At District 5 in Ho Chi Minh City, one can experience life like a Vietnamese, writes Khairah N. Karim
ALTHOUGH Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City has had different names throughout its histor, Saigon is commonly used among the locals.
It’s also known as Chinatown of the country due to its large Chinese-descendent population. It’s a vibrant cityfull of culture and history.
Ahidden gem of the cityis District 5,a model of authenticity if you want to experience life like a Vietnamese.
A popularsaying in Vietnam goes: “Eat in District 5, Live in District 3, See in District 1”. Well. you can do all these inHo Chi Minh City’s District 5.
It has a less commercialised vibe with attractions that imbue history and reflect the diverse cultures of the communities throughart, religious pursuits and cuisine.
But first, the hotel.
Whether you are in Saigon for work or play, Windsor Plaza Hotel ticks all the right boxes as far as a five-star hotel goes.
TOP OF THE TOWN
Being the tallest building in District 5, it is also recognised as one of the 10 top five-star hotels by the Vietnam Tourism Association.
Situated in the heart of the city, the 26-floor building is the perfect stay as a starting point of your stay.
Windsor Plaza Hotel is 25 minutes to the Tan Son Nhat International Airport and Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre.
The hotel provides airport transfer (upon request) and complimentary shuttle service to top tourist spots.
Its Cafe Central An Dong, located on the fourth floor, features one of the largest breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets in town, offering various local and international cuisines, from Western favourites totraditional Vietnamese cuisine as well as vegetarian cuisine.
Occasionally, special cuisine from different counties are introduced to keep the dining experience exciting. It also hasMalaysian theme where roti canai, nasi lemak and various Malaysian traditional kuih are served.
Its star attraction is the seafood buffet which offers variousfresh seafood where guests can have them cooked by the chefs.
An extensive a la carte menu and dessert selection are also available for dine-in or take-away. There is also 24-hour room service.
For Chinese food lovers, the fifth floor is where you go. The Ngan Dinh Chinese Restaurant serves Cantonese cuisine including dim sum.
On the 26th floor is the Top of the Town Bar and Restaurant,a favourite spot of locals, expats and travellers as itoffers rooftop and an al fresco experience.
Guestsexperience a breathtaking view at night while appreciating a specially curated Italian or Vietnamese menu and a wide range of wines.
OUT AND ABOUT
For shopaholics, get ready to check out the main streets within District 5 which are within walking distance from thehotel. A shuttle service is available too, so sightseeing is not a problem.
Along the way, temples such as the Nhi Phu temple and Father Tam temple, Nghia An Hoi Quan Pagodas and churchesmay interestcultural enthusiasts.
For an authentic local experience, go to Binh Tay Market.
The market with a Chinese atmosphere, it has existed in District 5 for hundreds of years..
It mainly serves the local population with its extensive range of fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry, meat and seafood from regions across Vietnam.
Meanwhile, if you walk down Hai Thuong Lan Ong Street, you can smell various medicinal herbs in the air.
The herbal street features traditional pharmacies selling medicinal plants, herbs and natural ingredients for healing.
Soai Kinh Lam Fabric Market is a crucial distribution hub of fabrics. You will be spoilt for choice with over 500 stores selling a various selection of cotton, silk, lace and more.
For fans of the arts, Tran Phu Art Street is the where locals go to find beautiful paintings at amazing prices.
After all that walking and shopping, a relaxing massage is perfect when you are back at the hotel.
Pamper yourself at the Windsor Spa witharomatherapy, hot stone and reflexology from experienced masseuses.
Finally, before you check out, do not forget to experience the greatwork of Japanese high-end barber and stylist Ginza Matsunaga. It started in Vietnam in 2014 and has four outlets, one located at the third floor of Windsor Plaza Hotel.
WINDSOR PLAZA HOTEL
18 An Duong Vuong Street, District 5 Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, Vietnam
Tel: +84 28 3833 6688
Sales: +84 28 3920 9520
STAY 376 rooms with various types of rooms such as deluxe room, premier deluxe room, junior suite and presidential suite. For couples who are on their honeymoon or wedding anniversary, the room will be decorated with a wedding theme.
EAT Three outlets – Cafe Central An Dong,Ngan Dinh Chinese Restaurant andthe Top of the Town Bar and Restaurant offers a luxurious dining experience accompanied by 360-degree views ofhe city.
DO There’s a host of activities at the hotel. Its fitness centre features a complete range of modern exercising equipment and sauna rooms. Besides the pool, there is also a Jacuzzi. Windsor Spa has experienced masseuses providing traditional and modern massages. There is alsoa children’s corner with educational toys and games within a supervised play area.
GO Check out the connected An Dong Plaza Shopping orneighbouring An Dong Wholesale Market. Other places include the herbal street, Soai Kinh Lam Fabric Market, Binh Tay Market, Art Street and beautiful places of worships.
HIGHS Strategically connected to An Dong Plaza Shopping Centre. There’s also a complimentary shuttle service to top tourist spots.