Turns out there’s more to Vung Tau than beaches and fried rice pancakes.
(As if you’d need anything else.)
Although this beach city is much smaller than Saigon, there are still plenty of cool cafes to keep you occupied when you’re not climbing Jesus statues or stepping on beached jellyfish.
And while there are a lot of places to sip coffee and watch the boats pass by, you’re going to miss out if you only stick to the beach…
Address: 90A Hạ Long, Vũng Tàu • Show me! Iced Coffee: 28k VND/$1.25
Smoking: Yes Hours: 6 am to 11 pm Contact: 064 3511 803
One of many cafes on the winding coastal road that wraps around the peninsula, O Cap stands out by doing everything bigger and badder than the rest—towering terraces, haphazard stone staircases covered in slippery vegetation, and enough seats for an entire sleeper bus of Chinese package tourists without feeling cramped.
Plus, it’s one of the few cafes open until 11 pm.
Being an outdoor cafe, O Cap is lacking in the power outlet department, so don’t expect to get any marathon work sessions finished while gazing upon the sea. Instead, visit O Cap to sip coffee, chat with friends, or aggravate an existing ACL tear on one of their many exciting “stairways to heaven.”
Address: 37 Lê Quý Đôn, Vũng Tàu • Show me! Iced Coffee: 19k VND/$0.85
Smoking: No Hours: 7:30 am to 10 pm Contact: 0937 900 209
For people who enjoy drinking coffee in their make-believe Vietnamese grandmother’s sitting room.
Doc Lap’s coffee is good, the cafe itself is quiet, and there is a row of seats lining the front window to let you watch traffic while you work. This place feels more like a trendy Saigon cafe than many of the other options in Vung Tau, which is why the crowd here is usually much younger.
If you are a normal-sized person, use caution around some of the rickety chairs. You have been warned.
Address: 9 Thi Sách, Vũng Tàu • Show me! Iced Coffee: 18k VND/$0.80
Smoking: Outside Hours: 6 am to 10 pm Contact: 090 812 45 52
Books, books everywhere. Books in English, books in Vietnamese, books in Vietnamese teaching you English.
Also, the coffee is very good and very cheap.
I found Ngoc Tuoc by accident on my first night in Vung Tau. It’s down an otherwise empty road behind Lotte, and I never would have made that left turn except for a tiny sign that said “book cafe.”
The cafe consists of a lower garden level with long benches and separate tables, an upper lounge full of bookshelves, and an indoor library with desks and a whole lot more books.
This was my go-to place for work, as I’d usually have an entire picnic table and ceiling fan to myself downstairs. I think it’s important to reserve a certain space solely for working and thinking, outside of other cafes meant for socializing.
This was my Bat Cave. By day, I was the eccentric guy sitting and laughing to himself on YouTube for hours on end at Hathy Coffee. By night, I was the secretive and serious writer who may also be ex-special forces, plotting my next move surrounded by anthropomorphic cartoon animals.
Vung Tau is exploding with cool cafes, and the city is developing its own scene apart from Saigon. Do you know any awesome cafes I missed? Let me know in the comments below!