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CHUYN DU LCH, M THC

VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 9


TC GI: BAO ROSS

TH GII PUBLISHERS

W
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T he
Motorcyc
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Diaries

Contents
Sep.2016

64

58

96

THE TALK
010 / The Full Package

Foreigners need to up their game

011 / The Big Five

September in Vietnam

BRIEFINGS
12 / The Party of the Century
Word celebrates 100 issues

14 / The Burger Challenge

Can you eat a 2kg burger in less than


30 minutes? Owen Salisbury couldnt

16 / Shutta

Its not Flappy Bird, but its been


developed in Vietnam

20 / The Best Bus in Hanoi

Just in case you wanted to use public


transport

2 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

24 / Battling the Sharks

Vietnam trials 4G. Will it make a


difference?

INSIDER
52 / Keeping it in the Family
Three generations, one business

116 / Top Eats Hanoi

This month: Dons Tay Ho

118 / Banh My Pho Hue

Banh my without all the bling

120/ Mystery Diner HCMC


Monsoon gets the thumbs up

58 / The Homestay Experience 122 / A Taste from the Past


In search of authenticity

Pho sold as it used to be

64 / The Motorcycle Diaries


Che Guevara would have been
proud. Well, maybe not

96 / The District 2 Special

Theres something a-brewing over


Saigon Bridge

EAT & DRINK


110 / Hidden Gems

Our favourite dishes in our favourite


places

122

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 3

Contents
Sep.2016

124

132

194

TRAVEL

38 / Just In

124 / The Art & Architecture


of Georgetown

164 / HCMC City Guide

A trip to multicultural Penang

178 / Bar Stool

132 / The Abandoned Valley

182 / Coffee Cup

Phong Nha gets a new day trip. Its


breathtaking

HANOI
42 / To-Do List
48 / Just In
144 / Hanoi City Guide
152 / Bar Stool
154 / Coffee Cup
162 / City Map
HCMC
32 / To-Do List

4 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

186 / Top Eats


192 / City Map
COLUMNS
148 / The Alchemist
150 / The Therapist
158 / Medical Buff

172 / Location, Location,


Location
190 / Know Your City
FINAL SAY
194 / Bike to the Future?
Can anything dethrone the
motorbike?

198 / Road Tripping

10 ways to keep your road trip from


falling apart

200 / Ten 10

Business owner and travel industry


pioneer, Ben Mitchell

160 / A World of Good


161 / Book Buff
170 / Body and Temple
200

CONTRIBUTORS

This month we asked our team to tell us about


their best travel experience in Vietnam
HARRY HODGE
Contributor
I went to Hanoi for what was
supposed to be a three-day weekend
and ended up spending a month there
filming a travel show. I stayed in the Old
Quarter and walked past Hoan Kiem Lake
to work every day, and spent Tet there too. It was an
unexpected working holiday, and gave me a good
memory of the city.

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

EDITORIAL
NICK ROSS
Chief Editor
nick@wordvietnam.com

VU HA KIM VY
Editorial Manager
vy@wordvietnam.com

MADS MONSEN
Creative Director
mads@wordvietnam.com

JULIE VOLA
Photo Editor
julie@wordvietnam.com

SIAN KAVANAGH
Staff Writer
Kayaking in Halong Bay. The scenery
was breathtaking and beyond anything
Ive ever experienced before. It was
such a thrill to explore the islands and
caves.

BAO ZOAN
Staff Photographer
baozoan@wordvietnam.com

SIN KAVANAGH
Staff Writer
sian@wordvietnam.com

RODNEY HUGHES
Staff Photographer
rodney@wordvietnam.com

OWEN SALISBURY
Staff Editor
owen@wordvietnam.com

JULIE VOLA
Photo Editor
No trip is completely perfect, but for
me it would have to be that time when
I went to the Mekong Delta, but you
know what? You can read all about it in
our cover story. :)

JESSE MEADOWS
Staff Writer (Hanoi)
jesse@wordvietnam.com

NGUYEN LOC
Layout Designer
loc@wordvietnam.com

MADS MONSEN
Creative Director
When I first moved to Vietnam, my dad
came over and we went on an epic trip,
just the two of us together. Wonderful
memories, including standing on the
back of a jeep in Dalat and almost getting
decapitated by a wire as the driver did not realise that
tall Norwegians are even taller than the jeep when
forced to stand behind it. It all went well in the end.
JESSE MEADOWS
Staff Writer
Swimming in Pongour Falls near
Dalat, one of those places that feels
like a dream. I still swoon when I think
about it.
ZOE OSBORNE
Contributor
The first time I went back to my
boyfriends hometown. I had never
been in the Mekong Delta before and
when I came to Tra Vinh his beautiful
family totally immersed me in their way
of life it was my first time preparing canh chua,
eating dog, looking after cows, etc. I learnt how to
fish like his family, and we cooked cashew nuts by
the river.

ADMINISTRATION
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General Director
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For advertising enquiries please call Ms Bao on +84 938 609689 or Ms Trinh on +84 936 269244

Special thanks to Pullman Hotel, Shutta, Zoe Osborne, Bennett Murray, Theo Lowenstein,
Vietnam Coracle, Harry Hodge, Edward Dalton, Tan My, Over the Saigon Bridge, Matthew Cowan,
Tran Cam Thu, Vi Pham, Jungle Boss, Karen Gay, Douglas Howerda, Lantern Lounge, Typograf
Cafe, Bpris Lopatin, Dr. Brian McNaul, Dana McNairn, Truong Hoang, Phil Kelly, Greg Ohan, Piu Piu,
Michael Palumbo, 5Ku Station, Ed Haysom, Ben Mitchell and David Legard

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

NICK ROSS
Chief Editor
Undoubtedly my trip to Hang En, the
third largest cave in the world. Sleeping
on a beach in a cave home to 100,000
swallows was sublime.

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CHUYN DU LCH & M THC


ISBN: 978-604-77-2498-7

6 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

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Prelude

hile I was
travelling
this month
I heard
an excellent quote that
sums up the expat
experience.
As an expat youve
got all the freedom
but no rights, at home
youve got all the rights
but no freedom.
Credited to a Hoi Anbased American expat,
Karl Christ, for me the
ultimate evocation of
that freedom is the road
trip. There is something
thrilling about having

horrendous injuries.
The day before I
left Phong Nha for my
own road trip, one of
the guests in the place
I was staying had an
accident. They were
with a group of friends
who that morning had
hired motorbikes for
the first time. Advice is
constantly dished out in
Phong Nha about safety
on a motorbike; dont
wear flip-flops, put on
proper shoes; make sure
you have on long sleeves
and long trousers; put
on sunscreen; make sure
you drink lots of water;
dont drive drunk. And
so on.
Yet sometimes expats
seem unwilling to
give up that notion of
freedom and, young
people being young
people, ignore every
aspect of safety. In this

instance, the person who


had that accident broke
their leg and left in a
taxi to the international
hospital in Hue with
their foot hanging off.
If youve lived in
Vietnam for some time
you will likely know
someone whos had a
bike accident or will
have had one yourself.
You may even know
people whove been
killed I unfortunately
know well over 10.
So if you are going to
do a road trip, and if you
are going to stimulate
that sense of freedom
evoked by the open
road, take care. Your
life is valuable. So dont
throw it away. Unless
youre a cat or believe
in reincarnation, you
only have one of them.
Nick Ross, Chief
Editor

CHUYN DU LCH, M THC


VIETNAM EDITION / VOL. 9
TC GI: BAO ROSS

T he
Motorcyc
le
Diaries

W
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The

the wind in your


eyes and hair, and
driving down country
roads surrounded by
untouched jungle and
soaring mountains.
Anyone who has been
on a motorbike trip
themselves, or watched
the Top Gear Vietnam
Special or The Motorcycle
Diaries will understand
what I mean.
The biggest danger in
a road trip, of course, is
the possibility of having
an accident. Statistically,
youre 40 times more
likely to be killed on
a motorbike than you
are in a car. Time and
time again you hear
stories of backpackers
motopackers we now
call them getting on
a bike for the first time
to ride from North to
South or South to North,
and coming away with

TH GII PUBLISHERS

THIS MONTH'S COVER


Design by DH Advertising
Photo by Nick Ross

Have Your Say


We know youve got feedback. So let us know on Facebook facebook.com/word.vietnam or
via Twitter, @wordvietnam. No matter how positive or negative your thoughts, we look forward to
hearing from you.

Inbox
Do you have
any comments
that you would
like to air? If
so, reach out
and touch
us at nick@
wordvietnam.
com were at
your fingertips.

Time to Fact Check

Get it Right, Please

Pages 130 and 160, August 2016


At Dalats 200-year-old railway
station, you can climb aboard a
steam locomotive bound for Trai
Mat 7km away; a great little ride
for steam train nuts like me.
Just thought I should point
out that Dalat station was
built in 1936, not 1816. The
French werent even here then
and Stephenson didnt build
his Rocket until 1829. Also,
there are no working steam
locomotives in Dalat, the trains
are hauled by diesels. Tim
Doling

Notes From Another City, page 130,


August 2016
I find Don Wills article about Dalat
misrepresentational for a couple of
reasons.
The flowery reputation of Dalat
has been over-ramped by local
culture, rather like stolen or over
Photoshopped photos of food on a
menu, which are then followed by
food that disappoints as it arrives.
In Asia, ritual seeps through all
aspects of a life, and the fantasy
of climbing up to the plateau of
flowers, fresh air, the lakes and
marriage photos provide an airy
dream for people to look forward
to. Dalat provides holidaymakers
basics an affordable bed,
street food and the night market.
Authenticity isnt their goal. Rather,
a place for relief and endless
hanging out with friends, family or
the [betrothed]. The authorities like
that. Its manageable.
Dalat also comes with a diverse
history and a range of things worthy
of note. The Dalat Palace Hotel, for
example, is believed by some to be

Word is usually an excellent


read for the factual local tripper.
However, your August issue
contained some glaring errors.
Page 130, Dalat Railway Station.
Its 78 years old and operates
a diesel train to Trai Mat, not a
steam train. Page 160, Strikes
East of Saigon to Thai Son.
Thai Son is northwest of Saigon,
not east. Chris Evans

8 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

NOTES FROM ANOTHER CITY

Dalat Train Station

Full Steam Ahead

The once-upon-a-time hub of the cog railway that ran from


Dalat to Phan Rang

Inside the steam train running from Dalat to Trai Mat

m in two minds about Dalat. Sure its


been dubbed Le Petit Paris and The
City of Eternal Spring, the scenery
is spectacular, and its Vietnams
most popular honeymoon spot, but as
I explored the region I kept thinking to
myself that maybe Id have been better off
going to Sa Pa or Mui Ne or Nha Trang
instead.
Perhaps if Id been on my honeymoon Id
have had a different perspective on things.
Its not that I particularly disliked the place;
its just that I didnt particularly fall in love
with it either.
Dalat is situated on a 1,500-metre high
plateau in the central highlands of Vietnam,
seven hours from Ho Chi Minh City. Its
surrounding mountains have prompted
many people to liken the area to the French
Alps. Fields of flowers, waterfalls, coffee
and tea plantations, hectares of pine forests
(The City of 1000 Pines is yet another of
Dalats names), vegetable gardens and fruit
plantations are among the things that draw
many visitors to the region.
The area attracts 800,000 domestic tourists
a year, and a smaller number of foreign

130 | Word August 2016 | wordvietnam.com

tourists 80,000 to be exact. The climate is


temperate all year round, the air is fresh, the
skies are blue, and the rolling foothills of the
countryside are lush and green.

Big Attractions

By Don Wills

The city is renowned for its marigold,


hydrangea and orchid gardens. In the centre
of the city is the artificial Xuan Huong Lake,
created in the mid-1980s. Dalats attractions
include the market, the Domaine de Marie
Convent where a pink church sits atop a hill,
the Valley of Love, the Lake of Sighs, Thien
Vien Truc Lam Monastery which can be
accessed by cable car, and Tuyen Lam Lake,
also man-made.
At Dalats 200-year-old railway station,
you can climb aboard a steam locomotive
bound for Trai Mat 7km away; a great little
ride for steam train nuts like me. In the
centre of the city theres a surreal building
dubbed The Crazy House. It is actually a
guest-house, and resembles a cross between
a medieval castle and a troglodytes abode.
The interior is every bit as out-of-this-world
as the exterior.
Dalat City has many buildings with

ENTRY 7:

Dalat

Youve Been Flagged

Beans

A train attendant manages the crossing in the village of Trai Mat

Dalat is famous for its coffee, flowers, fruit and vegetables

French-era architecture, hotels from two-star


and up, Vietnamese and ethnic restaurants,
bars, and a few nightclubs and discos.
Dalats nightlife is best described as muted.
What little excitement there is fizzles out by
around 10.30pm, which is kind of surprising
for a city that attracts so many visitors. Fun
City, it aint.

Big Game
Back in the 1950s, Dalat was a Mecca for
big-game hunters. Deer, roe, wild boar,
black bear, wildcats, panthers, tigers, gaurs
and elephants were all in abundance, and
were eagerly hunted down by gun-happy
sportsmen from across the world. Now
all of the animals have now been wiped
out. The only present-day reminder of
the big-game era is a few mounted heads
youll see on walls here and there. Sad, but
a situation thats happened all too often in
many countries.
To my mind, Dalat is worth spending one
or two days in, but more than that not for
me, thanks. On a rating of one to ten, Id give
it ooh a four. If it wasnt for the steam
train Id give it a three.

So how come Im not as enthused with


Dalat as most visitors seem to be? Its
difficult to put a finger on it. When I was
there I kept looking for something more,
something unique, something memorable,
that would have me gasping Oooh! Ahh!
Wow! This Ive gotta tell the folks back home
about! But none of that happened. The
place left me vaguely dissatisfied. I dont
know about you, but artificial lakes and

vegetable gardens dont push any of my


buttons. Nor do acres of pine trees, for that
matter. OK, the flower gardens are good, but
only for about five minutes. Maybe its just
me. Maybe Im all travelled-out this year. I
might just have to go back and give the place
a second try next year.
Born in New Zealand, Don Wills lives in
Vung Tau. Hes been writing his way round the
region for decades

Dalat City has many buildings with


French-era architecture, hotels from
two-star and up, Vietnamese and ethnic
restaurants, bars, and a few nightclubs
and discos. Dalats nightlife is best
described as muted

wordvietnam.com | August 2016 Word | 131

the first building in Dalat. Its ornate,


art nouveau and although it was later
stripped to simplicity and renamed,
the inside was beautifully restored by
Larry Hillblom from DHL. Theres a
whole story in that as well.
The point is theres a lot of history
in Dalat: the lonely Ankroet Power
Station, Buddhas carved from
wood over 600 years ago in one
of the local temples; the old Lycee
Francaise; the personal collection of
local tools, weapons, instruments
of anthropologist Pierre Morere (his
grandfather was the first person to
plant coffee trees in Dalat).
The depth of Dalat is disguised and
it takes time to see the actuality.
Tim Carson

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 9

Talk
Lead
O

nce upon a time, Asia was The


Wild East, where misfits could
recreate themselves overnight,
even at a corporate level.
Remember the label FILTH, or Failed in
London, Try Hong Kong?
That doesnt wash any more. Asia might
have been a bolthole for corporate no-hopers
back then, but with economic and social
development now so rapid, demands on
expats to measure up have increased, and
the places where you can go to be a screw-up
have shrunk. The Wild East is being tamed,
country by country, province by province.
Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia
now make it clear that they want quality,
contributing expats, not malfunctioning
eyesores who knock down the local culture
while embarrassing their own.
The openness of Thailand has meant that
it has long been a hospice for unrepentant
losers, but even that is changing under
the present regime. Visa runs for the serial
tourist? Not any more, my friend. See that
big red stamp in your passport?

Papers, Please
Word sees a lot of the downside, being
in the journalism business one of the
soft options. Sure, they say, I can write.
Sure, I can take photos, and, being a world
citizen as well as a Western male, I have no
problems taking orders from your female,
Vietnamese, editorial manager.
They can write, but not what you asked
for; they can take photos, but not the ones
you wanted, and as for being subordinate to
our editorial manager, forget it. They cant
do it. Worse, they then deny its an issue.
I have 100 staff, of whom two are
foreigners, said one (actually several) of
the business owners weve talked to. We
spend more time dealing with the issues of
working with the foreigners than with the
rest of the staff put together.
Foreigners with skills are still needed

10 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

TALK

LEAD

The Full
Package
Vietnams rapid development is forcing
foreigners to up their game
and indeed embraced in Vietnam, but
expats with only one attribute a sense of
personal entitlement are going to find the
going here increasingly sticky.
Vietnam is changing so quickly, its not
surprising that the role of expats here is
also changing. Many of us remember the
brigades of charming losers to be seen sitting
outside on stools in Pham Ngu Lao in Saigon
or in the dive bars in Hanoi, drinking cheap
beer until it was time for their next English
teaching class. Many of them were delightful
people, full of entertaining yarns and
unhealed regrets, and most of them were
totally useless, which was perhaps how they
preferred it.
But modern economic times dont have
much space for them. Regulations have
tightened and enforcement improved,
leaving expats the choice of shaping up or
shipping out, as they say. To get on here,
there are three broad categories.

Walk The Talk


First, you can still make it as an Englishlanguage teacher the formal requirement
now is that you have a university degree and
a TEFL or CELTA certificate. But if you dont

take your work seriously, and everyone sees


that you treat teaching as simply a chore,
and a way to earn beer money, expect to
find yourself out on your ear within a few
months.
Second, you go for gainful employment
in a different sector. But to survive youve
got to be the full package. This doesnt just
mean showing talent; you must be a good
communicator, you need a tolerance of
how things are done here, youve got to be
dynamic and responsible, and you must
demonstrate youre worth the salary.
The final option, which is increasingly
attractive in what is more than ever a land
of opportunity, is to go into business for
yourself. Increasing numbers of foreigners
are taking this route. Some succeed, some
fail, and some are just lucky. The issue
here is not just finding the right niche, but
exploiting that niche to its full.
This is no longer the Wild East, where
anything goes, and as Vietnam grows more
confident and outward-looking, and as its
people gain more worldly experience, unless
youre the full package or you decide to go
it on your own, you will struggle to make it
here. David Legard / Nick Ross

Big5
The

British
bigwigs,
dance
festivals,
German
movies and
a run for
charity

Lord Mandelson

Lord Mandelson weighs up the pros and cons of Brexit

Kaiser Souzai are big, so big theyve even got their own genre

This years Hanoi Dance Festival will be staged both in the capital and Ho Chi Minh City

a.

b.

c.

Le Meridien Saigon, HCMC


Thursday, Sep. 8
Once known us the spin doctor
who pulled strings for Tony Blair,
Lord Mandelson will be in Saigon
this month to provide his own
perspective on Brexit. Industry
experts will also be on hand at this
joint BBGV and Eurocham function
to discuss the Vietnamese and
regional implications of the vote.
For anyone intrigued by the impact
of the decisions made by the worlds
fifth largest economy, this should be
afascinating event.
Global Implications of Brexit: A
Special Talk with Lord Mandelson will
take place from 11.45am to 1.30pm on
Sep. 8, 2016. For further info and to
book your place, turn to page 32

The German Film Festival


Hanoi, Hai Phong, Hue, Danang
and HCMC
2
Sep. 8 to Sep. 25
Eight films will be screened at
this years German Film Festival,
offering a versatile mix of dramas,
thrillers, comedies and childrens
movies. A highlight is expected to
be the emotionally charged 2015
film Victoria from director Sebastian
Schipper, with its heavy use of
improvisation by the actors and its
real-time emphasis.
Now in its seventh year, the
festival will be shown in five cities:
Hanoi, Hai Phong, Hue, Danang

and Ho Chi Minh City. Tickets are


free and the films are screened
in German with English and
Vietnamese subtitles.
For information on the complete
schedule in all cities visit goethe.de/
german-filmfestival-vietnam

Kaiser Souzai
Hanoi Rock City, Hanoi
Saturday, Sep. 10

Courtesy of Luminous Showcase,


Hanoi Rock City will be the venue
for an international DJ duo that
have made waves both on the Berlin
underground and more recently
internationally with their live
performances.
With a name that has echoes of
the fictional character, Keyser Sze,
from the cult 1995 movie The Usual
Suspects, over the years Kaiser
Souzai have established a musical
genre all of their own Art-rock
Tech. Drawing influence from 1970s
greats such as Pink Floyd, Genesis
and Yes, while keeping to their roots
of deep and progressive techno,
their sound hit dancefloors across
the globe by storm in 2014 and
2015. The journey saw them end
their New Zealand tour headlining
alongside the legendary Carl Cox.
Kaiser Souzai are big.
But will they be big enough for Hanoi
Rock City (27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,
Hanoi)? Find out on Sep. 10. Entrance
is VND150,000 (VND130,000
concessions) and includes a free
welcome drink.

Europe Dances Into Asia


4

Hanoi and HCMC


Sep. 21 to Sep. 27

The sixth Hanoi Dance Festival,


coordinated by the Goethe-Institut,
has as this years theme Europe
meets Asia in Contemporary Dance.
Over six days, audiences in Hanoi
can experience contemporary dance
in a variety of styles from different
countries: Germany, France, Israel,
Japan, Austria as well as the host
country Vietnam. The festival will
then move to Ho Chi Minh City for
three days from Sep. 25 to Sep. 27.
Tickets cost VND100,000 and
information about each days programme
is available at hanoidancefestival.com

BBGV Fun Run


5

Phu My Hung, HCMC


Sunday, Sep. 25

Now in its 16th year, The BBGV


Annual Charity Fun Run is back
to raise money for disadvantaged
people throughout Vietnam. The
perfect opportunity for team
building, bonding with friends or
family, all the while assisting the
disadvantaged and elderly, this
years 4km run will take place in
Phu My Hung and 9,000 runners are
expected to take part.
For more information about how
to get involved contact Nga at nga.
nguyen@bbgv.org, call (08) 3829 8430
or go to ticketbox.vn. The run takes place
from 7am to 10.30am and will start at
Tan Trao, Phu My Hung, Q7, HCMC

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 11

Briefings
National

The Party
of the Century

t Word were known for our


modesty, which is why to
celebrate 100 issues of our humble
publication we staged the party
of all parties at the end of July. We called it
The Party of the Century.
The venue? Boudoir Lounge in the
Sofitel Plaza Saigon. The invitees? Clients,
readers, friends and in fact anyone
who has a connection to our beautiful
magazine. The outcome? A night of great

12 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

food, freeflow beer, prosecco provided


by Red Apron (it went fast) and Bols
vodka and John Henry mixers courtesy of
Alchemy. In all, a wild night infused with
the Latin rock tunes of Bad Neighbor and
fueled by the hedonistic party desires of
our guests.
But a step back. 100 issues. We hit the
century of monthly deadlines and monthly
copies of Word back in April. In retrospect,
the feat is quite hard to get our heads around

the late nights, the stress, the pain, the


laughter, the fun, the fatigue. Not once, twice
or 10 times. But 100. Thats a lot of sleepless
nights.
Dear reader, we couldnt have done this
without you. Dear client, you too. And dear
members of the team at Word both past and
present. Without you all and all your sweat,
we wouldnt have been doing this for almost
nine years.
Time to make it a decade.

PHOTOS BY WORD VIETNAM

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 13

Briefings The Burger Challenge


HCMC

ts time.
The bearer walks in to cheers
and groans. Flags flutter from the
burden she carries.
My fellow competitors and I share a look
of mixed anticipation and desperation.
We, I say, are definitely screwed.
Today, Im a gladiator, and my enemy is
two kilograms of burger, bun, bacon and
cheese. And I am totally screwed.
Food competitions are not my thing. Ive
never gotten the idea of competitive eating,
preferring to enjoy the taste of my food rather
than having to purge it all back up. It seems a
waste, and frankly unpleasant to endure. So
naturally when Words publisher asked me if
I wanted to do the Pullman Hotels challenge
at their new pop-up Burger Bar, I said yes
immediately. Why else work at a magazine if
not to do stuff outside your comfort zone?

The Fight of My Life


Once Ive accepted, Im unsure how to
proceed, and I spend an instructive several

14 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Can you eat a 2kg burger in 30 minutes?

days researching how to stretch ones


stomach, open ones throat, and cram
potentially fatal amounts of food down the
latter and into the former. I discover Prince
Kobayashi Takeru, the skinny little Japanese
rock-star of global eating contests, who once
put away 62 slices of pizza in 12 minutes. He
embodies the Japanese national spirit of taking
things way too far, but I study his technique
and expand my stomach with water and my
mind with gruelling YouTube sessions.
The day arrives. I show up at the
Pullman, and meet the other competitors,
each hopeful of earning a years worth of
free burgers. There are two other expats
one an American, the other an MMA
fighter who has been in Vietnam for all of
two weeks and one chubby Vietnamese
guy who doesnt speak English.
We chat nervously until The Moment.
After that, its all business.

2 Kilos of Heaven
Lets get something out of the way: the

burger is excellent in every respect. Its


a kilo of prime Wagyu beef, juicy and
rich, with 250 grams each of crispy bacon
and sharp, melted cheddar, with lettuce,
tomato and bun making up the rest. Were
it a normal size, Id have happily chowed
the whole thing down. But the sheer
mass intimidates me. It looks as big as a
hubcap.
However, this is for a noble purpose, so
I get to work.
At first, I shovel away, but quickly flag.
The Vietnamese guy slows drastically, too,
the only one to do worse than I. Beef flies
into the mouth of the other American at an
amazing clip. The MMA fighter works his
burger with fork and knife.
I quickly run into a problem of
mechanics. I simply cant chew and
swallow fast enough. Used to long,
luxurious meals, my jaw muscles are
clearly not up to the task. My pace slows.
We soon gather a crowd. A middleaged Indian fellow starts taking bets. I get

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY PULLMAN SAIGON CENTRE

terrible odds, partly because I waste time


and jaw-power bantering with him.
Six minutes in, I realize theres no way
on Earth I will win. Being fully accurate, I
realised that the moment I signed up, but
I retained the faintest spark of hope Id get
out with my pride intact.
At a generous estimate, I manage about
400 grams, mostly beef and cheese. I barely
touch the bacon, hewn from the belly of a
mighty swine. The bun is a mountain of
carbs, the cheese a heart-stopping mass
of warm, melted cheddar. The patty is a
wheel of Wagyu beef the size, as I said, of
a monster trucks hubcap, and for all my
massive bites and frantic chewing, Ive
done barely a fifth of it.
The lettuce, though: I eat all the lettuce,
because I will not be beaten by a vegetable
(the unfinished mound of tomatoes are
technically fruits. Take that, doubters.)

A Victor Emerges
But the other American he does it. Im

stunned and proud; I feel honoured to


stand in the same room as Mr. Charles
Raezer, who ate 2,000 grams of food
in 32.5 minutes. Raezer, a longtime Ho
Chi Minh City resident, didnt train. He
simply didnt eat for 24 hours before, and
then managed to push through the pain.
The crowd cheers. I see men shaking
hands, women crying and hugging. The
Pullman staff salute Charles, who not only
wins a free burger a month for the next
year, but also doesnt have to pay one
million dong for the burger like us losers.
He shakes the hand of the Pullman
Hotels managers; marketing, assistant,
the main man himself. I watch and
occasionally take cruddy pictures on my
phone.

Aftermath
I notice the MMA guy is still picking at his
food long after the competition ends. He
seems to be enjoying himself.
My burger is still there, mocking me

with how much is left.


Hey, says the MMA fighter. Can I
take your bacon? Since I cant imagine
ever eating again, I allow him to stuff all
250 grams into a doggie bag and saunter
off. He looks happy.
Competitive eating is not for the faint
nor unhealthy of heart, and Im not likely
to ever venture into it again, but Ive learnt
something from the experience. It is this: I
cannot eat two kilos of food in 30 minutes,
not even such a fantastic burger. Not even
with training.
Kobayashi-san would be so
disappointed, but at least Im not in the
Darwin Awards. And yes, I loved every
bite. Owen Salisbury
Think you can do better? The challenge is
ongoing and you can also check out the Burger
Bars massive array of burgers on the ground
floor of the Pullman Hotel, 148 Tran Hung Dao,
Q1, HCMC. The challenge costs VND999,000
unless you finish the burger in less than 30
minutes. Then its free of charge

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 15

Briefings
National

Shutta
An app developed in Vietnam thats created a storm

n an online world dominated by


the social media giants Facebook,
Instagram and Snapchat, its hard
to imagine developing a new social
platform. But the team at Shutta have
discovered, with the right idea in the
right place at the right time, anything can
happen. Their app allows for beautifully
captured moments of intense action,
something that not every smartphone user
can achieve purely with the device in their
hand, even using the burst function.
During the 2013 Festival of Colours in
Tarifa, Spain, James Shimell was trying
to capture the perfect photograph on his
smartphone but kept missing the moment.
I decided to shoot video and extract
the perfect photo that way, says James.
Though I realised there was no effective
way to capture the perfect photograph from
a video without losing quality of the still.
So James decided to create his own tool to
capture images from video, and Shutta was
born.
Shutta really came to life during beta
testing in early 2015, and has since grown
from an initial audience of 7,000 to a current
community of 700,000. The app has been
present on the iPhone market for the past
15 months, and last month they finished up
their Android release.

Intensity
The Android uptake has been good but
challenging, says Barbara Ximenez, cofounder of Shutta. Purely because there
are so many devices and screens you have
to design for. Even so, the intense Android

development has paid off, as Shutta is the


only video-to-photo extraction app available
on multiple platforms.
What started as a standalone tool for
photo extraction became a community after
user feedback. Users were asking for editing
capabilities as well as a built-in platform to
share their stills.
This was a time before Snapchat,
Periscope or Facebook Live had really taken
off, says Barbara. It wasnt common for
people to be predominantly shooting video,
but the act of scrolling through video in slomo is extremely addictive.
James, Barbara and the Shutta project
eventually came to find their home in
Vietnam. Coming [to Vietnam] helped us
get inspired and continue with what we
were doing, says James. Everyone here
has a project and there is this contagious
energy. Vietnam is also home to many
talented, young developers, with 14
universities in Ho Chi Minh City alone
offering computer science degrees.

Mission Alert
A unique feature of the app is the missions
which are designed to give users motivation
and rewards for posting. Each mission offers
a unique prize for the best photograph, and
they cover different themes and events. For
their Android release, they gave away a
Samsung Galaxy S7, as one of the hundreds
of models they spent so much time
developing for.
When you talk to any of the team
members, you can tell that the day job is still
their passion project. Every opportunity they

have to discuss, explain and use the app is


well used.
The app is fantastic, but its the team
that is truly remarkable, says Barbara. The
people behind Shutta are all co-parenting the
project with the same pride and dedication.
At a recent event at Saigon Outcast, the
team turned up together, cameras and
phones in hand, shooting plenty of footage
to be used for social media posts later on.
They spent their day sipping beer and
playing games while filming each other and
joking around. They were working, but to
the untrained eye this was just a group of
friends enjoying an afternoon together.
Its all really clicked, says James. It
makes working easier when youre being
silly and having a laugh, and its difficult
to convince our users that were out there
having fun if were really not.
Part of the laid-back work culture is the
weekly BBQ gathering that the Shutta team
hosts. Theyve nicknamed themselves the
Not Yet Dead Poets Society and bring over
their friends every Friday to celebrate the
weekend with food and cold beer. Now, they
want to expand the fun across the globe;
firstly by taking Poets to Hawaii, and
inviting some of their most active users to
a regular community party to thank them
for their participation in the development of
Shutta.
When you download Shutta you get an
app that offers the ease of having beautiful
photos without the stress of perfect timing,
and a new community of active, excited and
engaged photographers. Sin Kavanagh
To learn more about the app go to shutta.co

PHOTOS BY SIAN KAVANAGH

Briefings
HCMC

The Boat Trip I


Heading down the canal into District 3

t is about 3.15pm when we get to the


Nhieu Loc River. The Dien Bien Phu
bridge lies inconspicuously across the
water; there is nothing remarkable
about this place. The city around us is
typically Saigon the people stare as
they always do, the pastel buildings bake
in the sun and the air is thick and warm.
The Saigon Boat Tour Company manages
a series of boat trips and cruises that run for
various lengths along the Nhieu Loc Thi
Nghe Canal, passing through four central
districts. According to our tour guide,
Thuong: When the water level is low you
can watch the fish dance, and when it is high
you can see the city around you.
There seems to be about 10 too many
people on the staff here. The pace is slow, no
one rushes, and as we sit, a tall man takes two
fresh, wet coconuts out of a room and down
to the water.

The Black
The Nhieu Loc was once known as the
Black Canal. During the war, many people

18 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

PHOTOS BY VU HA KIM VY

from the provinces moved to the city for


work, and at the time there was no proper
drainage system on Saigons rivers, so the
canal soon became badly polluted.
It was named for its smell and its
colour, Thuong says, but as we bob
upstream, oared by a stringy young man
at the back of the boat, the water is more
pleasant green-brown than black. The
government made a new initiative to clean
all the river systems here, and the river is
beautiful now.
In 2001 the World Banks HCMC
Environmental Sanitation Project installed
and replaced over 400km of sewers
around the city, adding a 9km wastewater
interceptor to the canal system. It was
a big project, Thuong smiles, and now
there is a rubbish boat that comes twice
every day. As she speaks a fresh plastic
box of just-nibbled noodles floats past us
downstream. It must be hard to keep such a
huge stretch of water clean when so many
people live around it.
Our boat is low to the water. We sit on

a large square seat under a small canopy,


equipped with a life jacket and a bright
white non la straw hat for each guest. As we
move so does the photographer up and
down the craft trying to get the best shot
and the best angle. Locals flop their limbs
over the railings at the edge of the water
and young boys squat close to the bank
with fishing rods.
Fishing is illegal here, Thuong says. If
the police catch them they take the nets and
rods and the fish.
As the minutes pass we make a slow
trail round a bend in the canal. On our
right is a little alley of water, full of stilted
slum shacks and makeshift shanties.
Who knows how many of the inhabitants
are not on the state records. We turn the
corner, and another long boat sits in front
of us.
Traditional Vietnamese music emanates
from its sides and three musicians sit on its
deck, playing to each other in impossible
Asian modalities. We pull up to their boat
and listen for a while, before floating lazily

up the river again as the sun slaps the


canopy above our heads.
Soon it is time to turn around, and with
the wind behind us the journey back is
easy. We nudge our way up to the boat
house, take our bags and step back onto dry
land. Its almost 4.30pm and rain is in the
air. Time to go home. Zoe Osborne
For more information, click on saigonboat.
com or call (08) 3911 8987

Information
The boat leaves from Hoang Sa Park,
opposite 1 Hoang Sa, Q1, Ho Chi
Minh City. The trip costs VND220,000
per person (minimum of three people,
maximum of five) and lasts up to 90
minutes, depending on the tide. The
cost of the guide, music and light
refreshments is included in the price and
boats run daily from 8am to 8pm. Bring
sun screen, and book an evening tour for
a cooler, more romantic experience.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 19

Briefings
Hanoi

The Best Bus


in Hanoi
Just when you thought it would never happen,
the airports got a new bus route
20 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

PHOTOS BY THEO LOWENSTEIN

ity transportation should be like


a formulaic kids movie; boring,
predictable, and no deaths. Hanois
new bus line to and from the train
station to the airport ticks all three.
We paid VND30,000 each on a test run,
logged into the free WiFi and watched the
city go past, between checking tweets on our
phones.
It was a completely uneventful journey
with absolutely no cause for concern nor
amusement, as a bus journey should be.
The passengers were largely indifferent to
the experience.
This bus is easier than a motorbike, said
Nguyen Hua, a salesman on his way to Nha
Trang.
Why?
Hua shrugged, not particularly enthused
by our small talk.

The Best Bus?


The bus first stopped at the domestic
terminal before completing its journey at
the international. It was the end of the line,

we were told, but we shook our heads and


asked to stay onboard.
They had no objections.
This is a high-quality bus, the best bus,
said a bored conductor as we waited for the
round journey.
The best in Hanoi?
Yes, he replied, evidently unaccustomed
to being interrogated by customers.
Is it more comfortable?
It is the best bus.

Who Needs a Metro?


Getting to and from the airport has never
been fun but, unfortunately, not always
boring. Taxi fares run well into six figures,
while the minibuses keep unpredictable time
schedules and prices. Until two months ago,
no bus regularly ferried customers between
Noi Bai and the city.
Buses, of course, appear everywhere in
the city. From city bus lines to international
coaches with Laotian license plates, every
casual Hanoi driver is well accustomed
to navigating around the omnipresent,

cumbersome hulks of steel careening down


razor-thin side streets.
The airport bus line, however, takes a more
reasonable approach. Hop on at the train
station and youll get to Noi Bai in about
45 minutes. No planning is required the
first bus leaves downtown at 5.05am and the
service keeps going until 9.40pm. You can
catch a ride even later if youre coming from
the airport, with the last bus leaving at 11pm.
Hanois got big plans for shuttling
its residents around town in a more
orderly fashion. Construction of the
much-anticipated metro system is visible
throughout the city, while the municipality
mulls over the possibility of banning
motorbikes in the Old Quarter.
The problem is no joke. Air pollution
is beginning to compete with Beijing for
toxicity, while crash fatalities constantly tick
upward.
In the meantime, however, the Hanoibus
company has found a solution to one transit
problem using the humble bus. Bennett
Murray

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 21

Briefings
National

Vietnam Coracle
The country by motorbike, one province at a time

om is the London-born
motorbiker behind
independent travel blog
Vietnam Coracle. Having
visited all of the countrys 58
provinces and five municipalities,
hes amassed a huge database of
guides to travelling Vietnam, and
hes still not done. Word got his
views on motorbike machismo,
sustainable tourism and where to
find the best food.

You first visited Vietnam as


a teenager in 1999. What do
you remember about that
trip?
Bicycles! In 1999, this was my
first impression of Vietnam, while
riding in a taxi from Tan Son Nhat
Airport to the city centre. There were
thousands of them: not motorbikes,
not cars; bicycles.

22 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Where have you lived in


Vietnam?
Ive paid rent in Saigon ever since I
arrived, 10 years ago. Im certainly
not nomadic Ive always had a
solid base; family, friends and a place
to call home but I am a restless
traveller, always thinking about my
next trip.

I was a bit shocked to


discover that you drive a
Yamaha Nuovo, which I
always consider a bike for
the city more than rural
adventures.
Ah yes, Stavros, my trusty
motorbike. 150,000km over eight
years, and Ive rarely had any serious
problems. Its done everything
Ive asked of it; its smooth to ride;
it rarely breaks down; and it has
character, more so the older it gets.

You focus a lot on food in


your guides. What have been
your favorite food finds on
the road?
The best food in Vietnam is nearly
always found in the unlikeliest of
places. The first time I ate hen, those
little tiny clams in lemongrass and
chilli, was in a corrugated iron shack,
30km inland from Vinh, not far from
Ho Chi Minhs birth place in Kim Lien.
Often, food tastes better precisely
because of the unusual nature of the
surroundings. Im always suspicious
of places that have clearly spent a lot
of time and money on their decor and
interior design: have they paid the same
amount of attention to their food?

Tourism in Vietnam is rapidly


developing. Which destinations have you seen change
the most?

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY VIETNAM CORACLE

Phu Quoc stands out the most. When


I first visited, there was only one
paved road on the island. Now there
are wide blades of tarmac leading
in all directions. The southern end
of Long Beach and Dai Beach, in
the northwest of the island, were
sublime spots, where you really were
the only person on a long, golden
stretch of sand. They are both subject
to huge development projects now.

What do you think Vietnam


needs to do to sustainably
develop this industry?
I like the initiatives that work with
local people to promote tourism. Mai
Chau did this well; encouraging the
White Thai people, who live in that
pretty valley, to open their traditional
homes and way of life to foreign
tourists in the form of homestays.
Foreign travellers love this,

because it fits their romantic idea


of what rural Vietnam should
be. But, increasingly, young,
urban Vietnamese, pining for the
countryside and nostalgic for a
way of life that belonged to former
generations, also love it.
Of course there are problems
with this kind of tourism, too. These
projects subsidise a traditional way
of life that many rural people want
to leave behind. But at least it works
with local people, plays to their
strengths by focusing on skills they
already have, and they are the ones
who benefit from it.

What has been the most rewarding thing about keeping


your blog?
Now my travels have a purpose.
Because of this, I am more engaged
with Vietnam: its food, people,

culture, history, landscape and


language. And, because many of
my guides focus of less trodden
parts of Vietnam, I like to think that
Vietnams tourist buck is spread out
a little more evenly.

Where are you headed on


your next trip?
I just got back from a road trip to the
western Mekong Delta, so now Im
in need of some mountains or coast.
On some trips, I have a clear idea
of where Im going and what Im
going to write about; other times, I
take it as it comes and see where it
leads me. I have more ideas than I
have time for, and Im certainly not
worried that Ill run out of things
to do and places to see in Vietnam,
ever. Jesse Meadows
To see Toms blog, click on
vietnamcoracle.com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 23

Briefings Battling the Sharks


National

Is 4G the solution to Vietnams connectivity woes?

any internet users in Vietnam


have found themselves
replugging their WiFi routers,
trying to get a signal, before
giving up and switching to their
smartphones 3G. While tethering your
laptop can be inconvenient and
expensive will it be worth it when 4G
finally arrives in Vietnam?
At present the nations connectivity
continues to expand and improve.
Vietnams average connection speed in the
first quarter of 2016 was 5.0 megabytes per
second (Mbps) according to the US-based
Akami tech firm. Yet this is still below
Thailand, which ranks at 10.8Mbps and
South Korea, a whopping 29Mbps.
Mobile connection is also low at 2.6Mbps,
ranking just below Syrias 2.7Mbps.
Signs of progress abound Vietnams
mobile connectivity rose 30.8 per cent in
the first quarter.
Viettel has reported it is already piloting
4G on a trial basis around the country.
With potential speeds ten times that of 3G,
is better wireless a viable replacement for
spotty WiFi?
First, a disclaimer; 4G connections are
only as fast as the infrastructure allows. If
overburdened, 4G networks can actually
be slower than 3G.
There are also trade-offs in ditching
routers for SIM cards and dongles.
Unlimited data plans are the exception
worldwide rather than the rule for wireless.

24 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

At its maximum performance, however,


4G easily beats Vietnams typical WiFi
speed.

The Myanmar Solution


Go to Myanmar to find an example of a
country that has largely dumped WiFi for
mobile networks, albeit in the 3G era, where
WiFi connectivity averages 3.7 Mbps.
I have sat in cafs that proudly advertise
a WiFi connection, tethering my phone to
my laptop to use 3G because the proudly
advertised WiFi connection is either too
weak to sustain a connection, or out
altogether, or still aspirational, says Eli
Meixler, online editor at the Yangon-based
Myanmar Times newspaper.
He adds that few people have WiFi
routers, which cost hundreds of dollars to
install thanks to a monopoly in the market.
While he did have one provided by his
employer at his former apartment, he said
hed usually forego WiFi in favour of 3G.
Its often easier or faster to just use a
phone connected to 3G to send a quick
email, post to social media, or check a
reference resource, than it is to wait for a
hard-lined connection to kick into gear, he
explains.
Meixler says he had so little faith in
Myanmars connectivity that he had been
ready to rely on a multitude of 3G services
while uploading live updates during last
Novembers historic election.
He bought half a dozen SIM cards

representing every telco in the country just


in case his fibre-optic line failed, he adds.
Thanks to an influx of smartphones
in recent years, Meixler says wireless
connections make the most sense for
Myanmar.
I think that telco and wireless data
networks are far better suited to meet
Myanmars needs, from the perspective of
consumers and in terms of technological
infrastructure, than broadband connection,
at least at this juncture, he says.

Smartphones are the future


Vietnam isnt Myanmar, where even
regular SIM cards were virtually nonexistent before 2013. But with even a cheap
laptop still priced at a good chunk of
personal income, the future of Vietnamese
connectivity probably wont be focused on
broadband.
Anh-Minh Do, a Vietnamese-American
tech blogger currently based in Singapore,
says consumer sentiment is on the side of
technology suitable for smartphones.
I think its the trend because more
people will be willing to buy a phone over
a computer, especially in the countryside,
he explains. Its really just an issue of why
would I get WiFi and a laptop when I can
just have the internet in my pocket?
Regardless of whether 4G is a solution to
dysfunctional WiFi, market forces appear to
be on the side of developing wireless.
Bennett Murray

Briefings
HCMC
PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

Understanding Your Body


The beauty market is big business, which is why it pays to seek out providers by
reputation and transparency as well as price

ts not an uncommon tale a Facebook


page selling whitening cream, a customer
ordering it, and finding, to their distress,
that not only does the cream not work,
but it is actually damaging.
One such case last year in Vietnam made
it to a VTV documentary. The customer, Vu
Minh Thi, applied the cream which quickly
caused her skin to break out in an itchy rash.
I decided to stop using the cream but it
got worse, she told VTV. Eventually, after
unsuccessfully trying to get restitution from
the supplier, she filed a lawsuit.
Then there was 22-year-old Ngoc Bich,
who was persuaded to try a trendy new
beauty method called skin needling,
supposedly the skin smoothing technique
favoured by Angelina Jolie and Kim
Kardashian.
It involves moving a small roller fitted
with around 200 surgical needles across the
skin, the idea being that this stimulates the
beneficial production of collagen and elastin
and removes blemishes through the skins
natural repair process. In Ngoc Bichs case, it
merely led to a nasty facial infection.

A Cutting Edge
Unsurprisingly, Vietnams cosmetic market

26 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

is noted for lax regulation, products of


dubious origin, and so-called beauty salons
on every corner.
The most important thing is that you
have to keep your mind sharp, advises
Valencia Tran, a veteran of the cosmetic
market who is managing director of
Thea Beauty Solutions. Most cheap
products dont have clear labels of origin.
Cheap services are usually conducted by
inexperienced staff with cheap products and
old technologies. Say no to them.
Valencia speaks from personal experience
she admits she tried everything to make
herself look her best. Her advice? Get
recommendations from friends, and above
all, keep yourself informed.
Before buying a beauty product or going
for surgery, you have to get reviews of
that product or salon from friends and the
media, she explains. Then you have to
study this industry to understand how that
product or process works.
Her experiences have also taught her that
short-term solutions are a waste of time
you need to treat your health and beauty as
an ongoing project.
Most importantly, you have to
understand what your body needs and have

a long-term plan to take care of your health


and beauty. Be wise for your beauty.

A Personal Solution
It is with this in mind that in 2013 Valencia
established Thea Beauty Solutions. A
Singapore-based company operating a
chain of skincare and aesthetic clinics in Ho
Chi Minh City, Thea Beauty offers a wide
range of products and services including
aesthetic surgery, cosmetic dermatology and
other procedures like botox, snoring and
apnea treatment, and hair removal. Also,
to ensure standards remain high, Valencia
has employed qualified beauty experts and
doctors from Thailand, Korea and the US.
Their Vietnamese doctors are well-trained
and fully qualified.
In a market that lacks enforced
regulations, for Valencia the key is to be
self-regulating and ensure that all treatments
are top-notch and are conducted with the
long-term in mind. Vu Ha Kim Vy
Thea Beauty Solutions can be found at Ground
Floor Somerset Chancellor Court, 21-23 Nguyen
Thi Minh Khai, Q1, HCMC; 9C Thao Dien, Q2,
HCMC and CR1-06 Crescent Residence, 103 Ton
Dat Tien, Q7, HCMC. For info call their hotline
on 0911 489797 or click on thea-clinic.com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 27

Sports
Digest

Vietnams First Gold


The wait is over for Olympic glory, with Vietnams Hoang Xuan Vinh shooting to the
top of the podium in Rio last month. Words by Harry Hodge

Vietnamese shooting star


has struck gold, literally and
figuratively.
Hoang Xuan Vinh, a 41-yearold serving army colonel who first learnt
to shoot with an AK47 rifle, made national
history in Rio when a near-perfect final shot
in the mens 10-metre air pistol clinched
him gold, the first Olympic title for any
Vietnamese athlete ever in any sport.
Vinhs victory swept aside Brazils Felipe
Almeida Wu and Chinas Pang Wei into
second and third respectively, something
that was seized on by overjoyed Vietnamese
fans.
He followed that up by winning silver
behind South Koreas Jin Jong-oh in the
Olympic mens 50-metre pistol event four
days later, becoming the first Vietnamese
athlete in history to win multiple Olympic
medals, capping a huge week.

28 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Vinh has won many medals in


tournaments in the country and in the SEA
Games as well as Asian and world events.
But losing out on medals in the Asian Games
in 2010 and 2014 and the London Olympics
in 2012, where he was 0.1 points off the
podium at one point, all made him a dark
horse to grab a medal in Rio.
Vietnamese state media reported that Vinh
would receive US$100,000 (VND2.2 billion)
from the state on his return. Media outlets
said he learnt how to shoot in the military
which he joined in 1991, initially practicing
on AK47 rifles. His feat is all the more
remarkable considering the lack of resources
Vietnamese shooters face, often having do
without ammunition in training sessions.
It stands to reason he will cash in more
than any Vietnamese amateur athlete has in
the past.
Prior to the Games, swimmer Nguyen

Thi Anh Vien was splashed across Vietnam


Airlines ads among other endorsements. The
20-year-old from Can Tho failed to advance
beyond the heats in her various events.
Shooter Vinh has already singlehandedly
produced as many medals for Vietnam as the
last two Games combined, where Vietnam
bagged two in Beijing in 2008 and came back
empty-handed from London.
The title of Olympic champion is among
the most revered in sports, joining legends
such as American Michael Phelps and
Jamaican Usain Bolt.
Vietnam competed in multiple disciplines
in Rio, including shooting, badminton,
swimming, gymnastics, weightlifting, judo,
wrestling, fencing, rowing and athletics.
With more Vietnamese athletes getting
opportunities to train abroad and focus
full-time on their sports, officials hope medal
hauls will be even bigger in the future.

Hai Phong ends


five-year drought
against Hanoi T&T
Hai Phong ended their
losing record against Hanoi
T&T with a win last month
in the V.Leagues round
20 on their home turf at
Lach Tray Stadium, writes
Vietnam News.
Hai Phong had not
beaten Hanoi T&T in the
last five years. They came
from behind to record a 2-1
victory, with two goals by
Nguyen Dinh Bao and Le
Xuan Hung in the second
half.
Hoang Vu Samson
opened the score for the
visitors on the 30th minute
with a straight shot.
Hai Phong stands
strongly on top of the
league with 45 points,
five more than Hanoi
T&T and six more than
third-placed SHB Da Nang,
who unexpectedly lost 3-4
to Quang Nam, despite
playing at home.

Controversial end for


womens soccer
Thailands female football
team emerged victorious
from the 2016 AFF Womens
Championship after a
controversial penalty
shootout against their
Vietnamese opponents last
month, writes Tuoi Tre.
Women from the
Vietnamese and Thai
national football teams
battled it out in the finals of
the Southeast Asian football
tournament in Mandalay,
Myanmar.
The official 90 minutes
ended in a 1-1 draw,
followed by a goalless extra
time that led to a penalty
shootout to determine the
winning team.
Vietnamese midfielder
Nguyen Thi Lieu from
Vietnam stepped up with
the score at 3-3 hoping to
help her team snatch the
gold medal.
Lieus strike was partially
blocked by Thai goalie
Waraporn Boonsing,
causing the ball to spin,
drop, and roll its way
towards the goal line before
being hacked away by the
goalkeeper.
Assuming the ball had
crossed the goal line, Lieu,

along with her teammates


and coaches stormed the
field to celebrate their
victory before an interjection
by the assisting referees.
Thailand went on to win the
match.

Vietnamese mixed
martial artist locks up
win in Malaysia
Mixed martial artist Tran
Quang Loc won the Mixed
Martial Artss Grand Prix
Warriors FC recently in
Malaysia, according to
vietnamnet.vn.
Loc, who is the first
Vietnamese competing
in an international MMA
event, knocked out Farid
Arif of Malaysia in the final
match of the featherweight
category.
The 27-year-old from
Dong Nai Province
earlier defeated Shareh
Nasrullah, another
Malaysian, while Arif beat
Nursultan Amangeldiev of
Kazakhstan.
Loc started competing
in MMA four years ago
and has dominated in the
national championship for
the past three years.

Vietnamese tennis
star drops dramatic
match on home turf
Ly Hoang Nam was outsted
from the Vietnam F3 Mens
Futures tennis tournament
last month in Binh Duong
Province, writes Vietnam
News.
The host athlete lost 6-7,
5-7 to Japanese Ito Yuichi
who ranks No. 813 in the
world, 49 places higher than
Nam, in the second round.
Nam took the first break
point of the first set but
Ito worked hard and won
the crucial game when
5-6 down, bringing the set
to the tie break where he
successfully won 7-3.
The second set was
nearly the same but Ito went
up in the decisive moments
to take it
7-5.

s
date
p
u
d
r
Sen out you p or
ab g grou @
in
ry
sportnt to har .com
m
e
ev vietna
word

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 29

e flu shot
Arm yourself with th
u.
before the flu gets yo

HO CHI MINH CITY


167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia,
Dist 3

HANOI
51 Xuan Dieu,
Tay Ho Dist

(08) 3829 8520

(04) 3934 0666

30 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

VUNG TAU
No 1
Le Ngoc Han

(064) 385 8776

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 31

ToDo
list HCMC

Its
September
and the busy
season has
returned. So,
if you want
to retain a
modicum of
inner peace,
look away
now!

3
1

TAL Everything Something Nothing Flying Papers SEP16.jpg. Caption: Nomad will be bringing their production,

6.

Everything, Something, Nothing to Saigon Outcast

Italian DJ Marco Shuttle will be playing Observatory this month

A documentary on art, music and creativity in the former West Berlin will be screen on Sep. 9

Chef Jack Lee will be in charge of the kitchen at the fundraiser for KOTO

3.

5.

Lord Peter Mandelson will be speaking at a BBGV event in September

2.

4.

Two of the artworks on sale at affordable art fair, One Grand Show

1.

One Grand Show


Craig Thomas Gallery, Q1
Until Sep. 21
Craig Thomas Gallery is hosting
One Grand Show, a group exhibition
for 50 smaller sized works by 20
Vietnamese visual artists. The
exhibit is modeled on the affordable
art fair format; with the aim being to
open up possibilities for collectors of
all budgets to begin their acquisition
of Vietnamese contemporary art.
One Grand Show will be held at
Craig Thomas Gallery from Aug
26. through to Sep. 21. For more
information, please visit cthomasgallery.
com. Craig Thomas Gallery is at 165
Calmette, Q1, HCMC

Small Things Exhibition


Vin Gallery, Q2
Until Oct. 15
Coming Nov. 25 to Vin Gallery in
Thao Dien is the latest Small Things
exhibit; a collection of miniscule
artworks created by local and
international artists. Small Things
is a recurring exhibition and
showcases new artists every year
featuring oil paintings, sculpture,
photography and prints. To apply
to be in the exhibition, you must

32 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

submit your application by Oct. 15


at the link below.
For more information, please visit
facebook.com/VinGallery or call 0907
729846. Applications for the exhibition
are available online at goo.gl/ywP6Yv
and Vin Gallery is at 6 Le Van Mien,
Q2, HCMC

Lord Mandelson
Le Meridien Saigon, Q1
Thursday, Sep. 8
EuroCham and BBGV are welcoming
Lord Mandelson to Saigon this
month to have him share his
business perspectives surrounding
the recent Brexit referendum,
including observations from the
past three months since the vote,
and a predicted long-term forecast.
There will also be industry experts
speaking about the Vietnamese and
regional implications of the vote, as
well as a panel discussion.
Global Implications of Brexit: A
Special Talk with Lord Mandelson
will take place from 11.45am to
1.30pm on Sep. 8, 2016. Entrance
costs VND1,300,000 for members and
VND1,600,000 for non-members. For
more information, please email nga.
nguyen@bbgv.org. Le Meridien Saigon
is at 3C Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC

KOTO One
Reverie, Q1
Friday, Sep. 9
KOTO, the hospitality training
centre and restaurant, will be
holding a star-studded fundraiser
at The Reverie Saigon on Friday,
Sep. 9 to help them raise US$250,000
towards the costs of running their
operations.
The first legally incorporated social
enterprise in Vietnam, KOTO gives
disadvantaged youth the possibility
to learn and strive in their lives. In the
past 15 years they have trained and
supported the welfare of over 600
students in the hospitality industry in
both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
This years fundraiser, KOTO
One, will team up the talents of
celebrity chef Jack Lee with a
range of well-known Vietnamese
singers and dancers. An auction
will be staged by auctioneer
Justin Gisz, with auction items
including two signed Manchester
United jerseys of French footballer
Anthony Martial, business class
return flights to Hong Kong with
Cathay Pacific including five-star
accommodation, a Mercedes Benz
and much more. 400 people are
expected to attend.

MAD HOUSE
2ND LOCATION
IS NOW OPEN
IN DISTRICT 7

Tickets for the event are US$150


(VND3.35 million) a head. To book,
please call 0903 441850 / 0903
077225 or pop into KOTO Kumho
on the top floor of Kumho Plaza, cnr.
Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan, Q1,
HCMC. The Reverie Saigon is at 2236 Nguyen Hue, Q1, HCMC and
the event runs from 7pm to 10pm

Marco Shuttle
The Observatory, Q4
Friday, Sep. 9
Renowned Italian DJ Marco
Shuttle will be bringing his techno
niche to Saigon this September for
a session at everyones favourite
late-night venue, The Observatory.
Organised by Heart Beat Saigon,
Shuttle has been described as
devilishly distilled and expertly
organic, focusing on form and
function in equal measure.
Supported by Chris Wolter and
Oko, you can expect an evening
of fantastic music and dancing.
The show will be preceding by a
documentary screening at 7.30pm
curated by Onion Cellar.
Entrance is free before 11pm
and VND150,000 thereafter. The
Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat
Thanh, Q4, HCMC

Onion Cellar
The Observatory, Q4
Friday, Sep. 9
The Onion Cellar is proud to host a
screening of B-Movie: Lust & Sound
in West Berlin (1979 to 1989) for its
official Vietnamese premiere.
This intense documentary
uses unreleased film footage to
create a fast-paced collage of the
art, music and creative insanity
during the last decade under the
shadow of the Wall.
Starring Mark Reeder, Nick
Cave, Gudrun Gut and many
others, this movie is a dive into
the cheap and trashy, glitzy and
glamorous, punk and techno
melting pot that was 1980s Berlin.
Immediately following the
screening is a party by Heart Beat
Saigon, featuring Marco Shuttle.
Screening tickets are VND50,000.
Combined movie and party tickets
are VND150,000. The Observatory
is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4 and
the screening takes place at 7.30pm

Art Jam Soft Opening


VinSpace, Q2
Sep. 9
VinSpace is launching a new

creative evening to help you tune


into your inner artist, no matter
what budget youre on. Starting
Sep. 9 at 6pm, they are promising
a host of free activities as well
as live music, craft beer and an
opportunity to mingle with other
creative minded people in Saigon.
Art Jam is free to the public.
For more information please visit
vin-space.com or call 0907 229846.
VinSpace is at 4 Le Van Mien, Q2,
HCMC

Everything, Something,
Nothing
Saigon Outcast, Q2
Sep. 13 to 16
Everything, Something, Nothing
is a brand new physical theatre
performance put on by the
Nomad Theatre Company
that will be making its debut
over the course of four days in
mid-September.
Before the performances
start at 7pm, there will be an
exhibition of painters, sculptors,
musicians, videographers,
dancers and actors from across
Saigon to help showcase the
citys creativity in a week of art.
Nomad Theatre Company

MAD House D7
E V E R Y D AY

FROM

11 AM - 10 PM

No.2 street C,Tan Phu Ward, Dist 7


2nd floor at Capri by Fraser

08 5417 1234
Facebook.com/MADhouseD7

MAD House D2
E V E R Y D AY

FROM

08 AM - 10 PM

6/1/2 Nguyen U Di,


Thao Dien, Dist 2

08 3519 4009
Facebook.com/MADsaigon

ToDo
list HCMC

lives as it is named, from place to


place, and they are currently on a
world tour with their work inspired
by their experiences across the globe.
Entrance to Everything, Something,
Nothing is free of charge. For more info
email nomadx@outlook.com or visit
facebook.com/nomadtheatrex. Saigon
Outcast is at 188/1 Nguyen Van Huong,
Q2, HCMC

Sweet B
Observatory, Q4
Saturday, Sep. 17

French duo Sweet B will play alongside


Youss and Dimitri for a night of music
that synthesizes the best of house, disco
and techno. Back by popular demand
for their third appearance together,
come check out the musical madness
these partners spin out.
Entrance is free before 10pm
and VND100,000 thereafter. The
Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh,
Q4, HCMC

Clay of Thought
Fine Arts Museum, Q1
Sep. 22 to Oct. 1

Yes, hes back! Its Alex from Tokyo again!

Last years BBGV Fun Run. The 2016 edition takes place on Sep. 25

Fancy a ride around town to raise money for charity, old chap?

6.

Cora will be spinning tunes at Observatory this month

3.

5.

Ceramic arts will come into focus this month at the Fine Arts Museum

2.

4.

French duo Sweet B returns to Observatory

1.

The Fine Arts Museum of Ho Chi


Minh City is hosting Clay of Thought,
an exhibition of contemporary
ceramics created by an art collective
based in Bien Hoa. Entitled Dat Nghi
in Vietnamese, the showcase displays
the work of 14 artists who, by pooling
their energy, talents and ideals,
have formed a collective to rethink
Vietnamese ceramics, its heritage and
its future. The exhibition has been
curated by Vo Hong Chuong Dai and
Frederic Dialynas Sanchez.
Clay of Thought will have its opening
night on Thursday, Sep. 22 at the Fine Arts
Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. For more
information, please email frederic.joseph.
sanchez@gmail.com or chvo29@gmail.com.
The Fine Arts Museum of HCMC is at 97
Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, HCMC

Cora and Kin


Observatory, Q4
Thursday, Sep. 22
Cora and Kin are coming, bringing a
melange of house and techno to lead
the dance floor through the deepest,
darkest valleys of the electronic
landscape.
Entrance is free of charge and the
show starts at 9pm. The Observatory is
at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, HCMC

Alex From Tokyo


Observatory, Q4
Friday, Sep. 23
Alex From Tokyo returns for his
third Observatory performance.
Come see this legend of the

34 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

underground sound move the room


with music cut like diamonds.
Entrance is free before 10pm
and VND150,000 thereafter. The
Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh,
Q4, HCMC

BBGV Fun Run


Phu My Huong, Q7
Sunday, Sep. 25
The BBGV Annual Charity Fun Run
is back for its 16th edition. Since
starting in 2000, the fun run has been
a popular event to break a sweat and
raise some money for disadvantaged
people throughout Vietnam. This
is the perfect opportunity for team
building, bonding with friends or
family, all the while assisting the
disadvantaged and elderly.
This years 4km run will take place
in Phu My Hung and 9,000 runners
are expected to take part. The BBGV
are hoping to raise VND1 billion in
support of charitable projects. Recent
beneficiaries have included the Ben
San Leprosy Centre.
For more information about how to
get involved in the BBGV Fun Run
please contact Nga at nga.nguyen@
bbgv.org, call (08) 3829 8430 or go to
ticketbox.vn. The run takes place from
7am to 10.30am and will start at Tan
Trao, Phu My Hung, Q7, HCMC

Distinguished Gentlemens
Ride
Sunday, Sep. 26
Around HCMC
I say! You, dear reader, display
the very countenance of
distinguishment itself. No doubt
you are thusly aware of the
Distinguished Gentlemens Ride, a
grand opportunity to promenade
in your finest Savile Row suit
and demonstrate the charitable
persuasion so befitting your
station.
Come with classic and vintage
motor-operated cyclo-mobiles and
ride with other gentlemen and
ladies to raise awareness about the
health issues of all good gentlemen
around the world. Many charities
will benefit from your noblesse
oblige, specifically those that
research prostate cancer and seek
to prevent male suicide.
If you wish to participate in the
Distinguished Gentlemens annual
ride here in HCMC, contact Vietnam
Vespa Adventures on 01222 993585
/ 09385 00997 or email lets@
ridevespas.com. More info can be
found at gentlemansride.com and
on the event page at facebook.com/
events/1210637482289374. The ride
kicks off at 2pm

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 35

ToDo
list HCMC

Quoc Cham
Cassia Cottage, Phu Quoc
Wednesday, Sep. 28
Co-sponsored by the Australian
Chamber of Commerce Vietnam and
Visit Phu Quoc, Quoc Cham is Phu
Quocs only business networking
event. Held on the last Wednesday
of the month, and loosely modelled
on Spam Cham in Saigon, the event
is an opportunity to socialise with
people whose business involves
the fast-changing metropolis, sorry,
island of Phu Quoc.
Each month features a guest
speaker, a main topic, cheap drinks
and free snacks.
For more information, email Rohan
Barker at rohan@visitphuquoc.info. The
September meet-up runs from 5.30pm to
8pm and is being held at Cassia Cottage,
Khu Pho 1, Duong Dong, Phu Quoc

Eluize and Gratts


Observatory, Q4
Friday, Sep. 30
Eluize and Gratts are joined by
Hibiya Line, returning after a redhot performance earlier in the year,
to deliver another night of their
house/disco/techno fusion. Send
off the month in finest underground
style dont miss this party!
Entrance is free before 10pm
and VND150,000 thereafter. The
Observatory is at 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh,
Q4, HCMC

Grand Final Golf Scramble

Phu Quoc is not all just beaches, clear blue sea and construction, dont you know?

Who needs to stay in the office when youve got Auschams annual golf scramble?

Start-up incubator Hatch Fair enters Saigon for the first time next month

Oktoberfest returns for its 11th outing

Images from last years Heart Institute Gala

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

5 Locations Across Vietnam


Friday, Sep. 30
Every year, AusCham brings
members of the business
community together outside
the office at their Grand Final
Golf Scramble. Taking place
simultaneously in five locations
across Vietnam on Sep. 30 on the
eve of the AFL Grand Final, the
event is for anyone who has a
business tie to Australia. The goal is
to strengthen the community and to
heighten awareness of Australia as
a place where businesses thrive.
Come join the fun at the Vietnam
Golf and Country Club in Ho Chi
Minh City, the BRG Legend Hill Golf
Resort in Hanoi, Laguna Lang Co
near Danang, Vinpearl Golf in Nha
Trang or at Vinpeal Golf in Phu Quoc
to get your respectable business-class
Ozzie Ozzie Oy Oy on.
Any profits will be donated to
charity.
To learn more, email events@
auschamvn.org or visit the Australian
Chamber of Commerce Vietnam website
at auschamvn.org.

36 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Hatch Fair
Grand Palace, Tan Binh
Oct. 7 and Oct. 8
Hatch, the most established start up
incubator in Vietnam is bringing its
fourth annual Hatch fair to Ho Chi
Minh City for the first time. This
October, we can expect a full two days
of start-up development, conferences,
social innovation and networking.
Previous Hatch fairs have drawn
crowds of up to 2,500 people all
curious about the start-up climate in
Vietnam and developing their own
entrepreneurial ideas.
For more information, please email
fair@hatchfair.vn or visit their website
at fair.hatch.vn. The Grand Palace is at
142/18 Cong Hoa, Tan Binh, HCMC

Oktoberfest
Windsor Plaza Hotel, Q5
Oct. 12 to Oct. 15
Oktoberfest is coming back to Saigon
for its eleventh annual outing.
Touching down on Oct. 12, four
days of beer, food and music will
follow in a true celebration of all
things Bavarian. Free flow beer,
classic pretzels, German sausages and
traditional music will get party-goers
in the Oktoberfest mood, and every
guest will receive their own collectable
bierstein as well as an opportunity to
win a Mercedes C200 and a Vespa LX.

The parties run from 6pm to Midnight.


On Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Thursday,
Oct. 13, tickets cost VND1,000,000. On
Friday, Oct. 14 and Saturday, Oct. 15
they go for VND1,300,000. There is a 30
percent early bird discount available until
Sep. 30. Tickets are available online at
oktoberfestvietnam.com or via telephone
on 0908 477489. Windsor Plaza Hotel is
at 18 An Duong Vuong, Q5, HCMC

The Heart Institute Charity


Gala
The Reverie, Q1
Saturday, Oct. 15
The Heart Institute of Ho Chi Minh
City and the International Medical
Center (CMI) are hosting the 6th Heart
Institute Gala at The Reverie Saigon.
This year the dress code is chic and
glamourous, and the evening will
consist of five courses of FrenchVietnamese cuisine cooked up by
Chef Sakal, as well as live and silent
auctions, live performances and
entertainment. All proceeds of the gala
will fund cardiac surgeries for children
in desperate need of heart surgery.
The Heart Insitute Gala will take place
at The Reverie Saigon on Saturday, Oct.
15 at 6.30pm. Tickets cost VND3,900,000
for one person or VND35,000,000 for a
table of 10. For more information, email
s.veyron@cmi-vietnam.com or call (08)
3827 2366. The Reverie Saigon is at 22-36
Nguyen Hue, Q1, HCMC

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 37

IN

Just
HCMC

Dumpling
houses,
Mexican
restaurants,
skiing in
Japan, new
butcher
shops and
a book of
short stories.
All that's
vien darriv
in Saigon

Anupa has a line of weekend bags, perfect for anyone travelling in style

Saigon Artbook publishes its sixth edition this month

Hats off to the ISHCMC Class of 2016

5.

4.

Asian-inspired fare comes to Thao Dien courtesy of Phats Dumpling House

2.

3.

Sancho Cantina: Bui Vien has finally got itself a decent Mexican

1.

Sancho Cantina
The brains behind Pop Fries, Calvin
Bui, has opened his newest concept,
a restaurant with a Mexican kitchen
on Bui Vien that includes craft
beer as part of the theme. Set in
a friendly and cozy atmosphere,
Sancho Cantina serves up tacos
(VND40,000), nachos (VND170,000),
flautas (VND100,000), carne asada
fries (VND170,000) and burritos
(VND180,000 for an extra large).
What makes Sancho Cantina different
from other Tex-Mex pretenders is that
everything is made in house. Every
morning, I come in and start making
tortillas and sauces for the day. I feel
like an abuela! says Calvin.
Craft beer on tap comes from Phat
Rooster Ales and includes Saigon
Blonde (VND35,000 for 330ml), Phat
Shiv IPA (VBD50,000) and Band
Unkel (VND50,000).
Sancho Cantina is at 207 Bui
Vien, Q1, HCMC. Visit facebook.com/
sanchocantina for more info

Phats Dumpling House


Thao Dien has just welcomed a new
Asian-inspired restaurant, Phats
Dumpling House, a door over from
its sister restaurant, Relish & Sons.
Painted all in white with large glass
windows and branded with a chubby
face of Phat next to the restaurants

38 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

name, the restaurant is small but


neat, decorated with Asian movie
posters on the walls and furnished
with wooden tables and stools.
The menu consists of about 40
dishes including banh bao (VND70,000
for roasted duck bao), dumplings
(VND55,000 for pork & prawn
dumpling), soups (VND90,000 for
roasted duck noodles), and fries
(VND50,000 for prawn sesame
toast). The drinks list has three main
categories and includes juices and soft
drinks, tea and coffee (VND35,000
for oolong tea) and alcoholic drinks
(VND55,000 for a Tiger).
Phats Dumpling House is at 111
Xuan Thuy, Q1, HCMC. Visit facebook.
com/phatsdumplinghouse for info

Loop Set Lunch


The Loop on Thao Dien, has just
released a new wholesome set
lunch menu and it looks awesome.
With two options, either two or three
courses, this affordable lunch will get
you through any working day. The
two-course meal will set you back
VND199,000 while the three-course
version costs only VND239,000.
Dishes include Ezogelin soup, Parma
ham and anchovy salad, garlic herb
roasted salmon, tomato spinach
lasagna, pork cotoletta and Italian
gelato, and you get to pick your own

combinations
The Loop Caf is located at 49 Thao
Dien, Q2, HCMC and is open from 7am
to 9pm, seven days a week. For info click
on theloop.vn

Saigon Artbook
Saigon Artbook is back for its sixth
edition with a launch party at the
Factory Contemporary Arts Center
on Sep. 16.
A number of artists are included
in the new book including Nguyen
Ngoc Vu, Word photographer Boa
Zoan, Nguyen Duc Diem, Nathan
Larson and Kumkum Fernando. All
will exhibit their work at the launch
which will be an eclectic range of
installations, origami, photography,
painting and print works.
Saigon Artbook is a non-profit
organisation that utilises their artbook
format as a platform to host a variety
of events across the city, including
workshops, exhibitions and art talks.
The Factory Contemporary Arts Center
(FCAC) is located at 15 Nguyen U Di,
Q2, HCMC and the launch will run from
8pm to midnight. For more information or
to order your copy of Saigon Artbook, click
on saigonartbook.org

Anupa
Travel in style stop by Anupa and

5
get one of their weekender bags,
just right for air travel. Matching
accessories include belts, passport
covers, luggage labels and
washbags. Or pick up one of their
stunning Jules passport covers
for VND1.3 million, designed
to fit all standard international
passport sizes, and watch even
immigration officers smile.
Anupa is 9 Dong Du, Q1,
HCMC or online at anupa.net

International School Ho Chi


Minh Citys Class of 2016
The Class of 2016 at the
International School of Ho Chi
Minh City (ISHCMC) has set the
new highest average IB diploma
score in the institutions history.
In addition, more than half
the class earned the IB Bilingual
Diploma, maintaining the
schools reputation for excellence.
19 nationalities are represented
in this years class of 60 students,
marking ISHCMC as a truly
international school.
Graduates will be attending
further education in places as far
flung as New York University,
Seoul National University,
University College London,
UCLA and California Berkeley.
For more info click on ishcmc.com

IN

Just
HCMC

Phu My Hung gets itself a Meatworks

Fancy some skiing, anyone?

The latest novel by Hoi An-based author, Elka Ray

1.

2.

3.

Meatworks
That District 2 butcher, Meatworks,
that has lined the fridges and
stomachs of so many a resident in
Thao Dien, is opening a new location
next month in the heart of Phu My
Hung in District 7.
Featuring the same quality range
of premium imported Australian
beef and lamb, gourmet locallysourced pork and chicken, as well as
their own phenomenal home-made
sausages, Meatworks offers online
shopping and home-delivery.
The new shop is next door to Carls
Junior at 401 Pham Thai Buong, My
Khanh 3-H11-2, Q7, HCMC. You can
visit them online at meatworksasia.com

Go Skiing In Japan
Tis the end of the summer, the
perfect time to start thinking about
your next holiday. And naturally
homegrown travel agency, Exo
Travel, has got an idea to get you

40 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

reaching for your credit card and


booking time off work: a snowcation in Hokkaido. Or, as other
people might say, skiing in Japan.
Shred some of the best powder
in the world, feast on authentic
Hokkaido cuisine, and get a taste
of pure sybaritic bliss this winter at
Club Med Sahoro, Hokkaido, Japan.
The holiday package features a stay
for as low as VND4.816 million per
person per night and includes lift
passes and lessons.
If you are travelling between Dec.
2, 2016 and April 9, 2017, book early
to get the best deals or, as Exo is
asking, book before Sep. 16.
To learn more email saigonagency@
exotravel.com or call (08) 3519 4111. If
youre in Hanoi, call (04) 3718 5555 or
email xuandieu@exotravel.com

What You Dont Know


Hoi An-based novelist Elka Ray
is back with her latest title, What

You Dont Know: Tales of Obsession,


Mystery & Muder in Southeast Asia.
An American lawyer dreams of
murdering his Thai trophy wife.
A Vietnamese soldier encounters
madness in a haunted forest.
Tragedy rocks a bereaved mothers
trip to Cambodia. This collection of
10 short, gripping and eerie stories
journeys from Sumatran jungles
to the seedy bars of Bangkok to
the superficially sedate streets of
Singapore.
Travelling with you is a black
brew of fear, greed, grief, jealousy,
lust and wrath. And your final
destination? What you dont know
This collection is darker than Elka
Rays first novel, Hanoi Jane, and
takes readers on a journey from the
macabre to the blackly humorous.
What You Dont Know is available
in paperback or on Kindle via Amazon.
com. Elka Ray has been living in
Vietnam for 20 years. For more info
click on elkaray.com

ToDo

listHanoi

Film and
dance, bigname DJs,
Basque
musicians
and corporate
hippies.
Hanois
got a bit of
everything
this month

The German Film Festival

1. An image from the movie Victoria, a highlight of the German Film Festival
2. Basque musician Fermin Muguruza will play the Rec Room
3. German duo Kaiser Souzai are descending on HRC
4. Market is back for the new season

Goethe-Institut Vietnam, Ba Dinh


Sep. 8 to Sep. 16
Eight films are on the list for this
years German Film Festival,
offering a versatile mix of dramas,
thrillers, comedies and childrens
movies. A highlight is expected to
be the emo-tionally charged 2015
film Victoria from director Sebastian
Schipper, with its heavy use of
improvisation by the actors and its
real-time emphasis.
Now in its seventh year, the
festival also features a quiz, where
visitors can win prizes by answering
questions about the films which are
screened. Tickets are free and the
films are screened in German with
English and Vietnamese subtitles.
For the quiz and more information on
the complete schedule in all cities visit
goethe.de/german-filmfestival-vietnam.
The festival will also hit Hai Phong, Hue,
Danang and Ho Chi Minh City. GoetheInstitut Vietnam is at 56-58 Nguyen
Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Fermin Muguruza
Rec Room, Hai Ba Trung
Friday, Sep. 9
One of the most influential and
charismatic artists from the Basque
musical scene, over the past 20 years

42 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Fermin Muguruza has played in


almost every corner of the world.
Now he will perform for the first time
in Vietnam. From the bands Kortatu
and Negu Gorriak to his new project
with Japanese DJ Txako, expect a
sound system influenced night of ska,
punk and dub. Support will come
from MiNombreEsDolores! (Chile)
and Emiin Crew (Vietnam).
Entrance is VND100,000 and Rec
Room is at Floor 20, Hanoi Creative City,
1 Luong Yen, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Kaiser Souzai
Hanoi Rock City, Tay Ho
Saturday, Sep. 10
Luminous Showcase, a night by
GingerWork, will be returning for
the second of their series of events
headlined by a well-known DJ or act
from overseas.
With a night that includes a
film screening, the video mapping
installations of GingerWork and
Nikolaj Svennevig, supporting DJs,
a colouring corner and a top notch
sound system, for the Sep. 10 event
Luminous Showcase will be bringing
in the Berlin Underground duo,
Kaiser Souzai.
Making concrete waves
throughout the Berlin underground
and carving a reputation
internationally with their live

performances, Kaiser Souzai initially


began as a music collaboration that
established their own musical genre,
Art-rock Tech, drawing influence
from 1970s greats such as Pink Floyd,
Genesis and Yes, while keeping to
their roots of deep and progressive
techno. The result has been an
ever-evolving set that has electrified
dancefloors across the globe.
In 2014 and 2015 the duo travelled
from Belgium to New Zealand,
Thailand to Berlin; the end of their
New Zealand tour saw them headline
alongside the legendary Carl Cox.
Kaiser Souzai are big.
Find out if they are worth the hype
by heading down to Hanoi Rock City
(27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi)
on Sep. 10. Entrance is VND150,000
(VND130,000 concessions) and includes
a free welcome drink

Maison Market Season


Opener
Maison de Tet Decor, Tay Ho
Sunday, Sep. 11
The stalls of Maison Market are
back in full swing this month, with a
collection of vendors selling products
including edgy designs, handmade
crafts, jewellery, vintage garments as
well as an organic farmers market
hosted at Maison de Tet Dcors
French villa on the banks of West Lake.

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wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 43

ToDo

listHanoi

1. The C-Gap Project will run a programme on awareness, balance and empowerment at Clickspace
2. The Hanoi Dance Festival returns for its sixth outing
3. Resident DJs Graz and Ouissam will be spinning tunes at the Savage Opening Party
4. Tvfrom86 aka Thomas Zander will take over the decks at ATK
5. Proceeds from the Blossom River Run will go to HSCVs Blossom House for Girls

2
Visitors have the opportunity to
chat with the artists directly, pick up
some great quality items at bargain
prices, and enjoy the local community
atmosphere. Healthy food and
drinks are available on Maisons cosy
balconies
The market runs from 10am to 4pm
and Maison de Tet Dcor is at Villa 156
Tu Hoa, Tay Ho, Hanoi

email hello@corporate-hippy.com or
click on corporate-hippy.com/the-c-gapproject. Clickspace is at 76 To Ngoc Van,
Tay Ho, Hanoi

Vision Thing

The sixth Hanoi Dance Festival,


coordinated by the Goethe-Institut, has
as this years theme Europe meets
Asia in Contemporary Dance. Over
six days, audiences can experience
contemporary dance in a variety
of styles from different countries:
Germany, France, Israel, Japan, Austria
as well as the host country Vietnam.
A highlight is the co-production of
German dancer and choreographer
Riki von Falken and the moving-image
artist Nguyen Trinh Thi from Hanoi.
Tickets cost VND100,000.
Information about each days
programme is available at hanoidancefestival.com.
The Hanoi Dance Festival will be
staged at the National Youth Theatre, 11
Ngo Thi Nham, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
and Star Galaxy Theatre, 87 Lang Ha,
Dong Da, Hanoi

Clickspace, Tay Ho
Sunday, Sep. 11
A challenging life skills course
answering the question Whats
The Point? will land in Hanoi early
next month. The course, known as
the C-GAP Project, describes itself
as a no-bullshit approach to living
an aware, balanced and empowered
life with improved out-comes for all
involved.
Run by former Hanoi expat,
Tim McMahon, the course is
intended to enable people to tap
into their awareness, balance and
empowerment, and unearth hidden
potential at the per-sonal and
corporate levels. The course runs
from 1pm to 5pm.
More information call 0969 401941,

44 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Europe Dances Into Asia


National Youth Theatre, Hai Ba
Trung and Star Galaxy Theatre, Dong
Da
Sep. 21 to Sep. 25

Savage Opening Party


Savage, Tay Ho
Friday, Sep. 23
The latest venue to open up in Tay
Ho will be staging its official opening
party on Friday, Sep. 23 with club
residents, Graz and Ouissam, spinning
the tunes back-to-back, all night long.
Growing up in Byron Bay,
Australia, Graz has worked for
prestige fashion clients like Louis
Vuitton and Stella McCartney, set the
stage for legends like Prince, spun at
festivals such as the Big Day Out and
Splendour, and rocked every disco
den worth sweating at.
Ouissam Mokretar, a Frenchman
who until recently resided in Hong
Kong, is the founder of Clich Records
and is also a promoter and a music
curator. Ouissam DJs himself, which
of course is the foundation of all
his endeavours, and is a regular at
multiple top underground clubs in
Southeast Asia. He was also one of
the key DJs at Cliche events in Hong
Kong, which have gained a loyal
following.
Savage has already got tongues
wagging and butts dancing. So expect
this night to be a big un.
Savage is at 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,

5
Hanoi or online at savage-hanoi.com

TvFrom86
CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung
Saturday, Sep. 24
After the release of his first EP, Losing
You on Roche Musique in April
2013, Tvfrom86 aka Thomas Zander
gained well-earned fame with the
release reaching 400,000 clicks on
Spotify. He has since worked with
Parisian label Popcorn Records and
at the end of October 2014, released

the EP, Purple People. Known for his


great use of samples and unique
interpretations of electro funk mixed
with house, expect this to be a unique
night of Parisian-influenced beats.
Doors are at 8pm and entrance is
VND80,000. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai
Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Blossom River Run


VIP Bikes, Tay Ho
Sunday, Sep. 25
Humanitarian Services for Children

of Vietnam (HSCV) and VIP Bikes


have teamed up for a motorbike day
out on Sep. 25 called the Blossom
River Run. Tour guides will set off
from VIP Bikes in West Lake in the
late morning and head over the river
for a scenic drive along the Red River,
stopping along the way at historical
sites and spectacular pagodas for
photo opportunities.
A buffet lunch will be served at
La Bodega, and after the run, there
will be a BBQ at a loca-tion in the
Tay Ho area.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 45

ToDo

listHanoi

The price is VND200,000 per


rider, with proceeds going to
HSCVs Blossom House for Girls.
Buffet and BBQ are not included in
this price.
Registration and information are
available at hscv.info@hscv.org or at
VIP Bikes, 17 Ve Ho, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Lust in Wild West Berlin


Goethe-Institut, Ba Dinh
Tuesday, Sep. 27
The chaotic and wild music and
arts scene in 1980s West Berlin is
the subject of the docu-mentary
film B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West
Berlin, that will be screened by Onion
Cellar. The angst-ridden fast living
of the frenzied but creative time and
place are recalled through the antics
of well-known figures such as Mark
Reeder, Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave,
Gudrun Gut, Joy Division, Die Toten
Hosen and WestBam.
The 92-minute film has dialogue
in English and German, with
subtitles in Vietnamese and English.
Tickets on the door cost VND50,000
or VND40,000 with a valid student
ID. The film will be screened at
7.30pm.
The Goethe-Institut is at 56-58
Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh, Hanoi

Gratts and Eluize

1. A still from the documentary B-Movie: Lust and Sound in West Berlin
2. Gratts and Eluize (pictured) will play at Savage
3. Bolivian-based DJ Paul Jove will bring his unique sound to CAMA ATK
4. The British Embassy will commemorate 100 years since the Battle of the Somme with a BBQ at Moose & Roo

Savage, Tay Ho
Friday, Sep. 30
Savage will continue their first
month as the newest club in West
Lake with two DJs from overseas
Gratts (BEL) and Eluize (AUS).
An Australian born DJ, producer
and vocalist, Eluizes night time
explorations traverse house, techno,
disco and acid. Drawing inspiration
from all corners of the globe, she
has a passion for combining the
music she uncovers and creates to
shape soundtracks for all hours on
the dance floor.
Gratts aka Tristan Jong has spent
the best part of two decades lugging
bags of records around Europe, and
latterly Asia and Australia. First
biting the bug for good-time house,
techno and disco in the late 1990s,
he honed his craft as part of the
We Play House gang throughout
the following decade. His deep
knowledge of groove-heavy,
dancefloor-ready music affords him
versatility on the decks.
Savage is at 112 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,
Hanoi or online at savage-hanoi.com

Paul Jove
CAMA ATK, Hai Ba Trung
Friday, Sep. 30
Paul Jove, a professional musician

46 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

2
turned DJ, started creating music
in 1990 and has been a professional
DJ since 2003. Growing up biculturally in the US and Bolivia, he
started with rock/alternative bands
as a guitarist. He later realised
that electronic music had infinite
possibilities, and wasnt just limited
to the coldness of machines making
sequences.
He currently resides in La Paz,
Bolivia, where he spreads the
groove around at clubs and parties
as a DJ. He also runs a netlabel,
San Pedro Music, which he uses to
showcase con-temporary electronic
music of Bolivia. His appearance
at CAMA ATK will be his first

ven-ture into the organized chaos


that is Vietnam.
Doors are at 8pm and entrance is
VND50,000. CAMA ATK is at 73 Mai
Hac De, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi

Festival of Aromes
Sofitel Metropole, Hoan Kiem
Oct. 10 to Oct. 29
October will feature a host of special
culinary events at the Sofitel Legend
Metropole Hotel under the title Les
Aromes Festival.
The festival kicks off at Angelina
on Oct. 10 with an authentically
rustic menu created by Italian chef
Paolo Vitaletti, while Spices Garden

is hosting an exchange promotion


with Sofitel Guangzhou Sunrich, to
offer the best of Chinese cuisine.
Later in the month, French
cheese master Gerard Poulard
arrives with his autumn cheese
selection, and pastry chef
Christophe Grilo runs a bread
master class, with the duo teaming
up for a bread, cheese and wine
event at La Veranda.
The festivities conclude on Oct.
29 at LOrangerie with a Burgundy
Premier & Grand Cru wine dinner
with William Fevre / Bouchard Pere
& Fils priced at VND2.4 million per
per-son.
The Sofitel Metropole Legend is at
15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. For
more info email huyen.ha@sofitel.com

Remembrance BBQ
3

Moose & Roo Smokehouse, Hoan


Kiem
Friday, Nov. 18
In commemoration of the centenary
of the Battle of the Somme, the
British Embassy will be hosting a
Remembrance BBQ at Moose & Roo
Smokehouse on Friday, Nov. 18 at
5pm with all money raised going to
The Royal British Legion.
Come and enjoy this family
friendly afternoon with a traditional
BBQ and a raffle with fan-tastic
prizes.
The Royal British Legion is
a leading charity in the United
Kingdom which takes care of
injured soldiers, their families
both past and present, and is also
responsible for the upkeep and
maintenance of the Commonwealth
war graves.
Tickets cost VND200,000 and can
be purchased directly through the
Embassy. For more information or to
purchase tickets please contact Kayla
Bragg or Nguyen Thanh Binh on (04)
3936 0500. Moose & Roo Smokehouse
is at 21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 47

IN

Just
Hanoi

Health
guides, golf
training, new
nightclubs
and some
spice from
Peru. Whats
new in the
capital

Hanoi Holistic Health


Guide
Fall 2016
A primary and comprehensive directory of holistic health
and wellness services in Hanoi.

1. The latest edition of the Hanoi Holistic Health Guide is now out
2. Bana Hills Golf Club claims to have the most advanced golf training facility in Vietnam
3. Le Club in the Metropole reopens after a two-month refurbishment
4. Entrants to the Targeted Innovation Challenge will have to solve an environmental and conservation problem
5. Tay Ho gets a new bakery
6. Fancy a Peruvian, anyone? Well, lets head to Picante Latino
7. Newly opened Savage is set to shake up the DJ scene in Hanoi
8. Cousins opens a second location in Ba Dinh

Hanoi Holistic Health Guide


The recently updated Autumn
edition of the Hanoi Holistic Health
Guide is now available online.
Containing listings of holistic and
wellness practitioners in Hanoi,
the comprehensive directory is an
indispensable resource for those
looking to optimize their physical,
mental and spiritual health.
A free download of the guide
is available at issuu.com/
hanoiholistichealth

Tracking for Success


Bana Hills Golf Club in Danang
has opened what it says is the most
advanced golf training facility
in Vietnam, using the TrackMan
4 radar-assisted technology to
assess players swings and the
path of the ball. This will enable
club professional Mathew Pryke to
accelerate the learning process.
The club is committed to growing
the game by bringing these training
techniques to new golfers of all ages,
according to Jack Hedges, the clubs
general manager.

48 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The club has also built a fullylit, 310-yard driving range with 18
covered, fan-cooled hitting bays and
five, bunker-guarded target greens
simulating on-course conditions.
For more information click on
banahillsgolf.com

Le Club Reopens
One of Hanois oldest bars, Le Club
at the Sofitel Legend Metropole
Hotel, has reopened after a twomonth makeover. New features
include a live cooking station, a new
marble bar and a seating capacity
expanded from 90 to 120 in a
faithful re-creation of a 1920s style
speakeasy.
With the new bar, there is a new
voice. Zoey Jones steps up as the
hotels new jazz diva, singing five
nights per week at Le Club through
December.
The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel is
at 15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

Entrepreneurship Challenge
A group of companies including

Frontier Law & Advisory (Frontier),


Da Nang Entrepreneurship
Support Co., Ltd. (DNES), Marco
Polo Studios, Evergreen Labs
and Vinatuna are organising an
entrepreneurship initiative called
the Targeted Innovation Challenge
(TIC).
The challenge for entrants is
to solve an environmental and
conservation problem where the
solution will have a commercial
value. The TIC will involve small
teams of inventors competing in
developing a solution with the
best team and runner-up receiving
US$1,000 (VND22.5 million) and
US$400, respectively, along with
a chance to commercialize their
product.
The competition will start with
the soft launch in Danang on Sep.
10, with registration opening by
Sep. 5. The competition will last
six weeks, and the registered teams
will be provided with a mentor
to assist the teams in meeting the
milestones required to complete
the competition.
For more info click on bit.ly/tic2016

5
7

or bit.ly/tic2016page, or contact
Simon Johansson on simon@boldfrontier.com

Home Bread
The couple behind Thanh
Phuc Bread, which has been
supplying Tay Hos minimarts
and shops with fresh bread
since 2009, has just opened a
sandwich shop and bakery off
Dang Thai Mai. Open daily
from 8am to 4pm, the shop
bakes their goods fresh every
day, with loaves starting at
VND45,000, and sandwiches
costing from VND50,000 to
VND90,000 a go.
Home Bread is at 13/57 Dang
Thai Mai, Tay Ho, Hanoi

Picante Latino
Theres a new burrito in town
and at VND95,000, it could
be Tay Hos most affordable.
Add a killer rooftop view of
West Lake, and a cozy date
night atmosphere, and youve

got Picante Latino, the newest


venture of Chef Charles
Guislain and St. Honore.
The menu features Peruvian
dishes like ceviche and lomo
saltado, Mexican favourites like
quesadillas and enchiladas,
and a selection of Spanish
tapas, with prices ranging from
VND55,000 to VND250,000.
Picante Latino is at 5 Xuan
Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi, just above
St. Honore

Savage
Cliche Records has already
rocked Hong Kong with a wave
of international DJs, and now
theyre dropping into Hanoi
with their new venue, Savage.
Kicking off on Sep. 16 with a
showcase by The Observatory
from Saigon, the intimate
club will focus on bumping
quality underground electronic
acts from around the world
through their Funktion-One
soundsystem, and will be invite
crews from across Asia to throw

monthly parties. The grand


opening weekend is officially
slated for the Sep. 23 and Sep.
24, with a VND100,000 cover,
but get there before 10pm to
dance for free.
Savage is at 112 Xuan Dieu,
Tay Ho, Hanoi

New Cousins Location


The Tay Ho-based restaurant
Cousins has opened a new
location in Ba Dinh, a welcome
addition to a neighbourhood
that still lacks quality Western
eateries. The new venue is
larger than their first and is
better-equipped to host events.
The food will stay the same
for now, but a more familystyle menu is in the works.
Prices range from VND75,000
to VND260,000 a dish, and
happy hour offers VND50,000
cocktails during the week from
4pm to 6pm.
Cousins second location is at
#7 Ngo 58, Dao Tan, Ba Dinh,
Hanoi

Insider

Keeping it in the Family / The Homestay Experience / The Motorcycle Diaries / Over the Bridge / Mui Den Do /
Hidden Gems / Top Eats Hanoi / Banh My Pho Hue / Mystery Diner HCMC / A Taste from the Past / The Art and
Architecture of George Town / The Abandoned Valley
Photo of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park by Nick Ross
50 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 51

Insider

52 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

INSIDER

HANOI

Keeping it in the Family


wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 53

Like so many other businesses in Hanoi, Tan My is one


of those that is all about the family. In this instance,
three generations of family. Words by Edward Dalton.
Photos by Theo Lowenstein

anoi is brimming with little family


businesses, where subsequent
generations inherit a new set of
skills along with a shop to peddle
them in. Two of the finest shops on Hang
Gai, the famous Silk Street, Tan My (66
Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem) and its newer
sister shop Tan My Design (61 Hang Gai,
Hoan Kiem) epitomise the spirit of family
business.
I pulled up a chair to hear the stories
of the three women who have overseen
the enduring success of the business,
since its humble beginnings as a seller of
embroidered handkerchiefs and pillow cases,
to an haute designer of clothing, jewellery,
home dcor, and assorted linens.

Grandma Knows Best


The story begins a long time ago when
tradition and strife were the only things
everyone possessed in equal measure.

54 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The war was in full swing, and business


opportunities were few and far between.
Bach Thi Ngai, now 92 years old, recognised
that some things dont stop just because
theres a war to be getting on with.
People still needed to get married, she
says. That meant they needed pillow cases.
In one of the oldest Vietnamese marriage
traditions, newlyweds would go to bed
on their wedding night using pillowcases
embroidered with their initials.
Young men, including two of Ngais
own brothers, left to serve in the army.
Sweethearts would share a final moment
together before the girl slipped an
embroidered handkerchief into the young
soldiers hand, a symbol of her love, loyalty
and commitment.
The handkerchiefs had messages
embroidered onto them, such as chung thuy
or doi cho, continues Ngai, which roughly
translate as Ill be faithful and Ill wait

for you. When Ngai started her business


in 1969, the traditional pillowcases and
sentimental handkerchiefs were the two
pillars upon which she would build her
success.
In the earliest days, Ngai did all the
embroidery herself. Once things started to
take off in a bigger way, her daughter, Do
Thanh Huong, would come home from
school and have to finish stitching two
pillow cases every day.
It was really hard work, Huong recalls.
We still had to use food stamps to survive;
we only got 300 grams of meat every
month.

Like Mother Like Daughter


These days, however, Ngai spends most of
her time either relaxing around Hoan Kiem
Lake, or relaxing at home. About 20 years
ago, Huong took over the reins and started
to modernise the company, moving it away
from relying solely on embroidery.
Its the only thing we ever fought about,
Huong says, smiling at her mum. She
wanted to keep things traditional, but I was
trying to think about the future.
Its clear to see the similarities as they sit
together, looking resplendent in their ao dai.
Im not as beautiful as her, laments

The story begins a


long time ago when
the war was in full
swing, and business
opportunities were few
and far between. Bach
Thi Ngai, now 92 years
old, recognised that
some things dont
stop just because
theres a war to be
getting on with

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Huong. But she taught me to be hardworking and tidy.


The first little shop they owned was just
up the road from the current embroidery
shop, Tan My. Huongs son helps out with
managing it, when hes not busy running his
own restaurant.
Tan My means New Beauty, so thats
where we keep the products were most
proud of the embroidery, says Huong.
The newer shop, Tan My Design, opened
opposite the old one around seven years ago.
This was the culmination of Huongs plan to
modernise the business.
Customers kept coming in and asking
if we did clothes and other things, so we
needed a bigger space.
But two shops is enough, Huong believes.
We want Tan My to be an exclusive
brand, she says. So we will continue to
export, but we wont open any more shops,
or expand into southern Vietnam.
This exclusivity is what gives their
business an edge over their rivals, many of
whom are neighbours in Hang Gai.
Huongs family, unusually for Vietnam, is
a working matriarchy.
My mum is the head of the family, so
other family members will only travel far
if its to pay respect to her, Huong says,
before laughing and confessing: She always
tried to make sure I had an advantage over
the boys in the family.

Bright Future
The penultimate link in the chain is Nguyen
Thi Linh, Huongs daughter and the current
general director of Tan My Design. However,
Im more inclined to believe that Linhs
five-year-old daughter, Kitty, is the real boss
around here, as I watch her confidently
striding around the store to explain products
to foreign customers.
Shes exactly the same as me when I was
that age, Linh says proudly. Except I also
used to stand in the doorway and shout at
people to come inside.
Linh used to have the same dream as her
mum, when she was very young they
both wanted to be teachers.
Getting a job in Hanoi as a teacher was
too difficult, so it was better to work for the
family business, she remembers.
I ask Linh if she would bother with the
family business if she won US$10 million in
a lottery tomorrow.
I would never sell the business, I love
it too much, she says firmly. Huong jokes
that if they won the lottery, theyd just buy a
bigger shop for Tan My.
Linh says that designing products,
managing the business and being with
customers are the things she loves the most,
and cant imagine not working for Tan My in
the future.
Id never force my daughter to continue
the business if she didnt want to, just as
her own mum didnt force her. You can see
how happy she is to be here, she loves the
customers, too.
Huong believes that any family business,

In a family business, if you fail, youve let your


family down; theres more responsibility for
everyone involved. We depend on each other
not only theirs, is far more special than a
huge, faceless corporation.
We work here because we love it, we
built it. It has our personal touch, and the
customers appreciate the character of our
products, she says.
Linh nods her head in agreement,
adding: In a family business, if you fail,
youve let your family down; theres more
responsibility for everyone involved. We
depend on each other.

The Next Generation


While Huong is preparing how best to
retire, or at least take a step back from direct
involvement, Linh is waiting with her hand
outstretched, ready to take the baton and
run.

I want to introduce Tan My, and


Vietnamese embroidery to as much of the
world as possible, Linh says. Its such a
beautiful form of art, and we hope more
people can know about it.
Linh is even considering expanding Tan
My Design to include more artwork, because
she thinks that there are many talented
Vietnamese artists who lack the opportunity
to share their creations.
With Ngais desire to build her own
business, Huongs vision to modernise and
Linhs passion for sharing their products, its
easy to see how Tan My is such a successful
and enduring family business. With Kitty
waiting in the wings, its clear that this is
one family whose legacy is going to continue
growing for quite some time yet.

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Insider
INSIDER

PHOTO ESSAY

The Homestay
Experience

Accustomed to
cable TV, mattresses
and air-conditioning,
staying with a family
in rural Vietnam makes
it very apparent how
much more we have in
life. But it also shows
us how much we dont
really need any of it
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Stay in a five-star or boutique hotel, and you got one


type of experience. Stay in a homestay and you
get something altogether quite different.
Words and photos by Jesse Meadows

hen I am old and I reminisce on


the days I spent adventuring in
Vietnam, what I will remember
most are the nights I laid on a
bamboo floor in a stilt house, listening to the
music of frogs that wafted in through open
windows and the giant mystery bugs that
flitted against my mosquito net in the dark.
I will inhale the scent of coming rain, and
be transported to that moment on my back
in the breeze of the standing fan, watching
the strobe light sky flicker purple behind the
mountains, feeling the whole house tremble
with thunder around me.

Authenticity
Homestays offer an embedded cultural
experience. You get to eat and drink with
a local family, sleep in their house, and
play with their children. Its this authentic
travel that so many tourists fantasize about.
But homestays offer something else, too a

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refreshing return to simplicity.


Henry David Thoreau said: Our life is
frittered away by detail. The more you
have, the more you have to worry about.
In the same way a five-star resort may
handle these details for you, a homestay
simply does away with them. There are
few amenities, nothing to do, and no
distractions. Theres nowhere to be. Days
are spent swaying in a hammock on the
porch, night life is dinner in a circle on the
floor, pouring shots of homemade ruou, or
rice wine, from a bucket.
Accustomed to cable TV, mattresses and
air-conditioning, staying with a family in
rural Vietnam makes it very apparent how
much more we have in life. But it also shows
us how much we dont really need any of it.
Its a reminder that happiness doesnt come
from the things we own, but the experiences
we have, and the people we share them
with.

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Homestays offer an
embedded cultural
experience. You get
to eat and drink with
a local family, sleep in
their house, and play
with their children. Its
this authentic travel
that so many tourists
fantasize about
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Cover Story
1

Nick Ross

Julie Vola

Jesse Meadows
7

Vu Ha Kim Vy

Zoe Osborne

Sin Kavanagh

Rodney Hughes

The Motorcycle Diaries


Che Guevara liked biking through long countries. So do we.

n January 1952, the then 23-yearold Ernesto Che Guevara and his
biochemist friend, Alberto Granado, left
Buenos Aires on a single-cylinder 1939
Norton 500cc motorbike to explore South
America.
The 8,000km journey had a profound
impact on Guevara, who had been
born to an upper-middle-class family.
Encountering first-hand poverty,
exploitation, illness and suffering, it
created a political and social awakening
that led him to fight and die for the cause
of the poor, and dream of a united Latin
America. He became one of the bestknown guerrilla leaders in history.
During our own road trips we have
covered just half that amount 4,000km
yet our travels have taken us the length
and skinny breadth of Vietnam. While we
have encountered experiences both good
and bad, exhilarating and frustrating,
we can promise that not one of us has
returned a revolutionary.
This is not to detract from our own little
feat, from the very northern tip of this
country to the very far southeast is quite
a journey. So, we split it up into parts,
each writer and photographer taking on a
section all of their own.
But like Che Guevara we all experienced
something profound the elation and
freedom of being on the open road.
In the 1950s Jack Kerouac crossed and
re-crossed America by car. It induced him
to pen one of the most influential novels
of the last century, On The Road. Our own
stories wont be nearly as significant and
not one of us is a beatnik, but we hope
they will make you think.
Parts of this country are stunningly
beautiful. Yet to see it you need to get out
there and leave the city behind. Its worth
every breakdown, every bit of discomfort
to your behind, every downpour and every
kilometre of wanting a hot shower or a
place just to lie down and relax.
We know. Because weve been there,
done it, and have survived to tell the story.
So here in all its glory we present to you,
The Motorcycle Diaries.

Hoang Sa

Phu Quoc

Truong Sa

Con Dao

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The Far North


PHOTOS BY NICK ROSS

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Day 2: Yen Minh, Lung Cu and Dong Van

he scenery here is breathtaking.


It is Ha Giang, after all, the most
beautiful province in Vietnam. Yet two
days into our trip it still defies words.
You can describe it, yes rolling hills,
dark mountains, black rock, deep green
foliage, terraced fields, winding roads,
alpine furs, adobe houses and with
a roll of the tongue you can add colour,
verbiage for all the foliage, flowers for all
the mountains. Words can only capture
the emotion this place evokes, not the
place itself. Everything that is not the
mountains is tiny, a dot on an imposing
horizon. Man is just a speck of dirt on the
majesty of nature.
But here, in the space where Vietnam
sticks up into China like a sore thumb,
were about to experience something else.
That country up north.
Leaving Highway 182B we meander
along the crumbling road towards the
border. We pass through small rickety
villages, stare down at immense valleys,
and watch the scenery change. It starts
off as black rock, an unearthly black rock,
but then the trees and grasses return in
different shades of green and after 20km

of ungainly bends we are at the border.


Not for the first time today, we see
marijuana growing wild by the side of the
road and then we pass an old man leading
two albino buffaloes. He is alone, using
a stick for support. Further on, we see
another old man dressed all in black, his
back stooped under the weight of leaves
and grasses.
Lung Cu is known for its tower, a
mountain-top column and flagpole
overlooking the border. On its top flaps
a Vietnamese flag, placed as if to remind
the northern hordes beyond of that
resilient nation to the south. Its on the tip
of the nail, the pointed nail of that thumb,
and the tower and flag loom resplendent
below the imposing sky.
As we climb the first set of steps
there are 270 to get to the base of the
tower Communist Party music drifts
out of the speakers. Its imposing and yet
soothing, peace-breaking yet relevant.
For the whole of the 1980s, Vietnam
fought off the Chinese on its northern
border. The Chinese managed to get no
more than a kilometre into Vietnam.
With an already war-hardened army and

border lands like these, its no surprise.


At the base of the tower the question
is asked again and again. Where is
China? No sign marks it out. I think
its to the north, but when I look later on
Google Maps, its to the east and west
as well, no more than two kilometres
either way. From where we stand, there
are villages on the other side of the
border that can only be reached by road
from Vietnam. Apparently you can cross
without a visa and then come back again.
But at this moment we dont know that,
and climbing to the top of the tower
another 144 steps we ask again.
Wheres China?
This time the answer comes with the
wind. It soars here in blusters, hitting
you in the face. Beyond the valleys below,
China is everywhere you look, but its not
here. Certainly not here.
We have a different vantage point at
the top of the tower to the one we see on
the road. And we could stand here and
soak in the effect of man and nature for
hours. But we have to move on. Its late
afternoon and we have to get on to Dong
Van before dark. Nick Ross

Diary Entry #1: The Cross-Eyed Ghost


Were talking about the village we just passed through on the way to
Lung Cu. Is it M L, meaning cross-eyed mother or Ma L cross-eyed
ghost? Were so tired from our rain-drenched, motorbike drive, which has
meandered through grandiose mountain passes and regal valleys, that weve
lost the ability to think. When we settle on cross-eyed ghost, we dont
discuss its strangeness. Later on Google Maps I discover that it could actually
be M L, meaning cross-eyed flying horse.
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 67

The Northern Loop


PHOTOS BY JULIE VOLA

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Day 1: Hanoi to La Vie Vu Linh

e were supposed to set off early to


Ba Be Lake to ensure we completed
the 230km trip in a day, but because of
mechanical gremlins, our departure gets
put back. The contingency plan is to make
a first stop at Thac Ba Lake, 150km away
in the village of Vu Linh in Yen Bai.
The road from Hanoi is fairly easy, and
quite scenic when you get deep into the
Vietnamese countryside, with rice paddies
and a bit of mountain road. We also drive
through tea plantations, which make a

welcome change of scenery. From Hanoi we


head towards Tam Dao and stay on TL340
then QL2C; at km134 we turn left onto QL37
and follow the road until we reach Vu Linh.
There are a couple of homestays spread
around and tourism is not yet developed
around Thac Ba Lake; the main player in the
area is La Vie Vu Linh, a lakefront eco-lodge
that promotes tourism in harmony with the
locals and the environment.
The lake created by the Thac Ba
hydroelectric project in 1970 is one of the

largest artificial bodies of water in Vietnam,


covering a total of 23.4 hectares. 1,331 islands
rear their heads above its surface, causing
some to call it a miniature Ha Long Bay.
The villages in the area have a large ethnic
population, mainly composed of Dzao and
Tay and it is possible to hire a boat for a tour
of the lake, visiting caves like Thuy Tien
cave, which was the base for the Yen Bai
provincial committee during the war. With
clear, blue water the lake is also perfect for
a swim.

Diary Entry #1: Traditions


We arrive at La Vie Vu Linh unannounced; luckily we are the only guests. It is a
special night for the staff, as one of the young French volunteers will be leaving
the next day, and so tonight its his going-away party. We share a delicious
family-style meal around the same table. The moonshine is out and ready.
Following the Dzao tradition every time someone offers to drink a glass down
in one you shake their hand and say thank you. I thank the same person
multiple times for over an hour.
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 69

Day 2: La Vie Vu Linh to Ba Be lake

scenic route going through many


mountain passes runs north of Tuyen
Quang Province towards Viet Quang, then
follows the southern border of Ha Giang
Province. This trip was recommended by
the Vietnamese staff at La Vie Vu Linh but
Google Maps estimates it would take over
seven hours in a car, so tack a couple more
on for a motorbike convoy.
We decide against it, and cut straight
through Tuyen Quang Province. Going
through Vietnamese rural landscape is never
boring, the bucolic farm life picturesque
even though the area is visibly poor. Beware
if youre using Google Maps, as it doesnt
discriminate between highways, countryside
roads or mountain dirt roads, which could
set you back an hour or two if you're
unlucky. We learnt that one the hard way.
After 120km of a quiet drive through the

countryside, Google Maps suggested that


we take a left towards the mountain, along a
road carrying a Restricted Area sign. Twenty
minutes in, the road changes from paved to
dirt with big rocks and small rain gullies and
rising steeply to one side. That isn't too bad,
but the steep downgrades are intimidating.
On the way down, I notice my travelling
companion, Richards, backpack is gone. He
decides to walk back to retrieve it, walking
up and down the road for a good 30 minutes
under the sun. Back on his motorbike he
continues on down quicker than me, and I
lose sight of him.
When I catch up, I find him sitting under
the shade of some small bushes. He isnt
well, light-headed, possible heatstroke,
from the combination of the walk under the
sun, the lack of water and the fumes from
his motorbike tank. He drinks what water

we have left, but it isnt enough. When it


becomes clear he isnt able to stand up and
ride his motorbike, I have to leave him there
and go get some help.
Luckily we are almost done with the dirt
mountain road and within 10 minutes I
reach a house. A farmer is outside, sees my
distress, understands something has gone
wrong on the road; he probably thinks my
friend had an accident. When we get back,
Richard is still not able to stand and is on the
verge of passing out.
The farmer assesses the situation, and
barefoot drives his motorbike back down the
road, parks it and walks back up, so he can
drive Richards motorbike down to the main
road. We finally get Richard to a roadside
shop with two big bottles of water, shade
and sugar. He recovers and two hours later
we get back on the road.

Diary Entry #2: In the Spotlight


After the mayhem of the drive to Ba Be, we are back on the road trying
to take it easy. Its already late, though, and night is falling fast, so we
get ready to do the last section in the dark. Then we realize Richard's
front light doesnt work, probably because of a slight fall in the morning.
We fix his phone to the handlebars and turn on its flashlight; Richard
follows me closely for the last 10km. The day has become ludicrous.

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Day 3: Ba Be Lake

a Be National Park, established in


1992 in Bac Kan Province, is set up to
protect the largest natural freshwater lake
in Vietnam and the surrounding limestone
and evergreen forest. Ba Be meaning Three
Lakes refers to Pe Leng, Pe Lu and Pe Lam,
three lakes, each connected to the next.
The park is a wildlife sanctuary for 447

different kinds of mammals, birds and fish


species and 354 species of butterfly. Three
villages surround the lakeshore, Bo Lu, Ba
Be and Pac Ngoi, all offering a large choice
of homestays. A couple of piers around the
lake allow you to hire a boat independently
to visit local attractions (Puong Caves,
Widow Island, Dau Dang Waterfall and

more). If you enjoy trekking, the National


Park offers a multitude of trails for the day
or for a few nights with tours organised by
Ba Be Tourism or Linhs Adventure Travel
and Homestay.
The place is idyllic. A thankful final
destination to a not so thankful journey.
Julie Vola

Diary Entry #3: Afternoon Glow


One thing I love is the 4pm to 6pm window. In Vietnam the light at
these hours is beautiful, golden and rich. In the countryside it is also the
time people go back to the fields after avoiding the perils of the midday
heat. It is the time when people light fires to burn waste, and it is during
this time of the day when I am out taking photos that I feel the most at
home in Vietnam.

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South of Hanoi
PHOTOS BY JESSE MEADOWS

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Day 1: Hanoi to Mai Chau

he worst part of road tripping south


out of the city is the dusty construction
you must first pass on Highway 13.
Its a sort of toll for the beauty youll
see soon. About an hour out of the city
centre, the landscape starts to improve.
Limestone mammoths appear, surrounded
by green fields and glassy lakes. This is
Hoa Binh Province, home to caves that
once sheltered some of the very first
Vietnamese civilisations.

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Stop in Hoa Binh town for lunch (and a


trip to the mechanic, if your bike chain falls
off like mine did). Theres not much to see
here, but its a nice halfway point. Back on
Highway 13, the drive goes from good to
spectacular pretty quickly. Winding in and
out of switchbacks, the road climbs up and
down for a couple hours until making a
final descent into the valley that cradles Mai
Chau.
The area is mostly populated by the White

Thai ethnic minority, skilled weavers who


sheltered the Vietnamese army on their way
to the famous battle against the French at
Dien Bien Phu. Their traditional wooden stilt
houses originally built to survive flooding
have now been converted into homestays
for tourists. Mai Chau is a serene, relaxing
and successful experiment in grassroots
tourist development, but its now a regular
stop on most itineraries, and true adventure
is scarce.

Day 2: Mai Chau to Pu Luong

y travel companion and I debated


leaving this lazy refuge, but the idea
of a place that youve never been is a
strong motivator. Leaving Mai Chau town,
Road 15 snakes south towards Pu Luong
Nature Reserve; hang left when the road
splits and cross the border into Thanh
Hoa Province, climbing the spine of the
reserves western mountain ridge. This
province one of the countrys largest
was home to the Dong Son culture during
the Bronze Age, and the birthplace of the

famed Ba Trieu, a fierce female warrior


in the third century who led a rebellion
against the Chinese from the back of an
elephant.
On an empty road, its easy to imagine a
time more ancient, as small waterfalls gush
down the slope to your right, and glassy rice
terraces descend to your left into the deep
valley below. In the distance, green gives
way to layers of mountains in ascending
shades of blue.
Besides a recently-built boutique resort

(a sign of development to come), the only


places to rest here are the homestays of local
villagers, who will happily make dinner and
prepare a bed for you. The food is all grown,
picked and killed by hand, as fresh as it gets,
and the views are vast and unparalleled. It
would be easy to spend a week here, getting
lost on the dirt roads that lead to hidden
villages, but despite my steady diet of
coconut water and pickled chillis, Id begun
to feel bleak, so we decided to head back
into civilisation early.

Diary Entry #1: Hanoi


A day on the highway in Hanoi is a day of extremes. Loud, fast,
bright, hot. Sweat dripping down the middle of your back as three
old Vietnamese men fiddle with the wires in your motorbike. But they
couldnt fix it, grew bored, and wandered off, so my travelling partner
started her bike and pushed me 15km home with her right foot. We
almost made it to the outskirts of the city but her tentacles pulled us
right back in. Well try again tomorrow.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 75

Day 3: Pu Luong to Lang Chanh

oming down out of the reserve, we


encounter the Ma River; this massive,
slow-moving brown beast that has
sustained the region for centuries. After
we cross the bridge, the road follows the
river for a while, before the landscape
changes into verdant bamboo forests and
mountains carpeted in greenery.

Its a short ride, and its entirely


possible to pass through Lang Chanh,
unless, like me, youve grown deathly ill
by some cruel twist of fate. Its remote and
pastoral, and if I hadnt felt like dying, I
would have stopped to explore the lush
bamboo that lines the gently sloping road.
Theres a turn-off to the right for Lang

Chanh Town, a small but bustling little


place with a couple of hotels on the main
drag. Its one of those middle-of-nowhere
settlements that somehow stick in your
memories of road trips. The locals are
friendly, and over dinner, theyll offer up
directions to Thac Ma Hao, a waterfall
10km outside of town.

Diary Entry #2: Pu Luong


Tonight we taught some little girls from the village how to play Uno, and
marvelled as the sun set behind the mountains outside our window. Dinner with
the family was quiet and the father, who already smelled strongly of alcohol when
we met him that afternoon, tried to ply us with rice wine. I declined, feeling
sicker by the minute, and chewed on some chilli instead. As we climbed into bed,
he watched us far too long for comfort. Are we safe? my travel companion keeps
asking. I think so. Were together, at least. Groups of men have tailed us on the
highway, theyve filmed us with their phones even after we asked them not to,
theyve leered in ways they never do when I travel with male companions.

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Day 4: Lang Chanh to Cuc Phuong National Park

night of sleep worked its magic, and


we woke up the next day in high
spirits, ready to find that waterfall. I guess
in a way we got what we wanted; we
drove straight into a monsoon. Over coffee
with some giggly women who couldnt
resist a cell phone photoshoot with the
foreigners in town, we waited for the
downpour to slow, before taking Road 15
to the Ho Chi Minh Highway.
A source of national pride, this
1,200-kilometre road runs the length of
the country, and a particularly beautiful

stretch cuts straight through Cuc Phuong


National Park. Anointed by Ho Chi Minh
himself in 1962, the park is Vietnams
largest, and remains from prehistoric
humans have even been found in some of
its caves.
After a road trip that pelted me with
rain from the outside and malady from
the inside, pulling up to my favourite
homestay in Vietnam was a relief. Quan
Duc is close to the highway, and run by a
family of four sisters. They have beautiful
children and three furry puppies.

Its the perfect balance of home and


stay, really trading English words for
Vietnamese over coffee in the morning,
dancing with the kids in the afternoon, and
retreating to our own wooden loft space in
the evening.
A dirt track next to the homestay will
take you into the mountains, where
waterfalls abound, goats graze along the
road, and buffalo herders amble along
with their brutes. Under the definition
of happy place, theres a photograph of
Cuc Phuong. Jesse Meadows

Diary Entry #3: Cuc Phuong


Get me out of here! my companion laughs, as we reminisce on the past few
days. Its been one misfortune after another, and now were lying on a bamboo
mat, listening to rain patter on a tin roof as the wooden house around us shakes
with thunder. Shes scared, but thunderstorms always remind me of home. Its
the most relaxation Ive had all week. Grandma comes up the stairs, puts buckets
in the places where she knows the roof will leak, and replaces the bananas on the
family altar. I smile and wave goodnight to her, watching the raindrops outside
flicker in the light of passing trucks. Even when it all goes wrong, theres still
beauty to be found. You just have to laugh.
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Day 1: Phong Nha to Khe Sanh

t started off as a road trip just for two;


Ben Mitchell from Phong Nha Farmstay
and I. Yet by the time we departed Phong
Nha in Quang Binh early one August
morning, our ranks had swollen to eight.
Three Australians, two Brits, one German,
one Irishman and one Vietnamese. Id like
to flatter myself that this sudden interest
was because of the company. Perhaps it
was partly so.
The other was definitely the journey
itself, along the Ho Chi Minh Trail West

now known as Highway 15. While Ha


Giang is hands down the most beautiful
province in Vietnam, when it comes to
roads, the drive from Phong Nha to Khe
Sanh in the next province down, Quang
Tri, has to be the most stunning.
According to the United States National
Security Agency's version of the war,
the system of paths that made up the
Ho Chi Minh Trail was one of the great
achievements of military engineering of
the 20th century. Used to transport both

soldiers and supplies from north to south,


look at the terrain that Highway 15, paved
in the early 2000s, weaves through and
youll understand the accolade.
Vietnam has over 90 million people,
of whom the majority are squeezed into
approximately 20 percent of the countrys
land area. This means large swathes of this
country are sparsely inhabited. But here,
even sparse doesnt describe what you see.
For the first 80km there is not one house
along the road. Not one ranger station, not

The Ho Chi Minh Trail


PHOTOS BY NICK ROSS

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one shop, caf or gas station.


This is unadulterated countryside,
a rural form of Vietnam made up of
limestone mountains carpeted with green
jungle, all but untouched. The hundreds
of thousands of Vietnamese soldiers who
would have plied this route would have
found it treacherous.
The road, too, is representative of the
terrain. Up and down, pass after pass,
hairpin bend after ever-more-challenging
hairpin bend, the going is slow. Yet riding
a motorbike through the cool air of the

mountain valleys with a backdrop of a


world untouched by man is difficult to
beat. Its exhilarating.

Civilisation
The first sign of human life is at the
junction with provincial highway TL563
at an area known as Rinh Rinh. Suddenly
there is a trickle of motorbikes travelling
the opposite way. Ten kilometres further
on, the houses begin to appear, the ethnic
minority stilt houses of the Van Kieu. And
then after another 10km a village, Long

Son. Yet almost as quickly as the presence


of civilization appears, it disappears
again, not re-emerging until we are 50km
or so from Khe Sanh. This time it comes
with livestock buffalo, cows, goats,
chickens and even pigs wandering along
the road.
And finally Khe Sanh, the first real
town in 240km. Located just 15km from
the border with Laos, this dusty, end-ofthe-road conglomeration of houses is best
known for its wartime air base, Ta Con,
which we plan to visit the next day.

Diary Entry #1: Dont Go Chasing Waterfalls


Weve been talking about heading to this waterfall weve been told about
and now the three guys, including the midget, are heading off the road to
the Promised Land. Ill follow them, I tell everyone, and I get on my bike
and drive down the track. But 1km in and my path is blocked so I park
my bike and go on by foot. They show me the waterfall tuyet voi, says
one, amazing. But when I get there its just rocks jutting out of a flowing
river. So I head back to the ranger station, but when I arrive, everyone
else has left, also in search of the waterfall. I wait, wait and wait. They
will be disappointed.
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 79

Day 2: Khe Sanh, Lao Bao, Dong Ha and Hue

here is an abandoned church in Quang


Tri on the main road from Dong Ha to
Hue. When we arrive, my memory is of
the photos taken three years ago by our
then staff photographer, Francis Roux.
Bullet holes rip through the side of the
churchs ornate walls and decorative
carvings, and the building has lost its roof;
today its at the mercy of the elements.
This for me is war; its ability to destroy
all thats good and beautiful. Even places

of God get caught up in the carnage. And


in this part of Vietnam, the strip of land
north and south of the former Demilitarized
Zone (DMZ), today the monstrous acts of
more than 40 years ago continue to affect
its people. There is so much unexploded
ordnance (UXO) in the area that, for fear of
digging up dangerous explosives, farmers
only practice light farming the main
crop is acacia trees. And every year, while
the numbers of fatalities are declining and

organisations like MAG and Project Renew


work to clear the land of munitions, scores
of people either die or get injured through
accidental contact with the UXO.
We start our second day on the road with
another reminder of the past, this time the
brutality of colonisation. At Lao Bao
on the border with Laos is a French-built
prison that is off most tourist itineraries.
The penitentiary is mainly in ruins now, but
three of the old blocks remain, including the

Diary Entry #2: Speak Vietnamese, Why Don't You?


The receptionist in Khe Sanh just refuses to speak to me in Vietnamese,
and every time I say something she replies in bad English. Terrible
English. I know she wants to practice her language skills, but please,
all were trying to do is arrange dinner. Please! Lets just arrange it,
okay? Dont you get it? Theres a reason why so many foreigners have
problems speaking your language. Its because you make it so difficult for
them. But no, she continues on.

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solitary confinement area. Most striking is


a tree with thorns, a bit like a rose bush but
with the spikes climbing up the trunk.
Prisoners were made to climb up this tree
as a form of punishment, says our guide. I
wince at the savagery.
Our next stop with our numbers
whittled down from eight to five, and later
just two is the former US Air Base at Ta
Con in Khe Sanh. Filled with rusting tanks,
helicopters, people carriers, munitions, an air
carrier and a reconstructed bunker system,

last time I visited there was a freshness to


the place. Even the museum, with its photo
imagery, models, maps and weapons, felt
alive with history. Yet now the place is staid.
No upgrades. No care. A bunker system
overgrown with weeds. This should be one
of the key war sites in the country, but it
isnt. It needs an overhaul.
And then, via the road to Dong Ha
and an ethnic minority village given an
NGO makeover that had failed to bring in
tourists even the hot spring baths, a key

part of any visit, were cracked and out of


use. Now lunch and then the church, Long
Hung. Finally, in late afternoon, to Hue and
into the Imperial citadel for dinner at Les
Jardins de la Carambole. As I sit with my
one remaining travel companion, Ben, we
go over again and again the journey of the
past two days. There are some road trips that
lodge in your memory, some that you will
hope to forget. Surrounded by the spectre of
the past, this is one that will remain fresh.
Nick Ross

Diary Entry #3: Pig Ears and Chao


The suckling pig arrives on the table, all skin, fat, bone and only a little
meat. We start eating, then suddenly I realise Im eating the ear. No,
cant do that one. For a second I want to retch and I subtly put the piece
with ear it on it back on the sharing plate. I dont want anyone to notice.
Then the chao arrives, chao with seaweed, my saviour. But this is the
Quang Tri version and instead of rice congee it comes with little, oneinch long pieces of oblong shaped, glutinous noodles.
A bit like banh canh. We dig in. Its delicious! I forget about the ear.

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The Central Highlands


PHOTOS BY VU HA KIM VY

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 83

Day 1: Dalat to Lak Lake

he bus rips its way along the winding


road, narrowly missing its ghost-like
cousins as they spin past through the mist.
It is as though the forest is hungry. The
road to Dalat is a shoelace slender and
impossibly twisted, rising up through the
clouds to a city of crisp, pale skies and
feathery flowers.
This place is famous for a reason.
Originally a French settlement, Dalat has
the kind of delicate elegance that you might
expect from the South of France, but with
Vietnams signature tang of time and culture.
It sits around Xuan Huong Lake, spreading
its arms out over the hills around it. Quaint,
pastel-coloured houses cling to the hillside
among the coffee plantations, and the air is
sweet with flowers and pine. It tastes fresh,
and impossibly clean.

There are two roads leading out of Dalat


towards Dak Lak. They join together about
28km from the city, bumping noses at
national highway QL27 and spinning back
up into the mountains. Over mounds of
deepest green, the road soon opens out into a
wide bridge. A time-wrinkled woman stands
at its edge, gazing into the water below, a
patterned cloth around her soft, curling hair.
Kmot is a cow herder. She cannot remember
her age, and as she pads along the damp
tarmac her eyes tell more stories than the
stars. Its going to rain, she smiles.
The road to Lak Lake is like a story. It
winds past big gated houses, brick box
cottages and rustic wooden cabins sitting
next to each other in a somehow harmonious
paradox, a little way back from the tarmac.
People squat outside, their lives bared to

whoever is driving past. Farmland rolls


with the hills, dipping into the leafy forest
around it as though someone had shaved off
a chunk of the mountain and planted crops
on its scalp. Dust-footed children watch,
eyes wide.
Eventually, QL27 falls down from the hills,
pausing at a quiet, lakeside mountain town.
The Lak Lake community sits around its
namesake, a famous expanse of shimmering
water dotted with reeds and blurry-eyed
fishermen. The lake is covered in soft, gentle
mist in the mornings, and turns to gold
with the sun. Ethnic Jun Village sits a little
to the north. Its a tourist hotspot, and as
you weave through the beautiful wooden
stilt houses you cant help but wonder what
it would be like to live your whole life on
show.

Diary Entry #1: The Village


Weve almost reached Lak Lake, taking a break over a fresh, flowing river before we
move on. A village of people have built their homes to float on the water, patching
their lives together from whatever they could find. Poverty is harsh when you cant
even afford a patch of land to live on. We talk to a man on the hill beside our bridge.
He is lugging long strips of bamboo down to the river bank, lifting one and standing
hunched on his bare feet to throw it downhill before turning back for another. He is
building a new river house. We watch his wife adjust her worn, pink jumper and pull
up the bottoms of her leggings, see his little twig-like son play in the muddy river
reeds, and wonder what life would be like on water, with nothing but each other.

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Day 2: Lak Lake to Pleiku

eaving Lak Lake for Pleiku, QL27 runs


next to the water for a while, snaking
over green-gold rice paddies. Giang Re,
another big body of still water backed by
pock-marked hills, lies about 16km from
Lak Lake. Just after Ea Krong Ana, an old
broken Catholic Church sits back from the
road, forgotten, lying in a field of gold. Sit
under the bronzed stone pillars and dream
of the stories in its cold, wet stone.
From here the highway is a lot straighter.

A red clay track spits off from the main road


at Ea MTA, skirting the edge of Buon Ma
Thuot. Lanky pepper trees line the road
and gangly young boys rip past on mopeds,
loose hair rippling in the wind. The road
here is full of scars and holes, the air is
strangely fragrant, almost bitter, and all is
wet with the promise of rain. Soon the red
blends to grey again, turning right onto the
AH17. The land here is quite bland. Giant,
imposing quarries line the road like gashes

of blood-orange in the mountains green.


Drive on, to Pleiku.
Compared to its lush surroundings,
the bustling town of Pleiku is a fairly
characterless place. Just before you reach
the town, climb the wide track to the top of
Nui Ham Rong the gateway to Pleiku.
Get up to see the sun rise. In wet weather the
mountain is smothered in mist, swallowing
the track as it stretches out its fingers, feeling
for its way.

Diary Entry #2: Sunrise at the Lake


We get up before the sun and head down to the lake we want to see the
sunrise. As we drive along the bank of that vast stretch of crystal grey, groups
of Lak Lake locals power walk past in early-morning exercise gear. Fishermen
glide through the water in their long, slender crafts, rubbing the sleep from
their eyes. There is such a beautiful paradox of people here a mother in pretty
new jogging shoes guides her son on the smooth tarmac, while a wife squats in
the dust beside the lake to clean the fish her husband caught, and a sister walks
barefoot beside the road wearing bright, ethnic colours on her golden brown
skin. The sun shifts but stays hidden behind the billowing clouds that have
followed from Dalat. It will rain today.

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Day 3: Pleiku to Kon Tum

rive through Pleiku on AH17 the


road to Kon Tum is broad and smooth.
Bien Ho sits on the right of the highway,
hidden down a forest track. The trees thin
with the road and the magnificent breadth
of water behind them winks through the
leaves, showing its face at the Bien Ho
lookout.
As you reach Phu Hoa, about one third
into your journey, turn left on the TL673
and follow it up to Ya Ly. This massive

expanse of water, larger than Kon Tum


city, looks incredible on the map, but
unfortunately access by main road is
denied unless you are driving a car. The
lake is, however, surrounded by dirt tracks
that link a network of ethnic farming
communities. Making a careful triangle
back to the main road, turn left onto a dirt
track about 6km back down the TL673 and
follow its curves and sharp twists back to
AH17.

The hills lie like snakes as you enter


Kon Tum, wrapping around golden green
rice paddies and tickling the road with
their noses. This city is truly charming.
Its home to an almost impossible number
of churches, while just outside it there are
more ethnic groups living totally separate
lives, preserving their beautiful language
and culture. Drive through Kon Klor and
Kon Knam, smile with the people and share
life with them for a day. Zoe Osborne

Diary Entry #3: The Reservoir


We take a detour from Pleiku to Kon Tum, slipping off the main road for a glimpse
of the vast Yaly Reservoir. We are stopped at the gate we cant go in. As we head
back to AH17, we turn left. Twisting and turning in dusty abandon, the country
track that joins the highway beyond Yaly Lake is possibly one of the most exquisite
parts of our journey yet. Our poor city bike struggles on the mottled clay track,
now slick with the rain that has just slapped the highlands. We fall, slide into the
mud. Around us is an expanse of incredible green and gold, rice fields, pepper plains
and rich, dense paddocks of coffee, and rusty wooden cabins dot the road. An
ethnic village unfolds. Pretty eyed cows walk with us, and their surprised herders
watch us with wide eyes as we scrape the mud from our wheels.
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Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City to Ben Tre

eaving Ho Chi Minh City is a trip of


its own between finding our way
out, and the traffic, it takes us more than
an hour to get out of the city. Driving on
Highway 1 is dreadful, so we look for
small roads heading the same way. Ending
up on a back road, even if for a short time,
into rural countryside following a quiet
little river is a welcome intermission from
busy and dusty Highway 1.
Distances between towns are relatively
short in the Mekong Delta. You can easily
drive from Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho in
half a day and then slowly make your way

back to the metropolis through the twist and


turns of the delta.
First stop, My Tho, is an unremarkable but
bustling city, one of the main destinations for
tourists on the one-day boat trip tours into
the deltas canals. We stop for a fresh drink
by the harbour and watch the different boats
on the river carrying the tourists heading for
Thoi Son Island.
We hoped to take a ferry for our first
encounter with the river but we are told
there are no longer any ferries in My Tho
and that we have to take the cable-stayed
Rach Mieu Bridge. These new bridges over

the different arms of the Mekong are most


impressive not beautiful but spectacular.
They impose themselves on the landscape
as major engineering landmarks. One after
another, the concrete giants speed up the
socio-economic and touristic development of
the region, and slowly replace the network
of ferries that run across the rivers.
We arrive in Ben Tre by the end of the
day and check into a clean, new hotel
overlooking the river. In the fresh evening
air we take a long stroll on the riverside
promenade, watching locals on their last
errands of the day.

Into the Mekong


PHOTOS BY JULIE VOLA

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nother way to discover the delta is by


boat. Avoiding My Thos assembly line
of tourists and boats, at Ben Tres Oasis
Hotel, you can book half-day boat trips
through the canals of the island, with the
typical features like a coconut candy factory
stop, honey tea and tropical fruits, but also
an additional bicycle tour through the small
alleyways between peoples houses, farms
and orchards. Its a highlight.
It feels like youre entering a secret
garden, zigzagging under the palm tree

Day 2: Ben Tre to Vinh Long

shade where the sunshine pierces the green


leaves. Time is suspended; everything is
quiet, only interrupted by the laughter of
children playing with a dog or the tinkle of a
bell on a bicycle.
From Ben Tre to Vinh Long there is still a
ferry line that connects the two islands more
conveniently placed than the bridge. The
waiting in line to get on the ferry is a dire
experience where a gas mask would be a
useful accessory to ward off exhaust fumes.
Once on the ferry, nobody moves, ready

to start again as soon as the ferry touches the


bank. The air from the river is a relief in the
heat of the late daylight hours.
There is nothing much to see in Vinh
Long, the interest lies elsewhere. There
are a lot of homestay options on An Binh
Island just across the river. There, in the
middle of farmland we get our dose of rural
hospitality.

Diary Entry #1: The Lord of the Flowers


Flowers are everywhere in the south of Vietnam. I am amazed.
Bougainvillea are a long-time favourite of mine, and it seems like they
grow like weeds here. The sight makes me so happy, I am almost jealous.
Why cant we have this in Hanoi? The air is infused with a fragrant smell
of flowers, and all I can think of is its time to get my balcony smelling
just like that.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 89

Day 3: Vinh Long to Can Tho

n Binh island is densely cultivated


with rice paddies and fruit orchards.
The air smells of sweet-blossomed
flowers. After breakfast we borrow the
homestays bicycles and take off for the
whole morning continuing our exploration
of the Mekong Deltas deep countryside.
The best way to discover this quiet,
picturesque, paradise is to get lost in
the narrow lanes, passing by luxuriant
bougainvillea bushes, cycling on small
fragrant roads boarded by orchards,
houses, and cute stone or wood bridges.
On this peaceful morning, southern
Vietnam begins to grow on me; this is my

favourite part of the trip so far.


Well into the afternoon, we head
towards Sa Dec to visit the house of
Huynh Thuy Le, the son of a rich Chinese
family, and lover of the French writer
Marguerite Duras. Duras immortalised the
ill-fated affair in her novel The Lover. The
119-year-old house at 255A Nguyen Hue
is open for visits. Its structure conforms
to traditional Vietnamese design but is
combined with western influence on
the faade and in the Renaissance-style
ceilings. The interior is all dark wood, a
strong contrast to the white stones of the
exterior, and in the first room you can see

all kinds of photos on the wall, some of


Huynh Thuy Le himself with his wife and
children, and on the other side, photos of
Duras. Its a bit disappointing, though.
Youd expect some sort of romantic
ambience, but the way the house and
museum is set up, its strangely absent.
We arrive in Can Tho late that afternoon
after cruising around Vinh Long Province.
We find a nice guesthouse by the riverside,
and in what is becoming a little ritual after
dinner we take a stroll on the promenade.
We stop to visit Ong Temple, an exquisite
and devout pagoda with an immense
incense coil snaking down the ceiling.

Diary Entry #2: Fish


On our cycle trip around An Binh Island we find a small pond my friend
reckons its an aquafarm. Inside are lots and lots of koi fish. The owner of
the farm sees us and instead of chasing us away shows us where the food is
and demonstrates one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen in my
life. As the food hits the water hundreds upon hundreds of fish emerge and
fight for the scraps. Watching the mayhem is mesmerizing.

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Day 4: Can Tho to Ho Chi Minh City

an Tho is the main city of the Mekong


delta. After the last days exploring the
countryside, none of the towns we spend
time in seem enjoyable whatever their
reputation might be. Still, one thing to do
in Can Tho is to visit the floating market.
You can rent boats on the pier, but prepare
to haggle. We decide to go by bike, and to

stand on the bridge to see it all. Unluckily,


the time of the year we decide to go south
is the time when there is no market, just a
few boats here and there, and a lot more
boats with disappointed tourists.
Back on the road we try to stay off the
main highways and enjoy the last bit of
countryside before hitting the metropolis.

If it wasnt for the last 70km on Highway 1


between My Tho and HCMC on a Sunday
evening when everybody else goes back
to the city, it would have been the perfect
ride.
A few days is enough for us two girls
living in Hanoi to fall in love with the
south. Julie Vola

Diary Entry #3: The Sunglasses Lady


Traversing on the giant bridges stresses me out. People drive fast and as the wind
picks up, the bike Ive rented doesnt feel secure. Someone passes me a bit too close
and I am furious, nasty words come out of my mouth. I regret it instantly. I need
to stop and get my breathing back in order. A Vietnamese couple smile at me and
ask to take photos. I oblige and turn my camera towards them, thats when the
sunglasses lady sees me and comes towards us; she looks incredible carrying all of
her wares on her body. She is covered from head to toe, just her fingertips exposed.
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The Deep South


PHOTOS BY RODNEY HUGHES

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Day 1: Chua Hang to Ha Tien

o the east of the Cambodian border


in southern Vietnam is Kien Giang
Province; a stretch of coastline filled with
magnificent rock faces, beaches created
by the silt flowing out of The Mekong,
and caves to explore, many marked with
scars from past wars. The far southwest,
the District of Ha Tien, is home to almost
45,000 people, most condensed into the
town, but many farmers and fishermen
have made their homes away from the
town along the coastline and throughout
the paddy fields.
Chua Hang Pagoda in Hon Chong is
40km from Ha Tien along QL80 with a long
stretch of beach, home to a pagoda inside a
cave. The ocean air is salty and refreshing
compared to the pollution of Saigon, and
the road towards it winds and dips with the
sprawling landscape.
Located on a dead-end street lined with
vendors selling beer and beach snacks, as
well as souvenirs and tourist fare, tucked
away inside an unassuming building
you will find the stairs down to the cave
shrines; a sanctuary from the midday heat
and illuminated only in neon green. The
cave leads to a tunnel opening out onto the

beach, with smaller shrines dotted along


the walkway and tucked away within the
limestone.
Though the region is predominantly
Buddhist, Catholic worshippers make up 30
percent of the local people. It is interesting to
observe how even in this region, where it is
rumoured that Buddaghosa passed through
in 450 AD, the Catholic practices borrow
elements of Buddhist worship, especially at
the shrines.
Moso cave, located north-east of Chua
Hang was a hideout of the Viet Cong
during the war. To find Moso cave, we drive
north along QL80, through Ba Hon fishing
village, and keep our eyes peeled for the
sign; it is subtle and easy to miss. The cave
tour takes approximately 45 minutes, costs
VND100,000 per person and demands the
use of a head light for the majority of the
tour. Though it is maintained for visitors,
prepare to get your feet wet and slip about
on the smooth rocks.
Once we leave Moso cave, we continue
north on the winding coast road, overshoot
Ha Tien by 4km and find ourselves at Mui
Nai Beach. This strip of sand is filled with
Vietnamese tourists despite the rough waves

and grey clouds. Familiar tourist tarps are


laid out on the concrete with snacks, beer
and karaoke machines, overlooking the
sea, Phu Quoc and the high mountains of
Cambodia in the distance.
Ha Tien town is a place many people see
only in transit; but the small town divided
in two by the Giang Thanh River has its own
attractions.
Ha Tien has some of the best seafood,
landscapes, and connections, so it is so easy
to visit and explore, though many people
only visit for one or two days at a time,
local tour guide Trinh Ngoc The explains.
Now 57 years old, for almost two decades he
was the only English-speaking tour guide in
the area.
One of the proudest figures of Ha Tien
history is Mac Cuu who managed to claim
a huge swathe of the southern portion of
the Mekong Delta for the Vietnamese in
the 1700s from Cambodia. We visit the Mac
family mausoleum on the west border of
Ha Tien town for a peaceful retreat and
an opportunity to learn about some of the
regions rich history. To this day Mac Cuu
and his family are revered, and their shrine
in Ha Tien is a place of pilgrimage.

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Diary Entry #1: The Essence of a Motorbike Trip


Throughout the day we have been reflecting on the essence of a motorbike trip. After our
experience, we decided that the true crux of any two-wheeled journey is being soaked
in sweat, rain and seawater, with a numb bum, sunburnt skin, and an insatiable need
for ice-cold beer. We found one shop in Ha Tien with five 333 beers for sale and a bag
of ice, which we enjoyed at the hotel discussing the amount we had achieved in the past
24 hours; an eight-hour overnight bus trip, 100km clocked on the bike, half a tank of
petrol, and more pagodas and temples than we could count. We both passed out without
a second thought, dreaming of night buses, motorbike rides and our next adventure.

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Day 2: Ha Tien to Duong Hoa

he sky doesnt allow for much sun


during rainy season; the thick clouds
on the eastern horizon cling to the hilltops
and caves protect them fiercely, though the
regular showers don't last long.
Arriving at Chua Xa Xia, we are greeted
by two cows enjoying the soft sunlight.
The temple was originally in Cambodia but
the movement of borders now places it in
Vietnam. The infrastructure is crumbling,
but the shrines are well-maintained, with
incense, fruit and cigarette offerings placed
carefully at the feet of Buddha. Bullet holes,
the physical wounds of war, pierce the
walls.
In January 1978, Pol Pot, determined to
take the Mekong Delta for Cambodia, sent

troops into Ha Tien. Clashes followed and


despite attempts at diplomacy, in April two
Cambodian divisions were sent across the
border to Ba Chuc, a village 40km northeast
of Ha Tien. 3,000 people were massacred
in one night. It is unclear whether Xa Xia
was involved in those January 1978 clashes;
the bullet holes and the personal stories of
locals suggest it was, but double-checking
online there is no evidence either way.
The fact that we dont know for sure is a
testament to the richness of this area, to
how much history there is in and around
Ha Tien that has yet to be explored and
unearthed.
Today, the two countries are at peace,
and both sides of the border are starting to

thrive. As we drive around this little enclave


of land that was once the source of so much
antipathy, we breathe in the freshness of the
air, cocoon ourselves in the lush and fertile
greenery that surrounds us on all sides.
Despite growing levels of tourism, and an
economy that thrives on seafood, cement
and construction, life continues on at its
own pace; relaxed, never too chaotic, never
concerned with the pressures of the big city.
Yet change has also had a negative
effect. Three decades ago, when the border
region was still heavily forested, tigers and
elephants roamed free. Now, man has taken
over and the wildlife that once subsisted
with its two-legged cousins has all but
disappeared. Sin Kavanagh

Diary Entry #2: Temples, Temples, Temples


We had optimistically set our alarm for 5.45am in the hope of shooting the sunrise
over Giang Thanh River, which splits Ha Tien in two, only to awake to thick grey
clouds, drizzle, and not so much a sunrise but a sky gradually brightening. We
opt for a couple more hours in bed instead of trying to shoot in the rain. By 8am
we are up and hop aboard the bike to make our way towards the Cambodian
border, in search of an old Buddhist temple. Our hearts beat with the speed of
hummingbirds as we approach the temple. We are still in Vietnam, but very close
to the border, with our passports safely back at the hotel. No escape here.
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 95

Insider

SPECIAL FEATURE

DISTRICT 2

Over the Bridge


From sleepy backwater to one of the most innovative and creative areas in Saigon, Thao
Dien is in lift-off mode. Nick Ross crosses the Saigon Bridge to investigate a village-like
enclave with its sights firmly set on the future. Photos by Bao Zoan and Vu Ha Kim Vy

heres a map of District 2 doing


the rounds of the internet, a
plan which projects what this
fast-changing area will look like
in 2020. Look at the bottom right and
youll see the purple and mauves of Cat
Lai Industrial Zone, with its port area,
factories and warehouses.
Move your eyes to the centre and youll
notice Thanh My Loi and Binh Trung
Tay, residential areas covered in light and
dark brown. Dark brown means already
developed, light brown means new
developments. Based on the map, by the end
of the decade the majority of this area will be

96 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

made up of new building complexes; highrises and villas. Little Singapore in unwieldy,
large and boisterous Saigon.
Then look up to the top left and youll spy
An Binh and Thao Dien. Most of the An Binh
developments are new. Thao Dien, however,
has already been developed. One of the few
sections of District 2 then part of Thu Duc
that was populated before 1975, the justout-of-town village atmosphere that has long
existed in this area first tempted non-local
residents out here in the 1990s.
In the last five years the interest in both
living, work, eating, drinking and shopping
here has gone into overdrive. Much has been

written about the impending transformation


of Thu Thiem, the vast swampland area in
District 2, just opposite downtown Saigon.
Touted as the new financial centre of the
city, a space that pitches residential and
commercial accommodation side-by-side,
and an area that could be the face of future
Vietnam, its only now that construction is
starting to take place.
In the meantime, the area that is showing
its muscle is Thao Dien.

Time and Place


In early 2008 Dragons Nest was launched.
Located opposite what is now Thao Dien

1. Thao Dien Park


2. The Deck
3. NTFQ 2

Village and Villa Song, the multi-storey,


purpose-built villa was German-invested
and stood on its own, surrounded by fields.
Featuring a spa that mixed together a
restaurant and bar concept with an outdoor
pool, Dragons Nest came onto the Thao
Dien scene, with publicity and chatter
following its every move. Parties were even
brought there with APE, one of the earliest
promoters in the city, staging their first
birthday celebrations on site. That was in
April 2010.
Yet its location was too far out of the way
and there were just not enough people living
in the area to make the business venture
work. At the time there was not enough
reason for people not living in District 2 to
make the then long journey over the bridge
to go to a spa and restaurant. In the summer
of 2010, Dragons Nest finally closed its
doors. The investors had had enough.
Compare that to today and on almost
every road in Thao Dien, new businesses
are popping up. As a number of people we
spoke to pointed out, the business climate is
still not perfect. Yet, the knowledge that this
area has immense potential is enough for
erstwhile entrepreneurs to take the risk.
The number of people shortly due to be
living in the area adds to this confidence.
About 10,000 apartment units are
currently being built in Thao Dien, and
across the highway in An Phu. Almost 5,000
will be finished in the Masteri alone by
December. The Ascent, Estella Heights, The
Nassim, Gateway and Tropic Garden; all
are presently being extended or built. This
means 20,000 to 25,000 more people living in
the area by early next year. And thats not to
mention what will happen when the metro is
finished in 2019.
It is no surprise then that business owners
in Thao Dien are optimistic. Yet they know
that to really bring in the clientele they
need to make this village-like enclave into
a destination, a place that will draw people
out of other areas of Saigon to make that
short journey over the bridge.

On the Ground
Soren Husted and Pia Normann set up
Copenhagen Delights in 2011, a family
business specialising in clothes and
accessories for babies and children aged up
to about 11 or 12. According to Soren they

Many people do not realise what a great


destination District 2 is as there are so many
lovely unique, independent businesses out
here. Anupa Horvil, Anupa Boutique
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 97

[Thao Dien] has a village character with strong connectivity; word


of mouth travels super-fast. The area also has a strong appeal to
Vietnamese its a desired location to live now or in the future.
Eckart Dutz, Uncle Bills and The Loop
4. Thao Dien Coffee
5. Austin Home
6. The Loop
7. The Deck
8. Linh Furniture
9. The Deck
10. Metiseko
11. Mekong Merchant

98 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

opened their shop in District 2 to reach the


affluent Vietnamese customers as well as the
expat community living in the area.
Using imported fabrics and sewing the
garments at their own facilities in Hanoi,
Soren has seen first-hand how the area
has developed into a great shopping
destination.
There are many high quality shops
located here, he explains. It is not far from
the centre of the city. The calm atmosphere
in the streets and the presence of the river
provides a more relaxed and authentic
shopping experience.
Jim Okuley from Nutrifort also sees the
value of the ambience in Thao Dien. Opened
eight years ago, his business NTFQ2 was the

first fitness centre located outside one of the


compounds.
[Thao Dien] is small, compact and a
family oriented community, like a village,
he says. Over the years District 2 has grown
to have great restaurants and bars, lots of
shops, markets and spas. Now with Vincom
close by [there is] great entertainment for all
ages.
Boasting a state-of-the-art fitness centre
set in what Jim describes as a unique
facility, an old converted warehouse with
a restaurant attached, the architecture
and design provides an open and airy
environment yet a very cozy feel.
NTFQ2 is a modern and timeless space
that combines a fitness centre, with a healthy

10

11

[We set up in District 2] because this is one of the most international


living spaces in Ho Chi Minh City. We see Americans, Europeans,
Japanese and Koreans, all living in harmony here. Thats really
something that inspires us. Duc Nguyen, Vesta Bookstore
restaurant Good Eats, he explains, which
caters to people who want the alternative
option to regular fares around town, but still
love delicious food.
Boat House is another Thao Dien staple
that benefits from the environment, in
this instance, the leafy setting of APSC
Compound and the Saigon River. The kind
of place where you can relax and not hear a
car or motorbike horn for hours, its one of
the most peaceful locations in the city.
Jeff Puchalski and his wife, Maggie, took
over the management of the restaurant just
over a year ago and have since transformed
it into a casual, go-to place with something
for everyone.
Serving up a growing assortment of

American and Mexican cuisine, salads,


wings, sharing plates and some of the best
drinks in the city, what makes Boat House
stand out for Jeff is the beautiful view on
the edge of the Saigon River and the al fresco
dining. Hes also added another element to
the formula; live music five nights a week.
In the past year hes noticed a change in
his clientele.
More and more people are gravitating
this way for the first time, he says.
Residents of District 2 have always made
the 20-minute journey into the city for a
good meal, so we hope we can make the
trip [the opposite way] worth it for anyone
around Ho Chi Minh City.
He adds: District 2 has always been seen

as an enigma or a place that is too expensive


for the average person. This is not true at all.

A Short Walk in Thao Dien


Its a Tuesday afternoon, and I decide to spy
out some of the businesses Ive never been
to before. So, braving the Hanoi Highway,
I drive over to the main drag of Thao Dien.
Down Nguyen Dang Giai is Austin Home.
Set up nine years ago, with the likes of
Mekong Merchant, which was originally a
furniture outlet, and the long-running Linh
Furniture, Austin Home was one of the first
furniture showrooms to move into the area.
It sells mostly top-end American brands that
are produced in Vietnam; walk into the villa
and you are struck by how grandiose and

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 99

colourful the place is, how comfortable it all


feels. Everything here is put together with a
certain type of lifestyle in mind.
We get a lot of designers and architects
[shopping here], says Austin Homes
McNeill Shiner. Also, individuals who are
looking to furnish their homes.We offer a
free design consultation, so a lot of people
take advantage of that. But we tend to attract
people buying for the long term, not just for
a few years while theyre here.
One change Austin Home has noticed
over the years is the nature of the clientele.
Once almost exclusively expat, now,
90 percent are Vietnamese or mixed
Vietnamese-expat couples, McNeill says.
This change is something I notice on my
next stop at Nam An Market. One of the
better top-end, boutique-style grocery stores
in the area now there are loads besides
the standard grocery store-style products,
Nam An has a butchers counter selling
imported meats, a charcuterie and cheese
section, and a selection of fresh fruit and
vegetables. Except for one expat lady, the
rest of the clientele are Vietnamese or Asian.
A few years ago in an equivalent type of
store it would have been exclusively foreign.
I then head down the road next to Mon
Hue and find myself at the much-loved
Tama River. With its sushi bar area, this
two-floored eatery with a mezzanine level is
decked out in lots of wood, the dcor created
in different shades of brown. Serving up a
wide range of Japanese cuisine including
sushi, sashimi, tempura, yakitori, udon, soba
and authentic izakaya cuisine, according to
Chung, the husband of the owner, besides
having the ability to attract both Japanese
and non-Japanese customers, there are many
reasons why Tama River stands out not just
in Thao Dien, but in Saigon.
There are many Japanese restaurants in
District 1, he says. But they usually dont
have an English menu and you may find
it difficult to choose what you want to eat.
Our menu includes English language and
pictures.
He adds: Our restaurant is suitable for
everyone and any occasion a sushi bar

12. Amai
13. MAD House
14. Quan Bui Garden
15. Vesta Bookstorew
16. Boat House

100 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Its close to District 1 you can


escape from the bustle of the city,
feel more relaxed, and yet pick up the
vibe of the many small and interesting
eateries that are opening up in
District 2. Chung, Tama River
12

13

15

14

16

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 101

17

18

19

It would be great if they could sort out the flooding in the area, but I
think that is Saigon in general. There needs to be more paths so people
can walk around easily, and it would be great to get some parks.
Adrian Scott, The Deck and Mekong Merchant
for a solo diner or for couples, tables for
family dinner or business dinner, and a
large Japanese-style private room for group
gatherings.

Bring on the Style


My next stop is at another Japaneseinfluenced business, this time Thao Dien
Coffee. A newcomer to the area, like so
many other restaurants and cafs here, from
the rustic dcor of Mekong Merchant and
the garden-style dining at Quan Bui, to the
more industrial design of Kokois or the more
European set-up of The Loop, Thao Dien
Coffee has been designed with taste and
style.
Boasting two gardens created with
triangular and octagonal seating and table
tops flanked by lush tropical foliage, indoors
is air-conditioned with white painted,
bare brick walls, wooden table tops, cream
upholstered chairs, an open kitchen and
an atmosphere that is at once elegant and

102 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

relaxing. And out front is a separate coffee


bar, perfect for anyone searching for a
quick takeaway. What it shows is simple
with more money and people coming into
the area, clientele are expecting the local
businesses to have quality. As with other
relatively recent additions such as Lubu and
MAD House, the bar here has been set very
high. It is, after all, located opposite Les Trois
Gourmands, a restaurant rated by many as
the top French eatery in Saigon.
After trying out the Nepalese curry
at Thao Dien Coffee, I drive a few doors
down to check out the communal space at
Snap Caf. When the idea of inviting other
businesses to share their space came along, it
took a while for the set-up to work there
was a period where it felt like the space
was constantly being redesigned. But now
11 shops sell their wares in the banana leafroofed Creative Village Space at Snap.
One such place is Amai, a shop dedicated
to an innovative yet reasonably priced

selection of crockery. Crafted in a range of


colours from pastel through to greys, blues
and pinks, the cups, saucers, plates and
mugs have something a little unique about
them theyre round but not quite. With its
concrete grey flooring, like the neighbouring
clothing shops Chula and Metiseko, Amai
is representative of a more chic, more
contemporary Saigon, something on display
almost everywhere I visit in Thao Dien.
Metiseko fits perfectly into this ilk with its
floral designs and beautiful fabrics, crafted
into clothing and accessories designed
for the tropics or a European summer.
According to Erwan Petzo, the brains behind
the brand, the designs take inspiration
from Vietnamese traditions and landscapes
[to create] original fabric that captures the
essence of this fascinating country while
remaining stylish and desirable.
Based in Hoi An, when Erwan decided to
expand to Saigon he chose District 2 to set
up shop because it is a beautiful area filled

17. Even District 2 has its share of graffiti


18. The bridge between Nguyen U Di and Vo
Truong Toan is presently closed
19. Polite roadwork signage
20. Copenhagen Delights

[Thao Dien] is a great


place to do business
because of the other
great businesses that
are here. The more
quality and variety in
offerings, the better it
is for all of us. I think
one challenge is that
its still thought of
by many as an expat
enclave, when really
theres something here
for everyone.
McNeill Shiner,
Austin Home
Working Together
20

with nice shops, bars and restaurants.


District 2 is booming with innovative
ideas and rent can be much less expensive
than in District 1, he explains. [The key
is] to make people, especially tourists,
understand thatDistrict2 is like a village
within a city with a nice ambiance and
places to stay, eat and shop.
Indeed with places like Vesta Bookstore
opening up, a centre that sells gifts,
magazines, books, stationery and art
supplies, and also runs art classes for both
adults and children, there is also a growing
cultural element to the area. Add to this
Saigon Outcast, The Factory and Vin Space,
and the trendy, village-like, cultural oasis
that everyone is talking about is now a
reality.

Teething Problems
As I drive back home I encounter one of
the main irritations that affects the lifestyle
out here the roads. At present the bridge
connecting the main drag of Thao Dien with
the next area down that is home to Riverside
Apartments and the International School of

Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC) is closed; its


being rebuilt. Due to the construction of the
metro and the apartment complex Masteri,
the slip road running past Vincom is also
cut off. This means to get to Riverside or the
Vista I have to drive back to Saigon Bridge
and then all the way up the Hanoi Highway.
Its a round trip of almost 6km.
By the end of the year this will be
resolved; the blocked roads are part of the
reconstruction of this area. Look at that
map of District 2 and you can see that in
2020 a new road structure will be in place.
Including a bridge to Thanh Da Island and
through roads linking up the at-present
cut off sections of Thao Dien, the transport
connections should in theory alleviate rushhour traffic and mean that you can get to all
sections of the area without having to resort
to the highway.
In the meantime, residents of the area
have to suffer. Its frustrating, yet there is
so much positivity about the future of Thao
Dien Village that for now the residents and
business owners are prepared to grit their
teeth and bear it.

A number of businesses in Thao Dien


have teamed up to create a map of the
area. The map is hand-drawn by Bridget
March and is available at the following
locations:
Amai
Austin Home Interiors
Boathouse
Copenhagen Delights
Home in Saigon Real Estate
Instore Furniture
Linhs Furniture
MAD House
Mekong Merchant
Metiseko
Nam An Market
NTFQ 2
Quan Bui Garden
Tama River
Thao Dien Coffee
The Deck
The Loop
Uncle Bills
Vesta Bookstore

For further info, please email Anupa on


anu@anupa.net

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 103

SPECIAL FEATURE

DISTRICT 2

Mui Den Do

The development in Saigon is not just eating up green land and turning it into
high-rises, its also annihilating the citys history. Words by Matthew Cowan

104 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The site has a quite high


ecological value, so it will be a big
loss to the environment
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 105

At the site, where apparently a


network of underground tunnels once
existed, three young guerrillas Nguyen
Van Ba, Le Van San and Ho Van Nhai
are immortalised as martyrs

f you look to the right as you cross Phu My


Bridge from District 7, youll see a triangle
of land jutting out into the Saigon River.
Its just about the only large parcel of land
surviving that hasnt fully met the wrath of
the bulldozer. Given the more scenic vista of
the Saigon skyline on the opposite side of the
bridge, this landmark tends to go unnoticed.
But if you do look, youll see verdant
swatches of mangroves, swamps and coconut
palms clinging to life amid the growing
squeeze of development and heavy industry.
If high-rise apartments are the bullies, then
nature is surely the bullied as developments
march to the river is approaching its final
phase.
Now, the Van Thinh Phat Investment
Company (VTP) plans a US$6 billion
modern urban development over 118
hectares called Saigon Peninsula, which
will include a theme park, luxury riverfront
villas, premium apartment complexes, office
buildings, a deluxe hotel, shopping centres
and an international cruise terminal. VTP
has partnered up with Malaysian developers
Pavilion Group and Genting Group to bring
the plan to fruition.
The site has a quite high ecological
value, says Dang Thanh Long, executive
director of Vietnam Green Building Council,
referring to the mangroves lining the
riverbanks. So it will be a big loss to the
environment.

Racing the Dozer


I decided to get a closer look before the
bulldozer beat me to it, after a tip-off from
a friend who told me the site had once been

106 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

a US naval base. From a distance, theres


nothing obvious to suggest there was ever a
base here, although from the bridge, a small
outpost at the river mouth, visible to the
naked eye, hints at otherwise. Hoping there
might be evidence of the war at ground level
that cant be seen from a height, I set out on
a mission.
My mission would eventually take me
three attempts. The first one was viewing it
from Phu My Bridge. The second was across
land by motorbike, which turned out a
fruitless pursuit as the few remaining tracks
eventually led to very swampy dead ends.
And the third by boat, thanks to the kindness
of some local fishermen curious as to why
a foreigner would be so eager to ride a boat
past shipyards, piledrivers and dredgers.

On the Other Side


At the very tip of this triangular-shaped
headland theres a small navigational tower
number 62 to be precise painted in
familiar red and white stripes with a red
beacon on top that signals to vessels in the
night theyre entering or leaving the Saigon
River.
The tower stands in the garden of a
small dwelling. The dwelling could be
the home of a live-in caretaker, but most
likely its an office of some kind. Detached
from the dwelling stands a small enclosed
tower, maybe a crows nest, or a place
where a government official might take up
position during a storm to keep watch for
emergencies among the boats plying the
river. On this day, the regularly scheduled
afternoon storm clouds that roll in across

the city this time of year were still far away,


offering one possible explanation as to why
there wasnt anyone there.
The garden is well-kept and from the
outside, the buildings seem well-maintained.
Someone obviously cares for the place. From
memory there were flowers in bloom and the
usual assortment of tropical plants, bananas
and coconuts, with their fronds flapping in
the gentle morning breeze. Among them I
recognised some flame trees, but I could be
wrong as they were without their distinct
fire-coloured flowers that give them their
name.
Still, this little point at the confluence of
the Saigon and Lon Tau Rivers, idyllic as it

zone, especially the Lon Tau River, controlled


the flow of supplies coming in and out of the
Port of Saigon.

Go O Moi

sounds, wont be making the top 10 list of


travel websites any time soon.

Mui Den Do
This place, known as Mui Den Do, is the
perfect vantage point for surveying the river
traffic from the East Sea or from any of the
hundreds, perhaps thousands, of waterways
that make up the pastiche of the Mekong
Delta.
During the war, the Americans recognised
Mui Den Dos strategic position and
commandeered it. In fact, half a century ago
this year, the site became a US naval base
and was known as Nha Be US Naval Support
Activity Base.

At that time, Mui Den Do was at the


northern-most point of what was known
as the Rung Sac Special Zone. It stretched
down to Can Gio and included what is now
known as the Can Gio Mangrove Forest. In
total, it covered 1,256 square kilometres of
tidal mangrove swamp and close to 5,000
kilometres of connected waterways. The road
down to Can Gio is still called Rung Sac to
this day.
The zone was a heavily contested swathe
of territory because of its strategic location.
The waters of its rivers and estuaries, flowed
out past Vung Tau, as they still do, before
emptying into the East Sea only to return on
the changing tide. Anyone controlling the

Just as Id almost given up hope of finding


war-related remnants at Mui Den Do, I
happened upon a historic site not 200 metres
from the Saigon Peninsula development
security gate on a road called Depot Dao Tri.
Its name is Go O Moi, or in English Go O
Mound.
On the morning of Nov. 23, 1966, it was the
site of a battle between US-backed forces and
heavily outnumbered resistance fighters
one side 400 strong, with helicopter support;
the other a minor detachment of men with
small arms.
At the site, where apparently a network
of underground tunnels once existed, three
young guerrillas Nguyen Van Ba, Le Van
San and Ho Van Nhai are immortalised
as martyrs who fought back and killed six
of the attacking force, but were eventually
outnumbered and overcome.
A moving tribute inscribed on the
monument reads:
The heroes fall, the spirit will shine, the battle
of O Moi mound showed the bravery of Nha Bes
soldiers and people who never backed down to
fight for our countrys liberation.

Finding What Matters


Although I wouldnt realise it until later, at
Go O Moi I had found what I was looking
for. It wasnt the remains of an old military
sign or building left over from the war. It was
something more profound hidden

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 107

Its about the local population and what they want


Any developing country wants to see that their country
is advancing, developing and getting closer to the
developed nations. This type of project is a symbol that
their country is getting better
108 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

behind a clutch of nipa palms where the


din of development is muffled by thick
vegetation and given over to the sounds of a
few remaining bird species and critters that
inhabit the place.
It occurred to me that here still remains a
place of battle after all these years. Fifty years
ago the three local Nha Be soldiers made the
ultimate sacrifice fighting in a battle for what
they believed in. Today, it appears battles
are still being waged. Not of life and death
such as those that confronted the martyrs on
that fateful day in 1966 nor should they
be compared as such but battles shaping
livelihoods, the environment and Vietnams
development.
Families living and working here do so
amid a different kind of enemy. Container
trucks and cement mixers rumble past
around the clock spewing carbon monoxide
and dust particles into the air and into lungs.
Unsealed roads have become quagmires
from monsoonal rains. Some sections look as
though small artillery shells have detonated,
such is the width and depth of crater-sized
potholes.
To make matters worse, with every passing
vehicle, a grey slurry of cement, oil and dirt
threatens to cover anything or anyone within
range. When I stopped for a drink, one trader
selling meat lain out on a trestle just a metre
or so from a passing cement mixer, shook her
head and pointed to the road in front of her
shop and told me it was ugly and dirty.
Yet, Nhan Nguyen, founder of local nonprofit organisation Green and Clean, offered
an alternative perspective when asked what
the general feeling might be among the
Vietnamese people towards projects like
Saigon Peninsula.
Its about the local population and
what they want, he said. I think that any
developing country the government
and population want to see that their
country is advancing, developing and getting
closer to the developed nations. I think the
Vietnamese really like this type of project
because its a symbol that their country is
getting better.

Symbols
That evening at home, I found myself
pondering over my experience and arrived
at the symbolism of the three martyrs lying
in the Go O Moi memorial. Half a century
on, theyre still playing a role. To me, they
symbolise the past, present and future of
Vietnam. Of the battles against the odds,
the battles for a decent livelihood, and the
battles going on over the environment and
development.
On a banner that hangs at the Go O Moi
monument it says:
Always remember those heroes, invalids
and martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the
liberation, protection and building of our country.
As the new Vietnam relentlessly builds on
its past, literally and figuratively, its worth
taking the time to consider the words on the
banner and hope that the developers of Mui
Den Do, 50 years after the battle at Go O Moi,
remember them too.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 109

Food and Drink

EAT & DRINK

HCMC

Hidden Gems

When it comes to good food, each of the team at Word has their little secrets,
restaurants or streetfood joints they go to get a certain fix. Here's a selection.

Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen

Com Ga Hai Nam

195 Co Giang, Q1

67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1

he sheer size of the dish


means I can never finish
a bowl of bun thit nuong at this
place. Its a big bowl of noodles,
grilled pork, stir-fried pork,
deep fried spring rolls, pickles
and vegetables. The lean pork is
marinated with the right amount
of spices and then grilled well
enough to get the brownish
colour and smoky aroma. The
spring rolls contain ground
pork, shredded jicama, wood ear
mushrooms and mung beans,
creating a perfect mixed taste. The
dipping sauce is made from exact

portions of ingredients to match


the right sweetness, sourness
and saltiness. No wonder it costs
VND45,000 per bowl.
If your stomach still has space,
steamed banh mi with stir-fried
beef would be another good
choice. It comes served with a
tray of lettuce, cucumber and
some herbs used to cover the
banh mi and the beef, which you
then dip in the sauce. This is also
priced at VND45,000 per plate.
Lots of places serve up bun thit
nuong in this city, but Chi Tuyen is
one of the best. Vu Ha Kim Vy

his chicken rice joint isnt


exactly a secret somehow
its got itself into the tourist
guidebooks and yet when it
comes to Hainanese chicken rice,
the most famous export from
the island located in the Gulf of
Tonkin, this joint excels. Give
me a plate of rice with boiled
chicken and char sieu (xa xiu)
pork and my stomach is purring
for days. The chicken is tender
and rich, the pork sweet and
yet not overwhelming, the rice
flavoursome from being cooked
in chicken stock, the dipping
sauces a perfect match for the
moreish fare. Best, it costs under
VND50,000 a go.
Yet Singaporeans, those people
from the land that has adopted
chicken rice as their national dish,
dont seem to like this place. The
chicken rice is really poor, said
one after I mentioned the eatery
to them in a bar. Another agreed.
I was surprised.

The problem is that Com Ga


Hai Nam unashamedly state they
do their chicken rice Singaporeanstyle. Yet they dont. Like almost
every imported streetfood dish,
the fare has been adapted to the
local palate.
Perhaps the reason for the
claim is to distinguish themselves
from other versions of chicken
rice found in Vietnam com ga
from Hoi An and com ga from Tam
Ky, two towns in Quang Nam that
have taken this dish imported by
seafaring Chinese merchants and
adapted it to taste. In that sense
this joint is certainly different. Yet,
whatever the Singaporeans say, I
love this place.
There are other dishes on
the menu, too. Roasted pork
and duck plus a whole host of
Chinese and Vietnamese staples.
But come rain or deadly Saigon
shine, its the chicken rice that I
always end up coming back for.
Nick Ross

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 111

Viet Chay Restaurant


Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, 339 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3

eing set inside one of Saigons most


famous landmarks doesnt really make
Viet Chay a secret hideaway. Yet, the
never-ending stream of tourists entering
the courtyard hardly stop by. Most head
to the statue of Quan Am, the Goddess of
Mercy, to say their prayers, while others
take a selfie in front of the pagoda or the
standard postcard shot.
Yet if you venture to the left of Quan
Am, past a large tree, you arrive at one of
the best vegetarian restaurants in town.

With only three tables outdoors youd


better be early. Otherwise youll be sitting
inside.
This is Viet Chay, vegetarian eatery,
a place I go for breakfast. They have
two options daily and every day they
rotate the menu. How about a bowl of mi
quang or bun bo Hue? Come on Sunday
morning and you can get both, served with
complimentary tea. I recommend the hot
version, tra nong. Brewed with tea leaves
from the north and occasionally mixed

with ginger, a mug goes down fast.


Sit and enjoy the view. Watch Saigons
best-fed pigeons wobble around. So used
to the traffic, they dont even bother to
lift their wings when motorbikes arrive,
only quicken their pace a bit. Filter out the
traffic noises from the road and you can
listen to the monks; their daily morning
chants can be heard all the way to your
breakfast table. A pleasant, tasty and
healthy way to start the day. Mads
Monsen

Bun Mam Phan Boi Chau


22 Phan Boi Chau, Q1

PHOTO BY KYLE PHANROY

ocated opposite the East Gate of


Ben Thanh Market, this place has
been running for more than 40 years.
Although its quite pricy (VND65,000
per bowl), the joint has been my
favourite option for bun mam since the
day I first found it.
A bowl contains a combination of
ingredients including rice noodles,
shrimp, fish slices, roasted pork and
fish cake, yet while normal bun mam
is pungent and unappealing, here its
surprisingly aromatic. The reason,
according to the owner, is the use of
fresh, quality ingredients this gets rid
of the fishy smell. Add some bitter herbs
and vegetables to boost the combination
of bitterness and sweetness from the
fish paste, and you have heaven in a
bowl. The charm of bun mam is this
combination sweet and bitter the
broth is the vital element of the dish.
Apart from bun mam, the place also
serves up banh canh cua (crab tapioca
noodle soup), fresh spring rolls, papaya
salad, and lotus stem salad. All highly
recommended. Vu Ha Kim Vy

112 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Pagoda Mi Quang
Chua T.T. An Hoa, Cnr. Quoc Huong and Duong 65, Thao Dien, Q2

ext to the pagoda on Quoc Huong


in District 2 is a little, chicken-wire
windowed joint that serves up bun bo Hue on
plastic tables atop a concrete floor. But its not
the bun bo I go there for, which is probably the
best youll get in Thao Dien, but the mi quang,
which is sublime.
The problem with the mi quang is how
quickly it sells out. Get there by 8am and
it will all be gone, by 7.30am and youll be

just about okay. Thats how popular this


Quang Nam, thick yellow noodle dish is at
this eatery. Served up with pork, shrimp,
cha, rice crackers, peanuts, chopped spring
onions, a mixture of white and yellow
noodles and that to-die-for spicy sauce
that is the making of every good mi quang,
for me its the best version available in
Saigon. It only costs VND25,000 a bowl as
well (including free iced tea), not bad for

probably the wealthiest area in the city.


What I also love about this eatery is how
clean it is. Walk in and it looks like every
other streetfood joint in this country basic
with its silver stools and plastic tables. Yet,
look closely and the place is spotless and
well-organised. When I eat streetfood, I
always look for three things; taste, cleanliness
and price. This place ticks all the boxes and
more. Nick Ross

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 113

PHOTO BY FRANCIS XAVIER

114 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Oc Muoi

Banh Mi Kebab

168/45 Nguyen Cu Trinh, Q1

Banh Mi Nhu Lan, 50 Ham Nghi, Q1

ucked in an alley on Nguyen Cu Trinh,


Oc Muoi has been my favourite seafood
place for many years. Set up outside under
the porch roof with plastic stools and
tables, the place has a wide range of snails
and shellfish displayed in stainless trays.
The most interesting thing about this
place is that most dishes are priced at
VND20,000. The portions, which could
be stir-fried sweet snails with tamarind,
grilled scallops with cheese or spicy
steamed clams with lemongrass, are not
big, but enough for two people. Crabs are
also served for VND45,000 each with three
options including stir-fried with tamarind,
stir-fried with salt and chilli, and boiled.
There is a bakery next door, where you
can find hot breads to dip in the butter or
tamarind sauce from the dishes.
Open from 11am to 9pm, the place is
my top choice for seafood because of its
cheapness and freshness. All snails and
shellfish are purchased and sold on the
same day. Crabs are kept alive and put in
a big basin for clients to choose and decide
how to have them cooked.
For enjoy this place best, order beer
a perfect complement to these salty and
spicy dishes. It definitely brightens your
day. Vu Ha Kim Vy

perating for over four decades, the


24-hour Banh Mi Nhu Lan isn't quite
a secret. Located diagonally opposite the
Bitexco Tower, it also boasts one of the best
locations in town. However, there is one type
of banh mi that this joint sells that is not only
to die for its my favourite snack food
when Ive got early evening hunger pangs
but is not so well known by its customers.
Yes, its the infamous banh mi kebab.
The Vietnamese take on the Turkish kebab
is hardly new to either Saigon or Hanoi.
However, Nhu Lans version is certainly the
tastiest Ive come across. Barbecued on a spit,
the pork here is fatty, tasty and succulent,
without that feeling of being greasy. And
added into a traditional banh mi with all the
accoutrements butter, pate, pickled carrot
and radish, chilli, coriander and cucumber
the final version is just, well, moreish. Its
cheap, too VND25,000 a go, VND35,000 if
you add extra meat in there.
For a while Nhu Lan was actually serving
up the humble kebab in its own, home-made
flatbread. Toasted in a Breville, I loved it. But
it seems the mainly Vietnamese customers
didnt, and on my last two visits I was told
they didnt sell the flatbread any more. Not
to worry, though, the banh mi version tastes
just as good. Nick Ross

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 115

Food and Drink

TOP EATS

HANOI

Dons Tay Ho
One of the first restaurants in Tay Ho, according to Word, Don's is still one of the best.
Words by Bennett Murray. Photos by Julie Vola

ummertime in Hanoi has brought


generous set lunches and brunches
to Dons, where diners are invited
to overdose on a menu featuring
the best of the globetrotting namesakes
eclectic menu.
Don Berger, originally from Montreal,
worked in kitchens from Shanghai to Monte
Carlo before moving to Vietnam 17 years ago.
Like a seasoned traveller with a living room
decorated with oddities, Bergers menu items
are inspired from each locale that at one time
or another he has called home.
Theres a lot of different things on offer
here, and you can come here and spend
a lot of money if you order a really nice
bottle of wine and truffles but you can
be out of here for about US$10 a head,
says Don.

A Global Affair
The summer luncheon includes 16 mains
ranging from BBQ sea bass and salmon
salad to the beef taco grande.

116 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Of particular noteworthiness are the


Hawaiian fried chicken sliders, which were
inspired by a stint in the American state.
Each slider is cooked with a savoury
Korean BBQ sauce, giving an elegant twist
to a dish perhaps more associated with
Harold and Kumar. While the buns are
small, each slider packs more chicken than
meets the eye.
The lunch specials, which include a free
drink and dessert, are VND289,000.
Weekends feature a two-course brunch
special served from 11am to 5pm. Options,
which comprise 24 combinations, include the
smoked salmon bagel in the Montreal style.
Montreal is mad about bagels, its
really a passion, says Don. And there are
two very famous bagel factories with wood
burning ovens. Ours are exactly the same
because Ive worked on perfecting it.
The Canadian lobster, crab and avocado
salad is also a winner. With live lobsters
imported from the Nova Scotian coast, the
cold water shellfish is far superior to its

tropical counterpart.
For real seafood aficionados, combine
your lobster with a first course of oysters
you have a choice between three baked
oysters with goats cheese, sundried
tomatoes, spinach and bacon or the trio of
one live, one fried and one baked.
The brunch, which also includes a free
drink and dessert, is VND349,000.

Making the Grade


Restaurants that try to do everything
usually fall short. Chefs who try to balance
menu items from across the cuisines often
find themselves spread too thin, with
ingredients being subpar and staff unable
to cope with the variety.
But with a kitchen staff of 35, state-ofthe-art gear and decades of experience,
Dons doesnt have that problem.
I like to eat, and not all the same things
all the time, says Don. And its reflective
of what Ive learnt and what I know how
to do.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 117

Food and Drink


STREET SNACKER

HANOI

Banh My Pho Hue


Banh my is everywhere in Hanoi, but one eatery on Pho Hue serves the Vietnamese
baguette the way it used to be made. Words by Tran Cam Thu. Photos by Julie Vola

ith so many shops offering


twists on Vietnamese the
breakfast staple banh my: banh
my thit nuong, banh my kebab,
banh my chao, a newcomer to Hanoi and
probably anyone born in the city after 1990
might start to wonder what the original
flavour of banh my is. Look no further than
Banh My Pho Hue, a shop that still sells
banh my the way most people who grew
up in Hanoi in the 1980s remember it.
Situated on busy Pho Hue, this
unassuming shop can be easily overlooked
even by locals who frequent this street.
Yet the word of its goodness spreads as far
as to Saigon whose version of banh mi
(note the different spelling) made its way
to the Oxford English dictionary in 2011
thanks to the flow of southern Vietnamese
immigrating overseas and bringing along
their favourite breakfast/snack.

In Touch with Tradition


The shop offers three versions of banh my;
its signature banh my pate, Hanoi longtime favourite banh my trung (omelette
baguette), and banh my pate trung (pate

118 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

omelette baguette) a twist on the omelette


baguette. For the signature banh my pate,
the banh my is first warmed and toasted in
a simple oven. This step is not taken lightly
since the bread should not be too crunchy
that it crumbles at the very first bite yet the
baguette needs to be hot enough to melt
away the butter and pate.
A thin layer of butter is then spread on
both inner sides of the banh my, paving the
way for the grand entrance of liver pate that
is generously applied right after. Then comes
thinly sliced Vietnamese sausages and char
siu pork that is deftly mixed with salt and
pepper right before being stuffed into the
baguette. Finally, pork floss, sliced cucumber
and optional house chilli gravy seal the deal.
As the name suggests, banh my pate puts
a stronger focus on pate, the make-or-break
ingredient in this sandwich. Interestingly
enough, the recipe for good pate includes
bread crumbs.
Similarly, banh my thit or banh my Saigon,
as Hanoians call it, is more of a symphony
of multiple kinds of hams and spiced pork
whereas pate plays a supporting role. For
spreads, Hanoians prefer soft butter rather

than mayonnaise.
For vegetables, only a few slices of
cucumber and occasionally one or two stems
of cilantro are added, while in Saigon its
pickled vegetables and spring onions. The
reason is to maintain the crunchiness of the
bread and to not overpower the main pate
flavour. For dressing, only a pinch of salt and
pepper is sprinkled instead of soy sauce, so
as not to soften the bread inside.

Passing Fads
In the early 2000s, banh my Nhu Lan hailing
from Saigon made waves in Hanoi thanks
to its meaty and fresh take on the onedimensional (in the words of BBC Travel)
banh my Hanoi. So did banh my kebab and
many other trends that followed.
Yet after fads come and go, banh my fans
are happy to return to establishments such as
the 40-plus-year-old Banh my pho Hue, which
never fails to deliver that solid goodness of
banh my pate that made them fall in love with
banh my in the first place.
Banh My Pho Hue is at 118 Pho Hue, Hai Ba
Trung, Hanoi. It is open from 6.30am to 7pm
daily

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 119

Food and Drink

MYSTERY DINER

HCMC

Monsoon Restaurant
and Bar Saigon
A purveyor of Southeast Asian cuisine, in recent times Monsoon has switched its focus to
all things Thai. So how does this colonial villa Saigon staple fare? Photos by Rodney Hughes

ust a stones throw away


from Bui Vien and Nguyen
Cu Trinh, this staple of
Saigons culinary scene
has been home to many flavours
over the years. Decorated with
beautiful, Hoi An-style lanterns
and large mirrors, the large space
appears even larger at first, yet is
fantastically intimate. The lighting
is lush and low without losing
visibility, creating a beautiful
atmosphere.
Upon arrival, my date and I were
greeted with two refreshing glasses
of lemongrass juice which was a nice
touch, and the simplicity of the spicy
nuts served as a light snack were
super delicious.

120 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

We opted for soft drinks instead


of the usual beer (Tiger or Saigon
would set you back VND45,000) to
accompany our Thai food. I ordered
the orchid soda (VND70,000),
a slightly sour and fabulously
thirst-quenching drink, while my
date opted for the aloe vera juice
(VND45,000).

Multiple Choice
While Monsoon offers Thai,
Vietnamese, Laotian and Burmese
cuisine we decided to focus our
efforts on Thai food. We ordered
fried catfish and mango salad
(VND130,000), tom yum goong soup
(VND140,000), green chicken curry
with Thai sticky rice (VND130,000),

and pad Thai (VND150,000).


The service staff at Monsoon were
attentive and friendly, offering to
answer any questions to the best
of their ability, and they started
bringing out our drinks and orders
as soon as they were available. The
one issue was, however, with the
amount we had ordered our
two-person table was quickly taken
over by plates, bowls, and containers
of rice.
The crunchy fried catfish paired
with the spicy and tart mango salad
proved to be a delight for the taste
buds, the combination of textures
and flavours working together in a
beautiful harmony. The fried catfish
was unlike any fried protein Id tried

THE VERDICT

13
FOOD

11

SERVICE

12
DCOR

before, as the texture was so light


and savoury in contrast with the
fleshy, sweet mango salad.

All Harmony
Tom yum goong soup is a prime
example of delicious Thai food
with the lovely light spice,
lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
An authentic tom yum goong should
not overwhelm the dish with any
of these flavours, but play them in
harmony, and the result from the
Monsoon kitchen was lovely.
Green curry with chicken was
served alone, we had to order the
side of Thai sticky rice as an extra,
and it was needed to dilute the
intense flavours. As with a good

green curry the kaffir lime leaves


and fish sauce lead the way on the
palette, however the curry paste
was rather grainy. The dish was
served with tender slices of chicken
and small fat onions which were a
textural delight.
What Thai meal would be
complete without sampling the pad
Thai? A good pad Thai must, like all
Asian food, find the perfect balance
of spices, textures and flavours. The
Monsoon version was a delight,
with tiny, dried shrimp and tofu
pieces, as well as larger fresh
shrimps, the noodles were perfectly
textured against the peanuts and
bean sprouts.
After our feast of food, we still

decided that we would have to order


dessert. The fried banana and vanilla
ice cream (VND80,000) was the
consensus of the table and whithin
minutes there wasnt a morsel left
to eat, even though just 10 minutes
earlier wed been complaining
about how full we were. The fried
banana wasnt overly sweet by any
means, and the savoury, warm batter
provided the perfect backdrop for the
vanilla ice cream to end our meal.
We had a feast of five dishes for
two at a cost of VND1.07 million
which, considering the quality of the
food, seems perfectly reasonable for
such a centrally located restaurant.
Monsoon Restaurant and Bar is at 1
Cao Ba Nha, Q1, HCMC

Food, Decor and


Service are each
rated on a scale
of 0 to 15.
13 15
extraordinary to
perfection
10 12.5
very good to
excellent
8 9.5 good to
very good
5 7.5 fair to
good
0 4.5 poor
to fair
The Word
reviews
anonymously
and pays for all
meals

Food and Drink

122 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

STREET SNACKER

HCMC

A Taste from the Past


Pho, the closest Vietnam has to a national dish, is now mainly found in off-street
eateries. But look carefully, and you may be able to find it in the location from where it
came the streets. Words by Vi Pham. Photos by Sian Kavanagh

any people were dubious when I


told them I was going in search
of pho ganh, that is, pho sold from
a cart. As the dishs reputation
has grown, it is more likely to be found in
air-conditioned restaurants than from pots
slung between two bamboo poles.
Or perhaps the reason is that new trends
in street food have made selling pho ganh a
tough business, especially as its sellers get
older, and Saigons unpredictable weather
gets no better.
But occasionally it may be on Mac Dinh
Chi or Nguyen Thai Hoc you can find the
survivors keeping this old tradition alive.

Once upon a time


In poorer times, bamboo poles were the
way that pho was originally introduced to
Saigon, as the sellers back then designed
their carrying poles with specialised bamboo
boxes to carry the whole restaurant on their
shoulder. Also, pho, as old as it is, did not
start with a lot of adds-on in the bowl. Pho
ganhs sellers used to simplify the recipe by

keeping only the main ingredients, using


nothing but vegetables for the broth and
making it easier to move around with less
kitchen tools.
This lowered the price of a bowl of pho
and at that time, pho was affordable, tasty
and nutritious, making it the best friend of
blue-collar workers. Some vendors were
strong enough to carry a small bench or
some stools, but some did not even have
these things, so customers had to eat pho
standing up.
One of the most successful pho places in
Saigon that still remains popular among
foodies communities is located on Mac Dinh
Chi. The chef there is full of interesting stories.
My father started off selling pho on a cart
with four wheels, the chef says about Phon,
the founder of the restaurant and also the
man who adopted her. Despite rolling the
cart around every day without staying at
any particular spot, his place used to have all
kinds of customers, from office workers to
American soldiers.
My father says pho ganh and the pho cart

faded away from Saigon streets because


most sellers are not young any more to
carry on such a business that depends too
much on the weather, says the chef while
preparing me a bowl.

And still going


I was also lucky, on my motorbike one rainy
night, when a pho ganh seller chose a spot on
Nguyen Thai Hoc street to place her stall, right
under a rusted roof of a closed mobile phone
shop. I remember how the heat from the steam
pot and the slices of chilli warmed me up.
That night brought me the chance to
experience something that most people
thought had disappeared forever from the
Saigon street. It might not be exactly the same
as the first pho ganh or pho cart on Saigons
streets, but I am sure the feeling of living in
the old days could not get any better.
If you are into this back-to-the-past adventure,
check out the pho carts on Hong Bang, Q5 and
down the alleys of Ngo Gia Tu, Q10. Also, if you
are lucky, you might find one on the sidewalk
opposite 39 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 123

Travel

TRAVEL

INTERNATIONAL

The Art and Architecture


124 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

of George Town
wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 125

126 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

A former British-settled port town, George Town in Malaysia is known for its
multicultural heritage and vibrant street food scene. Yet it has something else
to attract the erstwhile traveller architecture and art.
Words by Edward Dalton. Photos by Julie Vola and Edward Dalton

here are not many places in the


world which can compete with
Penang on the street food scene.
Regularly popping up in the top
three of Best Street Food lists, Penang is
already well known as a culinary capital
of the world.
This is why Im not interested in Penangs
street food Im easily put off by hype, and
generally find myself wanting to explore
alternatives.
Thankfully, Penang is more than just a
few hawker centres selling hygienically
questionable paper plates of noodles and
satay. To borrow a clich, its one of the great
cultural melting pots, and the evidence for
this extends far beyond dinner options.
Focusing on the UNESCO World Heritage
Site of George Town, I spent a few days
ambling around the characterful streets,
casting my amateur eye over the eclectic mix
of Chinese, Indian, Malay and British Raj-era
style architecture.
More recently, colourful murals and
informative sculptures can be found
adorning the walls of many of George

Towns dilapidated houses and shops. My


visit therefore doubled as a treasure hunt,
creeping around corners with my camera to
find the next trove of artistic expression.

Once Upon a Time


Prince of Wales Island, as Penang was
temporarily named, was claimed by Captain
Francis Light in 1786, upon which he
founded the settlement of George Town in
honour of his British king. However, prior
to this British imperial adventure, centuries
of cross-cultural assimilation had already
helped mould Penang into one of the most
diverse societies of its age.
Centuries of intermingling by Malay,
Chinese and Arab settlers, traders and
immigrants led UNESCO to declare George
Town as having a unique architectural
and cultural townscape without parallel
anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.
There are Taoist temples in Little India,
Hindu shrines in Chinatown, and towering
skyscrapers looming over old British halls
and fortifications. The centre of historic
George Town is home to rows of Chinese

shophouses, each one different from the


next, but still somehow appearing uniform.

Like Toy Houses


The first thing that strikes many visitors
to George Town is the colour. The Chinese
shophouses, for example, look like layers
of mismatched Lego bricks stacked side by
side.
This style of building was introduced
throughout Southeast Asia by Chinese
migrants in the 19th century. A single house

Getting to George Town


From Hanoi there are no direct flights to
George Town in Penang. Transfers are
available via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore.
The airlines with the most flights and
quickest transfers are Malaysia Airlines and
AirAsia, and the quickest journey time is just
over six hours.
From Ho Chi Minh City, AirAsia have a
direct flight four times a week with a total
flight time of just under two hours.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 127

128 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

While not as ancient as the shophouses nor as culturally


significant as the mosques or temples, [the paintings and sculptures]
are an attraction in their own right
might have features in white, pink, green
and yellow. The most customising seems to
be the shutters on the windows, which can
vary from neighbour to neighbour.
Aside from the colour, there is also a
great variety in the air vents which sit just
above the downstairs windows. Some of
them are no more elaborate than a simple
rectangle, while others curve into shapes
resembling bats or leaves. The most uniform
feature shared by nearly all of these famed
shophouses is the presence of a terracotta
roof.
The cross-cultural impact on architecture
can best be seen in the heritage buildings
built by Westerners, but blended with
styles from Islamic, Malay, Chinese and
Indian structural traditions. In their book,
Architecture and Heritage Buildings in George
Town Penang, Ahmad Sanusi Hassan and

Shaiful Rizal Che Yahaya give examples of


this blending of architectural styles.
Adjustments from Western, European
architecture to local architecture such as
the Malay traditional house are manifested
with overhanging roof structures, maximum
window openings, cantilever veranda and
big roof construction, they wrote.
According to Hassan and Yahaya, the
Chinese shophouse became dominant
in George Town due to its practicality
and suitability for small-scale family
enterprise. The aesthetically pleasing
friezes, columns and cornices which adorn
the exteriors are a beautiful by-product
which provoke dozens of photos from
visitors to the town centre.

Better Than Banksy


After getting my fill of architecture, and

Penang Quick Guide


Penang is a state on the northwest
coast Malaysia, comprising Penang
Island and Seberang Perai on the
mainland. George Town is the capital
of Penang state, and is situated on the
northeast coast of Penang Island.
Famous for its street food, Penang
has long been a destination popular
with foodies, although is equally
appealing to couples, families and
backpackers, with a variety of boutique,
budget or resort hotels.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site,
the old centre of George Town enjoys
a protected status, ensuring its richly
diverse mix of cultural heritage survives
untarnished by modern development.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 129

Penang is more than


just a few hawker
centres selling paper
plates of noodles and
satay. To borrow a
clich, its one of the
great cultural melting
pots, and the evidence
for this extends far
beyond dinner options

130 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

armed with a map and a decent pair of


walking shoes, I went on a hunt for the
paintings and sculptures littered around the
city. While not as ancient as the shophouses
nor as culturally significant as the mosques
or temples, they are an attraction in their own
right.
In 2010, the inaugural George Town
Festival was launched in honour of the
towns designation as a UNESCO World
Heritage Site. Two years after the inaugural
event, festival organisers invited Ernest
Zacharevic, a young Lithuanian artist, to
create a collection of murals depicting local
culture.
Some of his most famous murals are
3D installations, such as the Children on a
Bicycle and Boy on Motorcycle which include
tangible props. My personal favourite was
actually the first one I found, featuring 10

giant cigarettes sticking out of the wall, with


a child in a gas mask; a strong anti-pollution
message.
Zacharevics murals became popular
so quickly that Penangs street art scene
exploded into life, with more contributors
adding their work all the time. In 2013,
various artists from the group Artists for
Stray Animals created the 101 Lost Kittens
project, painting multiple cat-themed murals
around George Town, to heighten awareness
of stray animals around the city.
Local artists have jumped on the creative
bandwagon, taking advantage of an
audience of tourists delivered to their door
in annually increasing numbers. One of the
most impressive murals, The Awaiting Trishaw
Paddler, was created by Desmond Yeo, and
spans an enormous wall overlooking the Red
Garden Food Paradise Car Park.

The Marking George Town project,


commissioned by the State Government of
Penang, saw the addition of 52 wroughtiron caricatures peppered around the town.
Each one features a scene with a caption,
providing a bit of humour or trivia about the
street or building its located at.
Penang is one of those places that literally
has everything. Its a haven for foodies to
fill their stomachs and Instagram accounts.
Its a paradise for culture vultures to stand
with their heads cocked to one side, saying
hmm a lot. Ive even heard from couples
who chose Penang as their honeymoon
destination, spending days on the beach and
nights in the bars. Penang can be all things
to all people, so why dont you stop reading
and book yourself a few days off to visit this
fantastic little island in Malaysia; I promise
you wont regret it.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 131

Travel

132 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

TRAVEL

NATIONAL

The Abandoned Valley

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 133

Set up in late 2015, Phong Nha has a new day trip for
those not lucky enough to get on the tour to the
largest cave in the world. Its worth every penny.
Words and photos by Nick Ross

ntil a couple of years ago, the


problem with heading to Phong
Nha, the home to the largest cave
in the world, was the lack of cave
visiting options that were available. There
were a couple of two-, one- or half-day
alternatives to Son Doong Phong Nha
Cave, Dark Cave, Paradise Cave and Tu
Lan the two-day trip to the third-largest
cave in the world, Hang En, and of course
the visit to the monster cavern itself, a
five-day tour that costs VND67.5 million.
Yet places are so limited that getting on
this trip is a lottery.
Fortunately, with new caves opening up
to the public, the travel industry has found
a remedy. Caves such as Hang Va and Hang
Tien can now be visited with local tour
operator Oxalis, and other trekking-cumcaving options are on their way.
A day trip that has received rave reviews
is to the Abandoned Valley. Once an integral
part of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the supply
line used to transport supplies and soldiers
from north to south during the war, when
the trail was paved in the early 2000s, this
little section was left off the grid, leaving it to
merge back into the jungle.

The tour includes four hours worth of


jungle trekking, a 300-metre foray into the
front end of Dark Cave, a barbecue and
then a swim into E Cave, one of the most
accessible river caves in the area. Based
on my own experience of visiting the
Abandoned Valley, its one of the best tours
around.

No Pain
Ive now done four treks in the Phong
Nha area and each time I ask myself the
same question: Why am I paying to put
myself through such pain? Described in
the brochures as challenging, the trek in
the Abandoned Valley requires descending
and then at the end, ascending the side of
a mountain, while the 300-metre excursion
into Dark Cave sees you scrambling over
razor-sharp rocks and through a murky
underground river.
It requires a reasonable level of fitness.
Yet despite bring drenched in my own sweat
(my body doesnt do heat), its worth every
laboured step, every moment of wondering
how you are going to make it back to the
top. As I discovered, it wasnt just me who
was having such thoughts.

The game-changer here is the river cave.


Normally groups of between eight and 10
people reach the cave by 1pm, just in time
for lunch. But we were in a group of 16 and
the going was slow. When we arrived at
the river cave, Hang E, just before 3pm, we
were ravenous, hot and exhausted. Trekking
during the middle of the day, even with the
jungle for shade, is hot work.
Yet the river is icy cold, and that plunge
into its depths and then later the swim into
the pitch-black cave is the perfect tonic for
both the heat and exertion. There is a reason
why marathon runners like to submerge
themselves in an ice-cold bath after
42.195km of pain it cools the body and
relaxes the muscles.
I had been dreading the final ascent out of
the valley, but after the ice-cold river I felt so
refreshed that it was easy. Three years before
I had tried a similar ascent at the end of a

The Trip
The Abandoned Valley tour is
organised by J UNGLE B OSS and costs
VND1,500,000 per person. The fee
includes safety equipment, lunch, pick
up and drop off at the hotel, snacks and
water. Due to poison ivy along one part
of the route, Jungle Boss recommends
that trekkers wear long sleeves and long
trousers. For more information click on
junglebosshomestay.com or call (094)
374 8041.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 135

136 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The game-changer
here is the river cave
The river is icy cold,
and that plunge into its
depths and then later
the swim into the
pitch-black cave is the
perfect tonic for
both the heat and
exertion

Getting There
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park
is located in Quang Binh, about four
hours north of Hue. Regular daily flights
with Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and
VietJet Air now serve the main provincial
city, Dong Hoi, from both Hanoi and
Ho Chi Minh City. Alternatively, you can
take an overnight train from Hanoi or
hop on the Open Tour bus from Ninh
Binh or Hue. The cost of a taxi from the
airport to Phong Nha is VND500,000.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 137

The tour includes four


hours worth of jungle
trekking, a 300-metre
foray into the front
end of Dark Cave,
a barbecue and then
a swim into E Cave,
one of the most
accessible river
caves in the area

three-hour trek coming back from Hang En.


My knee collapsed. Ashamed and broken,
I crawled my way to the top. This time I
finished the trip with energy to spare.

On Our Doorstep
People travel thousands of miles to
experience the tropical lure of Vietnam,
yet most who live here have never heard
of Phong Nha, let alone been there. The
experience the jungle trekking, the caving,
the swimming in crystal clear pools and
rivers, the lure of rural Vietnam is the
ultimate tropical adventure that this country
has to offer. Yet it is mostly the travellers
who are taking advantage of it, not the
expats or locals.
Now that there are more cave and
trekking options available in Phong Nha,
the hope is that people will start swapping
their urban jungles for the real thing. Its
something I try to do a couple of times a year
and I wouldnt trade it for the world.

Accommodation
Phong Nha has some beautiful
countryside accommodation a few
kilometers away from the main town. A
couple of stand-outs are P HONG N HA
F ARMSTAY (see the article on page xxx)
and T HE P EPPER H OUSE (facebook.
com/PepperHouseHomestay). Both are
set in a rural environment to a backdrop
of one of the most beautiful areas in
Vietnam. Another well set-up option
is the recently revamped C HAY L AP
(chaylapfarmstay.com), now run by the
travel company Oxalis. Chay Lap is the
closest accommodation to the National
Park. In town the options include E ASY
T IGER (easytigerhostel.com), a hostel
catering mainly to the backpacker crowd
and a number of homestays including
H O K HANH S H OMESTAY (phong-nhahomestay.com) and J UNGLE B OSS
H OMESTAY (junglebosshomestay.com).

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 139

Travel

DALAT
ANA MANDARA VILLAS
$$$$
Le Lai, Dalat, Tel: (063)
3555888
anamandara-resort.com
DALAT PALACE
$$$$
12 Ho Tung Mau, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 382 5444
dalatpalace.vn

DALAT GREEN CITY HOTEL


172 Phan Dinh Phung, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 382 7999

dalatgreencityhotel.com

Located in central Dalat,


this is the perfect place for
budget travellers. Quiet,
newly refurbished with
beautiful mountain and city
views from the rooftop, features free Wi-Fi, a TV and
snack bar in all rooms with
a downstairs coffee shop
and computers in the lobby
for guest use.

DALAT TRAIN VILLA


Villa 3, 1 Quang Trung, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 381 6365

dalattrainvilla.com

Located near the Dalat Train


Station, the Dalat Train Villa
is a beautifully restored, colonial era, two-storey villa.
In its grounds is a 1910
train carriage which has
been renovated into a bar
and cafe. Located within 10
minutes of most major attractions in Dalat.

TRUNG CANG HOTEL


$
22 Bui Thi Xuan, Dalat, Tel:
(063) 382 2663

M M M
HANOI
INTERNATIONAL
CROWNE PLAZA WEST
INTERNATIONAL
$$$
36 Le Duc Tho, My Dinh Commune, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Tel:
(04) 6270 6688
crowneplazawesthanoi.com
This premier five-star property lies beside the My
Dinh National Stadium and
Convention Centre. Boasts
two swimming pools, a spa,
and a fitness centre in its 24
stories.
DAEWOO HOTEL
360 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3831 5555
hanoi-daewoohotel.com

140 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

This enormous structure


offers the most modern of
amenities, and with four
restaurants and two bars,
the events staff is well
equipped to handle any occasion. Close to the National
Convention Center, and a favourite of the business traveller, Daewoo even boasts
an outdoor driving range.
Shortly to become a Marriot
property.
FORTUNA HOTEL HANOI
6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3831 3333
fortuna.vn
This 350-room four-star set
up in the heart of Hanois financial district has a variety
of rooms on offer, a capital
lounge and three restaurants that serve Japanese,
Chinese and international
cuisine. And like youd expect, theres a fitness centre, night club and swimming
pool, too, and even a separate spa and treatment facility for men and women. Set
to the west of town, Fortuna
often offers business deals
on rooms and spaces to hold
meetings, presentations and
celebrations.
HOTEL DE LOPERA
29 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:
(04) 6282 5555
contact@hoteldelopera.com
Resting just a step away
from the Opera House, the
hotel mixes colonial architectural accents and theatrical interior design to create
a contemporary space. The
first boutique five star in
the heart of Hanoi, the lavish, uniquely designed 107
rooms and suites contain
all the mod cons and are
complimented by two restaurants, a bar and complimentary Wi-Fi.
HILTON GARDEN INN
HANOI
20 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan
Kiem, Hanoi, Tel (04) 3944
9396
hanoi.hgi.com
With 86 fully-equipped
guestrooms and suites, this
is the first Hilton Garden Inn
property in Southeast Asia.
Centrally located and a short
stroll from the historic Old
Quarter, the hotel offers a full
service restaurant, a stylish
bar, along with complimentary business and fitness
centres making it perfect for
the international business or
leisure traveller.
HILTON HANOI OPERA
1 Le Thanh Tong, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 0500
hanoi.hilton.com
Situated next to the iconic
Hanoi Opera House and a
short stroll from the Old
Quarter, this five-star hotel is
a Hanoi landmark. With 269
fully-equipped rooms and
suites, theres plenty for the
discerning business and leisure traveller to choose from.

INTERCONTINENTAL
HANOI WESTLAKE
1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
6270 8888
hanoi.intercontinental.com
This stunning property built
over West Lake falls in between a hotel and a resort.
Beautiful views, great balcony areas, comfortable, topend accommodation and all
the mod-cons make up the
mix here together with the
resorts three in-house restaurants and the Sunset Bar,
a watering hole located on a
thoroughfare over the lake.
Great gym and health club.
JW MARRIOTT HANOI
8, Do Duc Duc, Me Tri, Tu
Liem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3833
5588
jwmarriotthanoi.com
From the expressive architecture outside to the authentic
signature JW Marriott services inside, this Marriott hotel
in Hanoi is the new definition
of contemporary luxury. Lies
next door to the National
Convention Centre.
MAY DE VILLE OLD
QUARTER
43/45/47 Gia Ngu, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3933 5688
maydeville.com
The largest four-star hotel
in Hanois Old Quarter, 110
rooms, a swimming pool, a
top floor terrace bar and a
location just a stones throw
from Hoan Kiem Lake make
this a great choice for anyone wanting a bit of luxury in
the heart of the action.
MELIA HANOI
44B Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3934 3343
meliahanoi.com
Excellently located in central
Hanoi, Melia Hanoi draws
plenty of business travellers
and is also a popular venue
for conferences and wedding
receptions. State-of-the-art
rooms, elegant restaurants,
stylish bars, fully equipped
fitness centre with sophisticated service always make
in-house guests satisfied.
MVENPICK HOTEL HANOI
83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3822 2800
moevenpick-hanoi.com
With its distinctive French
architecture and top end
service, Mvenpick Hotel
Hanoi is aimed squarely at
corporate travellers. An allday restaurant and a lounge
bar are available to satiate
their clientele while the kinetic gym and wellness studio offer an excellent range
of equipment. Massage and
sauna facilities are available for guests seeking to
rejuvenate. Of the 154 wellappointed rooms and suites,
93 are non-smoking.
NOVOTEL SUITES
5 Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: (04)
3576 6666
novotel.com/9813
Suites and apartments with
all the mod cons and attrac-

tive dcor youd expect of an


Accor property. Located close
to My Dinh and 20 minutes
from downtown Hanoi, this
new property with an inhouse restaurant and bar is
perfect for business professionals or travellers looking
to mix a stay in Hanoi with
the feeling of being located
in a place you can call home.
PULLMAN HANOI HOTEL
$$$$
40 Cat Linh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3733 0688
pullman-hanoi.com
With deluxe rooms and
suites, a contemporary lobby, an excellent buffet, and a
la carte restaurant, this Accor
group property is prestigious
and close to the Old Quarter.
SHERATON
K5 Nghi Tam, 11 Xuan Dieu,
Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3719 9000
sheraton.com/hanoi
Surrounded by lush gardens, sweeping lawns and
tranquil courtyards, this
peaceful property features
picturesque views of West
Lake and is less than 10
minutes from downtown.
In addition to the luxurious
rooms, the hotel offers an
outdoor swimming pool and
great relaxation and fitness
facilities, including a tennis
court and spa. There are well
equipped conference rooms
and a newly refurbished Executive Club Lounge.
SOFITEL LEGEND
METROPOLE HANOI
15 Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3826 6919
sofitel.com
The finest hotel of the French
colonial period is probably
still the finest in todays Hanoi. Anyone who is (or was)
anyone has stayed at this elegant oasis of charm, where
the service is impeccable
and the luxurious facilities
complement the ambiance of
a bygone era. Definitely the
place to put the Comtessa up
for a night.
SOFITEL PLAZA HANOI
1 Thanh Nien Road, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3823 8888
Boasting Hanois best views
of West Lake, Truc Bach Lake
and the Red River, Sofitel
Plaza Hanoi soars 20 storeys
above the city skyline. The
5-star hotel features 317
luxurious, comfortable guestrooms with spectacular lake
view or river view ranking in
7 types from Classic Room to
Imperial Suite.

HANOI MID-RANGE
6 ON SIXTEEN
16 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem
sixonsixteen.com
Another boutique hotel to
grace Hanois Old Quarter, the
six rooms here mix contemporary and fresh with handicrafts and antique. Breakfast
is included and in the long,
lounge restaurant on the

second floor, home-style Vietnamese fare is served up


with fresh fruit juices and
Lavazza coffee.
GOLDEN SILK BOUTIQUE
HOTEL
$$$
109-111 Hang Gai, Hoan
Kiem, Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3928
6969
goldensilkhotel.com
Located in the centre of the
Old Quarter, this little slice of
heaven offers complimentary
sundries and a replenishable
minibar. The Orient restaurant, serves the finest in international and Vietnamese
cuisine.
JOSEPHS HOTEL
$$
5 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi,
Tel: (04) 3938 1048
josephshotel.com
Located next to the cathedral, this popular wellappointed, airy and spacious boutique hotel mixes
comfort with a nice ambience and great Western or
Vietnamese breakfasts. All
the modern amenities at
reasonable prices.
MAISON DHANOI HANOVA
HOTEL
$$$
35-37 Hang Trong, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 0999
hanovahotel.com
A minute from Hoan Kiem
Lake, this glowing pearl in
the heart of Hanoi provides
tranquility with an art gallery
and piano bar.
MAY DE VILLE
24 Han Thuyen, Hai Ba Trung,
Tel: (04) 2222 9988
Set in the old French Quarter a short walk from the
Opera House, May de Ville
City Centre is a welcome
new addition to the capital.
Combining contemporary
architecture with traditional
Vietnamese style and materials, this elegant property has
81 well-appointed rooms including four suites.

HANOI BUDGET
HANOI BACKPACKERS
HOSTEL
48 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3828 5372
hanoibackpackershostel.com
Probably the cheapest, European-style hostel in town,
with bunk-style beds mixed
or single-sex dorms starting
at VND150,000, plus a couple of double suites from
VND250,000. A place to meet
like-minded fold in the Old
Quarter.

HCMC
INTERNATIONAL
CARAVELLE HOTEL
$$$$
19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 4999
caravellehotel.com
Winner of Robb Reports 2006

list of the worlds top 100


luxury hotels, the Caravelle
houses the popular rooftop
Saigon Saigon bar, and the
restaurants Nineteen and
Reflections.
EQUATORIAL
$$$
242 Tran Binh Trong, Q5, Tel:
(08) 3839 7777
equatorial.com/hcm
This massive property boasts
seven dining and entertainment outlets, a business
centre, meeting rooms and
a comprehensive fitness centre and spa. The Equatorial
also has an on-site casino.
HOTEL NIKKO SAIGON
$$$$$
235 Nguyen Van Cu, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3925 7777
hotelnikkosaigon.com.vn
The five-star hotel and serviced apartment complex
offers: 14 instant offices,
seven meeting rooms, a
600-capacity ballroom, spa,
outdoor swimming pool, a
gym, 24-hour fine dining,
24-hours room service, and
limousine services.
INTERCONTINENTAL
ASIANA SAIGON
$$$$$
Hai Ba Trung and Le Duan,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 9999
intercontinental.com/saigon
In the heart of Ho Chi Minh
City, resides the Asiana with
signature dining options,
an innovative cocktail bar,
exclusive spa and health
club, together with luxury
boutique arcade.
LE MRIDIEN SAIGON
$$$$
3C Ton Duc Thang, Q1, HCMC
Tel: (08) 6263 6688
lemeridien.com/saigon
Marking the brands debut
in Vietnam, Le Mridien Saigon is the gathering place
for curious and creativeminded travellers. Located
in the heart of Ho Chi Minh
City next to the Saigon River,
the property is close to the
metropolis's entertainment
and commercial areas, making it an ideal base for exploring the local culture and
community. Experience this
cosmopolitan city in stimulating surroundings.
LOTTE LEGEND HOTEL
SAIGON
$$$$
2A4A Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 3333
legendsaigon.com
Immaculate architecture,
spacious rooms, and a fine
selection of fine dining, with
buffets specialising in Americana and Pan-Asian cuisine.
NEW WORLD HOTEL
$$$$
76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
8888
saigon.newworldhotels.com
Former guests include U.S.
presidents two Bushes,
Clinton and K-Pop sensation Bi Rain. An ongoing

event as well as a hotel,


New World is one of the best
luxury stops in town.
PARK HYATT
$$$$$
2 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3824 1234
saigon.park.hyatt.com
Fabulous in style, prime in
location, everything one
would expect from the Hyatt.
The Square One and Italianthemed Opera restaurants
have garnered an excellent
reputation, as has the landscaped pool.
PULLMAN SAIGON
CENTRE
$$$$$
148 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3838 8686
pullmanhotels.com
Recently completed on the
site of the old Metropole, this
upscale, contemporary property boasts 306 signature
rooms combining design,
comfort and connectivity.
Innovative cuisine, a great
downtown location and hightech meeting venues able to
host up to 600 guests make
up the mix.
RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS
53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3744 4111
riverside-apartments.com
Situated on the banks of the
Saigon River, a 15-minute
scenic boat ride or 20-minute bus ride from town,
Riversides complementary
shuttle services take you
right in the city centre. With
152 fully equipped serviced
apartments, the property
offers special packages for
short-term stay starting at
VND2.1 million per apartment per night for a onebedroom facility.
RENAISSANCE RIVERSIDE
HOTEL SAIGON
$$$$
8-15 Ton Duc Thang, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3823 1117
renaissance-saigon.com
This distinct French architectural wonder offers complimentary Wi-Fi, airport pickup
or drop off, a first-floor ballroom, and authentic Vietnamese cuisine at the River
Restaurant.
SILA URBAN LIVING
21 Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3,
HCMC, Tel: (08) 3930 0800
silaliving.com
Stylish apart-hotel with 217
apartments (from studios to
one and two bedrooms) for
short and long stays, close to
the Reunification Palace on
the edge of District 1. Facilities include a 24-hour reception, a 24-hour gym with a
20-meter swimming pool,
Jacuzzi, sauna and steam
room. Western and Eastern
specialties are served daily
at Twenty-One restaurant
and bar.
SHERATON
$$$$$
88 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)

3827 2828
sheraton.com/saigon
Sheraton boasts one of
the best locations in town,
with firstclass facilities, an
openair restaurant 23 floors
above the city and a live music venue on the same floor.
SOFITEL SAIGON PLAZA
$$$$
17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08)
3824 1555
sofitel.com
This 20story building in
downtown Saigon, caters to
upscale business and leisure
travelers seeking a classic yet
contemporary stay in Saigon.
WINDSOR PLAZA
$$$
18 An Duong Vuong, Q5, Tel:
(08) 3833 6688
windsorplazahotel.com
The full ensemble with its
own shopping hub (including a bank), fine dining,
a sauna, health club, and
superb panoramic views of
the cityscape. Also hosts
the largest Oktoberfest in
the region.

HCMC DELUXE
CONTINENTAL
$$$
132-134 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3829 9201
continentalhotel.com.vn
This charming old hotel has
been fted in literature and
in film. In the heart of Saigon, this is the first choice to
highlight Vietnamese culture.
NORFOLK HOTEL
$$$
117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3829 5368
norfolkhotel.com.vn
Intimate atmosphere and excellent service, this boutique
business hotel is located
minutes from famous landmarks, designer shops, and
is renowned for its fabulous
steaks at its in-house restaurant, Corso.

STAR CITY SAIGON HOTEL


$$$
144 Nguyen Van Troi, Phu
Nhuan, Tel: (08) 3999 8888
starcitysaigon.vn
The newly-built hotel is near
Tan Son Nhat International
Airport. With spectacular
city views and a comfortablydesigned outdoor swimming
pool, there is little reason not
to choose this shining star.

HCMC - MID-RANGE

room. Low prices, friendly


staff, clean rooms. This modern oasis is only a few steps
from the backpackers area.
DUNA HOTEL
$
167 Pham Ngu Lao Q1, Tel:
(08) 3837 3699
dunahotel.com
HONG HOA HOTEL
$
185/28 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3836 1915
honghoavn.com

ROYAL HOTEL SAIGON


$$
133 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 5914
kimdohotel.com

SINH HUONG HOTEL


$
157 Nguyen Du Q1, Tel: (08)
3827 4648
sinhhuonghotel.com.vn

LAN LAN HOTEL 1 AND 2


$$$
46 and 73-75 Thu Khoa Huan,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 7926
lanlanhotel.com.vn

M M M

THE ALCOVE LIBRARY


HOTEL
$$$
133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh,
Phu Nhuan, Tel: 08 6256 9966
alcovehotel.com.vn

HCMC BUDGET
DUC VUONG HOTEL
$
195 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)
3920 6992
ducvuonghotel.com
Free WiFi offered in every

HOI AN & DANANG


AN BANG BEACH RETREAT
An Bang Beach, Hoi An
anbangbeachretreat.com
CUA DAI
$
544, Cua Dai, Hoi An, Tel:
(0510) 386 2231
hotelcuadai-hoian.com/
DANANG BEACH RESORT
$$$
Truong Sa, Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh
Son, Danang, Tel: (0511) 396
1800
danangbeachresort.com.vn

FURAMA RESORT AND


SPA
$$$$
Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My,
Ngu Hanh Son, Danang, Tel:
(0511) 384 7888
furamavietnam.com

PULLMAN DANANG BEACH


RESORT
$$$$
Vo Nguyen Giap, Khue My, Ngu
Hanh Son, Danang
Tel: (0511) 395 8888
pullman-danang.com
Located on the stunning
white sands of Bac My An
Beach, the stylish Pullman
Danang Beach Resort is
an oasis of activities and
facilities for the modern
traveller. With an idyllic setting, this luxury property is
perfect for a family holiday
or romantic beach getaway.
And with extensive function
facilities, Pullman Danang
also provides the a great location for your next incentive
getaway or event.

HYATT REGENCY DANANG


RESORT AND SPA
$$$$
Hoa Hai, Ngu Hanh Son, Da
Nang, Tel: (0511) 398 1234
danang.regency.hyatt.com
The Hyatt Regency Danang

Josephs Hotel
Foreign-run,boutique hotel
Next to the cathedral

NOVOTEL SAIGON CENTRE


$$$
167 Hai Ba Trung, Q3, Tel: (08)
3822 4866
novotel-saigon-centre.com
Novotel Saigon Centre has
a contemporary feel, an
international buffet The
Square a rooftop bar, and
a wellness centre including a
swimming pool, gym, sauna
and spa.
VILLA SONG SAIGON
$$$
197/2 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3744 6090
villasong.com
Deliberately located away
from the city centre in Thao
Dien, this riverside boutique
villa-style hotel is a sanctuary of peace and calm a
rarity in Ho Chi Minh City.
Beautiful, Indochine-influenced design, a great setting and good drinking and
dining options make this a
great, non-city centre choice.

Free wi-fi, international breakfast,


spacious and airy, lift, plasma TV,
multi-shower, friendly service
www.josephshotel.com
5, Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi | Phone: 04 3938 1048 | Mob: 0913 090 446

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 141

Travel

Resort and Spa is beachfront


with a stunning view of the
Marble Mountains. There
are 182 luxurious residences
and 27 private ocean villas,
each with a private pool.
MERCURE DANANG
$$$
Lot A1 Zone Green Island,
Hoa Cuong Bac, Hai Chau,
Danang, Tel: (0511) 379 7777
mercure-danang.com
Set on the Han River, this
well-appointed, Accormanaged property is one of
the nicest hotels in Central
Danang. Kitsch but contemporary design and some
phenomenal views over
the city make up the mix.
THE NAM HAI
$$$$
Hamlet 1, Dien Duong Village, Quang Nam, Tel: (0510)
394 0000
ghmhotels.com
Includes three massive
swimming pools, a gourmet restaurant and elegant
spa on a lotus pond. Each
massive room has its own
espresso machine, preprogrammed iPod and both
indoor and outdoor showers.

M M M
HUE & LANG CO
ANGSANA LANG CO
$$$$
Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien
Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5800
angsana.com/en/lang_co
Located on Vietnams South
Central Coast, Angsana Lang
Co commands an unrivalled
beach frontage of the shimmering East Sea. Traditional
Vietnamese design encompasses the resorts contemporary buildings and chic
interiors.

PHOTO BY NICK ROSS

BANYAN TREE LANG CO


$$$$
Cu Du Village, Loc Vinh Commune, Phu Loc, Thua Thien,
Hue, Tel: (054) 369 5888
banyantree.com/en/lang_co
Built on a crescent bay, The
Banyan Tree offers privacy

142 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

and unparalleled exclusivity


with all-pool villas reflecting
the cultural and historical
legacy of past Vietnamese
dynastic periods.
LA RESIDENCE
$$$$
5 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 383
7475
laresidencehue.com
PHUONG HOANG HOTEL
$
66 Le Loi, Hue, Tel: (054) 382
6736
hoangphuonghotel.com

M M M
NHA TRANG
EVASON ANA MANDARA
AND SIX SENSES SPA
$$$$
Beachside Tran Phu, Nha
Trang, Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058)
352 2222
sixsenses.com/evasonresorts/ana-mandara/destination
2.6 hectares of private beachside gardens and villastyle
accommodation furnished
in traditional native woods,
this resort offers verandah
dining, a pool bar and the
signature Six Senses Spa.
JUNGLE BEACH RESORT
$
Ninh Phuoc, Ninh Hoa, Khanh
Hoa, Tel: (058) 362 2384
junglebeachvietnam.com
On a secluded promontory north of Nha Trang, this
budget place is all about
hammocks, the sea, the
jungle and nature.
MIA RESORT NHA TRANG
$$$$
Bai Dong, Cam Hai Dong,
Cam Lam, Khanh Hoa, Tel:
(058) 398 9666
mianhatrang.com
NOVOTEL NHA TRANG
$$$
50 Tran Phu, Nha Trang, Tel:
(058) 625 6900
novotel-nhatrang.com
This four-star hotel with 154
guestrooms, all with a terrace and sea view. Complete

with a pool, spa, restaurant,


bar and meeting room that
caters for up to 200 delegates.
SIX SENSES HIDEAWAY
NINH VAN BAY
$$$$
Ninh Van Bay, Ninh Hoa,
Khanh Hoa, Tel: (058) 372
8222
sixsenses.com/resorts/ninhvan-bay/destination
The upmarket Tatler magazine voted top hotel of 2006.
The location is stunning, on a
bay accessible only by boat.
SHERATON NHA TRANG
HOTEL AND SPA
$$$$
26 28 Tran Phu, Tel: (058)
388 0000
sheraton.com/nhatrang

M M M
PHAN THIET & MUI NE
NINH CHU BAY BEACH
CLUB & BAR
Hwy 702, Ninh Hai, Phan
Rang, Ninh Thuan, Tel: (068)
627 2727
ninhchubay.com
Enjoy the private beach with
excellent facilities and have a
massage. Evenings are sublime at this beach club, soon
to become a fully fledged
resort. Grilled seafood, European sausages, sangria,
draught beer, and specialityinfused vodka all make this
one of a kind destination.
BLUE OCEAN RESORT
$$$$
54 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui
Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062)
384 7322
blueoceanresort.com.vn
life-resorts.com
COCO BEACH
$$$$
58 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui
Ne, Phan Thiet, Tel: (062)
384 7111
cocobeach.net
With charming wooden bungalows, a private beach, a
swimming pool (both with
attached bars) and a French
restaurant, Coco Beach con-

tinues to be run by those


who opened it in 1995.
JOES GARDEN RESORT
$$
86 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Ham
Tien, Mui Ne, Tel: (062) 384
7177
joescafemuine.com
A leafy, seafront bungalow
resort and caf with nightly
live music all in one. Reminiscent of the type of places
youd find on the Thai islands, an international and
Asian food menu together
with a cheap happy hour
on beer make up the relaxing mix.
MIA RESORT MUI NE
$$$$
24 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Mui
Ne, Tel: (062) 384 7440
miamuine.com
VICTORIA PHAN THIET RESORT AND SPA
$$$$
Mui Ne Beach, Phan Thiet,
Tel: (062) 381 3000
victoriahotels.asia
Another beachfront Victoria
chain, the thatchedroof
bungalows and family villas
are set in exotic gardens with
an infinity swimming pool,
a seafood restaurant, spa,
beauty salon and jacuzzi.

M M M
PHONG NHA
EASY TIGER AND JUNGLE
BAR
$
Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang
Binh, Tel: (052) 367 7844
easytigerphongnha@gmail.
com
A hostel and street-front bar
all in one. Has a pleasant,
airy atmosphere in the bar
and restaurant area while
the 52 dorm beds four
beds to a room go for US$8
(VND168,000) each a night.
HO KHANH'S HOMESTAY
$$
Son Trach, Bo Trach, Quang
Binh, Tel: 01299 597182
phong-nha-homestay.com

PHONG NHA FARMSTAY


$$
Hoa Son, Cu Nam, Bo Trach,
Quang Binh, Tel: (052) 367
5135
phong-nha-cave.com
The first western-run farmstay in Phong Nha, this wellappointed travellers joint
has a great bar and restaurant area, a swimming pool
out back and views overlooking paddy fields and
mountains. Rooms start at
VND600,000 for a twin or
double, with a family room
for five costing VND1.4 million a night.

M M M
PHU QUOC
BEACH CLUB RESORT
$$
Ap Cua Lap, Xa Duong To,
Long Beach, Phu Quoc Island,
Tel: (077) 398 0998
beachclubvietnam.com
A quaint and popular island guesthouse featuring a
beachside restaurant, and includes free Wi-Fi. Motorbike
rental, boat trips and tours
are easily arranged. Discount
rates during rainy season.
MANGO BAY
$$
Ong Lang Beach, Phu Quoc,
Tel: 0903 382207
mangobayphuquoc.com
An ecofriendly approach
with a gorgeous beachside
location, the bungalows are
made of rammed earth, no
TVs or telephones (although
Wi-Fi is available). Excellent
sunsets from the beach bar.
SALINDA RESORT PHU
QUOC ISLAND
$$$$
Cua Lap Hamlet, Duong To
Commune, Phu Quoc, Kien
Giang
Tel: (08) 3929 3097
Hotline 0907 99 55 02
salindaresort.com
Set on the sea and only 4km
away from Phu Quoc International Airport, Salinda is
inspired by an interplay of
rustic local heritage with

contemporary design. The


property has 121 rooms and
villas with private balconies,
and provides a luxury experience that embodies the
understated beauty and enchanting spirit of the pearl
of Asia.

M M M
SAPA
CAT CAT VIEW HOTEL
$$
Cat Cat Road, Tel: 0203
871946
catcathotel.com
The best view in town from
its bar restaurant, the Cat
Cat Guesthouse is paradise
at very reasonable rates. The
rooms have big windows,
balconies, and log fireplaces.
TOPAS ECOLODGE
$$$
Thanh Kim, Sapa, Lao Cai
Tel: (04) 3715 1005 (Sales)
topasecolodge.com
With its panoramic views of
the surrounding mountains
and valley, Topas Ecolodge
is the perfect place to experience the remoteness and
quiet of the Northern Vietnamese mountains the
landscape, the fresh air and
the ethnic peoples. Guests
stay in private bungalows
with dinner served in a local
stilt house restaurant.

M M M
VUNG TAU & HO TRAM
BINH AN VILLAGE
$$$$
1 Tran Phu, Vung Tau, Tel:
(064) 335 1553
binhanvillage.com
CON DAO RESORT
$$
Nguyen Duc Thuan, Con Dao,
Vung Tau, Tel: (064) 383 0939
condaoresort.vn
HO TRAM BEACH RESORT
AND SPA
$$$$
Tel: (064) 378 1525
hotramresort.com
This attractive property is the
ideal getaway from Ho Chi

Minh City. 63 uniquely bungalows and villas promise a


local experience complete
with an excellent spa and
two swimming pools.
HO TRAM SANCTUARY
$$$$
Ho Tram, Ba Ria-Vung Tau,
Tel: (064) 378 1631
sanctuary.com.vn
The spacious villas come
with their own pool and have
direct access to the beach.
Extras include tennis courts,
a mini supermarket, and
cycling and motorbike tours.
REX HOTEL
$$
1 Le Quy Don, Vung Tau, Tel:
(064) 385 2135
rexhotelvungtau.com
SIX SENSES CON DAO
$$$$
Dat Doc Beach, Ba Ria-Vung
Tau, Tel: (064) 383 1222
sixsenses.com/sixsensescondao
THE GRAND-HO TRAM
STRIP
Phuoc Thuan Commune,
Xuyen Moc, Ba Ria-Vung Tau,
Tel: (064) 378 8888
thegrandhotramstrip.com
The Grand-Ho Tram Strip is
Vietnams first large scale
integrated resort and includes a 541-room five-star
hotel, a world-class casino,
restaurants, high-tech meeting space, an exclusive VIP
area, as well as a variety of
beach-front recreation activities. Is located next to the
Greg Norman-designed golf
course, The Bluffs, one of the
best golf courses in Vietnam.

M M M
TRAVEL
SERVICES HANOI
BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY
(BTA)
94 Ma May, Hoan Kiem Dist.,
Ha Noi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702
buffalotours.com.vn
A boutique Travel Agency at
the service of all Vietnamese and expatriate residents
in Vietnam offering easy,
hassle-free travel around
the world and in Vietnam.

BTA customizes leisure and


corporate travel plans while
offering a selected range of
small group tours.
EXO TRAVEL
66A Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi,
Tel: (04) 3828 2150
exotravel.com
A one-stop, all-in-one travel
agency with an extensive
operational track record in
the Indochina region and
beyond. Providing up-market
services, Exotissimo brings
their clients close to culture
through personalised tours.
Also find travel desks at the
Hilton, Sofitel Plaza and Intercontinental hotels, which
are open on weekends and
holidays.
HANDSPAN TRAVEL
78 Ma May, Hanoi, Tel: (04)
3926 2828
handspan.com
Established in 1997, Handspan provides customers
with safe, high quality, diverse, small-group adventure
tours to both popular and
isolated locations in Vietnam,
Laos and Cambodia. Has a focus on off-the-beaten-track
sustainable and responsible
tourism initiatives. Also provides to excursions to more
well-worn destinations.
HG TRAVEL
47 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3944 8844
hgtravel.com
Travel company specialising
in small-group tours around
Vietnam and further afield in
Indochina. Is also the sole
representative agent for
Kenya Airways (for 40 cities
in Africa kenya-airways.
com), American Airlines (aa.
com) and Turkish Airlines
(thy.com).
INTREPID TRAVEL VIETNAM
57A Nguyen Khac Hieu, Ba
Dinh, Tel: 0904 193308
intrepidtravel.com/vietnamsales
Intrepid Travel Vietnam is an
international travel company
operating in Vietnam since
1992, offering innovative day
tours, short breaks and small
group adventures. With expert guides and guaranteed

departures, Intrepid focuses


on real life experiences in Ho
Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Mekong
Delta, Halong Bay, Sapa and
beyond to get you up close
to Vietnams people, cuisine,
history and culture.
TRAVEL SENSE ASIA
Suite 8, 2nd Floor, 103 Nguyen Truong To, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Tel: (04) 3715 3977
kien@travelsense.asia
A homegrown travel agency providing small group
journeys and tailor-made
holidays to Vietnam, Laos,
Cambodia, Myanmar and
Thailand. Voted in Trip Advisors Top 10 of best tours in
Hanoi since 2010.

TRAVEL
SERVICES HCMC
BUFFALO TOURS AGENCY
70-72 Ba Trieu, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi, Tel: (04) 3828 0702;
157 Pasteur, Q3, Ho Chi Minh
City, Tel: (08) 3827 9170
buffalotours.com
This premium travel agency
helps travellers select their
destinations and organise
their trips. From corporate
travel to small group tours,
explore the world or Vietnam.
EXO TRAVEL
41, Thao Dien, Q2. Tel (08)
3519 4111, Ext. 15/17/19
exotravel.com
A reliable and experienced
travel company operating
through Southeast Asia,
Exotissimo brings you personalized tours across the
region, many including insights into culinary customs,
handicrafts and humanitarian initiatives.
FLIGHT TRAVEL COMPANY
121 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)
3824 7744
flightravelco.com
Flight travel services, including global travel management,
domestic and international air
booking and travel insurance,
to corporate companies, family and individual travelers.
GRASSHOPPER
ADVENTURES
Tel: 0946 704095
grasshopperadventures.com

Escape the bustle with


Southeast Asias top rated
bike tour company. Run guided day tours to the Mekong
Delta and Cu Chi Tunnels.
Also organize longer, two
to 14-day tours throughout
Vietnam.
TERRAVERDE
12/20 Nguyen Canh Di, Ward
4, Tan Binh District, Tel: (08)
3984 4754
terraverdetravel.com
If you like cycling through
the Mekong Delta, trekking
in the highlands, or lazing in
a junk on Ha Long Bay all
while making a difference in
peoples lives then this
company will suit you well.
VIETNAM VESPA
ADVENTURE
169A De Tham, Q1, Tel: 01222
993585
vietnamvespaadventure.com
Vespa Adventure offers
multiday tours of southern
and coastal Vietnam on the
back of a luxury motorbike
powered by clean, renewable
biodiesel. English-speaking
tour guides lead the way.

TRAVEL SERVICES
ELSEWHERE
BACK OF THE BIKE TOURS
Tel: (08) 6298 5659
backofthebiketours.com
Offer motorbike tours combined with the finest street
food to give customers a
truly immersive Vietnamese
experience.
BEENINASIA.COM
beeninasia.com
info@beeninasia.com
Online travel in Southeast
Asia. Offers you selection
of best hotels and great
tours. Create your own trip
or we can tailor make your
itinerary.
TU TRAVEL
60 Hai Ba Trung, Can Tho City,
Tel: 0713 752436
tutrangtravel-mekongfeeling.
vn
Want to set up non-standard
tours in the Mekong with
local guides whove got extensive local knowledge? This
might be the place to contact.

May 3rd - Oct 31st

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 143

Hanoi

The Alchemist / The Therapist / Bar Stool / Coffee Cup / Medical Buff / A World of Good / Book Buff
Photo by Julie vola

144 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Hanoi
Essentials

ALTERNATIVE HEALTH
A-ROAMING
BODYWORKER
karen@a-roamingbodyworker.com
a-roamingbodyworker.com
Provides various holistic
healing modalities. Services
include craniosacral therapy,
deep tissue massage, prenatal massage, healing stones
massage, as well as energy
healing including Reiki and
Jin Shin Jyutsu. Workshops
are also available.

HANOI HOLISTIC
HEALTH GUIDE
issuu.com/hanoiholistichealth
A guide to various holistic
health practitioners in Hanoi.
Only available online, but a
great information source.

M M M
BOOKSHOPS
BOOKWORM
BOOK SHOP

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3715 3711; 1/28 Nghi
Tam Village, Tay Ho Tel: (04)
3829 2322
Bookworm has been the cornerstone of Hanois literary
scene since 2001. It has been
around the block quite a bit
and now shares a space with
Hanoi Cooking Centre. With
over 15,000 new and secondhand fiction and nonfiction
titles in stock, the shop also
buys used books and offers
free travel advice. Has a second shop in Tay Ho

BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP


VIETNAM (BBGV)
193B Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung
Tel: (04) 6674 0945
bbgv.org
The chamber of commerce
for all things relating to the
UK and British-born expats
living in the capital. Puts on
monthly networking events,
gala dinners, fundraising
events and much more.
CCIFV
Sofitel Plaza, No 1 Thanh
Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715
2229
ccifv.org
EUROCHAM
G/F, Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, 1
Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel:
(04) 3715 2228
eurochamvn.org
ICHAM
Sofitel Plaza, Ground floor, 1
Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
3715 2229
icham.org
SINGAPORE BUSINESS
ASSOCIATION VIETNAM
Business Center Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha, Ba Dinh
sbav-hanoi.org

M M M
CINEMAS
CINEMATHEQUE
ARTS CINEMA

23/67 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3726 4896

22A Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3936 2648
Not a movie theatre per se,
but a private film club that
charges a membership fee
in return for entrance to a
wide selection of movies,
new and old. The management has an eclectic taste
and shows films and opera
from all over the world. Call
to arrange membership.

TRANG TIEN BOOKSTORE

M M M

LIBRAIRIE FRANAISE
DE HANOI
FRENCH BOOKSHOP

VIETNAMESE & ENGLISH BOOKS

44 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3936 2151

CLUBS & SOCIETIES

XUNHASABA

AMERICAN CLUB

ENGLISH LANGUAGE BOOKSTORE

EVENT SPACE

32 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3825 4068

M M M
BUSINESS GROUPS
AMCHAM
4th Floor, InterContinental
Hanoi,
1A Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
3934 2790
amchamhanoi.com
AUSCHAM
4th Floor, 100 Lo Duc, Hai
Ba Trung
Tel: 0909 710994
auschamvn.org

21 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3824 1850
GOETHE INSTITUT
GERMAN CULTURAL CENTRE

58 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh


Tel: (04) 3734 2251
goethe.de/hanoi
HANOI INTERNATIONAL
THEATRE SOCIETY (HITS)
THEATRE GROUP

hitshanoi.com
HANOI CLUB
COUNTRY CLUB

76 Yen Phu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3823 8115
thehanoiclub.com

HANOI OIS

THINGS OF SUBSTANCE

NETBALL CLUB

AUSTRALIAN-STYLE UNISEX

hanoinetball@gmail.com

5 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3828 6965
This shops motto Western
sizes, Vietnamese prices,
says it all. While mostly retailing womens separates
in soft cotton jersey and
linen, the store also carries a range of accessories
like embroidered canvas
totes and printed tees. Has
a good selection of unique
mens shirts.

LESPACE
FRENCH CULTURAL CENTRE

24 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3936 2164
vphanoi-lespace.com

M M M
CLOTHING
BOO SKATESHOP
SKATESHOP

THREE TREES

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3923 1147
booskateshop.com

JEWELLERY

CHULA
43 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho; 24 Ly
Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem
Tel: 0904 258960
chulafashion.com
The work of Spanish couple
Laura and Diego, this homegrown Hanoi brand describes
themselves as creating wearable art. Designing pieces
that are trendy, elegant,
Western and yet distinctly
Asian, their shop and arts
space focuses on lifestyle,
with regular events and
more.
CONTRABAND

GEORGES FASHION BOUTIQUE

AIR ASIA
airasia.com

15 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3928 8725

M M M

AIR FRANCE
airfrance.com.vn

COOKING CLASSES
HANOI COOKING CENTRE
COOKING CENTRE

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3715 0088
hanoicookingcentre.com
Hanoi Cooking Centre is a
school, retail outlet and caf,
where you can find classes
on not just Vietnamese
cooking, but international
cuisine, held in a beautiful
setting. They also offer culinary tours.

CONTEMPORARY WESTERN-STYLE

23 Nha Chung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3928 9891
Launched in Hanoi in 2007,
Contraband targets young
hip working women. Garments are made from versatile fabrics that are comfortable to wear and easy to look
after making them ideal for
work and travel. New styles
are introduced each month
with limited production runs,
offering a sense of exclusivity.

AIRLINES

HIDDEN HANOI
COOKING CENTRE

147 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel:


0912 254045
hiddenhanoi.com.vn
A wide range of Vietnamese
culinary classes are offered
in these well-appointed and
clean facilities. The knowledgeable staff will guide
you through the secrets of
Vietnamese cooking in an
open air courtyard.

M M M
CRAFTS & FURNITURE

CATHAY PACIFIC
cathaypacific.com/vn
CHINA AIRLINES
china-airlines.com
JAPAN AIRLINES
vn.jal.com
JETSTAR PACIFIC
jetstar.com/vn/en
KOREAN AIR
koreanair.com
LAO AIRLINES
laoairlines.com
MALAYSIA
AIRLINES
malaysiaairlines.com

CONTEMPORARY WESTERN-STYLE

36 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 6233
With new styles arriving in
store every second day, this
shop offers a huge range of
dresses, shirts, pants, skirts
and accessories in local and
imported fabrics. Clothes fit
all sizes, from petite to average to the generous figure.
Alterations and a made-tomeasure service are available at no extra cost.

BETTERWORLD
GLOBAL HANDICRAFTS

8 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho


Fair trade or bought directly
from the artisans who made
them, Betterworld stocks
unusual handicrafts from
around the world as well as
second-hand books, DVDs
and more.
MEKONG QUILTS
HANDMADE / CHARITABLE QUILTS

LATELIER
WOMENS WEAR & ACCESSORIES

33 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 6758
ateliervietnam.com
Stocks womens wear, leather bags, shoes and handicrafts. This chic boutique offers both ready-to-wear and
made-to-fit clothing.

9 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3926 4831; 58 Hang
Trong, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04)
3824 4607; 13 Hang Bac, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926 4831
Mekong-quilts.org
Community development
non-profit quilt shop featuring handmade quilts and
accessories. Styles vary from
traditional to patterned and
Asian-inspired. Founded in
2001 and with outposts in

SINGAPORE
AIRLINES
singaporeair.com
THAI AIRWAYS
thaiairways.com.vn
TIGER AIRWAYS
tigerair.com
VIETJETAIR
vietjetair.com
VIETNAM
AIRLINES
vietnamairlines.com

Hanoi
Essentials

several locations around


the region, the shop employs women in rural areas,
enabling them to make an
income and care for their
families.

CYCLING

Tel: (04) 3928 5190


artvietnamgallery.com
Established in 2002, this
American-run gallery has
championed Vietnamese
contemporary art for more
than two decades. Holds
regular exhibitions and artist talks.

Duan, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04)


3941 2789
Daloc.vn
LINHMART
116, D4 Dormitory, Giang Vo,
Ba Dinh (near Ha Noi Hotel)
Tel: 0936 491136 or 0916
504548
linhmart.com
Stocks organic vegetables
from Sapa, Soc Son and Dalat; seafood from Hai Phong
and Quang Ninh; Norwegian
salmon and highlands pork
and beef. Also offers foreign
spices and convenience
store products from Japan
and Thailand. Free delivery
for any purchase above
VND400,000.

DONS TAY HO

MANZI

BICYCLE RENTALS

GALLERY & BAR / CAFE

16 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3719 3719
Dons-bistro.com

BICYCLE / MOTORBIKE RENTALS

14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3716 3397
facebook.com/manzihanoi
Founded in 2012, this independent contemporary art
centre holds regular exhibitions, workshops and a wide
range of art events. Manzi
promotes emerging artists
while presenting established artists from Vietnam.
The space also sells works
by leading contemporary
Vietnamese artists at affordable prices.

70 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


0904 244941

NHA SAN COLLECTIVE

KITCHEN ART

GALLERY & ARTS PROJECTS

KITCHENWARE

24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: 0985 870316
nhasanstudio.org
The first experimental art
space in Hanoi, the non-profit, artist-led space has given
contemporary Vietnamese
artists the chance to nurture
their talent and experiment.
Holds regular exhibitions and
artist residences.

38 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


6680 2770
kitchenart.vn

GREEN BIKE
CANNONDALE & JETT STOCKIST

15 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh


IBIKE
SALES

34 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho; 53 Ly


Nam De, Hoan Kiem
QUANS RENTALS

THBC (THE HANOI BICYCLE


COLLECTIVE)
RENTALS & SALES

29 Nhat Chieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 3156
thbc.vn

DENTAL CARE
AUSTRALIAN
DENTAL CLINIC
DENTAL CLINIC

VIETNAM ARTS MUSEUM

3 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: 0906 200434
australiandentalclinic.com

NATIONAL ARTS MUSEUM

PEACE DENTAL CLINIC


DENTAL CLINIC

2nd floor, 51A Nguyen Khac


Hieu, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3715
2286
peacedentalclinic.wordpress.
com

66 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3733 2131
vnfam.vn
Maintains and promotes
the treasures of Vietnamese
cultural and artistic heritage, allowing visitors to appreciate and understand the
entire history of Vietnamese
fine arts.

SERENITY INTERNATIONAL
DENTAL CLINIC

WORK ROOM FOUR

DENTAL CLINIC

Packexim Building Tower 1,


23rd Floor, No. 49 Lane 15, An
Duong Vuong, Tay Ho
workroomfour.com
A place to work. A space to
create. Somewhere to see
something new. Work Room
Four is pulling together the
threads of creative endeavours across Hanoi. A collective that promotes collaboration and new ideas,
exhibitions, workshops, artist studios, courses, contacts
and events.

19 Nguyen Truong To, Ba


Dinh, Tel: 0989 067888
serenitydentalclinic.com
WESTCOAST INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC
DENTAL CLINIC

2nd Fl, Syrena Center, 51


Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
3710 0555
westcoastinternational.com
The Westcoast International
Dental Clinic is composed
of dental professionals who
deliver modern, high-level
dental services throughout
Vietnam. The clinic provides
the highest quality technology, comfort and after-service
care to patients.

GALLERIES
ART VIETNAM GALLERY
GALLERY & EXHIBITION SPACE

24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,

146 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

HANOI GOURMET
DELI / WINE SHOP

6T Ham Long, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3943 1009
Hanoigourmet.com

L'S PLACE

GROCERIES / DELI

First Floor, 51 Xuan Dieu, Tay


Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 4487

162A Hoang Hoa Tham, Tay


Ho, Tel: (04) 3847 3366
JUST.IN.M
WOMENS HAIRDRESSER

48A Ly Thuong Kiet , Hoan


Kiem, Tel: 04 3939 3907
LAN SALON
Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien,
Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3266 8190

HOSPITALS
& MEDICAL CLINICS
AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC
CLINIC (ACC)
CHIROPRACTORS & PHYSIOTHERAPISTS

44 Nguyen Du, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (4) 3265 6888
acc.vn/en
ACC provides effective chiropractic, physiotherapy
and foot care treatments
through the use of cutting
edge technology for back,
neck and knee pain, sports
injuries as well as all types of
foot related problems.
BUMRUNGRAD
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

NATURALLY VIETNAM

HANOI OFFICE OF BANGKOK


HOSPITAL

ORGANIC / NATURAL PRODUCTS

4 Lane 67, Alley 12, To Ngoc


Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 6674
4130
naturallyvietnam.com

136G Tran Vu, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3715 3717
bumrungrad.vn

ITALIAN DELI

24 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3719 1196
WESTERN CANNED FOODS
GROCERY STORE

17 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3934 3854
VEGGIES
GROCERIES, FRUIT & VEG

99 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3719 4630
THE WAREHOUSE
WINE RETAILER

59 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3928 7666; 27 Xuan
Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718
3701
warehouse-asia.com

HAIRDRESSERS
& SALONS

DA LOC

DINH HAIR SALON

WINE RETAILER

HAIR SALON

96 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 2076; 65 Le

2A Cua Bac, Ba Dinh, Tel: 0987


718899

The Manor,
Me Tri Street,
My Dinh, Tu Liem
Tel: (04) 3787 5500

INDOCHINA
PLAZA

241 Xuan Thuy,


Cau Giay, Hanoi,
Tel: 1900 555596

LOTTE CENTER

54 Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3333 6016

lottecenter.com.vn
PARKSON

Viet Tower Plaza,


198 Tay Son, Dong Da
Tel: (04) 3537 8666

PICO MALL

WINE RETAILER

THE OASIS

GARDEN
SHOPPING
CENTER

parkson.com.vn

RED APRON
10 Da Tuong, Hanoi Tel: (04)
3943 7226; 28 Xuan Dieu, Tay
Ho. Tel: (04) 3719 8337

SHOPPING
MALLS

TOP-END SALON

3 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3719 9911

M M M
ANNAM GOURMET

UNISEX HAIR & NAIL SALON

GROCERY SHOP

ARTS STUDIO & GALLERY

GROCERIES & LIQUOR

HAIR STREAM

JAPAN INTERNATIONAL
EYE HOSPITAL (JIEH)
INTERNATIONAL EYE HOSPITAL
32 Pho Duc Chinh, Ba Dinh, Hanoi,
Tel: (04) 3715 3666
jieh.vn
JIEH is a 100% Japaneseinvested eye hospital. Using
the latest technology and
built according to Japanese
standards, the facility is the
first in Vietnam to use Mel
90 (Carl Zeiss - Germany),
and is one of first three eye
hospitals in the country
using Visumax (Carl Zeiss
- Germany) for refractive
surgery. Top-end customer
service and a friendly, contemporary environment add
to the mix.

FAMILY MEDICAL
PRACTICE
MEDICAL

298 I Kim Ma, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3843 0748
vietnammedicalpractice.com
On the little street directly
below Kim Ma, with all sorts
of specialists including OB/
GYN, Pediatricians and ENT. A
Medium-sized practice with
both Vietnamese and international doctors, but they are

229 Tay Son, Dong Da,


Tel: (04) 6682 0400

SYRENA
SHOPPING
CENTER

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3719 7214

TRANG TIEN
PLAZA

cnr. Hang Bai and


Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi

trangtienplaza.vn
VINCOM
CITY TOWERS

191 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba


Trung, Tel: (04) 3974
9999

VINCOM
ROYAL CITY

72A Nguyen Trai,


Thanh Xuan, Tel: (04)
3974 3550

used to treating expats. Also


a 24-hour emergency service.
FRENCH HOSPITAL

IGCSE and A Level. Pending


authorization, will offer the
IB programme from 2016
onwards.

INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da, Tel:


(04) 3577 1100
hfh.com.vn
HONG NGOC HOSPITAL
PRIVATE GENERAL HOSPITAL

55 Yen Ninh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)


3927 5568; Keangnam Office
Tower, Khu B1 Pham Hung,
Cau Giay, Tel: (04) 7305 8880
hongngochospital.vn
INTERNATIONAL SOS
24-HOUR CLINIC
MEDICAL / DENTAL CLINIC

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3934 0666
Internationalsos.com
Well-known medical clinic
also known for its quality
emergency services. Doctors
and consultants also provide
a range of services from
standard GP-style check-ups
through to vaccinations, paediatrics and specialist care.
VIETNAM-KOREA FRIENDSHIP CLINIC
KOREAN CLINIC & HOSPITAL

12 Chu Van An, Ba Dinh, Tel:


(04) 3843 7231
VINMEC INTERNATIONAL
HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

458 Minh Khai, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3974 3556
vinmec.com

INSURANCE
IF CONSULTING
CCIFV/Eurocham, Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3936 5370
insuranceinasia.com
LIBERTY INSURANCE
16th Floor, Hoa Binh International Towers, 106 Hoang
Quoc Viet, Cau Giay
Tel: (04) 3755 7111
libertyinsurance.com.vn
REGENCY INTERNATIONAL
INSURANCE
5th Floor, Press Club, 59A Ly
Thai To, Hoan Kiem
Tel: 0966 857 488

M M M
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOLS
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL, HANOI
Hoa Lan Road, Vinhomes
Riverside, Long Bien, Tel: (04)
3946 0435
bishanoi.com
A selective, independent,
co-educational day school.
Provides a British-style
education following the
National Curriculum for England, with students taking

CONCORDIA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL HANOI


CMC Building, Duy Tan, Cau
Giay, Tel: (04) 3795 8878
concordiahanoi.org
A non-profit entity, Concordia has highly performing
schools in both Hong Kong
and Shanghai at the top tier
of the educational system.
All instructors and teachers
are native English speakers
and admission applications
are accepted throughout
the year.
HANOI INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL
48 Lieu Giai , Ba Dinh, Tel:
(04) 3832 8140
hisvietnam.com
With schooling available
for students studying at
elementary through to secondary levels of education,
HIS is one of the few private,
international education options in the capital. Offers
Cambridge IGCSE and IB
Diploma for students at the
secondary level.
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
OF VIETNAM
6-7 Nguyen Cong Thai, Dai
Kim Urban Area, Dinh Cong,
Hoang Mai, Tel: 3540 9183
isvietnam.org
A not-for-profit, pre-kindergarten to Grade 12 school
serving the international
and local community of Hanoi. ISV accepts students of
any nationality aged 3 and
up. Highly qualified and
experienced international
educators are supported by
a 21st-century campus with
the latest in educational
technology plus excellent
resources for learning. Class
sizes are small.

of quality schools established by the Quality Schools


International. The institution
specialises in instructing preschool and lower elementary
age students.
SINGAPORE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
2D Van Phuc Diplomatic
Compound, 46 Van Bao, Ba
Dinh, Tel (04) 3726 1601;
Block C3, Ciputra, Tay Ho,
Tel (04) 3758 2664; Road 2,
Gamuda Gardens, Km 4.4
Phap Van, Hoang Mai, Tel
(04) 6666 1818
kinderworld.net/sis
Provides an international
education for students from
primary up to university level. A strong curriculum provides core subjects from the
Singaporean and Vietnamese
curricula, as well as specialist programmes from Britain, America and Canada, all
taught by qualified teachers.
ST. PAUL AMERICAN
SCHOOL HANOI
Khu Do Thi Bac AnKhanh,
An Khanh, HoaiDuc, Tel: (04)
3399 6464
stpaulhanoi.com.vn
St. Paul Hanoi has developed a strong reputation
for providing a high quality American education. An
international school that
collaborates with schools
around the globe to set high

expectations and align with


rigorous standards so that
students will have a wonderful opportunity to attend a
great university in the future.
UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL (UNIS)
G9 Ciputra, Lac Long Quan,
Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3758 1551
unishanoi.org
Established in 1988, 1,050
students from 60 nationalities follow the IB
programme from aged 3
through to aged 18. A notfor-profit entity, UNIS aims
for its students to emerge as
responsible stewards of our
global society and natural
environment.

MOTORBIKE RENTAL
& REPAIRS
ANH DUNG
MOTORBIKE RENTALS

37 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


0915 066096
MR CAO
MOTORBIKE RENTAL

VIP BIKES SOCIAL


ENTERPRISE
RENTALS & REPAIRS

17 Ve Ho, Xuan La, Tay Ho,


Tel: 0914 931390
Trains disadvantaged youth
to be fully qualified, Australian-certified motorbike
mechanics. Does sales, restoration, repairs and rentals.

M M M
PROPERTY RENTALS
FAIR REAL ESTATE
RENTALS

6 Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3718 6332
fair-realestate.com
GIA LONG HOUSING
RENTALS

R714, Blg CT13B Ciputra, Tay


Ho, Tel: (04) 3743 0589
gialonghousing.com
HANOI RENTING
RENTALS

No. 809, Ct13b building, Lac


Long Quan, Tay Ho
Tel: (04) 6294 4828
hanoirenting.com

MOTORBIKE RENTALS

106 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: 0912 094464
PHUNG MOTORBIKE
MOTORBIKE RENTALS

13 Ngo Huyen, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3938 1105

LANLINH PROPERTY
RENTALS

38 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: Tel: 0933 534999
houseinhanoi.com

KINDERWORLD INTERNATIONAL KINDERGARTEN


Unit 9 10, Shophouse CT17,
Ciputra, Tay Ho, Tel (04) 3743
0306; 3rd Floor, 49 Hai Ba
Trung, Hoan Kiem, Tel (04)
3934 7243; C5 C11, 1st floor,
The Manor Building, My Dinh,
Tu Liem, Tel (04) 3764 0209
kinderworld.net
Classes are kept small with
a foreign teacher leading the
class with the assistance of a
Vietnamese teacher according to the teacher-student
ratio. KinderWorld provides
pre school education for
children from 18 months to
below 6 years.
QSI INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL OF HANOI
#17 Lane, 67 To Ngoc Van, Tay
Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6418
hanoi.qsi.org
QSI International School of
Hanoi is next in a long line

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 147

THE ALCHEMIST
A TALE OF TWO GARDENS

trip home to Canada this


summer put me squarely in
the midst of the Pokmon
Go phenomenon. This wildly
popular mobile game has its players
chasing digital characters in augmented
reality real world environments
augmented by computer-generated
effects.
The normally peaceful and tranquil
English Garden of my hometown was
teeming with Pokmon Go trainers.
The Garden, described as a horticultural
attraction and floral sightseeing
destination, has since attracted a wider
range of visitors with the Pokmon craze.

Off the Grid


In a less crowded garden, I encountered
a neighbour who informed me that my
former elementary school cultivated the
community garden in which we stood.
He and his young daughter strolled
through the plots naming the assorted
vegetables. They were interacting much
more with their surroundings than the
Pokmon enthusiasts at the English
Garden.
When I commended my neighbour on

148 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

his knowledge of the plants, he replied


that he was preparing himself for a
possible collapse of the grid. Weve
become so reliant on technology that
the slightest glitch can wreak havoc. An
interruption in the power supply can
affect access to water, fuel, fresh food, as
well as hamper communications. A case
in point is the recent grounding of one of
the worlds largest airline carriers due to
a simple power outage.

Connect Within
Barring an imposed disconnection from
the grid, many of us are unable to detach
ourselves from our technological shackles
and are unable to function without them.
Along with the physical and social
repercussions from the overuse of
technology particularly electronics
and information technology there are
challenges to our self-identity. Research
indicates that as the use of technology
increases, the locus of control for a
sense of being, which should come from
within a person, has become increasingly
external.
According to spiritual healer, Mas
Sajady, the more we are bound to our

BY KAREN GAY

electronics, the more we reside outside


of ourselves and are disconnected from
our true essence. In other words, in
unhealthy use, we connect to technology
to disconnect from ourselves.
In other words, is Pokmon Go
augmented reality or is it diminished
reality?

The Soul or the Machine


Sajady distinguishes between spiritual
technology and mechanical technology
and suggests that we get off the grid
in order to become aware of our own
spiritual technology. He states that
our spiritual technology is much more
advanced than any mechanical technology
humanity has created and it allows us to
know ourselves at a deeper level.
Like the two gardens I visited this
summer, we can choose to consciously
engage in the web of life that surrounds
us or we can allow the artificial web
to dictate our life experiences. Which
garden will I find you in?
Karen Gay, A-Roaming Bodyworker, is
a holistic health practitioner practicing in
Hanoi. For information on the types of services
provided, visit a-roamingbodyworker.com

Hanoi

VIETLONG HOUSING
RENTALS

21 Alley 1/22 Au Co, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3718 5203
vietlonghousing.com

M M M

Essentials

RELOCATION AGENTS
ALLIED PICKFORDS
Room 302, 12A Ho Xuan
Huong, Tel: (04) 3943 1511
vn.alliedpickfords.com
The largest home moving
company in the world, Allied
Pickfords moves over 1,000
families in over 175 countries
every day. Has a full range of
services domestic moves,
office moves and storage
both inside and outside of
Vietnam.
JVK INDOCHINA MOVERS
6 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel:
(04)3826 0334
jvkasia.com
Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods,
JVK is currently a leader in
the field. Has offices in both
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

SANTA FE
RELOCATION SERVICES
Suite 821, Vietnam Trade Hotel, 14 Tran Binh Trong, Hoan
Kiem, Tel: (04) 3941 0805
santaferelo.com
With over 150 offices around
the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving,
pet transportation, relocation
services including home
search, orientation, cultural
training, immigration services and records management.

MMM
SPORTS, FITNESS
& YOGA
ELITE FITNESS
TOP-END HEALTH CENTRE

51 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 6281
elitefitness.com.vn
The luxury gym features
top-of-the-line fitness
equipment, separate cardio
and spinning areas and an
indoor swimming pool with
a retractable roof. The spacious studios and natural
light make it a welcoming
place to squeeze in a work
out, but be prepared to pay.
This place is top of the range.
N SHAPE FITNESS

AGS FOUR WINDS

PHOTO BY JESSE MEADOWS

41A Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3938 8762
agsfourwinds.com
A worldwide leader in international removals and relocations, with 130 offices
globally. Have the capacity to
move property to and from
any location.

MID-RANGE FITNESS CENTRE

5th Floor, 71 Nguyen Chi


Thanh, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)
6266 0495
nshapefitness.vn
STUDIO FIVE

VIETCLIMB

BOO SKATESHOP

CLIMBING CENTRE

SKATING EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING

40 Ngo 76 An Duong, Tay Ho,


Tel: 0914 143185
vietclimb.vn
Although a little hard to find,
VietClimb is a French-owned,
200-meter climbing gym
with state-of-the-art courses. There are 100 different
climbing routes within the
gym that are changed every
few months. They offer clinics, classes and childrens
events. Membership and
group rates are available,
but be sure to check out the
three-month pass.

84 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3923 1147
bosua.vn

ZENITH YOGA & CAF

score-tech.net

YOGA & NUTRITION

247 Au Co, Tay Ho; 62 Ly


Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem; Tel:
0904 356 561
zenithyogavietnam.com
The oldest and most professional Yoga Studio in
Hanoi, Zenith offers a vast
variety of classes and levels
in Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa,
Ashtanga and Pilates while
also offering Restorative,
Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga,
Meditation sessions, and
Kundalini classes. Also have
a yogic shop offering incense,
clothes and yoga props, as
well as a caf serving up the
homemade vegetarian meals,
cakes and coffee.

SPORTSWEAR
& EQUIPMENT

YOGA & WELLNESS

ADIDAS FOOTBALL

5th Fl, 135 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai


Ba Trung. Tel: (04) 6263.1515
studio5.vn

19 Nui Truc, Ba Dinh, Tel: (04)


6273 3095

FOOTBALL & SPORTS

HANOI SPORTS SHOP


146, Mai Dich, Cau Giay, Tel:
(04) 2218 5757
hanoisport.vn

SUPERMARKETS
SCORE-TECH
44, Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:
(04) 3718 8246
Apparel company offering personalised sport
garments for companies,
schools and professional
sports clubs using the latest
printing technology with a
design team from Barcelona. Score-Tech controls the
whole production process
from fabric production and
printing to sewing. Big and
small orders for all sporting
and commercial needs.

UMOVE TRAVEL
AND OUTDOORS
TRAVEL EQUIPMENT & CLOTHING

13 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3771 3305
umove.com.vn

BIG C
222 Tran Duy Hung,
Cau Giay;
Garden Shopping
Centre, The Manor,
My Dinh, Tu Liem

bigc.vn
CITIMART
Ground Floor,
Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai
Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3934 2999

FIVIMART
27A Ly Thai To,
Hoan Kiem

INTIMEX
22-23 Le Thai To,
Hoan Kiem

METRO THANG
LONG
Pham Van Dong,
Co Nhue, Tu Liem,
Tel: (04) 3755 1617

metro.com.vn

THE THERAPIST
CHANGING PERSONALITIES

Dear Douglas,
For the past year, since I have lived in Hanoi,
I have been sharing a house with three
other expats. One is a woman who amazes
me with her constant ability to be positive.
She never complains or criticizes. When I,
or the other housemates, talk badly about
someone or bitch about work, she listens but
doesnt really say anything. When she does
comment, it is usually to give someone the
benefit of the doubt. It really bugged me for
a while, at first, and I thought she was just
hiding her real feelings. Now, I have to say
that I am affected by her and wish I could
be less negative and sarcastic. Is it possible?
Can people change their personalities? I
dont want to be fake.
Elizabeth (not real name)
Dear Elizabeth,
You sound inspired. You are asking a
good question about whether people can
change. The answer is yes and no. Our
personality is generally thought of to be an
inner structure that remains constant over
the course of ones life. However, there are
many aspects of who we are that are not
fixed and are a matter of choice things
we can learn or unlearn, attitudes and
outlooks we can modify. Our mood is also
a significant part of what influences our
behaviour and our thoughts.

150 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Your housemate is someone who seems


to hold the trait of resilience. It is an ability
to see the difficult aspects of life, without
being caught by the negative feelings or
perspectives. It starts with an acceptance
that life is difficult or painful, and the
choice to see beyond that truth.
William James, one of my favourite early
psychologists, said: The art of wisdom is
the art of knowing what to overlook. We do
have selective choice about where we put our
attention and focus. Most of us get caught in
our pain, disappointments and expectations
and find ourselves with a negative outlook
from time to time, or maybe a lot.
Your awareness has been raised and you
are seeing yourself differently. Changing
can feel strange at first, like we are not
being ourselves. But over time we morph
in the direction of our intention. Catching
yourself at being sarcastic or overly critical,
creates space for something different.
Trying to give people the benefit of the
doubt or putting yourself in their shoes
shifts the way we see things and results in
change. When you think about it, change
is inevitable. We grow up, we mature,
we learn from our mistakes, we develop
perspectives from the experience of life.
So, doing that consciously is what I think
you are talking about.
One aspect of those who tend to a

BY DOUGLAS HOLWERDA

positive outlook on life is their ability to


hold gratitude. When we consciously are
able to see the ways that life is good, not to
the exclusion of painful reality, we can keep
things in perspective. Every day it is possible
to see beauty, to experience pleasure and joy,
to feel love and connection, and to value the
small ways that life offers gifts to us.
Sometimes we have to overcome a deep
belief that we do not deserve happiness or
the desirable aspects of life. Deep down we
have come to believe that we are not worth
it, we are not lovable, we are not good
enough. It can be a major obstacle to the
resilience I am talking about.
It is a core belief that needs to be
challenged and was probably learned from
an early age. It can cause us to sabotage
our own growth and steal away the
positive aspects of life. Ask yourself a deep
question: Do I feel like I dont deserve to
have a life that includes joy, gratitude and
contentment? This is where therapy can
be really helpful, to understand where the
belief has come from and to strip away the
inhibiting power of that false belief.
I wish you continued inspiration,
Douglas
Do you have a question you would like
Douglass help with? You can email him at
douglasholwerda@hotmail.com. Personal
details will not be printed

Hanoi
On the Town

BARS, CLUBS &


BEER CLUBS
+84 BAR
CONTEMPORARY DECOR BAR

23 Ngo Van So, Hoan Kiem


facebook.com/bar84hanoi
Housed in a colonial building, bare brick, comfortable
sofa-like seating and grungy
decor related to a past make
up the mix at this venue put
together by the people behind Barbetta.
88 LOUNGE
CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR

88 Xuan Dieu, Tay ho, Tel:


(04) 3718 8029
88group.vn
A wine bar with a difference,
this mainstay on the watering hole scene in West Lake
mixes contemporary design,
black ceilings, subtle lighting
and an international aesthetic with one of the best wine
lists in town. Not surprisingly
it is developing a faithful clientele. Well worth a visit.
ANGELINA
CONTEMPORARY ITALIAN

Sofitel Metopole Legend Hotel, 56 Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 6919
Top-end bar and Italian restaurant all in one. Five star
prices, but has an atmosphere to match and a great
cocktail selection. The kind
of place youll order a wagyu
and eat it at the bar.
BACKYARD BIA HOI
UPMARKET BIA HOI

15/50 Quang Khanh, Tay Ho


From the Tet Lifestyle collection, this outdoor, hideaway,
garden-based bia hoi is every
bit as attractive (and popular) as its caf peers in the
West Lake area. A Vietnamese-style food menu and
regular live music make up
the mix.
BARBETTA
ARTSY BAR & CAFE

34C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3734 9134
Set in a colonial villa, when
it comes to design, the funky
but comfortable Barbetta
with its roof terrace is difficult to beat. A great place
for coffee, beer or even a
bite to eat.
CAMA ATK
MUSIC & ARTS BAR

73 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: 01262 054970
cama-atk.com
With well-poured drinks,
a foosball table, no smoking and a midnight closing
time, CAMA ATK knows exactly what it wants to be
and thats refreshing. The
space is a part time venue
for smaller acts and DJs. The
venue is hip, comfortable
and will likely provide the
serious drinker with a reliable place to pull up a stool
and take pulls in a relaxed
haven.

EDEN HANOI
OUTDOOR PARTY SPACE

End of 264 Au Co, Tay Ho


facebook.com/edengargen
When it comes to outdoor
parties, big outdoor parties,
the setting at Eden makes
this place difficult to beat,
with well over a 1,000 revellers packing in at the weekends. Check out their Facebook page for the party list.
ETE BAR
FRENCH LOUNGE

95 Giang Van Minh, Ba Dinh,


Tel: 0976 751331
A favourite among those
who roam further west of
the city centre, this multistorey restobar has been going strong for more than two
years. It has balconies, mezzanine seating and a long bar
guarding exactly 50 different
cocktails. For many the Ete
burger is right on the mark
as are the sandwiches, tartines and salads. Its always
crowded especially during
the weekends. Amiable staff,
pleasant vibes.
FATCAT BAR
DJ / LATE NIGHT JOINT

25 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


0986 495211
linkhanoi.com
A small establishment from
the minds behind the party
and event organisers, LinkHanoi. The bar has tables filling the first floor and spilling
onto the sidewalk as well as
a small loft area for lounging.
FURBREW
CRAFT BEER BAR

8B/52 To Ngoc Van, TayHo


furbrew.com
You like your home-style
brews and you have a craving for an IPA, a pale ale or a
wheat beer that you cant get
anywhere else. Furbrew is
your answer. Six craft beers
from the tap, all brewed by
the venue, with a pleasant
West Lake-like vibe to match.
HANOI ROCK CITY
LIVE MUSIC VENUE

27/52 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,


Tel: 01633 166170
facebook.com/hrc.hanoi
Has a downstairs, Englishstyle pub garden area and
an upstairs space dedicated
to live music and live production. Weekly live events
feature bands and DJs both
from Vietnam and overseas
established and up and
coming.
HOA VIEN BRAUHAUS
CZECH MICROBREWERY

1A Tang Bat Ho, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3972 5088
LE SOLEIL
DDJ BAR / LATE NIGHT

284 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Tel:


0915 663993
facebook.com/lesoleilpaoloandchi
Open late, Le Soleil has become a place to be seen,

especially if youre the dancing-into-the-early hours kind


of person. Sofas, bar stools,
menus on blackboards and
neon-coloured lighting,
theres a grunge-style feel to
the place, but its an ambience that Le Soleils customers seem to love. Has a pizza
joint, Paolo and Chi, upstairs.

anyone looking for some


good conversation. Cheap
beers, oodles of Jamesons
and often open late. Oh, and
check out the Danish hotdog
stand out front. To die for.
TADIOTO LOUNGE BAR
AND CAFE

from the US with a beer hall,


drinking food and a DJ booth,
it created the start of a new
scene beer clubs. The original Vuvuzela on Tran Thanh
Tong is still going strong, but
its so popular that its best to
book your table in advance.
For a full list of Hanoi locations, check their website.

ARTS BAR / EVENT SPACE

MAOS RED LOUNGE


LATE-NIGHT GRUNGE BAR

7 Ta Hien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3926 3104
Theres only one Mao and
theres only one red lounge.
This late-night bar has been
going for years, and despite
its Old Quarter dive status,
it still packs in the drinkers.
POLITE PUB

24B Tong Dan, Hoan Kiem


tadioto.com
Located close to the Opera
House, this alternative, arty
bar is garnished in red and
white on the outside, with
warm brown and tones of
blue on the inside. Creating an atmosphere merging
Shanghai and San Francisco,
engaging contemporary artwork lines the walls at the
latest incarnation of this wellknown and well-loved space.

LONG BAR

5 Bao Khanh, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3825 0959
5pm to 2am
Probably the closest thing
Hanoi has to an authentic
English-style pub, Polite is
frequented by a steady mix
of locals and expats who find
solace in the nightly conversations at the long bar, pool
and live football matches.
RED RIVER TEA ROOM

THE REPUBLIC
MODERN SPORTS BAR

7A Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel:


0904 010116
republic.vn
A contemporary mid-range
bar and eatery showing
live sport and boasting a
convivial atmosphere. Has
a creative comfort food
menu, excellent breakfasts,
daily specials and a popular
second-floor outdoor terrace.

LAKESIDE WATERING HOLE

25 Duong Ven Ho, Tay Ho


facebook.com/pages/RedRiver-Tea-Room
Located on the lakeside
lane just below Xuan Dieu,
this warm, quiet and friendly
pub offers a selection of international and local beers,
wine, cocktails and a nice
view of West Lake. Serving
pies and pasties from The
Cart, Vietnamese food from
Dieus next door, or delivery
from nearby favourites. Unpretentious, dog-friendly.
ROCKSTORE
LIVE MUSIC BAR

61 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


01653 336087
facebook.com/RockstoreHanoi
Hanoi's home-made, homegrown version of Hard Rock
Cafe without the stigma and
the expensive prices. Nightly
live music or DJing events are
coupled with creative decor, a
selection of Belgian Beer and
a food menu. Check their Facebook page for details.

THE ROOFTOP
SKYLINE LOUNGE

19th Floor, Pacific Place, 83B


Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3946 1901
therooftop.vn
The first up-on-high bar and
restaurant in the capital and
still a leader in its field. With
DJs spinning EDM and great
views of the city, this is a
must for a more Vietnamese,
top-shelf experience.
THE UNICORN BAR
COCKTAIL BAR & LOUNGE

2A Hang Than, Ba Dinh, Tel:


0904 886266
The latest offering of wellknown champion bartender,
Pham Tien Tiep, Unicorn offers up a lounge space, a
small bar area and an attractive seating space out front.
Now, as for the cocktails
TRACYS PUB AND GRILL
SPORTS BAR/GRILL

199D Nghi Tam, Tay Ho


facebook.com/sidewalkhanoi
A bar and grill with an eclectic, DIY-style semi-outdoor
setting. Regular DJ nights and
live music add to the great
ambience. Check out their
grill fare. Tasty.

114 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 6675 9838
tracyspub.com
A miniscule sports bar on
the main drag of Xuan Dieu
is perpetually crowded with
regulars drinking out front on
plastic stools. Notorious for
its burgers, cooked fresh to
order, Tracys is also famous
for their draft beers, claiming to serve the coldest draft
beer in Hanoi.

SPY BAR

VUVUZELA

HOLE IN THE WALL

MODERN BEER HALL

SIDEWALK HANOI
DIY BAR & EVENTS VENUE

12A Nguyen Huu Huan, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: 0932 373802
A cheap, cheerful and welcoming slither of a watering
hole popular with expats and

2A Tran Thanh Tong, Hai Ba


Trung, Tel: (04) 3972 8922
vuvuzela.com.vn
When Vuvuzela opened up,
mixing the Hooters concept

CAFES
ANNAM CAFE
DELI / INTERNATIONAL CAFE

Syrena Tower, 51 Xuan Dieu,


Tay Ho
A trendy, deli-style caf connected to Annam Gourmet
next door. Bright and fresh
dcor is complemented by
shelves stocked with imported gourmet goods and
cafeteria-style furniture. An
eye-catching temptation for
weary shoppers.
CIAO CAF
RESTO LOUNGE

2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3934 1494
A stones throw from the
shores of Hoan Kiem Lake,
this Saigonese franchise offers a variety of different
western dishes at reasonable
prices. Loaded with booths
and a steady, young Vietnamese crowd, the establishment is a great place to
squash a sandwich or bowl
of pasta and people watch.
They also do coffee.
COFFEE BEAN
AND TEA LEAF
INTERNATIONAL COFFEE HOUSE

28 Thanh Nien, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3715 4240
coffeebean.com
This American-style chain
cafe is a multilevel, indoor/
outdoor caf overlooking
Westlake. With its LA coffee
and office feel, when you
walk in you might just forget
that youre in Hanoi.
CONG CAPHE
LEFTIST ARTSY CAFE

152D Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba


Trung; 32 Dien Bien Phu, Ba
Dinh; 27 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem;
15 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh; 100A
Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho
congcaphe.com
With a kitsch, communistdriven theme saturating this
quaint cafe, most patrons
are young Vietnamese bohemians and artsy expats.
Sip on a blended cup of joe
with beans from the Central
Highlands, knock back one of
the many different types of
tea available or sip on freshly squeezed juice from the
Spartan cups in one of the
hippest caf chains in town.
DALICE
BOUTIQUE CAFE

89 Trieu Viet Vuong,


Hai Ba Trung
Put together coffee and cake
and you get one of those
timeless combinations. And
if you really want to binge on
the cake-end, then check out

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 151

BAR STOOL
LANTERN LOUNGE

pened a year and a half ago by


owner Hanh Pham, Lantern
Lounge (80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem,
Hanoi) is her vision for a chilled
out, beautiful and unique drinking and
dining space. It has been wowing patrons
from day one.
The first thing that will strike you as
you emerge at the top of the stairs from
the modest restaurant below, is the dcor.
Inspired by the famous lanterns which
illuminate Hoi Ans ancient riverside
shophouses, all of the main rooms of Lantern
Lounge are bedecked with dozens of
colourful lanterns in all shapes and sizes.

152 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Best enjoyed in the evening, these lanterns


provide the perfect amount of light to create
the relaxed atmosphere which is an excellent
antidote to the madness of the Old Quarter
streets outside.
The walls depict scenes of old Hanoi,
sketched out in black against a backdrop
of red. Propped up against them are
massive comfy pillows, on top of spongy
futon-like seats.

Flavours
On the third floor, there is a large room
hosting a full-size pool table, seating and a
meaty speaker system. The second floor is

home to the smoking area, where locals and


foreigners sit side-by-side enjoying one of the
many flavours of shisha on offer, or simply
enjoying a cigarette on the balcony, watching
the lost backpackers trundling around outside.
The main room is non-smoking, and often
full of people tucking into some of Hanois
most famous dishes. The manager, Duong
Pham, tells me that the restaurant below has
been connected with Lantern Lounge from
the beginning.
Weve always had food here, Duong
explained. We even have a whole separate
menu just for vegetarian food. He guides
me through the menu, proudly pointing out

PHOTOS BY THEO LOWENSTEIN

a few customer favourites.


Foreigners love nem so much, and we
have many other traditional Vietnamese
dishes, he says, pointing to other local
favourites such as bun cha, cha ca and pho bo.
In a nod to my student days, I order a
couple of deep fried dishes to accompany
the flow of alcohol. The Hanoi spring rolls
(VND85,000) were just as they should be,
crispy and not overly filling. After that, the
crispy mushrooms (VND65,000) were given
zest by the tangy chilli and soya sauce.

Electric Blue
With an almost unbelievable Old Quarter

price of just VND55,000 for a rum-based


cocktail, I wasnt expecting much from my
first drink, the snow caipirinha. Happy
to be proven wrong, I had to admit to the
pleasant surprise of electric blue crushed ice,
delicately flavoured with lime and sugar.
Despite the first drink hitting the
spot in all the right ways, and believing
that variety is the spice of life, for my
next drink I went for an old favourite
and cocktail classic, the pina colada
(VND85,000).
A no-thrills version, simply made with
rum, pineapple juice and coconut cream, it
was as pleasant to behold as it was to taste.

Served in a hollowed out pineapple, it was


the perfect balance of sweet coconut and
sour pineapple.
As a restaurant, Lantern Lounge is
pretty good. As a bar, its excellent. A
cool place to hang out, the drinks are
reasonably priced and well made, and
the comfort of the seats combined with
the atmosphere created by the dcor and
music means you will be in no rush to go
home. Edward Dalton
Lantern Lounge is located above Cuisine
Viet at 80 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. Open
from 11am until midnight, the kitchen closes
at 11pm

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 153

COFFEE CUP
TYPOGRAF CAF

PHOTOS BY BORIS LOPATIN

ake one step through the door at


Typograf Caf and Restaurant and
you know youre in for something
different.
Propped up along the corner of Le
Duan and Tran Hung Dao, Typograf
is a comfortable hub for creativity and
expression. The room itself is a large open
space; it looks like a barn converted into
an old speakeasy. Plants and artwork
hang from the walls. The floor space is
busy with little square tables set out to
provide an unblocked viewing of the stage,
the centrepiece of the room. Standing
on the stage is a drum kit, a piano and
a microphone stand under a red-brick
backdrop decorated with heavy neon
letters that read You Are What You Listen To.
The first time I walked through that
door I was surprised to stumble upon a
collective painting session. The square
tables were lined up in two rows, each
with an artist occupying a canvas. Some
two dozen artists were painting the same
scene, coordinated by the painter of the
original work.
These painting sessions take place every
Sunday from morning until evening for a
VND400,000 fee.

154 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

You Are What You Listen To


Once the paintings were finished, and the
artists had posed for pictures with their
newest works, the tables were rearranged
linearly to face the stage and a drummer
began his sound check. A rattling chorus of
drum beats filled the room for five minutes.
A group of girls hurried on to the stage
to the piano and began quietly practising
classical melodies.
Typograf is part of an emerging group of
bars and cafs that host free live music daily.
From 9pm the lights are dimmed and the
floor is overtaken by eager ears tuned in for
a session of jazz and acoustic music from
some of Hanois finest young talent.
During my last visit the stage was graced
by a five-piece outfit including a pianist, a
saxophonist, a guitarist and a drummer, who
opened with an instrumental jazz cover of
Zombie by The Cranberries.

Tech Caf
During weekday afternoons, Typograf is
an ideal workspace for the creative digital
nomad to get work done in a relaxed and
welcoming environment. Plug sockets are
conveniently placed around the floor to cater
for techies and in the daytime the music is

kept at a non-intrusive background volume.


Whether working alone at one of the
wooden coffee tables or meeting friends and
colleagues in one of three sofa booths, you
can find comfort and inspiration from the
artistic and homely decoration.
The drinks menu is impressive. A diverse
range of flavoured hot fruit tea for VND59,000
or a Colour of Love soda mix for VND69,000
will help you to relax in the afternoon.
During the later hours, when the
atmosphere gears towards jazz, you can
sit back with a whisky sour or any other
of a good size selection of cocktails for
VND80,000.
Typograf is just another example of
Hanois unrivalled caf scene. It has enough
space to cater for groups of friends who
want to catch up over a coffee while not
disturbing those who are looking for a space
to set up a laptop and get some work done.
The added cream on top is its lively jazz
and acoustic sessions that take over the
atmosphere every night of the week.
Billy Gray
Typograf Caf is located at 99 Le Duan, Hoan
Kiem, Hanoi, opposite the Hanoi Train Station.
On their Facebook page they post in detail about
daily live music and other events

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 155

Hanoi
On the Town

dAlice and its quirky interior.


Perfect for that more modern
combination of sweet tooth
and iThingy.
DUY TRI
VIETNAMESE CAF

43 Yen Phu, Tay Ho


The longest-running caf in
the capital, this 1936-established, three-floored space is
simplicity at its finest. Even
the coffee here sticks to its
roots its made using the
same blend of Arabica and
Robusta cooked up by its
founders. Unpretentious, endearing and old-fashioned.
HANOI COOKING
CENTRE CAF

If you like your coffee


brewed in different styles
and made with hard-to-find
blends, this on-the-edge of
the Old Quarter cafe is a
dream. When it comes to
good old caffeine, this small
yet homely, vintage-styled
cafe stands on its own. Also
boasts and excellent selection of teas.
KINH DO
PATISSERIE / SIMPLE CAFE

252 Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3825 0216
One of the longest-running
cafes in town, this hole-inthe-wall, no frills caf-cumrestaurant home-makes its
patisseries and is renowned
for its excellent yoghurt.

COURTYARD CAFE

44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh


Relax in a leafy courtyard, aircon dining room or under a
covered roof terrace with a
Vietnamese ca phe, Italian
coffee, beer, wine or freshly
squeezed juice. Order from a
seasonally changing menu or
try one of the all-day breakfast
specials for VND110,000, including juice and coffee or tea.
HANOI HOUSE
HIDEAWAY CAFE

2nd Floor, 47A Ly Quoc Su,


Hoan Kiem
Set in a colonial-era building with equally colonialera styled furnishings, this
hidden away family house
caf is one of those gems
synonymous with Hanoi.
Quiet, intimate and simple,
the staff will treat you like
youre a guest in their home.
HIGHLANDS COFFEE
CONTEMPORARY / COFFEE CHAIN

5 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: (04) 3936 3228;
Opera House, 1 Trang Tien,
Hoan Kiem; Hanoi Towers,
49 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem
highlandscoffee.com.vn
With numerous locations
around town, what originally
started as a fourth-floor joint
overlooking the lake has
become one of the most
popular, home-grown cafes
in Vietnam.
JOMA
COFFEE/BAKERY

22 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3747 3388; 43 To
Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)
3718 6071
joma.biz
Popular caf with a contemporary western feel to
the counter-style service
and atmosphere. The food
is all there, too: breakfasts,
salads, soups, ice cream,
muffins, cakes, cereals and
bagels. Starting in Laos in
1996, Joma moved to Hanoi
in 2009. Joma contributes 2
percent of each sale to charitable organisations.
KAFEVILLE
COFFEE SPECIALIST & CAFE

22 Nguyen TrungTruc, Ba
Dinh, Tel: 0906 221030

156 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

MANZI ARTSPACE
ARTS CAF & GALLERY

14 Phan Huy Ich, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3716 3397
facebook.com/manzihanoi
A stunningly designed contemporary caf and events
space that screams out the
words modern art. Housed in
a converted colonial-era villa, a
continuous flow of exhibitions,
talks, experimental music and
game shows make up the mix
here. Great cuisine, too.
MAISON DE TET DCOR
LIFESTYLE CAFE

36 Tu Hoa, Nghi Tam Village,


Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3823 9722
tet-lifestyle-collection.com
On-site coffee roasting,
comfortable seating arrangements, rustic style furnishings and dcor, and a focus
on healthy, non-processed
foods. This is the concept
behind Maison de Tet Dcor,
and its a popular one, too,
as witnessed by the size of
the clientele. Also run occasional farmers markets.
MOC CAFE
CAFE / INTERNATIONAL

14-16 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem.


(04) 3825 6334
Set in a slightly run down
colonial villa, the faded but
charmingly run down Frenchstyled retro interior, good
WiFi and some of the best
coffee in town makes this
a great spot to while away
a couple of hours. The food
menu mixes Vietnamese fare
with sandwiches, western
and pan-Asian mains.

SAINT HONORE

ZENITH VEGETARIAN CAFE

CAFE / BOULANGERIE

VEGETARIAN / VEGAN

5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3933 2355
This cafe and French-style
boulangerie is best visited
in the morning when that
Gallic, fresh-cooked bakery
aroma hits you as you walk
through the door. The downstairs space is split into the
bakery on one side with a
small non-smoking dining
space on the other. The upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa
seating. Simple but tasty
French and international
fare is served at meal times.
SPACEBAR
COWORKING CAFE

Nha 15, 76 To Ngoc Van,


TayHo
clickspace.vn/spacebar
A pleasant, ground floor
cafe with an outdoor terrace
that sits below offices and
a co-working space. Serves
up coffee, juices, breakfasts
and western-style cafe fare.
Perfect for work, Wifi, a bite
to eat and coffee.
TET DCOR CAF
ART CAF & ESPRESSO BAR

Villa 25, 1, 3 Ha, Dang Thai,


Tay Ho
tet-lifestyle-collection.com
Cloistered among the back
streets of West Lake and
sheltered from the noise of
Xuan Dieu, TET Dcor Caf is
a destination for those who
appreciate lifes pleasures:
coffee, food, art and music.
Simple and unpretentious,
the caf has an old-fashioned warmth and rustic feel
combined with unique and
inspiring art installations.
THE HANOI SOCIAL CLUB
CAF / CONTEMPORARY EATERY

6 Hoi Vu, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3938 2117
facebook.com/thehanoisocialclub
A cozy midsize caf/restaurant where you can forget
the heat and bustle of Hanoi.
The atmosphere is relaxed
and here you can imagine,
for a second, that youre
sitting in a European caf.
The ood is fresh and internationally inspired, and has
an excellent top-floor terrace.
YOLO
FUNKY LIVE MUSIC CAFE

PUKU
INTERNATIONAL / CAFE

16-18 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: (04) 3938 1745
This spacious spot on Food
Street is open around the
clock, offering Aussie-inspired
comfort food along with more
eclectic Irish nachos, cottage
pies and pan-Asian fare. Upstairs is fit for social gatherings and live music while the
no-smoking downstairs space
is filled with people working
and socialising. Serves as
community centre, especially
late at night.

32C Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh


facebook.com/YoloCoffeeShops
Boasting an abundance of
communal seating, funky decor and a full roster of regular live music performances,
this rollicking caf-slash-bar
has quickly earned a place in
the hearts of Hanois young
and trendy. Fun, unpretentious and unashamedly
quirky, its endearing use of
recycled furniture antiques
and colourful artwork create
a vibrant atmosphere
make for a popular hangout.
Open 24 hours.

247 Au Co, Tay Ho,


Tel: 0904 356561
zenithyogavietnam.com
A vegetarian and vegan cafe
respecting the philosophy of
yoga simple living, mindful
thinking. Using 100 percent
natural ingredients, the cuisine has no additional additives or MSG and is cooked
using the minimal amount
of oil. The stress is instead
on eating whole food in its
natural state.

EAT
AL FRESCOS
AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL

24 Quang An, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3938 1155
alfrescogroup.com
AMATO
TAPAS / FRENCH CUISINE

1A Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


01227 367470
Located next to Binh Minh
Jazz Club, Amato is a fusion
tapas bar by night and a
French restaurant during the
day. Tiny, hip and yet surprisingly spacious, Amato offers
an international dining and
drinking experience in the
heart of Hanoi.

AU LAC DO BRAZIL
BRAZILIAN
6A Cao Ba Quat, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3845 5224
aulacdobrazil.com
A Brazilian churrascaria
offering all-you-can-eat
grilled meat and seafood on
the skewer. In typical Brazilian rodzio fashion, waiters
bring cuts of meat to the
table for patrons to pick and
choose, all for a set price.
They also offer wine pairings, a salad bar and an a la
carte menu, with a creative
selection of fruit caipirinhas.

ASAHI SUSHI
SUSHI RESTAURANT

288 Ba Trieu, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3974 5945
asahisushi.vn
CAF 129
MEXICAN/COMFORT FOOD

129 Mai Hac De, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3821 5342
Long-running, slightly incongruous hole-in-the-wall
caf and restaurant that
has served up up a Western
menu since the late 1990s.
Check out their and their excellent breakfasts, all scoffed
down in a traditional, Vietnamese environment.
CHOPS
GOURMET BURGER & CRAFT BEER

4 Quang An, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


6292 1044
chopsvietnam.com
Finally Hanoi has a dedicated
gourmet burger joint, and

this West Lake eatery with its


fan-cooled atmosphere get it
just about right. This is comfort food at its finest. Served
up with locally brewed craft
beer, and this ones a bit of
a winner.
COUSINS
CONTEMPORARY INTERNATIONAL

3 Quang Ba, Tay Ho,


Tel: 01238 670098
facebook.com/cousins.hanoi
A contemporary, Frenchinfluenced restaurant selling international cuisine
at reasonable prices in a
spacious, airy atmosphere.
Blackboards, whitewashed,
bare-brick walls, period tiles,
a well-chosen wine list and an
outdoor terrace overlooking
the lake make up the formula.
DA PAOLO
CLASSIC ITALIAN

18 Lane 50/59/17 Dang Thai


Mai, Tay Ho,
Tel: (04) 3718 6317
This airy, contemporary looking Italian restaurant next to
the famed lawn chair and
coconut caf on West Lake
has all the right ingredients
to become a classic. Run by
the long time former manager of Luna DAutunno, it
features scrumptious woodfired oven pizzas from
VND120,000 and other Italian
delicacies. Open every day
for lunch and dinner, delivery is also available.
DALUVA
FUSION / MIDDLE-EASTERN

33 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3718 5831
daluva.com
A popular hang-out for expats and trendy Vietnamese
in the Xuan Dieu area on
West Lake. This bar and restaurant offers casual dining
with a classy, Middle-Eastern
twist, as well as wine, tapas,
events and attractive dcor.
DONS TAY HO
CONTEMPORARY NORTH
AMERICAN

16 Quang An, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3719 3719
Dons-bistro.com
This lake-facing venue with
its top floor Oyster Bar is the
work of charismatic Canadian
restaurateur and wine connoisseur Donald Berger. Focusing on comfort food done
well, the main restaurant
menu includes anything from
wood-grilled rare tuna steak
with fragrant Chinese black
bean beurre noir to gourmet
pizza and pasta dishes Excellent range of imported oysters, great breakfasts and an
extensive wine list.
EL GAUCHO STEAKHOUSE
ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE

11 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel:


(04) 3824 7280; 99 Xuan Dieu,
Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3718 6991
elgaucho.com.vn
With venues in Saigon and
Bangkok, the essence of El
Gaucho is quality top grade

meats off the grill. Steak is


the mainstay the USDA
cuts are to die for but
everything from chicken,
pork and seafood is also up
for grabs. Add to this a backdrop of low Latin music, low,
subtle lighting, an extensive
wine list and slick service.
Theres a reason El Gaucho is
so successful everythings
being taken care of.
FOOD EXCHANGE
INTERNATIONAL BUFFET
RESTAURANT

5 Duy Tan, Cau Giay, Tel: (04)


3576 6666
accorhotels.com/9813
Food Exchange offers up
a well-priced international
buffet for breakfast, lunch
and dinner with a live cooking station. Excellent Asian
and Western cuisine set in
a contemporary restaurant
with trendy dcor and a
chilled out ambiance.
FOODSHOP 45
INTERNATIONAL INDIAN

59 Truc Bach, Ba Dinh,


Tel: (04) 3716 2959
foodshop45.com
Lakeside location and low
bamboo seating, this eatery
is one of the most popular
Indians in town. Selling an
international version of the
mighty curry they even
sell pork and beef here the
menu keeps to the northern
part of the subcontinent with
masala, dopiaza, korma and
the more Goan vindaloo taking centre stage.
FRENCH GRILL

greentangerinehanoi.com
A leafy, cobblestone courtyard with dark green castiron backed chairs greets you
as you walk into this French
era-built villa that houses the
main section of this Indochina-styled restaurant. Serving
up an enticing mix of classic
and contemporary French
cuisine, blended in with
Vietnamese ingredients and
cooking styles, the resultant
fare has had customers coming back again and again. A
traditional Vietnamese and
kids menu is also available,
as is a wine list focusing
mainly on French wines.
HIGHWAY 4
VIETNAMESE / ETHNIC

5 Hang Tre, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3926 4200; 25 Bat
Su, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04) 3926
0639; 575 Kim Ma, Ba Dinh,
Tel: (04) 3771 6372
The home of Son Tinh liquor,
Highway 4 is also known for
its communal dining and
ethnic food menu taking in
dishes from around the regions of northern Vietnam.
Try out their catfish spring
rolls. Phenomenal!
INDIA PALACE
NORTH INDIAN

10B Quang An, Tay Ho


Tel: 01247 668668
indiapalacehn@vnn.vn
Like a phoenix rising from the
ashes, so India Palace has
once again returned to Tay Ho,
this time on the strip between
Dons and The Warehouse.
Tasty North Indian fare in a
pleasant environment from
the team behind Tandoor.

TOP-END GRILL

JW Marriott Hanoi, 8 Do Duc


Duc, Me Tri, Tu Liem,
Tel: (04) 3833 5588
facebook.com/frenchgrill
With unique decor, contemporary ambience, a walk-in
wine cooler and a delectable
seafood bar, this classy restaurant offers guests a service
experience with crafted food
difficult to find in the capital.
GREEN TANGERINE
FRENCH / VIETNAMESE FUSION

48 Hang Be, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3825 1286

J.A.F.A.
INTERNATIONAL

G2-G3 Ciputra, Tay Ho,


Tel: (04) 3758 2400
One of the larger and more
comfortable bars in Hanoi,
J.A.F.A. is a great place for
drinking cocktails by the
pool. The beverages are not
the cheapest, but this is
made up for by service and
ambiance. They also have a
full menu featuring familiar
western dishes such as pizza
and cheeseburgers and cater
for large parties or dinner

functions. Periodic buffets and


drink specials are also offered.

and booth-like seating on


the upper floors.

JACKSONS STEAKHOUSE

LA BADIANE

STEAKHOUSE / GRILL

CONTEMPORARY FRENCH

23J Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3938 8388
alfrescogroup.com
An all-day eating and drinking lounge fit for all occasions, with of course, a focus
on steak. Has three floors all
with different vibes, the kind
of slick service youd expect
from the Al Frescos Group
and an extensive wine list.
JASPAS
INTERNATIONAL / AUSTRALIAN

Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai Ba


Trung (4th Floor), Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3934 8325
alfrescosgroup.com
Recently refurbished, the
Australian-influenced Jaspas
is known for its attentive
service, tasty food and large
portions. Popular with both
the western and Asian expat communities who come
back again and again. The
comprehensive menu is a
fusion of western and Asian
cooking. The cocktails come
large and the wine is mainly
New World.
KOTO ON VAN MIEU
RESTAURANT / CAF / BAR

59 Van Mieu, Dong Da,


Tel: (04) 3747 0337
koto.com.au
The restaurant arm of Koto,
an F&B training school for
disadvantaged youth. Authentic Asian and European
cuisine is served over four big
floors of restaurant space. Its
cushioned, comfortable and
has a rooftop terrace, too.
Wrap it yourself nem, bun bo
Nam bo, Koto burgers, pastas, fish and chips, chicken
Kievs and sandwiches all
under one homely roof.
KY Y
JAPANESE RICE EATERY

166 Trieu Viet Vuong, Hai Ba


Trung, Tel: (04) 3978 1386
Not to be mistake for a sushi
joint, this wonderful restaurant is your typical, Japanese
working persons rice eatery.
Has a bar area downstairs

10 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3942 4509
labadiane-hanoi.com
On entering La Badiane, you
are instantly caught by the
multitude aromas coming
from the open front kitchen. Then, surrounded by leaf
plants, and predominantly
white walls, the customer is
struck by this venues calm
and elegance. Although the
dining experience at la Badiane is about the food, great
attention is also paid to the
ambience so you can enjoy
every aspect of your meal.
Voted one of Miele Guides
Top 500 Restaurants in Asia.
LA SALSA
IBERIAN / MEDITERANEAN

5 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3995 0950
lasalsa-hanoi.com
A small but eternally popular
Spanish-themed caf and bar
with an extensive list of reliable cuisine. Tapas are available, as well as full courses
such as veal, and duck with
currant sauce. Known for its
good, European-style coffee
and first-floor terrace area
with views over the cathedral.
LA VERTICALE
CONTEMPORARY FRENCH

19 Ngo Van So, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3944 6317
verticale-hanoi.com
Situated in an art-deco villa,
this establishment is run by
the most famous French chef
in the country. With modestly
priced set lunches and subtle
Vietnamese touches on the
dishes, the up market establishment lures in its high class
customers with quality Vietnamese-French fusion cuisine.
LE BEAULIEU
CLASSIC FRENCH / BUFFET

Sofitel Metropole Legend, 15


Ngo Quyen, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3826 6919
The Metropoles signature
restaurant serving up both
classic and contemporary

French fare. Buffet options


mix with an a la carte menu
and an ambience that could
be straight out of Paris.
LINGUINI FINI
ITALIAN-AMERICAN

36-38 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel:


(04) 3266 8968
linguinifini.com/en/hanoi
With branches in Hong Kong
and Manilla, the contemporary Italian-American Linguini
Fini pulls no punches with
its first outlet in Vietnam.
Sleek modern dcor, high
quality cuisine, home-made
pasta, reasonable prices and
dishes cooked up with the
freshest ingredients available
are part of the deal, as are
some damn fine pizzas.
LUNA DAUTUNNO

serves all the traditional


Italian fare you could need
homemade mozzarella
and fresh pasta, spinach
and ricotta ravioli, cold cut
boards, soups, salads and
fish. Boasts an extensive
wine list and a traditional
wood fire oven.
MING PALACE
PAN-CHINESE

Sofitel Plaza, 1 Thanh Nien,


Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3823 8888
A fine dining destination
at the Sofitel Plaza serving
Cantonese and pan-Chinese
cuisine in a sleek modern
setting with private dining
rooms. With more than 80
dim sum selections available
along with Chinese entrees,
Mings is an ideal eatery for
those hungry for higher end
Chinese fare.

CLASSIC ITALIAN

27 Nam Ngu, Tel: (04) 3823


7338
lunadautunno.vn
This old-favourite Italian
uses traditional wood ovens
to prepare some of the citys
finest pizzas, which range
from VND100,000 to buildyour-own-skies-the-limit.
Set inside a large, thoughtful
space seasoned chefs also
make fresh pastas, soups
and cheeses. Has regular
live music and a great Italian wine list.
MAY MAN CHINESE
CUISINE
PAN-CHINESE

Fortuna Hotel, 6B Lang Ha,


Ba Dinh, Tel: (04) 3831 3333
fortuna.vn
Elegant and luxurious, May
Man has long been regarded
as one of the best Chinese
restaurants in Hanoi. Showcasing a selection of authentic Chinese fare together with
dim sum, May Man boasts
extensive a la carte menus,
dim sum menus and set
menus. Reservations recommended.

MILLENIUM-CAF DES
ARTS
PAN-FRENCH

11 Hang Hanh, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3828 7207
cafe-des-arts.com
A contemporary and chic
three-storey restaurant with
a terrace and views over one
of Hanois best-known alleys.
Serves up quality French cuisine such as: snails, foie gras,
lobster, scallops, chateaubriand and tournedos Rossini.
Does an excellent set menu
and also has a daily specials
board.
MOOSE AND ROO
CANADIAN / AUSTRALIAN
RESTAURANT

42B Ma May, Hoan Kiem,


Tel:(04) 3200 1289
Contemporary Australian
and Canadian comfort food
in a pleasant setting together with a nice bar area.
Best known for their Scotch
egg, poutine and burgers.
Clever changing imagery on
the walls.

MEDITERRANEO

MOOSE AND ROO


SMOKEHOUSE

PAN-ITALIAN

AMERICAN GRILL

23 Nha Tho, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3826 6288
This long-running, cozy restaurant near the cathedral

The American Club, 19-21


Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem,
Tel: (04) 3939 2470
mooseandroo.com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 157

MEDICAL BUFF
DENGUE SUCKS

couple travelling through Asia


(Thailand, Laos, Cambodia)
came to see me a few weeks
ago. The 28-year-old Caucasian
female of the couple had been in Hanoi
for the last five days. She had been
suffering with sore bones and was feeling
she may have overdone it in Thailand
where they had been trekking, but the
pain was getting worse.
But she had woken that morning with a
bad headache and some eye pain. It felt
like a hangover, was her first thought, but
shed had an early night. What concerned
her was that when she woke she was really
hot, and now was shivering. Over the
previous few hours a rash had started to
develop between her fingers.
Ive seen this many times patient
arrives with a list of varied symptoms, and
I find its really important to talk about date
of illness onset, travel history, the start of
symptoms and vaccination history. This is
the season for dengue fever, not to mention
zika and chikungunya. And to make it
more challenging, patients are diagnosing
themselves before arriving.
A blood sample was taken and
immediately sent to the lab for analysis
it would take 30 minutes to get the
results. This is a lot quicker than waiting
for the symptoms of dengue to appear,
which can take three to 15 days after the
mosquito bite transfers a virus to you. A
range of symptoms can develop; fever

158 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

and chills, painful muscles, bone and joint


aches combined with headaches and retroorbital (behind the eye) pain. Symptoms
in mild cases can last from four to seven
days and then disappear, and in many
cases dengues parting gesture is a painful
itchy rash.
We had confirmation within an hour
dengue fever. As Ive already mentioned,
the symptoms of dengue fever make it
easy to diagnose. The symptoms include
mild bleeding in the nose and gums, and
easy bruising can occur due to depressed
platelet count and, in severe cases,
damage to lymph and blood vessels,
enlargement of the liver and failure of
the circulatory system which may lead to
shock, and death.

Treatment
Dengue is caused by a virus there are no
medicines or antibiotics which can be used
as a cure. For my patient I immediately
recommended bed rest, paracetamol and
fluids. She spent two nights with us and
started to feel better after the first day. We
kept on monitoring her, but after rest she
felt better, although still weak. She carried
on with her holiday going slowly and
being more careful. There is no real medical
treatment for dengue fever other than rest
and hydration, but sometimes natural
remedies can help, so we recommend
papaya fruit which is rumoured to increase
blood platelets faster than normal.

BY DR. BRIAN MCNAULL

Prevention
There is no vaccine to prevent dengue
fever. The best way to avoid the disease is
to prevent bites by infected mosquitoes,
particularly if you are living in or
traveling in wet, tropical areas. This
involves protecting yourself and covering
up when possible. Fortunately, dengue
doesnt spread from person to person
but you need to prevent the disease by
watching your surroundings; empty or
drain any standing water (pots) since the
mosquitoes breed there. Wear protective
clothing.
The dengue mosquito likes to attack
at dawn and dusk, and favourite spots
are below the elbow and knee. They
are generally active between August
and October, but they tend not to breed
during the cold times of the year. If you
want, you can turn to natural repellents
like lemon eucalyptus oil and lavender
oil, which may give you some protection.
There are also a number of plants that
have mosquito-repellent properties
like citronella, catnip and lavender.
Place them around your house to keep
mosquitoes away. Even herbs like garlic,
lemongrass, basil, peppermint and
rosemary may help.
Dr. Brian McNaull is a hepatology
specialist, medical director and a specialist
in tropical medicine. He works at Family
Medical Practice Hanoi. For more info click
on vietnammedicalpractice.com

Hanoi
On the Town

Theres a reason for Smokehouses popularity the excellent, on-site smoked meats
together with all the typical,
American-style sides. Set in
the American Club, dining
is both indoors and out, and
comes with the best bourbon
selection in town.
MOTO-SAN
UBER NOODLES

4 Ly Dao Thanh, HoanKiem


Ramen, stewed pork banh
my, ha cao dumplings and
banh my trung, all served
up in an eclectic, Berlinesque
setting a stones throw from
the Opera House. Add in
a beer, a G and T or a coffee, and this is the perfect
munchie-satisfying joint to
keep you going at any time
of the day.
NAMASTE HANOI
PAN-INDIAN

46 Tho Nhuom, Hanoi,


Tel: (04) 3935 2400
namastehanoi.com
The well-loved Namaste specialises in dishes from both
northern and southern India
using Halal meat throughout. Hosted by the gregarious Gopi, a meal will cost
you between VND150,000
and VND300,000 and everything is there, from curries
and breads to soups and
desserts.
NAN N KABAB
49 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho,
Tel: 0922 087799
Specialising in Pakistani
cuisine and of course nan
bread and kebabs, this semioutdoor, bamboo tabled, laid
back eatery also sells fare
from Afganistan and India. In
a sentence? Curry, but not as
you know it.
NINETEEN 11
INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN

The Opera House, 1 Trang


Tien, Hoan Kiem, Tel: (04)
3933 4801
nineteen11.com.vn
Named after the completion date of the Hanoi Opera
House, this upscale yet casual restaurant maintains an
ambience of elegance, luxury
and mystery. The cuisine
mixes international fare with
twists on Vietnamese cuisine
and comes complete with a
formidable wine list and an

in-house sommelier.
OLD HANOI
GOURMET VIETNAMESE

4 Ton That Thiep, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3747 8337
hanoixua.vn/en
Gordon Ramsay once filmed
a show at this restaurant in
a renovated French villa and
now the ribs carry his namesake. But its the twist on old
world favourites, think fried
snail spring rolls and miniature vegetarian banh xeo, all
in a casually elegant setting
that make this spot near the
train tracks a standout.
PANE E VINO
PAN-ITALIAN

3 Nguyen Khac Can, Hoan


Kiem, Tel: (04) 3826 9080
facebook.com/panevinoHN
Just a stroll away from the
Hanoi Opera House, Pane e
Vino serves up authentic Italian food and has done for as
long as anyone can remember. Renowned for the highly
rated, oven fresh pizzas and
large variety of pasta and
salad dishes look forward
to fine food done well at
this eatery that has the feel
of Europe. Huge wine lists,
friendly staff and a loveable
owner.
PIZZA 4PS
JAPANESE PIZZA JOINT

24 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: 01208 034444
pizza4ps.com
Famed for its home-made
mozzarella and Japaneseinspired pizzas that break all
the rules, the Hanoi outlet of
Pizza 4Ps is as popular as its
Saigon branch, a restaurant
that has been greeted by
accolades by all asunder. All
pizzas are cooked in a woodfired oven and use fresh, local ingredients.
POTS N PANS
CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE

57 Bui Thi Xuan, Hai Ba Trung,


Tel: (04) 3944 0204
potsnpans.vn
Brought to you by a group of
former disadvantaged youth
from Hanois own KOTO, this
unique fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge blends
the old with the new. Vietnamese fusion cuisine, like
profiteroles with green tea
and caf fillings, a private

chefs table with a kitchen


view, and an extensive wine
list combined with modern
formal styling bring a unique
experience to Hanoi.
SAINT HONORE
BOULANGERIE / BISTRO

5 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Tel: (04)


3933 2355
sainthonore.com.vn
This bakery and Frenchstyle bistro is best visited
in the morning when that
Gallic, fresh-cooked aroma
of bread, croissants and
patisseries hits you as you
walk through the door. The
downstairs space is split into
the bakery on one side with
a small non-smoking dining
space on the other. The upstairs lounge area has standard tables as well as sofa
seating. Simple French and
international fare is served
at meal times.
THE CART
SANDWICH SHOP / CAF

8B, Lane 1, Au Co, Nghi Tam


Village, Tay Ho, Tel: (04) 3938
2513
thecartfood.com
Small cozy caf and sandwich bar hidden away in
Nghi Tam Village. Serves and
delivers tasty baguettes,
homemade juices, quiches,
pies, muffins and cakes. The
delivery service is quick and
reliable, which makes this
lunchtime favourite ideal
for when you need to eat at
the desk.
THE KAFE
CONTEMPORARY CAFE / CUISINE

18 Dien Bien Phu, Hoan Kiem,


Tel: (04) 3747 6245
thekafe.vn
Spacious, casual, energetic
and beautifully designed,
The KAfe serves up unfussy
comfort food that aims to
satisfy the modern urban
diner. Preparing fresh food
and drinks that show respect to natural ingredients
and flavours from around the
globe, this caf-cum-restaurant is a popular choice for
Hanois metrosexual community.
WANNAWAFFLE
WAFFLES

27 Dinh Tien Hoang, Hoan


Kiem; 138 Trieu Viet Vuong,
Hai Ba Trung; Unit 108, Indo-

china Plaza, 241 Xuan Thuy,


Cau Giay
facebook.com/wannawaffle
Waffles, but not as you know
it. Here its about taking this
humble dish and recreating
it in a contemporary environment in as many ways as is
humanly possible. Ever had
a matcha waffle? What about
a waffle stuffed with cream
cheese and smoked salmon?
How about a banoffee pie or
a pizza waffle? Wannawaffle
serves up all these creations
and much more.
WRAP & ROLL
5th Floor, Trang Tien Plaza,
24 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem
Tel: (04) 3824 3718
wrap-roll.com
The lime green walls and
bright pastel colours of Wrap
n Roll are just part of the
theme of this homegrown,
Vietnamese brand which is
all about spring rolls of all
types, and healthy, Hue-influenced cuisine. Now with
two restaurants in Hanoi
the second in Royal City.
ZENITH VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT
HOLISTIC VEGETARIAN

247Au Co, Tay Ho, Tel: 0904


356561
zenithyogavietnam.com/
zenith-cafe
A vegetarian and vegan caf
connected to Zenith Yoga
that respects yoga philosophy. Simple living, mindful
thinking and 100 percent
natural ingredients, all the
food here is served up without additional additives or
MSG and using only fresh
seasonal products. All dishes
are made in house.

STREETFOOD

BIT TET NGON SO 5


VIETNAMESE BEEFSTEAK

20A Hoe Nhai, Ba Dinh


BUN BO NAM BO
BUN BO NAM BO

67 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem


BUN CHA DAC KIM
BUN CHA

1 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem;


67 Duong Thanh, Hoan Kiem
KCC (KIEN CAN COOK)
COM RANG DUA BO

57 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da


MIEN TRON HANH
MIXED GLASS NOODLES

7B Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem


MY VAN THAN
WONTON NOODLES

54 Hang Chieu, Hoan Kiem


PHO BO CU CHIEU
PHO BO

48 Hang Dong, Hoan Kiem


PHO CUON HUNG BEN
PHO CUON

26 Nguyen Khac Hieu,


Ba Dinh
PHO GA BA LAM
PHO GA

7 Nam Ngu, Hoan Kiem


PHO GA HANG DIEU
PHO GA

1 Hang Dieu, Hoan Kiem


PHO GIA TRUYEN BAT
DAN
PHO BO

49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem


PHO LY QUOC SU
PHO BO

10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem


PHO THIN LO DUC
SAUTEED BEEF PHO

3 CHI EM
PHO GA / BUN BO NAM BO / COM

18 Dang Thai Mai, Tay Ho

13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung


PHO TRON
MIXED PHO

14 Hang Ga, Hoan Kiem

5 Phu Doan, Hoan Kiem; 47


Ma May, Hoan Kiem; 2 Hang
Hom, Hoan Kiem; 6 Luong
Van Can, Hoan Kiem

BANH DA TRON

PHO TU LUN

BANH DA TRON

PHO BO

BANH CUON HANG GA


BANH CUON

6 Ngo 31 Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho

23 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem

BANH MI 25

XOI HANG HOM

STREETSIDE BANH MI

STICKY RICE

25 Hang Ca, Hoan Kiem

44 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 159

A WORLD

OF

LIFE OF ILLUSION

GOOD

BY DANA MCNAIRN

Charity is everyday people helping one another.

uring the summer, silly season


media outlets tend to report on
the goofy or frivolous simply
because most law courts and
government administrations are not
in session and everyones on holiday.
Theres usually just no big (read:
important) news.
But the unrelenting grimness of the news
lately makes me wish government antics
were indeed on holiday indefinitely.
We need other things to focus on, now.
Enter International Day of Charity (IDC)
held every Sep. 5. IDC is a UN initiative,
coinciding with the anniversary of the death
of Mother Teresa, the Kolkata-based nun
awarded the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for
her work alleviating poverty. Now Im not
holding up the IDC like a twinkly bit of tinsel
to distract you for a day of feeling good (or
at least slightly less lousy about many of the
worlds current affairs). Im suggesting acting
charitably for much longer than that.

Solidarity
The UN urges us to act generously because
there is so much wretchedness in the
world. Its development officers say that
expressions of solidarity help us in our
shared quest to live together in harmony
and build a peaceful and sustainable future
for all.

160 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

But kindness and empathy is really hard


in the face of time, distance and a lack of
ideas or money.
What might those expressions of
solidarity look like? Well, for starters,
charity is not just about the rich giving to the
poor or member governments sending bags
of cash to the UN. Development workers are
not all employed in poor countries. (Did you
know that Save the Children has projects in
First Nations communities in Canada?) Nor
are all humanitarian workers only working
in far-flung war and disaster zones. They are
also responding to immediate crisis needs in
urban food banks.
Charity is everyday people helping one
another. Charity is us, all of us. It isnt just
those big-name NGOs dashing around in
their white Land Cruisers coordinating joint
appeals. Its neighbours helping neighbours
or kids helping kids. Think block parties
and community centres, or the water jugs
you see on the sidewalks around town and
the Vietnamese youth who quietly hand
out loaves of bread at bus stations or fill
neighbourhood bread boxes.
Helping each other creates social bonding
and solidarity, strengthens the vibrant fabric
of our communities and ultimately makes
us all more resilient. The UN believes this
charitable impulse resides in every single
human being. I believe that too.

Overwhelm
This pro-people mindset strikes back at
the criminal idiocy of those who in
the face of human suffering wish to
close our borders, abandon refugees,
shoot unarmed civilians, set off bombs
and ignore abuse in detention centres.
Where is all this fear coming from that
has pushed so many to such extremes
of hysteria and intolerance? Its because
weve stopped talking to one another
and are too easily goaded into seeing the
world as us versus them.
We accept the simplicity of this
Manichean darkness because people
are overwhelmed with ugly news. But
switching off isnt the answer. You cannot
ignore your own self-humanity. Youre not
hopeless and neither are those caught up in
circumstances they didnt choose. But you
do have a choice the choice is acting on
our common and shared humanity.
A friend sent me this quote. Its
misattributed to Anne Frank, but regardless
of who said it, its pretty much perfect.
How wonderful it is that nobody need
wait a single moment before starting to
improve the world.
Dana McNairn is the CEO of KOTO, an
award-winning non-profit social enterprise
and vocational training programme for at-risk
youth

BOOK BUFF
BOOKS FOR THE SUMMER

BY TRUONG HOANG

he full heat of the ripening


season was upon us like a
millstone, crushing the juice
out of everyone.
This description of a summer day in
1,000 BCE in a newly united Israel could
easily be applied to Hanois recent,
oppressive sweltering heat.
One of our readers spent much of
those juice-crushing months in cool
places having historical adventures with
Geraldine Brooks, the author of the above
statement.
She began with Brooks 2015 novel The
Secret Chord which recounts the life of the
biblical King David through the eyes of
his personal prophet Natan. In his middle
age, David sets Natan the task of recording
his life, words, songs and deeds from
sheep herder to supreme King with no air
brushing of warts or other blemishes.
As Brooks points out, David is the first
man in literature whose story was told
from early childhood to extreme old age.
However, outside the Bible, there is little
trace of him. Brooks is convinced that such
a man must have actually existed for no
people would invent such a flawed figure
for a national hero.
Its a ripping, hard-to-put-down yarn
full of full-blooded and very gory battles
and skirmishes. It recounts Davids bloodspattered life from his childhood years as
a lion killing sheep herder; through his
adolescent encounter with Goliath; his
enmity with King Shaul (throughout the
novel the author uses personal and place
names in their transliteration from the
Hebrew of the Tanakh); into and out of
his love affairs with his several wives and
one beloved male; his anointing as the
rightful king of Israel by Shmuel- Samuel;
the foundation of Jerusalem or Ir David;
until his death at 70, when he appoints his
youngest son Schlomo-Solomon to be his
heir after condoning the murders of other
young males who may have had a claim to
the throne.
Reputedly David was a talented harpist
and the novels title is drawn from that
instrument.
After a couple of days and late nights
riveted to this novel our reader decided to
anoint her summer by reading the other
five Brooks novels. She raced through the
Pulitzer Prize-winning March and decided
that Year of Wonders was her personal
favourite. As I write this, shes into Brooks
non-fiction output and enjoying Nine
Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic
Women.

A Different David
Another reader half-heartedly started
Roger Williams novel Lunch with Elizabeth
David and found herself so intrigued
that she followed up immediately with
nosedives into Davids several cookbooks
which, after World War Two, saved the
British from a diet of bland, grey stodge, by
introducing them to the delights of French
and Mediterranean cuisine. David was an
intriguing person who eventually ended up
living as a hermit in her kitchen. She insisted
that she know the exact provenance of any
foodstuffs that she used in her cooking.
However, in Williams novel we only
meet Elizabeth three brief times. The first is
in 1940 in a field near Antibes where, as a
young woman, she is having a picnic lunch
with a raconteur and learning about the
delights of fresh herbs, with the advancing
German army only days away.
The second is on Capri in 1951 where the
ailing raconteur invites the now well-known
food researcher to a lunch with several
luminaries of the day including novelist
Graham Greene. The last is in the 1990s, not
long before her death, when she invites a
young female food caterer to stay for a simple
meal in her crowded basement refuge.
The first half of the novel revolves
around the southern European travels of
real-life essayist, travel writer, novelist
and raconteur, Norman Douglas from
1910 to 1951. Throughout the author
evokes a sunny Mediterranean atmosphere

fragrant with rosemary and olive oil.


Douglas, however, was a paedophile who
encouraged working-class, adolescent
males to travel with him as nephews and
much of the absorbing novel is told through
the eyes of one of them, Eric Walton, who
journeys with him through Calabria, preWorld War I.
The question at the novels centre asks
if Douglas was a monster, the paedophile
of the century or was he as Eric states, a
great and talented man who led him into a
warm and sensuous world of adventure
and light? Douglas did spend a brief
time in jail because of his dalliances with
adolescents.
Douglas inscribed a novel to David
with his motto: Always do as you please
and send everybody to hell, and take the
consequences.
Eric becomes a game warden in
Tanganyika, marries a German and has
to give his house boys a vacation when
Douglas visits in his greying years.
The shorter, second half of the novel is
set in London in the latter part of the last
century and is related through the point of
view of the young caterer who is a David
enthusiast and is married to an Italian
fishmonger who is implied to be Douglas
grandson. And as convoluted as all that
sounds, the section is full of savoury prose.
Truong is an avid reader and runs Bookworm
(44 Chau Long, Ba Dinh, Hanoi). For more
information on go to bookwormhanoi.com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 161

162 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

hieu

Nh a
tC

LAC L
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o
Ve H

UA
N
NG
Q
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LA
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BUOI
DUONG

V in

O
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Doc Ngu

Phung Chi Kien

Nguyen Dinh Hoan

KIM MA

LA

TH

m
P ha

Huy

T ho

Bao

Van Phuc
Ngoc Khanh
Bus Station

ng

Nguyen Cong Hoan

AN
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La Than
h

gH
a

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Chua La

Lan

WINTER CLOTHINGS
Hang Da D4

Thuy Le
Lake

V an

LIQUORS
Nha Tho D4

TAN

WEDDING SERVICES
Hang Than C4

GIAY

e Binh

Doi Can

LIEU G
IA

LACQUERS
Can Go D4, D5

Thuy Le
Park

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DAO

Phan
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THA
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TOYS
Luong Van Can D4

Ven Ho

TH
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Kim Ma Thuo
uong

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FLOWERS
Quang An Market A3

Kh
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HO
A

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Doi Can

Linh L

SWEETS
Hang Buom D4

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Nguyen Van Ngoc

FASHION STORES
Hang Dao D4

uy

CHI

STATIONERY
Hang Can D4

Ng

YEN

EVERYTHING
Dong Xuan Market C4

NG

an
Dong Quan

NGU

SPORTSWEAR
Hang Dau D5

CAU
GIAY
GIA
AY

HO
A

Doi Nhan

Quan Hoa

CRAFTS
Hang Trong D4

UOI

SILVERS
Hang Bac D4

hi

HOANG QUOC VIET

GB

COOKING INGREDIENTS
Tay Ho Weekend Market A2

Vo
ng
T

Sai

Th
uy
Kh
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DUO
N

SILKS
Hang Gai D4

Trich

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COMPUTERS
Ly Nam De D4

an
Ho
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SECONDHAND SHOES
Nguyen Khanh Toan D1

Dam Tr

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gH

COBBERS
Hang Dong D4

TU
LIEM

Qu

PLANTS
Hoang Hoa Tham C1, C2

Qu

CERAMICS
Hang Khoai C4

ang
Ton

Ngoc Khanh

MOBILE PHONES
Dang Dung C4

n Ho

Sai

BEDDINGS
Hang Dieu D4

Ngu
ye

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Tric

MECHANICS
Hang Chao D3

ng
Nguyen Ho

BAMBOO
Hang Vai D4

C4
D1
E5
D4, E4
C3, C4
E5
D1
C4
C5, D5
C4
C1
D4
C1, D1
D4, E4
C3
B2
A2
E4
D3
B4
B4
D3
D4
C4
A2
E1, E2
C3
D4, E4
D4
C2, C3
A2
D3, E3
D5
D4
E4
E4, E5
D2
E5
D5
D4, D3
C4, D5
E4
C3
D4
E5
B1, C2
D3
C4
B3
D2
C2
D3
D2
A1
C2, C3
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B1
D3, D2
A3
A1
C4
B3, C4
E4

La

E4
B4
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C4
A3
D4
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D5
D4
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D3
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D2
D3
E5
D1
D5, D4
C4
E1
D3
D5
E5
C4
C4
D4
E4
C4
C3
B2
E5
D3
D1
D4, D3
D2
D5
D4
D5, D4
D3
A5
D3
D3, D2
C1
C4, D4
D1, C1
D1
D4
C4
D5, D4
D3
D3, D2
D4, E4, E5
E4
D5
D4
D4
E4, E5
D5
D4
C4
D4
D4
C4
D4
D4
C4, D5
D4
D4
D4
D4
D4
C4
C4, D4
D4
D5
D4
D4
C4
D5
D5

Pham Hong Thai


Pham Huy Thong
Pham Su Manh
Phan Boi Chau
Phan Dinh Phung
Phan Huy Chu
Phan Ke Binh
Pho Duc Chinh
Phuc Tan
Phuc Xa
Phung Chi Kien
Phung Hung
Quan Hoa
Quan Su
Quan Thanh
Quang An
Quang Ba
Quang Trung
Quoc Tu Giam
So 1
So 9
Son Tay
Ta Hien
Tan Ap
Tay Ho
Thanh Cong
Thanh Nien
Tho Nhuom
Thuoc Bac
Thuy Khue
To Ngoc Van
Ton Duc Thang
Tong Dan
Tong Duy Tan
Tran Binh Trong
Tran Hung Dao
Tran Huy Lieu
Tran Khanh Du
Tran Nguyen Han
Tran Phu
Tran Quang Khai
Tran Quoc Toan
Tran Vu
Trang Thi
Trang Tien
Trich Sai
Trinh Hoai Duc
Truc Bach
Tu Hoa Cong Chua
Van Bao
Van Cao
Van Mieu
Van Phuc
Ve Ho
Ven Ho
Vong Ha
Vong Thi
Vu Thanh
Xuan Dieu
Xuan La
Yen Ninh
Yen Phu
Yet Kieu

an
Xu

19 - 12
An Duong
An Thanh 1
An Trach
An Xa
Au Co
Au Trieu
Ba Trieu
Bach Dang
Bach Dang
Bao Linh
Bat Su
Ben Nhat Ban
Bich Cau
Cao Ba Quat
Cao Nam
Cat Linh
Cau Dat
Cau Giay
Cau Go
Chau Long
Chua Lang
Chua Mot Cot
Chuong Duong Do
Co Tam
Co Xa
Cua Bac
Cua Nam
Da Tuong
Dang Dung
Dang Tat
Dang Thai Mai
Dang Thai Than
Dang Tran Con
Dao Tan
Dien Bien Phu
Dinh Cong
Dinh Le
Dinh Liet
Dinh Tien Hoang
Doan Thi Diem
Doc Lan
Doc Lap
Doi Can
Dong Quan
Dong Xuan
Duong Buoi
Duong Quan Ham
Duong Thanh
Gam Cau
Gia Ngu
Giang Van Minh
GianG Vo
Hai Ba Trung
Ham Long
Ham Tu Quan
Hang Can
Hang Bac
Hang Bai
Hang Be
Hang Bong
Hang Bun
Hang Buom
Hang Chieu
Hang Cot
Hang Da
Hang Dao
Hang Dau
Hang Dieu
Hang Dong
Hang Duong
Hang Ga
Hang Gai
Hang Khoai
Hang Luoc
Hang Ma
Hang Nam
Hang Ngang
Hang Non
Hang Than
Hang Thung
Hang Tre

D4
D4
D5
D3, E2
E4
E3
D3
C1, C2, C3
C1
C3
C4
C3
D3
D2, D1
D1
E3, E2, E1, D1
A1, B1
E2
D4, E4
D3
D5
D5
D5
D4
E5
D2
D1
D5
D4
D4
D4
E4, E5
D3
D5
D4
B3
C4
D4
E4
C3, D3
D2
B5
C4
C3
D1, E1
D2
C1
A1
E1
C4
D1
D5
D4, D3
D4, D3
D4
C5
D1
D4
D4
A1
D2
A3
D3

Du
on
g

Hanoi
Map

1
Hang Trong
Hang Vai
Hang Voi
Hao Nam
Hoa Lo
Hoa Nam
Hoang Dieu
Hoang Hoa Tham
Hoang Quoc Viet
Hoang Van Thu
Hoe Nhai
Hung Vuong
Khuc Hao
Kim Ma
Kim Ma Thuong
La Thanh
Lac Long Quan
Lang Ha
Le Duan
Le Hong Phong
Le Lai
Le Phung Hieu
Le Thach
Le Thai To
Le Thanh Tong
Lieu Giai
Linh Lang
Lo Su
Luong Van Can
Ly Nam De
Ly Quoc Su
Ly Thuong Kiet
Ly Van Phuc
Ma May
Nam Ngu
Nghi Tam
Nghia Dung
Ngo Tram
Ngo Van So
Ngoc Ha
Ngoc Khanh
Ngoc Thuy
Nguyen Bieu
Nguyen Canh Chan
Nguyen Chi Thanh
Nguyen Cong Hoan
Nguyen Dinh Hoan
Nguyen Hoang Ton
Nguyen Hong
Nguyen Khac Nhu
Nguyen Khanh Toan
Nguyen Khiet
Nguyen Khuyen
Nguyen Thai Hoc
Nguyen Tri Phuong
Nguyen Tu Gian
Nguyen Van Ngoc
Nha Chung
Nha Tho
Nhat Chieu
Nui Truc
Nuoc Phan Lan
Ong Ich Khiem

TThanh Cong

Giang
Vo
Lake

3
Qu
ang

Ba
Quang An
Market

an
Xu

C
AU

LLONG
ONG BIEN

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Ngo 78

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Da

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Tr

T R AN
Ham
HUN| GSeptember 2016 Word | 163
wordvietnam.com
Lon
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Ba Tr
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19 - 1
2

Hoa L
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Ngo

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Hang Do
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ac

De
Ly Nam

Hung
Phung

Boi Ch
au

Quan
Su

Quang

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ai Than
Dang Th

ang
Bach D

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ng

Su

Manh
Ly Th
uong
Kiet

DU

uoc T
oan

Pham

ien
Trang T
Opera
House

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Th
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Hooaang Dieu

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Doc La
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Q ua

ng
Chuo

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Le Phun

Dinh
Le
Trang
Tien

ng

Tu
Ham

Tran Nguyen Han

Le Lai
Le Thach

St.Tr Joseph's Cathedral


a ng T
hi

Tan

g
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Lo Su
a
Ly Th

Giang Van Minh

Thung
Hang
e

Hoan
Kiem
Lake

Phu
c

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H an

ang

Dinh Tien Ho
ang

g
Chun
Nha

Hao N
am

Hang Mam

Gia Nggu

Hang Dau

ieu Nha Tho

inh

n Khie
Nguye

Hang Be

n
Tro

Le Thai To

g
Han

r
Au T

Dinh Liet

Dao
Hang
n
n Ca
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Ga i

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Hang
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Hang

Hang Bac

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CAU

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Dong Xuan
Market
Hang Chieu

Hang

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g
Han

Ly Qu

ong

Hai B
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Ly Th
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Kie

Cha

nh

Nam Ngu

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H an

Quan
Su

Van Chuong
Lake

am
Cua N

Hanoi Train
Train
Station

on

Hang Da

Tha

en Th
ai Ho
c

Cua Nam
Market

Linh Quang
Lake

Hang Dieu
hanh

u
Lie

La

Nguy

Tan
uy
gD
Ton

i
hoa

Hang Bo

ng T
D uo

uy

DONG D
DA
A

Vietnam National
Academy of Music

Hang N

BIEN

Long Bien
Train
rain Station

au

Quat
Hang

Tram
Ngo

Tran Ph
u

Nguye
n Khuy
en

Giam

Hang Vai

Leather
Market

Vietnam Fine
Arts Museum
Cao B
a Qua
t

om
Nhu
Tho

nH

iem

Q uo
c Tu

Hang Ma

u
Ph

Tra

Thi D

I HOC

Dau

C
Gam

ien
nB
D ie

Doan

anh

Chi Lang
Park

ao

Cat Lin

NGUY
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A
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Kim Ma
Bus Station

An Trach

Vu
Th

hong

Tran Ph
u
Han

Vo
ng
Gia

Le Hong
P

Hang

Hang Ga

m
Na

Dinh C
ong

Tru

o
Ca

Chua Mo
t Cot

Son Tay

KIM MA

ai

an
Xu
ng
Do
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Han
Hang CCot
o

Ngoc H

BA DINH
c
Tru

NG

Nh

gK
Han

Ho Chi Minh
Mausoleum

Doi Can

e
Ho

Hoang Va
n Thu

Ha

Long Bien
Market Long Bien
Bus Station

c
G
Phu
AN
QU
AN
TR

Museum

PHAN D
INH PHU

G
LON
CAU

uG
nT
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Ng
Tan

Hung Vuo

ng

Hanoi
Palace

han
Hang T

AM
TH
A
Bach Thao
HO
NG
OA Ho Chi Minh Park

Ng
oc

Quan Thanh

Thuy Khue

Nguyen Can
h

o
nH

Ng
uy e
nK
Pha
h
mH
ong ac Nh
T ha
u
i

Xa
An
a
cX
P hu

Ve

i
Nu

Quan Thanh
Temple Tran Vu

Khue

YE
NP
HU

Chin

Truc
ruc Bach
Lake

Th u y

Ng
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Du
Co
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Xa g

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So

Pho

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1
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i
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ke

DO
CV
AN

Tay Ho Weekend
Market
Van
goc
To N

Dam Tri

Ho Chi Minh City

Body & Temple / Location, Location, Location / Coffee Cup / Bar Stool / Top Eats / Know Your City
Photo by Julie Vola

164 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

HCMC
Essentials

BAKERIES

M M M
BOOKSHOPS

ABC BAKERY
BAKERY & CAF

223 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1


phamngulao.abcbakery.co
Baguettes, croissants, pizza,
cakes, muffins, donuts and
brownies, this bakery and
caf all in one is a popular stop for those heading
through the Backpacker
District. Online ordering
available.
BREAD TALK
CHAIN BAKERY

106 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,


Q3; 2 Cao Thang, Q3; Vivo
City, 1058 Nguyen Van Linh,
Q7
breadtalkvietnam.com
A Singaporean bakery chain
that is vying for the Vietnam
cake and bread market. Produces Asian-friendly patisseries and cakes in a spacious,
airy atmosphere. Has eight
locations and counting.
HARVEST BAKING
AMERICAN BAKERY

harvestbaking.net
With a production facility in
Thu Duc, Harvest Baking focuses on both the retail and
non-retail trade, cooking up
the best American-style bakery products in the city. Has
an excellent home delivery
service. Check the website
for details.
LAMOUR
BAKERY & CAFE

Hung Phuoc 2, Le Van Thiem,


Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 4072
lamourbakery.com.vn
TOUS LES JOURS

FAHASA
VIETNAMESE / ENGLISH LANGUAGE
BOOKSTORE

40 Nguyen Hue, Q1; 60-62 Le


Loi, Q1
fahasa.com
Selling up a good selection of
English language books in
a range of reading areas
this multi-storied bookshop
also does stationery, toys
and a range of related products. Has a good selection of
ESL texts.
LIBRAIRIE FRANCAISE
NAM PHONG
82 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: (08)
3914 7858
Nam Phong Bookstore was
founded at the of end 2002
in Ho Chi Minh City as the
first and only francophone
bookshop in the whole of
Vietnam. Only books written
in French are for sale, covering for all ages and tastes.
A catalogue is available at
namphongsaigon.com
PNC
VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE
BOOKSTORE

2A Le Duan, Q1; 2nd Floor


Parkson Center, 35-45 Le
Thanh Ton, Q1
pnc.com.vn
Although there are some
English-language texts in
this modern, well laid out
bookstore, the focus here
is on all things Vietnamese.
Worth checking out, thought,
for the occasional gem.

M M M
BUSINESS GROUPS

BAKERY & CAFE

180 Hai Ba Trung, Q1; 59 Tran


Hung Dao, Q1; 187 Nguyen
Thi Minh Khai, Q1; 66B Cach
Mang Thang Tam, Q3; Lotte
Mart, 469 Nguyen Huu Tho,
Q7; 17/14 Le Thanh Ton, Q1
touslesjoursbakery.com
The background of this Korean bakery chain makes
interesting reading. Established in 1996, in 2004 they
opened in the US, 2005 in
China and 2007 in Vietnam.
French-styled with an Asian
touch, the bare-brick dcor
makes this a popular joint.
Has over 25 locations in Vietnam.
VOELKER
BAKERY

39 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


6296 0066
voelker-vietnam.com
Frenchrun bakery selling
probably the tastiest range of
patisseries, breads, quiches
and pies in town. The signature passionfruit tart is a
must try.

166 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

merce aims to create an effective network of business


associates together and to
facilitate discussion forums
about business in Vietnam.

AMERICAN CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE (AMCHAM)
New World Hotel, 76 Le Lai,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 3562.
amchamvietnam.com

NORDCHAM
17th Floor, Petroland Tower,
12 Tan Trao, Q7, Tel: (08)
5416 0922
nordcham.com
PHILIPPINES BUSINESS
GROUP VIETNAM
40/4 Pham Viet Chanh, Binh
Thanh, Tel: (08) 3518 0045
pbgvn.com
SINGAPORE BUSINESS
GROUP
6th Floor, Unit 601, Tran Quy
Building, 57 Le Thi Hong, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3823 3046
sbghcm.org

M M M
CLOTHING &
ACCESSORIES
ANUPA ECO LUXE

LITTLE ANH-EM
BABY & CHILDREN CLOTHING

37 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel:


0917 567506
In addition to a varied selection of garments for babies
and children up to 10 years
old, Little Anh-Em stocks
sleeping bags and other accessories.
LUSINE
LIFESTYLE / ACCESSORIES

First floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1,


Tel: (08) 6674 9565
lusinespace.com
Exclusive labels, elegant and
sophisticated clothing and
casual high-quality cottons
are stocked at this boutique/
caf. Lifestyle accessories
include shoes, homewares,
knickknacks, cameras, stationery and a range of vintage bicycles.
MANDARINA
TAILOR-MADE SHOES

171 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3827 5267

LEATHER & JEWELLERY

9 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822


2394
anupa.net
Monday to Sunday, 9am to
8pm
This centrally located unique
boutique has been converted into an eco-boutique
which exclusively retails the
complete Anupa leather
and semi-precious jewellery range as well as other
unique eco brands such as
bamboo eyewear, pendant
scarves and cushion covers.
BAM SKATE SHOP

ORANGE

BLUE DRAGON

152 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3820 2620
9am to 10pm
PAPAYA
BUDGET CLOTHING

232 Bui Vien, Q1


papaya-tshirt.com
T&V TAILOR
TAILORS

39 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 4556
triciaandverona.com
U.BEST HOUSE
TRAVEL GEAR

163 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Q1, Tel:


0978 967588
Ubesthouse.com

SOUVENIRS / CLOTHING

1B Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


2210 2084

VESPA SHOP
VESPA PRODUCTS / HELMETS

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER
OF COMMERCE
(AUSCHAM)
2nd Floor, Eximland Building,
179EF Cach Mang Thang Tam,
Q3, Tel: (08) 3832 9912
auschamvn.org
BRITISH BUSINESS GROUP
OF VIETNAM (BBGV)
25 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08)
3829 8430
bbgv.org
CANADIAN CHAMBER OF
COMMERCE (CANCHAM)
Room 305, New World Hotel,
76 Le Lai, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824
3754
canchamvietnam.org
Open to all nationalities, the
Canadian Chamber of Com-

GINKGO
VIETNAM-THEMED CLOTHING

10 Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521


8755; 54-56 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel:
(08) 6270 5928
ginkgo-vietnam.com
Quality, original, Vietnamthemed tees are the showpiece at this airy French-run
store. Designs are inspired
by anything from the Vietnamese flag, local telecom
wires and motorbikes to
creative, Siddharta-style
imagery.
IPA-NIMA
BAGS & ACCESSORIES

77-79 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3822 3277; 71 Pasteur, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3824 2701
ipa-nima.com

DIAMOND PLAZA
34 Le Duan, Q1. Tel:
(08) 3825 7750
9am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

HUNG VUONG
PLAZA

126 Hung Vuong, Q5.


Tel: (08) 2222 0383
9.30am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

BUDGET CLOTHING

SKATEWEAR / STREET

174 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: 0903


641826
Bamskateshop.com.vn

SHOPPING
MALLS

80 Xuan Thuy, Q2
Stocks a wide range of Vespa-inspired tidbits and memorabilia including t-shirts,
riding gear, Italian helmets,
Respro face masks, DVDs,
books, bags, magazines,
posters and more. Rental
scooters and bikes available.

CORPORATE GIFTS
AMBRIJ
14-16-18 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3824 8364
ambrij.com
A one-stop-shop concept
company providing marketing services including POSM,
corporate gifts and luxury
ranges of business gifts
from international brands
like Swarovski, Cerruti 1881,
Nina Ricci, Christian Lacroix,

PARKSON PLAZA

35-45 Le Thanh Ton,


Q1. Tel: (08) 3827 7636
9.30am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

SAIGON CENTRE

65 Le Loi, Q1. Tel: (08)


3829 4888
9am to 9pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

SAIGON SQUARE
77-89 Nam Ky Khoi
Nghia, Q1
9am to 9pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics

VINCOM CENTER
70-72 Le Thanh Ton,
Q1. Tel: (08) 3936 9999
9am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

ZEN PLAZA

54-56 Nguyen Trai, Q1


Tel: (08) 3925 0339
9am to 10pm
Cosmetics, Perfume,
Clothing, Accessories,
Electronics, Caf, Food
Court

Ungaro and more. Also do


event management services.

COOKING CLASSES

AIRLINES
AIR ASIA
airasia.com
AIR FRANCE
airfrance.com.vn
CATHAY PACIFIC
cathaypacific.com/vn
CHINA AIRLINES
china-airlines.com
JAPAN AIRLINES
vn.jal.com
JETSTAR PACIFIC
jetstar.com/vn/en
KOREAN AIR
koreanair.com
LAO AIRLINES
laoairlines.com
MALAYSIA
AIRLINES
malaysiaairlines.com
SINGAPORE
AIRLINES
singaporeair.com
THAI AIRWAYS
thaiairways.com.vn
TIGER AIRWAYS
tigerair.com

OVERLAND CLUB
35Bis Huynh Khuong Ninh,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3820 9734
overlandclub.jp
The Overland Club organises
pottery classes, VietnameseJapanese cooking classes,
cultural art events and
monthly special activities,
such as the Soba Festival,
pottery painting classes, the
art of decorating paper and
multinational cuisine days.
SAIGON COOKING
CLASSES BY HOA TUC
74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)
3825 8485
saigoncookingclass.com
Learn to cook quality Vietnamese cuisine with local
specialist Hoa Tuc. The threehour lesson, conducted by an
English-speaking Vietnamese
chef, includes a trip around
Ben Thanh Market to gather
fresh ingredients for the class.
VIETNAM COOKERY
CENTRE
Suite 45, 4th Floor, 26 Ly Tu
Trong, Q1,Tel: (08) 3827 0349
vietnamese-cooking-classsaigon.com

CRAFTS & FURNITURE


ATC FURNITURE
ECO-FRIENDLY FURNITURE

268B Nam Ky Khoi Nghia,


Dist.3, HCMC, Tel: (08) 3932
6455; 30A Nguyen Huu Canh,
Binh Thanh, HCMC, Tel: (08)
3840 3946
atc-craft.com
AUSTIN HOME
REPRO FURNITURE / FABRICS

42 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3519 0023
austinhomeinteriors.com
This An Phu-based shop
stocks antique repro furniture. All products are samples, so its limited and exclusive with only one or two
pieces of each particular
item. Also has a great range
of imported fabrics up on the
2nd floor and an in-house
sewing room for cushions,
sofas and curtains. Offers
custom-made furniture and
delivery within four weeks.
CHI LAI

VIETJETAIR
vietjetair.com
VIETNAM
AIRLINES
vietnamairlines.com

HOME FURNISHINGS

175 Ha Noi Highway, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3519 4543
chilai.com
This well-known Vietnamese furniture brand is a
good choice for most families with its respected highquality designs and competitive prices. Located on the
corner of Pham Ngoc Thach

and Dien Bien Phu, the spacious showroom specialises


in sofas and other furniture
such as table sets, shelves
and kitchen cabinets. There
is a large selection of carpets
as well as numerous choices
of curtains and accessories.
EM EM
SOUVENIRS

38 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 4408
8am to 9.30pm
FEELING TROPIC
FURNITURE & ACCESSORIES

51 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien,


Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2181
Specialising in interior designs and landscaping, this
three-storey building is so
packed full of items for sale
that it doesnt seem to have
enough space for all of its
products. The basement storey carries outdoor furniture
such as bamboo-imitation
and mosaic table sets, while
the second level stocks all
types of indoor furniture except beds. Accessories are
found on the level above.
MEKONG CREATIONS
FAIR TRADE CRAFTS

35-37 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel:


(08) 2210 3110
mekong-creations.org
NGUYEN FRERES
NIK-NAKS / CRAFTS

2 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 9459
8am to 8pm
MEKONG QUILTS
HAND-MADE QUILTS

1st Floor, 68 Le Loi, Q1, Tel:


(08) 2210 3110
mekong-quilts.org
NHA XINH
HOME FURNISHINGS

2nd Floor, Saigon Centre, 65


Le Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 6115
nhaxinh.com
REMIX DECO
INDOOR FURNITURE

222 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,


Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 4190
remixdeco.com
THE FURNITURE HOUSE
HOME FURNISHINGS

81 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, Q2,


Tel: (08) 3519 4640/4643
THE FURNITURE
WAREHOUSE
EUROPEAN-STYLE FURNITURE

3B Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel:


(08) 6657 0788
thefurniturewarehouse.com.
vn

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 167

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HCMC
Essentials

CYCLING
FIRSTBIKE VIETNAM
firstBIKE.com.vn
FirstBIKE balance bikes for
two to five-year-olds eliminate the need for training
wheels or stabilisers, and
support proper balance development.
JETT CYCLES
OWN-BRAND CYCLING SHOWROOM

384 Tran Phu, Q5; 168 Vo Thi


Sau, Q3
jett-cycles.com
The showroom home of Jett
Cycles, a homegrown cycling company with all products designed in Vietnam.
Sells up budget bicycles to
high-end product, with the
full range of accessories in
between. Also stocks GT and
Cannondale.

ELITE DENTAL GROUP.


57A, Tran Quoc Thao, Q3, HCMC,
Tel: (08) 3933 3737
info@elitedental.com.vn
elitedental.com.vn
Elite Dental is an international and well-equipped
clinic, which provides specialized dental services including ALL-ON-4 Implants,
ALL-ON-6 implants, dental
implants, prosthodontics,
Invisalign & orthodontics.
Luxury design and our dental experts will bring you
an extremely comfortable
experience.

INTERNATIONAL SOS
DENTAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

SAIGON CYCLES
CYCLING & ACCESSORIES

44 Phan Van Nghi (S51-1


Sky Garden 2), Q7, Tel: (08)
5410 3114
xedapcaocap.com
Specialising in Trek and Surly,
Saigon Cycles is also famed
for its Sunday morning rides.
Sells the full range of accessories and also does bicycle
repairs.

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3829 8424
internationalsos.com
Globally renowned provider
of medical assistance and international healthcare offers
full dental services in the
clinic. Foreign and Vietnamese dentists provide high
skilled dental service. Orthodontics is also available.
MINH KHAI DENTAL
CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

THE BIKE SHOP


CYCLING & ACCESSORIES

250 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,


Tel: (08) 3744 6405
thebikeshopvn.com
The go-to location for all your
cycling needs in District 2.
Sells a range of brands including Cannondale, Jett, GT
and Aluboo, as well as the
full selection of accessories.
Organises regular cycle rides,
does repairs and rentals.
Check facebook.com/thebikeshopvn for more details.

M M M
DENTAL CLINICS

199 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3925 3399
STARLIGHT
DENTAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

2 Bis Cong Truong Quoc Te,


Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 6222
24, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)
6282 8822
starlightdental.net
Longestablished, modern
clinic with French, Canadian,
Belgian & Vietnamese dentists. A favourite of the foreign residential community
due to its modern and effective treatments allied with
extremely reasonable prices.

ACCADENT
INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC

Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le


Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822 8800
accadent.com

WESTCOAST INTL DENTAL CLINIC


INTERNATIONAL DENTAL CLINIC
Ben Thanh Clinic, 27 Nguyen Trung
Truc, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 6999
Thao Dien Clinic, 27 Nguyen Ba
Lan, Q.2, Tel: (08) 35 191 777
westcoastinternational.com
An international dental clinic
equipped with the latest
technology, the comfortable
clinics offer cosmetic and
implant dentistry with a focus on making each patients
experience anxiety and pain
free.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 169

BODY & TEMPLE


JAVA JUGGERNAUTS

ietnam is the second biggest


producer of coffee in the world.
Americans drink approximately
400 million cups of it per day. It is
the most socially acceptable and popular
drug in the world; coffee is big business.
Coffee can be both beneficial for health,
performance and fat loss as well as
detrimental. The worlds most popular
drink packs a variety of positive punches
but if consumed at the wrong time and by
the wrong people, coffee can have just as
many negative effects. Often thought of as
a vice, it really depends or your individual
genetics to how much you can beneficially
drink. There are also smarter times to
consume this social liquid to avoid negative
health and performance outcomes.

What does caffeine do?


Caffeine acts by mimicking a compound
called adenosine and binding to its receptors
before the real thing can. By blocking
adenosine, caffeine increases cognitive
function and counters sleepiness. Caffeine
also inhibits widening of blood vessels
(vasodilation) and stimulates a cortisol
response. Cortisol is our fight or flight
hormone, fuelling a high-energy response to
danger or perceived danger (stress).

The Good
Observational studies have concluded that
caffeine can protect against and fight cancer,
slow the rate of mental decline, reduce the
risk of type 2 diabetes, lower oxidative
stress, reduce risk of stroke and Parkinsons
Disease and its high antioxidant
(polyphenols) content is associated with

170 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

protection from sun-damaged skin.


Coffee can help you lose fat, as its
packed with compounds that have been
shown to increase metabolic rate, improve
exercise performance, stop cravings, and
make you more effective at burning fat.

The Bad
There is a very important genetic element
to whether coffee is good or bad for you.
The gene CYP1A2 encodes an enzyme from
the liver to metabolise caffeine. A slow
metaboliser has the CC variant of the gene,
a moderate metaboliser has the AC variant
and a fast metaboliser has the AA variant.
The effects of caffeine last longer and are
stronger in slow and medium metabolisers.
Whereas, fast metabolisers can process
caffeine very efficiently so it affects them
less. Slow caffeine metabolizers who drink
more than two cups per day appear to
have higher rates of hypertension, glucose
intolerance and heart problems.

Rules for Consumption


1) Dont drink it first thing in the morning
Coffee produces a cortisol response. High
cortisol levels are closely related to high
levels of belly fat. Cortisol is your bodys
natural wake-up hormone.
Right before you wake up, cortisol spikes
to prepare you for the day. Right after you
wake up, it spikes again, pushing you to
the highest levels of the day. Drinking
coffee when cortisol is high is somewhat
redundant and can lead to an excess of
circulating cortisol and cause fat storage.
2) Drink coffee when you dont need it

BY PHIL KELLY

Coffee is not a good solution for lack of


sleep or tiredness. If tired, instead of having
a coffee, you should get more sleep. Coffee
will work best when your adenosine
receptors are functioning well and not under
stress. If you are tired, caffeine only really
equalises energy rather than providing a
boost. Drinking too much too often can
make you dependent on coffee, and fatigue
your natural energy producing system.
3) Dont drink coffee post-workout
Again, this is related to cortisol. Cortisol is
a catabolic (muscle breakdown) hormone
and the minute you finish training you
want to promote an anabolic (muscle
building/repair) state. When you drink
coffee post-workout you prolong the
catabolic state, which will limit recovery,
fat burning and muscle development.
A coffee pre-workout is great, as cortisol
is a stimulating hormone. It will provide
energy for the workout and breakdown
protein for energy.
Some people under certain contexts, or
with certain genetic variants, shouldnt
drink much coffee. For most, coffee
should not be consumed at night or postexercise but all in all, coffee has some
very beneficial effects depending on if
you metabolise it well. Drinking it at the
optimal times will improve productivity
and mood, boost training and protect
against a host of diseases and conditions
due to its whopping dose of antioxidants.
Phil is founder and master trainer at Body
Expert Systems. Contact him on 0934 782763,
at his website bodyexpertsystems.com or
through Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com)

HCMC
Essentials

MAPLE HEALTHCARE
DENTAL & CHIROPRACTICS

Md6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7


(across from FV Hospital), Tel:
Tel: (08) 5410 0100
maplehealthcare.net
Specialising in healthcare,
dental services and chiropractic medicine, the recently opened Maple Healthcare comes replete with the
latest technology together
with efficient and comfortable service.

M M M
GALLERIES
CRAIG THOMAS
GALLERY
27i Tran Nhat Duat, Q1, Tel:
0903 888431
cthomasgallery.com
Craig Thomas Gallery offers
a compelling mix of up-andcoming and established
local artists. In operation
since 2009, its founder has
been promoting Vietnamese art for a decade. Now
has a second newer gallery
at 165 Calmette, Q1, HCMC
DOGMA
8A/9C1 Thai Van Lung, Q1
dogmacollection.com
The home of Vietnamese
propaganda art and a collection put together over the
last two decades by art collector Dominic Scriven, the
majority of the work comes
from the war period when
provocative poster art was
used to inspire and motivate.
Sells prints of the originals
and related products.
GALERIE QUYNH
65 De Tham, Q1, Tel: (08)
3836 8019
galeriequynh.com
In addition to working with
artists based in Vietnam,
Galerie Quynh also exhibits the work of artists from
around the world. This wellestablished gallery supports
education through talks, lectures and publications.
HO CHI MINH CITY FINE
ARTS MUSEUM
97A Pho Duc Chinh, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3829 4441
baotangmythuattphcm.vn
Set in one of the finest
remaining buildings of
colonial-era Vietnam, this
multi-storey museum houses
collections spanning centuries of Vietnamese art. Has
regular exhibitions.
SAN ART
48/7 Me Linh, Binh Thanh,
Tel: (08) 6294 7059
san-art.org
San Art is an independent, artist-run exhibition
space that offers residency

programmes for young artists, lecture series and an


exchange programme that
invites international artists /
curators to organise or collaborate on exhibitions.

imported foods, also sells


frozen meat and fish, fruit,
vegetables, herbs, spices
and a wide selection of dairy
products.

GROCERIES & LIQUOR

THE WAREHOUSE
WINE SHOP

ANNAM GOURMET
MARKET
GROCERY & DELI

1618 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 9332; 41A Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 2630
Annam-gourmet.com
Attractive and spacious
Frenchowned grocery shop
stocking a large range of
foods, organic fruit and
vegetables, imported beers
and wines. Also sells luxury
branded products from the
likes of Fauchon. The deli
upstairs in the Hai Ba Trung
branch serves tasty baguette
rolls in a comfortable lounge
area with free WiFi, and offers probably the best selection of cheese and cured
meats in town.
CLASSIC FINE FOODS
GROCERIES & IMPORTER

No. 17, Street 12 (perpendicular to Tran Nao street),


Q2, Tel: (08) 3740 7105
classicfinefoods.com
Supplier for the citys five
star hotels, also distributing
brands like San Pellegrino,
Rougie foie gras, Galbani
cheese, fresh poultries,
meat, live seafood and vegetables. You can now find all
the products at the gourmet
shop on location.

MEATWORKS BUTCHERY
BUTCHERS
1 Street 2, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)
3744 2565
meatworksasia.com
Focusing on the retail trade,
the meat at this Australianmanaged butcher comes
pre-prepared and, if you so
wish, pre-marinated. Sells
up some of the best imported meats in town together
with homemade sausages,
free-range products and
excellent Australian grassfed steak.

PHUONG HA
GROCERS

58 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3914 1318
A small yet amazingly wellstocked store that puts
many a supermarket in this
country to shame. As well
as a dizzying selection of

15/5 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3825 8826
One of the busiest wine retailers in town. In addition
to their excellent range of
wines, they also stock imported beers, bottled mineral
water and spirits.
VEGGYS
GROCERS & DELI

29A Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3823 8526
Courtesy of a farm in Dalat,
Veggys retails some of the
best quality fruit and veg
available in the city. Also
has a wide selection of imported food products including USDA beef, the same beef
served up at El Gaucho.

HAIRDRESSERS,
SALONS & SPAS
AVEDA HERBAL SPA
Villa 35A, Street 41, Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel:(08) 3519 4671
avedaherbal@gmail.com
CAT MOC SPA
63 Tran Dinh Xu, Q1, Tel: (08)
6295 8926
catmocspa.com
Aimed exclusively at ladies
and couples only, treatments
at this Japanese spa include
facial, body and foot care,
and Japanese-style haircuts,
as well as steam-sauna, paraffin and waxing services.
CONCEPT COIFFURE
48 Tran Ngoc Dien, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3519 4625
Conceptcoiffure.vn
Hair stylist and colourist specialist Sandrine has relocated
her long-standing flagship
salon Venus Coiffure to a villa
in Thao Dien. A full range of
services is offered including
a dedicated kids salon.
FAME NAILS SALON
3 Truong Dinh, Q1, Tel: 0909
682 827
famenails.com
GLOW SPA
129A Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 8368
glowsaigon.com
Modern and bright downtown spa, offers massages
lasting from 30 minutes, to
two-hour hot stone therapy,
includes one suite with a
Jacuzzi bath; offers hand
and foot care and a hair
styling area.

SPORTS
CRICKET
ECCS (THE ENGLISH
CRICKET CLUB
OF SAIGON)
Adam Zakharoff
Email: adamzakharoff@
gmail.com
ICCS (INDIAN CRICKET
CLUB OF SAIGON)
Deeptesh Gill, Tel: 01228
770 038
deepteshgill@gmail.com
ISCS (INDIAN SPORTS
CLUB IN SAIGON)
Munish Gupta, Tel: 0986
973 244
gmunish29@yahoo.co.in
PSSC (PAKISTAN
SAIGON CRICKET CLUB)
Samie Cashmiri, Tel: 0976
469 090
samie.cashmiri@gmail.
com
SACC (SAIGON AUSTRALIA CRICKET CLUB)
Steve Treasure, Tel: 0903
998 824
sacccricket@gmail.com
SSC (SRI LANKA
SPORTS CLUB)
Suhard Amit, Tel: 0988
571 010
suhard.amit@yahoo.com
UCC (UNITED CRICKET
CLUB)
Asif Ali, Tel: 0937 079 034
npasifali@hotmail.com
VIETNAM CRICKET ASSOCIATION (VCA)
Manish Sogani, Tel: 0908
200 598
manish@ambrij.com

FOOTBALL & RUGBY


AUSTRALIAN RULES
FOOTBALL
Tel: 0937 683 230
vietnamswans.com
LES GAULOIS DE SAIGON
gauloisdesaigon.com
OLYMPIQUE SAIGON
Contact Fred on 0919 709
024 or Viet Luu 0909 500
171.
astere@hotmail.fr

SAIGON RAIDERS
Saigonraiders.com
SAIGON RUGBY CLUB
RMIT University, 702
Nguyen Van Linh, Tan
Phong, Q7
saigonrugbyfootballclub@
yahoo.com
SAIGON SAINTS
saigonsaints.com

SPORTS GENERAL
HASH HOUSE HARRIERS
saigonhash.com
RANGERS BASEBALL
TEAM
isao.shimokawaji@sapporobeer.co.jp
SAIGON INTERNATIONAL
DARTS LEAGUE
thesidl.com
SAIGON INTERNATIONAL
SOFTBALL LEAGUE
saigonsoftball.info
SAIGON SHOOTERS
NETBALL CLUB
saigonshootersnetball.
blogspot.com
SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY
28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08)
7303 1100
saigonsportsacademy.com
SQUASH
The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc
Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
2098 ext 176
thelandmarkvietnam.com
TORNADOS HOCKEY
CLUB
436A/33 Ba Thang Hai, Q10,
Tel: 0938 889899
James.chew@vietnamhockey.vn
ULTIMATE FRISBEE
RMIT, 702 Nguyen Van
Linh, Q7
Saigon-ultimate.com
XROCK CLIMBING
7Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q3,
Tel: (08) 6278 5794
xrockclimbing.com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 171

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION


TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY?

hen Vietnams National


Assembly passed on Nov.
25, 2014, the long-awaited
amended Housing Law that
finally addressed the issue on foreign
ownership of property, we in the real estate
industry had no idea what to expect.
Now, over 18 months on, this single
piece of legislation has (supported by
favourable market conditions) helped to
drive the Vietnam real estate market from
what was considered oblivion pre-2015
to becoming one of the more attractive
markets in the region. You want to know
the best thing about it? Now foreigners
have a slice of the pie well, perhaps
more of a bite than a slice, but nonetheless
the dessert is being shared with the guests,
which is delightfully refreshing.
The Vietnam residential market had seen
very sluggish growth leading up to 2015,
due to a number of factors including the
previous restrictions on foreign ownership;
the lack of quality developments; a
speculative bubble from 2006 to 2008; the
small size of the leasing market, and more
attractive and transparent investment
opportunities elsewhere in the region.
However, the new legislation played a
major role in addressing many of these
issues and even removed some of those
cumbersome conditions that foreigners
previously faced making the Vietnam
market somewhat sexy again.

172 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

So how does the foreign ownership


law impact expats living in Vietnam and
foreign investors?
Who can buy? Individuals all
foreigners who are granted a visa to
Vietnam are allowed to buy residential
properties in the country. Entities
all foreign investment funds, banks,
Vietnamese branches and representative
offices of overseas companies are eligible
to buy.
Types of Property. All types of
residential sector properties including
condominiums and landed property
such as villas and townhouses within a
development project (previously only
applicable to condominiums)
Volume. There is no limit on the number
of units a foreigner can buy, but the total
number of dwelling units owned by
foreigners must not exceed 30% of the total
units in one condominium complex, or not
exceed 10% of landed property within a
development project.
Purpose of Purchase. The properties
owned by foreigners can be sub-leased,
inherited and collateralised (previously
only for owner-occupying purpose and not
to be rented out).
Tenure. The tenure allowed to foreign
individuals buying homes is a 50-year
leasehold with renewal possibility upon
expiration, which remains unchanged.
Foreign individuals married to Vietnamese

BY GREG OHAN

citizens are entitled to freehold tenure.


Opening the gates of the local property
market wider to foreigners proved to be
a very positive step in the right direction,
and certainly did not come too soon.
However, with the gate swung open,
affordability now reigns as the major issue
impacting investors, as property prices
in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have hit
record highs. For example, a villa in Tay
Ho, Hanoi, starts from US$1 million at the
lowest entry level, higher than in a city like
Paris. Even new mid-range condominium
developments in gentrified District 4, Ho
Chi Minh City now start at US$2,500 per
square metre.
So are we entering a housing bubble
similar to bubbles seen in cities like London
and New York? Or is this a flash in the real
estate pan?
I think its a little too early to tell. But
seeing the strong interest monitored at
recent launch events for residential projects
in Ho Chi Minh City, for the foreseeable
future prices will continue to rise, which
bodes well for investors. However, when
it comes to first time buyers, the rising cost
of real estate is making getting into the
housing market prohibitive.
Greg Ohan is the Solutions Development
Director for Jones Lang LaSalle, a global real
estate services firm specializing in property and
investment management. You can contact him
on greg.ohan@ap.jll.com

HAIR BAR
CONTEMPORARY SALON

68 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (FREEPHONE) 1800 1108


hairbar.vn
A unique themed hair salon
where stylists use no scissors but styling equipment
only, giving female clients
the opportunity to get their
hair done on the run. Of
course, they have to look
fabulous, too. Fortunately
this is one of Hair Bars specialities. Check the salon out
on Facebook: facebook.com/
hairbarvn.
INDOCHINE SPA
69 Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3827 7188
Indochine-spa.com.vn
Indochine Spa provides a
peaceful and serene atmosphere with aromatic scents
and lulling melodies. Customers are pampered by qualified therapists using natural
French products in a clean
and pleasant environment.
JASMINE
45 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3827 2737
Jasminespa.vn
Sparelated salon with a
good reputation for quality
and comfort offers washes
and leisurely haircuts from
VND330,000 plus a range of
related services including
massage and some excellent
treatments.
MERCI
17/6 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3825 8799
merci-space.com
A unique nail spa and bistro where you can pamper
your nails, enjoy a massage,
meet your friends, enjoy a
meal and sip a cocktail. Provides only waterless nails
treatments to avoid bacteria
and dry skin as well as Zoya
and Kure Bazaar non-toxic
varnishes.
QUYNH BEAUTY SALON
104A Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3512 4321
A District 2 favourite, this is
the salon to head to for anything from massage to haircuts, hairwashing to nails.
Cheap prices, too.
SOI SPA
6th & Rooftop, 44 Nguyen
Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 8678
soispa.vn
A lovely little place with nail
services, shampoo head
massages, and other simple treatments for a quick
getaway experience. Also
features a rooftop terrace
and a great little drinks and
wine selection. Open daily
from 10am to 9pm.

SPA TROPIC
79 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel: (08)
3910 5575
spatropic.com
Spa Tropic is a stylish boutique spa housed in the
refurbished former Chilean
Consulate. Spa Tropic has
a long-standing reputation
among expats and visitors
alike for its professional
quality service.

HOSPITALS &
MEDICAL CLINICS
AMERICAN
CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC
CHIROPRACTOR

161-161A Hai Ba Trung, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3939 3930
www.acc.vn
ACC provides effective chiropractic, physiotherapy,
acupuncture and foot care
treatments through the use
of cutting edge technology
for back, neck and knee
pain, sports injuries as well
as all types of foot related
problems without the need
of drugs or surgery.
AMERICAN EYE CENTER
5th Floor, Crescent Plaza, 105
Ton Dat Tien, Q7
Tel: 5413 6758 / 5413 6759
americaneyecentervn.com
American Eye Center is located in the heart of Phu My
Hung, providing eye care services to Adults and Children
by an American Board-certified ophthalmologist with
17 years of experience. The
American-standard facility is
equipped with state of the
art equipments for the early
detection and treatment of
important eye diseases from
Lasik and cataract surgeries
to presbyopia, glaucoma
and diabetic eye disease
treatments. Cosmetic procedures such as eyelid surgery
and Botox injections are also
available.
CENTRE MEDICAL
INTERNATIONALE (CMI)
FRENCH MEDICAL CLINIC

1 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08)


3827 2366
cmi-vietnam.com
This French medical clinic
provides general practice
and a range of specialties
including cardiology, gynecology, psychotherapy, ophthalmology, paediatrics and
acupuncture.
FAMILY MEDICAL
PRACTICE

care provider that can offer


a countrywide network of
integrated clinics for foreign
and local populations, FMPs
main specialties include family medicine, pediatrics and
emergency medicine as well
as health checks and work
permit health-tests.
FV HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

6 Nguyen Luong Bang, Saigon


South Parkway, Q7, Tel: (08)
5411 3333
Emergency: (08) 5411 3500
fvhospital.com
International hospital
whose standard of health
care matches that found
anywhere, with 19 fulltime
French doctors and 58 Vietnamese doctors, providing
expertise in 30 medical and
surgical areas, especially maternity care.
FV SAIGON CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC

3rd Floor, Bitexco Financial


Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel:
(08) 6290 6167
fvhospital.com
Stateoftheart medical centre located in District 1. Experienced American, French,
and Vietnamese doctors provide the full spectrum health
care. Plus sports medicine,
cosmetic treatments, skin
care and surgical consultations.
HANH PHUC
INTERNATIONAL
HOSPITAL
INTERNATIONAL HOSPITAL

Binh Duong Boulevard, Thuan An District, Binh Duong


Tel: (0650) 363 6068
hanhphuchospital.com
Claiming to be the first Singapore-standard hospital in
Ho Chi Minh City, this institution based on the outskirts
of town is gaining a growing
reputation for service and
treatment. Specialises in providing healthcare to women
and children. Has a clinic at
97 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1
HAPPINESS ORIENTAL
MEDICINE ACUPUNCTURE
CLINIC
ACUPUNCTURE

432 Pham Thai Buong, Q7,


Tel: 0906 684969
Well-known traditional Chinese medicine clinic in Phu
My Hung specialising in
acupuncture. Established in
Ho Chi Minh City for over a
decade.

INTERNATIONAL CLINIC

34 Le Duan Street, Q1; 95 Thao


Dien Q2, Tel: (08) 3822 7848
vietnammedicalpractice.com
Family Medical Practice
(FMP) is the largest and one
of the oldest foreign, privately-owned, international
health care providers in Vietnam. As the only health

INTERNATIONAL SOS
HCMC MEDICAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC / MEDIVAC

167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3829 8424
internationalsos.com
The worlds leading provider
of medical assistance and in-

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 173

HCMC

ternational healthcare offers


primary health care, diagnostic services and 24/7 emergency care. Specialist care is
available in many fields.

Essentials

SIAN SKINCARE CLINIC


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS
107B Truong Dinh, Q3
Tel: 01676 71 75 79
sianclinic.com
The Australian and Canadian managed SIAN Clinic
offers a wide range of skincare medical therapies to
treat problems by an experienced dermatologist and
facial care team. The clinic
utilises the latest therapies.

STAMFORD SKIN CENTRE


SKIN CARE / COSMETICS

99 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3925 1990
stamfordskin.com
Stamford Skin Centre offers a
broad range of medical and
aesthetic skin treatments.
Their international dermatologists and doctors ensure
accurate diagnosis and safe
treatment procedures. It
houses excellent equipment
for a variety of procedures.
TRADITIONAL
MEDICINE HOSPITAL
EASTERN MEDICINE

187 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3932 6579
VICTORIA HEALTHCARE
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC
INTERNATIONAL CLINIC

79 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3910 4545
victoriavn.com
Well-regarded clinic offering
general examinations and
specialising in pediatrics, digestive diseases, cardiology,
womens health and internal
medicine. Offers a membership programme and cooperates with most insurance
companies in Vietnam and
abroad.

INSURANCE
PACIFIC CROSS VIETNAM
4th/12th Floor Continental
Tower, 81-83-85 Ham Nghi, Q1
Tel: (08) 3821 9908
pacificcross.com.vn
Pacific Cross Vietnam recently changed names,
from Blue Cross Vietnam,
to align with their regional
sister companies. Together
they form the Pacific Cross
group of companies with
over 60 years experience
providing health and travel
insurance to people who call
Asia home. Their reputation
for transparent, honest and

174 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

reliable service means they


are the strength behind
your insurance. Contact
them now for a free quote.
IF CONSULTING
IBC Building, 3rd Floor, 1A
Me Linh Square, Q1, Tel: (08)
3827 7362
insuranceinasia.com
Independent advisors that
represent top reputable
medical insurers provide
you with the best suitable
medical cover for individual,
family or company needs.
For emergencies call 0903
732365
LIBERTY INSURANCE
15th Floor, Kumho Asiana
Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Q1, Tel:
1800 599 998
libertyinsurance.com.vn
International insurance firm
providing the full range of
services to the individual
car insurance, travel insurance, health insurance, home
insurance and much more.
NOAH JAMES
INSURANCE AGENCY
Mobile: (1) 617 676 7858
noahjamesinsurance.com
Skype: jp.global
A full service broker offering expatriates and local
Vietnamese customized solutions from highly rated insurers for life, health, travel,
as well as speciality cover for
student travel, medevac, international marine, extreme
athletics and adventure. For
details contact: james@noahjamesinsurance.com
TENZING PACIFIC
SERVICES
181 Dien Bien Phu, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3821 5367
ten-pac.com
A full-service insurance broker offering a wide range of
insurance solutions from the
best local and international
providers. Recommendations
are based exclusively on client needs.

INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOLS
ABC INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (ABCIS)
Saigon South Campus 1 (Primary & Secondary), Tel: (08)
5431 1833/34/35/36; Saigon
South Campus 2 (Foundation Stage & Early Primary),
Tel: (08) 5431 1833/34/35/36
theabcis.com
Rated as outstanding by
British Government Inspectors, academic results puts
ABCIS among the top 8% of
schools worldwide. ABCIS
is accredited by CIE, AQA,
the Education Development
Trust and members of COBIS and FOBISIA. Provides
education for two to 18

year olds in a supportive


and friendly environment.
AUSTRALIAN
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (AIS)
Xi Campus, 190 Nguyen Van
Huong, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519
2727; Thao Dien Campus,
APSC Compound, 36 Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6960;
Thu Thiem Campus, 264 Mai
Chi Tho (East-West Highway), An Phu, Q2, Tel: (08)
3742 4040
aisvietnam.com
The Australian International
School is an IB World School
with three world-class campuses in District 2, offering
an international education
from kindergarten to senior
school with the IB Primary
Years Programme (PYP), Cambridge Secondary Programme
(including IGCSE) and IB Diploma Programme (DP).
ETONHOUSE
INTERNATIONAL
PRE-SCHOOL @ AN PHU
1st and 2nd floor, Somerset
Vista, 628C Hanoi Highway, An
Phu, Q2, Tel: (08) 6287 0804
etonhouse.vn/schools/hcmc
Following an international
curriculum for children aged
18 months to six years, in the
early years, an Inquire-ThinkLearn approach is followed,
inspired by the Reggio Emilia
Project of Northern Italy. It is a
play-based, inquiry model in
which children co-construct
their learning in close, respectful collaboration with their
teachers. This helps us provide an environment where
children take responsibility
for their own learning, allowing them a head start in life.
BRITISH INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (BIS)
246 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3744 2335
bisvietnam.com
Inspected and approved by
the British Government, BIS
provides a British style curriculum for an international
student body from pre-school
to Year 13. The school is
staffed by British qualified
and trained teachers with
recent UK experience. Fully
accredited by the Council of
International Schools and a
member of FOBISIA, BIS is the
largest international school in
Vietnam.
CANADIAN
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
7 Road 23, Phu My Hung, Q7,
Tel: (08) 5412 3456
cis.edu.vn
The first Canadian international school in Vietnam
serves local and foreign
students from Kindergarten
to grade 12. Talented, certified teachers implement the
internationally recognised

KIDS CLASSES & SPORTS


DANCENTER
53 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4490
dancentervn.com
Children and teenagers can enjoy jazz, ballet, hip-hop,
funk, belly dancing, salsa and in multi-level classes at
this modern dance studio.
HELENE KLING OIL PAINTING
189/C1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0903 955780
helenekling.com
INSPIRATO MUSIC CENTER
37 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel: 0932 737700
Inspirato.edu.vn
MINH NGUYEN PIANO BOUTIQUE
94A Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 7691
Minhnguyenpiano.com
PERFORMING ARTS ACADEMY OF SAIGON
19A Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel: (08) 6281 9679
paa.com.vn
Has a range of music-based programmes teaching kids
in anything from guitar and drums to piano, clarinet
and saxophone. Also provides musical assessment and
a mixture of private and group classes.
PIANO CLASSES
Tel: 01225 636682
morrissokoloff@hotmail.com
SAIGON MOVEMENT
Tel: 0987 027 722
saigonmovement@gmail.com
SAIGON SEAL TEAM
55 Nguyen Dang Giai, An Phu, Q2, Tel: 0905 098 279
SAIGON PONY CLUB
38, Lane 42, Le Van Thinh, Q2, Tel: 0913 733360
Saigonponyclub.com
SAIGON SPORTS ACADEMY
28 Tran Nao, Q2, Tel: (08) 7303 1100
saigonsportsacademy.com
International coaches provide training in soccer, basketball, tennis and swimming for children aged four to 16
years and private lessons for children and adults. Youth
soccer league Sundays from 2pm to 6pm in District 7.
TAE KWON DO
BP Compound, 720K Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: 0903 918 149
VINSPACE
6 Le Van Mien, Q2, Tel: 0907 729 846
vin-space.com

Ontario curriculum to create a student-centred learning environment promoting


academic excellence. Has a
newly built campus.

education from Early Years


to Grade 12 based on the IB
curriculum. EIS is a Nobel Talent School and is part of the
Nobel Education Network.
The school educates global
citizens to enjoy learning, inquiring and caring for others.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
HO CHI MINH CITY
28 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08)
3898 9100
ishcmc.com
HCMCs most established
international school offers
three International Baccalaureate programmes for
students from two to 18
years old. ISHCMC will be
launching a new secondary
campus in 2017, featuring
Vietnams first Innovation
Center, a 350-seat professional theatre, NBA-sized
basketball courts and a 25m
competitive swimming pool.

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
HO CHI MINH CITY
AMERICAN ACADEMY
16 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel: (08)
3898 9100
aavn.edu.vn
ISHCMC American Academy is a U.S. curriculum
secondary school for students aged 11 to 18 years
old. Early university credits,
a 1:1 University Counseling
Program, and an extensive
EAL program set our graduates on the road to 100%
acceptance rate at overseas
universities and a US$1 million scholarship fund.

KIDS CLUB SAIGON


79/7 Pham Thai Buong, Q7;
27/3 Ha Huy Tap, Q7, Tel: (08)
5412 5944
kidsclubsaigon.com
Early childhood centres in
Phu My Hung offering creative play-based programmes
for children ages two to five.
Known for unique facilities,
experienced staff, highquality learning resources,
and small class sizes.
EUROPEAN
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
HO CHI MINH CITY (EIS)
730 F-G-K Le Van Mien, Q2,
Vietnam, Tel: (08) 7300 7257
eishcmc.com
The European International
School offers a supportive
and challenging academic

INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
SAIGON PEARL
92 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh,
Tel: (08) 2222 7788/99
issp.edu.vn
Vietnams only international
school offering a U.S. curriculum for children aged
18 months to 11 years old.
With 100% English language
immersion, a library containing over 13,500 English
books and more than 60%
of students achieving above
grade level English, ISSP
students are well prepared
for secondary school at ISHCMC or ISHCMC - American
Academy.

MONTESSORI
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
42/1 Ngo Quang Huy, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3744 2639
montessori.edu.vn
Aiming to encourage childrens engagement with
their surroundings, MIS offers children from age three
to 12 a classic Montessori
education as well as a variety
of extracurricular activities.
RENAISSANCE
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL SAIGON
74 Nguyen Thi Thap, Q7,
Tel: (08)3773 33171 ext
120/121/122
renaissance.edu.vn
Renaissance is an International British school providing an inclusive curriculum
based upon the British curriculum complemented by
the International Primary
Curriculum and International Baccalaureate. It is a
family school with first-class
facilities including a 350-seat
theatre, swimming pool,
mini-pool, play-areas, gymnasium, IT labs, music and
drama rooms, science labs
and an all-weather pitch.
SAIGON KIDS
EDUCATIONAL
CHILDCARE CENTRE
15 Street 12, Q2, Tel: (08)
3740 8081
saigonkidskindergarten.com
SKECC has evolved over 10
years to create a creative,
playful learning environment for children ages two

to six. Limited class sizes and


highly engaged teachers ensure personal attention for
all students.
SAIGON SOUTH
INTERNATIONAL
SCHOOL (SSIS)
78 Nguyen Duc Canh, Q7, Tel:
(08) 5413 0901
ssis.edu.vn
Offers an American-style education (SAT, IB and AP) from
elementary to high-school,
emphasizing a multicultural
student environment and a
commitment to wellrounded education at all levels.
SAIGON STAR
INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL
Residential Area No. 5,
Thanh My Loi, Q2, Tel: (08)
3742 7827
saigonstarschool.edu.vn
Supported by the Cambridge International Primary
Programme, SSIS integrates
Montessori methods into
nursery and kindergarten
programmes to create a
stimulating learning environment. Small class sizes
allow experienced teachers
to cater to individual needs.
SMARTKIDS
1172 Thao Dien Compound,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3744 6076; 26,
Street Nr. 10, Thao Dien, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3898 9816; 15 Tran
Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3519 4236
smartkidsinfo.com
This international childcare
centre provides children ages
18 months to six years with
a high quality education in
a playful and friendly environment.
THE AMERICAN SCHOOL
172-180 Nguyen Van Huong,
Q2, Tel: 0903 952223
tas.edu.vn
Accredited by the Western
Association of Schools and
Colleges (WASC), TAS represents 20 nationalities and
provides an American-based
curriculum with rigorous
performance standards and
a variety of academic offerings. Runs advanced placement courses and university
credit courses through their
partnership with Missouri
State University, as well as
an Intensive ESL Program for
English Language Learners.

M M M
PROPERTY RENTALS
CHUMS HOUSE
121/21 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)
3920 7237
EASY SAIGON
Tel: 0932 112694
easysaigon.com
The Easy Saigon website is
a useful real estate website

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 175

HCMC
Essentials

helping expats to find apartments in Ho Chi Minh City.


Enquiries via their website
are welcome.
HAPPY HOUSE
32-34 Ngo Duc Ke, Suite 701,
Q1, Tel: 01659 419916
NAM HOUSE
48A Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao
Dien, Q2, Tel: 0989 007700
namhouse.com.vn
Expert in providing rental
properties, constructions
and interior decoration,
especially in District 2. Supports professional services
and aftersales.
RESIDENT VIETNAM
Unit 601 48 Hoa Su, Phu
Nhuan, Tel: (08) 2226 8855
residentvietnam.com
SNAP
32 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 4282
snap.com.vn
Owners of Snap Caf in District 2, Snap offers a web
based real estate search
service with information on
rental properties all around
the city, as well as an advisory service for those averse
to wading into the internet
depths for their needs.
THE NEST
216/4 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2,
Tel: 0938 580800
thenesthousing.com
Wellknown property search
and real estate agency with
a useful website listing properties available for rent and
sale, orientated towards expats. Website is in English,
French and Spanish.

M M M
MOTORBIKES
CHIS CAF
RENTALS

185/30 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,


Tel: 0903 643446
chiscafe.com
Probably the best-known
motorbike rental joint in
town with over 200 bikes
and a range of models and
makes. Rents by the day or
by the month. Call or check
the website for details. Also
does visa extensions.
SAIGON BIKE RENTALS
Tel: 0972 451273
nga.natalie@gmail.com
saigonbikerentals.com
Rents out a range of models including Honda Waves,
Yamaha Nouvos, Classicos,
Luvias, SYM Attilas and
Excels. Call for details and
prices.

176 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

SAIGON SCOOTER
CENTRE
RENTALS / CLASSIC SCOOTERS

77a Hanoi Highway, Thao


Dien, Q2, Tel: 0903 013690
saigonscootercentre.com
Just relocated to its new
home in District 2, Saigon
Scooter Centre is more than
just the place to go for all
your classic scooter needs.
Also does accessories, quality imported helmets and
bike rentals.

M M M
RECRUITMENT & HR
ADECCO VIETNAM
11th floor, Empire Tower, 26
- 28 Ham Nghi, Q1, Tel: (08)
3915 3430
adecco.com.vn
Adecco is the world leader in
human resources solutions.
Established in Vietnam in
2011, Adecco offers a wide
array of global workforce
solutions and specialises in
finance & legal, sales, marketing & events, IT, engineering & technical, and office.
HR2B/TALENT
RECRUITMENT JSC
1st Floor, Thien Son Building,
5 Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel:
(08) 6288 3888
hr2b.com
G.A. CONSULTANTS
VIETNAM CO., LTD.
Ho Chi Minh Office: Room
2B-2C, 2nd Floor, 180 Pasteur,
District 1, HCMC.
vieclambank.com
VIETNAMWORKS.COM
130 Suong Nguyet Anh, Q1,
Tel: (08) 5404 1373
vietnamworks.com
The best-known recruitment
website in Vietnam. Post
youre the position youre
looking for and wait for the
responses. Youll get many.
Also a good site for expat
jobseekers.

RELOCATION AGENTS

ALLIED PICKFORDS
12th floor, Miss Ao Dai Building, 21 Nguyen Trung Ngan,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3910 1220
alliedpickfords.com
With more than 800 offices
in over 45 countries, Allied
Pickfords is one of the worldwide leaders in removal services. In Vietnam, Allied also
provides tailored relocation
services.
ASIAN TIGERS MOBILITY
Unit 9.3, Floor 9, Ree Tower, 9
Doan Van Bo, Ward 12, District
4, HCMC, Tel: (08) 3 826 7799
asiantigers-mobility.com
Asian Tigers is one of the
largest regional move management specialists, with services including door-to-door
moving, housing and school
searches, local and office
moves and pet relocations.
JVK INTERNATIONAL
MOVERS
1st Floor, Saigon Port Building, 3 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4,
Tel: (08) 3826 7655
jvkasia.com
Focused primarily on the international and local movement of household goods,
JVK is a leader in the field.
LOGICAL MOVES
VIETNAM
396/4 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4,
Tel: (08) 3941 5322
logicalmoves.net
Specialists in international,
local, domestic and office
moves for household goods
and personal effects through
our global partner network.
Experts in exporting used
scooters that do not have
documentation.
SANTA FE RELOCATION
SERVICES
8FL, Thien Son Building, 5
Nguyen Gia Thieu, Q3, Tel:
(08) 3933 0065
santaferelo.com
With over 150 offices around
the world, Santa Fe offers local and international moving,
pet transportation, relocation
services including home
search, orientation, cultural
training, immigration services and records management.
Email Vietnam@santaferelo.
com for info.

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

DIAMOND ISLAND
LUXURY RESIDENCES
No 01 Street No.104-BTT,
Quarter 3, Binh Trung Tay,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3742 5678
the-ascott.com
Diamond Island Luxury
Residences offers 68 fullyfurnished apartments, from
two to four-bedroom units
with spectacular panoramic
views of the city. Each apartment comes with a fullyequipped kitchen, en-suite
bathrooms, separate work
and living areas, a balcony,
modern amenities, elegant

furnishings and carefully


chosen trimmings.
INTERCONTINENTAL
ASIANA SAIGON
RESIDENCES
Crn. of Nguyen Du & Le Van
Huu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3520 8888
intercontinental.com/saigonres
Adjacent to the InterContinental Asiana Saigon youll
find 260 luxurious and spacious residential suites. The
residences offer panoramic
views of the downtown area.
NORFOLK MANSION
1719-21 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3822 6111
norfolkmansion.com.vn
Offers a wide choice of luxurious and modern furnished
accommodation with attentive and discreet service.
Facilities include an outdoor
swimming pool, a gym, sauna and steam room, as well
as two on-site restaurants.
RIVERSIDE APARTMENTS
53 Vo Truong Toan, Q2, Tel:
(08) 3744 4111
Riverside-apartments.com
Over four Saigon Riverbank
hectares, Riverside Apartments combines a resort
lifestyle with the amenities
of a fully serviced-apartment.
Located minutes from downtown by high-speed boat
shuttle.
SHERWOOD RESIDENCE
127 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08)
3823 2288
sherwoodresidence.com
Sherwood Residence is a
luxurious serviced apartment property where modern living spaces meet prime
location, comfort and class,
with fivestar facilities and
service.
SOMERSET SERVICED
RESIDENCES
8A Nguyen Binh Khiem, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3822 8899; 21-23
Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q1,
Tel: (08) 3822 9197; 628C Hanoi Highway, An Phu, Q2, Tel:
(08) 6255 9922
somerset.com
Somerset Chancellor Court,
Somerset Ho Chi Minh City
and Somerset Vista Ho Chi
Minh City serviced residences
combine the space and privacy of an apartment with the
services of a top-rated hotel.
They come with separate living and dining areas, as well
as a fully equipped kitchen
where guests can prepare a
meal for themselves, their
family and friends.

SPORTS & FITNESS


CHIARA SQUINZI
Tel: 01278 163620
laholista.com
Experienced health coach
and corporate & school wellness coach. Can help clients
achieve health and weight

TATTOO
ARTISTS
With tattoos becoming
increasingly popular,
over the past few years
there has been an
increase in the number
of tattoo studios around
the city.
Customers have the
choice of picking their
own tattoo out of the
many look books on
offer in the studios or
bringing in their own
design. Most of the
studios offer bodypiercing services as
well. Pricing depends
on size and style.

EXILE INK
608

57 Xuan Thuy, Q2,


Tel: (08) 6675 6956

exileinkvietnam.com
SAIGON BODY
ART

135 Cong Quynh, Q1


Tel: 0908 443311

saigonbodyart.com
SAIGON INK

26 Tran Hung Dao, Q1


Tel: (08) 3836 1090

tattoovietnam.com

SAIGON TATTOO
31B Nguyen Du, Q1

saigontattoo.net

SPIRIT TATTOO

206B Le Van Sy, Phu


Nhuan, Tel: 01204
738939 (Fiona)

facebook.com/
spirittatts

Respected tattoo
and body-piercing
studio specialising in
traditional Japanese,
black and grey,
portraiture, realism,
western traditional,
neo-traditional, dot
work and geometric.

TATTOO SAIGON

128 Nguyen Cu Trinh,


Q1
Tel: 0938 303838

tattoosaigon.com

goals through an innovative


holistic approach of food,
body and mind. Email chiara@laholista.com for info.

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

240 Ba Thang Hai, Q10


Tel: (08) 3862 2425

cinebox.vn

LOTTE CINEMA

13th Floor, Diamond


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

lottecinemavn.com

GALAXY CINEMA

230 Nguyen Trai, Q1


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

galaxycine.vn
IDECAF

31 Thai Van Lung, Q1


Tel: (08) 3829 5451

idecaf.gov.vn

The Landmark, 5B Ton Duc


Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
2098 ext. 176
thelandmarkvietnam.com
In addition to the squash
court, facilities include a
fullyequipped gym room, a
rooftop swimming pool and
separate male and female
saunas.

BODY AND MIND


BOXING / FITNESS
49A Xa Lo Ha Noi, Q2, Tel: 0947
771326
cyril-and-you.com
This sports centre in An
Phu, started by fitness guru
Cyril, features the same
personalised mentorship
Cyril's clients love. Includes
yoga, boxing and fitness for
kids and adults every day.
No membership fees. Pay
for classes. Tuesday to Friday every week at 5pm. All
activities are safe and run
by Cyril himself.

VERTICAL ACADEMY
CLIMBING GYM

Truc Duong, Q2, Tel: 0966


920612
facebook.com/vertical.academy.vn
A bouldering gym and pro
climbing wall replete with
a showroom and caf offers
something that this area has
never experienced before, a
place to climb. Has a number
of climbing sections, runs
training courses and also
sells daily climbing passes
for VND150,000 (for a 10-visit
pass pay VND1 million).

VETERINARY CLINICS
ANIMAL DOCTORS
INTERNATIONAL
1 Tran Ngoc Dien, Thao Dien,
Q2. (08) 6260 3980
animaldoctors.vn
Offers the very highest levels
of compassionate, competent and professional veterinary medicine and surgery
to all pets in Ho Chi Minh
City with international veterinary surgeons. Upholding
international standards, the
team works tirelessly to help
clients with the support of a
dedicated surgical suite, digital X-Ray and comprehensive
diagnostic facilities.

VIETNAMESE CLASSES

SPORTS GARMENTS

SCORE-TECH
1870/3G An Phu Dong 3, Q12, Tel:
(08) 3719 9588
score-tech.net
Apparel company offering personalised sport
garments for companies,
schools and professional
sports clubs using the latest
printing technology with a
design team from Barcelona. Score-Tech controls the
whole production process
from fabric production and
printing to sewing. Big and
small orders for all sporting
and commercial needs.

VIETNAMESE
LANGUAGE GARDEN
135/10 Nguyen Cuu Van, Binh
Thanh, Tel: 0916 670 771
vietnameselanguagegarden.
com

NUTRIFORT (NTFQ2)
GENERAL FITNESS

CINEBOX

THE LANDMARK CLUB


GYM, POOL, SQUASH

34 Nguyen Dang Giai, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3744 6672
nutrifort.com
A well-appointed gym also
offering fitness classes and
personal training with excellent facilities. Group classes
include power yoga, pilates,
circuit training, martial arts
and spinning. Also has a
restaurant serving calorie
calibrated meals.

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

SAIGON HASH
HOUSE HARRIERS
saigonhash.com
Sunday 2pm sharp, Caravelle hotel. Bus out to the
county with a walk, usually
4km and a run around 8km.
VND150,000 for locals and
VND220,000 for expats. Bus,
water, snacks and freeflow
beer after the run.
SHERATON FITNESS
HEALTH CLUB & GYM

Level 5, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2828
sheratonsaigon.com
SOFITEL PLAZA
FITNESS CENTRE
HEALTH CLUB & GYM

CGV CINEMAS

Level 5, Crescent Mall,


Nguyen Van Linh, Phu
My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08)
5412 2222; Level 10, CT
Plaza, 60A Truong Son,
Tan Binh, Tel: (08) 6297
1981; Level 2, Thao Dien
Mall, 12 Quoc Huong,
Q2, Tel: (08) 3519 3000;
Level 5, SC VivoCity,
1058 Nguyen Van Linh,
Q7, Tel: (08) 3775 0555;
Level 7, Hung Vuong
Plaza, 126 Hung Vuong,
Q5, Tel: (08) 2222 0388

cgv.vn

17 Le Duan, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 1555
A small but well-appointed
gym with regular fitness
classes, a steam room and
sauna. Has a small but consistent membership.
STAR FITNESS GYM
HEALTH CLUB & GYM

Manor Apartments, 91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh,


Tel: (08) 3514 0253
Steve Chipman, who had a
hand in establishing gyms
at the Sofitel hotels in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is
behind Star Fitness one of
Vietnams largest and bestequipped gyms.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 177

BAR STOOL
PIU PIU

n the four months since its grand


opening, Piu Piu has arrived in Saigon
with such a splash upon the social
scene, its hard to remember what we
were doing before it found its feet.
Located behind the Opera House on Hai
Ba Trung, this bar has provided a muchneeded departure from rooftop cocktail bars
and chic clubs, a down-to-earth place to
experience local musicians with a billiondong view and decently priced drinks.
What makes Piu Piu stand apart is that
it is not just a bar, but also a community
space; since April the events have ranged
from weeknight networking, language

178 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

practice, comedy nights and spokenword performance, to heavy sweat


hip-hop shows and drum n bass in the
soundproofed, second-floor fridge stage.
This means that anyone can come
and find something they love at Piu Piu,
because not every night consists solely of
drink and dance, though you can guarantee
that most weekend nights will end that
way. Each of the bars three floors offer
a different style of music and relaxation;
the first floor is for live music, the second
floor for insane dancing, and the third floor
disco, soul, and good conversations over
delicious drinks.

A Beautiful Friendship
Thibault Guincet and Lee Lam have been
friends for the past 15 years and dreamt
of running their own space together for
the past 10 years; now they get to live
out that dream in Saigon. Their passion
lies in creating a space where anyone can
feel comfortable partying, and helping to
develop the local musical talents garner a
following and a regular venue.
Weve been approached by artists we
host to create a Piu Piu mixtape, says Lee,
and we want to stay involved in helping
to develop the local music scene as much
as possible.

PHOTOS BY MIKE PALUMBO

Piu Piu has partnered with the already


successful My Chicken Run for food and
snacks, with the menu prices starting at
VND20,000 for popcorn and VND45,000
for fries with bigger menu items such as
meals and burgers costing VND200,000.
Though Piu Piu doesnt yet have table
service, they are renovating their first-floor
space to include an open kitchen/dinerstyle area for people to come and fulfil
their late night food cravings in between
DJ sets and socialising.
Thibault, who has had past experience
as a Parisian cocktail specialist, is the brains
behind the drinks that get the crowd going on

a Saturday night. One current favourite of my


own is the Ginger Margarita (VND130,000)
served up in a martini glass with a sprinkle of
pepper to complement the fruity passionfruit.
There are hints of some more complex
flavours to the drink, the tequila dominates
the palate while the elderflower and
lemongrass tickle the taste buds.
One of the new additions to the menu is
the Bourbeezy (VND150,000), Thibaults take
on a traditional southern mint julep, served
up ice-cold in a copper mug, and adorned
with mint and lime. Even with the slightly
silly name, this drink goes down deliciously
on a steamy Saigon day. Containing

homemade saffron syrup, almond liquor


and bourbon, this was just what I needed to
quench my thirst on a Friday afternoon.
With such a packed social calendar and
the amount of developments going on, its
hard to imagine what else the Piu Piu team
are dreaming up next, however there are
many plans on the horizon for the venue.
Lee and Thibault can envision a Piu Piu
Out festival one day, and even dream of
opening more locations beyond Saigon.
Sin Kavanagh
Piu Piu is at 97 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, HCMC.
For more information click on facebook.com/
piupiusaigon

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 179

HCMC
On The Town

BARS & CLUBS


2 LAM SON
(MARTINI BAR)
TOP-END INTERNATIONAL

Park Hyatt, 2 Lam Son, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3824 1234
saigon.park.hyatt.com
International dcor blends
seamlessly with local
themes. Style joins forces
with a wide-ranging drink
menu and hip dance tunes
to create one of the most
tasteful if pricier bars in
Saigon.
ACOUSTIC BAR
LIVE MUSIC

6E Ngo Thoi Nhiem, Q3, Tel:


(08) 3930 2239
Though only 1km from the
city centre, Acoustic is well
off most foreigners radars.
Come see the Vietnamese
house band play nightly, as
well as performances from
overseas bands and guest
artists.
APOCALYPSE NOW
DANCE / NIGHTCLUB

2B-C-D Thi Sach, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 6124
apocalypsesaigon.com
An institution and the kind of
place you end up drunk after
midnight. Famed for its notso-salubrious clientele, this
two-floor establishment with
DJs and occasional live music
is also famed for its hotdogs,
which are served up in the
garden terrace out back.
BIA CRAFT
CRAFT BEER BAR

90 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: (08)


3744 2588
biacraft.com
As craft beer continues to
take over watering holes
around Ho Chi Minh City, so
a bar dedicated to all things
craft and real ale seems
like a pretty sensible idea,
right? Well, it is. Only small,
but with wooden tables perfect for sharing, both on tap
and by the bottle, Bia Craft
sells up a delectable range of
the good stuff. Looking for Tiger? Go take a hike. Also has
a decent food menu.
BLANCHYS TASH
RESTOBAR / NIGHTCLUB

95 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: 0909


028293
blanchystash.com
A multi-storey bar with dcor
and atmosphere more akin
to such an establishment in
New York or London. Has a
reputation for bringing in
big-name DJs. And when we
say big, we mean big. Check
their website for details.
BREAD & BUTTER
INTERNATIONAL / COMFORT FOOD

40/24 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3836 8452
With a free book exchange,

180 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

and tasty Sunday night


roasts, the tiny Bread &
Butter is a perfect place for
homesick expats and beer
enthusiasts (excellent HueBrewed Huda beer served
here exclusively in Ho Chi
Minh City).
BROMA, NOT A BAR
COCKTAILS / ROOFTOP

41 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 6838
Bromas medieval rooftopcocktail lounge conglomeration is a magnet for the citys
weirdest and coolest events/
random moments. A sophisticated cocktail menu and
quite possibly the best lamb
burger in town. Check out
their bun bo Hue-inspired
cocktail.

EON HELI BAR


LOUNGE BAR

Level 52, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai


Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750
eon51.com
Breathtaking views require a
vantage point and EON Heli
Bar is by far the highest spot
in Saigon for a spectacular
cityscape, appealing drinks
and a vibrant ambience.
Night live music and DJs.
GAME ON

3823 3122
lastcallsaigon.com
If youre in need of dense,
soulful atmosphere and
maybe an artisanal cocktail
on your way back from wherever, Last Call is your stop
and fast becoming that of
the similarly inclined. Great
happy hour deals for early
evening starters.
LE PUB
INTERNATIONAL / RESTOBAR

115 Ho Tung Mau, Q1 Tel: (08)


6251 9898
gameonsaigon.com
A fresh feel thanks to the
large space and light-wood
tables makes this Australian-influenced watering hole
a popular bar for televised
sports, pub food, darts, pool
and more.

175/22 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3837 7679
Warm colors, artsy dcor and
a friendly ambiance combine
to create a perfect setting for
enjoying tasty international
and Vietnamese cuisine.
Gets busy at weekends with
a clientele made up of hip,
young Vietnamese and the
occasional foreigner.

HOA VIEN

LONG PHI

SPORTS BAR

DELIVERY
BEN STYLE

Tel: 0906 912730

www.
vietnammm.com/
restaurants-ben-style
CHEZ GUIDO

Tel: (08) 3898 3747

www.chezguido.com

BUDDHA BAR
RESTOBAR

7 Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


3345 6345
Buddhabarsaigon.com
Just across the lane from
McSorleys, this pub with an
eccentric European tilt and
some nice, authentic cuisine
draws an older crowd with
darts, pool and weekly poker
tourneys.
CHAMPION SPORTS BAR
SPORTS BAR

45-47 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3920 4202
A recent addition to the
sports-and-watering-hole
drinking scene, Champion
is located in the Backpackers area and shows all the
major televised sports. Also
has a pool table, darts, tasty
Western and Vietnamese
food, great cocktails and ice
cold beer. Western managed,
wonderful local staff. #BeAChampion.

CZECH BREWHOUSE

28 Mac Dinh Chi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 8605
hoavien.vn
The original microbrewery,
this large, wooden-panelled, brass-kegged Czech
Brewhouse is as popular as
it was 15 years ago when
it was first opened. Does a
great food menu to accompany the home-brewed beer.

TOP-END BAR & TERRACE

Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372
chillsaigon.com
For the spectacular views
alone, Chill Skybar remains
the place to go to mix topend, outdoor terrace drinking
around an oval-shaped bar
with cityscapes of Saigon.
One of the top watering
holes in the city.

ICE BLUE
EXPAT BAR

24 Hai Ba Trung, Q1
One of this citys longest running watering holes and
the original home of the
darts league has recently
reopened in its new premises. Naturally, darts are still
key here, with each of the
bottom three floors having
elements devoted to this
most pub-friendly of sports.

CUBAN / MUSIC BAR

6 Cao Ba Quat, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 5180
lahabana-saigon.com
Cuban-themed bar and restaurant selling an exciting
range of Spanish and Cuban
cuisine, as well as a few German favourites such as curry
wurst and Wiener schnitzel.
Nightly live music and regular salsa classes.

SPORTS BAR

55, Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


3744 5453
What does the Thao Dien
area of Saigon seriously lack?
A sports bar. And this is the
Al Fresco Groups answer to a
distinct shortage hole in the
market. Sleek lines, modern
dcor, elegant and spacious,
dartboards and of course,
lots of large screens to watch
the televised sports. Check
out their daily food specials.

GAMES & CRAFT BEER BAR

46-48 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1


Malt is a non-smoking bar
in downtown Saigon offering shuffleboard, darts, craft
beers on tap, signature cocktails and delicious tapas and
pub grub. Its unpretentious
vibe and casual atmosphere
will have you feeling at
home.
MAY RESTAURANT
& BAR
LOUNGE BAR & RESTOBAR

19-21 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


6291 3686
mayrestaurant.com.vn
An international comfortfood menu mixes with
excellent cocktails and an
extensive winelist at this
attractive, international bar
and restaurant. Dine at the
bar or upstairs in the restaurant space.

DOMINOS PIZZA
Tel: (08) 3939 3030

www.dominos.vn
EAT.VN
www.eat.vn

HUNGRYPANDA.
VN

www.hungrypanda.vn
KFC

Tel: (08) 3848 9999

www.kfcvietnam.
com.vn

LOTTERIA

Tel: (08) 3910 0000


www.lotteria.vn

PIZZA HUT (PHD)


Tel: (08) 3838 8388

www.pizzahut.vn
SCOOZI

Tel: (08) 3823 5795


www.scoozipizza.com

TACO BICH
www.tacobich.com

NUMBER FIVE
LA FENETRE SOLEIL

D2

207 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 2704
French-run but universally
appealing, Long Phi has been
serving the backpacker area
with excellent cuisine and
occasional live music since
1990. Excellent late-night
bistro cuisine.
MALT

LA HABANA
CHILL SKYBAR

FRENCH / RESTOBAR

FRENCH / JAPANESE RESTOBAR

44 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 5994
A seductive watering whole
in a great corner location
thanks to its old Saigon
glamour, Japanese-Vietnamese fusion cuisine, imported
beer, classic cocktails, and
entertaining music events
/ DJ sets.
LAST CALL
AFTERHOURS LOUNGE

59 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)

EXPAT BAR

44 Pasteur, Q1
The original expat bar, this
institution of a place gets
packed every night thanks to
its drinking hall atmosphere,
attractive bar staff and German food menu. Has regular
live music.
OMG!
FUSION CUISINE / LOUNGE BAR

Top Floor, 15-17-19 Nguyen


An Ninh, Q1
A contemporary and attractive rooftop restaurant with

VIETNAMMM
www.vietnammm.com

a lounge bar just 50m from Ben


Thanh Market. Features a glass
shell modeled in the image of
the Eiffel Tower, a jungle-like atmosphere and views over central
Saigon.
OBRIENS

RUBY SOHO

SEVENTEEN SALOON

CARTOON BAR

THEMED MUSIC BAR

S52-1 Sky Garden 2, Q7, Tel: (08)


5410 3900
A Phu My Hung mainstay thanks
to its cartoon dcor and light but
fun ambience. Has a reasonable
food menu to complement the
drinks.

103A Pham Ngu Lao, Q1, Tel: (08)


3914 0007
seventeensaloon.com.vn
Wild West-themed bar doubles
as a music venue, where three
talented Filipino bands (B&U,
Wild West and Most Wanted)
play covers of rock icons like Bon
Jovi, U2 and Guns n Roses. Top
shelf spirits and friendly, hostess
style table service are the name
game here.

IRISH BAR / INTERNATIONAL

74/A3 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 3198
irish-barsaigon.com
This Irish-themed sports bar with
classic pub dcor is widely appreciated for its excellent international fare, large whiskey selection
and upstairs pool table. Great pizzas. And for a real treat, check out
their zesty rolls.
ONTOP BAR
Novotel Saigon, 167 Hai Ba Trung,
Q3, Tel: (08) 3822 4866
Located on the 20th floor with
stunning views of the city, houses
an upscale, contemporary interior
and an outdoor terrace. A good
venue to chill out in a relaxed and
casual, yet hip ambience.
PEACHES
CURRY PUB

S57-1 Sky Garden 2, Phu My Hung,


Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 0999
Known as the Curry Pub, this
pleasant Saigon South watering hole mixes the beer with all
things curry anything from Goan
fish curries to beef rendangs and
more. A popular local haunt.
PHATTYS
AUSTRALIAN / SPORTS

46-48 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel: (08)


3821 0796
phattysbar.com
From its roots as the famed Caf
Latin, Phattys has become the goto, Aussie beer-guzzling / sports
viewing emporium, showing everything from international cricket
to Aussie rules and serving an array of pub grub favourites.

SAIGON SOUL POOL PARTY


POOL & DAY CLUB

New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le


Lai, Q1
saigonsoul.com
The ultimate in poolside entertainment, Saigon Soul is defined by
its great party atmosphere. Booming house music, cold drinks and
beautiful people. What better way
to spend a Saturday? Runs every
Saturday from late November until
mid May.
SAIGON OUTCAST
EVENTS / MAKESHIFT CAF BAR

188/1 Nguyen Van Huong, Q2, Tel:


0122 4283198
Saigonoutcast.com
Up-cycling and innovative design
form the foundation for this bar /
arts venue / mini-skate park and
graffiti space. Come for barbeque
and reasonably priced drinks, stick
around for entertaining events and
markets.
SAIGON RANGER

VESPER GOURMET LOUNGE


INTERNATIONAL

Landmark Building, 5B Ton Duc Thang, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3822 9698
facebook.com/vespersaigon
A sophisticated yet down-to-earth cocktail
bar and restaurant with subtle lighting and
one of the best spirit selections in town.
Serves creative, Japanese and German-influenced cuisine to supplement the drinks.

STORM P
DANISH / INTERNATIONAL

5B Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827


4738
Stormp.vn
Named after the Danish artist
Storm P, this long-running bar is
the home of Saigons Scandinavian
community thanks to its laid-back
atmosphere and excellent food
menu. A good place to watch the
live sports.

VINYL BAR
MUSIC & SPORTS BAR

70 Pasteur, Q1 Tel: 0907 890623


vinylbarsaigon.com
A small but popular bar with all the shenanigans of the nightlife scene set to a backdrop
of classic 60s, 70s and 80s tunes. Has a darts
area out back and is a popular space for
watching the live English Premier League.
WINE BAR 38

THE CUBE BAR


HIP RESTOBAR

31B Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0903


369798
facebook.com/thecubesaigon
A sleek, industrial looking restobar
with edgy dcor and just a hint
of Spanish style. Tapas, sangria,
Iberian-influenced cocktails and
an emphasis on all things Latin.

CONTEMPORARY WINE BAR

38 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829 3968


With a huge selection of self-imported wines
from Bordeaux, this classy but contemporary
venue is a wine bar downstairs, and a lounge
on the first floor. Has a French-Asian menu
paired to all the wines, with a huge selection
of the good stuff sold by the glass.
XU
CAF / LOUNGE BAR

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

5/7 Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08)


7300 0559
facebook.com/saigonranger
Aspiring to be a focal point for
artistic activities, the space at
Saigon Ranger has been established to create encounter and
dialogue between different forms
of art. Boasts concrete floors, dark
wooden furniture, quirky wall designs and a stage for live music
and other types of performance.

music nights, theme nights and a variety of


live sports events to please everybody. Big
screens and outdoor seating add to the mix,
with BBQs available for parties and events.

THE OBSERVATORY
BAR, ART & DJ SPACE

71-75 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3824 8468


xusaigon.com

5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Q4, (Opposite


Elisa Boat)
Known for its late night parties
and focus on international artists, Observatory is now at a bigger
space in District 4. Complete with
a new balcony overlooking the
Saigon River and an even larger
sound system, The Observatory is
a key node in the Asian underground music circuit.

SAIGON SAIGON BAR


LIVE MUSIC / ROOFTOP BAR

PITCHERS SPORTS AND GRILL


SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT

C0.01 Riverside Residence C,


Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel: (08)
6274 1520
facebook.com/PitchersPMH
Located in the heart of Phu My
Hung, this spacious restobar with
an affection for showing televised
sports has a family friendly edge
thanks to its kids play area. Does a
great grill menu and of course, lots
of very cold beer for those developing a thirst in the Saigon heat.
QUI LOUNGE
INTERNATIONAL BAR & LOUNGE

22 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08) 3828


8828
quilounge.com
A recently opened, stylish top-end
bar with a house DJ that is the
plaything of Saigons jetset and
anyone who is prepared to pay
for atmosphere and one of the
most hedonistic venues in town.
Has an excellent food menu and
a tasty brunch.

9th Floor, Caravelle Saigon, 1923 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel: (08)
3823 4999
caravellehotel.com
This iconic bar is a great place to
watch the sun go down over the
city and relax for a few drinks with
friends. Has live entertainment six
nights a week courtesy of resident
Cuban band, Qvans, from 9pm
Wednesday to Monday.
SHRINE BAR
LOUNGE BAR

61 Ton Thap Thiep, Q1


shrinebarsaigon.com
Shrine creates a drinking and dining experience in a temple-like
atmosphere. Inspired by Bantay
Srei, a temple from the ancient
Angkor kingdom, the walls are
covered in statues depicting
ancient Khmer gods and kings.
With ambient lighting and town
tempo music, here its all about
good cocktails and an even better
atmosphere.

THE SOCIETY
GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR
99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08) 3914 3999
facebook.com/TheSocietyHCM
Designed as a Laneway-style
restobar, the kind of place found
in Hong Kong, London, New York
or Central Melbourne, thanks to
its indoor and outdoor ambience,
The Society brings dining and
drinking to a new level. Phenomenal cocktails, steaks, grilled fare
and seafood make this a place to
go for drinks, a full-blown meal or
a mixture of both.

THE TAVERN
EXPAT & SPORTS BAR

R2-24 Hung Gia 3, Bui Bang Doan,


Q7, Tel: (08) 5410 3900
The first bar established in Saigon
South, great food, great music and
loads of laughs. Has regular live

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 181

COFFEE CUP
UT LANH

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PALUMBO

idden in an alley off the sleepless


backpacker area, Ut Lanh stands
out with its peaceful and vintage
look. Even the signboard is
reminiscent of an old advertisement in
Saigon newspapers of the 1970s.
Ut Lanh is small. The space consists of
a 20-square-metre ground floor and a tiny
mezzanine, furnished with ageless tables,
chairs and a cupboard a typical southern
wooden flat. Small details including
floral plastic tablecloths, vases made from
tin cans, framed posters, old-fashioned
electric fans, an old cassette player which
the background music is played through,
an old box-style TV and floor tiles, which
were selectively collected and arranged.

182 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Everything is designed to bring the feel of


old Saigon alive.

Remembering Childhood
I grew up enjoying tiny packs of pickled
fruits, finger-shaped tubes of candies,
pocket-sized boxes of dried beef and other
favourite snacks. And now I can find them at
Ut Lanh. I bought three packs of xi muoi hoa
mai (sweet and sour candies) for VND10,000
and slowly enjoyed them.
Dont come here if you are looking for
modern drinks like you would get at Phuc
Long or Starbucks. What you can find here are
traditional Saigonese coffee and drinks. You can
go for either an iced black coffee without sugar
or a beautifully green pandan juice with milk.

Or a salt-pickled lime is also a good choice.


Whats special about this place is that all
of the traditional drinks are homemade, and
priced from VND35,000. And if youre in the
mood for a beer, they also serve green and
red Saigon beer for VND30,000 a bottle.
The charm of Ut Lanh doesnt lie only in
the decoration, snacks and drinks, but also in
the way they take care of their clients, with a
10 percent discount for any take-away. They
also pay your VND5,000 bike parking fee.
But perhaps Ut Lanh's greatest service is
the ability to enjoy the slow life when you
stow your phone out of sight while at the
cafe. Vu Ha Kim Vy
Ut Lanh is at 283/37 Pham Ngu Lao, Q1,
HCMC

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 183

HCMC
On The Town

This iconic upmarket downtown bar is known for its


cocktails and wine list. It
serves a range of international and Vietnamese dishes to be enjoyed in its richly
decorated interior. Regular
DJ nights.

CAFES & ICE-CREAM


(A) CAFE
15 Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da
Kao, Q1, Tel: 0903 199701
Settle into the Javanesestyle interior and enjoy possibly one of the best brews
in Saigon. Using own grown
and specially sourced Dalat
beans, speciality coffee such
as cold drip, siphon, and
Chemex are must haves for
the avid coffee drinker.
AGNES CAFE
DALAT COFFEE HOUSE

11A-B Thao Dien, Q2, Tel: (08)


6281 9772
A cozy and comfortable cafe
in Thao Dien serving excellent fresh coffee from Dalat,
smoothies, juices, homemade desserts. Offers up
tasty breakfasts, lunch and
dinner all the way through
until 9pm.
BANKSY CAFE
1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam, Q1,
Tel: 01699 990003
sam.nguyen197@gmail.com
A small but swanky cafe,
Banksy promises a young
and vibrant hideout in an
old 1960s-era apartment
building. Remember to head
up the steep stairs within to
dig into their secret stash of
clothes and accessories.
CAFE THOAI VIEN
159A Nguyen Van Thu, Q1,
Tel: 0918 115657
cafethoaivien.com
Veer off the street and find
yourself plunging straight
into lush greenery. Cafe
Thoai Vien serves up a
spacious and airy setting
to enjoy a quiet sip. From
small eats to big bites and
everything to drink, its a

184 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

great place to unwind from


all that buzz.
COFFEE BEAN &
TEA LEAF
INTERNATIONAL

157-159 Nguyen Thai Hoc,


Q1; Metropolitan Building,
235 Dong Khoi, Q1
coffeebean.com.vn
Large portioned coffee lures
customers into the flagship
store of this international
caf chain. The contemporary, yet generic atmosphere
is bolstered by comfortable
seating and a menu to satisfy any sweet tooth.
DECIBEL
INTERNATIONAL

79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Q1, Tel:


(08) 6271 0115
Decibel.vn
Trendy without pretense,
this two-floor, relaxed caf
offers beautiful decor and
unique original events like
live music, film screenings,
and art exhibits. Great prices
and food with daily specials.
GUANABANA SMOOTHIES

34D Thu Khoa Huan, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 2910
Idcafe.net
Centrally located near Ben
Thanh Market, i.d offers casual caf dining with a wide
variety of food and beverages. Where modern design
and a warm ambience meet
for coffee.
KLASIK COFFEE
ROASTERS

PLANTRIP CHA

CAFE AND ON-SITE ROASTING

TEA ROOM

40 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


6685 4160
klasik.coffee
Nitro cold brew coffee, single origin coffee and healthy
food. Klasik Coffee Roasters
is a small coffee shop with
a passion for seeking high
quality coffee beans from
around the world to roast
in Saigon. Holding the belief
that each cup tells its own
story, drinking coffee at
Klasik is all about pleasure
and experience: the aroma,
the taste, the warmth and
the senses inspired by each
and every cup. Open daily
from 7am to 10pm.

CONTEMPORARY JUICE BAR

LUSINE

23 Ly Tu Trong, Q1 Tel: 0909


824830
guanabanasmoothies.com
An American-style juice
bar and caf dedicated
to healthy, nutricious
smoothies that avoid the local obsession with sugar and
condensed milk. A pleasant,
contemporary environment
adds to the theme.

CONTEMPORARY / FRENCH

HIDEAWAY

First Floor, 151 Dong Khoi, Q1,


Tel: (08) 6674 9565; 70B Le
Loi, Q1, Tel: (08) 3521 0703
lusinespace.com
French-style wooden decor
compliments the spacious,
whitewashed contemporary
interior of LUsine. A simple,
creative menu combines
with reasonably priced coffee, and a fashion store and
art gallery out back. Second
location on Le Loi.

INTERNATIONAL

41/1 Pham Ngoc Thach, Q3,


Tel: (08) 3822 4222
Hideawaycafe-saigon.com
Hidden in a colonial building
with an outdoor courtyard,
the ample soft, sofa seating renders a great spot to
relax. The mouth-watering
western menu is well-priced
and maintains a creative flair.
I.D. CAF
CONTEMPORARY CAFE

MOCKINGBIRD CAFE
4th Floor, 14 Ton That Dam,
Q1, Tel: 0935 293400
facebook.com/mockingbirdcoffee
Sitting atop of a number of
cafe establishments in an old
apartment complex, Mockingbird is just the place for
a romantic time over mojitos,
or good ol caffeine-infused
relaxation.

M2C CAFE
44B Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 2495
facebook.com/m2ccafe
At M2C (Modern Meets
Culture), everything gets a
touch of modernity. From
the rich menu of Vietnamese food and drinks, shows
immense local culture, done
with a modern flare. Be seen
here at one of the latest popular joint in town.

8A/10B1 Thai Van Lung, Q1


Tel: 0945 830905
Tea, tea and more tea, all in
a contemporary, quirky environment. At Plantrip Cha
customers go on a sensory
journey to experience the
tastes and smells of teas
from across Asia, Europe,
America and the Middle East.
THE LOOP
HEALTHY CAF FARE / BAGELS

in this candy-land inspired


cafe.
THE PRINT ROOM
CONTEMPORARY CAFE

158 Pasteur, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 4990
Second-storey coffeehouse
offers a quiet atmosphere to
chill out or read from their
book-nook collection. Comfortable couch seating, open
table space and a cappuccino costs VND40,000.
THINGS CAFE
1st Floor, 14 Ton That Dam,
Q1, Tel: (08) 6678 6205
facebook.com/thingscafe
Feel the calm and serenity
of this rustic little quiet corner tucked away in an Old
Apartment. The quaint and
relaxing atmosphere sets for
some alone time, or quality
conversations held over a
drink or two.

49 Thao Dien, Q2 Tel. (08)


3602 6385
Low-key yet nice-on-the-eye
dcor helps create the cafstyle atmosphere at this European-influenced caf and
restaurant. Sells excellent
coffee and if you like bagels,
here youll be in heaven.

3T QUAN NUONG

THE MORNING CAFE


2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Q1, Tel:
0938 383330
themorningcafe.com.vn
Have a book to read? Pick
a bright spot by the window and get snuggly with
the comfy upholstery in
this second-floor cafe. With
a cup of well-brewed coffee, accompanied by some
background jazz, it is an
afternoon well-spent.

27 GRILL

THE OTHER
PERSON CAFE
2nd Floor, 14 Ton That Dam,
Q1, Tel: 0909 670272
facebook.com/TheOtherPersonCafe
Fancy being served up by
maids in costume? Call for
a booking and enjoyed customized service to your liking
while spending an afternoon

EAT

VIETNAMESE BBQ

Top Floor, 29 Ton That Thiep,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 1631
The original, on-the-table
barbecue restaurant still
goes strong thanks to its
rooftop atmosphere, excellent service and even better
fish, seafood and meats. An
institution.

GRILL-STYLE RESTAURANT

Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 2372
chillsaigon.com
Besides the spectacular
views, the cuisine at 27 Grill
is a real draw, with steaks
and other international grillstyle fare in a refined yet contemporary atmosphere. Subtle lighting and an extensive
wine list make up the mix.
AL FRESCOS
INTERNATIONAL

27 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


38238424
alfrescosgroup.com

The downtown outlet of one


of Vietnams most successful
restaurant chains, Al Frescos
offers international, Australian-influenced comfort
fare in a pleasant environment with efficient, friendly
service to match. Also has
an excellent garden-style
branch at 89 Xuan Thuy, Q2.

BABAS KITCHEN
NORTH / SOUTH INDIAN

164 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3838 6661
babaskitchen.in
This pleasant, airy Indian
does the full range of fare
from all ends of the subcontinent, from dosas and vadas through to chicken tikka
masala, kormas, kebabs and
fiery vindaloos. Has a delivery outlet in District 2.

AU LAC DO BRAZIL

BLACK CAT

BRAZILIAN CHURRASCO
238 Pasteur, Q3, Tel: (08) 3820
7157
aulacdobrazil.com
Au Lac Do Brazil is home to
the city's best Churrasco
menu with a wide variety of
meats from Calabrian sausage and picanha through
to D-rump steak and smoked
hams. Pioneering the eat-asmuch-as-you-can theme in
Vietnam, passadors bring
the meat skewers to your
table, and you, the customer
then choose your accompaniments from the salad bar.
Best washed down with red
wine or a caipirinha or five.

AMERICAN

AU PARC
EUROPEAN / CAF

23 Han Thuyen, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 2772
auparcsaigon.com
Consistently tasty European
caf fare think deli-style
sandwiches, salads and
mezzes, plus coffees and
juices served at a popular park-side Le Duan location with classic cream and
green-tiled dcor.
ASHOKA
NORTH INDIAN / CHINESE INDIAN

17/10 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3823 1372; 33 Tong Huu
Dinh, Q2, Tel : (08) 3744 4177
ashokaindianrestaurant.com
Long-running, award-winning
Indian restaurant famed for
its excellent kebabs, creamy
curries and Chinese-Indian
fare.

13 Phan Van Dat, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 2055
blackcatsaigon.com
Creatively named burgers,
tasty Vietnamese-styled
sandwiches, spiced up
cocktails, mains and more,
all served up with a Californian edge at this small but
popular two-storey eatery
close to the river.
BLANCHY STREET
JAPANESE / SOUTH AMERICAN

The Courtyard, 74/3 Hai Ba


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

40 Lily Road, An Phu Superior


Compound, Thao Dien, Q2,
Tel: (08) 3744 6790
A revamp has seen this riverside restaurant get a new
management and a new
menu think American-style
burgers, sliders and Tex-Mex
together with soup and salad
and youll get the idea. Excellent nachos and frozen
margaritas.

boomarang.com.vn
Australian themed but Singaporean-owned eatery and
bar on The Crescent with
great terraced seating specializing in huge-portioned
international fare, all set in
a contemporary, spacious
environment.
CAF IF
VIETNAMESE FRENCH

38 Dang Dung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3846 9853
MSG-free traditional Vietnamese cuisine with a
French twist, cooked fresh to
order. Dishes include noodle
soup, steamed ravioli and
beef stew, stir fries, hot pots
and curries.
CHIS CAF
INTERNATIONAL / VIETNAMESE

40/31 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 2502
Chiscafe.com
This affable caf is a rarity in
the backpacker area for its
genuinely good musical playlist. Excellent, build-your-own
breakfasts, baked potatoes,
toasties, Vietnamese fare and
more. Has a popular motorbike rental service.
CHRIS FOOD ONLINE
TRADITIONAL FRENCH / DESSERTS

Tel: 0909 365525 (English) /


0909 320717 (French)
chrisfoodonline.blogspot.
com or facebook.com/muasaleoff2014
Traditional French cuisine and
exotic dishes from the Reunion Island served up in Ho Chi
Minh City and delivered to
your door. All dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients,
nothing is frozen. Options include cheesecake, tiramisu,
lasagna, chicken curries and
muffin. All speciality foods
are cooked to order.
CIAO BELLA
NEW YORK-ITALIAN

BOOMARANG BISTRO
SAIGON
INTERNATIONAL / GRILL

CR2 3-4, 107 Ton Dat Tien,


Phu My Hung, Q7, Tel: (08)
5413 6592

11 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: (08)


3822 3329
saigonrestaurantgroup.com
New York-style Italian restaurant offering a range of tasty
and affordable antipasti, pas-

tas, and pizzas. Friendly staff


and rustic bare brick walls
adorned with Hollywood film
legends make for a relaxed
and attractive setting.
CORIANDER
THAI / VIETNAMESE

16 Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 1311
A small, homely Vietnameseowned Thai restaurant that
over the past decade has
quite rightly gained a strong
local and expat following. Try
their pad thai to die for.
CORSO
STEAKHOUSE / INTERNATIONAL

117 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3829 5368
norfolkhotel.com.vn
Although a hotel restaurant,
the enticing range of US and
Australian steaks plus great
grill and comfort food menu
in this contemporary eatery make for a quality bite.
Decent-sized steaks start at
VND390,000.
ELBOW ROOM
AMERICAN

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

EON51 FINE DINING


TOP-END EUROPEAN / ASIAN

Level 51, Bitexco Tower, 2 Hai


Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08) 6291 8750
eon51.com
Situated on level 51 of the
most iconic building in
town, Eon51 Fine Dining
offers a unique fine dining
experience accompanied by
unparalleled 3600 picturesque views of Saigon. The
sky-high restaurant proffers
the taste of Europe in Asia,
orchestrated from the finest
local foods and top-quality
imported ingredients.
GANESH
PAN-INDIAN

74 A2 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel:


(08) 38229366
padamjivietnam@gmail.com
Located opposite Martini Bar,
this relative newcomer to the
dining scene with its bright
decor serves up mainly North
Indian cuisine with a large
vegetarian selection as well
as South Indian curries, dosa,
vada and uthapam.Meat curries cost from VND100,000 to
VND120,000.
HOA TUC
CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE

The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba


Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3825 1676
Highly rated restaurant with
stunning outdoor terrace.
Specialities include pink
pomelo squid and crab salad, mustard leaf prawn rolls,
fishcake wraps and barbecue
chicken in ginger, onions and
a lime leaf marinade.

ARGENTINIAN STEAKHOUSE

74 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3827 2090; Unit CR1-12, The
Crescent, Phu My Hung, Q7,
Tel: (08) 5413 6909
elgaucho.com.vn
A themed eatery mixing
an Argentinian steakhouse
theme with pork, chicken,
lamb, homemade spicy sausage, skewers, burger dishes and everything that can
come off a grill. Slick service,
a good wine menu, and caramel vodka teasers at the end
of the meal. Probably serves
up the best steak in town.

HOANG YEN
PAN-VIETNAMESE

7 Ngo Duc Ke, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 1101; The Crescent, 103
Ton Dat Tien, Q7, Tel: (08)
2210 2304
If youre looking for midrange, aircon Vietnamese
restaurants that just seem
to do every dish perfectly,
then Hoang Yen really is the
place to go. The atmosphere
may be a bit sterile, but its
amply made up for by the efficient service and excellent
cuisine. Now with a number
of restaurants around town.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 185

TOP EATS
5KU STATION

op-ups are becoming all the rage,


and the particular style of eatery is
likewise popular with the growing
Vietnamese middle class. Combine
the two, and what do you get? 5Ku Station,
a kind of movable feast-maker; a restaurant
that settles into vacant lots, fires up the grill
and dishes out beef and beer to the waiting
masses, though the one at Le Thanh Ton
shows every sign of becoming a permanent
movable restaurant.
5Ku was started almost five years ago
by Thien Dinh, the founder, who had been
involved in several ventures together before
finding this successful formula.

186 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Ive been a fan of the 5Ku for years. Its


great for parties and get-togethers, with
plenty of good eats at a reasonable price, and
a cheerfully loud, even festive atmosphere.
I try to approach it fresh this time, coming
with my fiance and a good friend of ours.
Were seated at one of the low tables, and of
course I bang my knees into it. The restaurant
has a certain booming charm, from the
graffiti art on the walls to the plain but sturdy
furnishings. To me, however, the real charm
lies in the intangibles of the atmosphere;
everyone there is having a good time, and its
noisy from people talking and laughing, not
painfully over-loud music.

Meat and Beer


The first order is obvious bottles of
Saigon beer (VND19,000) all around to
lubricate the process of ordering. We go
through the menu with more care than
usual, aiming to order an aesthetically
balanced supper. 5Ku offers a lot of food,
from simple grilled meat to expansive hotpots. Prices are fair, though bills can mount
if you order like I do.
We start with mango 5Ku salad
(VND99,000) we are warned that its
perhaps not to Western tastes, but proceed
anyway. I love it the mango is just
balanced on tart and sweet, and the mix of

PHOTOS BY BAO ZOAN

greens and meats that comes with it is a nice


balance.
Next up is slices of ostrich meat
(VDN125,000), grilled at the table. The
ostrich is lean and tender, reminiscent
of beef in its taste. Along with the
ostrich comes shrimp roasted with salt
(VND169,000) which are a mess to peel but
excellent after a dip in lime juice, salt and
pepper.
We finish the order with a rousing dish of
frog sapo stewed (VND169,000), served in
a spicy, tangy sauce. Normally, I dont like
frog it often combines the worst parts of
fish and chicken but 5Ku does it well. The

meat is tender, and the sauce complements


the flavour very well.
Service is catch-as-catch-can, and
given how busy the place always is, its
understandable. But be prepared to shout
Em oi! any time you want to order more
food or another beer. That said, the service
is speedy, and the waiters are willing to help
hapless grillers cook their food.

Younger, Hipper BBQ


5Ku is the younger, hipper version of the
standard Vietnamese BBQ place, with a
few touches and a location that makes it
more popular with Westerners. Its actually

a decent place to meet other expats and


tourists alike Ive met an Australian
rugby team, a lovely Japanese couple, and a
Turkish family.
If youre the social type, that diversity
alone makes it worthwhile to visit. For
foodies like me, the food is the thing.
Vietnamese BBQ is fun and tasty, though
theres one drawback Ive yet to mention.
Whether youre at 5Ku or any other place,
youll go home saturated with the scent
of charcoal and cooking pork. Owen
Salisbury
5Ku is located at 27 Le Thanh Ton, Q1,
HCMC and is open from 4pm to late

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 187

HCMC
On The Town

HOGS BREATH CAF

LOLIVIER

LU BU

MEKONG MERCHANT

AUSTRALIAN / INTERNATIONAL

FRENCH/MEDITERRANEAN

CONTEMPORARY MEDITERRANEAN

INTERNATIONAL CAFE FARE /


SEAFOOD

Ground Floor, Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3915 6066
hogsbreathcafe.com.vn
Mixing hearty pub grub such
as burgers, salads and prime
rib steaks with a sports bar
atmosphere, this Australian
chain also offers regular
promotions and a 4pm to
7pm happy hour. Excellent
outdoor terrace.
INAHO
SUSHI / SASHIMI

4 Chu Manh Trinh, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3829 0326
A sushi bar needs a good
chef, and the chef-owner of
Inaho is one of the best. Sit
downstairs at the low-key
bar or upstairs in the private
VIP rooms. Either way, this
is one of the best sushi and
sashimi joints in town.

Sofitel Saigon Plaza, 17 Le


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

48 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel: (08)


2229 8882
lacuisine.com.vn
This intimate, open-kitchened restaurant bathed in
white specialises in a mix
of contemporary Mediterranean and French cuisine.
Has a small but well thought
out menu, backed up with
an extensive wine list.

JASPAS WINE & GRILL


INTERNATIONAL FUSION

The Square, 74/7 Hai Ba


Trung, Q1, Tel: (08) 3827 0931
Alfrescosgroup.com
Although a chain restaurant,
the international offerings
here are consistently good
and creative. Excellent service, an attractive outdoor
terrace area, and a good
kids menu. Check out their
pepper steaks.
KABIN
CANTONESE

Renaissance Riverside Hotel,


815 Ton Duc Thang. Q1, Tel:
(08) 3822 0033
marriott.com
Offers authentic, gourmet
Cantonese cuisine in an elegant, classic setting, with
striking dcor and the bonus of views over the Saigon River. Dishes range from
VND80,000 to VND900,000.
KOH THAI
CONTEMPORARY THAI FUSION

Level 1, Kumho Link, 39 Le


Duan, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 4423
Modern Thai fusion restaurant serving Thai classics
alongside tom yam cappuccinos and more. Koh Thais
creative cocktails merge Thai
flavours with local seasonal
fruits and herbs.
KOTO TRAINING
RESTAURANT
CONTEMPORARY VIETNAMESE

3rd Floor Rooftop, Kumho


Link, 39 Le Duan, Q1. Tel:
(08) 3822 9357
The restaurant associated
with the KOTO vocational
training school. All the
staff from bar tenders
and waiting staff through
to the chefs come from
disadvantaged backgrounds
and are being trained on the
jon in hospitality. Serves up
tasty Vietnamese cuisine,
to boot!

188 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

LE CORTO
CONTEMPORARY FRENCH

5D Nguyen Sieu, Q1, Tel: (08)


3822 0671
facebook.com/LeCorto
Open for lunch and set dinner, this beautifully designed
restaurant and bar seamlessly mixes contemporary and
with classic. With a menu
cooked up by reputed chef
Sakal Phoeung, and with a
contemporary twist to traditional French fare, this is a
place to enjoy the luxuries
of fine cuisine and even finer
wine.
LE JARDIN
CLASSIC FRENCH

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


3825 8465
Unpretentious but tasty
French fare in a relaxed garden setting within the French
cultural centre. The robust,
bistro-style cuisine is very
well-priced, and excellent,
cheap house wine is served
by the carafe.
LION CITY
SINGAPOREAN

45 Le Anh Xuan, Q1, Tel: (08)


3823 8371
lioncityrestaurant.com
Friendly, authentic fivestorey Singaporean eatery,
plating up the likes of nasi
lemak, mee rebus, and
awesome chicken curry, as
well as specialities like frog
porridge, chilli crab and fish
head curry.
LOVEAT
MEDITERRANEAN

29 Hai Trieu, Q1, Tel: (08)


6260 2727
loveat.vn
Located bang opposite the
Bitexco Tower, Loveat serves
up three floors worth of
Mediterranean cuisine mixed
in with continental favourites
like moules frites. A great
place for dinner, cocktails
and wines in a contemporary
Saigon atmosphere.

97B Thao Dien, Q2 Tel: (08)


6281 8371
luburestaurant.com
Drawing inspiration from the
great cuisines of Europe, The
Mediterranean and The Orient, this contemporary, Australian-run restaurant bathed
in white focuses on wholesome, fresh ingredients, with
breads, cheeses, pickles,
pastas and preserves made
on site daily from scratch. A
well-conceived wine list supplements the excellent fare.
Has petanque on the terrace.
LUONG SON
PAN-VIETNAMESE

31 Ly Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08)


3825 1330
A typical Vietnamese-style
quan nhau, this fan-cooled
downtown eating and drinking haunt is famed for two
things: its on the table,
grill-it-yourself bo tung xeo
(marinated beef) and oddities such as sauted scorpion. A great place to take
out-of-town guests.
MAD HOUSE
CONTEMPORARY CAFE, BAR,
RESTAURANT

6/1/2 Nguyen U Di, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3519 4009
facebook.com/madsaigon
Set over a pool in a leafy,
tropical garden, the beautiful
rustic dcor is matched by
a darkwood, aircon interior.
Subtle lighting and an attention to details is matched by
some of the best contemporary cuisine in the city, all
with a European influence.
Also has an extensive wine
list, a good selection of imported beers and a happy
hour.
MARKET 39
INTERNATIONAL BUFFET

Ground Floor, InterContinental Asiana Saigon, Crn. of Hai


Ba Trung & Le Duan, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3520 9999
intercontinental.com/saigon

23 Thao Dien, An Phu, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3744 6478
info@mekongmerchant.com
The rustic looking, bananaleaf roofed Mekong Merchant
has long been the place in
An Phu. Set around a cobblestoned courtyard the cuisine
includes gourmet seafood
and pastas. Bakery-style
Bistro out front.
MONSOON
PAN-SOUTHEAST ASIAN

1 Cao Ba Nha, Q1, Tel: (08)


6290 8899
Traditional pan-Southeast
Asian favourites served in
a visually arresting setting
within a French colonial-era
villa, just minutes from the
backpacker area. Reasonably
priced, with healthy juices
and smoothies.
NAM GIAO
HUE CUISINE

136/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 38 250261; 116 Suong
Nguyet Anh, Q1, Tel: (08)
3925 9996
namgiao.com
If you want to take friends,
relatives or people out of
town to eat Hue-style street
food in a hygienic yet downto-earth environment, Nam
Giao is the place. Not only
is it well-priced, but the bun
bo Hue, bun thit nuong, com
hen, banh bot loc and other
such dishes are excellent.
NINETEEN
INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN

Ground floor, Caravelle Hotel,


19 Lam Son Square, Q1, Tel:
(08) 3823 4999
caravellehotel.com
One of the top three buffet restaurants in town.
Although the selection is
small, the meats, fishes and
seafoods are all fresh, and
everything you eat here is
quality.
OSAKA RAMEN

MAY RESTAURANT
INTERNATIONAL COMFORT FOOD

19 21 Dong Khoi, Q1, Tel:


(08) 6291 3686
may.restaurant19@gmail.
com
Casual yet stylish, May places
international-style wining
and dining in the heart of
historic Saigon. Subtle lighting, comfortable seating, an
extensive wine and cocktail
list, and beautifully crafted
comfort food from Europe,
the Antipodes and Asia all
make up the mix at this multi-floored restaurant and bar.
Check out their set lunches
and happy hour.

JAPANESE NOODLES

18 Thai Van Lung, Q1; SD04,


Lo H29-2, KP My Phat, Phu
My Hung, Q7
If you fancy dosing out on ramen and soba noodles, then
Osaka Ramen is noodle soup
heaven. A typically Japanese
aircon environment mixes
bar-style seating with booths
and private dining. Open late.
PENDOLASCO
PAN-ITALIAN

87 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)


3821 8181; 36 Tong Huu Dinh,
Q2, Tel: (08) 6253 282
pendolasco.vn
Opening out into a large,
leafy terracotta-tiled garden
area, this trattoria-style Italian restaurant serves up
quality homemade pasta,

risotto, gnocchi, excellent


pizza and grilled dishes. Has
a second branch in District 2.
PITCHERS SPORTS
AND GRILL
SPORTS BAR & GRILL RESTAURANT

C0.01 Riverside Residence C,


Nguyen Luong Bang, Q7, Tel:
(08) 6274 1520
facebook.com/PitchersPMH
Located in the heart of Phu
My Hung, this spacious
restobar with an affection
for showing televised sports
has a family friendly edge
thanks to its kids play area.
Does a great grill menu and
of course, lots of very cold
beer for those developing a
thirst in the Saigon heat.
PIZZA 4PS
EUROPEAN/ASIAN FUSION

8/15 Le Thanh Ton, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 9838
pizza4ps.com
This quirky but highly rated
Italian / Japanese fusion pizza parlour serves wacky yet
delicious pies such as tuna
curry pizza and calamari seaweed pizza, as well as more
traditional varieties.
POP FRIES
CALIFORNIAN-STYLE FRIES

14M Quoc Huong, Q2, Tel:


0938 754251; 273 Phan Xich
Long, Phu Nhuan, Tel: 0938
754851
A street food eatery concept
that originates from Los
Angeles and New York, and
born from a passion for sharing, here its all about the
loaded fries. The potatoes
are twice-cooked and come
piled high with a range of inventive toppings. Funky dcor and long benches make
up the mix.
PROPAGANDA
CLASSIC VIETNAMESE / BISTRO

21 Han Thuyen, Q1
Part of the group that includes Au Parc and Refinery,
Propaganda serves up classic
Vietnamese cuisine in an atmosphere of barebrick walls
interposed with Propaganda
Art murals and prints.
QUAN BUI
TRADITIONAL VIETNAMESE

8 Nguyen Van Nguyen, Q1,


Tel: (08) 3602 2241; 17A Ngo
Van Nam, Q1, Tel: (08) 3829
1515
Make sure to try the sauted
shrimps with cashew nuts
and crispy fried tofu with
lime wedge, at this popular,
high-quality, chicly designed
eatery where all food is
served in traditional crockery.
One of the best Vietnamese
restaurants in town.
QUAN UT UT
US-STYLE BARBECUE

168 Vo Van Kiet, Q1, Tel: (08)


3914 4500

facebook.com/quanutut
Its a no-brainer, right? American-style barbecue in a contemporary Vietnamese, quan
nhau-style setting. Of course
it is, which is why Quan Ut
Ut is constantly packed with
grill-obsessed diners going
for the burgers, meats off
the barbecue and Platinum
pale ale served on tap.

RACHA ROOM
CONTEMPORARY THAI RESTOBAR
12-14 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (08)
6253 7711
theracharoom.com
The Racha Room delivers
Thai accented Pan-Asian
cuisine with a focus on high
quality ingredients. Racha
features a large selection of
spirits at a seated bar and
high table to ensure drinking
along with eating remains
central to the experience.
The current and future of
Asian-inspired drinking and
dining is right here at the
Racha Room.

of international quality, with


the bonus of being able to
watch the action on the river
sidewalk. Features western,
Asian and Vietnamese buffets.

FRENCH BISTRO / INTERNATIONAL

The Square, 74 Hai Ba Trung,


Q1, Tel: (08) 3823 0509
therefinerysaigon.com
A slightly retro feel pervades
this popular French-style bistro and wine bar which once
housed the citys opium refinery. The cuisine runs from
creative salads through to
Mediterranean influenced
mains.
RIVERSIDE CAF
INTERNATIONAL / ASIAN

Renaissance Riverside, 815


Ton Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 0033
Offers versatile allday dining

SAN FU LOU

sine ranging from the zucchini


carpaccio through to the saganiki, a range of dips, mousaka, osso buco and lamb
chop skewers. Also has an
excellent upstairs cigar room.

CANTONESE KITCHEN

RELISH & SONS


GOURMET BURGER BAR
44 Dong Du, Q1, Tel: 01207 214294;
105-107 Xuan Thuy, Q2, Tel: 0909
004294
relishandsons.com
Relish & Sons burgers are
lovingly made with a healthy
food philosophy in mind and
fresh high quality ingredients. The beef patties are
100% Australian grass-fed;
the buns are made with a
reduced sugar and salt content. Burger relishes such
as chutneys are all made inhouse from scratch.

SAFFRON
REFINERY

great place to catch up on


your seafood addiction or to
pig out over a Sunday brunch.

PAN-MEDITERRANEAN

51 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)


3824 8358
Sporting food from around
the Mediterranean rim, this
compact and cozy eatery
with pots hung from the ceiling is a popular choice with
expats and tourists alike.
Reservations advised.
SAIGON CAF

Ground Floor, AB Building,


76A Le Lai, Q1
Tel: (08) 3823 9513
sanfulou.com
Open until 3am, this popular, contemporary Cantonese
dining hall mixes contemporary with traditional, in a
space that takes Chinese
dining in Saigon to a new
level. And if you like your
dim sum, look no further.
SEOUL HOUSE

CONTEMPORARY EUROPEAN

TAMAGO

23rd Floor, Centec Tower,


7274 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai,
Q3, Tel: (08) 3827 9631
A breezy terrace, indoor bar
and separate dining room
with sweeping views over
central Saigon make up
this enormous, comfortable
space. A well-thought out
and romantic venue, with
excellent food.

PAN-JAPANESE

KOREAN

33 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel: (08)


3829 4297
seoul.house@yahoo.com.kr
The longest running Korean
restaurant in town, with all
the Koreans moving out to the
hinterland, the clientele here
are mainly Vietnamese. Fortunately the food preparation
remains traditional. An excellent place for group dining.
SHANG PALACE
RESTAURANT
PAN-CHINESE / CANTONESE

Norfolk Mansion, 17-19-21 Ly


Tu Trong, Q1, Tel: (08) 3823
2221
shangpalace.com.vn
Featuring over 200 dishes
and 50 kinds of dim sum
prepared by chefs from Hong
Kong, Shang Palace has nine
private dining rooms and
a main dining area seating
over 300. Good for events.

INTERNATIONAL / BUFFET

Level 1, Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers, 88 Dong Khoi,


Q1 Tel: (08) 3827 2828
sheratonsaigon.com
If you like your buffet selections to be big, then here it is
gargantuan, with every type
of option under the sun. A

SHRI

SKEWERS
INTERNATIONAL / MEDITERRANEAN

9A Thai Van Lung, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3822 4798
skewers-restaurant.com
Simple, unpretentious Greekinfluenced, international cui-

the type of environment and


ambience youd expect of
New York, Singapore, Hong
Kong and Dubai. With the
dcor comes a modern take
on Japanese fare. A place to
see and be seen.

39 Tong Huu Dinh, Q2, Tel:


(08) 3744 4634
tamagoresto@gmail.com
Located on the main drag in
Thao Dien, Tamago has indoor and out door seating,
a terrace and private rooms.
They have a ladies night on
Tuesdays as well as a Teppanyaki themed night on
Saturday evenings. Have a
second restaurant in Mui Ne.
TEMPLE CLUB
PAN-VIETNAMESE

STOKER
CONTEMPORARY STEAKHOUSE
44 Mac Thi Buoi, Q1, Tel (08)
3826 8691
stokerwoodfiredgrill.com
One of the worlds oldest
culinary techniques grilling over a wood fire. Stoker
kitchen uses different woods
to infuse foods with different
smoky flavours. These techniques revolutionize live fire
cooking by providing precise
heat control through the
use of a grilling surface that
can be adjusted to different
cooking heights above the
hot coals.

SORAE
SUSHI SAKE LOUNGE

Level 24, AB Tower, 76 Le Lai,


Q1, Tel: 0938 687689
soraesushi.com
Set over two floors, this
astonishing, no-expensespared Japanese restaurant
and lounge brings to Saigon

29-31 Ton That Thiep, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3829 9244
Templeclub.com.vn
Once a hotel for Indian dignitaries visiting old Saigon,
the elegant and atmospheric Temple Club is one
of the citys best-preserved
buildings. Serving quality
Vietnamese and Indochine
cuisine at reasonable prices.
THE DECK
MODERN ASIAN FUSION

38 Nguyen U Di, Q2, Tel: (08)


3744 6632
thedecksaigon.com
Set on the banks of Saigon
River across from Thanh Da
Island, this innovative restaurant serves up modern
Asian fusion cuisine in a
Bali-style atmosphere, complemented by great cocktails
and a long wine list.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 189

KNOW YOUR CITY


AT THE RACES

feature of colonial cities is


the presence of recreational
activities from the colonising
country. Throughout the former
British empire there are cricket ovals and
rugby fields, polo fields and racecourses.
Growing up in one of the former British
colonies these were part of our culture,
bequeathed to us by our colonial masters.
Of those activities, the sport of horse
racing sometimes called the Sport of
Kings is very popular. It is a $A6.3
billion a year industry in Australia alone.
It is therefore a big business with a vast
infrastructure supporting it.
I only knew the English style of horse
racing and was surprised to discover, when
I arrived here, that there was a racecourse
in Ho Chi Minh City.
I was too late; the race course was
abandoned in 2011 and the grounds turned
into an athletics facility. Nevertheless, I took
a taxi to Phu Tho and wandered around
it one afternoon. I was surprised at what I
saw as I expected some elegant old French
grandstand with some ornate metalwork
and decoration, but instead found a 1930s
heavy concrete structure that was definitely
not elegant. It is very basic and nowhere as
refined as some of the buildings built by the
French in the city at or near the same time.
It is hardly a celebration of horse racing.

190 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

Origin
Horse racing began in Vietnam in 1893,
controlled, naturally, by the French
military. After being suspended during
the First World War, it resumed, becoming
increasingly popular with the French as
well as the Vietnamese. The track itself
was relocated in 1932 to what is now Phu
Tho Stadium and new facilities built, but
racing was halted again in World War II
resuming under Vietnamese control after
the war until 1975.
Battles during the American war were
fought around the race track. After reunification, gambling was prohibited and
the race course was temporarily turned
into a Sports and Education college, until
it reopened in 1989 as a track again.
The stopping and starting proved to be
a significant factor in preventing the sport
becoming viable again. To understand
why, we need to understand that racing
is an industry and the racetrack is
merely the outward manifestation of
that industry, requiring for its success an
enormous investment in infrastructure.
Even in Australia the sport is facing
challenges with too many racetracks
and too many racing clubs. The track
alone claims a large amount of taxable
land usually a length between 1km
and 2km long and the facilities at the

BY ED HAYSOM

track must include restaurants, stables,


administration areas, carparks and so on.
To make all this work needs public
support. The racing industry in Australia
is supported by an entire culture
spanning a wide spectrum of society,
from the extremely wealthy to workingclass people, and attracts men and
women in equal numbers. When people
go to the races they dress up. It is not just
about gambling but an enjoyable day out.
It is that aspect of the industry that fuels
its popularity, a popularity that requires
facilities attractive to the public.
The now abandoned Phu Tho building
is a reminder that without these things
supporting its existence, it is no longer
relevant. The building is not one of the
remaining elegant structures that the
city is renowned for and the facilities are
basic.
There are plans to build the countrys
only horse race track in Binh Phuoc, as
part of a US$100 million Binh Phuoc
Recreation Complex Project. The
building itself may be the cheapest part
of the investment if there is no racing
infrastructure to support it.
Ed Haysom is the general director of
Mode / Haysom Architects and is based in
Ho Chi Minh City. You can contact him on
ehaysom@modehaysomarchitects.com

On The Town

PHOTO BY BAO ZOAN

HCMC

ZEUS
GREEK / KEBAB

THE SOCIETY
GRILL AND LOUNGE BAR
99 Nguyen Hue, Q1, Tel: (08)
3914 3999
facebook.com/TheSocietyHCM
Designed as a Lanewaystyle restobar, the kind of
place found in Hong Kong,
London, New York or Central Melbourne, thanks to
its indoor and outdoor ambience, The Society brings
dining and drinking to a new
level. Phenomenal cocktails,
steaks, grilled fare and seafood make this a place to go
for drinks, a full-blown meal
or a mixture of both.

TIN NGHIA
VEGAN

9 Tran Hung Dao, Q1, Tel: (08)


3821 2538
One of the citys oldest eateries (established in 1925)
does some of the cheapest
and tastiest vegan cuisine in
town, all cooked up without
onions, garlic or MSG.

164 Cong Quynh, Q1, Tel: (08)


3837 3248
The service is often slow, and
the staff are often surprisingly lazy, yet the food here
is so good and so unique to
this city, that no-one seems
to mind. The perfect place
to feast out on gyros and all
things off a skewer. Cheap,
too.
ZOOM CAF
AMERICAN / TEX-MEX

169A Bui Vien, Q1, Tel: (08)


3920 3897
vietnamvespaadventures.
com/cafe_zoom
This corner-located Vespainfatuated venue is a caf
and restaurant by day and
a sidewalk drinking joint
by night. Friendly staff and
American deli-style and Cajun fare makes it a regular
expat haunt.

Nghia, Q3, Tel: (08) 3930 3917


Namsonsteak.com

38 Dinh Tien Hoang, Q1

BUN CHA HA NOI

BUN BO HUE

BUN CHA

26/1A Le Thanh Ton, Q1


CHI THONG
BUN THIT NUONG / BANH HOI

189 Bis Bui Vien, Q1


PHO DAU
288/M1 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, Q3
PHO HOA

COM GA XOI MO SU SU
VIETNAMESE FRIED CHICKEN

COM TAM

84 Dang Van Ngu, Phu Nhuan

260C Pasteur, Q3
PHO LE

COM TAM 40A


COM TAM

339 Le Van Sy, Tan Binh


SUSHI KO
STREET SUSHI

122/37/15 Vinh Khanh, Q4


THE LUNCH LADY
DAILY CHANGING DISHES

23 Hoang Sa, Q1

PHO BO & PHO GA

55 Tu Xuong, Q3
BA GHIEN

PHO PHU VUONG


PHO BO

PHO BO

195 Co Giang, Q1

M M M
STREET FOOD

NAM GIAO

PHO BO

413-415 Nguyen Trai, Q5

TIEM COM GA HAI NAM


HAINANESE CHICKEN RICE

67 Le Thi Hong Gam, Q1, Tel:


(08) 3821 7751

40A Quoc Huong, Q2


VESPER GOURMET
LOUNGE
INTERNATIONAL

Landmark Building, 5B Ton


Duc Thang, Q1, Tel: (08) 3822
9698
facebook.com/vespersaigon
Headed up by well-known
chef Andy Ertle, Vesper is a
sophisticated yet down-toearth cocktail bar and restaurant with subtle lighting
and a great spirit selection.
Serves creative, Japanese and
German-influenced cuisine to
supplement the drinks and
has a separate dining space.
WRAP & ROLL
62 Hai Ba Trung, Q1, Tel: (08)
3822 2166; 111 Nguyen Hue,
Q1, Tel: (08) 3821 8971; 226 De
Tham, Q1, Tel: (08) 3837 5097
wrap-roll.com
The lime green walls and
bright pastel colours of Wrap
n Roll are just part of the
theme of this homegrown,
Vietnamese brand which is
all about spring rolls of all
types, and healthy, Hueinfluenced cuisine.

BA NAM
BO KHO

Alleyway to the left of 162


Tran Nhan Tong, Q10

PHO PHU GIA


MI QUANG MY SON
MI QUANG

PHO BO

146E Ly Chinh Thang, Q3

BANH CANH HOANG TY


BANH CANH / TAY NINH CUISINE

70 Vo Van Tan, Q3

BANH CUON HAI NAM


BANH CUON

11A Cao Thang, Q3


BANH KHOT CO
BA VUNG TAU
BANH KHOT

102 Cao Thang, Q3


BANH MI HONG HOA
VIETNAMESE BANH MI

62 Nguyen Van Trang, Q1


BANH MI HUYNH HOA
LESBIAN BANH MI

26 Le Thi Rieng, Q1
BANH MI SAU MINH
VIETNAMESE BANH MI

YU CHU

170 Vo Van Tan, Q3

TOP-END PAN-CHINESE

1st Floor, InterContinental


Asiana Saigon, crn.of Hai Ba
Trung & Le Duan, Q1
Tel: (08) 3520 9999
intercontinental.com/saigon
Skillful chefs prepare authentic hand-pulled noodles,
fresh dim sum and hot wok
dishes within an impeccably
designed open kitchen, as
diners look on. Stylish and
spectacular.

BANH MI THANH
MAI HOANG
VIETNAMESE BANH MI

107 Truong Dinh, Q3


BANH TAM BI TO CHAU
BANH TAM

271 Nguyen Trai, Q1


BEEFSTEAK NAM SON
VIETNAMESE STEAKHOUSE

200 Bis Nguyen Thi Minh


Khai, Q3; 157 Nam Ky Khoi

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 191

BRIDALWEAR
3 Thang 2 C1

PAINTINGS
Tran Phu D1
Bui Vien D3

CAMERAS
Ton That Thiep C4

CAC
H

ung
Hoa H

A NG

District 11
2km

Ban
h

Min

2
NG
THA

Ba
n

hQ
uy

en

Ng

DIE

LY THA
I

G
HT
HAN
Vuon Chuoi
Market

Tha
n

Co

hie
hC

uy e
nT

hie
n

Ng

Thu
at

uy

in
nD

Ha
on
nS
ye
u
Ng

EN
UY
NG

TO

AI
KH
H
N
I
I M Chanh

TH am Viet
Ph

U
PH
AN
R
T

Teacher
Training
University

U
AN D

G
VUON

yen

n Trai

Binh

Bieu

Tran

DISTRICT 5
Ng u y e

Ngu

WEDDING SERVICES
Nguyen Dinh Chieu D1

ONG

CU
VAN

G
HUN

University of
Natural
Sciences

NG
VUO

YEN

STATIONERY
Nguyen Dinh Chieu B3

Tron

Ch
uo
i

N GU

SPORTSWEAR
Huyen Tran Cong Chua C3

Binh Tay
Market 3km

AU
HI S
T
O

LY
CHI
N

Ca
o

Tra
n

Quan

Tho
ng

Vu
on

t
n Da

192 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

TAM

Than
h

DISTRICT 10

h Ma
H uyn

GUITARS
Nguyen Thien Thuat D1, D2

Ng u
yen

Tron

FLOWERS
Le Thanh Ton C4

Minh
Quye
n

uyen

Binh

FABRICS
Hai Ba Trung A3

KH
OI
NG
HI

Dinh

Tran

EVERYTHING
Ben Thanh Market C4

nh
Van

Tran

Lan Anh Sports


& Leisure Club

NG

SHOES
Nguyen Dinh Chieu C1, C2
Luu Van Lang C4

KY

ong

MA N
G TH

PHO

COOKING INGREDIENTS
Ham Nghi C4, C5

H uy

Saigon Train
Station

Minh
Quye
n

Tan Binh
0.5km

ng

SEAFOOD
Vinh Khanh D4, D5

NG

Thao

Truo
ng

ONG
LE H

COMPUTERS
Ton That Tung C2, C3

Quoc

Ba H

han To

SAFES
Vo Van Tan C3

NA
M

Ky
D

B
Tran

Tran

Tran Van Dang

PLAQUES
Nam Quoc Cang C2, D2

CAR COMPONENTS
Tran Quang Khai A3
Ky Con C4, D4

PHU

ROI

PH
U

MOTORBIKES
Ly Tu Trong C3

YEN
VAN
T

INH

Le V
an S
y

BIKE MAINTENANCE
Nguyen Du C3

Huy
uynh
nh Van Banh

B IE
N

LUGGAGE
Le Lai C3, C4

N GU

PHA
ND

ien
gH
on
hu

ARMY SURPLUS
Dan Sinh Market D4

uy

anh
Th

JAPANESE RESTAURANTS
Le Thanh Ton B4, B5

Do

ANTIQUES
Le Cong Kieu C4

in
Ch

T
en
uy
Ng

A2
A4
A5
C4, D4
B3, B4
C2, C3
D4, E4
A3
B5
B5, C5
C4
D5, E5
B5, C5
C4, C5
C4
C2, C3
D1, E1, E2
D2
B4
D2, D3
D3, E1, E2
A1, B1
A3
A2
B1, C1
D1
A3
D1
A2, A3
B1, B2, B3
A2, B2
B1
B2, B3, C3
B3
A4, A5
B2
E3, E4, E5
D4, D5
A3, B2, B3
B3, C2
C2
A5
E5
C4, D4

Ng

D
en

Tran Huy Lieu

Phan Dinh Phung


Phan Ke Binh
Phan Van Han
Pho Duc Chinh
Phung Khac Khoan
Suong Nguyet Anh
Tan Vinh
Thach Thi Thanh
Thai Van Lung
Thi Sach
Thu Khoa Huan
Ton Dan
Ton Duc Thang
Ton That Dam
Ton That Thiep
Ton That Tung
Tran Binh Trong
Tran Canh Chan
Tran Cao Van
Tran Dinh Xu
Tran Hung Dao
Tran Huy Lieu
Tran Khac Chan
Tran Khanh Du
Tran Minh Quyen
Tran Nhan Tong
Tran Nhat Duat
Tran Phu
Tran Quang Khai
Tran Quoc Thao
Tran Quoc Toan
Tran Van Dang
Truong Dinh
Truong Quyen
Truong Sa
Tu Xuong
Vinh Hoi
Vinh Khanh
Vo Thi Sau
Vo Van Tan
Vuon Chuoi
Xo Viet Nghe Tinh
Xom Chieu
Yersin

Tran N

3 Thang 2
C1
Alexandre de Rhodes
B4
An Duong Vuong
D1
Ba Huyen Thanh Quan
B2, C3
Ban Co
C1
Ben Chuong Duong D3, D4, E2, E3
Ben Van Don
D4, D5, E3
Bui Thi Xuan
C3
Bui Vien
D3
Cach Mang Thang Tam B1, C2, C3
Calmette
C4
Calmette
D4
Cao Ba Nha
D3
Cao Thang
C1, C2, D2
Chu Manh Trinh
B4, B5
Co Bac
D3
Co Giang
D3, D4
Cong Quynh
D3
De Tham
C3, D3
Dien Bien Phu
A4, B3, C1, C2
Dinh Cong Trang
A3
Dinh Tien Hoang
A4, B4
Do Quang Dau
D3
Do Thanh
C1
Doan Nhu Hai
D5
Doan Van Bo
D5
Dong Du
C5
Dong Khoi
B4, C4, C5
Hai Ba Trung A2, A3, B3, B5, C5
Hai Trieu
C5
Ham Nghi
C4
Han Thuyen
B4
Ho Hao Hon
D3
Ho Tung Mau
C4, C5
Ho Xuan Huong
C2
Hoa Hung
B1
Hoang Dieu
D4, D5, E3
Hoang Sa
A4, A5
Huyen Tran Cong Chua
C3
Huynh Man Dat Binh Thanh
A5
Huynh Man Dat Dist. 5
E1
Huynh Thuc Khang
C4
Huynh TinH Cua Binh Thanh
A5
Huynh Tinh Cua Dist. 3
A2
Huynh Van Banh
A1, A2
Khanh Hoi
D4, E4
Ky Con
C4, D4
Ky Dong
B2
Le Cong Kieu
C4
Le Duan
B4, B5
Le Hong Phong
D1
Le Lai
C3
Le Loi
C4
Le Quoc Hung
D4, D5
Le Quy Don
B3
Le Thanh Ton
B4, B5, C3, C4
Le Thi Hong Gam
C4, D4
Le Thi Rieng
C3
Le Van Sy
A1
Luong Huu Khanh
C2
Luu Van Lang
C4
Ly Chinh Thang
B2
Ly Thai To
D1
Ly Tu Trong
B4, B5, C3, C4
Mac Dinh Chi
B4
Mac Thi Buoi
C5
Mai Thi Luu
A4
Me Linh
A5
Nam Ky Khoi Nghia
A2, B3, C4
Ngo Duc Ke
C5
Ngo Thoi Nhiem
B2, B3, C2

Ngo Van Nam


B5
Nguyen Bieu
E2
Nguyen Binh Khiem
A4, B5
Nguyen Cong Tru
C4, C5, D4
Nguyen Cu Trinh
D2, D3
Nguyen Dinh Chieu A4, B4, C2, C3,
D1
Nguyen Dinh Chinh
A1
Nguyen Du
B4, C3
Nguyen Gia Thieu
B3
Nguyen Hue
C4, C5
Nguyen Huu Canh
B5
Nguyen Huu Cau
A3
Nguyen Huy Tu
A4
Nguyen Khac Nhu
D3
Nguyen Khoai
E3
Nguyen Ngoc Phuong
A5
Nguyen Phi Khanh
A3
Nguyen Sieu
B5, C4, C5
Nguyen Son Ha
C2
Nguyen Tat Thanh
D5
Nguyen Thai Binh
C4, D4
Nguyen Thai Hoc
C3, D3
Nguyen Thi Dieu
C2, C3
Nguyen Thi Minh Khai A5, B3, B4,
C2, C3, D2
Nguyen Thien Thuat
C1
Nguyen Thong
B1, B2
Nguyen Thuong Hien
C2
Nguyen Trai
C3, D2, E1
Nguyen Trung Truc
C4
Nguyen Truong To
D5
Nguyen Van Cu
D2, E2
Nguyen Van Lac
A5
Nguyen Van Mai
A2
Nguyen Van Nguyen
A2
Nguyen Van Thu
A4, B3, B4
Nguyen Van Troi
A1
Pasteur
B3, B4
Pasteur
C4
Pham Hong Thai
C3
Pham Ngoc Thach
B3
Pham Ngu Lao
C3, D3
Pham Viet Chanh
D2

inh

1
PHU NHUAN
A

yen
Ngu

Tran Huy Lieu

HCMC
Map

Airport
3km
h
Chin
Dinh

O
UNG DA
TRAN H

Toan
Tran Quoc

P ha
m

ho
oT
Ng

hie
iN

NA
M

Tru
ong

m
gu

y
gu

MANN
G TH

nD
ye

Ch
inh

A NG

Huy

en
Tra
n

Du

Ng
Kh
oa

Hua

ong
u Tr
Ly T

inh

h
han
Le T

uy

Lu

hang

uc K

h Th

Le Cong Kieu

inh

HAM NGHI

en
Nguy

Don

Tru
Cong

Huynh Man Dat

NNEL
THU THIEM TU

Don
Van

uoc

H un
g

VinaExpress - The
Hydrofoil Service

N
Doan

i
hu Ha

g
Hoan

Dieu

Vung Tau

H
HA N

Van

ieu

Doa
nV
an B

u
D ie

u
D ie

inh

B en

Tr
Hai

oi

T
TAT

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Tan

ong

oD

Kh

e
cK

YEN

g
uon

oi
hH
an

Du

ng
Hoa
i
hoa

B en

ng
huo

Ng

To
ong
Tru

ng D
huo

Kh

t
ha

ghiep
uan N

Do
ng

HU
E

B en

ng
Hoa

nK
uy e

P
ua

Ho H

y en
Ng u

C
B en

N GU

Dan Sinh
Market
ru
g T Ky C
on
Con

Ng

Ch

UY
EN

o
Bu

r
teu
Pa s

en
guy

iB
Tha

Huyn

NG

iep

Th

i
Th

Du

am

I
LO
LE

t
ha

c
Ma

n Na m

nh
ha
hK

Nh

T
Ton

ang
nL
Va

Vinh

Cha
n

An

ng
Do

tD

Co

ac
h

Opera
House

on
hT

Saigon Bridge
& Highway 1
3km

Ton Duc Thang


Museum

u
Sie
en
uy Thi
g
N
S

Tha

n
G ia

an
Th

TR
UN
G

HU

Vin

Ba

st
eur

HIA

Ca
o

oi

Ngo V
a

Tha
iV
an
Lu
ng

Tra
i

Kh

BA

EN
UY

AN
UC

on
hT

in
Ch

Bac

n
ha
eT

NG

TH
AN
G

te

ian

HA
I

UC

Tri
nh

Du

et
lm
Ca

G
Co

Xu

en
guy

am

si
Yer

Ho

gG
Hon

uM
anh

TO
ND

ng
ro
uT
yL T

Tru
c

Ben Thanh
Market

hu

Ha
o

en

am
Th
De

Ho

en

DISTRICT 1

en
Tru
ng

Ton

C
HO

gu
ye
nK
ha
cN

Trinh
en Cu
Nguy

hi
eT

AI
TH

u
Da
ng

DA
NG
HU

Co

uy

Do
ng

Saigon
Bus Station

ien
Bui V

AN
TRN

Ng

EN
UY

Ph
a
Qu

Ng u
yen

ng
D

Th
u

PHAM HONG THAI

o
gu La
am N

uy

Du

Central
Post Office

Le

23/9 Park

ang

Dinh

Duc Ba

N
UA Cathedral
ED

rai
en T

Thai Binh
Market
Con
gQ
uyn
h

ho

Co
ng

NG

Le La

AN
DU

Zoo & Botanical


Gardens
UY
EN
BIN
HK
HIE
M

uc

nh

eR

s
de

Pa

Le La
y
Ng u

LE

Re-unification
Palace

Le Thi Rieng

Tun
g

HTV
Television

Ton

u
iX
Th

an

y en

NG

au
gM
Tun

i
Bu

Tra
n

Can
h

INH

AI
KH

Tru
o
Ngu

IM

Chi

L
30 Thang 4 yen
u
Park Han Th

Tan

Tao Dan
Park
nh

NG

TH

Ng

d
re
nd
xa
Ale

Labour Culture
Chu
HCMC
Palace
a
Conservatory
of Music

o
Ca

Ma
cD
inh

n
Va

EN
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I
HA

Ho

u
Ng

m
Tha
De

cC

ua

in

K
INH

st
eur

KH
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NG
HI

M
HI

Ch

Do

Cao T
hang

Kha

Quo

NG

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NT

Hoa Lu
Stadium

I NG
K HO

Huu

Na m

n
Va
Vo

n
Tra

KH
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Ph

Luo
ng

Th
at

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hao

hac

RU
N

OA
N

KY

g
on
Su

War Remnants
Museum

TAM
tA
ye

KY

ieu

N
Ba
Huy
en
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D
hQ
hi

Tan

Ton

Quo

Ng
uy
en
Gia
Th
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T
en

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ho
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Ng e Qu
yD
on

Pa

cT

BA
T

D
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uy
Ng

hie
hC

BIN
H

NAM

n
Va
Vo

Tra
n

ng
uo
nH
a
u
oX

CAC
H

Tran

Ng
o

HA
I

en

hu
nT

Lu
u

District 7
& Nha Be

Kha
nh

DISTRICT 4
Ton D
an

IEN

HU
NP
BIE

Kh
ac
K

hoa

DISTRICT 3

ong
Xu

uy

NH

hi

inh

Saigon South
4km

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 193

Ch
ieu

AU
HI S
T
O

m
hie

Tu

Qu
yen

Ng

Va

TIE

eB

XO

Xo
m

DIN
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P ha
nK

NG
UY
EN

Han

ANG

st
eur

AU
HI S
T
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Ma
iT

H o an
g Sa

UC TH

Tru
ong

uc

Le Van Tam
Park
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PH
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B
Phu
N
ng
DIE

uo
c

nQ
Tra

Pa

uy
Tu

INH
E TPhan Van

TON D

Toa
n

Cua

hanh

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TN
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TON DUC T
HANG

c Chan
a
Tran Kh
Ca
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uu

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Di n

Thi
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ng
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Ng

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Ph

RUN

Ph

Truonng Sa

Hoang Sa

c
go

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an

Phan Va
Vann Ha
Han

N
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Ly
V
Thac
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5
BINH THANH

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PH

uy

inh

n
Va
en
uy
Ng

Hi AI
a
B

DIE

N
BIE

Ng

hT

Tran Quang Khai


Nguyen Phi Khanh

Tran Quang Khai


Tan Dinh
Market

NG
HA
HT

N
CHI
LY Huyn

Duat

uy
en

Ng
uy
en
H

Ng

Tran Nhat

an

DINH TIEN HOANG

Ng
uy
en
V

Du
Tran Khannhh

Gia Dinh
Hospital
1.5km

The Final Say

THE FINAL SAY

HANOI

Bike to the Future?


With so many new transport options becoming available and a metro system in the
making, Edward Dalton takes to the streets of Hanoi and asks a question we all
want to know the answer to: Can anything dethrone the motorbike?

etting from A to B should be a


simple task. In Hanoi, however,
nothing is simple where transport
is concerned. A city of nearly
five million motorbikes and around half
a million cars, chaos on the roads is well
documented, and a tourist might be
forgiven for thinking any given time of
day was rush hour.
For more than a decade, the motorbike
has been the dominant form of transport
throughout Vietnam, and no more so than in
its biggest cities. There are buses, but people
are using them less every year. There is a
metro system in the pipeline, but who knows
when that might finally emerge. Unless for
exercise, bicycles are now the preserve of
students or the poor, and there is no intercity
train network worth speaking of.
Our survey was designed to discover the
opinions of local people on current transport
preferences, and what their hopes and
expectations are for the future of transport
in the capital, especially with regards to the
upcoming metro lines.

No Big Surprises
Young and old, rich or poor, male or female,
theres one conclusion no one will be
surprised by; the motorbike is at the top of
the transport food chain. Ferrying students
to classes, shifting families around town,
hauling goods to customers and transferring
young couples away from the prying eyes of
their families, the motorbike was the main
mode of transport for 98% of young male
respondents, and 99% of young females.
The data becomes more interesting when
we look at the older age groups, the 46 to 60s
and 61 plus. Although the majority still use
motorbikes, averaging at 74% between male
and female, the figure is significantly lower
than their younger compatriots.
In the group I would cautiously term
middle-aged, more people reported owning
and using a car. Once they got over the
peak of retirement, however, the figure
for motorbike usage creeps back up again,
suggesting convenience trumps style and
status in old age.

194 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

The Wheels on the Bus


There are lots of buses in Hanoi, as anyone
who has routinely been nearly murdered by
one whilst cycling will tell you. The answers
revealed that in all age groups, more than
double the amount of women than men use
public transport frequently.
Overall use is rather low, with a genderaverage figure of 13% of men and 29% of
women using the bus regularly (once a week
or more). The most commonly cited reason
for avoiding public transport was duration;
respondents said it was too inconvenient to
wait for a bus to arrive, and then endure a

slow journey with multiple stops or transfers


on the way.
More young women spoke of their
concerns about safety and hygiene on public
transport, whereas a higher proportion of
men said the crowded nature of buses at
peak hours were deeply off-putting.
A few women mentioned that it was easier
to avoid the sun if travelling by bus, while
another I spoke to told me she uses public
transport exclusively, because a serious
motorbike accident had left her too afraid to
go on a motorbike again.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 195

Uber or Metro?
One of the newest additions to Hanois
transport options is the use of apps such as
Uber or Grab, essentially a glorified way of
calling a taxi.
However, somewhere over the horizon is
the impending metro, looming large over the
livelihoods of anyone driving a bus, taxi or xe
om for a living. The first line was due to open
at the end of this year, but thats been pushed
back to 2020. Its anyones guess as to when
the whole network will be up and running.
Among the younger age groups, which
includes students, 81% of men are more

196 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

excited about the metro rather than Uber


or Grab, and a whopping 94% of women.
In the middle-aged groups, and the elderly,
those figures drop to 60% of men and 74% of
women.
A clear 100% of men and women aged
16 to 24 said they would definitely use the
metro when it was finished, suggesting the
younger generation are as forward-thinking
and progressive as one would hope. Both
hilariously and tragically, many of the
respondents over the age of 75 laughed away
the notion of using the metro, the main reason

being they dont expect to be alive by the time


its finished.
Unsurprisingly, the younger generation
said they will be more drawn to using the
metro regularly if it meets their modern
standard of living. This means free WiFi, comfortable and stylish carriages and
affordability. Older, although not necessarily
wiser, respondents said it would depend on
whether they could park their motorbikes
or cars close enough to metro stations, and if
the service was faster and more reliable than
buses.

Everyone we spoke
to expects either the
car or metro to be
the dominant mode
of transport in Hanoi
in 15 years time.
Among young people,
73% believed the
motorbike would no
longer be dominant in
just five years time

The Survey
Focusing on three main demographics
age, gender and income we
questioned 100 people around Hoan
Kiem, Cau Giay and Hai Ba Trung,
targeting as diverse a group as possible.
The questions were as follows:

What Does the Future Hold?


Right now, overcrowding is a big concern
to many Hanoians, according to 61% of
all respondents we spoke to who wished
Hanoi had fewer people. The second most
popular wish was that Hanois millions of
motorbikes would be far fewer in number,
regardless of whether the respondent drove
a motorbike or car.
On the future, everyone we spoke to
expects either the car or metro to be the
dominant mode of transport in Hanoi in 15
years time. Among young people, change
is the flavour of the day, as 73% of people
believed the motorbike would no longer be
dominant in just five years time.
The general consensus seems to be that

Hanoi is, sadly, heading the way of Bangkok


and other Southeast Asian capitals, where
the car has replaced the motorbike at the top.
Hanoi has a golden opportunity to avoid
repeating the mistakes of more developed
cities, and instead focus efforts on improving
infrastructure and public transport; the
survey shows that young people are open to
a future of using public transport.
Unfortunately, with cars being made
cheaper by various cuts to import duties and
luxury taxes, and motorbikes targeted in a
proposed plan to ban them from downtown
by 2025, the opportunity is flying past, and
all we can do is stand by, watch and call an
Uber.

1) Which vehicles does your family


currently own?
2) Which vehicle do you use the most?
3) How often do you use public
transport?
4) What is the biggest problem with
public transport?
5) Which new mode of transport are
you most excited about?
6) Will you use the metro when its
finished?
7) What feature would make the metro
most appealing to you?
8) Do you think the metro will be good
for Hanoi?
9) Do you expect the metro do reduce
traffic?
10) Would you swap your motorbike/car
to only use public transport?
11) What do you wish Hanoi had less
of?
12) After five years and 15 years, what
do you think will be Hanois main
mode of transport?

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 197

The Final Say

THE FINAL SAY

NATIONAL

10 Ways To Keep
Your Road Trip
From Falling Apart
I

A veteran of road trips by


motorbike both good and
bad, Jesse Meadows gives
a few tips on how to ensure
your two-wheeled travels
dont end up in disaster

arrived in Vietnam on a whim, and I


didnt stay for a person, or a job, or any
place in particular. I stayed for the road
trips. Ive done quite a few now, from two
hours to two weeks, from one companion
to 15. Some were smooth sailing, others fell
apart completely. And Ive since realised
there are certain guidelines that, when
followed on the road, ensure a trip doesnt
spiral into catastrophe.

1) Keep Your Companions in Sight


Make sure you have a visual in your
rear-view mirror on those behind you.
Depending how big your group is, it might
be useful to split into groups faster
drivers at the lead, slower ones trailing
behind, but everyone sticking with a buddy
or two. This way if there is a problem flat
tyre, emergency pitstop, etc. no one is left
alone on the side of the road. When your
companion pulls over, you pull over, too.

2) Honk When Passing Anything


Whether youre passing someone on a
bicycle, another motorbike, a car, or a truck,
lean on the horn. I once saw a road trip

198 | Word September 2016 | wordvietnam.com

companion plough into a woman with a


baby he tried to pass her on the left, she
turned left without signalling. Baby went
flying. (Everyone was okay, thankfully, but
we narrowly escaped an angry dad with a
stick.)

3) Appoint a Sheepdog and a


Navigator
The navigator leads; they have reliable GPS
and are skilled enough at driving a bike that
they can safely check it without pulling over.
The sheepdog needs to be fast, so they can
float between the front of the party and the
back, keeping everyone together, hanging
towards the back most of the time in case
anyone pulls over with a problem, but ready
to speed up to the front to inform the leader
of any situations.

4) Leave no Biker Behind


If you want to keep the group together, then
you are only as fast as your slowest person.
I once had an experience where certain
companions tried to show off, driving fast
and recklessly weaving through traffic
instead of going at the pace of the group.

And guess what? They got lost. Put your


pride away and stick together. And when
you make a turn, wait in clear view of the
rest of your party and make sure they all
make the same turn, too.

5) Make Your Pitstops Count


You all need to be on the same schedule.
Granted, bikes burn through petrol tanks at
different speeds automatics like Nuovos
need to fill up first, then semi-autos like
Waves, and last, manual bikes like Wins
(which can sometimes go all day without
refuelling.) It also helps to fill an empty
water bottle with petrol for emergencies, and
for those bikes that will run out faster than
others this way you can pull over quick
and refuel without losing much time.

6) Dont be Picky about Food


If youre road-tripping rural Vietnam,
youre going to eat rice and noodles for a
week just accept that now. And forget
about finding food during nap time (noon to
2pm) or late at night. On a road trip, you eat
what you can get. I always pack emergency
snacks, too, in case I cant find anything else.

And try to be nice to the vegetarians in your


group its especially hard for them to find
food out there.

7) Cover your Skin


We all know that helmets are mandatory.
But your skin is vulnerable on a motorbike,
too. Heatstroke is no joke. I learnt my
lesson on my very first road trip, driving
back delirious from Mai Chau, feeling like
simultaneously puking and passing out on
the highway.
When youre in direct sun for hours,
sunscreen does absolutely nothing to ward
off harmful UV rays. Always cover your skin
with long sleeves and pants it will also
help minimise your roadburn in the event
that you hit the asphalt. Those women on
the road in full body suits arent doing it just
for vanity.

8) Set off Early


Seriously, 9am should be the latest you leave.
The earlier the better remember, youre
racing the light. You dont want to be on
rural mountain roads in the dark. Have you
ever been on a night bus in Vietnam? Those

drivers are crazy same goes for the latenight truckers. Make sure you have enough
light to get to your next destination, and if
you start to lose it, stop in the nearest town
and wait for the next day.

9) Be Skeptical of Googles
Shortcuts
Google Maps does not differentiate between
highways and dirt roads. I once took what
appeared to be a shortcut through Ha Giang,
only to find myself struggling up and down
two mountains on an unpaved, muddy
track. What should have taken two hours
took five, and was terrifying, too. Stick to the
highways.

10) Try Not to Complain


There is probably no worse fate in life than
travelling with a chronic complainer. If you
dont have anything positive to say, keep
it to yourself. Road trips are exhausting,
stressful, and intense. Its important to keep
group morale high negativity spreads like
a virus. Laugh at your misfortune instead
of moaning about it. It will make a world of
difference.

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 199

The Final Say

Ten10

When Ben Mitchell and his wife Bich set up their farmstay on the edge of
Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, people thought they had a screw loose.
Six years later and they have a thriving business
What brought you to Phong Nha?
My then-girlfriend, now wife, Bich, bought
me here to meet the family for Tet in January
2007. When we got to the train station in
Dong Hoi, there was nothing there but two
beat-up small cars moonlighting as taxis,
and a shop selling coffee and warm beer. We
squeezed into one of the old cars to go to
Phong Nha and when we arrived, I met the
family.

What was it like when you first


arrived?
Rural Quang Binh was remote, had no internet, very few landline phones, no mobile
network, very few motorbikes, no cars,
trucks, buses, and very
few fridges
or TVs. The
locals lived
in small

wooden houses, normally consisting of one


big room and a kitchen.

Why did you and your wife decide


to set up a farmstay there?
In 2008 I was working on a project in the
Middle East when the global financial crisis
hit. Bich and I decided to move back and
start a business in Phong Nha. I wanted to
be able to stay in the area without having
to go overseas to earn money, and both of
us wanted to make a business that shared
Phong Nha with outsiders. We bought a
block of land next to her brothers house that
had one of the best sunset views Id ever
seen. We built the farmstay there.

What difficulties did you have to


deal with when you first opened?
Id been working in construction around
the world for years and thought
myself quite experienced. Yet I found
myself on a huge learning curve.
What these guys can do with the
simplest of products and equipment made me a student from
day one. Then there was
the opposition to the
project from both the
community and some
family members. Some
people didnt want
the business to be built,
because they thought it
would be an embarrassment
to the community and the family. Bichs brothers stuck by her,
though, and threw themselves at
the project. The four of us run
the business together.

How did you


manage to get
the tourists
in?
Any way we
could think of. As
wed been working in different
parts of Vietnam
and wed done
a few road
trips, wed
met other
people
who
were
ahead
of us on

our learning curve. Guys who worked at


places including Hoi An Motorbike Adventures, Vietnam Backpacker Hostels, Sleepy
Gecko Hoi An, Jungle Beach, VIP Bikes,
Wide Eyed Tours and Le Pub to name a
few. These guys also provided us with
access to journalists and travel writers that
they knew. At first it was primarily backpackers who were on the road for a long
time and who were told about it. People
came for a night and tended to stay on.

When did your venture really


start taking off?
We opened the Farmstay in December
2010. The business built gradually through
word of mouth, and then in early 2012 we
got mentioned in the newly released Lonely
Planet and Rough Guide travel books.

How did the opening of Son


Doong, the largest cave in the
world, help both your own
businesses and Phong Nha as a
whole?
It got the area a lot of publicity. In December, 2010, National Geographic released
a documentary about the exploration of
the cave and in January 2011 they did an
editorial on it. By 2013, when Oxalis Tour
Company ran the first tour to the cave,
we were prepared to make the most of the
moment.

How well has the area developed


over the past few years?
There are many more accommodation, eating and entertainment options in the area.
There are many more tours and activities,
and much more infrastructure for getting in and out. A lot of local people have
benefited through a massive increase in
employment and small business opportunities. This means a lot to me personally.

Why should people visit Phong


Nha instead of, say, Sapa, Halong
Bay or elsewhere in Vietnam?
Compared to elsewhere, there are still very
few tourists. And Phong Nha isnt only a
place to see caves or go trekking, but an
opportunity to visit rural Vietnam on a
bicycle or a motorbike taxi. People who
spend a few days here find a variety of
things to do at different budgets, levels of
fitness and ability.
For more info on Phong Nha Farmstay and
visiting the caves, click on phong-nha-cave.
com

wordvietnam.com | September 2016 Word | 3

Sch Chuyn Qung Co - Not For Sale