When you’re hiding from the action by staying in District 9 of Ho Chi Minh City
We chose The Eastern Apartment Ho Chi Minh City for two reasons.
Firstly, our Tribe suggested we try Airbnb as an alternative to our usual booking process. Secondly, it was far away from the temptations of the city! We had a ton of work to get through before the next adventure started.
Time to get into it!
How we found The Eastern Apartment
This isn’t our first Airbnb booking. We’ve booked a couple of hotels this way but this is our first privately owned apartment booking.
We won’t lie, we were a little unsure about booking someone’s apartment at first.
This one at The Eastern Ho Chi Minh City, seemed to offer everything we wanted and after much deliberation, we signed up.
A big plus about The Eastern Ho Chi Minh City was that it advertised a small selection of marts and eateries on site . Being in district 9 meant we were away from everything, but here we didn’t have to go far to get the basics, or so we thought.
The best thing about The Eastern Ho Chi Minh City was the two shuttles. They ran well set out schedules between the complex and various convenient locations across the city. Super handy if you don’t have your own transportation or not keen on driving around the city yourself.
We used the shuttle service twice to go to the nearby Big C supermarket at the Cantavil Premier Shopping Mall. There was also a Mega Mart within walking distance but we found the large Big C well stocked and perfect for our grocery needs.
At VND40,000 per person per ride, made it a cost-effective option compared to taxis and GRAB rides.
The Eastern Ho Chi Minh City is a complex of three large apartment buildings, with underground car parking and above ground bike parking. There is an outdoor pool area and decent sized gym available in building A, all of which is included with the apartment. The complex also has three convenience stores, a bar, two restaurants and a hairdresser available to guests and residents.
The apartment itself was a furnished two bed, two bath with living/dining area and washing machine.
The equipped kitchen showed utensils, pots and pans, as well as a coffee machine and toaster.
Pretty much all the things we would look for to make a 10 day stay comfortable.
There was also paid parking available as well as 24-hour security.
Check in process
On arrival we drove through the security gate and collected parking tickets for the Waves before we parked them in the designated bike parking area.
Then it was a simple lift ride to the applicable floor and entering the code for the electronic door lock. It was all done with little effort, thanks to great instructions that came with the manual for the apartment. The owner emailed us the manual the morning of our arrival and was available to assist with any issues (which we didn’t have, thankfully).
Nice and easy, just the way it should be.
The living/dining area
The living room had a futon and small settee available for seating. There was a decent sized flat screen with cable channels for us to watch. Bonus!
The dining area was pretty much a table and four chairs squeezed in next to the futon. This was comfortable enough to work on and use for meals.
Next to the table and chairs was a makeshift shelving unit. It contained a lot of personal items, but who they belonged to we weren’t sure. We left that one alone.
I’ll be honest and say I was most disappointed with the kitchen. There was no coffee machine. The crockery and eating utensils were not useful at all. The exception being the two large bowls that we ended up using for most of our meals.
Cooking utensils were few and far between and it took us he better part of the visit to track down the toaster.
But none of that was as disappointing as having to spend an hour cleaning the kitchen. And that was just so I could make a coffee. We finished a tough four-hour ride and then having to deal with this wasn’t the greatest.
The bench looked covered in week old dirt. I had to clean the cook top and extraction fan which had a layer of oil dripping and making more mess. And the microwave was so gross, I didn’t even touch in the end.
The fridge was no better unfortunately but by then I’d given up on the kitchen, LOL.
The master bedroom and en suite
The master bedroom had a large double bed with a comfortable mattress and clean, basic linen. The wall-to-wall wardrobe offered plenty of space for our gear too.
Although smaller in size to some of our recent hotel rooms, it was still a comfortable space.
Next to the entrance was an adequate size en suite. Fitted with a full sized closed-in shower, toilet, basin and storage. We found some towels too but we felt the need to wash them before we used them.
The only other issue we had was that there was no security key card to enter the building after hours.
A previous guest had lost it and it the building administration was slow in replacing it (that we can understand!).
This meant we felt stuck in the apartment at night. The doors stay open during the day when security is around. But at night they are only accessible by key card.
The only way in then would be find and ask a security guard. Can you imagine that conversation? First off, the language barriers and secondly, we weren’t the actually the owner of the apartment.
We will say that the owner was sweet and great to deal with.
This bit hurt the most.
We decided to stretch the budget out to double the usual allocation. We wanted something comfortable and nice after mostly budget hotels and hostels on our travels. Somewhere to make the ‘working-week’ enjoyable too.
We paid VND497,553 (~USD22.00 / ~AUD31.00) per night and we didn’t think it was worth that much.
Was it comfortable? Yes, it was once the cleaning was out of the way and we could enjoy it.
Was it worth it? Not for this property.
It was one of three on our short list and we picked it based on the photos which turned out to be of another apartment. That was the most disappointing part.
Had they listed photos of the actual apartment, it would have still been on the short list. But we would have negotiated the price, for sure.
We’ll treat it like as a lesson learnt, LOL!
Again this was a simple process. Cleaning was not included in the cost and the owner did request that the apartment be left in a reasonable state after use. This included washing the towels and ensuring the common areas were clean and tidy.
The funniest part about cleaning this apartment was one of the cleaning products for the bathrooms. I found it hilarious that it was called SWAT because that’s pretty much what I needed it get it up to what I call ‘clean’. LOL!
Once the cleaning was out of the way, we simply turned off the hot water systems and made sure all the none essentials were switched off too and then it was a quick email to the owner to let her know that we had checked out. We also did a review on the property and that was pretty much it.
Parking is charged on a daily rate too. We paid VND100,000 (~USD4.30 / ~AUD6.00) for both bikes for ten days. Very reasonable indeed.
That’s our stay at The Eastern apartment
Based on what we know of the apartment now, we wouldn’t stay here again. The overpriced marts catered mostly to Korean visitors.
There was a bar and two restaurants as well but we felt that they didn’t offer value for money.
We did find a small locally owned convenience shop in one of the far corners that we used a couple of times. Much more reasonable pricing and a surprisingly good selection too.
Despite the negative points, it wasn’t a complete disaster. We provided some feedback to the owner in the hope small improvements might assist them with future bookings.
Haven’t heard back. At least we offered constructive feedback to hopefully make the next guest’s stay better.
Now before you flame us for being picky!
We have experience in the rental game. Our feedback was on simple maintenance related things that could have a big/bigger impact(s) later on. Not to mention missing out on potential income for lack of simple things.
Plus, we know we would’ve appreciated it, especially if we didn’t live near the property to keep an eye on it ourselves.
It did have some good points too. We enjoyed a swim in the pool and we managed to use the gym a few times, which was great.
The apartment, situated on the 13th floor had a great view towards the city too. Perfect for watching those epic Saigon storms roll in.
Want to see the other places we’ve stayed at?
If you would like to find out more about other accommodation we have visited, please head on over to the Our Two Cents page. That’s we share all our experiences with our Tribe.
Thanks for reading and see you in the next one…
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