Footsteps in Vietnam – Sometimes when travelling all you feel like doing is grabbing a beer, eating a pizza and enjoying the company of other travellers. Well, Saigon provides you with the perfect opportunity to do this.
Renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1975 it is the biggest city in the country and is either the starting point or exit city for many backpackers travelling throughout Vietnam.
The backpacker area of Saigon is Pham Ngu Lao and the intersecting streets of De Tham and Bui Vien. It is here you’ll find some of the cheapest accommodation as well as plenty of travel agencies, book stores and souvenir shops.
Backpacker District Pham Ngu Lao
If you’re travelling alone, staying here you’re bound to meet up with fellow travellers and who knows, maybe you’ll end up exploring Vietnam together!
For us, staying in this area was exactly what we needed. After two months on the road, riding our motorbike throughout the country, we wanted to stop somewhere we could relax in cafes, read books, go out to bars at night enjoying beers and be able to eat something other Pho Ga for a while!
Our two favourite places in Saigon’s backpacker district to hang out at were:
Bobby Brewers Coffee Shop
Located on Bui Vien Street, this was a regular hang out for us. The food was a little expensive, so we wouldn’t really eat here, but we would often grab a drink and then head up stairs to their free movie theatre! This was perfect on lazy days or when we had to wait for our night bus to Cambodia-we just sat in the theatre for hours watching the movies they had playing! They also have free Wi-Fi too.
One of the bigger bars and popular with backpackers, it is opposite the equally popular Crazy Buffalo Bar. This bar won us over with its “Buy two-get-one-free” Tiger Drafts and its nightly rotation of backpacker music. It is loud, busy and you will get asked to buy cigarettes/gum/lighters constantly by the children selling these on the streets, but it’s fun and a great place to meet people. This is the bar we got the hilarious tutorial from our Aussie mate Toby on exactly how to use the toilet ‘squirter’! Check out the video here.
Enjoying A Night Out
There are also numerous smaller bars around this area shouting drink specials, happy hours and other offers. Just wander down the small side alleys and you’ll stumble across plenty.
We also headed out to Café Latin, an Aussie run sports bar where I got my fix of a decent meat pie on night for dinner. A more expensive place to go, but so, so worth it!
Saigon really seems to come to life after dark and sitting out on the sidewalk with a beer in hand (wherever you are in the city) is the perfect way to relax and watch life happen around you.