This Week in Saigon: Special Tet Edition

By: Angee the Diva


Flower festivals are a huge part of Tet holiday in Vietnam. Check out these flower markets in Saigon to see awe-inspiring displays that welcome in the Year of the Pig.

Nguyen Hue Flower Festival

Nguyen Hue Walking Street, D1
From 2 February to 8 February (7pm to 10pm each day) | FREE

The Nguyen Hue Flower Festival will be opened to the public starting at 7:00pm on 2 February until 10:00pm on 8 February. Locals, expats and tourists in Saigon can expect to see spectacular displays of giant pigs and beautiful colorful flowers decorating the entire length of Nguyen Hue Walking Street. Grab the chance for various photo opportunities with flower displays created by organizations from neighboring provinces. This is the largest and most famous Tet Holiday display in Ho Chi Minh City, so expect large crowds all day and night.

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Phu My Hung Flower Festival

Crescent Mall, 101 Ton Dat Tien, D7
28 January to February 4 | FREE

Don’t live near to District 1? You’re in for a treat this Tet if you happen to stick around District 7!. The Phu My Hung Flower Festival takes place along the banks of Crescent Lake behind Crescent Mall in Phu My Hung area. The festival will feature four main display areas. At the entrance, Spring Road is where you can enjoy replicas of the most renowned areas in Vietnam associated with flowers as well as statues representing the Year of the Pig. This year, the Spring Wharf area will be decorated as a floating flower market with an area for festival goers to release their well-wishing lotus lanterns into the lake. With traditional performances, flower market, competitions, and an assortment of food vendors, there’s sure to be something to please everyone in the family.

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Tao Dan Flower Festival

Tao Dan Park, Truong Dinh, D1
1 January to 10 February | 4:00am - 11:00pm | VND30,000

If you’d like to enjoy the flower displays for the Year of the Pig in Saigon with slightly smaller crowds, head to Tao Dan Park. Since the beginning of January, the Tao Dan Flower Festival has boasted various types of displays ranging from flowers, ornamental plants to hand-cut bonsai. Purchase flowers from local growers or simply wander around in all the splendor of nature. Other exhibitions, workshops, and activities are also available all day.

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Tet Flower Markets

Gia Dinh Park, Phu Nhuan District
Le Van Tam Park, Vo Thi Sau, D1
23/9 Park, Pham Ngu Lao, D1
Te Canal, Tran Xuan Soan Street, D7
Imperia Apartments, An Phu, D2

Flower markets are abound all over Saigon in almost every major neighborhood. These markets will not have performances or many large displays, but you’ll be able to purchase special yellow or orange colored flowers and enjoy the beauty of the flowers without large crowds. Some of the most notable ones are set up at Gia Dinh Park in Phu Nhuan District and also Le Van Tam Park and 23/9 Park in District 1. Another option is to visit District 7 to see the floating flower market along the Te Canal, where boats from the Mekong Delta arrive with the freshest blossoms. In District 2, head to the large lot around Imperia Apartments in An Phu to pick up some colorful flowers to inaugurate the debut of the Year of the Pig.

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Another integral part of Tet celebrations is food! It is always best to experience the holiday traditions with a Vietnamese family, and if you’re invited, do take advantage of this special honour. If that’s not possible, you can also head to these places to enjoy Tet feast delicacies.

Happy Lunar New Year 2019 at Chill Dining

Chill Dining, 27th Floor, AB Tower, 75A Le Lai Street, D1
4 to 9 February | 5:30pm - 10:00 pm | VND1,500,000
FacebookHotline: +84 93 882 2838

Chill Dining is offering a special Tet Reunion Dinner and a la carte menu for Lunar New Year 2019. Executive Chef Dannet D’Souza has curated five gourmet menus, giving a luxurious twist on traditional favorites by including world-class ingredients. As an added bonus to your special Tet feast, book a table on 4 February and stay late to view the Lunar New Year fireworks display from one of the tallest perches in Saigon.

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Spring on Sky Lunar New Year 2019

EON51 Restaurant & Lounge, Level 51, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, D1
4 February | 6:00pm - 12:00am | VND1,650,000
Facebook+84 28 6291 8751

EON51 Restaurant & Lounge invites you to celebrate the Year of the Pig 2019 atop the infamous Bitexco Financial Tower. This year, they have decided to fuse Vietnamese tradition with Western style for a special set menu. With luxurious ingredients such as Wagyu beef, lobster, and foie gras, this multi-course menu will impress the most discriminating palettes. Enjoy your Tet feast to the soundtrack of a live classical string duo. End your meal with an unobstructed view of the Lunar New Year fireworks show.

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Spring into a Prosperous New Year

Hotel Nikko Saigon, 235 Nguyen Van Cu Street, D1
4 to 7 February | 11:00am - 10:00pm | VND650,000 - VND10,000,000
Facebook; +84 28 3929 5520

For the Year of the Pig 2019, Hotel Nikko Saigon welcomes families and friends all over Ho Chi Minh City to enjoy a reunion meal this Tet Holiday. The chefs will be offering three lunch or dinner options featuring many Tet favorites. The Longevity set lunch or dinner is a vegetarian meal served between 4 to 7 February for VND700,000 per person. If you prefer to dine with a larger group, Hotel Nikko Saigon has the Good Fortune Table Set lunch and dinner at VND10,000,000 for a table of 10, also available from 4 to 7 February. Alternatively, on Lunar New Year Day, 5 February, they are offering the Prosperity Dim Sum Brunch. This special meal is only available from 11am to 2:30pm at VND650,000 per person for the buffet. Whatever your choice may be, it is advisable to call or email for reservations.

Be aware that during the Tet holiday period, many local restaurants may be closed between 4 to 6 February. Nonetheless, most western food restaurants, grocery stores and convenience stores will remain open. If you want to know where you can eat out during Tet, check out our handy list of Tet 2019 opening hours for restaurants in Saigon.

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What New Year celebration is complete without fireworks? During the whole Tet Holiday, you may see - and hear - your Vietnamese neighbors popping fireworks and making festive sounds to ward off evil spirits and chauffeuring in prosperity for the new lunar year. But if you’d like to see some fireworks light up the sky, here’s a listing of 6 locations that will showcase stunning Lunar New Year fireworks displays. The fireworks displays usually last 15 minutes and will start at 0000h on 5 February. The best thing is to find a rooftop or elevated position to watch the show, especially if you’re trying to catch the Thu Thiem area display. If you decide to view the fireworks from the ground, be sure to claim a spot early as the crowds will be massive.

Thu Thiem Tunnel Area
Dam Sen Cultural Park, So 3 Hoa Binh, D11
History Ethnic & Cultural Park, No 16, District 9
Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park, No 1, Nha Be District
Sac Forest Square, Can Gio District
Cu Chi Tunnels, Cu Chi District

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If you’re a fan of American football, or NFL, you know that it can be hard to catch the game in Saigon because of limited coverage and the huge time zone differences. So it’s not surprise that you’ll have to get up extra early to catch the BIG game this year! On Tet Eve, 4 February, grab some friends and head down to these spots around Saigon for some drinks, ‘breakfast’ and sports fan mania.

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Buddha Bar
7 Thao Dien Road, D2
Opens at 5:30am with a special breakfast menu available.

55 Thao Dien Road, D2
Opens at 6:00am with drink and food specials

27-29 Huynh Thuc Khang, D1
Opens at 6:00am

Guru Sports Bar
10 Ky Dong, D3
Opens at 6:30am with a breakfast combo (food/beer) menu

Pitchers’ Sports Bar & Grill
C0.01 Riverside Residence, Nguyen Luong Bang, D7
Opens at 6:00am with breakfast menu available

Phatty's Sports Bar and Grill
48 Tôn Thất Thiệp, D1
Opens at 6:00am


Saigon is a city that never sleeps and the party isn’t stopping for Tet! If you’re feeling a little boogie in your feet, these venues have the right vibes for you. Do note that some venues will be closed during the first few days of Tet. It’s best to message or call your favorite venues first before heading out, especially between 4 to 6 February. For the venues listed below, I have included closure details.

Mad Circus - Mundo Loco

Arcan Saigon, 236/43/21 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh District
1 February | 10:00pm - afternoon | VND100,000-VND150,000

Calling all Saigon party freaks! The Mad Circus party series is back for its 3rd edition of all night dance insanity at Arcan Saigon to kick off your Tet holiday. With a special guest DJ from New York, HAVONY, and a killer line up of some of the favorite local DJs in Saigon spinning disco, house, tech-house, and techno, this party just won’t quit. What makes this party really crazy? Dance performances, burlesque atmosphere, glitter face painting by GlitterArty, and of course the never-ending party which will last well beyond sunrise. Don’t forget to dress up in your best Mad Circus attire to get discounts at the door and bar! This is by far my favorite party series in Saigon!

Arcan Saigon will be closed 4 February to 7 February, but is open on weekend nights (through to the morning).

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Broma: Not A Bar, Rooftop, 41 Nguyen Hue, D1
2 February | 9:00pm - 2:00am | FREE

This monthly event brings DJ Stu Miller to Broma to heat up the decks, providing feel-good vibes from lush deep house beats to soulful disco-inspired treats. Head up to the picturesque rooftop for a chill evening with delicious cocktails from the crazy, sexy, cool Broma staff. Foot-tapping at your table or tearing up the dancefloor - free entry and enjoyment is for everyone all night long!

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New Year in White Firework Party

Tiffany’s Penthouse, #25-09 Vincom Center Dong Khoi, 72 Le Thanh Ton, D1
4 February | 9:00pm - 2:00am | VND500,000 - VND1,000,000
Facebook; +84 91 444 3688

If you want to enjoy the Lunar New Year fireworks without the massive crowds, this may be a great option for you. Tiffany's Penthouse is hosting a white party and firework viewing to celebrate the Year of the Pig in posh fashion. The apartment boasts a magnificent view of the Saigon River, over which you can view the Thu Thiem Bridge fireworks display can be clearly seen. For VND500,000, receive entry plus 2 drinks and 4 balloons. Or, for VND1,000,000, get free flow champagne, red or white wine and free blow balloons! Dress code is all white and reservations are required.

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Tet’s Eve Celebration

Broma: Not a Bar, Rooftop, 41 Nguyen Hue, D1
4 February | 9:00pm - 2:00am | VND300,000 with 1 drink

Tet’s Eve is gonna be lit! Half of the Banana Hustle Crew, G Nomad and the Stinkin’ Bishop, are bringing their signature tropical sounds to the Broma rooftop again. Get ready to shake your hips and burn up the dance floor because these guys will get you moving! Perched on a perfect spot above the Nguyen Hue Walking Street, this is a great spot to watch the Lunar New Year fireworks at midnight, high above the crowds.

Broma will be open nightly throughout the Tet holiday but the Vitamin D party on weekend mornings will restart after Tet.

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Tet Pig’s Year Party

The Lab - Shots & More, 101 Pham Ngu Lao, D1
4 February | 6:00pm - late | FREE

If you find yourself near Bui Vien but then realize it’s possibly not the best decision, head to The Lab - Shots & More, just down the road. Away from the chaos, you’ll find a great bar with great shots and a fun theme. The staff, dressed as mad scientists, will shower you with their creative shots. For this event, they’re giving away a free welcome Vodka Bacon Shot! Escape the hustle and bustle for a great evening out.

The Lab - Shots & More will be open as usual the entire Tet holiday, except 5 and 6 February.

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Tet Rooftop Party

The Lighthouse, Level 6, 104 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1
4 February | 9:00pm to 5:00am | VND100,000

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at The Lighthouse. Come party early on three levels with pumping underground electronic music and banging cocktails. Stay until midnight to watch the fireworks from the rooftop in the heart of District 1. Then stay all the way until sunrise, dancing to welcome in the Year of the Pig.

The Lighthouse will be closed 5 to 7 February but will be open as usual on other dates.

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The Face of Envy

Envy Club, 76 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, D1
Every Tuesday | 10:00pm - 3:30am | FREE for ladies
Facebook+84 28 3913 8168

Envy Club hosts ladies night every Tuesday. One of the most expansive and extravagant clubs. They’re also one of the best ladies nights because they provide free flow of long drinks; none of those sugary cocktails! With aerial artists, dancers, and the hottest DJs spinning electronic hip hop, this is a great spot for a night out with the girls.

Envy Club will be closed on 28 January but will be open for the remainder of the Tet holiday.

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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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