Posted in a-spoiling we will go, oh, hcmc!, saigon, baby

Saigon-Related Throwback Thursday – so you moved here with small children. now what?

The following is an un-finished post that I started in April 2013!

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So, when we left Bangkok, I wrote up a few posts (largely on my other abandoned blog) that kind of summarized all of the things that I ended up liking about our life there. I'm not really sure that I'm going to feel sentimental about anything here in Saigon, but I figure that since our moving day is coming up, I'd put something to together about living here with small kids. 

Firstly, googling "things to do with kids in HCMC" isn't going to produce a lot of hits (as I write this in April 2013 (particularly, if you're looking for a website in English)). We find out about family-friendly events through more traditional mediums, like notices posted at cafes, local-interest magazine like The Word, and advertising posters at the schools our kids attend. The Word has actually been a really good resource for us over the years – the back section has a large listing of restaurants, places to shop, and this "Generation V" category that has information on where to buy baby gear, shop for clothes, shop for schools, and so on. 

There are also a few message groups that are used for finding out all manner of things about living here: Vietnam Parents Network, An Phu Neighbours, and Phu My Hung Neighbours (and there are probably more of these for other communities with a decent ex-pat population  that I don't know about!). 

I'm not a great authority on areas of this city beyond the one that I live in, but there appears to more indoor playgrounds here than outdoor ones (though there is a very nice one in Pham Ngu Lao – the backpacker area). We've always found them very affordable (like, one dollar per hour affordable), but the quality does vary. The newest one in our area put a trampoline right up against a glass window, for example. The funnest one might have been the one with the zip line that I blogged about here, but there's a very tidy and well-maintained one called "Joymax" across from the British International School in District 2. 

I ran into a suprising problem clothing my children here. Places like Saigon Square and the markets are fantastic for buying inexpensive clothes for babies and toddlers (and American brands like Carters, BabyGap, Old Navy, etc. are easily found), but finding items in larger sizes (Madeline's worn sizes 6 – 8 while we've been here) has been more challenging! Once I even resorted going to the newly-opened Gap Kids in the Vincom shopping center to buy her a pair of jeans (seriously, it's like blasphemy here to buy Gap clothes at the actual Gap store when you can buy Gap clothes cheap at the markets). We haven't had to buy Madeline much clothing here in Saigon, thanks to the school uniform policy, but there's a chain called DLS (outlets across the city) where we've found some lovely pieces in her size, and a newer shop on Xuan Thuy (D2) called Pure Heaven that carries this European Copenhagen Delights line of apparel (up to size 12, I believe), and Madeline's really liked the quality of the outfits she has. 

 

 

 

 

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