Though HCMC is not a city for round-the-clock entertainment, there’s a good range of nightlife and plenty of ways to have fun until well after midnight. I will refer here only to District 1 as I had the chance to explore it by myself at night time, enough to have an opinion.
The core of the nightlife scene is the area covering the the streets of Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham and Bui Vien – the tourist quarter in Saigon. In this area, you can find dozens of small and big bars and pubs, plenty of street food and many “other things”, all at relatively cheap prices. The streets are saturated with neon lights and boards and bring massive waves of people ready to dine, wine and party.
If you had enough of the busy and hectic world at the street level, there are quite a few sky bars, on top of some tall buildings nearby, where you can enjoy a bird’s eye view over the city and pamper yourself with fine drinks and cocktails. My choice was Chill SkyBar (Rooftop of AB Tower) and and I wasn’t let down.
Need to know (and do):
- many hostels have curfew times and they shut their doors for the night which may be inconvenient for those who fancy a late night out, so make sure you’re aware of their policies and practices.
- most of the hotels won’t allow guests to bring local girls into their rooms at night, though you can sort it out with some negotiation.
- moto-taxi drivers sell not just transportation but “other things” too and some times are very persuasive.
- always bargain and negotiate the prices of goods sold on the street because you can get them for up to 80 percent off.
- look for happy hours and specials as there are plenty of deals to be had.
- beware of pickpockets and scams and take good care of your values and belongings.
Here are a few places I can recommend in good conscience:
The Hideout Hostel Saigon – http://www.vietnamhideouthostels.com
281 Phạm Ngu Lao
An excellent social atmosphere at their bar downstairs, with cheap beer, free drinks for the guests, social games and happy hour discounts.
323 Pham Ngu Lao St.
A great place to eat some great pho (noodle soup) for 50.000 VND (a bit pricey but worthwhile). Watch out for the chillies – they are seriously hot
The Crazy Buffallo
212 De Tham St.
People watching from the outdoor seating is enough to keep anyone entertained while enjoying a cold beer, but depending on the night, there’s a lot more fun to be had after you get bored of that. A bit pricey though.
Chill Skybar – http://www.chillsaigon.com/
AB Tower, 76 Le Lai St.
Offers a stunning panoramic view over the city and the vibe wasn’t bad at all. Be aware that there’s a minimal dress code and if you don’t have a reservation you must pay 300k (one drink included) to go to the top.