hanoi or ho chi minh city?


I am thinking of coming to Vietnam to teach English as a foreign language but I am unsure were is best to go, hanoi or ho chi minh city.

I have a 120 hour TEFL certificate and a degree but no prior teaching experience. I will be travelling alone and it will be my first time in Vietnam.

Could anyone recommend were is best to start? I am thinking of travelling in Feb 2018, relaxing for the first few weeks then start to look for work.

Hi thayes1987,

I recommend the youtube channel "charlycheer" she's an english teacher who is living in Hanoi.

Thanks. Will check it out 😁

Asking someone to tell you which is better is not an easy task. They are two totally different cities. If you are looking for 4 seasons of weather, culture, more attractive city and difficult locals, then Ha Noi is for you. Saigon on the other hand is a more lively, friendly and brash city.

I would suggest starting in Saigon, if you don't like it head up to Ha Noi.

thank you

I'm with Colinoscapee. Start in brash and lively Saigon and see how you go.  My Australian partner and I live in Saigon, but she often goes to Hanoi to liaise with expat colleagues in the other office up there. I often join her and must say Hanoi has become more attractive over the years (lots of new bars and restaurants with extended opening hours, which used to be nonexistent), but still prefer the energy and open-minded atmosphere of Saigon. For what it's worth, my partner says that when her Saigon colleagues get sent to Hanoi on secondments, they can't wait to go back; when Hanoi colleagues get sent to Saigon, they don't want to go back ;-) Make of that what you will.

cheers, really helpful.

Would agree with colinoscapee, fly into HCMC. The bulk of teaching opportunities are there and the weather is better in February.

You should note that Tết (Lunar New Year) will occur Feb 15 - 20 next year.  I'd recommend arriving after that. Schools are closed for two weeks, it's not a very good time to travel around the country, Saigon is kind of dead (although that is also pleasant in a way).

Generally, enrolment is down until summer.

Also, I would suggest looking into other cities. Hanoi and HCMC are typical Asian megacities: polluted, overcrowded, noisy, etc.

Finally, have a look at this site to see what the market looks like:

thank you

Both are large cities...I'd check out DaNang and a couple other smaller cities and see the country first as to where you would best like to live.  There are many agencies to apply, and twice as many ESL's and schools to submit to.  You can find many on the internet by city as to what English Language Centers there are.  Some on here can direct you to specific sites as well. 
if you like big cities and will arrive in Saigon first...check out the Visa requirements.  If you apply to a specific school and are hired, they will provide you (many will) with the proper information required to teach in Vietnam.  Make sure that you have a Police report, a current medical wouldn't hurt, and certified copies and the originals of any and all teaching/educational certs you have.  Getting your "Red Stamp" from a Vietnamese department/Embassy certifying in Vietnamese wouldn't hurt either.
Many come, teach for a few bucks an hour with no work permit, contract or proper Visa.  This is Illegal, Be careful what you are is often not what happens even at some of the best known ESL's!
Best of Luck to you.

Thank you. Very useful.

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