Our family of 4 will be visiting HCMC in late March. I have booked a suite at the Spring Hotel. We'll all be in one room with 1 king size bed and 2 singles for $75US per night. Does this seem a reasonable rate for 4 people to be in one room?
I've been reading more today about some of the guesthouses and other places posters are recommending (Ha Hien, Huong Sen Hotel for example.) I'm open to advice if anyone has opinion/recommendation if there's somewhere better to stay for less.
Also, is anyone familiar with Guesthouse Phạm Ngọc
Thạch? I read someone's glowing reviews about that on Yahoo travel, but haven't had much luck finding out how to contact them. We're open to staying somewhere besides the "usual" hotels, but within some parameters (see below).
A friend also recommended the Hosen Hotel, but I've not been able to find any reviews on it. I appears their VIP room would accomodate all 4 of us, but wouldn't be any cheaper than the Spring Hotel. Just wondering if it would be comparable or better than staying at the Spring? Hosen Hotel: http://www.hosenhotel.com.vn/index1.html.
Here's what I'd like to find:
Relatively clean (we're fine with 2-3 star)
Air conditioning (important!)
On a budget (we'd prefer to stay in one room together, but would consider staying in 2 rooms if it's cheaper)
Quiet as possible (I understand this is rare in the city), but unfortunately I'm a light sleeper
Walking distance to good eating/shopping
Now, to open a can of worms, we're considering hiring a guide/driver for a day to go to the tunnels and Mekong area. Last year when we visited Bali we did this for a day and it helped make our trip more memorable since we were able to learn more about the area. We'll only be in HCMC for 3 full days and it'll probably be one of the last times we get to take a trip with just our 2 older sons for awhile (we also have 2 very young daughters who will be staying home with friends). So, I want to make this as memorable/fun as possible without spending a fortune. The $6US per person price for the 1/2 day tours (Sinh tours) sure looks a lot more appealing financially than forking out about $100US for a private tour (a la Jason or other private hire), but I've also seen other company tours online that would still average close to $100US for 4 people. I'd much rather hire a driver for a day, get personal service, and build some memories (by having a flexible schedule and conversing with the guide) if I'd be paying a tour company the same amount anyway. (Sometimes I have to "talk" in circles to make decisions, and this may just be what I'm doing, only through email. My husband just loves that about me -- NOT!)
Anyway, do we do it "on our own" and join everyone else on the scheduled bus, or do we pay some extra for one day and have the flexibility to really "do our own thing?" I really want to make this a special time for our teenage sons without going broke (or feel like we've been taken advantage of financially). The person we hired in Bali was a taxi driver who was hanging out at a supermarket and drove me home one afternoon. At the end of the ride, I ended up hiring him for the next entire day after we negotiated an agreed-upon price. Is that a viable option in HCMC? If so, what's a reasonable rate for 4 people to hire a driver with a van for a day? I'm certainly willing to go for that option, assuming we can get someone with a van who speaks English well.
Also, any feedback on the water park(s) in HCMC? Thought the boys might enjoy splashing around part of a day.
Looking forward to replies!