Due to unfavorable events in Ho Chi Minh City, I found myself in this little hotel near Ben Thanh Market. It’s called City Hotel which I think is a really creative name for a hotel in the city. Well probably not. Anyhow, it’s a bit fancier than my usual accommodation. It definitely costs a lot more than I was willing to pay (I paid 7-8 USD/night in Hanoi) and I wouldn’t stay at a place like this under normal circumstances. But desperate times call for desperate measures.
I only had 12 hours in Saigon before catching the red eye back to Manila so I didn’t book a hotel. My plan was to shop for pasalubong (gifts for people back home), buy tennis shoes (heard they were cheaper in Vietnam) and do a bit of sightseeing before heading back to the airport. I thought there would be no need for a hotel. But as it turned out, walking around the city while hauling my backpack was not one of my brightest ideas. I got super tired and the humidity was crippling. It was a very hot day in Saigon. Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse my back started to hurt and I was feeling nauseous.
Tried to have a breather at a Starbucks but that didn’t help. So from the Notre Dame Cathedral, I walked back to Ben Thanh Market to look for a cheap hotel. The façade of this hotel looked plain to me; so thinking it was cheap, in I go. At the front desk, I asked for a room. They quoted me a price which I thought was too much. I bargained by telling them I’m only staying for four hours as I have a flight at midnight. They said okay but still asked for 400,000 dong (17-18 USD). My brain was half fried by then so I just took it.
They led me to a room that was three to four steps from the reception (this was new to me). I haven’t stayed anywhere with a room beside the front desk. Seeing the door there I though it was the employee bathroom. That shouldn’t have surprised me though cause when they agreed to let me book the room for four hours I seriously thought they were a motel.
But I was in for a surprise, the nice one for that day. The room was a lot nicer and bigger than I expected. As you can see below.
I didn’t stay the whole four hours. I showered and slept for an hour and half then went out to explore the city again but this time I left my stuff at the hotel.
Their location is great. Around the corner you’ll find Ben Thanh Market. You can also walk from the hotel to some of the tourist attractions. There are also tons of shops (clothes and shoes) around. As for safety, I can only attest for the only night I was there. The street it’s on seemed safe enough to me. Surprisingly there weren’t that many people when I returned at around 9 or 10 pm.
The staff was great. When I checked in there were two young women at the front desk, who were both friendly. They asked if I could help them communicate with their Japanese guest who doesn’t speak English. They were barking up the wrong tree though as I only speak Tagalog and English. When I got back that night, a very nice man had taken over. He asked me how I plan to get to the airport. When I told him I was booking an Uber moto, he was surprised and had a look on his face that says “Are you serious?” Well I wasn’t really going to but I after seeing a dog on a scooter on my way back, I thought that would be the way to go. After all when in Rome, do what the Romans do right? And motorcycles seem to be the main mode of transport in Vietnam.
So that’s what I did, I booked an Uber Moto. The guard waited with me at the entrance, which was really nice of him or maybe the area is not that safe after all. Anyways, my ride back to the airport was exciting and a bit scary which was an apt prelude to the surprise waiting for me at the airport. But this post is now really long so I’m going to end it here.