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The Short and Sweet Guide to Saigon

It was our first time in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) albeit a short trip and boy were we pleasantly surprised! The city is quite hectic with scooters coming...

It was our first time in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) albeit a short trip and boy were we pleasantly surprised! The city is quite hectic with scooters coming at you from every direction (look both ways!), but we can definitely see why this has become the new hub for startups. We met entrepreneurs from all over Asia as well as those well-traveled ones from Europe as well as the US who’ve made this their new home to work on their startups. The city seems to be in a constant state of flux with construction at every corner. Getting an Uber here takes less time than in San Francisco, if that is even possible. Or you can get your Uber on a motorbike for about half the price. The co-working facilities and cafes are legit – the wifi is super strong with plugs everywhere and the serious coffee culture means you can pretty much work anywhere.

Here are some of our favorites that we’ve discovered along the way, let us know what you think!

L’Usine

We loved it here so much that we went to all 3 locations! Each location is unique in their own right. Our favorite is the one on Dong Khoi as it had the best coffee. Hint: The hidden entrance is through an unmarked arcade then up a serious flight of stairs. It has the most complete range of products of all the 3 shops.

We love their private label Trois Filles that offers day-to-night separates that are stylish yet comfortable in the humidity! A really great place for souvenirs for the design conscious as well.

Merci

Ladies with a penchant for self-pampering and everything pretty and colorful will feel in their elements here. You can get your personal housekeeping in order from head to toe (with champagne!) all without chipping your newly lacquered nails. We love their Brazilian de Luxe waterless manicure and pedicure. They get booked up fast so better to call in advance.

Maison Marou

We are not big chocolate eaters but this place is a must-visit for aficionados and tourists alike.  This is where we bought all our gifts for our besties – you know who you are! You can handpick your own flavors of chocolates if you go with their gift boxes so it’s as personalized as it gets.

The shapes of their chocolates are also thoughtful and kudos-worthy. Our favorite is shaped like a Vietnamese straw hat. Their red and blue gift boxes also make the dark chocolates stand out beautifully.

Must try their sumptuous chocolate chip cookies (perfect if you like your cookies soft rather than crunchy – they can heat it up for you) and iced chocolate. Everything is sourced, made, and designed in Vietnam – way to go!

The Workshop

This was one of our favorite spots. A serious co-working space for serious coffee people. Bring your labtop here to work and you will fit right in or sit here the whole day and sample the pages and pages of different coffee beans they have here.

A beautiful factory loft-like open space that will get your creative juices flowing. Get the window seats for an intimate tete-a-tete or try the bar for the ultimate handcrafted coffee experience with the knowledgeable and friendly baristas.

Le Spa Des Artistes

We tried quite a few different spas here and we always ended up coming back here. We stayed at the hotel too but didn’t realize at first that it had an award-winning spa!

You will find no fault with the environment. Super relaxing and calming. The massage is more of a therapeutic type so don’t expect an acupressure rubdown! The hibiscus hot tea at the beginning and end of the treatment was very yummy.

Hotel Des Arts Saigon

Service was just so so and uneven but more than made up for with a beautiful Indochina elegance that is both clean and modern that is hard to find in the city. The restaurant on the second floor is perfect for breakfast and late dinner (thank you Phuong for all your expert advice on what and where we should be getting our Vietnamese delicacies from!).

There is also an infinity pool and glass bridge at the top of the hotel that is not for the faint-hearted! Room is spacious and they give you handmade afternoon snacks and artisanal chocolates each day!

THE·LITTLE·BLACK·BOOK n.

1. Giftwell’s guide and resources to creative gifting.
2. Hong Kong’s open secret.

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