I spent the night in Vietnam partying and found an empty dance floor with some people getting high from balloons.


An insider author is partying in Vietnam.

An insider author is partying in Vietnam.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

  • Saigon is famous for having the best nightlife in Asia.

  • We flew to Vietnam’s largest city to experience the hot club.

  • It was a disappointment: the small crowd consisted mostly of people trying to jump out of free balloons.

Vietnam’s largest city has earned a reputation as one of the wildest party cities in the world. It’s a place where people drink, dance, and swell with “funky balloons” until the sun comes up, but for some reason, I was still disappointed.

A green Tuesday night.

A green Tuesday night.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is the stuff of legends as far as party cities are concerned. It’s a city with few club rules, so you can find your own way of enjoying yourself. I’ve heard it’s easy to find a date, not pay for his night out, or get drunk on laughing gas or nitrous oxide.

Several nightlife enthusiasts who regularly jet around Asia said Saigon’s rival Bangkok when it comes to hosting the best parties in the region. I have spent the night in Bangkok before. The atmosphere at his one of the hottest clubs was exciting, but the party ended far too quickly. Legal clubs in Bangkok closed at 2am.

On the other hand, many clubs in Saigon don’t close until 5 or 6 am. Only 2.5 hours flight from Saigon. Given the cheap plane tickets (we paid about $145 round trip) and the opportunity to party all night, I made plans to join a few friends for a weekend getaway in late April.

Saigon has plenty of places to party, but I settled on Lush, a mid-range club. When I visited around 10pm on a Sunday night, I thought it was closed because it didn’t look like a conspicuous place from the outside. And thanks to the club’s soundproof walls, the street was eerily quiet.

Rush look.

Rush look.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

Saigon’s most popular district, District 1, offers plenty of nightlife options. The most famous party streets include Bui Vien, The city’s informal red light district. You’ll also find Dong Khoi, with its expensive and exclusive clubs and bars, and Phuong Pham Ngu Lao, a street full of backpacker pubs.

I chose Lush which is often on the list. top nightlife spots, some reviews promised an “unforgettable night” and a “burning party atmosphere”. But the club wasn’t on any of those party streets.

We realized it might not be the best place to find a wild all-night party, but we stuck to the plan.

As far as pricing is concerned, Rush can be expensive — Two Gray Goose VVIP tables cost approximately $2,054.But for partygoers on a tight budget, the club also hosts a Ladies Night on Tuesdays. Ladies get free unlimited drinks and laughing gas.

The most impressive thing about this club was the Spirit House near the entrance to the dance floor.

Spirit hall at the entrance.

Spirit hall at the entrance.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

Spirit houses are everywhere in Vietnam, but I didn’t expect them to be in nightclubs. Spirit houses are places where locals pray and make offerings to their ancestors.

This particular one was decorated with incense and yellow flowers to illuminate the dimly lit hallway.

Electronic remixes of pop songs such as Camila Cabello’s hit “Havana” blared on the dance floor. But there were only a dozen people inside.

Empty booth in the club.

Empty booth in the club.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

The club was brightly lit, with strobe lights illuminating the space. It had a massive dance floor with hundreds of people unlike the Bangkok clubs I have visited.

The club consists of two floors, a lower floor with a dance floor and an upper floor where VIPs can mingle. The VIP booth was completely empty, so I figured Sunday might not be the best day to go clubbing in the city.

My friend and I posted to the bar. It was awkward that no one was dancing, and some people seemed to be dating rather than partying.

dance floor.

dance floor.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

The crowd was diverse—a strange jumble of middle-aged men in office clothes, young women in bondage dresses, and a handful of young people in oversized shirts and sneakers. Many, like my friends and I, hid in their own corners of the club, sat on plush sofas, or gathered around the bar.

The average person would expect the club to be lively and full of people drinking and dancing, but the atmosphere was subdued and didn’t feel like a party at all.

One activity that kept most people happy was inhaling laughing gas. On the banner, there was a message written in Korean and English, “Balloons are free until 23:00!”.

Dating couples, drinking alcohol, inhaling laughing gas.

Dating couples, drinking alcohol, inhaling laughing gas.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

At a bar, I was sitting next to a middle-aged man who looked like one. He ordered a drink, went through a few balloons, and got high on gas as he stared at the empty dance floor.

Other partygoers bopped along to the music while inhaling balloons. A few people multitasked, taking selfies and posing with balloons.

Vietnam has banned the production and trading of laughing gas. It’s not illegal to inhale gas for recreationaccording to Decree 57 of Vietnam.

I have lived in Singapore for 20 years, Where drug laws are strict and substances are tightly controlled, my friend and I refrained from trying gas. We were alarmed by the side effects. damage the peripheral nervous systemaccording to a 2021 Vietnam-based study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

My friend and I decided to get some drinks instead.


bar.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

We ordered 4 drinks: gin tonic, driver, tequila and passion fruit mojito. They were under $7 each.

The atmosphere did not improve even after drinking alcohol. Since we first entered the club, only a handful of people had entered, so these were the only drinks we had on the night.

Despite the dead atmosphere, I still tried to have fun.

The author and two other clubbers on the dance floor are inhaling balloons.

The author on the dance floor and two other clubbers inhaling balloons in the background.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

The two partygoers looked like the couple in the world who didn’t care.

The music was fun, featuring remixes by artists like Fifth Harmony, and the beats were great.

Around midnight, the club became even more empty. All that remained were a few neatly dressed women, an empty booth, and a security guard waiting for his shift to end.

Empty dance floor.

Empty dance floor.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

My friend and I felt it was time for us to go too.It was the quickest ever for any of us to leave the party.

As we were exiting, a woman approached one of my friends and asked if we were interested in spending the night together. He declined and we soon realized there was a sex he worker patiently waiting for customers near the door of the club.

sex work not legal in vietnambut there is still a booming sex tourism industry.There are over 100,000 sex workers in the country, according to the International Labor Organization.

There are several online guides teaching tourists how to find sex workers in Vietnam. One such guide called A Farang Abroad It is estimated that sex workers based in clubs and bars typically charge between $80 and $100. for their service.

I took a quick peek at the door behind the dance floor before leaving. It was empty too, except for a couple playing billiards enjoying a quiet evening alone.

A pool table behind the dance floor. Almost no one there.

A pool table behind the dance floor. Almost no one there.Mariel Descalsta/Insider

I thought maybe my bad experience stemmed from some rudimentary mistakes I made.It was a Sunday night so was it the wrong day to party in Saigon? , the next day was a work day. In hindsight, maybe I should have gone to Bui Vien or the backpacker district, which has a more energetic vibe.

Disappointed with our night out. Still, I’ll be back to rush, but only for Ladies’ Night on Tuesday, when the club draws far more people.

The clubs are open later than those in Bangkok, but they weren’t as fun or lively. .

Your quest for wild parties in Saigon continues. Until next time.

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