In the summer of 2018, I had a chance to go to Ho Chi Minh city. At about 5pm I went to Pham Ngu Lao, District 1 where Backpackers Street is situated. Bui Vien Street (also known as Tay Street, Backpackers Street in Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Saigon) is the second pedestrian street in the city, after Nguyen Hue. It is not only put on a beautiful and tidy new look but also Bui Vien Street has a full range of convenient services for cross-country visitors when visiting the city on the Saigon River.
Travellers included me coming to the Bui Vien pedestrian street will receive “four free” (4 free) services including: toilets, WIFI, information providing, free visitors supporting and “free smile”. In 1993, in the “Lonely Planet” travel book, Pham Ngu Lao area was introduced as a destination for adventured travellers from France, England, America and Japan when they are stopping in HCMC.
From time to time, this area is called “Backpackers Street” with the frantic development of hotel services, food stalls, shops, bars, coffee shops, travel services and agencies, etc. At night, the road Bui Vien is more bustling, a favorite destination for young people as well as domestic and foreign tourists as I heard from locals here.
The entire Bui Vien pedestrian street is 1,400 meters long and has been paved with granite. The sidewalk is fully synchronized and the lights system are installed. More importantly, each sectors is all planned clearly, diversified and not overlapped to create diversity for tourists to choose.
On Bui Vien Street, there are two stages serving art performances for visitors. On weekends, Vietnamese and foreign artists will have excellent performances combine with the audience. Local leaders also took into account the development of tourism products in the alleys so that visitors have the opportunity to explore the ordinary and casual life of Saigon people. In the coming time, festival events, street performances that are typical for walking streets will also be deployed regularly such as Circus performance, Hat Tuong, Ao Dai performance, which are creating a diverse cultural space for small corners of Saigon.
Remind to walking street can not help but mention the culinary space. Bui Vien Street is the convergence of the essence of cuisine from many countries around the world. Restaurants, bars, food shops from luxury to affordable price. They are very diverse and abundant. In here, visitors can enjoy grilled dishes from seafood, goat, cow, chicken feet to the traditional cuisine of many regions in Vietnam are Pho, Quang noodles, bun bo Hue, etc. Some Indian, Korean, Mexican, Thai and French restaurants are also here to serve tourists. Interestingly enough, the prices of all products are clearly listed at each restaurants and shops for visitors to compare and choose.
Bui Vien pedestrian street, Backpackers Street at Pham Ngu Lao ward is a place that cannot be ignored when coming to Ho Chi Minh city. The street offers a loads of affordable tourism services, especially at the weekends and holidays. Although at these time the street is overcrowded, noisy and bustling, it is still so much fun and enjoyable for foreigners.