I'm moving to Saigon next week to get ready for my CELTA course on October 11. Last Sunday I stayed overnight in Saigon so I'd have time to for apartment/room hunting. I was busy meeting friends for lunch and dinner on Sunday so I started Monday morning with a light breakfast then I was off.
I found a couple of agents with websites and narrowed it down to 3 who had a lot of listings for serviced rooms in District 1. The first one, Jon directed me to a place in Nguyen Canh Chan St. He wasn't around to meet me personally so he just called the maid who let me in and showed me around. The house was in a quiet alley and seemed like a nice place but it costs $300-330 without electricity and I don't think I'd like to walk to school from there. The other two agents I spoke to, said they'd get back to me after I said that I'd prefer a room within walking distance, gave my budget as $250 a month but said I'd consider something a little higher if utilities were included.
After Nguyen Canh Chan St., I went to ILA at 51 Nguyen Cu Trinh St. so I could start looking around for guesthouses nearby. The hotels/guesthouses I found within 500m-1km from the school ranged from $340-500 a month. All had wifi, fridge, ac and cable TV. Some of them let me look at the rooms and some turned me away. Others that were a little bit further in the backpacker district cost $180-320 a month. If I were just staying for a day or two I wouldn't mind a room without a fridge but a month without one ---- where would I put food, hmmm.... There was one rude lady who said she had a room available but when she found out I wouldn't be moving in till next week, she pushed me away and said that all her rooms were occupied. I was a bit miffed but after more than 2 years in Vietnam, I've faced worse than that, so rather than let it ruin my day, I just shook my head, shrugged my shoulders and moved on.
I had a quiet lunch on De Tham St. then met agent number two, Tony Ngo. He's short, about my age and seemed like a nice, mellow guy. He showed me two places around District 1, the first one was at 69/22 De Tham St., $300 all utilities included. I was showed an occupied room, it was big and airy, everything was well kept and the bathroom was nice and clean. Second one was on a side alley connected to Tran Hung Dao St. It has an elevator, available rooms range from $260-320, electricity not included. If I had a roomate, I probably would've chosen the first one.
The last agent I met was from VNRental, Tin sent over a guy named Alex to take me around. Can't remember the name of the street for the first house, but it was quite far and the house had a weird smell. The place was clean, I guess, but the walls were a bit dingy and the place was cluttered. It seemed like families lived there, not sure how big the house was because it had a lot of rooms. The room I was showed had a small window, own bathroom, wifi, TV, fridge and even a small kitchen with an exhaust fan. It costs $200 a month, electricity not included. It was a good deal, I guess but it was far from the school and I'd have to pass under a flyover to get to it. The second place he found for me was the same place on Tran Hung Dao st. that Tony showed me, however, he said it would only cost me $250 a month. I apologized to Tony and decided on the Tran Hung Dao room.
Wednesday morning I went back to Saigon to meet the landlord and sign a contract. He speaks a little English and mentioned that a Filipino used to live there, too. He said that since I was a teacher, he won't ask for a deposit anymore. I paid the $250 up front and he said that that was it.
If you want to see pictures, click on this. I can't tell which one is mine because they look the same because of the sheets but I have a small room because I got the cheapest one. Anyway, the pictures are pretty accurate, the house is newish and very well kept.