Claudia Davaar Lambie whiles away the weekend exploring Saigon. Additional reporting by Dana Filek-Gibson. Photos by Vinh Dao, Paintball Saigon, Caravelle Saigon and City Treasure Hunts.
There is nothing worse than that familiar feeling of dread when you wake up on a Sunday and slowly realise that there is only one day left before the alarm stirs you at some ungodly hour. Depending on your degree of hangover, you have two options: lie on the sofa ordering delights from Vietnammm.com, or get out of the apartment, brave the overbearing heat and try some of the cool activities Saigon has to offer on a Sunday.
Celadon City and Aeon Shopping Mall
30 Bo Bao Tan Thang, Tan Phu District, Ho Chi Minh City
If you fancy taking a trip away from the hustle and bustle of District 1, the up-and-coming Celadon City is a serene green space spanning 160,000 square metres. It takes around 30 to 40 minutes to get there from downtown Saigon but Celadon City’s greenery and clean air is worth the journey. In a few years, this space will have been built upon, but for now enjoy the peacefulness with a picnic in the park.
Adjacent to Celadon City is the gigantic Aeon shopping mall, which boasts a huge selection of shops from Japan, Korea, Vietnam and even some popular branded stores from home. This spacious shopping centre has a wide range of restaurants, fashion retailers, quirky boutiques, bookshops, children’s toy shops and an impressive supermarket. After combing through the mall, relax at the in-house cinema or, better still, belt out your favourite song at one of the numerous karaoke rooms situated on the top floor.
14-16-18 Duong 11, An Phu, District 2 Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 906 849 000
You’ll find Paintball Saigon about a five-minute drive from the centre of Thao Dien. Equipped with two sizeable fields, Paintball Saigon’s space is aptly set up for the game with tarpaulin blockades and human-sized crates everywhere to throw your enemy off course. Prices range from VND 500,000 to VND 2 million, depending on how many paintballs you want to shoot. All fees include protective gear and a gun. There are also corporate packages, just in case you want to blow off steam by pelting your colleagues with paint. After a few hours of playing Rambo, the nearby Wombat Bar and Beer Garden offers a tasty Sunday Roast or BBQ to regain your energy.
Overland Club Pottery
36 bis Huynh Khuong Ninh, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Tucked away on Huynh Khuong Ninh is Overland Club Pottery Studio, a great little creative space to mould mugs, plates, bowls and anything else you fancy. The workshop comes equipped with pottery wheels and an array of tools. There are different classes depending on your level and time commitment, and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to help.
I attempted to make a mug, which took around two hours. To add the finishing touches, my masterpiece was baked and glazed and will be ready for collection sometime next week. This was all for a very affordable VND 150,000. If you want to master the art of pottery, you can buy ten sessions for VND 3.6 million. It was a very therapeutic way to spend a Sunday afternoon. If you feel peckish afterwards, pop upstairs to the cooking class, where you can make and sample some Japanese or Vietnamese delicacies.
City Treasure Hunt
Searching for a little design inspiration? Whether it’s for your wardrobe or your home, City Treasure Hunt provides lifestyle, art and design tours of Saigon. Corporate interior architect Rosemary Cook, a five-year resident of the city, has developed her own unique set of daylong excursions with a focus on furniture and home decoration, junk and antiques or fashion. Tailor-made events and citywide scavenger hunts can also be arranged. Tours typically run about seven hours, with lunch and air-conditioned transportation included, and come in at about VND 1.5 million per person. For more information, visit the City Treasure Hunt Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
High Tea at the Caravelle Saigon
19-23 lam son square, d1
Swing by Caravelle Saigon’s Café de l’Opera for a miniature feast. High tea selections includs English and Vietnamese, as well as a menu of vegetarian snacks for herbivorous guests. Depending upon your order, servers will bring either a three-tiered tea tray or a miniature set of bamboo baskets to your table, complete with snacks like lemon thyme scones, vanilla cream filo pastry, smoked salmon and crème fraiche. High tea menus begin at VND 280,000++ with one freshly brewed Lavazza coffee or Ronnefeldt tea and go up to VND 380,000++ if you add a flute of Veuve Clicquot champagne to the mix.