May 2018. Ho Chi Minh’s action-packed Bui Vien Street is the city’s premier backpacker haven. Just think of a Vietnamese Khao San Road and you’ll know where I’m coming from. Stuffed full of restaurants, cafes, bars, massage parlors, travel agents, shops and even a dodgy dentist, pretty much every creature comfort you could pine for can be found here. In the day it’s busy enough, but it really comes into its own at night when hassle levels skyrocket and a walk from one end to the other often feels like a stressful assault course. Having said that, I think that the quality of westerner and indeed the general behavior here is much better than that of the Bangkok version! Bui Vien 1 Khao San 0.
May 2018. I’d booked a hotel in one of the streets running off Bui Vien, so it was here that I landed on a miserable, stormy afternoon that had reduced the street to a rapidly rising paddling pool. My taxi driver had no idea where my hotel was and so in the end I was forced to jump out and duck into a café to protect myself from the lashing rain.
May 2018. With weather conditions worsening by the minute, I thought it prudent to stop in the café for a bit and try Ho Chi Minh’s version of the egg coffee. It was decent! Hooking up to their wifi, I was able to figure out where my street was, after which all that was left to do was sit and be amused by the various people struggling back and forth as the storm raged on.
May 2018. There are some great eateries on Bui Vien! Over the course of my week in Ho Chi Minh I sampled a handful of places and this no-nonsense Vietnamese joint ticked all the boxes. Offering a broad range of national dishes, the food is freshly prepared, tasty and easy on the wallet. None of the staff speaks English, but the menu has English captions and photos aplenty. Get a table outside and you’ll have a prime viewing spot of Bui Vien’s mischievous vibe.
May 2018. If you’re happy to spend a bit more this excellent Middle Eastern meets Mediterranean place was newly opened when I swung by. The service was v… e… r… y… slow (which I didn’t mind at all as I had a mountain of photo editing to do). And in any case the wait was totally worth it! I went for the hummus, piping hot pitta bread and a plate of lamb shish kebab with salad. Faultless!
For more on my experiences in this Vietnamese city, have a wade through my many articles on Ho Chi Minh.
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