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Get Schooled The Vietnamese are surprisingly artistic and the growing middle class means people have time to invest in the arts.

A bit of serendipity led me to a where the morning started off with a clump of clay and some hasty instructions.

Learn Local When I travel to a foreign country, I always wonder what I’m missing because I don’t know the area and don’t speak the language. I’ve done a few free tours around the world and some have been stellar and others awkward.

has more than 15 volunteer guides (university students looking to improve their English) who take visitors on a half-day walking itinerary, covering sights such as the Opera House and the People’s Committee Building.

Nha Hang Ngon elevates street food to a trendy (and safe, if you’re worried about traveler’s tummy) restaurant experience.Another fun food-related tour is , run by the Aussie-Vietnamese duo of Barbara and Vu. Tours are thematic: pho, veggie, seafood or family.Barbara told me that on returning to Vietnam after a stint abroad, she realized she wanted to do all her favorite things like eating snails and going to her favorite pho place. I love that the Pho Trail takes place in decidedly untouristy Binh Thanh district.In honor of my staycation at the plush Park Royal this past weekend, I present some of my favorite quirky things to do in Saigon.Highest Tea I love that Saigon is still a transitional city.