Ho Chi Minh City

Is there any free (or close to) local entertainment to be found in Ho Chi Minh City?

The street drinking scene for backpackers along Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City is legendary.

This area is the backpacker hub of the city and welcomes a mix of foreigners and local Vietnamese who mingle and chat the night away, drinking cheap beers on small plastic stools all along the street. There are many cheap restaurants here too and several nightclubs if you want to hit the dance floor later at night.

The Saigon Opera House is a beautiful colonial building in the center of Ho Chi Minh City with a stunning facade of ornate winged statues and curved window frames. Inside the opera house, the culturally inclined are able to witness the best of the fine arts that visit Vietnam seasonally, although it should be noted that there is no consistent performance timetable. Priced at VND 100,000 upwards, the range of performing arts on show includes ballet, musical concerts, Vietnamese traditional dance, and live theatre.

Where/How can I party like a local?

After long working hours, the local Vietnamese usually relax by hanging out and having dinner and drinks. Together they enjoy signature dishes and craft beer. They prefer restaurants with chill or ‘lofi’ music, and an urban decoration style.

On weekends especially, they will be in the bar looking for some decent cocktails or beers, and a club to dance the night away.

Citizens of Ho Chi Minh City are obsessed with snails. Snail restaurants are everywhere in the city and are always crowded with people during the evening. Snail can be made into a variety of delicious dishes and goes particularly well with beer.

Check out the Vinh Khanh snail street in District 4 to understand just what I am talking about!

Once they’ve finished drinking, the locals really love Karaoke and go to sing in private rooms.

On average, a room can accommodate 15-20 people, but there are some very big professional karaoke pubs that can have up to 50 people in a room, complete with a proper stage and DJ mixer.

Ho Chi Minh City is not always hustling and bustling. Vietnamese families still find a quiet ambience in Thanh Da, Binh Quoi.

The restaurants of Binh Quoi 1,2,3 are all about grassy, flowering gardens, waterfalls and countryside dishes with a view of the Saigon River.

What are the best places to drink on a budget in Ho Chi Minh City?

The Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao backpacker street in District 3 is where you will find locals (and foreigners, for that matter!) to mingle with, to drink cheap beer and dance the whole night away without putting too much strain on your pockets.

The streets are lined with pubs and bars, and I guarantee you will enjoy the fun, lively atmosphere.