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4 Days and 4 Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh

I thought I wouldn’t have to spend for accommodation in Ho Chi Minh because I was able to find someone from Couchsurfing who was willing to take me in for four days. We got along well in our Viber chat and I was genuinely excited to meet her. It was all set and I didn’t anticipate that anything bad could happen, I mean what are the odds of me ending up in the basement of some psycho? I was optimistic or the most appropriate term is naive. To cut the story short, after one night, I packed my bags and left my CS host. Because of this, I stayed in four different accommodation (the house of my CS host included) in HCM.





Thuy Tien Hotel

I reached Ho Chi Minh city at 1:29 in the morning; too early for my CS host to take me in, hence, I took up Bing’s offer to wait in her hotel. We went to District 1 where Elegant Inn can be found. Upon checking-in, we found out that we were so early, there was no available room yet. Just as I was beginning to think that I’d spend my first day in Vietnam sleeping on the sidewalk, Daniel, the friendly receptionist of Elegant Inn arranged a temporary lodging for us at Thuy Tien Hotel.

The hotel is old with a hallway that reminded me of the setting of the horror flick, “Sigaw.” The room itself is small, the area is so constricted that the beds are practically pushed against each other, back to the wall, with only a tiny bit space left for the side-bed drawer.

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The bathroom, oh yes let’s talk about this bathroom. Above the shower area, the ceiling is missing. Yes, it is gone, there is a gaping hole that would make you feel like you are being watched. It was hard to shower without feeling like I was going to be abducted somehow, or get vacuumed into the nothingness, never to be heard of again. I swear to you those were my thoughts while showering. I mean just look at that hole.

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Nevertheless, sleep was comfortable; the aircon is working fine, the bathroom has toiletries, there’s a TV with cable though watching Vietnamese shows didn’t make sense to me literally because of the language barrier. Also, there are no rats or roaches, at least, I didn’t see one and that’s a relief. For our quick stay, we paid VND450,000 (PHP947 – $20).

Thuy Tien Hotel
D1, Dien Bien Phu street, Ward 25,
Binh Thanh district,
Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Telephone no.: +84 8 3512 2692

 


Elegant Inn

Come check-in time, Bing and I moved to Elegant Inn. The place is not exactly what I would call elegant so I’m not sure the reason why they chose that name. It’s a three-star hotel, looks a little better than Thuy Tien, but not at the level of the more expensive hotels, if you know what I mean.

The room that Bing stayed in is much bigger than the first hotel we went to. There’s a single and a double bed. The bathroom has — surprise surprise!  — a bathtub; which doubles as a shower area. The room is equipped with a TV with cable, A/C unit, a small fridge, and a vanity dresser.

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[Book Elegant Inn via Agoda here]

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Elegant Inn has an in-house restaurant by the rooftop, where I had my first taste of the Vietnamese cuisine. The rooftop offers a view of the city so it’s an ideal place for some early-morning reflections while sipping your coffee. The kitchen is manned by two women who, despite their little English, tried their best to make us feel welcomed. [Read: Forced Healthy Eating in Vietnam].

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Elegant Inn
140 Cong Quynh street,
Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1,
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Telephone no: +84 8 6291 2860

 


Couchsurfing in District 7

It was my first time (and probably the last because I am so traumatized I don’t want to do it ever again) to try Couchsurfing and I had such high hopes for it. I imagined myself having a grand time with my host and her family, maybe they would tour me around or at least, give me some tips on how to spend my day in the city. We would eat together, maybe have coffee, and then I would learn so much about the Vietnamese culture. I’d have a first-hand account of how it is to live like a local and I honestly found this idea quite promising. Because I had such high expectations, disappointment hit me like a bitch when things didn’t go the way I envisioned it.

First, District 7 is a bit far from the airport, like if it were in the Philippines, the distance from District 1 to District 7 would be from Makati to Quezon City. This posed a challenge considering the fact that I availed of the tours of Happy Tour, which is affiliated with Elegant Inn. Second, my host and I didn’t get along well. The scamming incident caused great distress to my host that soured her attitude towards me. [Read: Braving the Streets of Ho Chi Minh]

To be fair, the house of my CS host is beautiful. I stayed in the bedroom of her daughter, which is very spacious, I could do some serious cartwheels inside the room. I took a picture but I decided not to post it anymore in respect of the CS host. For what it’s worth, she gave me a place to sleep in for a night and she also took me to her friend’s house for dinner. Our meeting may not have been as good as we would have wanted, but I don’t want to disregard the fact that she opened her home to me.

And just to be clear, I am not discouraging anyone from trying Couchsurfing. All I’m saying is, it’s not for me.

 


Koniko Backpackers Hostel

Before this trip, I never tried staying in a hostel. To be honest, I didn’t like the idea of sharing the room with a bunch of strangers, but on my last night in Vietnam, I was left with no choice because Bing was already leaving for Manila. Two scamming incidents ruined my budget so even when I wanted to extend my stay at Elegant Inn, I could no longer afford it. [Read: The Fun and Scam of the Siklo Tour in Ho Chi Minh].

After I returned from our siklo tour, I scoured the street of Bui Vien for a cheap hostel. The cheapest I found is the Koniko Backpackers Hostel, only VND 135,000 (PHP 285 – $6). I was sent to a room with 5 bunk beds and it was on the topmost floor. I tell you, climbing there with my heavy backpack made me feel like I was paying for my sins.

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It’s a mixed dorm-type room with three bathrooms. My extrovert mode was on so I was able to make friends with a fellow backpacker from Indonesia named, Nindar and another from France (didn’t get his name though). We got to talk for about 2 hours before I finally had to call it a night because the next day, I was set to go to Cambodia. [Book Koniko Backpacker Hostel via Agoda here]

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It was one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life, in fact, I don’t think I’d slept at all. A girl on the bed next to mine was coughing all night, the sound of men snoring filled the entire room, and the music from the bars down the street blared til the wee hours. It kinda sealed my conclusion that I was indeed, paying for my sins. Come morning I tiptoed my way to the shower so as not to wake the other guests. I only used the light on my phone to lead me through temptation… I mean darkness, and I tried my best not to make any noise.



Koniko Backpackers Hostel
149 Bùi Viện, Phạm Ngũ Lão,
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone no.:+84 8 3836 9548

 


 

I never thought I’d end up sleeping in four different locations in my four days in Ho Chi Minh, but yeah, that’s what happens when shit happens hahaha… The good thing about this is that I was able to review different kinds of accommodation; a house, two hotels, and a hostel, so if you’re wondering where to stay in HCM, now you have an idea. Each one has its own pros and cons, there is no such thing as a right or wrong accommodation. It all depends on your budget, attitude, requirements, or situation. I say keep an open mind because you’ll never know, the thing that you didn’t think would be good for you may turn out to be not so bad at all.

 

 

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37 Comments

  • Reply
    neha
    May 31, 2017 at 4:30 AM

    It’s great that you gave try to all different kind of accommodation options in a single destination. Often we stick to one, and even if we return back to the same destination, we mostly decide on accommodation based on the past experience. I will like to try it for myself

  • Reply
    Iza Abao
    November 3, 2016 at 11:07 AM

    I laughed when I read about the Elegant Inn. The name does not suit their place. You were so brave. I would’ve gone home if I’d stay in Thuy Tien Hotel. However, anything can happen and we need to adjust.

  • Reply
    Katie Harrington
    April 20, 2016 at 9:23 AM

    What a shame your couch surfing experience didn’t work out! I had my first experience of CS earlier this year in Brussels and it was awesome.

  • Reply
    Maerose JS
    March 10, 2016 at 8:34 AM

    I have experienced the same with accomodations all throughout my travels. And because of that, I have learned to embrace both comfort and inconvenience. I am also a paid member of Couchsurfing, but I have never tried surfing. I only use the site to meet other travelers or locals for coffee, events, or sightseeing. I have major issues with personal space and time, so I’d rather stay in a hotel. I’ve experienced inns and hostels as well. Some are good, and some are not. But yeah. Hope you still managed to have a great time in Vietnam! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mimi Gonzales
    March 9, 2016 at 4:09 PM

    I love how your mindset was really all about making this trip possible. Haha. Thanks for this very informative set of hotels to visit, OR NOT. I heard there are lots of accommodation at Airbnb that were really good and cheap! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mhaan A
    March 9, 2016 at 2:51 PM

    It is always my dream to visit Vietnam. After reading your post, now I know where to stay incase we plan our Vietnam trip in the future.

  • Reply
    Yan
    March 9, 2016 at 4:13 AM

    Shooooocks I feel bad for you, napa-aga mahal na araw mo pero okay lang yan! I enjoyed reading this, at least I know where not to go when in Vietnam. Have you considered Airbnb instead? XD

  • Reply
    Melissa
    March 8, 2016 at 6:14 PM

    Awww. Sorry about your experience but I really appreciate your honesty. I guess that’s the thing about traveling, you don’t know what to expect. At least you made the most out of your trip…. You’ll have better days! 🙂

  • Reply
    Prerna Sinha
    March 8, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    Wow ! You have some adventurous spirit and enthusiasm to try out 4 accommodations in 4 days. Except for one, none of them sounded like a good experience. I am sure for a backpacker, this information is going to be very helpful.

  • Reply
    Arrianne Guzman
    March 8, 2016 at 3:05 PM

    Wow! Four accommodation in 4 days!!! I love how this article is so honestly written 🙂 It shows one real side of the travel world. It’s not always the fun and splendid sort of things. But the unfortunate stuff that happen are what really make us better and mature travelers (and more so, individuals). Cheers to more traveling, Marge!

  • Reply
    John Penyah
    March 8, 2016 at 5:21 AM

    will definitely take note of this since i’ll be going to HCM on March 25 :)))

  • Reply
    Claire Algarme
    March 8, 2016 at 4:31 AM

    Things happen during a trip, and like you, I’ll just make the most out of it. I remember our Cambodia-Vietnam trip, too. We had a disappointing stay in Pnom Penh, which was not in our original plan, but our Ho Chi Minh leg went well. My friends and I stayed in District 1, too, since it was accessible to everything. I’ve signed up in CS but never tried it, yet. I guess it’s not for me, too. First, I don’t want to impose on others and, second, I wouldn’t want others to impose their itinerary on me. Maybe in time I’ll try it just to see how it goes but it’s not really in my list for now.

  • Reply
    Travelog with Jem
    March 2, 2016 at 9:21 AM

    Oh dear! Don’t we just love being a traveller and experience all this sort of adventures! Lol! Sorry to hear of your CS experience though.

  • Reply
    Sam
    February 25, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    In fairness the places you stayed in are not so bad.. I haven’t been to the backpackers street of HCMC because I stayed with a host before. but if I return, I would. Thanks for the info 🙂

  • Reply
    Kati Balayan
    February 24, 2016 at 5:39 PM

    You were so brave! This being your first time to travel overseas and you were by yourself, you may have encountered some ‘road blocks’ but it just makes you wiser. For sure on your next trip, sisiw na lang your next adventure 🙂

  • Reply
    Caroline
    February 24, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    I love this! Ho Chi Minh has always been interesting to me and I never considered what staying there would be like. Couchsurfing is something I’ve heard of but never seen an account of so this was interesting to me. Hope if you return it won’t be so awkward as your host situation seemed

  • Reply
    Potpot Pinili
    February 23, 2016 at 2:26 AM

    Hi Marge, thanks for this tip. HCM truly has a lot of cheap accommodations to offer. But hey, tell me more about your CS experience.

    Potpot | Travel Trilogy

  • Reply
    Paolo
    February 22, 2016 at 11:41 PM

    Indochina is one of my travel wish list, thank you for sharing this, i have an option to choose on where to stay in Ho chi minh 🙂

  • Reply
    Richie B
    February 22, 2016 at 6:22 PM

    I’d say that’s part of the adventure when you are backpacking. You get to experience all the ups an downs ( and the snoring).

  • Reply
    Veeyah
    February 22, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    Heavens, if I was in your situation, I’d have stopped everything and temporarily succumbed to my disappointment. Good on you for trying to make the best of the remaining days of your stay! Getting scammed is one of the main reasons I make sure to book a hotel when traveling to a place I’ve never been to. It must’ve been pure coincidence on your part, but the threat is real.

    Also, I read both of your articles regarding being scammed and I can honestly see how depressed and disappointed you must’ve been. Thank you for spreading awareness though, because it surely strengthened my resolve to never travel alone when visiting a country for the first time and to make sure I book better accommodations.

    Glad you made it back to Pinas sane and in one piece.

  • Reply
    Arni
    February 22, 2016 at 1:28 PM

    Wait, what? Your encounter with your CS Host is very intriguing and kinda scary when the words psycho and basement are put together. Whoa, what an experience!

  • Reply
    Mommy Queenelizabeth
    February 22, 2016 at 12:37 PM

    I think i cannot sleep in a room with other people around especially when i don’t know them.. yours was a great experience though, jumping from one hostel to another. I’ll note some on this list which we might consider in our future trip to HCM 🙂

  • Reply
    TweenselMom
    February 22, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    Oh my God, I admire your courage to have an adventure like that. Where did my young days go, I truly envy you.

  • Reply
    Johna
    February 22, 2016 at 9:42 AM

    Woah, so sorry to hear about your experience. I want to try couchsearching but Ive always been a little skeptical. I guess I’ll never know unless I try hehe. Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ll remember to research back up hotels if worst comes to worst ?

  • Reply
    Roselle Carlos-Toledo
    February 22, 2016 at 6:05 AM

    My heart beat faster while reading your article. That was a bit scary considering you are in a foreign land. But at least that’s one experience worth retelling 🙂 I’m glad nothing really bad happened.

  • Reply
    Darlene
    February 22, 2016 at 3:19 AM

    sad that you didn’t enjoy couchsurfing. I have yet to experience it for myself but I had so much fun with the CS group in Penang. They are one of the reasons I enjoyed Penang. And also sad that you didnt like your hostel dorm. It seems that there aren’t that many good selection of affordable but comfortable accommodations in HCM. I might have to rethink going there. hehe.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 22, 2016 at 6:01 AM

      I can do CS meetups but I’m never staying in a CS host’s place again.

  • Reply
    Nurse Alpha
    February 22, 2016 at 2:55 AM

    I never tried going into hostels and sleeping with other people whom I really don’t know. The view you have here on your last accommodation was quite uncomfortable. Like what you said, it depends on the budget and preference of the person so one or the other might fit. Overall, nice experience you have here in Ho Chi Minh!

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 22, 2016 at 6:00 AM

      I found a good hostel in Cambodia, but the one where I stayed in Vietnam was very uncomfortable indeed.

  • Reply
    Karen
    February 22, 2016 at 1:38 AM

    Yours was a memorable trip indeed. I also don’t like bathrooms with open ceiling. Being scammed is really annoying at least you still got home here safe.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 22, 2016 at 5:58 AM

      Yeah, that’s a consolation I guess.

  • Reply
    bluedreamer27
    February 21, 2016 at 8:20 PM

    wow one accommodation per day… grabe I remember your post about the Siklo and yet you have another story about this incident… but at least it was one hell of an experience to share
    natawa ako dun sa hostel experience haha
    As for the coachsurfing, it is my first time to hear such thing and I wonder if we got coachsurfers here in our country

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 22, 2016 at 12:29 AM

      Yes, we do have Couchsurfers here and they are even open for meetups.

  • Reply
    The Travel Debugger
    February 21, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    Sorry to hear about your experience. When I went back to Vietnam with my wife, we stayed at Bich Duyen for 4 nights at Pham Ngu Lao St and it was ok.

    • Reply
      Marjorie Gavan
      February 22, 2016 at 12:21 AM

      If ever I go back to Vietnam, I’d keep Bich Duyen in mind. thanks Travel Debugger. 🙂

  • Reply
    Diego
    February 16, 2016 at 4:46 PM

    I liked this article =) it had a bit of suspense from the beginning, I want to know more about the encounter with the CS host

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