Saigon – Vietnam’s hotel review: Budget friendly Viên Ngọc Xanh (Blue Shappire) # 3

Day 1,  SE Asia trip, Feb 2011
Saigon, Vietnam: day 1
It was around 10 pm and I think my young cousin has a curfew so I hop on the backseat of her motorbike and we both head back home. My aunt has reserved a 2 stars, double bed room at the nearby Blue Sapphire 3 hotel in Phu Nhuan District for us.

Dear reader, please note that we selected this hotel due to its walking proximity to my childhood’s home which is now my aunt’s home. It is about 15 motorbike ride in to Saigon central (2 Km or about 1 1/2 mile) but about 5 minutes taxi  ride (1 Km or about 1/2 mile) to the SGN (Tan Son Nhat) airport. The hotel is by no mean luxury but make a great overnight/layover accommodation due to its location if you have an early flight to catch, coming from the province.

My aunt told me it was on the same side of our house so I thought great, I can do this since no street crossing required. It is true that it was so close by, like 2 blocks by walk. My cousin was too tired to walk me to the hotel and I found out that I had to cross the street, on my own by the time I see the hotel. OMG! I was thinking out-loud, how the heck am I going to made it across the street? There are no other pedestrians crossing the street at the same time so forget about piggy back with them.
I took a deep breath and just sort of close my eyes and slowly walk across. After a minute or 2, I was at the other side of the street. Phew….I made it across!

View from our motel’s room window, at the 7th floor. The little street down under is the main entrance to go to the market. Our hotel is just around the corner, so we’re a skip and a hop to the market. I bought fresh coconut from the market everyday as I was still cautious and not drink anything else unless it’s bottled water or our Starbucks coffee brewed by my mom.

Well, since I didn’t do the booking and we wanted it to be as close to my childhood home as possible, this will be suffice for 2 nights.

Bath tub

Can’t speak for other hotels/motels as I haven’t the chance to stay there yet but what I notice that they do not use shower curtain here. They just let the water splash all over and there’s a drainage that the water flown down, which is fine. However, with the water splashing onto the door and everything else, it cause some moisture and prone to mildew and fungus.
Vanity. It must be an Asian thingee because besides the beverage inside the fridge, the basket on the vanity have rama noodle packages, Asian style bowl of noodle and some prawn flavored chips and cigarette.
I think we paid about $20.00 USD per night for the room, with AC. Man…it was hot and humid in SaiGon so I literally had both the AC and the fan on whenever I’m inside the room. The AC is more like a cool breeze, instead of cold like the AC I know back home in the US.

Overall, I would label this as a guest house/budget motel instead of hotel. Nothing luxurious but having access to a working AC made it bearable during the day time for me. I stayed in the hotel mostly during the day to work  and to shelter from the tropical heat or just sleep at night. The rest of the time, I spent it at my aunt visiting or exploring Saigon.

All in all, if you need basic accommodation at an affordable rate with close proximity to the SGN international airport, this might work for you. If you’re traveling to Saigon, Vietnam, you can still stay at this hotel and keep it under $30.00 USD/day budget.


  • Near the airport
  • Walking distance to the market.
  • You can save on food, drinks by purchasing from the market or eat like the local.
  • Not in a tourist area which you can avoid many tourist trap.
  • Breakfast included in the price (eggs, baguette and drink of choice). The restaurant is on the 2nd floor with street view in the front part of the hotel. You can dine and people watch at the same time
  • Onsite restaurant

  • Located on a main street. Can be loud/noisy if you’re NOT yet used to the noise level.
  • Not centrally located in downtown

Viên Ngọc Xanh 3

Price: $20 USD, double (Jan 2011)

Loại khách sạn:  

Địa chỉ: 138 Lê Văn Sỹ, 

P. 10, Q. Phú Nhuận, 

Tp Hồ Chí Minh

Địa phương: Quận Phú Nhuận


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