It’s official, the last month of the year has announced itself and 2020 is knocking on our door… But before we turn the last chapter of 2019, we have some turkey and mistletoe business to do!

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

December 1-18: Make a wish come true

In the end Christmas is all about giving and the Snap Cafe team took that by heart. Take a wish of the Christmas tree at Snap Café and make it come true. You can leave your present at Snap Café. All wishes are from disadvantaged children, coordinated by the Christina Noble Foundation.

December 1: Winter Pop-Up Event

Yes, December is full of Pop-up events and Christmas Markets! Perfect to do that Christmas shopping and to get in the festive mood. Tim Tay in District 7 is kicking off with a Winter Market full of nice suppliers: ceramics, jewelery, bags and many more items from lovely brands. Let’s get shopping!

Tim Tay Winter Pop Up Event, 32 Khu Pho Nam Quang1, D7 (Google maps)

December 3: DIY Perfume Workshop

Rei Nguyen will guide you in this Perfume workshop at Co-Space. You will not only learn about the ABC of Perfume making, but you can also see for yourself if your nose is up to the job. At the end of this 2 hour class, you’ll have your own little perfume to bring home. This workshop is also available in Japanese on December 4.

Co-Space, 104A Xuan Thuy (fifth floor), D2

You are never fully dressed without perfume!

December 7: Christmas BISzaar

The first Saturday of December is always filled with Christmas markets. The British International School is kicking off with their traditional Christmas morning, from 9 am till 1 pm. Christmas carols, Santa Claus, festive activities and lots of shopping opportunities to get those relatives something nice from Vietnam – it’s all there!

BIS Secondary Campus, 246 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2

Shop away at the BISzaar

December 7 & 8: L’Usine Christmas Market

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

L’Usine Thao Dien, 24 Thoa Dien, D2

December 8: Green Christmas Market

Dreaming of a green Christmas? After all our efforts to reduce plastic with the Rethink Plastic Vietnam initiatives, it doesn’t feel right to stock the oranaments at random. In comes the Green Christmas Market, with lots of guilt-free gifts and green Christmas snacks. Starting at 10am. 

Green Christmas Market, 35 Nguyen Luong Bang, D7

December 14: Open Air Cinema

It’s not Christmas without all the traditional Christmas movies! The Hive didn’t go for The Sound Of Music though, but chose a more updated Christmas movie at their Open Air Cinema instead. Starting at 7pm at The Hive Villa, entrance 80,000 VND.

Knock knock who’s there? Bad Santa!

December 14 & 15: Xmas Art Market

Buying your friends and relatives a piece of art might be a thoughtful gift? Or a nice Christmas present to put in your own stocking for that matter. The Factory Contemporary Arts Centre is assembling over 40 artisans and designers to showcase their work at their Xmas Art Market. Small and bigger pieces are for sale. Starting at 10am. Admission is free. 

The Factory, 15 Nguyen U Di, D2

December 15: Vegan cooking class

Always wanted to cook vegan but not sure what to make? Patty’s Kitchen is hosting an oil free vegan cooking class. You’ll be making two yummy healthy dishes. Sign up via the link.

December 25: Christmas Brunch

Ofcourse the end of December will be filled with Christmas brunches and dinners. We’ll update you in a seperate article on that in due time (as well as on the most bubbly NY parties!) bute here are some teasers…

l’Herbanyste is decking the halls and setting the table for a Christmas brunch full of good cheer! Join them for champagne and mimosas, wholesome vegetarian and vegan menu, festive cakes, Secret Santa & live music!

Digestive naps not required!

December 31: Murder Mystery Countdown

What better theme to end this year than with a murder mystery? After the big succes of their first bloody dinner, l’Herbanyste decided to take you to the famous Las Vegas strip this time. A perfect setting for a secretive, festive gamble of a night to bid the year farewell. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!! Tickets available via the link. 

The best KIDS EVENTS this month

December 1: Sunday Funday & Family Movie 

Saigon Outcast is organizing their Sunday Funday. Skateboarding, push climbing, lunch and a family movie to top it off. Today they’re screening The Emperors Groove. Movie starts at 5 pm.

December 16- January 3: Vin Space Wintercamp

Dreading bored children this Christmas holidays? If your kid’s school’s out, you might consider Wintercamp by Vin Space Art Studio. All kids can join their creative workshops, on weekdays from 9am-12pm. Email for more info.

Almost too nice to eat!

December 21: Toddler Christmas Party

Little Monkey bakers are organizing a festive afternoon in District 7! It’s a small event and you’ll need to sign up in advance. This day, they will make Christmas snowglobe cupcakes with the kids (guided by a parent).

Toddler Christmas Morning, 4-6pm. 

December 21- 24: Christmas Parade

Need an extra pinch of jolly and merry? The Crescent Mall is celebrating Christmas the whole month with decorations and festivities. To top it off, come to their very own Grand Christmas Parade,organized the last few days before Christmas. 

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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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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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It’s almost Father’s day (June 16), the day that we put the man of the house in the spotlight. Let’s wow the other half of the team aka the (vice)captain of the family aka the coolest dad in the world and show him we think he’s grand by buying him the best Father’s day gift or take him out on a cool day out.

Take Dad out for a super cool experience

There’s nothing wrong with the usual shirts and shaves gifting, or the old whiskey bottle, but we figure the Dad of the 21th century is more into an experience with the family. Ho Chi Minh City has various great adventures to offer, so this Father’s day gift is sorted. For example, did you know you can go up the Landmark? That’s right, take Dad up the top level of tallest building of South East Asia to see the best view of Saigon. It will be a wow experience, complete with helmet and a safe suit. You can buy tickets (a hefty 500,000 VND but hey, it’s Father’s Day) at the reception at B1.

Give Dad some different perspective on things

Great Father’s Day Gift: Exploring with Dad

Another great experience is to take Daddy into town. After all, there’s still much to explore in this ever changing city. What about a nice boat tour on the Saigon River or a Saigon mystery tour that you can solve together? And if the man in your house is a sporty one, he might like to do a biking tour around HCMC! Check with mr Biker Saigon if there’s a family ride you can do.

Take Dad for a spin

For car crazy Dads, there’s nothing better than the Go karting experience at Let’s Move. Treat him to some great coffee next door (on the same premises) to get him started and then you’re off! Let’s Move has electric karts for the smaller kids and gasoline karts for super fast Daddy and his buds! There’s also a great indoor playground if the circuit get’s too hot. A great Father’s Day gift that the whole tribe will enjoy.

Daddy will feel like a regular F1 driver with this Father’s day present!

Father’s Day Brunches

If the Dad in your home is a foodie, you have it easy! Surprise him with a super duper breakfast in bed. We found you some inspiration for father’s favorites here. Not so much of a kitchen princess yourself or just rather go out? Not to worry, there are plenty of places in Saigon that offer a great brunch. We love the brunch at Mad House and Cafe Marcel in District 1, but if you want to spoil your old man in style, we recommend brunch at The Deck.

Or skip brunch and let Dad, with some of his Daddy mates, have the greatest night at Social Club. They’re doing a Social Night For Cool Dads; a special edition of their deli night where they pair fine whiskeys and premium wines with plates of cold cuts and cheeses, while enjoying jazzy tunes by a live band. He will love you even more for this cool Father’s day gift!

Spoil your dad this Fathers day with the food he loves (Madhouse)

The best presents for your cool dad

Yep, there’s value in saying “thanks for everything”, whether is with a home cooked meal, a DIY card or a gift. If you like the idea of giving a present best, we’ve  put together some brilliant Father’s Day gift options for you. These are all presents you can get in Saigon.  We’re sure your Dad will love all your spoiling and care!

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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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What a season! There are so many fun things to do in Saigon this month that we can imagine that you are skipping long flights and travel stress and 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.

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

Gotta love a classic for your Christmas dinner

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 in this hotter than hot weather, 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. Or, order a delivery Christmas dinner (we won’t judge) from for example Jake’s BBQ. They will have smoked Turkey or oven baked ham with yummy sides ready to deliver on December 24 & 25.

Merry Christmas!

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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 festiviest 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. The satisfaction can be as high as the price.

Greenie house has mini Christmas trees. Check out their Christmas wreaths as well! We also love the fresh green Christmas ornaments and wreaths at Farmi. You can order them via Facebook. 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 and they do delivery too 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 cafe 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! On December 7 and 8, l’Usine organizes their famous Christmas market. Expect activities, workshops, Christmas goodies, gift wrapping service, and festive food & drinks.

The Snap Cafe 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.

Stock up on Christmas decorations and presents at one of the Festive Bazaars or markets

Festive Bazaars and markets

Of course there are plenty of Christmas markets this month, so you can stock up your Christmas goodies there. The BISzaar organized by the British International School of HCMC is on December 7. Click here for a full list on the Christmas markets and Fairs in Saigon.

Merry spirits in District 5- plenty of X-mas goodies!

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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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; this November is Plastic Awareness Month!

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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