We spent four nights at Ngoc Thao Guesthouse in Ho Chi Minh City at a rate of $18 per night. Although we liked the city, our stay in the guesthouse didn’t really live up to our expectations.
Ngoc Thao Guesthouse can be found in a small (but lively) alley in the heart of Backpacker area. When we entered the guesthouse, it looked small, but cozy. The lady at the “reception” (being the multipurpose breakfast table) was friendly and gave us a printed map with some information about where to eat and what to see.
She led us up to our room with private bathroom (no soap dispenser), a fridge and an old TV. So far, so good. When we went to check out the bathroom, we noticed the towels didn’t seem that clean at all. We used them anyway, so guess that means it wasn’t that bad. The bathroom itself was not that clean either, but I guess it could have been worse. One time the toilet spat out water for no apparent reason. Luckily no one was sitting on it at that moment. We also noticed some ants in the room, which was actually a first for Vietnam (whereas we’d gotten pretty used to them on the islands in Thailand).
If we wanted fresh towels and toilet paper, we just had to put the tag “please clean room” on the door. They have a laundry service for $2 per kilogram laundry, but as we didn’t find the towels that clean, we decided not to use their laundry service.
The room had a fan and airconditioning with remote. We noticed later that night that the remote didn’t actually work and the airconditioning seemed to be stuck in maximum cooling mode, way too cold to sleep in. The fan unfortunately made a lot of noise, so that was not an option either. We resorted to having the airco on until it was time to sleep, turning it off (by going to the button at the door) and then sleeping until you woke up sweaty. At that point one of us would get up, go to the door and turn the airco on again. Unfortunately the fully powered airconditioning was quite good at rapidly cooling the room, which meant getting up one more time because it was too cold again. Frustrating, to say the least.
We told the reception about our problems with the airco the following morning and they promised to check. When we returned later that day, there was no difference, so the next morning, we told them again. They promised to check. We got a new remote and now the airco beeped when we pushed the buttons. We thought the problem was fixed. Unfortunately not. The airco was still blowing air too cold to bear for a long time. We told them again the next morning. They eventually proposed to move us to another room, but we kindly thanked them, as there was only one more night left.
There were some good things as well. The WiFi connection was good and in the common area there was free water, coffee and tea. Breakfast was included and quite good. You can choose between fried eggs, scrambled eggs (omelet), pancakes or noodle soup, all served with a baguette (except for the noodle soup we guess). The location is good as well. If you’re prepared to walk a bit, most things are within walking distance. We did our “tour” of Ho Chi Minh City (read about it here) on foot. The Central Post Office was the furthest from our guesthouse, at about 30 minutes walking.
When you add up the airconditioning from hell, dirty towels and not so clean bathroom occupied by ants this ends up being one of our worst stays on the trip (up until now). So if we ever go back to Ho Chi Minh City, we’ll look for another guesthouse. We were still able to enjoy the city though, so it didn’t really bother us too much in the end.