In Saigon (HCMC), most of its landmarks and point of interests are located within walking distance in the city. All we need is a good map or a GPS system like Google Maps to get our way around those sites. Staying somewhere in the centre of those attractions is a convenience and budget friendly as it minimises the time needed for travelling from one site to another, besides saving on transportation expenses. Therefore, after doing much research, my sister and I decided to stay at Eco Backpacker’s Hostel that is located in District 1, central Saigon (HCMC). 😀
Eco Backpacker’s Hostel – Good Location, Budget-Friendly & Comfortable
The main reason why we chose to stay at Eco Backpacker’s Hostel is for its location – strategically located in the city centre of Saigon (HCMC). It is a walking distance to Ben Thanh Market, Pham Ngu Lao Street, the Independence Palace, Central Post Office, Notre-Dame Basilica, and Ho Chi Minh City Hall and Ho Chi Minh Square to name a few. Not only that, it is just several metres away from FUTA (Phuong Trang) bus counter/terminal in District 1, Saigon (HCMC).
The other reason is for its budget-friendly dormitory and private rooms – a single bed in the female or mixed dormitory starts as low as RM30 a night, whereas a double room ensuite with bunk beds (for 2 people) starts from RM84 per night. Budget single room are priced from RM63 per night. The hostel is located nearby cafes, restaurants, convenience stores, Starbucks, tour and express bus operators (FUTA Phuong Trang and The Sinh Tourist). 🙂
The fact that the hostel claims to have a great rooftop view of the city skyline captured our interest as well for my sister and I could picture ourselves chilling on the rooftop, drinking a glass of cocktail or a pint of beer while enjoying Saigon’s city skyline regardless of the time of the day. Besides that, good reviews of the hostel left by travellers on various travel websites made us feel confident enough to book our stay in the double room ensuite with bunk beds.
Of Dorms, Bed Bugs & Our Double Room Ensuite With Bunk Beds
As mentioned earlier, Eco Backpacker’s Hostel is located on the same street, just several metres away from the FUTA (Phuong Trang) Express Buslines Terminal in District 1. If you have read my previous blog post, our FUTA (Phuong Trang) express bus travelling from Mui Ne to Saigon (HCMC) stopped us at the respective terminal. To read our journey on the bright orange double-decker express sleeper bus, click here and here. 😀
From there, we walked towards the hostel in less than a minute and checked-in to our room with ease. Initially, my sister and I wanted to stay in the female dormitory, but after reading the reviews left by travellers mentioning about the presence of bed bugs in the dormitory, we decided to skip the dormitory altogether and booked a private room instead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you beforehand of the bed bugs problem in the dormitory! You have been warned accordingly.
Although I did not have an encounter with the bed bugs, my sister on the other hand was unfortunate enough to develop a red, swollen and itchy patch of skin on her left leg (that we suspect must have been the work of the pesky bed bugs) after spending a night in the room. That said, besides the dormitories, there is a high possibility that bed bugs lurk in the private rooms too. 🙁
Our double room ensuite with bunk beds was just as described in the descriptions given on the website Booking.com which we used to book our hostel. The room is fairly spacious with a large bunk bed, has a window for ventilation and a spacious bathroom with hot/cold shower. Both upper and lower bed has its own reading light (mine was kind of broken) and a safety storage compartment. There is air-conditioning and a television fixed on the wall too. Apart from the kind of broken reading light and possible bed bugs issue, we were quite happy with the room.
Access Card Security Feature & Occasional Power Trips!
Getting in, out and around Eco Backpacker’s Hostel requires an access card that will allow its owner to operate the lift, open the doors and gain access to our respective rooms/dormitories. That good safety measure helps my sister and I to feel safe and secure at the hostel.
Apart from that, there is one experience that I would like to share. During our stay at the hostel, we experienced a sudden blackout that lasted for about 10-15 minutes. A check with the staff on duty at the reception counter revealed that the cause of the blackout was a minor power trip. 🙁
I was told by him to go to the electrical power box located on Level 1 (if I remember correctly) and turn on the switch that tripped. I did as told, thus the electrical power was restored. From there, I found out that power trips are a common thing at the hostel. Be sure to take note of it when staying at Eco Backpacker’s Hostel. It is not a huge problem, but it will surprise unwary guests.
In A Nutshell
One thing my sister and I like about Eco Backpacker’s Hostel is its friendly and helpful reception. Helpful maps, directions and advices were given to us when we asked for help. 😀 Wifi was free, but breakfast comes with a price of $2 per person (7am – 10am). Free flow of beer (7pm – 8pm) comes at a price of $1 per person. Luggage storage and a shower after check-out are available for a fee.
We even managed to have a candlelight budget dinner of pasta and cheesecake on the rooftop of the hostel; candlelight thanks to the total darkness we experienced while we were there. It was either the motion detector lighting was not working or the fact that we could not find the switch anywhere, thus we assumed it was motion sensor lighting (that malfunctioned). 😛 It could not be that the rooftop was closed because we asked the staff at the reception before going up to the rooftop and she said it was open. Anyway, we enjoyed our dinner and Saigon’s amazing city skyline view nonetheless.
P/S: The elevator in the building will not take us all the way up to the rooftop. We will have to walk a storey up on foot and climb up a set of stairs to reach the rooftop area of the hostel. The metal stairs leading to the rooftop is steep and narrow. Those who are afraid of heights might find it a challenging feat. Kindly exercise caution when making your way up or down the rooftop.
Tel: (+84 8) 3836 5836