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The Best Districts in Ho Chi Minh City
This guide provides insights into the top neighborhoods in Ho Chi Minh City, helping you make an informed decision on where to stay during your visit to Vietnam’s capital.
Are you planning a trip to Vietnam and wondering about the best areas to stay in Ho Chi Minh City? I understand the struggle. With 24 districts or neighborhoods to choose from, finding the perfect place can be challenging. When I first arrived in Saigon as a solo female traveler in Asia, it took me quite a while to decide where to stay.
Choosing the right district in Ho Chi Minh City depends on various factors such as your travel style, duration of stay, and what you wish to do during your visit. Saigon boasts numerous incredible activities, but they are spread out across the city. Creating a priority list can help you determine the most suitable location for your stay.
Additionally, your travel budget plays a significant role. Are you searching for the best hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, or are you a budget backpacker looking for an affordable hostel? It’s essential to consider all these aspects.
In this guide, I will provide a summary of the best districts in Saigon, along with some hotel and hostel recommendations. Let’s delve into the neighborhoods and discover the ideal place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City based on your travel style and needs.
Map of Ho Chi Minh City Districts
Here’s a helpful map of Ho Chi Minh’s districts, carefully outlined by Codie Maps. It allows you to visualize the city’s layout and understand the different areas better.
District 1 and District 3 are considered the city center, with District 1 being the heart of downtown. Thao Dien (District 2) serves as the expat hub of HCMC but is a bit further from the city center. District 5, also known as Chinatown, is home to several notable attractions.
How to Get from the Ho Chi Minh City Airport to the City
First things first, you might be wondering how to reach Ho Chi Minh City from the airport. It’s usually my initial question when I arrive in a new place. Currently, the most convenient and quickest way to get to the city from the airport is by taxi.
A taxi ride can cost anywhere from 150,000 to 300,000 VND ($7-$15), depending on traffic conditions. The journey may take up to 45 minutes or more. To avoid scams and ensure safety, I recommend using reputable taxi services such as Vinasun and Mai Linh. Alternatively, you can download the Grab App, Southeast Asia’s equivalent to Uber, and book a ride through the app.
If you’re on a tight budget, there are also bus options available to reach the city center from Ho Chi Minh Airport. You can take the city bus #152 (green bus), or the yellow airport buses #109 or #49. The fares range from 20,000 to 40,000 VND ($1-$2). Although they have slightly different routes, most of them will take you to District 1.
What is the Best District in Ho Chi Minh City?
Overall, I believe that District 1 is the best place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City for short-term visitors. Specifically, I recommend staying near Benh Tanh Market or Bui Vien Walking Street. These locations offer easy access to the city’s top attractions and provide a vibrant atmosphere.
However, District 3 and District 5 are also worth considering. They are closer to the city center and offer proximity to major attractions. District 2 (Thao Dien) is another option, boasting an intriguing art scene and expat community. Keep in mind that it is a bit farther from the center.
The Best Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City
Now, let’s explore the best districts in Ho Chi Minh City and the recommended places to stay.
District 1 – Downtown Ho Chi Minh City
Who it’s for: Most tourists and backpackers
Top Attractions: Ben Tanh Market, Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, Bui Vien Walking (Party) Street, Cafe Apartments, Bitexco Tower and Observation Deck, Independence Palace
Things to note:
- Abundance of accommodation options due to its central location
- Lively party scene at night and a bustling atmosphere
- Closest district to the city’s main attractions
- My top recommendation for a stay in HCMC
Image: Shops in District 1
Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh District 1
Trendy and super popular: The Hideout
The Hideout is an incredibly popular hostel in Ho Chi Minh City. It provides an opportunity to meet fellow travelers and immerse yourself in the vibrant party scene. Guests are treated to a complimentary beer each day and the staff is known for their helpfulness and knowledge.
Basic budget but clean hostel: City Backpackers Hostel
City Backpackers Hostel is a basic yet well-located hostel, just a short distance from the city’s major attractions like Ben Thanh Market and Notre Dame Cathedral. With rates starting around $10 per night, it offers excellent value for budget-conscious travelers.
Mid-range hotel with an excellent rooftop pool: Silverland Yen Hotel
For those seeking comfort at a reasonable price, Silverland Yen Hotel is a great choice. This hotel features an excellent rooftop pool and offers breathtaking city views. Located within walking distance of Benh Than Market, it provides a convenient base for your stay in District 1.
Image: Cafe Apartments in Nguyen Walking Street
District 2 – Thao Dien, Expat Central
Who it’s for: Luxury travelers, digital nomads, those seeking an artsy expat scene
Top Attractions: Vinhomes Central Park, Landmark 81, boutique shops, high-end cafes and restaurants, nightlife and bars, expat events and performances
Things to note:
- Approximately 20-minute scooter taxi ride from downtown Saigon
- Limited tourist attractions in the area, but suitable for long-term travelers or digital nomads
- Not my top recommendation for short-term visitors
- No hostels in this district
Image: A sunset picnic in Vinhomes Central Park in District 2
Best Places to Stay in Ho Chi Minh District 2
The best budget stay in D2: A in Hotel Glamour
Inspired by glamour, A in Hotel Glamour offers excellent budget accommodation in Thao Dien. With prices starting at around $10 per night, it’s a great option for those keen on staying in District 2. Although it may not be near the top tourist attractions, it provides a solid choice within this district.
Flashpacker Vibes: Sen Boutique House
For flashpackers seeking peace, quiet, and privacy, Sen Boutique House is a wonderful hideaway from the bustling city. With prices ranging from $30 to $50, it offers a comfortable stay for couples exploring Saigon.
A Luxury Stay: Villa Song Saigon
If you crave luxury during your visit to Ho Chi Minh City, look no further than Villa Song Saigon. This stunning hotel sits right on the Saigon River in District 2. Guests can enjoy the onsite pool, exquisite architecture, and a free two-way river shuttle to the city center.
District 3 – Near the City Center, Closer to the Locals
Who it’s for: Travelers looking to escape the main tourist area without venturing too far
Top Attractions: Thi Nghe Canal, War Remnants Museum, Tanh Dinh Church (Pink Church), genuine Vietnamese neighborhoods
Things to note:
- Approximately 25+ minute walk to District 1’s city center
- Bustling and lively area offering an authentic Vietnamese experience
- Away from the central tourist hub of Bui Vien Walking Street
- Plenty of local street food options
- Personal recommendation: I stayed in District 3 and loved it! However, short-term visitors may find it requires more effort to get around compared to District 1.
Best Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City District 3
For flashpackers looking for a private room: Leaf Signature Hotel
Leaf Signature Hotel is a super cute place to stay, offering photogenic boho vibes and private rooms for couples or pairs of travelers. It’s located in a quiet area of the city, about a 15-minute walk from the famous old post office and downtown Ho Chi Minh. Prices start around $35 per night.
Best Affordable Hotel in D3: Orchids Saigon Hotel
Orchids Saigon Hotel is an excellent choice for affordable accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City. With rates starting at approximately $88 per night, guests can enjoy breakfast, access to the beautiful swimming pool, and the fitness center. Reviewers note its proximity to popular attractions such as Independence Palace and the War Remnants Museum.
District 5 – Chinatown
Who it’s for: Off-the-beaten-path budget backpackers
Top Attractions: Thien Hau Temple, Binh Tay Market, Hoi Quan Ha Chuong Temple, Cha Tam Church
Things to note:
- Located away from District 1, the heart of the city. A 10-15 minute scooter ride is necessary.
- Excellent options for local and affordable street food
- Chinese influences, rich culture, and historical architecture
- In my opinion, a better choice than District 2 but not as ideal as District 1 or District 3
The Best Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City District 5
Budget hostel: Natural House Hostel
With a solid 8.9 rating on booking.com, Natural House Hostel is a budget-friendly option located in the heart of Chinatown. Beds start as low as $6 per night, and the hostel offers a 24-hour check-in desk for late-night arrivals.
The Best Hotel in District 5: Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
If you prefer staying in a hotel and are looking for a good option in District 5, Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City is worth considering. The hotel features an onsite swimming pool and offers a buffet breakfast for an additional fee. While it may not be the best place to stay in Ho Chi Minh City overall, it is possibly the top hotel in District 5.
Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh City Overall
Sifting through the numerous hotels in Ho Chi Minh City can be a daunting task. To save you time and effort, I’ve compiled a list of the top-rated and best options for hotels in Saigon.
Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint
Located in District 1 within walking distance of Saigon Square, Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint offers a fantastic rooftop pool with DJ performances and breathtaking city views. It’s considered one of the best hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, not only for its excellent amenities but also its semi-affordable rates.
Silverland Yen Hotel
Situated in District 1, Silverland Yen Hotel is a beautiful establishment with nature-inspired decor. Pristine and clean rooms, an inviting swimming pool, and a spa make for an exceptional stay. This hotel receives high praise and is one of the top-rated places in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Reverie Saigon
For those seeking sophistication and luxury, The Reverie Saigon is the ultimate choice. This five-star hotel, located in District 1, embodies elegance. Its Italian Renaissance-inspired decor is an absolute delight. Although I haven’t personally experienced this hotel, the reviews and photos speak volumes.
Best Hostels in Ho Chi Minh City Overall
As a hostel enthusiast, I’ve spent considerable time searching for the best hostels in Ho Chi Minh City. Here are my top recommendations.
Best budget hostel: Long Hostel
Long Hostel is well-reviewed and loved for its friendly atmosphere, cleanliness, and affordable rates. Its prime location places visitors within walking distance of Saigon’s major attractions. Dorm beds start at just $5 per night, including breakfast!
Best social hostel: The Hideout
As mentioned earlier, The Hideout is hugely popular and highly rated. It’s an ideal choice for solo travelers or those seeking an energetic party scene in Saigon.
Best styled hostel: The Like Hostel & Cafe
The Like Hostel & Cafe is a modern and stylish accommodation nestled in the heart of District 1. Each bed features a privacy curtain, and there’s even a rooftop bar to enjoy. The vibrant Bui Vien Backpacker street is just a short walk away.