Entertainment in Vietnam, travel tours: Magic in the air

Magic in the air

It is hard to find such diverse café culture outside Ho Chi Minh City. Unique rooftop bar-restaurant-cafés offer stunning views of the city and a surprising dining experience.                                                    
The heart of Saigon is surrounded by an extraordinarily varied source of inspirations: the city chaos, contrasting new and old architecture, quiet morning light and the exotic heat of the night.
When you find your emotions frozen by the monotonous scenes of motorbike-packed streets and endless electric cables obscuring the blue sky, rooftop cafes may offer a way out, taking you into another world.
One of the best places in town to admire a view of the entire city is the Panorama 33 restaurant and sky lounge.
Centrally located in 33-storey Saigon Trade Center, also known as the Prudential Building in District 1, Panorama 33 sits on the 32nd and 33rd floor and provides the most elevated view of the city.
Just a short journey above the streets, the sounds of smooth music, the aroma of fine cuisine and smiles on waitresses’ faces will greet you at the door, invite you in, and give you a taste of what is yet to come.
The main attraction of this refuge is the stunning view through wide glass windows where you feel like you’re sitting on top of the world.
The right side of the restaurant offers a nice view of the dragon-shaped Saigon River. The area to the left gives customers an opportunity to get a bird’s eye view of the city with all the nasty nuisances becoming tiny blurs and the city’s beauty emerging from the chaos.
The drinks menu goes on forever with a good range of ice cream and fruit smoothies. Vietnamese coffees as well as a full list of beer and wine are also available. Starting at US$4 it’s a bit expensive but the view makes it all worthwhile.
A fine dining experience may be also found in the restaurant’s extensive menu. The cuisine is an exquisite selection of Asian and Western favorites at reasonable prices starting from US$4. Featuring delicious, well-presented and good quality food, the restaurant is a fusion of classy design and professional service.
Also situated on the 32nd floor is an open-air section of the cafe designed for those yearning for a cool breeze and a touch of nature. Diminished views of the city view might disappoint some though.
Whether you are a local or an expat, dining at Panorama 33 is a once in a lifetime experience which could cause you to reignite your love of Saigon.
Also strategically-located in the business and commercial district in the heart of Saigon, the bar-cafe on the 23rd level of the Sheraton Saigon Hotel provides an ideal position to admire the city from on high.
The open-air area tops the list of places to enjoy the fresh air and the stunning views of Saigon. Despite pricey drinks that start at around US$9, the place indeed offers luxury and ambience steeped in stylish music.
Excellent cocktails and a wide selection of wine at the indoor bar are just right for those who want to liven up their night with live music and get their feet moving on the dance floor. North American bands performing nightly, except Monday, are the highlight of the bar-cafe.
Another popular spot overlooking the city from above is the S.J Brother’s restaurant-cafe on the 13th floor of Diamond Plaza.
The cozy atmosphere welcomes even the toughest customer.
Apart from the airy outdoor space, the main attraction of this place is the indoor section designed in contemporary style. Mainly offering Korean cuisine, the restaurant is filled with elegant interior furniture and a series of landscapes.
The menu is extensive with not only traditional Korean food but also European flavors at prices around US$10.
From this advantageous spot, you can admire the Notre Dame Cathedral and the hustle and bustle of downtown Ho Chi Minh City. From this angle, Saigon is covered by the evergreen of the trees surrounding Ba Muoi Thang Tu (April 30) Park, a clean and pure sight rarely found in the heart of the southern metropolis.
Want to invigorate yourself and get out of the same-drabness of Saigon? These places are made just for you.
Just bear in mind one or two things for your exploration: save these places for late afternoon visits to enjoy the sunset and Saigon by night. And remember, it is never a good idea to visit in the rain as you will see nothing but a blurry reflection of yourself in the glass windows.
So step into the elevator with a camera and await a completely different Saigon where small is beautiful as the city fades into the distance.
AERIAL VENUES
Saigon Trade Center (Prudential Building): 37 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1
Diamond Plaza: 34 Le Duan Boulevard, District 1
Sheraton Saigon Hotel: 88 Dong Khoi Street, District 1

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