Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City

Learn where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City – the pearl of the far east

Ho chi minh

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is slowly becoming one of the world’s most beloved destinations. The city combines the colonial French influences with authentic Vietnamese culture and Vietnam War remnants, so it’s no wonder it is the most visited city in the whole of Vietnam. Its rich culture, iconic landmarks, and vivacious nightlife make the so-called Pearl of the Far East both an ideal traveling destination and a fantastic place for living. 

Photo credit: hoaiqua

Transportation in Ho Chi Minh

Although Ho Chi Minh is huge, it is not that hard to get around the city. The bus system is well-developed and covers all major areas of the city. If you want to move around in a more local way, you can always use the Xe Om, the city’s famous motorbike taxi. There is no subway system yet, but it is under construction.

Photo credit: VisitHoChiMinhCity

5 best neighborhoods to stay in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh is a large city so picking the right neighborhood is essential. If you stay too far away from the city center, you’re likely to spend most of your visit stuck in public transport. To help you out, we have picked the best areas to stay in:

  1. District 1
  2. Cholon (District 5)
  3. Dong Khoi Street area
  4. Pham Ngu Lao area
  5. District 3

Our evaluation of all neighborhood was based on several criteria:

  1. The cultural and historical value
  2. Fun things to see and do
  3. Cost of staying
  4. The overall vibe of the area
  5. How close and connected it is to the city center
  6. Safety
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh City
Best for nightlife District 1 The downtown area filled with bars, pubs, and clubs
Best for bohemians Cholon (District 5) Chinatown district with predominantly oriental culture
Best for first-timers Dong Khoi Street area Historical center with major sights, restaurants, and shops
Best on a budget Pham Ngu Lao area The so-called “backpacker district”, known for affordable bars, restaurants, and accommodation
Best for expats  District 3 A calm and peaceful area close to the city center

Photo credit: cara_nation_

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh for nightlife—District 1

1 ho chi ming

District 1 is the central city district and the best place to stay in for nightlife lovers. Since the district is big and consists of many neighborhoods, you can easily pick the area that suits your preferences best. If you’re a fan of high-end places, we recommend the eastern part of the district. It is known for clubs, casinos, cocktail bars, and posh rooftop bars. If casual nights in authentic Vietnamese bars are more to your liking, the western part will suit you perfectly. 

Where to party in District 1

If you’re not sure which bars and clubs to go to, check out these places:

  • Beer Hoi
  • Chill Skybar
  • Lush 
  • Apocalypse Now Bar–Cafe
  • Voodoo Bar

Chill Skybar

This fashionable cocktail bar is one of Ho Chi Minh’s top nightspots. If you feel like sipping a delicious cocktail and dancing all evening while enjoying the view of the whole city, this may be the best place for you. 

Photo credit: chill_skybar

Where to stay in District 1

District 1 offers various accommodations, ranging from cheap to lux. Check out our top picks:

Budget option: this exotic but affordable private room.

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this spacious studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: this fantastic riverside apartment.

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh for bohemians—Cholon (District 5)

District 5, also known as Cholon, is a fantastic place for anyone who wants to experience the authentic, oriental culture of Ho Chi Minh. Cholon is the city’s Chinatown and Chinese influences are quite obvious. Still, you will get to see the genuine Vietnamese lifestyle as well. History buffs and lovers of Buddhism especially appreciate this diverse area as it is filled with pagodas, temples, and historical sights. District 5 is also the best place to stay in if you visit Ho Chi Minh during the Mooncake Festival and Chinese New Year, as it is where major celebrations take place.

What to do in District 5

Whether you want to explore the historical side of the city or the modern Vietnamese lifestyle, you will find something to your liking in this area. Here are some ideas of places to visit:

  • Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas
  • Binh Tay Market
  • Nguyen Trai
  • Church of St. Joan of Arc
  • Thien Hau Temple

Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas

Chua Van Phat, better known as Temple of Ten Thousand Buddha’s is a place every culture vulture should visit. The magical atmosphere of this temple will swipe you off your feet. Believe or not, the name of the temple is not an exaggeration: there really are thousands of Buddha sculptures, each with a name and serial number. 

Photo credit: vicki_lim

Binh Tay Market

Although Saigon is full of markets, Binh Tay Market is by far the most popular. It is the largest market in the country and the best place to experiment with Vietnamese food. There are hundreds of vendors so you will easily find fascinating gifts and souvenirs.

Photo credit: glennsuki

Where to stay in District 5

Accommodations in District 5 are incredibly affordable. The average price per night is around $30. Have a look at our best picks:

Budget option: this affordable room – Drop By Saigon Hostel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this cute studio with a balcony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: this amazing apartment with AC and a smart TV.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh for the first-timers—Dong Khoi Street area (District 1)

dong khoi

First-time visitors usually prefer to stay in the downtown area as it is close to most sights. We recommend the neighborhood around Dong Khoi Street which is the historical center of the city. This area showcases the rich history of Ho Chi Minh and you will see the influences of its major historical eras, including the colonial period, the Vietnam War period, and the post-war period. The area is vibrant and crowded and there are plenty of historical sights, bars, pubs, restaurants, and shops to enjoy.  

Photo credit: kimuyuka15

What to do in Dong Khoi Street area

With so many sightseeing and entertainment options in this neighborhood, it’s hard to decide where to go first. Here are some suggestions:

  • Notre Dame Cathedral
  • Reunification Palace
  • Ben Than Market
  • Saigon Opera House

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon is one of the most notable remnants of the French colonial reign in Vietnam. Constructed in the 19th century, the cathedral has two bell towers and a beautiful flower garden.

Photo credit: janniceleann421

Where to stay in Dong Khoi Street area

Since Dong Khoi is the central area of the city, accommodations are not as cheap as in other areas. Here are our top picks:

Budget option: Lela Hostel Saigon

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this gorgeous house at the very center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: Laid-back rooms in a modern hotel featuring 4 eateries & 2 bars, plus an outdoor pool & a spa.

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh on a budget—Pham Ngu Lao area (District 1)

pham ngu lao

If you want to stay in Ho Chi Minh without breaking the bank, the area between Pham Ngu Lao Street and Bui Vien Street may be the best place for you. This neighborhood, known as the “backpacker district”, as a favorite among budget travelers because of its numerous bars, markets, and plenty of affordable accommodation options. What makes it even better is that it won’t take you more than 20 minutes to get to the center on foot. It is also ideal for foodies as there are lots of vegetarian and international restaurants, as well as Asian food stalls. 

Photo credit: jcwl.scenery

What to do in Pham Ngu Lao area

Since Pham Ngu Lao is extremely lively, you won’t get bored for one second. Here are some places we recommend you visit:

  • Museum of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Seventeen Saloon
  • Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts Museum
  • Thi Bar

Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts Museum

Ho Chi Minh Fine Arts Museum is a place that every culture vulture will adore. It is the major art museum in the city and the second-biggest in the whole country. The museum offers all sorts of artifacts, including sculptures, paintings, wood carvings, and archeological exhibits.

Photo credit: marionkirbis

Where to stay in Pham Ngu Lao area

Pham Ngu Lao offers a wide range of accommodation options, from high-end to extra affordable. We have decided to focus on the budget and mid-range apartments, and here are our picks:

Budget option: this super comfy private room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this cute studio.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: Liberty Central Saigon Citypoint Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh for expats—District 3

Although District 7 is famous for its expat community, our pick for the best Ho Chi Minh long-term stay is District 3. It is close to the city center but more affordable. It is also full of green spaces, which is not something you can easily see in the city. The area is peaceful, well-connected, and far from downtown’s hustle and bustle. Still, there are plenty of things to do here and you will soon fall in love with its interesting bars and restaurants. It is known as the ideal place to live in, even among the Vietnamese. 

What to do in District 3

District 3 offers many options both for daily entertainment and nightlife. Here are some places that are well-worth visiting:

  • Yoko Bar
  • Nhieu Loc–Thi Nghe Canal
  • War Remnants Museum
  • The Tan Dinh Church (the Pink Church)
  • Turtle Lake

War Remnants Museum

If you’re a history buff, Saigon’s War Remnants Museum should be your first sightseeing stop. The museum contains artifacts from both the First Indochina War and the Vietnam War.

Photo credit: sighmaan

Where to stay in District 3

District 3 is full of hotels, hostels, and apartments to rent. Take a look at our favorite places:

Budget option: this beautiful hotel room with an affordable price.

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this cute and cozy private room.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: Hotel des Arts Saigon 

Stylish lodging offering 2 elegant restaurants & 3 bars, plus a rooftop pool, a spa & a gym.

 

 

Where to Stay in Hakone

Where to stay in Hakone – a guide to ideal places for relaxation

Map of Hakone

Less than one hundred kilometers from Tokyo, in Kanagawa Prefecture, the small resort town Hakone is located. This town is becoming more popular among tourists owing to the abundance of hot springs, natural beauty which can be enjoyed all through the year, and the amazing view of the nearby Mount Fuji. As a part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, this town will leave you breathless with the stunning landscape and diverse events. 

Safety alert!

Towards the end of the last year, there was a severe volcanic activity near Owakudani, the area located around the crater formed during the last eruption of Mount Hakone. As many tourists decide to visit Hakone by train, it is useful to know that as a result of this event, a part of the route Hakone Tozan Railway linking Sounzan and Togendai had been restricted as they pass near Owakudani. Consequently, these restrictions had then been lowered to Level One, with expectations of being removed in the near future. From late October, Hakone Ropeway has been operating along its full length. Still, if you are planning on visiting Hakone anytime soon, make sure to double-check whether this route is still safe to travel.

Five best neighborhoods to stay in Hakone

Image source:  hakonenavi.jp

As a popular travel destination, Hakone is rapidly developing and expanding, aiming to satisfy the needs of the quickly increasing number of tourists that decide to visit this resort. As a relatively small town, it is neatly divided into neighborhoods where everyone can find some activities for everyone’s liking. Finding accommodation in Hakone is not an easy endeavor since the prices tend to be high sometimes. Based on the cultural and historical values, outdoor activities, and the budget, we have made a list of areas where you can find a place to stay and get to experience the best of Hakone such as:

  1. Hakone-Yumoto
  2. Gora
  3. Miyanoshita
  4. Motohakone
  5. Tonosawa 

To find out more details about why we recommend these particular areas, check out our table breakdown below.

Area

Ideal for: 

Why? 

Hakone-Yumoto

First visit to Hakone

Beautiful hot springs, many museums, and historical landmarks

Gora

Nightlife

Numerous restaurants, cafes, shops are located in this area

Miyanoshita

Travel on a budget 

Cheap accommodation

Motohakone

Bohemians 

Hakone’s most famous sights

Tonosawa 

Long-term stay

Traditional Japan, peaceful and secluded

Ship Image source: pixabay

Where to stay in Hakone for the first time – Hakone-Yumoto 

Map Image source: hakonenavi.jp

The Hakone-Yumoto area can be easily reached from Tokyo via Romancecar. This area is full of landmarks and interesting activities. There are numerous shops, hotels, museums, and restaurants to keep you entertained. Also, you can find the well known hot springs of Hakone in this area. 

Water stream Image source: rururaa

Things to see and do in Hakone-Yumoto

As there are many things you can see and do in this area,  we have made a careful selection and these are our recommendations: 

  • Tenzan Onsen 
  • Hakone Open-Air Museum
  • Kumano Shrine
  • Glass Art Experience Workshop
  • Old Tokaido Road and Hakone Checkpoint
  • Hydrangea Train 

Tenzan Onsen 

Tenzan Onsen is a huge complex with many bath-onsens, courtyards, restaurants, cafes and tatami areas used for resting. 

Onsen Image source: ashionpathfinder.tokyo_kazu

Water stream Image source: gabrielanachos

Hakone Open-Air Museum 

This is Japan’s first museum of this kind. It spreads across 70 000 square meters with many collections of artworks and sculptures of famous Japanese as well as international artists. For instance, Picasso Exhibition hall occupies the central place where more than 300 his artworks are located. 

Museum Image source: tiffaniedebartolo

Tower Image source: nihilfly

Picasso Image source: acquireatdesign

Kumano Shrine

Kumano Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in the Hakone-Yumoto area with multiple smaller shrines, gates, and the main shrine as well where you can pay your respects. 

Shrine Image source: natulflower

Glass Art Experience Workshop

One of the most popular hands-on activities in Hakone is glass blowing which you can learn in this workshop, later apply what you have learned, and produce your glass blown souvenir.

Glass Image source: afan_62

Old Tokaido Road and Hakone Checkpoint

Old Tokaido Road was the famous road linking Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Period. During that period, Hakone was a significant checkpoint on that road. Today, the section leading to Hakone has been reconstructed as well as the Hakone Checkpoint so tourists can acquaint themselves with the rich history of Hakone.

Tokaido Road Image source: willyyilly

Checkpoint Image source: japonismo

Landscape Image source: retroboyastro

Hydrangea Train

From the middle of June to late July, you can take a ride on this train which passes along the hydrangea flowers. Also, you can also see the illuminated flowers in the nighttime since this train operates during the night.

Train Image source: mamikoooo_yo

Where to stay in Hakone-Yumoto 

Since this area is at a convenient location, there are plenty of accommodation options, although they can be quite expensive. The most traditional place to stay in is the onsen ryokan or the Japanese style inns. However, you can find some Airbnbs where the average nightly price is $119.

Our top 3 picks are the following ones:

Affordable optionPrivate Onsen Designer House 

Room

Moderate price Lakeside Villa with Mt.Fuji View

Room

Luxury optionOnsen modern guest house in mountains

Room

For more Airbnbs in Hakone-Yumoto area, click here

Where to stay in Hakone -foodie edition – Gora

Map Image source: hakonenavi.jp

Since Hakone is a resort town where locals and travelers come to relax after the crowded Tokyo, nightlife as such doesn’t exist here. Still, there is an area in Hakone with many dining and shopping options. Gora is an attractive onset neighborhood which apart from beautiful hot springs and stunning landscape, you can find shops, restaurants, and cafes if you are in search of the more vivid side of Hakone. Arriving in this area is a real adventure since you can take a ride on the Hakone Ropeway and enjoy the view of Mount Fuji from afar. 

Fuji Image source: panina_84

Things to see and do in Gora

In this area, you can enjoy the countryside and the beautiful landscape but also relax and try some local food or traditional tea. Take a look at our favorites:

  1. Visit Hakone Gora Park 
  2. Gora Brewery & grill
  3. Tamura Ginkatsu-Tei
  4. Cafe de Meissen
  5. ISSHIKIDO

Hakone Gora Park

This park with amazing nature is located above Gora Station. It is a great place for relaxing and unwinding. 

Park Image source: asenseofzuber

Autumn Image source: pedrojuan81

Gora Brewery & grill 

This is a great place where you can try some of the most famous Japanese dishes such as sushi or grilled steaks.

Restaurant Image source: brutal_wolfgal

Grilled meat Image source: brutal_wolfgal

Tamura Ginkatsu-Tei

One of the most attractive restaurants in Gora where you can try the famous dish called Tofu Katsuni.

Dish Image source: justonecookbook

Cafe de Meissen

A wonderful and cozy cafe near Gora Station where you can enjoy some freshly baked pizza or soft and fluffy pancake along with freshly brewed coffee. 

Pizza Image source: noy__ny

Pancakes Image source: huntinggirled

ISSHIKIDO

This restaurant is located near Gora Park and it is most famous for a wide array of different sandwiches. They pride themselves in selecting only the best and freshest ingredients for their dishes. 

Sandwiches Image source: maki_mouse0827

Where to stay in Gora

Gora is quite an attractive area for tourists and the hotels are usually booked well in advance. However, it is possible to find other accommodations such as Airbnbs where the average price for a night is the pricey $212. 

Our top 3 picks are:

Affordable option – Twin room near Gora Station

Twin room

Moderate pricePrivate hot-spring in the Japanese tatami room

Room

Luxury optionHakone Villa with Private Onsen

Room

Find more Airbnbs in Gora here

Where to stay in Hanoi

Where East meets West: Where to stay in Hanoi

If you want to experience the vibrant, exotic Vietnamese culture, Hanoi should be one of your first stops. The city is a fascinating mixture of Eastern and Western cultures. You will get an insight into the authentic Vietnamese lifestyle, but also notice some interesting Western influences from its colonial history. 

Photo credit: whatsupvietnamcom

Our top 5 neighborhoods to stay in Hanoi

In a city as big and foreign as Hanoi, it’s hard to pick an ideal place to stay in. To help you out, we have assessed all major neighborhoods and picked the best ones:

  1. Ba Dinh
  2. Hai Ba Trung
  3. Thanh Xuan
  4. Old Quarter
  5. Cau Giay

When making our picks, we considered several factors:

  1. Accommodation options and prices
  2. Historical and cultural sights
  3. Entertainment options
  4. Safety
  5. Whether the area is well-connected
Where to stay in Hanoi
Best for your first visit Ba Dinh Home to major tourist attractions
Best for hipsters Hai Ba Trung Less touristy neighborhood where you can experience the authentic Vietnamese vibe
Best without breaking the bank Thanh Xuan An affordable area that is well-connected with the city center
Best for crazy nightlife Old Quarter Most vibrant, crowded part of the city, filled with bars, pubs, and clubs
Best for long-term stay Cau Giay A quiet neighborhood with plenty of job opportunities

Photo credit: vietnamnomad

Where to stay in Hanoi on your first visit — Ba Dinh

When you visit a city for the first time, you want to stay close to as many cool sights as possible, right? This is what makes Ba Dinh an ideal neighborhood for first-timers. This area has plenty of attractions, museums, galleries, and entertainment options to keep you busy all day long. The neighborhood is located on the Lake Ho Tays’s southern shore so you can enjoy the spectacular view of the lake while sipping drinks in one of the lakeside restaurants. It is close to the Old Quarter, the historic center of the city, so you can easily get there to see some extra landmarks. Ba Dinh is much more peaceful than the very center so you won’t have to worry about your safety. 

Things to do in Ba Dinh

Here are some ideas of places in Ba Dinh that are well worth visiting:

  • The Imperial Citadel
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum
  • The Temple of Literature
  • The Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
  • Lotte Center Hanoi

Best for history buffs: The Imperial Citadel

The Imperial Citadel and its Flag Tower are probably the most visited landmarks in Hanoi. Over a millennium old, the citadel was the main center of Vietnam’s political power for over eight centuries. Besides the beautiful building and its gardens, you can also see artifacts excavated from all around Asia, such as pottery, ceramics, and bronze coins. The citadel is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Photo credit: aleaftolive

Best for culture vultures: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum

Those who love exploring Vietnamese culture shouldn’t miss Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum—the final resting place of the “Uncle Ho”, Vietnam’s most beloved leader. His remains are preserved in a glass case and the mausoleum was modeled after Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow.

Photo credit: andrexplores

Best for those unafraid of heights: Lotte Center Hanoi

If heights don’t make you frightened, you should consider visiting Lotte Center Hanoi, the second-highest skyscraper in the city. The observatory on its 65th floor is amazing. The breathtaking view of the whole of Hanoi will surely sweep you off your feet.

Photo credit:czarnyusa

Where to stay in Ba Dinh

Since Ba Dinh is the very heart of the city, accommodation in this area isn’t cheap. The average price per night is around $60. Here are our top picks:

Budget option: this affordable house – Old Quarter View Hostel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this modern apartment.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: this enormous apartment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Hanoi for hipsters—Hai Ba Trung

If you’re one of the “cool kids” who want to enjoy historical sights and genuine Vietnamese experience, you will love Hai Ba Trung. This hip, modern area is located on the Lake’s southern shore and sits right next to the Old Quarter. In this part of the city, you will be able to try authentic Vietnamese food, roam around street markets, explore interesting cafes, and really get a taste of the local culture.

What to visit in Hai Ba Trung

Hai Ba Trung is full of beautiful places you may enjoy. Here are some ideas:

  • Hai Ba Trung Temple
  • The Women’s Museum
  • Quan De Thich Pagoda
  • Ruby Plaza

Best overall: Hai Ba Trung Temple

When visiting Hanoi, it would be a shame to miss Hai Ba Trung Temple as it is one of the most popular and beautiful temples in the city. You will see 2000 years old statues of the Trung sisters, ancient military leaders that the whole district is named after. Although the sisters committed suicide, the altar presents their violent deaths at the hand of the enemy.

Photo credit: ziggy_hazeleyes86

Best for culture vultures: The Women’s Museum

If you’re a fan of gender studies, The Women’s Museum is a must-see. It shows how the role of a Vietnamese woman changed during the centuries and celebrates women’s contributions to Vietnamese culture and society. 

Photo credit: lucidsemiotics

Where to stay in Hai Ba Trung

In Hai Ba Trung, you can easily find good accommodation for any price range. On average, one night costs around $40. Take a look at our favorite places:

Budget option: this affordable room with a balcony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this nice apartment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: this luxurious hotel

The Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi is conveniently located in the heart of Hanoi’s central business district, a 40-minute drive from Noi Bai international airport and only 5 minutes from the city centre and its Old Quarter. This makes our hotel ideal for business and leisure travelers.

 

 

 

Where to stay in Hanoi without breaking the bank—Thanh Xuan

Thanh Xuan is the best place in Hanoi for backpackers and young globetrotters as it offers plenty of budget options. There are all sorts of economical accommodation, including hostels, Airbnb’s, and low-key hotels. The restaurants are cheaper than those in the city center and there are many affordable entertainment options. The neighborhood lies west to the Hai Ba Trung and is well-connected to the downtown areas of the city. 

What to do in Thanh Xuan

If you’re wondering how to fill your day without leaving Thanh Xuan, we recommend you check out these places:

  • Vincom Mega Mall Royal City
  • Phuong Liet Lake
  • Tam Huyen Pagoda
  • Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum

Best for entertainment: Vincom Mega Mall Royal City

Thanh Xuan’s Mega Mall is a place that offers something for everyone. Besides all sorts of shops and boutiques, the mall has an ice skating rink, beautiful gardens, and interesting sculptures. Underneath the mall, you will find Vinpear Land Water Park, Vietnam’s only indoor water park. 

Photo credit: crisanstevina

Best for historians: Vietnam People’s Air Force Museum

If you’re fascinated by military memorabilia, this museum will leave a lasting impression on you. You will see all sorts of helicopters, tanks, MIGs, and radars. You can even hop into a jet fighter and get a picture. 

Photo credit: ashzeppelin

Where to stay in Thanh Xuan

The main reason we love Thanh Xuan so much is that it offers plenty of cheap accommodation options. One night accommodation costs around $30 on average. Here are our top picks:

Budget option: this affordable yet beautiful looking hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this comfy apartment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: Hanoi Grand Plaza Hotel – Elegant quarters in a modern high-rise hotel with dining, a spa & a department store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Hanoi for wild nightlife—Old Quarter/Hoan Kiem

Old Quarter, the historical center of the city and the northern part of the Hoan Kiem area, is where all the action takes place. Located in the very center of the city, this neighborhood is known for its numerous pagodas, old gates, and traditional shops. It is also where all major bars and clubs are located. It is an absolute favorite among tourists as you will have something fun to do at any time of day or night. Old Quarter is also handy because there are plenty of accommodation options, ranging from budget Airbnb’s to high-end hotels. 

Where to go out in Old Quarter

In the Old Quarter, you’ll never get bored. There are so many things to see! Here are some places we recommend you visit first:

  • Bia Hoi Junction
  • Water Puppet Theater
  • Binh Minh Jazz Club
  • Le Pub Hanoi

Best for casual nights: Bia Hoi Junction

There is no place in Hanoi where you can enjoy the authentic Vietnamese vibe like Bia Hoi Junction. Although sitting outside on a plastic stool and drinking cheap Vietnamese beer maybe doesn’t sound like a fantastic idea, trust us—you’ll love it. The street is crowded, and people are extremely friendly so chances are you will make many new friends.

Photo credit: geoff_d_robson

Best for party animals: Le Pub Hanoi

If you want to dance until you drop (or at least until the sun starts rising), Le Pub is the place to go to. This stylish club hosts the best Vietnamese live bands, and you may also hear some international music. There are plenty of booze promotions and ladies get to drink cocktails for free every Thursday.

Photo credit: sirisopa

Where to stay in the Old Quarter

Old Quarter has many accommodation options. On average, one night costs around $40. Check out our favorite places:

Budget option: Diamond King Hotel & Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this modern apartment with a balcony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxurious option: this beautiful apartment – Hanoi Old Quarter Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay in Hanoi long term—Cau Giay

Although most people find Tai Ho to be heaven for expats, we think that Can Giay is a far better option. The accommodation is incredibly affordable as there are hundreds of new buildings and condo projects ideal for those considering moving to Hanoi permanently. The area is full of business centers and office buildings. There are also several English learning centers and international schools, so English native speakers can easily find jobs close to their new homes. You can also look for work opportunities in Tai Ho as it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to get there by car or motorbike. The only area where this neighborhood falls short is that the streets leading to the center are usually crowded so you may get stuck in traffic quite often. 

What to do in Cau Giay

Both expats and tourists have plenty of things to do in Cau Giay. Let’s take a look at some ideas:

  • Nghia Do Park
  • Com Lang Vong
  • Due Tu Pagoda
  • Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Best for foodies: Com Lang Vong

Com Lang Vong, the so-called Green Rice Village, is Cau Giay’s hidden gem that no Vietnamese cuisine lover should miss. In the village, you will try this essential Vietnamese culinary specialty, learn everything about its history, and see how it is made. 

Photo credit: svietnammm

Best for culture vultures: Vietnam Museum of Ethnology

Vietnam is a multicultural country with a diverse culture. In the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, you will get familiar with all 54 ethnic groups, religions, and cultural heritage. 

Photo credit: newtopmab 

Where to stay in Cau Giay

Cau Giay is full of apartments, hostels, and AirBnBs. On average, it will cost you around $40 a night. These are our favorite places:

Budget option: this adorable apartment – Au Viet Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midrange option: this eco-friendly apartment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury option: London Hanoi Hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to Stay in Hong Kong

Where to Stay in Hong Kong – a gateway to China

Map

Often referred to as ‘gateway’ to China and Southeast Asia, Hong Kong is a vivid metropolitan city. Despite severing its connections to the British Empire years ago, its influence can still be noticed not only all around the city but also among its citizens. As the world’s 7th biggest trading power, ‘Fragrant Harbour’ as is the meaning behind the name of Hong Kong, is one of the major business, financial, and commercial port hubs of the world. Numerous skyscrapers, double than New York, and impressive and modern buildings rising on all sides of the city dominate the city’s skyline. 

Hong Kong at night Image source: Pexels

5 best neighborhoods to stay in Hong Kong

Thanks to the harbor, many tourists assume Hong Kong is divided into two large regions, Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. But, this city has other areas located north of the Kowloon called New Territories where energetic and colorful districts of Tsim Sha Tsui, Causeway Bay, and many others are found. 

Hong Kong Marine Image source: Pixabay

These neighborhoods were selected because of many popular cultural, shopping, dining, and entertainment attractions they have to offer to tourists from all over the world. Finding the perfect place to stay in Hong Kong largely depends on what you are interested in the most to visit during your stay in this city. Some of the best areas are the following ones: 

  1. Central Hong Kong 
  2. Admiralty & Wan Chai
  3. Causeway Bay
  4. Tsim Tsa Shui 
  5. Yau Ma Tei & Mongkok, Kowloon

Check out why we recommend staying in these areas:

Top recommendations 

Neighborhood

Ideal for

Why?

Central Hong Kong 

First-timers

Close to all main landmarks and well connected to other areas

Admiralty & Wan Chai 

On a budget

Cheap and comfortable accommodation

Causeway Bay

Long-term stay

Not so crowded, ideal for families

Tsim Tsa Shui 

Nightlife

The majority of restaurants and bars are in this area

Yau Ma Tei & Mongkok, Kowloon Bohemians

Plenty to see and do in this neighborhood

Where to stay in Hong Kong for the first time – Central Hong Kong

Map of Central Hong Kong

Central Hong Kong is well known as the financial and business center with the most expensive office spaces in the world. This area simply takes your breath away by all those high bank buildings and shopping malls. It is an attractive location especially for tourists since it is close to many important landmarks in the town. 

Central Hong Kong Image source: Pixabay

Through the city center modern electric tram passes and the Peak Tram is very near so the tourists can get around the town and visit the main sights much faster and easier. 

Tram Image source: Pixabay

Things to see and do in Central Hong Kong

This neighborhood is located near the most popular places among tourists:

  • Victoria Park
  • Lan Kwai Fong
  • International Finance Center
  • Man Mo Temple
  • Central to Mid-levels escalator

Victoria Park 

A great place to rest and at the same time enjoy the skyline filled with skyscrapers

Park Image source: dwlee6/

Lan Kwai Fong

This is a famous square of different streets filled with bars and restaurants.

Lan Kwai Fong Image source: narfagram

International Finance Center

IFC is one of the most prominent landmarks in Hong Kong. It is a skyscraper consisting of the IFC Mall and Four Seasons Hotel. 

IFC Image source: Pixabay

Man Mo Temple

Man Mo Temple or Man Mo Miu is a temple dedicated to the god of literature Man Tai and the god of martial arts Mo Tai. 

Man Mo Temple Image source: parco_photography

Central to Mid-Levels escalator 

The world’s longest outdoor escalator which was built to connect Central and Mid-Levels districts. 

Escalator Image source: jessburtt

Where to stay in Central Hong Kong

While this neighborhood is particularly convenient for tourists, it is also quite expensive so finding the perfect place to stay in Central Hong Kong for every budget can be problematic. In case you are not willing to spend much money on the place to stay, AirBnBs are ideal for such occasions. The average price in Airbnbs is $80 per night. 

Here are our top three places to stay in Central Hong Kong:

Affordable optionCheck Inn HK – Affordable & Simple, fantastic location near Central Hong Kong.

Moderate priceThis Modern Self-Contained Studio in LKF Central

Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury optionIbis Hong Kong Central And Sheung Wan

Where to stay in Hong Kong for nightlife – Tsim Sha Tsui 

Map

The most popular area for crazy nightlife is definitely Tsim Sha Tsui. This is where most activities take place. Tourists visit this neighborhood usually by Star Ferry to enjoy the view of the astonishing skyscrapers located at the Hong Kong peninsula across the harbor. As the night falls, the nightclubs open their doors to hundreds of tourists and locals in search of drinks and parties, and often the fun does not stop until the early morning. 

Star Ferry Image source: Pixabay

Things to see and do in Tsim Sha Tsui

This area is famous for the Avenue of Stars which is a replica of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Ashley Road, one of the most popular bar streets

Check out:

  1. trendy Deck N Beer
  2. Egyptian restaurant and hookah bar RA Restaurant and Lounge and try one of the tasty pineapple mojitos
  3. Castro’s
  4. Road Side Bar
  5. Tequila Jack’s

Avenue of Stars

Similarly to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, here you find the tribute to the most famous stars of the film industry of Hong Kong in the form of statues or celebrity handprints. 

Avenue of Stars Image source: indonesian.rupiah

Castro’s

A place with great music and strong drinks.

Castro's Image source: _songkwan

Deck’n’beer 

Bar Image source: arniegvisuals

Tequila Jack’s

Tequila Jack's Image source: 123yumyumyummy

Where to stay in Tsim Sha Tsui

Unlike the center of Hong Kong, TST is cheaper and it is easier to find a place to stay. The average nightly price in Airbnbs is $65. 

Among the better Airbnbs are the following ones:

Affordable option

Moderate priceBright Family Quad Room in TST 

Apartment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury optionPage148 Boutique Hotel Tsim Sha Tsui

 

Where to stay in Hong Kong on a budget – Admiralty and Wan Chai

Map of Admirality The best areas in Hong Kong for staying on a budget are Admiralty and Wan Chai. These two areas are very close to Central but more spacious. If the weather permits, a walk between these two areas will allow you to see their main attractions and experience the colonial feel which they preserve even today. 

Skyline Image source: Pexels

Things to see and do in Admiralty & Wan Chai 

In Admiralty, you should visit: 

  1. Hong Kong Park
  2. Bauhinia Square

Hong Kong Park 

In an urban setting, this beautiful oasis with natural beauty will surely help you relax and unwind after exploring the city all day. 

Park Image source: sabina.eclair

Bauhinia Square

One of the main attractions in Hong Kong, the gilded sculpture of Bauhinia blakeana which is a type of flower. 

Square Image source: didsbury05

While in Wan Chai:

  1. Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
  2. Hung Shing Temple
  3. Blue House 

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

HKCEC is an attractive building owing to its modern and peculiar architecture. 

Exhibition Image source: inamak629

Hung Shing Temple

This area has several temples dedicated to Hung Shing, and this is one of them. 

Temple Image source: mcstvc

Blue House 

This building is one of the last remaining examples of tong lau, similar to shophouses from the 19th century. 

Blue House Image source: timeouthk

Where to stay in Admiralty & Wan Chai 

Although these two areas are quite near Central Hong Kong, the accommodation costs are much lower and affordable. The average nightly price in Airbnbs in Admiralty is $105, while in Wan Chai it is $67.

We recommend these:

 

Affordable option – Hotel Ease Access

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Room

Moderate price – Studio Flat in The Heart of Wan Chai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury option Island Shangri-La – Luxurious 4.5 average star hotel, with a breathtaking view and a comfortable interior.

 

Where to stay in Tulum

Where to stay in Tulum – Our favorite areas

Located on the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, Tulum has become, in recent years, one of the most visited tourist attractions. Famous for being one of the most well-preserved ancient port cities, built by the Mayans, it has also built a reputation as one of the most exciting places to visit. 

Given that Tulum is located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea there is no shortage of beautiful and breathtaking beaches. Divided into several zones, or areas, Tulum offers something for everybody’s taste. Tulum is divided typically into the Pueblo, the archeological site, the Sian Ka’an, and the hotel zone.

Image source: emiipod

5 best neighborhoods to stay in Tulum

From relaxing beaches, cool archeological sites, to exciting and lively nightlife –Tulum has it all. These neighborhoods were chosen based on what they have to offer, affordability, as well as how accessible they are. Here are the suggestions for the 5 best neighborhoods in Tulum:

  1. Col Huracanes
  2. The Pueblo 
  3. City Center
  4. Aldea Zama
  5. Playa

Best neighborhoods in Tulum

Col Huracanes        

This area is great for nightlife.

The Pueblo

A great neighborhood for tourists on a budget.

City Center

An excellent area for art lovers.

Aldea Zama

For people who want to stay in Tulum for a longer period of time.

Playa

A fantastic area for first-time visitors.

Where to stay in Tulum for nightlife

Although it’s a small place, Col Huracanes can definitely offer an exhilarating and invigorating night in the town. This is where you should go if you want to experience a fun night out visiting bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Things to see and do in Col Huracanes

  • Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar
  • Damajuana Mezcaleria
  • Diablito
  • Pasito Tun Tun

Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar

Even though it opened not so long ago, Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar has quickly gained traction both among locals and visitors. It has been praised for its service, enjoyable atmosphere, and having live music during most of the week.

Image source: janinauhse

Damajuana Mezcaleria

Damajuana Mezcaleria is another exciting place to visit – they frequently organize rooftop parties during the weekends with various DJs.

Image source: erikaweier

Diablito

Another suggestion is Diablito, a place that has been praised for its delicious food and refreshing drinks, whether you are visiting with a significant other, family or your friends you are going to have a great time.

Image source: nicecr

Pasito Tun Tun

Pasito Tun Tun offers a bit more relaxing and chill atmosphere, but also offers live music and great mezcal cocktails.

Image source: vicente_tamayo

Where to stay in Col Huracanes

As far as accommodation is concerned, Col Huracanes offers some really great places to stay. Here are some of our suggestions for where to stay:

Affordable: Rancho Tranquilo – interesting nature-oriented hostel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-range: a small apartment with a colorful and exotic vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury: LiveTulum – luxurious hotel bedroom

 

 

 

Where to stay in Tulum on a budget

If you are on a bit of a tight budget but still want to have a great time in Tulum, you should visit the Pueblo. Although one would expect it to be quite pricey given its central location, the Pueblo neighborhood offers some of the most affordable bars, restaurants, and hotels. Because of its amazing location, the Pueblo is relatively close to most of the tourist attractions and sites.

Things to see and do in the Pueblo

These are some suggestions for things to do or places to visit:

  • El Sudaca
  • Tulum Archaeological Site 
  • Antojitos La Chiapaneca
  • Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum
  • El Camello

El Sudaca

Offers great, inexpensive food, with an option for vegetarians. Also, it is less than 2 miles away from the Tulum Archaeological Site.

Image source: el.sudaca

Tulum Archaeological Site

A must-see when visiting Tulum. Explore the Mayan ruins and learn a little bit more about this charming town.

Image source: frankielz

Antojitos La Chiapaneca

A restaurant that offers authentic Mexican food made with fresh and delicious ingredients.

Image source: euphoricyogini

Cenotes Casa Tortuga Tulum

Go on a tour and explore the beautiful and enchanting nature.

Image source: konrad202

El Camello

A charming restaurant that serves delicious seafood.

Image source: tt.tu

Where to stay in the Pueblo

Affordable option: Nice and relaxing room of Pueblo Magico.

 

 

 

 

Standard: Located in the heart of Tulum, this studio offers you easy access to all the things you need.

 

 

 

 

Luxury: Casa Pueblo is a luxurious high-end hotel located in Pueblo.

 

 

Where to stay in Tulum — bohemian edition — City Center

Image source: emilyarz

Not everyone is up for a wild night out or for long walks in nature – some people are more casual and prefer to explore the city in a different way – by visiting art galleries, trendy cafes, and unusual bars. 

Things to see and do in Center of Tulum

Here are some of our suggestions for things to do and see:

  • Visit the Tulum Art Club
  • Shop at the Hernandez Gallery Tulum
  • Have a cup of coffee at Ki’bok Coffee Tulum
  • Have some breakfast at Babel Cafe

Tulum Art Club

Located in the heart of Tulum, the Tulum Art Club has been open since 2016. It operates as a cafe and an art gallery. They hope to make Tulum an art destination and help local and foreign artists meet and interact.

Image source: tulumartclub

Hernandez Gallery Tulum

Hernandez Gallery Tulum, located on the main road, is a shop that sells some of the best handcrafted items you can find in Tulum. Praised for its diverse selection of items and great service, this is a shop that must be visited by those who love art and creative things.

Image source: fher_bebe

Ki’bok Coffee Tulum

Ki’bok Coffee Tulum is a place where you can encounter the local people as well as other foreign travelers. With a charming interior setting and an inviting atmosphere, this is a great place to relax and enjoy.

Image source: travelettes

Babel Cafe

Babel Cafe is a small, quaint and charming cafe, located also in the center of Tulum. A great place to start your morning with a cup of coffee and various breakfast options.

Image source:  johnnyleegrio

Where to stay in the Center of Tulum

Hotels and hostels typically tend to be more expensive, however, it is not impossible to find some reasonably priced accommodation in the heart of Tulum.

These are some of our picks for places to rent while staying in the heart of Tulum:

Affordable: Oostel Smart Hostel – cozy hostel located in the center of Tulum

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-range: a fully furnished and equipped apartment, close to the beach and the city center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury: Hotel Boutique TerraNova – High-end hotel room

Where to stay in Cebu

Where to stay in Cebu, Philippines? We asked locals working in tourism

Cebu is an island province of the Philippines, located in the Central Visayas region.

The island has a great mix of local culture, nature, and with its long history it has plenty of stories to tell to tell.

This article will help you decide where to stay in Cebu, Philippines.

You’ll likely be arriving by plane through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport or by ferry through Cebu International Port.

There’s a lot of things to do and places to explore on the island, so we’re going to give you a couple of recommended areas and reasons why to pick them.

This way you can choose the best location, based on your vacation preferences.

Best area for first-timers Cebu City
Best area for longterm stay Mandaue City
Best area for nature/bohemian Oslob

Transportation, Getting around Cebu

  • Uber and similar services do exist in the metropolitan areas of Cebu, but drivers may be reluctant to dive you outside the city if you wish to see something else.
  • Renting a bike is always a good option, although officially you’d need an international drivers license, locals won’t mind renting it to you even if you don’t, just remember that you don’t have insurance this way
  • Taxi is available both in and out of cities, just remember to ask the driver to use a taximeter, or try to bargain if you’re covering longer distances or going to tourist landmarks – where they can pick up another passenger
  • Motorbike Taxi aka Habal-Habal is a fast, cheap and widely available service in Cebu
  • Jeepney is a form of a bus that can be caught throughout residential areas – it’s cheap, stops at popular areas and recognizable by crazy colors, but also known to be overcrowded

    Jeepney in Legazpi City.JPG
    Source: Wikipedia

The best area to stay for first-timers – Cebu City

The most developed part of the island is usually the best for tourists on their first visit to any destination, and Cebu is no exception.

Cebu City itself has many attractions, and its central location allows for the best navigation to the rest of the island.

Where to go and what to see in Cebu City?

Magellan’s Cross

One of the most important historic landmarks on the island. It’s a Christian cross, that was planted by the colonizers by Ferdinand Magellan, after arriving in Cebu in March of 1521. The cross is sitting in a small chapel next to the Basilica Menor del Santo Nino – the oldest Catholic church in the Philippines – on the famous Magallanes Street. The sign inside states that the original cross is encased in the wooden one that can be seen on display, and some local legends say the original cross had miraculous powers.

Source: Flickr rweisswald

Sky Experience Adventure

The rooftop of the Crown Regency hotel holds more than just great views of the city. It houses a unique theme park that’s all about fully experiencing the thrill of being at nearly 500 feet (150 meters) off the ground. What you’ll find are things such as building-to-building zip lines, a rollercoaster around the roof, a climbing wall on top of the building, as well as an observatory among other things.

Source: Instagram @Sky Experience Adventure

Casa Gorordo Museum

Built in the 19th century, the house used to belong to the very first Cebuano bishop, Juan Gorordo. Inside the house, you will be able to see how a typical 18-19 century household in Cebu looked like. Regular items like furniture, paintings, clothing, wooden tables and cabinets, cutlery, religious symbols and similar. The museum also has a cafe in which you can try some local specialties, such as Sikwate – a type of bittersweet hot chocolate – as well as a souvenir shop.

 

 

No photo description available.
Source: Facebook @Casa Gorordo Museum

Where to stay in Cebu City, our top AirBnB’s

Affordable price range: The Modern Renaissance – great looking apartment in a central location

Moderate price range: Double-Balcony Apartment – fully furnished with pool and gym in the condo

Luxury price range: Designer’s Corner Crib – very spacious amazing interior with lots of commodities

The best area for long term stay – Mandaue City

Right next to Cebu City is the prosperous Mandaue city. We chose this area as the best option for those who want a long term stay for a couple of reasons:

  • Central location
  • Access to both Cebu City and Mactan (airport)
  • Residential areas typical to cities
  • Modern entertainment

Where to go and what to see in Mandaue City?

Upside Down World

This unique attraction consists of multiple rooms made to appear upside down. Explore the different rooms and make use of the optical illusion to take some goofy pictures.

Source: Facebook @Upside Down World Cebu

Marcelo Fernan Bridge

The bridge connects Mandaue City to neighboring Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island. It is around 4 000 feet (1 200 meters) long and has pedestrian sidewalks on both sides, so you can take a walk or ride a bike over it. Once you pass to the Mactan side, you can take a rest in the Millenium Park, located underneath the bridge. Apart from enjoying the view pier and sitting on the benches, you can relax in some of the cafes available in the park.

Source: Instagram @davidansagario

Skywater Park Cebu

If you search up this attraction and think it looks like a place made for children, think again. This waterpark on top of JCenter Mall not only contains slides and pools, but also things like jacuzzies, sunbeds, spa, cafe and dining area, and more. At night, the rooftop becomes a place for nightlife. It houses things such as live performances, night swimming, and foam parties.

Source: Facebook @Skywaterpark Cebu

Where to stay in Mandaue, our top AirBnB’s

Affordable price range: Apple One Banawa Heights – nice apartment with lots of commodities in the condo area

Medium price range: Yellow House – beautiful apartment completely verified by AirBnB

Luxury price range: Copenhagen Residence Luxury Loft2 – super-modern residential area, apartment on 2 stories and amazingly furnished

Where to stay in Cebu, nature/bohemian – Oslob

Down south on the island of Cebu is the area of Oslob, a popular tourist destination for nature lovers and those looking to escape the busy city streets.

The area is completely covered by forest on one side and is open to the ocean on the other, offering plenty of hiking and swimming spots.

Where to go and what to see in Oslob?

Tumalog Falls

The Tumalog waterfall, also known as Toslob falls in a known tourist attraction. The place is surrounded by dense forest, which makes for some beautiful green scenery. The bottom of the waterfall creates a wading pool in which you can take a swim. The best way to get to the area, unless you’ve rented a bike, is motor taxis. Be warned that there is an entry fee of 20 pesos.

Source: Instagram @Hoanslife

Diving with Whale Sharks

The most popular tourist attraction in Oslob has got to be diving (or snorkeling) with whale sharks just off the coast. These friendly giants are completely harmless to people, as they feed on planktons and small species of fish and squid, and similar. Younger whale sharks are also known for being playful, so they will “invite” you to tag along with them for a swim. Although this is a unique way to interact with nature, humans are still an unknown species to whale sharks, so intentionally bothering them can be frightening. We recommend observing and only coming in close and touching if you notice they don’t mind your presence.

Source: Instagram @haleybubz

Sumilon Island

Off the coast of Oslob is a privately owned island and resort of Sumilon, as such there is a small entry fee, usually around 50 pesos. But what you get for it is one of the best and unique beach experiences in Cebu. The small beach gets narrower throughout the day due to tides, until it gets completely submerged, so it’s best to come early in the morning and watch as it happens. The water is sparkling clear and offers some great underwater coral landscapes to explore. If you want, you can visit the Bluewater Sumilon resort for a drink or dipping into their waterpark.

Source: Instagram @fang.pch

Where to stay in Oslob, our top AirBnB’s

Affordable price range: Sunny Apartment – close to the beach and has a small pool outside

Moderate price range: Balai ni Sonia – entire bungalow close to main attractions

 

Luxury price range: Beachhouse near Whalesharks – luxury house with ocean view and beach in front, location close to main attractions

Where to stay in Bangkok

Where to stay in Bangkok, Thailand Broken Down By Neighborhood

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/df/Bangkok_Night_Wikimedia_Commons.jpg
Source: Wikipedia

Bangkok is constantly on the #1 spot for most visited city in the world.

It tops out at around 20 million foreign visitors each year for multiple reasons.

Apart from the fact it’s a major tourist destination itself, It happens to be a favorite base location for travel around Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia.

The city has a lot to offer, so to narrow it down for you, we’re going to recommend some of the best areas where to stay in Bangkok.

Transportation, getting around Bangkok

One amazing thing about this city is its effective public transportation in the form of Metro.

Bkk masstransit 2020 clear version english wiki-01.png
Source: Wikipedia

Two main lines that overlap each other in the heart of the city are:

  • MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit) – typical underground metro line you’ll find in major cities
  • BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System) – also known as the Skytrain, this elevated railway makes for a unique experience and some nice views
Bangkok Skytrain 2011.jpg
The BTS Skytrain, source: Wikipedia

With that in mind, let’s look at our picks for best areas/neighborhoods to choose from:

  1. Siam area, Pathum Wan district – the best choice for first-timers
  2. West Sukhumvit, Metro stations – modern metropolitan area, great nightlife
  3. Chinatown, Old Bangkok – staying on a budget

Honorable mention: Khao San Road – highly recommended for short visits, but not as convenient as the other area.

Where to stay in Bangkok, Thailand

Best for first-timers

Siam area Siam area in Pathum Wan district is centrally located and easy to get around
Best for nightlife West Sukhumvit A trendy neighborhood with hip bars, shops, and markets
Best on a budget Chinatown

An affordable area located in Old Bangkok

Best for first-timers—Siam, Pathum Wan district

Siam is a centrally located, busy, metropolis area full of things to do and see.

The MRT and BTS metro lines overlap each other at Siam, making it well connected to the rest of the city.

Pros Cons
  • The epicenter of the city, within close range of everything
  • Metro lines intersect, making the rest of the city easily accessible.
  • Incredible shopping experience
  • On the more expensive side, things like food and entertainment can be noticeably cheaper closeby
  • It can get overcrowded with both locals and tourists, especially on the weekends.
  • Decent time passers, but a smaller pool of choices than other areas

Where to go and what to see in Siam?

Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC)

Stretching over 9 floors, the culture center has both art exhibitions and performances. At the right time of year, you might even be able to see one of the thematic film festivals that happen there. There’s plenty to see and do and the best part is, there is no entry fee.

Source: baccbangkok

Sea Life Bangkok – Ocean World (Siam Paragon)

Siam Paragon is an amazing shopping center and worthy to mention. However, the real attraction is the amazing aquarium underneath. You’ll get to enjoy walking around surrounded by thousands of species of fish and, for those who are daring, there are even diving events (yes, you can swim with the sharks).

https://images.thrillophilia.com/image/upload/s--VQAHFBwV--/c_fill,f_auto,fl_strip_profile,h_600,q_auto,w_975/v1/images/photos/000/126/451/original/1542262668_shutterstock_1214592766.jpg.jpg?1542262668
Source: Thrillophilia.com

Scala theater/cinema

A historic landmark and a source of entertainment in one, Scala is a blast from the past with its interior design. Although you can occasionally catch a play, it mostly serves as a cinema. Apart from showing worldwide trending film, sometimes it hosts events where enthusiasts can watch critically acclaimed movies and classics.

Source: Wikipedia

Where to stay in Siam, recommended accommodations

Affordable price range: Niras Bankoc Hostel – Situated in a historic house in the old city of Bangkok

 

 

 

 

Moderate price range: F04 Apartment – great view, pool and gym in the residential area

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury price range: Amara Bangkok hotel – very spacious, luxurious and centrally located with a beautiful view.

 

 

 

 

Where to stay for the nightlife—West Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit is an area with endless fun things to do. It’s full of life both throughout the day and night. People coming to Bangkok looking for busy, tourist areas will find everything they want in Sukhumvit.

Like Siam, the MRT and BTS metro lines overlap each other at Sukhumvit.

Pros Cons
  • The epicenter of the action, everything in one place
  • Amazing nightlife, many clubs, and bars
  • Local as well as global scenery and cuisine
  • The great shopping experience, both in big shopping centers and street vendors
  • Lots of cheap street food
  • Crowded and busy area
  • A bit farther from the riverside
  • Low traditional cultural experience
  • Vibrant nightlife may make it too loud for some

Where to go and what to see in Sukhumvit?

Terminal 21 shopping mall

There are many shopping malls across Sukhumvit, but we chose Terminal 21 for two very cool reasons:

  • It can be accessed (or left) through Skytrain
  • The interior has replicas of many world-famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, Eiffel tower, etc.
Source: Flickr Stewie1980

Enjoy a night out at clubs and bars

As mentioned, Sukhumvit is known for a variety of things to do at night. One place to consider is the Vanilla Sky Rooftop, a restaurant/lounge during the day, and a bar/nightclub at night.

Source: Instagram @vanillaskybar

Explore the busy shopping streets (Soi)

The streets around the main Sukhumvit Road are called Soi. They don’t have individual names but are instead numbered. Explore them to find lots of street food, local and global, and shop around street vendors.

Sukhumvit Soi 38
Source: Migrationology.com

Where to stay in Sukhumvit, recommended accommodations

Affordable price range: Siamaze Hostel – a four-story building located in a business/residential area of Bangkok (Ratchadapisek Road).

 

 

 

Moderate price range: Emporium w/ view – modern apartment with great city view and lots of natural light

 

 

 

 

Luxury: Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit – luxurious hotel with gym, pool, and sauna available

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay on a budget—Chinatown, Old Bangkok

Chinatown in Bangkok known as the origin from which the city emerged. This area has been used by Chinese merchants for hundreds of years. It’s near the river bank, and just by looking at its surroundings, you can see the age difference between it and modern Bangkok.

Pros Cons
  • One of the cheaper areas
  • Plenty of street food and merchants
  • Near the riverbank
  • Lots of cultural attractions
  • Not as well connected, only one MRT metro line passes
  • Beware of pickpockets and street scammers
  • Not as versatile in terms of things to do

Where to go and what to see in Chinatown?

Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha)

Inside the amazing temple is a 5.5-ton pure gold statue of Buddha.

The statue itself has been said to date back somewhere around the 13-14th century.

Golden buddha.jpg
Source: Wikipedia

Yaowarat Road

The street is known for glowing with a beautiful bright red at night. However, it is most famous for its large selection of street food. Stop by in the evening to get a taste of Thai cuisine.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/YX-V1O-T-hgYvJgz6v9i3uwgeWqxGDn_vgCaQfd2j09MOfPcHNEmtjViG1Dj-_lTwtGF086MWMHlZtwdvXoukgrCmnGbMgVMD5ZYSQndcg5nIrSmF65n6qi3wC1n6FIj6zYTWEEW
Source: Bangkok Tourism Hub

Grand China Hotel

The Grand China hotel is equipped with many things you can explore: fitness center, spa, swimming pools, even some shops. However, the most interesting place to visit is the top floor restaurant – Sky View 360. As you can imagine, the name comes from the fact that the restaurant has a 360 view of the city AND it moves! As you enjoy your drink or meal, within the 2 hours it takes for it to complete the circle, you’ll be able to see the entire city. To top things off, it isn’t as pricey as it sounds.

Source: BK Magazine

Where to stay in Chinatown, recommended accommodations

Affordable price range: Luk Hostel – Staff are super friendly

Moderate price range: Corner Balcony Studio – modern, well equipped at a good price

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury price range: Shanghai Mansion Bangkok – Located in Bangkok’s Chinatown, it offers a restaurant and jazz bar, as well as free WiFi access.

Honorable Mention: Khao San Road

Often mentioned by both locals and Bangkok enthusiasts, the area around Khao San Road is recommended for a short-term stay.

The best tip is to pick a location next to the main road, as main Khao San can get crowded and quite loud, meaning it’s not the best choice if you aim to rest at night.

Pros Cons
  • Recommended experience on its own
  • Close to riverbank
  • Youthful, vibrant nightlife
  • A great stopping point for backpackers and short-term stay
  • Relatively isolated
  • Not close to metro line
  • Can get loud and overcrowded during day and night

Where to stay in Curacao

Where to stay in Curaçao, the land of pristine sand

What is formally known as the Country of Curacao is a Lesser Antilles island in the South Caribbean Sea. It sits just north of the Venezuelan coast and functions as an autonomous country as part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Curacao is a major cruise destination and is heavily investing in becoming an international crossroads in the region.

Since Curacao is a small island, wherever you choose to stay, you won’t be far off from other attractions. Although the main attraction will be the harbor capital Willemstad, there are areas both to the north and south of the island worth seeing. To make the list, we used the following criteria:

  • Accessibility
  • Activities in the area
  • Public transportation
  • Cultural significance
  • Safety

Here’s the list of our top areas:

Best for first-timers Marie Pampoen
Best for nightlife Otrobanda
Best artistic/bohemian Punda

Transportation, getting around Curacao

There are only two major bus stations (in Punda and Otrobanda) and serve to access other areas of the island. This is why our recommended areas are at or near these stops.

The recommended public transportation in Curacao is either by car rental or taxi, depending on how much you want to travel.

Some recommended taxi companies:

  • Friendly Taxi Curaçao – +(5999) 692 4561 – call or WhatsApp message
  • Dushi Taxi – +(5999) 516 8863 – call or WhatsApp message

Where to stay for first-timers – Marie Pampoen

The reason why we chose the area of Marie Pampoen is that it’s a nice residential area, close to everything you need but less noisy overall. It’s also close to some of the nicest beaches in Curacao.

Pros Cons
  • Close to nice beaches
  • Lots of things to do in and around the area
  • Colorful, lots of vegetation
  • Safe
  • A bit secluded
  • Residential area, modern attractions are mostly around it

What to see and do in Marie Pampoen?

Mambo Beach

The slogan of the beach is “Where urban meets the sea” and it’s a good indicator of what to expect. This beach is a popular tourist area because it has lots of things to do both during the day and into the night. Apart from swimming and snorkeling, you can relax, grab a drink or some food in many of the surrounding beach bars and restaurants. Return at night for some cocktails and open-air beach parties.

Source: Instagram @mambobeachblvd

Curacao Sea Aquarium

This amazing facility is not just a tourist attraction, but an important research facility that’s both as informative, as it is beautiful. The unique thing about this aquarium is, it’s not a bunch of big water tanks made to simulate a home for its inhabitants – no –  it’s an open-air, open-water system that’s connected to the sea and constantly pumping in fresh seawater. You can enjoy displays such as dolphin shows, shark feeding, up-close interactions with sea lions and many more activities for all ages.

Source: Curacao Sea Aquarium Facebook

Diving/Snorkeling

Whether you choose to get PADI certified at one of the many professional dive shops, or you bought some snorkeling gear in some beach shop, exploring the waters of Curacao is a must-do activity. The island is surrounded by the continental shelf known as the Blue Edge. This, in turn, means that a good amount of popular snorkeling and diving spots are shallow enough to be reached without a boat. In other words, you can swim out and enjoy the coral reefs with the safety of being close to the surface. For those more daring, “dropping off” the Blue Edge in full scuba gear under professional guidance may be the most fun activity you do in Curacao.

Source: At Divers Choice Curacao

Where to stay in Marie Pampoen, our top AirBnB’s

Affordable price range: Studio 1 with Seaview – nice apartment with a view of Marie Pampoen beach.

Moderate price range: La Vida Local – Colorful bungalow with a nice back yard, close to Marie Pampoen beach and marketplace.

Luxury price range: La Privada Luxury Home – entire, spacious house close to the beach, residential pool in the area and beautiful backyard for relaxing

Where to stay for the nightlife – Otrobanda

Guarding the entrance to the port is Otrobanda, one of the liveliest neighborhoods Willemstad. A place where both locals and tourists come to enjoy a night out. This area also has a rich history and is very colorful, making it a standout place to visit.

Pros Cons
  • Countless things to do and see
  • Center of action and best nightlife experience in Curacao
  • Colorful, vibrant area (Dutch architecture)
  • Cultural significance
  • Very loud area, both because of the nightlife and the ships passing by
  • Can get overcrowded by both locals and tourists

What to see and do in Otrobanda?

Enjoy a night out

If we recommend an area for its nightlife, it’s the first thing we talk about. Walking around and exploring at night can be an attraction in itself, as the area is bright and colorful. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and clubs to choose from both in Otrobanda and within walking distance in the nearby areas.

Source: 27 Curacao Facebook

Walk across the Queen Emma Bridge

Also known as the “Swinging Old Lady”, the bridge connects the area of Otrobanda with the equally entertaining Punda. The unique aspect of the bridge is the fact it’s a motorized pontoon bridge that moves when a ship is coming in our out of the city docks. You may find yourself in the middle of the bridge, as it starts to move and let huge ships pass by you. Make sure to visit the bridge when on your night out, as it gets lit up and is full of people.

Source: Around the world L

Visit the Rif Fort

The Rif Fort (translated meaning reef fort) is a fortification in the Otrabanda neighborhood, built to guard the entrance of Sint Anna Bay. While serving its military purpose, the fort was armed with 56 cannons and was known to be bombardment-proof. It also served as a placeholder for government institutions and a police station. Nowadays, it serves as a tourist attraction, where you can walk around its walls and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the sea. The fort and area around it now serves as a major shopping and entertainment district.

Source: Wikipedia

Where to stay in Otrobanda, our top AirBnB’s

Affordable price range: Cozy Leaf Apartment – a modern apartment near the bay

Moderate price range: Top 1-bedroom apartment  – a nice apartment with a balcony and shared residential pool

Luxury price range: Historic House Otrobanda – entire house in the central area

 

Where to stay, artistic/bohemian edition – Punda

Right across the nightlife district of Otrobanda is the eerily similar Punda. This area has a historic landmarks, art galleries, and artsy cafes all packed into one.

Pros Cons
  • Plenty of things to see and do
  • Good mix of both cultural and modern attractions
  • A bit harder to reach other areas

What to see and do in Punda?

Curacao Maritime Museum

One of the must-see cultural attractions in Curacao. The museum offers 500 years of the island’s history through its displays of authentic relics from the past. You will see things like model ships, authentic naval maps, and historic tools and equipment. Apart from the regular exhibitions and the regular museum tour, they offer two more exclusive tours: one of the oil industry in the area and a ferry tour of the harbor.

Source: Maritime Museum Facebook

Fort Amsterdam

This group of buildings built around fort Amsterdam served numerous roles throughout the history of Curacao. The fort itself, overlooking the bay, dates back to the early-mid 17th century. Preserved maps of the area indicate that a small church was present inside the fort, and by the 1750s a large church, like the one seen today, was built. Today, the area houses the church, seat of the government and governor’s house, as well as a small museum.

Source: Cruise Be

The Blue Curacao Experience

This is a must-see “behind the scenes” of the famous Blue Curacao Liqueur and its production. The tour takes you on an interactive tour of “Senior & Co.”, from the family history to the company’s inception and craftsmanship of processing liqueur. They even have the option to make a personalized bottle to take home with you.

Image may contain: drink
Source: Facebook @The Blue Curacao Experience

Where to stay in Punda, our top AirBnB’s

Affordable price range: Artist Residency – small, artistic house

Moderate price range: Pietermaai Caribbean Apartment – Amazing vintage apartment with Caribbean vibes

Luxury price range: Punda City Penthouse – Gorgeous penthouse in a premium location

Where to stay in Bali

Where to stay in Bali, Indonesia? Finding the perfect place for you

Source: Flickr, Shawn Huang

The island of Bali, Indonesia, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

It’s a great blend of amazing beaches, green scenery, friendly locals and Hindu culture.

Compared to similar destinations around the world, it fits a variety of budgets, which makes it a favorite among travelers and expats.

This article will help you decide where to stay in Bali.

Where to stay in Bali, our top 3 areas

It’s hard to mess up your stay in Bali due to the wide variety of areas that offer a similar experience. Regardless, we took the time to set aside some of our favorite areas using criteria like how close you’ll be to the action, the diversity of things you can do and price range (keeping in mind that Bali is already affordable overall).

Where to stay in Bali, Indonesia
Best for first-timers Kuta
Best for partying Seminyak
Best alternative/bohemian Ubud

 

But wait, where is the budget edition?

Well, when it comes to Bali, budgeting will not limit where you can stay, it will depend on your lifestyle preferences. You can get around cheaply anywhere in Bali if you follow these tips:

  1. Bring lots of cash – Not all places accept cards like in the west, especially local food vendors or street merchants. Even if they do, you’ll pay additional bank fees depending on the type of bank and card you’re using. ATMs may be hard to find and constantly withdrawing will cost you. Additionally, many places like temples, gardens and private beaches have entry fees that can only be paid in cash.
  2. Eat local food – Eating at restaurants may make your vacation look fancier on Instagram, but we promise you the traditional food at local food joints and street vendors is much cheaper and infinitely more delicious and exotic.
  3. Always bring a water bottle and sunscreen – the easiest things to overpay as a tourist are these simple things that cost a few cents at the market and a few dollars on the spot.
  4. Use official taxis only – if they don’t have a taximeter, leave.

Transportation – Getting around Bali

Most people will be getting to Bali through Ngurah Rai International Airport. The strategic location of the airport makes the most popular places to stay easy to access.

When moving around Bali, depending on how far you’re going, there are 3 good ways to get around: Taxi, Scooter or Bike.

  • Taxis are known to be cheap in Bali, but you also have to be careful of tourist traps. To avoid overpaying, make sure that you only use official taxis that have a displayed taxi meter. The official taxi service should cost only a few dollars on top of a starting fee in the inner cities.
  • Scooters are the second option and a favorite among locals. There’s a lot of them for rent, but officially you will need an international driver’s license. We say officially because we’re aware of lots of tourists that don’t. Locals will still be willing to rent you a bike without one, but if you get stopped by the police you’ll get a ticket. The best thing about scooters is they will get you around traffic easily, making them time efficient.
  • Bikes are great for quick travel around the areas you’re staying at. They’re cheap to rent, eco-friendly, and you’ll be able to avoid traffic. Additionally, those who enjoy a bit of adventure may want to take them off-road.

*Side note – Bali does have Uber and similar services, however as it stands they’re pricier than local taxis. If you don’t mind paying extra for additional security, go for it, but we had no notable trouble with taxis.

Where to stay in Bali for first-timers – Kuta

If you come by plane, the first place you land in Bali is Kuta. It also happens to be a great place for your first Bali visit.
It’s one of those well-rounded areas which you won’t have to leave for the most part, unless you want to see something specific.

Where to go and what to do in Kuta?

Legian Beach

Legian is an extension of Kuta beach, although we prefer it to mainstream Kuta spots because it’s less crowded. The soft white sands make for some nice walks or chilling in shallow water. In the evening, you can enjoy the sunset by the shore or grab a drink at the beach bars.

Waterbom waterpark

When people think of waterparks, they think of places where children can laugh and play. Although there’s no shortage of activities for kids, there’s a variety of unique slides guaranteed to pump your adrenaline like SmashDown 2.0, Fast’N’Fierce and the aptly named Climax.

Source: Facebook @Waterbom Bali

Sky Garden Lounge

Amazing all-in-one nightlife experience. The rooftop houses a restaurant, bar and hookah lounge with a view over Kuta. We recommend grabbing a drink or a bite to eat as you wait for the sunset for some amazing panoramic views of the city. It also features multiple levels of indoor and outdoor thematic clubs and lounges, which makes it diverse and worth visiting more than once.

Source: Sky Garden Bali

Where to stay in Kuta, recommended accommodations

Affordable price range: Beautiful private pool in Lokal Bali Hostel

 

 

 

 

 

Moderate price range: Legian Beach Villa – beautiful and colorful with a pool

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury price range: Sikara Lombok Hotel – a high-end famous hotel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay for the nightlife – Seminyak

Just north of main Kuta is the area of Seminyak. For travelers, it’s a bit more modern and not as crowded, although this reputation has slowly caught up to it. People choose Seminyak for the nightlife and being close to more western-like entertainment.

Where to go and what to do Seminyak?

La Favela Bar and Club

The vintage, mostly wooden exterior and interior design make this unique looking place very visually appealing. It’s a restaurant throughout the day and dance club at night, making it worth visiting twice. The jungle vibe is mixed with replicas of iconic landmarks (such as the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro).

Source: Instagram @lafavelabali_

Try Scuba Diving

Although the main beaches of Seminyak are not the best for diving, the area hosts numerous diving accredited diving schools. You can check-in for lessons or join on the diving expeditions off the coast. Diving is a must-try in Bali because it’s part of the Coral Triangle, the most biodiverse area of marine species in the world.

Nyaman Gallery

Take a cultural break and visit this contemporary art gallery in the heart of Seminyak. What you’ll find is exhibits full of artworks of Indonesian, but also international artists. The gallery also supports local and up-and-coming talent. The world Nyaman means comfortable in Indonesian, which is the gallery aims to set.

Source: Villa Finder

Where to stay in Seminyak?

Affordable price range: Kosta Hostel – A room in this cozy Seminyak hostel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moderate price range: Super 1-bedroom Villa – a modern, centrally located villa with private pool

 

 

 

 

Luxury price range: Pelangi Bali Hotel – a luxurious hotel

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay, bohemian/cultural edition – Ubud

If you’re willing to trade being close to the beach for a memorable time inside the jungles, Ubud is the place for you. The town is strategically located near the otherworldly outdoor attractions in Bali.

Where to go and what to do in Ubud?

Sacred Monkey Forest

This unique experience deserves top of the list of things to see in Bali, period. The monkeys are friendly and used to humans, however – as with all animals – body language is important. Don’t go out of the way to bother them, but if you’re open to being approached they will come to you. After all, you’re equally as interesting to them.

Source: Instagram @Cankem

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

Located slightly out of the town of Ubud. This amazing landscape is the result of Subak, an irrigation system invented by the Balinese. Although the scenery can be beautiful, it can get overcrowded throughout the day, so it’s recommended to get there early and enjoy the sunrise.

Bali Swing

Although everybody in the world has at some point seen the shots from Bali Swing, it has a lot more to offer than the name and images suggest. For one, there’s more than one swing, plus other tourist attractions, like rafting and elephant rides, under the Bali Swing brand.

Where to stay in Ubud?

Affordable price range: Green Paddy Hostel & Villa – vintage, a nature-inspired room in this cozy hostel

 

 

 

 

Moderate price range: Peaceful Satya Villa – great balance of modern and nature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luxury price range: The Kayon Resort Ubud by Pramana – gorgeous, high-end, very in touch with nature hotel