How to Spend a Sleepless Night in Vietnam's Biggest City

Saigon by night │
Saigon by night │ | © Hiep Nguyen/Unsplash
Dung Phan

Whether you are jetlagged, suffering from insomnia or just have a voracious appetite for the city’s nightlife, it is definitely worth crawling out of bed and discovering the only city in Vietnam that never sleeps. Here is our guide on how to spend a sleepless night in Ho Chi Minh City.

Backpacker street

No one needs to tell you that Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao street are HCMC’s two most enduring parties. And it is not your fault if you never migrate far off the backpacker streets. A portion of the city’s drinking population has battled traffic to get here at night, so why leave? This convivial spot is always packed with both tourists and young Vietnamese locals who settle into low-slung plastic chairs and enjoy cheap beers and drinking snacks. Buzzing activities and loud music will work the crowd into sweaty cheer groups.

Around the Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area │

Late night eats

Fried spring rolls in the street food market │

24-hour cafe

24-hour cafes are the go-to places after hours – away from a bar or super-smashed clubbers. Heritage Cafe is a hip cafe always packed with night owls. It has a fun 1960s feel with antique bicycles, reel-to-reel music player and vinyls, retro posters, sofas, good music and even three bulldogs to get relaxed with. Or head for CI5 Cafe for a more tranquil ambiance to work or chill.

Heritage Cafe, P., 10 Pasteur, Nguyễn Thái Bình, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, +84 9 0622 7576

CI5 Cafe, 243 Lê Văn Sỹ, phường 13, Quận 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, +84 8 6290 7990

1. Night markets

Market

Wandering around night markets after midnight gives you a chance to glimpse the real character of the city, even more revealing than any museum or guided tours. At the Ho Thi Ky flower wholesale market, the air is filled with the aromatic mix of various types of flowers. At its peak time around 2 AM, people flock to the market, running, moving, shouting, buying en masse before sunrise.

Ho Thi Ky flower market, Chung cư Lê Hồng Phong, Phan Văn Trị, phường 2, Quận 10, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam, +84 9 0950 9599

Rooftop bars

If you have little enthusiasm for going inside a sweaty club and prefer to chill outdoors, smoking and chatting, drop yourself off at rooftop bars which we recommend here. Not only do they offer vibrant and stunning views of the city’s nightlife, most of them open until 2 AM.

Drinking night at Anan’s rooftop

Live music

There is a new trend sweeping Saigon as bars and clubs transform into live music venues. These are equally attractive for up-and-coming bands to perform and for audiences who can get in for free or pay 7$ for a night out listening to everything from underground techno, house, disco, reggae and guitar jams. While The Observatory takes the prize for its unusual setting – an underground music club, Saigon Outcast stands out with its open air and indie vibes.

Saigon Outcast

Early morning walk

Saigon is definitely best explored in the early morning when most tourists and travellers have yet to wake up and you rarely suffer from the humidity. An early morning walk along the Saigon riverfront gives you a satisfying sense that the whole city is all yours. Or mill around public parks to witness a calm, tranquil side of the city where people take exercise, yoga, Tai Chi or simply enjoy some fresh air.

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article