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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 kilmoetres 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.
Here are some places for you to try.
Lush Nightclub is a premier nightlife hotspot in the 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 it 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.
On Fridays and Sundays Lush is taken over by some of the best hip hop DJs in the city while Saturday night is the real highlight of the week with International funky house ensuring Lush is packed by a crowd of locals and foreigners.
Lush Nightclub is located at No2 Ly Trong Street in District 1, close to the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The club is open seven nights a week and is consistently busy.
Dinner Cruise down the Saigon River
For a romantic night in HCM City there is nothing better than taking a leisurely cruise down the Saigon River.
The Bonsai Dinner Cruise combines a slow river journey aboard a beautiful wooden barge with a sumptuous feast of western and Vietnamese favourites.
Along with dinner and the views of Saigon at night, there is a live jazz performance on board and a traditional Vietnamese dance to enjoy.
Ben Thanh Night Market
Ben Thanh Market plays a central role in HCM City 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.
Ben Thanh Market is a great place to buy local handicrafts, branded goods, Vietnamese art and other souvenirs. Here, you’ll find eating stalls inside the market where you can get a taste of hawker-style Vietnamese cuisine or simply cool off with a cold drink when the bargaining becomes too much.
When night falls, restaurants around the perimeter of the market open their doors creating a vibrant street side scene filling the air with the scents of wok-fried noodles, barbecued fish and meats.
One of Saigon’s oldest landmarks, Ben Thanh Market offers a great atmosphere that is absolutely authentically Vietnamese.
Save your appetite and head to Ben Thanh Market in the evening where you can be served some real street style local food at one of the 20 or so eateries that surround the market building.
Chefs will cook in front of you with an endless array of cuisine choices including vegetarian noodles, fresh seafood, crispy rice pancakes and steamed cakes.
You will be in great local company as most of the places thrive with locals enjoying a bite to eat and a quick drink on their way home from work.
For shopping heaven head to the market preferably early morning to pick up some bargains including lacquer ware, bamboo goods, arts and crafts. Also on sale are clothes, textiles, luggage, watches and an assortment of electronic goods. Spices, nuts and local fruits heavily scent the air which is also filled with the chatter of tourists and locals haggling for bargains.
Opening Hours: Daily 6:00 –24:00
Address: Le Loi Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1
Apocalypse Now is a legendary nightclub in District 1, attracting a healthy mix of backpackers, expats, and Vietnamese.
Set over two floors, it isn’t the most sophisticated of clubs, but its lots of fun, with cheap drinks promotions, western pop tunes and plenty of space for dancing or chilling out with a few drinks and playing some pool.
Saigon Opera House
The Saigon Opera House is a beautiful colonial building in the city's centre 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 restored three-storey 800-seat Opera House was built in 1897 and is used for staging not only opera but also a wide range of performing arts including ballet, musical concerts, Vietnamese traditional dance and plays. Performances are advertised around the building and information can be found in the state-operated tourist information centre close by.
Location: 7 Lam Son Square, District 1