I. What is Bui Vien street?
Bui Vien Walking Street, a nightlife tourist attraction in Saigon, is an ideal venue for Western guests and young Saigonese to come to eat and hang out every time they go down the street.
Bui Vien street is so-called “Western Street” (Pho Tay) referring to its Western culture-orientated features. Before becoming a walking city, Bui Vien street was crowded with backpackers coming here to have fun, try unfamiliar cuisines and explore a new place during their trip to Saigon.
- Location: Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Walking time: 7:00 pm – 2:00 am (Sat and Sun)
II. History of Bui Vien Street
Bui Vien street, also known as Western Street or the International Intersection, is located on De Tham, Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao, and Do Quang Dau Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Bui Vien street used to be very thinly distributed in population but it was in 2009 when the area started to get more crowded and thus attracted increasing numbers of traders coming in to do business. Nowadays, Bui Vien street is one of the most crowded streets in Ho Chi Minh city.
The street was opened for pedestrians on 15th July 2017 and on 20th August 2017, a grand opening ceremony was held and Bui Vien street officially gained its title as a walking street. It is the second walking street in Ho Chi Minh city, after Nguyen Hue walking street.
Before 1975, the area was unofficially called the International Intersection by journalists and artists, the appellation referred to the five streets around Nguyen Van Hao cinema (now called The Worker cinema). The name was popular among journalists and writers for the fact that the area used to consist of many printing stores and newsrooms.
After 1975, the quarter became a tourist attraction, especially among backpackers, which explains the other name locals gave the street: Western Street. At the time, most tourists coming to Bui Vien street were from America, Britain, and France. Nowadays, however, the area is considered a multicultural area with many travelers and residents coming from all around the world.
It was the Westerners’ flocking to Bui Vien street that helps the area become so crowded. Westerner tourists tend to be more free-handed and have higher demands for temporary accommodation, food, and services in general. The high demands intrigued traders to come and boost the economy of the whole area.
III. Is Bui Vien Walking Street Safe?
Being an extremely crowded tourist interest, the safety of travelers coming to Bui Vien street has always been questioned. It is unfortunate that we couldn’t say that Bui Vien street is completely safe for tourists.
Large number of people makes it hard for police and the authority to put close control on activities there. Despite Ho Chi Minh City’s authority’s efforts, there is still prostitution, pickpockets, and other illicit activities on Bui Vien street.
Travelers visiting Bui Vien street should take high care of their belongings and as long as they can keep that in mind, it is not likely that you will be victimized in illegal activities.
IV. What You Need to Know about Bui Vien Street
Bui Vien street, which has made a household name for itself as a renowned bustling western town of the young Saigonese, has become the second walking street in Saigon. It is crowded with thousands of both Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese tourists in the evening or on weekends, so I highly recommend that you walk down this street to fully experience the hustle and bustle of Saigon.
Bui Vien Street is perceived as a backpacker district comprising many restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, pubs and bars. No vehicles are allowed in Bui Vien Street within 500 meters from De Tham to Do Quang Dau between 7:00 PM and 2:00 AM on weekends to enable different sorts of entertainment activities including exploring Vietnamese folk games and the bustling and lively Saigonese nightlife, indulging yourself in foods and beverages and treating yourself to a massage. Are those enough to arouse your curiosity? Let’s go into details now.
1. Bui Vien Walking Street
Bui Vien Walking Street is a go-to destination for foreign tourists and Saigonese young generation when the night falls, making it a crowded multi-ethnic street with visitors from all over the world. This walking street aims to diversify forms of night entertainment activities for tourists and residents.
There will be street art performances, ethnic and contemporary music, satisfying public mental needs and facilitating interactions with non-Vietnamese friends and world cultural integration. In this sense, Bui Vien walking street actually promotes Vietnamese traditional values – hospitality and friendliness and features our open-minded attitudes towards other cultures, thereby becoming an emerging cultural destination. As far as I’m concerned, organizers intend to do intensive research and develop tourism products and a number of festival events that are peculiar to the pedestrian street in alignment with the actual conditions of the nearby neighborhood.
2. Bui Vien Street Coffee Shops
As a Saigon Western Street, there is a widely held belief that Bui Vien must be filled with a fast-paced lifestyle, a good few bustling bars and noisy pubs. Be that as it may, in the midst of that seemingly endless noise, there are various cafes nestled in an empty, tumultuous alley, waiting to be explored. These venues afford you every opportunity to find a secluded place to enjoy solitude, quietly listen to the soft sounds of Saigon or simply read a book, freewrite and muse on past events.
From my perspective, sipping a cup of coffee here really has soothing effects allowing me to temporarily take my mind off my worries to wind down after trying days, and preponderantly, it offers a change of air, that is, it helps me escape from my hectic schedule and the fast pace of life in Saigon for a moment to enjoy the tranquility.
► Recommended Places:
- Cong Cafe:
Location: 127-129 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Opening hours: 07:00 AM – 02:00 AM
Tel: +84 911 811 145
Price Range: 30,000 VND – 100,000 VND
- Tiem ca phe Dong Duong:
Location: 101 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Opening hours: 08:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Tel: +84 862 706 716
Price Range: 30,000 VND – 50,000 VND
- King Coffee:
Location: 203 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 08:00 AM – 12:00 AM
Tel: +84 2836 361 023
Price Range: 29.000 VND – 100.000 VND
- Goc Ha Noi:
Location: 165/3 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 08:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Price Range: 29,000 VND – 50,000 VND
>> Check out: 16 Dos & Don’ts When Traveling in Vietnam
3. Bui Vien Street Bars & Pubs
Earning a name for itself as a Western street, Bui Vien also has Western characteristics – vibrant night outs with a series of unique and exciting pubs and bars. There is Western-style decoration and English translation for international visitors. This street is also known as the most luxurious street that “never sleeps” in Saigon with shimmering lights. The bar’s DJ team is always on fire to create the best remixed version based on the typical Vietnamese EDM music, Vinahouse. Despite being frequently crowded, the bars in Bui Vien street attempt enormously to maintain good quality services.
Some bars located in a prime position also offer a panoramic breathtaking view of the city at night. Beverages all made by professional bartenders vary greatly, and some are mixed together to create new flavors to always bring freshness to customers. There are also bars in which you can engage in such thrilling games as billiards and darts. The waiting staff here are very friendly, enthusiastic and attentive customers’ needs all the time.
► Recommended places:
- Sahara Beer Club:
Location: 113 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Opening hours: 6:00 PM – 00:00 AM
Tel: +84 902 006 394
Price range: 50.000 VND – 700.000 VND
- The View Rooftop Bar:
Location: 195 Bui Vien Street. Pham Ngu Lao Ward. District 1 9th Floor Of Duc Vuong Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 09:00 AM – 01:00 AM
Tel: +84 936 363 505
Price range: 35.000 VND – 300.000 VND
- Hair Of The Dog:
Location: 194 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Opening hours: 7:00 PM – 02:00 AM
Tel: +84 936 157 636
Price range: 50.000 VND – 200.000 VND
- Donkey Sport Bar:
Location: 119-121 Bui Vien Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Opening hours: 3:00 PM – 02:00 AM
Tel: +84 933 988 002
Price range: 100.000 VND – 1.000.000 VND
4. Eating in Bui Vien street
Many restaurants and eateries have sprung up in Bui Vien Street from high-end to low-end types, creating a diverse rich cuisine with a variety of dishes that can’t be ignored at every opportunity. Food Stalls of Street food are quite popular here, and just 2-3 dollars are sufficient to fill your stomach and satisfy your appetites. In general, the foods are reasonably priced and cooked according to Vietnamese, Indian, Italian, Chinese and Western cuisines; just from 100,000 VND to 200,000 VND for a decent filling meal with beverages.
The most ubiquitous in Bui Vien street is the barbecue offering grilled chicken, pork, beef and even seafood. The well-established recipes handed down from generation to generation promises an amazing experience if you are a food enthusiast like me, I suppose. The dishes here are mouth-watering, flavourful and served together with dipping sauces, and the space is airy, combined with low tables and chairs, which creates a feeling of familiarity and intimacy.
Just like famous Ta Hien beer (Bia Hoi corner) in Hanoi, Bui Vien beer – a cool beer specialty – is very popular with the young in Saigon. Trust me, gathering with friends, shooting the breeze while drinking a few glasses of Bui Vien beer is by all means your must-try activity as a visitor to Saigon.
If the majority in this Western street opt for beer, some come for smoothies – a combination of thick fruit pieces, milk, ice cream and yogurt.
Such a wide array of foods, I believe, can cater for all tastes even if you are very picky and fastidious in eating. Some recommended places are as follows and I hope that my sharing can guide you to your go-to eateries.
► Recommended places:
Location: 216 De Tham Street Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Main food: Vietnamese traditional food
Opening hours: 08:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Tel: +84 8 3838 5665
Price range: 100,000 VND – 1,000,000 VND
Location: 111 Bui Vien District 1, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam
Main food: Italian food
Opening hours: 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Tel: +84 8 3920 7668
- La Casa
Location: 40A Bui Vien Street Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Main food: Pub – Mexican, Spanish, Italian or Thai food
Opening hours: 12:00 AM – 11:59 PM
Tel: +84 28 3920 9749
Price range: 35,000 VND – 275,000 VND
- Bia Bui Vien (Beer)
Location: 71 Bui Vien Street Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Opening hours: 09:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Price range: 20.000 VND – 110.000 VND
- Lang nuong nho Ba Sau
Location: 198/4 Bui Vien Street Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Main food: Barbecue
Opening hours: 17:00 PM – 5:00 AM
Tel: +84 908 230 721
Price range: 10,000 VND – 120,000 VND
- Five Boys
Location: 84/7 Bui Vien Street Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City 70000 Vietnam
Main beverage: Smoothies
Opening hours: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Tel: +84 128 988 229
Price range: 20,000 VND – 40,000 VND
5. Bui Vien Street Accommodation
If you are a long-distance visitor, it is advisable to access online channels such as Booking.com and Agoda, which are very convenient because you can refer to customers’ reviews, compare prices and book rooms in advance during the peak tourist season.
Many types of accommodation are available, so with a wide range of choices, you can select one that suits your demands and pocket. Hostels and guesthouses are popular and rooms and dorms cost roughly 10 dollars per night, which are favoured greatly by visitors on a tight budget. Besides, there are luxurious hotels located near Bui Vien Street with first-rate services and top notch facilities with good reviews and ratings such as Bui Vien 84 hotel; Beautiful Saigon Boutique; Lily Hostel and The Hideout Hostel Saigon. Despite lying in the centre of the city center, accommodation in this area is very affordable and even budget-friendly for backpackers, so don’t worry about having to pay through the nose to get a place to stay. Let’s check out these hotels.
6. Bui Vien Street Massage
As a matter of fact, massage is a good way to ease pain in our body, namely our muscles and joints and put our mind at ease. In Bui Vien Street, as mentioned before, diverse art activities take place on the sidewalk and roadway. Here, you can easily find massage spas or salons for relaxation after a long tiring day, some of which are not quite affordable, so as for first-time tourists, it is necessary to ask about prices in advance.
There are a number of types of massage offered including foot massage, back massage, full-body massage and so on. The wifi is readily available in these massage parlors in order for you to kill the time while waiting or keep on chatting while enjoying decent services. If you want a full-body massage, the duration may range from one hour to two hours, and it depends on customers as to whether to use oil or not. However, without oil, oil massages appear preferable because it is more comfy and gentle, enhancing your experience to the full.
- Zen Spa Foot and Body Massage
Location: 244 De Tham Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 10AM–12AM
Tel: +84 909 733 988
- Vietspa Healing Energy
Location: 25 Bui Vien, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Opening hours: 24 hours daily
Tel: +84 918 630 830
7. Bui Vien Street Red Light District
Apart from features of a lively nightlife like other walking streets, Bui Vien Street is also known as “Red light district” in Ho Chi Minh City. You can often catch a glimpse of sexy ladies striving for men to offer services late at night. Hookers here come in three types including hostess girls in some bars, massage girls spotted along the street, and even freelance girls in either clubs or streets.
Nevertheless, hooking up with strange girls on the streets may lead to some unexpected situations after pleasure of sexual moments. There are cases reported in which ladies vanished into thin air along with men’s wallet, cell phones and other valuable belongings. Hence, be careful and guard your possessions while having girlfriend experiences.
V. Extra Notes
- Never leave your personal belongings such as phones, wallets and other valuable items unattended.
- All vehicles are not allowed 7:00 pm to 2:00 am on Saturdays and Sundays to make ways for the walking street.
- The notice of the ban on vehicles is put on De Tham – Bui Vien Street and Do Quang Dau Street. Located near the intersection of Pham Ngu Lao Street and Do Quang Dau Street are two parking lots, and there is still one more right at the corner of Nguyen Thai Hoc Street and Tran Hung Dao Street.
- Do not miss out on the open-air arts programmes on Bui Vien Street for the purpose of cultural exchanges among people from different countries
VI. Frequently Asked Questions about Bui Vien Street
Bui Vien walking street starts from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am on weekends, so you cannot enter this street with a vehicle. During this time, you can enjoy a lively nightlife street, and I’m so sure that Bui Vien deserves to be addressed as “Pho Tay”. Just give it a try for new hands-on experiences.
At first, Bui Vien street was just one of the streets surrounding Rap Hat Cong Dan; however, Pho Tay was later given to this street by the residents, for it has attracted a large number of western tourists from all corners of the globe, most of whom are backpackers. There is no exaggeration to say that Bui Vien street has long been a mini-melting pot with tourists coming from Asia, European, Africa and so on. All of these above mentioned factors constitute a tourist town – Bui Vien street.
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