On the plus side, Dong Ha is a great place to get away from the crowds. The Vietnamese don't vacation here, and foreign visitors blow right past it. Not surprisingly, this means a pretty lacklustre selection in terms of accommodation. But some places are better than others, and choosing wisely will make your short stay here a bit more pleasant.
The Phung Hoang 2 is a popular favourite, and we're happy to report they are still living up to their good reputation. We found the staff welcoming and helpful -- they have two restaurants in the hotel, and the lobby was well-equipped to accommodate international travellers, with free internet for guests (15,000 dong per hour for non-guests) and a booth for overseas phone calls (US$2 per minute.... Read our full review of Phung Hoang 2.
The Thuan An stands out from most of the places in Dong Ha, with a more attractive and well-maintained exterior, and a lobby that doesn't look like a government building. The location is good too -- right on the corner across from the bus station, and convenient to several sit-down rice and noodle restaurants. They have a good variety of clean, decent, air-con rooms, and many of the doubles can... Read our full review of Thuan An Hotel.
This is a small, friendly, well-run place that welcomes foreign guests. We saw some great standard rooms here for the price -- clean, bright, airy, with large picture windows giving out on to verdant views. The deluxe rooms, however, had small windows and weren't as nice -- you'll be paying extra just to have two chairs and a table at one end of the... Read our full review of Ha Noi 2 Hotel.
There's a lot to like about the DMZ Cafe. The garrulous English-speaking owner Mr. Tinh is a great source of information and the rooms are dirt cheap -- though they all share a single bathroom. They're also some of the least private rooms we've ever seen -- the walls letting onto the hallway are taken up by large, glass windows that are imperfectly fitted with an odd assortment of heavy curtains.... Read our full review of DMZ Cafe.
The Mekong Hotel features a large parking lot and a huge dining area that is graced daily by DMZ tour groups eating breakfast and lunch. We can't give the place points for atmosphere, but the rooms in the hotel are not bad at all -- acceptably clean and pleasant -- almost worth the... Read our full review of Mekong Hotel.
The Hieu Giang is a government hotel, and, yes, it does feel a little as if you're walking in to apply for a driver's license. They have a reputation here for not being particularly welcoming to foreigners. The rooms all have air-con and are spacious, but spare and unattractive. The deluxe rooms offer more furnishings, but not much more in the way of atmosphere or comfort. Well-over-priced for... Read our full review of Hieu Giang Hotel.
There are a couple of places in Dong Ha that have a reputation for not really loving it when foreigners stay there, and this is one of them. Not to worry, the crappy concrete and tile rooms aren't worth seeking out anyway -- though we have to say, they were nice and cool on a hot... Read our full review of Thanh Do Hotel.