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Bich Duyen Hotel 1.0

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • On a narrow lane in District 1's backpacker zone 
  • Clean, comfortable accommodations with private bathrooms
  • Rooms have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges
  • Free breakfast and free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Free public computers for guests' use
  • Friendly English-speaking staff

Cons

  • Top sites are at least a 15-minute walk away 
  • Not all rooms have windows
  • Complaints of poor soundproofing between rooms
  • Stairs are steep, and there’s no elevator
  • Some bathrooms have wet room-style showers
  • Wi-Fi connection is touch and go

Bottom Line

Located on a comparatively quiet lane just off Pham Ngu Lao (aka "Backpacker Street"), Bich Duyen is a simple, friendly, family-run budget hotel that strives to be best in its class by providing clean, comfortable bed-and-breakfast accommodations at a bargain price. The 15 rooms are traditionally styled with a few local touches and come surprisingly well-equipped. Each has air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a mini-fridge, and free (if somewhat) unreliable Wi-Fi; all also have private bathrooms (which aren’t necessarily standard issue in low-cost digs), but claustrophobes should know that windows are lacking in some options. Despite a few other downsides -- most notably steep stairs and reportedly poor soundproofing between rooms -- it still offers an excellent value for cost-conscious travelers, especially when compared with neighboring properties in the same category. 

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Scene

A no-frills, family-run hotel that's more low-key than some competitors  

This hotel occupies a thin five-story structure in the heart of the city’s vibrant (read noisy) backpacker zone; being tucked down an alley, however, the actual building remains relatively quiet. The same can be said of the overall vibe because the Bich Duyen is a friendly family-run property, not some sketchy party place, and hence attracts a more low-key clientele (older guests and vacationers with kids among them). The starkly tiled little lobby and equally small breakfast room are the only common areas in which they can gather, though neither invites lingering. Note that a winding stairway leads from the former to the rooms above, but there is no elevator, and the steps are steep -- which may pose a problem if you happen to have limited mobility or simply lots of luggage.

Location

Centrally located In District 1, just off "Backpacker Street" 

Map of Bich Duyen Hotel

The Bich Duyen sits on a narrow lane off Phạm Ngu Lao, otherwise known as “Backpacker Street.” This is the local version of Bangkok’s more famous Khao San Road -- so, as you'd expect, there are lots of budget-oriented bars, eateries and shops in the immediate area, as well as tour operators who can book trips to out-of-town attractions like the Mekong Delta’s floating markets or the Cu Chi Tunnels (reminders of the Vietnam War). Most of the city’s must-see sights, however, can only be reached on foot by committed walkers: it will take 25 minutes, for instance, to get to either the War Remnants Museum or the landmark Saigon Central Post Office, whereas they’re accessible in 10 minutes or less if you go via "cyclo" or motorbike taxi. Airport transportation can be arranged directly through the hotel.   

  • One-minute walk to Phạm Ngu Lao ("Backpacker Street")
  • Five-minute drive to Ben Tranh Market
  • Eight-minute drive to Union Square Shopping Mall
  • Nine-minute drive to Independence Palace
  • Nine-minute drive to the War Remnants Museum
  • 10-minute drive to Notre-Dame Cathedral
  • 10-minute drive to the Saigon Opera House
  • 11-minute drive to the Saigon Central Post Office
  • 16-minute drive to the Vietnam History Museum
  • 17-minute drive to Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
  • 18-minute drive to Phuoc Hai Temple (Jade Emperor Pagoda)
  • 27-minute drive to Tan Son Nhat International Airport 

Rooms

Well-maintained and well-equipped rooms, all with private bathrooms

Available as doubles, twins, and triples, the rooms here are plain yet pleasant with beige-tiled floors, light walls and white linens that are noticeably clean. The cherry-finished wood furnishings, moreover, are of good quality, and a few decorative flourishes (like accent pillows and bedside lamps) add a tasteful local touch. Regardless of the low nightly rate, all accommodations feature air-conditioning, mini-fridges (as opposed to stocked minibars), flat-screen TVs with cable channels, and free Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi has a shaky signal -- and there are other in-room minuses as well. While most bathrooms have glass-enclosed showers, some are still the old-school open variety (so-called “wet-room" showers with no partitions or curtains to close them off leaving the space damp). Certain rooms also lack windows, and there have been complaints of insufficient soundproofing between units. 

Features

A short list including free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and free public computers for guests' use

In keeping with its small size and one-pearl status, this property doesn’t boast any big features: in fact, it doesn’t even include an elevator. What it does have is a little breakfast room off the lobby, where basic but sustaining fare is served for free each morning (picture eggs, noodles, fruit, bread and, of course, that famous Vietnamese coffee). In the lobby itself you’ll find a pair of public computers that guests are welcome to use at no cost; luggage storage, laundry services, currency exchanges and airport transportation can also be arranged by helpful English-speaking staffers at the 24-hour reception desk there. Free Wi-Fi is available hotel-wide, too, though the signal is unreliable.

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Address

4 283, Pham Ngu Lao, 1 District, Ho Chi Minh City 70000, Vietnam

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