Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City – the ever-bustling and chaotic business and financial hub of Vietnam.
Just a generation ago, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, formerly Saigon) was in turmoil after it fell to North Vietnam in the Vietnam War. Today, it’s a vibrant city with plenty of culture to soak up.
With a population of over 8 million people, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam and is overflowing with art, history, mouth-watering cuisine, and nightlife. There is something to do for all types of travelers in Ho Chi Minh City.
However, due to its vast size, figuring out where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City can be a daunting task.
To help you out, we’ve created this guide on the best places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City. We’ve included something for every travel style and budget, so you can find the best place for your needs.
- Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City
- Ho Chi Minh City Neighborhood Guide
- Ho Chi Minh City’s 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
- 1. Dong Khoi Street – Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City for your First Visit
- 2. Pham Ngu Lao – Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City on a Budget & for Nightlife
- 3. Cholon (District 5) – Coolest Place to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City
- 4. Thao Dien – Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City with Family
- FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Ho Chi Minh
Not too fussed about which area you stay in? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Hostel in Ho Chi Minh City: The Dorm Saigon
The Dorm Saigon sits close to Ben Than Market. It’s new, modern, and has an excellent staff. There’s a common area and a rooftop terrace where guests can hang out and mingle.
Best Airbnb in Ho Chi Minh City: Scandinavian Studio near Ben Than Market
Located in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, this is the best way to experience the city like a local. The apartment is spacious and beautifully decorated.
It also has a balcony where you can watch the everyday lives of Vietnamese people. The kitchen is fully stocked with everything you need to cook at home, but in case you don’t feel like cooking, there is an amazing noodle restaurant on the first floor.
Best Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City: Chez Mimosa Boutique Hotel
The Chez Mimosa Boutique Hotel offers great value for money. They have a rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy a free drink at happy hour.
They also offer free laundry service and a Vietnamese foot soak! The staff are all very friendly and go out of their way to make sure guests are taken care of by offering recommendations for whatever you’re looking for. It’s the perfect option for where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Dong Khoi Street Area
Ho Chi Minh Distric 1 is the beating heart of Ho Chi Minh City, and Dong Khoi Street is the main historical area that has seen the biggest changes throughout the city’s past.
Pham Ngu Lao
Known as the “backpacker district,” Pham Ngu Lao is an area in Ho Chi Minh District 1 that attracts budget travelers thanks to the low prices for everything from food and drink to accommodation.
District 5 is more commonly known as Cholon and it’s Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown. Cholon literally means “big market” and it’s obvious why as soon as visitors arrive at Binh Tay Market, which is the largest market in the country.
In the past, District 2 was one of the poorest areas in Ho Chi Minh City because the Saigon River separated it from District 1, but nowadays things are much different.
Ho Chi Minh City is a vast and eclectic city. It’s got a huge variety of neighborhoods, so make sure to pick the one that’s best for you.
Ho Chi Minh District 1 is the heart of HCMC. Established by the French Government in 1859 as the center for government office buildings, this is the main commercial, cultural, and business hub.
You’ll find beautiful French architecture, busy markets, tree-lined boulevards, and cuisine from all around the world. With so many things to explore here, this is a great area to base yourself on your first visit.
If you’re visiting Ho Chi Minh City on a budget or looking for nightlife, then Pham Ngu Lao is the place to go. This area of Ho Chi Minh District 1 has been well-known in backpacker circles for years.
Bordering the south end of District 1 is Ho Chi Minh District 5. Home to a massive Chinatown (known locally as “Cholon”), this area is a great way to escape colonial architecture and western fast-food restaurants and truly feel like you’re in Asia.
Finally, District 2 is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Ho Chi Minh City with your family. It’s a mostly residential area and is also popular among expats.
Ho Chi Minh City’s 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Now, let’s check out each of these areas in more detail. We’ve included our top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you know exactly what to expect.
District 1 is the beating heart of Ho Chi Minh City, and Dong Khoi Street is the main historical area.
During French colonial times, the street called Rue Catinat was a glamourous area. Then during the Vietnam War, it was called Tu Do which means “Freedom Street.” When Saigon fell to the North at the end of the War the street was renamed again to Dong Khoi which means “Total Revolution.”
Now, this street is the heart of the commercial life of Ho Chi Minh City and the perfect place to stay for first-time visitors to Vietnam. Here, you can admire the old colonial buildings, grab a coffee in a stylish cafe, shop international brands and local boutiques, and dine in world-class restaurants.
Best Hostel in Dong Khoi Street Area: The Dorm Saigon
The Dorm Saigon is one of the best hostels in Ho Chi Minh. It’s new, modern, and has an excellent staff. There’s a common area both inside and on the roof where guests can hang out and mingle.
Best Airbnb in Dong Khoi Street Area: Colonial French Era Loft
The french style apartment overlooks Dong Khoi Street and Nguyen Hue Street. It’s within walking distance to Saigon Opera house, Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, Nguyen Hue street, Ben Thanh Market, and the Reunification Palace. The apartment has one bed, a fully equipped kitchen, and fast wifi.
Best Hotel in Ben Than Market Area: Lief Mojo Saigon
Lief Mojo Saigon feels like a 5-star luxury hotel at an affordable price. Their included breakfast is amazing, the staff is super friendly, and it’s perfectly located next to great restaurants and the most important tourist sites.
The rooms are spacious and offer special comforts such as bath tea. You won’t regret booking the Lief Mojo Saigon.
Things to See and Do in Dong Khoi Street Area
– Send a letter or souvenir to friends and family from the iconic Saigon Central Post Office.
– Take an Insta-worthy photo of the incredible architecture of the City Hall building, formerly the Hotel de Ville.
– Marvel at the Notre Dame Cathedral’s stunning facade made from imported materials from France.
– Casually stroll through the 30-4 Park which takes its name from Vietnam’s Liberation Day, April 30th.
– Visit the Reunification Palace – a place frozen in time following the Vietnam War.
– See a different perspective of the War at the War Remnants Museum.
– Wander through the Ben Than Market trying cheap, delicious food and browsing the endless amount of things for sale.
– Head to the Bitexco Financial Tower to enjoy the sweeping views of the city from the Saigon Skydeck.
– Sip on a yummy Vietnamese coffee at Kita Coffee House.
– Enjoy an evening of Opera or classical music at the Saigon Opera House.
Known as the “backpacker district,” Pham Ngu Lao is an area in Ho Chi Minh District 1. It attracts budget travelers thanks to the low prices for everything from food and drink to accommodation.
Pham Nhu Lao is actually a street that runs parallel to another street called Bui Vien. Between the two are a handful of small connecting alleyways full of spas, delicious restaurants, and plenty of hostels. It’s very reminiscent of Khao San Road in Bangkok.
This district of Ho Chi Minh City has a wide range of backpacker accommodation, and prices are quite competitive so it’s easy to negotiate a pretty good deal.
Pham Ngu Lao is also the best area of Ho Chi Minh City for nightlife. There are bars all along the street as well as restaurants with cuisine from all over the world. You’ll also find a high concentration of street food carts here. It’s definitely the best area to stay in if you want to party and not spend a ton of money.
Best Hostels in Pham Ngu Lao: WillHome Hostel
This is the best budget hostel in Pham Ngu Lao. They have dorm beds for as little as $5 USD per night. They also offer free breakfast, a beer at happy hour for each guest, and the longer you stay the more discounts you get such as free laundry and free airport shuttle service.
The rooms are clean and it’s in a quiet location. It’s a great budget option for where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Airbnb in Pham Ngu Lao: Charming Vietnamese townhouse
This Vietnamese townhouse was built during the French Colonial times and has survived two wars. The spacious townhouse is located right in the heart of the city with sights like the famous Ben Thanh Market, the opera house and fine art museum within a short walking distance.
Best Hotel in Pham Ngu Lao: Chill Suites
The Chill Suites offer clean and comfortable rooms complete with a desk and a TV. Each room also has a fridge and a sitting area.
The hotel is located in a popular area close to multiple restaurants and tourist sites. It’s a great budget hotel for where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Hotel in Pham Ngu Lao: Chez Mimosa Boutique Hotel
The Chez Mimosa Boutique Hotel offers great value for money. They boast a rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy a free drink at happy hour, as well as a Vietnamese foot soak. Rooms are elegantly decorated and free wifi is available throughout.
Things to See and Do in Pham Ngu Lao
– Indulge in amazing yet cheap spa treatments like massages and pedicures.
– Grab an inexpensive Bia Hoi at one of the many bars lining the street.
– Delight your taste buds with the best bowl of Pho you’ve ever had at Pho 2000.
– Dance the night away after enjoying your dinner and comfort food at the Crazy Buffalo bar.
– Book your onward travel at one of the many budget travel agents.
– Join a Vintage Vespa Tour and explore Saigon on two wheels.
– Take a day trip out to the Cu Chi Tunnels and learn how the village protected itself during the War.
– Dance to the live music while enjoying a cheap cocktail at Thi Bar.
– Learn about Saigon’s troubled past at the Museum of Ho Chi Minh City.
– Sip on a cup of coffee while reading a good book at the Bookworm’s Coffee Saigon.
District 5 is more commonly known as Cholon and it’s Ho Chi Minh City’s Chinatown. Cholon literally means “big market” – which is pretty apt as it’s home to Binh Tay Market, the largest market in the country.
Ethnic Chinese people have been settling in this area of Vietnam since 1778, and it has become a commercial center for both locals and tourists since. They began selling Chinese products here, which is what led to the big market area it is today. During the war, it was a black market for American troops selling American Army issue supplies.
The Chinese influence in Cholon is very apparent in the many charming temples and pagodas scattered throughout the district.
The best part about this area is all the delicious Chinese food. You can find all kinds of Chinese and Vietnamese dishes at the food court inside the Binh Tay Market as well as outside. There are food vendors everywhere!
Best Hostel in District 5: The Common Room Project
The Common Room Project is a fairly unique experience as backpacker accommodations go. It’s a boutique hostel aimed at solo travelers and groups of friends who want to meet other people.
They believe that “sleeping is divine,” so they offer the softest bed sheets and linens to ensure a good night’s cap. It’s a great choice for where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City outside of the center.
Best Airbnb in Cholon: Apartment in the Highest Building in Ho Chi Ming
This apartment is located in Vinhomes Central Park whose architectural design is inspired by traditional bamboo bundles. The apartment is located in one of the highest buildings, Towers 81 and surpasses many world-famous towers like Petronas Twin Tower and Will Tower. There is a shopping mall on the ground floor and the Ben Thanh market is within a 15-minute drive. The apartment can accommodate 2 – 4 people and there are tennis and golf courts on site.
Best Hotel in District 5: Windsor Plaza Hotel
The Windsor Plaza Hotel offers a luxurious stay at an affordable price. It’s located in the heart of Cholon District (Chinatown) and each room has large windows with incredible views of the city.
Guests can relax with a massage at the spa, work out at the fitness center, or arrange a day trip at the tour desk.
Things to See and Do in District 5
– Wander through Binh Tay Market admiring all the things for sale.
– Visit Cha Tam Church to see where the first president of Vietnam – Ngo Dinh Diem – was arrested.
– Shop for fabrics, clothing, homewares, and craft goods, handmade jewelry, and hand-carved woodwork at An Dong Market.
– Admire the ornate decorations on the walls of the Phuoc An Hoi Quan, a Chinese Taoist Temple.
– Explore the narrow alleyways in search of dim sum.
– Light a stick of incense and admire the shrines at the Thien Hau Temple.
– Pray to the Goddess of Fertility at the Tam Son Hoi Quan Pagoda – a Buddhist temple.
– Take a traditional cyclo ride around the district to give your feet a rest.
– Slide down the waterslides at Dai The Gioi Waterpark.
– Reflect on life while enjoying the reflections in the pond at Quan Am Pagoda.
In the past, District 2 was one of the poorest areas in Ho Chi Minh City because the Saigon River separated it from District 1. Nowadays, things are much different.
Thao Dien in District 2 is a thriving area with high-rise apartment buildings and cute restaurants and cafes. It’s also a very popular area among expats.
Boasting the largest amount of healthy eateries in the entire city, visitors can also find plenty of health and fitness classes like yoga and pilates.
With the recent opening of the metro station in 2019, it’s also easier than ever to explore Ho Chi Minh City using District 2 as a base.
Best Hotel in District 2: Villa Song Saigon
Stay classy in the city at Villa Song Saigon. Located on the Saigon River, all the rooms at this boutique style hotel come with a view of the river, pool, or garden.
Breakfast is included and guests can easily get downtown thanks to the complimentary two-way shuttle by speed boat to the city center. This is an ideal hotel for those wondering where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Best Airbnb in Thao Dien: Apartment for 6 with River View
This river view condo is right next to Towers 81, which is the tallest building in Vietnam. The apartment can host up to six guests and has a fully equipped kitchen. Guests have complimentary access to a pool, gym, golf, and tennis courts.
With large, spacious rooms and a deck overlooking the Saigon River, you won’t be disappointed with your stay at River Cottage. Guests can enjoy breakfast while watching boats float by on the river.
All rooms come with a fridge, flat-screen TV, and free WiFi. It’s the perfect choice for where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City.
Things to See and Do in Thao Dien:
– Sip a tasty cocktail or two along the banks of the Saigon River at one of these establishments: The Deck, Villa Song, or BoatHouse.
– Take in the impressive exhibitions on light, poetry, and philosophical questions at The Factory Contemporary Arts Center.
– Improve your upper body strength rock climbing at Saigon Outcast.
– Practice your dunking skills at Jump Arena Trampoline Park.
– Enjoy a beer while you mingle with the varied clientele over a game of darts at Buddha Bar.
– Indulge in a spa treatment at Thao Dien Spa.
– Forget you’re in sweltering Southeast Asia by ice skating at Vincom Mega Mall.
– Spend an hour relaxing at Dolphy Cafe.
– If you need a pick-me-up, grab a massive ice coffee from Hue Cafe Roastery.
FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Ho Chi Minh
Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Ho Chi Minh and where to stay.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City can be overwhelming. This is a massive metropolis and has enough to keep you entertained for months.
If you’re still not sure where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City, we recommend checking out Dong Khoi. It’s got a bit of everything and offers a great insight into what this destination has to offer.
The Dorm Saigon is our top pick for the best budget accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City. It features rustic and cozy furnishings and enjoys a central location.
For something more upmarket, the Chez Mimosa Boutique Hotel provides excellent accommodation with superb amenities.
Have you been to Ho Chi Minh City and think we missed something? Let us know in the comments below!
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
If you’re still feeling a little nervous about your security, then check out our dedicated travel safety guide for Vietnam stacked with useful information and tips.
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