Whether you’re heading out for a first date, or you’re taking your special someone out for a long overdue night of romance, Ho Chi Minh City has thousands of bars, restaurants and events competing for your time and money. It can almost be overwhelming to narrow your choices down to just one. But if you want something outside the usual, here are 11 date ideas that are sure to be memorable.
Lounge around Turtle Lake
In the middle of a hectic urban scene in District 3 there’s a strange cement structure in the middle of a giant roundabout. It doesn’t really look like a lake, but there is actually some water in there. Every night, hundreds of young people park their motorbikes to hang out here, sharing food and drinks and stories. As far as Vietnamese dating goes, it doesn’t get much more authentic than this.
Hidden off of Thao Dien Street in District 2, Jump Arena Trampoline Park is a great place for new couples to show off their athleticism and bouncing skills. There’s a rock-climbing wall, basketball nets for aerial dunks and foam pits where brave customers can flip and twist safely. If you don’t share a laugh with somebody while leaping around on trampolines, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.
Jump Arena Trampoline Park, 63 Xa lộ Hà Nội, District 2 +84 28 2253 1900
Rent a couple of cyclos
You can find these relics of the colonial era scattered throughout District 1. The best times are definitely in the morning or around dusk, since it’s hellishly hot during the midday hours.
There are a couple different bars and pubs around the city that host weekly quiz nights. It’s a great way to chat in a fun atmosphere, and for a bonus, you can show off all your esoteric knowledge. Let your special someone know you’re not a dummy.
Game on Quiz, 115 Hồ Tùng Mậu, District 1 +84 28 6251 9898
Quiz Night @the White House Saigon, Hẻm Số 4, Thảo Điền, District 1 +84 90 384 07 66
Nerd Olympics Pub Quiz At Rogue Saigon, 13 Pasteur, District 1 +84 90 236 57 80
Instead of crawling through arduous small talk, why not put your brains to work to solve a puzzle? Relationships are about teamwork, so see if you have chemistry by getting through a series of challenges. If you explode into a fit of tears and rage and try to kill each other, at least you’ve learned that you aren’t compatible!
Lost Escape Room, 34 Lê Duẩn, District 1 +84 90 222 63 12
Dine in the dark
Usually on dates you spend long stretches gazing into each other’s eyes, building an intimate bond through subtle body language. But not here. Instead, you’ll listen for nuances in their voice, learning to trust your other senses as you enjoy a delicious meal.
Convenience store party
There are plenty of restaurants and bars for couples to meet at, but for a different experience, choose a corner store near you. Most have seating and all the snacks could ever want. This is an authentic way to date like many young Vietnamese who have no time left after long hours of working and studying.
Probably the most interesting way to see the city is from the Saigon River. You’ll have time to chat and get to know each other as you float past wonderful scenes of urban glitz and natural beauty.
Bonsai Cruise, 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh, District 4 +84 836206265
Saigon Boat Company, 15B/24 Le Thanh Ton, District 1 +84 90 984 48 13
Take a dance class
Whether you’ve got rhythm or not, dancing is a great way to cut through any awkward tension and share some laughs, because everyone’s vulnerable on the dance floor. Speed things up with some salsa lessons to get sweaty and maybe a bit intimate as you shake and glide through the steps.
Dancenter, 53 Nguyen Dang Giai, District 2, Thao Dien +84 28 3519 4490
La Salsa Club – Salsa class, 212 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 1 +84 91 377 19 89
Dancespace, 51 Xa lộ Hà Nội, Thảo Điền, District 2 +84 837446519
Nobody really looks good in a safety harness – straps digging into your thighs and groin – but this is a fun way to share some exercise and chat between climbs. There’s a couple different spots around the city, so get out there and show your date how athletic you are.
Push Climbing, 188/1 Nguyễn Văn Hưởng, District 2 +84 93 185 19 11
Vertical Academy, 18 Trúc Đường, District 2 +84 28 6281 9248
If you’re already a great cook, then this will be a great chance to display your culinary prowess while picking up a few new recipes at the same time. If you have no idea what you’re doing in the kitchen, then this is your chance to start getting better. Either way, a cooking class is a unique way to share a meal on your date.