Question: What area to stay in Ho Chi Minh? Here, we break down the city’s most popular neighborhoods, and tell you where you’d want to be depending on your intended purpose.
First, some facts about this vibrant city.
According to Wikipedia, Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, has a population of more than 8.6 million, making it the most populous city in Vietnam.
It’s also the most visited, with famous landmarks and attractions that include Ben Thanh Market, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, and Independence Palace.
The name Saigon comes from two Sino-Vietnamese words sai and gon. Sai means “firewood or twigs” and Gon means “stick or pole,” and eventually evolved to mean “cotton.” Saigon, therefore, may refer to the kapok trees commonly found around the city.
Ho Chi Minh City, just like Hanoi and other Vietnamese cities, is divided into”urban districts.” Listed below are 6 of the most popular ones in the city.
District 1 is Ho Chi Minh’s City Center. Almost everything in the city happens here, both during the day and at night. Phạm Ngũ Lão – a famous backpacker street in Southeast Asia similar to Thailand’s Khao San Road – is located in this district.
This area is where most of the popular landmarks and attractions are located. Examples include Benh Tanh Market, Reunification Palace, Central Post Office, and Notre Dame Cathedral.
We did a self-guided walking tour targeting these top Ho Chi Minh attractions. You can do it yourself, too, to save some money.
That said, District 1 is for travelers who are looking for a convenient base for shopping, sightseeing, enjoying the nightlife, and meeting other travelers. Check this post to know what to expect on a Mekong Delta tour.
Here are three top hotel recommendations.
- Jan Hostel can easily pass for a boutique hotel. It has a garden, a BBQ area, and a rooftop terrace that offers stunning views of the city.
- The Dorm Saigon is about 1 kilometer from the city’s top attractions. Ho Chi Minh Square, for instance, is just 250 meters away. The Central Post Office is 680 meters away.
- As a unique hotel, The Hammock Hotel Ben Thanh‘s selling points are the hammock and the free-flowing beer, snacks, and soft drinks. It also has a rooftop that affords views of the city.
According to this site‘s 7-things-to-do-list, Binh Thanh is a place to experience a “much more real, authentic Vietnam“. Get lost in the alleyways filled with activities. Eat street food, explore Thi Nghe Market, and watch the sun set at Thu Thiem Bridge.
Here’s a list of 3 top-reviewed hotels in Binh Thanh.
- If you’re into boutique hotels, Maison De Camille Boutique Hotel may be for you. It’s “gorgeous,” says one previous guest, but other than the interiors, this hotel got high marks in cleanliness and service.
- Lief Pulo Saigon is another elegant-looking hotel in Binh Thanh. It exudes a fresh, serene vibe that’s backed by excellent service.
- You’ll love OTRO Homestay‘s well-decorated rooms. It also has a rooftop to give you a nice hangout place at night.
In the 80’s and 90’s, District 4 was a mafia hotspot.
Today, visitors drop by here if they want to sample the best seafood in the city. Two markets are famous among tourists – the New District and Xom Chieu markets. These markets are in stark contrast to each other.
Here are three top-rated hotels in District 4.
- Grandma’s Orchid Homestay has been given an “exceptional” rating by previous guests, with cleanliness and service receiving really high marks.
- Lamo Boutique Hotel is 690 meters from the Bitexco Financial Tower where you can ascend to the Skydeck for a bird’s eye view of the city.
- Chez Mimosa Homestay is located on a quiet street and a non-touristy part of the city. In case you want to get some food, there are local eateries nearby.
District 7 is not for people who want to experience Ho Chi Minh‘s nightlife. There are a fewer nightlife activities in this area compared to say, District 1.
This neighborhood is ideal for travelers who are into shopping and for those who want to experience a more quiet time in the city by visiting a public park.
Here are top-reviewed hotels in the area.
- Parklane Hotel Saigon South is a newly built hotel (2018) located near international schools. It’s ideal for business travelers who want to a peaceful and quite time in the city.
- OYO 247 Man Trung Hotel is for budget travelers who are looking for an affordable and quiet location in District 7.
- Diamond Queen Hotel‘s rooms are spacious, and they have white and neutral colors that exude a homey and cozy ambience.
Tan Binh is referred to as the city’s Airport District because Tan Son Nhat International Airport is within this area. That said, if you’re looking for a hotel near the airport, Tan Binh is your best bet.
Aside from proximity to the airport, you might want to stay in Tan Binh for sightseeing. Some points of interest include the Giac Lam Pagoda and Le Van Duyet Tomb.
Tan Binh is also home to Parkson CT Plaza, a mall for some last-minute shopping.
Suggested hotels include…
- Suvihem has a “European feel to it,” says a couple about the place. It’s a small hostel, but there’s a reason why previous guests have given it an “exceptional” rating. Among these reasons include cleanliness and service.
- BAP Homestay‘s bedrooms have a unique Bohemian-like look, which has been described as “stylish.” More importantly, the hosts are very nice, accommodating, and warm.
- S Phuot Airport Hostel first opened to the public in 2018. If you’re budget-traveling in Southeast Asia, this may be the hostel for you.
Foodies will love the dining scene at District 3. Head over to one of the many local restaurants that line the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal. Also try one of the cafes for some delicious Vietnamese coffee.
District 3 is also home to several religious sites such as the Pink Church or Tan Dinh Church, and two consulates – that of Germany and Thailand.
Here are three top-rated hotels in District 3.
- Maison Royale is more than 1 km from the War Remnants Museum. If you like spacious rooms, this is the place to be.
- Homie Hotel has a balcony for a night view of the city. It’s close to supermarkets, a hospital, and a boxing center.
- LeBlanc Hotel Saigon gives you a glimpse of the local life, thanks to its proximity to markets and local eateries.