Saigon's backpacker nightlife - Bui Vien St - review by Rusty Compass
Ho Chi Minh City | nightlife guide

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Saigon's backpacker nightlife - Bui Vien St

| 12 Feb 2019
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Saigon's backpacker nightlife - Bui Vien St
Bui Vien St, District 1, Saigon
12 Feb 2019

Saigon’s backpacker precinct is also home to the city’s rowdiest nightlife. And it goes all night. Bui Vien St is now a walking street by night too and attracts crowds of young locals and travellers.  Nearby De Tham and Pham Ngu Lao streets are also busy with cheap eating and drinking options. This may not be Saigon's best nightlife but it's in an interesting spot for people watching. Things get more complicated as the night rolls on.

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Saigon’s backpacker precinct is focused around 3 streets - Bui Vien, De Tham and Pham Ngu Lao St. And this is where the backpacker nightlife of the city is focused. It’s Saigon’s messiest bar precinct - cheap, loud and brash, with pockets of sleaze, petty crime and the occasional brawl thrown in for good measure.

Bui Vien St - Saigon's walking street and nightlife centre
Photo: Mark Bowyer Bui Vien St - Saigon's walking street and nightlife centre


It all started back in the 90s when the first backpackers made the Pham Ngu Lao area their base in the city. First a few small bars opened and then big guys like Allez Booz, Crazy Buffalo and Go2 transformed the place. It hasn’t stopped since then.  The party goes all night.

These days the area's still a mix of big and small bars. Drinking on the street with the locals might be the best way to spend your time here.

In 2017, Bui Vien St was designated a walking street - which means there’s no traffic. Always a good thing in Saigon.

It’s worth a look and a beer, but unless you’re planning a backpacker bender, it ain’t the best side of Saigon’s nightlife scene - especially in the wee hours.

We don’t have any favourite bars here. Things change from night to night so see what's happening when you're there. Or pull up a plastic stool at any of the beer stalls with the locals and watch the parade pass.

Keep your wits about you if you're out late.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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