There are over 4 million scooters in Ho Chi Minh, previously known as Saigon. You dice with death when you cross the road and once you step out, go for it. Don’t look back. Don’t step back. Keep weaving forward between the tiny gaps. Otherwise, you’re a goner. This city is another level of crazy busy, even busier than Bangkok I’d say. But, don’t let that put you off! The atmosphere here is buzzing, the people are friendly and once in the city centre, it’s easy to find your way around. A rooftop bar is the best way to see the stunning, neon electric skyline of financial towers and high-rise business blocks. My travel buddy Stacy and I were here for two nights and this our backpackers guide to rooftop life.
Saigon Rooftop Bars
Ho Chi Minh, District 1
If you’re backpacking, stay here, on or near Bui Vien Street (the walking street pictured above) – Vietnam’s answer to Bangkok’s famous Khao San Road. There are loads of hostels on this street, but I’d say it’s only for the brave, there are just as many hostels 5 minutes walking distance from the insane people traffic of Bui Vien. We stayed at Vitamin Smiles, it’s a great location and we found our first rooftop terrace here.
Corner Bar, Bui Vien Street, Ho Chi Minh
This is a cute terrace bar, up three flights of stairs and a good place to start your night. The staff are very attentive and cocktails are £3.50 each, with buy 2 get one free happy hour (happy hour seems to last all night). The music is a mix between EDM and R & B, but to be honest, the thing you hear most is the noise from the street traffic, so it wouldn’t really matter what they play.
Go2, Bui Vien Street, Ho Chi Minh
You can see this bar from Corner, it’s diagonally opposite and has a real Asian influence. Up five flights of stairs you can see more from this rooftop bar than Corner. Cocktails are roughly the same price, £3.50, and buy one get one free all night. To be honest, the cocktails aren’t great here, but when you’re getting four drinks for £7 you don’t mind so much. Food is good here, much better than the drinks.
The View Rooftop Bar, Bui Vien Street, Ho Chi Minh
At the opposite end of the walking street is The View Rooftop Bar and it’s definitely worth fighting through the crowds for. Up nine flights of stairs (in a lift thankfully) this rooftop garden does what it says on the tin – the view of Ho Chi Minh is excellent. The cocktails are a little bit more expensive but 100% worth it. The View is lit by lanterns and has hip hop playing. I’ll let the pictures do the talking….
Saigon, Financial District
This is the lively skyline you can see from everywhere, if you have time, it’s worth visiting the financial district to get a completely different experience of the city.
The Rex, 141 Nguyen Hue Blvd, Ho Chi Minh
The Rex rooftop bar is a great place to grab a drink if you’re travelling on a budget because they have buy one get one free cocktails and drinks from 5-7pm everyday. That means drinks are £5 each or £9.35 if you’re a solo traveller. For a 5 star hotel, that’s pretty decent and you can see everything from the Rex rooftop. We also ate here as a special treat and the food was unreal!
Air 360 Sky Lounge, Ho Chi Minh
This is by far the best view in the city! The DJ, tunes and sound system were good too, mainly house. But you pay for it. This is a super fancy bar with the majority of people having booked tables, which you can do through their website (there may be a minimum spend). Drinks were £15 each, but value for money because they were pretty much straight gin with about 5 ml of tonic, haha. It’s a pricey one for backpackers but for us, the view was worth it.
If you need a break from the city then grab yourself a slice of paradise on the island of Phu Quoc, only a 45 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh airport, this relaxed party island is exactly what you need after a few days in Ho Chi Minh.