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Apocalypse Now, The Infamous Nightclub In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Updated on July 21, 2011

Apocalypse Now
The Infamous nightclub is named after the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola Movie, staring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen. Apocalypse Now has been an institution in Saigon's nightlife scene for more than 2 decades. They cater to a diverse crowd of tourists, expats, locals and working girls, and this can make for some interesting happenings inside the club. You don't have to worry about a dress code or an uptight, pretentious atmosphere at Apocalypse Now, however the club has a slightly seedy reputation, and violence drugs and prostitution are all visible inside the nightclub. The downstairs area with the dance floor has your usual popular dance tunes, while the upstairs dance floor tends to play more trance type music.

Early in the night, you might be able to play a few games of pool on one of their pool tables (this is usually where the working girls hang out). Around 11pm the club begins to fill up, and playing pool might become impossible. They have a large semi outdoor area with fast food and picnic tables at the back of the club. When the club gets too crowded (it normally does), you can always escape outside and relax and take a breather.


Apocalypse Now is located at 2C Thi Sach Street District 1, Ho Chi Minh City in the Pham Ngu Lao district. The club is just a few doors down from The Hosen Hotel. The area around the nightclub is known to be a particularly dangerous place after dark. There have been many reports of violent crimes and robberies in this area in recent years. It is not recommended to walk alone on the streets outside the club. Another concern is that the taxi drivers that mill around in front of the nightclub belong to one of the companies that is known for overcharging. When taking a taxi in Saigon, you should always use a reputable company, the two most reputable companies are Vina Sun, and Mai Linh.

My Experience
On my first trip to Vietnam in 2009, I followed the recommendation of friends and visited Apocalypse Now. I enjoyed a few beers and played a couple of games of pool with one of the working girls. Early in the evening the club was a relaxing place to have a few drinks, but after 11 o'clock, the place filled up with tourists, locals and expats. I was told that this place is the closest thing to a pickup joint that Ho Chi Minh City has to offer. Well if that is the case (I am pretty sure it is), then compared to Thailand it is pretty disappointing. Overall I enjoyed my experience at Apocalypse Now, and I would still say that it is the best true nightclub in Saigon, however unless I am feeling particularly ambitious, I would still prefer The Crazy Buffalo.



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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      dung i know it has been 9mos since your remarks about your remarks of old men disrespecting your country... hmmm you must not travel much? or watch the news much, or research what you preach much? pls before you open mouth and insert your foot check around. old men will always want young women, everywhere in the world, most of are working girls one way or another. r u sure you not just jealous, no game or money, see the way i see it is the young girls are using the old men, peace out bro

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I was at ,apoco, as it is known locally last night. After talking with my mates for a bit a few girls came to visit. We talked, drank, etc. for 3 more hours. When time to go, one girl wanted to make a 'deal' with me. I declined. She said I owed money for wasting her time. We argued for few minutes and then my group left. In taxi, half-way to hotel, we heard loud bang on car and then realized we were surrounded by three mopeds. The driver stopped. One guy opened the back passenger door and reached for me. I pushed back. Then they threw a moto helmet, and then another- we threw it back. Someone banged on door jamb with pipe and finally the driver sped off. Arriving at hotel-they were waiting for us-as we pulled up, someone threw a rock through one of windows. We tried to dash inside but no luck. We had a standoff. Luckily hotel owner is ex police and came outside to settle it all. I paid 2 million dong and two hours later in my room. The matter was not settled as my local colleague told me I must change hotels. At 5AM I packed and we left from garage. Went to another hotel to hide until matter was settled with mafia. Now at airport, musing about my trip to HCM. Lesson learned- keep ur large bills out of site and do not wear nice watch to places like this. You will become a 'mark' and in HCM they are more organized than u think. City is nice, people are warm but as my father told me 'nothing good happens after midnight!'

    • TravelinAsia profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Dear dung,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I don't really see your point though. In my time in Vietnam I found that 90% of the tourists were not there for prostitution, and it seemed to me that there was not a huge epidemic of sex for sale in Vietnam. As for witnessing Vietnamese men in my own country, in the 1980s Vietnamese gangs took over the drug trade in Western Canada, and they were well known for pimping out young girls aged 13 and up.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      ok, there needs to be some serious conversation about our country. i hear many foreigner saying all the girl on bui vien are sex working, and not all true, although many high percent sadly it has to be said, but what we do not like is seeing the men coming here where they have more income to our country where we still have many disadvantages for poorer areas, and they exploit the situation by keeping the demand going for sex exploitation. do many know that we have mafia controlling many girls, the xe om motor taxi get money to try and sell girls, and it is illegal in vietnam for prostitution, and we have many raids happen more and more as our economy and standards of living grow at a rapid pace. we work with many charity group and asean country to stop human trafficking, and we know that when the man come here to take girl for sex, he is aiding in trafficking and exploitation, that is fact, as we rescue many girl already and they have stories of being beaten, starved, put on drugs, blackmail to family, and worse. the oldest profession was slavery that resulted from conquering nations imposing rape and women to be prostitute and slave, but many men they come here and disregard what teir actions have on the girls, and that is very sad for us to see. we are not anywhere as bad as thailand, or singapore, etc, not even close, but the old men walking with our young girls to go hotel, trust me, it makes the local people very upset, because this girl is someones daughter, sister, or so., and if family knows of this is the end:( its amazes us after all the deveop country have so many opportunity and care for women right, that they coming here and forget about that care of our women and many, many, most of the men coming acting like ale dog of no control of themselves desires. you ever see a 65 year old vietnam man walking in your country with 19yr old girl to go hotel? i doubt it, but we see foreign man of 65 year old here walking w 19 yr old girl, so disgusting for us to see after all we did to gain our right to have our country back, to be exploited and treated like poor people so can take advantage of the girl then go home and talk of holiday in vietnam. why not come here and volunteer in our childrens hospitals for agent orange victims, or help to talk to people coming to our country to not engage in prostitution. we love to meet foreighners. and so happy they enjoy our country, but want theyb really see our country not a bar.

    • TravelinAsia profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia

      Well Jack,

      The taxis in Vietnam are the cheapest in Southeast Asia. Anyone who has spent anytime in Vietnam can tell you that as long as you stick to two companies (VINA SUN & MAI LINH) you will always get great service and a cheap fare. There are other companies with inflated prices that prey on tourists that have just arrived.

      As far as the ladyboys, well .. if you play with fire you might get burned! It is dangerous to spend time with shemales regardless of the country you are visiting.

      The Crazy Buffalo is another bar in Saigon, I have written an article about it and you can check that out here :

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      So what is the Crazy Buffalo? Great report. But Vietnam is first tame and second dangerous. I have had pleasant experienced meeting ladyboys in Thailand. They can be a hoot to talk to. But the only time I have been robbed in way was in Vietnam - once some ladyboys came through a small disco flirting with everyone and I found myself sandwiched between two and, as that was quite a crazy distraction, it wasn't till a few minutes later I learned that quite a bit of change from a big bill was missing. Another time a taxi charged me five times as much as I paid coming back the same distance from a more carefully selected taxi. I suppose I could have had similar problems in Cambodia, Laos, Philippines or Thailand, but I haven't not once! Vietnam left a bad taste in my mouth although there were a lot of positive things too. Kite boarding in Mu Nai is excellent. But working women are so scared and up tight, you feel like you are back in America. Guys I met who live there were very happy and had normal women as girlfriends and partners so ignore ideas that foreign men are doing okay. If you are a single man traveling for adventure in Vietnam you are liable to stay alone while you won't need to be lonely in the other ASEAN countries around Vietnam.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed the fascinating look you provided into this infamous nightclub. Thank you for this informative Hub.

    • TravelinAsia profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Thailand/Southeast Asia


      Vietnam is amazing, and Saigon is a very exciting city. With a name like "World-Traveler" I am surprised you have not yet made it to Vietnam? It is cheaper than Thailand, the beaches are just as nice, and the food is just as good. Look us up when you get here!

    • World-Traveler profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      I remember the movie well. I have watched it several times over the past ten years always wondering what country I will be in next when it appears on a wide screen in a sports bar, library or on a big screen TV when I happen to be visiting a new friend.

      So far, I have seen the film in three different countries and it always brings back memories of the country before, both sweet and bittersweet memories.

      The disco... I haven't been there quite yet but it could well be included during my travels, another opportunity for a photo documentary write. Thanks for an interesting post.

    • Paradise7 profile image


      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Interesting hub about a far-away night spot.


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