My Artsy Saigon guide | from a Saigonese

Recently I have had an escape trip to Taiwan and I feel that I owe all the Taiwanese bloggers a lot since most of the restaurants’ menus are written in Chinese and without all the blog posts translating all the names and the ingredients, I wouldn’t have been enjoyed most of the tasty yet freakin cheap dishes in Taiwan.

So here I began listing out my favorite local treasures, restaurants, cafe shops, places that I love visiting in Saigon.

Hope it would help : )

My Artsy Saigon guide | from a Saigonese 


  1. Flea Markets: Facebook Events make it easy to follow and keep you updated with local upcoming markets.
    Below are a few suggestions:

    • Four Seasons Market (District 1): Facebook
    • Saigon Flea Market (District 7): Facebook & Website
    • Hello Weekend Market (District 1): Facebook
    • The New District (District 4, yet right at the border of District 1): Facebook
  2. Local shops are abundant yet it’s time-consuming and not that easy to find. But believe me it’s worth the search! If you’re looking for gifts that are meaningful, artistic and not touristy, you can try my favorite options below. Otherwise, Ben Thanh market has it all at one place and you’d better negotiate.


<Coffee shops with taste, atmosphere and view>

Dong Khoi store closes at 9PM while the Le Loi store closes at 11PM

L’USINE (Dong Khoi)


Khanh Casa Tea House (Dong Khoi)

Khánh Casa Tea House

The Nest by AIA (Bitexco Financial Tower)


NEST by The Lab Saigon
The Nest by AIA

Pacey Cupcake (Nguyen Du, near InterContinental Building)




<Handmade cosmetics, body scrubs, lip balms, lotion>
A banker’s secret. They rent a small space inside a coffee shop at 8A Luong Huu Khanh, Dist. 1. You can try the samples and buy their products directly there or purchase online via their website.


<Magnet, Notebooks, Postcards>
 Artbook Saigon (right on Dong Khoi or Le Loi Street)

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<Cermics mugs/vases, Handmade fabric cases/bags/purses/passport holders>
Tò He Style (various locations, check here)

<Street art, Exhibition, Fashion stores and Souvenirs>
3A Station (Alternative Art Area) (5-7 minutes driving from Dong Khoi Area)

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<Unique printed tote bags, sling bags and purses>
Ziczac Design: Facebook (Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1)
Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 4.49.19 PM

<Cases for Smart phones>
Saigontale: Website


<Vietnamese’s designer clothes> for female mostly *sorry guys*

My taste: simpleminimalistic, vintage & all the crop tops


Callia: Facebook & Website (Huynh Van Banh Street, Phu Nhuan District – Abundant & affordable fashion street)
Nosbyn: Facebook & Website (store at 3A station or smaller store near Dong Khoi)
Hà Cúc: Facebook (Dong Khoi Street)
Daisy & The Urbanized: Facebook (District 7)

*Buy from a bunch of brands at one store >> check out The Glam 

Leather goods

Tộc Accessories: Facebook & Website (Leather bags, wallets, shoes, jackets)
Dominique Saint Paul: Facebook (Leather Italian-style shoes)


Nhộng: Website (Graphic shirts, Notebooks, Bags, etc.)


– updated as of November, 2015



    Getting a Simcard & Getting the data plan from Viettel  are recommended since it’s apparently the best service provider with the strongest coverage if you plan to travel to rural area. Free wifi is abundant at any coffee shops, but you should get 3G coverage while on the go to help you with the navigation, translation and so on.
    Now you can get around Saigon by using Uber, GrabTaxi and especially GrabBike.
    GrabBike is basically GrabTaxi but for motorbikes. You download the GrabTaxi app on your smartphone and you will be able to choose between taxi and scooter to arrive and pick you up according to your specific location input.Grab Bike is super cheap: A 15 minutes ride (4 kilometers) should cost about 15,000 VND – 20,000 VNDVND which is $1.You don’t have to negotiate the price or be afraid of where they might take you to. Technology makes it easy for you to put the specific address in the mobile app and you’re just going to wait for the driver to arrive. Remember to pay in cash only.Being in a country without a metro system can be a challenge for you as travelers. Saigon is building its first metro system and hopefully by 2020, all 5 lines will be completed and operated. Can’t wait, omg… I CAN’T WAIT because I myself, as a Saigonese, don’t ride any scooter and I feel you.

Areas to stay: 
“The best neighborhood for the budget traveler to stay is Pham Ngu Lao, where cheap but reliable guesthouses abound. You’ll find the least expensive accommodations tucked just a few steps away from the most obvious options, tucked away on the alleys (this goes for throughout HCMC). You can find your full of food here for USD $0.35 and up–don’t leave Vietnam without a hearty dose of cheap street-side pho’ (a hearty noodle soup usually eaten for breakfast).” (TripAdvisor)

The Dong Khoi/Nguyen Hue area is like NY’s Fifth Avenue or Singapore’s Orchard.

Tan Dinh” is also a good area to stay. You can buy fabric, shoes and clothing at the nearby Tan Dinh Market. Make sure you negotiate pricing for 20-30 % off the quoted price. If you are a foreigner, tell them that you are an expat and are living here, so please give you a fair price.  Learn some VN will earn some respect and invite a more friendly negotiation experience.

Ben Thanh Market” area is obviously the city center prime location which I … don’t recommend staying there since everything is overpriced. For souvenirs options, check below.

Feel free to comment if you have any other suggestions of your own favorite places in Saigon.

Truong-Anh : )



Olivia, Peace & The Olive Tree |

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