VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

Ho Chi Minh City

History - Orientation - Information - Dangers Annoyances - Sights - Activities Walking Tour - Courses - HCMC For Children - Tour - Festivals Events - Sleeping Eating - Drinking - Entertainment - Shopping - Getting There Away - Getting Around.

ACTIVITIES

Bowling
Diamond Superbowl (Tell: 825 7778; Diamond Plaza, 34 01 Le Duan; per hr from 120,000d; 10-1am) This is a state-of-the-art, 32-lane bowling alley smack dab in the centre of town. It's very popular with locals and is notable tor having fluorescent bowling balls and compu- teriscd scoring. Attached is a large amusement centre with billiards, a video-game arcade and shops.
Gyms & Pools
Even if you don't make it to one of Saigon's water parks or to Cong Vien Van Hoa Park, some of HCMC's finer hotels have gyms with attractive swimming pools attached. You needn't stay there to swim, but you'll have to pay an admission fee of US$8 to US$18 per day. Hotels offering access to their pools include the Legend (Tell: 823 3333; 2A Đ TonDucThang.Districll), Park Hyatt Saigon, Majestic Hotel, Renaissance Rivemdt' Hotel and Rex Hotel. There are a number ot less-expensive public pools and some of the newer ones are in very good condition. These pools charge by the hour and this works out to be very cheap, if you're staying only a short time. Lam Son Pool (Tell: 835 8028; 342 Đ Tran Binh Trong, District 5; admission per hr 5000d, after 5pm 6000d; P9 8am-8pm) Has an Olympic-sized pool. Lan Anh Club (Tell: 862 7144; 291 Cach Mang Thing Tarn, District 10; admission gym/pool 40,000d/25,000d; ( pool 6am-9pm) Good gym here. Workers' Club (Tell: 9301819; 55B B Nguym Thi Minh Khai, District 3; admission per hr 10.000d)

Vietnam Golf and Country Club (Can Lac Bo Golf Quoc Te Viet Nam; ĐT: 733 0126; Long Thanh My Village, District 9; driving range/full round USS10/85), situated about 15km east of central HCMC, was the first in Vietnam to provide night golfing under floodlights. Other facili¬ties include tennis courts and a swimming pool.
Rach Chiec Driving Range Hwy 1, An Phu Village, District 9; 50 balls 5O.OOOd;( 6am-10pm) is a good place to practise your swing; clubs, shoes and instructors can be hired. It's a 20-minute drive north from central HCMC.
Massages & Spas
HCMC offers some truly fantastic settings for pampering - the perfect antidote to a fre netic day spent dodging motorbikes. While many midrange and upmarket hotels offer massage service, some are more legitimate than others.
L'Apothiquaire ( 64A Đ Truong Dinh; per hr massage US$20;(9am-9pm; the city's most elegant spa, is housed in a pretty, white mansion lucked down a quiet alley, with numerous services available. Guests enjoy body wraps, massages, facials, foot treatments and herbal baths, and L'Apothiquaire makes its own line of lotions and cosmetics. Those seeking a bit more activity can try yoga, t'ai chi or pilates classes. There's also an excellent meal served during lunchtime, and if you become a member (or book a package), you'll have free use of the pool and sauna.
Vietnamese Traditional Massage Institute (Tell: 839 6697; 185 Đ Cong Quynh; per hr 35,000-45,000(1, sauna 25,000d; (9am-9pm) is not the cleanest setting, but it does offer inexpensive, no-nonsense massages performed by well-trained blind masseurs from the Ho Chi Minh City Association for the Blind.
Spa Tropic (187B ĐL Hai Ba Trung, District 3; per hr massage USS25;10am-8pm is a good place to spoil yourself with a top-notch 'proper' massage. This Zen-like beauty spa offers an array of aroma-therapy facial treatments, body treatments and therapeutic massage, from Swedish and deep-tissue to shiatsu. Spa Tropic is found in the same quiet alley as Tib Restaurant. Call ahead for reservations.
Dong Du Salon (31Đ Dong Du; (l0am-11pm), above the Qing bar, this well-appointed place offers manicures (US$2), pedicures (US$2) and that all-important foot message (US$10 for 70 minutes).
Aqua Day Spa ( Sheraton Saigon, 88 Đ Dong Khoi;10am-11pm) is HCMC's most luxurious spa and is a beautifully set affair offering a range of treatments, including warm stone massage (US$55 for l'/2 hours), herbal scrubs (US$45 for one hour), foot pampering (US$35 for 45 minutes) and back massages (US$25 for 30 minutes).
Zanadu Health Club (63 ĐL Nguyen Hue), the spa at the Duxton Hotel, is a great place to drop in for a massage (US$23 for one hour).
Golden Lotus Foot Massage Club ( 20 ĐL Thi Sach) delivers bliss to overworked gams, and also gives genera] body masage Lotus' most popular package includes a 90 minute massage followed by ten minutes of 'Lotus tea time" (US$13).
Relax House (Tell: 404 2284; 242 Đ Bui Vien 10am-11pm) offers pedicures (US$2), mani cures (US$2) and foot massages (45 rninutes US$7).
Yoga & Martial Arts
There are several places in town to take yoga classes, including the calming L'Apothiquaire (left). If you're interested in martial arts. the-best place to see (or try) thai cue quyen is at Cong Vien Van Hoa Park or in the Cholon district, where there is a large ethnic-Chinese population. Ask the staff at the Arc, En Ciel Hotel to point you in the right direction.
Saigon Yoga (10F Đ Nguyen Thi Minh Khai; price per class/month USS12/90; 8m-7pm) is a small yoga stu¬dio (tucked down a narrow alley) offering Vikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa and power yoga as well as pilates classes taught by US and Singaporean instructors. Short-term visitors can take advantage of seven days of unlimited yoga for US$20. K1 Boxing Centre (11thfl, 59/52/21 B ĐTran Van Dang;per class 200,000d; (9am-6pm Mon-Fri) is ideal for kick-boxing enthusiasts, and the place to improve your technique. The full-contact dojo is run by Frenchman David 'Serial Striker' Minetti. Private lessons and monthly rates are available.