The best things to do after dinner in Ho Chi Minh vary as nightlife means very different things depending on where you are in the city. Downtown in District 1, rooftop bars, high rolling casinos and smooth jazz bands are the choice forms of nightlife entertainment in Saigon. But move a few kilometers west into District 3, and the backpacker street of Pham Ngu Lao with its boisterous street bars, cheap eats and good time vibe, is certainly the place to be when night falls.

    Whatever your idea of the perfect night out in Ho Chi Minh, you can find something to suit your style and preferences through this guide to the very best nightlife experiences in the city.

    Ho Chi Minh City has one of the most impressive collections of rooftop bars in the world. From the colonial charm of Saigon Saigon to the chic and modern style of the Chill Skybar, there's a rooftop spot to suit any mood in Saigon. 

    At most Saigon rooftop bars, you can simply sit back with a cocktail and soak up the stunning view of Ho Chi Minh City from sunset until the early hours of the morning.

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    Saigon casinos

    Several of the best hotels in Ho Chi Minh have casinos within, allowing you to hit the roulette table, play some mah-jong or get lucky on the slot machines during your visit. Two of the biggest casinos in Saigon are located in the Caravelle Hotel and Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers. 

    Casinos in Ho Chi Minh City are generally not on the scale of Las Vegas. Furthermore, some games, such as hold ‘em poker, are available on a computer screen only. Even so, having a flutter is still an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.


    Pham Ngu Lao

    The street drinking scene along Pham Ngu Lao in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh is legendary. This is the backpacker hub of the city and welcomes a mix of foreigners and local Vietnamese who mix freely and chat the night away, drinking cheap, draft beers known as 'beer hoi' while on small plastic stools along the street. 

    You will also find many cheap restaurants and several nightclubs along the streets in Pham Ngu Lao if you ever want to hit the dance floor later in the night.


    Saigon live music bars

    Live music bars in Ho Chi Minh City leave night owls and those seeking good evening entertainment in the city spoilt for choice. From smooth jazz to heavy rock and everything in between, coming across a bar or club in the city that caters to your music preference is highly probable. 

    Gigs are fairly well spread out across the city so you should never be too far from some singalong fun. And if you are staying in the popular neighborhoods of District 1 or 3, then you will be spoilt for choice even further thanks to the wide variety available.


    Lush Nightclub

    One of Ho Chi Minh City’s best nightclubs

    Lush Nightclub is a premier clubbing hot spot in Ho Chi Minh City. It is the place to see the young and beautiful of Saigon, dressed to impress and not afraid to spend a little cash. 

    The venue is kitted out in an industrial-chic style, with space to dance and an upstairs area with ample seating. Music ranges from house to hip hop and a bit of mainstream party pop, depending on the night.

    Location: 2 Ly Tu Trong, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

    Open: Tuesday and Thursday–Saturday from 9 pm to 4 am (closed on Wednesdays, Sundays and Mondays)

    Phone: +84 (0)91 863 0742


    Bonsai Cruise

    A dinner cruise along the Saigon River

    A Saigon River dinner cruise promises a romantic night in Ho Chi Minh City. One great option is the Bonsai Dinner Cruise that combines a slow river journey aboard a beautiful wooden barge with a sumptuous feast of western and Vietnamese favorites. 

    Along with dinner and the views of Ho Chi Minh City at night, a live jazz performance on board together with a traditional Vietnamese dance performance in the evening makes way for truly memorable moments.

    Location: 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, Ward 12, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

    Open: Sunday–Friday from 6 am to 9.15 pm, Saturdays from 6 am to 10.15 pm


    photo by Lynda (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Ben Thanh Night Market

    Ben Thanh Market plays a central role in Ho Chi Minh's dining and shopping scene from early morning until late at night. Although busiest during the day, night-time brings many food vendors onto the streets serving a wide variety of seafood, as well as many fashion stalls and souvenir type stalls. 

    The night market is set up alongside the market on Phan Boi Chau Street and becomes a pedestrian zone from 7 pm through midnight so you can browse at your leisure. Be aware that prices often start high here and bargaining is a necessity.

    Location: Le Loi, Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

    Open: Daily from 6 am to midnight

    Phone: +84 (0)283 829 9274


    photo by shankar s. (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

    A prominent landmark in Saigon District 1

    Ho Chi Minh City Opera House is a beautiful colonial building in the center of Ho Chi Minh with a stunning facade of ornate winged statues and curved window frames. Inside the opera house, the culturally inclined are able to witness the best of the fine arts that visit Vietnam seasonally, and although there are no consistent performances, events are common. 

    The range of performing arts on show at the opera house includes ballet, musical concerts, Vietnamese traditional dance and live theater.

    Location: 7 Lam Son Square, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


    Sax n' Art Jazz Club

    A popular jazz bar in District 1

    Sax n' Art Jazz Club is a live music institution in Ho Chi Minh, with Vietnam’s most celebrated musicians as well as international guest artists performing here. With a dark, cave-like interior, all effort is made to keep the focus on the musicians on stage.

    Located on Le Loi Street in the center of District 1, there is a cover charge which comes with a free drink which is a great deal considering this place offers some of the finest live jazz in the city, but beverages prices are higher than most other places in town to compensate.

    Location: 28 Le Loi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

    Open: Daily from 9 pm to midnight

    Phone: +84 (0)283 822 8472

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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