• My HCMC with Nam

Nam Quan is a photographer and fashion designer who grew up amid the bright lights and changing cityscape of Ho Chi Minh City. When he’s not working or catching up with his posse of friends he spends a lot of time on his motorbike, and knows where to go for the city’s best food, coffee and nightlife. Here Nam gives an inside look into Vietnam’s fast-growing metropolis. 

What are your favourite ‘secret' spots in Ho Chi Minh City? 

I like sitting on the rooftop of Ăn Ăn Restaurant. Here you also get a skyline view of Ho Chi Minh City, but in a different way. Unlike other sight-seeing spots, the view is from behind the cityscape instead of from the front. The lights are all there but things seem more quiet. Some of my favourite hidden bars are intheMOOD and PK Maltroom. 

Is there a festival or special event here that travellers should not miss? 

Mid-autumn Festival in District 5 is super colourful and the streets are well-decorated. You can also try mooncakes during that time. 

Ho Chi Minh City travel

Is there a lesser-known dish that you wish more people knew about? 

Khổ qua cà ớt, fish cake stuffed inside bitter melon, with eggplant, tomato and chillies. You can only find this in District 5.

Where is your favourite coffee shop here and what do you like about it?

La Viet coffee has a great vibe and nice coffee in a reasonable price range. Speciality cafes have been a massive trend here in Ho Chi Minh City, but La Viet is one of the best.  

What to do in Ho Chi Minh City

If you had to describe Ho Chi Minh City in three adjectives, what would they be and why? 

Colourful. Noisy. Friendly.

What are the people of Ho Chi Minh City like? 

People here are friendly, warm-hearted & welcome all sorts of new things and new culture. 

What’s some advice you’d give to travellers?

Bargaining is something you should do when shopping, but if you're the first customer of the day and you don’t close the deal after bargaining, it's considered bad luck for shop owners, and they'll be unhappy about it. So I would recommend doing your shopping and your bargaining in the afternoon.

What makes Ho Chi Minh City different from other places in Vietnam? 

Ho Chi Minh City is very active, in terms of culture and economy. You’ll see new businesses up and running every day, new trends and concepts are adapted week by week. People here are eager to learn and absorb, to develop new things.

Ho Chi Minh City travel guide

Where should travellers go to see the best views of the city? 

You’ll find great views on the other side of the river from the roof of Thu Thiem Tunnel or from the top of Thu Thiem Bridge, looking back to the cityscape of District 1. Bitexco Skydeck is also a good spot right in the heart of the city.

Continue your journey through #MyVietnam with insightful local interviews, videos and travel tips here.