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Cafe Apartment Saigon - 3 Best Cafes Worth Visiting
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In case you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, you might’ve heard about the country’s incredible coffee culture. And if you want to set foot in Ho Chi Minh City soon, then you surely know about the Cafe Apartment Saigon on Nguyen Street! If not, worry not, as I have gathered aaaaall the information you need on the Coffee Apartments in Saigon below, including the 3 best cafes worth visiting inside the building!

And, trust me, if you’re a lover of coffee and coffee shops, you just HAVE TO add this incredible attraction to your bucket list. It’s one of the most photographed buildings in the country, after all! 

I have written about it before in my Complete Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Guide, but this time I’ll tell you about it in-depth, together with my personal experience visiting it.

Let’s go!

Quick info about Ho Chi Minh Cafe Apartment

info about Ho Chi Minh Cafe Apartment
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Before jumping into the three recommendations, let me tell you some interesting information about this quirky attraction:

What is the Cafe Apartment Saigon?

Let’s start at the beginning. The Apartment Cafe is basically a 9-storey old apartment building converted into a tourist spot and the epicentre of coffee culture in Ho Chi Minh City (once known as Saigon). 

It has quite an interesting history, I might add. The building is around 60 years old, it has undergone some renovations over time and, at one point, it even housed American officers in the 50s and until the post-war period. 

Putting its rich history aside, it is still an apartment building, but with a twist – ever since Nguyen Street became a pedestrian walkway gaining a lot of popularity in 2015, the owners (which regained ownership of their properties after the fall of Saigon in 1975) started renting their apartments to small businesses. Which are mostly coffee shops, tea houses, fashion boutiques, beauty parlours and even co-working spaces. And it seems they’re growing in number every day!

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The building looks cool, yet gritty on the outside with its colourful balconies, which is definitely part of its charm. But it’s what is on the inside that counts, right? And once you step foot into this apartment building on Nguyen Hue walking street, you’ll see exactly why it has become so popular. 

This apartment block hosts lots of independent businesses and cool spots to hang out, grab a coffee, work together with other creatives, go on an unconventional date and more! 

NOTE: It is said that, officially, it’s kind of… illegal to rent these apartments for commercial, non-residential use, so all the businesses inside might get evicted at any moment. Which only means one thing: make sure you visit this apartment block while you still can!

TIP: Each level of the building is different and unique and, because of the building’s layout, some shops or coffee apartments might be more visible than others. This is exactly why I advise you to take your time, skip the elevator and explore each level with patience. Oh, and make sure you walk past it at least once at night as well, it looks even more cool when all the colourful signs are lit up!

Where is the apartment building located?

Where is the Cafe Apartment
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The location of the apartments is in District 1, on the famous Nguyen Hue pedestrian street, at number 42. It’s iconic and you can easily remember it!

ADDRESS: The Cafe Apartment – 42 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Useful info to know once you arrive

  • You can park at Lucky Plaza across the street for 5.000 VND (0.22 US$);
  • The entrance to the Cafe Apartment is on the left of the bookstore on the ground floor (if you’re facing the building from Nguyen Hue walking street);
  • You can either go up on the staircase or take the elevator if you pay a small fee of 3.000 VND (0.13 US$) which will be then deducted from your bill at your chosen cafe;
  • Most cafes, co-working spaces and other businesses inside the building are open from 8 AM ‘til 10 PM at night – some even later than this;
  • Money-wise, you can expect the cafes inside this building to be a bit pricier than other cafes in Ho Chi Minh, but you’re paying for the experience as well, after all!
  • The best thing to do once you arrive is to explore the cafes and pick one according to their menu, decor or any other preference you have – or just pick one from my selection below if you want to be on the safe side!

3 Best cafes worth visiting

I really loved our visit to the Coffee Apartment block – it’s hip, modern and very good-vibey. After exploring some cute fashion boutiques and shops, we visited some of the coffee shops too and these are the three I loved most (and that I, of course, recommend!). By the way, there are more than 30 cafes here, which makes choosing almost impossible!

1 - Saigon Ơi ($)

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Saigon Oi cafe in Ho Chi Minh
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Saigon Oi really impressed us with its incredibly flavourful coffee and creative, fun drink options on the menu. The decor is rather simple and natural, with wooden floors and plants forming a real garden inside a bathtub, which I liked a lot! And in case you have some emails to send or calls to make, you can even work in this cosy environment.

You can find various snacks, juices, salads, Vietnamese coffee and other non-caffeinated drinks on their menu (lucky me – reviewing a cafe apartment although I don’t really like caffeine!). Ah! And their balcony has a very pretty view of a bit of the city and Saigon river too – perfect for some photo opportunities!

FIND IT ON: 5th floor

WHAT WE HAD: Yogurt Rainbow Drink & Iced milk coffee

OPENING HOURS: daily from 7:00 AM – 10:00 PM

INSTAGRAM: @saigonoicafe

WEBSITE: https://saigonoicafe.com/

2 - Thinker and Dreamer ($$)

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Intimate, romantic and super cosy, Thinker and Dreamer coffee shop is a real “forest” inside the apartment building! They have amazing coffee and a hip but tiny balcony facing Nguyen Hue Street with a nice view.

TIP: The owners really know how to speak social media, so if you’re browsing the menu and see a little icon of a camera next to a drink, this means that the drink is Instagram-worthy, haha!

NOTE: They now have two locations in the city, one at 42 Nguyen Hue and one on 26B Le Loi Avenue in District 1, very close nearby.

FIND IT ON: 4th floor

WHAT WE HAD: Coffee of Mr Thinker & Coffee of Mr Dreamer

OPENING HOURS: daily from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

INSTAGRAM: @thinker.dreamer.coffee

WEBSITE: https://thinkerdreamer.vn/

3 - Partea ($)

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partea saigon coffee apartments
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© @partea.tearoom

This is probably one of the most famous spots inside the apartment block! Partea (get it? get it?) is an English-style tea house with a really unique, accurate decor – it oddly feels like you’re in England! So if you’re planning on drinking some 5 o’clock tea, this cosy and comforting place is the best choice. They have entire walls full of tea flavours (and coffee too!), lots of teapots to choose from, a cosy atmosphere and lots of yummy, gorgeous cakes to accompany your drink.

FIND IT ON: 4th floor

WHAT WE HAD: a pot of Jasmine Tea & an amazing lava cake with a ball of ice-cream

OPENING HOURS: daily from 9:00 AM – 10:30 PM

INSTAGRAM: @partea.tearoom

FACEBOOK: Partea – Tea Room

Other notable places to check out at 42 Nguyen Hue

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In case you’re looking for an extensive list of cool spots inside this apartment block other than these 3 cafes, make sure you check out the following too if you have the time:

  • Fahasa Bookstore (ground floor) – the entire ground floor hosts an impressive library where you can relax, read and get lost through the numerous books. Here is also where you’ll find the biggest collection of English literature in Ho Chi Minh!
  • The Maker Cafe (3rd floor) is probably one of the most popular co-working spaces (they call themselves a “cafe-workshop”) inside this old apartment building. It also has a fashion boutique with the same name on the 1st floor;
  • Mango Tree (3rd floor) – a nice choice if you’re looking for yummy desserts and snacks;
  • Mekong Pizza (4th floor) – did anyone say food? Yes! Go here for a quick slice of pizza or a pasta dish to refill your stamina;
  • Tôi Làm Mộc (5th floor) – if you want to admire some beautiful wood furniture;
  • Mêlee – if you’re looking for a bar instead of a cafe, this one serves beer and some chicken dishes to go with it.

BONUS: Everything you need to know about coffee in Vietnam

coffee culture in vietnam
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Vietnam has a rich history – and their love for coffee is no exception. Coffee was introduced in Vietnam by the French in 1857 but it has only become a real “national sport” in 1990, thanks to a program started by the Government. Nowadays, Vietnam is the second-largest coffee exporter in the world. And us, travellers, can’t be anything but thankful!

Although it will be a bit hard to find your classic almond flat white in Vietnam, there are other caffeinated specialities worth exploring here. Which is an amazing thing, as travelling is all about experimenting with new things, right?! 

First of all, you should know about… condensed milk. Yes, the Vietnamese drink their coffee with condensed milk instead of your classic, frothy cow milk or vegan alternatives. Odd or not, it’s really delicious!

Here are some unmissable coffee-related drinks to try while you’re in Ho Chi Minh City, especially at the Cafe Apartment:

  • ca phe sua da – coffee, condensed milk, ice – a Vietnamese classic and the ‘safest’ thing you can order! The coffee is made using a small filter, it’s then mixed with around 2 tablespoons of condensed milk and then poured over ice. Ready to be enjoyed without rushing!
  • ca phe trung – egg coffee. Yes, you read that right. If the condensed milk thingy sounded too weird for you, then find out that egg coffee is made with whisked egg yolk instead of milk. And yes, it tastes more like a dessert, but it’s something to try nonetheless – especially if you’re visiting Hanoi.
  • ca phe den – strong, black coffee. Order with caution: it’s REALLY strong and bitter!
  • ca phe cot dua – this literally means coconut coffee and it’s made with coconut milk and blended with condensed milk (duh!)
  • ca phe muoi – if you’re more on the salty side, you can try this rather odd combo of whipped milk with salt and coffee, plus a bit of ice.
  • tra da – iced tea – if you’re going to the traditional cafes, you’ll surely receive a complimentary cold glass of ice tea (usually made with jasmine tea) to sip with your coffee. It’s tradition!

RELATED READ: Binh Quoi Village, Ho Chi Minh City – Complete Guide and Reasons To Visit

Aaand that’s absolutely everything you need to know about the famous Cafe Apartment in Ho Chi Minh City! I have told you every tiny detail, from its history after the fall of Saigon to where to park, how much the elevator costs compared to the staircase, what to visit inside and even some drinks worth ordering while you’re there!

In short, this is a hip, modern and creative spot worth visiting at least once in your lifetime – and especially if you’re a lover of caffeinated drinks, tea or cute desserts! Once you enter the building you’ll surely enjoy the atmosphere and grungy style!

In case you’re looking for more exciting things to do in Ho Chi Minh, make sure you click here to find all my articles about this incredible city. And here you’ll find all my posts and stories about Vietnam.

xoxo,

Melissa

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    Cafe Apartment Saigon - 3 Best Cafes Worth Visiting
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    I’m a travel enthusiast, content creator and sun seeker extraordinaire! I love a good matcha latte, am obsessed with hats and like to give human names to the stray animals that I befriend on my travels ( I’m talking about you, Lesley!) In 2018 I took the leap and switched my London lifestyle for continuous adventures abroad.

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