The underrated gems in Ho Chi Minh City you should totally hunt down

From the best banh mi stalls to a tranquil bar high above the buzz of Bui Vien, here are Ho Chi Minh City’s best-kept secrets.

Aerial shot of Ho Chi Minh City
  • David Allegretti
  • March 2020

David Allegretti visited Ho Chi Minh City last year to uncover the city’s hidden gems — without using a smartphone. His mission was a success, and he returned with this list of must-visit spots.

Mayhem Saigon Vintage Store

Interior of Mayhem Saigon
One of the first stores in the city selling vintage clothing, Mayhem is a thrift shopper’s dream.

“When I was at a bar in the city, a group of teenagers much cooler than I told me about the hippest vintage store in Vietnam called Mayhem opens in new window. Hot tip: avoid the busy central markets and come here if you’re after something truly unique.”

Address: 136/1 Le Thanh Ton, P, District 1
+842838242436
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Rogue Saigon

Beer and burger at Rogue Saigon
On top of 20 craft brews on tap, Rogue Saigon also serves juicy burgers and hotdogs.

“I tried many a pint in Ho Chi Minh City but this place is a standout. Don’t take my word for it, though. On the balcony of Rogue Saigon opens in new window, I meet Peter and Diane, a travelling couple from New Zealand in their 50s. Over a few beers I learn that Peter is something of a beer expert who brews his own ale — and this place gets his stamp of approval.”

Address: Floor 2 No.13 Pasteur Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1
+84902365780
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READ MORE: The must-buy food souvenir from Vietnam most tourists miss opens in new window

Artbook Bookstore

Artbook vietnam interior
Artbook has numerous outlets in Vietnam (three in District 1 alone), but the one in Dong Koi is one of the largest.

“Tucked away near the famous Dong Khoi shopping street, you’ll find one of the prettiest little bookstores you may ever come across. This place has some rare finds and an array of other fun little knickknacks, making it the perfect pit stop if you’re after a souvenir for your arty friend back home.”

158 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
+842838220838
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READ MORE: More cool spots to check out in Dong Khoi opens in new window

The View Rooftop Bar

The View Rooftop Bar
Perched on the 9th floor of Duc Vuong Hotel, the bar offers panoramic views of the city. Oh, and beers go for as cheap as about SGD $1 here.

“The rooftop bar opens in new window of Duc Vuong Hotel opens in new window is a great place to escape the crowds of Bui Vien (a bustling backpacker area in the city).”

Address: Duc Vuong Hotel, 195 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1
+842838220838
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The best banh mi stalls in Ho Chi Minh City

Banh mi stall
The local favourite is a sandwich filled with grilled meat and pickled vegetables.

“Listen to me: go and try these banh mi places. It took me a lot of playing charades on the street to get recommendations from locals and a ridiculous number of banh mi’s in my belly to come up with a list of what I think are the top three stalls in the city. In no particular order, here they are:

Banh Mi Huynh Hoa
Address: 26 Le Thi Rieng P. Ben Thanh, District 1

Banh Mi Hong Hoa
Address: 62 Nguyen Van Trang, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1

Banh Mi Hoa Ma
Address: 53 Cao Thang, District 3

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Somerset D1Mension Ho Chi Minh City

Pool at Somerset D1Mension Ho Chi Minh City
After a day exploring the city, cool down at the saltwater pool on the 29th floor.

This serviced residence opens in new window in District 1 is great for families and big groups — it has up to four-bedroom apartments for eight people. Plus, all apartments come with a living room and kitchenette so they offer more flexibility than a hotel — come together and hang out when you feel like it, retire to the privacy of your room when you need some me-time, or dine in on nights when you need a break from city life.”

608 Vo Van Kiet, Cau Kho, District 1
+842839529595
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Citadines Regency Saigon

Room at Citadines Regency Saigon
The 229-unit residence offers a range of units, from studios to one-bedroom suites.

“District 3 uncovers a more relaxed and local side to the city. This modern serviced apartment complex opens in new window is an ideal base to explore its eclectic mix of old colonial architecture and hip bars and restaurants. If you need to feel the buzz of Ho Chi Minh City, fret not — you’re just a 15-minute walk away from District 1.”

Address: 20-22 Pham Ngoc Thach, Ward 6, District 3
+842837366666
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READ MORE: Your guide to the underrated District 3 in Ho Chi Minh City opens in new window