Part of the new wave
373/6 Pham Ngu Lao T: (08) 3920 9235
Down a narrow alley, hidden behind a market in Saigon’s backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao, Phan Anh Hostel is a top example of a new wave of HCMC budget lodgings and is worth considering if you’re after a cheap bed but aren’t too fussed about socialising with other travellers.
A little hard to find due to its hidden location, from the outside the hostel looks rather small and unassuming. Inside rooms come in two flavours: dorm rooms with six beds and private rooms with a double bed. The 160,000 VND dorm rooms are similar to others that you’ll find elsewhere in the city, with three bunk beds making a total of six beds. Dorms have a single bathroom, which you’ll share with your roommates, and a private locker for each bed.
Private rooms are quite a bit more expensive at 450,000 VND a night, but are large and have all the amenities that you’d expect at that price point, such as TV, air-con, and a big private bath. The hostel is very clean, which reflects the attitude of the staff who truly seem to care about both the hostel and its guests.
However clean and cheap it may be, things at Phan Anh aren’t perfect. Like many hostels, hotels and guesthouses in the area there is no common room for lounging or socialising; if you want to chat, you’ll have to do so in your room or in the hostel’s lobby/computer room, which is fairly compact. The hostel’s location is hard to find and it also be a bit dark on approach at night due to its location off the street. Crime isn’t the norm here and the area isn’t particularly dangerous, but bag snatching has been known to occur. You may want to avoid walking alone in the area, particularly at night, and get back as early as possible.
Phan Anh Hostel has plenty of beds but manages to keep the building regularly full. Although you may be able walk in off the street and get a bed, your best bet is to book online. If you turn up without a booking and can’t get in, you’re next door to two other viable options, the Saigon Backpackers Hostel with a similar layout and similar beds at an identical price, and Long Hostel, which is more of a guesthouse with better service for a bit more money.
If you’ve got a bit more cash, take a quick walk down the street to Vy Khanh Guesthouse on Pham Ngu Lao or Ngoc Phan Guesthouse on Bui Vien; both will treat you like family but also have a limited number of beds. Fancier still is the Elios Hotel, just a short trek away and one of the few three-star spots in the area.
By Max Murta
Last updated on 17th June, 2014.