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Stroll along Pham Ngu Lao’s traditional streets and stop off at the small, local cafés, friendly backpacker bars and shops selling local treats like sugary coconut candies and tropical fruits. Stay at a welcoming guesthouse and swap tales and tips with other travelers and then head out in the evening to experience some of the city’s best nightlife.
Even if you choose to stay outside Pham Ngu Lao, you should definitely visit the area to sample some of the city’s best, and cheapest, food. Pick from numerous local delicacies at the small restaurants tucked into every side street. Try delicious stuffed pancakes, thick rice and noodle soup, spicy dishes made with crab or tasty grilled shrimp. Be aware that while cooked food is usually safe, it’s best to avoid uncooked vegetables and ice in your drinks.
Explore the safe, winding streets and you will find colorful markets selling a mix of souvenirs and local goods. Purchase anything from the iconic conical hats to beautiful paintings and silk embroideries. Shop around a bit before you buy. Don’t be afraid to bargain for the best price.
If you enjoy a night out, don’t miss the buzzing atmosphere of Pham Ngu Lao after dark. Bars pump music onto the street from every corner and serve cheap drinks to an international crowd. Dance all night or ask for travel tips from expats who have taken up residence here.
Pham Ngu Lao is located in District One, just a short walk from the center of Ho Chi Minh City, making it a great place to base your overall visit. Use the regular public transportation links around the city or take taxis, a cheap and reliable option. You will find no shortage of guesthouses and hostels, most with English-speaking staff. It’s a good idea to look at a few places before deciding, and again, don’t be afraid to bargain on the price of a room.
You don't have to stay in plush hotels or fly first class to have an amazing holiday. Simply dive into all the extraordinary things you can do while you're there!
On the lookout for something completely new to do? A Ho Chi Minh City Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour (24 hours) is worth bearing in mind.
To view all the activities on offer, head to our Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area things to do page.
Located in Downtown Ho Chi Minh City, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Temple of Mariamman and Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area. Ben Thanh Market and Saigon Square are also within 10 minutes. Saigon Railway Station is 28 minutes by foot.
Located in Downtown Ho Chi Minh City, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Benthanh Street Food Market and Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. Ben Thanh Market and Saigon Square are also within 10 minutes.
Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this luxury hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Museum of Ho Chi Minh City, Opera House and 30-4 Park. Saigon Zoo and Botanic Garden is 2.4 mi (3.9 km) away.
Located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Tu Du Hospital and Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area. Bui Vien Walking Street and An Dong Market are also within 1 mile (2 km).
This family-friendly Ho Chi Minh City hotel is located in the entertainment district, steps away from Dong Khoi Shopping Street, Ho Chi Minh City Hall and Museum of Ho Chi Minh City. Vincom Center Shopping Mall and Saigon River are also within 5 minutes.
Located in Dong Khoi, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Nguyen Hue Walking Street and Saigon Square. Ben Thanh Market and Bitexco Financial Tower are also within 10 minutes.
This luxury hotel is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, walking distance from Zen Plaza, Ben Thanh Market and September 23 Park. Also nearby are Tao Dan Park and Bui Vien Walking Street.
Located in Downtown Ho Chi Minh City, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Square and Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker Area. Saigon River and Bui Vien Walking Street are also within 10 minutes.