We synthesized ZnO nanorods (NRs) using simple hydrothermal method, with the simultaneous incorporation of gallium (Ga) and indium (In), in addition, investigated the co-doping effect on the morphology, microstructure, electronic structure, and electrical/optical properties. The growth behavior of the doped NRs was affected by the nuclei density and polarity of the (001) plane. The c-axis parameter of the co-doped NRs was similar to that of undoped NRs due to the compensated lattice distortion caused by the presence of dopants that are both larger (In3+) and smaller (Ga3+) than the host Zn2+ cations. Red shifts in the ultraviolet emission peaks were observed in all doped NRs, owing to the combined effects of NR size, band gap renormalization, and the presence of stacking faults created by the dopant-induced lattice distortions. In addition, the NR/p-GaN diodes using co-doped NRs exhibited superior electrical conductivity compared to the other specimens due to the increase in the charge carrier density of NRs and the relatively large effective contact area of (001) planes. The simultaneous doping of In and Ga is therefore anticipated to provide a broader range of optical, physical, and electrical properties of ZnO NRs for a variety of opto-electronic applications.