For a month now, Saigon has banned vehicles from Bui Vien Street in its backpacker precinct in District 1 on weekend nights, and is finishing work to turn Bui Vien into an official pedestrian street.
And landlords are not missing out on the chance to cash in on the plan.
Compared to seven months ago, the cost of land on streets around Bui Vien has increased 34.7% on average, and up to 130% in some areas, according to the latest report by HCMC-based real estate evaluation firm Gachvang.
On De Tham Street, the price per square meter has jumped from VND194.8 million (US$8,500) in January to VND450.5 million this month. Vietnam's average annual income was around US$2,200 last year.
The cost is now VND518.5 million on Cong Quynh Street, up 62%; VND508.65 million on Bui Vien Street, up 59%; and VND472.5 million on Pham Ngu Lao Street, up 48%.
It is just as high on streets crossing Bui Vien, running around or leading to the walking street, standing at VND600 million per square meter on Le Lai Street and VND440 million on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.
Gachvang predicts that land prices in the area will continue to rise in the coming months when work on Bui Vien has been completed.
The backpacker precinct pulls in around 2,000 tourists on its best days and earns more than VND37 billion (US$1.63 million) a year.
New granite paving, stages for music performances, surveillance cameras, security guards, free wifi and public toilets are being installed at an estimated cost of VND13 billion (US$572,300).
The story is the same in Hanoi.
Several parts of Hanoi’s Old Quarter around the backpacker area have opened walking zones, and prices have shot up to nearly VND700 million per square meter on some streets.
Prices for one square meter on Dao Duy Tu Street which leads to the backpacker zone have climbed from VND360 million to VND547 million over the past seven months.
The current prices stand at VND660 million per square meter on Hang Can Street, VND650 million on Hang Dao Street and VND582 million on Dinh Liet Street.
Expect to pay VND340-495 million on other streets that lead to the backpacker area, including Ta Hien, Nguyen Sieu, Ma May, Hang Giay, Lan Ong, Hang Ngang, Hang Buom, Luong Ngoc Quyen and Luong Van Can.