By Kieu Giang in HCMC
|A group of Vietnamese youth gathers at Boheme pub in the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao Street downtown – Photo: Kieu Giang|
I think the backpacker area in Pham Ngu Lao-Bui Vien-De Tham streets downtown is more like a local youth hangout area.
You can easily find many young Saigonese gather in the location whether it is during the week or especially at night during the weekend.
From around 7 p.m. onwards groups of Vietnamese youth who dress in trendy outfits meet each other at the most popular venues, Le Pub and Boheme on Pham Ngu Lao Street and Thanh Ha streetside beer shop on Bui Vien Street.
These people who are teenagers, white collar workers, Viet kieu (overseas Vietnamese) and celebrities choose this area as their usual hangout.
One reason is that they can meet and make friends with foreigners from everywhere in the world. Some find going to these places as a way to be cool and trendy. Others enjoy the comfortable atmosphere and catchy tunes of hip hop and R&B from some high-quality speakers which guarantee good sounds for guests who even sit on the outside area.
Le Pub and Boheme offer good cocktails, beers and food at cheap prices from VND60,000 (around US$3), VND20,000 (US$1) and VND65,000 respectively. Especially, most people are fond of the new drinking styles as a whole group shares a jug of juice mixed with alcohol and ice at Le Pub or the same drink served in a stainless steel bottle which is about 70cm high at Boheme. These drinking styles help connect people in the group and dispel the heat and of course for economical purposes.
On the contrary, those who choose to entertain themselves at Thanh Ha shop and its neighboring stops on Bui Vien mostly prefer drinking beers and street snacks like grilled squid, boiled eggs and fruit on plastic chairs on the pavement and enjoy the street atmosphere where street entertainers and some hot girls and guys on the opposite side entertain.
They can also find lots of food and drinks at unbelievably cheap prices from VND15,000 to have a big feast. It’s quite funny that these streetside shops are always overloaded and the owners sometimes have to ask guests to leave to give spaces for newcomers and they even solicit guests to come.
As the night wears on, the party is even more exciting in this area. If you are wondering the reason, just come and find the answer for yourself. The backpacker area is waiting to treat you to a different side of Saigon.