In Do, Food & Wine, Reviews, Vietnam

There’s nothing quite like watching the world go by… with a birds-eye view and a stiff gin and tonic in hand. Especially when you are in a city like Saigon where the streets are motorbike clogged and just crossing the road can lead to increased blood pressure. Once, I attempted to walk down Bu Vien (the main ‘drinking artery’ street of the city on Halloween) and there were so many bikes (they even took over the pavements) that there wasn’t an inch of un-motorbiked-street to walk on. What did I do? Head for the nearest roof top bar of course.

And randomly, Saigon has one of the best selections of roof-top bars in the world; they really are everywhere. And to make it a little bit easier for you to decide which one to go and flash your hard-earned Dong at, I just so happen to have made a list of my favourite. So here we go, my top 5 roof-top bars in Saigon (in no particular order):

1) The Alto Heli Bar at The Bitexco Financial Tower (45 Ngo Duc Ke Street).PicMonkey CollageYou can’t miss this building – it’s the tallest skyscraper in Saigon (the one with a heli-pad on the side) – and its bar on the 52nd floor has some of the best views in all of Saigon. It is not actually on a rooftop but the huge floor to ceiling windows boast spectacular views of the city. It is one of my all-time favourite places for a high altitude cocktail – you quite literally feel like you are on top of the world. It is one of the priciest bars in town but if you head there between 6pm and 8pm you can take advantage of the buy one get one free cocktail offer (true at the time of writing), that makes it a little easier on the wallet.

Best suited to: Friends and Couples. It is less suitable for families – as it’s got a ‘late night vibe’ to it.

2) Level 23 Wine Bar at Sheraton Saigon (88 Dong Khoi Street).PicMonkey CollageThe Sheraton bar, on the 23rd floor of the hotel, offers superb views out across Saigon and has a lovely terrace area that opens right out onto the city. Even though it is covered, there is no glass in the window so you feel like you’re outside and you could hang your head right out of it… if you felt so inclined. It has a really nice, relaxed vibe. Get there for happy hour between 6pm to 8pm but be warned they told us the buy-one-get-one-free cocktail offer is only valid per person (so everyone has to have two!) I think this is a tad ridiculous – but the views are worth it.

Best suited to: Everyone – This family friendly hotel is a great rooftop bar in Saigon for families, couples and groups of friends.

3) Majestic Hotel (1 Đồng Khởi).PicMonkey CollageSet on the riverside, this is not the highest of rooftop bars but it has a lovely outdoor terrace with spectacular river views. Sometimes it’s nice to be a bit closer to the ground as you still have wonderful views but can see a little bit more that is going on. I especially love that this bar offers a completely different experience – the river views, rather than an urban setting, is a lovely contrast to the other bars I’ve mentioned on this page.

Best suited to: Everyone – It is family friendly and a great place to watch the sun go down over the river.

4) Chill Sky Bar, AB Tower (76 Le Lai Street).PicMonkey CollageThis might just be the winner for me. Completely open air, super funky, cool music (think chill out lounge style) and sublime views of the city. This is the ultimate place to head for sunset drinks. Despite having a dress code (no shorts or rubber flip-flops), it does not feel particularly pretentious and is definitely one of the hippest spots in town. They often have DJs playing and it can turn into a bit of a nightclub much later in the night.

Best suited to: Best suited to: Couples and friends, it is not really family friendly.

5) Saigon, Saigon Bar at the Caravelle Hotel (19 công trường Lam Sơn).

Saigon-Saigon-Rooftop-BarThe Caravelle Hotel is a bit of a legendary address in Saigon; it is here that most of the reporters were based during the Vietnam War (or American War as they call it here) and it is fun to head the top floor of the building (10th floor) to the Saigon, Saigon Bar and imagine what it must have been like for the war correspondents staring down into the streets below. Truthfully, it is not quite as impressive as the other four but it felt a little sacrilegious not to include it.

Best suited to: Everyone – It is family friendly and a great place to watch the sun go down over the river.

Of course there are oodles more rooftop bars in Saigon to choose from but after living in the city for four months these are definitely my favourites. Two others worth mentioning, even if they didn’t make it into the final cut, are the Rex Hotel which has a bit of a Vegas-garden rooftop bar (think neon lights and peculiar statues) and the Duc Vuong Hotel (195 Bùi Viện), which is the cheapest rooftop bar in Saigon. Nestled in the busy backpacker street of Bu Vien, beers cost about 30p at Duc Vuong – the views aren’t amazing but you can eat and drink up here at a really modest price, the atmosphere is nice and it’s a great alfresco option.

Right, I don’t know about you but this has made for thirsty-writing. I’m off for a gin…

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PS If you’re in Hanoi and not Saigon then I am afraid there are not really any rooftop bars – but there is so much else on offer, take a peek at my 10 Top Things to Do in Hanoi.

PPS If you would like me to help organise your stay in Saigon please contact me via my contact page (in the ‘about’ menu) or take a look at my travel agency site Fleewinter – which sells luxury holidays to Vietnam.

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