Bui Vien Walking Street: the essential guides to explore Pho Tay Saigon

Bui Vien Walking Street will be a top destination if you want to spend a sleepless night in Ho Chi Minh City. The local people call this area “Pho Tay” – the tourist town, which is a diverse culinary paradise with a bustling atmosphere.

bui vien walking street
Bui Vien Walking Street | © Ryo Tezuka/fickr

Let’s go with Exotic Travel to explore this place!

Bui Vien Walking Street

Location: Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, District 1, HCMC
The walking area includes Bui Vien, De Tham, Do Quan Dau Streets.
Time of walking: 7:00 pm – 2:00 am (Sat and Sun).

When coming to Bui Vien Walking Street, you will enjoy many free things, including toilets, WIFI, free tourist assistance, and free smiles. Every weekend, Bui Vien street is busier to come and go, both the Vietnamese and foreign tourists. This road together with De Tham and Pham Ngu Lao streets is known as Pho Tay (West Street or tourist town). This area never sleeps, many roadside shops never close.

1. Why does this have the name of Pho Tay (Western Street)?

Before 1975, this place was called the International Crossroads. This name could not find on the map but was used to describe the area of the five roads around Rap Hat Cong Dan ( the workers’ theatre). Those are five streets of Bui Vien (Protective Voice), De Tham (Dixmude), Do Quang Dau, Tran Hung Dao (Gallieni), and Pham Ngu Lao (Colonel Grimmauld).

Pho Tay (Western street or tourist town) was later called by the local people because there are so many western tourists from all over the world gathered. Most of them are backpackers. This street has long been multicultural, multinational with lots of Asian, Australian, European and American tourists. So, Pho Tay correctly means the tourist town.

2. Interesting activities at Pho Tay Bui Vien

On two nights of weekends, the authority does not allow the cars and motorbike on Bui Vien Street, De Tham, and Do Quang Dau from 7:00 pm to 2:00 am of the next morning to serve entertainment activities here.

Therefore, if you want to spend a night with Saigon, go to Bui Vien walking street when the streets light up, the atmosphere becomes bustling, crowded with tourists. On the weekends, there are many different art activities right on the streets. You can find a lot of delicious dishes at food stalls right on the pavements.

Every night comes, Bui Vien becomes more bustling by tourists with different colours of skin, hair and language. The bright lights and lively music emanating from the cafes, bars and pubs along both sides of the street make the guests feel excited.

With the name of the tourist town, it also has a difference from the other roads in the city. That’s what you can play comfortably at night, especially late at night. This place is a town that never sleeps in Saigon. The style and decoration here follow modern styles. The restaurants will have English letters for international visitors.

In addition to bars and pubs, the street beer on the sidewalk of Pho Tay Bui Vien is also crowded. People often choose to come to Bui Vien to sip cold beer bottles, and they can confide, chat with friends and feel the atmosphere of a Saigon at night.

Pho Tay Bui Vien Saigon
Bars at Bui Vien | © Linh Dinh/flickr

>>> See more the Ho Chi Minh rooftop bars.

On the roads, there are many interesting and unique activities and entertainment. The art performances from the sidewalk to the middle of the road have attracted the attention of many visitors, creating a very lively atmosphere. Arriving at Bui Vien walking street, you do not miss the experience of sitting on the sidewalk sipping a little cold beer and swaying to the exciting music tunes.

Besides the restaurants, there are also bookstores, travel agencies, massage shops, and grocery stores.

3. Where to eat in Pho Tay Bui Vien Saigon

3.1. Co Le barbecue

One of the highlights in Bui Vien Street is barbecue restaurants with all kinds of seafood, goats, cows, legs, wings, chicken gizzards. Co Le barbecue shop is quite interesting when you want to eat here.

The food here is quite delicious, marinated by a lot of herbs and spicy ingredients. The restaurant with opening-space style combined with low tables and chairs close together to create a sense of closeness, intimacy. Grilled food is eaten with green pepper and salt, that is great. The price of each is from VND 10,000. With only about 100,000 VND / person, you had a full meal here.

3.2. Bui Vien Beer

If Hanoi is famous for beer in Ta Hien Street, Bui Vien is the best known to Sai Gon people. Along the walking street are beer bars with quite low prices. Drink beer and chat with friends at Bui Vien is a good experience you must try when coming to Saigon.

Bui Vien Street Saigon
Taste beer at Bui Vien Street | © Kretzsche93/flickr

3.3. Bui Vien snail

Another dish that receives a lot of attention in Pho Tay Bui Vien is the snail. The most famous snail shop is situated at the end of Bui Vien street with different kinds of delicious snails, and there are also crabs and clams.

3.4. Whole fruit smoothie

Most people go to the tourist town to drink beer, but some people come to taste smoothies. And telling about the smoothies at Bui Vien, the people often mention the Five Boys bar. The reason is that the smoothies here have more pieces of thickly sliced ​​fruits inside the cups, so they can not only drink but also eat them.

The smoothies here are very diverse with many unique types to bring diners the unique exotic drinks. That is why many young people go to Bui Vien, even if they don’t drink any beer, they don’t need to go to the bar but still have fun!

3.5. Delicious street food

Street food has become a lifestyle not only in Bui Vien area but anywhere in Vietnam. Here, never worry about your starvation because there are dozens of street food in the distance of 2km. The local people sell everything from fried corn, confectionery to baked potatoes, then bread, clam shellfish, …

It is not difficult to find various kinds of fresh seafood, Vietnamese bread, western bread, grilled food, dried squid, and even fresh fruits. All create the soul of the lively streets life in Saigon, that is also the typical style in Vietnam.

Although selling the food on the pavement, sellers also prepare the chairs and time for you to a seat. If you want to walk, you can order take-a-way packs with few tens of thousand VND. It is interesting to taste flavour food while walking in crowded groups.

>>> Please check more the top Saigon food.

3.6. Tao pho – tofu with sugar

This dish seems simple because we can find most places in Vietnam. But, when it comes to tofu in Bui Vien street, people will remember the street store selling this dish is located next to house number 169 for many years. From 5:00 pm, the inn starts selling and is always crowded.

The tofu of this site has a fragrant smell of soybeans. It’s great when eaten with coconut milk and sugar liquid. It’s because Tao Pho of the shop still keeps the traditional flavour, so many local people love to taste it at his place.

3.7. Taste coffee at Cong cafe

You will see countless modern Western-style bars or cafes in Bui Vien. However, Cong Cafe with a classic style has appeared to create a special feature in this busy street.

The shop is airy and breathtaking in the ancient Hanoi. Its space is beautiful, quiet, and from the second floor, you can look down to see people walking on Bui Vien Street.

The shop is suitable for those who want to sit alone, read a book or find relaxation in their souls. The menu here is diverse and plentiful for you to choose.

4. Notes before visiting Bui Vien Walking Street

  • Bui Vien Walking Street in District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City starts operating from 7:00 pm to 2:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays. All vehicles will be banned. The management staff will set up car ban boards at the beginning of the sections: De Tham – Bui Vien and Do Quang Dau.
  • There are 2 parking lots near the intersection of Do Quang Dau and Pham Ngu Lao and 1 parking lot at the corner of Nguyen Thai Hoc and Tran Hung Dao.
  • In addition, you can come to the car park 23-9 at Sen Hong children theatre at Le Lai street. The parking price is from usually 15,000-20,000 VND.
  • If you like singing or watching the performance, you can come to the 2 small stages on Bui Vien street where is to exchange cultural art.
  • While walking along the streets, please notice your wallet to avoid pickpockets. It is because of crowded people.

Bui Vien Walking Street often appears in the list of famous tourist destinations in Ho Chi Minh City. Its bustle and diversity create its own street culture. If you have come to Saigon without visiting Pho Tay Bui Vien, it is a big miss. The interesting life of this place will help you forget the worries and stress of daily activities.