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“Definitely a cut above average - loved it.”

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Hotel Sao Mai Cai Be
Ranked #1 of 5 Cai Be B&B and Inns
Wellington, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Definitely a cut above average - loved it.”
Reviewed 23 July 2013

I stayed here on my way back to Saigon, after three weeks cycling around the Mekong Delta. (see details of where I went on Strava - here - http://app.strava.com/activities/66032667)

I can honestly say that unless you intend to spend stupid amounts of money you won't get much better than this in the Delta, and for its price bracket it's way above the average.

Situated down a quiet concrete path (still classified as a minor road in Vietnam), you won't get any scooter horns etc. Just the quiet putter of the occasional scooter going past, or boats heading up and down the river.

Top quality fittings, decent fridge and air-con, and big bathrooms with proper shower doors etc. And they do a really nice hot-pot for dinner.

You can get to it independantly - you don't need to go by boat. My guess is it would take maybe 20-25 minutes to walk (it was about a 7-10 minute bike ride), or a bit longer if you're walking from the tourist office.

Basically, with your back to the main boat station / tourist office, walk straight up the road until you reach Cai Be bridge. Then turn left along the left bank of the river. (If you've got a loaded up bike you might find it easier to take the road shown on their website before you get to the bridge - the one ending at the temple - as the market is quite crowded / narrow)

Then (from the path along the river bank) turn right when it forks, and it's a couple of hundred metres down the path.

Well worth the effort! I wish I could have stayed longer, but I was on a schedule to get back to Saigon in time for my flight home :-(

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank Wal_on_a_bike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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33 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (2)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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English first
USA
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2013

I was researching a trip to Mekong.....trying to avoid My Tho. The daily trips did not seem worth it and the over night trips seemed to be sold by agents that were more interested in getting your money

Anyway I made direct contact with this hotel. Firstly on itS website it is classified as a 1 star.......that is acording to local authorities because it only has 10 rooms. All rooms have AC, TV, mini bar, wifi, ensuite etc. That is more than a 1 star. More like a 3 to 4 star.......that is being honest. Just as side when I was looking for an overnight stay in Mekong one operator did include this hotel in the itenerary.

When enquiring I was quoted 60 USD per night which included evening meal for 3 - which was incredible, very well done. We were the only guests in the hotel....... we were only staying one night. Cars do not go by the hotel infact to get to the hotel you have to walk the last 200m or so. You are directly by the river. This hotel has even invested in its own small pier.

In my email discussions with the hotel I explained to them (the owner) that we wanted an early start on the second morning - 5.30am so that we could experience the sun rise markets etc. Three of us were travelling - me, my wife and son (11yrs). The owner was happy to coordinate and arrange all - and this is what we got:
1. Boat arrival at 5.30am - for our use until about 10.30AM. It was a big boat that was used for group tours but we had only for our use.
2. Smaller boat - for traveling in the smaller tributaries of the Mekong.
3. Tour guide - this was not really necessary but I guess you need such a person just for logistics and getting around, explaining where we are going and what is next.

The cost for boat and tour guide and boat 60 USD. It was a fair price and the money went directly to the tour guide and the boat men.

We had about 4.5 to 5hrs on the Mekong with breakfast which I will talk about later.

The tour itself was great but the highlight was seeing the river come alive, the sun rise was incredible. We saw the market in the river and trading, the land market which in my opinion was far more interesting than the one on the river - they were trading everything - even skiined rats (not kidding!!!). Fish of every type....it was amazing and this was 7am in the morning!!
Only suggestion avoid the honey and rice paper placescon the tour - we spent minimum time there and were glad to be on our way.

Getting there, when I made contact with the hotel I asked about transport, we had no problem to take a local bus to get there it sis only 2 to 3hrs (15USD max for 3) and as it happens the owner of the city was visiting HCMC the day of our arrival in the hotel and agreed to pick us up for our hotel in HCMC - the owner onkly only wanted payment equivalent to what a bus fare would cost to Cai Be - we paid the owner 20USD - please bear in mind that a private car to Cai Be woud cost about 100USD oneway - ( I think this is one of the most inhibiting factors that could deter people from experiencing a great Mekong trip, other wise you have to go on a group tour).

The breakfast - we stopped at a functional Pagoda for breakfast about 8.30 - this part of the tour I conciously had a problem with. A functioniong Pagoda is part of the Vietnamese society, it is there to support the people who are in need. Therefore in the morning it provides breakfast to those who are in most need of it at a very very cheap price. However, it was presented by the hotel to me (as a tourist) that you will have a great breakfast in a beautiful Pagoda - but the reality is that while the Pagoda is pleasant as a tourist you are sitting there eating Pho Bo with people who are a little bit down on their luck. The table we sat at was normal just with what you need to eat - but on the other tables were pieces of paper - I was able yto wander over to another tablle and see the most expensive price was 50 cents. - so I assume that was the price of Pho Bo. As a suggestion to the hotel - I know you are in the business to make money - but try offereing to your guests the opportunity to have btrakafast at the Pagoda and to clearly explain why the Pagida is there and as payment to make a donation directly to the Pagoda of 5 say USD per person. Seconldy the Pagoda could create a information desk for visiting tourists and explaining how the doneation has helped to improve lives of those who need it in the community. Then it is a win win siruation.

The hotel arranged for us to take a bus directly back to HCMC - we actually went to the bus stop on the back of scooters - it was great. Yes even my 11 year old son - but the owner of the hotel made sure that all was safe....and it was safe . The transport to the "bus stop" was about a dollar each - they then just flagged down a bus (literally flagged down a bus) we paid 10 USD for the 3 of us for the trip to HCMC - from there we took a taxi to our hotel.

So I can recommend you give this hotel a try, including private river tour staring early morning then normal bus back to HCMC. It is good value.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank LUCA11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
philippines
Level Contributor
548 reviews
85 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 899 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 May 2013

We stayed here 1night for our 2 day mekong delta tour with jason superstar. The only way to get here is to ride a boat. Its a wonder how the owners though of putting up a homestay type that looked like it does not get that much tourists based on location. However, it is a very adequate location, and an adequate hotel/homestay. Rooms are big. We got 3 rooms on the ground floor, as i was told the ground floor rooms have 2 double beds while the rooms at the upper floor have 1 king beds. The airconditioning struggle to really cool down the room because not only are the rooms big, they also were high ceiling. For a homestay, they had complete bathroom amenities like soap, toothbrush toothpaste, towels. Hair dryer was upon request. Bathrooms were not that clean, though.

For our overnight stay, it included a cooking demo/lessons at their kitchen. We learned how to prepare some vietnamese food. Their female staffs were very helpful with the cooking, although everything had to be translated by jason superstar, the staffs were all smiling and helpful. My family of 6 really enjoyed the cooking.

Unfortunately, an hour after dinner, a strong rain and wind hit our place and we lost electricity. They do have a generator but only for lights. It could not handle the airconditioning. What i observed is that even for the power outage, their cable t and wifi internet still worked. The outage lasted the whole night and it was hot in the room. I did not want to open the windowsas it did not have insect screens. However, the outage is not the inn's fault and i wont deduct points for this.

If a person is very particular with facilities, this may not be for you. But for a homestay in the mekong, this was quite nice.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank al22tecc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
74 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 April 2013

We spent a couple of days in Saigon before heading out to this modest gem in the Mekong delta. It is a small, unpretentious hotel located on the riverside a few minutes outside of Cai Be village. It is new and a typical local modern design. It is comfortable, not luxurious but has all what you need and quite a bit more; good beds with nice pillows; TV, internet, air condition, and a toilet/shower. The pice is very reasonable.
It takes about an hour or so to get there from Saigon by car. A car service is the easiest. There is a well developed buss service for the region that we know others have taken. We cannot recall the cost for the car but it was indeed affordable and with suitcases to consider, it was a no-brainer. Arriving Cai Be we were taken by a long boat to the hotel. A pleasant introduction to the location as the village is circled on the way to the private birth of the hotel. A 10-15 minutes sailing. Very nice. The hotel is actually not more than a 5 -10 minutes walk from the main market.
We stayed for 4 days in October 2012. The temperature was pleasant as it was the rainy season meaning short and hard rain showers, When the sun came out is became hot and damp. So be prepared to bring light and loose clothes. We signed up for sightseeing excursions every day. That is advisable for there is so much to see that you simply won't know from studying travel books. The hotel arranges everything, food and drink included. The Mekong river tours and the "island hopping" is a must. Don't forget the early morning sunrise over Mekong. Simply wonderful.
On our trips we visted local markets, farming communities even had dinner in a private home - and the food is nothing less than fantastic. We did clay brick factory tour. May sound strange to be a recommended tourist proposal, but this was like entering back a century, with coal fired kilns. Very fascinating. Be sure to bring your camera. If your physique allows, bicycle rides on the narrow lanes crisscrossing is a must. You will see and experience so much more pedalling around than from a window.
Every day was a culinary adventure. The hotel asked for our preferences and prepared the most wonderful dishes, even brought in others that had their special recipes to share.
Mekong is an explosion of impressions; sights, sounds, smells and above all people. Extremely friendly. It was a wonderful experience and we will fro sure come back, to explore even more of this fascinating part of Vietnam

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Ger T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Sao Mai Cai Be

Property: Hotel Sao Mai Cai Be
Address: 306 An Loi Village | Dong Hoa Hiep Community, Cai Be, Vietnam
Region: Vietnam > Mekong Delta > Tien Giang Province > Cai Be
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 B&Bs / Inns in Cai Be
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 10
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