Functional and homely
171/1 Co Bac, District 1 T: (08) 3836 8351 F: (08) 3836 8351
If you’re looking to stay on the cheap in Saigon, the Pham Ngu Lao backpackers area has plenty of low-priced hostels. However, if you’re willing to stay a little off the more heavily trodden path, the small alley between the streets of Co Bac and Co Giang offers bargain priced alternatives, such as Kim Loan Guesthouse.
Just opposite California Guesthouse, from the outside Kim Loan may not look like the most inviting of guesthouses, as the front door is protected from the outside world by a metal cage. But inside the lobby/lounge is much more homely, looking less like a lobby and more like someone’s living room.
The lobby does actually double as a common room for guests, which is a good way to meet your fellow guesthouse residents. Relax at the table, where you’re served your complimentary breakfast, or turn on the big flat-screen TV, complete with multiple VCRs and a karaoke machine. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you could also just make small talk with the owners.
One of the bigger guesthouses on the alley, the rooms are accessed from narrow hallways that run along the outside of the building, meaning that the walk from your room to the stairs exposes you to the elements. Rooms are quite spacious, although devoid of much decoration, and come with amenities that you’d expect in more expensive guesthouses, including a fridge, TV and a desk and rolling chair. Rooms have private bathrooms, which are slightly narrow but serviceable.
Most rooms are similar, save for one major difference — some are fan-cooled only. If you can brave the sweltering Saigon nights with only a fan to cool you down, your reward is a discount on the price of your room — 200,000 VND a night compared to the 240,000 VND air-con flavour.
Like most hotels in the Co Bac/Co Giang alley, Kim Loan’s online presence leaves something to be desired. Without a website or coverage from the major online bookers, the only way to secure a room is by phone or email. Even without the razzle-dazzle of the internet, the low prices and backpacker word of mouth keep Kim Loan consistently booked, so you’ll probably want to plan ahead. If you do show up and no rooms are available, try nearby California Guesthouse or and Ngoc Hue Guesthouse.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 27th June, 2014.