Pham Ngu Lao is a ward or an area.
A backpackers area if you must.
The main street where all the activity happens is actually Bui Vien. It has a great tourist vibe to it. sidewalk cafes where you can grab half-a-dollar beers. Fruit shakes with actual fruit bits. Cheap authentic vietnamese food. Travel agencies, Hostels.
Stay here for a great Ho Chi Minh experience!