Where to Stay in Saigon for the best experience? This is probably the most time consuming part of planning any trip, and one of the most important. Hostel or hotel, city or suburbs, quirky or casual, there are just too many decisions to make and without a recommendation it can be a bit of a needle in a haystack situation. Ho Chi Minh is no different.
There are 24 districts and thousands of hotels in Ho Chi Minh City. Looking for the best area to stay in Ho Chi Minh is not what you want to be doing when you could be looking up fun things to do in HCMC instead. Wouldn’t it be great if there was just a quick list guide to where to stay instead?
I’ve stayed in Ho Chi Minh City a few times, so to help you narrow it down, I’ve detailed the only districts you should really consider.
Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City
District 1 (Downtown)
If you’re anything like me you hear the words ‘financial district’ and dismiss the idea that there could be anything but banks there. For Ho Chi Minh, it’s time to check yourself because that’s certainly not the case. District 1 is the heart of the city and full of French colonial architecture, restaurants, shops, and bars that mean it’s busy way beyond the 5pm home time. In fact, the nightlife is known to go on forever, accompanied by a decent food scene too.
Come day time, staying here also has you within walking distance of top attractions like the Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office and Reunification Palace.
In terms of where to actually stay in District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, the areas of Dong Khoi Street, Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao are probably the most lively and you’ll find plenty of high end hotels like the Park Hyatt Saigon as well as more budget options and hostels like The Hideout here too.
Where to stay in District 1
Mai Vy Hotel
I stayed at the Mai Vy Hotel in Pham Ngu Lao last time I was there. It was in a fantastic location and I enjoyed my stay. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for cheap and quiet, but in a fun place. I was on the top floor with no lift, in a private room. It was above a launderette so that was useful. It wasn’t a particularly social place, or fun, but I liked it.
I paid £13 per night for a private room with a private bathroom.
Blue River Hotel
First time I went I stayed at the Blue River Hotel, which was much nicer and more modern. Of course it was slightly more expensive though at £17 per night, per room. If there’s two of you, then obviously this is the one to go for. This is in the same kind of area as the Mai Vy Hotel, but just around the corner. One slight quirk, the private bathroom had glass walls, thankfully we discovered a blind to pull down but if you’re not super comfortable with the person you’re sharing the room with, it might be slightly awkward.
I paid £17 per night for a private room with a private bathroom.
If you’re carrying more dong than the average backpacker budget, fancy a quieter more suburban district, or have been to Ho Chi Minh once before and want to experience a different side of the city, then consider District 2.
Around 15 minutes from the centre, it’s a big district and a popular neighbourhood with expats, which means there are plenty of Western restaurants, bars and shops. In terms of activity, if you do feel like staying close by then you can take the bus or a taxi to the Saigon Outcast for rock climbing, the Thao Dien Spa for a bit of relaxation or to the many bars along the Saigon River.
There aren’t quite as many accommodation options here but you can still find some nice hotels and a few Airbnbs.
Where to stay in District 2
1933’s House looks like a good option in a great location. It’s got that whole modern pink and grey vibe going on too. Prices start from £10, and that’s with a private bathroom too. You’ll be near temples, pagodas and museums to keep you busy too.
The Hut Boutique Hotel
Otherwise The Hut Boutique Hotel looks like a great option. You even get one of those super cool hammock chairs in your room, too. The Hut has a really nice interior and you’ll be happy and comfortable here, away from the craziness of the city. I’d totally stay here next time I’m in Ho Chi Minh City.
District 1’s less rowdy but equally fun sister, District 3 borders on District 1 and is an ideal place to stay if you want to be in the thick of it but don’t fancy going all in with the total tourist madness of District 1.
District 3 has loads of markets, coffee shops and pho restaurants but you’ll immediately notice that it’s a little more authentic and a place that locals live. That means prices tend to be slightly cheaper, there’s colonial architecture as opposed to skyscrapers and plenty of affordable guesthouses.
This is all within walking distance of the bustle of District 1. Favourite things to do here include visiting one of the many temples, stopping by the War Remnants Museum and snapping pictures of the pink church.
Don’t let the fact this was the former mafia stomping ground put you off. District 4 has since cleaned up its act and is a lively place to stay, despite being one of the smallest districts. It’s another less touristy spot and is all about amazing street food.
Vinh Khanh Road in particular is where locals come for their fill of the best fresh seafood but elsewhere in the area you’ll find carts of frog legs and snails, considered to be local delicacies. Again, you can easily walk to the tourist attractions in other nearby districts but if you fancy staying put you’ve got the Ho Chi Minh Museum, Dragon Wharf and the silk weaving of the XQ Art House nearby.
If you like your hotels big, with swimming pools, then District 4 is for you. There’s a lot of choice here, and many look the same.
Where to stay in District 4
SStay RiverGate Saigon
The SStay RiverGate Saigon is beautifully designed, and has that elusive ‘9.5 exceptional’ rating on Booking.com. People like it here. Rose gold, apartments, swimming pools, Audrey Hepburn on the walls, and just 1.1 miles from Nha Rong Wharf, you’ll love it here. It’s relaxing, clean, modern and has a restaurant on site for you to enjoy too.
Go Sweet House
A home away from home this one. Go Sweet House has cosy apartments, with a great swimming pool outside. There’s a garden, a terrace, and you’re not far from the parks, museums and plazas nearby. Also, there’s an amazing street food market nearby too.
District 5 (Chinatown)
Giving District 1 a run for its money when it comes to atmosphere, District 5 hosts the biggest market in Vietnam, Binh Tay Market. There’s also the An Dong Market known if you fancy buying a few wood carvings, famous Buddhist temples like Tam Son Hoi Quan and quaint tea houses that keep people coming through Chinatown.
Rather than luxury hotels though, this area has way more on offer for the budget hotel and hostel type. If you were to stay here, you could easily get to other parts of the city so even if nightlife is a little quieter it doesn’t matter so much, and you’ll get a nice sleep. And some top quality dim sum in the morning too.
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
If it’s your first time, I’d recommend you look for accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City in District 1. This is where I’ve stayed every time I’ve been. It’s fun, vibrant, lots to do at all hours and Pham Ngu Lao Street is what I think of when I think of HCMC.
If it’s your second or third, or you like a quieter life, then I’d recommend you stay in 2 or 3. Either way, it’s easy to get around Ho Chi Minh City by walking or by taxi, and so it’s not hard to check out the other districts, if you want to see as much as possible in the city.
I love Ho Chi Minh City, so I hope you have a fantastic time!