12 Nightlife Experiences in Ho Chi Minh City

Every country has that one city that never sleeps, that comes alive after dark. In Vietnam, that epithet is reserved for Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), also known by its former name Saigon. By day it is a bustling metropolis, but by night it becomes an energetic party city with buzzing streets, night markets, rooftop bars, and a magnetic pull that is hard to escape. When in Saigon, these are some of the places to have fun at night.

Nguyen Hue Street, District 1

Stretching from the People’s Committee Building to the banks of the Song Saigon, Nguyen Hue connects some of the city’s most modern and exclusive locations. Designer storefronts, bustling clubs, and elegant restaurants line the street, which is closed to traffic after sunset on the weekends - turning an already iconic landmark into a fulcrum of HCMC’s nightlife.

Address: Bến Nghé, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Timings: Open 24x7; closed to traffic 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday evenings.


Bui Vien Street, District 1

A popular destination for the young and hip, Bui Vien walking street comprises of a handful of roads in the heart of District 1 that are lined with vibrant bars and pubs. Come sunset, live musicians begin to pop up alongside street food vendors and small trinket stalls, all adding to the social atmosphere. Closed to traffic after 7 p.m. on weekends, tables also pop up everywhere. 

Address: Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Timings: Open 24x7; closed to traffic from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights.


Ben Thanh Market, Quan 1

The Ben Thanh Market is a vibrant potpourri of Vietnamese offerings, from household goods and groceries to handicrafts and souvenirs for tourists. Come nightfall, however, it transforms into a hub of mouth-watering street food stalls and the occasional street drink stall. 

Address: Lê Lợi, Phường Bến Thành, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

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Timings: After 6 p.m.


Pham Viet Chanh Street, Binh Thanh

Looking to enjoy an evening out with a ton of options at your fingertips and easy movement from one spot to another? Look no further than Pham Viet Chanh Street, whose area is home to over a hundred different bars, pubs, restaurants, and cafes - all within five minutes’ walking distance. The lively, cosmopolitan ambience makes a perfect backdrop to enjoy the sheer variety of possibilities available here.

Address: Phường 19, Bình Thạnh, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Timings: Open 24x7.


Saigon Opera House, Quan 1

Housed in an imposing French-colonial style building, the Saigon Opera House is a bastion of Western cultural influence that the Vietnamese have made their own. The venue frequently hosts a variety of shows, from concerts to ballets, to displays of traditional Vietnamese art forms. Tickets can run pricey, but even just a stroll after sundown for some pictures is sure to leave an impression.

Address: 07 Công Trường Lam Sơn, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 700000, Vietnam

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Timings: Will vary based on events; check here for up-to-date listings.


Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

If you’re a backpacker or find yourself fitting right in with the kind of crowd that travels the world just for the love of it, Pham Ngu Lao is an excellent spot to meet others like you. With an abundance of bars, pubs, and street beer stalls, there’s ample opportunity to socialise. It can get crowded - so be sure to plan ahead for transport in and out.

Address: Pham Ngu Lao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Timings: Open 24x7.


Starlight Bridge, District 7

Like so many parts of HCMC, this nondescript bridge by day comes alive after sundown with colourful vigour. At nearly 200 metres long and shaped like a crescent moon, the bridge is illuminated by a rainbow fountain on either side paired with twinkling red orbs overhead. Even if it involves taking a long way around, a walk down this stunning bridge is absolutely worth it.

Address: District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Timings: Open 24x7.


Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre, Quan 1

Water puppets are a staple of Vietnamese storytelling traditions, dating back possibly over a millennium. The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre stages two shows daily for those interested in experiencing its rich history and taking in a delightful hour-long montage produced by professional artistes.

Address: 55B D, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Phuong Ben Thanh, Quan 1, Thanh pho Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

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Timings: Shows begin at 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily.


Saigon River Night Cruise, District 4

Offered by an array of cruise companies at a number of price points, night-time cruises on the Saigon River are a sublime experience. Most will take you out over a gourmet dinnertime meal, allowing you to experience three or more courses as you tour HCMC from a brand new vantage point.

Address: 05, Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Ward 13, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Timings: Cruises start 6 p.m. onwards.


Casino evenings, District 1

For those who like to try their luck, quite literally, HCMC has an array of glittering casinos. But unlike those in Vegas, poker and card games are played on computer screens, and hence they are also called gaming centres. Head to the Vegas Club Casino in Caravelle Hotel for a memorable experience.

Address: 19-23, Lam Son Square, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Timings: Open 24x7.


Night bike tours, District 1

If wandering around HCMC by day is fun, zipping around on a bike at night gives a strange high. And it feels like being one among the hordes of locals who zip around in their vehicles. It also gives one the freedom to whizz through small alleys and hidden areas and taste local neighbourhood food. Opt for a provider like Saigon Adventure for an amazing experience.

Address: 86/8A, Mac Dinh Chi Street, Dakao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

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Timings: Departures at 6 p.m.


Rooftop Bars, Districts 1 & 7

Take a break from the tropical heat by kicking back on one of the many rooftop bars scattered throughout the city. They’ll serve beer, cocktails, and mouth-watering short eats under twinkling lights and upbeat music. Pick a neighbourhood based on the kind of crowd you’re interested in - District 1 for a professional, cosmopolitan crowd or District 7 for more relaxed travellers and backpackers.

Address: Most rooftop bars are concentrated in District 1 and District 7.

Timings: Open 4 p.m. onwards till 2 p.m.   

Published on: Feb. 11, 2023, midnight Last modified on: Feb. 2, 2023, 5:58 p.m.
Anita Rao Kashi
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Anita Rao Kashi

I am a Bangalore-based independent journalist and travel and food writer with over 25 years of experience writing for domestic and international publications including BBC, Nikkei Asian Review and South China Morning Post. I love my city to bits, but am always looking for an excuse to travel. When not travelling, I can be found writing, reading, cooking or eating - and not necessarily in that order!