1. The Pham The Hien Catholicity Neighborhood
“Where should I celebrate Christmas?” If you ask me this question, the Catholicity neighborhood on Pham The Hien street is my answer. During “the most wonderful time of the year”, the whole street is decorated with sparkling lights, marvelous caves, breath-taking Christmas trees, and a gigantic Santa Claus. This environment is a real paradise of holiday spirit. Don’t forget to take a photo here, and have your friends guess where you are. It’s the perfect scene for your new Christmas card!
Google Maps location: The Pham The Hien Catholicity Neighborhood
Price range: free
2. Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica (Duc Ba Cathedral)
Duc Ba Cathedral, an obviously familiar spot for both foreigners and locals, tops the Christmas bucket list without any trouble. Located right in the center of the city, the area around the cathedral is a perfect hub of holiday cheer. You can chat with the local people, relax at the nearby park, or try some Vietnamese all-time favorite snacks such as banh trang nuong (grilled rice paper), xoai lac (shaking mango), and tra sua (bubble tea). At night, when the clock strikes 12 AM, it’s time for you to gather around the cathedral, listen to the joyful ringing bells, close your eyes, and make a wish. It will become true, no doubt.
Google Maps location: Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica (Duc Ba Cathedral)
– 10,000 VND – 20,000 VND (0.43 USD – 0.86 USD) for grilled rice paper
– 15,000 VND – 25,000 VND (0.65 USD – 1.08 USD) for shaking mango
– 20,000 VND – 50,000 VND (0.86 USD – 2.15 USD) for a cup of bubble tea
3. Bui Vien Walking Street
Bui Vien walking street, the all-time favorite spot for nightlife in Saigon, gets a place on my list without any effort. This 850-meter street has literally everything, from countless lively bars and seductive food stalls to powerful street performances and pleasant local spas. Moreover, the price here is incredibly reasonable, so it will certainly get a thumbs up from travelers, especially backpackers. Last but not least, during Christmas time, the whole street gets a little crazy. Get ready to gulp down a fresh beer while raving to insane Christmas EDM.
Google Maps location: Bui Vien Walking Street
Price range: 20,000 VND – 70,000 VND (0.86 USD – 3 USD) for a dish or a drink
4. Tan Dinh Church
You may not recognize Tan Dinh church, but if I say “the Pink church”, some of you will realize what I am referring to immediately. Famous for its unique and radiant pink color, this church captivates every passenger at first sight and makes every traveler want to see it in person. Although this landmark already stands out, it is even more alluring during Christmas time. There are dazzling bulb lines connecting the church and the entrance gate, colorful lanterns light up both the interior and exterior, and beaming lights cover all the edges of the church. How beautiful is that?
Google Maps location: Tan Dinh Church
Price range: free
5. Mall Centers
You may wonder why mall centers are worth your time at Christmas. You know what, like Western countries, during this time, the malls will go BIG with various Christmas campaigns, from enticing discounts and flash sales to free giveaways and vouchers. More notably, all of these places will completely dress in new clothes, such as enormous Christmas trees, stunning snowflakes, and of course, a real Santa Claus!
Speaking of the best-furnished mall, never miss Takashimaya, the biggest shopping center in Saigon. This year, its Christmas theme is “Lost in Magic”, promising to astonish every visitor. You may not believe in magic, but coming here will definitely change your mind.
Google Maps location: Takashimaya
Price range: up to you
6. Phu My Hung Urban Area
Not far away from the center of Saigon, Phu My Hung urban area brings the Christmas tree to life. Moreover, surrounded by the exquisite Ban Nguyet lake and the fabulous Crescent Mall, this area will also show you how awesome Christmas in Saigon can be. Especially at night, when the moon reflects on the water, the whole area lights up with the shining Anh Sao bridge and the dynamic Christmas activities on the walking street. Besides, it is kid-friendly, so if you’re a family, this place should be your final choice.
Google Maps location: Phu My Hung Urban Area
Price range: free
7. Cafe Cardinal
Everything starts with a meal, and Christmas is not an exception. That’s why finding the best place to eat is as important as choosing the best spot to party. And one of the best restaurants to dine on Christmas is Cafe Cardinal, positioned in the one and only six-star hotel of Saigon, The Reverie. Not only does this place offer an extraordinary dining experience, but it also provides a spectacular view from the sixth floor, where you can easily observe the city like twinkling Christmas lights below. During December, the restaurant serves an exclusive Christmas menu, including French high-class dishes, such as duck pate with black truffle mushrooms, Italian dumplings stuffed with scallops and shrimp, premium American beefsteak, and a fantastic Yule log named “Noel Baba”. I don’t know about you, but I’m already starving!
Google Maps location: Cafe Cardinal
Price range: 1,588,000 VND – 2,588,000 VND (68.28 USD – 111.28 USD) per person
New Year’s Time
1. Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Nguyen Hue walking street has become a gathering spot for everyone, no matter if it is a weekday or weekend. Normally, the street is busy with a big number of visitors, street shows, cute mascots, and some toy sellers. But New Year’s Eve is totally different. It transforms into a staggering wonder. Especially at night, the whole place turns into a festival where you can watch the 3D countdown performance on big screens. And altogether, you can happily scream: “Three, two, one, happy New Year!”
Google Maps location: Nguyen Hue Walking Street
Price range: free
2. Saigon River Tunnel (Thu Thiem Tunnel)
Saigon River Tunnel, casually known as Thu Thiem Tunnel, is an underwater tunnel that runs underneath the Saigon River, one of the symbols of the city. Being a great connection between two sides of the urban area, this place is also ideal for watching the exclusive 15-minute high-distance fireworks. Thousands of people rush to this area and find the best spot to watch every year. Although the operating time, 12 AM to 12:15 AM, may be late for some people, who cares? It’s New Year’s Eve, so you have the right to stay up late.
Google Maps location: Saigon River Tunnel (Thu Thiem Tunnel)
Price range: free
3. Dam Sen Amusement Park
If you want to celebrate the holiday with kids or children, Dam Sen Amusement Park is the right selection. There are hundreds of entertaining games for different ages, such as ballrooms, roller coasters, 4D movie rooms, and a gigantic ice castle. Moreover, at night before the New Year, this place will host a huge countdown event, composed of a music festival, a world food fair, and short-distance fireworks which will be hands down unforgettable. So book your tickets and get ready to mingle!
Google Maps location: Dam Sen Amusement Park
Price range: 80,000 VND – 150,000 VND (3.44 USD – 6.44 USD) for an entrance ticket (all games included)
4. A Cruise Ship on Saigon River
I have to admit that celebrating with thousands of people may sound fun, but if you’re going out with kids or prefer a private space, it doesn’t seem like a great choice. Instead, you can relax on a cruise ship, enjoy a peaceful night with scrumptious food, and watch the fireworks outside while sipping a cocktail in hand. Some suggestions are Elisa Floating Restaurant, Bonsai Cruise, and Saigon Princess. This is a more pricey option, but believe me, you will get what you pay for.
Google Maps location:
– Elisa Floating Restaurant
– Bonsai Cruise
– Saigon Princess
– Elisa Floating Restaurant: 800,000 VND – 2,000,000 VND (34.4 USD – 86 USD) per person
– Bonsai Cruise: 1,744,000 VND – 3,488,000 VND (75 USD – 150 USD) per person
– Saigon Princess: 950,000 VND – 1,900,000 VND (40.85 USD – 81.7 USD) per person
5. EON51 Restaurant & Lounge
Like what I said before, everything great starts with a pleasing meal. EON51 Restaurant & Lounge, the highest restaurant located on the 51st floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower, will make for a great dining experience. The fanciful menu, bringing you a full experience of premium Western cuisine, is irresistible. But the thing that leaves you speechless is the sensational view from your over-150-meter high table which faces the entire city. Moreover, you can make the best of both worlds by devouring the delicacies and watching the colorful fireworks outside. How awesome is that?
Google Maps location: EON51 Restaurant & Lounge
Price range: 700,000 VND – 1,500,000 VND (30.1 USD – 64.5 USD) per person
6. Rooftop Bars
Saigon never sleeps, so are you ready to stay up all night? Head over to Chill Skybar, the coolest bar of the city! Located on the 26th, 27th, and 28th floor of AB tower, this bar satisfies all types of visitors, even the pickiest one. Everything is perfect here, from the music and the drinks to the staff and the atmosphere. At night, standing on the balcony, breathing in the cool air, and watching the fireworks from above is absolutely delightful. But remember to book a table as soon as possible, because this place is desired by everyone.
If you want to observe the fireworks at a closer distance, EON 52 Heli Bar is for you. The bar is just a floor above the restaurant so you can kill two birds with one stone by dining on the 51st floor and partying on the 52nd floor, which means that you can save a lot of time and energy for the countdown event later. Live music is always playing at night, and it will warm you up before the big time comes.
We have a budget-friendly candidate, M-Bar, which is on the eighth floor of the Majestic Hotel. Believe me, you cannot find a better view for this price. The bar also directly faces the intersection of Nguyen Hue and Ton Duc Thang street, which is very close to where the fireworks leap into the sky. The foods and drinks are addictive, and the atmosphere is soothing but also lively since a band plays on weekends.
Google Maps locations:
– Chill Skybar
– EON 52 Heli Bar
– Chill Skybar: 40,000 VND – 400,000 VND (1.72 USD – 17.2 USD) per person
– EON 52 Heli Bar: 95,000 VND – 500,000 VND (4.09 USD – 26.5 USD) per person
– M-Bar: 75,000 VND – 350,000 VND (3.23 USD – 15.05 USD) per person
Holidays can be difficult when you struggle to find the best places to celebrate, but I hope with these outstanding locations above, your burden will be less. And while you’re staying in Saigon, why not discover and understand this dynamic city better by reading the articles below:
Travel around Saigon by Bus (Saigon Buses 101)
Best Long-Standing Vietnamese Food Stalls in Saigon
Discover The Very Best of Saigon: An Insightful Adventure with Onetrip
If you enjoyed reading this article and would like even more fun info about what to see, do, and eat (and a whole lot of unique memorable cafes!) all around Vietnam, follow us at the Christina’s Blog!