Though Pham Ngu Lao is technically only one street, the name normally refers to the whole backpacker ghetto area southeast of Pham Ngu Lao street. When independent travelling was slowly picking up in Vietnam, residences in the Pham Ngu Lao neighbourhood were renting out cheap rooms illegally. Today, the block constrained by the streets Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien, Hem 28 Bui Vien and Do Quang Dau is chockablock with cheap hotels, cafes, tour agents, counterfeit DVD vendors, fake outdoor equipment shops, bars and persistent photocopied-books sellers. Every night, confused backpackers get dropped off here by the many open tours and buses from Cambodia, but it only takes a moment to feel at home here among gangsters, hustlers, and friends. It is a vibrant madness with a strong flavour of Vietnam, which is only outdone by Khao San in Bangkok and maybe Kuta Beach in Bali in terms of backpacker density.