This month we highlight the top 5 essential stores for parents in Saigon that will help you keep your kids busy and excited to explore the world around them. Photos by Vinh Dao.
Vincom Mega Mall
Hanoi Highway, Thao Dien, District 2
There aren’t many places in Saigon that can tick as many of a family’s boxes as Thao Dien’s latest (and largest) shopping mall. While the shops and leisure options in the recently opened Saigon Centre in District 1 will no doubt become a beacon for families, the Mega Mall wins overall for its sheer variety, with something on offer for every member of the household.
For those brand new to the world, several of the shops here specialise in baby supplies, including toys and accessories from local and foreign brands such as Chicco. Then we have stores like Funnyland, where big-name toy brands and imported products from Australia, Europe, Japan and Korea will keep kids (and adults) of all ages happy. For playtime without the price tag, TiNiWorld provides a safe and supervised kids’ area featuring ride-on toys, games and climbing frames. Teens can skulk away into the cinema or hit the ice on Saigon’s largest ice rink, while their parents indulge in some retail therapy, kitting out the kids’ rooms at Index Living, or simply hiding themselves in one of the many restaurants.
Shop Tre Tho
338 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 3
Ideally and cleverly situated opposite the Hanh Phuc International Medical Building, one of the city’s top clinics for expectant mothers and babies, Shop Tre Tho is a one-stop-shop for all of those baby and infant essentials (and non-essentials) that will slowly fill your home to bursting point. On the ground-floor, find clothing, accessories, toys (including name brands like Fisher Price), feeding, sleeping and nursing essentials, and several imported milk formula brands. There’s also a wall of nappies from Korea and Japan, plus local brands like Pampers and Huggies.
If your shopping basket still has room, head upstairs for larger items like strollers, prams, bouncing chairs and playpens which the helpful staff will be happy to demonstrate. Prices are reasonable too, and when it comes to the checkout, don’t worry about fixing 500 nappies and a jungle gym to the luggage rack of your motorbike, or even fitting them inside a taxi – free local delivery is available. You may even find that your items make it to back your house or apartment before you do, in that oh-so-Vietnamese, rather mystical way.
136/10 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
Mayhem is not for your average person. As you pass the nail ladies lining the alley on Le Thanh Ton, turn right, travel six metres up to meet a dead-end, look right and take the stairs which lead you straight into a nirvana of unique threads that are as authentic as the attitude Mayhem exhibits. Plus there is free parking right in the alley!
This place is an oasis of a vintage thrift store meant for the young, hip, stylish folks of the modern age. Most of the products hail from Japan, and run the gamut from throwback floral print dresses, to high end blazers and professional wear meant to outfit anyone for a slick style that is home on the street or in the office. They choose to pose an active threat against cheap counterfeit clothing inundations being peddled in so many stores we are all used to seeing. It’s the perfect spot for any angst-driven teen with a good sense of style that wants to be outfitted in some authentic garments. Just drop them off and don’t wave them goodbye. You’re so embarrassing.
Bam Skate Shop
174 Bui Vien, District 1
Rest easy, this place has nothing to do with Bam Margera. It’s just an awesome skateboard store with every possible accessory a gnarly shredder could dream up. Located smack dab in the middle of Bui Vien, this place is packed to the gills with everything skate culture. There’s not a lot of places in Saigon that really cater specifically to this demographic, so Bam Skate Shop is the perfect one stop shop if you have a young one into 5-0 grinds and nollie tre flips.
They carry all of the top skate brands: Volcom, Spitfire, Element, Girl, Vans, and they even have their very own BAM awesome floral print caps (on sale right now). Boards, trucks, wheels, clothes, tools to upkeep your board, and they have regularly updated sales on their website. New product arrivals are constantly streaming in, so if you can’t make it to Bui Vien regularly be sure to keep on top of their website.
The Bike Shop
250 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2
This bike shop in Thao Dien has everything you could want from a place that peddles pedals and tires attached to big aluminum frames. The nice thing for parents is that they carry a good selection of products for kids and teens as well. They carry fantastic Kickit brand childrens bicycles for ages two and up. These little tike bikes are 100 percent handmade in Vietnam, and come in a variety of colours. They help to teach your young one balance and confidence while riding a starter bicycle. Gone with the training wheels! In with designer, locally crafted bikes!
They even provide weekly workshops every Wednesday that allow both adults and children to learn how to fix up and maintain their bicycles, which is as much a skill for life as it is a valuable learning experience of caring for nice things like a sweet new bicycle to rock around Saigon in style.