Visiting the Ho Chi Minh opera house: a short guide

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On a recent trip to Ho Chi Minh City, I was delighted to discover that it had an opera house. I was even more delighted to discover that there was a show going on whilst I was in the city and that tickets were fairly inexpensive. Subsequently, I enjoyed a wonderful night out at the opera house, complete with a post-theater supper. Read on to find out more about visiting the Ho Chi Minh City opera house.

If you’d like to read more about Ho Chi Minh City, you can find our guide here.


When was the Ho Chi Minh opera house built?

The Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, also called the Saigon Opera House or the Municipal Theatre, was built in 1911. For a period, the theatre was not used as a theatre, but actually as a government building, but thankfully it re-opened to public theatre performances in 1975.

Today, this is a top tourist attraction and it is well worth visiting the Ho Chi Minh opera house.

What shows can you see when visiting Ho Chi Minh opera house?

The current show on at the Ho Chi Minh opera house is the “A O Show” by Lune Productions. This is the same show that you can also see at the Bamboo theatre in Hoi An.

The show is a contemporary dance and musical extravaganza, portraying the history of Vietnam. It has balletic and Cirque de Soleil influences, peppered with Vietnamese humour and is thoroughly enjoyable.

There are two chances to see this show per day, with performances at 18:00 and 20:00. The show runs every day of the week.

I’m not clear how long this show has been running at HCMC opera house. I think it does change from time to time, but mostly it is Lune Productions providing the entertainment.

How to get to Ho Chi Minh opera house?

Ho Chi Minh opera house is located here in District One. There is a metro station very near to the opera house. But if you’re staying anywhere in HCMC District One, you should be able to walk. There is also a car park for cars and scooters.

How many seats are there in the Saigon opera house?

There are 550 seats in the Saigon opera house. This makes it a relatively small theatre and gives the performances quite an exclusive feeling.

Should I arrive early to Ho Chi Minh opera house?

If you buy an e ticket, you should arrive at least 30 minutes before the show to collect your paper ticket.

The theatre opens 60 minutes before the show, try to ensure you have some time inside to see the theatre in all its glory.

Please also note, all ticket holders receive a welcome drink. You wouldn’t want to miss it. Anyone with a standard/ cheaper (700,000 VND) ticket will get a soft drink.

Whereas remaining ticket holders receive a glass of wine or cocktail. I think this is for all ticket holders who paid 1,000,000 VND or more. That’s around $10 difference, so may be worth it for access to the opera house balcony with a nice glass of wine!

Whatever you do, do not arrive late. For some unknown reason, this theatre seems to allow latecomers to enter even if they arrive half way through the show. But you’ll be escorted to “late comers” seats, which may not be as good as the ones you’d booked.

Where to eat near Ho Chi Minh opera house?

The opera house is smack bang in the middle of the fanciest bit of District One (which in itself is the fancy bit of HCMC.) There are some pretty exclusive restaurants in the area. Many have mixed reviews.

Personally, I like a bit of Italian food with my theatre. So, I recommend 4Ps pizza which is a buzzing Italian restaurant a 10 minute walk away. The service is excellent and food delicious. Booking strongly recommended.

You can get a pizza and a glass of wine for around $15. Not cheap, but good value for the area and for wine in HCMC.

What to wear to Ho Chi Minh opera house?

There is no dress code for visiting the opera house. Most guests dress smart casual, avoiding trainers and flip flops (thongs to the Aussies.)

It’s very well air conditioned inside, a light sweater could be handy if you feel the cold.

How to buy tickets for the Saigon Opera House?

You can buy tickets online on a number of websites. Get your guide is the one we used to book our tickets.

Once you have an e ticket, simply arrive at the theatre to convert this to a paper ticket.

How much does it cost to buy a ticket to visit Ho Chi Minh opera house?

There are three pricing options. 700,000 VND, 1,150,000 VND, or 1,600,000 VND. The cheapest tickets all have good visibility of the stage.


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