WE ARE HIDDEN SAIGON
My name is Linh and I've been living in Saigon since 2007. I started Hidden Saigon as a way to introduce those living outside of Vietnam to something other than phở, bánh mì and conical hats.
Hidden Saigon takes you down hidden alleyways where time seems to stand still and into the buildings so full of character you wish walls could actually talk. Delve deeper into the everyday life of the Saigonese people. Hear their personal stories surrounded by family heirlooms. Queue with them for a morning snack of sticky chicken rice wrapped in banana leaf. Watch them go about their day as you step behind the scenes to meet those living, working and creating in modern Saigon.
WHAT WILL YOU EXPERIENCE
We are all storytellers creating our own personal history every day. These intimate, bespoke tours give you a glimpse into those stories that form contemporary Saigon. Local residents, street food vendors, artists, artisans and culture makers will swing open the doors of their studios, rehearsal spaces, workspaces, homes and shops. Sipping on a cup of ubiquitous drip coffee, you will also be drinking in stories of their life, work, neighbourhood and what it’s like working in modern day Vietnam.
Our dining venues are as carefully researched as our cultural stops and cover everything from local eateries, bustling markets and quirky cafes to trendy restaurants and cosy patisseries. You will not only sample some of the best food in town, you will also have the opportunity to meet the people behind the success stories and hear directly from them.
HOW HIDDEN SAIGON CAME TO FORM
“You should do a tour of hip Saigon”. These words were constantly re-iterated to Linh Phan by visitors and friends alike. Each time, Linh brushed them aside, instead focusing on her film and community work.
Then in 2018, while scouting locations for a UK feature film, meeting and talking to the local residents and street café owners, those words came rushing back. Seeing the joyful reaction of the UK team as they went to the locations and talked to the local residents, the idea of Hidden Saigon started to form.
What if we can introduce the hidden side and stories of Saigon to people visiting? This concept aligned with the storytelling work and projects showcasing a different side of Vietnam that Linh had been doing over the the last few years. In 2018, Hidden Saigon was born.
At Hidden Saigon, we understand that tourism can impact the lives of those living in the city in both positive and negative ways.
Our founder’s past work in Vietnam and abroad has informed how Hidden Saigon approaches itinerary development. Sensitivity to the community’s needs is a priority and we work very closely with the local residents, shop keepers, sellers and culture makers to ensure that their voice is heard during the development, tour and feedback phases.
We try to reduce the negative impact as much as possible by doing the following:
· Reduced group numbers
· Multiple locations per tour package to reduce impact in one
specific location or neighbourhood
· Reduced usage of plastic. We encourage you to bring your
own refillable water bottle and reusable bags
ABOUT THE FOUNDER: LINH PHAN
Linh Phan is a Vietnamese-Canadian Creative Producer based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam, whose work over the past 11 years has focused on storytelling and showcasing another side of Vietnam besides phở, bánh mì and conical hats.
Linh co-ran a media production company, Fact & Fiction Films for 5 years that focused on art, culture, and music content.
She is the founder of HERE AND THERE, a project that captures community generated digital content of Vietnamese immigrant and refugees experiences.
She is the co-founder of VIETNAM NOW, an international art, music, film and food festival that showcases modern Vietnam.
Linh is also a DJ and event promoter for the past 10 years in Saigon. Her parties were featured in the Lonely Planet Guide Vietnam and Southeast Asia as one of the “hippest club nights in Ho Chi Minh City”.
Her extensive knowledge of the city, work with community people and passion for showcasing the new modern Vietnam, led Linh to start up Hidden Saigon.