Are you finding ways to get off the tourist trails in Ho Chi Minh City and follow off-the-beaten-path? Here are some suggested non-touristy places in Ho Chi Minh City for you to escape from the energetic yet noisy crowds of travelers.
Weekend Flea Markets
Let’s be real, flea markets are definitely not the most ideal places to “escape the crowd”. But instead of squeezing with numerous other tourists to find the perfect spot for your photos, you can blend in with the locals and enjoy the boisterous atmosphere. There you can find different kinds of products: clothes, accessories, cosmetics, and more. Some of them are from Vietnamese local brand, and some are knock-off designer brands, all of which are affordable. If you are not into buying anything, check out the stalls for street food and drink.
Blend in with the locals in the weekend flea markets
A stall in a weekend flea market
Trai Cay Dia Nguyen Canh Chan – Fruit in A Plate
Looking for something healthy to eat? Then you should not miss out Fruit in A Plate – a mixture of different types of Vietnamese fruits, shaved ice, condensed milk, and syrup. Although it can be easily found in many street food stalls in Ho Chi Minh City, the ones in Nguyen Canh Chan Street, District 1 stand out thanks to the jelly and pieces of sweetened coconut chips added into each serving. Among the non-touristy places in Ho Chi Minh City, these stores are located right in the central district, so they are very accessible. They usually open from around 4-5 PM till 10 PM, which is ideal for an evening snack.
A special plate of fruit in Nguyen Canh Chan Street
What fruit you can get is a mystery!
Expect to pay: From VND 25,000
Cua Hang Cafe 81 (81 Coffee Shop)
This stop is for those who like nostalgic vibe. The design and every ornament in Cafe 81 remind us about Saigon – the former name of Ho Chi Minh City – in the 1980s. Visiting this place, you can order a cup of Vietnamese coffee or some chilled beer and enjoy medleys of old Vietnamese hits.
From outside, Cafe 81 looks like an old Vietnamese house in the 80s
Address: 28 Nguyen Huu Cau, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
Opening hours: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
Price: VND 25,000-35,000
Pho Sui Cao Ha Ton Quyen – Sui Gow Street Ha Ton Quyen
To explore Chinese Cuisine in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Ton Quyen Street would be a good starting point. There are dozens of stores that serve Sui Gow – a type of Chinese dumpling (Tip: Look for those having lots of customers. High turnover is usually the result of high quality). A bowl of Sui Gow can be served with noodles, vegetables, squid, fish ball, and/or pork skin.
A serving of Sui Gow, noodles, vegetables and pork skin
Expect to pay: From VND 50,000
Lua Sai Gon Cafe
This is another destination to get to know about the image of Ho Chi Minh City before the bustling urban scene. The owner of this cafe has spent a lot of time to collect every piece of the interior to recreate the space which was closely associated with the childhood of many Saigonese. It also offers lots of types of snacks that used to be the favorite of Vietnamese kids but now has become hard to find even for the locals.
Flavorful childhood snacks of Saigonese
Address: 28-30-32 Nguyen Co Thach, An Loi Dong Ward, District 2
– Mon-Wed: 7 AM – 10:30 PM
– Thurs-Sun: 9 AM – 5 PM
Price: From VND 30,000
Summary of Non-touristy Places in Ho Chi Minh to Escape the Crowd
For a day break from the crowd in Ho Chi Minh City, you can wander in the weekend flea markets. Until you get tired, stop by Sui Gow Street Ha Ton Quyen and order a heart-warming bowl. Later at night when you feel hungry, try Fruit in A Plate at Nguyen Canh Chan Street for a healthy snack. And, whenever you feel like sitting down and enjoying a cup of coffee, check out Cafe 81 or Lua Sai Gon Cafe for a nostalgic space.
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