The scorching heat of Saigon can shy people away from day-time activities, and we bet you’re looking for some night fun to make up for the lost time. That’s why we have wholeheartedly assembled the best choices to relish the night in Saigon for you and your beloveds. Rest assured that, from food choices to recreational spots, the things to do in Saigon at night you’re about to read here have been recommended by our team of local guides.
Saigon - a city that never sleeps
If you are one of those who is not a great planner, then let i Tour Vietnam do the work for you. Our I Love Food Tour features professional local guides who take you to stellar food corners across the inner-city to enjoy the best of Saigon cuisine.
An extended version of the food tour is also available for those seeking more food adventures. Check out I Really Love Food Tour for more details on prices and inclusions.
Trying Banh xeo on your food tour
"Com tam" is one of our top recommendations, guaranteeing a loaded stomach and full battery for your succeeding night plans. Marinated grilled pork rib, perfectly cooked broken rice and flavorful sauce come together to create a mind-blowing taste.
Another classic choice of Saigon for dinner is "banh xeo" - the tasty crispy Vietnamese pancake that allures even the finickiest diner.
A budgeted sum of money, around VND 300,000 - VND 900,000 (depends on the ship and menu pricing), would do for a happy dinner with a fascinating ride on Saigon’s iconic river. Embarking on one of the several cruise liners that begin their journeys at around 7 PM from Nha Rong Harbour, you will find extensive menus starring local and international cuisine offered at reasonable prices. The experience can be an unforgettable one.
A stunning dinner cruise on Saigon River
A trace of the French imperialism in Vietnam and now a widely recognized landmark of Saigon, the Saigon Opera House certainly is a tantalizing sight in the daylight. Surely the authority would not ignore investing in an impressive lighting system to make it shine in the night time. The system is relatively new though, only 10 years old (try dumbfounding your local friends with this fact).
The twinkling theatre of Saigon at night
Apparently, apart from being a mere sight to admire and take photos of, the theater is for shows. Visit the official website of the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet Symphony Orchestra and Opera for more details on show schedules if you’re interested.
You may need to make a phone call to book tickets, so check out our guide on how to buy a SIM card in Ho Chi Minh City. Just be sure you travel with an unlocked phone if you wish to use a local SIM card.
Drop by 7 Cong Truong Lam Son, District 1 for a stunning night of auditory entertainment or simply idle the night away by the constant flow of traffic at Nguyen Hue's walking street nearby.
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
The famed post office at 125 Cong Xa Paris, District 1
Nestling in the touristy corner of Saigon, in the vicinity of Nguyen Van Binh Book Street, Saigon Central Post Office is another sight to marvel at. “Then I just come here and look at a building?!”, you may ask. Well, apart from that, locals also say that meeting up with their friends, sitting on the sidewalk sharing little anecdotes is simply invigorating. Don't miss out on the Notre Dame Cathedral locating just in front of the post office. And if the weather isn't rainy, there are street vendors in the middle square selling the local version of a Vietnamese pizza. Try one with the cost of VND 15,000 - 20,000.
Or, if you are a book lover, head towards the brightly lit street of Nguyen Van Binh nearby to browse through all the intriguing, minuscule containers of Vietnamese and international culture.
Within a few years of its existence, the street has become a household name among all the locals. Come to Nguyen Hue Walking Street and see dynamism at its best. Youth club meetings, contemporary dances, zest-filled performances of would-be big stars congregate at the most crowded spot in Saigon at night. Street food options are also abundant in the place. Side note: avoid Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays; otherwise you would find yourself pretty lonely in the vast open space.
You probably think roaming night markets in Saigon is kind of a classic (and lackluster) choice of activity in Southeast Asian travel destinations. Well, it may be. However, we’re sure there’s no better way to gain an authentic insight into the local life than visiting a market.
With all the trading hotspots in Saigon that may give you a headache on choosing, we deem it imperative to put the following two items in our list of things to do in Saigon at night for you.
Seafood at Pham Van Hai Night Market, Pham Van Hai Street, Tan Binh District
First one, Pham Van Hai Night Market. Besides the overwhelming number of stalls, 1,500 to be precise, the market also stars a generous corner of mouth-watering street foods. What we value most in this market is the fact that pricing is done with kindness, which means for the most part you need not have mastered the art of bargaining when you shop here. Feel free to try on Vietnamese-styled outfits at all the shops there and bring your favorites home (after payment of course).
Second on the list is Xom nha la, at 82 Nguyen Hue, District 1. A typical hangout for millennials and one where you should not expect to buy any clothes since it is a food market. The interior design is true "lit", as the young would put it. Worth a visit and some tasting.
Xom nha la - a cozy indoor market in District 1
Lastly on our list of things to do in Saigon at night are the places where you would love to linger, albeit in different manners.
It’s true, the rumor you’ve heard: Walk along the streets of Saigon, and you will never fail to find a coffee shop. Nonetheless, it would take some extra effort to find a cafe where you can enjoy live music while savoring a sip of Vietnamese highlands’ aroma. Therefore, it’s wise to look up the addresses before you call a cab.
For the most part, acoustic cafes in Saigon feature ballad and R&B musicians, besides the omnipresent catchy tunes requested by their customers. This can be explained by the fact that most locals turn to acoustic cafes as a simple and subtle way to while the night away, especially those nights of restless thoughts. That said, cafes that go with heavier choices of music are not a rare breed in the downtown areas.
The best part about acoustic cafes in Saigon is that, apart from professionally prepared performances by guest bands and singers, the stage is specially dedicated to all the audience members who love to showcase their voice to the crowd.
Live performances reach their zenith at around 9 PM, so it’s best to drop by around this timeframe. There’s often an extra charge for music, varying among different cafes.
An acoustic cafe in Saigon - Its bamboo-themed walls give pleasantly strong vibes of the Vietnamese countryside
Live rock music cafe is another choice for you.
Where else is it better to spend the wee hours than a downtown bar? A place to socialize with the most chic-looking Saigonese, to appreciate the smart choice of music, and to luxuriate in a gratifying cocktail. That is the perfect description of all the busy bars in Saigon, most of which reside in District 1 and District 3.
When it comes to bars and pubs, it’s impossible not to mention Bui Vien Street, widely dubbed as “the Westerners’ Street”, referring to the fact that the street is the hub of foreign backpackers. Fancy bars aside, Bui Vien houses amazing "quan nhau" (Vietnamese-styled pubs) where you get to drink "bia hoi" (Vietnamese draft beer) at incredibly low prices.
Bui Vien Street in District 1 - where you find the best bars in Saigon
Fancy rooftop bar in Saigon
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We know planning what to do in a new city is a nerve-racking job, even more so in an aspiring city like Saigon. Saigon has all it takes to entertain you, from food tours, night markets, impressive sights to acoustic cafes or fantastic bars. By the same token, it leaves you in confusion.
So, if you find yourself baffled by all the recommendations and would love to have a perfect night plan prepared by local experts, check out our Night Adventure tour.
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I really enjoyed trying local food for my night tour with Tam. Looking forward to traveling with you guys more when I'm in Saigon