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No Vietnam Visa Required For Citizens Of Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain

by Chris Mitchell @ Travel Happy

From July 2015, you don’t need to apply for a visa to enter Vietnam if you’re a citizen from Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain Vietnam Embassy, Bangkok The Vietnamese government have announced a important change for Vietnam tourist visas – if you’re from Britain, Germany, France, Italy or Spain, you no longer need to […]

Zoom With A View

by Charles Snowdon @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

Zoom has been a haunt of mine for years & has been the venue for many reunions. I have a personal fondness for the place but shall remain impartial for the sake of a beneficial review.

Set on a busy corner near Bùi Viện, Zoom does suffer from road noise & a fairly steady flow of hawkers which can at times become testing. However, the well selected music which is played at an appropriate volume does well to counteract the traffic din. In addition the staff here are always friendly & seem to be very content in their roles as Zoom staff.

When eating here, I usually go for a burger as they are consistently good & from 115,000đ with a free beer, the price is certainly competitive. The menu is broad with everything from Mexican to all day breakfasts. I have never been disappointed with the servings here & am yet to meet anybody that has been.

It is also worth noting that there is a happy hour from 7pm to 10pm when Huda or Saigon Green beers are a mere 10,000đ. After 10pm further offers are available. The owner of Zoom also conducts Vespa tours which has proved to be very popular with tourists visiting Saigon. The appreciation for Vespa is further proven by nostalgic Vespa items adorning the walls.

Zoom gets 4 stars, really I cannot fault any aspect here, it’s a shame that there is no longer outdoor seating but that is something that is certainly beyond the bars control. I recommended a visit for an evening drink or meal whilst enjoying decent music and watching the, at times, frenzied traffic.

Top 5 Seafood dishes to try in Vietnam

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

We always recommend travelers in Vietnam to definitely try what the locals call “ốc”, which literally means “snails”, though its meaning is actually going out and enjoying seafood, including crabs, shrimps, oyster and yes, snails. However these ốc restaurants usually have only a 5 to 10...

Terrific Asian-fusion

by Ouassini Fertas @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

Located right in the center of the city, Aura is a new restaurant that specializes in Asian fusion food. Opened by the owner of the well-known (and by the way excellent) Ciao Bella and Saffron, Aura has some prestigious older sisters to make proud! So, let me tell you that my expectations were high…

From the moment we entered there we knew we would be well taken care of. The very welcoming staff offered us a complementary glass of sparkling wine and appetizers while waiting for our other friends, which I truly appreciated as a good customer service is not common in Saigon…

The menu is appetizing and you would probably not find anything alike elsewhere in the city. Actually I had the feeling I could not really make a wrong choice… However, on the manager advice I chose a Salmon tartar and a five-spice Salmon while my friends ordered other house’s specialties. From the starters to the mains including drinks, not a single thing went bad, everything was perfect! Even more, they managed to surprise me with a mix of tastes I had never experienced before.

Aura has all the ingredients to become a star on Saigon dinner’s stage and hopefully I will be lucky enough to eat there one more time before coming back to France for a few months. At least it will surely be the first restaurant I will go to when I come back.

Appropriately Unspectacular

by Joe Buckley @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

Tân Định market is a large market selling a vast array of different things, as you’d expect from any market. The outside of the place is lined with food stalls, selling an impressive variety of dishes, so it’s easy to combine a trip here with lunch.

Although the market is a great place to go if you’re in the area or live locally, there’s nothing particularly exciting or exotic about the place – although it is housed in an unusual building with a unique façade – so you do not need add it to your must visit list, or make any special effort to go there.

The really interesting thing about Tân Định market, though, is its history. In the late 19th century, the market (then known as Phú Hòa Market) was one of the most important markets in Northern Saigon. The current building, however, was constructed by the French colonial government in the 1920s – partly to improve hygiene, and partly to increase the state’s revenue. And it is in this unusual building that the market is still housed today (minus the roof, which has been replaced).

So, the market is worth finding out about for general interest, but, despite being a great local place, if you don’t ever find yourself in the area, you’re not actually missing much.

Top 5 Children Activities in Saigon, Vietnam!

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

We’re quite proud to say that we had our tours customers aged from 1 to 95 years old, and they all enjoyed it! Though parents are often quite scared to let their children on a motorbike in busy Saigon, we believe that is also a...

12 Years Of Travel: Thames Barrier, Greenwich, London

by Chris Mitchell @ Travel Happy

London is steeped in history, but it’s also shaping the future of how we control the landscape Thames Barrier, Greenwich, London 10 June 2012, 3 Years Ago This Week: I spent a few days in Greenwich for my 40th birthday – it seemed appropriate to go back to the Source Of All Time as I […]

The Best Value Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

After the best boutique hotels in Saigon, we decided to have a look at a cheaper selection of accommodation in our city. As always this is only based on our opinion nor this is a sponsored article/video by any of these hotels. Check out the...

Spending Christmas in Saigon, Vietnam

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

Christmas is nearly a month away, and can be trully a magical time in Vietnam (minus the snow). If you decided to spend our favorite holiday in the South of Vietnam, make sure to check out our video on what Xmas is really like like...

The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

If you are following us on our YouTube Channel (and you should!) you probably would have watched all of our top 5 already. Our goal as always is to provide travelers with the best spots, according to us, for various Vietnamese street food or activities here...

5 reasons why you should include the Philippines in your travel list

by Petra @ The Global Couple

The Philippines mesmerizes tourist and locals alike with its beauty. Here are 5 reasons why you should visit the Philippines.

The post 5 reasons why you should include the Philippines in your travel list appeared first on The Global Couple.

A delight from Delhi

by Charles Snowdon @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

I was in need of a food delivery & thought I would try out the ordering service of ‘foodpanda’. Clicking through what seemed like endless options, Taj Mahal grabbed my attention. The free delivery, very reasonable prices & the appeal of Indian cuisine meant my decision was made. After opening my account, which was a simple process, my order was placed. As it was my first order I received a confirmation call & was told that my food would arrive in 45 minutes.

An hour later, I received a call & my food had arrived. It was delivered by a lady, smiling & eager to hand me my food. The delivery time really did not matter as the steam filled bag confirmed that it was hot & ready to devour. On opening the individual containers, I was very pleased to see that they had included a ‘salad’, a nice touch that I have not encountered elsewhere.

With regards to the food, I was not disappointed. However, I did find the ‘garlic & cheese’ nan to be lacking in cheese, in fact it was completely absent. The biriyani was perfectly cooked & a contender to meet the best I have ever had. The paneer was also very good, although I found the consistency to be different to other paneers, still tasty but not top notch. The tikka masala I found to be a bit over salted, not unbearably so but it was apparent. However, I was unable to finish it all & once reheated the next day, it all tasted even better, the tikka had become truly sublime.

I will order from Taj Mahal again, without any hesitation, the well-priced menu, wide selection & superb taste make it a must try for any fan of Indian fare.

A lovely place

by Joe Buckley @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

When I first heard about this market, I was excited to visit – Vườn chuối means ‘banana garden’, and I thought that I’d be entering into a world combining The Secret Garden with banana plantations (minus the labour exploitation).

I was quickly put right however, as friends told me that it’s not a garden or particularly related to bananas. It is, however, a market. Disappointed, I went online to see what other people thought about the market, and was met with a tidal wave of positivity – some people even declared it to be Saigon’s best market. My enthusiasm was renewed, so I set off for a snoop around.

If it isn’t Saigon’s best market, it certainly comes pretty close. Housed in a nice building, the market combines all the best bits about other markets – some busy areas, some quiet areas, some pedestrianized areas, some areas with motorbikes whizzing through, some dark areas, some light areas… the list goes on. The stalls, range from nearly looking like real shops, to nearly looking like wandering street sellers. All this diversity and variety – amazing given the market’s relatively small size - makes visiting the market a really fun experience, made even more so by the jovial and helpful people who work in the market.

The stuff for sale is just as varied – ranging from clocks and gold to raw meat and vegetables, via cloth, bakeries, tinned food, health and beauty, etc. etc. One of places to go when you want to by something, but you’re not quite sure what.

The oddest place on Nguyễn Trãi

by Joe Buckley @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

Walking into Zen Plaza is a very bizarre experience. From the outside, the building just looks like it houses the offices of innumerable boring businesses. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what it does house. Although the bottom couple of floors make some sort of claim to be a shopping mall.

And it’s a claim which the place doesn’t manage to pull off. The first thing I noticed was a sign pointing to the basement. So, like Alice going down the rabbit hole, I went down there. But it certainly didn’t lead to a Wonderland – just a grubby basement and a small Family Mart.

Back upstairs I went. I found some half empty clothes shops. A floor or two more followed, and each had a couple more ghost stores and customer-less restaurants. Then I realised that members of the public can’t go any higher, because that’s when the offices start. So I went back downstairs. And left the warped Wonderland.Which was a relief.

Taking decent photographs was also a challenge here, because there’s so little there. Nguyễn Trãi contains a lot of interesting little stores worth exploring. Zen Plaza, however, isn’t one of them. It’s odd, but not in a good way.

No Indonesia Visa Required For Citizens Of 45 Countries

by Chris Mitchell @ Travel Happy

The Indonesian Government recently announced citizens of forty five countries no longer need a tourist visa to enter Indonesia. Indonesia Immigration Stamp How Does Visa Free Entry To Indonesia Work? If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed below, arrive at one of the entry points below and proceed to Passport Control. […]

The Best Desserts in Ho Chi Minh City

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

  It’s not always easy to explore Saigon under this unbeatable heat, and sometimes a quick ice cream stop can be the best way to refresh yourself and have enough energy for your adventures here. Fortunately, with a summer all year round, Ho Chi Minh...

How Much Money Do I Need For Hong Kong?

by Guest Travel Writer @ Travel Happy

Hong Kong has it all – heavenly food, high-octane nightlife, striking architecture and top shopping all laced with heaps of culture and tradition. There are plenty of ways to spend a fortune, but Lee Cobaj explains how Hong Kong doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive Hong Kong © barbara-pictures Compared to its SE Asian neighbours, […]

The best breakfasts in Ho Chi Minh City

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

If you’re like us and got the Vietnamese habit of waking up with the sun and a cup of cà phê sữa đá, you probably have already your favorite Phở or Bánh Mì joint that will help you start the day in ease. For most...

Sampling the best of Ho Chi Minh City's food with XO Tours

Sampling the best of Ho Chi Minh City's food with XO Tours

The Global Couple

What could be better than riding motorbikes and sampling some of the city's best street food? The Ho Chi Minh City food tour run by XO Tours is fantastic!

The Best Place for Shopping in Saigon

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

Everyone likes to go on a shopping spree sometimes, and Saigon is definitely one of the best place for this. Through a quick Google search will help you find countless of high end shopping malls (Vincom A and B, and the most recent Takashimaya), we...

12 Years Of Travel: Newquay Cliffs, Cornwall, UK

by Chris Mitchell @ Travel Happy

Famous for its burgeoning surfing scene, Newquay also has some stunningly beautiful scenic walks along its cliffs too. Newquay Cliffs, Cornwall 21 May 2013, 2 Years Ago This Week: Less than fifty miles from where I grew up, I’d never been to Newquay until this visit to see a friend who I’d first met in […]

Taking The Foodie Motorbike Tour In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Taking The Foodie Motorbike Tour In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Travel Happy

Get a unique view of night time Ho Chi Minh City from the back of a bike on the Foodie Motorbike Tour with XO Tours' elegant female guides.

A Tavern for lamb

by Charles Snowdon @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

A Sunday roast is a tradition in the UK & as it had been so long since I had partaken in such a great ritual, I decided to seek out the best for a Sunday roast. The suggestion that kept coming forth was The Tavern in district 7.

As usual, Sunday arrived & off we went to The Tavern for the anticipated roast dinner sensation. On arrival I was informed that today’s roast was lamb for 245,000đ. Without hesitation, my order was placed & my friend ordered the all-day breakfast.

After about 20 minutes 2 large plates crammed with steaming grub arrived at our table. My roast was more than substantial & smelt like a Sunday at home in the UK. The plate was covered with lamb, roast & mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables & a Yorkshire pudding. Mint sauce & gravy were the side-kicks for this dish of splendour.

Not to be out done, the breakfast was also vast with eggs, beans, sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, bacon, toast & butter. At a price of 155,000đ, this is without a shadow of doubt the best I have set eyes on in Asia.

Taste wise, the roast was exactly as it should be with everything properly cooked & served at just the right temperature, a truly pleasing roast that would not be out of place in London’s finest pubs. My only gripe is that the Yorkshire pudding was a rather heavy consistency, this has to be due to the available ingredients in Vietnam. The breakfast was faultless, I sampled some & can vouch for my friends testimonial.

So 4 well earned stars for The Tavern, highly recommended & I shall return in the not too distant future.

The Best Boutique Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

While it is quite easy for anyone to look up on TripAdvisor or Agoda for the best hotels in Saigon (and get some great deals), we have decided this time to search some accommodations here that stands out (to us) for their decor and style....

Tour đi xe Vespa khám phá Sài Gòn

Tour đi xe Vespa khám phá Sài Gòn


Năm 2006, Công ty Vietnam Vespa Adventures được thành lập bởi Steve Mueller người Mỹ, chuyên chở khách du lịch bằng xe máy Vespa cũ của Ý khám phá Sài Gòn. Đến nay ở Tp. Hồ Chí Minh, mô hình du lịch mới này đã có hằng trăm công ty tham gia,  đưa du khách khám phá các địa danh nổi tiếng của thành phố như : Nhà hát, Bưu điện Thành phố, Hội trường Thống Nhất, Bến Nhà Rồng…

Another dull shopping mall

by Joe Buckley @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

I’ve basically summed it up already. Parkson is just another dull shopping mall, full of people who have attached a large part of their identity to their consumerism. And people who think that buying lots of stuff makes them happy. And people who like to flash their cash with gaudy and kitschy jewellery, clothes and make-up of questionable taste.

This is where independence comes to die. An overly-clean place full of characterless tiles and characterless shoppers, shopping for characterless brands, such as Marc Jacobs, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, and lots of others with forgettable names that I’d never heard of before. Although if I said that while I was in the place I would probably have been branded a heretic.

There’s not too much fun anyone can have in this place, especially if you’re doing your best to hold back tears as you look around and realise just how hegemonic corporate late capitalism can be.

Despite all this, it’s got a great bowling alley. So if you want to do some ten pin bowling, go there. If you don’t, never ever step food inside the place. Unless, of course, you’re a completely vacuous person who just wants to buy more stuff.

The Best Lunch Foods in Ho Chi Minh City

by fred wilson @ Back of the Bike Tours

What to eat for Lunch in Ho Chi Minh City a.k.a Saigon? Entering the world of Vietnamese food can be a daunting task for a beginner out there on their own. What is it? Where is it? Is it the best? These are the questions...

Drone photography in New Zealand – a new perspective

by Petra @ The Global Couple

New Zealand has some spectacular landscapes, and we think that there's no better way than to photograph it from the air with a drone!

The post Drone photography in New Zealand – a new perspective appeared first on The Global Couple.

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide | Ho Chi Minh City Tourism | Flight Centre

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide | Ho Chi Minh City Tourism | Flight Centre

Flight Centre

Discover the southern regions of Vietnam with our Ho Chi Minh City travel guide. At Flight Centre you'll find great deals on a great selection of holidays.

A peaceful park

by Charles Snowdon @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

Tân Cảng Park is located in Bình Thạnh District, not far from District 2. It is within fairly reach of Thảo Điền Pearl Building so it is an ideal respite for residents living there.

On approaching the park, I was struck firstly by the quietness of the area then by the abundance of bright flowers. The park is not far from a main road but it does not overly suffer from the constant hum of the traffic. It is also bordered by the Saigon River. In addition to the masses of beautiful flowers, there are tennis courts, tables & ‘huts’ that I presume are used for cooking & serving food. They are quite ingenious looking & would not be out of place on a tropical island. The eating area & general layout suggest that this is a popular spot for wedding receptions and the setting for wedding photographs. Indeed the trees & flowers would undoubtedly provide a lovely back drop for a memorable occasion.

The palm trees, greenery & water features all tended to by devoted gardeners make this a peaceful place that is well worth a visit. This is the type of park that is ideal for laying back & diving into a good book, the tranquillity & lovely grounds will surely enable even the most stressed person to unwind.

Due to its location I would not make a special trip, however if passing by, it certainly deserves a stop & a meander. Five stars for Tân Cảng Park & next time I shall return with a book & a picnic.


Beers & free frames

by Charles Snowdon @ The 10 latest reviews on HCMC.COM

Banana bar is in a good location in D.7, it is an unimposing enterprise with a few seats available outside. I have ventured here on a few occasions & it has never been overly crowded. I like this as the main reason I go is to take advantage of the free pool table. It’s not a bad table & serves its function well although there are better tables elsewhere.

Price wise, Banana bar is a bit cheaper than alternatives in the city centre, a Heineken is 35,000đ & Beer Saigon is 30,000đ. It has a good range of beverages including some on draft such as Tiger. There is a happy hour starting at 5.30pm when draft beers go as low as 25,000đ. Snacks are also available & during happy hour these are priced as low as 40,000đ.

With regards to décor, it is fair to say that this place needs sprucing up. It just feels like it is lacking some TLC & a general polish or a coat of paint would certainly raise the whole feel of the establishment. The original owner was certainly on the right track but it seems that the current proprietors did not inherit his passion.
The service is fine, nothing great & no reason to complain. The staff are gracious enough & seemed to enjoy gawking as we played pool. That’s fair enough but I did find it rather invasive, although it meant that the replenishment of drinks was never delayed. If you are in the vicinity of the bar & need a drink with the chance of free pool then Banana bar is the place to go.

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