There are two kinds of nightclubs in Ho Chi Minh City: local ones, where the crowd is almost 100% Vietnamese and the international ones that are more popular with expatriates and foreign tourists.
Local Vietnamese nightclubs are ubiquitous. It is hard to list them all as you would find at least 20 of them in District 1 alone. Those located in the city center will generally be posh and the clubbers inside will make sure to display their wealth ostentatiously. Expect spectacular décor, top-notch sound systems, impressive lighting and a strict dress code (high heels for girls). It is recommended to book a table in advance and to order at least a bottle of alcohol.
Parties in these places can be extremely wild and shocking for some as it may involve drugs and prostitution, almost in the open. It is not rare to see groups of middle-aged men accompanied with much younger, sexy Vietnamese girls. Several of the most famous venues have actually been raided by the police in the past few years such as 030X Nightclub and 02 Gold Club.
If you are looking for a simple night out with friends, the following clubs have a good reputation: DC, Canalis, Phantom, SO5 Club, A.C.E, Sin Lounge, Pandora.
Saigon is not Bangkok: There are no stripteases, no “sex” shows, no ladyboys or naughty gogo bars. But you can still find sexy dancer shows: Club 2000 or Play Club have sexy Vietnamese girls dancing in costumes or in bikinis on weekends.
Mixed international clubs are more open to foreigners and the way they operate is similar to what you would find in Western countries. They will feature all the latest EDM (Electronic Dance Music) trends: minimal techno fans will love The Observatory and its laid back atmosphere. If you are into house music, Lush will be your scene. Those venues will usually be full on weekends or during special events, for instance when they invite foreign DJs to mix. Lush’s ladies night on Tuesday is also popular as both Western and Vietnamese girls will drink selected spirits and cocktails for free.
Nightclubs in Saigon close early in general, rarely open after 3 a.m., except for the infamous GO2 bar and Apocalypse Now.