Some general tips/prices
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Some general tips/prices Ho Chi Minh City Reviews
Some general tips/prices Apr 11, 2011
Saigon can be done very cheaply for the backpacker, and obviously a lot more expensive for those of us with deep pockets.
Most likely, you will be headed for a hotel/guesthouse in the Pham Ngu Lao area. Prices generally range from 10-20 USD/night. I wouldn't reccomend paying anything over $15, as there are many suitable ones under this price. And, if you are paying $15, make sure you have AC, hot water, and at least a breakfast. If you stay away from the actual streets of Pham Ngu Lao, Bui Vien, and De Tham you will pay even less ($12 tops), i.e., one of the smaller alley ways. Also, if you plan to stay more than a week or so, most hotels will lower the price for you. Regardless, it doesn't hurt to ask.
Now, in this area, you will come across more motorbikes than you would even care to count. By all means, feel free to use these guys, but they will most certainly try to get double, triple, or perhaps charge even a higher multiple of what the price should be. Anywhere in District 1, which has most of the tourist places, should be about 15,000 - 20,000 dong.
Throughout Vietnam, there will be many cheap and delicious places to dine. You will probably see at least one Pho stand/shop on every street block. A bowl of Pho Bo (beef pho) should be anywhere from about 12,000 d away from the city center, to maybe 30,000 d in the more visited places. Banh Mi, the popular roadside sandwich, should be about 8,000 - 12,000 d. Bahn Bao, which a meat/egg filled pastry, should cost about 6,000-12,000 d. There will be many restaurants/stands with prepared dishes behind glass cases - choose as many as you like, they will fill up the plate (you are charged per plate - not by different dishes). A combination dish, served with rice and cucumbers should run about 20,000 d, give or take. In other words, about a USD. Beers should be about a dollar, give or take. Drafts will be cheaper than the bottle, and street stands will be cheaper than bars. Ca phe sua da (Iced coffee with condensed milk) should not exceed 12,000 d, and you can probably get them cheaper at little streetside stalls, say about 6,000 d. Water should run from 5,000 d for the small, and 8,000 d for the large. You will most certain be overcharged downtown, so maybe by them in a store versus on the street.
Remember, bartering/haggling/negotiating - whatever your choice word, is very common in Saigon, so don't settle on a high price. And, if the first guy won't budge, by all means pass, there will be another guy who will.
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