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Quickly rising the international ranks as not only a beloved backpacking destination, but a rising star for music, art and culture, Ho Chi Minh is a is a metropolis of a city that seamlessly blends the old with the new. Beyond delectable eats (pho, banh mi, spring rolls and more), Ho Chi Minh has cultivated an exciting new league of music aficionados, ranging from jazz to live to electronic.
If you’re heading off the beaten path to Ho Chi Minh to uncover what Vietnam has to offer, check out this guide for hotspots to see.
Considered the premier space for underground house and techno, The Observatory is located in Ho Chi Minh’s bustling District 1 on the 10th floor of its building. International underground talents consider The Observatory their home in Ho Chi Minh, and in addition, local underground crusaders Heart Beat Crew throw their parties here too.
Broma Not A Bar
Small, but cozy, Broma Not A Bar is a bohemian rooftop bar that cycles between a variety of sounds ranging from jazz to funk to afrohouse, disco and beyond.
Located in the heart of District 1, The Lighthouse is a picturesque open air rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the city. The Lighthouse prides itself on its soundtrack of house, techno and disco and features local heroes like Nina Nova.
Sax N Jazz Club
During the war, Westerners introduced the world of jazz to the Vietnamese, many of whom quickly fell in love with the swinging, soulful sound. US military radio stations constantly played Charlie Parker during the ‘70s, during a time when the Vietnamese government kept a tight hold on culture, destroying many cultural artifacts like vinyl records. Jazz became a secret love, one that was cherished even through its years as a taboo and retained long after the war. Now, Sax N Jazz Club in District 1 hosts some of Ho Chi Minh’s top talents for performances every night. Jazz musicians from as far as Tokyo and New York have attended Sax N Jazz, and if you’re lucky, you might catch the venue’s owner and renowned saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan, with his daughter An Tran, who plays the alto saxophone on the stage.
Saigon Opera House
Also known as the Municipal Theater, the Saigon Opera House is a gorgeous beacon of Ho Chi Minh. Built in 1898 by French architect Eugene Ferret, it serves as the city’s center axis both physically and in its programming, hosting high profile and important cultural events and entertainment for the city. The Saigon Opera House was certified as a national relic in 2012 and remains a must-see destination for any travelers visiting Ho Chi Minh.
Sàn Art Laboratory
Though Ho Chi Minh has no shortage of museums to see, there are few that display modern pieces. San (which means “platform” in Vietnamese) Art Lab is located within a home that has been transformed into an artistic space for local artists. It’s an intimate space, but one that unites contemporary artists together.
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