January 2010
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Where to poop in Saigon

One of nicer coffee chains in VN

One of my bigger concerns living and traveling in Vietnam was….where do you go if you really have to GO?  I hate using public bathrooms even in the States which I believe have higher standards for cleanliness than most other countries.  I remember needing to pee really badly once while I was in Taiwan….which is a much more economically advanced country than VN.  I remember getting to about 20 feet of the restroom door before I had to turn around.  The stench that emanated from the door almost knocked me off of my feet.  I would have rather peed in my pants before risking the horrors that was within that room.

One of the first things I did before coming to Vietnam was to research the places where I might best find a relatively clean restroom just in case I happened to eat something that disagreed with me badly and just really really had to go.  Highlands Coffee has been mentioned by many as a clean Starbucks style coffee chain with numerous locations throughout Saigon.  I checked out the one on Pham Ngu Lao street (the backpacker district) and it looked nice and clean…although I didn’t check the bathrooms yet since I’m not a big coffee drinker and I assume that only customers can use the facilities.  Nonetheless…this is the place I have chosen as my main emergency bathroom stop.  Let’s hope it never comes down to me having  to buy a cup of coffee.


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14 comments to Where to poop in Saigon

  • Very funny. I can tell you were never a Peace Corps volunteer. Two years in Kazakhstan and four months in Krygyzstan got me over this.

    Near my house, some guys, and gals, just walk over the canal to do their thing.

    • odgnut

      My idea of roughing it staying at the Motel 8. 🙂 Your Peace Corp stint was extremely admirable…hope I develop that kind of initiative someday. Looking to volunteer at some local orphanages soon though.

  • hahahaha! It is more uncomfortable in the countryside, especially those in the southern provinces. Well, you can learn all of those in the Military…where you taking your business in front of others. 🙂


    My favorite bathroom downtown is still at the Hyatt.
    I wonder if the KFCs here have nice “rest rooms” like back in the states?
    I am comfortable going into any hotel or restaurant in Vietnam and utilizing their facilities. There are more and more public VNDong1K toilets being built around HCMC on the sidewalks and in the parks, but I haven’t used one although Joy has.
    The Highlands shops have a variety of food and drink items on a pretty large menu, unlike Starbucks.

    • odgnut

      KFC’s bathrooms in the States are clean? 🙂

      Does anyone ever ask you if you’re a guest at the hotels you use the restroom at? or are they pretty lenient about it?

  • Philip Arthur Moore

    Clifton is spot on. The bathroom at the Hyatt is amazing. Actually, any bathroom you’ll find at one of the better hotels will suit your needs. The Caravelle bathroom, the Sheraton bathroom, and the Hyatt bathroom have all saved me a lot of stress and worry. I’m like George Costanza when it comes to toilets. We should all team up and create a bathroom map in Viet Nam, and then charge big bucks for people to purchase it. We’d make a killing. {:-P

  • Benny

    Philip has a good idea, a map of clean bathrooms in Saigon. Let’s all collaborate for the sake of mankind (don’t mean to be sexist but I don’t know anything about the female bathrooms). I patronize hotels with western-sounding names. I have used the bathroom at the Highlands coffee on Ph?m Ng? Lão and it’s barely above average. I hope TD brought plenty of hand sanitizers back to Nam and a air purifier with him. Whenever I stay more then 2 wks, my respiratory systems suffers.

  • Tony

    Great article and very practical! I too had this problem in Vietnam and here are a couple of my thoughts.

    1. Sheraton of course, just up the escalator and there’s a whole hallway for it. They even have someone inside to give you towels and stuff. FREE! Just maybe pretend like you are going to their buffet which is pretty close to it.

    2. KFC was pretty nice, but it was super small. I thought I was in Tokyo or something when I was in there, but it was clean.

    3. Train yourself to go at home. I purposely woke up about an hour and a half before I had to leave my house to work just so I could go in my own bathroom. I woke up, ate, and to seal the deal, I drank coffee. Then your set for the day and feel comfortable knowing that you won’t have to go somewhere else.

    4. I ALSO learned no one in VN used toilet paper. I had to buy two huge packs of toilet paper for the house I was staying at with my relatives because apparently they just spray their butts with water, which I have no idea how it gets your completely clean. And fortunately, they did have soap =)

  • Hanoi Man

    Could you shut up and stop whinning about your super elitist! Stop being such a fucking pussy and deal with it like your totem before they can get to the US!

    • odgnut

      I see that I offended one of the nose pickers. 🙂 How do I “deal with it like your totem”? What is that even? 10 nose pickers stacked on top of each other?

  • Benny

    WOW!! All this fuss about toilet tissue. It seems somwhat unseemly, but I like to sport a clean bum as I spend my millions on the streets of VN.

    Keep going blogger. I really like this blog with a few others describing in insightful details about life in VN. I live in Houston, Texas, and look forward to taking a trip back in a few months.

    True story – I went to Qu?ng Bình in 1997 for a project. I woke up and fancifully decided to brush my teeth that morning. I turned on the water faucet and what came out was cold chocolate, except that it tasted more like rusty putrid sediments. So I went to the commissary downstairs and brought up two cans of Heineken to rinse my mouth. I also sold a roll of Northern toilet tissue for five US bucks to the white guy who came with me. I could have charged him USD $20, but I felt charitable after two cans of Heineken in the morning.

    And yes, I have lived in the US since 1975.

  • Thuy

    I had to backtrack and read this so Im months late. Where to poop in VN is a good subject to write about. I personally started to make mental notes about where the bathrooms were nice to use in the area but never got around to it with all the running around.

    Havent used Highland Coffee BR but maybe I will one day.

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