Backpacker District in Saigon

I found myself trawling up and down the backpacker district in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) looking for accommodation on the morning that I arrived in the city.

Let’s just say I was happy to leave Nha Trang and get on yet another sleeper train to Saigon. Of course, by the time I got to Saigon at 5.30am I was ready for some real sleep, although I knew that I wouldn’t be getting any…

backpacker district in saigon

Guide books for sale in the backpacker district in Saigon

Welcome to the Backpacker District in Saigon

We took a taxi to the seedy backpacker area when we arrived in Saigon, and found ourselves on Pham Ngu Lao. This is the main street of the backpacker district in Saigon, though the district is only six blocks wide and two deep and pretty much all the streets are just as busy and crazy as Pham Ngu Lao.

As it was too early to go looking for accommodation we decided to have breakfast first and we sat outside at one of the many bars lining the street and observed as the city of Saigon started to wake up.

Pham Ngu Lao: The heart of the backpacker district in Saigon

We sat back and drank in the street as well as our coffee:

Backpackers could be seen coming and going, lugging their worldly possessions with them, lost in their maps and arguing with friends about the right way to go.

Street sellers started to appear, toting souvenirs, guide books and lighters – the already confused backpackers swatting them away like flies.

The shoe-shiners started to do their rounds of the cafes trying to clean the flip flops and trainers of anyone and everyone.

The man with one arm and one leg appeared and so did the blind man and the mother with the small child, all with their hands outstretched, interrupting everybody’s breakfast…

Finding a place to stay in the backpacker district in Saigon

We finished our coffee, collected our backpacks and prepared to run the Pham Ngu Lao gauntlet to find somewhere to stay.

We enquired at many places along the street but there was either no room at the inn or the prices were not right for us.

We just got almost to the end of the street and were doubling back when we saw the tiniest little entrance to a place above a hairdressers, so we just nipped in on the off chance and it turned out that they not only had two rooms available right there and then but that they were only about $15 per night per room and the laundry was free!

So we dumped our stuff, showered the train off us and hit the busy streets. It was time to organise our next adventure into the Mekong Delta

Worried about finding a place to stay in the backpacker district in Saigon? Don’t be. There are hundreds of places. If you don’t find somewhere immediately on any of the main streets, just duck down one of the little alleyways and you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Got any tips to share about places to stay in Saigon? Let’s hear them.

Filed Under: asiafeaturedSaigonvietnam


About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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