Viral hotspot in Vietnam I had to visit

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It’s unlike anything I’ve seen and when it kept dominating my social feeds, I just had to make a pit stop to check it out during a recent trip to Vietnam.

I’m talking about the Cafe Apartments on Ho Chi Minh City’s Walking Street.

Built in the mid 1960s, the apartment block at 42 Nguyen Hue has seen many changes having once been home to American military officers and high ranking officials working for the South Vietnam government.

Now, the complex has been transformed, and each of the apartments are a variety of cafes and shops. It’s nine levels high and is undoubtedly a foodies paradise.

“On each floor you will find restaurants, cafes, beauty boutiques and clothing shops,” one TikToker said in her clip.

And she was right. There’s so much to explore and experience.

The moment we arrived at the complex I was taken aback by how different it was; I couldn’t wait to go inside.

You can either take the lift up for 3,000vnd. about 20 cents, or just do what I did, and climb what felt like a thousand stairs (it’s not a thousand stairs).

However, by around the fourth floor, I was reminded of how unfit I truly am, but I was willing to push through anything for food.

And I certainly wasn’t the only tourist visiting the complex for the same reasons (and struggling with the stairs).

While checking out each level, I came across dozens of other people scoping out the apartments.

The walls are decorated with stunning artwork, plants and signs to advertisements for each cafe. I came across several cafe options, but I could not pass on a pork banh mi.

The tiny store had walls filled with written notes from customers who had visited from around the world.

The reviews were overwhelmingly positive online and I simply couldn’t resist.

The bread was crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside, the meat was tender, and paired with a delicious sauce. And this mouth-watering roll was just $6.

It was my first banh mi of the trip, and I couldn’t have been more happy with the experience.

Other highlights from Vietnam

The Cafe Apartments are just one of the endless incredible food options in Ho Chi Minh City.

If you love banh mi, one of the most iconic food joints to check out is Banh Mi Huynh Hoa. There’s only one type of banh mi on the menu, and you’ll often find the lines to order out the door. It’s a staple in the city, and a must try.

Vietnam is also known for its street food and markets. A tourist favourite is the Ben Nghe Street Food market, which boasts rows of food stall options. I tried the noodle salad with pork and spring rolls, and it did not disappoint.

While you’re at it, make sure to try one of Vietnam’s staple coffees, there are vendors and cafes everywhere. I personally became obsessed with coconut coffee, which was a delicious blend of coconut cream and Vietnamese coffee.

If you’re after a spectacular view of Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll want to grab a drink at the Blank Sky Lounge, located on the 75th floor of a building. The bar offers a Vietnamese heritage menu, with endless cocktails and desserts to choose from, all while looking over the bustling city as the sun goes down.

Other must-see landmarks include the Saigon Central Post Office, where you can send a postcard to a loved one, and pick up a souvenir, and the iconic Book Street.

As its name suggests it’s the perfect place for book lovers with a variety of novels in both Vietnamese and English, lining each side of the street. Pick a book and sit in a nearby cafe for the perfect afternoon.

Aussies flock to Vietnam

According to Intrepid, year-on-year passenger numbers to Vietnam have grown 166 per cent when comparing 2023 to 2022.

The overwhelming majority of customers booking trips to Vietnam are Aussies (43 per cent), followed by Brits (24 per cent), and the US and NZ (each 11 per cent).

Jetstar’s Executive Manager Jenn Armor told Vietnam is known for being a budget friendly destination, so it’s expected to be more popular than ever in 2024.

“With fares as low as $219 one-way, we’re making it possible for even more Australians to travel overseas and experience the beautiful food and culture in Vietnam,” Ms Armor said.

Jetstar is currently the only Australian flairline flying directly to Vietnam.

This writer travelled to Vietnam as a guest of Jetstar