VietnamHo Chi Minh City is located in the south of the country nearly 1,800 km from the capital, Hanoi. It is the economic heart of the country. At the gates of the Mekong Delta, the city is crossed by the Saigon River. It is divided into districts and has an area of more than 2000 km2. It has more than 8.000.000 inhabitants (2019). The nearest beaches (Vung Tau, Ho Tram) are a hundred kilometers away (but almost 2 hours by car). Its very well connected international airport makes it possible to quickly reach neighboring countries. National air traffic is also very developed and inexpensive.
The weather: There are only two seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Whatever happens, it's hot. Sometimes it rains in the afternoon during the rainy season. Once adapted to the heat, the climate is really pleasant.
Internet: In this hectic city, Wifi has been installed in several public places like the airport, cafes, shopping malls... and in large hospitals. This helps to implement an online city authority. The system has 2 levels, the speed of the main sites is faster to be favorable to the search for information. With the speed of 1 GB per second, the transmitters operate 24/24.
Safety: Depending on the area you decide to live in, there are occasionally some minor burglaries/ pickpocketing or price scams taking place. The tip is to do lots of research (both technically and verbally by asking locals) to find out which is the best place for an expat to live.
Cost of living: The cost of living on average is inexpensive, you can find almost everything in Ho Chi Minh City. Delicious local street foods cost you around 30.000- 40.000 VND for one portion. Especially, you only need approximately 20.000 VND for a tasty hot-served “Banh-mi”. Besides, it’s only around $250 on the average for a fully-furnished apartment for 1 or 2 people in the city center.
There are supermarkets everywhere. It is not the European profusion but there is no shortage. There are Co.opmarts everywhere in town, several Metro and Big C stores, a Giant supermarket in district 7 as well as several Korean Lotte Mart supermarkets.
If you are looking for "home-made" products, and ready to pay a certain price, there is a "luxury" grocery store, Annam Gourmet, which has three shops (downtown, district 2 and district 7). There is also a multitude of small markets mainly for fruit and vegetables. The very touristy Ben Thanh market is also a very famous food market.
It is quite easy to get treatment from English-speaking practitioners or fluent in our language in Ho Chi Minh City. The International Medical Center (CMI, in the city center near the cathedral) has several general practitioners, a pediatrician, and other practitioners. No problem either in finding a good dentist. Most hospitals and clinics have their own pharmacy and it is best to buy the drugs from these in-house pharmacies.
Traffic being difficult at peak times it is better, in my opinion, to live within a reasonable distance from your workplace. In addition, the districts generally recommended for expatriates with good wages are district 1, Thao Dien in District 2, and Phu my Hung in district 7.
These districts are populated by expatriates and benefit from all kinds of services adapted to foreigners who do not speak Vietnamese (shopping centers, supermarkets, buildings with caretakers, bars, and nightclubs). It takes between 300 USD-1000 USD / month for a beautiful apartment for up to 3 people in these neighborhoods.
For those with fewer means or want to immerse themselves in more authentic neighborhoods, the districts surrounding District 1 like Phu Nhuan, Binh Thanh or Go Vap are much more affordable while being relatively safe and convenient. It takes between 200 and 500 USD / month for a beautifully-furnished apartment in these areas.
Thao Dien is a district of district 2 of Saigon known to be a district of expatriates. Many Westerners reside there, in particular French. It is certainly the most expensive and most luxurious district of the economic capital of Vietnam, yet very calm and peaceful. There are magnificent villas as well as shops and services for expatriates.
At the co-working space:
WeWork Coworking space
Toong Coworking Space
Dreamplex Nguyen Trung Ngan
At the coffee shop:
3 o’clock coffee (open 24/24)
The coffee house (all branches)
Saigon Coffee Roastery