The incredible cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam

After my article about the cafe scene in Chiang Mai I was alerted to the fact that Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) has a healthy cafe scene going on as well. I know a number of location independent workers who have set up shop there and extoll the virtues of the good coffee and fast, free wifi. With such an endorsement I had to go and investigate for myself.

Cafe research in Ho Chi Minh City
[Photo of a coffee while editing a photo of a coffee. How meta.]

I spent a month in Ho Chi Minh City which I thought would give me enough time to pace my cafe hopping out and give me a feel for what it’s like to live there. So I present to you my research on cafes in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ho Chi Minh City Cafe Map


[Link to Ho Chi Minh City Cafe Map]

District 1

Cosmo Cafe


Cosmo Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Cosmo Cafe was the first cafe I went to on this trip to Ho Chi Minh City. I met up with Jon Myers here, who ended up being my cafe recommendation machine as he had been living in the city for the previous six months. I was last in HCMC in 2005 and do not remember the city having anything as modern as this place. Good coffee and vibe here and as it turned out, a harbinger of good cafes to come.

Location: Corner of Le Thanh Ton and Le Pasteur Street, Dist. 1

Id Cafe – District 1


ID Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

“OMG this is my new favourite cafe!” is something I exclaimed a number of times in Saigon, and I said that as I entered Id cafe as well. There is a downstairs cafe which is quite small, so make sure to go upstairs.

Location: 34D Thu Khoa Huan St, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/id-cafe/304123939618119

L’usine – Dong Khoi


L'usine: Ho Chi Minh City

Wow. By now I was starting to realise that there is a fairly awesome cafe scene going on in Ho Chi Minh City. Coming to L’usine confirmed that. This cafe is on the first floor of a building with an entrance via an arcade. Once you arrive upstairs you are greeted with a cafe that is truly world class. This is another cafe I ended up at more than a few times. After revisiting this cafe a number of times I realised that I wasn’t going to be able to visit 30 cafes in 30 days. Oh well, I’ll just have to come back for further research.

Location: 151 Dong Khoi (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.lusinespace.com

L’usine – Le Loi


L'usine - Le Loi

L’usine has a second branch Le Loi St, not far from Ben Thanh Market. This cafe equal in its coolness to the Dong Khoi branch, so I have a hard time picking a favourite out of the two.

Location: 70B Le Loi St, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.lusinespace.com

Ducoin Saigon


Ducoin Saigon

Ducoin tucked away on the second floor of a restaurant and has great espresso coffee.

Ducoin is opposite the co-working space, Saigon Hub so this cafe has potential for coming the cafe to meet at outside the co-working space.

Location: 2nd Floor, 76 Nguyen Dinh Chieu St, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/ducoinsaigon

M2C Cafe


M2C Cafe

M2C is another cafe from the owners of ID cafe, so you know it is going to be stylish.

Location: 44B Ly Tu Trong, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/m2ccafe

The Morning Cafe


The Morning Cafe

Off Le Loi and down a little alley, this is another one of those hidden away surprises. Their business card says “writers hideout, book lovers corner”, which are always good qualities of a working cafe.

Location: 2nd Floor, 36 Le Loi, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/themorningcafe.saigon

Bang Khuang Cafe


Bang Khuang Cafe

This cafe is hidden away in an old apartment block that has been better days. Once you go upstairs though you are greeted with an a cafe with lots of artistic flair and natural light.

Location: 2 – 9 Thai Van Lung, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/BangkhuangCafe

Thoai Vien Cafe


Thoai Vien Cafe

One of the popular cafe styles of Ho Chi Minh City are the garden cafes. They are usually on a big property with trees, waterfalls and ponds, and are a nice way to sit outdoors without the need for air conditioning. Most of these cafes are in the outer districts but Thoai Vien is a good option in D1.

Location: 159 Nguyen Van Thu, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/thoaiviencafe

She cafe


She cafe

She cafe is tucked away in an alley and then upstairs in an apartment block.

Location: 158D Pasteur, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/shecafe

Decibel


Decibel: Ho Chi Minh City

Decibel is at the end of District 1 and I would never have found it in my wanders. This is another cafe I wish I had returned to yet I only made the one visit. By now it was apparent to me that the Saigon cafe scene is on steroids.

Location: 79/2/5 Phan Ke Binh, Dist. 1
Website: www.decibel.vn

Cúcuta Coffee


Cúcuta Coffee

Cúcuta Coffee has two floors and serves espresso and Vietnamese style coffee. If you are lucky you will meeet the resident fluffy cat.

Location: 2D Nguyen Thanh Y, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/Cucutacafe

Window 4 Cafe


Window 4 Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Window 4 Cafe has a reputation of being a place you go to look good and be scene, yet somehow they let this caffeinated hobo in. Apparently they have lovely ladies in their employ who are paid to stand around and look lovely (I was obviously too busy working to notice). The cafe looks out over the park in front of the Reunification Palace.

Location: 12 Alexandre de Rhodes, Dist. 1

La Fenetre Soleil


La Fenetre Soleil: Ho Chi Minh City

La Fenetre Soleil is a suitable place to have a party or take a date in the evening. In the day time the balcony area is a good place to sit with a laptop.

Location: Upstairs, 44 Ly Tu Trong, Dist. 1

Creperie & Cafe


Creperie & Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Creperie & Cafe has one of the better outside seating arrangements as it is opposite a park and catches a breeze so it isn’t a sweaty ordeal sitting outside. This is just as well as the air conditioning inside feels like you have stepped into a refrigerator.

Location: 5 Han Thuyen St, Dist.1

Magonn – The Cafe


Magonn - The Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Magonn is a cafe above a boutique clothing store of the same name.

Location: Upstairs, 109 Le Thanh Ton, District 1.
Website: www.magonn.vn (website of clothing store downstairs.)

Press Corner Coffee


Press Corner Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Press Corner Coffee is hidden away on top of a building behind the Reunification Palace. This is a shisha cafe so inside is too smoky for my liking, but outside the balcony overlooks the park and is surrounded by greenery.

Location: Upstairs, Tang 3 So 1 Huyen Tran Cong Chua, District 1
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Press-Corner-Coffee/335191783163283

Coffee Viva


Coffee Viva: Ho Chi Minh City

Has a night club feel to it but suitable for working during the day if you are in this part of district 1.

Location: 144 Tran Hung Dao St, Dist. 1

District 3

Id Cafe – District 3


Id Cafe - District 3

Another one of my favourite cafes that now has a second branch. I like the vibe of this cafe as well and I would spend more time here if it was walkable from my location.

Location: 61B Tu Xuong, Dist. 3
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/id-cafe/304123939618119

The Coffee Factory


The Coffee Factory

Cool cafe with espresso and Vietnamese coffee, and tables inside.

Location: 107A Truong Dinh, Dist. 3
Website: www.facebook.com/ThecoffeefactoryVN

Overture


Overture: Ho Chi Minh City

Overture is more of a night club lounge than cafe and the downstairs was certainly too dark to be working. Better upstairs but it was very busy at lunch time.

Location: 109 Tran Quoc Toan, Dist. 3
Website: overturecafe.com

Ngo Thoi Gian Cafe


Ngo Thoi Gian Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

A more local feel to this cafe, opposite the Turtle Pond roundabout north of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Location: (Turtle Pond) 8 Cong Trưong Quoc Te, Dist. 3

Cafe Nghe Thuat


Cafe Nghe Thuat: Ho Chi Minh City

Another cafe in the cluster of cafes at Turtle Pond.

Location: (Turtle Pond) 6B Cong Trưong Quoc Te, Dist. 3
Website: https://foursquare.com/v/cafe-nghe-thuat/4e2f886722717d705861fc65

42 Cafe


42 Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

Yet another cafe on the stretch along Turtle Pond.

Location: (Turtle Pond) 4 Cong Trưong Quoc Te, Dist. 3
Website: www.facebook.com/pages/Cafe-42/509487592412508

Ca Phe Nguyen Chat


Ca Phe Nguyen Chat: Ho Chi Minh City

I found this place while walking up to the train station. This is a classic old cafe where you can get a Vietnamese coffee at a Vietnamese price. Free wifi here as well, of course.

Location: 93 Nguyen Thong, Dist. 3
Website: www.caphenguyenchat.net

Paris Baguette Cafe


Paris Baguette Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

One of the many things I like about Vietnam are the bakeries. While I love the rice and noodle dishes of Vietnam, I appreciate being able to find a proper croissant for breakfast. There are tables and wifi here but I couldn’t get a seat inside. The balcony was insanely noisy from the traffic below.

Location: Corner of Cao Thang and Nguyen Thi Minh Khai streets, Dist. 3

District 5

Cafe Evo


Cafe Evo: Ho Chi Minh City

A word of Vietnamese Coffee: As you may have noticed most of the cafes are in District 1 or 3. I lived in District 1 which happened to be where most of the good cafes are. I wandered around District 5 one day and found Cafe Evo, which is where I found a good Vietnamese coffee. I like the Vietnamese style coffee, but it has to be done right otherwise it becomes a frustrating experience. Sometimes the filter will get so clogged that hardly any coffee comes out. At this cafe they put your glass inside a another glass of hot water while the coffee drips.

Location: 585 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 7, District 5

Chain Cafes – Various Districts

Being a coffee-mad land, Ho Chi Minh City has its fair share of chain cafes. Starbucks opened its first branch in Vietnam here in February 2013. Gloria Jeans is also here, but other than that the chain scene here is dominated by two local brands, Trung Nguyen Coffee and Highlander.

Trung Nguyen Coffee


Trung Nguyen Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Trung Nguyen Coffee branches are everywhere and I have to say I ended up here many times out of convenience as it was the closest cafe to me. This is the Starbucks of Vietnam, but with better coffee. I like their branding as well – it reminds me of an old railways logo. All the branches have free wifi.

Location: Everywhere
Website: www.trungnguyen.com.vn/en/franchise.aspx

Highland Cafe


Highland Cafe: Ho Chi Minh City

I ended up in various branches here as well for the convenience factor. Another prominent chain with wifi in all locations.

Location: Everywhere
Website: www.highlandscoffee.com.vn

Starbucks


Starbucks: Ho Chi Minh City

Starbucks finally arrived in Vietnam in February 2013. I’ve listed the first branch that was opened, no doubt the first of many. This picture was taken in the opening week thus the big crowd.

Location: New World Hotel Building, Corner of Nguyen Thi Nghia and Pham Hong Thai, Dist. 1
Website: en.starbucks.vn

Soho Coffee Lounge


Soho Coffee Lounge: Ho Chi Minh City

Soho Coffee is a small local chain of cafes.

Location: 185 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Dist. 1

Angel-in-us Coffee


Angel-in-us Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Possibly a Korean chain but as usual no local website. I only saw the one branch in District 1.

Location: Corner Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and Ton That Tung
Website: www.angelinus.co.kr

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf


The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: Ho Chi Minh City &emdash;

American chain cafe has branches around the city.

Location: Several Locations
Website: www.coffeebean.com/store/storelocatorintl.aspx

My Life Coffee


My Life Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

Another local chain with six cafes around the city.

Location: Various
Website: mylifecoffee.com

Honourable Mentions

Startup Coffee


Startup Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

There is a real startup vibe going on in Saigon so this cafe name seems appropriate for the times. Unfortunately Startup Coffee is nothing more than a takeaway bar attached to a donut shop. I’m guessing they aren’t going to get far with the Starbucks ripoff logo, but I wish them all the best.

Location: Tran Hung Dao, Dist 1

Cafe Vy


Cafe Vy: Ho Chi Minh City

This cafe isn’t a work cafe but I want to list it because I like its style. There are rows coffee jars here with beans from around the country.

Location: 277A Le Thanh Ton, Dist. 1

Cong Vien Van Hoa Park


Park Coffee: Ho Chi Minh City

If you sit down in Cong Vien Van Hoa Park long enough you will soon be found by a drink vendor that can bring you a coffee. Apparently in the morning the park is filled with suits getting a caffeine fix. I never made it that early so I can’t verify that, but there always seemed to be groups here having little coffee parties when I went through.

Location: Cong Vien Van Hoa Park, Dist. 1

Closed Cafes

Of course with so many cafes in the city there are the inevitable closures. I’m keeping a record here of cafes that were on the list but have since closed.

Geisha’s Coffee and Tea House

Closed Dec 2013.
Location: 85 Pasteur Street, Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/GeishasCafe

The Print Room

Cafe is now She cafe.
Location: 158D Pasteur, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/TPR.cafe

Cafe de la Gare

Location: 145 Nguyen Trai, (1st floor), Dist. 1
Website: www.facebook.com/caphenhaga

L’Anmien

Location: 76A Le Lai-Ben Thanh, Dist. 1

Kita Cafe

Location: 39-41 Nguyen Hue Ave, Dist. 1





Comments

  1. Great post, James!
    Thanks for listing down the cafes there … Many great cafes in HCM! :)

  2. This post has the perfect timing for me.I arrived here yesterday and I’m going to stay for a month. Thanks!

  3. Ohhh yeah… This is awesome!

  4. Great round up James! I didn’t realize there’d be so many coffee shops with wifi in the city, the only one I’ve visited was Coffee Bean. Will keep this mind for the future, coffee & wifi is a must-have for extended travel ;)

    - Lily

  5. I could really use a frampahino from Startup Coffee right now.

    BTW, that computer / latte combo. Pure sex.

  6. Great post! Am a coffee-lover too! :-)

  7. No doubt Jon gave you some great suggestions. But just so you know some of the best cafes are outside of District 1. Hit us up next time.

  8. Awesome post, James! Vietnam’s a booming place and I think it will still improve financially, With this growth, we can expect to see many more coffee shops in key cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.

  9. Oh, wow!!! I can’t stay away from a cuppa good coffee.
    Thanks for this great post, I’m adding HCMC to my travel list right away.

  10. I feel a bit ignorant, but… At first glance, I would have never thought any of these cafés were located in Vietnam. Clearly, I don’t know a lick about this country ;) can’t wait to visit and be surprised many times over! Great photos + post

    - Maria Alexandra

  11. Wow James, You have certainly been around the coffee haunts. My husband loves coffee shops. We found Highland Coffee a great place in Hanoi to hang, charge our laptops and generally use to relax away from the busy streets. That Vietnamese coffee – a glass within a glass is an excellent idea. It was so hot when we were in Saigon last April, that we could not get past the cold fruit drinks. Cheers.

  12. We’re going to be in HCMC next year, so this has been bookmarked and will be our go-to guide when we’re out there!

    I love your cafe review posts…if only because it makes me feel better that we’re not the only ones who spend practically the same on coffee as we do on food :)

  13. Startup Coffee

    Just for your “Honourable Mentions,” the core image of the (revised version) Starbucks logo has been changed today.

  14. Thanks for geat post!!
    I will visit saigon next week, It is really useful for me. I will go around those cafes.

    One question:
    Which cafe you can use a “power outlet” ?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Taka,

      thanks for that. Most of the cafes have power outlets, and I have found that if they don’t they will run an extension cord for you if you ask.

      Have fun!

  15. Andy Nguyen says:

    Thank you for introducing a part of my city – HoChiMinh city. Great!

  16. BD in Houston says:

    there is a small coffe shop in the corner of Dong Khoi and Mac thi Buoi street. I don’t remember the name but very unique coffee taste.

  17. This post has been incredibly helpful as I get settled in Ho Chi Minh City. Thank you for such an exhaustive list! I like I.d cafe so much I’ll be lucky to get to just a fraction of the others!

  18. I was fortunate to hit The Press Room with the one and only Jesse Lawler when I stayed with them a few days in January. Loved that place, though the tree trunk tables were a little weird to navigate with laptops at first. I guess I’ll need to head back to check out a few more of these cafes. Thanks for the run-down!

    • Yes those tree trunk tables are slightly awkward. I have run into Jesse there as well so I am beginning to think it is his second lounge room. And you should come back anyway :)

  19. Heading out to check some of these soon! Arrived this morning.

  20. Nick Donnelly says:

    Interesting list thanks.

    It would be good to make a distinction between places that make the awful, robusta based vietnamese coffee – and the higher quality international standard places (even Starbucks only use Arabica beans).

    If I have to drink any more black robusta sludge I think I will have to kill myself.

    Oh how I crave an antipodean Flat White round about now – any chance of highlighting any such places as it’s not clear from browsing which is which.

    A bit of a focus on the style & quality of coffee would be helpful.

    Thanks.

  21. Great Article! It is amazing how much selection one can find in Vietnam!
    I found coffee houses in Vietnam to be accessible and their menus were user friendly. The staff in most of these spots speak some English but the further out you go from District 1 the less likely you will find English speaking but pointing works well. As and FYI “sweet milk” = condensed milk :)
    Happy Travels.

  22. IF you’re willing to chill like a real local, post up in District 1 outside of the mall on the sidewalk. You can get coffee for maybe, 30 cents? and they give you free ice tea all day. Not to mention, if you come at night, you get some of the best street watching you’ll ever get. Thats just my opinion though (I’m Viet!)

  23. Hi James,
    Thanks for the article, I’m a little late to the party. I was searching for “best coffee shops ho chi minh city” and it came up. Thanks to it I am sipping a great Vietnamese coffee at L’usine. I will be coming back to this post as I explore the Saigon Cafes. Thanks.
    Maciej

  24. Gonna be utilizing this all week :) Great writeup James. Hope we can connect while i’m here!

  25. Love the Saigon Café s

  26. peng sang says:

    Thanks James for the great advices and introduction. I like d1 at District 3. The atmosphere is good and staffs are friendly. Just a bit walking distance from District 1, though but overall, quite and easy place. Thanks again James!

  27. Great list James – i’ve checked out a few of these since moving here now. Update for anyone using this list, Geisha and Press are now closed unfortunately. Things move so quick here…

  28. i’m headed back to saigon in two months. :) thrilled. obviously l’usine will be my first stop.

    but to clarify, paris baguette is also a korean chain. and yes, so is angel-in-us. (i live between saigon and seoul.)

    cheers. :)

  29. Dear James,
    Many thanks for your list. Almost shop is too nice.

    I love Cúcuta Coffee in District 1. Not only delicious coffee, but they also serve a number of cocktails that are very very good. You are right, their cat is so lovely.

  30. WOW! Didn’t know that so many cafes @ HCMC! Thanks for the awesome blog, can’t wait to visit Saigon and look for my Vietnamese friends.

  31. Hi James,

    This is Uyên, from The Morning Cafe. I think we’ve met already at my shop. Many thanks for your nice review. It’s wonderful article. I would ask for your permission to share this link on my http://www.facebook.com/themorningcafe.saigon so readers will have more change to discover the SG cafes.

    Have a nice week ahead and hope to see you again!
    Uyên.

  32. Hi James!
    Thank you! I’m so glad to have this list with me when I’m traveling in HCMC.

    So far my favorite cafe is ID at district 3 :)

  33. I’ve been slowly working my way through this list over the last few days. Sitting in Id Cafe at the moment. Looking around all I see are macbooks and digital nomads working hard – I think a few people have been taking your advice – for good reason!

    Thanks for the recommendations – I’ve been impressed with all of them. :)

  34. Anastasia says:

    Awesome recommendations! I’ve been to 4 of the cafés you recommended so far and it’s been super awesome! (Morning cafe, ducoin, m2c, she cafe) there’s a cute cafe right next to morning cafe btw, it’s called Saigonista (I think it’s pretty new)

  35. I’m setting up for a few months in Saigon in a few weeks, this article is probably all the research I need before arriving! Can’t wait for a fix of Viet style coffee.

Trackbacks

  1. - DigiNomade says:

    [...] Übrigens hat mein digitaler Nomaden Kollege James (auch oben im Bild) auf seinen Blog einen klasse Artikel wo man die besten Cafes in HCMC findet. [...]

  2. [...] veggies such as carrots, cucumber, and cilantro, and spiced with chili sauce. For coffee freaks, Saigon’s coffee scene is worth checking [...]

  3. […] Hotel [two locations] and Duxton [small 3+ star], plus numerous free internet in the coffee shops. http://www.nomadicnotes.com/travel-b…nh-city-cafes/ The Starbuck's of Vietnam is: Trung Nguyen Coffee. Go to their flagship shop in D1, near Diamond […]

  4. […] workers who travel with a backpack and a laptop. After all, there’s a cafe practically on every corner. Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 has everything a westerner could want, from fresh, cheap Asian […]

  5. […] (Several friends of mine have written pieces about life here which are worth your time if you’re further interested.) […]

  6. […] with wifi and co-working spaces. For example, here in Ho Chi Minh City you could go to a different cafe every day for a month and still have many more to visit. Over the past year several co-working […]

  7. […] can find other great recommendations for Ho Chi Minh cafes at Nomadic Notes and The Hungry […]

  8. […] Quiet Coffee: L’Usine has some delicious coffee as well, but I headed to Morning News when I wanted to read or write quietly. (Their business cards say “writers hideout, book lovers corner” after all!) Set in a teeny alley off the busier main street, you walk up several floors and then into a wood and art-filled room. More on the cafe from Nomadic Notes in his cafes of HCMC roundup here. […]

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