1. Coffee shops (oh, yes!)
It may sound strange to have a cup of coffee at night - and imagine the Vietnamese famous black dripping one - how wild the idea is? In fact, one of the most common activities at night for people in HCMC is enjoying a cup of coffee with friends. In Ho Chi Minh City, there are many coffee shops with different themes for you to choose from.
If you’re into the typical expresso or other traditional fares you have at home, the Highland Coffee shop chain will be suitable for you. Highland Coffee offers many different kinds of drinks from coffee to non-coffee drinks, from smoothies to soda. Coffee in Highland is assured to have the best quality, for expresso or ice-cap. The drinks are made following Western style recipe so the taste is strange to Vietnamese but would sure relieve your nostalgia.
The design of the Highland coffee shop is also very beautiful with lights, comfortable sofas and great music. One disadvantage of Highland coffee is the pretty high cost. A typical drink at Highland Coffee is usually above $2.5. That is why Highland coffee is usually common to Vietnamese business people or high-end customers. Some other coffee shops having Western style are Gloria Jean’s, Coffee Bean, Angel in US.
Besides Highland Coffee, there are local favourite stops as well, which in fact attracts the majority of coffee lovers at night. Most coffee shops are on the crowded streets in HCMC like Pham Ngoc Thach, Dien Bien Phu, Cach Mang Thang Tam. A common point in these coffee shops is the relaxing atmosphere with music played all the time. These coffee shops are suitable for friends meetings with dancing and singing all night.
Of course, there are many coffee shops with traditional music, which are suitable for chatting, small talks among friends or couples. These coffee shops have a distinctively quiet atmosphere that make you feel peaceful right at the moment you walk through the door. Yen Café at 7 Ngo Thoi Nhiem or Vung Oi MO RA Cafe at 17 Ngo Thoi Nhiem are popular choice for the live music it offers. Check out Pham Ngu Lao and Dong Khoi area for more options.
2. Night Bars and Clubs (hooray!):
Bar is also on the top list for activities at night in Ho Chi Minh City. Bar is suitable for people loving music and dancing because the atmosphere at bars is usually lively with loud dance music. What an ideal place for relaxation! And to meet old and new friends as well!
The atmosphere in these bars is quite exciting and sociable so it is easy to get known to more people. A recommended bar is Acoustic Bar at 6E1 Ngo Thoi Nhiem Street, District 3. These bars usually have a wide variety of food and drinks. Food here is mainly snacks going with beers and wine for men to enjoy.
For women, cocktails and mocktails are more popular, though by no means is it exclusively offered based on gender. Cocktails and mocktails are usually made from different wine, juice and fruit, creating a delicious and tropical taste which is not easily found in other places around the world.
The price varies depending on the kind of drink you ordered. For the normal bars in HCMC, the price for drinks is from $10 and may be up to $100. Especially, at the bar of 5-star hotels like Sheraton, New World, Park Hyatt drink is much more expensive, i.e. a Coke can cost up to $7.5.
3. Movie theatres (pick your movie!):
Going to cinema is also an activity that most people enjoy doing at nights. Movie theater is a great place to spend time with family, friends or lovers. You can watch the latest blockbusters together, give comments about the movies or discuss about the content of each movie together for a lesson learned from them. The movie theater is not a good place for chatting and discussing,though.
There are now many cinemas in Ho Chi Minh city. The most popular one is Megastar cinema which is famous for its quality of the screen, the sound and the seats. However, the ticket fee here is higher than other cinemas. At night, the ticket is about $5-$10/ each and it is even much higher on weekend. One special thing about Megastar is the couple seats. The couple seats ($1 extra) are at the top row of the room which gives you the best view of the screen and a comfortable private space for couples.
Another popular cinema in Ho Chi Minh City is Galaxy cinema. Galaxy currently has 3 branches: one on Nguyen Du St, Dist.1, one on Nguyen Trai st, Dist.1 and one on Nguyen Hong Dao St, Tan Binh Dist. The price ticket at Galaxy is much cheaper than Megastar, which are about $2.5 to $4.5 for 2D movie. However, the quality of sound at Galaxy is not very good if you watch action movies. Another advantage of Galaxy is the snacks and drinks. They are not only cheaper than Megastar’s but also taste much better. Take a look at the full list of movie theatre in Ho Chi Minh City.
4. Night markets (shopping hours!):
Hanging out at night markets is enjoyable to many people. At night markets, people sell everything from clothes, accessories to food or drinks. You can go with a group of friends, spend time finding out a cute outfit and accessories, have fun in bargaining, and remind yourself that you are in Vietnam.
There are many night markets in Ho Chi Minh City but two popular ones are the night market on Ky Hoa Street and the one near Ben Thanh market. Ky Hoa night market attracts many young people every night. Even though it is pretty small and crowded, teenagers are still interested in moving around the crowd and finding their favorite clothes. The clothes selling at Ky Hoa night market is suitable for teenagers with colorful and modern styles.
In contrast, Ben Thanh market is more common to foreigners. Because of the location in the cener of the city, foreigners who enjoyed walking around at nights can take the chance to visit Ben Thanh night market. This market also sells clothes with a wider variety of styles which are suitable for different ages. Moreover, it also sells some Vietnamese souvenirs which are unique like handmade stuffs, handicrafts, accessories and many more. Ben Thanh night market also includes some traditional food for you to enjoy. Read our guide to buying clothes in Vietnam.
5. Live Concert (uniquely Ho Chi Minh City):
Concert is a good choice to spend your nights, knowing that Hanoians often envy Saigoneses for having so many concerts performed every night, of all kinds. There are many stages for performing concert in Ho Chi Minh City and they have shows almost every weekend. Going to a concert, you can enjoy the live music from your favorite singers, or get acquainted to the local music taste with some Vietnamese pop.
The ticket for concert depends on the show you’re watching. Most of them are over $5. Concerts are held at one specific time so you have to fix yourself with that time in advance. It is not as flexible as movie theaters where you can choose the show time by yourself . Concert is mostly popular for young people who enjoy lively music and dancing. Some popular stages for concerts in Ho Chi Minh city are Lan Anh, Trong Dong,… The Military 7 Stadium also hosts a number of international music nights as well so stay tuned with our news feed.
*** Note from editors: Ky Hoa night market has ceased to operate as of 2012. Ben Thanh night market remains open and still provides a good place to spend your night in Ho Chi Minh City!