Pham Ngu Lao Backpacker’s District – Ho Chi Minh City – Saigon

As any great backpacker knows, the key to surviving on a budget while traveling is to locate that signature “backpacker” street that has all of the cheap hotels, incredible street food, and endless sea of colorful bars. 

In Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam the best backpacker street is on the west side of District 1 called Pham Ngu Lao. While the most famous street is Pham Ngu Lao, there are also dozen’s of little side streets that branch off in all directions where all of the real secret places are found. 

Where is the backpacker st in Ho Chi Minh City?

Ho Chi Minh city is split into different districts and you’ll find Pham Ngu Lao St. in District 1 on the west side. You can find it by using the map below on Google. I suggest downloading maps offline on Google Maps prior to arriving for all of Ho Chi Minh city so you dont have to worry about having access to your maps while exploring.

You can get to Pham Ngu Lao street from the airport by requesting via a taxi but it can often be difficult to communicate in English to the drivers so I suggest using Grab Car to get there. If you haven’t use Grab before, it’s the same exact setup as Uber and is the best way to safely get around the city. 

What to do on Pham Ngu Lao St?

The backpacker’s district in Ho Chi Minh has literally hundreds of bars and restaurants lining the streets. I suggest that you find the smaller side streets that dont have cars going down them as those ones will have more of the authentic food at cheaper prices. The busy streets filled with people can often be the “tourist trap” ones that you’ll end up spending twice as much. 

The side streets are really where the best places can be found during the day. Cheap shops full of awesome souvenir shops, affordable food for full meals, and be sure to try as much food from the street vendors as you can. 

After filling up on a meal in the morning, it’s time to head out and walk around the city. You can reach most attractions within a 10-15 minute walk from the backpacker’s district easily. You can see images below of each of the primary attractions, but if you need a full guide and history of the city you can find that here

Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral

Saigon Opera House

People’s Committee Building Saigon

Reunification Palace

War Remnants Museum

Ben Than Market

Ho Chi Minh Central Post Office

At night, you’ll find that Pham Ngu Lao changes drastically. Every building is lit up with colorful lights and spotlights are crisscrossing the street in every direction trying to lure your attention to their club. This is the time that the street will feel more like a red light district than a backpackers one. 

With hundreds of bars/clubs around it’s easy to get lost every night with endless beers and mixed drinks – especially since they are  about$1 each!

Best Cheap Hotels on Pham Ngu Lao St

If you want the best cheap hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, then you should search the surrounding streets right around Pham Ngu Lao st. You’ll find hotels as low as $10-15 a night thats both clean/nice but it also includes breakfast! Where in the world can you find something like that but here???

This is one of the key reasons I will return to HCM over and over because after a week at a hotel you still haven’t racked up $100 yet. Here are some of the best cheap hotels in Ho Chi Minh just near the backpacker’s district. 

Dragon Palace Hotel

You’ll find there’s 3 different Dragon Palace hotel’s in the backpackers district and they’re all similar in style/price. Their rooms are simple with a clean bathroom, small desk and a queen size bed good for 2. You can also get bigger rooms with two beds as well. Includes free breakfast which has both local food options and basic eggs/toast/fruit. 

Dragon Palace Hotel is my preferred hotel whenever I visit Vietnam! 

Price: USD $19 per night for 2
Click here to check current rates. 

Castella Hotel

The Castella Hotel is located right in the backpacker’s district where the action can be found. The rooms aren’t spacious, but they are clean and  comfortable with a private bath.  Step right outside the hotel and there are plenty of places to eat and drink at. 

Within a 15 minute walk to all of the popular attractions including the Opera House, Notre Dame Church, and City Hall. 

Price: USD $15 per night for 2
Click here to check current rates. 

Le Le Hotel

Perfectly located along Pham Ngu Lao street, the Le Le Hotel is extremely affordable and in perfect walking distance to everywhere in Ho Chi Minh that tourist will want to find. Unlimited cheap food and bars to one side, a beautiful park in front of it, and the historic buildings to the other side.

While the Le Le Hotel isn’t the newest building, it’s well maintained and the rooms are clean and comfortable. Don’t expect a fancy place, but it’s perfect for those on-the-go travelers looking for a cheap hotel with free breakfast while they’re bouncing around the city. 

Price: USD $16 per night for 2
Click here to check current rates. 

Vietnam Travel Guide

Checkout our full guide to Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City here

Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide

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