words “I WANT YOU / professional darts player”. Requirement number three is “There are people who like darts, interesting”. Going to the club, things get no clearer. Sure there are those fancy electronic darts boards and Japanese management, but there is also a falafel cart out front. They’ve been known to host some rad dance parties, of the reggae and electronic type, as well as their proprietary dance blowout, Heart Beat. But they’ve also hosted Japanese ska bands and Vietnamese metal bands. Upstairs is a kind of ‘chill zone’, with a smaller dance floor, a Liar Ben graffiti wall, beanbags, a smoker’s balcony and some of those soft primary-coloured puzzle tiles that children play on. On a walk around Darts it doesn’t just feel like you’re moving from space to space — but more like you’re time travelling. To really understand Darts, you need to experience it for yourself, which I’ve done — but all I remember is two girls dancing inside of the same one-piece orange swimsuit. So I deferred to professional party kids Moses and Bear for a double bullseye perspective.

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JUST CAVALLI Word: What was the last thing you saw at Darts? Moses: I went for a D-Styles show that was put on by Beats Saigon. It seemed like a pretty good venue for that kind of music. And it was a pretty good turnout as well. Bear: Wasn’t that a Thursday night? M: That was a Thursday night. W: How is that different to the Heart Beat parties? B: Well the Heart Beat parties are a lot of fun. They do play drum-andbass, which is not something that I’m into… but it’s good drumand-bass, from what I’ve deduced. Cuz I really like it, and I hate most drum-and-bass. They also have guest DJs come in, from other countries, and it’s a different collection of music than you typically hear at DJ nights in Saigon. M: The owners are Japanese, which is why I think the music there has been pretty good. W: How does it compare with other dance music venues in the city? B: Whenever I hear that Darts is having a party, I’m excited, because so far from what I’ve seen they have a reputation for putting on a good time. And a lot of people know them for that, so they come out. Whereas when other clubs put on events it’s really a toss-up, you don’t know if you’re going to go there and no one’s come out or there’s a ridiculous cover charge and music that no one would listen to in their free time, much less on a night out.

W: Okay, what about the upstairs floor? M: That’s where it gets weird… they have a bunch of kids’ toys. Maybe someone lives there. B: I know that they have beanbag chairs, which is just not a good idea for people who’ve been drinking, because that is where you will fall asleep. M: And liquid will be absorbed… B: Oh yeah, drink spills, where do you put your drink? You’re in a chair, you’re sucked into it. M: Why does this beanbag smell like urine? W: What do you think about the temperature there? B: Too cold, it’s too cold! I’m dancing and I need a parka. M: I found the temperature to be quite nice. W: I was cold, but that’s because I wasn’t dancing. M: So Darts, Darts, Darts forces you to dance. That’s just not fair. I mean, you come there, want to sit down and have a nice falafel, play some darts. That’s just not fair. W: Last question, why do people always get crazy at Darts, Darts, Darts? B: Because they don’t get shut down. M: It’s a real unassuming spot, no one lives around there. And the music’s good. — Ed Weinberg Club Darts, Darts, Darts is at 224A Pasteur, Q3, or on DartsClubVN

M-29, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9005 9am to 10pm This Italian brand’s apparel varies in both design and fabric stocking for men and women. A pair of floral shorts starts at VND9 million and a snake-patterned dress costs VND24 million.


155 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 3580 10.30am to 8.30pm Situated inside the Rex Hotel, this urban American brand carries internationalstandard clothing and a wide range of accessories and sophisticated bags, starting around VND6 million.


M-15, Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3993 9001 9am to 10pm Stocking the designs of the iconic Italian fashion label, products come in many colours and fabrics, with floral dresses, plain chiffon blouses and skinny trousers designed elegantly in a classic and sophisticated style.

Lingerie & Swimwear AQUAMARINE

211 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5695 A small shop full of colourful products offering one-piece bikinis, two-pieces, monokinis and various types of beachwear. Prices start at VND790,000 for a bikini. Custom orders are available.


Zen Plaza, 54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3602 2676 9am to 10pm The American brand shop stocks a full range of Vietnamese-manufactured or im-

ported products for men and women, including underwear, sleepwear and sportswear. Imported clothing is slightly more expensive.


127 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0909 711312 9am to 10pm Sells women’s swimsuits in plain and floral styles, including one-piece and twopiece bikinis starting from VND250,000. Stocks maxim dresses from VND380,000 and beach sandals from VND110,000.


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 5756 Saigon Tax Centre, 135 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 3202 9am to 9pm A well-known underwear brand in Vietnam, designed with western women in mind. Bras start at VND600,000.


94 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 6291 1099 232 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3948 9.30am to 9.30pm One of the growing number of Japanese underwear brands for women, Wacoal differentiates itself with its classic designs. Bras range from VND400,000 to VND800,000, while pants start at VND250,000.


Huyen Tran Cong Chua, Q1; Pham Hong Thai, Q1 These two main streets in city centre stock everything from local clothing to imitations of famous brands like Adidas, Nike and Puma through to the real thing.


163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 9187 9am to 10.30pm Stocks a range of travel related products, including torches, binoculars, climbing gear, funky men and women’s casual outfits, bags, underwear and cycling gear.


171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 5267 9am to 7pm Great place for picking up a tailor-made pair of shoes or ready-to-wear shoes. Choose the design and colour yourself. Prices range from VND300,000 to VND2,000,000, depending on style and materials.


39 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 4556 9am to 11pm Offers tailor-made clothing in the latest and trendiest designs and styles, with a wide range of fabrics. Alterations are available. An ao dai starts at VND1.6 million, including fabric.

INTERIORS Give your home that look you’ve always dreamed of. Furniture and repro art is not just manufactured in Vietnam for export. Apparently you can even buy bicycles made from bamboo here. Oops, no. Those beauties are for export only.



50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 7962 8.30am to 8.30pm With a sister gallery in Hanoi, this airy and spacious place is ideal for people interested in Vietnamese-themed art. Displays and sells works by local leading artists, from past masters to new rising stars. Think carefully before purchasing as the cheapest piece starts at VND40 million.


1st Floor, 43 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8272 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as Saigon Kitsch, Dogma stocks many cool and interesting tidbits, including propaganda art costing from VND450,000 per poster, Uncle Ho statues, books and themed postcards. If you want to wear these pieces of propaganda art, there is a wide range of propagandaprinted tees and jackets for both men and women, stocking at around VND600,000. A small selection of jewellery is also available.


65 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 8019 10am to 6pm, Closed on Monday Although situated close to the canal in one of the poorer parts of District 1, this gallery retains it distinct character, providing visitors with an authentic artsy feel that avoids the jaded, Vietnamese-themed stereotypes available elsewhere in town. Open from Tuesday to Saturday and run by Viet Kieu Pham Quynh and her partner Robert Cianchi, the art and installations on display here are the work of both international and contemporary Vietnamese artists. The helpful local staff speak good English. Visit the website for information on up-coming exhibitions.

257 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 7692 11am to 10pm Located opposite Highlands Coffee in Pham Ngu Lao, this small shop is decorated with lacquer paintings of Buddhist and Vietnamese landscapes and flowers. Nhu Y takes custom orders and prices vary from VND150,000 for the smallest piece (20cm x 20cm) rising to VND1.1 million for a 40cm x 80cm painting.


213C Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 3166 129B Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 3181 9am to 8.30pm Located opposite the Vincom Center, this tiny white space displays selected contemporary artworks by Vietnamese artists. Styles include abstract works, landscapes and modern day impressionism, focusing mainly on lacquer on wood, oils on canvas and silk paintings. More paintings are displayed at the Le Thanh Ton gallery in a four-floor building with each floor yielding a different style of art. Prices start from VND2.7 million. Credit cards are accepted.


Although available elsewhere in town, Bui Vien in the Backpackers’ Area is the best place to find reproductions of masterpieces by the likes of Van Gogh, Monet and Degas as well as Andy Warhol copies and the works of a whole host of other artists. Depending on size, style and material, prices vary but generally start from VND1 million per painting. Shops include Truu Tuong (No. 158), Buddha Art (No. 230), Duc Tai (No. 155A), Hanh Dung (No. 210), Duc Anh (No. 136), Nam Phuong (No. 105) and The Sun 3 (No. 145).

Crafts EM EM

38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 4408 8am to 9.30pm

With its ancient-looking dark brown and tiled roof, many Japanese tourists favour this petite shop. Carries a full range of products including souvenirs, embroidered handkerchiefs, kitchenware, home décor and much more. There are also large selections of men’s shirts, ties and women’s dresses and skirts. Offers order-madeclothes to fit individual sizes and tastes.


35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 S17 – Sky Garden 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 A project of the NGO Mekong Plus designed to support community development programmes in remote villages in Vietnam and Cambodia. All products are locally produced, including paper mache, ratten, bamboo and hyacinth products, contained and displayed in a simple white-painted space. Bamboo vases from VND350,000 and rag ranges from VND400,000.


2 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 9459 8am to 8pm The dark, musty décor gives Nguyen Freres the aura of a haunted house. Strange, unique yet seductively attractive, this retail shop doesn’t stand out as much as other places in the same area but it is big and carries a wide range of products concentrating on northern and hill-tribe culture with ethnic clothing, hand-crafted décor items and antique furniture. Items costing as low as VND20,000 can be found here.


83 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9079 8am to 10pm With more than 10 stores around the city, this Vietnamese company is known for its hand-embroidered and crocheted products including bedding, tablecloths, napkins and placemats. This packed and slightly haphazard looking shop also stocks

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children’s and adult’s wear as well as souvenirs. All products are made from linen and cotton. Prices vary but normally start from VND110,000 per item.


209 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9780 69 Dong Khoi, Q1 7am to 10.30pm Gorgeous tribally-inspired handbags, dresses and accessories on the ground floor combine with authentic tribal clothing on the floor above. Concerning itself mainly with the hand–woven clothing of the northern rural Vietnamese tribes such as the Hmong, there is also a cute line of ladies’ shoes, silk wraps and bags.


35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3110 64 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1 Tel: (08) 3914 2119 S17 – Sky Garden 1, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 6271 7758 A charity organization helping poor women in rural areas, all products are handmade with a wide range of quilts in many designs and fabrics. Special orders can be taken for delivery within 5-6 weeks. Also stocks accessories such as aprons, sheets and tablecloths.


20 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 0023 9am to 6.30pm Located in a villa-style building, this An Phu-based shop stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so it’s limited and exclusive with only one or two pieces of each particular item. Also has a great range of imported fabrics up on the 2nd floor and an in-house sewing room for cushions, sofas and curtains. Offers custom-made furniture and delivery within four weeks. Home décor orders are also available.


Km 11 + 300 Highway Hanoi, Q9 Tel: (08) 3730 9856 8am to 4.30pm, closed on Sundays

Produces high-end Danish design sofas and armchairs in contemporary and traditional styles. With imported materials, the brand provides a large amount of high quality products for the Vietnamese market and exports to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan and Singapore. Also offers to produce customers’ own designs. Their products are stocked at AA Deco with Their products are stocked at Nha Xinh showroom.


The Crescent Parcel CR107/08, 103 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5413 6538 A branch of the AA Corporation, Bellavita specialises in the distribution of imported high-end furniture manufactured by well-known brands such as Walter Knoll, Poltrona Frau, Minotti and Cassina. Most products displayed in this airy space include chairs, tables and other high quality glassware. Orders are taken 10 to 12 weeks in advance before delivery. There is also a selection of home décor items such as pottery.


68-70 Dong Du, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 6604 4th Floor, Unit 09, The Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5413 7357 Located next to Sheraton Hotel, the first BoConcept shop stands out thanks to its black signage and glassy atrium. The shop carries a full range of furniture including sofas, beds, wardrobes, tables and chairs; all are imported from Denmark. Delivery of non-stock items takes up to two weeks. Also has a range of furnishing accessories such as mirrors, rugs, paintings and lamps.


53 Pham Ngoc Thach Q3 Tel: (08) 3823 2213 207 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3827 3696 8am to 9pm This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a good choice for most families with its respected high-quality designs and competitive prices. Located on the corner of Pham Ngoc Thach and Dien July 2013 Word | 125

Give your home that look you’ve always dreamed of. Furniture and repro art is not just manufactured in Vietnam for export. Apparently you can even buy bicycles made from bamboo here. Oops, no. Those beauties are for export only.

Bien Phu, the spacious showroom specialises in sofas and other furniture such as table sets, shelves and kitchen cabinets. There is a large selection of carpets as well as numerous choices of curtains and accessories.


Light and Living Store 37 Bis Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3521 2828 Open 9am to 8pm Delivering superior quality interior decorative products at an affordable price, Irresistible's integrated selections create a synergy which offer home furnishing solutions for anything from the bedroom through to the living room and the study. For more information check out their website -


112 Xuan Thuy, Q2 Tel : (08) 6281 9917 Everything you need to furnish your home in this large showroom. From tables, beds, cupboards and shelves made of wood and steel to tableware, decoration accessories and candles. Nice range of furniture for babies and toddlers. Custom design services and project supply available.

as well as made-to-order furniture such as sofas and home décor designs. Lamps, lampshades and other accessories are also stocked.


51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 2181 8am to 6pm, closed Sundays Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this three-storey building is so packed full of items for sale that it doesn’t seem to have enough space for all of its products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture such as bamboo-imitation and mosaic table sets, while the second level stocks all types of indoor furniture except beds. Accessories are found on the level above. Special orders are taken for delivery within three weeks. Also offers a rental service.


81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643 8am to 6pm This two-storey shop carries all types of furniture, displayed simply so as to give clients a general idea of each product’s style and quality. Items for sale include chairs, tables, wardrobes, drawers and other furniture made from Kiwi pinewood and acacia. Custom orders are accepted and take about four weeks for delivery. Free shipping is included for orders costing more than VND10 million and within Ho Chi Minh City. As a general pricing gauge, a bed costs VND5.6 million and a wardrobe starts at VND6 million.


13 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1803 9am to 8pm The two-storey shop stocks contemporary and colorful furniture and decorative accessories, from sofas and armchairs to tables and cabinets, lightings, votives, kitchenware, vases and a full range of modern home accessories. Special orders are possible for delivery all over the world.


11 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7371 vn 9am to 7pm Having just moved to its new location, this large two-storey outlet specialises in interior and external designs. Products include beds, sofas, wardrobes and shelves made from high-quality woods. Also offers antique reproductions

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3B Tong Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: (08) 6657 0788 www.thefurniturewarehouse. 9am to 7pm Specialises in high-end European-style furniture for outdoor and indoor design and home décor. Products include wardrobes, armchairs, sofas, tables and shelves made from pine, oak, acacia and hardwood. There is also a selection of antique furniture and décor items. Free shipping and made-to-order available for small quantities. Visit the website for more information and prices.


1 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 1495 10am to 8pm Set in one of the most attractive post-World War II buildings in the city, Gaya

has a reputation for chic and sophisticated indoor and outdoor sofas, pod seats, lamps and tableware, with all products both constructed and designed locally. You can find a wide range of mirrors and lacquerware with bowls, vases and contemporary Asian-style boxes as well as a fantastic selection of linenembroidered bedding in all colours and designs. Prices here match the quality of the products.


7/30B, road 13, Binh Hoa, Thuan An Town, Binh Duong Tel: (0650) 376 5115 Typical of the large, slightly out-of-town stores found in Europe, North America and Australia that focus on all things for the home, Gomo represents the arrival of a new style of homewares shop in Vietnam.


46A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3997 7300 8am to 8pm This giant glass showroom features a comprehensive range of products including exclusive kitchen and bathroom appliances, furniture, and light and locking systems. This is also a good place to pick up sensor equipment and items such as rubbish bins, doors and lights. The selection of door handles is endless and all products are imported from Germany. Like Gaya, prices are top-end but the quality is beyond reproach.


59 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 7614 9am to 7pm This narrow four-storey building carries products ranging from sofas, chairs and tables to beds, bookshelves, cabinets, dressers and wardrobes. Accessories include ceramic pots, candles and mirrors. Special orders can be taken based on the catalogue or custom design and will be delivered within three weeks. Also stocks a range of bedding made from cotton, linen and silk.


85 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: 0955 000560 9am to 5pm With more than 10 years in the business, this old world, French colonial styled store

has a reputation for restoring and reproducing antique furniture. Products include armchairs, sofas, tables, bookshelves, drawers, lamps, paintings, ceramics, lacquerware and much more. Also offers an exclusive interior design service package, from initial design to installation with natural wood imported from the US. Free consultation is provided via phone or email.


2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6115 CR3, The Crescent Mall, 111 Ton Dat Tien, Phu My Hung Tel: (08) 5413 6657 8.30am to 9.30pm One of the most renowned Vietnamese furniture suppliers, this brand has over 15 years experience in the business, selling a wide range of furniture products made for the bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom. Custom orders are also accepted. Also sells a large selection of home decorations such as handmade flowers, statues and modern lamps. Offers a good design consultation service.


222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 4190 9am to 9pm This white-painted building sells highly stylized, contemporary imported indoor furniture made from various materials. From wood to plastic, and crystal to stainless steel, this shop stocks a large selection of sofas, tables and chairs. Accessories include exclusive clocks and lamps. Paintings of Marilyn Monroe, Chairman Mao and other well-known characters are also stocked.


152 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 3648 Inspired by the sumptuous textiles, rich palettes, and hotels of the 1940s, Verlim stocks a well-curated and eclectic trove of French, Chinese and Vietnamese Deco furniture and accessories, including outsized teak-framed mirrors, panelled screens and low-slung armchairs. There is also a selection of antiques and art deco reproduction. Arranges shipping and offers custommade items.


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It’s easy to figure this area out with all the stainless steel goods hanging from the rows of shops. You can quite literally find everything for the bathroom and kitchen, from sinks to cups and dish shelves to buckets. Compared to other shops in the centre of town, prices tend to be cheaper here. However, prepare to bargain.

Lighting AO DONG

Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3915 1778 CaoDong Design is an official distributor of the award-winning TouchAble brand. Stocks elegant and fashionable interiors, and a selection of souvenirs, leather boxes and luxury stationary. Includes table-standing lamps, pendant lights and hand-painted lampshades imported from Spain and the UK. Promises to deliver non in-stock orders within 30 to 45 days.


92 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 Tel: (08) 2210 3460 8am to 7pm Located opposite Saigon Square, this big store displays all types of lights from ceiling and wall lights to table and desk lamps with lampshades in all designs and styles. All products are self-produced and designed, and are made from a comprehensive selection of high-quality domestic and international materials. Good customer service with enthusiastic staff. Customised orders are accepted.


98 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 4634 This eye-popping lime greenpainted boutique carries furniture, tableware and decorative home accessories. Also stocks an exclusive selection of lights and lamps, including lotus lamps at VND300,000, lacquer lamps at VND400,000 and orchid lamps at VND650,000. All products are Vietnamese-themed and are made from bamboo. As well as selling locally, Mosaique exports to Europe, the US, Australia and Africa.


34 Le Duan, Q1. Tel: (08) 3825 7750 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Hung Vuong Plaza

126 Hung Vuong, Q5. Tel: (08) 2222 0383 9.30am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Parkson Plaza

35-45 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3827 7636 9.30am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Saigon Centre

65 Le Loi, Q1. Tel: (08) 3829 4888 9am to 9pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Saigon Square

77-89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q1 9am to 9pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics

Saigon Tax Trading Centre

135 Nguyen Hue, Q1. Tel: (08) 3821 3849 9am to 9.30pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Souvenirs, Restaurant

Vincom Center

70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1. Tel: (08) 3936 9999 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

Zen Plaza

54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 0339 9am to 10pm Cosmetics, Perfume, Clothing, Accessories, Electronics, Café, Food Court

* ELECTRONICS Nope, Ho Chi Minh City is not as cheap as Hong Kong or Bangkok when it comes to those camera and computer purchases we are all obsessed with these days. But it’s not far off. Here’s a lowdown on where stuff is available


Saigon’s photography lovers need look no further than Huynh Thuc Khang, Ho Tung Mau, Nguyen Hue and Le Loi to find dozens of stores stocking everything from digital to disposable cameras. Camera accessories, such as lenses and caps, digital image printing and other services are also available too as is a range of second-hand lenses and camera bodies.


28 Ton That Thiep, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 8773 8.30am to 6.30pm Lying opposite Sun Wah Tower, this is a typical Vietnamese retail outlet without decoration and with products displayed in glass cases. Selling digital and video cameras of well-known brands such as Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Sony and JVC, prices start at VND9 million for a professional camera and VND5.5 million for a standard video camera. Also sells a range of accessories.


Tel: 0903 035 271 Wear it or mount it. Waterproof, professional, true HD and extremely small. The world’s most versatile camera and accessories are available in Vietnam from authorised distributor Silver Sun Ltd Co. in Da Nang. Call for details of stockists or for a direct order.


85 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 6503 9am to 8pm Located in the same building as The Lost Art, Le Vu Nikon specializes mainly in Nikon products with a full range of cameras and accessories. A normal DSLR Nikon camera with a lens that can be disassembled is priced at VND12 million. Batteries cost between VND200,000 and VND300,000. Also offers a maintenance service and part exchange.


Fitting & Services Centre, 117/28 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 6294 5448 Ctrack GPS vehicle solutions.

A world leader in real time monitoring and data collection, Ctrack GPS has operations in 56 countries and have more than 20 years of hands on experiences in solutions related to GPS and management logistics. Juotec T-eye Dashboard Cameras record events outside and inside vehicles with high-res 1.3Mb cameras.


11 Le Cong Kieu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5888 Situated in one of the most beautiful antique-store streets in the city, this small shop restores and fixes all kinds of cameras from Nikon and Canon to Sony. They will locate and identify the specific problem and quote a price before fixing the camera. Speak good English.


Bui Thi Xuan, Nguyen Cu Trinh and Ton That Tung streets are considered to be the places to shop for computers, selling everything from LCD monitors, RAM sticks, keyboards, webcams and internet phone cards through to speaker systems at reliable and affordable prices. Many of the stores also offer a computer maintenance service.


81 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3514 0999 8am to 5pm This Australian company provides an impressive selection of printing solutions such as ink, lasers, faxes, photocopier cartridges and high-quality paper. Free pick-up and delivery service, and a refill service is available at reliable prices. With professional staff, the store offers an effective and quick restoration and maintenance service for printers of well-known brands such as HP, Epson, Canon, Xerox and Brother.


236 Dien Bien Phu, Q3 Tel: (08) 7300 6666 8am to 5pm A large internet service supplier, FPT is also known for being one of the biggest Vietnamese IT brands. Manufacturing IT products including deskstops, notebooks, servers and accessories, their

stores are found nationwide. Prices start at VND5,7 million for a desktop without monitors, and a notebook costs from VND11 million. Accessories vary, from flash memory cards and scandisks to USB bars. Visit the website for information and product prices.


Hoan Long Building, 244 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3925 8999 8am to 9pm Located opposite Co-Op Mart, this glass building carries a full range of IT equipment and accessories, including laptops, desktops, Acer RAM and products by Dell and Sony. Also sells Apple’s iPad, starting at VND21.8 million for the 3G version and MacBooks for VND28 million. In addition has a small selection of digital video cameras. Offers an assembly service for both domestic and international orders. Good post-sale maintenance and customerservice.


50 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 0699 8am to 7.30pm This shop concentrates mainly on notebooks, stocking popular brands such as IBM, Dell, Acer, HP, Sony and Apple. Also stocks plus disk drivers, RAM and batteries, and offers cameras, pocket PCs, smart phones (HTC and 32GB iPhone 4 sold at VND23.6 million), projectors and printers. Good customer service and quick delivery.


125 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q1 Tel: (08) 6290 8777 9am to 9pm Known as one of the leading IT retailers in town and located at the corner of Cach Mang Thang 8 and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, the products for sale at Phong Vu include computers, laptops, office equipment, entertainment devices and accessories. Also provides internet and network solutions and systems. Good maintenance service for desktops, notebooks and printers. Visit the website for more information.

NGUYEN THI THANH TAM 42 Huynh Thuc Khang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 2247

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Upon arrival, this large store looks more like a stationary shop than a mere CD shop. Products include blank CDs and DVDs at VND25,000 for 10 Kachi CD-Rs and VND38,000 for 10 Maxell CD-RWs. The DVD selection is endless with the prices starting from VND5,000 for one DVD, depending on type and brand. Also stocks numerous music CDs and DVDs of international and Vietnamese singers.



The following streets have dozens of stores selling major mobile brands such as Samsung, Nokia, LG, Apple, etc. New and second-hand handsets and extra accessories are also available. Ba Thang Hai between Ly Thuong Kiet and Ly Thai To, Q10; Hai Ba Trung between Le Duan & Dien Bien Phu, Q1 & Q3; Hung Vuong, Q5 (close to the end of Nguyen Thi Minh Khai).

428BIS Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: (08) 3818 1188 8.30am to 9.30pm This supermarket-esque shop is an official distributor of top brands including Intel, Asus, HP and Acer, stocking everything from laptops and desktops to monitors and keyboards, laptop fans and computer speakers. Office equipment, including photocopiers, fax machines and paper destroyers, is also sold here. Other entertainment devices, such as mobile phones and mp3 players are also stocked.



182A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 1900 561 292 8am to 10.30pm This well-known retail chain catches the attention of pedestrian shoppers due to the unmissable and striking yellow signboard with its long black logo. The website is efficient with adequate photos and information on phones and specifications. The staff speaks English and the store offers online orders at cheaper prices. Stocks everything mobile, from phones through to tablets and laptops.

227 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3838 9164 8am to 5pm Devout fans of that new religion called ‘Apple’ will be satisfied at Thuan My, one of the growing number of Apple dealers in Saigon. Products include MacBooks, iMacs, iPods, iPhones and their numerous accessories. Remember to ask for software installation. Competitive market prices and service make this place stand out.

Mobile Phones GIA KIEN

352 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3868 3733 9am to 6.30pm Besides stocking the ubiquitous iPhone and iPad, this shop also sells mobile phones from the likes of HTC, LG, Dell, Nokia, Vertu, Blackberry and more. There is also an exclusive and unique selection of handsets from the likes of GoldVish Gold Le Million, Porsche P9521 and Tag Heuer. Prices are higher than other places but the after-sale customer service is excellent.

382B – B1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3526 5838 8am to 5.30pm One of the top five master dealers nationwide with popular mobile phone brands such as Nokia, SamSung, LG, Motorola, and Panasonic, this company is an official distributor of Philips in Vietnam. Produced the first Vietnamese mobile phone, Bavapen, and also stocks the iPhone 4 at VND21.3 million. Accessories include phone wallets, earphones and batteries.



328-330 Ba Thang Hai, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3333 Has more than 65 stores nationwide and offers a comprehensive range of mobile phones from top brands such as Apple, HTC and Blackberry to the Chinese makes Cayon and Huawei. There is also a wide range of top laptops and mp3 and mp4 players. Recently opened a technology support centre called EBAR where customers check and test new products and software. Online orders with free shipping is available.

ELECTRONICS MARKETS Known as “electronics supermarkets”, the number of stores selling everything from TVs, refrigerators and air conditioners to washing machines, coffee makers and blenders seems to be increasing by the day. You’ll also be able to find vacuum cleaners and irons from popular brands such as Sony, Samsung, Toshiba, JVC, LG and Sanyo. In addition these stores stock a wide range of mobile phones from the likes of Nokia, Samsung, Motorola and Sony Ericsson. In order to attract the largest number of customers, most of these stores offer daily promotions with competitive prices. Visit their websites for promotions, online orders and more information.

Cho Lon Electronics MarkeT

590 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3846 4700 8.30am to 9.30pm

Gia Thanh

975 Tran Hung Dao, Q5 Tel: (08) 3923 1536 8.30am to 9.30pm

iDEAS Shopping Centre

133–141AB Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 8.30am to 9.30pm

Nguyen Kim

63–65 Tran Hung Dao, Q1 Tel: (08) 3821 1211 8am to 10pm

Thien Hoa

277B Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q10 Tel: (08) 3863 3733 www.dienmaythienhoa. vn 8am to 10pm July 2013 Word | 127


From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not talking Tous Les Jours. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread


84 Nguyen Cong Tru, P. Nguyen Thai Binh, Q1 Tel: (08) 6295 9087 Specialising in freshly baked cupcakes such as the Ravishing Red Velvet, Foxy Banoffee, and Heavenly Honey, this boutique cupcake shop also offers coffees, teas and juices. Wi-Fi available.


117 Cong Quynh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3836 1992 Dubbed “the local bakery”, Crumbs serves up a variety of baked goods including baguettes, muffins, cheese and garlic–based buns and loafs, meat–filled pastries, sweet pastries, health–conscious breads and more. There is also a breakfast menu and variety of sandwiches available.


33 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 5404 7777 The air of American donuts infuses this pleasant and popular venue, with a variety of the sweet circular treat complementing an excellent selection of coffees, teas and juices. Specials include the mixed fruits donut, ice cream donut, and ice cream & sauce/peanuts donut. The store is open from 7am to 10pm daily and offers free Wi-Fi and a non-smoking area.


30 Lam Son, Tan Binh, Tel: (08) 3547 0577 Made to order baking delivery specialists by phone or email. Scones, bagels, breads (everything from 12 grain loaves to Italian focaccia), muffins, cookies, buns, fudge cake and more, from upwards of VND45,000. Orders must be placed 48 hours in advance.


64–68 Ham Nghi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 2970 Selling baguette–style bread for VND5,000 and basic freshly made sandwiches for around VND15,000. Also has a range of Vietnamese pastries and savouries. Open 24 hours.


SL15-1 Grand View, Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7

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Tel: 0908 828552 For anyone with a sweet tooth, this cake delivery service offers homebaked products using the finest ingredients including fresh fruit, imported butter and chocolate. No preservatives or hydrogenated fats are used. All cakes and cookies are made to order and can be customised upon request. Free delivery is available. Place orders one day in advance.


153 Xo Viet Nghe Tinh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 3518 0897 Located in the premises of the Hospitality School, Sesame Bakery provides practical experience to its students. Has a wide variety of French pastries, loaves, baguettes, cookies and cakes at good prices. Special order and delivery available.


180 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08) 3823 8302 59 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 4350 187 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Although tailored to the local market, this Korean–owned bakery chain and café bakes a tasty range of pastries, bread and cakes all at very affordable prices. Excellent baguettes and sandwich bread. Also does a slightly sweet version of croque monsieur.


39 Thao Dien, Q2 French–run bakery selling probably the tastiest range of patisseries, breads, quiches and pies in town. The signature passion–fruit tart is a must try.


Available all year round for birthday cakes, BBQs, corporate events, private parties, wine tastings and more, Au Parc Catering provide a full service including drinks, glass rentals, waiters and crockery. For a quote, email or call Mr. Loi on 3829 2772.


100 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9830 New delicatessen shop offering western–fusion French

food. French Chef Stephane Courtin and his team will assist you in a Gastro’Home food experience. Visit the shop in An Phu or try the “at your home” catering service for a dinner, buffet or cocktail party.


Tel: 6274 0647 A French food delivery service that does cocktail parties, buffets and events specialising in salads, sandwiches, gratin, quiche, pies, desert, muffins and more. Visit website for full menu.


Ground Floor, Norfolk Hotel, 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 5368 / 0908 406 505 Delicious food and professional service for any special occasion including company functions, formal banquets, Christmas and New Year parties. Reasonably priced.


41 Vo Truong Toan, D.2, HCMC Tel: (08) 3898 9286 With over 10 years experience, SCC is the event manager for the annual NZ Wine & Food Festival, official caterer for ZanZBar, and provides catering services to a number of consulates and multinationals. Experienced with every conceivable style, from the smallest dinner party to a stand-up cocktail event for thousands, SCC takes care of everything from the venue, flowers and decorations to transportation, set-up, guest management, event flow, marketing and promotions, invitations and menu planning.


46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 With extensive experience in menu design, The Caterers will come up with an original menu for your party or gathering, then prepare all the food and serve it to your guests. Also offers a venue for clients to use.


84 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien Ward, Q2 Tel: 0913 981128 SCC can create a menu to meet your exact requirements and budget.Theirchefs use the freshest ingredients to produce quality, perfectly cooked and beautifully presented food at reasonable prices.



16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 9332 41A Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2630 Attractive and spacious French–owned grocery shop stocking a large range of foods, organic fruit and vegetables, imported beers and wines. Also sells luxury branded products from the likes of Fauchon. The deli upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung branch serves tasty baguette rolls in a comfortable lounge area with free Wi–Fi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured meats in town. Free delivery for Districts 1, 2 and 3.


45 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8126 aussie– Aussie Fruits are among the first in Vietnam to promote a full range of Australian seasonal fruits. Their mission is to bring the best quality fruits from Australia into Vietnam, with professionally trained customer support along with a state of the art facility that guarantees 100% freshness directly from Australian farms. Check their website to see what’s in season.


No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street), Q2 Tel: (08) 3740 7105/06/07/08 / 0903 814761 Fax: 3740 7109 Supplier for the city’s five– star hotels, also distributing brands like San Pellegrino, Rougie foie gras, Galbani cheese, fresh poultries, meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all the products at the gourmet shop on location.


73 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 6057 Stocks a comprehensive range of fresh meat products imported directly from Australia. Beef and lamb make

up the bulk of the selection, but some locally–sourced poultry and fish products are also on offer. Also does pre–packaged prepared meat like chicken strips – perfect for the freezer. Open seven days a week.


32 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3856 An international standard butchers with a solid selection of fresh meats, charcuterie products, a tasty selection of pates, sausages, cheeses and poultry. Sells both retail and wholesale.


58 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 1318 Mini supermarket stocking a large range of imported foods, cheese, meat, fresh fruit, vegetables and good wines. Friendly service and helpful staff, although the selection of products is slightly smaller than its next door neighbour, Thai Ha.


60 Ham Nghi, Q1 Supermarket that vies with its next door neighbour, Phuong Ha, for customers. Excellent selection of imported goods including canned foods, dairy products, cereals and meat products. The staff here speak reasonable English although the service is better next door.


29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 8526 Packed from floor to ceiling with imported cereals, meats, cheeses, and almost anything else you can think of, this is a very popular choice for expats doing their weekly shop. The walk–in fridge at the back is a draw in itself.

Liquor & Wine ANNAM SHOP


16–18 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 9332 annam– Here you’ll find anything from Guinness to Leffe, with a whole lot of Belgian, Australian and German beers in between. Also has an excellent selection of imported wines and liquors.


158D Pasteur, Q1 A range of spirits, whiskies and wines at affordable pric-

es. Wines come from all over the world with an especially good selection from France, Chile and South Africa. Also has an excellent range of single malts, top shelf tequilas and has an on–site wine tasting machine, the Enomatic, the first of its kind in Vietnam.


74E Hai Ba Trung,Q1, Tel: (08) 5404 3575 A premier importer/distributor of quality wines, spirits, non–alcohol drinks, representing over 400 wines, spirits and drinks from 12 countries since 1995.


6/7 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q1 Tel: (08) 6210 2986 Wine wholesaler importing well–known Australian wines. Present portfolio includes Kangarilla Road, Zema Estate, Buller, Bethany and Chapel Hill.


22 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3823 0021 One of the largest distributors in town, stocks around 90,000 bottles from virtually every region in the world. Sells both retail and wholesale.


178 Pasteur, Q Tel: (08) 3825 8826 One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition to their excellent range of wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral water and spirits.


15C7 Thi Sach, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 1141 Well–known and respected wine importer and distributor stocking a number of old and new world wines. Brands include Perrin & Fils, Pere & Fils, Dr Loosen, Kracher and William Fevre.


74/17 Hai Ba Trung, Q1 Tel: (08) 6299 1315 Corner of Thao Dien & Duong 2, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9059 Professional advice on selecting and tasting wines. Also offers regular popular wine courses. The outdoor terrace area is the perfect spot to sample a new vintage.


Got kids? Looking for that perfect school for your children? Want to give them involved in some extra-curricular activities? Search no further. Here are some options for you

Baby Equipment Belli Blossom

12 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 6615 4th Floor, Crescent Mall, Nguyen Van Linh, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 7574 Stocks imported brands of maternity wear and nursing accessories, infant clothes, baby utensils, strollers, high chairs, slings, baby carriers, diaper bags and more.

Du Lundi Au Samedi

17/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1; Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan Q1; Saigon Center, 65 Le Loi Q1; Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton Q1 Sells clothing for kids from newborn to toddlers, as well as bedding, equipment, accessories and organic jarred baby food.

Maman Bebe

Vincom Center, 70/72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 8724 Carries strollers, car seats, baby utensils, clothing, and accessories. Most products are made by the Japanese company Combi.

Mom & Baby

Helene Kling Oil Painting

189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: 0903 955780 French painter offers daytime and evening courses for children and adults, teaching beginners about different mediums and techniques and helping artists of all skill levels unlock their creativity.

Inspirato Music Center

4-6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729846 Private music lessons in piano and violin from beginner level up to Grade 8 and beyond. Also runs a chamber music club with regular concerts and ensemble lessons for strings and woodwind.

Kids Club Saigon

79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7; 27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: 0908 460267 An early childhood centre offering early learning programmes for children aged 18 months to five, including toddler playgroups, preschool classes and enrichment activities. Also has after-school activities for kids aged four to eight.

230 Vo Thi Sau, Q3 Tel: (08) 3932 1611; 40 Ton That Tung Q1; 101-103 Khanh Hoi, Q4; 141D Phan Dang Luu; 287A Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nuan, Q7 The closest this city has to Mothercare, stocking apparel, bottles and sterilisers.

Minh Nguyen Piano Boutique

Rainbow for Kids

42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 Geneva Conservatory graduate Steffen Christophe teaches an introduction to musical instruments for students aged four upwards at Montessori, as well as private and group lessons in guitar, keyboard and voice.

105C Truong Dinh Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 4930 Offers a variety of supplies, utensils, and healthcare products for both expectant mothers and infants.

Classes & Sports Dancenter

53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 4490 Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop, funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at this modern dance studio.

82 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7691 Former conservatory student Nguyen Trung Minh offers lessons in piano at Minh Nguyen piano boutique for all ages and levels.

Montessori School

Performing Arts Academy of Saigon 19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2 Tel: (08) 6281 9679 Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet

and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and a mixture of private and group classes.

Piano Classes

Tel: 01225 636682 morrissokoloff@hotmail. com Suitable for kids of all ages, these piano lessons range from basic to advanced.

Rubba Duckies Swim School

Tel: 01227 163844 Infant water familiarisation classes for little ones from six months to three years, run by Elizabeth Hollins.

Saigon Seal Team

55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6825 This 15-week PADI programme conducted by Rainbow Divers, the leading PADI dive centre in Vietnam, offers scuba diving adventures in a swimming pool for eight to nine year olds.

Saigon Pony Club

42 Le Van Thinh, Q2, Tel: 0913 733360 An excellent way for children to escape the urban bustle is to ride one of the 16 ponies and learn riding techniques from three, part–time teachers.

Saigon Sports Academy

28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100 International coaches provide training in soccer, basketball, tennis and swimming for children aged four to 16 years and private lessons for children and adults. Youth soccer league Sundays from 2pm to 6pm in District 7.

Tae Kwon Do

BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918149 Martial arts expert Mr. Phuc welcomes anyone over the age of five to take part in his thrice–weekly classes. An additional fee for non– members applies.


6 Le Van Mien, Q2 Tel: 0907 729846 Provides kids classes in anything from mixed art, oil painting, crafts and still life drawing through to jewellery making and fashion design.

cheap stationery, stickers and other odds and ends.

Phuong Nam

1st Floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, Q1 Picture books for babies to stories and education books for older children can be found here.

Nha Sach Me va Con

Clothing 123 Baby Clothing

226 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Focuses on quality clothing for up to the one–year–old mark, with prices starting from just VND120,000 per item. Also has a decent range of shoes and other accessories.

Children’s Planet

90 Vo Thi Sau, Q1 Provides boys and girls’ clothing from ages five to 14 with clothes imported from Singapore.


Vincom Center, 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, Q1 A range of apparel for children from newborns to pre-teens with clothing imported from the UK.

Little Anh-Em

37 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel: 0917 567506 In addition to a varied selection of garments for babies and children up to 10 years old, Little Anh-Em stocks sleeping bags and other accessories.

Ninh Khuong

44 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 7456 83 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 9079 220 De Tham, Q1 Tel: (08) 3920 3224 222 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3 Tel: (08) 3930 9183 Offers 100 percent cotton hand-embroidered apparel for children ages one to 14.

Children's Books Fahasa

40 Nguyen Hue, Q1 Tel: (08) 3822 5796 Good selection of imported books for all ages as well as

(Mum and Baby Bookstore) 46 Le Loi, Q1 Tel: (08) 3824 8386 Supplies a variety of books, paintings, pictures, CDs, VCDs and DVDs, stationery and gift accessories for mums, dads, children and educators.

Education ABC International School

2, 1E Street, KDC Trung Son, Binh Hung, Binh Chanh Tel: (08) 5431 1833 Serving students from 32 nations, ages two to 18, ABC delivers a curriculum wholly based on UK standards, culminating in IGCSE’s and A levels (awarded upon graduation by Cambridge University examinations board).

ACG International School

School is an IB World School with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering an international education from kindergarten to senior school with the IB Primary Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programme (including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).

British International School (BIS)

246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2335 Inspected and approved by the British Government, BIS provides a British-style curriculum for an international student body and is staffed by British qualified and trained teachers. Fully accredited by the Council of International Schools and a member of FOBISSEA, BIS is the largest international school in Vietnam.


Cu Xa Do Thanh, 7, Duong So. 2, Q3 Tel: (08) 3832 8488; Flemington Tower, 2nd Floor, 182 Le Dai Hanh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3962 1218 CitySmart delivers a range of diverse, internationallyrecognised educational programmes, as well as life skills and character building for comprehensive development.

East-West Highway, An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3747 1234 Part of the Academic Colleges Group’s international network of schools, ACG boasts comprehensive education programmes from kindergarten to high school, a range of extracurricular activities, and impressive facilities.

Compass Education

Australian International School (AIS)

Gymboree Play & Music of Vietnam

Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 2727 Thao Dien Campus, APSC Compound, 36 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3744 696 Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2 Tel: (08) 3742 4040 The Australian International

15 Tran Doan Khanh, Q1 Tel: (08) 3820 3302 Promoting and facilitating English language acquisition, Compass Education offers a range of courses designed to meet academic, corporate, and professional goals. Offers nanny and teacher placements as well as career counselling.

Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st Floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7008 Gymboree Play & Music has been fostering creativity and confidence in children up to five years old for over 30 years, making them a leader in early childhood development programmes.

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{ S T U D EN T Eye}


hen I was 13, I got my firstever cell phone — a tiny black Nokia phone, with a screen as big as my thumb. Four years later, I’m sitting here with a 4.5-inch screen full-touch smart phone, an iPod containing my favourite 347 songs, and a Fujitsu tablet, its screen capable of spinning 180 degrees. My school is a tablet school, which means that instead of books and binders and messy bits of paper we only have to carry around our tablets. These tablets are our notebooks, our iPods, our theatre, our comic books, our video games and the hearts of our social lives. If you walked into a classroom during the middle of a lesson, you would be able to witness the ‘Great Wall of Fujitsu’ — a long line of about 20 black screens, each with the silver infinite symbol of the Fujitsu logo, stretching from one end of the room to the other. And behind each and every one of those screens would be a student, either staring into the box of light, or intensely tapping their fingers as they copy down the teacher’s words, or nibbling on their stylus as they scroll down an explorer window. Most of our lesson materials — even the grainy black-and-white film of Romeo and Juliet — are handed out digitally.

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During breaks and lunchtime, it’s hard not to see students walking around campus, chewing their snacks while staring at a tablet. Some sit at lunch tables with tablets open instead of a lunchbox. And out in the yard, on a wooden bench with enough space for three people, are six or seven Grade Six boys, all trying to squeeze onto the same bench while playing an intense match of Call of Duty.

Students 2.0 Students aren’t all business with their tablets — a couple of minutes on Facebook or 9GAG or a few emails between friends sharing funny pictures and comments are inevitable. But in our defence, these are just another variation of the old-fashioned notes that students pass around during class, or notebooks filled with doodled caricatures of teachers. Yet many adults think our school — and our generation — has become too dependent on modern technology. They look at this WALL-E future and worry for our souls. I can relate to them, as sometimes halfway through lunch, I look up from my phone and see most of the other guys doing the same thing: staring down at their phones and iPads and tablets.

Photo by Kyle Phanroy

** Tablet Schools * *

But what others don’t see is what we do when we notice these things. My friends and I even sometimes put all our electronic devices in the middle of the table, and don’t touch them until we are done with our meals. While our lives are becoming more and more technological at school, we are also experiencing and learning about the problems that this technology brings, adjusting and fixing it as we go. In the future, being permanently stuck on a hovering bed with flickering screens and machines that dress you, wash you and replace your identity may be a possibility. But there are also many other, perhaps more ideal, images of the future — and it is up to us to shape it to be healthier and more ‘human’. And I believe my tablet school does just that: training us to become wiser and more experienced leaders of a technological future, whether through simple lunchtime games or perhaps a whole new tradition and culture of approaching technology. — Tae Jun Park Tae Jun Park was the first-placed winner of the fifth annual HoaSen Short Story Competition, whose winning entry appeared in our April 2013 edition. He's a 17-year-old attendee of United Nations International School (UNIS) in Hanoi, and this is his first paying gig

Canadian In t ern a t i o n a l School

13C Nguyen Van Linh, Binh Chanh Tel: (08) 5412 3456 The first Canadian international school in Vietnam serves local and foreign students from Kindergarten to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the internationally recognised Ontario curriculum to create a studentcentred learning environment promoting academic excellence.

In t ern a t i o n a l School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC)

28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9100 The only fully authorized IB World School in Ho Chi Minh City, ISHCMC has been awarding graduates with an IB Diploma and sending them off to high-profile overseas universities since 1999.

In t ern a t i o n a l S ch o o l S a i g o n Pearl (ISSP) 92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh Tel: (08) 2222 7799 ISSP offers a rigorous Amer-

ican-standard curriculum, as well as unique extra-curriculars like golf and Mandarin Language classes. A brand new, state-of-the-art campus caters to students from nursery through to grade 5.

Kindermusik Early Childhood Education Centre Ground Floor, Crescent Residence 2, Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: 0907 099480 www.kindermusik-vietnam. com Kindermusik is the world’s premier music, movement and English language programme for children from birth to age 7. Each weekly lesson promotes early literacy and English language acquisition, social skills and more.

Little Genius International Kindergarten

102 My Kim 2, Phu My Hung, Q7 Tel: (08) 5421 1052 Little Genius Kindergarten shares a curriculum with its sister school in the US. Its facilities and learning environment remain unsurpassed by any other kindergarten in Vietnam.

Montessori International School 42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2639 Aiming to encourage children’s engagement with their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three to 12 a classic Montessori education as well as a variety of extra–curricular activities.

Renaissance International School Saigon (RISS)

74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7, Tel: (08) 3773 3171 RISS provides students from over 25 nations with a British / international education. Students ages two to 18 enjoy classes taught by qualified native English speakers at their state–of– the–art campus.

Saigon International College (SIC)

21K Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: 0938 371760 Overseen by the Curriculum Council of Western Australia, SIC’s program for years 10 to 12 provides graduating students with the Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), allowing direct entry to all Australian universities.

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Vietnamese Language Studies Saigon (VLS)

German International School – GIS

730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: 7300 7257 The German International School offers a unique bi-lingual German-English programme for students, from a variety of nationalities, from 2 to 16 years old. Its curriculum is based on the internationally recognised Primary Years Programmes (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP) and IB Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate (IB) system.

45 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 0168 R4-28 (Hung Phuoc 2), Le Van Them, Q7 Tel: (08) 3602 6694 VLS has built a reputation over 18 years by offering courses tailored to all abilities. Classes are located either at VLS’s high quality facilities, or at the learner’s office/ home.


15 Street 12, perpendicular to Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 3740 8081 SKECC has evolved over 10 years to create a creative, playful learning environment for children ages two to six. Limited class sizes and highly engaged teachers ensure personal attention for all students.

Saigon South International School (SSIS)

1147 Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh, Tel: (08) 3556 6020 Features a landscaped park, weekend buffets, and children’s activities and entertainment. Reachable by boat from District 1. 3 Hoa Binh, Q11 Tel: (08) 3963 4963 Popular theme park / water park provides fun for the whole family at a low price.

Diamond Plaza

34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: (08) 3825 7750 Features a fourth–floor bowling alley and video arcade as well as youth–oriented eating options such as KFC and Pizza Hut.

Saigon South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (08) 5413 0901 Offers an American-style education (SAT, IB and AP) from elementary to high-school, emphasizing a multi–cultural student environment and a commitment to well–rounded education at all levels.

Parkson Plaza

Saigon Star International School

Saigon Zoo

Residential Area No. 5, Thanh My Loi Ward, Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 3222 Supported by the Cambridge International Primary Programme, SSIS integrates Montessori methods into nursery and kindergarten programmes to create a stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes allow experienced teachers to cater to individual needs.


1172 Thao Dien Compound, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26 Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08) 3898 9816; 15 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4236 This international childcare centre provides children ages 18 months to six years with a high quality education in a playful and friendly environment.

The American School of Vietnam

177A Nguyen Van Huong, Q2 Tel: (08) 3519 2223 An independent and private university preparatory school with an individualised programme, The American School of Vietnam offers a US-based curriculum for Kindergarten through to Grade 12.


98 Cach Mang Thang Tam, Q3 Tel: (08) 3933 3655 One of the leading schools in Vietnam, VAS provides programmes from kindergarten to secondary school. In line with their mission to encourage a global mindset in new generations, VAS integrates international educational methods.

100/531B Thich Quang Duc, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3990 3560 For an unusual and special performer, contact the excellent Balloon Man, who has earned a reputation for dashing instantly to any party that needs balloon shapes.

The Caterers

46D Vuon Lai, Tan Phu Tel: (08) 3812 6901 Although mainly focused on grown–up events, this company does an excellent job catering for kids’ parties.

Binh Quoi Botanical Gardens

Dam Sen Park Saigon Kids Educational Childcare Centre

The Balloon Man

35Bis Le Thanh Ton, Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 7614 Parkson Plaza has a large selection of arcade games along with a bowling alley and a food court one floor down where you can regroup after zapping millions of aliens. 2B Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1 Tel: (08) 3829 3728 A wide variety of animals, well maintained facilities, peaceful atmosphere, and fun activities for kids including bumper cars and playgrounds.

Suoi Tien Amusement Park

120 AH 1, Tan Phu, Q9 Tel: (08) 3896 0260 Offers all of the expected amusement park attractions in a spectacular setting that includes a man-made beach, a dinosaur garden and a zoo.

X-Rock Climbing

74 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3, Tel: (08) 6210 9192 503A Nguyen Duy Trinh, Q2, Tel: (08) 2210 9192 Offers beginner and advanced mountain climbing routes, safety courses and training at its 26–metre, purpose–built mountain in District 3, with an additional location in District 2.

Kids' Parties A2

196 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3912 0161 Popular toy shop which also houses a large selection of partywear and costumes.

Gymboree Play & Music

Somerset Chancellor Court, 1st floor, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 7008 Specializing in first through fifth birthday parties, Gymboree will take care of everything, including venue, invitations, party favours and more. Offers themes such as Princess Palace and Dinosaur Adventures.

Medical American Eye Center

5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Q7 Tel: (08) 5413 6758 An American Board-certified ophthalmologist with 15 years of experience in the US treats vision problems such as hyperopia, astigmatism, focusing problems, myopia, strabismus and lazy eyes.

Family Medical Practice

Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7848 vietnammedicalpractice. com Three paediatricians practice their speciality at this well–equipped medical care centre. Also has obstetrics and gynaecology services for expectant mothers including pre–natal screening.

FV Hospital

6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08) 5411 3333 This international–standard hospital has a dedicated and fully equipped pediatric centre staffed by a team of international specialists. Also offers other maternity services.

International SOS Medical & Dental Clinic

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3 Tel: (08) 3829 8520 Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the internationally experienced pediatric team at this clinic will meet your family's preventative, diagnostic and treatment needs. House call service is also available.

Starlight Dental

2Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te, Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 6222 Modern, well–equipped clinic with both western and local dentists experienced in providing preventative care and reconstructive procedures for children of all ages.

Victoria Healthcare International Clinic

79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1 Tel: (08) 3910 4545 Committed to pediatrics, this clinic provides services including general examinations (vision and hearing checks, immunisation, growth and development assessment) as well as specialist consultations.

Toys Toyville at Snap Café

32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2 Tel: 0903 918960 (Alex) / 0918 339734 (Y Nhu) Wide selection of branded toys and games, from the usual suspects to the real hard to find. Specialises in ages three to 10. Open daily from 9am to 7pm.

Travel Guide Photo by mads monsen


Okinawa In the Coconut Kingdom Travel Promos

134 140 150

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Okinawa Just a 90-minute flight from Tokyo, the tropical climate and cuisine of the Okinawa archipelago makes it a unique destination for anyone heading to the Land of the Rising Sun. Words by Humphrey Morgan. Photos provided by the Okinawa Tourist Board

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The Lingo Every region in Japan has its own dialect, but Okinawan is one step beyond and unintelligible to most Japanese. Here are some phrases to help you on your travels. If you can speak Japanese you get praise, if you speak Okinawan expect the beers and awamori to flow.

Nife de biru — Thank you Mensore — Welcome Chu uganabira? — How are you? Kuwacchi sabitan — Thank you for the meal (in restaurants or home cooking) Chura kagi — Beautiful girl Akisamiyo! — Oh my god! If you get called a ビーチャー (beacher), it doesn’t imply you are a wonderful surfer, more a pleasant drunk.

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he most common travelogue cliché for Japan is the contrast between modernity and the traditional; Tokyo and Kyoto, otaku geeks and samurai, neon tower blocks and temples. Yet tucked away in the appendices of Japan Lonely Planets is the archipelago of Okinawa. A chain of hundreds of islands that stretch over 600km in length, its climate, cuisine, geography, culture, dialect, history and speed of life make Okinawa the antithesis of mainland Japan. Overlooked by most international visitors, the white sandy beaches and turquoise seas only a short flight from Tokyo have turned the archipelago into the domestic tourism destination of choice. Here there is a magnetic draw for busy salarymen and their families.

Big City, Small Delights For most, Okinawa begins in Naha City. Contrary to the cobbled streets, terracotta roofed houses and tropical postcard imagery

associated with the region, it’s a fully functioning modern city. It revolves around the thoroughfare Kokusai Dori, or International Street. A mixture of traditional restaurants and faux-Americana, that ever-present theme of contrast in Japan even manifests itself in Japan’s tropical anomaly. Okinawan izakayas with the wafting twangs of snakeskinned shamisen violins sit next to Sailor Sam’s Steakhouses with young Japanese girls in mini-skirts and sailor suits serving steak and fries. The street is touristy, but not without its merits. There are some old shopping arcades that trickle off the strip with local music shops, markets and, naturally, souvenirs. These meander around the back streets of Naha and offer some respite from the commercialised Kokusai Dori. They illuminate what fascinates most mainlanders about Okinawa, the lulling pace. In the markets look out for specialty stalls selling sata andagi, a local doughnut, and shikuwasa juice, the product of a very

sharp Okinawan citrus fruit that is at once lime, lemon and orange. The city itself is well connected by monorail, making it easy to get to some more traditional sites like Shurijo, the castle of Okinawa. For those that have visited mainland Japan and seen Himeji Castle or Kumamoto Castle, you will know that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen pretty much all of them. But, Shurijo is illustrative of the Chinese influences on Okinawan history, outwardly displaying similarities to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. On a clear day it offers great views of the island and is a pleasant detour from the city. At every gate of the castle on left and right are enormous shiza statues, fierce guardians that are a hybrid of canine and lion. Shizas are an icon of the islands and, on a slightly less grand scale, stand guardian outside almost every single building, from modern apartment complex to corporate office block or traditional bungalow. A prerequisite of any trip is an excursion,

or leisurely stay, on one of the surrounding islands. If time is of the essence, then Tokashiki Island is a great choice and only 30 minutes by boat from Naha City Port. It has a hidden cove with plenty of guesthouses and small hotels lining a 400-metre beach. The turquoise waters hide a wealth of corals and tropical fish, with scuba diving and snorkeling readily available. But, the star attractions are the sea turtles that have made the cove their home, each of which are nearly two metres in length. The cove in off-season is almost empty, making it a perfect time to swim alongside the marine inhabitants. For longer stays take a further flight to Ishigaki Island. 400km south of the main island it is a transport hub to the innumerable islands in the area. For the real Okinawa experience of deserted beaches and tourist-free wildlife, Ishigaki is the starting point.

From Soba to Tacos One of the real gifts of Okinawa is its food —

the options are abundant. The signature dish is goya chanpuru, a stir-fry made from bitter melon, pork, tofu and egg. Originally it was made with spam; thankfully this is generally not the case anymore, but for tradition’s sake some still use the quivering processed meat. Be wary. Unlike the bitter melon found in Vietnam, Okinawan goya is a vibrant green and full of flavour. Along with the shizas it has become an emblem of the island, adorning key chains, boxer shorts, beach towels and condom packets, sometimes with a cute face etched on for added effect. Served in a light soup with a generous wedge of soft pork floating on top, Okinawa soba — buckwheat noodles with the thickness of udon — are the islands’ answer to ramen, and slightly less damaging in the calorie stakes. Rafute is a soy saucemarinated, slow-cooked pork belly dish that falls apart at the slightest prod of a chopstick. Served with a Japanese mustard not dissimilar to the English variety, it’s an indulgent choice, but a perfect complement

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to an order of velvet-coloured sweet potato tempura. And, of course there are the local tipples of choice. Brewed on the island, Orion Beer is an institution and has even been honoured in folk songs. While tasty, it doesn’t stand out from any other of the main Japanese beers, though maybe keep that observation to yourself when visiting. The slightly more potent awamori, a 50 to 80 percent volume spirit, is a recipe for a hangover, but is the real deal for locals. It comes in an overwhelming number of varieties. For the truly brave, habushu — snake alcohol — is a big bottle of awamori with a venomous snake pickled inside, holding supposed Viagra-esque medicinal properties. If you’re looking for a place to sample all of these delicacies and dangers, try the traditional izakaya paikaji, with staff wearing Okinawan kimonos, folk music and affordable pricing. There are several in

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the city and any taxi driver will be able to guide you there. Okinawa has also absorbed a variety of American influences and the Japanese attention to detail with cuisine has been applied to Tex-Mex. Kokusai Dori institution Tacosu-ya is a revelation and, aside from the curiosity, provides an option for a quick bite. Solving the age-old problem of eating a taco without it falling to pieces in your hands, they have created a bendable version that retains its essential crispiness. Another staple of the modern Okinawan diet is taco rice, the contents of a taco sitting on a bowl of steaming white rice. For the country of seaweed pizzas, this is a typical culinary compromise. Tacosuya seats 15 people maximum, but turnover is high so don’t be disheartened. Further down the street salted ice cream pulls in the crowds, with flavours ranging from sweet potato and five spice to green tea. Sounds peculiar, but it is delicious.

Culture Clash Idyllic tropical island charm aside, the prefecture has a long and complicated relationship with the US. The only area of Japan that saw land combat during World War II, the following American occupation has left its stamp, not only on the cuisine. It is utilised as a bargaining chip in the Japanese relationship with the US, who desire a presence on Okinawa for its strategic location to China and North Korea. 20 percent of the islands is used for American military bases, restricting the growth of any industry apart from tourism. Located on the only land available for development — the rest is mountains — the American presence has led to a deteriorating relationship between the local islanders and the GIs stationed there. The islands’ economy is dependent on the influx of capital from the American military, presenting a catch 22. Yet locals want change, with a clear majority in

favour of removing the bases, and with the highest unemployment in Japan, an aging population and limited international tourism, the need to forge a new direction is unavoidable. A catalyst for this deterioration is the high incidence of crime committed by American soldiers, with a long history of violence and sexual abuse. Following the rape of a Korean student by two soldiers in 2012, the military bases were put on lockdown for 24 hours to stop a full-scale political meltdown with Tokyo, and curfews have been put in place. The military argues that local Japanese crime rates are much higher, or unreported, and that false accusations abound. Yet it is indicative of a problem when nightclubs frequented by local GIs have strictly enforced ‘female only’ sections, and instructions for drunk soldiers above urinals ask people to try not to molest other clientele. No wonder some bars on Kokusai Dori refuse entry to military personnel.

To remedy this Okinawa is taking transitional steps to alter the status quo. This began five years ago with the inaugural Okinawa film festival. It is perhaps a stretch to call it a film festival, as in essence, it is a glitzy celebrity parade for Japan’s primetime comics, with a schedule largely made up of in-house productions. Nonetheless, the local community has taken to it, with beach events drawing 50,000 plus attendees. The end game is to set up performing arts institutions, create jobs and opportunities for the local community, reinvigorate the next generation of Okinawans, and change the perception of Naha City as a destination for retirees. Along with a new and improved international airport, and the rebranding of the main island as an entertainment hub for Japan, these are the first stepping stones. Okinawa is such a unique part of Japan that it is unimaginable it will lose its identity, but it is clear that change is in the air.

Getting There and Settling In Until the international airport is refurbished, domestic flights are the easiest route in and out. There are numerous daily flights from most major Japanese airports, with international flights available from Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei and Shanghai, though this is set to change. ANA, JAL and the budget SkyMark are the best domestic airlines to fly with. Okinawa offers everything from campsites to hostels, business hotels and five-star resorts. If you’re on a budget, beachside guesthouses are a suitable option with super friendly-staff. For a splurge hit the Ritz Carlton or Hoshinoya Okinawa. The high-end resorts offer package deals including flights that knock down the overall price.

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In the Coconut Kingdom Ben Tre is the land of the coconut. Matt Bender took an Epicurean holiday to the Mekong Delta to find out what all the fuss is about. Photos and translation Francis Xavier

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“I drank a famous Mekong coconut, which tasted pretty much exactly like every other coconut in the world: the most delicious, refreshing drink you could ask for on a hot day”


ao had a sly, almost flirty smile on her face as she settled in next to me and my photographer, Francis. The three of us were taking a sputtering junk from the mouth of the Mekong down to the archipelago of small landmasses where they harvest the coconuts that make this region famous. “Make no mistake,” she said, tapping my notepad, “the pH of the soil here makes the most delicious coconuts in all of Vietnam. They are smaller, organic and full of flavour. They sell in Hanoi for VND40,000 each.” While coconuts and coconut-related products are the biggest exports from The Mekong, coconuts aren’t the only fruits grown in the region. This area is home to the most prized jackfruits, longans, pineapples and durians in — according to Dao — “all of Vietnam”. Although you’ll see boats unloading fruit in District 8, the preferred method of transport by the growers in Ben Tre is by truck, meaning that the boat owners you see are independents that live on the water and occasionally bring in a haul of coconuts for extra money. Surprisingly, most of the businesses the farming co-operatives deal with are in northern cities and not in nearby Ho Chi Minh City, which can fend for itself when it comes to sourcing fresh produce.

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From Disoriented to Donkey Ride There are only a few bus lines that will take you to Ben Tre from Ho Chi Minh City. The Mai Linh Bus Centre (420 Le Hong Phong, Q10), for example, does not, even though the Mai Linh website says they do. Of course, this is the same website that directed us to a bus station on Pham Ngu Lao that not only wasn’t there, but caused an old lady in a floral hat to look at us like we were crazy when we asked about it. Hot and bothered, we finally made it to the Thinh Phat Bus Centre (25A Su Van Hanh, Q5), where they sold us real tickets and put us on a real bus. Well, more of a minivan but close enough. Fast forward with a few highlights: — A cramped bus ride — An old guy offering me his cup so I didn’t have to slurp from the water cooler (the people of Ben Tre are renowned for their hospitality) — A security guard yelling at me for sitting on a guard rail — A helmetless motorcycle ride through dusty coconut groves — A pack of puppies chasing a plastic water bottle — Ms. Dao and her sputtering junk

It wasn’t a long ride from the dock to a donkey-pulled wagon, and only five minutes via donkey to the candy factory. Despite Ms. Dao sweeping her hand dramatically through the air as we entered the area, we had arrived at — although on the cheap and through the back door — the exact same little trinkets and candy market that the one-day Mekong tours on Pham Ngu Lao will take you to. We joined file with the lines of tourists, ate fresh coconut candy and contemplated the wallets and hand-carved figurines. I drank a famous Mekong coconut (VND20,000: half-price supposedly, although twice as much as it costs for one on the side of the road), which tasted pretty much exactly like every other coconut in the world: the most delicious, refreshing drink you could ask for on a hot day. Yet it wasn’t markedly different from other coconuts to my untrained palette. The ‘smaller’ aspect Dao had mentioned became annoyingly real, however, as I sucked down two and was still thirsty by the time we made it to the pagoda area at the end of the tour. There we had a plate of fruit and listened to a song about the “Ben Tre Pose”, a way of standing that is meant to be polite and formal — although I’ve heard Ho Chi Minh City kids jokingly refer to a Ben Tre pose as someone standing

awkwardly, looking like they’re waiting for a blind date. We got taken to a restaurant where they price-gouge you, like VND80,000 for spring rolls. All in all, it was a typical day in the life of a tourist and I was totally bummed out. Changing that all was the coconut monk.

One Male, Nine Females, No Children We made a quick stop at a tiny island which turned out to be the abandoned home of the coconut monk, Nguyen Thanh Nam, one Vietnam’s best known cult leaders and one of those guys whose biography just makes the world a more interesting place to live. Examples: he made cats and mice live together and erected a giant replica of the Apollo spaceship in his backyard. Born on Christmas Day in 1910 to a wealthy family, he later dedicated his life to Buddhism and moved to the island to purify himself with fruit and coconut water. Despite his odd isolationist dogma — “One male, nine females! Conjugal life without children!” — he was obsessed with uniting Vietnam in the early 1970s, and is said to have walked from the north to the south of the island every evening in an attempt to psychically heal the wounds between the

two regions. After a failed presidential bid in 1971, he returned to the island to promote his specific flavour of Buddhism until his death in 1990. Despite his efforts, the sect was never officially recognised and numbers are foggy about how many members there actually were at any given time. As the junk sputtered to life and we loaded back onto it, the coconut monk’s story stayed with me. I was struck with the feeling that even though the coconut monk died ruined and unrecognised, his life isn’t a sad story. It is sad in a way, but it’s sad like a little pocket of sadness with an amazing life packed into it, sad like seeing a happy couple and pausing to think fondly of someone from your past. Maybe it was the sunset or Ms. Dao’s cheerful babble, the slow tilt of the boat or the women washing clothes in the river, but I started to feel that melancholic ache that’s the sign of a good trip finished. A coconut tumbled from a nearby tree and splashed down next to the boat, marking the moment. I asked Dao if she ever dreamed of leaving her life on the Mekong and moving to the big city. In perfect Ben Tre pose she smoothed out her Ao Dai and, with that same girlish grin, said, “Leave my family and all this money? No way.”

Oiling the Nuts When I was growing up in the early 1980s, coconuts were considered to be terribly unhealthy due to the high amount of tropical oils and saturated fats contained in them. Jump ahead to the present day and coconuts are considered some of the healthiest and most malleable foodstuffs out there. What happened? While coconut oil does have a large amount of saturated fats, those fats have since been identified as medium-chain fatty acids — which basically have the opposite effect of the saturated fats you get from pizza and bacon. So consuming coconut oil will actually turn your bad cholesterol into good cholesterol, increase your metabolism to help burn fat and provide those complex fats that help to build muscle. Anyone familiar with the Paleo diet will know that, although bread and grains are shunned, coconut meal (pulverised coconut meat) can be used to bake healthy breadlike treats that longtime Paleo dieters must have a killer craving for. Coconut oil can also be directly applied as a hair conditioner, natural lubricant or makeup remover.

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People travel thousands of miles to get a whiff of exotic Vietnam. From travel agencies though to resorts, here are a few suggestions on where to stay and how to get there in and around Vietnam


Air France

130 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 3825 8583

Air Mekong

1st Floor, Centre Point Building, 106 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan Tel: (08) 3846 3999

American Airlines

194 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3933 0330

Cathay Pacific

5th Floor, Centec Tower, 72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q3 Tel: 3822 3203


$$$$ Le Lai, Dalat Tel: 063 3555888 17 French colonial villas reside atop the slopes of Vietnam’s rural highlands. Complete with a personal butler, in-villa dining, and a holistic spa, Ana Mandra Villas is where luxury meets tranquility.


$$$$ 12 Tran Phu, Dalat Tel: 063 382 5444 The style of the 1920s, the backdrop of the Xuan Huong Lake and Liang Biang Mountain, and a piano bar — these are the elements through which Dalat’s top hotel retains its classic charms.

China Airlines

37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3911 1591

Japan Airlines

3rd Floor, Sheraton Hotel, 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 3821 9098

Jetstar Pacific

Korean Air

34 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3824 2878

Dalat Green City Hotel 172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat Tel: (063) 382 7999 Located in central Dalat, this is the perfect place for budget travellers. Quiet, newly refurbished with beautiful mountain and city views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and snack bar in all rooms with a downstairs coffee shop and computers in the lobby for guest use.

Lao Airlines

93 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: 3822 6990

Malaysia Airlines

Saigon Tower Bulding, Room 101, 29 Le Duan, Q1 Tel: 3823 1588

Thai Airways

29 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 3822 3365

Tiger Airways

Vietnam Airlines

27B Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1 Tel: 3832 0320

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$ 4A Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel: 063 382 2663 Centrally located, this quaint stop offers affordable accommodations, in a basic style. Goes bus-to-door through the Sinh Café people.


$$$ KM 8 Pham Van Dong, Duong Kinh, Hai Phong, Tel: 0313 880888 This four-star resort offers in room bathrobe, slippers, digital safety box, free Wi-Fi, satellite TV, 24-hour room service. A resort complete with a pool, deluxe spa, fitness centre, and VIP massage room.


$$$ Tel: 0933 446542 Experience breathtaking tours of the serene Halong Bay, aboard reproduction wooden junks. Two or three–night trips with a wide range of cabin styles: standard, deluxe, or royal.


$ Cuc Phuong, Nho Quan, Ninh Binh, Tel: 0303 848006 Vietnam’s first national park and primate centre with accommodations is stilt houses or detached bungalows. Both are available at the park headquarters, the park centre and on the road between the two.


Ground Floor, Saigon Trade Centre, 37 Ton Duc Thang, Q1 Tel: 3829 2529

Singapore Airlines


Dalat Train Villa

Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat Tel: (063) 381 6365 Located near the Dalat Train Station, the Dalat Train Villa is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa. In its grounds is a 1910 train carriage which has been renovated into a bar and cafe. Located within 10 minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.

$$$$ Tel: (04) 3935 1888 Reproductions, of 19th–century paddle steamers, trawl around Halong Bay in colonial style. A classic experience, complete with, overnight accommodations in impeccable cabins suites.


$$ Cu Yen, Luong Son, Hoa Binh Tel: 0218 385622 10 houses, surrounded by rice fields, lakes, and hills, this eco– village caters to those who wish commune with nature.

hanoi – international LA VIE VU LINH

$ Ngoi Tu Village, Vu Linh, Yen Bai , Tel: (04) 3926 2743 A resort, ecolodge, and school, located on the banks of Thac Ba Lake. This bamboo-constructed paradise offers lake cruises, mountain biking, motorbike tours, hiking, and volunteer opportunities.


$$$ Mai Chau Town, Hoa Binh, Tel: 2183 868959 Rock climbing, kayaking, cycling, and a romance in nature, the Buffalo Tours-owned lodge is set in a lush valley, this is home to indigenous Vietnamese.


$$ Ha Long Road, Bai Chay Ward, Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Tel: 0333 848108 This beachfront property is close to local markets. Fine dining, a professional spa with seven treatment rooms, Novotel Ha Long Bay enjoys impressive panoramic vistas, and a pool overlooking the limestone bay.

Bhaya Cruises, Halong Bay

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

Emeraude Classic Cruises

Tel: 04 3934 0888 This reproduction of a 19thcentury 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.

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CROWNE PLAZA WEST international

$$$ 36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel: 04 6270 6688 This premier five-star property lies beside the My Dinh National Stadium and Convention Centre. Boasts two swimming pools, a spa, and a fitness centre in its 24 stories.

Daewoo Hotel

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.

Fortuna Hotel Hanoi

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.

Hotel de l’Opera

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

InterContinental Hanoi Westlake

1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Tel: 6270 8888 This stunning property built over

West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort. Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable, top-end accommodation and all the mod-cons make up the mix here together with the resort’s three inhouse restaurants and the Sunset Bar, a watering hole located on a thoroughfare over the lake. Great gym and health club.

Melia Hanoi

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-of-the-art rooms, elegant restaurants, stylish bars, fully equipped fitness centre with sophisticated service always make in-house guests satisfied.

Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

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.


$$$$ 40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0437 330808 With deluxe rooms and suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a la carte restaurant, this Accor group property is prestigious and close to the Old Quarter.


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

Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

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

Sofitel Plaza Hanoi

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

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.


$$$ 109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: 0439 286969 Located in the centre of the Old Quarter, this little slice of heaven offers complimentary sundries and a replenishable minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese cuisine.


$$$ 35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 0439 380999 A minute from Hoan Kiem Lake, this glowing pearl in the heart of Hanoi provides tranquility with an art gallery and piano bar.

May de Ville

24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 2222 9988 Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the Opera House, May de Ville City Centre is a welcome new addition to the capital. Combining contemporary architecture with traditional Vietnamese style and materials, this

elegant property has 81 well-appointed rooms including four suites.

Thang Long Opera Hotel

1C Tong Dan Street, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 4775 This hotel houses 71 spacious, comfortable rooms all equipped with high speed 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.

hanoi – Budget Hanoi Backbacker’s Hostel

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


$$$$ 19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: 0838 234999 Winner of Robb Report’s

2006 list of the world’s top 100 luxury hotels, the Caravelle houses the popular rooftop Saigon Saigon bar, and the restaurants Nineteen and Reflections.


$$$ 63 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 222999 Famous for its day–long rotating–menu buffets, the Duxton deserves luxury appellation with a pool, gym, spa, and fine dining.


$$$ 242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel: 0838 397777 This massive property boasts seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business centre, meeting rooms and a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial also has an onsite casino.


$$$$$ 235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1 Tel: 0839 257777 The five-star hotel and serviced apartment complex offers: 14 instant offices, seven meeting rooms, a 600-capacity ballroom, spa, outdoor swimming pool, a gym, 24-hour fine dining, 24-hours room service, and limousine services.

Joseph’s Hotel Foreign-run,boutique hotel Next to the cathedral

Free wi-fi, international breakfast, spacious and airy, lift, plasma TV, multi-shower, friendly service 5, Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi | Phone: 04 3938 1048 | Mob: 0913 090 446

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ECO LODGES Looking to increase your greenness and lessen your carbon footprint when travelling through Vietnam? These eco-lodges offer environmentally friendly alternatives to standard hotels and resorts

Bloom Microventures

Soc Son Tel: 0164 387 6594 (Lain)

Forest Floor Lodge

Cat Tien National Park, Tan Phu, Dong Nai Tel: 061 366 9890


$$$$$ Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 0835 209999 In the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, resides the Asiana with signature dining options, an innovative cocktail bar, exclusive spa and health club, together with luxury boutique arcade.

Lotte Legend Hotel Saigon

$$$$ 2A–4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0838 233333 Immaculate architecture, spacious rooms, and a fine selection of fine dining, with buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.


Yen Bai Tel: 04 3926 2743

$$$$ 76 Le Lai, Q1 Tel: 0838 228888 Former guests include U.S. presidents — two Bushes, Clinton — and K-Pop sensation Bi Rain. An ongoing event as well as a hotel, New World is one of the best luxury stops in town.

Mango Bay


Jungle Beach

Nha Trang Tel: 058 362 2384

La Vie Vu Linh

Ong lang Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 077 398 1693 w w w. m a n g o b a y

Mekong Lodge

An Hoa, Dong Hoa Hiep, Cai Be, Tien Giang Tel: 3811 4863

$$$$$ 2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: 0838 241234 Fabulous in style, prime in location, everything one would expect from the Hyatt. The Square One and Italian-themed Opera restaurants have garnered an excellent reputation, as has the landscaped pool.

Mia Nha Trang

Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa Tel: 0918 821633

Pan Hou Eco Lodge Village Resort

Ha Giang Tel: 0219 3833 3565 www.panhou-village. com

Six Senses Ninh Van Bay

Ninh Van bay, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa Tel: 058 372 8222 Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on listings@wordvietnam. com and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best


$$$$$ 18–19-20 Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: 0838 251417 This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup or drop off, a 4th floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River Restaurant.


$$$$ 141 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 292185 Brimming with history the Rex’s open–air fifth–floor bar is Saigon highlight. A recent renovation, of this now fivestar property, boasts designer fashion and a shopping arcade.


$$$$$ 88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 0838 272828 Sheraton boasts one of the best locations in town,

with first–class facilities, an open–air restaurant 23 floors above the city and a live music venue on the same floor.


$$$$ 17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: 0838 241555 This 20–story building in downtown Saigon, caters to upscale business and leisure travelers seeking a classic yet contemporary stay in Saigon.


$$$ 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5 Tel: 0838 336688 The full ensemble with its own shopping hub (including a bank), fine dining, a sauna, health club, and superb panoramic views of the cityscape. Also hosts the largest Oktoberfest in the region.

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$$$ 144 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0839 998888, The newly-built hotel is near Tan Son Nhat International Airport. With spectacular city views and a comfortablydesigned outdoor swimming pool, there is little reason not to choose this shining star.



$$$ 132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1 Tel: 0838 299201 This charming old hotel has been fêted in literature and in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to highlight Vietnamese culture .


$$$ 1 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: 0838 295517 Since 1925 this vintage hotel encompasses the beauty that is Vietnam. Overlooking the Saigon River, its unique atmosphere makes it that much more majestic.


$$$ 656/52 Cach Mang Thang 8, Q3, Tel: 0838 460263 The hotel features 12 luxurious rooms designed to capture the warmth of the French countryside. The Little Bistro Restaurant serves Asian and European signature dishes for in-house guests. $$$ 117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: 0838 295368 Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique business hotel is located minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and is renowned for its fabulous steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.

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$$$ 167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: 0838 224866 Novotel Saigon Centre has a contemporary feel, an international buffet — The Square — a rooftop bar, and a wellness centre including a swimming pool, gym, sauna and spa.

HCMC - Mid-Range

HCMC - Deluxe



$$ 133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: 0838 225914 Perched on one of the city’s major boulevards, the brightly-lit exterior guarantees that you’ll never be lost at night. Enjoy executive jacuzzis and use online booking for discounted promotions.


$$$ 46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel: 0838 227926 Centrally located near the Ben Thanh Market, the two hotels are juxtaposed on opposite sides of Thu Khoa Huan. Lan Lan 1 and 2 offer a homely feel at affordable prices.


$$ 195 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0837 442222 A colonial–style hotel and spa offers fine Italian, Thai and Japanese dining. Manicured gardens and a view that overlook the bank of the Saigon River, this is truly someplace special.


$$$ 133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0862 569966 Architectural elegance, and timeless style, this literal library themed inn is nestled in a charming and quiet neighborhood. Their fine selection of literature waits to be read, atop the rooftop terrace.


$ 195 Bui Vien, Q1 Tel: 0839 206992 Free Wi–Fi offered in every room. Low prices, friendly staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few steps from the backpacker’s area.


$ 167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1 Tel: 0838 373699 With its communal kitchen and a TV room, a stay here will make you appreciate the pleasure of being a guest rather than just a customer.


$ 185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: 0838 361915 It’s always hard to get a room here without booking, and no wonder, since this tucked-away little spot is on a par with anything else in the area — attractive, comfortable, friendly and more.


$ 157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: 3827 4648 Free breakfast, free computer usage, motorbike rental, and discounts for long term stay, the Sinh Huong Hotel is one of the few guesthouses to accept credit cards.

Hoi An & Danang An Bang Beach Retreat

An Bang Beach, Hoi An www.anbangbeachretreat. com A serene barefoot-luxe destination where guests kick off their shoes, unwind and take it all in. Located 50 meters from the beach along a sandy path, An Bang Beach Retreat is an intimate beach hideaway with a castaway vibe: its four houses are set in tropical gardens, tucked away in the charming fishing village of An Bang Beach, 4km from Hoi An, Vietnam’s premier destination. Sunbathe on the day beds, sip cocktails in the landscaped gardens, swim in the turquoise waters and soak up the Hoi An sunset.


$ 18A Cua Dai, Hoi An Tel: 5103 862231 Hoi An’s best kept secret

is a family–run hotel with a charming colonial air located between the town and the beach, complete with a pool garden and air–conditioned rooms.


$$$ Son Tra – Dien Ngoc, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Danang Tel: 5113 961800 20 minutes from Danang airport, this resort is comprised of six villas, a 33–floor twin tower, three five–star hotels, a convention / commercial centre, a 36–hole golf course and a culture village.


$$$$ 68 Ho Xuan Huong, Danang, Tel: 5113 847888 This venue has stunning beachside location. The smallest room measures 40 square meters — with a general air of refined luxury, as typified by the Cafe Indochine restaurant and the Lagoon poolside bar.


$$$$ Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da Nang, Tel: 5113 981234 The Hyatt Regency Danang Resort and Spa is beachfront with a stunning view of the Marble Mountains. There are 182 luxurious residences and 27 private ocean villas, each with a private pool.


$$$$ Bai Bac, Son Tra Peninsula, Danang , Tel: 8884 246835 With its own private bay on the Son Tra Peninsula, the Bill Bensley-designed hotel is nestled within one the region’s most exquisite locations.


$$$ Tam Hai Island, Thon 4, Nui Thanh, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 545105 Located to the south of Hoi An, the secluded sand island of Tam Hai houses a dozen modern villas with private gardens. There are endless beaches and an abundance of fresh seafood.


$$$ 1 Pham Hong Thai, Hoi An, Tel: 5103 914555 This award–winning resort is located close to the bustling

Old Town. With an emphasis on wellness and pampering, its spa combines traditional Chinese medicine, tai chi, touch and hot stone therapies.


$$$ Lot A1 Zone Green Island, Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau, Danang Tel: 5113 797777 Located on Green Island, in the heart of Da Nang city, the Mercure Danang offers modern style reflecting local Vietnamese culture. All day dining is offered at their brasserie and Chinese restaurant.


$$$$ Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam Tel: 5103 940000 Includes three massive swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant spa on a lotus pond. Each massive room has its own espresso machine, pre–programmed iPod and both indoor and outdoor showers.


Cua Dai Beach Tel: 5103 927040 This charming resort replicates a traditional fishing village, ponds, and village houses, all upon a private beach. Eat at the Annam Asian restaurant or relax with Thai or Swedish massage.

Hue & Quang Binh ANGSANA LANG CO

$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien Hue, Tel: 0543 695800 Located on Vietnam’s South Central Coast, Angsana Lang Co commands an unrivalled beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional Vietnamese design encompasses the resort’s contemporary buildings and chic interiors.


$$$$ Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien, Hue, Tel: 0543 695888 Built on a crescent bay, The Banyan Tree offers privacy and unparalleled exclusivity with all-pool villas reflecting the cultural and historical legacy of past Vietnamese dynastic periods.


$$ 10 Pham Ngu Lao, Hue, Tel: 0543 826567 hanoibackpackershostel. com Housed in a breezy, colonial villa complete with bunk beds, in same or mixedsexed dorms, pool tables, and darts. This is the place to meet international travelers.


$$$ 10 Hung Vuong, Hue, Tel: 0543 882222 The Forbidden City meets modern luxury. This high– rise hotel has great city views, a fine selection of restaurants, a piano bar and the sumptuous Royal Spa.


$$$$ 5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 837475 la–residence– Built around the former colonial governor’s mansion, with a nautical modern style, this is one of Hue’s unique experiences. Throw in an excellent restaurant with river views and you’re in paradise.


$ 48/3 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: 0543 826736 A budget option hotel, the Phuong Hoang offers reliable service and comfort, in additional to superb views of the Perfume River.


$$$$ Beachside, Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0583 522222 2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villa–style accommodation furnished in traditional native woods, this resort offers verandah dining, a pool bar and the signature Six Senses Spa.


$ Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0583 622384 On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this budget place is all about hammocks, the sea, the jungle and nature.


$$$$ Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong, Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0918 821633 Nestled in the mountain pass between Cam Ranh Airport and Nha Trang, this sanctuary has its own private beach. With ecofriendly principles, Mia boasts rooftops studded with manicured grass and shrubs.

zine voted top hotel of 2006. The location is stunning, on a bay accessible only by boat.


$$$$ 26 – 28 Tran Phu, Tel: 0583 880000 A sleek beach-front property with six restaurants and bars, the Shine Spa with nine treatment rooms, an outdoor swimming pool a fitness centre, a kid’s club, business centre, and a cooking school.


$$$ 12–14 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0583 820999 Awarded in Expedia’s World’s Top one percent of hotels 2009, the Sunrise Nha Trang Beach Hotel and Spa is ideal for the diamond lifestyle. All rooms have a view of the sea.


$$ Tel: 0583 840501 This remote and unspoiled island 60km north of Nha Trang is a stylish getaway, with traditional bamboo bungalows on the beach and an excellent seafood restaurant.

Phan Thiet & Mui Ne ALLEZ BOO BEACH Resort and Spa

$$$$ 8 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 743777 This resort offers exotic Bali–style, thatched roof “honeymoon” villas, 55 spacious suites, deluxe rooms, fresh seafood, Vietnamese cuisine, Thai and international cuisine, kite surfing and parasailing.


$$$$ 54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 847322 Under Life Resorts management, the Blue Ocean Resort includes a large swimming pool and swim–up pool bar, a children’s activity playground, and an Irish bar.


$$$$ 58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 847111 With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a swimming pool (both with attached bars) and a French restaurant, Coco Beach continues to be run by those who opened it in 1995.


$$$ 24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui Ne, Tel: 0623 847440 / 2 Choose between bungalows with either open-air bathrooms or enclosed gardens, or beachfront bungalows overlooking the East Sea.


$$$$ Khu Hon Lan, Xa Tan Thanh, Ham Thuan Nam, Binh Thuan, Tel: 0623 682222 Set on Ke Ga Bay, with a sumptuous spa, original architecture, eight swimming pools and 24–hour butler service, this is one of the most well-appointed resorts in the country.


$$$$ Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet, Tel: 0623 813000 Another beachfront Victoria chain, the thatched–roof bungalows and family villas are set in exotic gardens with an infinity swimming pool, a seafood restaurant, spa, beauty salon and jacuzzi.


$$$ 60A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham Tien, Mui Ne Tel: 0623 741660


$$$ 50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel: 0586 256900 This four-star hotel with 154 guestrooms, all with a terrace and sea view. Complete with a pool, spa, restaurant, bar and meeting room that caters for up to 200 delegates.


$$$$ Van Dang Ninh Hoa, Khanh Hoa, Tel: 0583 728222 The upmarket Tatler maga-

Viet Nam

Phan Thiet - Mui Ne Bay Tel.: +(84) 62 384 71 11 / 2 Fax.: +(84) 62 384 71 15

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Villa Aria Mui Ne provides warm service, 22 spacious guestrooms, and one suite. The resort includes a pool overlooking the beachfront, and an alfresco dining lounge serving authentic Phan Thiet cuisine


$$ Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To, Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 980998 A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike rental, boat trips and tours are easily arranged. Discount rates during rainy season.


$$ Ong Lang Bay, Phu Quoc Island, Tel: 0773 986142 An eco-lodge with no televisions or air–conditioning, 18 bungalows offer views of the beach and bay. The beachside restaurant serves traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a classic ‘French touch.’

CHEN SEA RESORT AND SPA $$$$ Bai Xep, Ong Lang, Cua Duong, Phu Quoc, Kien Giang Tel: 0773 995895 This 37–bungalow boutique resort provides a serene atmosphere along with first– class spa treatment and a Mediterranean–themed restaurant.


its bar restaurant, the Cat Cat Guesthouse is paradise at very reasonable rates. The rooms have big windows, balconies, and log fireplaces.


$$ 24 Muong Hoa, Sapa Tel: 0203 872404 For the environmentally conscientious, 25 individual lodges rest on hills overlooking valleys. Employing solar technology and a wastewater facility, the Topas also organises treks and bicycle tours.


$$$ Tel: 0203 871522 Topping the list of Sapa resorts, the Victoria include satellite TV, in–room coffeemakers, a hilltop health club, tennis court, and pool. The entire resort has panoramic views of the town below.

The Village Noshery 42 Cau May, Sapa Well-placed in the heart of Sapa’s downtown district, The Village Noshery mountain lodge is the perfect place to dine, stay and hang out while you are in Sapa. Step inside to discover an oasis of comfort and relax in the large restaurant spaces decorated with handcrafted art installations. Here it’s all about good food and quality service at very reasonable prices.

Vung Tau & Ho Tram BINH AN VILLAGE

$$$$ Ward 1, Duong Dong Beach, Phu Quoc Tel: 0773 982988 Among exotic greenery and a white sand beach, the M Gallery brand has beautifully–designed rooms, a stunning swimming pool, an all–natural spa, a beach grill and a fine fusion restaurant.

$$$$ 1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 351553 Perched on a cliff face, this Imperial Vietnam-styled resort has traditionally designed and furnished rooms and villas, seaside pools, fine dining, and a bar strategically located to watch the sunset.



$$ Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc, Tel: 0903 382207 An eco–friendly approach with a gorgeous beachside location, the bungalows are made of rammed earth, no TVs or telephones (although Wi-Fi is available). Excellent sunsets from the beach bar.


$$ Cat Cat Road, Tel: 0203 871218 The best view in town from

$$ Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 830939 Seated at the heart of Con Son Island this beachfront resort has mini-golf, kayaking, and sightseeing tours via trams.


$$$$ Tel: 0643 781525 This attractive property is the ideal getaway from Ho Chi Minh City. 63 uniquely bungalows and villas promise a local experience com-

plete with an excellent spa and two swimming pools.


$$$$ Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Tel: 0643 781631 The spacious villas come with their own pool and have direct access to the beach. Extras include tennis courts, a mini supermarket, and cycling and motorbike tours.


$$ 1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau Tel: 0643 852135 Built in 1972, this popular seafront hotel still maintains its 1970s–style architecture and room fittings. Amenities include a pool, two bars, a massage parlour and a karaoke lounge.


$$$$ Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung Tau Tel : 0643 831222 50 wooden-framed bamboo pool villas stretch along the curved bay, each with an unencumbered view of the sea. Also has a fitness centre, two restaurants, diving facilities and free bicycle usage.

travel services 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.


26, Tran Nhat Duat, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 2150 9 XuanDieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 5555 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

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through personalised tours. Also find travel desks at the Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which are open on weekends and holidays.

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-thebeaten-track sustainable and responsible tourism initiatives. Also provides to excursions to more wellworn destinations.

HG Travel

47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3944 8844, www.hgtravel. com 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 — www.kenya-airways. com), American Airlines ( and Turkish Airlines (

Indochina Land

61 Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3715 2852 Indochina Land is a French local travel agency for expatriates and tourists who want to see northern Vietnam in a personal and tailored way. Think small knowledgeable teams of Vietnamese and French who share their passion for discovery during varied itineraries, usually focused on freedom, family, health trips and classic home stays. They will show you around Ha Giang, too.

Intrepid Travel Vietnam

57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba Dinh Tel: 0904 193308 vietnamsales 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.

Syrena Cruises

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 7214 If you’re thirsty for a Ha-

long 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.



81 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 9170 This premium travel agency helps travelers select their destinations and organize their trips. From corporate travel to small group tours, explore the world or Vietnam.


70 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat Motorbike tours from over 70 guides, all speaking English. Tours include Dalat, the Central Highlands, Phan Thiet and Nha Trang. Note: insurance is not included.


41, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel (08) 3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19 A reliable and experienced travel company operating through Southeast Asia, Exotissimo brings you personalized tours across the region, many including insights into culinary customs, handicrafts and humanitarian initiatives.


121 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 7744 Flight travel services, including global travel management, domestic and international air booking and travel insurance, to corporate companies, family and individual travelers.

FLY VIETNAM They provide flight information, pricing, availability and booking for domestic and international travel, in addition to railway reservation, hotel bookings, holiday packages, buses, and car rentals, travel insurance, coach tours and visas.


149/42 Le Thi Rieng, Q1, Tel: 0904 193308 An international travel company operating in Vietnam since 1992. They offer daily tours, short getaways, and small group

excursions throughout Vietnam and beyond.


108 Huynh Thuc Khang, Mui Ne, Tel: 0908 400108 Vietnam’s first and only sailing school offers individually tailored training programmes for individual clients and groups. Services include recreational sailing, supervised dinghy rental, sail training, racing, wake boarding and beachside accommodation.


28/4 Do Quang Dau, Q1, Tel: (08) 6675 2620 A local inbound tour operator specializing in boutique tours around Vietnam. They provide economy, luxury, packages and tailor-made tours, which include the flexibility for customers to explore at their own pace.


12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Ward 4, Tan Binh District Tel: (08) 3984 4754 If you like cycling through the Mekong Delta, trekking in the highlands, or lazing in a junk on Ha Long Bay — all while making a difference in people’s lives — then this company will suit you well.


60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City Tel: 0713 752436 Services include trips to the Mekong Feeling floating hotel, cruises along the Mekong Delta, and speedboats between Chau Doc, Phnom Penh, Saigon, Cantho and Chau Doc.


169A De Tham, Q1 Tel: 01222 993585 vietnamvespaadventure. com Vespa Adventure offers multi–day tours of southern and coastal Vietnam on the back of a luxury motorbike powered by clean, renewable biodiesel. Englishspeaking tour guides lead the way.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

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{ Travel Promos } ** Promotions of the Month * *

Euro Adventure Awaits Air France KLM is offering some great deals to adventurers thinking of heading to Europe. Economy class passengers can enjoy special return fares from VND20,370,000 to Paris, from VND23,350,000 to Amsterdam, from VND23,120,000 to Prague, together with many more great deals. Premium Economy class customers can enjoy the good life with 40 percent more space at fantastic fares from VND33,430,000 to Paris, from VND36,460,000 to Zurich and from VND37,230,000 to Berlin. Get your fingers a clicking now because the offer ends Jul. 7 for all flights that depart from Sep. 1 to Dec. 15. Get Away to Laguna Lang Co If you are looking for that much-needed weekend getaway why don’t you give Angsana Lang Co, located within the Laguna Lang Co integrated resort, a try. Vietnam’s first world-class integrated resort has launched an attractive offer for Vietnamese citizens and residential expats to stay one night in a deluxe room for just

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VND2,520,000++ per night, from now until Aug. 31. Banyan Tree’s Sizzling Summer Siesta It’s summer time, time to head for the coast — and the owners of Banyan Tree resort with its three-kilometre beach, lush countryside and 280-hectare integrated resort near Lang Co Bay in the Chan May region, overlooking the East Sea, are offering some cracking summer deals. A Lagoon Pool Villa is VND5,145,000++ per night or a Beach Pool Villa is VND6,615,000++ per night. The offer includes daily breakfast and one set dinner at The Water Court for two people as well as complimentary airport transfers from Danang International Airport. This offer is applicable for local residents only. Soft Opening Special at Moevenpick Until Sep. 30 those who book qualifying corporate events at Moevenpick Hanoi will win free trips to Danang, Ho Chi Minh City and Phuket. The winners of the Bring success to your business and win amazing

trips programme will be announced on the fourth day of every month. Choose a meeting package for a minimum of 25 people for prices ranging from VND380,000++ per person to VND680,000++ per person, or a special resident package for a minimum 10 rooms with the rate of VND2.1 million++ per room per night. Book by calling 0438 222800, ext 6138.

Resort & Spa, and this summer they’re doing their best to make it a reality. Until Aug. 31, stay two nights with a friend or lover in one of the resort’s superior rooms for as little as VND2.8 million a night, and enjoy a buffet breakfast every morning, dinner for two, a walking tour of Mui Ne, 50 percent off all spa treatments and — of course — a taste of paradise made sweeter by Pandanus’s four walls.

Summer at The Square As summer descends upon Vietnam, The Square Restaurant at Novotel Nha Trang welcomes guests to beat the heat by indulging in a buffet meal, with choices of salad, sushi and hand rolls, pizzas, special steaks, desserts, and a variety of side dishes. Patrons can enjoy the full buffet for VND252,000++ or keep it simple with light dishes only for VND168,000++. Diners who buy four buffet vouchers can get one free, or — with seven voucher purchases — receive three additional vouchers free.

Meet and Greet Hotel Nikko Saigon has already done its best to make the natural daylight flow down its modern hallways and the awards flow from the likes of TripAdvisor — now their new tailored meeting packages aim to help your fresh ideas and inspirations flow. From VND33 million up, they will arrange their modern ballrooms and multi-function halls to best suit your meeting purposes, whether they’re for intimate board meetings or large-scale conferences. The organisers will even be granted a voucher to enjoy the fine style of their Ming Court Restaurant.

Pandanus Resort “Imagine yourself in paradise” is the slogan of Pandanus

Hanoi City Guide BUSINESS 172 / bars 174 / Cafes 175 / Eat 176 / Leisure 180 / fashion 183 / home 184 / medical 185 Photo by Alexandre garel


The Promotions 179 The Alchemist 180 Book Buff 181 Cinema Buff 182 The Therapist 183 July 2013 Word | 151

The Space

Zone “O Only a five-minute drive south of the Opera House, the repurposing of the area now called Zone 9 is a fresh dawn for arts in the capital. Words by Nick Ross 152 | Word July 2013

bviously there’s a bia hoi and a carwash here,” smiles Nguyen Qui Duc as he sits in the latest incarnation of Tadioto. “But it’s part of the fabric of Hanoi and we’ll live with it.” Set in the grounds of a former pharmaceuticals factory, Duc is once again reinventing his bar-cum-gallerycum-hangout space. This time he has foregone the colonial villa setting, instead opting for second-floor space in a Sovietera construction. Divided into two main sections and with the bedsprings of a mattress acting as his doorway, it’s enormous. “The building across from here is very colonial,” he says, pointing. “But this one is very Soviet Union, Pyongyang Style. Brutalist. And that’s disappearing.” In another building in Zone 9, or ‘Khu 9’ in Vietnamese, sits Workroom 4. The

brainchild of Dorian Gibb and his partner Claire Driscoll, the concept is “to provide a creative hub for Hanoi”. Working in tandem with Learning Project Asia, which shares the studio, Dorian hopes to build a community “to support and develop creativity and learning through connecting people, offering classes and workshops, organising exhibitions and events, and generally sharing ideas, skills and work”. This may seem a big ask, especially on a city whose most influential contemporary art galleries have closed down in recent times. Indeed, when Dorian decided to open up his own space, his experience was typical of many other creatives in the capital. “I was searching Hanoi for a personal artist studio to work in,” he recalls. “I met lots of people doing some great work who were in a similar position to me. ‘Good luck and please let me know if you find

“I was searching Hanoi for a personal artist studio to work in. I met lots of people doing some great work who were in a similar position to me. ‘Good luck and please let me know if you find anything,’ was the result of many of these conversations” anything,’ was the result of many of these conversations.” Like so many other people, he was stuck. But with the repurposing of the factory space at 9 Tran Thang Tong — motivated by a lack of both suitable and affordable quarters to set up a studio — now there is opportunity. “A bunch of artists decided it was a great space in Hanoi,” explains Duc. “It’s owned by the bank and the lease is only three years, but lots of different people have moved in; fashion designers, artists, Bar Betta, a vintage clothes shop, architects, photographers. A lot of people are renting space to live in, too.”

The Shoreditch Factor In the mid-1990s, in search of cheap living and studio space, a number of UK-based artists moved into abandoned warehouses and factories in one of the oldest parts of

London’s East End. Derelict and run down, by the turn of the millennium Shoreditch and Hoxton had transformed into a vibrant arts and entertainment district, boasting a large number of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and art galleries. “The reason Shoreditch worked was because it was timely, it was affordable and the actual creatives were the driving force making the decisions,” says Dorian. “It had the right balance of belief that they had a voice, the words made sense and they weren’t worried what other people thought about their statements as long as they got to say it. Once again it was all about collaboration and a shared belief.” Zone 9 offers a similar opportunity. “I wake up in the morning and say, ‘What I have done?’ again,” laughs Duc. “‘Why have I done this?’ But this is so exciting.” “It’s a place for kids to come,” he adds. “Art lovers and music lovers, too. We’ve

talked a lot about preserving the building as well. We’re collaborating — so someone, for example, can use my space to host exhibitions. We’re also talking about a common space where we can do talks, residencies and so on.” Dorian is equally positive: “It seems every time we all get together for a meeting… another new idea, collaborator or development is put on the table. It’s hard to keep up. “I would very much like to start the first Hanoi Biennial with international artists so we can bring a spotlight to the people of Vietnam. With such a vibrant youth culture that is proving to be entrepreneurial, open to challenging ideas and [motivated] to be responsible for their own future, I think Hanoi is ready to start making some waves on the international art scene.” And the hope is that Zone 9 is where it will all happen.

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Mother and daughter photo by Amrita Shetty

The Many Faces of Hanoi

Like Mother, Like Daughter Amrita Shetty meets a mother-daughter artistic duo whose paths in the world of lacquer, silk painting, academia and sketching are as similar as they are different. Photos by Francis Roux

154 | Word July 2013


ne, age 68, works in a small, quiet studio located in a warren of alleys off Van Cao, where she also gives classes to students who come from across the world. Her workspace is orderly — well-spaced tables, neatly arranged brushes, hammers and spatulas, bowls of viscous lacquer, boxes of pigments, eggshell and motherof-pearl, tidy cabinets of art books, wooden boards awaiting painterly imagination. She taught art at the Hanoi University of Fine Arts for 36 years before her retirement. She is well-versed in many forms of art but specialises in silk fabric and lacquer painting. Her demeanor is serene, gentle and Zen-like. She is an old-school Hanoian, versed in the artistic practices of the last century. The other, in her mid-30s, works in a bright, airy studio just off nearby Thuy Khue. The small room above a thrift shop and a meeting room is a jumble of books, CDs, paper sculptures, Japanese dolls and Indonesian wooden puppets. She honed her skills at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which she attended on a scholarship after graduating from the Hanoi University of Fine Arts. She gave up her early inclination for lacquer to dabble in miniaturised pen and paper drawings and installations. ‘Doodling’ is what she calls her intricate sketches. She bursts with energy — her hands, eyes, feet and mouth are in perpetual motion. Besides constantly creating and exhibiting her own work, she is a part-time lecturer and also leads art tours in the city. She is a global citizen, speaking not just Vietnamese and English but also a smattering of Spanish and Japanese, having lived in Italy, Japan, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Germany, Spain and the US. Meet Le Kim My, a grande dame of lacquer and silk painting, and Vu Kim Thu, doodler extraordinaire. Mother and daughter. Teacher and student, student and teacher. Each in their own time. Two artists who have forged their own paths. Their story is also the story of Hanoi and of being female, and how attitudes to life and art have evolved.

In the Blood Thu carries forward an enviable artistic legacy spanning two generations. Her maternal grandfather, Le Quoc Loc, was a famous lacquer painter, whose work hangs in the gallery devoted to 20th century Vietnamese art in the Vietnam National Museum of

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Fine Arts. Four of his six children, including Madame My (as her students fondly know her), took to the creative arts, covering the spectrum from industrial design to documentary filmmaking. “I grew up steeped in artistic traditions,” recalls My. “From the time my siblings and I were very young, we saw my father painting and were privileged to meet many of his artist friends. We saw them at work, where their dedication and passion was infectious. From this, our love for art grew.” Fast forward a generation and the tradition continues. “Because of both my parents and my maternal grandfather, my brother Thao and I were exposed to artistic practices from a very young age,” says Thu. “I saw my grandfather working on his lacquer paintings, scrutinising the images that

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would appear after another round of constant polishing. It was, quite simply, an amazingly stimulating environment for us. My mom was doing a lot of silk painting in the old days and my dad was director of the Institute of Arts and Crafts, an association of master artisans and craftsmen from all over Vietnam. He was constantly bringing home exquisite handicrafts, everything from embroidery to silverware from all over the country. “In the end, there simply didn’t seem to be any other interesting fields of study. Both Thao, my brother, and I chose art but, really, it chose us as well.”

Breaking Stereotypes “Being a female artist in my generation was a challenge,” says My. “We had to study and work just as hard as our male counterparts.

But after work, it was us, as women, who had to assume the traditional responsibilities of being wives and mothers. It fell to us to look after the household, cook and take care of our children. Many of my contemporaries… had to give up their careers in art because they had to raise their families.” Thu’s side of the story reveals how times are changing. “Artistic practice needs personal time and space while with family, it is community time,” she explains. “My mother has always been a very family-oriented person. She somehow managed to strike a balance between her professional career as an artist and her personal life as a mother and wife. But my own experience has been very different — to a large extent because I am not married and also because I have had my mother’s support in all the choices I have

be and distill the atmosphere I am in.” Madame My’s art, in contrast, appears on the surface to be static. She continues to work with traditional forms of lacquer and silk. But like her daughter, Madame My is anything but content to churn out scene after scene of girls in ao dai wearing conical hats or boys playing flutes while sitting atop buffalo. She paints miniatures of men getting haircuts at roadside barbers’ shops, violets when they bloom in the brief Hanoi spring, the morning’s catch at the Red River docks — all reflective of a range of sentiments. Despite the muted colours, the images are vibrant. “I am very clear that I don’t want to dabble in ‘new’ forms like my daughter, but I do enjoy experimenting with new materials, techniques and themes,” says My. “I really wish I had an iPhone to take photos — there’s so much that’s exciting happening every day, everywhere here in Hanoi that I’d like to capture and transfer from real life onto my silk canvas and wooden boards.”


made, choices that have not conformed to conventional gender stereotypes in [this] country.” This disregard of conformist expectations pervades Thu’s artistic sensibilities as well: “My work is completely detached from gender. There is a common misconception that female artists create ‘feminine’ work and that art made by a woman is instantly recognisable.” Her approach to art is instead to search for a theme and then create around it. It is “fluid, organic, constantly evolving” and Thu says her gender has no role to play in it. Her most recent exhibition, Space Minimization, was an indication of her relentless urge to experiment. The exhibit, an outcome of her residency in Kamiyama, Japan, placed dramatic black drawings on ivory-coloured washi (handmade paper) into

small wooden lightboxes, creating the effect of a luminescent, backlit miniature stage. This was just the latest step in Thu’s voyage of self-discovery across various continents and cultures. At Sanskriti Kendra in New Delhi in 2009, she produced constructs from vibrantly coloured paper, while her dual stint at the Bellagio residency in Italy yielded rigorously detailed wire creations and black and white imaginings of city maps. Asked what her current artist-in-residence programme at A Coruña in Spain would result in, she responded: “I dont really know. I usually enter a residency as a palimpsest, ready to be written over again. I explore the country, its culture, its foods, its people with an open mind. I never go with the fixed plan that a residency must be followed by an exhibition. That’s not how I operate. It is creatively limiting. Instead, I just let myself

As Hanoi and the rest of Vietnam changes, what does the future hold for these artists? For Madame My’s generation, which lived during and after the war years, the focus was on economic survival. Resources were rare and the country shuttered, but Madame My feels this worked to her advantage. “Art supplies, materials and opportunities might have been limited, but we still found a way to work around such obstacles,” she explains. “It was exhilarating and it was also a very stimulating time for us as we moved forward as a nation. Post Doi Moi (Vietnam’s economic reforms of 1986), of course, things have changed dramatically. Vietnamese artists are much more exposed now to foreign influences and markets. The challenge is to tap into these new spaces, without sacrificing their integrity to their craft.” Says Thu: “I think Vietnamese artists nowadays enjoy tremendous opportunity, especially my generation and after. We no longer suffer from poverty, we have much more freedom in our ideas, we can travel, have our pick of the best materials and [can] fully explore and push boundaries. “With our generation, we have plenty of everything, which is great but it is also a tremendous challenge — so many directions to go in and so many choices to make in the midst of an increasingly complex society.”

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Unidentified Floating Objects

Sculpture has long been the art form of the playful, and never more so than in the hands of Irish sculptor Donnacha Cahill. Douglas Pyper evaluates the mystery and enduring attraction of his work, Exploration III, which recently turned up in Hanoi’s West Lake.


athal Denis is a 60-year-old retired teacher from Ireland. Not much else is known about him save that one day, while walking his dog Molly along Carraroe Beach in county Galway, he saw something strange floating in the waters of the Galway Coast. With a teacher’s natural inquisitiveness and a retiree’s excess of free time, he called the Daily Star, who quickly sent a reporter to investigate. The next day, the discovery was run under the headline Unidentified Floating Object and it wasn’t long before people began writing in with explanations.

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EXPLANATION 1 I am writing in regards to the Unidentified Floating Object article. Fortunately I am able to help in your quest to find the identity of this floating object. It seems that the object was one of the first man-made underwater discovery devices. Similar ones have been used to discover the debris of the Titanic and some have been lost to the world of the deep sea. The one Cathal discovered could be 100 years old and may have artifacts inside. EXPLANATION 2 I think it is the Top section of a very old lighthouse that has fallen into the sea when the

coast eroded. The handle like notches would have sat on a cog and the window shone the light. EXPLANATION 3 Seen a show on discovery a man invented a ball that looks like that for tsunamis the ones I seen were orange but looked the exact same as the picture. Yet the above hypotheses were all wrong. Despite existing in the Irish press, Cathal Denis doesn’t exist in real life. What really happened that day was sculptor Donnacha Cahill took Exploration, his sculpture inspired by old world bathyspheres, out

Photo by Linda McNulty

to the beach, chucked it in the water, then called The Star advising them to come and take some photos. Naturally, when the hoax was revealed, it resulted in a fresh bout of free publicity for the playful artist from Galway. Since then the bathysphere has been all over Galway County and appeared in both Belfast and Dublin, before eventually turning up in Hanoi’s West Lake in May 2013. As the readers’ hypotheses attest, the sculpture’s great strength is the reaction it causes. While the object stays essentially the same, its setting and human encounters vary. In Galway, the locals were shy about the

object, walking by full of questions without ever coming over to find out more. In contrast, passing Americans didn’t hide their curiosity. “The first question,” Donnacha recalls, “was ‘are you guys scientists?’ I, of course said ‘yes’, and told them we were launching in an hour and leaving for an island off the coast.” In Hanoi, the reaction was different still. “I loved the Vietnamese reaction to Exploration III,” says Donnacha. “They were totally unfazed by it. They acknowledged it, touched it; it actually felt like they understood it, and that it was a very natural thing that it was there.”

The Narrative Exploration III’s journey has taken it to Work Room Four, a new creative space in Hanoi which houses The Learning Project Asia. Colin Campbell and Gareth O’Hara are the founders of this new company offering educational workshops in Vietnam’s capital. Sitting with them on the top floor of an old penicillin factory in the centre of the city, I’m aware of Exploration III’s presence behind me as it dominates a large corner of the open plan office. The Learning Project Asia is an ambitious project aimed at providing a form of education that most students in

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Photos by Boris Zuliani

“I loved the Vietnamese reaction to Exploration III. They were totally unfazed by it. They acknowledged it, touched it; it actually felt like they understood it, and that it was a very natural thing that it was there” Vietnam can’t access. “We’ve developed a programme,” says Gareth O’Hara. “[We’re] getting kids involved in projects to develop critical thinking and problemsolving skills. Things that we noticed aren’t very prominent in the education system in Vietnam.” These projects are based on real world situations and are often supplied by real world organisations such as the UN and IBM. The key learning objectives are practical skills like critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and digital literacy. “Rather than just be passive consumers of material on the web,” Gareth says, “they are actually creating their own material.” Donnacha Cahill created his own material. But after forging the Exploration sculpture, he knew that just to make the object wasn’t enough. After making a piece of work, “I am left with an object and I am figuring

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out its next step,” he says. The invention of Cathal Denis and the UFO was his attempt to flesh out the object’s narrative, “to give the sculpture more life, give it a story.” The unveiling of Cathal Denis as Donnacha Cahill was just the next of many chapters. For Colin Campbell, this is true for his students. From piecing together Exploration III’s narrative, students cannot only be taught critical thinking, but be alerted to their own narratives. “It’s part of the digital identity thing,” says Colin. “They have to get more conscious that — even if they don’t like it — when they present themselves now, whether it’s on Facebook or on more sophisticated social media, they are sort of painting a story about themselves.” Hence one focus of The Learning Project Asia’s courses is the increasingly relevant skill of learning to control your digital identity in the internet age.

Enter Mystery The author and journalist Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “mysteries require judgment and the assessment of uncertainty.” Exploration III has done this, challenging minds from Vietnamese beer sellers, to Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins, who according to Donnacha, “looked as bemused as anybody else” when he saw the sculpture. It will continue to incite assessment on the next stages of its journey. Permission has already been received for the sculpture to appear in London’s Thames River, Newfoundland in Canada, and plans are afoot for a tour of Europe’s capitals. To Donnacha, mystery is key to the work’s success. As the piece’s mysterious form invites judgement and thought, it satisfies Donnacha’s personal artistic goals of stimulating imagination, getting the viewer thinking and starting dialogue.

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Good Music, Cool Summer

The creators of Hanoi’s Piknic Electronik hope to change the city’s music scene — one concert at a time. Words by Elisabeth Rosen. Photo by Francis Roux


decade ago in Montreal, you wouldn’t bring your kids to an electronic music concert. The after-hours scene had a sordid reputation, known more for drugs than high-quality music. Then came Piknic Electronik. The organisers of the summer concert series — Nicolas Cournoyer, Pascal Lefebvre, Michel Quintal and Louis-David Loyer — sought to bring the genre literally into the light. Every Sunday afternoon, underground DJs played in a city park; the emphasis was on clean, all-inclusive fun. In the beginning, about 200 people came to each event. Today, attendance reaches into the thousands. It’s a victory for electronic music that others hope to replicate in Hanoi, where the series of summer concerts recently returned for a third season. The Piknic formula for success is simple — who wouldn’t want to spend Sunday afternoon on a lawn, listening to music? But like Cournoyer and his crew, the Hanoi team has bigger ambitions. “We want to show people we have a culture behind DJs,” says Olivier Waryn, the Lilles-born entrepreneur who organises the event along with Steve Stander, a South African music promoter. “It’s not the same as music you hear in a club.” Every Sunday, local DJs come to the

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quiet garden at Softwater Restaurant to demonstrate their craft. On a recent afternoon, those performers were SloLo and Tung Do, both members of Sub Elements, a Hanoi group focused on bass music that’s attracted a growing following. As they played dubstep and funkinfluenced beats, clusters of expats and Vietnamese sprawled on the grass, sipping from rum-spiked coconuts. They grew more animated as the late afternoon sun dwindled, along with the coconut supply. Still, Piknic’s popularity might be due as much to the remote venue as the music. Reaching Softwater from the main road requires navigating a series of tangled alleys, which in turn devolve into dirt paths. In this constantly moving city, there are few places of stillness. But on the enclosed lawn at Softwater, that’s exactly what you find.

When Piknic was first held here two years ago, the weekly concert drew a consistent following. Last summer, the event was shifted to the Keangnam Landmark Tower swimming pool in Cau Giay, a rapidly developing neighbourhood on the outskirts of the city. For the current season, however, Waryn and Stander returned to the garden where it all started. “It’s more intimate,” says Stander. “It has something about it that creates a beautiful environment for DJs to express themselves through the music.” Or as Waryn put it, perhaps more accurately: “We don’t feel we are in Hanoi.”

History in the Making Waryn has been a DJ since he was 17, when he and a friend grabbed turntables and staged their own impromptu disco club. After a brief stint in the army, he opened a

“Piknic Elektronic gives [DJs] the opportunity to be uninhibited by venue demands and play what they would love to play”

Big Dreams

DJ school and started a radio show — even though the cultural zeitgeist was not exactly attuned to electronic music. “It was 1993. People were more rock and roll,” Waryn recalls. “When I asked this station about doing an electronic music show, they said, what is that?” That same desire for change brought him to Montreal, where he worked as a restaurant manager, and then to Hanoi, where he managed French-Vietnamese fusion eatery Green Tangerine for a year before eventually opening Fat Cat Bar. Asked what he knew about the city before moving, Waryn gives a brusque laugh: “I came here blind, without a parachute.” But he felt a sense of dynamism in the Vietnamese capital that drew him in. “In London and Paris, everything is already done. I need to create something,” he says. “Here, you feel everything can change

in a moment.” Stander, too, ended up in Vietnam by chance. He came to Hanoi with his wife “just to scope things out”. Almost 10 years later, they’re still here. As head of Synergy, an organisation that promotes local musicians, Stander devised Sunday Sundown Sessions — an event similar to Piknic, held on a rooftop with a live band. Waryn was one of the first guests. After discussing potential avenues for collaboration, they settled on the Piknic concept. Today, the two organisers work comfortably together, from promoting the event to organising the lineup of local DJs. Unlike at major electronic festivals, the emphasis is on artistic rather than commercial value. “Piknic Elektronic gives them the opportunity to be uninhibited by venue demands and play what they would love to play,” says Stander.

Waryn envisions creating a bigger festival, citing Hong Kong and Singapore as inspiration. But he acknowledges that the city has a long way to go before its cultural offerings match up to those in other Asian capitals. “In Saigon you have more entertainment, more nightlife,” Waryn says. “Here, each club is the same.” Still, an alternative music scene is starting to develop, with an increasing roster of ambitious venues promoting under-theradar local artists. “In the last two years, the underground scene has gotten huge,” says Stander. At a handful of eclectic bars such as Madake and Hanoi Rock City, experimental musicians and DJs attract increasing audiences, particularly after the rest of the city shuts down. Like DJ Slo-Lo, many of these performers belong to Sub Elements. Others are independent acts looking to establish themselves in the growing creative scene. “Artists are starting to take risks,” says Waryn. “These are more independent people. It’s not clubbing.” Piknic Electronik takes place every Sunday at Softwater, 49, Road 5, An Duong, Tay Ho. It kicks off at 4pm and runs until 9pm. The lawn performances will continue until Nov. 3

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Day Tripper

The Real Bat Trang Given the increasing amount of attention it's received from tour groups, is Vietnam’s iconic pottery village an example of rich craft and cultural heritage or just another tourist cash cow? Marc Forster-Pert went to find out. Photos by Francis Roux 164 | Word July 2013


ou’ve probably heard of Bat Trang. My mechanic certainly had. “Ah, it’s very famous, a lovely place, you’ll enjoy it,” he said, his eyes bursting with enthusiasm when I mentioned my destination. I silently disagreed. I thought I was going to hate it. My goal was to buy presents for my hoarding grandmother, and answer some questions. Is there real quality or has the village been milked of anything truly remarkable? How has the place changed over the years? Do people still make items by hand or has mass production emerged to satisfy a growing

market? Who’s buying all this stuff — from Pokemon models to huge garish statues and everything in between?

A Pottery Theme Park Only 13km from the centre of Hanoi, Bat Trang is known internationally for its ceramics. Nestled beside the fast-flowing Red River with its abundance of white clay, the village has records that suggest residents have been producing pottery for six centuries. And unlike the economic coma that envelops the west, its industry certainly isn’t showing any signs of halting.

The billboard marking the turnoff to the town beckons like an advertisement for a theme park. However, there aren’t any costumed clay mascots here. Instead, the road is lined with shop after shop, with signs of ‘come in please’ or ‘xin moi vao’. These cover every inch of the road leading a couple of kilometres into the centre of town. It’s hard to imagine how they all make money, but it appears there’s enough to go around: some estimates value the export market alone at US$40 million (VND8.2 trillion) annually. A brand new Mercedes sports car passed

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me as I enjoyed an overpriced coffee, suggesting that these estimates are accurate. Next to me is a German who lives at the nearby Ecopark development. He offered to show me around: “There are some nice products, nothing special, though. Most of it is very kitsch. The Vietnamese love kitsch.” On the way to the ‘ancient ceramic market’, vestiges of the town’s quaint past remain. Lonely, sleepy alleys, fish being sold at the river, locals drinking mia da by the pond. It’s hard to reconcile these pleasant scenes of daily life with the amount of tat that’s being pedalled in the hundreds of shops and sold by the container-load to buyers from overseas.

Workmanship He took me to a couple places where I could witness the manufacturing process taking place. Make no mistake, these people are talented, showing consummate skill as artists. “I’ve been carving for 17-odd years now,” said an alleyway sculptor. “My assistants came here to work from outside [Bat Trang], but my skill has been passed from generation to generation.” Large, beautifully crafted and intricately designed sculptures that he’d made in a just a few days lay drying. Then come the painters. It takes an apprentice three to four years to hone the skills needed. Once perfected, a vase as tall as me (185cm) can be decorated in a day or two. Watching the effortless strokes of these masters at work, you can imagine them finishing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling in a week. When my skills were finally put to the test, I found just how difficult it was to make even a simple bowl. “People aren’t born with it. This is my passion,” my tutor said. “If you can’t make things, you learn to manage people or open up a shop.”

Cashing In? What once might have been a living room or kitchen in a house on the village's back streets has now become a polished showroom ready for shoppers. “I opened up my house ten years ago to meet demand,” the shop owner told me. While her products were the most attractive I’d seen, her future was uncertain. “It’s difficult now because there aren’t enough customers. I have to hand-make jewellery to boost profits.” When I asked how mass tourism had changed the place, she responded: “It hasn’t changed the artisanal culture. It’s still people that make it. Yes, there’s more technology, but that’s only made [the quality] better. Each product still has its own characteristics. Tourists take away more than just culture. They market us to the world. They’ve helped us survive.” The only questionable operation is the Bat Trang Conservation and Tourism Development shop and factory, where many

tour buses stop and go no further. Goods were heavily marked up, in stark contrast to the reasonably priced items elsewhere in town. Despite this, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety — and quality — of the products available and the pride that goes into making them. The shop owner’s parting comment was this: “It’s traditional and handmade. It’s been here for 600 years and it’ll be here for centuries to come.” I informed her I’d be coming back to buy a vase destined for my gran’s cabinet.

Getting There See for yourself: Take the first right after the Chuong Duong Bridge and follow the signs along the dike road, TL195, for about 10km. You can’t miss the welcoming monolith on your right. Alternatively, get yourself to Long Bien Bus Station and catch the number 47 for VND5,000 each way.

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One of the more recent additions to Xuan Dieu, our undercover reviewer discovers that Bluebird is adding some quality to the area. Photos by Francis Roux


hen the man who entered Bluebird just ahead of me tried to make a reservation, the manager laughed. “We don’t take reservations,” she said. But he could be forgiven for the assumption. Bluebird is the kind of restaurant that would be packed in New York or London: a sleek, modern bistro serving contemporary global fare. With a minimalist palette of red, black and white paired with hardwood floors, the place looks far too chic not to take reservations. The first floor, where stocky wine barrels serve as the base for high tables, has a casual vibe. The second floor is more formal, with sheer curtains and white tablecloths. There are also tables in the wine cellar, which houses mainly Chilean wines. Bluebird is first and foremost a wine importing company — the restaurant was created by the owners to showcase their products. With a buy-one-get-one deal from 4pm to 7pm, they’re not stinting on the promotion.

From Fiji to Chile and Back Again The manager explained the wine selection, suggesting a Montes Alpha Carmenere from Chile. She had the persuasive demeanor of a practiced saleswoman: “The price difference isn’t much, but the quality difference is a lot.” With one free bottle in reserve, my companions and I were sold. Now the

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question was: what to pair with the wine? The chef grew up in Fiji, but the menu bears little trace of these origins. Dishes are mostly creative variations on international standards — pasta, pizza, salad, steak — all traditional wine accompaniments. One of my companions received a Vietnamese menu, which we peered curiously at for several moments before the waiter told us that actually, it was no longer in use. We began by sharing a starter of flamegrilled beef (VND155,000). Six thick cubes of meat were grilled on wooden skewers, accompanied by a zesty herb salad. This would have been far too much for one person to finish. But it was ideal for sharing — in terms of portions, if not in taste, as the seasoning on the beef was not particularly assertive. Five-spice roasted pork belly with colcannon mash (VND285,000), however, more than redeemed the beef. The presentation alone was one of the most stylish I’ve ever seen in Hanoi. A square block of pork slanted over a mound of mash, the whole pile soaking up a pool of pomegranate glaze. The pork texture, too, was spot on: the meat meltingly soft, collapsing into delicate shreds. It made an ideal contrast with the top layer of the cut (cardiologists, stop reading here), which was all fat, rendered into a crisp cracker. Pure lard-laden indulgence. The hefty dish was a good match for the red wine, not only the meat but also the

creamy mash. For the uninitiated, colcannon refers to shredded cabbage integrated with mashed potatoes — a humble combination that makes perfect sense on the plate. So much thought goes into this food, you almost don’t want to eat it. The wiry sphere made from caramel that garnished the chocolate fondant (VND165,000) looked straight out of a modern art installation. While the caramel itself didn’t have much flavour, the cake was stunning. ‘Fondant’ is too gentle a word for this concoction: cut into it, and a warm flow of chocolate rushes out, overwhelming the orange coulis and surrounding mound of vanilla ice cream with the force of an erupting volcano. Clearly Bluebird doesn’t do anything half-heartedly. Soon, perhaps, the restaurant will have to start taking reservations. Bluebird is at 7 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 0437 224165


12.5 Food



12 Décor

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


ith four seasons, Hanoi’s cuisine varies with the weather. Some dishes suit a specific season, other dishes suit another. So, what fare is best eaten in the summer? Among the large range of traditonal bun dishes, many Hanoians call bun moc the bun of summer. Yet as with so much of Vietnamese cuisine, its origins are disputed. Some believe it is named after the dish’s place of origin — Moc Village in the Thanh Xuan District of Hanoi. Others say its nomenclature is because of its typical ingredient, moc, a small pork ball made of pork meat paste blended with wood ear and shiitake mushroom. The pork ball creates the typical smell and taste of the soup. Others say the dish’s name is due to a combination of the above. The common ingredients of bun moc are noodles, pork ribs, moc, mushrooms as well as a selection of young bamboo, gio lua or cha lua, a type of pork sausage. All are served with broth made from stewed pork bones or ribs, with herbs and vegetables. Best eaten when piping hot, bun moc is famous for its simple, light noodle soup and pure broth. This may explain why it is widely known as bun of summer. According to renowned contemporary author, Nguyen Tuan, a native of Moc Village, to really feel the essence of bun moc you need to eat the dish on the street. It’s not just about the taste, but about where and how you enjoy the dish. The ideal is to sit on a small street corner on a breezy early summer morning. Feeling the slow pace of city life when Hanoi seems like it’s still sleeping, says Tuan, this is the best time to enjoy bun moc’s delicate simplicity.

Down the Alley The perfect location for such an experience

Street Snacker

Soup for the Summer

The best bun dish to eat in the Hanoi heat is bun moc, says Huyen Tran. Photos by Francis Roux is Bun Moc Hang Luoc, close to the corner of Hang Luoc, Hang Ruoi and Hang Khoai. An easily missed small table is hung on the entrance of a tiny alleyway — this is the eatery. Reminiscent of Hanoi’s bao cap or subsidy era, when food was rationed and in short supply, wooden stools are placed against the wall on one side of the alley, while the tiny thoroughfare itself is shaded by a hundred-year-old banyan tree, a throwback from the past. It’s difficult to work out who the owner is, too. The neighbours here have been living in this alley for generations and run the eatery together, a bit like a co-operative. “Our small bun moc shop has been going for more than 30 years,” says one of the neighbours. “It was first opened by my mom. But she is too old now and can no longer cook. So we decided to run this shop together. It makes us feel like big family.” Serving up a clear but sweet broth, something the neighbour says is a “standard requirement” of the dish, she adds that “while stewing the pork ribs, we open the pot and keep a small fire going.” Besides the clear broth, the moc is firm

and has a taste and aroma that blends well with the sliced wood ear and shiitake. “To make delicous moc,” she says, “the first step is to choose high-quality pork meat and to grind it into a paste. Then you select fresh mushrooms and slice them into tiny pieces. We don’t use any formula — if our family members taste it and say it good, then others can eat it. For many years, our moc has become a favourite of many people.” Added to this version of the soup is manually prepared dried young bamboo and depending on your preference, you can also add some gio lua or pork cake. The gio here is particularly good — it’s both firm and crispy. If you head to the eatery at around 7.30am when it is not so crowded, you can choose yourself a seat under the banyan tree or on the pavement outside the alley — and give yourself a perfect opportunity to enjoy the rare quietness of Hanoi’s Old Quarter before the shops open. Bun Moc Hang Luoc is on Hang Luoc, 20m from the junction of Hang Luoc, Hang Khoai and Hang Ruoi. It opens from early morning to around 10am. A bowl of bun moc costs VND20,000

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charles pasi @ l espace

Ecomia Fashion Show Photos provided by Chula

Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc

French culture continued to bring delights to the capital, this time in the form of jazz musician Charles Pasi

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Sun Glitters @ Hanoi Youth Theatre Photos by Nguyen Bao Ngoc

Chula brought their clothing to Sum Villa for a dose of catwalk at the beginning of June

Luxembourg celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations last month with three shows in a variety of venues

If you have a noteworthy event which you think would fit into our coverage, please email and we'll take a look.

Fete de la Music

Sunday Calling

Live music came to The Metropole last month in a celebration of all things acoustic

Montreal-inspired Picknic Electronic kicked off their 2013 series of Sunday afternoon concerts, returning to the lawn of Softwater, the location of their original outings in 2011

Photos provided by The Sofitel Metropole Legend

Photos by Francis Roux

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BUSINE$$ * *

* *

From accounting to advertising to serviced apartments, our selection of some of the city's top businesses

Hanoi Websites hanoigrapevine. 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.

infosharehanoi. com

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 usergenerated 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.

Accounting & Audit 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.


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.

business groups Icham

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


Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 222 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.


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.

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.

Education Learning Project Asia

Building E, Floor 4, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0904 228629 (Gareth), 01638 821606 (Colin) An educational consultancy that designs, develops and coordinates engaging, practical, community-based learning projects and services. Workshops focus on collaborative, critical thinking and problem solving through project-based learning. Custom-designed adventure and challengebased field trips in various locations across Vietnam.

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.

In t ern at i o n a l School of Vietnam

6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong, Hoang Mai Tel: 3540 9183 The International School of Vietnam (ISV) is a notfor-profit, Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 school serving the international and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of any nationality aged 3 and up. ISV offers an international education experience. Highly qualified and experienced international educators are supported by a 21st-century campus with the latest in educational technology plus excellent resources for learning. Class sizes are small.

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, leas-

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

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ing, valuation and sales to the key segments of commercial, industrial, retail, residential and investment property.

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.

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.

IF Consulting

CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3936 5370 Emergency: 0903 732365 www.insuranceinvietnam. com 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.

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.


2D Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound, 46 Van Bao, Ba Dinh, Tel: 3726 1601; Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: 3758 2664; Dilmah Building, Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: 3795 1036 www, SIS provides international education for students from Primary up to University Foundation Programme. A strong curriculum combines the best aspects of the Singaporean, Australian and Vietnamese curricula, all taught by qualified teachers. Runs various co-curricula activities and prepares students for internationally recognised qualifications: iPSLE, Cambridge IGCSE & AS/A Level, GAC


3rd Floor, Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3934 7243; C5 – C11, 1st Floor, The Manor Building, My Dinh, Tel: 3794 0209; Unit 9 – 10, Shophouse CT17, Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel: 3743 0360 KIK provides International Pre-school education for children from 18 months to below 6 years. The curriculum promotes development of fine and gross motor skills, with experiential and

inquiry-based, structured formal learning opportunities. Much of the teaching is play-based.

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 nonprofit 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.

language schools Apollo

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

British Council

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

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 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 on-the-ground liaison and support services to clients interested in investigating, negotiating and implementing projects in the country.

management training G&H Management Services

HKC Building, Suite 701, 285 Doi Can, Ba Dinh Tel: 3762 3805

A 100% foreign-invested company focusing 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.


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 long-term 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.

relocation & tracking agents Allied Pickfords

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.

Asian Tigers Transpo

Santa Fe Relocation Services

Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3941 0805 With over 150 offices around the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving, pet transportation, relocation services including home search, orientation, cultural training, immigration services and records management. For more information email info@

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.

Fraser Suites

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.

Sedona Suites

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.

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.

JVK Indochina Movers

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.

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.

Somerset Grand Hanoi

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Drink and be done by, or as the t-shirt tells us, khong say, khong ve. Our pick of the best drinking haunts in Hanoi Think we've missed somewhere? Email us on

Bars & Nightclubs 88 Lounge

CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR 88 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho 5pm to late A wine bar with a difference, this addition to the watering hole scene in West Lake mixes contemporary design, black ceilings, subtle lighting and an international aesthetic with one of the best wine lists in town. Not surprisingly it is developing a faithful clientele. Well worth a visit.

Cama ATK

MUSIC & ARTS BAR 73A Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 01262 054970 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 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.

shisha, pool table and dance floor combo so popular on Hang Buom.

FatCat Bar

DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT 25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 5333 6087 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.

Funky Buddha

ELECTRO LOUNGE 2 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem 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.

Hair of the Dog

LATE NIGHT LOCAL / LOUNGE 32 Ma May, Hoan Kiem 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’.

Half Man Half Noodle

Chime Bar

Level 1, Sheraton Hanoi Hotel K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 9000 Chime bar is the perfect spot for a refreshing glass of wine and a bite to eat. Offering a wide selection of tapas dishes in a lounge atmosphere, this is a great space to unwind, while listening to some soothing jazz to wash your blues away.


DANCEHALL LOUNGE 15 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem 93 Phung Hung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 4926 2177 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

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LATE DIVE BAR 62 Dao Duy Tu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3926 1943 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 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.

House of Son Tinh

Liquor Lounge 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 3718 6377 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 Wolfhound

IRISH PUB 4 Luong Ngoc Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2212 6821 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 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.

ends open from 11am Located on the lakeside road just below Xuan Dieu and close to the entrance to The Sheraton, this quiet, casual pub offers up a variety of beer, wine and mixed drinks, juice, tea, espresso coffee and milkshakes, all with a nice view of West Lake. Non-smoking indoors.

Spy Bar

HOLE IN THE WALL / IRISH 12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 2269 1107 Fronted by the affable Sean, and with Guinness, Jameson’s and a surprising amount of draught beer flowing from the taps, since its inauguration the tiny Spy Bar has managed to create a dedicated following despite its tiny size. With pictures of spies dotting the wall (both Vietnamese and international) and food delivery available from three restaurants, this is a great place to chill and shoot some well-deserved, Chuong Duong Bridge breeze.

Summit Lounge

ROOFTOP LOUNGE BAR 20th Floor, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 ext. 5314 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.

Tay Tap

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.

Late Delivery Service (LSD)

The Spot

Model Club

Tracy’s Pub and Grill

Tel : (04) 6290 7907 The only beverage delivery service in Hanoi operating throughout the night (6pm to 4am). This unique delivery service runs every day and offers a wide variety of spirits, beers and other non-alcoholic drinks for you to order from your home. Affordable prices with delivery available within the six main districts of the city. Product origin and quality guaranteed. CATWALK BAR 45 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem 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.

Polite Pub

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.

Red River Tea Room

LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE 25 Duong Ven Tay Ho, Tay Ho Monday to Friday, 2pm to 11.30pm. Week-

LOUNGE BAR / TERRACE 47 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3935 1874 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 funk, soul and hip hop in the comfortable furnishings or on the back patio. SPORTS BAR/GRILL 40 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho. Tel: 6675 9838 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 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.



If there's any industry where Hanoi excels, it's the industry that is all things coffee. Here is our list of some of the best places to drink coffee, tea and everything else non-alcoholic in this city.

Cafes Ciao Café

RESTO LOUNGE 2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3934 1494 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 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 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba Dinh, Tel: 6686 0344 With a kitsch, communistdriven 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. And if you like more space and an outdoor terrace, hit Cong Caphe take two on Dien Bien Phu.

Highlands Coffee

CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN 6 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 0444 As with any chain that

attempts self-replication, 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.


COFFEE/BAKERY 22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3747 33 88 54 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 6071 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 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.

Moca Cafe

CAFE / INTERNATIONAL 14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3825 6334 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 Frenchstyled 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 mixes Vietnamese fare with sandwiches, western and pan-Asian mains.

Paris Deli

CAFÉ / BOULANGERIE 6 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3934 5269 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 — espressostyle coffees cost around VND40,000 — and the cakes and croissants are moreish. Also does filled baguettes and a larger café-cum-restaurant menu. Has a second establishment at 13 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.

Saint Honore

CAFE / BOULANGERIE 5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3933 2355 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.

TET Decor Café

ART CAFÉ & ESPRESSO BAR Villa 25, 1,3 Ha, Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho www.tet-lifestyle-collection. com 8am to 5pm, Tuesday to Sunday Cloistered among the back streets of West Lake and sheltered from the noise of Xuan Dieu, TET Décor Café is a destination for those who appreciate life’s pleasures: coffee, food, art and music. Simple and unpretentious, the café has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel combined with unique and inspiring art installations.


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 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 Hanoi Bicycle Collective (THBC)

44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 8246 Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is not just a place for all bicycle lovers, but a café that also sells Spanish tapas served up with gin & tonic, if the mood so takes you. Organising bicycle tours, running yoga sessions and holding music concerts in their

upstairs cafe area, they also sell, rent and fix bikes and are an official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment. Eclectic? Not a chance!

The Hanoi Social Club

6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 2117 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.


ITALIAN CAFE 36 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3719 1476 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 ranging from panini and focaccia through to pizza, pasta, salads and desserts.

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Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants

French Green Tangerine

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

La Badiane

10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3942 4509 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 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 Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine.

VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries and breads to soups and desserts. Available to dine in or out with a free delivery

Le Beaulieu


Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 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.

CONTEMPORARY INDIAN RESTAURANT First Floor, 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel : 3926 0580 Located in the upstairs portion of its sister restaurant, Tamarind, Spice is an impressive extension to the Indian food choices in the city, providing quality non-vegetarian dishes and a comfortable seating area. Includes lounge seating and a colourful dining area with thoughtful artwork and photographs along its walls. Spice is a tropical, artistic, cultural, and attractive addition to the Old Quarter’s dining options. Specializes in seafood and classic Indian dishes.


indian Foodshop 45

INTERNATIONAL INDIAN 59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: 3716 2959 32 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3993 1399 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.

Namaste Hanoi

47 Lo Su, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3935 2400 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

24 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3824 5359 A long-popular, Indianfood 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 Indian curries. Also has a branch in Saigon and does excellent set lunches.

international Café 129

MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD 129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung. Tel: 3821 5342 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

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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.

Al Fresco’s

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL 19A Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 1155 98 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 5322 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.


INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE Ngo 40, Nha 7A Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 2679 Despite a two-storey indoor dining space, Kitchen is all about its leafy, terracotta-tiled 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, smoothie-style drinks. Has amiable knowyour-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 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 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, Europeanstyle coffee and fantastic first-floor terrace area with views over the cathedral. Western staff speak English and French.

Little Hanoi

VIETNAMESE / INTERNATIONAL 21 – 23 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem Dist Tel: 3828 5333 littlehanoi@orientalstars. 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.


INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE 40 Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 3734 3098 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.


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 panAsian dishes and a decent delivery service.


CONTEMPORARY VEGETARIAN 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 0580 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.

The Bistro

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.

Green Mango

WESTERN / VIETNAMESE 18 Hang Quat, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3928 9916 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.


INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem. Tel: 3934 8325 Recently refurbished, the Australian-influenced Jaspa's is known for its attentive service, tasty food and large portions. A place with something for everyone, it 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. The cocktails come large. The wine is mainly New World. Also has a spacious bar and lounge area that stays open late for all the live sport.

Au Lac do Brazil

6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh Tel: 3845 5224 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 cafelautrec@hoteldelopera. com Featuring both à-la-carte and buffet dining as well as an innovative Sunday brunch, this namesake of the French artist ToulouseLautrec provides an exotic ambience for diners to enjoy a mixture of international and Mediterraneanstyle fare. Has an extensive wine list to match the cuisine, which is all served up in a contemporary yet colonial-inspired environment.

Don’s Tay Ho

CONTEMPORARY NORTH AMERICAN 16/27 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 3719 A bakery, bistro, restaurant, wine retailer, oyster bar and top floor lounge bar all in one, this lakefacing 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.

El Gaucho Steakhouse

99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 6991 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.

Halia Hanoi

SINGAPOREAN / CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 0121 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 panEuropean classical menu mixed in with light Asian flavours is also on offer, with dishes such as panbraised Alaskan cod with sea winkle crust and the braised pork belly in shoyu and sweet mirin making an appearance. Has an extensive wine list.

Hemispheres steak & seafood grill

Sheraton Hotel, K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3719 9000 restaurant.hanoi@sheraton. com The newest Steak & Seafood dining experience in Hanoi. Hemispheres Steak & Seafood Grill offers a wonderful menu covering both the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Choose from Black Angus, US Prime Sirloin, Rib Eye, Rump and Tenderloin grilled to perfection. Prefer

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* * * TOP 100

Want to know the best places to eat or drink in this city? Here is our pick of the top 100 restaurants in Hanoi. Feel we're missing something or have included the wrong places? Simply email

Seafood – no problem, Lobster, Oysters, Prawns, Fresh Fish, Clams and Crabs are all available for your dining pleasure, as well as an impressive array of wines by the glass & bottle from our “Wines of the World” selection.

Jackson’s Steakhouse

23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 8388 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.

May Man Chinese Cuisine

PAN-CHINESE 2nd Level, Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh Tel: 3831 3333 Elegant and luxurious, May Man has long been regarded as one of the best Chinese restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese culinary delights and Yum Cha at its finest, with seven private dining rooms this is a place to get dressed up for. Has extensive a la carte menus, dim sum menus and set menus. Reservations recommended.


PAN-FRENCH / INTERNATIONAL 11B Ngo Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3828 7207 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 Word tries to keep its listings as accurate as possible, but we can’t do this without yourself. So, if you see anything which needs updating or revising, please email us on

floors and has a welcome and inviting three-level outdoor terrace high up amid the concrete and cables of the Old Quarter.

through the aid of the Press Club’s extensive new and old world wine list. Also hosts a popular firstFriday-of-the-month party.

Ming Palace

Zenith Yoga Studio II & Café

PAN-CHINESE Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh Tel: 3823 8888 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.

16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 Besides offering a range of yoga, pilates and tai chi classes, Zenith sports a café with fresh, healthy and daily homemade food. Serves up vegetarian, vegan and raw cuisine, fresh juices and delicious smoothies. Check the website for the full menu.

Nineteen 11

INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN The Opera House, 1 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3933 4801 Named after the completion date of the Opera House under which it is located, walk inside and a labyrinthine-like, bare-brick 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.


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

italian Da Paolo

CLASSIC ITALIAN 18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 8585 1443 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 woodfired 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 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-thelimit. 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.


PAN-ITALIAN 23 Nha To, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6288

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leo@mediterraneo-hanoi. com This long-running, cozy restaurant near 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.

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.

Pane e Vino

Pan-Italian 3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 9080 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.


CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3826 6919 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 woodfired and the steaks are chargrilled. Does a great three-course set lunch for VND520,000++.

Japanese & Korean Ky Y

JAPANESE RICE EATERY 166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3978 1386 Sushi, soba, sake. Buy a big bottle of sake and the

Singaporean Rasa Singapura

SINGAPORE PERANAKAN CUISINE 63 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 2992 www.rasasingapura-hanoi. com By the shores of Truc Bach Lake is the newly opened Singapore Peranakan Restaurant with its authentic, Straits fusion fare emanating from Singapore, Malacca and Penang. Boasting the mouthwatering nasi lemak as its signature dish, all the fare here is home-cooked by the owner / partner who spent five years living and studying in Singapore. This is tasty, home-cooked, well-priced fare in a pleasant but tranquil setting.

this place crowded.

Old Hanoi

GOURMET VIETNAMESE 4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem Tel: 1355 9096 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 roll-your-own cha ca spring rolls and check the schedule for live traditional music.

Pots ‘N Pans

57 Bui Thi Xuan Street, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 3944 0204 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 Highway 4

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 Always busy, often hectic, this multi-floored 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 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

29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem Tel: 6282 5555 ext. 6414 Situated in the heart of Hotel de l’Opera’s 8 storey central atrium, Satine offers a high class dining experience. Signature Vietnamese dishes from around the country will be presented to guests including some of the country’s best kept culinary secrets passed down by generations.

Restobars Daluva

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 A favourite among those who roam further west of the city centre, this multistorey 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 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.


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.

La Petit Tonkinoise

ART DECO / INTERNATIONAL 58A Tran Quoc Toan, Hai Ba Trung 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, air-conditioned 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.

Le Pub

BRITISH / INTERNATIONAL 25 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3926 2104 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. 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.


INTERNATIONAL / CAFE 16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3938 1745 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 nosmoking 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.

R&R Tavern

BAR, CAFÉ AND MUSIC VENUE 256 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho Come grab a drink at the newly revamped R &R to enjoy a taste of American style brew and their comforting Western dishes. The pub still lives up to its old name, providing an array of drinks, buzzing chatter, and of course, some quality live rock music. Its upstairs area is equipped with a sound

system and stage setup for weekly shows and events while the downstairs area houses a classic bar that gives a finishing touch to the friendly community environment.

{THE Promotions} *** *


SKYLINE LOUNGE 19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3946 1901 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.


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.


12 Truong Han Sieu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 6680 9124 Alternative and nostalgic restaurant bar with a dim lit conversational ambience. This French-style villa is adorned with old-world architectural styles and hints of engaging contemporary artwork along its walls. Enjoy a glass of wine to complement a variety of succulent light dishes in this combination café, bar, and gallery. Includes lounge seating, two bars, an outdoor patio, and two multi-purpose rooms for small gatherings. Tadioto is an exciting, intimate venue for live music, literary readings, and art showcases.

Zenith Yoga Deals This summer Zenith Yoga has prepared some hot deals including a buy two, get one month free deal and a summer pass, with three months of unlimited classes valid for both studios. Both promotions and regular passes include a pack of eight special Zenith Café gift vouchers and a free class so you can bring a friend. Find more info at

School Deals at KIK and SIS Students who enroll before Jul. 15 to KinderWorld International Kindergarten (KIK) and Singapore International School (SIS) for the new school year 2013 to 2014 can enjoy one of two great offers. Pay full year fees before Jul. 15 and receive a waiver for a four-week English proficiency course during summer holidays (EFL), worth US$406 (VND8.5 million). The second deal is a waiver for your registration fee, valued up to US$600 (VND12.6 million). Call 0437 558185 for more details

Fortuna’s Japanese Summer Siesta Emperor Japanese Restaurant will celebrate summer in style as chef Kenji Tam and his team add a touch of colour to summer holidays in an all-new season of Saturday Yakiniku Nights, running until Aug. 31 at Fortuna Hotel, Hanoi. Dedicated to savoury summer dining, choices on the grill include a line-up of BBQ-inspired menu items with some fabulous cocktails thrown in the mix.

Yakiniku Night happens every Saturday evening (6pm to 9.30pm) and is priced at VND460,000++. Throw in VND160,000++ for a free flow of Umeshi (Japanese plum sour cocktail) or Halida draught Beer. For more info contact pr@

Slim Salad’s Paper Bags Get a Slim Salad delivery this summer and for every seven paper bags returned, you get one free banana bread or carrot cake. The saladobsessed eatery can be found in three locations in Hanoi: E05 Ciputra, Tay Ho; 63 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem and 36A Van Bao, Ba Dinh. For delivery call 0439 336130 or 01205 159898. For more info check out

Healthy Highway4 Goes Veggy Highway4 is offering Vietnam’s first vegetarian fish in spring-roll form. If this is a concept that requires a little bit of mind reshaping, here’s the explanation. The Mekong catfish used at Highway4 is sourced from two farms practising sustainable aquaculture in the Mekong Delta region of Can Tho. Farmed in river ponds near the Mekong River the fish are nourished with 100 percent vegetal feed, resulting in a premium quality fish fillet. Get it? The fish are vegetarians here, not the actual dish itself. For more information contact or info@

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{THE Alchemist} ** Energies of the Sun * *

This month, Karen Gay, holistic health practitioner, discusses the need to balance male and female energies

LEISURE Time to release all that pent up energy - it’s not all work and propping up the bar, you know. Here are some ideas for better ways to spend that free time

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.


he sun, in most cultures, is associated with masculine energies. With the heat of the summer upon us I thought it would be a good time to write about the qualities of these energies and the need for balance of both the masculine and feminine energies in our lives. In the metaphysical and spiritual realms there is much talk of a paradigm shift in which we as a human race are moving more towards feminine-based values on our path to enlightenment. These proclamations are often made to dismiss the need for the masculine energies that have long reigned the world. And while, yes, we as a species need to fully embrace a more loving, compassionate and nurturing way of interacting with each other, this cannot be done at the expense of the masculine energies that both males and females possess.

Balancing Act Each individual possesses both masculine and feminine energies. Our challenge has been to find the balance of these qualities in our lives. As women strove and continue to strive towards achieving equality in society, it has often been attempted by suppressing their feminine qualities and taking on more masculine personas, essentially trying to become more male-like. Meanwhile, men are often asked to get in touch with their feminine side and they struggle

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Cinemas to grasp what that means exactly. Cultural expressions like ‘be a man’ help perpetuate the archetypal male — strong, silent, dominant. If according to psychologist Carl Jung we have archetypal behaviours embedded within us and these ‘blueprints’ are the foundations for our personal experiences and interactions, we will need to lay down a more balanced blueprint from which to operate.

Mirror Images Unbalanced masculine energies can appear to be cold, forceful and dominating. Unbalanced feminine energies can appear as weak and submissive. When the two energies are in equilibrium, however, the qualities complement each other, and whether male or female, the individual will express all the qualities of caring, nurturing, compassion, and love equally with strength, power and action. Each of these qualities has its mirror image in the masculine and feminine energies. If we are to fully attain this new paradigm shift we are trying to achieve, we will need to collectively mirror and reflect these balanced energies in one another. We are all expressions of both energies and when we come to realise this we will be less likely to judge or place blame for another’s actions. We will also move closer to living in harmony and in a more peaceful world.


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.

Clubs & Societies American Club

21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem Tel: 3824 1850 www.americanclubhanoi. com 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.

Cooking Classes Hanoi Cooking Centre

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh Tel: 3715 0088. www.hanoicookingcentre. com 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.


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.

Cycling The Hanoi Bicycle Collective (THBC)

44, Ngo 31, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 8246 Tucked down an alleyway just off West Lake, The Hanoi Bicycle Collective is a place for all bicycle lovers! An official supplier of TREK and SURLY cycling equipment, the joint not only sells but also rents and fixes bicycles. To add to the eclectic, community spirit they also organise bicycle tours, run yoga sessions, hold music concerts in their upstairs cafe area and run a great menu of Spanish tapas served up, if you so wish, with gin & tonic. Quite a mix!

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

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


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

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.


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 stateof-the-art courses. There are 100 different climbing routes within the gym that are changed every few

{ book Buff }

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.

** Books of the Month * *

Hairdressers & Salons 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.

This month Bookworm’s Truong looks at wordsmiths, redemption and pop philosophy

TA Salon

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

Studios Work Room Four

Building E, Floor 4, 9 Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba Trung A place to work. A space to create. Somewhere to see something new. Work Room Four is pulling together the threads of creative endeavours across Hanoi. A collective that promotes collaboration and new ideas, exhibitions, workshops, artist studios, courses, contacts and events.

Yoga & Meditation Zenith Yoga Studio

111, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi; 16 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem Tel: (04) 3923 0253 An international Yoga studio providing classes across a variety of levels and styles, including prenatal and postnatal classes, restorative yoga, pilates and tai chi. Also have a yogic shop offering incense, yoga and pilates mats, books, clothes, soaps, Himalayan products and other essential yoga equipment.


ecently the British Council hosted a very young-looking, Australian-born British author, Evie Wylde, at book talks and conferences in Hanoi. She also made an appearance at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City. Her first book, After the Fire, A Still Small Voice, published in 2009, has won a slew of literary prizes in the UK and was short-listed for the Orange Award For New Writers. It’s a compelling read and is set in New South Wales, Australia between 1950 and 2000, primarily in the cane-growing regions where Wylde’s family owned property. It covers three generations of a family and deals with the long-term effects of wartime experiences on male family members and the impact these traumas have on supportive females and offspring. Its inclusion in literary events in Vietnam was due to its second generational involvement in the American War. Leon is conscripted by the Australian Government and returns to his family mentally scarred. The premature death of his wife tips him over the edge into alcoholism and violence and this impacts on his son’s future relationships with women. The story is told in a believable, masculine tone and offers a searing insight into the Australian macho male culture. It asks if redemption in this culture is too often the defined prerogative of its females. A Daily Mail reviewer summed up the book perfectly: “Just sometimes,

a book is so complete, so compelling and potent, that you are fearful of breaking its hold. This is one.”

uses words and builds dramatic tension.

Masterful Wordsmiths

I’ve also been reading everyone’s favourite pop philosopher, Alain de Botton’s recent mind-bending book Religion for Atheists. In it he argues that even if you don’t believe in religion, your life is leaner and meaner without the incorporation into it of many of religions’ rituals that add colour and pageantry. As he says, “Even if religion isn’t true, why not enjoy the best bits… even if their supernatural claims are, of course, entirely false, they still have some important things to teach the world.” Self help books are sometimes a bit embarrassing to be seen reading — and a lot are more about the author’s self helping themselves to your cash — but if you’re caught out with a de Botton, you’re sure to be respected for your intelligence. If anything, de Botton writes cerebrally, albeit with a common touch. His latest work, How to Think More About Sex, is about analysing what we consider sexy so that we will understand what eroticism is. He describes it as the feeling of excitement we experience when we find another human being who shares our values and our sense of meaning. For more information on Bookworm go to Besides their original store on Chau Long, Bookworm has a second, smaller shop in Nghi Tam Village in the West Lake area. Located behind the Sheraton and in the same alley as VilaTom Coffee, it can be found at Lane 1/28 Au Co, Lang Nghi Tam, Tay Ho

Another new book that has a redemption theme is Gold by Chris Cleave who shot to the top of the literary pops with his very angry novel about the treatment of refugees in the UK, The Other Hand or Little Bee in the US. Cleave got the sort of acclaim Wylde is presently garnering with his first book, Incendiary, about a young mother whose husband and son perished in a terrorist attack on a London football stadium. It was written in the form of a plaintive and angry letter to Osama Bin Laden. Both Wylde and Cleave are masterful wordsmiths and often their sentences and word images cut clean to the bone, indelibly and gaspingly. Gold is an inspirational and moving novel that will have readers wiping tears away from their print versions or Kindles. It’s about human endurance, motherhood, love and sacrifices, and centres around three British Olympic gold medal cyclists, husband, wife and best friend heading for their third burst of glory at the London Olympics, and their aging coach. But the cog that sticks in their wheels is the couple’s young daughter, who develops leukemia. When I picked up the book and saw it was about Olympic cycling and the obsession with winning Gold, I almost put it aside. The name Cleave saved the day and though I’m still not into competitive cycling, I’m certainly into the way that the author

Beyond Self Help

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{ CINEMA Buff } ** BLOCKBUSTER SEASON * * Despicable Me 2 (3D) Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Stars: Steve Carell, Ken Jeong, Miranda Cosgrove Genre: Animation, Comedy, Crime

final judgment by hiding among the unsuspecting on Earth. Once the wisecracking Roy is assigned,former rising-star detective Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) as his junior officer, the new partners have to turn grudging respect into top-notch teamwork. When they uncover a plot that could end life as we know it, two of R.I.P.D.’s finest must miraculously restore the cosmic balance... or watch the tunnel to the afterlife begin sending angry souls the very wrong way.

and soon becomes exposed to the sexual and political intrigues of court. The movie will be screened at 8pm on Jul. 19 at the French Culture Centre (L’Espace). French with Vietnamese subtitles

The Lone Ranger Director: Gore Verbinski Stars: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner Genre: Action, Adventure Native American warrior Tonto (Jonny Depp) recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid (Armie Hammer), a man of the law, into a legend of justice. The two unlikely heroes must learn to work together and fight against greed and corruption as they go along the way.

After its success in 2010, Despicable Me returns this summer with Gru’s new journey. This time he is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help deal with a powerful new super criminal. Hits the screens on Jul. 3 at MegaStar cinema complexes in Vincom Tower (191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung), Mipec Tower(229 Tay Son, Dong Da), Platinum Cineplex (Vincom Long Bien and The Garden Shopping Mall, My Dinh) and on Jul. 4 at Lotte Landmark Cinema (Keangnam Towers, My Dinh)

R.I.P.D. Director: Robert Schwentke Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Bridges Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime Veteran sheriff Roy Pulsifer (Jeff Bridges) has spent his career with the legendary police force known as R.I.P.D. tracking monstrous spirits who are cleverly disguised as ordinary people. His mission is to arrest and bring to justice a special brand of criminals trying to escape

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Hits the screens on Jul. 19 at Lotte Landmark Cinema and MegaStar

The Princess of Montpensier Director: Bertrand Tavernier Stars: Mélanie Thierry, Lambert Wilson, Gaspard Ulliel Genre: Action, Drama, History Set in the 16th Century when France was under the reign of Chales IX, the movie centres on the love of Marie de Mezières for her dashing cousin Henri de Guise. The romance is thwarted when her father’s political ambitions force her into marriage with the well-connected Philippe de Montpensier, who she has never met. When Philippe is called away to fight, she is left in the care of Count Chabannes, an aging nobleman with a disdain for warfare,

Starts showing on Jul. 12 at MegaStar cinema complexes and Lotte Landmark Cinema

FASHION Looking good and dressing even better is big in this image-conscious metropolis. So, here are some of the fashion options available to you in Hanoi

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

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


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: www.

Hanoi Star Supermarket 36 Cat Linh, Dong Da


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


126 Tam Trinh, Yen So, Hoang Mai Pham Van Dong, Co Nhue, Tu Liem

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.

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.

Clothing Contraband

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.


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.


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 Design

61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Tel: 3938 1154 800sqm of elegant, modern space that offers one-ofa-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, 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.

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.

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

{ the Therapist } ** Learning the Culture * *

Douglas Holwerda, American trained and licensed mental health counsellor, answers your questions and offers advice Dear Douglas, I am from England and have been living in Vietnam for a year now. It is the first place I have lived outside my own country. While I am sometimes confused and challenged by the culture I am in, I get disgusted when I hear some of my colleagues complain and speak critically all the time about Vietnamese people. I want to learn more so I can understand how the “psychology” of the Vietnamese people is so different than what I am used to. Any ideas? — Curious Cathy Dear CC, I can offer some food for thought, but it is by approaching your experience with an open mind and listening to people and reading books that you can sort this out. Differences — and there are certainly differences between how eastern and western people think and behave — can so easily become conflicts. Conflicts can occur between people and/ or can be internal experiences — it’s the need to make sense that confuses us. Our minds seek to create resolution, when what we see or experience doesn’t fit into the schemas that we are most familiar with. The quickest (but not always the best) way to resolve this internal dissonance is to divide behaviours into good and bad, right and wrong, smart and dumb, and then to apply that code onto the behaviors we see or experience. It might be what your colleagues are doing… to resolve the inner conflict that comes from being immersed in a culture that is different than the one in which their ideas and schemas were developed. The problem is that they end up

with negative feelings, judging and distancing themselves from the people whose culture they are living in. It appears that you are trying not to slip into a negative perspective, but still feel confusion and the need to make sense of it all. You may be more aware that the way you see things is through the lens of your own bias, the schemas that are part of the way you grew up. These feed your assumptions, your expectations and ultimately influence the way you interpret most of what you experience. Just knowing we are biased helps to create more space for other ways of seeing things. Instead of seeing a behaviour that is confusing to us as good or bad, we can see it as different… a little bit like agreeing to disagree. From this mindset you can learn from and appreciate the differences of eastern and western thought, and expand to include the set of options that come from each orientation. We can see the beauty in one another’s cultures. There are many examples of the difference in the ‘psychology’ or orientation of eastern and western peoples. As visitors living here, it behooves us to suspend judgments and open up to ways that are different to our own. The acceptance of these differences is seeing the broad ways that the human species has emerged over thousands of years of development. It offers us all a chance to grow and change, and to feel a part of the universal connectedness we have with all humans. Do you have a question you would like Douglas’s help with? You can email him at Personal details will not be printed

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From catering services through to the growing number of bakeries - and we’re not just talking banh my. Here are places to stock up on wine, liquor, imported cheeses and freshly baked bread

Do you think you should be listed on these pages? If so, simply email us on and we’ll see what we can do. We can’t promise but we’ll try our best

Bakeries Kinh Do

252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem One of the oldest and most well-established 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.

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.

Crafts Mekong Quilts

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.

Furniture La Casa

Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: 3718 4084 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.


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.

Groceries Naturally Vietnam

So 4, Ngo 67, Ngach 67/12, To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: (04) 6674 4130 Offers food and beverage produced in Vietnam with full traceability and strict food safety controls. Meat, egg, milk, fish, veggies, honey, jams, fruit juices, liquors, coffee, water, ice cream. Also, every Saturday from 8.30am to 12.30pm, the team convert the store yard into the Tay Ho Weekend Market, a cross-cultural outdoor shopping and socialising hotspot for expats and Vietnamese.

Punto Italia

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.

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.

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.

Want to be in touch with what’s happening in this city? Check us out online at

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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

Alpha Laptop

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.


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.

Pets ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital

So 4, Ngo 67, Ngach 67/12 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 5475 Founded by a French-Vietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.

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. 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

No 3, Alley 8, Hoa Lu, Hai Ba Trung Tel: 0983 011081 This service company can help with a just about any computer-related task. Computer repairs, set up, Wi-Fi, design, networking and development. On-site and off-site service, and free quotes.


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.

MEDICAL From counselling through to that once-a-year medical check, here are some the medical options available in town

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.

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 deliver modern, high-level dental services throughout Vietnam. The clinic provides the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service care to patients.

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.

Dental International SOS

Photo by Nick Ross

1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3934 0666 24-hour emergency service with pricey, but international quality emergency and routine dental services. If your wisdom tooth needs pulling in the middle of the night, or you break a tooth, there are competent doctors and fast service.

and preventative care to surgical procedures. Full-service hospital that has both doctors and staff speaking good French and English.

International SOS 24-hour Clinic

1 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho Tel: 3934 0666 Well-known medical clinic also known for its quality emergency services. Doctors and consultants also provide a range of services from standard GP-style check-ups through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.

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 Mediumsized practice with both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are used to treating expats. Also a 24-hour emergency service.

French Hospital

1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da Tel: 3577 1100 The first international hospital created in Hanoi, and still viewed by some as the gold standard for medical treatment. Offering everything from standard medical

Vets ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital

So 4, Ngo 67, Ngach 67/12 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho Tel: 3718 5475 Founded by a French-Vietnamese couple who love taking care of companion animals, the ASVELIS Veterinary Hospital has developed from a small clinic into a hospital. In addition to dental care and basic laboratory test equipment, the pet hospital also offers boarding services, which are located in a pet-friendly environment in Soc Son, 10 minutes from Noi Bai airport.

Những Mẫu Hình Quảng Cáo Tiềm Thức Matt Bender tìm hiểu về văn hóa biển hiệu quảng cáo ở Việt Nam. Ảnh bởi Francis Xavier. Một số phỏng vấn thực hiện bởi Hoa Lê

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ửa sổ phòng tôi nhìn ra một tấm biển quảng cáo với hình ảnh một cặp đôi hạnh phúc nhất mà tôi từng nhìn thấy – cả hai đều có nụ cười với hàm răng trắng như ngọc, má kề má tình tứ dưới ánh đèn sáng chói của tấm bảng hiệu ngân hàng HD. Hình các cô bé xinh xắn đang ăn ngấu nghiến những cốc mỳ tôm xếp hàng dài trên phố khi tôi đi bộ đi mua đồ. Một hình người thật được cắt từ bìa của một cô gái đang cầm một lon Zorok bên cạnh chiếc tủ lạnh đựng bia đập vào mắt tôi. Mặc dù rất thèm, nhưng tôi vẫn quyết định lấy cho mình một lon San Miguel. Tôi đã sống ở các thành phố lớn trong một thời gian dài, và một phần của cuộc sống nơi đô thị là bạn sẽ bắt gặp những tấm biển hiệu quảng cáo trong mỗi bước chân bạn đi. Mặc dầu vậy, Hồ Chí Minh hay Hà Nội không phải có quá nhiều các pa-nô áp phích như Tokyo với những tấm biển la-ze dài bằng một tòa nhà 20 tầng, nhưng đó lại cũng chính là vẻ quyến rũ của hai thành phố này. Những tấm biển quảng cáo nơi đây cũng rất nhiều nhưng không phải trong mỗi bước chân bạn đi. Và để hiểu được chai bia của bạn có liên quan gì tới ngân hàng bạn sử dụng và cốc mỳ của bạn liên quan tới những vùng ngoại ô, dưới đây tôi sẽ bước đầu giới thiệu một vài mô típ dựa trên tiềm thức phổ biến mà bạn có thể bắt gặp trong các quảng cáo ở Việt Nam. Hãy nhớ rằng trong quảng cáo, mục tiêu cốt yếu bao gồm:

a) Cuốn hút sự chú ý và kích thích sự quan tâm.

Một hình ảnh hướng tới đối tượng sẽ sử dụng sản phẩm (ví dụ: thanh thiếu niên uống Pepsi hay một người phụ nữ sexy dùng đồ Prada)

b) Đưa ra một tình huống mẫu trong đó người xem sẽ bị cảm xúc chi phối và lôi cuốn vào bức hình quảng cáo.

Một bức hình người mẹ đưa cho đứa con của mình một loại sữa chỉ ra rằng sữa đồng nghĩa với tình yêu thương của mẹ. Hay một cô gái xinh đẹp đang tận hưởng cảm giác ngất ngây khi uống Pepsi đồng nghĩa với việc gái xinh thích uống Pepsi.

c) Tạo ra sự mối quan hệ phụ thuộc.

Đây là khi người xem muốn biến các hình ảnh đó vào trong cuộc sống của họ. Nếu anh ta thích trẻ con, anh ta sẽ mua sữa. Nếu anh ta thích quan hệ với một cô gái, anh ta sẽ mua Pepsi. Debajit Banerjee, một tên tuổi trong nghề quảng cáo ở thành phố Hồ Chí Minh đưa ra một tóm tắt thú vị khi miêu tả chức năng cần phải có của một chiến dịch quảng cáo thành công. “Mục tiêu đầu tiên: làm cho người xem phải mở hầu bao – thuyết phục họ đưa ra quyết định mua hàng,” anh giải thích. “Mục tiêu tiếp theo: qua một thời gian, làm cho họ thuộc lòng bạn…và xây dựng thương hiệu – biến khách hàng thành những fan hâm mộ [và] làm cho họ trung thành với bạn.” Những khẩu hiệu và hình ảnh khác nhau, tất nhiên, phù hợp với những người khác nhau. Nếu tôi chỉ muốn quan hệ với ai đó, tôi sẽ ra ngoài và mua Pepsi, nhưng sẽ không hề quan tâm tới thương hiệu sữa nào trẻ con nên uống. Tuy nhiên, nếu tôi thuộc tuýp người quan tâm tới sức khỏe cho con cái và tôi đang khó khăn để quyết định loại bột giặt nào là tốt nhất và không làm cho con tôi ngứa ngáy hay mẩn đỏ, vậy thì có lẽ người đàn ông Tây trong bộ quần áo bác sỹ có thể giúp tôi đưa ra được quyết định đúng đắn.

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Mô típ Ngây thơ

Một mô-típ phổ biến ở Việt Nam là hình ảnh ‘Ngây thơ’. Đây thường là một người con gái trẻ, xinh đẹp, nhưng hoàn toàn có vẻ không nhận ra là cô ấy rất xinh. Và một điều thú vị nữa, đôi khi cô ấy là người da trắng đang đi mua sắm ở Việt Nam, mặc dầu phần lớn khách hàng ở đó là người Việt. Mẫu ngây thơ là những nhân vật linh hoạt vì vai trò của họ không phân rõ ràng trắng đen như mô típ Sage chẳng hạn. Ví dụ, nếu vì một lí do nào đó tôi rất muốn một chiếc bánh wafer khổng lồ và không biết thương hiệu nào có cái lớn nhất, có lẽ khi đó tấm pa-nô quảng cáo với một cô gái dễ thương đặt cạnh hình ảnh một con hươu cao cổ có thể chỉ cho tôi đến đúng nơi cần tìm.

Những Pa-nô Nhân Vật thật

Đây là những pa-nô với hình ảnh nam giới nhưng đối tượng khách hàng hướng tới lại là nữ giới – bạn không cần phải suy nghĩ lâu để có thể nhận ra một ví dụ là hình ảnh của nhóm nhạc Super Junior Hàn Quốc, hoặc nếu bạn thuộc thế hệ lớn tuổi hơn, như tôi chẳng hạn, thì sẽ là ban nhạc New Kids on the Block. Các nhóm nhạc này luôn tạo lợi thế từ việc các thành viên của họ đa dạng như một món cocktail: một cậu ngỗ ngược, một cậu ngọt ngào, một cậu hiền dịu, và một cậu với cơ bắp cuồn cuộn như thể trước khi vào ban nhạc này cậu ta làm nghề đấu vật. Những kiểu nam giới này bình thường chẳng mấy khi giao lưu với nhau và thành lập ban nhạc. Họ được sắp xếp vào một đội và chải chuốt để làm nó trở nên hoàn hảo. Những cái mà họ tiếp thị ở đây rơi vào thể loại “tiếp thị thông qua việc sắp xếp” và nó có thể là mọi thứ, từ một hàm răng trắng cho tới những đôi giày tennis. Những cô gái thích những đôi giày này: chàng trai thích các cô gái mua những đôi giày này, vì thế các cô gái thích

chàng trai đó. Hoàn hảo. Những ngôi sao nhạc pop được sử dụng trong những pa-nô quảng cáo với một lực hút lớn. Họ là những mô-típ sống, và lí do phần lớn họ đều trở nên điên cuồng ở một thời điểm nào đó là bởi vì con người bình thường không được sinh ra để sống một cuộc sống như thế. Có thể Nicki Minaj là trường hợp ngoại lệ, dẫu sao tôi cũng hi vọng tất cả các giám khảo cuộc thi thần tượng âm nhạc Mỹ đều thích uống Diet Coke và không bị bắt buộc phải uống những cốc coca khổng lồ đó. Thực ra điều này cũng có vẻ khá ngọt ngào: những đầu tư khủng vào nghiên cứu khách hàng, xác lập vị trí thương hiệu và một đội ngũ gồm những chuyên gia suy nghĩ ngày đêm – tất cả đều nỗ lực để chọn ra được một hình ảnh hay slogan mà bạn – chính là người tiêu dùng sẽ bị hấp dẫn. Nếu bạn có thể tạm quên đi mục tiêu ngầm của họ (là kiếm được tiền của bạn) tất cả những điều này có vẻ như khá đủ để làm bạn cảm thấy mình là một người đặc biệt nhất trên thế giới.

Gương mặt của Nescafé Để có thể hiểu rõ về thế giới tiếp thị, tôi quyết định thử biến thành một gương mặt mới của Nescafé. Không đùa đâu nhé: trong một vài tháng nữa, tôi có thể trở thành một anh chàng với một nụ cười đặc biệt sau giờ tan học đang xuýt xoa thổi hơi nóng bốc lên từ một cốc cà phê màu đỏ. Họ yêu cầu tôi cười như thế. Họ nói, “Nhìn lên, nhưng đừng nhìn vào camera. Hãy tận hưởng làn khói từ ly cà phê, và không khí trong lành, hãy tận hưởng cuộc sống của bạn.” Tôi khoác lên người một chiếc áo choàng trắng, đeo kính và giả vời như tôi đang làm một vài thí nghiệm với những chiếc bình vô hình. Thực ra mà nói, tôi

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thấy rất thú vị và họ nói sẽ trả tiền cho tôi. Chỉ có một điều tôi không thích đó là họ sẽ sở hữu hình ảnh của chính tôi. Tôi thậm chí không biết quảng cáo Nescafé sẽ trông như thế nào, và đành phải để mặc họ làm bất cứ điều gì với những tấm hình chụp tôi trong bộ áo bác sỹ. Một hình ảnh cứ xuất hiện trong đầu tôi là những tấm biển quảng cáo đã bị phai mờ của Coca-cola hay bia Tiger trong những góc đường phủ đầy mạng nhện của các nhà hàng cơm tám. Các mẫu trong những quảng cáo đó đã về hưu từ lâu, nhưng hình ảnh của họ vẫn còn sống mãi – điều đó có nghĩa cũng có thể một đứa trẻ

Mô-típ Sage

Đây là một mẫu hình do Jungian thiết lập, còn gọi là “chuyên gia biết rõ điều gì tốt nhất cho bạn.” Các bạn có thấy hình anh ta đang cười và nhìn vào thương hiệu bột giặt OMO không? Đó là thương hiệu sẽ không mang lại cho bạn chút dị ứng nào. Hình ảnh “một anh chàng Tây trong trang phục phòng thí nghiệm” là một hình ảnh đặc biệt thú vị, vì bạn sẽ thấy nó được lặp lại có thể nói là khắp nơi ở Châu Á. Thái Lan thậm chí đã từng có những bao thuốc lá in hình một bác sỹ Tây dùng ngón tay trỏ ra hiệu “thật đáng xấu hổ” để cảnh báo tác hại của việc hút thuốc. Trong khi ý tưởng một bác sỹ là hình mẫu tốt nhất để bán (hoặc khuyên không nên dùng) những sản phẩm y tế dường như khá dễ hiểu, các thương hiệu trên thế giới dành những khoản tiền khổng lồ để phát triển vị trí thương hiệu của họ, đó là

những con số và nghiên cứu thị trường được tính toàn theo công thức rất khắt khe, cho tới khi, như anh Banerjee nhận xét, họ tìm ra “một loại bột giặt được tôn lên vị trí ‘tốc độ làm sạch nhanh nhất’, trong khi đó một loại khác thì có khả năng ‘làm sạch tốt hơn’.” Anh cũng nói thêm: “Rất sáng tạo ở chỗ cả hai thương hiệu đều sử dụng hình ảnh một người nam giới mặc áo choàng trắng nhưng thông điệp họ chuyển đi là khác biệt. Những thương hiệu địa phương có nhiều sự linh hoạt hơn nhưng trong phần lớn các trường hợp, vì yếu tố thiếu kinh phí và chuyên môn, họ cố gắng bắt chước hoặc dựa bóng những công thức của các thương hiệu toàn cầu, và do đó, hầu hết các quảng cáo, hình ảnh, biển hiệu trông khá giống nhau.” Đó là khi một mô-típ quảng cáo ra đời.

nào đó 30 năm nữa sẽ lớn lên và nhìn thấy hình ảnh của tôi mỗi ngày. Các bà mẹ thì sẽ nhìn thấy tôi ở mặt sau của các tuýp thuốc đánh răng, họ sẽ mua nó hay không còn phụ thuộc tôi trông có đủ sức thuyết phục trong bộ áo choàng đó không. Tôi sẽ làm cho những ly cà phê với toàn sữa và đường trông ngon lành mặc dù tôi thực ra thích uống cà phê đen. Trong một thế giới bí ẩn của tương lai, tôi sẽ là gương mặt trên tấm biển quảng cáo đã bị đốt một nửa mà người hùng của chúng ta trú chân để châm nốt điếu thuốc cuối cùng của mình. Các bạn đừng quên tôi đấy nhé.

Phần kết: Tôi có một cuộc gọi nhỡ của Nescafé và khi tôi gọi lại họ nói đã tìm được người khác để chụp quảng cáo. Không phải là tôi thấy tiếc cho bản thân mình đâu, mà là tôi tiếc cho những người mẹ tương lai – họ sẽ không bị thuyết phục bởi hình ảnh một nhà khoa học bụng phệ trong một chiếc áo choàng sai cỡ đã thay thế tôi — và họ sẽ mua một thương hiệu sai lầm.

Mô típ Người Tình

Đừng nhầm lẫn những hình ảnh “Ngây thơ” với “Người tình”: người phụ nữ ở đây trững trạc hơn, mặc đẹp, thân hình cân đối và rõ ràng là có một kỹ năng sống đáng nể. Mẫu “Người tình”có thể được nhìn thấy phần lớn trong các quảng cáo ngân hàng, thị trường nhà đất, chung cư cao cấp, khu vui chơi giải trí, hay công viên nước, vì khách hàng mục tiêu phần lớn là các gia đình. Bên cạnh lý thuyết của Carl Jung về sức mạnh tổng hợp của những điều vô thức mà những mẫu hình này mang lại qua quảng cáo, những chuyên gia chiến lược quảng cáo của Việt Nam hiển nhiên tin vào sức mạnh mà những hình ảnh phụ nữ, nam giới Tây mang lại cho khách hàng của họ. Tấm biển quảng cáo thuộc thể loại “Người tình” của tòa nhà Royal City ở Hà Nội có một cặp đôi mẫu Tây (mặc dù luật Việt Nam chưa cho phép người nước ngoài mua nhà) trong khi quảng cáo của Vinpearl Đà Nẵng khắc hoạ một gia đình hạnh phúc với bố Tây, mẹ Á. Mô típ “Người tình” là thường áp dụng cụ thể tới phụ nữ, trong khi những khách hàng nam thường sẽ bị cuốn hút bởi mô típ “Con ngựa bất kham” (tốt cho các thương hiệu thuốc lá hay xe mô tô phân khối lớn) và mô típ theo thể loại “Thám hiểm”.

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The final say


rthur Bates was hanging onto the side of a small sailing dinghy when his wife hit him with an oar. There was the thwack of wood against bone, followed by an instant of shocked surprise, then a light seemed to go from his eyes as he slid gracefully back into the sea. With one hand she grasped his arm before he could drift away and with the other she held his head beneath the surface of the water. She spoke to him as he drowned. Her voice was one of remonstrance; it was a voice of correction. She was the irate parent castigating the errant child. “You deserve this, Arthur,” she said. “You really were a pig, a two-faced, adulterous pig!” Afterwards, when she had dragged his lifeless body back into the boat, she slumped exhausted into the helmsman’s seat and gripped the tiller to steady her shaking hands. It crossed her mind that the killing had hardly been less of an ordeal for her than it had been for him. Arthur lay at rest, stretched along the gunwale, and death, she noted, seemed morning. The wind had gusted so strongly, to have given him back something of his had swept them so swiftly to the horizon, youth. Even so, he was hardly a pretty sight she had doubted whether the opportunity (forty-five, fat, balding), but the revulsion to kill Arthur would present itself. When she felt was time-diminished. It was true that suddenly (and fortuitously) the breeze had when she had first learnt of his ‘affair’ she died away, he had suggested a swim, which had thought him loathsome. Now he was was his habit when they went sailing far merely ugly. from land. In the end, murdering him had It seemed an ineluctable chain of events been so easy. had brought her to this moment, so for a Helen felt a breath of wind on her face. short while Helen let herself drift away into a She looked up to where clouds were kind of semi-euphoric trance, a combination gathering on the horizon. The sail flapped of the warm glow of satisfaction at a job well at the mast, then began to fill. Water gurgled done and post-homicidal shock. For the first along the hull, the boat rocked and Arthur time in months she could look to the future slid ungraciously into the bottom of the boat. with optimism. When she saw that his sightless eyes were She felt no remorse at Arthur’s passing. gazing up at her she stretched out a foot and She was not that sort of person. Indeed, she neatly flicked his face away. rather doubted if anyone would, (though her “Oh, Arthur,” she said, “aren’t you ever opinion in this matter may well have been going to give me any peace!” biased), but because she had never seen a Picture her then as she sailed back to Mui dead person before, her eyes were constantly Ne: Helen Bates, 39, tall, bikini-clad and drawn to his corpse. In a strange way it attractive, sitting at the back of the boat with amused her that in death he seemed to hold her dead husband at her feet, going over in more interest for her than in life. her mind the story she would repeat when She recalled the way she had felt when the time came. they had left the hotel sailing club that She dipped a hand in the sea and

Short Story

A Posthumous Death A boating trip in Mui Ne, an illicit affair and a penthouse apartment in Ho Chi Minh City — a recipe for tragedy. Story by Rob Marsh

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repeatedly brought it to her face until the salt water had made her eyes red-ringed and tearful. At the appropriate time, she had determined, she would put on a masterful performance: a classical display of the bereaved wife in anguish.

The Investigation About half a kilometre from shore there were two Vietnamese fishermen in a puttering motorboat: an old man with lank, greasy hair and someone much younger, wearing a yellow T-shirt full of holes. Helen waved her arms and called out to them. The young one waved back and the engine note deepened as he pointed the prow towards her. It was the old man who first spotted Arthur lying grey and cold at the bottom of the boat. After he had got over his shock he came aboard. He brought with him two blankets — one for the living and one for the dead — both reeking of diesel oil and fish. Helen cried out when he covered Arthur’s face. “We have to get my husband to the hospital,” she said, but the two of them just looked at her. Back at the beach she remained standing

The captain looked out through the ung he yo tel window to where two small sailing boats hile t en the ho w t a . g bo hotel. Th lding o were battling through a squall of rain. It sailin e e bui d to the an into th er into th what to t occurred to him that as a city boy he would x e n n r h s i a a n d t a e w rt e cer rm never understand man’s fascination with fishe ionist esco e seemed taurant sh wels t s o n the sea. recep ime, no o eserted re aped in t ike a r t l d Turning back to Helen when her weeping For a er. In the ove and d ignored, . lc h as had subsided, he said, “You repeat ‘gain, with a corner a ne and w s disease d e o ou Mrs Bates?” then asked the same questions given she sat al a contagi ager arriv e n h r e a t e i h t m h a second time, only in a different order, w l o w t e t o t n t e o e i e k h t o a e ok and checked the answers she gave him sick p ntually, th First he sp hen he sp e. et Eve against the notes he had made in his little charg ietnames ,” s k e t o a o iz B black notebook. and t ionist in V M , s e i . r t recep in English deep sor Eventually, he got ready to depart. y n nd Hele ’ accep’ m Outside dusk was falling. He was s frie o had ’ n e e l l e “P surprised at how quickly the beach ds, H n and Tha ther id. rwar he sa long afte hur, Hele City toge s idea had emptied. Not ived. Art hi Minh en Thao’ in “When are you going back to Ho C e r s r s b o a e d n H o busi Tha ed from eak. It ha Chi Minh City?” he asked Thao. n o y l r l a trave eekend b was aw “As soon as possible, captain.” h, d w n O a a “ b , r fo us aid rs. The policeman nodded. “And her h hao s o tea since ore. len, T burst int e her husband’s body?” H p Singa n she saw promptly o,” Helen … “Arrangements are being o a d h Whe nd then T d , ul made.” lp him g I co n!” a Hele uldn’t he as nothin s “Good.” o inute w c e m r “I e n e h The captain saw no reason ved t xpressed d. “T i e r r b a b so ham hao he e med g!” r P to detain Mrs Bates. Before n o i f n i i h t a n T t u No s, he ed a ough e Cap arriving at the scene he had Polic aking thr dispatch fterward ce offi summoned a doctor who had at. A Spe then later. pathies ine the bo anager ’s gan e t m m already viewed the body b y n e s a n h r his ua the to t r to q kept ay in and discreetly passed to him office a brief for as being hat w a report. The doctor had e w y d y d a l o t m b ac e the s. m ex noted the fine froth around wher question to tell hi u g the victim’s mouth and nostrils — askin wants yo a classic symptom of drowning — and the “He small bruise above his right temple. “The injury in question is entirely consistent with the account of the incident given by the wife of the deceased,” the doctor had written.

happened, Helen,” Thao said. Helen explained that Arthur had been attempting to free a jammed winch when a sudden gust of wind has sent the boom swinging wildly across the deck. It had struck him on the side of the head and knocked him overboard. Despite her frantic efforts, he had drowned by the time she could reach him. “Was your husband not wearing a life-jacket, Mrs Bates?” the captain asked, through his interpreter. “No. I told him to put it on. He said it was too cumbersome.” At this admission she shrugged indefinitely and tried to smile. A moment later she said, “I didn’t bother to argue, captain.” And as the full impact of what she had admitted finally went home, added in anguish, “It’s my fault, isn’t it, captain? I’m to blame, aren’t I? I should have insisted,” but Captain Pham took pity on her distress and shook his head. “No one for blaming, Mrs Bates,” he said in English, but his kind words were wasted because Helen had already dropped her head and started to weep inconsolably again.

“At first Helen had been prepared to turn a blind eye to what she considered to be a passing fancy, after all, it was no use killing — literally or figuratively — the goose that laid the golden eggs, but that all changed when he bought the new apartment” The Apartment Back in Ho Chi Minh City five hours later, Helen sat in the living room of her apartment while Thao busied herself in the kitchen. The truth was that Helen wanted to be left alone so that she could celebrate, but that was not an option. Helen had discovered that Arthur was having an affair six months earlier

when she realised that he was behaving… differently. Eventually, she had become suspicious enough to follow him to a hotel one night where she had seen his pretty young secretary waiting for him in the foyer. Then they had gone up to a room together. In an instant, everything had fallen neatly into place for Helen — Arthur’s late-night ‘business meetings’, the new clothes, the gym — it all made sense. At first Helen had been prepared to turn a blind eye to what she considered to be a passing fancy, after all, it was no use killing — literally or figuratively — the goose that laid the golden eggs, but that all changed when he bought the new apartment. It was in truth a magnificent acquisition: a top floor penthouse suite in a prestigious block with a wide balcony and magnificent views of the river and the city. But she hated it. More to the point, Arthur knew that she hated it. Helen suffered from acrophobia, or ‘height phobia’ as the experts usually called it. She had a mortal fear of high places. Arthur knew all of this, of course, yet he had still bought the place. It was ‘a good investment’, he said, but she knew that wasn’t the real reason for the purchase. The real reason was that he wanted to get rid of her, to drive her away. (According to the terms of their prenuptial agreement, if he left her then he would have to pay a lot of money, but if she left him then he didn’t pay a cent.) But Helen was not a woman so easily cowed. To spite him, instead of complaining she had moved into the apartment. And to rub salt into the wound, every night she would go out onto the balcony where she would grasp the railings, shuddering and trembling with terror. Now Arthur was gone, she would move out and sell. But first she wanted to go out onto the balcony one last time as a final insult to dear old Arthur. Holding her breath, Helen stepped unsteadily through the open doorway and grasped the balcony rail. She heard a sharp crack and felt the rail move even before she had time to register what was happening. Suddenly, the ground was rushing up to meet her. That was when she recalled seeing Arthur kneeling near the edge of the balcony that morning. “What are you doing, Arthur?” she had asked. He had waved a spanner in the air. “Just checking that everything is safe and secure for you, my love,” he said, though there was a look of anxiety on his face that she couldn’t quite fathom. Now, it was suddenly clear: Arthur had been planning a nasty accident for her, just like she had been planning a nasty accident for him. “Oh, Arthur,” she moaned. “You really were a pig, a two-faced, adulterous pi…” This is a work of fiction. All names, characters and incidents are invented. Rob Marsh is the author of 30 published books (both fiction and non-fiction). He currently lives in Ho Chi Minh City

July 2013 Word | 191

The last call BEING BACK AT MY FIRST LOVE… is a special feeling. It is such a great honour to work with Arsenal again and be an ambassador for the club. 16 YEARS LIVING IN LONDON… has resulted in me gaining a North London accent. London is home for me forever. I love living there. MY BIGGEST REGRET… is not winning the European Cup (Champions League) in my time at Arsenal. Without being cocky, we did have a really great team, but we just didn’t get the luck at the right time.

I AM UNSURE… about my future, but I do know I will be travelling around the world representing the club. I literally just signed the contract and if we both feel comfortable with it, we can continue for a few years I hope. ARSENE WENGER… is like a father figure to me and we have a great relationship, even now. I hope to meet him for lunch soon to have a chat.


about after I said no to them for such a long time as I wasn’t interested. But they persuaded me. They said this was more than just a normal advert and all the stars were involved. It was certainly a smart career move after my initial hesitation.

I TOOK A LOT OF STICK… on the football terraces when I was doing my modeling, but it is all good fun. Most fans who talk to me are so polite and friendly. THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE… are the nicest people I have ever met. I loved my time in Scotland and I am just a little disappointed it was only a short stay. A LOT OF FOOTBALLERS… come up to me and say, ‘I was talking to you on your blog.’ I say, ‘Sorry it wasn’t me.’ I have never written a blog in my life and only recently started a Twitter account. A lot of people pretend to be me on blogs. Arsenal will be playing Vietnam at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Wednesday Jul. 17. The match kicks off at 7pm. For more information go to asiatour2013

192 | Word July 2013

Former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg was in Ho Chi Minh City last month to promote the Gunners’ upcoming clash with the Vietnamese national team on Jul. 17 in Hanoi. Photo by Alexandre Garel

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