Pham Ngu Lao Street, Ho Chi Minh City Overview

Known as the backpacker's district of Vietnam, Pham Ngu Lao street is a famous nightlife spot where you can enjoy cheap beers at Vietnam's famous 'Bia Hoi' bars. These serve homemade watery lager beer. It is famous for its culture of sitting on plastic chairs together and chatting away the whole night. The cost of beers is also very minimal, at 50 cents a glass. The street is also filled with tiny, shack-like shops selling authentic Vietnamese food like ban xeo, bun bo hue, and pho.

Pham Ngu Lao Street runs from the western end of the prime area of District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. The road is intersected by multiple lanes as well as by lanes. It is a busy intersection of streets with the Bui Vien street lying parallel to this particular road. Cheap cafes, restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops here make this a favorite haunt of locals and tourists alike. It is also known for its range of hotels and hostels for budget travelers. The narrow alleyways do not make it a crime-infested dark underbelly of Ho Chi Minh City though, for it also doubles up as a residential neighbourhood. The street is also located in close proximity to attractions such as the Reunification Palace and the Notre Dame Cathedral.

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Pham Ngu Lao Street Food

Street Food Vendor in Pham Ngu Lao Street
Pham Ngu Lao Street has a Plethora of Food Stalls (Source)

No tourist to Vietnam can escape the lure of plentiful and inexpensive food served at Pham Ngu Lao Street. The ubiquitous Pho or rice noodle soup is available at almost every eatery located along the street. Visitors, both locals as well as the foreign nationals enjoy banh xeo pancakes and banh mi sandwiches available with a wide variety of fillings here too. The thick bun bo hue soup is enough to satiate the hunger at noon while local Vietnamese coffee is served at all times by the roadside cafes and eateries lining the busy street.

Banh Mi Stall in Pham Ngu Lao Street
Ho Chi Minh City is a Popular Destination for Street Food in Vietnam (Source)

There is no dearth of dining places in Pham Ngu Lao area. One is sure to find an eatery sited to the taste with the more expensive Pho Quynh Saigon serving the pho bo kho, a concoction of black rice vermicelli and beef stew for VND 65000. The Bookworm's Coffee draws in the book lovers who share a traditional English breakfast while reading. Hungry backpackers tend to get 'Lost in Saigon' for one gets to have a mix of authentic Vietnamese dishes here along with Mexican fare. Drinks keep flowing through the night with a bottle of the classic cocktail priced at VND 130,000.

Pham Ngu Lao Street Nightlife

Thi Bar, Pham Ngu Lao Street Nightlife
Pham Ngu Lao Street has a Very Happening Nightlife, Staying Active Till Late at Night (Source)

Nightlife on the Pham Ngu Lao Street remains alive and kicking until the wee hours of night. People find solace in numerous bars and Bai Hoi stalls in and around the area with a number of clubs offering delectable snacks and drinks along with dancing. With heavily discounted drinks on offer and promotional beers available almost every hour! The Crazy Buffalo happens to be a hip and happening night club on the street that attracts multitudes of tourists as well as the locals. The restful cafe Allez Boo Bar transforms into a party venue by night while Go2 Bar is known for hosting all-night parties.

Pham Ngu Lao Street Activities

Pham Ngu Lao Street
Pham Ngu Lao Street is a Great Place to Walk Around, Examining Street Shops and Local Life of Vietnam (Source)

There are several parks near Pham Ngu Lao Street where one can stroll or enjoy their morning walk. Many of the locals residing in the area can be observed doing Tai Chi and other kinds of exercises. Ben Tanh Market is only a short distance away where one can go to enjoy hot and sumptuous Vietnamese dishes and then come back to the street for washing it down with milky Vietnamese coffee. Many tourists strike up a conversation with the locals as well as the expatriates in order to get to know the city better. Shopping for the essentials and souvenirs can be done any time of the day while there are numerous travel agents and tour operators nearby to arrange sightseeing trips within the city.

Pham Ngu Lao Street Hotels

Alley of Pham Ngu Lao Street, Loaded With Affordable Hotels
There are Many Budget Hotels on Pham Ngu Lao Street (Source)

Pham Ngu Lao Street has numerous budget hotels and motels available for visitors intent on booking affordable rooms while touring Vietnam. Most of the hotels offer rooms with almost all the amenities necessary for living including free Wi-Fi, refrigerator in the room, and cable TV. The rates can be negotiated with many tourists finding rooms at impossibly low rates. The mini hotels occupying six to seven-story buildings happen to be most sought after by the backpackers who look for cheap accommodation. The rooms here are nondescript offering only the barest necessities with no provision for elevators. While there a number of hotels and hostels along the parallel streets of Pham Ngu Lao and Bui Vien, the best deals can be obtained in the hotels located in the alleyways connecting the Pham Ngu Lao to the D.Q. Dau Street. Tariff at the hotels here range from VND 649,712 to VND 2,946,908

Pham Ngu Lao Street Shopping

Pham Ngu Lao Shops
Shopping on Pham Ngu Lao Street is a Friendly and Exciting Affair

The sound of high pitched, friendly voices calling to each other is the first thing that greets the visitors at Pham Ngu Lao Street. The entire road is a treasure trove for shopping. There is literally everything on sale by the vendors who enjoy haggling with the customers. Visitors are usually seen buying the characteristic Vietnamese cone-shaped hats along with items of clothing and crafts from the roadside stalls. Utensils, kitchen appliances and containers along with candies and fruits are the fastest selling goods here. Both the shoppers and the hawkers are laid back, enjoying the banter of words more than the actual process of buying and selling. People visiting the street for the first time are amazed at the dirt cheap prices, often ending up buying a number of unnecessary items.

How to Reach Pham Ngu Lao Street

Pham Ngu Lao Street Ho Chi Minh City
Pham Ngu Lao Street is Located in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam (Source)

Pham Ngu Lao Street is located right in the centre of District 1 and is an immensely popular location. There are taxis available for a fixed rate of VND 28,000 for taking one to the Pham Ngu Lao Street from the airport and other areas of Ho Chi Minh City. However, the backpackers walk to the main road and hail a passing taxi for economical reasons. The airport bus is also an option for travellers who do not have a lot of luggage. The bus terminus can be found outside the Airport building that takes passengers to the Ben Thanh Market for just VND 7,000. A brisk walk of 10 minutes will take the tourist to the street. Top hotels in the area make sure to dispatch a vehicle to the airport for picking up their guests as well. 

Attractions Near Pham Ngu Lao Street

First-time visitors tend to get a little overwhelmed by the crowds and the loud cry of the hawkers who sell anything and everything under the sun. The street is best known for its budget accommodations yet there is no dearth of the old style buildings occupied by old-time residents. Tourists intent on sightseeing often pass through the street on their way to the Fine Arts Museum? and the popular Ben Thanh Market of Ho Chi Minh City. The Mariamman Hindu Temple and the Reunification Palace are accessible via Pham Ngu Lao Street too.

Tips for Visiting Pham Ngu Lao Street

  • It is best to reach Pham Ngu Lao Street during the day when one is a first-time visitor
  • Carrying cash is imperative as the small traders and vendors selling their wares on the street do not accept cards
  • It is important to keep the travel documents and cash well protected and in the inner pockets as there is always a fear of miscreants picking the pockets
  • Bargaining is enjoyable no doubt but one needs to get the hang of it before indulging in it
  • Noon is not conducive for strolling on the street due to excessive heat and humidity
Pham Ngu Lao Street located on the edge of District 1 within Ho Chi Minh City is a popular area for travellers looking for budget accommodation and inexpensive activities. It is located conveniently at a walking distance from most of the prominent landmarks of the city.

Pham Ngu Lao Street Hostels

There are multiple hostels available for the cash strapped visitors at Pham Ngu Lao Street as well. Many young people choose to occupy a single seat in the dormitories provided by the hostel management and share the facilities in order to keep the costs down.

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