The joy of accommodation in Vietnam is that the possibilities are endless and there is something for everyone. Nowadays there is Wi-Fi in most places so even the most basic of hostels will have a website that you can check out. Failing that you can check out reviews online.
In recent years Vietnam has also seen an increase in high end, luxury hotels to cater for the increase in affluent travelers visiting the country. So whatever your budget and your priorities you will find something to suit you.
Before you start looking for accommodation you need to ask yourself a few questions. Prioritize what is important for you! What might be your dream hotel could be another person’s idea of hell and visa versa. Here are a few things to consider:
- Budget – How much are you prepared to spend per night on average?
- Sharing – Are you willing to sleep in a shared dormitory or do you want your own room?
- Wi-Fi – Most places have free Wi-Fi but it’s worth thinking about, especially if you are relying on the Internet to do some more travel planning.
- Location – Do you want to be right in the heart of the action, amongst the hustle and bustle (and the noise and smells that come with it). Or would you prefer a quieter location even if that means a longer walk or even a taxi ride into town?
- Facilities – What is really important to you? A swimming pool? Bicycle hire? Airport transfers? An on-site tour agent? You might not be able to get everything that you want to fit in your budget but at least you know what you are looking for.
How to find accommodation
There are several ways to find accommodation for your trip in Vietnam:
- Through word of mouth
- Turning up and hoping for the best
There are two ways to find accommodation through a search engine. You can either directly search for accommodation in the area that you want or you can use a dedicated online booking site.
Be aware that hotels have to pay to have their hotels listed on online booking sites and you may end up paying more than if you booked directly through the hotel. The only way to find out is to call or email the hotel and ask if they will do a better rate if you book directly.
On the other hand booking sites allow you to search specifically for what you are looking for and check which hotels are cheapest. You can use filters to make sure that the hotel has all the facilities that you want and then arrange the list of potential properties into price order. Most booking sites also include reviews that you can use to determine whether the accommodation is suitable for you based on other people’s experiences.
The following websites offer great online booking
Word of Mouth
Everyone that you meet during your travels will have horror stories about the awful places that they have stayed in and the time they shared a room with some cockroaches. At the same time they will recommend at least one place that ‘you must go to’. First hand reviews are great and mean that you can ask someone additional questions and get unbiased answers but take them with a pinch of salt.
Remember, not everyone has the same standards and priorities for accommodation. The person that you are speaking too might be used to sleeping in rat infested hostels and is only recommending another hostel because it has a working toilet and only a few bed bugs – luxury in their eyes.
That can also work the other way round, if someone normally lives the high life and then they stay in an amazing $5 hostel then it doesn’t matter how fantastic that hostel is. It will be still be a culture shock for them compared to the luxury hotels they are used to and they are unlikely to recommend said hostel.
Get a feel for how the other person is traveling; do they have a similar budget and standards as you? If so quiz them on their favorite places to stay and you might strike lucky with somewhere great.
Booking on Arrival
The idea of turning up somewhere without having any accommodation booked is a horrifying concept for some people but for others it’s the benchmark of being a true traveler.
On the plus side just turning up and looking at accommodation means that you get to see it first hand and decide if it is what you want. You can see what else is nearby and whether you get a ‘good vibe’ from the place.
For the most part there is an abundance of accommodation in tourist areas so you will always find somewhere to stay. Be cautious during festivals or extremely busy periods though as all the best accommodation tends to get booked up first.
Not pre-booking can be stressful, especially if you have to heave all of your luggage around with you as you look around different hotels. Hotel owners are generally keen to seal the deal so don’t panic if you are told that there is only one room left or ‘it’s very busy’. Stay calm and if it isn’t somewhere you want to stay then there will usually be another place a few doors down.
What to expect
One of their key things with accommodation in Vietnam is to set realistic expectations. A $15 per night room isn’t going to be the Hilton Presidential Suite but it will certainly be better than anything you could expect to find back home for that amount.
If you are a backpacker and willing to share a dormitory then you can expect prices to start at around $5 per night. Most backpacker hostels aren’t in the nicest of locations but are usually fairly close to the markets and the bars so they give you a great opportunity’ to meet like-minded travelers.
Almost all backpacker hostels have free Wi-Fi, especially in the communal areas, and include breakfast (although don’t expect it to be a Western breakfast). The only concern that you may have is leaving your possessions unsecured with strangers sharing your room. Ensure that the room has individual lockers for that extra piece of mind.
If you are traveling as a couple or simply don’t mind sharing a room with one or two other people then you might find it more economical to book a shared room. Budget twin/double rooms start anywhere between $9 and $15 per night and usually include an ensuite bathroom. The benefit of a private room is that your possessions are more secure although you should still be wary about leaving valuables in your room, as the staff will also have access.
So what do budget rooms and dormitories look like? That varies from place to place, ask your fellow travelers for their experience or use online sites such as trip advisor. Remember that for a few dollars per night you can’t expect the Ritz. As long as the accommodation is in a fairly good location and is clean then what more do you need?
Top Hostel Tips
Sharing accommodation with strangers can be a little daunting to begin with but it can also be a great way to meet new friends, find new travels buddies and keep costs down. Here are our top tips for sharing accommodation:
- Always say hello and introduce yourself – It’s pretty weird sleeping next to someone when you don’t even know his or her name.
- Don’t flash your belongings – The majority of your fellow travelers are as honest as you are…but some aren’t.
- Most thefts are opportunistic so always secure your belongings in a locker. If there are no lockers then use a padlock or zip ties as a deterrent to both secure your rucksack and attach it to your bed.
- Label your beers!! Even the nicest of travelers are guilty of occasionally stealing someone else’s beer!
- Make an effort – Even if you are tired and feel like curling up in bed, make the effort to sit in the communal areas and meet people. It can get pretty lonely otherwise.
- Ask for advice – People love talking about their own travels, so asking advice about a different destination is a great ice breaker plus you might find out something interesting.
Between the low-end budget accommodation and the 5* resorts are an abundance of options to satisfy all budgets and tastes. For accommodation that is 3* standard by Western equivalents you can expect to pay between $30 and $40 for a double room, including breakfast and Wi-Fi. The location is usually pretty good compared to budget hotels and you will find an abundance of additional amenities, often including a swimming pool.
If you want to indulge in absolute luxury then there are plenty of places for you to stay in Vietnam. Whether you choose a well know international hotel such as the Hilton or Four Seasons or you might be looking for a boutique hotel where you can experience the high life.
Expect prices to start at around $100 per night for a 5* hotel. Needless to say this figure can extend far higher than this but it all depends what you are looking for.
You simply wouldn’t be able to find such high-end luxury for this price range in the Western world so why not treat yourself?