Saigon’s mayhem might not be seen as the most idyllic place to keep pets in — and outside — the house. Walking around on the pavements is hard enough for humans, let alone if you want to take a dog for its daily walk.

If you’re looking for a peaceful spot to sip coffee and bang out some work, Aliu Cat Café is the wrong place to choose. For starters, they don’t serve coffee. You also might find yourself distracted by the 20-odd cats roaming about, and you might find that this place is more play than it is work. Cats simply do not understand deadlines.

The district of Thao Dien hides a large number of gems where one can relax and forget about the stress of downtown Saigon. One of the latest retreats to be added to this list is Cafe de la Mer.

As I come out from my latest shopping spree at Bookworm, I can’t wait to start reading my new book. I decide to make my way to Ngo Quan, a nearby Vietnamese coffee house recommended by a friend.

The moment Chuong Dang, the owner of Kujuz café, asked me in which of their locations would I like to meet him, I thought to myself, “Does it really matter?” After our meeting at Kujuz Centro I was immediately clear of one thing. Those truly beautiful and colourful wooden frames in each of his three cafes hide much more than what is already turning into a café empire.

I spent a good half hour searching up and down the highway for this place, circling in rush hour traffic, cursing at my Google Maps. I was about to give up and was headed home in defeat, when out of nowhere M’Cafe materialised before my eyes; a sleek, hip refuge tucked away from the dirty cloud of exhaust fumes.

There’s a type of coffee shop that we don’t typically cover in this space, because they don’t usually have good Italian coffee, or any Italian coffee at all.

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