Ho Chi Minh City Nightlife

Ho Chi Minh City is awash with clubs and bars, varying from tiny, gloomy establishments to some very upmarket venues. Most of the nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City s concentrated in District 1.

Imported drinks are considerably more expensive than local ones and alcohol sold in the more upmarket places is even more expensive again. The dress code is generally very relaxed with no restrictions on jeans or trainers.

Information on Ho Chi Minh's nightlife can be found in The Guide, published monthly by the Vietnam Economic Times (www.vneconomy.com.vn).

Bars in Ho Chi Minh City

Apocalypse Now

Perhaps one of the most famous bars in Ho Chi Minh City, the legendary Apocalypse Now continues to attract visitors, expats and locals to its small, dark bar complete with dance floor and pool tables. Be warned, it only gets going late in the evening and at the weekend when the volume really gets cranked up.

2C Thi Sach
Tel: (08) 3825 6124.

Q Bar

This long-established venue is a stylish, sophisticated and cool place to be seen in, popular with locals, expats, tourists and celebrities. Open until late, the bar hosts regular international DJs and party nights and serves a huge range of cocktails. Located in the basement of the Opera House, there is a popular outside terrace.

7 Lam Son Square, District 1
Tel: (08) 3823 3479.
Website: www.qbarsaigon.com

Sky Bar

For a quiet drink with great views over the Saigon River, try the rooftop Sky Bar in the colonial Majestic Hotel. The open terrace allows you to watch the busy, intriguing river traffic, particularly the ferries crammed full of cyles, motorbikes and people.

1 Dong Khoi, District 1
Tel: (08) 3829 5517.
Website: www.majesticsaigon.com

Clubs in Ho Chi Minh City

America Discotheque

This is the largest discotheques in Vietnam located on the third floor of the Windsor Plaza Hotel building, and it has two clubs with resident and guest DJs. The Pacific plays more progressive music and the New York serves up hip hop and R & B. It has a state-of-the-art
sound and light system and there are also karaoke rooms if you feel you want to sing along.

An Duong Plaza, District 5
Tel: (08) 3833 6688.
Website: www.hotel-windsorplaza.com

Go2 Bar

Located in the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lau, this neon-lit, split level venue has a downstairs bar with pool tables and an upstairs nightclub with DJs playing dance, pop, hip hop and R & B. At the weekends there is often live music. The club is often jam-packed and is open into the early hours.

187 De Tham, District
Tel: (08) 3836 9575.

International Tourist Club

The International Tourist Club is a well established entertainment complex located in the New World Hotel, which embraces the Catwalk disco, smart, hi-tech karaoke rooms and a chill-out lounge for those who just want to listen to music and relax. One of the most popular clubs in the city, it is a perennial favourite with readers of The Guide.

76 Le Lai, District 1
Tel: (08) 3824 3760.
Website: www.itclubsaigon.com

Live Music in Ho Chi Minh City

Metallic Bar

Established bar and cafe which rocks nightly with performances of heavy rock music from iconic bands such as Metallica, Bon Jovi and Santana, performed by well-known local bands and international groups from the Philippines. In between live performances DJs play dance, hip hop and R & B.

41 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, District 3
Tel: (08) 3930 3154.
Website: www.metallicbar.com

Park Lounge

Several of the larger hotels stage regular performances by local and international bands and this includes the Park Lounge in the Park Hyatt which features particularly good jazz bands from 2000 hrs until midnight every night. One of the smarter addresses in Ho Chi Minh City, dress up to enjoy an evening in this ground floor venue, with floor to ceiling windows.

2 Lam Son Square, District 1
Tel: (08) 3824 1234.
Website: www.saigon.park.hyatt.com

Sax n'Art Jazz Club

Nightly performances by local jazz musician and owner of the club, Tran Manh Tuan, are extremely popular because of his blend of contemporary jazz with traditional Vietnamese influences. It is a small club with an intimate, relaxed ambience and boasts regular appearances from international guest artists.

28 Le Loi, District 1
Tel: 3822 8472.
Website: www.saxnart.com

Vietnam House

Vietnamese music is somewhat discordant to the Western ear but excellent performances are held nightly in some of the city's restaurants. Vietnam House is one of the most well-known venues, which has even hosted world leaders. The restaurant is housed in a classic colonial building on the main shopping street in the city and guests enjoy typical Vietnamese cuisine while they are entertained by traditional folk music.

93/95 Dong Khoi
Tel: (08) 3829 1623.
Website: www.bongsencorporation.com

Classical Music in Ho Chi Minh City

Opera House

The Opera House is a beautiful colonial building dating from 1899 and is home to the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet, Symphony Orchestra and Opera. It has undergone a serious upgrading and now features a state-of-the-art light and sound system It has regular performances and occasional shows by international classical artists and also features dance, music and acrobatic performances.

7 Lam Son Square, District 1
Tel: (08) 3829 9976.
Website: www.hbso.org.vn

Dance in Ho Chi Minh City

Binh Quoi Tourist Village

Located outside the city on the Saigon River, the Binh Quoi Tourist Village has dance shows on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, the highlight of which is a re-enactment of a minority wedding. The evening starts with an evening cruise along the Saigon River to the resort where guests are entertained with traditional music and dance while enjoying a typical Vietnamese meal.

1147 Binh Quoi, Binh Thanh District
Tel: (08) 3556 6020.
Website: www.binhquoiresort.com.vn

Cunh Ding Restaurant

There is a particularly good show during dinner at the Cung Dinh Restaurant in the Rex Hotel, with traditional folk dancing accompanied by traditional instruments, such as the Trung used by the country's ethnic minorities. The menu features imperial dishes from Hanoi and Hue as well as Ho Chi Minh City and the restaurant is decorated in the style of a royal court. Reservations are advised.

141 Nguyen Hue, District 1
Tel: (08) 3829 2185.
Website: www.rexhotelvietnam.com

Theatre in Ho Chi Minh City

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre

Vietnam is famous for its water puppets and Ho Chi Minh City has its own water puppet theatre with daily performances at 1830 and 2000. Water puppetry originated in the Red River Delta in the north of Vietnam and was performed by rice farmers. Traditional stories and scenes are performed by the puppets accompanied by music and a Vietnamese narrator. A must-see for all visitors to the city.

55bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1
Tel: (08) 3827 2653.
Website: www.goldendragonwaterpuppet.com

Edited by Tina Banerjee
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