The hotel market is booming in Vietnam, with around 3,000 new rooms put into service nationwide last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.
Like the rest of Southeast Asia, there’s a sweeping range, from the most luxurious resorts in the world to the cockroach havens with planks for beds and rotting backpacks for pillows.
For travellers with modest amounts of cash in their pockets, Vietnam offers plenty of interesting and comfortable lodgings. They may not be the Hiltons, but at least you won’t be woken by the sounds of rats nibbling on your toenails.
Of course, it’s impossible to truly identify the top five budget hotels in the country. Instead we’ve given our recommendations, each in a different city.
HO CHI MINH CITY | Alcove Library Hotel
This charming hotel is pleasantly calm, tucked away down a side street, yet is only a 10-minute drive to downtown Saigon.
The theme of the place, as its name suggests, is literary, and instead of diving into the chaos of the streets, guests often prefer to spend their evenings reading from Alcove’s extensive collection of books. There’s even a slide-ladder to find novels on higher shelves.
Aside from the reads, Alcove’s elegant architecture and rooftop restaurant mean you may never explore the city at all, and conveniently, the airport is about 15 minutes away.
The continental breakfasts are generous and there’s a wide range of A la Carte dining throughout the day. Also, the staff remember your name; always a nice touch.
133A Nguyen Dinh Chinh Street, Phu Nhuan District
CON DAO | Con Dao Camping
An island getaway doesn’t need to get all Robinson Crusoe but, still, some wilderness is good, which is why Con Dao Camping has become a favourite for travellers to the island.
The rooms, which are built entirely from local wood, look out to the sea where dozens of small fishing boats bob along.
The resort’s name implies something much more basic but there are more bungalows than tents.
You can spend the day on its private beach, which caters for activities and campfires, or use it as a base to explore the tropical island.
Nearby attractions include Ong Dung Forest, snorkelling in Hon Tre and watching the sunset at Bai Nhat. Staff will be happy to arrange tours.
And as it’s a remote, exotic island, don’t forget the bug spray.
2 Nguyen Duc Thuan Street,
DA LAT | Du Parc Hotel
For those heading to Dalat for the first time and expecting to find a quiet, rustic huddle of French colonial chalets tucked among the pine trees, you’re about 100 years too late, but for a hint of how things used to be, book a few nights at Du Parc. Constructed in the early 1930s on top of a hill just south of the town centre, it’s a wonderful example of art deco architecture and design. Its original ‘caged’ elevator is even still in operation.
With high ceilings, wooden floors, a lobby bar straight out of a Marguerite Duras novel and dozens of black and white photos of Dalat in its youth, it’s a firm favourite with several members of the AsiaLIFE team. Breakfast is taken in the equally quaint ‘Cafe de la Poste’ across the street, and rooms at the rear of the property afford stunning views over the town and surrounding countryside (the higher the better).
15 Tran Phu Street
DA NANG | Grand Mango Hotel
If the scent of the ocean breeze draws you to the Grand Mango, then the hospitality of the staff will keep you there.
The workers are known to take guests out for meals and give them little surprise presents. The hotel itself has a modern layout, and is four kilometres from the Museum of Cham Sculpture and six kilometres from the Dragon Bridge that runs over the River Han.
The laid-back vibe is complimented by sea-view rooms which have the usual Wi-Fi and flat screen TVs as well as a kettle and some coffee/tea. Upgrade for your own personal kitchen.
Every stays comes with a free buffet breakfast. The Grand Mango also has a good location near all the tasty dining spots, and is only a one-minute walk away from the beach, although bikes and scooters are available.
60 An Thuong Street, My Khe
HANOI | Art Boutique Hotel
Situated next door to Hanoi’s most famous Bun Bo Nam Bo joint, as a guest here you’ll never be stuck for somewhere to grab a cheap and tasty bite. The hotel itself is compact (it’s in the old quarter after all), but while the rooms may be small, they are well-appointed, tastefully decorated, quiet, comfortable and spotless. With thick windows, even those at the front of the property don’t suffer too much from the noise of the traffic outside. The buffet breakfast is large and varied enough to fuel even the pickiest of eaters, and the friendly team of staff are possibly the nicest people you’ll meet in Hanoi and will be happy to help organise taxis, tours and transport, or simply offer their local knowledge of the area.
63 Hang Dieu Street, Hoan Kiem District