Bui Vien street, which comprises three main streets: Bui Vien, De Tham, and Pham Ngu Lao, is known as the "Backpacker District" by locals, which refers to the large number of backpackers who visit this area of Ho Chi Minh City. The backpackers often compare Bui Vien Street to Khao San (Bangkok's tourist street) and sometimes call it Khao San Saigon. It is not an exaggeration to say that this walking street has long been a hot spot for tourists from Asia, Europe, Africa, and so on. The factors mentioned above make a tourist area – Bui Vien street.
1. Where is Bui Vien street?
Bui Vien walking street is 1,400 meters long and is in the heart of District 1. It is a backpacker district with many restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, pubs, and bars. Besides, the area is now equipped with public Wi-Fi, restrooms, and information desks to serve visitors better.
This walking street comprises 5 streets and you can get here by any means of transportation, including public buses and private vehicles. Besides, the walking street is only a 10-15-minute walk away from Ben Thanh Market.
No vehicles are permitted on Bui Vien Street between 7 pm and 2 am on weekends. Therefore, various amusement activities can be set up on the streets such as playing Vietnamese folk games, exploring the bustling and lively Saigonese nightlife, indulging in foods and beverages, and treating yourself to a massage service.
- Location: Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Walking area: includes Bui Vien, De Tham, Do Quan Dau, Tran Hung Dao, and Pham Ngu Lao streets.
- Walking time: 7:00 pm – 2:00 am (Saturday and Sunday)
2. A brief of Bui Vien street history
It was hard to imagine Bui Vien street Vietnam as such a busy and bustling area as we see today, even for its residents. Before 1975, journalists and artists referred to this area as the International Intersection, referring to the five streets surrounding the Nguyen Van Hao cinema (now called Ho Chi Minh City Drama Theater). The name was popular among journalists and writers because the area used to be densely packed with printing shops and newsrooms.
After 1975, the quarter became a tourist attraction, especially for backpackers, explaining its alternate name: the Western Street. At the time, most visitors to Bui Vien Street Ho Chi Minh came from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. In 2009, the area became more crowded, attracting an increasing number of traders who came to do business.
On 15th July 2017, the street opened to pedestrians. On 20th August 2017, Bui Vien Street was officially designated as a walking street in Saigon. It is the second walking street in Ho Chi Minh City, following Nguyen Hue street. It is one of the most crowded streets in Ho Chi Minh City.
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3. Exciting tourist activities on Bui Vien Street Saigon
Despite being shorter and narrower than Nguyen Hue Street, Bui Vien Street attracts many visitors and locals. Here are some of the best activities in Bui Vien:
3.1. Explore Bui Vien walking street
Bui Vien Walking Street is a popular nighttime destination for foreign visitors and young Saigonese people, making it a crowded multicultural street with tourists from all over the world.
There will be street art performances, traditional and contemporary music shows, and other activities to meet the needs of the public while also facilitating interactions with non-Vietnamese friends and cultural integration.
Today, the streets and alleys surrounding Bui Vien have become a backpacker district, with restaurants, cafes, hotels, hostels, bars, and pubs. Even if you dislike the craziness and loudness of parties, visiting Bui Vien walking street is still recommended because you can go to a restaurant or cafe to quietly enjoy Bui Vien's nightlife.
3.2. Chill at Bui Vien street coffee shops
As a cultural intersection, Bui Vien is home to both branded coffee chains and local specialty coffee boutiques. If you are looking for convenience, you can't go wrong with Starbucks, Bobby Brown, Trung Nguyen, or Phuc Long.
On the other hand, if Saigon's hidden gems attract you, go off the beaten path to the tranquil midst of Hanoi Corner, Nha Co 3 Lau, and Ut Lanh Cafe. Each location exudes a distinct vintage, nostalgia, and serenity vibe. Still, you can completely escape the hustle and bustle of the never-ending crowd by sipping a fine egg coffee or Bac Xiu (Vietnamese white coffee).
3.3. Experience the dynamic nightlife in bars & pubs
Bui Vien, which has made a name for itself as a Western street, also has a typical characteristic of the Western world - the vibrant nights out - with a variety of unique and exciting pubs and bars. This street is also known as Saigon's most luxurious "never-sleep" street due to its sparkling lights.
The DJs at the bars are always working hard to create the best remixes of typical Vietnamese EDM music. Although often crowded, the bars on Bui Vien street strive to provide high-quality services.
Some prime-location bars also provide a panoramic, breathtaking view of the city at night. Beverages made by professional bartenders vary, and some are mixed to create new flavors to ensure that customers can always try something fresh. There are also bars where you can play exciting games like billiards and darts.
3.4. Enjoy Bui Vien Street at night
The later the night, the more crowded Bui Vien Street becomes, where most of those present are tourists. The streets are completely packed with walking tourists, the flavors and smoke from street food vendors, the sound of chatting, loud music,... making it one of the best nightlife destinations in Ho Chi Minh City.
There are many lively and colorful parties with many exciting things for you to see and try. You should come here to see and experience the most charming time of the day in Bui Vien.
4. What to eat in Bui Vien walking street
One reason why the street is so popular among locals and tourists alike is the variety of Saigon's food, which comes from various places in the world, both in and outside of Vietnam. Here's a list of must-try tasty foods in the backpacker district:
- Coconut sticky rice ice-cream
A snack from Thailand that is gaining fame among young locals and many foreign tourists who visit this place. It is a perfect treat in the hot weather in Saigon.
Because it is from Thailand, this delectable ice cream incorporates coconut syrup and soft coconut, which are the highlights of Thai street food. A glass of coconut sticky rice ice cream comprises coconut milk, sticky rice, peanut, soybean, corn, dried coconut, and coconut jelly. You'd never get bored with the perfect blend of the freshness of ice cream and the softness of sticky rice.
Bui Vien street is a must-visit place if you are looking for some BBQ. Unlike what you have in mind, the BBQ is served by street vendors rather than restaurants. The recipe is simple, but some dishes in the skewers always make a great impression for Vietnamese cuisine.
Grilled food and BBQ vendors sell everything from chicken or seafood to goat and pork for a cheap price. The dishes here, served with dipping sauces, are delicious and flavorful. The space is airy, with low tables and chairs that create a sense of casualness and intimacy.
Sweet and fresh tofu is a cheap and popular local dish. A bowl of tofu will contain jelly-like tofu, sugar juice, jelly balls, coconut milk, and a few slices of ginger. A bowl of tofu only costs 6,000 VND.
- Boiled snail
Boiled snail is another popular dish in Bui Vien. The most famous boiled snail shop is at the end of Bui Vien street and offers a variety of delicious boiled snails, crabs and clams.
- Colorful rolled Pho
Still made from Vietnamese noodles, but the vegetable-based Pho has many colors this time. The color formula uses sweet gourd, mustard green, beetroot, black sesame, red cabbage, brown rice, and other all-natural ingredients to make Pho look nice while retaining the original taste and nutrition value. The rolled Pho is dipped in a light sauce made of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and chili and served as an appetizer or main course.
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5. What to drink in Bui Vien street
Bui Vien beer, a fantastic beer specialty, is very popular among Saigon’s young people, just like the famous Ta Hien beer (Bia Hoi corner) in Hanoi. Beer bars with reasonable prices can be found along the walking street. Drinking beer and chatting with friends at Bui Vien is a great experience that you should try if you visit Saigon.
If you are a fruit lover and a big fan of smoothies, stop by the street vendors on Bui Vien street to treat yourself to a cup of smoothies made from fresh tropical fruits. It is even better that you can mix your smoothies with whatever fruits you want. The sellers also include a few pieces of fruit as a garnish.
- Cong cafe
In Bui Vien, there are many modern Western-style cafes. But Cong Cafe, with its classic style, has emerged to create a unique feature on this busy street. Its space is lovely and peaceful, and from the second floor, you can see people walking down Bui Vien Street.
The shop is ideal for sitting alone, reading a book, or seeking spiritual peace. And there is a diverse menu for customers to choose from.
6. Where to stay in Bui Vien Street
There are many accommodations available, so you can find one that meets your needs and fits your budget. Hostels and guesthouses are popular choices while homestay rooms and dorms cost around 10 USD per night which are ideal for visitors on a tight budget.
Besides, luxurious hotels near Bui Vien Street have first-rate services and top-notch facilities that have received many positive reviews and ratings, such as Vinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection.
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While staying here, you can also go sightseeing at other well-known tourist attractions in Ho Chi Minh City, for example, Landmark 81 SkyView, VR Top of Vietnam, War Remnants Museum, The History Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, Ben Thanh Market,...
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7. Things to note before visiting Bui Vien Street
- Bui Vien street is always crowded with people, so keep your belongings, such as cell phones, cash, and wallets safe. There have been a few thefts on this walking street.
- At Bui Vien, with alcohol in the air, situations might get tense quickly. If provoked, just ignore it and proceed with the crowd and continue on your journey.
- Most of the locals sit on one side of the street and the expats sit on the other side. You can make more friends if you join them!
- There are two parking lots, one near Do Quang Dau and Pham Ngu Lao streets and one at the intersection of Nguyen Thai Hoc and Tran Hung Dao streets. You can also park at the 23-9 lot at Sen Hong Theater on Le Lai Street. The parking fee ranges between 15,000 and 20,000 VND.
- If you enjoy singing or watching performances, come to the two small stages on Bui Vien street, where cultural art is exchanged.
Bui Vien Street's hustle and bustle and its diversity create its own street culture. It would be a waste to come to Saigon without visiting Bui Vien. This place's interesting vibe will help you forget about your worries and stress from daily activities.
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