Ho Chi Minh's Nguyen Hue Walking Street (named after the military genius and rebel, Nguyen Hue who stood up to corrupt elites at that time) has a must-visit attraction that needs to be added to your bucket list. Overlooking the Saigon river is a nine-storey apartment block full of cafes, bookstores, and co-working spaces known as the 'Cafe Apartment'.
Built in the 1960s, it has gone through many avtaars. It used to be home for US military officers and high-ranking officials working for the South Vietnam government. In 1975, after the Fall of Saigon, some of the apartments were given to shipyard workers.
Later, gentrification set in as the city grew and Nguyen Hue became a popular spot. Now the place plays host to an eclectic mix of cafes, boutiques, salons, and co-working spaces. Nothing is fixed though. The shops change and new places keep replacing old ones. And it's not all commercial - people live in some of these apartments.
It's the perfect stop if you want to spend a day treating yourself to the best coffee, snacks books and a pedicure.
As you keep ascending to the top, you will be in awe of the diversity this place offers. One of the most popular cafes here is the Saigon Vieux Cafe with a splendid balcony where you can savour a coffee and your book. The rather rundown Balcony Cafeteria has a cosy little terrace where you cn watch the street below. The perfect spot for a high tea break is at Partea, an English-style tea room spread over two apartments.
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Have some work to catch up on? The Saigon O’i Cafe is a great place to park yourself with its wooden floors, plants and lanterns, and a herb garden growing out of a bathtub. You can have a taste of impeccable salads and snacks, sitting outside on their balcony.
You can make a day out of this place with its vast range of shops to choose from. Be it clothes, food or accessories, there is not a thing missing from the apartment on 42, Nguyen Hue Walking Street.
All the balconies of this 'Cafe Apartment' have a view of the Walking Street and the Saigon River. Walking Street is a buzzing place, always filled with people. Exploring the cafe-filled building at night makes it all the more appealing as it stands tall and luminous.
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The apartment has its own guide. Check it out here.