Ma Maison

Saigon - District 3, Saigon & South, Vietnam Book from

A small, family-run B&B tucked away in a residential district of Saigon; great value for money
Vietnam’s largest city and its commercial hub, Saigon (also known as Ho Chi Minh) is a place on the move. With over 5 million scooters, a youthful population (75% are under 35) and a happening shopping and restaurant scene, it's a zingy, frenetic and fun place to be. It can also feel chaotic though, so a calm guesthouse to retreat to every night is heaven sent.

A 15-minute taxi ride from the city centre, down an alleyway flanked by playing children and bubbling pots of Pho, you’ll find Ma Maison. Originally a family home then refurbed into a guesthouse in 2009, most of the people who work here are related, lending this discreet spot a feeling of charming familiarity. The 12 rooms are spotless, air conditioned and WiFi'd up, and the beds are so comfortable they have to be amongst the best in town. Better still, each room has been lovingly decorated in the Vietnamese interpretation of Parisian, with glass jars of biscuits made by an aunt, quaint writing desks and white embroidered cushions. It's all beautifully looked after, and you will be too.


  • The calm and cleanliness amidst the heat and pace of the city
  • Great rates, especially for such lovely rooms and excellent service
  • Because it's in a residential area (District 3), you get a taste of modern Vietnamese city life that you wouldn't get staying in the tourist centre (District 1)
  • Heading out for a night on the town: the feeling that life is happening here is tangible, and Saigon has some fabulous restaurants
  • A day trip to the Cu-Chi Tunnels; completely fascinating and essential for a real understanding of what happened during the Vietnam war


  • There are 5 floors, the stairs are steep and narrow, and there isn’t a lift. Your bags will be taken up for you, but you'll still have to climb up
  • No restaurant. Lunch and dinner can be prepared on request, or you can cab to restaurants
  • Getting to the action from Ma Maison means a 15-minute cab drive, but it's convenient for the airport (5km) and taxis are cheap and plentiful
  • Rooms are small and shower bathrooms are tiny
  • No twin rooms

Best time to go

High season, from November to March, is best. The further into the rainy season you go, the more humid it gets.

Our top tips

  • Hidden away also means 'quite difficult to find'. Arrange a transfer from the airport on arrival, and once here, always take the guesthouse’s card out and about with you so you can show taxi drivers
  • Make sure you get a taxi with a meter that the driver uses; there’s a healthy trade in marking up fares that you're never going to come out of well. Ask at the guesthouse which taxi firms are the best
  • Great for...

    Cheap & Chic
    City Style
    • = Recommended
    • = Best in region
    • = World favourite
    • Boutique Guesthouse
    • 12
    • Breakfast (+ other meals on request)
    • Children aged 0-10 only
    • Open all year
    • Pool
    • Spa Treatments
    • WiFi
    • Pet Friendly
    • Disabled Access
    • Beach Nearby
    • Off-street Parking
    • Restaurants Nearby
    • Air Conditioning
    • Guest Lounge
    • Terrace
    • Garden
    • Gym
    • Concierge Service


    There are 12 rooms, arranged over the 5 floors of the townhouse. We stayed in a Deluxe Double, which was simply adorned with a double bed, writing desk, TV and small balcony. The style is simple with a Parisian twist, so all furniture is painted with a French finish, and everything has been done with great care, from the cover they put on the bottled water and the embroidered cushions to the little box of sewing kits, tiger balm and shower gel. Ensuite bathrooms are tiny but the showers are good, and the whole house is spotless.

    As they were re-vamped at the same time, all rooms feel new and equally cared for, which is nice. All are decorated in a similar vein, but we'd definitely recommend booking a Deluxe Double if you can; the extra space really makes the difference. The other double rooms (Standard or Signature) are smaller, and the Standard Singles even cosier. Standard and Signature Doubles are actually the same size, but Signatures include a little something extra (like a bottle of wine) depending on what they are offering at that time.

    If you're travelling with kids, book a Deluxe Double. Ma Maison has a baby cot or can put a mattress on the floor for children aged 2-10.

    Features include:

    • Air conditioning
    • Bathrobes
    • Cots Available
    • Extra beds
    • Fan
    • Hairdryer
    • Iron (on request)
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Phone
    • Safe box
    • Satellite tv
    • Terrace
    • Terrace
    • Toiletries
    • Use of kitchen to make tea, coffee and toast
    • WiFi
    • Wifi internet


    Breakfast is included in your room rate - a choice of English, Vietnamese or Healthy. We went for the English and had a lovely spread of croissants, eggs, bacon and freshly squeezed passion fruit juice, plus homemade yoghurt. No other meals are served but if you ask in advance, they can arrange for a meal to be cooked for lunch and dinner (perhaps Pho Bo or a spicy beef soup), or get a delivery from a restaurant. Tea, coffee and biscuits are available all day to help yourself to in the kitchen.

    A 15-minute taxi ride will whisk you to all that Saigon has to offer gastronomically, which is quite phenomenal: the choice and quality on offer in this city is fantastic. Trying the flaming spicy beef at TIB (187 Hai Ba Trung, District 3) should be a serious priority during your stay - I almost can’t stress that enough. The restaurant is situated in an old colonial house tucked down an alleyway and is decorated traditionally with pristine white tablecloths, large dark wooden chairs and deep red walls. The fried wontons to start are surprisingly good, too, and there's a great wine selection.

    For a chic restaurant with a modern vibe, try Nha Hang Ngon (160 Pasteur Street, District 1); the starters are original and sublime. For a fun lunch or dinner head to Quan An Ngong (138 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia, District 1) and try melt-in-your-mouth beef with lime. The restaurant is set in a colonial villa with an inner courtyard flanked by high-ceilinged and fan-cooled rooms, plus there's an outside terrace where chefs cook your food on open barbecues.

    Of course there are also masses of excellent restaurants that mainly cater to locals, though none within walking distance. Ask at reception for recommendations, and for help booking cabs.

    Features include:

    • Breakfast
    • Dinner by arrangement
    • Lunch by arrangement
    • Minibar/fridge
    • Use of kitchen to make tea & coffee


    • Take a tour of the city on the back of a 'cyclo' (motorbike) - Ma Maison can organise this for you. Saigon has an unbelievable energy to it, and is a real assault on your senses, with vibrant colours, delicious and disgusting smells, a cacophony of horns, and serenely peaceful temples. You'll see some amazing sights, too, including whole families balanced on a single motorbike

    • Enjoy delicious food from street stalls. Vietnamese cuisine is lighter, healthier and more refreshing than Thai and Chinese food, while using many similar ingredients. Raw herbs give everything a wonderful scent and flavour. We especially loved the open omelettes stuffed with fresh prawns, and pork marinated with chilli, ginger and garlic and barbecued on racks while you wait

    • Gain an understanding of Vietnam's history. The War Remnants Museum is a good place to start, and don't miss a day trip to the Cu-Chi Tunnels. You will marvel at what the Viet Cong endured

    • Go shopping at Ben Thanh Market - anything from children’s silk pyjamas to enormous bags of salted almonds

    • Unwind with a traditional massage at Jasmine (45 Ton That Thiep)

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Traditional cultures
    • Well being


    Ma Maison accommodates but doesn’t focus on children. The Vietnamese culture is by nature very child-friendly, but carrying a child up all the stairs would be hard work, and only children aged 0-10 are allowed. Baby cots and mattresses can be provided on request.

    Best for:

    Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    Families are allowed in Deluxe Double Rooms only; 1 mattress or baby cot can be added per room.


    On request.

    Kid Friendly:

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