Finding Treasure in Saigon – Unique Shopping Tours
Well I have to say, this BLOG post is the one that almost never was. In my search for unique tours and activities around Saigon, I found this shopping tour via an expat wife last October and it’s taken me til Mid April to actually get on board. First I was too busy, then the TET holidays got in the way. I finally booked on in March only to wake up on the morning with a husband rolling in pain and a temperature of 39 degrees. Tour cancelled and rescheduled for mid April. The day was fabulous but I lost my notes midway through the day and then last night my card reader for my pics ate all the files…..150 pictures banished to god knows where!! Needless to say, the photos on this page are not my own. All credit must go to Rosemary from City Treasure Hunts and past attendees.
Anyway, it was a great day out so I’m determined to let you know all about it. There is no other tour like it in Saigon. If you’re into hidden treasures, antiques, home decorations and unique souvenirs then this is the outing for you. Men are more than welcome but it’s really the type of day where you head off with the girls for some serious ferreting about and bargain hunting, guided by the expertise of Rosemary, operator of Saigon Treasure Hunt. She has a couple of tours and I was heading off on “The Furniture Tour.” I’ll let you know a bit more about her other “Style in the City Tour” in another post.
So you might be thinking..”why on earth would I want to go furniture shopping on my vacation?” My answer. “Because it’s not just about furniture and it’s extremely cool!”. Rosemary will take you around over a dozen hidden locations around town that I guarantee YOU WILL NOT FIND by yourself or even think of looking for. Dusty sheds, haberdashery markets down little lanes, sleek showrooms in far flung Districts and junk shops filled with treasures. You won’t be visiting any of the main tourist markets and the hassle factor is ZERO!
The real key to the success of the tour is Rosemary herself. An Interior Architect from London, she has years of experience in the design field and has created many beautiful spaces around Saigon. Still very active in her field of expertise, the tours provide her with an outlet to share all the discoveries she’s made in her time in Ho Chi Minh City and incentive to explore and find more.
Let her fire up your imagination with her “ideas” book. An IPAD filled with pics on how you can turn trash into eye catching, stylish gifts, souvenirs and home ware. Obviously larger pieces would need to be shipped home (all possible if you know where to ask) but there are ample suitcase “stuffers” for those with a good eye for a bargain. If you don’t end the tour with a head full of ideas then you’re not trying. Even if, like me, you’re not a shopper, have no fixed abode and don’t have a creative bone in your body, you’ll still enjoy the day out. If you are a creative you’ll be in seventh heaven.
On the day there were 13 of us from all over the world. Most were expats but there were a couple of holiday makers on board as well. We were ferried about in a comfortable air-conditioned bus with water and snacks in continual supply,( including home made biscuits to die for). Each stop was preceded by a short intro from Ro to give us an idea what to expect and what to look for. Every venue was unique in what it had on offer. Modern v’s antique, top shelf vs “junk”. All at a fraction of the price you’d pay back home. I didn’t buy anything because we are on the move again soon, but I can assure you the rest of the ladies did. By the end of the day the bus was full of bags stuffed with goodies and plans for revisiting many of the locations at a later date. We finished up with a champagne toast at one of the most luxurious villas in Saigon. Everyone was full of smiles and praise for a great day out.
The tour goes from 8 til after 5pm so it’s a full on day. The price is 1 500 000 VND ( a bit less than $75 USD) and includes a is a scrumptious lunch at one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in town, water and snacks all day and follow up information on any of the venues included in the tour or others that you have an interest in.
If the thought of doing and seeing something most other tourists won’t piques your interest, contact Rosemary at City Treasure Hunts on – +84 (0) 90 635 4722 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours don’t run everyday but she’ll be able to tell you what’s available. Customized private shopping tours can be arranged on request.
Not into shopping? Check out some of the other great tours I’ve developed or been on and recommend HERE.
I do not receive any payment for this post (or any others on the site for that matter!). I do receive a small amount of money by allowing advertisements on the site and any purchases made through those links.