Angee the Diva’s Complete Guide to Vibe Nation Festival

By: Angee the Diva

Music and performances keep Vibe Nation flowing day and night.

Good news for the festival foodie in us all.

Vibe Nation’s fun zones and activities will get you moving and let you relax.

Cliff’s Notes of the fine print - all the dos and don’ts

Can’t wait or can’t go? Here’s the list of Vibe Nation teasers this weekend.

If you haven’t heard about Vibe Nation Beach Festival, you have been hiding under one massive rock! Vibe Nation is the summer’s largest and most varied music festival in Vietnam! From 5 to 7 April, party goers from Saigon and beyond will be living their best lives at Hodota Resort and Boating Center, just two hours south of Ho Chi Minh City. And I’m here to give you all the tea on what to expect from start to finish. So let’s get into it!

All. The. Party. At Vibe Nation.

It is a music festival, so naturally that’s where we should start. There are four stages sprawled across the beautiful and eclectic grounds of Hodota Resort, each with full line ups to keep you rocking all day and night. Expect tunes, beats, and grooves covering various genres of music (not commercial EDM) from more than 80 DJ’s, bands, and musical artists from Vietnam and worldwide.

The party kicks off Friday at 10:00am on the Main, Beach, and Lake Stages with Reggae/Dancehall and Hip Hop/Funk/Soul. Though the Main and Beach Stages will go quiet around 4:00am, the Lake stage will continue right through Saturday until 7:00am Sunday morning! Don’t forget to check out the Secret Stage for a stellar blend of tunes from a global mix of DJs. Rest assured, no matter what time of the day or night, there will be grooves to suit your mood. For a full schedule and more information, browse the full line up.

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That’s not all! Over 40 performers will be bringing fire, circus, magic and surprises. The whole weekend will be filled with great shows, but here are a few of the acts I’m excited to catch:

- Genderfunk - There will be glitter and gagging and you might even get wet. You can never be ready for what will happen with this gender-bending bunch! Gather your whole crew for a prime-time spectacular, Saturday night on the Main Stage.

- Green Means Go - This guy is gonna blow your mind with his silky voice and beyond cool use of loops and sounds. Find him Sunday afternoon on the Main Stage.

- Maraphoria - This Filipina sensation will be rocking her last sets before she welcomes her bundle of joy into the world 😍. Don’t miss the old school hip-hop, R&B and house vibes live, Friday on the Main Stage or Saturday on the Secret Stage.

- Madam Goodsir - A roaming, latex-clad experience awaits as Madame Goodsir offers services like hugs, dancing, and spanking! See if you can spot her during the weekend.

- Saigon Dub Station - A main sponsor, this collective of guys bring all the reggae, dub and dancehall jams to the Beach and Lake Stages.

- Zilwa Band - Drums, soulful voices and tribal melodies synchronize to create a dance-worthy experience, Saturday afternoon on the Main Stage.

Rest up this week because you’re gonna need loads of energy and stamina to keep up all weekend long at Vibe Nation!

Amazing Options to Stay Fed and Watered

All the tasties in a small area, hot and fresh - and I’m not just talking about the cute boys 😜. Y’all know I live for a good meal and festival food is a major highlight for me. Thankfully, Vibe has all the flavours covered. You can expect food to be reasonably priced, on average between VND60,000 to VND100,000 per item. Feed your fix all day and late into the night from about 8:00am to around 2:00am.

There are vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, carnivorous and sweet tooth options. Basically everyone is covered and my stomach is already growling! Here’s the rundown:

- Kashew Cheese - Vegans will be blissfully satiated with sandwiches, salads, and platters showcasing this finger-licking vegan cheese.

- Union Jack’s is a Vietnam festival staple, serving their award-winning authentic fish & chips, British hot dogs, fish tacos, and potato scallops.

- Chaouen Lounge will be on hand to help you live your full Moroccan/Arabic food fantasy with hummus, veggie and chicken tajines, lamb asado and much more.

- Poke House brings the newest healthy food trend with flavorful and fresh poke bowls of all tastes and salads.

- Dolce Vita battles the heat with their awesome homemade ice cream.

- Panam Kebab brings nostalgia., cause what is a good night out without a kebab or two? Other hangover handlers include chicken tikka, veggie sandwiches, and loaded fries.

- Indika Saigon is bringing a new menu of tofu burgers, crepes, and ice cream.

- Hodota Resort will round out the food market with classic Vietnamese dishes and seafood BBQ.

No festival is complete without a watering hole to keep you hydrated. There will be two fabulous beer sponsors available. Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer is the working man’s relaxation aid, selling at VND50,000 for a cup and VND70,000 for a pint. Craft beer is represented by Te Te Craft Beer, selling their 4 flavourful and refreshing brews: White Ale / Electric IPA / Mellow Red & special brew debut! One cup of any Tete flavour will run you VND75,000.

Bring a bottle or buy one at the festival to hydrate the good ole fashioned way with water for VND15,000 each refill. There will also be a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages to keep the palate wet all day and night.

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Keep in mind that no outside food or drink, including alcohol, is allowed at the festival.

Vibe Nation BeachFest Offers So Much More

Come for the music, sample the food, and stay for everything else! Hodota Resort has a sick layout at its beach and lake. The grounds are peppered with colourful eggs, domes, and huts along tree-lined walkways - plenty of spots to get some great shots for Instagram. There are also lots of spaces to take a break from dancing, like the hammock fishing pond, snuggle pits, and bubble tubs. Or simply take in the nature and fresh air.

If you didn’t bring swimming gear, no worries! Just go visit the creative spots for face paint, body art, costumes, and copious amounts of glitter. How about some activities reminiscent of your childhood? Get wet with the squirt guns, try your hand at the circus toys, or show your best at competitions on the beach.

Wanna do something more creative? Head to the Creative Village manned by The Wavy Bunch. Go watch some of the live artists or get your own creative juices flowing with fingerpainting, crafts, and jewelry making.

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Learn something new at one of the many workshops. Do some yoga on the beach. Take a contact improv dance class. Create some art. Build a puzzle. Try some meditation.

You can also spend plenty of time wandering the stalls in the Vendor Marketplace. Unique clothes, cool playthings, earth conscious wares, and creative creations await. Be sure to take a few extra dong to buy a cool keepsake.

There will be no shortage of activities at Vibe Nation BeachFest. Grab some friends, make some new ones and have a blast. And be sure to visit ColorBox to capture special memories. If all else fails, look out for me! Angee the Diva and JK Hobson of #iAMHCMC will be wandering about on Saturday to get some video interviews with festival goers 😁

A Wee Bit of Adulting - Vibe Nation Essential Tips

Whether this is your first festival or your a seasoned pro, you’ll find these next bits of information helpful to ensure a fun, safe and comfortable experience. Here’s my list of Vibe Nation Do’s and Don’t’s.

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Do book accommodation ahead of time. You will need to sleep at some point during this party weekend. But, you can’t bring your own tent and there is very limited space for hammocks. There are still several accommodation options available, including 4-person tents, a few premium rooms, and a few double bed rooms. Another option is to purchase accommodation from somebody who has already pre-booked. Visit the PouchNation website or check the comments for listings on the Vibe Nation page.

Don’t forget about transportation. No bus company goes directly to Hodota Resort, so you need to either book through Vibe Nation, hire a taxi, or drive. Book bus tickets by phone/Whatsapp (no longer available online) at +84 93 777 5838. Driving is not advised (think about your state for the return journey!), but if you decide to take the road trip anyway, you must book parking ahead by emailing BEFORE 1 April.

Do bring some ID and cash. You will need a valid ID or passport to check into your accommodation, which they will hold and secure for you. If you choose not to bring your ID/passport, you will need a clear copy plus a deposit of VND1,000,000 to check in. You’ll need some money for food and drinks to load onto your PouchNation cashless payment bracelet. Whatever you don’t spend can be returned at the end of the festival, so it’s wise to bring more than you think you’ll need.

Don’t bring any outside food or drink including alcohol, juice and water. Other prohibited items are glassware, weapons, and drugs. Think of the gate like airport security. They’re gonna check your bags and confiscate any contraband or escort you off of the festival grounds.

Do pack light! You don’t want to lug a bunch of stuff around or, worse, lose something valuable. Try to keep it to one small bag or backpack. Bring a beach towel, swimsuit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, light clothing for hot days and something warmer for cooler nights. Party clothes, costumes, or capes are also recommended. Remember, it will be hot and sandy. Dress accordingly.

Don’t bring valuables. Neither Vibe Nation nor Hodota Resort are responsible for anything lost or stolen, so best to leave precious items at home. Secure your things in your room or tent (with a small lock), and keep a watchful eye on anything valuable you need to have like phone or keys.

Do party responsibly. Stay hydrated, drink responsibly, wear sunscreen, rest as often as needed, don’t swim while overly intoxicated and “date” with care 😉. If you see someone who may be in trouble, get help from festival staff or medics. We’re all adults here and we all want to get home in one blissful piece.


Vibe Nation BeachFest is starting early with a weekend of teaser events all over Ho Chi Minh City. If you can’t wait to get this party started or unfortunately can’t attend, head out to these events to get you in full party mode.

EcoCentric Festival #2

Schiller Saigon, 28 Duong So 10P, Thu Duc District
30 March | 4:00pm to 7:00am | 

Earth conscious folks of Saigon, unite for a sustainability festival like no other. About 20 minutes north of District 2, Schiller Saigon welcomes back the party people for another day of music, food, and eco-friendly vendors. Featuring tunes from Vibe Nation artists as well as performers, vendors and food that can be found at the festival, this is a wonderful way to get those good vibes flowing. There will also be talks in the Organic Forum to elevate your mind and teach you something about sustainability in Saigon. Note that this festival is for adults 18 and over only. There will also be tickets to Vibe Nation BeachFest available for purchase.

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Meet, Make and Share: Vibe Nation Costume Making

Arcan, 236/43/21 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh District
26 to 31 March & 2 to 3 April | 6:00pm to 11:00pm | FREE

Need to work on your festival gear? Arcan has you covered. Chill on their picturesque rooftop while making costumes with new friends. The team will provide some materials, but feel free to bring your own to use or share. Arcan opens its rooftop for several days to allow you to get those creative juices flowing and make something spectacular. So come hang out on the rooftop with good music, good drinks, and good vibes.

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Genderfunk Presents Saigon Is Burning: All Stars #2 Drag Battles

Saigon Outcast, 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, D2
30 March | 7:00pm to 11:00pm | VND150,000

Saigon’s favorite drag troupe is back with another installment of Saigon Is Burning! This time, they welcome all the previous winners back to compete for the All Stars #2 crown. Head down to Saigon Outcast to catch this truly wild show full of gags, giggles and glitter. Competitors include the winner from the previous six editions of drag battles. Who will take home the crown? Come out and route for your favourite. Tickets to Vibe Nation BeachFest will also be available for purchase.

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Vibe Nation BeachFest Pre Party: DJs in Session

Indika Saigon, 43 Nguyen Van Giai, D1
30 March | 7:00pm to 11:00pm | FREE

Saturday night is rocking at Indika with DJs from Vibe Nation. DJ Manny and a special guest with spin tropical music vibes in the garden. Come thru to grab last-minute Vibe Nation tickets at VND1,500,000 (regular price, VND1,800,000). Bring some friends and buy 3 to get 1 ticket free. The discounted price and special offer are only valid on Saturday night at Indika.

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Hazy Lemon Sunday Day Party: Vibe Nation BeachFest Pre Party

Arcan, 236/43/21 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh District
26 to 31 March & 2 to 3 April | 6:00pm to 11:00pm | FREE

Relax by the pool and sip a cocktail in the comfortable downstairs space of Arcan. Whether finishing up some costumes from the workshop, or listening to chill house, beats, and tribal, you’re sure to have a relaxing time at Arcan for the Hazy Lemon Party. A few special discount tickets will also be available. Don’t miss out on some of the DJ’s that will appear in the Vibe Nation lineup.

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Sunday Acoustic Session: Green Means Go meets Light of Tunel

Indika Saigon, 43 Nguyen Van Giai, D1
31 March | 7:00pm to 10:30pm | FREE

Green Means Go and Light of Tunel team up for chill acoustic sets on Sunday. Both acts will be hitting the main stage at Vibe Nation BeachFest but you can get a sneak peek this weekend. Slow all the way down in the garden with some reggae and dub vibes with a cool drink and some yummy food. Ease into your last work week before Vibe Nation with some chill vibes.

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Now if after all of this you’re still not excited about lagest music festival in Vietnam, check out this teaser video! I personally can’t wait to get my toes in that sand, dance the night away, and check out all the fun. As always, if you see me around, say hey! Snap a pic and post and tag @angeethediva in it and I’ll give you a special shout out. See you at the beach! #YoureWelcome.

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Escape Hunt and Ubiquest in HCMC

By: Aleksandr Smechov

City Pass tries out two of Saigon’s most popular live detective games, Escape Hunt and Ubiquest, playing the role of a hard-nosed detective investigating a murder mystery.

Outside of theatre and video games, you don’t see much role play or interactive activities in Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily, we uncovered two detective games that drop you in the middle of a murder mystery, letting you live out those Sherlock Holmes fantasies (minus tobacco pipe and risk of death). Escape Hunt and Ubiquest are difficult (to an extent), immersive and rewarding – read on to find out exactly why they are some of the most fun you will have in Saigon.

Escape Hunt

Located somewhat furtively above The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the quietly decorated lobby area of Ho Chi Minh City’s Escape Hunt office. Four rooms sit at various angles, blocked off by tall curtains. These are the escape rooms, and you will know nothing about them until you walk in, have the door shut and locked on you, and be given one hour to solve the mystery and find the key to unlock the door.

Escape Hunt HCMC

Escape Hunt is the brainchild of an English Psychologist who, after experiencing health issues and moving to Thailand, developed the idea of a detective game that has 2-5 players pitted against an intricate mystery.

Escape Hunt now has 25 locations, with a slew of others set to open in North America. The Ho Chi Minh City Escape Hunt branch was opened in September and has been popular with teens, universities, companies, tourists and expats.

Escape Hunt Saigon

Three of our staff stopped in for a 60-minute sleuth session. We were ushered into a low-lit room, explained the rules and left to solve the mystery and find the key to the door within an hour timeframe.

We heard the door sadistically lock and some moody music creep up. The game master was available for hints, but each time we asked for help from her we got minutes shaved from our remaining time.

Escape Hunt in Ho Chi Minh City

The puzzles are tricky, teamwork-oriented, and require some outside-the-box approaches. Few if any have solved the mystery and escaped the room without at least a few hints from the game master. Finding the next clue or coming upon an item you were searching for feels highly rewarding, and you get sucked into the role quickly. Time flies as you use a whiteboard to jot down notes and figures, collect pieces of evidence and nervously glance at the large LED clock ticking away.

It’s thrilling, addictive and relies on individual strengths working in unison rather than outsmarting the other person. As a team-building exercise or a rainy-day diversion, Escape Hunt is ace.

To check out available mysteries and booking options, check out the Escape Hunt booking page.


Ubiquest Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City’s second live detective game takes players outside the claustrophobic confines of a room and throws them in the streets of Saigon.

This doubles as a self-directed walking tour, but you may want to do the tour part after the live game – you’ll be too busy role playing a hard-nosed detective, questioning actors in various roles, finding mafia-tied ancient artifacts or any of the other challenges Ubiquest presents.

For our experience, we chose the Urban Tales game, a murder mystery set in Cho Lon, Ho Chi Minh City’s China town. We were picked up by a cute yellow 1967 Citroen 2CV, a happy-go-lucky young driver creaking away at the ancient dashboard. We arrived at a dilapidated living space, escorted up to the top floor and into one of the rooms, a few curious residents peeking at us through open doorways.

We were briefed, told to search the evidence room and given our gear (map, notebook, water, etc.), including cell phones for further instructions from the head detective.

Urban Tales takes three to four hours to complete. Be sure to go when the wind blows and the sun’s behind the clouds – you can easily get exhausted walking around in the unbearable heat on a cloudless day. Sun block and a decently wide hat are all but mandatory. You’ll be provided water but it’s a good idea to bring a bottle of your own too.

Ubiquest detective game

For entirety of the game, we set out into the streets of Cho Lon with our map and collection of evidence, going from actor to actor, uncovering details of the murder. The characters drop you clues and hints when you press them for information, sometimes refusing you if you don’t put enough pressure or reasoning into your argument. The acting is hilariously campy, and the game would benefit from some natural English speakers with an acting background, but the campiness is tolerable in the grand scheme, and allows you to play out your own amateur detective fantasies without judgment.

Ubiquest Cho Lon

We were pitted against two other teams, and although we were the first to find out the murderer, another team found the sacred artifact before us. Afterwards we all took cyclos to a Chinese restaurant for free lunch.

Urban Tales is an eclectic way to discover Cho Lon – or any other part of Saigon – just be sure to go when the sun isn’t blazing.

For more games, check out the official Ubiquest page.

Best Things to Do with Kids in Saigon

By: Barbara

Many of Ho Chi Minh City's things to do are suitable for families with kids of all ages. If you are living in Vietnam as an expat or just visiting, we list the 10 best things to do with your children in Saigon.

Don’t forget to comment below to let us know what are your recommendations!

City Parks and their Playgrounds

The city's parks are places where childish exuberance, which can be hard to contain in a hotel room, can be unleashed. Van Thanh Park in Binh Thanh District has paths and a field for little people who just need to run, as well as a small playground and a swimming pool. While the kids are busy being energetic, adults can relax in a bamboo hut over a small pond or work up a sweat on the tennis courts.

Saigon Parks

Listening to Songbirds

Tao Dan Park in downtown District 1 also has room to move, making it a popular spot for city dwellers to take their morning and evening exercise. And it's not just people who visit the park. Songbirds are taken to the park's little cafe (fronting Cach Mang Thang Tam Street) every morning, their cages hung from purpose-built frames to encourage them to sing. It's a fascinating experience to visit the bird cafe, especially watching the bird owners take their beloved pets home by motorbike.

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre

The park, which has large playground and an indoor play centre, is a short walk from the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre. The 55-minute water puppet shows, all in Vietnamese, need to be booked a few days ahead.

You could continue the bird theme with a visit to Pet Me Coffee in Phu Nhuan District. This small drinks-only cafe has a resident mini-owl and several parakeets, which can be petted, as well as some larger more exotic birds who hang out at the front of the coffee shop.

Photo Source: Golden Dragon Theatre

Family-Fun in Suoi Tien Amusement Park

One of the city's wackiest attractions in town is the Buddhist-themed Suoi Tien Amusement Park. Allocate a full day here, especially if you plan to visit the vast water park section. The amusement park can be quite baffling if you're not well versed in Buddhist stories because there is limited signage in English. Still, a stroll through the strange displays, which include a wish tree and The Royal Herbal Wine Palace, can be very entertaining. There is also an aquarium, 4D cinema, a dolphin show and the Snow Castle, the perfect place to escape Ho Chi Minh City's heat ... by plunging into a sub-zero world of ice and snow.

Photo Source: Suoi Tien - Andrea Hale

Pretending to Be Adults in Kizciti

Younger kids will enjoy learning about the world of work at Kizciti in District 4. The staff here usually has enough English to explain how each activity centre works. Each child receives a small amount of kizo, the Kizciti currency, on entry and they must decide how to manage it. Some activities cost kizo, and some earn it. A small open-air cafe serves basic food and coffee to sustain the "kiz" and their parents through a long day of "work", which can entail learning to be a pilot, a paediatrician, a delivery person or a firefighter.

Photo Source: Kizciti

Indoor Kid’s Play Centres and Playgrounds

Ho Chi Minh City has several indoor play centres and amusement arcades. In the city centre, Vincom Center has a play area and a game zone in its basement. In District 2, there's a play area in the garden of Snap Cafe and in District 7 there's an air-conditioned indoor playground inside Bee Bee Premium Kid's Cafe (4th floor, 96-98 Cao Trieu Phat, Phu My Hung).

Older kids can while away a few hours at Paintball Saigon, X-Rock Climbing, in the pool at Lan An Sports Club or at the bowling alley on the fourth floor of Diamond Plaza.

Photo Source: Snap Café

Visit a Witch-Themed Café

Younger kids can be entertained for hours at the witch-themed Ba Cay Choi (Three Broomstick) cafe on the third floor of The Vista Walk in District 2. Activities at the cafe, which can be entered via the stairs or a giant slide, include candle-making, baking, hat-making and painting. Make sure you order something with a suitably disgusting name from the food and drink menu, such as bug mud or ghost pumpkin spaghetti.

There are more cool cafés for you to bring your children to: A long rainy Saigon afternoon can be spent playing board games and snacking on poutine at Monopolatte Au Play Cafe, while a long scary evening can be spent eating ribs. (There's a pool in the outdoor section).

Photo Source: Witch Coffee

Playing Detective in Escape Hunt

Escape Hunt is a game played indoors with a group of two to eight people. You are locked inside a room with a mystery murder to solve. It is one of the best thing to do in Saigon for families with teenagers. You must work together to find clues that will help you find out who is the killer and how to escape.

Learning Arts in Vinspace

In the expat area of District 2, there is a range of activities for older kids. Some of the more interesting include taking a workshop or joining a summer camp at Vinspace art studio.

Photo Source: Vinspace

Saigon Reunification Palace

The Reunification Palace is a prime example of a must-visit family-friendly attraction that has a special appeal for kids. The roomy but slightly run-down public areas could be the backdrop for a princess fantasy, while the basement war rooms will appeal to hero-types. Making the palace even more appealing is its location, a short walk from the Haagen-Dazs ice cream cafe.

Families traveling to Vietnam with kids should not worry about things to do in Saigon. We only listed our top 10 attractions but there are many more great ideas that will make your stay memorable. You may also want to read our article What to Do in 24-hour in Saigon.

Arabian Night in HCMC

By: Quang Mai

Funds raised from the event will be donated to Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind in District 10 to renovate and buy equipment for a Multi-Sensory Room that supports 305 students here to develope their academic learning. Multi-Sensory Learning happens when more than one sense is used to acquire and retain information – so applicable for children with multi-disabilities.


Saturday, 15th September 2012


From 7pm till late


InterContinental Asiana Saigon
Corner of Hai Ba Trung & Le Duan St., Dist. 1, HCMC

Ticket cost:

VND3,165,000 per ticket
VND31,650,000 per table of 10

Tel: (84-8) 3832 9912

Please click here to visit Arabian Night micro website

XO Tours: Much imitated but never replicated!

By: Barbara Dorothy Clarke

We all know that it is near on impossible to copyright an idea and protect intellectual property in Vietnam.

But what does that mean for your day to day business when you have an original idea and an excellent product?

Luckily although people can steal your ideas – in minute detail – and almost totally replicate your offering - it’s the little things that make a brand – and ensure that brand still stands head high above any pale imitations.

Spend 5 minutes with Tung who is the founder of XO Tours and his passion and enthusiasm for what he does is palpable. It is a simple idea – tourists want to see the real Saigon but not on the back of a grubby motorbike and behind an even grubbier driver. Step up XO Tours with female drivers with class, style and excellent English who are also able to provide a female perspective on life in Vietnam.

XO Tours was the first company in Vietnam to offer affordable motorbike tours with attractive female tour guides dressed in traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai. All the XO guides are handpicked and fluent in English but it is Tung’s focus on service that really sets XO Tours apart.

Tung invests heavily in every detail of his brand and his employees imbue the same high brand values. All his employees are trained to the highest standards – whether it is presentation, language skills, driving skills or personability . All employees are full time and their bikes are upgraded at Tung’s expense to ensure maximum comfort and safety for clients.

This is a business where the customer experience is king – people are buying memories and that is what he aims to deliver. Staff retention is key and bonuses and profit sharing make for motivated and loyal employees who are focused on growing the company by providing the best experience they can.

Customers come from all over the world and a high percentage of business comes from word of mouth – simply the best publicity you can get – being number 1 on Trip Advisor for 2 years can’t be bad either.

Bristling with new ideas, Tung started with basic tours – he was the first to do night tours – then first to do foodie tours. Now others are jumping on the bandwagon - some good -some not so good….

In spite of this, XO Tours is expanding and bookings are full – anything between 18-24 guests go out on any one night.

So competitors can steal his ideas, follow the same routes , and visit the same areas, cosy up to the same suppliers…..

Imitate they may – replicate never!

Do you know of any businesses with similar experiences?

Saigon Artbook Did It Again!

By: Phuong Tran

Saigon Artbook Did It Again!

Saigon Artbook is a quarterly publication that catalogs the work of three artists who live in the Saigon area, in the hope of promoting innovative and undiscovered artists. With each catalog, Saigon Artwork hosts a party where people can come to meet the artists and enjoy their work. For more information, visit Saigon Artbook Webpage.

The third Saigon Artbook, held on 24 and 25 April at 2 Le Cong Kieu Street, District 1 in Saigon, attracted a huge number of spectators and fans to the illustrations of Kristopher Kotcher (Frenemy), Khoa Le and Laurent Judge. Strong interest during the first two Artbooks had prompted the organizers to hold the third Artbook over two days. Given the success, they may have to extend future events even further.
The exhibition was only open to people who had registered online for a limited number of free tickets, but such was the interest that all tickets had been claimed within the first half-hour! This proved the effectiveness of Saigon Artbook’s viral marketing.
With each ticket, a person was given two coupons: one for a bottle of Peroni beer and one for the beautifully designed book featuring artworks of the three artists – the main reason most people come to the quarterly exhibition.

Saigon Artbook third versionTwo coupons were used to exchange for one Peroni and one artbook copy

The building that Saigon Artbook chose was a run-down, old-style house on Le Cong Kieu Street in District 1. They had spent several days painting and decorating it, and I was surprised at how they virtually turned it into a new house.

Saigon Artbook third versionFrenemy Artwork on the rooftop

On the first floor, right after a typically French, narrow stairway, was a big room with a yellowish wall offset by windows painted red. This provided a good background for the artworks.

Most people could lurk around this exhibition area, have a chat, exchange their coupons for a beer and the book, and of course talk to the artists.
Each artist had their own ways to express their skills and artistic sense. Kristopher (or Frenemy) occasionally chose a random wall to draw on. Khoa Le created an awesome body-painting on a female model. Meanwhile, Laurent was busy signing fans’ books – well, he not only signed but drew: every single one of his signatures was an artwork in itself.

Saigon Artbook third versionLaurent's signature (I think this one is specially for me!)
Saigon Artbook third version


Frenemy was busy with his iconic cartoon creatures

The second floor was the rooftop where people could enjoy the DJ’s performance and watch Khoa Le’s body-painting model (many guys took photos with her as well). This was a great place for people to relax in the fresh air while sipping Peroni beer and having a good chat with new friends.
I went to the last two Saigon Artbook parties but this one was the biggest and it just keeps growing. I really look forward to introducing my foreign friends to this must-see event in Saigon.

City Pass Guide caught up with the three illustrators:

From left: Frenemy, Khoa Le and Laurent

City Pass Guide: Could you define your style in one sentence?

Frenemy: Cartoonist, colorful with a mixture of graffiti.
Khoa Le: Pop-surrealism meets illustration.
Laurent: Many, many styles mixed together but mainly impressionism and surrealism, I think. 

CPG: What is your source of inspiration?

Frenemy: From the cartoons and comic books that I watched and read when I was a kid. I have read a couple of manga titles before but never get into it much because I don’t like the style.
Khoa Le: From many things, music, film, cartoons, books, novels, magazines, etc. I particularly listen to Radiohead and Muse.
Laurent: I basically read, watch and observe whatever exists around us.
CPG: What is your favourite artwork out of all the ones displayed here today? And why?

Frenemy: Each of my artworks communicates a different message and has its own beauty and characteristics. It would be unfair if I favour this over that.
Khoa Le: It would be my “Deep Sleep”. It completes my satisfaction.
Laurent: It is “Lightning Bolt” because it comprises many styles: impressionism, surrealism, cubism, etc. I also have all the times and a huge variety of objects combined altogether. Its details are so rich that one can easily get lost while looking at the piece.Saigon Artbook third versionDeep Sleep by Khoa Le

Saigon Artbook third versionLigtning Bolt by Laurent Judge


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