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 exclusive 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 City's nightlife can be found in The Guide, published monthly by the Vietnam Economic Times (www.vneconomy.com.vn). Most tickets are available direct from the venue, but Vietnam's first ticket agency, Ticketbox (www.ticketbox.vn), sells online tickets to some events.
Bars in Ho Chi Minh City
Alto Heli Bar
The Alto Heli Bar is one of the smartest places in town - as well as one of the highest. You'll find it on the 52nd floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower, which dominates the city's skyline. The strange platform seen extending from the building is the helipad, hence the bar's name. Drinks are a little pricey, but the views across the city are priceless. There's a great choice of beers, spirits and cocktails, plus DJs playing on the weekend.Address: District 1, 36 Ho Tung Mau, Ben Nghe Ward, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 6291 8752
The Spotted Cow
If you don't want to miss out on those all-important sporting events, head to 'The Cow', as it's known locally, to catch all the major games. Premier League football, Formula 1 and the NFL are streamed live on large TVs here, and with a slew of drinks specials always on offer, there's little chance you'll want to move on. The black and white bovine themed décor is fun too at this Aussie-run joint.Address: District 1, 111 Bui Vien, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3920 7670.
The Sky Bar may not be the trendiest place in town, but it a laidback choice with a good selection of cold drinks on offer. Enjoy a quiet one with great views over the Saigon River from its spot on the 5th floor of the colonial Majestic Hotel, where the open terrace allows drinkers to watch the busy, intriguing river traffic, particularly the ferries crammed full of cycles, motorbikes and people. In the evenings, observe the brightly-lit cruise boats as they glide on by.Address: District 1, 1 Dong Khoi, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3829 5517.
Clubs in Ho Chi Minh City
This contemporary spot pumps out hip hop, electro and house music on a state of the art sound system as the preened and pretty of the Ho chi Minh City set dance away late into the night. If the action below all gets a little too much, there are sofas upstairs to chill out on, plus two garden areas and a bustling outdoor bar where ravers can still enjoy the music.Address: District 1, 2 Ly Tu Trong, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3824 2496.
International Tourist Club
The International Tourist Club is a well-established entertainment complex located in an annex of the New World Hotel. It's famed for the Catwalk Club, which boasts private, hi-tech private karaoke rooms with their own DJs, a Singsation open lounge karaoke area, plus a chill out room for those looking to relax. It's all stylised with chic, chintzy décor, some comfy sofas and chairs and an array of drinks on the menu. Check out the big hits in the Live Zone where professional singers and bands play songs on request or have a flutter in Chats, the in-house casino that's open 24 hours a day.Address: District 1, 76 Le Lai, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3824 3760.
Fancy partying the night away? Head for The Observatory, where the DJs have made quite an impact on the city's cultural scene since it opened its doors in 2011. This is probably the trendiest venue in town at the moment thanks to the big name music stars that gig here from time to time. It's all about cool house and electronic vibes, but when it gets a bit too hot on the dancefloor, head out to the balcony and enjoy the cooling city breeze.Address: District 1, Le Lai & Ton That Tung, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone: (08) 3925 9415.
Live music in Ho Chi Minh City
Sax n'Art Jazz Club
Nightly performances by saxophonist, 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. Sax n'Art Jazz Club is a small venue with an intimate, relaxed ambience and boasts regular appearances from international guest artists. Arguably, though, the most special is when Tuan's daughter plays alongside her father.Address: District 1, 28 Le Loi, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3822 8472.
Several of the larger hotels host local and international performers and this includes the Park Lounge in the Park Hyatt, which holds concerts each night. One of the smarter addresses in Ho Chi Minh City, dress up to enjoy an evening in this venue, where the décor is inspired by the French colonial era with floor to ceiling windows and elegant wooden shutters.Address: District 1, 2 Lam Son Square, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3824 1234.
Hard Rock Café
It's difficult to miss the location of this world famous franchise restaurant, bar and live music venue - just look for the large, neon-lit guitar on the street. Rock 'n' roll memorabilia adorns the walls here with clothing worn by John Lennon, Rod Steward and Jimi Hendrix. It's the house bands and happy hours that attract repeat customers, though, as nightly music swings from retro records to contemporary tunes. The burgers are pretty decent too.Address: District 1, Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 6291 7595.
Classical music in Ho Chi Minh City
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 upgrade recently and 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 and music performances. For an exciting taste of new Vietnam, make sure you catch the fabulous AO show, a truly breathtaking performance that combines circus and dance - with a twist.Address: District 1, 7 Lam Son Square, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3823 7419.
Dance in Ho Chi Minh City
Cunh Ding Restaurant
There is a particularly good dance show during dinner at the Cung Dinh Restaurant in the Rex Hotel, with 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 Huế as well as Ho Chi Minh City, with vegetables intricately carved in the form of birds and animals, and the restaurant is decorated in the style of a royal court. Reservations are advised as it is popular with visiting dignitaries.Address: District 1, 141 Nguyen Hue, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3829 2185.
Binh Quoi Tourist Village
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city to this popular resort located outside the city on the Saigon River. The Binh Quoi Tourist Village hosts regular traditional music and dance shows, the highlight of which is a re-enactment of a minority wedding. The spacious landscaped gardens are perfect to explore too and it's great fun to watch the local families enjoying themselves. At the weekend there is a traditional buffet in the waterside restaurant which is atmospheric after dark when floating lanterns drift past.Address: Binh Thanh District, 1147 Binh Quoi, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3556 6057.
Theatres 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 that last around 50 minutes. 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 musicians wearing conventional costumes and a Vietnamese narrator. The Water Puppet Theatre is a must-see for all visitors to the city.Address: District 1, 55bis Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Ho Chi Minh City,
Telephone: (08) 3930 2196.