HOW TO FIND CHEAP ACCOMMODATION IN VIETNAM?
In my experience, using these three rules will definitely help to find cheap accommodation: booking well in advance (minimum half a year before the planned date), booking last minute (the day before or even on the day, as you go) and booking online (Booking.com , AirBnB, TripAdvisor, Couchsurfing, Trivago, etc.). If you plan to travel in Vietnam and move around a lot, I would skip the first rule and focus on the other two. Even if you plan every detail of the trip, and your schedule assumes a few-dozen hours of unexpected delay, you never know what may happen on the road, and the worst thing is the need to pay for an overnight stay, that you will not use. Unexpected events are the biggest risk, although at the same time the most exciting element of traveling on your own, so it is worth acting spontaneously and not be limited to a previously arranged plan. In the era of Internet and ubiquitous access to Wi-Fi (in Vietnam it is easier to find a network than in some European countries and it’s for free!), you can easily and quickly find accommodation anywhere in the world :)
And here are the pros and cons of booking your accommodation online:
I. BOOKING LAST MINUTE:
+ some hotels and hostels significantly lower the prices to sell as many vacancies as possible,
+ owners of apartments and houses on AirBnb reduce prices by up to 50%,
+ more promotions and discounts appear,
+ previous reservations are being released on Booking.com (from the free cancellation service),
-- limited options - if you choose a popular destination in the high season, there may be a problem with finding vacancies,
-- no possibility to cancel the booking,
-- payment in advance required for the entire stay,
-- sometimes the payment is required in the currency of the accommodation, and then the bank may add a commission for currency conversion.
TIP: It is worth calling to the accommodation and asking how much does it cost, alternatively you can refer to the price given online and try to bargain.
II. BOOKING WELL IN ADVANCE:
+ the possibility of a free cancellation of the reservation up to the given date,
+ in most facilities, there is no need to make a prepayment,
+ the possibility of paying in cash on the spot in the local currency,
+ large selection of options,
-- false promotions - e.g. a 15% price increase and a 10% discount,
-- risk of forgetting to cancel the booking on time,
-- changing of plans, unexpected events and no possibility to cancel the booking anymore.
TIP: It is worth looking for promotional codes, for example on flight search pages, or on travel blogs.
It's best to set a reminder the day before the end of the free cancellation option - just in case.
There are other methods of finding and booking accommodation, such as: looking for something on the spot (a big downside is the time to devote to it, on the other hand, it can be part of a great adventure), booking on command - maybe your friends, family or favorite bloggers (eg Altertonative ;)) recommend a good and cheap accommodation - write to the facility and rely on people who have recommended this place to you - this is an advantage for each of the parties; or the cheapest, but not entirely comfortable way - sleeping at a friend’s or family member’s, or at person’s you have just met during the trip - I try to avoid this type of situations, unless there is no other way.
During our trip around Vietnam, we slept in six places - usually two to three nights per facility. We stayed the longest in one hotel on the island of Phu Qouc, because the disease stopped us to move forward. Generally, we stick to the principle of booking accommodation on the go, except for the first two nights in Ho Chi Minh, which I booked before leaving for holiday. As a rule, we chose the cheapest available facility, unless it looked suspicious. The prices for a two-bed room with bathroom ranged from 10 to 20 dollars per night. To sum up, some places positively surprised us, others could be better, but we never lived in the dirt, even if we did not have a window in one of the rooms ;)
The three places below have made the best impression on me during our travel to Vietnam and I can honestly recommend them, if you are looking for something in these specific destinations:
1. MUI NE BACKPACKER VILLAGE (MUI NE)- great hostel run by a well-organized Australian. The rooms are decorated in a spartan style, but they are clean and neat. Accommodation is available in a shared or private room: they differ in price. What makes this place special is its friendly atmosphere. This hostel is a real backpacker's spot, ideal for people traveling alone, looking for a partner for further journeys or company for some time. The hostel has an outdoor swimming pool; a bar where you can buy breakfast, lunch, drinks, beer, etc. and at affordable prices; sofa and screen for displaying movies, billiards, table tennis and table football. You can not get bored here, even if it's raining. The price for a double room with bathroom per night is about USD 15. Rooms are air-conditioned and the hostel offers free Wi-Fi.
2. THANH HA GUESTHOUSE (CAN THO) - this guest house has only a few rooms, so it easily get full during the high season, therefore it's worth booking a room in advance. This is another accommodation that makes up for the fantastic atmosphere and the best owner I have ever met. If you are going to visit the Mekong Delta, then definitely go with Ms. Ha. The cost of the trip is 20-25 USD per person, but the price includes food (f. ex. a bunch of mini bananas for breakfast;)) and unforgettable attractions throughout the day. And after a day full of exciting acitivities, it's worth asking Mrs. Ha if she can prepare something delicious for supper - she served us roasted mice, for which we went to buy earlier on bikes to the roadside seller (a few shots from this event you will see on my VLOG), with boiled rice and raw mango and chili salad - what a dish!
The guest house is clean, and the rooms are quite spacious with a large bed and a small balcony. The bathroom does not have a shower, there is only the handset itself, so when you wash yourself, the water splashes the entire bathroom, including the toilet, but in Vietnam it often looks like that, so you can get used to it :)
En-suite room for one night costs about 15 USD. Rooms are air-conditioned and the property offers free Wi-Fi.
3. SEN VIET PHU QUOC RESORT & SPA (PHU QUOC) - the name of the object sounds very exclusive, but you can not say that this place is nothing but luxury. Although it has a fairly large outdoor swimming pool, and offers accommodation in wooden bungalows, it's not all thought out here. It's hard for privacy because you can hear every move of your neighbors. The bathroom is outside in the private garden, which is an interesting solution, but it can also be a bit embarrassing when using the toilet. The beach is very far away, so it is best to rent a scooter to get to it. Even so, the bungalows offer a great atmosphere, large, comfortable beds, air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. For the price we got it, it was an opportunity: a day costed only 22 USD, but in the high season it can go up to 40 USD!
Have you been to Vietnam and can recommend a great accommodation? If you feel like it, share your experience in the comments! Thank you