The guides to visit Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House is a venue for performing arts and organizing major events. We now go to visit this place.

saigon opera house
Saigon opera house | @agustin4366

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

  • The opera house is located at 7 Cong Truong Lam Son Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
  • The ticket price and duration of performance depend on each show. The price will be around 700,000 VND / person.
  • Opening hours for visiting: 09:00 am – 4:00 pm (weekdays); 09:00 am – 12:00 pm (weekends)
  • Website:

The Saigon Opera House has a special architecture with Gothic style in the late 19th century. This building has an architecture similar to the Opera House in Hanoi.

The Ho Chi Minh City Theater is for professional programs, such as Kich Noi performances, Cai Luong, music, opera, bale dance… and for all major art groups in this city and the southern region.

If you want to visit the theatre, you can buy tickets to watch the performance on the counters or the website above. After finishing the show, you can take a look around the theatre.

1. History of Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

Ho Chi Minh City Opera House is a long-standing cultural and historical site. The theatre was inaugurated on January 1, 1900, by the French government. This place was built with the purpose of becoming an entertainment centre for luxury guests.

In 1863, the French government invited a singing group to perform in Saigon to entertain the French expedition soldiers. In the beginning, the troupe performed at the wooden house at Dong Ho Square. Later, a temporary theatre was established at the location of the Caravelle Hotel today (that is one of the top 5-star hotels in HCMC). In 1898, the Opera House was started right next to the old theatre and opened on January 1, 1900.

Saigon Central Theatre
Saigon Central Theatre in 1908 | Photo: internet/vnexpress

Between the First World and the Second World Wars, the city government spent to bring the singing troupe from France to here. Although it was intended to become an entertainment centre for rich guests, this theatre increasingly lost customers, because nightclubs and music bars in Saigon made more fun.

After the first active period, the theatre only had moderate activities with singing, concerts and Cai Luong. Due to the criticism of expensive organization costs, the city government once intended to turn the site into a concert hall (Salle de Concert). However, this intention has not been realized. In 1944, the theatre was seriously damaged and had to stop working.

In 1955, the theatre was renovated but used as the National Assembly Headquarter of the South Government of the public of Vietnam

After 1975, the building returned to its original function of performing arts. In 1998, on the occasion of the 300th birth of Saigon, the City Government had a major renovation, preserving the original architectural style. Thus, some decorations and sculptures in the front of the theatre such as the statue of the goddess of art, the festoon … were restored.

2. The unique architecture of the Central Theater

The opera house belongs to architectural and artistic monuments. It has an area of 2,016m². The Saigon Opera has its unique characteristics. The designers are the architect Félix Olivier, Ernest Guichard and Eugène Ferret.

The facade is influenced by the art of Petit Palais built the same year in France. Advanced interior design covers full equipment for sound and light.

ho chi minh opera house
Ho Chi Minh Opera House | @tiayunme

In addition to the ground floor, 2 other floors are totalling 1800 seats. All of the decorative patterns, reliefs were painted by a famous painter in France, which are similar to those of French theatre in the late 19th century and sent from France.

However, the decoration on the front face of the theatre also had many criticisms, the details were quite cumbersome and confusing. So in 1943, some of these decorations were removed for the purpose of rejuvenating architectural styles. But, most of the original details were restored in 1998 during the time of big restoration of the opera house.

>>> You may see another French atchitecture building – the Notre Dame Cathedral.

3. Main activities of Ho Chi Minh City Opera House

The opera house has a modern sound and light system, which is a great place for professional performances. Many fashion shows have been organized in this building.

 The theatre has 5 highlight shows that are good to watch:

  1. AO Show: The sound “A” means “village”, and “O” is the ‘city’. The performance takes you to the countryside of South Vietnam which is rustic and simple: When it’s familiar, when it is full of surprises. Another interesting feature is the bamboo items using in the performance skillfully.
  2. The Mist: The morning dew is an emotional performance that shows the life of the Vietnamese community. Follow a story focused on the tradition of rice farming, telling the starting of Vietnam culture originated from agriculture activities. You have a good chance to see classical and modern dances by the talent Vietnamese dancers. You will know the farmers’ life from dawn until harvest.
  3. Opera Gala: Organizes symphony concerts with legendary tunes from renowned composers like Mozart, Beethoven…
  4. Musical Dance: Classic dances are performed by professional actors and talented orchestras.
  5. Vietnamese music programs: many famous singers will perform popular songs telling about the country, love, and life.

4. Some notes when visiting the Saigon Opera House

  • You should come to the theatre around 15 – 20 minutes before the show starts.
  • At the end of most shows, there is a short time to take pictures with the singers and dancers.
  • Do not carry the food and drinks that can cause a strong smell inside the building.
  • Dress code to come here is elegant clothes.
  • You may come to the opera house to take pictures in front of the building at any times.

This Opera House is one of the famous destinations in Ho Chi Minh City. It is great to enjoy one of the performance there. If you have a chance, we recommend you to watch the AO show.