Your guide to the underrated District 3 in Ho Chi Minh City

Seek out local haunts and cultural gems at a more laid-back pace at Ho Chi Minh City’s District 3.

Tan Dinh Church and surrounding neighbourhood
  • Kamei Cheong
  • March 2020

Despite being in the heart of the city, District 3 remains surprisingly underexplored. All the better — it is not overcrowded like District 1 and you can get a better sense of how locals live. Here are five spots to add to your travel checklist.

1. Vung Oi Mo Ra

Vung Oi Mo Ra interior
In the day, Vung Oi Mo Ra offers quiet respite but it is at its most charming at night when musicians perform acoustic sets by candlelight.

This café opens in new window has “hidden gem” written all over it — to get there, you have to head down an alley, through a street kitchen and up a narrow staircase of an old French villa. The hunt is worth the effort though — the cosy space that’s filled with musical instruments, comfy sofas and photos of old movie stars feels like an artist’s home.

Address: 61 Tran Quoc Thao
+842822157813ừng-ơi-mở-ra-Cafe-141160225904005/ opens in new window

2. Tan Dinh Church

Tan Dinh Church
Built in 1876, it’s the second biggest church in Ho Chi Minh City after the Notre Dame Cathedral.

While its striking pink hue is what stops passers-by in their tracks, the full splendour of one of Saigon’s oldest Roman Catholic churches can only be appreciated upon closer inspection. Take a closer look at the top of the main tower — you will see an octagonal spire topped with a 3m-tall copper cross and five bells.

Address: 289 Hai Ba Trung, Ward 8

READ MORE: Is this Ho Chi Minh City’s trendiest neigbourhood? opens in new window

3. Yoko Café

Band performing at Yoko Café
Yoko Café is a haven for both local and foreign bands in Ho Chi Minh city.

Named after Yoko Ono, this pioneering live music venue opens in new window has been a showcase space for budding musicians across all genres, from jazz to indie. Head down from Thursday to Saturday nights, revel in the palpable energy and if you’re lucky, witness the beginnings of the next Vietnamese superstar.

Address: 22 Nguyen Thi Dieu, Ward 6
+842839330577 opens in new window

4. La Maison de L’Apothiquaire Spa

La Maison de L’Apothiquaire Spa interior
The spa also carries a range of in-house skincare products.

Set in a beautifully restored French colonial villa, this spa is designed to make you feel like you are miles away from the stir of the city. Release tension with a yoga class or if time permits, opt for a half-day spa session and luxuriate in a personalised facial, foot pressure treatment and body massage that uses only natural products.

Address: 64A Truong Dinh, Ward 7
+842839325181 opens in new window

READ MORE: Your cheat sheet to exploring Ho Chi Minh City with kids opens in new window

5. Citadines Regency Saigon

Rooftop pool at Citadines Regency Saigon
Daily room rates at Citadines Regency Saigon start at about SGD $75+ a night.

This modern serviced apartment complex opens in new window is within walking distance of historical gems like the Reunification Palace opens in new window and War Remnants Museum, but the best way to immerse in the chill of District 3 is up on the rooftop swimming pool that overlooks the city.

Address: 20-22 Pham Ngoc Thach, Ward 6
+842837366666 opens in new window