If drinking coffee alone is a little boring to you, then head over to any of these cafés for some added fun as you drink. Whether it be cats lazying about near you, lizards running through your hair, or simply just the freezing cold because the whole venue is made out of ice, Ho Chi Minh City’s weird café scene has got you covered.
Coffee Shop, Coffee
Only in Vietnam can you enjoy a cup of coffee in a freezing venue while it is boiling hot outside. It’s freezing cold inside this café because the whole interior and décor is made out of ice — yes, even the chairs you will be sitting on. Guests are handed thermal jackets, fur hats and gloves by the café to stay warm, but no shoes. To sort of add insult into injury, they serve ice cream. Sometimes there’s a queue waiting to get inside, so calling ahead and reserving a spot is a good idea.
This boat café once consisted of two wooden river boats somewhat between a rice barge and river junk, moored at right angles to the Kenh Te canal bank so that they protruded out into the murky water. The upper and lower decks of these boats have been converted into a dining space with comfortable couches, tables, potted plants and spotlights. Unfortunately, one of the boats burned down. However, the other still remains for you to visit and enjoy a cup of coffee overlooking District 4 on the other side of the canal. If you don’t have time to experience the Mekong Delta on a boat, these will have to do as they once belonged there.
La Kafeine – Container Café attracts the young and trendy Vietnamese crowd looking to take a few artsy shots to spice up their Instagram. Why? This café is housed in two old shipping containers, remodelled and decorated using old junk such as tanks, barrels and tires as furniture. The menu is another reason this café is worth visiting as the items come cheap. For just USD$2.00, the seafood spaghetti is a steal.
If you’ve already been to too many cat and dog cafés and would like to play with a different animal as you indulge in a cold drink, head over to Babo Café — the very first reptile-themed café in Ho Chi Minh City. There are over 10 cold-blooded reptilians inside that you could make friends with, such as snakes, lizards, frogs and turtles, and we promise that none of them are shape-shifting humans. Well maybe just the frog, but he’s not gonna turn into a prince, so don’t go kissing him.
This spacious eco-friendly garden café is tucked in a small alley in a residential area, and is the perfect place for you to escape your daily stresses. The venue is full of trees, waterfalls and ponds, creating a slight hill-country Da Lat type of vibe, totally out of place in a city like Ho Chi Minh. There is also a giant tree house-slash-cabin built around the trunks of a sturdy, century-old tree, where you can enjoy something off their delicious menu or a cool, refreshing coffee.
The Three Brooms Town is a world of fantasy inspired by witches and wizards. It goes by many names including Ba Cay Choi, Somewhereland, and Elf Village. This unique attraction is a magic-themed café originally intended for parents to take their children on a weekend to enjoy a range of fun learning activities like baking cakes and cupcakes, candle-making, face-painting, doll-making, creating mosaics, etc. Now you will see more than a few shameless adults around enjoying some coffee and games, and taking plenty of selfies. The space is large, with many uniquely decorated indoor cave-like rooms where the activities happen.
Padma De Fleur is a floral wilderness in the concrete jungle that is Ho Chi Minh City. Hidden in an alleyway near Ben Thanh Market, it is not the overwhelming amount of flowers inside that make this café unusual. It is actually how the menu is served. Think of it as dining in someone’s home — you have to eat what the family are eating that day. Each lunch set will have a soup, a meat dish and vegetables, which is exactly like a typical Vietnamese meal. There is no breakfast or dinner, and there are only a few drinks available, too, such as Vietnamese coffee and tea.