One of our favorite cultural events in Vietnam is the radiant Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival. Lanterns, children singing, sharing food- what’s not to love? Good news, it is here! And whether you’re a newbie or a long time resident, this is a festival worth knowing about. So here goes - five must-knows about Mid-Autumn Festival in Vietnam.

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Say hi to Saigon’s evolving art scene. More and more art galleries are popping up in Saigon. No wonder as its art scene is growing rapidly. We’re loving this cultural development and listed the best art galleries in Ho Chi Minh where you can gawk, or buy. 

Craig Thomas Gallery

Founder Craig Thomas is one of the long-term foreign residents in Saigon and followed his passion to open a high-quality art gallery. Hidden in a side street in District 1, you will find a charming art gallery with beautiful paintings of well-known names as well as some impressive newcomers. Craig Thomas’s collection consists of Vietnamese artists only. Definitely worth a visit.
27i Tran Nhat Duat Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1

Craig Thomas gallery

Galerie Quynh

This ‘galerie‘ has proven to stand out with many well-received exhibitions with acclaimed Vietnamese and international artists. The 5-floor building hosts the perfect space to enjoy the impressive artwork displayed by founder and owner Quynh Pham. Exhibitions change every 6 weeks so visiting this beautiful gallery every now and then will definitely feed your cultural needs.
118 Duong Nguyen van Thu, Da Kao, District 1

Galerie Quynh

Apricot Gallery

The Apricot Gallery located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh city has a sister gallery in Hanoi. It is beautifully set-up and displayed almost as a museum. Some of the art is spectacular and you will find many well-known artists here as well as up-coming artists. This gallery has an obvious commercial approach and therefore a good option if you’re looking to buy a nice piece of Vietnamese art.
50 – 52 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1

Apricot gallery

The Factory Contemporary Arts Center

Established in 2016 in an old warehouse, The Factory Contemporary Arts Center has definitely made a name in the art scene since then. The premises have the perfect ambiance for contemporary art and with multiple exhibitions happenings simultaneously and changing regularly, this art space is definitely worth a visit. Especially if you’re into hardcore contemporary art.
15 Nguyen U’Di, Thao Dien, District 2

The Factory Contemporary Arts Center

Salon Saigon

Salon Saigon is not only an art gallery; it’s a place, a salon for art to enjoy performances, educational programs, art exhibitions and more. The salon has a history, it is established in one of the three houses that belonged to US Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr during his stay in Saigon from 1963 to 1967. The name “Salon Saigon” refers to the Salons (gatherings) that flourished in France throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. The contemporary art is impressive, you won’t regret visiting this salon.
6D, Ngo Thoi Nhiem, P.7, District 3

Salon Saigon

Couleurs by Réhahn

The world-renowned Fench photographer Réhanh is famous for a reason. His photographs of Vietnam and its people are not merely stunning, there’s a story behind each photo too. The portraits are endearing and moving and the landscape photos are absolutely breathtaking. Visiting the gallery on Dong Khoi is definitely worth your while and you can even treat yourself to one of the photos or postcards while you’re there.
151 Dong Khoi (Floor 1) District 1

Couleurs by Réhahn

Duc Minh Gallery

Founder Duc Minh was one of Vietnam’s most important art collectors and saved art from getting destructed during the Vietnam war. The current collection mainly consists of contemporary art and even though this is one of the best and most special galleries in Vietnam, it is a private collection. There are occasional guided tours though so get your hand on the -pricey-but-worth-it tickets whenever you get the chance.
31C Le Quy Don, 3 Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

*Painting featured on top of this article: made by Dutch artist Maud van der Lely,

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Let’s explore Saigon with these local tours in Saigon

From food tours and meeting Vietnamese artists, to boat safari’s and a murder mystery trail, these are the best local tours in Ho Chi Minh City.

Living our daily life here in Saigon, we don’t get to do city sightseeing that much. Luckily, most of us get visitors over frequently, who give us the ultimate excuse to play tourist in our own city. Because there’s still lots to explore! Once we only had the Vespa tour, but now there is a whole range of original and adventurous Saigon tours. But which one to choose? We hopped on bikes and boats, asked around and made you a list. If you like to explore the districts of Saigon, these are the best local tours in Ho Chi Minh City!

Local tours that take a peak behind the scenes

To really understand Saigon life, you have to get to know its art scene. Ho Chi Minh City is full of creativity, whether it’s in fashion, art or products. Hidden Saigon has found a great way to let you take a peak at this creative bunch. They take you into the work spaces, studios and homes of local artists and residents. Here you can discuss work and Saigon life with them. Less crazy about art than you are about food? Get past the been-there-done-that street food tours and go for their Oodle Noodle tour!

Exploring the creative Saigon scene. Photo by Linh Phan

One of the most original trails on our list of best local tours in Ho Chi Minh City is Urban Tales. This tour takes the Saigon story scene one step further and lets you solve a murder mystery. The plot takes you to authentic parts of town, past traditional medicine shops, old temples and markets. It’s well set up and includes some history of Ho Chi Minh City. All this while catching a murderer, we bet your visitors didn’t see that one coming! Also great for kids from 6 years and up.

Sightseeing on two wheels: motorbike tours 

When thinking of HCMC, we think of motorbikes. And indeed, it’s one of the best ways to explore this vibrant city. You speed past all the traffic through various districts and small hems (alleys), getting a good feeling of what this city is about. We’ve put two affordable tour companies on our list of best local tours in Ho Chi Minh City. First of all, Back of the bike tours has a good reputation and offers good value for money.  You can book various exciting tours with them, such as the Big Eats, Small Seats food tour. Their drivers speak good English.

Second, the very cool XO tours Saigon is an all-female motorbike company. Hopping on the bike behind your female guide, you can do a food tour, or go for the sight seeing morning or shopping spree tour. The guides know everything there is to know about the city, plus they’re professional and friendly. Their pricing is a bit more friendly as well. Girl power to the max!

Let’s tour Saigon with the Fast and Female team

Rather be on 4 wheels? Saigon 2CV lets you explore the city in vintage cars, like a cute citroên 2CV. They have a Morning Discovery tour as well as a food tour.

Cycling and Boat tours in Saigon

In our list of best local tours in Ho Chi Minh City, the boat tours of Les Rives definitely deserve a spot. Their Cu Chi tunnel tour is a fantastic way to travel to the famous Vietnamese tunnels. But we are also fan of their Saigon Sunset Cruise. It’s a great way to unwind at the end of the day, gazing at the city from the Saigon river.

If you want to get more active and cycling is your thing, Grasshopper Adventures organizes an amazing Mekong Delta tour. During this one day bike tour, the Grasshopper guides take you through the orchards, along canal paths and ferries of this region. It’s a good way to let your guests experience the green Mekong Delta, where so much fruit, veggies and fish come from.

Another good option is Vietnambybike, a local organization that provides single-day and multiple-days cycling tours in Vietnam. They can set up tailor made cycling tours for you. Their tours are usually a little more friendly for your wallet.

Sonny Crocket meets Saigon

The best tours for kids

Not every tour is fit to take the smallies, but some are just perfect! Take the Peanut Butter Tour of Dat Butter.  A fantastic farm and factory tour for kids and adults. In the middle of the green country side, this small boutique tour will teach you all about the farming of peanuts and the production of peanut butter. Interesting and interactive! Great for kids from 5 years and up.

And what kids doesn’t like to solve a mystery? Urban Tales is great for families. You can combine it with the Saigon 2CV and feel like a regular Hector Poirot!

The Saigon Sunset cruise of Les Rives is also a great tour to do with kids; besides the speed boat, they’ll love to explore the colorful floating temple in the middle of the Saigon river.

Food tours and cooking like a local 

When exploring a city, do what they do and eat what they eat! Another great local tour in Saigon is the street food tour by Saigon Street Eats. Dive into small alleys packed with food vendors who have spent decades perfecting their special dishes. While sampling a variety of simple street food, you’ll hear stories about this local neighborhood and how history has influenced the Saigon’s culinary scene.

GRAIN cooking studio will make sure you will not only eat the best of Vietnamese cuisine, but are also capable of cooking it yourself. We loved their spacious, clean kitchen and professional chefs. And the best thing is, you don’t need to be Martha Stewart to take part; guests of all ages and skill levels love it. The ultimate souvenir!

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Vietnam has its share of interesting traditions and celebrations. For example, did you notice an increase in the number of altars and burning incense alongside the Saigon streets? This is because of Hungry Ghost, the lunar month in which the ghosts are visiting the land of the living. Say what?

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Plastic Fantastic? Not for nature, it isn't. It is high time we do something about our plastic addiction and reduce our usage of plastic here in Vietnam.

Countries like Bangladesh, Bali, New Zealand and many African nations like Rwanda have banned single use plastic. Luckily, Vietnam is pledging to get on board as well: from 2025 onwards, it will ban all single use plastics. Yay! In the meantime we all need to improve our personal plastic diet and stop contributing to the problem. The Saigon nonprofit organization Rethink Plastic Vietnam is helping us; they do a yearly Plastic Awareness Month. But why wait if we can start reducing our plastic use now?

What can I do to reduce plastic in Vietnam?

There's a lot you can do! We will walk you through some quick fixes to cut back on plastics. They are easier than you might think and we'll tell you about a few awesome new stores we found that can help us with this. Come on, let's go on a plastic diet together!

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It’s official, the last month of the year has announced itself and 2022 is knocking on our door… But before we turn the last chapter of 2021, we have some turkey and mistletoe business to do! We’re on a mission to help you feel as festive as possible… not always the easiest task in this tropical climate, so check out these Christmas events in Ho Chi Minh City. 

The best Christmas events in Ho Chi Minh City this month (scroll down for awesome kids events)

December 1-21: Make a wish come true

In the end Christmas is all about giving and the Snap Cafe team took that in hand. Take a wish off the Christmas tree at Snap Café and make it come true then leave your present at Snap Café. All wishes are from disadvantaged children, coordinated by the Christina Noble Foundation. This Ho Chi Minh Christmas event had to come first in our list because we believe it’s the best way to truly feel the Christmas spirit.

December 11th – 12th: Christmas Market at the brand new Alchemist Cafe

Yes, December is full of Pop-up events and Christmas Markets, especially in Ho Chi Minh! Perfect to do that Christmas shopping and to get in the festive mood. One that we’ll be checking out this year is at The Alchemist Cafe in District 1, where small, local businesses run by entrepreneurial women are the main feature.

It will be full of potential gifts for your loved ones: art, jewellery, skincare and many more items from lovely brands such as Meta Pri Illustrations and Designs, Adore You Handmade Jewellery and Blue Moon Natural Skincare. Let’s get shopping! Show your green pass on arrival and remember to keep your mask on at all times (unless you’re sipping mulled wine!) as this is an indoor venue.

Open 10am-7pm


The Alchemist Cafe, First Floor, 158D, Pasteur Street, D1 (Google maps)

December 11th – 12th: Kula #3065 Christmas Art Events for adults and kids

What better way to spend a morning than doing Christmas craft while knowing that you are also supporting a fantastic charity? You can do exactly that at Kula #3065s handcraft workshop 10-12 on Sunday 12th December where you’ll have the opportunity to make your very own wooden Christmas ornament. Proceeds go to Ba Chieu Girls’ Home.

They are also running other craft workshops across the weekend including candle crafting, wreath making and Christmas card design but proceeds for those sessions aren’t for charity. 

Kula #3065 will be hosting a Christmas Market on 18th – 19th December and a Christmas party on 25th December. 

Kula #3065, First Floor, 39 Nguyen Duy Hieu, Thao Dien, D2

Christmas wreath making

December 11th & 12th: L’Usine Christmas Market

L’Usine is all over Christmas! We love their festive market; great for buying gifts, having a joyeous lunch and getting in the holiday mood. Like last year, they have a complimentary gift-wrapping service.


Open 10am-5pm

L’Usine Thao Dien, 24 Thao Dien, D2

December 11th and 12th: Christmas Ornament Making at Spin and Gogh

Thought you had missed out on Spin and Goghs fabulous craft event? They’ve just extended it for one more weekend! You can enjoy two hours of getting messy and make a set of twenty clay Christmas decorations to hang on your tree. Your 500,000 VND fee includes all materials, tools, a teacher to guide you and for your decorations to be baked. Advance booking is essential. 

Spin and Gogh, The Panorama Complex, 212 Tran Van Tra, District 7, HCMC

December 10th and 11th: Christmas Singalong Fundraiser at Lang Thang

It’s not Christmas without a bit of singing! Get yourself into the festive mood while sipping mulled wine and listening to the amazing AnneSophie Hoffman and The Candy Canes. There will also be an opportunity for some karaoke and Christmas crafts when the girls have finished their set. 

As this fun Christmas event is in Ho Chi Minh, it made sense for all proceeds to go directly to Saigon Children’s Charity so refunds will not be issued in the event of cancellation. Purchase your tickets with this in mind!

Lang Thang, No 18, Street 47, Thao Dien, D2

December 16th-19th: Christmas Markets on the FINAL weekend before the big day

If you’ve left your shopping until the last minute, fear not! There are still plenty of Christmas markets on this weekend in Ho Chi Minh City. Whether you’re on the lookout for some eco-friendly products, skincare or jewellery, you’ll be sure to find what you need at one of the many events. 

December 18th: Holiday Sustainability Market @ The Family Bean Coffee 10am – 5pm

One that we’re excited to check out is the Holiday Sustainability Market organised by Social Changemakers Network on Saturday 18th December. Their moto of ‘Do good, feel good, live good’ is something that definitely aligns with our values. You can look forward to live acoustic music, sustainably sourced products, healthy food and a lucky draw with raffle prizes. It’s useful to know that this event is child and pet friendly. 

The Family Bean Coffee, 17/4B Điện Biên Phủ, Bình Thạnh, HCMC

December 18th: Christmas Lifestyle Market @ Chill Deck 3pm – 9pm

This market promises handmade Christmas decorations, unique gifts and a stunning view of the sunset over Landmark 81. If all of your shopping is done, sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of mulled wine while listening to The Saigon String Quartet

Chill Deck, 1 Xa Lo Hanoi, Thảo Điền, District 2, HCMC

December 19th: Market @ The Villa Project 11am – sunset

Live music, food, art, local Saigon brands and perhaps best of all, a second hand flea market. Goods at the flea market are guaranteed to be in good condition. 100% of the flea market sales will go to a charity helping to provide gifts for children in Saigon. There’s a swimming pool available at this venue so bring your swimming gear if you think you’ll want to cool off. The Villa Project might be hard to find so look out for red balloons on the gate when you get to 199 Nguyen Van Huong. 

The Villa Project,199c2 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, Thảo Điền, District 2, HCMC

16th-18th December: Christmas market at My House 11am – 7pm

A loft concept bar where you feel at home. My House promises plenty of festive decorations, providing the perfect backdrop to capture your holiday snaps as you shop for new clothing, stationery, art and more. 

My House, Second Floor, 14 Tôn Thất Đạm, District 1, HCMC

December 16th: Christmas Quiz @ Soma 8pm 

Boasting amazing prizes and free entry, this Christmas quiz is one not to miss. Gather your team and bring your festive cheer to enjoy a drink or two in the open courtyard. Soma are also hosting a Christmas themed drag show and DJ on Saturday 18th December. 

6 Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2 HCMC

December 24th: A Merry Kiwooza Christmas 5-9pm

Kiwooza invites you to spend Christmas Eve at their indoor playground, where you can experience up to four hours of play but that’s not all! Alongside the usual fun, there will be a magic Santa show, a dancing Santa show and Christmas themed STEAM workshops hosted by Snapology.

If you have kids who will wake up early regardless, it is possible to leave earlier than 9pm but still experience everything. Watch the 5pm Santa dance and 7pm Magic Santa show before heading home to lay out your milk and cookies for Santa and Rudolph. 

1st floor, Saigon South Marina Club, 9A Trần Văn Trà, District 7, HCMC

Throughout December: Vin Space Christmas Art Class

Dreading bored children this Christmas holidays? You might consider Art classes by Vin Space Art Studio where all kids can join their creative workshops on Friday afternoons from 3pm-5pm and on Saturday mornings 10am-Midday. Enjoy 50% discount on your first trial class.

Email for more info.

Vin Space, The Hive Thao Dien, Second Floor, 94 Xuan Thuy, District 2, HCMC

December 24, 25 and 26th: Tinkerplay Family Christmas Event in Ho Chi Minh

Wondering how to make Christmas Day extra special? Head to Tinker Play: an outdoor playground with endless opportunities for child initiated play and Christmas themed woodwork projects using real power tools! Check out Good Honest Travel’s video on Instagram for a taste of what you could experience but remember to add some festive imagination.

If you think this all sounds fabulous but you already have plans for the Christmas weekend, you can head to Tinker Play any time in December to take part in the festive woodwork projects without the official party! You’ll have fun and walk away with some new homemade decorations to add to your home! We’ve got our eye on their impressive wooden Christmas trees!

Purchase your tickets in advance because numbers are limited for obvious reasons! 

Tinkerplay, 280 Nguyen Van Linh,  District 7, HCMC



December 24-25: Christmas Day Kids Event in Ho Chi Minh

Institution Des Collines are organising a Kids Christmas Party on 24th December at 4pm and again on December 25th at 9:30am or 4pm! They also had a date earlier in December but it’s already sold out so get in quick!

During your two hour session, you can sit back and relax with some delicious food while Santa Clause entertains your little ones along with a bubble show, cookie decorating and Christmas crafts. This event would be perfect for under 5s but we’re sure older children would enjoy the fun too! 

Institution Des Collines, 64 Nguyen Duy Hieu, Thao Dien, District 2

Have we missed a Christmas Event you are hosting in Ho Chi Minh? Get in touch via Facebook Messenger to tell us more!

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Or go back to HOME

Big chance you’ve heard Jingle Bells or Mariah Carey around town already… This means Christmas is coming to Ho Chi Minh City! Shops are stocking up on Christmas trees and ornaments and we’ll tell you where to find the best.

Here’s where you can buy the most festive Christmas decorations in Saigon!

A real or fab fake Christmas tree

We secretly all want to buy that crispy fresh Christmas tree even though it’s 30+ degrees outside. You can buy a real one online from Green Life or at Urban Garden in District 2, but beware…they sell out quickly! The satisfaction can be as high as the price.

Greenie house has mini Christmas trees. Check out their Christmas wreaths as well- jolly spirits guaranteed!

It starting to smell like Christmas… Image by Urban Garden

Going fake? No shame in that these days. The Christmas Shop at 59 Thao Dien (next to Kepi) has beautiful trees that look as real as they come. Uncle Bills in District 2 has an affordable selection. They do delivery as well, so you won’t have to ride around the city on your motorbike with your folded fake tree. While you’re there, stock up on decoration- there’s plenty! Santa’s tip of the day: they sell a cute DIY felt wall tree for kids.

Yep, folding up your Christmas tree in the new year and putting it in a slim box has its perks. Decosy rocks it when it comes to fabulous wooden trees. Their trees are eye candy for Christmas groupies and the decoration items ditto!

We love the wooden Christmas trees from Decosy

Where to buy Christmas decorations in Saigon

Trend-setting concept store and café l’Usine in D1 and D2 offer beautiful Christmas decorations in this time of the year. Also nice to bring back home as presents under the Christmas tree!  And even if the Christmas trees at Urban Garden are sold out, it’s still worth while to check their Christmas decorations out. They stocked up well.

The Snap Café premises host various shops where you can find nice Christmas decorations. Kids clothes shop Albetta and toyshop Kepi have some festive decor. After doing your X-mas deco shopping, you can give back as well by making a wish come true at the tree at the Snap cafe.

With stores in more than 8 districts in Saigon, Peony Home is a great shop for Christmas decorations. Original tree lights, ornaments and so on.

Get in the mood at Festive Bazaars and markets

It’s a bit different this year, with most school bazaars closed for non-students or their families. But there are still a few Christmas markets on this month to get in the mood! From December  12-26, there’s a German Christmas Market in Thao Dien.  Expect mulled wine and fresh stollen.

The Thao Dien Christmas Market at Saigon Outcast is also a jolly idea to stock up on your Christmas goodies there! Open on December 19 from 12-7 pm.

The LSEF Christmas Market from Le Square Epecier Fin is promising a full day of Christmas festivities; games, Santa Claus face painting, Christmas movies, decorations, music and food. Open on December 19.

The Crescent Mall in D7 is always fun at Christmas time and the best place for your Christmas shopping. This year they’ve set up a giant Christmas tree- ideal for your festive selfie!

Do a Christmas deco tour in District 5

Perhaps a bit of a ride depending on where you live, but Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street in District 5 is packed with shops selling Christmas decorations, and the prices will make you jingle too!

Happy holidays from the Grapevyne team! It’s the season to SPARKLE!

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Teachers day: a ‘you rock!’ day for our children’s teachers. In Vietnam it’s on November 20 so let’s show those awesome teachers just how much we appreciate them.

We all know that life changing, cool, sweet, kick-ass teacher who helps our mini-me get ready for the future. Let’s make sure those awesome teachers  know how much we value them. Nothing wrong with the common Starbucks voucher but if you can use some inspo, here we are. We made you a list where to get the best thank you gifts in Ho Chi Minh City – and some inspiration for DIY presents too!

Flowers, but not just any

You know what they say; people love flowers and flowers love people. Giving flowers is a lovely symbol of many things and expressing your gratitude is definitely one of them. At Ted & Anna on Xuan Thuy St. in District 2 you will find gorgeous and we mean gorgeous flowers. Let the kids make a nice card for the personal touch: your teacher will love them.

Such pretty bloomies! Photo credit: Ted & Anna

Saigon presents for Teachers Day

As teachers are of the travelling kind, they might like these lovely reminders of Vietnam: Pillow covers with colorful prints of maps of Saigon or Vietnam are such fun gifts. You can buy them for example at the left of the Wish shop on Thao Dien street in District 2.

Prints of ancient maps 

Have you considered buying a vintage map of Saigon or Vietnam? They come printed on canvas, wood or paper and they will look great on any wall. You can get them at the Vesta bookstore on Thao Dien street in District 2.

Who wouldn’t love an old map of Saigon? Photo credit: Vesta bookstore

Not your average coffee mug

Not your average Teachers mug but a hidden gem this one. Absolutely beautiful ceramics in different styles and colors is what you will find at Tuhu ceramics. These cups, teapots, plates, vases and so on will look wonderful in any home. Your kiddo’s teacher will love ‘m (and so do we)!

Just look at these cups! Photo credit: Tuhu ceramics

Go Green with bamboo straws

Go with the no-plastic flow in Saigon and buy a set of bamboo straws for your kiddie’s teacher! Green Around the Corner sells these and many more cute green products. A win-win for teacher and nature!

Or visit next door and stock some great jewelry from Hand and Soul. Loved by many female teachers!

Teachers Day: relaxing presents might be best!

Everyone loves a little pampering once in a while and your teacher might need it most! Gift vouchers for a foot massage from Villa Aesthetica or Anna Sanctuary Wellness Spa in District 7, a facial at l’Apothiquaire or a pedicure at the Nail Bar will definitely do the trick. Another great one is to give a voucher for a hair washing massage and hair styling at Quynh.

Oooh let the pampering begin

House of Barbaard

Pampering isn’t something only women enjoy… House of Barbaard has refined the art of creating a man’s haven in the form of a barbershop where men can relax and unwind.

Eye-candy candles

These candles from Workshop Candles are a lovely gift. They look great and the scents of these candles are lovely. A great relaxing present for your teacher. This little shop is located in the small shopping area next to co-work space The Hive in the middle of Xuan Thuy Street.

Movies & popcorn voucher

Giving a cinema gift voucher may sound a bit tacky, but really, it’s not. There are so many good movies in the cinemas, that you can’t go wrong here. Throw in some extra popcorn and love seat tickets and you’re all set.

Movies & popcorn, the golden combo!


Trend-setting concept store and cafe l’Usine offers besides a yummy lunch & coffee and hip clothing brands, also cool lifestyle accessories. We’ve always had our eyes on the cool l’Usine posters they sell. But if you can’t choose, no worries, they also do gift vouchers so your teachers can choose for him/her self. Bingo!

The hip l’ Usine has funky and original lifestyle accessories

Do It Yourself this Teachers Day

Ok guys and girls, making or creating a gift yourself will show your gift comes from the heart without a doubt. So if you’re a creative king or queen, knock yourself out. Check this page on Pinterest to get you started! For those among us who need a little help… A photo album with pictures of all the kiddies, events and teachers is nothing short of a hit. Try, the templates are cool and more importantly, the software is super easy. Note that delivery takes a week at least so start early.

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It’s that time of the year again! Not much of a chance on a white Christmas here, but don’t let that stop you from getting into the festive mood. After finding all the Christmas decoration for your house, it’s time to make plans for your Christmas dinner or brunch in Ho Chi Minh City. Let’s get to it: Saigon’s best Christmas brunches and Christmas dinners.

Celebrate Christmas in (buffet) style 

We are a fan of the Christmas Brunches at Le MeridienThey will host  a whole series of festive events in December, such as their famous yearly Christmas Dinner on December 24 and a Christmas Brunch on December 25.  Combine it with their Holiday Stay offer and you can really kick back this Xmas and enjoy a glass of champagne. Bliss!

Another great option is the mouth watering menu at The Deck in District 2. Just voted ‘one of the best bars in the world’, so you’ll know you’ll be at the right place to get festive! Their Christmas menu includes a Seafood and Champagne brunch for 23rd and 30th December, as well as some spectacular Set Menus specially prepared for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve (VND 1,850,000++ per person). Contact The Deck for more info. 

We know our Christmas present: a delish fuss free festive dinner!

A Christmas Eve with stars in Ho Chi Minh

The Social Club inside the gorgeous M-Gallery Hotel (Hotel Des Arts) hosts a  five course set dinner at Christmas Eve, as well as on Christmas Day.  You can have another go on December 27 at their ‘Festive Epic Brunch’ with free flow bubbly.  Staying in Saigon might just be the best idea ever!

Or bring family and friends for Christmas in Ho Chi Minh to the 5 star Equatorial Hotel in District 5! Delicious (there’s a reason this hotel has 5 stars), but very reasonably priced, you can have your pick between various events such as the Christmas Cocktail Hour or one of their festive dinners or brunches. Make sure to book in advance for Christmas Eve dinner on December 24 or The Christmas Brunch on December 25th. Pssst…rather do Christmas at home? You can order a Christmas turkey with The Equatoral Hotel as well!

Of course Park Hyatt Saigon never disappoints and this year they’re going up an over. In addition to their festive buffets adn set menu’s, they’re offering two fantastic experiences for the whole family.

Magic at The Park is a mesmerizing magic show that old and young will enjoy. Be sure to book in advance as it is a small, intimate  setting. 

Another great experience for your December calendar is Le Petit Chef. Combining 3d technology, storytelling and fine dining, the encounter with the smallest chef in the world might be the perfect Christmas experience for your family or friends. 

Feliz Navidad: Christmas the Spanish way

Spanish tapas restaurant Tomatito (district 1) celebrates Christmas with an 8 course Feliz Navidad Dinner on December 24-26 from 6 pm. Reasonably priced at 780k per person, what better way to celebrate Christmas in Saigon? Dress festively and ¡que te la pases bien!

Let’s get the family at the table and wave this year farewell!

A very French Christmas

For more inspiration for Christmas dinners in Ho Chi Minh City, we tried some the French kitchen as well. If you’re a fan of French food- who isn’t?-, reserve at Le Corto in District 1. Or book your fancy table at the exquisite La Villa restaurant (district 2). La Villa has a very merry Christmas Eve Dinner on December 24 or lunch on December 25. Check their beautiful classic French menu and let the mouthwatering begin! By the way, we’ve tried and tested more incroyable French restaurants, big and small, check them out here.

Turn up the heat for a Christmas BBQ

Going for a more low key Christmas eve? Jake’s BBQ serves a Christmas BBQ  on December 24 and 25 including slow roasted prime rib, oven-baked ham and more yummy dishes. Starting at 5 pm, booking in advance is required. Also great for you Christmas dinner at home, since they do take away and home delivery as well! 

Merry Christmas from all of us at Grapevyne!

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What a year it has been! We can’t say this year has gone by faster than Usain Bolt this time, with all of us waiting for some pandemic relieve and open borders. But at least we can enjoy a peaceful Christmas at home. Celebrating Christmas in Saigon with your loved ones under your decorated  tree could be the best thing on your wish list!

But how to decorate, what to cook, where to buy ingredients? Do you need some inspiration? We will help you get started.

Decorating your house and dinner table

It all begins with decorating your house and turning it into Santa’s pied-à-terre. You can buy lovely Christmas decorations at so many places in Saigon, time to stock up! And where to buy them exactly we hear you thinking? Here’s where you can buy Christmas decorations in Saigon, go for it! And check out this link if you need ideas on how to set the perfect Christmas dinner table!

A lovely decorated house and table will get everyone in the Christmas mood

Ideas on what to cook for a Christmas dinner

The internet is filled with recipes on Christmas dinners, but sometimes you just want someone to do your homework for ya. Here are some of our favorites and we will tell you where to get the ingredients as well!

Start with salmon

Start with Jamie Oliver’s smoked salmon toasts. Easy to make and always a winner. You can buy the smoked salmon from la Poissonerie, the avocado at Annam and the toast from Saint Honoré. Go to Nam An for the rest of the ingredients like the crème fraîche, herbs and vinegar. Buy your gluten-free bread here.

Smoked salmon toast, Jamie Oliver style – yum!

A Christmas soup in Santa Saigon

It’s the tropics so a cold soup will be appreciated. Ottolenghi’s tomato and watermelon gazpacho will be a hit, we promise! And it’s super easy to make. You can even make it the day before if that makes life easier. Buy great quality tomatoes and watermelon from ByNature and scrumptious bread at Saint Honoré. The rest of the ingredients you’ll find at Nam An.

Gazpacho is perfect for the tropics 

The main course of your Christmas dinner

Are you thinking turkey? So are we. Cook Donna Hay’s apple and herb brined turkey, it’s amazing. Buy the turkey at Meatworks (make sure you order well in advance to avoid finding empty shelves at d-day). The rest of the ingredients you can find at Nam An.

Do you prefer a delish oven baked ham? Nigella Lawson has a great recipe for a ginger-glazed ham. Go to Meatworks for the ham  (again, make sure you order well in advance- you’re not the only ham seeking Christmas cook god(ess) in Saigon). Then head off to Annam to get the rest of the ingredients. Or go easy on yourself and just order it at Jake’s!

Serve the turkey or ham with Jamie Oliver’s ultimate carrots and Martha Stewart’s mashed potatoes with olive oil.

What to make for a Christmas Dessert

The ultimate classic, a Christmas Pavlova wreath is our answer, because it’s sooo good. Happy guests guaranteed with this recipe. You can buy fresh or frozen mixed berries (yes, frozen berries keep their delicious taste) and the other ingredients at Nam An.

The Christmas pavlova wreath is such a beauty

Christmas baking fun with the kids 

If the kids want to help, let them make Strawberry Santas or gingerbread cookies. Fun to make, the kids will love it and so will you. Christmas spirits all around!

Ready, steady, bake! 

Are you up for it? If you’re not, which we totally understand after this already exhausting year, here are some alternatives:

Book a table at one of the great places we lined up for you to celebrate a Christmas brunch or -dinner in Saigon.

Merry Christmas!

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Memorable gifts you can buy in HCMC- This Is Your List

Mother’s Day Saigon is coming up soon (May 10)! While she probably loves the hugs, kisses and occasional pasta-necklace best, some spoiling is in order for this special woman in your life. So let’s do a little brainstorm of how you could pamper her. From the best gifts to brunches, flowers and me-time for mom, we’re making a list. Pssst moms, feel free to forward this one.

Get her flowers for Mother’s Day, but not just any

Let’s start with giving mom some lovely flowers this Mother’s Day in Saigon. At Ted & Anna on in District 2 you will find the most beautiful blooms. Do as we do and show them an image of the bouquet you like and they will make sure mom will wake up and smell the roses on Mother’s Day morning! Rather order online? Padma de fleur is a florist and flower cafe in one and they do beautiful bouquets. If the woman in your life loves plants, visit the lovely Greenie.

Woo your mom with fresh flowers

Arrange a care free morning (certificate) for Mother’s Day at these great spas

Although Ho Chi Minh has its fair share of great spas, beauty salons and massage studios who can provide the pampering mum needs, due to Covid-19 they’re not allowed to open in the coming month. But you can make them a certificate for when they do open. Mum will be in much need then of a no kids, no fuzz, just me-time and relaxing hour! Or check out the lovely pampering products at L’Herbanyste or Lai Day.

For great massages try Spa La Sen or Villa Aestetica. In district 1 we love to go to the Intercontinental. And a gift voucher from the stunning spa Apothiquaire will definitely get you some bonus points. Oooh yes, let the pampering begin at l’ Apotiquaire

Get fancy with brunch this Mother’s Day

If your mom is anything like us, she’ll love edible pampering! Get fancy and take your mum for brunch.  In district 3, the Hotel des Arts does a great Champagne brunch that your mom will surely love. In district 2, we love L’Herbanyste for their yummy food and lovely atmosphere. Or head down to Mad House and order the brunch platter. There’s also a vegetarian one. Sleeping in? Take mom to one of these great lunch places instead.

Even more fancy; pamper mom with a high tea

We’re in celebration mode this Mother’s Day so let’s go all in. Scones, muffins, sandwiches and cup cakes, all these things sound like music to our ears! Villa Royale provides all the ingredients for a perfect high tea with mom. Or take your mom to the line up of yummy cupcakes at Sweet + Sour and let her have her pick.

Let us have cake!

Spoil mom with this ultimate DIY gift

Of course boys and girls (and dads), there’s nothing that says I love you more than that self-made gift. And although most moms love your pasta-necklaces and hand prints on a tile (often still slightly wet) this is what moms really like: a photo album with pictures of all those family moment together. Not only do we love to flip through them together, but this To Do has been on our mom list forever! Try, the templates are cool and more importantly, the software is super easy. Note that delivery takes a week at least so start early.

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Meanwhile Dad can take the kids to these great in- and outdoor play areas

Staying here this Tet Holiday and looking for fun things to do with the kids? No need to panic, because the old days of total Saigon shut down during Tet are over. To be honest, having the city to yourself without any school traffic jams sounds rather nice doesn’t it? And to soak up some real Vietnamese traditions during the stunning Tet flower markets plus experience the Lunar New Years fireworks is also a great treat. That said, one could always use some inspiration to keep the troops occupied during this school holiday!

Best kids things to do during Tet: which venues are open? 

While some venues, such as Vin Space Art Studio and Vertical Academy are closed during some days of Tet holiday, there are still lots of nice things to do for kids in Saigon.

More close by we have the interactive climbing wall at level 4 at the Estella shopping mall. Your offspring can choose between 9 interactive walls. Make sure they wear their sneakers though, flip-flops are a no go. If they’re a bit too small for the climbing wall, they might like Tiniworld, which is conveniently on the same level. 

Older kids will love Timezone, an electronic gaming hall in Estella Place. Full of interactive experiences and the newest electronic games. Combine it with a lunch at this great shopping mall and you are all set!

Climbing to new heights at Estella Place

Ice-skating or football camp in Ho Chi Minh City 

And have you spotted the ice rink at Landmark 81 yet? There’s loads to do at the 81 levels of this building, including a great view on top! After ice skating, shopping or the CGV cinema, you can even take the kids for a non- alcoholic drink at the ice bar. They’ll love the ice cold walls and furniture.

Yeahhh! Jump Arena is also open this Tet, only closing for one or two days. Let the kids blow off some steam at one of their trampoline halls in District 2, 7 or 10, while you have a coffee or soda upstairs. Don’t forget the socks!

Or visit the indoor playground of Kiwooza Planet. They will be closing for a few days, but that leaves the offspring enough jumping and playing hours in this kids heaven in D7.

If you need the kids to blow off some steam and learn some skills at the same time, they can join Fox Football camp. Whole days or only mornings, full weeks or just one or two days, the camp is flexible. 

Fun things for the whole family this Tet

Superbowl in District 1 has regular hours during Tet, so you can practice your strike all holiday long! 24 lanes, modern equipment, fried chicken wings & lots of fun awaits you! Footwear and socks can be rented, so don’t worry about bowling on your Havaianas. We love the special ‘ball glider’ they have for the smaller kids, so they can easily join in the fun.

Ice cold fun at Snow Town

No option to go skiing in Niseko, but still a need to cool off this Tet? Pack the family and hit the road to Snow Town. This amusement park has been decorated in Tet style with red and gold ornaments everywhere, setting the perfect Lunar New Year mood. Riding your sleigh, check out the selfie corner, do some ice cold climbing – all is possible at this winter wonderland at the other side of the Hanoi Highway. They’re closed for one or two days, so make sure to check before you go. Buy your tickets online. 

DIY Lunar New Year crafts and baking at home

Holidays at home are also the perfect time to do some home crafting with the family. You’re rushing the whole year, so let’s ditch that To Do list and get zen. Even if you are not the arts and crafty type, you will surprise everyone (including yourself) with these cute cow plates or these cool Lunar New Year lanterns.

Yes, it’s the year of the Ox. In the Zodiac the ox stands for strong, reliable and fair people, inspiring confidence in others. So let’s make some cow plates! Your kid can bring them to school for the TET celebrations there. Admiring looks are guaranteed! 

Lunar New Year is all about lights and lanterns and how cool is it to make your own? The kids will love to craft these pretty lanterns made from colored paper by, perfect for all festive holidays.

Chúc mừng năm mới!

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