How to Make the Most of Two Days in Ho Chi Minh City

WARNING: This post is
specifically inclined to appeal to coffee lovers.

I have two words to describe Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC):

CAFES. MOTORBIKES.

Or, as I told a friend, my version of Heaven and Hell on earth.

Being the kind of person that starts panicking when there are only two remaining bags of coffee beans in the pantry, I was deliriously happy to discover the cafe culture of HCMC. I found it mind-boggling that there’s a cafe on practically every single block across the entire metropolis. When you see a block without one, you can be certain that the next block will have two or three.

Take a look at these photos of about a quarter of the cafes I passed just walking along a couple of streets:

trung-nguyen

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Trung Nguyen Legend, known to be the Starbucks of Vietnam (albeit with better coffee)

 

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Another popular chain
coffee-bean_factory
Two cafes side by side, and a Dairy Queen, right beside a park. What else can you ask for?
post-office
This pretty one’s right beside the historic Post Office.
creperie
A fine-looking house converted into a fine-looking cafe, also right across a park.
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This cafe-cum-pub is a few meters away from the famous Ben Thanh Market.
loft
Cafe with a view

Other random cafe shots:

my-lifeExif_JPEG_420Exif_JPEG_420Exif_JPEG_420Exif_JPEG_420

Oh wait, where was I? I was supposed to give a guide to making the most of a two-day stay in Ho Chi Minh City. Sorry I got carried away with the photos; coffee does that to me.

Anyway, if you are in fact a coffee lover, you can definitely spend an entire day (and night) just exploring the cafes of the city. There are literally dozens upon dozens of them, mostly small, independent ones, some in obscure alleys. Depending on your taste (steaming hot coffee while quietly reading a book? coffee in a garden? a curio feel? coffee in a party zone?), you may do an online search in advance for specific cafes to visit. Or, you can just let the wind (and local word-of-mouth) take you on a cafe adventure once you get there.

The rest of the Ho Chi Minh City sights can be covered in a day. If you want to go the mainstream tourist-y route, make sure to include the following in your itinerary:

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
basilica
Ooops, I only got a photo from the back 😦
  • Central Post Office
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This guy was actually the highlight of my Post Office visit 😀
  • Ben Thanh Market – For the shopaholics! I got my coffee beans here for $2/100 grams. It closes as 6 P.M., but that just means the stores become mobile and are transferred right outside the market building, where a night market then springs up!

You’re also sure to enjoy the food. Vietnam, after all, is known for heavenly pho (noodles), seafood and street delicacies. So go and explore, taste and see to your heart’s content.

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Mmm, mmm, Street Food Market. But first: How to get to the other side? Them motorbikes are out to kill ya! 😀

Note that you can get around and see all the above on foot. And, if your soles get tired, you can always so easily head over to the park, or the nearest cafe!

 

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