Close

Disabled Life in Ho Chi Minh City

I am visiting my girl friend in Ho Chi Minh City in January, I have never visited Ho Chi Minh City or Vietnam before.  I am disabled and wondering what it will be like for me.  My girl friend is Vietnamese and will be with me all the time.  I have visited Thailand a number of times and although it is not disable friendly the locals were very friendly and helpful. Can anyone offer advice please.

Vietnam is a step down in infrastructure from Thailand. You don't specify your disability, assuming mobility, then I would recommend Phu My Hung as a suburban area with newer less congested streets, newer buildings and accessible modern shopping centers with grocery stores. Sidewalks are impassable in every neighborhood I have seen, they are used for parking, eating, and businesses. One must always walk in the streets, so you want to live where there are good streets. Many apt buildings there have elevators. Taxis are pretty cheap in Vietnam. The downside of District 7 is higher cost. I don't want to deter you from moving though, sounds like you will have a good partner.

You have to be a little more revealing regarding what is your disability to get a precise reply.  Are you in a wheelchair or ambulatory? 

In general, although people in Ho Chi Minh City may be friendly and act kindly toward the disabled, the physical environment is not.  Many sidewalks are barely passable by the ambulatory and often invaded by overflow motorbike traffic.  Open air markets generally have narrow isles.  I have never seen the type of van taxi in VN that transports people in wheelchairs although that does not definitively mean they don't exist.  I expect that you will find the experience similar to Thailand with the bonus that your girlfriend will be able to act as your guide.

gobot :

Phu My Hung as a suburban area with newer less congested streets, newer buildings and accessible modern shopping centers with grocery stores.

I agree that D7 may be a better place for a disabled expat to live, but I wonder if it is such a good place for a short term stay.  Outside of western style shopping malls, what is the tourist attraction?  If the stay lasts longer then the John will likely move to wherever Tuyen lives (so that they can be near her mother.  :( )

Thanks for your replies I had a stroke in 2006 which left me which affected the right side of my body. indoors I use a walking stick, outside is more difficult as my balance is terrible, I can't climb steps and get tired easily.  I have met a lovely woman, we are hoping to get married and spend the rest of our lives in Vietnam

John&Tuyen :

Thanks for your replies I had a stroke in 2006 which left me which affected the right side of my body. indoors I use a walking stick, outside is more difficult as my balance is terrible, I can't climb steps and get tired easily.  I have met a lovely woman, we are hoping to get married and spend the rest of our lives in Vietnam

I was always amazed at how little many Vietnamese actually need to walk in Saigon. My ex Vietnamese wife almost discovered walking when she came here in Canada, she had the worse cardio ever but it's much better now. Anyway, if you're able to comfortably hop on the back of your giriflriend's motorbike, you won't have much walking to do. Vietnam is not disabled-friendly but with the help of your girlfriend or even a local helper you can hire for really cheap, you'll manage quite well.

Hi John,

A word of warning for you. What makes you think that your girlf friend sincerely loves you, given your disability condition? I find it would be a big commitment to to help you everyday like this.

TimHortonMuffin :

Hi John,

A word of warning for you. What makes you think that your girlf friend sincerely loves you, given your disability condition? I find it would be a big commitment to to help you everyday like this.

He plans on living in Vietnam, so he's safe. Worse that can happen, she leaves for someone richer but he won't lose any money through divorce in Vietnam and won't have wasted money and time on paperwork for sponsorship. He'll have a good time in exchange for her financial security while he's with her, win-win ;-)

Thanks Guys - I am sure she is genuine, I realise that may not be the case, I plan to keep my money in the UK and arrange to transfer a sum of money every month when I move. My partner told me she got conned by an English man, this of course could be a lie but all I have seen doesn't say this.  I am visiting her for 2 weeks initially and before I commit to moving I will visit her for 4 weeks.  I no longer enjoy my life in the UK, this could be the best thing I have ever done or the most stupid.  If all goes wrong I will return to the UK,

She got conned how, if you don't mind me asking? He prentended he wanted to marry her, used her for sex and left? That's the only "con" I can think about in her situation.

He got her to send money, it doesn't matter if you are a male or female or which country you live in there are always those low life who want to rip you off, some of them probably go into politics!

John&Tuyen :

He got her to send money, it doesn't matter if you are a male or female or which country you live in there are always those low life who want to rip you off, some of them probably go into politics!

Wow, financially ripping off a Vietnamese citizen, pretty low indeed. It happened to a Vietnamese woman I know in Saigon. This guy pretended to be an English business man coming to visit her, but he "had problems at Singapore airport" and "needed her" to transfer some money to him, but she was smart enough to realize it was a con at that point.

Most of these cons are done by people from Africa, posing as Westerners.

You see quite a few people here and there still suffering from the effects of Agent Orange and people seem to cope well, I know that isn't like having a stroke, but you see people using walking sticks/crutches and the sorts.

As has been discussed, the need for walking isn't that great, but it is organised chaos at the best of times, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

When booking hotels in advance you should always check that there are no long flights of steps to get into the hotel. Many, many hotels are not accessible for wheelchairs, nor is any bus. Fortunately, taxis are quite cheap, it your partner is unable to take you on her motorbike.

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Vietnam

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Vietnam

Moving to Vietnam

Find tips from professionals about moving to Vietnam

Travel insurance in Vietnam

Enjoy stress-free travel to Vietnam