It is a huge chance for you to explore Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – the biggest city in Vietnam. The city is crowded, busy, noisy and hot during the day. It is time for you to do sightseeing tour, admire the beauty of French architectural works, visit museums, pagodas, markets and a lot of things more. Cathedrals, churches, pagodas, museums and some markets are close in the evening. Should you take a rest and stay at your accommodation when the sun goes down? The answer is yes if you are in Mekong Delta or Vietnam’s countryside. Saigon is a non-sleeping city where people go out, gather, eat and drink until midnight. Night markets, food areas, restaurants and coffee shops attracts lots of people with cheap goods and foods. The whole city covers a new coat which is twinkle, colorful and splendid. So it will be a big miss if you do not enjoy the cool and fresh air of Saigon at night? I would like to list Top things to do in Ho Chi Minh City at night. The list includes both tourist attractions and hidden gems, both crowded and quiet places and I hope you find the places meeting your expectations.
1. French architectural works
You may visit these beautiful French architectures by yourself or on Ho Chi Minh City Tour during the day when they are open. Illuminated street lights, these attractions become graceful and elegant. They are totally different from that under sunshine. The area outside these buildings are less crowded with tourists at night. They seem to be more spacious so that you can walk slowly around, relax and admire the beauty of the buildings.
Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral
Location: Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral, 1 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Saigon Central Post Office
Location: Saigon Central Post Office, 2 Cong Xa Paris Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Nguyen Van Binh Book Street
Location: Nguyen Van Binh Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Next to Saigon Central Post Office, there is the small street named Nguyen Van Binh. It is well-known as the book street where you can troll into tens of bookstores, stop at book coffee shops for reading book while sipping some Vietnamese coffee. At weekends, there are many activities such as book exhibitions and publishing events.
Saigon Opera House
Location: 7 Cong Truong Lam Son Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Saigon Opera House, also known as Municipal Theater’s Ho Chi Minh City, is famous as one of the most beautiful buildings and the biggest theater in Saigon. It has great visuals and fanciful architecture at night.
Visitors can not only walk around the spacious pavement in front of the theater and admire the unique beauty of this building but also can enjoy the amazing A O Show. This show is known as a must-see cultural show in Saigon. The features of the show includes:
- Vietnam’s contrasting portrait: A O Show show the sharp contrast between peaceful life in Vietnam’s countryside and the irony of urbanization.
- Vietnamese bamboo circus: the show combines unique live music, story-telling circus, and the creative use of bamboo in the unique art performance.
- Delicate touch of humor: amusing creature’s body language, cheeky smiles, funny half-city, half-village situations.
The show lasts 1 hours, usually starts at 18:00, 20:00. Entrance ticket costs 700,000 VND (aah zone), 1,150,000 VND (ooh zone), 1,600,000 VND (wow!) zone. You can check the ticket prices, schedules at https://www.luneproduction.com.
Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee
Location: 86 Le Thanh Ton Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Lots of travelers love to take photos with the building of Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee in the evening. This building is only 250 m far from Saigon Opera House so that you can visit these two nice buildings at night.
2. Night markets
Ben Thanh Night Market
Location: Phan Chu Trinh Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Night markets are always in the list of the best things to do in the non-sleeping Ho Chi Minh City. Located right in the city center and having beautiful architecture, the iconic Ben Thanh Night Market is a must-visit night market. At night, shops and eateries are not open in the building of Ben Thanh Market but on Phan Chu Trinh, Le Thanh Ton and Phan Boi Chau Streets. The outdoor stores, restaurants and food stalls are refreshingly airy so that it makes customers feel comfortable shopping and eating. There are dozens of things to do at this market.
Read The ultimate guide to Ben Thanh Night Market for more details.
Ho Thi Ky Flower Market
Location: Alley 52, Ho Thi Ky Street, Ward 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Have you ever heard about the biggest flower market in Saigon? If Ben Thanh Night Market is a famous tourist attraction, Ho Thi Ky Flower Market is a hidden spot which is about 3.5 km from the city center. Coming to the flower market, you will be lost in the world of different kinds of colorful and smelling flowers. It is a great chance to see how locals transfer, arrange, sell and buy flowers although the sun has gone down. This market is open 24/24. It is the busiest in early morning when flowers are transferred to other local markets. After walking in arrow alleys lined with flower shops, you can enjoy delicious Vietnamese street foods at Cambodian food market which is only a few steps from the flower market.
3. Bui Vien Street – Backpacker Area
Location: Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Bui Vien Street is located in Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area where there are many services on a budget. The street is full of hotels, bars, pubs, lounges, restaurants, food stalls, coffee shops, drink stalls, laundromats, barber shops, hair salons, massage and spas, souvenir shops, fashion shops, convenience stores, etc. If you do not stay in this area, do not miss coming there to see how it is hustle and bustle, have some foods, enjoy some beers, make friends from around the world. Prices are written on paper boards or menus in front of the restaurants, food stalls, food trucks, bars, pubs and drink stalls. Many eateries and bars have waiters and waitresses standing in front of the properties and welcoming customers. The street turns into a pedestrian zones and it is more crowded in the evening of weekends.
Drink local beers on the pavement
Drinking beers is one of the most favorite things to do in Bui Vien. When you enter the street, you can see hundreds of people sit on plastic, stainless steel or wooden chairs and stools arranged on the pavement, drink beers and chat leisurely. Why do I recommend you to sit on the pavement? Because it is fun and cool to sit under the sky and look over the streets and people drinking, eating, performing, shopping and walking.
If you are familiar with popular beers such as Budweiser, Corona, Heineken, you can order them at the restaurants. However, local beers such as Tiger, Saigon Red/Green/333 are worth trying. Prices are cheap, a can or bottle of beer costs from 12,000 VND or $0.5 USD. You can order some snacks such as Pickled mango, Pickled ambarella, Roasted peanuts with salt, Grilled dried fishes, Grilled dried squid Grilled/fried chicken wings/chicken claws, sausages, potato chips, Fried potatoes, etc and eat with beers like locals.
Enjoy delicious foods
Bui Vien Street is one of the best places to find something to eat at a reasonable price. The street offers Western and Asian cuisine dishes including French, Italian, Indian, Halal, American, Thai dishes. Certainly, you can enjoy different delicious Vietnamese foods on the streets. The followings are some great places to eat in Bui Vien Street:
Pho Quynh, 323 Pham Ngu Lao Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; What to eat? – Pho noodle soup; Prices: from 76,000 VND; Opening hours: 00:00 – 23:30.
Bun Bo Hue Nam Giao, 248 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 65,000 VND/ 1 bowl of Hue beef noodle soup; 40,000 VND/ 1 plate of Hue cakes; Opening hours: 6:00 – 23:00.
Tau Hu Bui Vien, 167 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Prices: 10,000 VND/ 1 rice bowl of tofu pudding in ginger syrup; Opening hours: 16:00 – 22:00.
Lang Nuong Nho Ba Sau, 135 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; What to eat? – Grilled meat/chicken/seafood/shellfish, Vietnamese main dishes; Prices: 100,000 VND; Opening hours: 17:00 – 5:00 (on the next day).
Sip Vietnamese coffee
You may have heard about that Vietnam is one of the top countries producing and exporting coffee. Vietnamese coffee is usually stronger than coffee in many countries. It is a chance to try a cup of Vietnamese coffee at Cong Ca Phe (127 – 129 Bui Vien) or Trung Nguyen Legend Coffee (222 Bui Vien) which are Saigon’s two famous coffee shop franchises on Bui Vien Street. Entering Cong Ca Phe, customers feel like they are in a house in Hanoi tens of years ago. A cup of black coffee costs 30,000 VND, a cup of coconut milk coffee – the signature drink of Cong Ca Phe costs 65,000 VND. A cup of Vietnamese coffee at Trung Nguyen Legend costs from 41,000 VND. You can choose to sit inside the air-conditioned coffee shops or on the pavement in front of the shops.
Join bars and pubs
Wanna some music, see Vietnamese girls dancing? Do not hesitate to troll into a bar, pub, or lounge. Miss Saigon is a great place to enjoy some beers, music and dancing. A bottle of beer costs from 100,000 VND at this pub. There are dozens of great bars and pubs such as Crazy Buffalo, Go2, Boheme, Sahara, Miss Saigon, etc.
Enjoy performances at weekends
If you have a chance to be in Bui Vien at weekends when it turns into a pedestrian zone. Many entertainment programs are organized. Singers, dancers and street artists perform and thousands of people gather to enjoy the performances. It is true that the street is very crowded at weekends.
How to be safe?
Remember to not drink too much, argue with anyone, bring valuable things such as jewelry. Take care of your belongings, especially telephones, cameras, wallets. It is better to go there with your friends or partners. Find local civil defense officials and policemen in green or light yellow uniforms for help.
4. Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Location: Nguyen Hue Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Ho Chi Minh City has 2 walking streets: Bui Vien and Nguyen Hue. Both streets are about 700 m long. While Bui Vien is about 10 m wide and has no green space, Nguyen Hue is 64 m wide and has lines of green trees, grass and flowers. Bui Vien is home to travelers on a budget, Nguyen Hue is surrounded by the most luxurious hotels of the city such as Rex Hotel, Reverie, Majestic. Locals usually come to the street to walk, relax, roller skate, play skateboards, practice dancing, performing, play large group games. There are lots of places to eat, drink and shop on this street. Certainly, prices are a little higher than in other areas of the city.
On weekends, vehicles are abandoned on two streets on two sides of the streets, it is easier to walk along the streets and stop at restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores and fashion shops. They organize large-scale entertainment programs on the street on weekends at night.
At the crossroads of Nguyen Hue and Le Thanh Ton Street, you can see a large square with a huge statue of Ho Chi Minh President, surrounded by a lotus pond. One of the main reasons why you should not miss this walking street is the beautiful Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee Building.
5. Bars and pubs
If you would like to chill out, do something crazy and noisy, enjoy some music and drinks, you can choose one from hundreds of bars, pubs, lounges. My two favorite bars of the city are:
Acoustic Bar, 6E1 Alley 6, Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street, Ward 7, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps. Prices: from 70,000 VND.
Chill Sky Bar, 26 & 27th Floor Rooftop, AB Tower, 76A Le Lai Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward,, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps. Prices: from 90,000 VND.
A bottle of soft drink costs at least 90,000 VND, a bottle of beer costs from 180,000 VND at Chill Sky Bar from which you can enjoy the wonderful view of the entire city and the amazing dancing music. Acoustic Bar is famous for the best live music, singers and bands. A cup of coffee costs 70,000 VND, a can of Tiger Beer costs 100,000 VND at this bar. Acoustic is always crowded and noisy with crazy guests from different countries.
6. Street food areas, markets, streets
It will be a big miss if you do not taste exotic Saigon street foods at local food areas, food markets and food streets. I have mentioned the most popular places to eat street foods in the city: Ben Thanh Night Market and Bui Vien Street which are located right in the center of Saigon. I will show you 3 amazing places to eat on the cheap in the city. Certainly, restaurants and food stalls are not very spacious and clean. You may wonder if it is safe to eat at these places.
Co Giang Food Street
Location: Co Giang Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
Located less than 2 km from Ben Thanh Market, Co Giang Street is a favorite place of many locals, expats and travelers who love to eat Saigon street foods. There are many restaurant and food stalls selling dozens of foods here. I would like to recommend you to eat Rice noodles with grilled pork (Bun thit nuong) at Bun Thit Nuong Chi Tuyen restaurant at 175C Co Giang Street. A portion of Rice noodles with grilled pork costs from 42,000 VND. You should not miss Grilled pork in wild betel – a specialty food of Saigon.
Location: Quarter 2, Ben Thanh Ward, Ward 1, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
There are many Cambodia-Vietnamese vendors selling Cambodian foods and items from Cambodia at this local market so that it is called Cambodian Market. At night, the market turns into a hustle and bustle food market where Saigon people enjoy hundreds of local Vietnamese and Cambodian foods. My favorite foods at this market include Steamed rice rolls (Banh cuon) at Ngoc Chau restaurant, Grilled girdle cake (Banh phong nuong) at Banh Phong Phung stall, Vietnamese pizza (Banh trang nuong), sugarcane juice (nuoc mia), Grilled beef on lemongrass (Nem bo nuong sa).
Steamed rice rolls
Grilled girdle cake is a great Vietnamese snack which is crispy, lightly sweet and greasy. It is made from coconut milk, rice or sticky rice, sometimes banana slices or sesame seeds. You can grill the cake yourself with the help of Ms. Phung – a very friendly vendor. A cake costs only 10,0000 VND.
A sugarcane juice stall is located next to Banh Phong Phung stall serves refreshing and healthy iced sugarcane juice in plastic glasses. A glass of sugarcane costs about 10,000 VND.
Vietnamese pizza is totally different from famous Italian pizza. This version of pizza in Vietnam has a crispy crust made from rice flour and other ingredients. We call the crust rice paper. The cook usually top any combination of pork floss, beef jerky, sausage, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, tomato sauce, dried shrimps or acete, chopped green onions, fried shallots or onions and other ingredients before grilling the rice paper on charcoal until crispy. This food should be eaten hot when the crust is still crispy. A Vietnamese pizza costs from 15,000 VND.
The attractive smell of Grilled beef on lemongrass spreading in the air can make any foodie mouth-watering. A beef stick costs 10,000 VND, most customers order at least two stick.
Vinh Khanh Food Street
Located in Ward 8, District 4, Vinh Khanh street is about 3 km from the District 1. Not many travelers known that this area was a criminal hotspot 20 years ago. In recent, it has become the paradise for Saigon foodies who love to eat shellfishes and snails. There are several dozens of restaurants serving shellfish and snail dishes on the street. In addition, many restaurants and food stalls serve Vietnamese BBQ, desserts and snacks. You can see they simply eat Vietnamese and Cambodian foods at Cambodian food market and Co Giang food street. Vinh Khanh street will open your mind because it is full of people talking, eating, laughing, cheering and drinking beers until midnight. The followings are some famous restaurants on the street:
- Oc Vu Snail Restaurant, 37 Vinh Khanh Street, Ward 8, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 15:00 – 22:00; Prices: from 40,000 VND.
- Oc Oanh Snail Restaurant, 534 Vinh Khanh Street, Ward 8, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City; Opening hours: 16:00 – 23:00; Prices: from 100,000 VND.
Prices at Oc Vu are lower than prices at Oc Oanh. It has been said that snails and shellfishes at Oc Oanh are bigger and fresher, the dishes are also tastier. However, I have eaten at these two places and I see both are good restaurants.
Menus usually contains more than one hundreds of dishes. I would like to recommend to eat Grilled scallop with green onion oil/cheese (So diep nuong mo hanh/pho mai), Steamed clam with lemongrass (Ngheu hap sa), Grilled sweet snail (Oc huong nuong), Stir-fried blood areca with tamarind sauce/garlic (So huyet rang me/toi). Each portion of the above dishes cost from 40,000 VND to 150,000 VND at snail restaurants on Vinh Khanh street. If you dare to eat Balut, do not miss the chance to taste this amazing Vietnamese food fear factor which costs only 10,000 VND. A plate of Stir-fried morning glory costs from 30,000 VND. You can also order Hot pot with seafood or fishes, Stir-fried noodles or Fried tofu at snail restaurants. Do not forget to sip some local beers or soft drinks while eating the foods like locals.
There are many other good restaurants on this street and you can spend a month to explore all of them. Hoa Restaurant at 39 Vinh Khanh is a great place to enjoy Vietnamese BBQ in Saigon at a good price.
Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment buildings food area
Location: Ward 1, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Located only 3 km from Ben Thanh Market in the city center, Nguyen Thien Thuat apartment buildings is a hidden spot that is worth visiting. The buildings were built right after the Tet Offensive in 1968 when a large number of houses in the city were destroyed. Coming to the area of the old buildings, you can feel like being in Saigon 50 years ago. The buildings and local life have not been changed so much. Taking a rest at the yard, climbing the staircases and walking around are popular things to do here.
There are so many eateries in this area so that it is not easy to recommend the best ones. My favorite dishes are Sweet and sour mixed Pho noodles (50,000 VND/portion) and Pyramidal rice dumpling or Bánh giò (22,000 VND/portion) at Pho Chua Lang Son, 242/101 Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, Ward 1, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (Location on Google Maps; Opening hours: 15:00 – 21:00). Broken rice with grilled pork (30,000 – 40,000 VND) at Com Tam Ngon, 031 Block J, Nguyen Thien Thuat Apartment Buildings (Location on Google Maps; Opening hours: 6:00 – 21:00) is also a great choice.
Ngo Gia Tu Old apartment buildings – Su Van Hanh food street
Location: Ward 2, District 10, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Ngo Gia Tu apartment buildings has become a food area for a half century. It has hundreds of things to eat, most of the restaurants, food stalls, food trucks serve Vietnamese foods, especially street foods. Su Van Hanh Street in the area is known as the street of Vietnamese pancake and Grilled beef in wild betel. So that you should not miss these two Saigon specialty foods when you come to this food street. The restaurant at 04 Block H, Ngo Gia Tu Old apartment buildings is a good place to eat. A pancake costs from 6,000 VND, a plate of 15 Grilled beef in wild betel rolls costs 60,000 VND.
Bo Kho Ganh since 1975 at 29 Block H, Ngo Gia Tu Old apartment buildings (Location on Google Maps; Opening hours: 16:00 – 21:00) serves Vietnamese stewed beef which costs 30,000 VND/portion. If you love eating sweet stuff, you can not miss Khanh Vy – an over 80 year dessert stall that serves more than 10 kinds of Vietnamese traditional sweet soups, Steamed sticky rice, Flan cake. Prices at this stall are from 10,000 VND.
Prices at above food areas are cheap but the eateries are usually crowded, you may wait too long for your foods. The staffs at these places are not as professional as the staffs at restaurants for tourists. Some tourists worry about food safety so that I have tried my best to recommend long standing eating places which serve safe and delicious foods. Most of these eateries do not accept credit cards so that you should prepare Vietnamese cash. You can choose to do a Ho Chi Minh City Food Tour with local guides who are experts on streets, alleys, vendors, local restaurants and foods to enjoy street foods in a safe and fun way.
7. Thu Thiem Tunnels and District 2
Location: Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
In the past, District 2 was one of the poorest district in the city because it was separated from other parts by Saigon River. Thanks to Thu Thiem Tunnels which connect District 2 and District 1, District 2 has become one of the biggest urban development areas. Driving through Thu Thiem Tunnels and reach District 2, seeing the nice view of the urban District 1 from District 2 are great things to do in Saigon at night. Two-wheel vehicles are allowed to ride in the tunnels from 4:00 to 23:00. Automobiles are allowed to drive in the tunnels 24 hours a day.
8. Water Puppet Show at Golden Dragon Theatre
Location: 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Water puppetry is a unique Vietnamese traditional art dating back centuries. Water Puppet Show is a great chance for you to learn more about the rich Vietnamese culture, see puppets move under water and on the surface of water, listen to folk songs, immerse in the life in Vietnam’s beautiful and peaceful countrysides in the past. Ticket prices are from 250,000 VND. The shows start at 17:00 and 18:30 daily and last about 30 minutes.
9. Dinner cruise on Saigon River
Location: 5 Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Ward 12, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Having dinner with delicious foods while cruising along Saigon River, enjoying the nice view of the city from the cruise for 2 hours would be memorable parts of your trip to Ho Chi Minh City. There are some choices including Saigon Princess, Ben Nghe Cruise, Bonsai Cruise, Indochina Queen (Indochina Junk). The most popular cruises are wooden Bonsai and Indochina Queen. They offer set menus which cost from 350,000 to 1,500,000 VND. The cruises start at different time. You can come to the port cruise terminal, book and enter the cruise. I would like to recommend you to book in advance because the cruises tend to sell out. Check out the information and book directly at http://www.indochinajunk.com.vn. Many tourists book tours including Water Puppet Show, Dinner on Cruise with trusted tour agencies, pick up and drop off at hotels at good prices.
Vinhomes Landmark 81 – the highest building in Vietnam
Location: 772 Dien Bien Phu Street, Ward 12, District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps. Opening hours: 8:30 – 22:00.
The 470 m high Vinhomes Landmark 81 has been the highest building in Southeast Asia until September 2019. The entrance fee of exploring the highest floors of this building is 810,000 VND/adult. You can buy the ticket at the ticket booth on B1 floor of the building where there is an elevator taking you to 79th floor. You can enjoy some drinks at Miwaku Coffee Lounge on the 79th floor. The Japanese Miwaku Premium Restaurant on the 80th floor serves foods which cost from 250,000 VND.
The optical-infrared telescope on the 81st floor of Landmark 81 – the highest astronomical observatory in Southeast Asia gives you a great view of the entire Ho Chi Minh City. It is recommended to see the city from this building at sunset. You can try to walk on the floating SkyTouch Bridge. You must wear a safety belt. You can also join VR Top of Vietnam – Vietnam’s first large-scale virtual reality game in which you skydive from the height of 461 meters.
In addition, you can go shopping, enjoy great foods in Vincom Center Landmark 81 Shopping Mall from B1 to 5th floors or stay at a room of Vinpearl Luxury Landmark 81 Hotel from 47th to 77th floors. The huge park with green grass and trees along Saigon River is located next to the building. You can simply come there, see the vibrant Landmark 81 building at night, walk or simply sit on a bench and learn more about the real local life.
Bitexco Tower Financial Tower – the highest building in Saigon
Location: 2 Hai Trieu Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Location on Google Maps.
Similar to Vinhomes Landmark 81, Bitexco Tower Financial Tower has Icon68 Shopping Center which is an ideal place to go shopping and have your dinner. Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor of the building gives you the nicest 360-degree view of Saigon. After paying the entrance fee to the lift taking you to this floor is 200,000 VND, you can freely use binoculars, turn it up to 360 degrees and down at 50 degrees in order to enjoy the wonderful view of Saigon. There is a small museum houses many Ao Dai which can help you to learn more about the traditional Vietnamese dress. Saigon Skydeck on the 49th floor is from 9:30 to 21:30, visitors should buy tickets before 20:45. EON Cafe on 50th, 51st, 52nd floors is one of the best and highest cafes in the city. Click HERE to learn more about the cafe and the menu. Prices at this cafe are from 125,000 VND.
Entrance to Saigon Skydeck