Nightlife in Vietnam
The nightlife scene in Vietnam is changing dramatically. Big cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are now full of lively pubs, clubs and bars. The same applies to many tourist destinations such as Halong Bay, Mui Ne and Phan Thiet. The good news is that it’s not particularly expensive to go out at night as Vietnam brews some of the cheapest draft beer in the world.
But the nighttime fun doesn’t just extend to drinking. You can always catch one of the many beautiful culture shows which present the important and rich facets of Vietnamese culture. Nighttime entertainment choices include the famous Vietnamese Water Puppet Show and traditional dance shows.
Saigon has an active and relatively cheap nightlife. If you’re wound up from your travels and want to unwind, you’ll find plenty of places where you can get the party started; here are a few places to kick back.
Open since the early 90s, HCMC’s most famous, or infamous, nightclub is Apocalypse Now. Hidden on the small street of Thi Sach, Apo, as it has been affectionately nicknamed, is packed to the brim nearly every night with a relatively even mixture of tourists, expats and locals. The party here, spread over two floors and a small terrace area, lasts to the wee hours of the morning.
By catering to the tourist crowd, becoming recommended as a ‘must experience’ sight in several guidebooks, and earning a healthy reputation as a place where lonely souls can go to become less lonely, Apocalypse Now’s business is booming to the point where they charge a cover of as much as 150,000 VND, depending on the night, for entry and a drink.
Just a short drive away on Ly Tu Trong, Lush is one of the more modern, popular clubs in the city. With two floors, and a non-air con outdoor bar in the back, the club keeps its music loud late into the night, playing a mix of pop, hip-hop and house. Renovated in 2012, Lush has kept itself on the cutting edge of the city’s nightlife, leading to big crowds most nights, especially on the weekends and during Tuesday’s ladies’ night. Although you won’t find much room to dance between the lounge-style seating area and the standing room only crowds, people still give it their best shot.
In the backpacker’s area of Pham Ngu Lao, you can choose between two popular nightclubs, which happen to be on opposite sides of De Tham from each other. The more iconic of the two, because of its large neon buffalo sign, Crazy Buffalo is a place to go if you don’t want your night to end. Open 24 hours a day, the dance party, located on the third floor, usually doesn’t get a crowd until after midnight, mostly consisting of die-hard partiers looking to extend their night. The nightclub isn’t particularly attractive, and drinks are more expensive for the area, but if you want to truly dance all night, it’s one of the only options. On a weird side note, Crazy Buffalo also happens to have some of the more interesting bathrooms, at least for men, as their urinals are made of clear plastic and have televisions playing ads inside.
Across the street, Go2, complete with its own, smaller neon signs, is Saigon’s other extra-late night option. Not quite open 24 hours a day — hours are more like 09:00 till 05:00 the following morning — you’ll find the dance floor on the second floor. The club has a bit of a reputation for over and double charging, especially during their confusing happy hour. Similar to its cross-street neighbor, the crowds start to peak later and usually consist of the all-ready drunk crowd. Personally, I like going to Go2 really early in the morning, as you have a nice viewing spot to watch the party animals, from both here and Crazy Buffalo, stumble into the light of a new day.
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