The world class cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh know how to party after dark. The nightlife in these cities and others like Da Nang are growing year after year. New styles of bars are emerging, like speakeasies and microbreweries. Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find in this Southeast Asian gem.
Wandering the bustling streets of Hanoi is a tourist’s rite of passage. But there’s also much to be said for getting above it all and taking in that frenetic energy from atop a Hanoi rooftop bar. The COVID-19 pandemic has had its effect on all aspects of the tourism industry, and the Vietnamese capital is …
List + Map of Bars and Nightlife in Vietnam
When you arrive in a new city looking for something to do in the evening, you have a few options. Stroll out on the streets looking door-to-door, ask your hotel or local guide, or peek online. These are most popular bars in each of the busiest cities for your social, drinking pleasure. Now, learn how to say cheers in Vietnamese, and let’s get going….yo!
Guide to Bars and Nightlife in Vietnam
Nightlife enthusiasts will have no shortage of things to do in Vietnam, especially with the entertainment industry in the country getting larger by the year. Depending on what type of experience you’re looking for, there is certainly something to appeal to every kind of personality.
Even though the nighttime experiences in Vietnam are evolving fast, the good news is that it’s not too expensive to have a wild night on the town.
Bars and Clubs
Drinking is a popular evening activity in Vietnam, especially with the low price of beers and mixed drinks. Back in the day, there wasn’t much variety in the types of bars, but these days, tourists and locals enjoy several styles of watering holes.
Vietnam has an excellent climate for rooftop bars almost year-round, which is one of the many reasons that they are huge draws, especially in bigger cities. Being able to relax under the moonlight while sipping on a nightcap is enough to entice anyone, but these bars all have stunning views of the city lights and heavy traffic below, too.
Many rooftop bars are situated on the top of upscale hotels, and their menus are well crafted but on the pricer side of Vietnamese nightlife. Diamond Sky Bar in Hanoi and Air 360 Sky Lounge in Ho Chi Minh City should be included for any passes into either town.
Karaoke bars have gained popularity in Vietnam over the last 30 years, and now they are fantastic outlets for aspiring singers to let loose and have a good time. These musical hotspots offer private rooms for groups to indulge in whatever tunes and drinks they want at the same time.
Ho Chi Minh City has many karaoke bars like the King Karaoke and Karaoke ICOOL, whereas Hanoi has a few popular ones, including Awesome Karaoke Hanoi and Karen Lounge.
Sports fans worldwide are drawn to the live-action intensity of soccer (football) games, rugby matches, Formula 1 races, Olympic games, cricket, and so on. Fortunately, the culture of Vietnam can supply these crowds with places to watch sports and drink at the same time.
Some of the best places with brews, flat screens, and food can be found in the bigger cities, like Champion Sport Bar and Game On in Ho Chi Minh City or Paddy’s Irish Sports Bar in Hoi An.
If you’re looking for a date night spot or a cool, hip bar in downtown, Vietnam’s major cities have numerous cocktail bars and upscale gathering spots. These will be fancier than a sports bar or dive bar, and attract a similar clientele as a rooftop spot. The drinks will be a little pricer but there are a range of cocktail bars and some are quite affordable.
Nightclubs in Vietnam are primarily found in bigger cities near popular tourist attractions and are great ways to unwind; sing, dance and have some fun with drinks and modern music. The clubs attract financially wealthy people for things like bottle and table service. VIP service is available in nearly all of them. Foreigners are also drawn to the clubs since many other currencies get more bang for their buck in Vietnam.
There is usually have at least one DJ and other amenities like dazzling lights and bathroom attendants that most cocktail bars wouldn’t have. It’s not unusual to see dancers and other live performances in some of the venues. Cities like Saigon really have some after-hours spots that will wow you.
Night Markets, Streets and Backpacker Districts
Night owls will love seeing certain streets come alive once the sun goes down, as the noise and excitement happening in these locations is a fun time for everyone. Certain streets in Vietnam specialize in evening activities providing everything from food, entertainment, and shopping for visitors and locals.
Night markets are thrilling and stimulating, especially if you don’t know what to expect. These markets are often crowded and are filled with lively groups of people strolling the vendors for items to buy, souvenirs, food, and street entertainment. Old Quarter’s Night Market in Hanoi, Hoi An Night Market, Ha Long Night Market, and the Ben Thanh Night Market in Ho Chi Minh are a few of the country’s most frequented.
Bui Vien Street
Famously known as “the European Street,” Bui Vien is nestled in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 1 and popular among Western expats and tourists, as well as locals. Most of the visitors are backpackers, many of whom stay in nearby hostels, but other tourists enjoy walking the street and sampling all the different food vendors available.
Hanoi’s Backpacker District
Most backpackers who travel through Hanoi stay on the Ta Hien, Ly Quoc Su, and Ngo Huyen streets. These areas are great for mingling and meeting new people, finding affordable places to stay on a budget, and eat street food and drink beer with friends.
There are only a few casinos in Vietnam in the major cities, which are only open to foreign passport holders since gambling is illegal for citizens. Most are located in five-star luxury hotels. Players may also have to prove that they have a monthly income of at least $450 US dollars to gamble, which may be taxed before entering the casino.
Vietnamese locals that wish to gamble in casinos would have to venture across a border to Cambodia or Thailand. Remember to bring your passport with you if you are planning a visit to gamble in Vietnam. But once you have visited the casino once, they shouldn’t need your passport again.
The Caravelle Hotel in Saigon has a popular casino, as does Vung Tau’s Imperial Hotel. Unlike table games in Las Vegas, all the games like Black Jack and Roulette will be computerized. You feeling lucky?!
Vietnam has a great selection of performing arts entertainment, ranging from modern-day shows to more historic productions. These amazing live acts combine music and dance with story-telling. They are a tremendous way to experience the country’s special culture.
Vietnamese opera is a sophisticated craft that blends music, dancing, painting, and written stories. The colorful outfits of the performers are intriguing enough on their own, but the flow of the story as an art form on stage is something to be witnessed at least once during a trip to the country.
There are many performing theaters in the country, such as the Vietnam National Opera & Ballet in Hanoi and the Ho Chi Minh Opera House. Companies like Lune Productions put on traditional performances in Hanoi, Hoi An and Saigon.
Street performers in Vietnam are wherever the enthusiastic crowds are hanging out in the evening hours. Many night markets, parks, and areas packed with pedestrians often have people putting on a show for the people walking by. It’s free to watch, though, the artists tend to live off the donations.
Performances can be musical, involve fire, or consist of folklore being acted out by locals. Nguyen Hue Street in Saigon is one of the most popular places for live performances.
Dating back to the 11th century, water puppetry is an ancient art that is unique and traditional to Vietnam. The puppets are made of wood and brought to life by performers in waist-deep water, along with a Vietnamese cultural orchestra playing the background music. Water puppet shows are top-rated and should be booked early to get the best seats possible.
With so many vibrant night activities, Vietnam offers tourists a lot of activity in the evening hours. While just a few of the top places were named, there are plenty of new ones to explore and indulge in.