Penny wise: Saigon's first capsule hotel tries to win budget tourists

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Harris Nordin, a tourist from Malaysia, rests in his capsule at a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Harris Nordin, a tourist from Malaysia, rests in his capsule at a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Long-stay visitors and budget tourists now have another reason to travel to Ho Chi Minh City: there is a new capsule hotel in town that only costs 6 dollars a night.
Shawn Tan from Singapore said he only needs to pay less than $200 to stay a whole month at the six-story Kaiteki, which is right in the center of the city, according to a Tuoi Tre report.
The hotel of only 60 square meters on Bui Vien has 100 small rooms, or capsules, for guests who look for no-frills overnight accommodation. 
Each capsule, measuring two meters long and one meter high, has its own TV, air con, headphone and wifi.
Its owner, a man from Hong Kong, told Tuoi Tre that he imported the capsules which all have enough storage space for luggage. 
The hotel has always been full booked, he added. 
'Best choice'
Tan told Tuoi Tre he is staying in Ho Chi Minh City for work. The job requires him to travel a lot and capsule hotel is the best choice and helps him save a lot of money.
Tan said some rooms for rent in the city are also cheap but he does not want to clean up a whole room himself. 
Capsule hotels first appeared in Japan in 1979 and have been available in many countries. 
Harris Nordin, a tourist from Malaysia, said a capsule in Saigon has everything he needs.
Nordin said tourists like him go out all day and they just need a clean place to sleep at night. 
He said he is happy because the shared bathrooms are large enough and always clean.
Nordin, who has tried capsule hotels around Southeast Asia, said the one in Vietnam is the cheapest, compared to those charging $10-15 a night in Malaysia and $10-20 in Thailand. 
Solo tourists
John Hayes from the US chose the hotel for almost the same reasons. 
He stayed there for five days, leaving at 9 a.m. every day and only returning to sleep at around 1 a.m.
Hayes said he wanted to travel around and it's not necessary to stay in bigger hotels. 
He was quoted by Tuoi Tre as saying that since he was traveling alone, one bed is quite enough.
Many females tourists are also comfortable with the capsules.
Kaiteki saves one floor for female-only capsules.
A staff member of the hotel said several Vietnamese tourists came to check the hotel but they left as they were afraid that the capsules, which are close to one another, could not guarantee privacy.
“So we almost only receive foreign customers and they have been highly aware of others’ privacy.”

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