Vietnamese cafés are among my favorite places in Vietnam. They come in many flavors, from little stalls along the road to very fancy places with an elaborate decoration. Apart from the simplest ones (roadside cafés), one can easily spend all day there as they’re very relaxing places. Nearly all of them offer free wifi and power plugs are available, making them great places to work online !
The only drawback of Vietnamese cafés is that smoking is allowed. A few minutes after sitting there, you may find yourself inhaling cigarette smoke from a nearby chain-smoker who arrived right after you. Fortunately these places are usually large enough to allow you to move to another table.
Don’t forget to read our Vietnamese food & drinks page for samples of drinks served in these cafés !
The crudest place we ever had a coffee in was probably a small roadside café along the QL1, before reaching Nha Trang. We sat on lounge chairs in front of a Petrolimex gas station, and sipped our ca phe sua da Sai Gon and lemon tea. A truly romantic place, rivaling most Parisian cafés 🙂
Less noisy but equally simple cafés may be found along smaller roads. They’re an excellent place to watch the traffic and marvel at the usually overloaded Vietnamese motorbikes.
In areas with a low population density, these cafés may actually be the only opportunity to rest a bit in the shade while enjoying a cold drink… Or to shelter from the rain, as we did in the following place while heading to Vietnam’s central highlands !
Everyday indoors cafés
In these typically Vietnamese cafés you won’t find anything fancy. Expect a basic room with very little decoration, a reduced choice of drinks often without smoothie (sinh tố). However the drinks will be cheap and good, and you can spend all day there without being bothered by the waitress.
They’re be larger than indoors cafés, usually with a outdoors area shaded by trees and beach umbrellas. Prices there may be the same or slightly higher than in indoors cafés, while you may have a larger choice of drinks.
The contrast between these cafés and most other Vietnamese places is striking. While cities in Vietnam are usually dirty, grayish and noisy, fancy Vietnamese cafés will offer you a peaceful and nicely decorated environment. Of course, there will always be a Vietnamese touch such as the electrical cables lying on the ground and the rusty wheelbarrow in the following picture 🙂
High-end Vietnamese cafés
These places will have an elaborate scenery. Many fancy drinks will be available, but at a much higher price than in other cafés. Expect to pay VND 60 000 (2 euros) for a smoothie, for example. Sometime the service will be better, too… but it’s Vietnam so don’t set your hopes too high 🙂
An example of such a café would be Eva café in Kon Tum.