Continuing with the fun which many will associate nightlife with, the good news is in Ho Chi Minh City there is absolutely no lack of nightlife, in fact, it is thriving. Even if you are unable to hold your alcohol or your threshold for it is non-existent (that’s me by the way), you must experience the night scene. There are mainly two kinds of places to explore and they are largely contrasting from each other, one being Bui Vien street also known as the backpacker’s street, where you will find a wide variety of hotels, hostels, bars, massage parlors, inexpensive restaurants, tour agencies, and souvenir shops while the other being fancy but affordable rooftop bars, also known as sky bars, with stunning views of the city.
Bui Vien Walking Street © Eotide / Flickr
Bui Vien Street
This is where you will find some of the most thrilling and energetic scenes in the city. In the day, it is relatively busy, full of backpackers moving in and out of hostels and tourists wandering about, some of them visibly hungover. However, as the sun goes down and neon lights come on, that is when the street truly comes to life and as it deepens into the night, gradually become insanely chaotic. Low plastic chairs and tables are brought out onto the sidewalk and soon the street is filled with foreigners and locals alike looking to eat, drink, and party. A proper meal with a drink here will cost you only about S$12 and you can easily get a beer for less than S$4. As you walk along the street at night, it can be filled with people especially during weekends when the street is off-limits for vehicles from 7 pm to 2 am. With deafening, overlapping music from the bars and clubs vibrating your organs, and the humongous amount of people that you walk with at an elbow-length distance, it can feel like a powder keg ready to implode anytime. Despite its drawbacks, Bui Vien street still attracts hundreds of visitors each day and remains one of the most interesting, vibrant parts of Ho Chi Minh City that any traveler can experience.
Chill Sky Bar
Well, if you find the streets too hectic for your heart to visit for 2 nights consecutively, escape the madness by literally elevating your evening into one of the many excellent rooftop bars in Ho Chi Minh City. It is amazing to enjoy the city skyline and sunset with a cool beverage in hand from a bird’s eye view. While the number of skyscrapers is being constructed at a frightening rate, so too are the rooftop bars that you will have a hard time deciding which to enjoy in. Chill sky bar is among the more popular ones and although it has a strict dress code, the selection of cocktails, the good music, and the breathtaking view makes it all worth it. There is even a dance floor which becomes increasingly packed through the night. Other well-known spots include Hotel Majestic, Glow Sky Bar, Hotel Continental, and EON51.
War Remnants Museum
Although I mentioned in the first part that museums are secondary, I reckon we have to visit at least one museum when we are in Ho Chi Minh City and that will be the War Remnants Museum. It is the most visited museum in the city and one of the most famous war museums worldwide. You probably will not be feeling too good about humanity when you leave this place but that is precisely the point, this place reminds us of the atrocious and horrible effects of war. Its collection includes many pictures taken by world-famous photographers, documents, uniforms worn by soldiers, weapons and many others. Surrounding the museum, within the compound grounds are displays of previously used military tanks and aircraft. This museum plays an important role in the healing process for Vietnam and it is a place to learn about the difficult history of the country, including the devastating effects of Agent Orange. Be prepared for a heavy and emotional experience.
No doubt, Ho Chi Minh City offers a huge variety of interesting things to do and places to check out; it is easy to see why many people would love to go back. As soon as you arrive in the city, you will be besieged by a sea of motorcycles and delicious food. Try navigating your way through the bustling traffic and leaving the city without gaining weight. Explore the infinite possibilities waiting for you in Ho Chi Minh City!