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Deciding where to live in Ho Chi Minh City

We expect to move to Ho Chi Minh City this summer to live there for the next 4 years.  We are well- traveled, love adventures, language, food, and are excited about immersing ourselves into the culture.  We have 2 children ( 8 year old and 1 year old).  I would like to choose the ideal district for ourselves.  We are not the typical American suburb type.  We love the urbane culture but are mindful that there are certain things that our children will need.  Where is the most interesting place to live that will give us a real taste for saigon but will also allow us to get the kids to school and get to children activities whilst allowing ourselves to enjoy the history and culture of the place.  While I am not totally against living in a cluster of expats if necessary, i would rather much assimilate with the local culture.  Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!  Also, we have a dog!

I think district 3 or Phu Nhuan dist will be better...

HCMC is divided into 22 districts.

District 1, which lies in a major curve of the river, is the business core of the city including the location of the City Hall, the Opera House, the ‘Notre Dame’, most deluxe hotels, banks and among the best shopping areas. Close by is Cho Ben Thanh, a huge market where one can find all thingssouvenirs,textiles, shoes, flowers, etc.- produced or sold in the country.

District 3 is considered by many Vietnamese people to be the ideal place to live , with large, old colonial villas hidden behind trees, great proximity to District 1 and a decent quality of life. It is less 'westernised' than District 1, but compared to much of central Saigon is a very peaceful place with lots of local places to eat.

Dist. 2 ‘An Phu’ is an old neighborhood where most of the expatriates chose to live and the location of the British School and International School.

Dist. 7 ‘Saigon South’ is a newly developing area and also the location of the American School.

Do you think that I can find something with a pool in district 3?  Would it be difficult to commute to the International school from district 3- district 2? Also the commute from district 3 to 1?  Is that long?  I appreciate your email with the info about the neighborhoods.

Feel free to send me an email with your housing requirements and I'm happy to assist you finding your ideal house for you and your family.

Thanks so much.  I appreciate your help.  Are you in the real estate business?  I expect to be in Ho Chi Minh by the end of July; so securing a place in June /July works well for us.  I have 2 children ( 1 year old and 8 year old).  The oldest will attend International School in District 2.  I would love to find a 3 bedroom house or apt/with garden.  I do have a dog.  I like your description of district 3 with the French colonial homes.  So, a three bedroom with a pool in district three would be great. Living next to a park or any children recreational places is always a plus.  I love city life and would love to be in a place where I can walk to places or take public transportation.  If there is a specific site with photos that I can browse, that would be great.  Again, thanks for your help.

Dear Sir/Madam.

There is not so long among dist 1 - dist 2 and dist 3, after i read your post on here, I would like to suggest something as follows:

Dist 1: Center dist with many businesses and foreigners companies here.

Dist 2: New center with many International schools as foreigners are living here so you can meet a lot of your country people or good neighbors.

Dist 3: Center dist convenience to go to the airport as quite area where French people lived in before.

If you have any further requirements about properties to rent in Dist 1, 2 and 3 just please kindly let me know that I may help.

Also please do not hesitate to call me direct via phone number below and we can talk further then.

Thanks for reading my message very much.

Best Regards!

EricLe.
Hp: +84 918 953 531.

Hi marizarosado,

I really do recommend living at 'The Manor' in Binh Thanh District. It's a apartment complex with all the facilities that an expat would require within the complex.

Urban Living: It's only 5 mins to the city center and near district 2 as well. With a taxi rank outside your doorstep, you never need to call taxi.

Schools. There's a kindergarten in the complex.

Building Management: The building management really takes care of you. You can pay all your utilities bills at the management desk. You can call them to fix anything problems in your apt... like plumbing, light bulbs, etc.

Safety: Protected by 24hr security service.
Facilities: A great pool, one of the best fitness center I've been too so far.
Cons: If you can, lease the "A Block" apartments, as the "B Blocks" are right next to the busy main road. So if you have troubles sleeping, b block is not the way to go.

I used to live in District 7, which is lovely and green.... but too far from the city center, which is a bummer if you just want to quickly duck out for dinner.

Hope this helps you make a decision!!

I think you are getting a sugar-coated description of possible locations. Districts 1, 3, 5, Binh Thanh and many others are heavily polluted, have horrible traffic congestion and in many cases visibly an eyesore with trash everywhere. Traffic is literally insane compared to any Western big city. Despite the negatives, the only saving grace to most of the city are its fantastic people and great foods.

Prevailing winds blow mostly from the ocean to Districts 2 and 7 and then into the older districts of Saigon, where heavy pollution is in every breath. I've lived in Districts 1, 3, Phu Nhuan and Binh Thanh during the last 3 1/2 three years and have had my fill of pollution, traffic, noise and trash. Traffic alone is so bad that your stress levels will reach new heights, especially with children to be concerned about. I'm moving to District 7 next month which what I believe, is a good balance being close to the city yet avoiding all the negatives. I can get into town easily by taxi, bus or even bicycle. But you must also keep in mind that buses here are very old and half don't run A/C, even if it works.

My best suggestion would be to rent a place for three months near other expats in District 2 while you look for the ideal place that fits your expectations. You can benefit initially by getting input from other expats without going through a long learning curve. You will be here for 4 years, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself into the city at your speed. New York is my favorite city, but Saigon is certainly not anywhere near that lifestyle.

Real Estate agents are not bound by any rules of conduct and should be chosen very carefully. They're primarily looking for the quick deal or to place you in what they believe is best for you. I've used them with much disappointment. Maybe some expats can help you find a good agent. No property owner likes a three month contract here but that may be a good test for an agent.

In all seriousness, bring ear plugs for these extremely noisy streets and store fronts with six foot speakers blasting in your ears. Protect your children's ears. I can't walk around without them now.

Sorry to sound so negative but you'll make the best decisions for your family if you have a variety of thoughts from many of us. I'm really not a negative person. I love it here and have a great time, but I'm also realistic about conditions.

I just bought a brand new & good apartment in dist 7, middle Phu My Hung and RMIT Uni, but not moving to reside there yet. So if any of you like to stay there, pls give me a call, I am happy to reserve it for you with good price. Here is the link for more details abt it:

http://www.expat.com/en/classified/asia … 11997.html

Thanks for reading.

zebra

hi,

i can really only recommend district 7. everything is new and modern here. there are many international schools and an international community not to be found on the same scale anywhere else in ho chi minh city. there are public swimming pools, a par 3 golf course and nice views of the surrounding rivers, suburbs and countryside here.

do not worry about missing out on vietnamese culture while living here. the center of the city is only 10 minutes away by motorbike.

i lived in district 3 for half a year a few years ago, but i must say at the end of the day i prefer to be able to retrieve to my appartment in district 7 for a breather from all the buzz in the center of the city.

if you need any help please let me know. i hope you have a wonderful time in ho chi minh city.

best regards,
henrik

"mikeinvietnam" (comment #9, Apr-27) is not negative at all.
He is right.
That's the safe way when you move to Saigon.
Get a temporary place for 3 months to explore.
Be aware of:
1/ flooding in some places of district 2
2/ trafic jam when commuting between districts 1 & 7.

Forgot.
Many apartments in Vietnam are not designed for a family with dog.
Villas fit the dog better.
Maybe district 2, near BP compound is the good option.
It's also located near many good shools for kids.
Again, be aware of flooding in some places.

I have recieved an offer to work in HCMC.
Have been offered $1700/month plus accomodation plus $50 per day as food allowance.
Just wanted to know few things:
1)Is the salary enough for a bachelor to stay as well save money.
2)i saw in the net about some foreign currency restrictions, so what are the exact restrictions?

Would appreciate a lot for the response coz its a very big risky step (carrer wise a well as location wise) for me to move from bangalore to HCMC.

so guys plz advice.

thanks in advance.

Regards,
prashanth

hi prashanth,

you can save your entire salery and probably more. 50$ food allowance for one day should be more than enough for most people here unless you go to fancy restaurants or party extremely hard all the time. a meal at a fancy restaurant will cost you about 25$ (no expensive wines included). i spend about 250$ on food every month. i eat vietnamese noodle soups, homemade spagetthi, new zealand icecreams, sandwiches in cafes and so on. 

what exactly do you mean by :"foreign currency restrictions"?

best regards,
henrik

Hello,

I moved to Saigon 1 and a half years ago. I must say: i hate living in district 3 cause of heavy traffic, district 2: flood, district 1: too busy and noisy ( only good for dining out or bars). I heard about An Phu, District 2 which is famous for foreigners; It is quite a nice area with fresh air. But i love living in Phu My Hung, District 7 most. it is ideal for u to relax and enjoy yourself after a hard working day. Very clean, civilized, convenient area for children and health care and not far away from the city centre. it takes you 15ms only. it is only a suggestion for your choice. Hope it is useful. Remember: u should find a place near your office to save you from heavy traffic.

marizarosado :

Thanks so much.  I appreciate your help.  Are you in the real estate business?  I expect to be in Ho Chi Minh by the end of July; so securing a place in June /July works well for us.  I have 2 children ( 1 year old and 8 year old).  The oldest will attend International School in District 2.  I would love to find a 3 bedroom house or apt/with garden.  I do have a dog.  I like your description of district 3 with the French colonial homes.  So, a three bedroom with a pool in district three would be great. Living next to a park or any children recreational places is always a plus.  I love city life and would love to be in a place where I can walk to places or take public transportation.  If there is a specific site with photos that I can browse, that would be great.  Again, thanks for your help.

Hi marizarosado,

Are you still looking for house in Dist 3?
There is a nice villa close to the park in dist 3, 4 bedrooms, terrace, garden and pool. Very nice.

any thoughts on District 12? thinking about renting a villa there for family. pls help give your opinion

Welcome to Expat-blog, Silitonga24! :)

For accommodation,check out Ho Chi Minh city classifieds. You could even post an advert there under the Accommodation category.

Regards,
Sheetul

I was at district 7 last weekend to visit friends. it seems like a nice place for families, streets aren't so busy and most everything you'd need is easily accessible

how far is district 7 from district 1 if you were to walk

its about 10mins for riding motobike and more than 30mins for walking :p and u have to walk through 2 bridges from D7 to D1 :p so dont walk coz it will take much ur energy lol

padagal4u :

I have recieved an offer to work in HCMC.
Have been offered $1700/month plus accomodation plus $50 per day as food allowance.
Just wanted to know few things:
1)Is the salary enough for a bachelor to stay as well save money.
2)i saw in the net about some foreign currency restrictions, so what are the exact restrictions?

Would appreciate a lot for the response coz its a very big risky step (carrer wise a well as location wise) for me to move from bangalore to HCMC.

so guys plz advice.

thanks in advance.

Regards,
prashanth

USD$1700 per month
USD$50 per day as food allowance

I presume its only 5 working days, so $50x20days=$1000

$1000 + $1700 = $2700

USD$2700 = VND$52,700,000

You will be living quite a good life in HCMC if you spend wisely. I presume accommodation is provided by your company.

I support you......

As my opinion, it depends on your criteria to choose the suitable compound. I would like to introduce you the villas - as people said: the most beautiful villas of HCMC.
Located inside Golf Club in Thu Duc District
- Transportation: 30 mins to District 1, 15 mins to Industry Park. Shuttle bus to Diamond Plaza, Metro, Coopmart... every. Free.
- School: 20mins to BIS, IS, ACG. Very close to Colette School, just 3 mins. We have shuttle bus take children to every shool. Free
- Facilities: swimming pool, tennis court, library, gym, billard, ping pong, sauna & steam bathroom... Specially, playing golf in Driving Range. Free.
- Environment, lanscape: It's our strength. With best environment in golf course. Besides, the big lake around our compound bring you the fresh air that no place can have.
- Security: 24hr service
- Maintenance: available any time. Help you to fix any problem in your villas. Make your stay more comfortable.
- Price: you should be suprised. Villas 3- 5 bedrooms around 1,550-2800 USD/month. Included: Full furniture, VAT fee, management fee, free service.
For further information. Please contact me
Ms. Minh 0917485991
(moderated: no free ads please)

Best regards for all of you.

flipmysoul :

how far is district 7 from district 1 if you were to walk

Hi, I am living in Dist7 for 6 months. If you take a taxi, then it takes 15-20 mins to downtown in D1 and costs $3-5. District 7 is way peaceful than downtown area, fewer motorcycles, less noise, etc. But sometimes it feels boring and inconvenient because most of stores and restaurants close down before 10pm.

I am living in dist 1 and always love the area coz its convenient location. You can do house sharing; in that way you have company as well as saving money. Night life in dist 1 is great for single too; u may want to save money for drinks rather than taxi to drive you home if you live so  far away from the "fun" area.

I vote for district 2&7. they are good place for family life; house with the garden (some may have swimming pool), many internation schools, not much pollution, noise...ect

I vote for district 2. This is a good area to live . Quite convenient. If you want to be with Vietnamese culture, it is not far away - only 5 minutes to cross saigon bridge.

What district is the new "Canadian International School" in?  How far is it from District 2 or 7, which sound the nicest by the responses...

For now there are a lot of requirements for Phu My Hung area from expats. Here is everything you will need ever. District 7 keeps  developing day by day.. wide roads, fresh air, schools, kindergartens,restaurants,cinema,supermarkets etc..
  Im living in distr 7 allmost 1 year and only 1 month took distr 1. Security 24/7 all around the PhuMyHung. And the renting prices are more than acceptable!
  Canadian International School is located just in 5-10 min away.

  Feel free to ask any questions..

[Moderated: No free advert]

Hi,

Moving to Vietnam in a great choice if you like discovering different culture...
That is the reason why I moved here a year ago (from London/Im French).
I first lived in D2: the best place for expats: good accomodation, beautifull area, the best schools in the country.
I rencently moved in D3 which is more central; because of my main activity (estate agent), i had to be central...
I am now in a proper vietnamese area and I really enjoy it; it is like being in a small village and if you are humble/open minded/sociable etc..., locals are very nice and helpfull (even if the communication remains difficult).
I think they have an idea of expats here that are coming only to make money and are not necesseraly patient and kind with vietnamese. It is true that we will always be perceived as foreigners here but we can be "integrated".
Nevertheless, coming here with children and a dog is different and I would not advise you to choose D3 for instance.
If you want to live in a local "atmosphere", avoid D7 which is a new "city" full of expats (mainly Korean) and without any charms...
Do you need to be in the center of the city?
What is your budget?
I guess a villa/house is more convenient for you as you have a dog.
In D1/D3, villas are quite expensive (from $2000). It might be too busy and polluted for a family.
If you are willing to be 15 min from the center, Phu Nhian or D5 can be a good place (nice villa around $1000).
I rencently went to an unknown area for expat: Binh Tan and not Binh Than. It is about 15/30 min from the center (depending on traffic) and it is very nice (as good as D2: green, villas, small street). I think you can find a nice villa there for $1000.

I hope this can help.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Regards

mikeinvietnam :

I think you are getting a sugar-coated description of possible locations. Districts 1, 3, 5, Binh Thanh and many others are heavily polluted, have horrible traffic congestion and in many cases visibly an eyesore with trash everywhere. Traffic is literally insane compared to any Western big city. Despite the negatives, the only saving grace to most of the city are its fantastic people and great foods.

Prevailing winds blow mostly from the ocean to Districts 2 and 7 and then into the older districts of Saigon, where heavy pollution is in every breath. I've lived in Districts 1, 3, Phu Nhuan and Binh Thanh during the last 3 1/2 three years and have had my fill of pollution, traffic, noise and trash. Traffic alone is so bad that your stress levels will reach new heights, especially with children to be concerned about. I'm moving to District 7 next month which what I believe, is a good balance being close to the city yet avoiding all the negatives. I can get into town easily by taxi, bus or even bicycle. But you must also keep in mind that buses here are very old and half don't run A/C, even if it works.

My best suggestion would be to rent a place for three months near other expats in District 2 while you look for the ideal place that fits your expectations. You can benefit initially by getting input from other expats without going through a long learning curve. You will be here for 4 years, giving you plenty of time to immerse yourself into the city at your speed. New York is my favorite city, but Saigon is certainly not anywhere near that lifestyle.

Real Estate agents are not bound by any rules of conduct and should be chosen very carefully. They're primarily looking for the quick deal or to place you in what they believe is best for you. I've used them with much disappointment. Maybe some expats can help you find a good agent. No property owner likes a three month contract here but that may be a good test for an agent.

In all seriousness, bring ear plugs for these extremely noisy streets and store fronts with six foot speakers blasting in your ears. Protect your children's ears. I can't walk around without them now.

Sorry to sound so negative but you'll make the best decisions for your family if you have a variety of thoughts from many of us. I'm really not a negative person. I love it here and have a great time, but I'm also realistic about conditions.

Impressive note.
I agree with you Mike.
Some real estate agents are just doing his job because of money
But i believe there are still many out there who are doing their job as that is their passion.
Hope our friend will have a good time when coming to Saigon soon

My husband has an opportunity to take an offer with the Commonweath Bank in Ho Chi Minh, we have 2 children 4 & 2 yrs & 2 dogs. After doing lots of reading it seems district 7 is the place to live. My husbands office is in district 1. How do we arrange to view property when we arrive?

I have concerns about safety & want my kids to be able to play outside like the do here in Australia.

Any ideas what the best compound/location in district 7 is & best schools?

What about healthcare? Do we need travel insurance that covers that?

What about taxes for expats?

Any help is appreciated. Thanks

If one of you can go ahead that would be best.  We stayed in a hotel in District 7 and dragged our daughter around for a week looking for apt. but it was exhausting and I think we settled for less, just to get it over with.   There are a dozen or so real estate agencies in District 7 that can show you around to many different apartments.  Doesn't your husbands work help out? In Dist. 7, Sky Gardens is the most popular with families as it has a huge open court that kids run around and play safely in during the evenings and mom's sit by and watch and chat.  There is also a pool on-sight as well as restaurants (you may never cook again), pharmacy, tae kwon do lessons, etc. in the complex and surrounds.  District 1 is easy by bus or taxi from here (about 20min by taxi).  Not so sure if they allow dogs though.  Little dogs or big?  But I'd say this could be your best bet for the first year and then from there, you could search for other places for subsequent years.  There are some nice townhouses and condos in an more residential area called "Phu My" (pronounced ME), which an agent could also show you and dogs are usually allowed here.   Some families also like Hoang Ang Ji Lai 3 (Ba) just outside of Dist. 7's main area.  Four apartment buildings in a square with a nice big pool and courtyard for kids to roam and play safely too, although a bit of a pain as need to get in taxi to go to main area (although you have a couple restaurants here, a big supermarket) a couple good spas, and many restaurants deliver from on online site to HAGL for cheap).
In District 7, I'd say the Canadian International School or Saigon South International would be your best bets.  There is an Australian International School, but it's in Dist. 2 and way to far to go everyday (doesn't look bad on a map but with traffic, can take 1-1/2 hours!).

Thanks for the reply.

We have 2 Labradors, so big dogs! Hubby's work will pay so much towards rent but I don't want to live in the middle of hustle and bustle and pollution, that's why I was thinking district 7 but I might be wrong, open to other ideas.

Looking for a 4 bedroom property, possibly a villa something will a garden but I don't want a pool in the back garden as they are not fenced over there and with 2 small children they are so quick! However, i do want a pool in the complex.

Schools sound good in that area, do you have an estimate of pricing for international schools over there I expect they are quite expensive.

Hi,

I think you can find all your required in District 9. I living in Lakeview Villas with 2 children and 2 dogs. This palace very peace and quite .

Can i have you email ? or you can text the message for me *, I would like to send all information to you.

Hope you are find the Villa that you need.

Thanks,
Henry

Moderated by kenjee 2 years ago
Reason : please do not share phone numbers on the forum

Thanks would love the info

How far is the commute from district 9 to district 1 for my hubby?

Thanks for your help

Hi,

Lakeview Villas are having many tenant  working at District 1 such as : Betexco Tower, American School at Nguyen Van Cu street,D.1.. and many teachers and children from school at District 2 (BIS, IS, AIS..)

From Lakeview Villa to District 1 about 35 minutes, transfer by Lakeview Villas shuttles bus. I think this places a little farther than District 7 but about rental price very cheap, peaceful, quiet and safe.

I will send email to you all about this place. Special this palace have car pick you up at your address go to see the villa and take you back after finish if you need.

I hope have a chance to drink coffee with you at this compound :)

Regards,
Henry

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