The backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is at the corner of Pham Ngu Lao and Da Theim streets and down one block south to Bui Vien street. It is a small two block area of shopping with a maze of alleyways where the hostels and guesthouses are. You can find information on getting your Vietnam visa on arrival at Ultimate Vietnam.
Basically, the backpacker area is dirty and full of chaotic traffic. There’s a sprinkling of decent cafes with free Wi-Fi and some good vegetarian restaurants. You won’t want to stay in the backpacker area more than a few days.
Get your drink on in the backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh City. There are bars but not really night clubs for dancing. Mugs of beer are really cheap and icy cold. The most popular places have plastic mini-chairs and tables. The “cool kids” hang out at a particular one that’s easy to spot because it’s always packed with foreigners.
You can do some souvenir shopping in the backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. There about two blocks with some nice stores with overpriced goods from Thailand, for instance, skirts and purses for $30. You can definitely get a much better price at a market, but some vendors might bargain with you, especially if you buy in bulk. Many stores have notebooks filled with pirated X-Box games and software. The best deals are the North Face merchandise. You can get backpacks and Gore-Tex jackets much cheaper than the United States. No, I don’t know if they are genuine or not.There are many book vendors on the street, but some pages might be missing.
There are of course restaurants here in the backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh City. These restaurants offer western style – American breakfasts and pasta dishes – and Vietnamese food and you can also go to Pizza Hut. I never eat Pizza Hut in the United States, but when I was in South Korea me and my friends would go sometimes and really enjoy ourselves. It’s clean, cheesy and the service is great. Not much street food here, but there are juice ladies in the street and you can get many kinds of fresh fruit smoothies for less than $1 USD.Mini-markets sell beverages and snacks.
Hostels and Guesthouses
There are at least 25 hostels and guesthouses in the backpacker area of Ho Chi Minh City. This place is usually your first stop after the airport. Guesthouses have signs and it’s difficult to get directions from the Vietnamese so keep asking foreigners until you find the one you are looking for.