Heading for South Vietnam in the near future? Find out about the best neighbourhoods to stay in Hô Chi Minh City!
Located in southern Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the economic hub of the country. With a population of 8,224,400 inhabitants spread over an area of 2,090 km², it is also the country’s largest city. Saigon was the capital of the colony of Cochinchine, then that of French Indochina from 1887 to 1901. The capital of the Republic of Việt Nam since 1954, after the Indochina war, it was renamed Ho Chi Minh City when the communists took power following the end of the Vietnam war in 1975. Due to its rich heritage and sub-equatorial climate, Vietnam welcomed a record number of 10 million visitors in 2016. There is a wide range of accommodation available in Ho Chi Minh City, from cheap youth hostels to classic hotels.
Ho Chi Minh City is subdivided into 259 districts, 58 communes, and 5 cantons: in other words, it is a gigantic, sprawling city. Here is our selection of the best places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Pham Ngu Lao
The bustling and crowded quarter of Pham Ngu Lao is the backpacker traveler’s neighborhood par excellence. Here, you won’t have trouble finding accommodation: there is everything from rooms or dormitories in youth hostels for less than $12 a night to higher-ranged hotels. Reminiscent of Bangkok‘s famous Khao San Road, the area is very popular with international tourists. Pham Ngu Lao houses countless bars, restaurants, and cafés open day and night. Should you get tired of Vietnamese cuisine – but who would be tired of eating delicious food? – you can enjoy international cuisine from Mexico, Italy, India and other places.
The downside? The neighborhood’s incessant uproar, fueled by ruthless street vendors who will be quick to wear you out. Pham Ngu Lao is located not far from the city center and the Saigon River. An ideal place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City if you want to immerse yourself in the local culture without spending too much. However, be sure to keep an eye on your personal belongings, as many travelers have reported acts of theft.
Home to a wide range of hotels, the central neighborhood of Ben Tanh features the market of the same name, built in 1912, packed with all sorts of souvenirs, food, clothing, and much more. Here too, this festive and shop-filled area is very lively at night. If you are looking for peace and quiet, choose another area to stay in Ho Chi Minh City because the hotels have a street front and the rooms will probably be noisy. Don’t miss Ben Thanh’s market and the Reunification Palace, and stroll through the streets of “Le Tanh Ton” and “Ly Tu Trong”. A trip to Vietnam cannot do without commemorating its past and remembering its recent traumas. Don’t miss a visit to the War Remnants Museum, a place to commemorate the atrocities that took place during the Vietnam War from 1955 to 1975. Although many photographs and displays are shocking, they make it possible to remember and never forget what happened in Vietnam.
Situated close to the city enter, the neighborhood of Thao Dien is particularly favored by expatriates. The traffic is less dense, and the streets are calmer than in the city center. Above all, there are far fewer motorcycles compared to the rest of Ho Chi Minh City, which means you will enjoy a considerably calmer area. Thao Dien is bordered to the west, north and along most of its eastern edge by a sweeping meander of the Saigon River. The population of the district likes to find its Western habits: Western supermarkets, restaurants, and chic homes and luxury cars… It shouldn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that the area attracts many expatriates. In other words, this is not the ideal place to mingle with Vietnamese people. If you’re looking for comfort and have the budget to book more expensive accommodation, choose this area to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
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