Set sail for an evening of great food and beautiful views on this unique addition to Saigon’s dining scene. By Michael Tatarski. Photos by Vinh Dao.

For all of the water that flows through Saigon, the city is surprisingly disconnected from its rivers and canals. Many waterways are lined with highways or corrugated tin shacks, while others are simply too fetid to even approach.

The Lady Hau, introduced in November, gives patrons a chance to really see the river that shares a name with our city. The luxuriously decorated wooden boat, with a capacity of 46, welcomes guests at the Bach Dang wharf at 6.30 every night before setting sail at 7pm sharp. A foredeck features comfortable benches and clear views of the surroundings. Walk inside and you are greeted by a sumptuous buffet spread and the dining tables. A small deck at the stern houses a grill where BBQ treats are cooked up.

The cruise takes diners towards District 2, gliding past the pitch-black Thu Thiem Peninsula, a stark contrast to the bright lights of downtown. After slipping under the Thu Thiem and Saigon bridges you are greeted by the opulent riverfront houses of Thao Dien on the right and undeveloped Thanh Da Island on the left, before turning around to head back towards District 1 just past The Deck. On this particular evening, the breeze off the river was delightful.

The scenery, both urban and rural, is complemented by an all-you-can-eat buffet of Vietnamese specialities. Fresh spring rolls, stir-fried seafood and vegetables, lemongrass chili chicken and delicate banh beo are among the options. The chicken was a personal favourite and it went well with the fried combination rice.

After tucking into a heaping plate of food we were presented with the BBQ menu, which includes selections from the sea, land and garden. We decided to try each item and particularly enjoyed the chicken wings, pork ribs, sirloin steak and calamari skewers. The dishes were fresh and perfectly cooked, with the meat dishes coming in medium rare, just as I like it.

Finally we reached dessert, an eye-popping spread of colourful fruit and cakes, as well as tiramisu and mango crème tarts. This was a great finale to a decadent meal with great service and it would be impossible to disembark hungry.

A cruise on The Lady Hau costs VND895,000 and includes one drink and the buffet. While there are certainly less expensive meals in town, it would be hard to find a more unique, relaxed setting for a special occasion or romantic night out.

10A Ton Duc Thang, D1
6.30pm nightly
To book, contact Ms Hanh at
09 25 387 989 or email
ladyhau.sgn@emmhotels.com