The largest city in Vietnam has much to offer, ranging from historical monuments to swanky bars. Since the war, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has developed very quickly to become one of the country's most successful economies, and you'll find something new popping up: bars and beerhouses, gritty galleries, hipster hostels and to even a chocolate cafe by the world famous Marou, Faiseurs de Chocolat.
Getting there has never been cheaper or more convenient
Vietnam’s low cost airline Vietjet
is offering flights at super affordable prices along with promotions every now and then, providing you with tickets at almost zero baht. But even if you miss that, fret not, their regular prices are pretty affordable too, with round trips starting from B2,866 scheduled daily. Getting around the city is so much more fun and easier now that Uber
have launched their motorbike services. Their rates start from less than a dollar per minute.
Heart of Darkness
The craft beer scene is booming
District 1 is home to East West Brewing Co.
(181-185 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1, +849-1306-0728), an American-style local craft brewery with industrical chic decor, which also houses a restaurant. They serve a wide range of beers that experiment with a combination of ingredients from both the East and West. Try their signature East West Pale Ale, and pair it with their seafood salads or grilled meats. You can also head down to Heart of Darkness
(31D Ly Tu Trong, +849-0301-7596), which serves pale ales and pilsners.
Pasteur Street Brewing Company
Don’t forget to visit Pasteur Street Brewing Company
(144 Pasteur, District 1, +848-3823-9562), Saigon’s first craft beer house that serves American style, multi-award-winning craft beers. They also have some experimental flavors, with drinks like English Pale Ale with Thai Milk Tea.
And then there's Belgo
(59 Nguyen Van Thu, Da Kao, District 1, +848-3910-0485). It might be slightly out of the way but if you're all up for trying out Belgian brews, then this is the place to be. They have over 30 different types and run a number of affodrable drink promos. Before you leave, make sure you've had their exclusive Heverlee lager, a Belgian pilsner that's only available at Belgo.
Marou just opened up a new chocolate cafe
World-renowned Vietnamese chocolate company Marou
(Calmette, Binh Thai Ward, www.marouchocolate.com
) has opened up a new cafe
where you can indulge in all your guilty pleasures involving chocolate. Take home some of their award-winning Vietnamese chocolates, probably the best in the region. Their eclair and chocolate mousse cake is another must try, along with their hot chocolate. The cafe also sells bon bons, pastries and drinks.
The Factory Contemporary Arts Center
The art has never been so exciting
The Factory Contemporary Arts Center
(15 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, District 2, +848-3744-2589) showcases artworks along with a cafe, a restaurant, a public library dedicated to contemporary art, a workshop space and a bar. They hold regular workshops and seminars. The industrial venue is itself a work of art, constructed from an abundance of empty shipping containers.
(Alternative Art Area, 13 Thai Van Lung, Ben Nghe, District 1) is also dubbed as a mecca for artists, where you can expect to find small art studios and galleries, along with lots of graffiti, and music performances. This was built in three abandoned warehouses. You can also find a lot of creative shops to buy clothes, accessories and other artsy stuff by both local and international names.
(121/61 Le Thi Rieng St., District 1, +849-3588-0172) is an art center which also doubles up as a hostel. The place is located in an obscure alley of the city away from the main districts, but is quite near to some bars, restaurants and cafes.
All the awesome barbecue options
International-style barbecue is taking off in a big way. You won't miss it because there's an abundance of barbecue spots all around town, including Stokers Woodfired Grill and Bar
(44 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1, +849-0729-2725), a bar with a British club feel from the old days that has a 13-page long drink list and their own meat aging room where you can choose your own cut to be grilled. Among their must tries is the bone marrow, and their three-course set lunch. The place is located at District 1, and opens till midnight. Chuck’s burger
(71 Pasteur, Ben Nghe, District 1, +849-0211-9530) serves up classic American gourmet burgers like the Si Shu, The Standard (Australian beef patty, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and a special sauce top off) and more. They also have hot dogs, sandwiches, frees and beer.
The budget airline Vietjet Air
) offers the cheapest return flight to Ho Chi Minh at B2,866 while AirAsia
) is B2,920. But full-service carrier Vietnam Airlines
offers round trips for a very tempting B4,830.
B1 = VND650