Karaoke that is worth the drive
Third floor, SISC Buliding, 29-31 9A Street, District 8
T: (08) 5431 9111
Karaoke is a popular pastime in Asia (Bangkok and Hanoi for instance), and Saigon is no different. In fact, if you spend much time cruising the streets at night, you will quickly see that karaoke is one of the more popular activities in Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily for me, I love to sing and I’ve checked out a few places; every street has a karaoke spot, but little differentiates one from the other. So when my friend told me that she was going to take me to the best karaoke location in the city I was a little sceptical.
Taking me about 30 minutes outside of downtown we hit Nguyen Van Linh, the street that will lead you to the Crescent or a good fishing spot, then we took a right on So 9A, after passing RMIT University, finally arriving at the very modern looking iBox Karaoke. iBox is much cleaner and newer than the karaoke spots that I am used to downtown plus it was very large, sporting numerous private rooms where you can sing with your friends as well as a full buffet.
The food is what really sets iBox apart and it is surprisingly cheap. You pay 109,000 VND per person, giving you three hours of karaoke in a private room, with complimentary tambourine rental, plus a meal and a drink. For 88,000 VND more you can have access to the all-you-can-eat dinner buffet, but if one person in the room wants it then everyone has to get it. The food was tasty and we all ate in the room while we were giving our all singing “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls.
A struggle I have had with other karaoke bars in Saigon is that their song selection is limited. But at iBox you are given two thick binders full of classic and contemporary tunes. One binder has popular Top 40 tracks, many with two or three video variations, and the other is filled with popular and classic Vietnamese music; sing your favourites from back home and then your favourites from right here. And if you’re really adventurous you can give a Vietnamese song a try, taking away any criticism you have for locals singing Justin Bieber with slightly broken English.
If you’re a fan of karaoke, this is the place to go in HCMC and it is really great to go with friends. I went with Nomadic Chick, from the Ultimate Train Challenge, and a group of local friends and I was surprised that my shy Saigonese friends by day were actually karaoke superstars by night. If you find yourself with a free night in the city, and if you have the bonus of some local Saigon friends, head over to iBox and have some fun.
By Angela Schonberg
Last updated on 16th July, 2014.