Ho Chi Minh City during the day is certainly wonderful. Just by staying in District 1 (Quận 1), you can shop, visit historic sites while enjoying Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City during the night is no less exciting. Whether you’re a traveler looking to continue exploring or hoping to slow down, Ho Chi Minh’s nightlife does not disappoint. Here are some top places to enjoy the nightlife in Ho Chi Minh city.
Pham Ngu Lao Street
When we usually talk about Pham Ngu Lao Street, we are not only referring to the street itself. We also include Bui Vien Street (which is right next to Pham Ngu Lao), Do Quang Dau and De Tham Street that linked Bui Vien Street and Pham Ngau Street. Locals called this place ‘Foreigner’s Zone’ or even ‘Backpackers Street’. That’s due to the abundance of hostels, cheap hotels, and travel agencies here.
During daytime, Pham Ngu Lao Street is actually no less different from the usual Ho Chi Minh City. It’s a residential area, and you can find locals doing morning exercises on the September 23rd Park right next to Pham Ngu Lao.
As soon as the afternoon comes, travel agencies here will be open for business. Bus Stops will be filled with travelers since this place is the pit stop for long-distance coaches.
After sunset and the night kicks in, Bui Vien Street becomes a pedestrian zone on weekends. Plastic chairs and tables filled Pham Ngu Lao, as visitors drank Beer Hoi (Vietnam Beer) on the streets.
At midnight, the streets will be filled with kinds of people. Street performers, Weed sellers, hustlers, drinkers, hookers, massage parlor sales all wave to you. You might even hear music coming from the bars or ‘Beer Om’. While ‘Beer Om’ is nightclubs, they only sell beer. Any travelers looking for Happy Endings will surely find that on massage parlors or KTV Clubs.
If you find any of the above too exciting for your blood, you have other options. You might consider drinking on one of the many Rooftop Bar on Bui Van Street while all hell breaks loose downstairs. You can go for a massage – since Bui Van Street is full of all kinds of SPAs and massage shops that are family friendly. You can grab a Vietnamese coffee or enjoy a pine of Vietnamese beer. You can also chow down some Vietnamese delicacies such as Banh Trang Tron, Hu Tieu, and Pho. There are even western or Chinese foods, like pizza, skewers, hot pot, burgers, and Hot Tofu. While none of these will come in local prices, you can’t say there’s nothing to eat, drink, or spend your time in Phang Ngu Lao.
Pham Ngu Lao has everything for a perfect night. But everything could still go wrong. This place is filled with pickpockets and has garnered a reputation for being unsafe. While it could be chaotic at times, it flourishes and admits all the chaos. Whether you are passing by or planning for a long stay, you can’t leave Ho Chi Minh City without at least visiting here once. For this is what the city’s known for – vibrancy amidst chaos.
While the city might be chaotic at times, your flights to Vietnam would not be the case. Why not book your tickets now and fly with Cathay Pacific to begin your journey?
Vincom Landmark 81 & Financial Tower
Vincom Landmark 81 is the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City. There’s a shopping mall on the ground floors, high-end apartments, and a hotel on the middle floors. An observatory deck is on the top floor and it charges like 35 USD per person. Right under the observatory deck, there’s a rooftop bar and a Japanese restaurant. They both come with a minimal charge that’s cheaper than an observatory deck ticket, but the views here are about the same as you would get above. In short: if you are not that fixated on visiting the observatory deck, the rooftop bar is a great way to enjoy the city.
The Financial Tower was once the tallest building in Ho Chi Minh City, but no longer so. Like Vincom Landmark 81, they have an observation deck set on the 49th floor, which also requires a ticket. Another option is the Rooftop Bar and Restaurants here, which is a level above the observation deck. Not only is it higher, the minimal charge on the rooftop bar is way less than the ticket price. You’ll be the judge.
As to which place for you to visit, the location matters. Financial Tower is right next to Nguyen Hue Street. From the top of Financial Tower, you get to see coffee apartments, Nguyen Hue Street, and downtown Ho Chi Mihn. That’s the best spot for a panoramic view of District one you can find any place in Ho Chi Mihn.
Ben Thanh Night Market
This place is also a shopper’s heaven. Those who want to buy Áo dài (Vietnamese Dresses), shoes, handbags, cosmetics, and knockoffs can start looking on the south side of the market. The east entrance is more about food, as stalls sell coffee beans, tealeaves, fish sauce, chocolate, and candies here. On the west side, things are more souvenirs and tourists-oriented, as you can find bamboo baskets, cutlery, and small furniture sold here.
At night, Ben Thanh turns into a night market. After Ben Thanh Market closed off at 7 pm, people set up tents outside the east and west entrances. And so, the night market began. The items and food sold during the night market are similar to what you would find during day-time Ben Thanh. You can also haggle like you would do when buying at day-time’s Ben Thanh Market. The only difference that: the size of the market that has shrunk into roughly two streets of stalls.
Apart from that, you might want to check out bars and restaurants nearby. The Ben Thanh Street Food Market, which is located near the north exit of Ben Thanh Market, might also be worth visiting.
Saigon River Cruises
The cruise takes about two hours and departs from the Saigon River Pier. The shows on the ship are great, featuring a mix of acrobatics, magic shows, singing shows in various languages. The quality of your food will depend on the ship you’re on and the price you are willing to pay.
But what is important is neither the food nor the performance. It’s the views. As the boat slowly meanders through different parts of Ho Chi Minh City, you get to take photographs of the city on water. If you would like to find new ways to explore an old city, a boat ride might be the way to go.
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