Barbara Adam and Jess Warren check out Ho Chi Minh City’s English language book shops. Photos by Romain Garrigue.
A stylish bookshop that suits its location in the glitzy shopping street of Dong Khoi, Artbook has, as the name suggests, quite a selection of tomes on art, design and architecture.
The range of English-language books features fiction, young adult fiction, including the complete Harry Potter series, reference books, classics, and children’s books, including many Dr Seuss titles.
Artbook is also worth a browse when you’re in the market for souvenirs. As well as books about Vietnam, Vietnamese cooking and the Vietnam War, there’s an extensive selection of cute and quirky knickknacks, including fridge magnets, coasters, and prints of old maps.
There’s also an art gallery upstairs, which seems to keep irregular hours.
43 Dong Khoi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
A cute little “hidden” bookshop in a tiny converted apartment on the Turtle Lake roundabout stocked with an interesting and eclectic mix of titles.
You’ll need to negotiate a dingy staircase, following the hand-drawn signs to the bookstore. The whole store is really a room, lined with neat shelving full of English language books. We spied many textbooks, young adult fiction, and recipe books.
The appeal of Boa Bookstore is that they offer to order any book for you, with an upfront deposit.
There’s also a second-hand book section.
Room C26, 2nd floor, 6 Cong Truong Quoc Te, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City
Bookworm cafe is a small eatery and travel agency catering for the Bui Vien/Pham Ngu Lao backpacker crowd, offering budget drinks, meals and a selection of second-hand books.
The books are divided into topics, such as sci fi, fantasy and travel guides, as well as languages. We spotted English, Dutch, French and Danish titles as well as a section reserved for teaching resources.
Bookworm Cafe is a place to stay awhile, with a drink or a meal, while playing board games and choosing a book. If you’re lucky you might spot the resident cat, a stylish and standoffish ginger.
The board games and wifi are free, but a sign says the games aren’t for sale.
The menu focuses on British and Vietnamese dishes, with a wide selection of vegan options.
4 Do Quang Dao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
The go-to bookstore for Ho Chi Minh City’s English teachers, Fahasa’s flagship store in Nguyen Hue has three levels of books, stationery and toys.
The ground floor is home to Vietnamese text books, English teaching resources and English-language fiction.
Upstairs, there’s an alcove with knickknacks and art supplies, and a cavernous section dedicated to children’s books, school supplies and toys.
The upstairs section stocks English and Vietnamese colouring-in and sticker books (which are great for long plane trips with younger kids), as well as board books and picture books.
If you’re carrying a backpack or satchel, you’ll be required to leave it in the security locker to the left of the main entrance.
40 Nguyen Hue, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
This popular store in Thao Dien has just relocated down the road to 33A Thao Dien.The store stocks a variety of new and secondhand books in English, German, French and Vietnamese.
They have a wide selection of books, from cookery and children’s books, to non-fiction and biographies, there seems to be plenty to choose from.
They also stock a wide range of art, beautiful ceramics, soft toys, stationary, board games and handicrafts from Hanoi in the form of tote bags, purses, and accessories.
As well as that mentioned above, Vesta have hosted art exhibitions from a range of artists around Vietnam.
Offering international shipping and local delivery, the friendly staff are willing to go above and beyond to help you find and take home your purchases.