Ho Chi Minh City (often called Saigon by the locals) is a vibrant and culturally rich city. When visiting Saigon, the district in which you choose to stay can influence your overall experience. Here’s a breakdown of the best districts and hotels to stay in Saigon for travelers, tourists, and short-term visitors.
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is the largest city in Vietnam, both in terms of population and economic activity. Spread over more than 2,000 square kilometers, it is divided into 21 districts and 1 city.
The vastness and diversity of the city can make it difficult for visitors to select an ideal accommodation spot. Furthermore, the city’s rapid development has led to various accommodation types, from hotels to serviced apartments, guesthouses, and homestays.
Drawing from our experience, we’ve put together this guide of where to stay in HCMC for tourists and short-term visitors to help you choose the place that aligns best with your travel purpose and preferences. While we are Saigon locals, we have done a bunch of short staycations, allowing us to experience and appreciate our city through the lens of a tourist. It is always fun and enlightening to explore our own city from this perspective.
Main Factors to Consider
Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a luxury seeker, or a backpacking adventurer, HCMC has a suitable space for you. When deciding where to stay in HCMC, here are the main factors you should consider.
Purpose of Stay & Location
For those coming to explore the city’s major attractions, a central location will provide easy access to popular cultural and historical sites, dining, shopping, and nightlife. On the contrary, choosing an accommodation in the outer districts can offer a richer, more nuanced understanding of the locals’ daily life beyond the tourist highlights.
For business travelers, a balance between accessibility to business hubs and proximity to leisure activities is important. Staying centrally ensures you can efficiently meet work obligations while also enjoying what the city offers after work.
Length of Stay
Short-term visitors will likely find hotels most convenient. Those on extended stays may prefer serviced apartments, and Saigon has quite many serviced apartments operated by reputable brands, such as Somerset, Oakwood, and Intercontinental.
Airbnb may be an affordable option for longer stays. The city has an abundance of Airbnb listings, mostly in modern high-rise apartment buildings. However, it’s important to note that Airbnb operations aren’t fully recognized by Vietnamese law. Moreover, some apartment complexes have begun prohibiting Airbnb guests from accessing onsite amenities, such as swimming pools and gyms.
It is very easy to get around Saigon, given the availability of taxis (Vinasun, Mailinh, and XanhSM) and ride-hailing services (Grab, Gojek, and Be). However, if you prefer a walkable area, District 1 will be your best choice. Additionally, traffic congestion is a known issue in HCMC. Therefore, even short distances can sometimes take longer to get around, especially during peak hours.
To be honest, one of the things we miss the most when moving back to Vietnam is the ability to walk around. We sometimes do a staycation in District 1 simply because of how walkable it is.
Where to Stay in HCMC
For tourists and short-term visitors, especially those visiting for the first time, we think District 1 is the best option due to its central location and accessibility to major attractions. Following closely are District 3 and Binh Thanh District (just the area around Nguyen Huu Canh street), and District 5.
District 2, District 7, and others are a bit too far from the center for sightseeing. Besides, those districts don’t have a wide range of accommodation types. District 2 and District 7 are popular with young local families and expats.
In the following sections, you will find an overview of the top districts and hotels in HCMC for travelers and short-term visitors. We have stayed at most of the hotels we’re recommending below. Additionally, we will include key attractions and our favorite dining options in each area.
District 1 is the heart of the city with most of the attractions, restaurants, nightlife, and shopping centers. I think it is the best choice for tourists and business travelers, especially first-time visitors. The district is characterized by a mix of colonial-era buildings, modern skyscrapers, and bustling street markets.
As mentioned above, District 1 is much more walkable than other parts of Saigon. It also has the broadest range of accommodations in the city. Key attractions include: the Independence Palace, HCMC Museum of Fine Arts, Central Post Office, and the Opera House.
Dining options: District 1 has many dining options, from upscale dining to local street food. This is where you can find some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in HCMC. There are also plenty of choices for international cuisines.
Best hotels in District 1
Park Hyatt Saigon
Park Hyatt Saigon is a luxury hotel known for its colonial-style architecture and elegance. Situated near the Saigon Opera House, its location is very convenient for guests to explore nearby attractions. The service is the best in HCMC, in our opinion. The hotel has pretty solid dining venues; however, expect to pay high prices.
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
Located on the famous Dong Khoi Street, Sheraton Saigon is an upscale hotel close to major shopping areas and attractions. We like how fresh and neat the newly renovated guest rooms look. The service is just satisfactory though, lacking a personal touch or exceptional quality.
The Reverie Saigon
We only recommend The Reverie Saigon if you are fine with opulent and over-the-top luxurious decor. While the hotel’s interior decor is undeniably beautiful and leaves a lasting impression, its lavishness may come off as slightly overwhelming or garish to some.
Intercontinental Saigon is adjacent to famous landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, and Saigon Book Street. The rooms are comfortable but may be due for a renovation soon. We were quite satisfied with the service at the Intercontinental Club Lounge. We also enjoy Yu Chu, the onsite dimsum restaurant.
Le Meridien Saigon
Le Meridien Saigon is an upscale hotel on Ton Duc Thang Street with views of Saigon River, and Ba Son Bridge. We like that all guest rooms are quite spacious and on high floors. The hotel is within walking distance of a lot of good cafes, restaurants, and Japanese town.
La Siesta Premium Saigon
La Siesta is a boutique hotel brand originating from Hanoi. They have established a name for themselves with their attention to detail, great service, reasonable prices, and prime locations. La Siesta Premium Saigon is their first hotel in HCMC. It has been getting a lot of positive reviews since its opening in 2023.
District 3 is adjacent to District 1 and has several cultural and historical sites. The War Remnants Museum, one of the most visited museums in Vietnam, provides a look into the impacts of the Vietnam War. The Turtle Lake is a popular gathering place for locals in the evenings.
The district is characterized by a mix of French colonial-era villas and local Vietnamese houses. There are several notable religious sites, including Tan Dinh Church, which is in pink, and numerous pagodas and temples.
Dining options: our favorite restaurants in District 3 are Hum Vegetarian, Spice Bistro, East Restaurant, and Hu Tiu Hong Phat.
Best hotels in District 3
Hotel Des Arts Saigon – MGallery Collection
Hotel Des Arts Saigon is a luxury boutique hotel known for its beautiful blend of French colonial and Indochina aesthetics. It has a rooftop bar with stunning views of the city. Despite being located in District 3, Hotel Des Arts is within a 10-minute walk to major attractions in District 1.
Mai House Saigon Hotel
Located just a 5-minute walk from the War Remnants Museum and a 10-minute stroll from the Independence Palace, Mai House Saigon Hotel offers spacious guest rooms in French colonial and Indochina styles. Additionally, it also has 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom serviced apartments.
Binh Thanh District
Binh Thanh is right next to District 1, making it relatively close to the heart of HCMC. If you choose Binh Thanh District, stick to the area around Nguyen Huu Canh Street.
You’ll find a mix of traditional markets, local eateries, and residential neighborhoods in this area. This district does not have many branded hotels; however, it has an abundance of AirBnB listings in high-rise complexes, such as Vinhomes Central Park.
Dining options: you can check out Pham Viet Chanh area in Binh Thanh district for some solid Japanese restaurants and local bars. We frequently visit Kiyota Kappo, Chu-ka 77, and Gringos Tacos. We also like Tre Vietnamese restaurant located on the rooftop of an office building in Saigon Pearl complex.
Best hotels in Binh Thanh District
Vinpearl Landmark 81, Autograph Collection
This upscale Vinpearl hotel is located in Landmark 81, the tallest building in Vietnam. The design of Landmark 81 resembles bamboo stalks, which is symbolic in Vietnamese culture. There is a large central park with green spaces, walking paths, and play areas.
District 5 in Ho Chi Minh City, often referred to as Cho Lon (which means “big market” in Vietnamese), is the city’s historic Chinatown district with rich cultural heritage and bustling markets. Accommodations in this area tend to be more affordable. However, the trade-off is it will take you at least 15 minutes by car to visit attractions in District 1.
The district is dotted with numerous pagodas and temples, most of which are influenced by Chinese architectural styles. Popular places to visit include: Thien Hau Temple (Chùa Bà Thiên Hậu), Hoi Quan On Lang, and Ho Thi Ky market.
Dining options: District 5 is a paradise for food lovers, especially those looking for authentic Chinese as well as Vietnamese-Chinese fusion dishes. The street food culture is vibrant, and many eateries have been operating for generations.
Best hotels in District 5
Nikko Saigon Hotel
As part of the Nikko chain, which is renowned globally, Nikko Saigon Hotel brings Japanese hospitality standards to Saigon. Guest rooms are spacious with an elegant design, blending Japanese and Vietnamese aesthetics. The hotel offers a range of room options, including suites and apartments. Their seafood buffet at La Brasserie is quite popular in HCMC; however I wasn’t impressed with the food.
Hotel Equatorial HCMC
Hotel Equatorial is a popular choice among both business and leisure travelers. Guest rooms are spacious; however, the interior design is not as modern or stylish as those in District 1.
District 2 (now part of Thu Duc City)
District 2, located to the east of the Saigon River, is a rapidly developing urban district with a mix of local life and expatriate communities. This area is characterized by a mix of residential compounds, villas, international schools, and various restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops catering to both locals and expats.
I don’t really recommend staying in District 2 for tourists and short-term visitors unless you want a weekend getaway by Saigon River. Also, if you have time to explore, there are a number of excellent restaurants here.
Dining options: Thao Dien area has so many great restaurants. Some of our favorite places are Nage, Okra, Kitchen Seoul, and Tama River.
Best hotels in District 2
We had a few weekend staycations at Mia Saigon when we needed a break from city noises. This is a boutique luxury hotel with elegant contemporary and colonial design elements. It offers guests a tranquil riverside setting; however. it is quite far from the city center. We have stayed at their Mia Suite and Grand Suite, both of which are spacious and beautiful. Additionally, we’ve had positive experiences at other properties by the same developer, including Mia Nha Trang and Maia Quy Nhon.
Villa Song Saigon
Villa Song is a beautiful boutique riverside hotel with an elegant colonial design. Villa Song is one of the few hotels with a serene riverside experience in HCMC.
District 7 (mainly Phu My Hung area)
District 7, situated in the southern part of Ho Chi Minh City, is recognized for its modern ambiance, well-organized streets, and a more serene urban environment. In particular, Phu My Hung area in District 7 is home to numerous modern apartment complexes, shopping malls, and recreational facilities.
Phu My Hung has become a beloved residential area for local families with kids as well as expat communities. I only recommend this area if you plan to stay in Saigon for at least a month since it is quite far from the city center and traffic congestion is pretty common. Besides, this district doesn’t have a lot of types of accommodations.
Dining options: the food scene in District 7 generally cannot compare to District 1 or District 2. Some of the food venues we like here are Huong Xua, Matchandeul, and Seol Hwa Bing Su.
Best hotels in District 7
Oakwood Residence Saigon
Oakwood Residence in District 7 features spacious and modern serviced apartments. Each apartment is furnished with a fully equipped kitchen, a washer, and a dryer. The property is right next to Vivo City shopping mall.