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Queen's Head (Kemang)

Queen's Head Pub and Restaurant is one of the trendiest venues to have opened this year in Kemang. As there are already dozens of reviews of the place on internet, I'll just briefly write about the top 4 things you should know about it:

1) Don't visit Queen's Head for the food as they serve the usual overpriced bistro dishes that you get everywhere in Jakarta (read my review: Why The Food in Jakarta Restaurants is so Bad?). They propose a mix of Indian and Western food that will cost you at least 20$ per person for 2 courses without drinks. Not bad taste but I've had better for the price, especially in Kemang.

2) Impressive, unique design. Photos are the best way to describe it (they are all from Martin Westwood):
From Queen's Head Facebook
3) Created by a team of expats from Bali: Design by Rob Sample (also behind Jenja Club in Bali), management by Steve Collinson from Ku De Ta, menu by Chef James Tombleson (Deus Ex Machina and Mamasan).

4) Potentially one of the best bars in Kemang. Queen's Head was recently launched in late 2014 so it is a bit early to be definitive. Still, it could become a favorite hangout place for the expats living in the area who would normally go to Sudirman/Kemang for drinks. Their events so far were good and they've managed to attract the best crowd.

Queen's Head Jakarta
Restaurant and Bar
Jalan Kemang Raya No 18c, South Jakarta (next to Nu China)
Phone number: +62 21 7196160

Facebook: Queen's Head
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Saigon Nightlife: Top 10 Clubs and Bars

Ho Chi Minh City nightlife, in Vietnam, is one of the craziest in Southeast Asia. I lived in the city for a few months in 2015 and this is my report about its best nightclubs, bars, karaokes and beer gardens. Note that Ho Chi Minh City can also be called Saigon, HCM or HCMC. I will also give more general nightlife tips for clubbing and having fun in Vietnam.

Top 10 Vietnamese Nightclubs

Rich Vietnamese will usually party between themselves in intimate, swanky clubs and bars with very few foreigners inside. Typically, they will buy huge bottles of premium alcohol, have insanely hot-looking girls with them, and stay in groups around a table. 

Vietnamese really know how to party so you will find a hell of an atmosphere in those places, with many drunk and stoned people going mental. In clubs like 02 Gold or DC, it seemed based on my observations that most clubbers were tripping on ecstasy or other drugs I'm not aware of. It is common to see someone who just passed out being evacuated by security.

In those Vietnamese clubs, you will notice that bouncers provide often over the top service. When you enter, they will escort you to a table, making you a way in the crowd as if you were some sort of high-profile VIP or celebrity. Of course, they expect generous tips for their services. The minute they understand you won't tip much even though you are white, they will most likely abandon you.
This nightclub is insane. I've never seen a club decorated in such an ostentatious way. The number of stunners (perfect 10 girls) is very high (you can see some photos from the girls inside 02 Gold at the bottom of this review). I recommend only if you are comfortable being in a 100% Vietnamese environment. Be warned that there is no proper bar: You need to book a table or order a bottle. 
Even though it is located just a street away from Bui Vien's backpacker district, you won't see a foreigner in DC Club. As for Gold 02, it has a huge ratio of incredibly sexy girls per square meter. The music is loud and pumping and the décor very impressive.

Something strange happened to us in this place though: The first night we tried to go in, we (2 foreigners) were told: "No beautiful girls, come back tomorrow". It seemed we were not welcomed on that particular day.

3) Play
Located in the same building as Glow, but more popular with Vietnamese. Stylish place, good lighting and sound system, expensive. They have sexy dancers and burlesque shows.
4) A.C.E
A.C.E is located just one street behind Lush. It is quite similar with Play and targets the same crowd. Very busy on weekends, you MUST buy a bottle to enter. Pacman Theme.

Very small club, Rather young, good party crowd. There is both a rooftop area in the open air and a closed room for clubbing.

6) Fuse
Fuse is a popular nightclub near the Le Lai Park, close from the tourist neighborhood. For this reason, it is more common to see foreigners there. International DJs occasionally.

There is no sign in front of this club so it is a bit tricky to find. It has the reputation of being owned by the mafia and to be popular with recreative drugs users.

8) Canalis
Young crowd, happening events including sexy dancers, male gogo, sumo fighting, etc. 

I didn't visit it as I'm not sure it is still open. It used to be one of Saigon's top nightlife spots with great events and sexy shows as you see on the pictures:

It is located in an unassuming building, yet the crowd inside is very well-off and classy. I would recommend visiting it only with a group to celebrate an event.

Other clubs worth mentioning:

Club 2000
Cho Lon District (Chinatown), District 6. Very popular club with a karaoke. They have live music and sexy pole dancer. Impressive lighting system. Royal treatment if you are a foreigner. 

Gossip is a favorite spot for Vietnamese, Viet Kieus and Asian Expats (Singaporean mostly). They have many drop dead gorgeous hostesses to whom you can buy a drink. They can dance with you or accompany you to sing at the karaoke.

I have also heard about the following places but I did not visit:
Attica (might be closed), Don Lounge (seems like a luxurious club but I could not find if they are still open or not), Phantom Lounge and Club (I passed by and it seemed busy but did not enter it), Top 9 Club, Shangri-La 86 (Hung Vuong), Vertu, Q7 (District 7) and Avalon.
Sexy Dancers in 86
I went to another club called 52 Lan Kwai Fong. They had quite impressive pole dancers and a good vibe. The standard was more middle class than the venues listed above though.

The Best Beer Bars in Saigon


Kingdom is the most popular beer bar in Saigon among the local elite. It is packed almost every day of the week starting 9pm. It can be difficult to get a table there if you are not a regular and if you are only spending a little money. For a guy, the best thing about Kingdom is to look at some of the most beautiful girls you will find in the city. Most are with boyfriends and friends though so it is not really a pick up place.
There are litteraly hundreds of beer bars in Ho Chi Minh, from low class to super high class. Some nice places that I have tried are Vuvuzela Beer bars (several locations, the most famous and popular beer bar chain in Vietnam) and Poc Poc Beer Garden in District 3.
You may also want to check Yo Yo Beer GardenRacing Beer Club (RBC), Shooters Beer Club, Texas Beer Club, Hangover Beer Club, Win Win, Hobo and One Plus Beer ClubFox Beer Lounge is a new venue with great location, just a few hundred meters from Kingdom. It is more relaxed and easy-going.
If you crave to drink imported Belgian Beer, then you should try Beer & Barrel in District 3.

Top Nightclubs and Bars for Expats and Tourists


As of today, the best expat nightclubs / bars in Ho Chi Minh City are the following:

1) Glow
Impressive rooftop bar with great music and a very relaxed atmosphere. Many expats, among which 50% seem to be French.
Even though it is often unnecessarily pretentious, Chill Skybar remains a great place for a night out. With a magic view and a beautiful crowd, all you need to enjoy it fully is a 6 figure salary.

3) Lush
Lush is fun and an excellent place to meet Vietnamese girls. Many of those going to Lush are non prostitute and are looking to meet foreigners. On the downside, Lush's music is mostly mainstream and the service can be awful. It also attracts quite many backpackers.

Sin Lounge is one of HCMC's favorite party venues for models, actresses and other local celebrities. Many of the patrons are Viet Kieu (Vietnamese from overseas). They have regular events such as guest DJs, bikini dancers or fashion shows.

In District 1, other popular nightclubs and bars among younger Expats are Ratcha Room, Blanchy's Tash Bar and Xu.
Those who are broke will stay in Bui Vien's backpacker area where you can drink a beer for less than a dollar in one of the dozens of street cafés.

Hipsters and Alternative Nightlife in Saigon


The alternative scene is thriving in Saigon. Young, hipster-like expats will typically go to The Observatory. It is quite a cool place with top electronic music DJs. It is mostly crowded with white Europeans and Americans so you won't really feel you are in Vietnam at all.

Other popular venues with this group: Saigon Lookout, Saigon OutcastCargo, DeciBel, Cube Bar, Saigon Ranger and Broma.
The Observatory

Best Live Music Venues in Ho Chi Minh City


Maxim's
Ho Chi Minh City has a fair number of live music venues spread out around the city. My favourite is Maxim's in Majestic Hotel which usually features jazzy/latin tunes. Guests are invited to hit the dancefloor as well to practice with one of their professional dancers. Maxim's also has friendly woman PRs, hostesses and waitresses. Cocktails and wines are rather expensive, at least 10$ per glass.
Saigon Saigon Bar (Caravelle Hotel)
Saigon Saigon Bar in Caravelle Hotel is another popular option. Though less fancy than Maxim's, it is just as expensive. They usually have a band from the Philippines singing Top 40 and famous songs. During the week, it can be quiet but you will see it full on weekend nights. It is partly in the open-air with a nice view of the opera.
Catwalk
Catwalk Club is part of the casino complex called International Tourist Club, just next to New World Hotel in Central HCMC. It is luxurious as well, but the crowd more Asian. They have a Cuban and Vietnamese band.
Other recommendations:
Live Jazz Music: Sax N'Art (Daily)
Live Latin Music: Pacharan (Wednesday and Friday)
Live Rock and Top 40: Hard Rock Café HCMC
Classic Rock and Hard Rock: Yoko Bar
Alternative: Fenêtre Soleil, Carack Acoustic or Fang Pub (local bands)

In almost all of Saigon's 5-star hotels, you will have some sort of live jazzy/piano music in the evening. This is particularly true in Grand Hotel, Park Hyatt, Sheraton, Intercontinental and Lotte Legend Hotel.

If you are interested in listening to live famous Vietnamese song, you can try Sixteen Bar (16 Lê Quý Dôn, District 3) or WE lounge in the same street.

After Hour Clubbing in HCMC


My biggest disappointment with Ho Chi Minh nightlife is that bars, clubs and pubs tend to close rather early. Past 3am, if you want your night out to continue, your options will be severely limited to some of the seediest clubs and bars in town.

These include the downtown hostess bars in the Hai Bai Trung street area (see below).

Apocalypse Now (often referred by its shortened name "Apo") is probably the best late night option though it is only open until 4am. Backpackers, expats and prostitutes rock the dancefloor of this rather old-style club. The music is not very sophisticated and you'll hear mostly famous hits.
Nearby, you have Last Call, which is a small place popular with expats. There was a French man behind the bar when I was there who might be the owner.
At the heart of Saigon's backpacker district on De Tham Street, GO 2 bar and nightclub welcomes late clubbers until 6 or 7am. It is similar in style with Apocalypse, only smaller and with twice as many prostitutes and backpackers.

Picking Up Girls, Hostess Bars, Red Light Districts in Ho Chi Minh City


Vietnamese girls are typically not "easy" to pick up.  Few accept the idea of a detached one-night stand with a stranger compared to girls you would meet in some other Southeast Asian countries. You will also notice that many Vietnamese girls are still living with their parents if they are not married yet.

If you are going out with the idea of finding a girl to sleep with for the night, your best chance is in Lush, Blanchy's Tash Bar, Xu or Glow. In all these places, the women are interested to meet foreigners.  It will take a some charm, some luck and some convincing if you want something to happen though. Another option would be to try your luck with a foreign girl as there are quite many in the city either tourists or expats.
If you have no charm, no patience and no luck, you might be tempted to pay for sex. I don't know if prostitution is legal or not in Vietnam, but it is surely widespread.

In all Vietnamese nightclubs, the proportion of girls looking for money is very high. You rarely see a group of girls alone having fun and paying for their own drinks. More likely, you'll encounter groups of guys partying together with girls they have invited. Those can be girlfriends, mistresses or hostesses (rarely the wife). The 5-star hotels and casinos bars have a fair share of lady companions as well (Maxim's, Catwalk, Caravelle, etc).

In District 1, the red light district area is located near Ngô Văn Năm and Hai Bai Trung streets. It is not really hardcore compared to Bangkok for instance, and far more discreet. Places like Smileys or 29 are Vietnam's equivalent to Thailand's blowjob bars.

You also have milder hostess bars such as Voodoo next to Bitexco tower or The Office Bar (16 Huynh Thuc Khang District 1). Both usually close late. They have friendly waitresses who are not really prostitute but who might meet you after work. At the bar, they will just chat or play games (connect four in particular). You can reward them for the time spent with you by buying them ladies' drinks from which they get a percentage.
Gogo Dancers in The Office Bar
Coyote Dancing in Saigon's The Office
Sexy dancers in Voodoo Bar

Best Luxury Karaoke in Saigon


King Karaoke in Hai Bai Trung Street could be one of the most luxurious in Saigon. You will also find top notch karaoke rooms in most of the Vietnamese clubs listed above and in all the casinos.
A Room in King 2
There is also a huge number of Japanese and Korean KTVs in Saigon's Little Tokyo on Ngô Văn Năm street. Popular venues nearby are: Gion Lounge, Mermaid, Tre Bamboo, Himitsu, Mario Bar, Cherry Club, Cat's eye, Kin No Buta, Ko Ne Ko, AZ Honda Garu Japanese Lounge, Kawano Club, Saigon Infinity 888, Jumbo, Kaku Renbo, Thien Than Kiss and many more. The kind of service provided varies depending on the establishment and the girls. Some will only accompany you to sing or to drink, some may go back with you to your hotel, and some may do more in the privacy of the karaoke room.

Two other recommendations for luxury KTVs in Saigon are Kingdom Karaoke and Avatar Karaoke.

Spas and Beauty Salons for Men in Ho Chi Minh City


Beauty Salons:
Le Duyen's beauty salons are a special breed of spas. Reserved for a male clientele (but not forbidden to women), you can get a massage, a haircut or a facewash. Each Le Duyen salon has around 20 beautiful therapists who will pamper you as if you were a king. Nothing sexual going on there, but it is certainly arousing.

There are 4 in Saigon. One of them is conveniently located downtown at 72 Truong Dinh, Ben Thanh, District 1.

Spas ++:
In District 1, it is not hard to find dirty spas. You can try My Anh for instance also located in Truong Dinh Street, near Ben Thanh market. You can also go to the area between Le Than Ton street and Ngô Văn Năm street where half of the shops are either massage parlours with special services or hostess bars. A famous one is Tokyo Spa which is a favorite for Japanese men.

Outside of District 1, you can also get a massage plus plus (massage with handjob) in Star Hotel (204, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 3), Lucky Massage in New Pacific Hotel (Ky Dong Street, District 3) or in Festival Massage (Cao Thang Street, District 3).

24-hour Massage Plus Plus (Happy Ending) in Saigon


Surprisingly, some naughty massage parlours in Ho Chi Minh City are opened non-stop 24-hour, everyday of the week.

Such places include Minh Tam 1 on Le Quy Don street (District 3), Minh Tam 2 (Binh Tan District) , Dai Nam (District 1) or Vien Dong Hotel next to the backpacker area in Pham Ngu Lao.

Ladies Nights in Saigon


Bars and Clubs are very generous with girls during Ladies Nights in Ho Chi Minh City. The best one is certainly the one in Lush on Tuesdays (Free Drinks for Girls until midnight). On that day, you will have an incredibly high ratio of women available per men.

Two other great Ladies Nights happen in Blanchy's Tash Bar (every Wednesday until Midnight, all you can drink mojitos) and in Fuse (every Wednesday as well, free drinks for ladies).

The Texas Beer Club has 3 ladies nights on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Girls who aren't afraid of getting fat will get free beer until midnight.
Ladies Night in Blanchy's Tash Bar
Blanchy's Ladies Night
Another cool and popular event is the Saigon Soul Pool Party (every saturdays during dry season only from November to May) at the New World Hotel. 

Gay Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City


I am only aware of Centro lounge and bar at the moment, which is located just next to Caravelle Hotel in Lam Son Square. There used to be a place called GQ but it closed down in the beginning of the year.

A friend is supposed to update me on the other gay bars and clubs in Saigon so I'll update this page soon.

Top Sports Bars and Expat Bars


Australian-owned Phatty's Sports Bar and Grill is one of the best choices to watch sports and socialize with fellow expats in Saigon.

The hostess bars mentioned above (particularly The Office and Voodoo) are also popular.

Similar with Phatty's, I also enjoy the old-style Hien and Bob (43 Hai Bà Trưng) and Red Bar in front of the Bitexco tower.

If you want to watch sport with a 100% Vietnamese crowd, the go to Guru Sports Bar in District 3, which is just in front of Sherbet Beer Club.
Guru Sports Bar in D3
One of Guru's cool waitresses

Best Rooftop Lounges in HCMC


There are several rooftop lounges in Saigon. I already talked about Glow and Chill Skybar, both of which are excellent, though pricey.

Similar to those places, you can try Air 360 Skybar (same owner as Chill Skybar) and Shri (Nguyen Thi Minh Khai).
I also visited the lounge on top of the Bitexco tower, Eon 51, but it was poorly maintained and I cannot recommend it except for the view.


Other Saigon Nightlife Tips


Fruit baskets: In some clubs, the waiter will propose to bring you a plate of fruits when you order alcohol. Be careful as the price can be quite expensive. 
Partying in Groups: Vietnamese party in groups, around a table and a bottle. The concept of mingling and blending with strangers on a dance floor is foreign to them. They also don't expect to meet a girl in a club: Either they bring girls with them already or they pay for hostesses to accompany them. In many of these clubs, you must buy a bottle minimum to enter, for instance A.C.E in District 1.

Getting Around - Parking/Taxi/Motorbike -  Taxis are cheap, don't drive if you feel a bit tipsy. The Vinasun taxi company is the most recommended. You could also rent a motorbike for your night out for around 100,000 per day (go to Bui Vien's backpacker district to do so). Vietnamese drive recklessly but the traffic at night is quite easy to manage. When you park your motorbike, always make sure that the spot is guarded. You usually pay between 2,000 and 20,000 for parking.

Minimum age for clubbing: One of the most shocking thing i saw in Vietnam is how young some people are in clubs. It is a common sight to see 5-year old children sitting next to their partying parents. For this reason, I don't feel that the age limit actually mean something. You can probably drink in any nightclub at any age provided you have enough money.
Kids in nightclubs are a common sight in HCMC
Police Raids: As drug use seems pretty common in some clubs, the police raids them from time to time. They will also check if there is prostitution taking places. 02 Gold was raided several times but it is still there so I imagine that it is possible to bribe your way out. You can read more in this article: Police Raid Saigon Nightlife.

Safety: Being a foreigner in a Vietnamese club means you will be treated like royalty. Many people will be happy to see you and they will invite you to cheer with them. I would advise to remain discreet and careful though as a situation can go from good to bad in a few seconds only. In particular, always follow the rules and show respect to the bouncers. Never ever start a fight with a local. Be extra careful when flirting with a girl: Make sure she does not have a boyfriend nearby already.

Girl Friendly Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City/ 24 hour hotels / Love Hotels


In almost every streets of Saigon, you will find a short time / love hotel. Just pay attention to those advertising 24h check-in and a price by the hour. For instance, 80,000 VND / 1 giờ (giờ means hour).

Prices can be very cheap, from less than 5$ for an hour to rent the room. 4* to 5* hotels are usually all girl friendly.

Vietnamese Girls

Vietnamese Girls are probably among the hottest, most beautiful girls in the world. In general, they are open to meeting foreigners but those who don't speak English will be shy to start a conversation.

You will see a lot of stunners in luxury clubs. Feminine, tall, thin girls wearing designer clothes and expensive jewelry are legion. Surgery is surprisingly very common: In certain elite circles, there is nothing more ordinary than getting a boob job or a nose job.

Many Vietnamese girls look always neat: Eyebrows are trimmed in dedicated salons, hairs are plaited or made to look wavy, nails are perfectly manicured. They avoid the sun like the plague so their skin is more white than milk.

In spite of being rather conservative when it comes to sex, Vietnamese girls are not afraid of showing some legs and cleavage. Mini skirts and short dresses can be extremely sexy, even during the day.

Unfortunately, the prettiest Vietnamese girls can also be heartless gold diggers, especially if you've met them in luxury clubs or bars. If you are hoping to meet a future girlfriend, stay away from them and try your luck during the day in normal places.

A recommended way to pick up great girls in Saigon is to use online dating apps. You can read my review about Online Dating Apps and Websites for more information. I wrote it for Indonesia but it is also valid or meeting girls in Vietnam.

Conclusion


I tried to make this review of Saigon's nightlife as long and detailed as possible. I focused mainly on the nightlife of District 1 but there are many more clubs and bars in District 7, District 3 and elsewhere. The districts of Go Vap, Tan Binh, District 12 and Hoc Mon are also full of local nightclubs, karaokes, massage parlours and bars targeting the middle class.

Since the information provided on this report will most likely evolve, your help in keeping it updated will be much appreciated. Please don't hesitate to write a comment below if you can.

Photo credit: All photos were taken from the Facebook pages of the venues mentioned in the review.
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