Most accomodations in Vietnam are neat and clean. There are traditional hotels, found in older districts of cities, new costly hotels in business districts, government hotels, and home stays.  Prices for hotels can range from $4 to $300 plus. $4 gets you a community basement with a private locker and sometimes a fan. It goes up from there. Price does not determine quality. There is often little difference between a $15 budget hotel and a $300 hotel. They both have air conditioning, internet, cable television, room service, European bathrooms, and include breakfast. Often smaller hotels offer more interesting stays. You will get to know the employees and be closer to the regular people so if learning about the culture and the people is your thing, go for a traditional hotel. They generally have only 6 or 8 rooms, one on each end of the building and several floors up. Most have no elevators so they are a good place to get into shape. Half the rooms usually have a balcony overlooking busy streets filled with Vietnamese going about their daily business.

Newer hotels cater mostly to businessmen or to people with money to burn and who want a neat and clean trip without meeting any of the people. The hotels have doormen and elevators and often swimming pools and offer real luxury.

The Metropole Hotel in Hanoi was once considered the finest hotel in all Asia. It is still a beauty with a lovely pool and several restaurants. A chauffeur will give you a tour of Hanoi in a classic Citron.

Government hotels are a good bargan. Most are becoming fairly run down but your treatment will be first-class and all for abut $20. Beautiful women meet you upon your arrival and usually you will be offered tea with the manager.

Home stays vary from great to touristy. Almost anyone in Vietnam will put you up, feed you dinner and breakfast, and give you their only bed. Price is negotionable. You can pay a few dollars to about $8 depending on your location. Most people will invite you home for free but it is only decent to pay them something.

I once crashed my motorcycle in the highlands in the middle of the night. I almost crawled to the nearest house and startled the people. I was bleeding from several wounds and I pointed to my bike lying in the road. (The back axel slid off the frame) They took me into their home, dressed my wounds, washed my clothes, gave me their only bed, fed me dinner and breakfast, hauled my motorcycle into their yard, and let me watch the World Soccer Cup on television. When I awoke the following day they had fixed my bike. They charged me $8 for everything and refused to take any more, although I offered. 

Some Montagnard villages offer home stays but most have become tourist villages so do not have the same appeal as they once had.

If you want a lot to eat for breakfast get the pho. A European breakfast usually consists of one egg, toast, and fruit, often mellon, bananas, and pineapple.

HOTELS - Most clean traditional family hotels are in the heart of the Old Quarter and usually down small alleys where people crowd the streets conducting their daily lives. Caution: most of these hotels have no elevators. Breakfast is served in the lobby each morning. 

Bathrooms -  Most bathrooms are european style and most, but not all, have tubs. Many hotels have small water heaters supplying about 2 gallons of hot water so warm showers can be short. 

Classic Citron at the Metropole Hotel. 

The Camellia Hotel 6, one of my favorites, is a good example of a traditional hotel in Hanoi. 

Pho for breakfast will fill you up. 

The government hotel in Son La is old but great. 

Ban Loc features home stays.

Lunch in Ban Loc. 

View at breakfast from the Sapa Eden Hotel in Sapa. 

The Metropole Hotel in Hanoi is first class. 

Most traditional hotels are narrow and tall and down small streets in interesting parts of town. Many are family owned and people there can always help with tourist needs.


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