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25 Things Women Should Know about Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam...

 

Luxurious Saigon...

Sure, Saigon has many budget options, however, it also allows an avid luxury shopper to enjoy high-end shopping at moderate prices. If you are a traveling trend seeker, then check out L’Usine – a concept boutique poised on the 2nd floor above the Art Arcade on 1/F, 151 Dong Khoi Street. This find literally has it all; hip fashion, a café, and a gallery. When you’re there, be sure to check out the marriage of Vietnamese art and high fashion produced by CAMENAE, a Saigon/Singapore based company. CAMENAE works with local Vietnamese artists to put their art on leather-goods such as the Dragon Wallet. The art scene in Saigon is one of the most vibrant; Dong Khoi Street is lined with art galleries where you can get original Asian art for affordable prices.

 

Pamper yourself for less...

Many women come to Vietnam for the economical ‘pampering’ they can get. Spas grace every street in Saigon; and they will beg you to come in -- literally. However if you want something different then you must try Qing Wine Bar on 110 Pasteur District 1. Wine…yes; plus a mani-pedi and brilliant back rub. Stop in and grab a glass of wine downstairs and then walk upstairs to the spa and choose from a menu of bliss.

 

Track down this tailor...

Vietnam is also known for quality, economical tailoring. As an expat, I had my own tailor who I trusted and worked with. However, if you are a Journeywoman with limited time in Saigon, then take advantage of in-shop tailors at silk stores like Creation, 105 Dong Khoi District 1. Here you can choose any beautiful item off the rack and have it tailored to fit with a very quick turn around. Sometimes this is better than having things made from scratch which tends to take much longer and the urgency creates a loss in quality. While you search the racks at Creation, be sure to look at the gorgeous custom beaded Ao Dais, the traditional Vietnamese dress, they are one of a kind.

 

Some like it hot...

How do you stay cool in a notoriously hot and sticky city? You don’t. Ladies, I suggest you wear deodorant and stop frequently in coffee shops and art galleries with air conditioning. Even as an expat, I would always pop into the high end hotels to simply cool down and sit in peace and quiet to revive my energy. After all, it’s free to sit there! I also recommend trying the fresh fruit smoothies sold everywhere in Saigon; they are a cool and refreshing treat. My favorite place to cool off is a little smoothie bar called Juice at 49 Mac Thi Buoi D1 – the colorful décor will perk you up right away!

 

River oasis...

Saigon is a city of water, built upon waterways that snake throughout the city and cause many traffic woes! Unfortunately there aren’t any real nice river walks in the main part of town, however if you venture out to An Phu, District 2, you’ll find an oasis along the river called The Deck. Here you can have a sunset happy hour drink while watching the barges slowly make their way down river. The Deck is an oasis of calm in more ways than just eating and drinking; they also offer Yoga sessions in the morning along the river.

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