Have you ever been to a city and thought to yourself; “I could definitely see myself living here”? Ho Chi Minh felt like that to us.
We initially planned for Vietnam to be a vacation, but it turned out to be a good mix of business as well. Cities in Vietnam are different in its own way, but Ho Chi Minh stood out as a booming International hub. Everyday was a new and exciting adventure, but even if nothing was on the agenda there was still plenty of things to do. We got to meet global partner L’Oréal Group, speak with start-up founders and be present at a Meet & Greet event together with Lancôme. To top it off, we also got to stay with Park Hyatt Saigon, making the experience even sweeter. CANDID team has made a Ho Chi Minh City guide and we sincerely hope you enjoy the read.
FAVORITE CAFES IN HO CHI MINH:
Vietnam is a lifestyle city and the days are perfect for cafe-hopping.
157 Đồng Khởi, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
What to read:
ELLE & DĘP Magazine
What to order:
Ice Blended Chocolate Coffee with Whipped Cream
Saigon Heat – Orange, pineapple and watermelon juice
This cafe is conveniently located in the heart of District 1 perfect for office meetings and girlfriend chats. L’Usine is situated on the second floor of a building. The ground floor is dedicated to an art gallery making it tricky to locate the hidden alley up to the cafe. We visited this place twice and would love to come back. It’s a very lovely place with calming music. The place is not only a cafe, it’s also a shop with a mixture of clothes and souvenirs. Next door is L’Usine restaurant which offers a more sophisticated experience. Check out this cafe if you want to cool off from the city’s fast-paced hustle and bustle.
Lầu 3 & 4, 42 Nguyễn Huệ, Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
The little coffee shop is a quiet and lovely place. It’s located in an apartment building with local brands, cafes and apartments. We took a peek on both cafes on level 3 and 4 and found the lower level to be more elegant and better view. Thinker.Dreamer.Coffee cafe is very artistic and features art magazines and note books for guests to draw and leave their greetings on.
What to read:
What to order:
Oolong Milk Tea
The surrounding is very calm and soothing with inspired quotes on the white-washed walls. The windows allows natural lightning and everything is very neat and clean. During our visit, Saigon caught a storm and it was raining heavily outside. It only added to the dreamy atmosphere and made it so much more comforting to escape the troubles of the outside with a nice drink.
L3-01, Saigon Center, 65 Lê Lợi Bến Nghé, Hồ Chí Minh, Việt Nam, Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam
What to order:
Sencha – Traditional Japanese Tea
Ni Set A – Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Skewers
In the midst of buzzing Saigon, you’ll find Miyama Cafe inside Saigon Center. The space is a minimalistic dream and you get an urban view through the high glass windows. We had several of our meetings here as it was so close to offices and our hotel. The food is rather expensive, but we can highly recommend Japanese cuisine for a great out of the ordinary experience.
WHAT TO DO:
Full day excursion to Mekong Delta River
The full-day tour with Klook started at 8am in the morning with pick-up from the hotel. The bus ride showcased spectacular landscape views right from the window seat. Our first stop was to Vinh Trang Pagoda. The pagoda in My Tho town lets you witness amazing architecture influenced by the Vietnamese, European and Khmer Culture. A very unique and peaceful place to visit.
The Sleeping Buddha at Vinh Trang Pagoda was as majestic as it looked like.
We were taken to a Honey Bee farm and got served delicious fruit and freshly made honey tea. The skin of the people that lived in the village was all healthy and youthful looking thanks to multiple use of honey as not only as beverage, but as skincare as well. During the tastings of honey you also get to listen to traditional Vietnamese folk music. The people who live in this village are mostly elders, so out of respect you should bring along change to tip the pensioners as providing this service is their only source of income.
Afterwards, we walked a small path towards where the bamboo boats were. During our visit to Vinh Trang Pagoda, we bought bamboo hats for roughly a dollar. We wore this on during the canal ride across the river to protect ourselves for the sun, but to also embrace our Vietnamese culture and traditions.
The end of the bamboo boats took us to a coconut candy farm. We got to see different stages of how coconut candy is made. The entire process of extraction of coconut milk, boiling it together with sugar and seeing it cut to size and wrapped is so interesting. Right after coconut tasting we got to taste an alcoholic shot where a snake (Cobra) was inside the bottle as well as taking photos with a snake wrapped around our shoulders. The entire tour was an amazing adventure and we also made a couple new friends along the way. When traveling on your own; tours like these really make it easy to make new connections while enjoying the beautiful countryside. The tour was booked through Klook, a long-term partner of ours.
Saigon Motorbike Adventures
When exploring the cities of Ho Chi Minh it can be quite intimidating. The traffic is rather crazy and for beginners it might look like a suicide mission to cross the streets. Saigon is a pretty safe place to be a tourist, but there will always be incidents if you are not careful enough no matter where you are. With this in mind, we decided to go through Klook to book a “Saigon motorbike adventure” with a reliable tour operator around the city. During a four hour urban scooter experience we got to visit a local market near the oldest apartment building, Chinese temple, taste Vietnamese traditional food and visit the biggest flower market. Our guides was so awesome to hang with and it felt like we were traveling together with our friends. It was a bonus that they also happened to be safe and professional guides.
We’re glad we planned ahead of our trip, because our stay in Ho Chi Minh was limited. It made is so much more convenient to know our itinerary beforehand with organised tours. Both the trips was booked at a discounted price through Klook.com a reliable operator that we’ve used for a couple of years.
WHERE TO SHOP:
29 Đặng Thị Nhu, P. Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1
Floralpunk is the perfect destination for the accessory girl at heart. The minimalist aesthetics of the brand makes it a must-visit destination to both locals and international visitors.
26 Lý Tự Trọng
The New Playground is a shopping concept devoted to small local brands made by Vietnamese designers. The location is next to Vincom Center. This is where all the youths head for trendy fast-fashion pieces.
Making this city guide of Saigon has brought back so many sweet memories and we look forward to be back and relive it all over again soon.