Saigon presents the best variety of hotels in Vietnam, from deluxe business and family hotels to spotless minihotels and cozy guesthouses down busy back alleys. Most hotels are clustered around Nguyen Hue Street and Dong Khoi in District 1, as are the city's best restaurants, shops, and bars.
If you're traveling on a tight budget, head for the Pham Ngu Lao area, the center of which is the intersection of Pham Ngu Lao and De Tham streets, a backpacker haven loaded with guesthouses and minihotels down little rabbit-warren alleys. Here, a fan-cooled room with a cold-water shower goes for as little as $5 per night, or an air-conditioned room with hot water for around $15. Most of these places are very basic (and a bit noisy from street traffic), but tidy, well run, and friendly. The area is also convenient to the city's many budget travel services and has lots of bars, traveler-friendly bia hoi (local draft beer) stands, and cafes.
Remember that prices listed here are rack rates and should be considered only a guideline. Internet, group, and standard promotional rates are the rule, and especially in the off season (Mar-Sept), you can expect discounts of up to 50%. But remember that many hotels levy a VAT of up to 20%.