According to the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association, over 100,000 foreigners are living and working in Ho Chi Minh City in 2019! And that number exists for a good reason: according to statistics about expats in Vietnam, Vietnam’s ranked 14th among the best destinations for expats in the world. If you’re thinking about expatriating here, read on for the essential information for expats in Ho Chi Minh City.
In this article, we’ll show you:
Ho Chi Minh City is the perfect place to live for foodies since there the cuisine here is so diverse.
Living in Ho Chi Minh City means being used to heavy traffic.
For expatriates, the most common job is teaching English due to the current high demand for fluent speakers. Even if you’re not native, as long as you can speak English proficiently, you’ll find teaching jobs easily. On top of that, the pay is quite decent.
Some of the big English centers in Ho Chi Minh City are VUS, ILA, YOLA, APAX, AMA…
Aside from teaching, expats can get online jobs like content writing or corporate blogger. Though the pay is not secured and often mediocre, this job allows you to work anywhere and anytime.
For higher positions, expats can find opportunities as executives in foreign companies or major Vietnamese corporations.
Last but not least, volunteering is also a good idea. Expats can work for local and international non-profit or non-governmental organizations in Ho Chi Minh City. That way, you’ll both get paid and contribute to society.
Passport - Visa: There are many types of visas that expats can get, so choose accordingly since obtaining one can take a long time. You can go for e-visa for better convenience but never opt for a visa on arrival.
You may want to check out How to obtain a Vietnam Visa?
Work permit: A working permit is the first thing expats should think of after securing a job because they can be fined or expelled from Vietnam if they work without one or with an expired one. The procedure is straightforward and not time-consuming, so this should be on top of the checklist.
Driving is the fastest way to go around the city, and to avoid troubles, you should get a valid driving license.
Driving license: There are two ways to drive in Ho Chi Minh City, one is to get an IDP - International Driving Permit in Vietnam, and one is to get a Vietnamese driving license. The procedure for obtaining the latter is harder, but it’s more convenient for expats who plan on staying for a long time.
For more information: How to get a motorcycle license in Vietnam
For finding jobs:
Example of a vaccination certificate.
For bringing pets:
Dogs: distemper, parvovirus, canine hepatitis, adenovirus, parainfluenza, coronavirus, leptospira
Cats: panleukopenia, calicivirus, herpesvirus, leukemia
With the average salary of an expat, one can get a decent apartment in Ho Chi Minh City’s center.
Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is relatively affordable, ranging from US$ 260 (budget) to US$ 800 (high-end), even though it’s one of Vietnam’s most developed cities. Foreigners living in the city often go for apartments and shared houses. Best districts in Ho Chi Minh City for expats to live are districts 1, 3(the central districts), and districts 7, 2.
Ho Chi Minh City offers a plethora of transportation options to choose from. If you’re adventurous, a motorcycle is the most convenient and time-saving choice to navigate through the traffic jams and small alleyways of Ho Chi Minh City. However, remember to get a driving license first and familiarize yourself with the Vietnamese Law on Road Traffic.
Always wear your helmet while driving motorcycles.
Some addresses that offer long-term rental:
Address: B2-00.01 Sarimi, 72 Nguyen Co Thach, An Loi Dong Ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City.
Contact: 038 651 8481
Address: 185/30 Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, Pham Ngu Lao Ward, Ho Chi Minh City
Contact: (+84)28 3837 2502
HSBC bank in District 1.
Banking in Ho Chi Minh City is convenient thanks to the number of international banks here (HBSC, ANZ, Shinhan Bank, Standard Chartered, Hong Leong, CitiBank…) and reliable Vietnamese banks like Vietcombank, ACB, VietinBank, BIDV…
Most expats choose to open two accounts, one in a foreign currency and 1 in Vietnam dong for easy transactions. All you need are a passport, a visa, a small deposit, a work contract, and a proof of address.
Read more on Vietnamese Currency.
There are various Vietnamese language centers for foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City.
For house hunting:
Living in Ho Chi Minh City: a large group with frequent posts from both locals and expats.
Living in Vietnam: a website of a French expat that has a clear and easy-to-understand format.
For teaching jobs:
English Teachers In Vietnam: a popular group that connects teachers with jobs and discuss teaching-related topics.
Vietnam Teaching Jobs: a professional website that posts every other day.
For other jobs:
Jobstreet: an international employment consultancy that has frequent postings with various jobs.
Expat.com: a web designed specifically for expats and has many non-teaching job listings.
Facebook groups for expats:
Expats in Ho Chi Minh City: a leading group for answering new expats’ concerns.
Expats and Locals in Ho Chi Minh City: another online community for expats to meet and ask questions.
Facebook groups for female expats:
Female Expats and Locals in Ho Chi Minh City: arguably the largest group for expats in Ho Chi Minh City with helpful content.
Saigon Female Expats Meetup: a group used for meetups, but it has job listings now and then as well.
Grab is the leading ride-hailing app in Ho Chi Minh City, and Vietnam.
Mobile Apps: with the bustling use of technology in Ho Chi Minh City, mobile apps are a must. The ideal starter pack would be a ride-hailing app, a navigation app, a (food) delivery app, and a translation app.
Phone: To settle down, the first thing expats should do is to get a sim card that has 3G/4G/5G. Big players are Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphone. One tip is to get your sim at an official mobile network store, rather than any vendors off the street, to avoid scams.
You can shop for Western groceries and amenities at An Nam Gourmet Market, Nam An Market, Phuong Ha shop, and Thai Hoa shop on Ham Nghi Street (District 1).
For organic food, check out: La Holista, Biogarten, and Organik Dalat.
Popular local supermarkets are CoopMart, BigC, and VinMart.
An Nam Gourmet Market in District 1.
Shop your electronics at Dien May Xanh, The Gioi Di Dong, and Nguyen Kim.
To get environmentally-friendly products, go to Lai Day Refill Station and Green Around The Corner.
Gym: Ho Chi Minh City gyms are abundant, from local gyms that cost under US$ 15 to high-end ones that are still cheap as chips - around US$ 150. Some popular options are California Fitness and Yoga and Power Up Fitness.
Being in a foreign country can be a terrifying yet rewarding experience. With this article on essential information for expats in Ho Chi Minh City, we hope that you can settle down with ease soon and start enjoying all the fun that the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City offers!
Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
If you have any tips for living in Vietnam, feel free to share with us in the comments.
© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com