Vietnam is a country known for its rich and thriving culture. Even in the biggest city in the country, Vietnam’s metropolitan hub, Ho Chi Minh City, many locals still cook traditional Vietnamese food, wear traditional dress, use traditional tools and run businesses which date back tens of generations. Discover 7 way to get off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the country’s unique culture.
1. Explore the City on Two Wheels – One unique experience in Ho Chi Minh City is exploring on a motorbike. In a city filled with motorbikes and scooters you’re sure to look like a local on two wheels. Hire a bike and zip around through the city’s many districts.
Alternatively, if you’re worried about getting lost you can always go on a motorbike tour. A motorbike tour is undoubtedly one of the best ways to take in the sights, sounds and smells of this city. Just remember to wear a helmet, as if you’re not wearing one, your travel insurance won’t cover you, and a hospital visit isn’t going to be a holiday highlight you’ll want to remember.
2. Eat with The Locals – If you want to see why Ho Chi Minh is one of the best street food cities in the world, head to Vinh Khanh Street in District 4, famous for its seafood.
When you’re not eating from street food stalls, look for the words ‘com binh dan’, which means ‘rice for the common people’. These small restaurants, that are all over Ho Chi Minh City, offer up hot ready-made meals for a great price. The streets that border the Nhieu Loc–Thi Nghe Canal are filled with outdoor vendors and local restaurants, including rooftop restaurants perfect for escaping the hustle and bustle. The canal's tree-lined paths are also great for a leisurely stroll.
3. Escape the Crowds – While there are plenty of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City, everyone needs to escape the crowds now and again. If you fancy an adventure, head to Binh Quoi - Thanh Da, an island just 20 minutes drive from downtown.
Thanh Da is perfect for relaxing like a local, with rice fields, palm trees and hammock cafes by the water. Another option is to head to the stunning white-sand beaches of Nha Trang, to the north or Phu Quoc Island just off the Cambodian coast. Alternatively, the sleepy fishing village of Mui Ne is around a four-hour journey by train.
4. Coffee with The Locals – The cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh city is a dream for coffee lovers. Join the locals and enjoy a traditional drip coffee with condensed milk at one of the many cafes near Notre Dame Cathedral.
Located between the Independence Palace and Notre Dame Cathedral, the peaceful 30/4 Park is a real Saigon hidden gem and very popular spot where the locals like to sit and enjoy their coffee. If coffee is not your thing, why not try a mug of single-origin hot chocolate from the Mekong Delta.
5. Shop Like A Local – When you think shopping in Vietnam you likely think Ben Thanh Market. However, Ben Thanh Market mainly caters for tourists. For a more local experience, head to District 4 where you will find Xom Chieu. While this market is noisy and crowded, it does serve a delicious variety of street food, including bun mam (seafood noodle soup).
Make sure to visit after 4pm as this is an evening market. For shopping in the day time, where tourists are rare, check out Vo Duy Ninh Street, in the vibrant neighbourhood of Binh Thạnh District. Here you’ll discover many of Vietnam’s weird and wonderful culinary treats, including frogs, duck and a wonderful array of fruits and vegetables.
6. Cultural Entertainment - At the heart of Ho Chi Minh City stands the impressive Saigon Opera House (or Municipal Theatre), built in 1898 by French architect Eugene Ferret, following the “flamboyant” style of the French Third Republic.
The oval auditorium with 468 seats offers good view from every seat. Check online beforehand to see what high-profile local events and cultural entertainment is on during your visit to Vietnam, and book online to avoid the queues.
7. Stay Like A Local (With Extra Luxury) – At the centre of Ho Chi Minh City, The Sherwood Suites offer the ultimate in urban living, conceived and created so you can live life the way you want.
The serviced apartments are a luxury sanctuary in the city, all fully equipped with kitchens, stunning marble-lined bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows and free Wi-Fi access. Dine in the private restaurant, relax on the pool deck or in the Jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath.
In a place so rich in culture, with stunning surroundings and delicious cuisine, it’s no surprise Vietnam is such a popular bucket-list destination. Travelling with children in Vietnam is a great time to bond as a family and the fantastic city of Ho Chi Minh has no end of things to explore, see and do. Of course, travelling with kids can bring its own stresses, but with this list of useful Vietnam travel tips for families you’ll be ready to take on travelling to one of the most amazing countries on Earth with the whole family.
1. Before You Travel – Make sure everyone has an in-date passport for when you plan to travel, to avoid any last-minute panic. Apply for your visas – if this seems too daunting, there are companies to help you with this. Decide how much cash to take with you and order this ready for your travels. Don’t forget to get travel insurance for the duration of your stay too, just in case.
2. Family-Friendly Accommodation – Choose accommodation to suit all the family. Somewhere that is uniquely ‘Ho Chi Minh City’, but also familiar. You need convenience, entertainment for the kids and preferably a place for parents to relax. Sherwood Suites offer all this and more – conveniently located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh city, spacious serviced apartments, restaurant, pool, gym, jacuzzi, sauna, sports room and kids’ playground.
3. Family Fun – Travelling as a family is a great excuse for parents to be big kids, so make your Vietnam fun for everyone. Why not explore some of the incredible adventure parks and water parks in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s also a great way to burn off some of the kid’s energy.
4. Travel Itinerary – Plan your travel ahead of time where possible. Book any trains and do your research when it comes to good reliable taxi firms. Remember to keep a note of travel times, ticket information and useful contact details. If you’re staying at Sherwood Suites don’t be shy about making good use of the concierge. Not only can they help make ‘in-the-know’ recommendations, they’ll also be able to help you with any general questions you might have about the area and what to do.
5. What to Pack – Check the weather for when you plan to stay to optimise your luggage. Pack light to keep hands free for looking after little ones. A light rain coat is always a good idea and thin layers will dry easier in a hotel room. Sherwood Suites offers a variety of clothes-care services to make sure you don’t run out of clean and dry options during your stay.
6. Safety First – Ho Chi Minh City, as well as Vietnam in general, is known for being fairly chaotic. Where possible travel as a family and keep tabs on your children and encourage them to hold hands, particularly when it comes to using the roads and in busy market places.
7. Keep Kids Healthy – While you are probably keen to make the most of your time in Vietnam, remember down-time is essential for keeping everyone refreshed and happy. Be smart when it comes to food in Vietnam – most places are fine, but kids tend to be more susceptible to food-borne illnesses, so take extra caution when feeding them. Come prepared in case anyone is feeling under the weather, by bringing headache tablets, sickness remedies, plasters and bug spray. Don’t forget sun protection, especially for the children. If you’ve chosen a hotel like Sherwood Suites, then the food is not only delicious, its also fresh, healthy and seasonal.
8. Make Friends – Vietnamese people are well-known for how friendly they are, so don’t be shy, make friends.
9. Immerse Yourselves In The Culture – Explore the local culture on a bike tour and make sure to visit some of the museums in Ho Chi Minh City, including paying a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels. A visit to the local markets is also a great way to immerse yourselves in the culture, discover local made goods and try the local cuisine.
10. Natural Beauty – Don’t neglect the natural beauty in and around Ho Chi Minh City. Take a hike on the many hiking routes and see your surroundings from above. Or opt for a different view, from the water on a boat tour, or why not hire kayaks as a family and get exploring.
We hear you – travelling with kids can be tough. But it is also totally worth it. Family holidays are a profoundly beneficial time for you and your children.
Away from work and your busy home schedule, holidaying with the kids is the perfect opportunity for you to give them the priceless gift of your time. Make your next holiday the best family vacation, as you learn, play and explore together.
1. Bonding Time - A recent survey showed 65 percent of parents say they only play occasionally with their children. A family holiday is the perfect opportunity to be in the other 35 percent and spend some quality bonding time together.
Vin Space Art Studio in Ho Chi Minh, organises a variety of workshops for adults and children, ranging from oil, acrylic and abstract painting to handicrafts-making, woodblock-printing, and photography.
Enjoy a little bonding at a traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show. Depicting the culture, traditions and folklore of Vietnamese life in vivid sets and props, the puppet shows are one of the best family activities in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. Get Smart – Holidays can advance brain development in children. This is because, unlike at home, on a family holiday you are more likely to be exercising the ‘play’ system and the ‘seeking’ system in your brain.
For families with older children, the offer the opportunity for a highly interesting, if sobering, educational visit. Learn about, and even crawl through, the tunnel systems the Vietnamese guerrillas fought in during the Vietnam War for a hands-on educational experience.
3. Explore Together – A new and exciting environment offers new experiences that combine social, physical, cognitive and sensory interaction.
There are various bike and cyclo tours to choose from in Ho Chi Minh City, that make for an exciting way to see the city as a family. The leisurely rides are ideal if you’re travelling with the little ones, and most excursions have food stops and photo-stops.
4. Big Kids – Bringing your kids along on holiday means you get to be big kids too.
Monkey Island promises a fun-filled day out near Ho Chi Minh City. Enjoy a family adventure in the mangroves and see who can spot the most wildlife as you hike around the island. While the island certainly lives up to its name, with thousands of monkeys scampering around, the island is not just about these lovable primates. This diverse ecosystem has plenty to discover, including a crocodile preservation area, and much much more.
5. Discover Their Tastes – At home your kids may be fussy eaters, but while away trying new foods the kids may well discover their tastes and return home not quite so fussy. Ho Chi Minh city has plenty of food options to cater for all tastes.
To get stuck in with the culture head to where you’ll find a plethora of food stalls to tempt the kids. If you want to take the kids on a real foodie journey, why not go on a street food tour together.
7. Healthy Competition – Holiday time is a great time to play together. Team up or go head to head...just make sure you’re not a sore loser if the kids win.
Head to the games arcade centre at Vincom Center Shopping Mall in Ho Chi Minh City and have a go at basketball, air hockey, a variety of video games, or even bumper cars. There’s also a superb food court selling ice-cream, burgers, and many other offerings to keep everyone fed and amused.
7. Sleep and Play – A good nights sleep is essential for happy little ones but finding the right place to stay with something to please all the family can be tricky.
Fortunately, at Sherwood Suites there is something to keep everyone happy. The hotels serviced apartments and facilities cater to your every need, be it relaxing, keeping in shape or simply enjoying time together as a family. Unwind in the Jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath, while the kids burn off some energy in the outdoor pool. Keeping everyone entertained is easy in the games room offering plenty of fun for the whole family, with a pool table, darts, and table soccer table. For the little ones there are a host of fun toys and games available to keep them amused in the safe and well-equipped kids play area.
When choosing a couple’s vacation destination, Vietnam is a top pick, with its exquisite coastline and sparkling bays. Explore the colourful culture together and see for yourself the beautiful structures and stunning landscapes. Vietnam has it all – from UNESCO-listed world heritage sites to the bustling nightlife of Ho Chi Minh City and from the gorgeous paddy fields to private dining in unusual locations.
You can get the most out of your stay in Vietnam and experience luxury, without the price-tag, at this inexpensive destination. Hotels & restaurants offer choices for all budgets, making it great for exploring on a budget.
1. Blissful Beaches - Vietnam is an artist’s palette of varied hues, filled with verdant mountains & deep valleys, rivers and deltas, sparkling waters and white sand beaches, ancient monuments and beautiful national parks. With such an abundance of natural beauty on offer, Vietnam is perfect for exploring with your loved one.
Be sure not to miss romantic settings such as The Valley of Love and the Xuan Huong Lake in Dalat. The green lands of Sa Pa valley are also stunning and definitely worth exploring.
Then of course there is the astonishingly beautiful Halong Bay, where you can get an even better view of the bay from a romantic boat tour.
Couples can book customized tours to enjoy the beauty of the island, the beautiful caves and romantic sunset on the bay. There are many famous caves here including the magnificent Thien Cung cave, the Sung Sot cave, and the Dau Go cave.
2. Ambient Dining – The Vietnamese cuisine is simply unforgettable, offering a mouth-watering blend of salty, sweet, sour, and hot flavours. Discover some of the most romantic beachfront or rooftop diners with magnificent views and ambient settings or enjoy ultra-romantic private dining in the caves of Halong Bay. Ho Chi Minh City has a plentiful offering of romantic restaurants and eateries, featuring delicacies by award-winning chefs, imported wines and champagnes, romantic décor, candlelit ambience, as well as stunning views of the city and beyond.
As the highest fine dining restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, EON51 Fine Dining offers breath-taking views alongside luxurious dining. Enjoy premium wines and western cuisine in a romantic setting. The restaurant is fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, warm lighting, a VIP area with an open kitchen, in addition to a well-stocked cellar displaying a selection of wines from France, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile.
Set alongside Saigon River, The Deck Saigon is a popular alfresco dining venue in Ho Chi Minh City, offering a romantic setting, scenic locale, and excellent pan-Asian cuisine. The restaurant is fitted with glass doors, warm lighting, and elegant furnishings, as well as an outdoor wooden deck that’s surrounded by bamboo trees and a small pond. Enjoy lunch offerings ranging from pan-fried foie gras and Wagyu beef burger to bento sets and Phu Quoc prawn rolls.
3. Ice-Breaker - Ice-skating may not be the first thing that comes to mind when visiting Vietnam, but believe or not this romantic past-time is in fact quite popular in such places as Ho Chi Minh City.
Not only is it a great opportunity to cool off in the city, it’s also great for adding a little romance to a date, without breaking the bank. Choose from one of the various ice-skating venues in Ho Chi Minh City and spend the evening hand in hand skating round the ice.
4. Cultural Couple - The Vietnamese locals are renowned for being friendly and hospitable, so don’t be shy, make new friends and discover the things the locals love.
You’re sure not to be lost for things to see and do in Vietnam - there are plenty of cruise rides, boat trips, cycle tours, tunnel explorations, and sightseeing tours to indulge in (all at a reasonable price).
Enjoy a musical extravaganza together at Saigon Opera House, visit the War Remnant Museum and the Notre-Dame Cathedral and learn about the local history. Explore the thrilling Cu Chi Tunnels and charming Mekong Delta.
Take a stroll through the food streets to witness Vietnam in its true form. Buy a gift for your loved one from the numerous shopping outlets, selling various stunning silks & other local products.
4. Romantic Nights – Indulge in a romantic getaway in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - one of Asia’s most dynamic metropolises. Sherwood Suites’ fully serviced apartments are a luxury sanctuary while visiting Vietnam - lifestyle designer furniture, fully-equipped kitchens, marble-lined bathrooms with a bathtub, walk in rainforest showers and premium toiletries.
Dine in the private restaurant featuring Asian and international cuisine, relax on the pool deck or sip a cocktail from the pool bar, work out at the 24-hour gym, or relax in the Jacuzzi, sauna or steam bath. For added convenience, the Sherwood Suites also has a free, hourly shuttle service to Ho Chi Minh City landmarks, dining and entertainment precincts.