New Apartment in Saigon and Life Update

Sorry for the lack of updates recently. It’s been a busy time with a lot going on, on both the work and personal front.

Some quick notes:

After months of searching, we finally moved into a new apartment. I’ve been in Saigon for years and have seen the huge Vinhomes development being built, as we previously lived nearby in a different part of Binh Thanh District. For those not here with us, that’s the highly built up part of town that most of the nicer apartment buildings are being constructed in.

Well, after seeing this huge development go up over the years, I finally decided to check it out in person and we eventually decided to move in. We ended up going for a three bedroom unit, which gives us some extra space to set up a guest bedroom and an office. I’ve included some photos below of the living room and the view, which in my opinion is the apartment’s best asset.

There are some downsides to living here, such as the level of noice and activity, although I’m fine with them. Overall I’m happy to have upgraded. We found the apartment here:

Vinhomes Central Park Apartments for Rent (Updated April 2020)

Other news:

The coronavirus hasn’t been so bad in Vietnam, so life is mostly back to normal. We have been going out and doing our groceries, exercises and so on as if it were no longer here, so it feels like life is going on and the problems of the rest of the world aren’t affecting us. Overall I’m very happy to be here.

The only problem is flights in and out. Traveling to see family is important and it remains to be seen how soon borders will open around the world, so we may be here for the near term. At least we have a new, comfortable place to stay to ride it out.

The 5 Best Cafes in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

The Workshop

The Workshop impresses the moment you walk in by being located in an old, cool looking building. As you might expect from the name The Workshop, many people come here are to work with their laptops. This place offers lots of comfort with plentiful natural light, cool view with a central preparation area that lets you see a range of coffee making tools.

The coffee here is all about the third wave. The menu includes a variety of coffee, ranging from the usual Vietnamese coffee to beans sourced from all around the world such as espresso, chemes, AeroPress. Besides that, they also have range of foods, mostly for breakfast, as well as juices and soft drinks.


L’Usine was opened in 2010 with three parts of the main branch in Dong Khoi Street: cafe, boutique and gallery. It’s a design-focused cafe with Western-Asian style decoration. A high ceiling, airy space and a vintage style will bring you a relaxing feeling here even when it’s a little busy. Most of the customers here are Western people, so the price is slightly higher than some other, more local places . The menu is varied with amazing food for breakfast and lunch. You may fall in love with the catchy names and decorations of the food or the creativeness of the way they make drinks.

Vietnam Coffee Republic

“Vietnam Coffee Republic” — this super Vietnamese name must remind you of a super Vietnamese style cafe and yes, it’s a cafe that’s full of Vietnamese things from the last century. If you are a traveler and want to discover more about Vietnamese culture, this cafe is definitely an ideal choice for you. This place is especially simple, as rustic and beautiful as Vietnamese’s nature. Sitting here, you can enjoy your cup of Vietnamese coffee or any kind of coffee you like, you still can feel the Vietnamese taste inside. The menu is mostly about Vietnamese coffee, with no food available. The price is fairly cheap, ranging from 28,000 VND to 50,000 VND for a cup of coffee.

Bosgaurus Coffee

If you are a nature lover, if you love the feeling of breathing clean, fresh air from a garden while you’re living right in the city, Bosgaurus Coffee is a great choice for you. A high ceiling with modern and eye-catching design makes you feel relaxed and relieved. This cafe also has a prime location with views of the Saigon River. The menu is mixed with coffee, desserts and soft drinks with prices that aren’t bad.

Villa Royale Antiques and Tea Room

A luxurious, sophisticated and historical British kind of look is absolutely the impression you’ll feel when you first come here. This tea house is exactly same as its name: Villa Royale Antiques and Tea Room. The tea room is decorated with variety of Western antiques, with a gorgeous look that makes you feel like you got lost in a magnificent construction from decades past.

Besides the impressive view and decoration, the menu has many kinds of international tea that are sure to satisfy any customer. You can use your creativity to choose from a range of cake sets together with your tea. They also have menu of food options for breakfast and lunch, although these dishes are slightly overpriced. Thanks to the nice decorating and not-so-busy atmosphere, you can relax and enjoy your time here.


8 Essentials for a Good Morning Routine

For the most part, people can be divided into two categories. The first group of people leap out of bed ready to start the day, sprint into the kitchen, and start preparing breakfast. They shower in a record time, get dressed, and jump out the door ready to start working.

The second group of people barely make it out of bed and sluggishly stumble through the first few hours of the day, but not after snoozing their alarm clock a few times, of course.

Unfortunately, I fall into the second category. Waking up is a pain, and I often struggle to get through the first two to three hours of the day without feeling distracted. While I pick up speed later in the day (and excel after 6 pm), the first few hours of the day are a bit of a blur for me.

Luckily, adopting good morning habits has allowed me to adapt to the normal early riser schedule and make the most of each day, despite my genetically imprinted night owl habits. Here’s how I do it:

  1. I practice getting out of bed every month. Steve Pavlina’s guide to waking up early is crucially important here and definitely worth reading if you’re a late riser.
  2. For the first 10 minutes of the day, I relax and do breathing exercises. Doing so helps me wake up, come to terms with the fact that I can’t waste time in bed, and get on with my day.
  3. I take cold showers, which have a huge number of medical and wellbeing benefits. You get used to it quickly.
  4. I drink coffee within 15 minutes of getting out of bed, normally right after I finish my breathing exercises. This way, I’m fully caffeinated by the time I sit down to to work. To save time, I use a capsule coffee machine (a Nespresso Inissia — you can view a list of the best tasting capsules here) as it requires virtually no clean up.
  5. I eat at least 40 grams of protein with breakfast, which seems to help me feel energized and full. I’m not anti-carb, but I find that carbs in the morning rarely leave me feeling satisfied and normally result in hunger problems later in the day.
  6. I open the curtains as wide as possible and keep two to three windows open for the first few hours of the day. I live in a hot climate, and the fresh air makes a big difference to my ability to focus and think.
  7. I work for an hour at a time, then take a 15 minute break. Doing so seems to keep me more focused than longer blocks of dedicated, endless work.
  8. I take it easy on the weekends. Life is no fun when you have to wake up early everyday. If you’re a night owl, hold yourself accountable with an early riser schedule during the week, but don’t be afraid to kick back and sleep in on Saturday and Sunday morning.


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