*Our Indie Asia series is all about shining a light on the best independent businesses we’ve encountered during our travels in Southeast Asia. We will not be receiving remuneration of any kind in exchange for these blogs: these are the hotels, bars, and restaurants that have genuinely struck a chord with us and inspired us to share our discoveries. Sometimes it’s just nice to be nice.*
The Quiet Hostel Saigon is a brand new hostel-cum-hotel at the heart of noisy Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, it’s so new that when we stayed there in November, the owner – a really lovely Japanese guy – was still crafting the hotel sign and making small tweaks to the lobby.
The hotel can be found down a quiet alley, just past a juice bar and street food restaurant. Despite this secluded location, it remains within the boundaries of Ho Chi Minh’s tourist-heavy D1 area. This means you can choose between spending the evening guzzling pho and cheap beer at the street food restaurants that line the nearby alleys – so authentic there are no English menus or English speakers – or heading to the loud and lurid Bui Vien Street (Saigon’s answer to Koh San Road). Or do both. The Quiet Hostel’s central location meant we were able to trek around the huge city on foot: from the War Remnants Museum and the Independence Palace to a stressful stint of Macbook shopping, we didn’t get a taxi or motorbike once.
The building itself retains the feel of a charming colonial apartment, with polished dark woods, wrought iron, and tiled floors. However, it has recently been expertly tricked out with ultra-hip dorms – all lead piping and chipboard – and polished private rooms. The air con is dreamy, the bed surprisingly comfortable for an Asian hotel, and the bedrooms and en suite bathrooms are sparkling; among the cleanest we’ve seen in Asia.
Downstairs there’s a comfortable lounge, decked out with couches and a long table. Here you can grab a drink from the fridge, or order a bite to eat, with mostly Western dishes served.
In the lobby, there were always a number of super helpful staff members hanging around – and often the owner himself. They could not have been more welcoming, friendly, and polite – and genuinely went out of their way to ensure our stay was the smoothest it could be. For example, one rainy day we asked if there was a laundry nearby as we were getting to the end of our clothes cycle once more. Instead of sending us out in the rain, the owner took our laundry on his motorbike to a few different laundries nearby to find us the cheapest rate, and then arranged for it to be dropped off the following day. What’s more, they were always happy to have a chat, or direct us to cool restaurants and bars nearby.
Value for money
We extended our stay at The Quiet Hostel several times – having initially only booked two nights, we ended up hanging out there for over a week. This was due to the friendly staff, brilliant location and clean, comfortable rooms, as detailed above – but also the epic value for money. It cost just £17.40 per night for a large double room (£8.70 each) – an absolute steal in one of Vietnam’s biggest cities.
Is The Quiet Hostel for you?
We loved The Quiet Hostel’s tranquil location, coupled with the fact we could be in the heart of the action on Bui Vien Street in just a couple of minutes’ walk. The fact its location wasn’t super touristy allowed us to enjoy a more authentic side of Ho Chi Minh City, and provided a relaxing haven in the heart of this manic, motorbike-filled city. Yet the minute we fancied a bit of a party, the backpacker bars were never far away.
If you prefer your accommodation to be right at the centre of the action – and you’re able to sleep over banging bass – you might be better staying on Bui Vien, but for us this was close enough to be perfect.
When you’re backpacking, or travelling on a budget, it’s a huge win to find comfortable accommodation at an economical price. The Quiet Hostel is not a huge five star hotel chain. But this indie gem provided excellent value for money, and to a pair of travellers growing weary of hard mattresses – felt really rather luxurious indeed.