A trip to Saigon cannot be considered complete without a visit to the wild, colorful and chaotic Bui Vien backpacker area. Whether you’re looking for loud clubs, busy bars, great food, or relax and people-watch while sitting on a tiny plastic chair drinking cheap beer, you’ll find it in Bui Vien.
Bui Vien often called Backpackers Street for obvious reasons. Backpackers used to visit the area and take advantage of the affordable hostels. One stroll through the street, and it is not hard to understand how it got its name. But, demographics of the backpacker area have changed, and you’ll now find all kinds of travelers along with locals.
The perfect way to enjoy this part of Saigon is to find a bar with small plastic stools facing the street, order a refreshing Saigon beer, and watch the chaos unfold in front of you from the safety of your chair.
What to Eat in Bui Vien
You will have countless options for food in the backpacker area. There are plenty of restaurants, food stalls, and street-food vendors offering various cuisine and dishes, catering to whatever you want.
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If you like a lavish meal in a restaurant, we recommend Five Oysters, Lost in Saigon, Gammer Beerhouse, Baba’s Kitchen, and NAM Vietnamese Rooftop Kitchen. There are also some more local and affordable restaurants where you’ll sit on the small plastic chairs by the sidewalk. For more affordable restaurants, we recommend BBQ Saigon Night, Quan Nha La, King Kebab, and Pho Quynh.
Although these restaurants are excellent and highly recommended, you’ll have to taste the street food in Bui Vien to get a feel for the place. Vendors are walking or cycling up and down Bui Vien selling all the famous street food dishes, most notably Banh Me, Banh Xeo, fresh mango, quail eggs, and delicious fried corn with shrimps.
- See also: Top 10 Markets in Saigon
Nightlife in Bui Vien
Bars, clubs, lightly dressed girls, lasers, and street performers make Bui Vien intoxicating to the senses. Loud techno music and laughing gas balloons are surely not to everyone’s taste. Nevertheless, the sheer amount of madness and action that takes place here is a sight to behold for everyone.
The clubs here will blast music every night until the early hours of the morning, and food vendors will anxiously wait outside when you’re done partying to try to sell you an assortment of Saigon street food delicacies.
Best Bars in Bui Vien
Sports bars, rooftop bars, relaxed bars, girly bars – whatever bar you’re looking for, you will find it in the backpacker area. Some of our favorites include Sky Bar Corner, Hair of the Dog, Sahara Bar, Champions Sports Bar and Beer 102.
And last but not least, and perhaps our favorite, is The View, a fantastic rooftop bar where you can watch the chaotic nightlife down below from the safety of the rooftop.
Best Clubs in Bui Vien
If you prefer clubs over bars, you won’t be disappointed. Bui Vien has plenty of them, and the loud music coming from them can be heard from long distances. Our most recommended clubs in the backpacker area are Republic Club, New DC Club, and MZ Club.
Is Bui Vien safe?
Is the backpacker area safe? We do get this question a lot as travelers worry about how this chaotic scene can be safe. Bui Vien is probably as safe as any wild party districts in the world. Violent crimes are rare, but you should take good care of your belongings as pickpocketers operate in the area.
Of course, behind the innocent fun being had on this street, there is a darker side present here. The street performers are many under-aged, the lightly dressed girls are undoubtedly short of different career options, and the countless beggars wandering the streets here are most likely victims of human trafficking rings.
Escaping dark realities like this are, of course, difficult in most countries that belong to the so-called developing world.