Looking for something a little different to do in Saigon? Still with some site seeing, a touch of culture and impressive food along with a different perspective of the city? .. And an exciting cocktail list!?
My friend, Adam and I booked the Bonsai Cruise after some research on activities to do in Ho Chi Minh. I love being on the water and frankly, if there’s great food (hello luxury buffet!) involved, I am in!
We were welcomed, seated and had our welcome beverage in hand within a few minutes. The watermelon crush was refreshing but lacking a little something… We were in a jovial mood and much to the bemusement of our waiter we each ordered a vodka shot to spice up the welcome beverage. I highly recommend starting off the evening this way and a number of our fellow diners joined in the activity!
You are soon cruising the Saigon River, and the food is ready almost immediately. An upbeat drumming group provides a little welcome music before the band starts. We waited for the masses to grab their food from the three stations before getting our plates – this human does not like to line up! Strategic dining, I call it. Order your first cocktail at this point too, there’s no drinks queue at this point either.
With three food stations it was hard to know where we start. If you know anything about me though, you’ll know that I love dumplings. So obviously that’s where I started! I created an entrée type plate for us with wontons, dim sims, rice paper rolls and some beautiful feta and heirloom tomato sticks.
Seeking something a little more substantial (working your way through the cocktail list will do that to you), I visited the wok man. He’s a wok magician! There’s food flying, flames flying and the voila! You have a delicious plate of noodles in front of you! The wok magician really had outdone himself, but there were more stations to try.
“Menu items are slow-cooked, hand-selected, fresh from the grill and all tangy in taste. Arranged and prepared live on our interactive buffet stations. Our aim is to create signature dishes based on the many regional delicacies of Indochina.” – Bonsai Cruise
Next up, bruschetta, some vege and chicken skewers, some roast pork and prawns. Still not content, we slurped a noodle soup bowl each which was perfect to finish off our meals…. Until dessert!
The dessert station was substantial – much to our delight! We tried almost one of everything.
Ploughing our way through the cocktail list, I have to admit that the pina colada was my favourite. The margarita was my least favourite, only because it was rather strong – Adam was happy to take care of it for me.
All the while we were enjoying our feast there were cultural performances. From traditional dance storytelling to stick dancing, there was always somewhere to look. The band was fantastic and there was always a great view to take photos with in the background.
I always find you can learn much more about the landscape of a city from the water. Looking back at the curves, the bays, the hills, the skyscrapers. I feel more oriented and enjoy the different perspective.
If you’re in Saigon and have an evening free, be sure to check out Bonsai Cruises for a great evening on the river. Remember to visit the wok musician and try a pina colada.
Oh! And importantly, for those who care about the environment (hopefully that is all of you) they operate sustainably. It’s an environmentally friendly cruise with ethical and local sourcing.
*While this cruise was complimentary, this review is true and authentic.