Vietnam nightlife is becoming more and more exciting as western tourists begin to discover this enchanting country. There is naturally lively nightlife in Vietnam in the two largest cities, the capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There are also numerous Vietnamese clubs around the most popular beaches. An integral part of Vietnam nightlife is the near legendary cheap price of the country’s excellent draft beer, called bia hoi (meaning fresh beer), and most bars and clubs offer this great beverage.
Some of these night clubs in Vietnam are in chic resorts and luxury hotels. Some are laid-back “beach bum” type bars, and some can actually be found on ships to entertain passengers enjoying cruises in Halong Bay or on the rivers of the Mekong Delta. You can even soak up some of the country’s history and culture at some theaters and Hanoi clubs where the ancient art of Mua Roi Nuoc, water puppetry, is performed on a watery stage.
Most of the Hanoi clubs will be found in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, and some of the very best Hanoi clubs are jazz and blues clubs. Several of these have excellent live music, some by well-known Vietnamese musicians and you are quite apt to hear fine music by artists such as Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, and John Coltrane. If you enjoy dining on delicious Vietnamese street food, you might try some of the rather bare bones pavement bars that line the sidewalks and consist of not much more than plastic tables and chairs and a corrugated tin roof. You see plenty of locals chowing down in these places, so you know the food is good. If you want something a bit more refined, try the cocktail lounges of some of the city’s finer hotels.
In Ho Chi Minh City, some of the best Vietnamese clubs are found in the better hotels, such as the Rooftop Garden in the historic Rex Hotel. The Caravelle Hotel boasts the popular smart casual lounge, Saigon Saigon. Many backpackers and younger travelers hang out at the at jazz clubs that boast well-known local musicians. You can even find some heavy metal music bars and clubs.
Perhaps the most famous of Vietnamese clubs is the Apocalypse Now—named for the famous movie. There is one in Hanoi that receives excellent reviews, and one in Ho Chi Minh City that is a bit seedier and receives mixed reviews. Both have small stages packed with people dancing to very loud music and disco-style lighting.
As with surfers, diving enthusiasts and beach bunnies also like their clubbing, and there is great Vietnam nightlife around Phan Thiet and Nha Trang, the country’s most important diving region, as well as nearby Mui Ne Beach. Most of the most popular bars and clubs here are operated by someone from the sizable expatriate community. You can help the community by enjoying your drinks at some of these that donate portions of their proceeds to needy local children. On beautiful Phu Quoc Island on the western side of the country, the nightclub scene is decidedly laid back. On this quintessentially idyllic tropical island, you will find a number of quintessential beach bars set right on the sands under thatched roofs.