373/10 Pham Ngu Lao, District 1 T: (08) 3836 0184
Formerly known as the Long Guesthouse, Long Hostel has moved into a new, larger building in Saigon’s Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area. While the location has changed, walking into the Long Hostel is still like walking into someone’s house.
Long Hostel doesn’t actually look much like a hostel and in fact there is only a single, five-person dorm room at the building’s top floor. It’s a big and mostly empty room with five single beds and plenty of space for five people; it’s quite the walk to get up to the room as, like many (tall) hotels in Saigon, it lacks an elevator.
But aside from the dorm, the hostel offers two types of rooms: 350,000 VND gets you a double with one bed, while 500,000 VND buys the three-person standard, which has a double and single bed. Either choice results in a very clean room complete with a private bath, television and air-con. The three-person standards each have large windows, filling the room with light, and a long but thin private balcony. On the other hand, the double rooms don’t have any windows.
While the rooms are nice for their price, the best reason to stay at Long is the service. The Long family goes out of their way to make you feel like you’re staying with family. When you first arrive you’ll be given a 30-minute crash course on what to do in Saigon and how to stay safe. The breakfast they serve each morning, included with the price of your room, is made with care.
While the family is great and the rooms are serviceable, there are a couple of drawbacks to staying here. Firstly, the location isn’t ideal. Down an alley off the road behind the Thai Binh market, the hostel is a little hard to find and the alley gets dark at night. While the area isn’t particularly notorious it would be best to use caution if you’re returning home late. Secondly, the hostel lacks a common area so if you’re a lone traveller looking to meet new people, the hostel probably isn’t the best place to socialise.
All up, Long Hostel might not be the best place to meet people but it is one of the nicer, more affordable guesthouses in the city. Even with its change in location and a doubling of the number of beds it offers, Long Hostel’s reputation keeps it consistently full; it’s almost impossible to walk in off the street and get a room so your best bet is to book in advance online.
If you can’t get a room here, plenty of places around have beds, though few live up to the Long Hostel’s standards. Ly Loan, a nearby guesthouse, has fewer rooms but (almost) similar service, and the California Guesthouse is also a good choice though it is slightly outside the backpacker area on Co Bac. Those who are looking for the real hostel experience should head next door to the Saigon Backpackers Hostel, where you will find clean, gender-assigned dorms. If you want something a step up in scale the An An Hotel on Bui Vien is worth a try, as is the Elios Hotel on Pham Ngu Lao.
Check rates at Long Hostel - rated 8.7/10 on Agoda.com.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 3rd February, 2016.