There is a wide range of accommodation options for long term stays ranging from a basic room for $200 a month to serviced apartments houses in the 000’s of dollars per month range.
If you are arriving for the first time I suggest starting in District 1 which – as the number suggests – covers central and downtown area. If you are planning to stay long term then book a hotel or guesthouse first and have a look around before committing to something.
Hotels and Guest Houses
If you are bootstrapping/on a tight budget the cheapest accommodation options are in Pham Ngu Lau – the notorious backpacker district. Accommodation is in between Pham Ngu Lau and Bui Vien, and here you can find hostel dorm rooms from $5 and the most basic single room guesthouses for $10 onwards.
A step up from the backpacker area are the hotels around Ben Thanh Market, which is the central market of District 1. Cheap hotels around here start at $20 USD.
Airbnb have hundreds of listings for Ho Chi Minh City if you want apartment style accommodation to start out.
For a long term room (one month and longer) it is easier to find the best deals once you are on the ground.
Rooms For Rent
Ho Chi Minh has an abundance of cheap rooms for rent by the month. The rooms are either in a private family home, in a house built specifically for single rooms rentals, or in a share house. Rooms like this can be found online at vietnam.craigslist.org under rooms/shared.
18A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai – District 1
[A typical room for rent on 18A: Bedroom with private bathroom]
18A is a lane off Nguyen Thi Minh Khai and has numerous single rooms for rent. It’s often referred to as “English Teacher Alley” or “Expat Alley” as it is a popular place for foreigners to find a cheap room. Lately it has become a hotspot for location independent entrepreneurs visiting for 1-3 months so it might soon be known as “Digital Nomad Alley”.
These rooms aren’t available online so just turn up and go to any place that has a “Room For Rent” sign hanging up. Rooms rates range from $220 to $350 per month, depending on the size and if it has a balcony/window. Most rooms have their own bathroom and a fridge. The rates at most places includes internet, as well as cleaning and laundry service. Some places will charge extra for cleaning and laundry (about $20) and the electricity is billed separately. Rooms can be found in 18A and 18B, as well as across the road in 17.
Japantown – District 1
[Rooms for rent in Japantown]
Japantown is the Japanese enclave on Le Thanh Ton. In the alley entrance at 15B Le Thanh Ton there are lots of rooms for rent in private homes, like in the 18A area. The prices here a bit more expensive compared to 18A, ranging from $300 to $550. In the places I looked at I did find some rooms that at least had a kitchenette, but they were basic.
Apartments and Houses
Apartments range in price from $400 USD onwards in District 1. For the purpose of this arrival guide I will stick to D1 and D3 areas. Once you are on the ground and have your bearings you may find you want to live further out to get a bigger place for the same price. For example I have a friend in District 10 who is spending $400 a month to rent a 2 bedroom apartment, which includes a pool at the apartment complex. If you decide to live in an outer district you will need a motorbike, while if you live in D1 you can get by without a bike.
If you have a group of people or just want to rent a whole house to yourself, here is an example of four friends of mine who are renting a whole house in D1, close to Ben Thanh Market. The rate is $1400 per month, so they are paying an average of $350 each. This property was listed at $1800 but was negotiated down.
[4 bedroom house in District 1 – $1400 USD per month]
Here are some sites that list apartments and houses for rent: