People who know me, knows I’m not a big fan of Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh City but it’s such a long word so I’ll stick with Saigon). Everything from Bui Vien Street (resembles Khao San Road a lot and not saying this in a good way) to the skyscrapers, it just feels a bit overwhelming to me and perhaps a bit.. impersonal? But I’m also very bias since I love Hanoi, which to me feels more authentic. Either way, even though there are many things I don’t like about this city, I have to give credit where credit is due. I stumbled upon the wonderful Café Apartment, which is a famous building in the middle of the centre, with tons of hipster, cute shops and cafés. I spent almost a full day here, and as I’m typing this, I’m actually still at this place. Let me tell show you what I discovered today.
Not only does it look incredible from the outside, it’s equally as impressive inside. I’m not quite sure exactly how many floors there are, but there’s enough for you to be entertained for a few hours. There’s mostly cafés here, but you can also find a lot of independent shops. I admit – I bought a few items, and although they aren’t cheap for Vietnamese standard, they’re unique and I have *nO rAgrEtz*.
The best thing about Café Apartment was that it never got too crowded. In fact, I think most people either go straight to the cafés or they just look at it from the outside, but doesn’t come inside, which is a shame since it was one of the highlights in Saigon (for me, at least). My favourite part was “The E.Y.E” which is a tote bag shop where you can either get something printed, or buy the already made tote bags. I got one and I absolutely love it. It cost 250.000 dong which is about €10. As I said, a bit pricey, but you only live once….?
There were a ton of beautiful cafés, and I really did wanted to try them all, but alas my wallet said no after all the shopping, so I only went to the café which I had read about: The Maker. Situated on the 3rd floor, the café is a mix of minimalistic meets industrial chic. It has a very European feel to it. As expected, the prices here aren’t the cheapest, but I got a lychee iced tea for 50.000 dong, which isn’t too bad. It’s about €2. Also note that I’ve been sitting and working here for almost 3 hours. Oops! So yeah, it’s definitely good value for your money.
Walking around in shops and cafés like these makes me so happy. I love finding unique stores which you can’t find anywhere else. Some might say it’s a bit of a tourist trap, but the Café Apartment was one of the best things I found in Saigon and I highly recommend anyone to visit this place. It’s like entering a whole new world, away from all the hustle and bustle.