The Return of Bonsai
Every now and again, something happens that lead you to believe the world is a very unfair place. And yet from tragedy often comes triumph. The story of our Bonsai Cruise is one such story.
In a crowded market for dinner cruises on the Saigon River, our former Bonsai 1, a beautifully dragon boat, stood out as a cut above the rest. The 370 ton and 40 meter long River Boat was fully crafted out of Sao Wood.
The design and artistry were Orientally royal but the internal decoration designed after Occidental aristocratic fairy-land manners. The intertwining between different European and Asian culture however has brought up a premium quality and air.
The attention to detail and homage to the history of the Saigon River lent a sophisticated atmosphere to the dinner cruise experience. Excellent food, a quality wine selection, attentive service, and talented entertainers, complimented the beautiful night views of Ho Chi Minh City from the water. It was the perfect place to take visitors to dinner or spend a romantic evening for two.
Not long after launching our smaller sister boat, Artisan Cruises, tragedy struck in January 2015. A wayward Japanese cruise ship smashed into both of them, rendering them both inoperable for over two years. It was a sad moment for the Ho Chi Minh City tourist scene, and while there are other boats you could take, they didn’t have the same allure of the Bonsai.
Thankfully, all that changed in April 2017 when our new Bonsai Legacy hit the scene. Bigger, better, and more beautiful, the new boat takes on everything that was good about the original, including more. And as the Saigon skyline continues to expand, the overall experience does too.
Heading out onto the Saigon River is not just about seeing Ho Chi Minh City by night. Neither is it just about having a nice dinner or being entertained while you drink good wine. It’s a total experience from the moment you lay eyes on the gorgeous boat, to that last glimpse of the city from the romantic upper deck.
Let’s start with the ship itself. A large dragon boat replica with three levels, designed and built with unique local materials and craftsmanship. The attention to detail is impressive, and the passion with which it’s been created is evident at every turn. Creative design has produced incredibly beautiful functional spaces that allow freedom of movement and the opportunity to seek out privacy, despite the fact they have a capacity of 200 people.
Three separate entertainment stages give guests the opportunity to experience everything from traditional instruments and dancing through to Jazz, Latin, R&B, and Soul tunes.
The food is inspired by flavors, species, and tastes which can be found across the Indochinese region and the latest menu is created by Steven Long – runner up of Top Chef Vietnam in 2014, so you know to expect the best. The food is organic and fresh, and is presented and prepared on interactive buffet stations which include grill and wok, noodle, Asian specialties, appetizers, and a dessert & fruit carving section. The choice is fantastic with signature dishes from across Indochina.
And then there’s the view. Ho Chi Minh City is growing up, and so is the skyline. The best place to see that skyline is from the Saigon River. The cruising aspect just means you get to see it from every angle while sitting down with a refreshing beverage and an excellent meal.
Two-hours seems to fly by and stand still at the same time. The friendly and efficient service team work hard to make sure everything is perfect from the time you step on board, to the time you disembark. It’s probably something you wouldn’t do every week, but for a special occasion, Bonsai Legacy is so much more than just an event and dinner venue.
The Old Bonsai
The New Bonsai Legacy