The Saigon Opera House (Opéra de Saïgon), aka Ho Chi Minh City Theater (Nhà Hát Thành Phố Hồ Chí Minh), is a landmark piece of French colonial architecture. (Saigon was the colonial name for Ho Chi Minh City.) Built in 1897, it is home to the Ho Chi Minh City Ballet and Symphony Orchestra, but is best known for evening cultural shows, such as A O and Teh Dar.
The Saigon Opera House is an easy walk from other colonial-era masterpieces, including the Central Post Office and Notre-Dame Basilica. As a landmark building, it’s a regular stop on Ho Chi Minh City tours. The only way to experience the interior is to buy tickets for a performance. Some Saigon Opera House ticket packages include round-trip transfers.
Cultural performances, such as the A O Show and Teh Dar, typically blend acrobatics, dance, drama, and tribal or folk elements. The Ho Chi Minh City Ballet and Symphony Orchestra offers classical concerts, opera, ballet, modern dance, and more.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cultural shows at the Saigon Opera House are a must for fans of acrobatics.
- Architecture buffs should sign up for the short theater tours before each performance.
- Ticket prices vary according to not only the show but also seat class.
How to Get There
An easy walk from other District 1 attractions, including the Central Post Office and Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Saigon Opera House sits on Lam Son Square. The 49 bus stops here, as do some hop-on hop-off bus sightseeing tours. The Grab app takes the strain out of negotiating with motorbike and 4-wheeled taxi drivers in Ho Chi Minh City.
When to Get There
As with other Vietnam tourist attractions, the Saigon Opera House gets insanely busy over the Vietnamese New Year (Tet) holidays. Evening is the best time to appreciate the spectacular 19th-century facade, which is dressed up in lights, and, of course, to enjoy a performance. Book ahead of time when reserving show tickets for weekends.
The Colorful Past of Saigon Opera House
Designed by French architects in the Belle Epoque style, the Saigon Opera House opened to the public in 1900 under the name of Theatre de Saigon. Theater companies from both France and Vietnam performed. After being damaged during World War II, it served variously as a theater, a refuge for French citizens, and home to part of the government of South Vietnam.