Commonly called “Pho Tay” (street of foreigners), Pham Ngu Lao area in Saigon is a convenient place to find cheap accommodation, food and nightlife. Located in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, “Pho Tay” comprises of numerous thoroughfares, including De Tham, Bui Vien, and Do Quang Dao streets. This area is a familiar address for literally everyone from low-budget travelers to locals. The rhythm here is always busy and noisy, especially at night when the streets get insanely crowded.
Whatever you’re looking for, from local cuisine to international food, from banh mi (bread), banh xeo (pancakes), pho (the most popular rice noodle soup), bun bo Hue (also a rice noodle soup but a bit thicker than pho) to Indian, Turkish, Italian, Mexican dishes, Pham Ngu Lao is able to satisfy your craving. Thanks to the diversity, now you need to choose what to eat from tons of options. You may also want to have yourself a ca phe sua da, a powerful Vietnamese coffee mixed with milk which you can find in any coffee shop.
There are plenty of lively souvenir-and-craft stalls within the narrow lanes of Pham Ngu Lao. Here you can find almost everything: t-shirts, conical hats, handicrafts, silk, paintings, tea, coffee, coconut candies, tropical fruits and more. Remember to bargain.
Have you ever tried wandering around Pham Ngu Lao area in the morning? You’ll be surprised by how quiet and peaceful the street is compared to its bustling pace in the evening. As Pham Ngu Lao is not such a large area, it’s the perfect place to explore the alleys, immerse yourself in the local culture and be amazed by charming colonial-era buildings where local families have been living for generations.
Perfect for experiencing “nhậu” cultural, Pham Ngu Lao gathers many incredibly cheap beer stalls on the roadside. It is a great place to relax, people watch and meet friendly expats from all over the world.