Best Places to Celebrate Christmas & New Year in Saigon 2019

By: Rastian Gauna

Christmas is fast approaching and before you know it, 2020 will be upon us! Is your appetite ready for one of the grandest times of the year?

Aside from Tet, Christmas and New Year’s Eve are some of the most celebrated events in HCMC. Catholic churches, streets, and malls are beautifully decorated with lights, crib scenes or even Ông già Noel! This is usually the time when families and friends get together to have some fabulous food, fun, and adventure! What have you got planned out for your loved ones this year?

If you’re wondering what to do and where to go in Saigon this festive season, look no further than this awesome list of Christmas and New Year promos I’m about to give you!

Shri Restaurant and Lounge

72 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3

If you’re in the mood to socialize and bring your family to a nice place on Christmas Eve, why not have your Christmas Dinner at Shri Restaurant and Lounge? Shri will be preparing an exclusive Christmas menu from 24th to 26th December for only 399.000++ VND. They will also host a New Year’s Dinner and Countdown to say goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020!

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Shri Restaurant and Lounge

PARKROYAL Saigon Hotel

309B-311 Nguyen Van Troi, Tan Binh

Feel the holiday spirit with special Christmas treats and exciting events at PARKROYAL Saigon

CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER

December 24, 2019 from 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Have a wonderful Christmas Themed Buffet with Chef’s Special Dishes, Premium Seafood and a selection of Imported Meats at Garden Brasserie (Ground Floor, PARKROYAL Saigon Hotel) for only VND 999,000++ per person, Buy 6 Get 1 Free! This includes a welcome Christmas Cocktail for each guest and a very special Santa Claus visit who will be handing out gifts to all children!

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: PARKROYAL Saigon Hotel

NEW YEAR’S EVE COUNTDOWN PARTY

End the year with a bang and get your dancing shoes ready! Join the PARKROYAL New Year’s Eve Countdown Party on December 31, 2019 from 8:00 pm till late at the Poolside (Ground Floor, PARKROYAL Saigon Hotel) for only VND 1,800,000++ per ticket. A Special Discount will be given for purchases of 5 tickets & above.

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: PARKROYAL Saigon Hotel

- Seafood Extravaganza Buffet - with Chef’s Signature Dishes (Baked Lobster with Cheese, Baked Oyster in 11-cooking-styles, Seared Foie Gras with Apricot Salad, Roasted Whole Pig Phillippine style, Roasted Imported Beef Wellington and much more).

- Open Bar - with wide selections of Beverages (New Year Cocktails, Sparkling Wines, Red/White/Rose Wine, Draught Beer and Soft Drinks).

- Dance The Night Away - with PARKROYAL’s award winning Music Band

- A Lucky Draw - with delightful prizes throughout the night!

FESTIVE GOODIES

You may also purchase a creative selection of wonderful Christmas Goodies, that will make perfect Gifts for your Family Members, Friends and Business Partners.

Roasted Turkey
VND 2,900,000++ each (serves up to 6 Guests)
(Accompanied with Chestnut Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce)

Chocolate Christmas Log Cake (35 cm)
VND 420,000++ each

Christmas Rum Fruit Cake (15 cm)
VND 220,000++ each

Christmas Cookies (Chocolate Chips, Almond, Raisin Oatmeal, Peanut)
VND 25,000++ per piece

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: PARKROYAL Saigon Hotel

MAJESTIC Hotel

1 Dong Khoi, Ben Nghe, D1

Majestic Hotel Saigon wishes you a fantastic holiday season through their fabulous events! Get your Christmas Turkey from 20th November to 25th December from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm for only VND 2,399,000! This includes whole roasted turkey with vegetable stuffing, mashed potatoes, and 4 kinds of sauces.

If you want a fancy Christmas Party, join the Majestic Hotel Christmas Party on 24th December, 2019! Go for a BBQ Buffet Dinner at Proma AB & Sky bar on the 5th floor from 7:00 pm - 10:30 pm for only VND 2,100,000 for adults and VND 1,050,000 for children. You can also have a Western Set menu at MBar on the 8th floor from 7:00 pm - 12:30 am for only VND 1,599,000 (Set 1) - VND 1,999,000 (Set 2).

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: MAJESTIC Hotel

Welcome 2020 with glitter and gold with the Majestic Hotel New Year’s Eve Party! Get glammed up on 31st December, 2019 at 7:00 pm - 12:30 am. Join the BBQ Buffet Dinner at Prima AB & Sky Bar for only VND 3,300,000 (adult) and VND 1,650,000 (child) or the BBQ Buffet Dinner and grand fireworks display at the MBar for only VND 3,600,000 (adult) and VND 1,800,000 (child). What could be better than enjoying great food, partying with good company, and watching the grand fireworks?

LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

2a-4a Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, D1

LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon takes it up a notch by giving you a variety of options over Christmas and New Year...

ATRIUM CAFÉ RESTAURANT

Atrium Café Restaurant - Ground Floor, LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon, 2a-4a Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, D1

HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS GALA DINNER

24th December 2019 | 7:00 PM - 11:30 PM

Add some extra sparkle to your festive season with a scrumptious Christmas Eve Gala Dinner and a surprise visit by Santa Claus for your little ones at Atrium Café Restaurant.

VND 1,850,000++ / Adult with free flow of house wine and sparkling wine

VND 990,000++ / Child (age 4 to 12)

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

FAMILY CHRISTMAS DAY & NIGHT BUFFET

Wednesday, 25th December 2019 | Brunch: 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM | Dinner: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Make this Christmas even more special by gathering your family members to enjoy fresh seafood, fine wine and good conversation at Atrium Café Restaurant.

VND 1,500,000++ / Adult with free flow of house wine and 1 complimentary glass of sparkling wine

VND 750,000++ / Child (age 4 to 12)

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

THE ULTIMATE NEW YEAR’S EVE GALA DINNER

Tuesday, 31st December 2019 | 7:00 PM - 11:30 PM

End 2019 on a high note and enter a bright 2020 with a New Year’s Gala Dinner.

Specially crafted for this holiday season, distinctive cuisine awaits you and your loved ones at

Atrium Café Restaurant.

Atrium Café Restaurant | Ground Floor

VND 1,850,000++/Adult with free flow of house wine and sparkling wine

VND 990,000++/Child (age 4 to 12)

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

NEW YEAR’S DAY GATHERING BUFFET

Wednesday, 1st January 2020

There is no better way to celebrate the first day of the New Year than with a world-class international buffet featuring a large selection of seafood specials, sweet treats, sashimi station and many more delicious offerings

Brunch: 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM | Dinner: 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

VND 1,500,000++ / Adult with free flow of house wine and 01 complimentary glass of sparkling wine

VND 750,000++ / Child (age 4 to 12)

(All prices are subject to 5% Service charge and 10% VAT.)

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

YOSHINO RESTAURANT

Yoshino Restaurant – 2nd Floor, LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon, 2a-4a Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, D1

JAPANESE HOLIDAY EXCLUSIVE KAISEKI DINNER

Discover a wonderland full of exquisite flavours and the authentic culture of Japan through a

Holiday Exclusive of 8 Courses for Christmas and New Year’s Eve only at Yoshino Restaurant.

Christmas Eve: Tuesday, 24th December 2019

VND 1,780,000++ / Adult with 01 complimentary glass of sparkling wine

New Year’s Eve: Tuesday, 31st December 2019

VND 1,780,000++ / Adult with 01 complimentary glass of sparkling wine

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

ITALIAN TRATTORIA OGGI

Ground Floor, LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon, 2a-4a Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, D1

FESTIVE SPECIAL COURSE DINNER

Experience a magical night with a delectable Festive 3 Course Dinner to delight every appetite this cheerful season.

Christmas Eve: Tuesday, 24th December 2019

VND 1,200,000++ / Adult with 01 complimentary glass of sparkling wine.

New Year’s Eve: Tuesday, 31st December 2019

VND 1,200,000++ / Adult with 01 complimentary glass of sparkling wine.

(Prices are subject to 5% Service charge and 10% VAT)

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

DELICA-HANS

Delica-Hans - Ground Floor, LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon, 2a-4a Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe Ward, D1

CHRISTMAS SWEET DELIGHTS

1st - 26th December 2019

Holiday season is a special time to pamper oneself. Treat you and your family nicely with

artisan-crafted Christmas Delights that are sure to sweeten this beautiful season.

Winter Red Velvet Cake VND 680,000+

Christmas Stollen (300 grs) VND 180,000+

Christmas Chocolate Roll Cake VND 550,000+

Christmas Mocha Roll Cake VND 500,000+

Festive Cookies (200 grs) VND 156,000+

(All prices are subject to 10% VAT.)

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: LOTTE Legend Hotel Saigon

Hôtel des Arts Saigon

76-78 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, D3

VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS EVE at the SOCIAL CLUB RESTAURANT (23rd FLOOR)

A Red and Gold Christmas themed party on Tuesday, 24th December 7:30 pm - 11:00 pm for only VND 2,888,000++ / guest! This includes free flow of wines, champagne & cocktails.

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Hôtel des Arts Saigon

Elevate your memorable Christmas Eve celebration with an exceptional evening brunch spread including imported oysters, lobsters, labelled prime cuts, foie gras, snow lotus bonbons, grilled turkey breast, and so much more!

TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS DINNER at SAIGON KITCHEN RESTAURANT

For something more classic, how about a Traditional Christmas Dinner? For a timelessly charming Vietnamese dining experience and your family’s beloved holiday classics, look no further than the jubilant buffet dinner at Saigon Kitchen Restaurant. Savour a dazzling selection of delectable roasted turkey and Wagyu beef from the carving station, the freshest seafood and artisan-crafted Christmas desserts. Even the kids have plenty to celebrate with our Santa Claus and his red velvet bag full of exciting presents.

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Hôtel des Arts Saigon

SAIGON KITCHEN RESTAURANT (2nd FLOOR). Tuesday, 24th December 6:30 pm - 10:30 pm for only VND 2,388,000++/ guest. This includes free flow of wines, soft drinks & beer along with a Live Jazz performance.

GALAXY ABOVE SAIGON

To end the night, Social Club Rooftop Bar welcomes guests for a glamorous New Year’s Eve celebration “Galaxy Above Saigon”. The Social New Year's Eve Galaxy above Saigon is a countdown to the beginning of the year 2020 on the trendiest rooftop in the heart of the city! Welcome in the New Year with a lavish party of good cheer.

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Hôtel des Arts Saigon

SOCIAL CLUB ROOFTOP BAR (24th FLOOR). Tuesday, 31st December at 10:00 pm - 2:00 am for only VND 4,888,000++ / guest. This includes free flow of champagne & spirits.

Le Meridien

3C Ton Duc Thang, Ben Nghe, D1

Le Meridien Saigon brings you a home away from home this Christmas. Join in the festivities and feel the sense of gathering at Le Méridien Saigon with traditional Christmas food and drinks, catchy music and a whole lot of cheer!

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Le Meridien

Visit on the 24th December for the following:

- Christmas Eve Dinner Buffet at Latest Recipe Restaurant

- Christmas Eve Set Dinner at Bamboo Chic Restaurant

You can also enjoy the following set on the 25th of December: 

- Christmas Day Brunch at Latest Recipe Restaurant 

- Christmas Day Set Lunch at Bamboo Chic Restaurant

- Christmas Day Set Dinner at Bamboo Chic Restaurant

Prices from VND 1,400,000++ / person

You can also enjoy a Countdown Dinner or New Year Brunch at Le Meridien with your loved ones, surrounded by sumptuous food and flowing drinks to reminisce the past year.

Visit on the 31st December for any of the following:

- New Year's Eve Gala Dinner at Latest Recipe

- New Year's Eve Set Dinner at Bamboo Chic Restaurant

- New Year's Eve Dinner Cocktail party at Latitude 10 Lounge

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Le Meridien

For the New Year's Day Brunch on the 1st January, head to Latest Recipe and eat until you’re busting at the seams!

Prices from VND 750,000++ / person

And if you’re in the mood to party, bid farewell to 2019 and add a sparkle to 2020 whilst gazing over the stunning view of Saigon River. Get unobstructed views of the fireworks, listen to the live DJ, cheers your loved ones, and say hello to the new year in style!

Come over to Poolside (9th floor) on the 31st of December and wash 2019 away for only VND 1,200,000++ / adult. This includes 1 glass of sparkling wine, selected canapes and live DJ music. Remember, this party is for guests 18 years and above only.

Pullman Saigon Centre

148 Tran Hung Dao, D1

Are you up for a Mad Christmas Eve? Join Maddie and the Gang for a Madly special 4-course Christmas Dinner and wine pairing! Here’s what’s on the delectable menu:

Amuse Bouche
Oyster Fine de Claire escabeche with burrata foam, Pulpo, Sauvignon Blanc, Spain

Mad Appetizers
Freshly poached half Canadian lober with virgin olive lemon dressing
Pulpo, Sauvignon Blanc, Spain
Pan-fried duck foie gras with pomegranate and red cabbage, pistachio crumble
Oraison, Grenache-Syrah-Mourcedre, France

Mad Main
Australian Black Angus Tenderloin, Parmesan potato mash, truffle sauce served with sauteed seasonal market vegetables
Michel Lynch Reserve, Saint-Emilion, Merlot-Cabernet-Franc, France

Or:
Fillet of steamed tooth fish with seaweed crust, fennel confit & herbal sauce
Tommasi Le Rosse Delle Venezie IGT, Pinot Grigio, Italy

Maddie's Dessert
Traditional Christmas Pudding with gingerbread ice-cream or Mad Cheese Board

All available for VND 2,380,000 NET / guest

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: Pullman Saigon Centre

You can also go for a Christmas Eve Dinner buffet. Visit Pullman Saigon Centre the night before Christmas and enjoy a festive dinner at Food ConneXion.

Feast on stuffed turkey with all the trimmings, grandma’s pumpkin pie and of course the freshest seafood at our Christmas Eve buffet dinner. Of course, you’ll also experience free flow drinks including red & white wines, beer, soft drinks, juices, tea, and coffee all while enjoying live music, a decorate-it-yourself gingerbread station, fun kid’s games and lucky draw.

Prices are VND 1,800,000 NET / adult and VND 720,000 NET / child from 6 to 11 years old.

The party doesn’t end there because you can also end the year in style with the Mad Rooftop Party! You won't want to miss welcoming the new year overlooking one of the best views of Saigon! Watch the New Year's Eve fireworks from 9:00 PM - 1:00 AM whilst downing free flow house spirits, selected cocktails, wines, beer, juices and soft drinks plus a complimentary glass of Prosecco for New Year's Eve Countdown. There will also be DJs, entertainment, games, dancing and more!

VND 1,700,000 NET / adult free flow or VND 3,500,000 NET / adult free flow package (includes 1 Champagne bottle).

Remember, this party is only for guests 18 years and above.

IL Corda

11 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe, D1

IL Corda offers the perfect Christmas Event for your year-end date! For an ideal Christmas, chill with your beloved, taste delicious dishes, sip on fine wine, and listen to nostalgic songs played on the sweet piano.

christmas and new year in SaiGonImage source: IL Corda

If you’re looking for a quieter and more classical Christmas celebration, IL Corda will be hosting a Christmas Piano Night on the 24th and 25th December at 7:00 pm. It will feature wonderful sounds and world-class dishes that will be an unforgettable experience for your special date or family gathering.

Saigon is a city that never sleeps. You'll never run out of choices for things to do and places to go - even during the festive season! Because that's when the fun starts and the party truly comes alive. So take your pick and choose exactly the kind of celebration you like.

Chúc mừng Giáng Sinh, everyone! Cheers!

Banner Image source: irish-american.org


Golf in Vietnam

By: Simon Stanley


Golf in Vietnam. Great Experience

 


Although Vietnam has only 30 golf courses in operation, they are all very high quality and some outstanding designs by the top golf architects in the world. If you get the opportunity to play, you will not be disappointed and you will be made so very welcome wherever you go. As yet, there are no public golf courses in the country and golf is seen as a sport for the elite. Many of the top-position politicians and businessmen play golf as they see it as a good way to discuss business together.

 


Golf here is not as expensive as you would think. During the week, special offers mean you can play golf for around $60. This will include the green fee and caddie. Please note that caddies are mandatory and more about them later. Although many golf courses are ok for walking, due to the heat and the time taken to play 18 holes, it is wise to take a buggy. Prices vary from course to course, but a shared buggy charge will be around $15 per person.

 


golf in vietnam

 


Photo courtesy of Sea Links Golf Resort

 


When you arrive at the golf club, you will be welcomed by the Valet, who will direct you to Reception where you will book in. If you need rental clubs and shoes, the Receptionist will get them for you. Most golf clubs will offer acceptable rental clubs for about $25 for 18 holes or higher quality sets, such as Titleist or Taylor Made for $40. The price for shoes is usually $15. The Golf Shop will stock tees, gloves and golf balls and some clubs offer used golf balls for sale. They will also have a selection of shirts and caps for you to buy as souvenirs. You must be aware of the dress code. Each club will expect you to wear a proper golf shirt, golf shorts, not swimming trunks or very short shorts, golf shoes and each golfer must have their own set of golf clubs, Sharing is not allowed. All golf clubs have locker rooms and you will be given your own locker and key. Do not lose the key, otherwise they will charge you for a replacement.

golf in vietnam


Photo courtesy of Do Son Seaside Golf Resort


The caddie will help you on the golf course. When you book a tee time, insist on a caddie who can speak English. You will be spending 4 or 5 hours with them, so you do want to find out more about their life and you will find they are so interested in you. They will do everything for you except hit a golf ball. They will take care of your clubs, clean your golf balls, fill in divots, rake bunkers and repair pitch marks. They will describe each hole for you, tell you where the hazards are and even give you the line of the putt. As their salary is small, then you should give them a tip at the end of the round. The amount of tip is up to you, but the usual tip is 250,000 to 400,000 Vietnam dong per caddie ($13 to $20).



Make sure you are properly prepared for your round of golf. Drink plenty of water before you play and during the round. All golf courses have rest houses on the golf course and many return to the club house after 9 holes. Bringing your own drinks and food is a no no and should not be done.



After your round of golf, make sure you give yourself time to relax at the clubhouse with a welcoming and refreshing cold drink. Golf clubs are excellent places to eat, very reasonable in price and will offer both local and international menus.



Most of all enjoy yourself and take in the beauty of where you are. You are in a very special place with some friendly, smiling people who want to do their best for you and hope you will come back and see them again.


golf in vietnam



Other Golf articles by Simon Tinkler:
Golf in the North of Vietnam
Golf in Nha Trang
Golf in Da Nang
Golf in Phan Thiet and Mui Ne
Sea Links Golf Course - Heaven or Hell
Holes-in-One for BRG Group


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

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.

Date:

Saturday, 15th September 2012

Time:

From 7pm till late

Venue:

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

Bookings:

events@auschamvn.org
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?

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