Vietnam’s sleeping cities revive once again

June 07, 2022 | 16:28
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The return of night tourism activities such as sightseeing tours, walking streets, and specialised entertainment venues for young people has brought nightlife in many big cities in Vietnam back to a vibrant state, almost as if the pandemic never happened.
Vietnam’s sleeping cities revive once again
Vietnam’s sleeping cities revive once again

Bui Vien street, one of the famous entertainment spots in Ho Chi Minh City, wakes up after sunset. On any day of the week until 2am the next morning, it is filled with music from its bars and pubs, with clinking glasses and chatting people adding to its bustling atmosphere.

The scene is completely different from just a few months ago, when the street was akin to a ghost town.

Thai Pham, a tourist from Hanoi, said he was surprised when he returned to Bui Vien after two years. “Those are two opposite pictures: the gloomy scenery with shuttered bars no longer exists. I love this crowded and bustling life," he shared.

After opening a number of pedestrian streets such as Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue, Ho Chi Minh City also began to restore other nightlife activities. The city restarted a yacht tour to explore the Saigon River and have dinner on the yacht, with tickets for the special trip at around $100 each.

Nguyen Minh Man, head of marketing at TST Tourist – the unit that created the yacht tour on the Saigon River – said the tour lasts about three hours, taking visitors to many tourist attractions of the city and offering a different experience when watching the city from the boat at night. In addition, visitors can also choose a double-decker bus or the Saigon waterbus for a city tour at night at a much cheaper rate.

Vietnam is a dream summer destination for a reason. There’s the incredible food, the sunny and pristine coastline… but entertainment and amusement need to be on the top of your list, too.

After two years of turmoil, Vietnam’s bar scene is finally back in business, and there might be no better time than now for a good, well-made drink, preferably with a side of bar bites and good, old-fashioned camaraderie in jubilant and blaze atmosphere.

Right now, it’s time for us to be back at a busy bar, credit card in hand, hoping to flag down a bartender, and rocking and spinning in the music.

Vietnam might have cozy dives near the beach, rooftop happy hours with views of the Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, and pricey but delicious concoctions in the swankiest downtown hotels in big cities and tourist hubs alike Danang, Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Ho Tram, or Phu Quoc, but if you’re really asking us, can’t-miss stops are Ho Chi Minh City’s Bui Vien and Hanoi’s Ta Hien nightstreets – for any occasion.

Meanwhile, Hanoi is known for its long-standing historical and cultural characteristics and has found its own direction by renewing existing tourism products as well as growing them stronger at night.

Among the many attractions, the water puppetry shows and tours to discover Thang Long Imperial Citadel or Hoa Lo Prison are the first choices of both tourists and Hanoi residents. Although ticket prices are not expensive, visitors are asked to book in advance and wait as the current number of bookings is full until the end of June. Such tours begin at 7pm and generally last 90 minutes.

As the owner of the tour, director of Hanoitourist Phung Quang Thang said it was launched in 2019 but quickly had to be halted due to the global shutdown. The restart is expected to contribute to stimulating tourism demand and increasing the attractiveness of heritage destinations.

"The tour will continue on weekends and meet the increasing demand for sightseeing and entertainment when coming to the thousand-year-old capital," Thang shared.

Along with tourist products of cultural and historical value, nightlife venues such as the Hang Ngang-Hang Dao night market, Ta Hien street, and Hoan Kiem's pedestrian street around the lake also offer visitors rich experiences with old town cuisine, performances, and street art.

Hanoi plans to further promote the development of the night economy, starting with the construction of more pedestrian streets and the creation of a space for performing arts and promoting cuisine in many districts. This would offer more options for tourists and promote the economy.

Elsewhere, Halong in the northern province of Quang Ninh has created a night cruise tour, providing visitors with a 4-5 star experience while discovering the coastal city and a series of famous tourist attractions.

In central Vietnam, Hoi An relaunched its Ancient Town at Night programme after a long pause. Another tourist destination in the central region, Quy Nhon, is also in the process of completing a project related to water music and light performances, which is expected to create a highlight for Quy Nhon's tourism at night, possibly attracting more international tourists to the coastal city.

Hanoi Night Streets (Hoan Kiem Lake area and Ta Hien street) : Open from 7pm every Friday to midnight Sunday

Happy Hour in Ho Chi Minh City (Bui Vien areas) Open from 7pm every Friday to 2am Monday

By Hoang Oanh

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