Misc. everyday life questions

1) Which is the predominant SIM card used, old standard size or new micro card?

2) Whats in the markets? Is there a variety of international foods or is the stock mainly Viet, Chinese brands?

3) Whats on TV on the standard, non-satellite channels and hows the reception from an antenna in the house?

4) What is estimated to be the standard taxi charge over a distance that crosses the main part of Saigon, like from the airport to the river in District 1?

Sim card?  No idea which type is predominant but both are available.

Markets, depends which ones you go to. The smaller international stores tend to be pricey, but you can get pretty much everything except real exotic home supplies and you have choices: Metro, Big C, An Phu Market:http://tnhvietnam.xemzi.com/en/spot/4352/an-phu-supermarket-saigon
Annan Gourmet Market: http://www.annam-gourmet.com/

For fresh fruit and veg you cant beat the local markets.

Cant tell you about terrestrial TV as we have cable with about 80 channels I think - I rarely watch it - but theres HBO on cable and the usual CNN, BBC (local), etc.

Taxi fares? I find them cheap compared to UK. The taxis are metered and you pay a min 20kD for starters. Dodging around the centre you can get across town for prolly less than 60 or 70 dong, or about 2 quid - 3 USD. From the airport to the river in D1, I think it cost me 170,000 dong last week.

I plugged my TV in at my new place in QN, and immediately received 3 channels, good picture, with no aerial/antenna at all, so you would probably get a few more channels in the cities.  I prefer VNPT's cable, MYTV.

bluenz :

I plugged my TV in at my new place in QN, and immediately received 3 channels, good picture, with no aerial/antenna at all, so you would probably get a few more channels in the cities.  I prefer VNPT's cable, MYTV.

Ok 3 channels.....whats on them?

Thanks, eodmatt.

Ok taxi doesnt seem to be a problem which I will suppose is because of the distances not being great. Numbeo.com reports taxis as being higher than Malaysia (which is not low) but the distances are shorter.

Another question, if anyone is exchanging USD for dong, what is the exchange rate you got in the past few weeks?

cvco :

Another question, if anyone is exchanging USD for dong, what is the exchange rate you got in the past few weeks?

Exchange Rates
I don't have cable TV but my TV can get about 50 cable TV channels. (When I bother to plug my SDR in to my computer)

As for taxi's - avoid Vinasun - the best is Vina (yellow) or Mai Linh (green).

Jaitch :
cvco :

Another question, if anyone is exchanging USD for dong, what is the exchange rate you got in the past few weeks?

Exchange Rates
I don't have cable TV but my TV can get about 50 cable TV channels. (When I bother to plug my SDR in to my computer)

As for taxi's - avoid Vinasun - the best is Vina (yellow) or Mai Linh (green).

Yeah I was about to mention Vinasun. I have noticed with them that the same journey can cost very varying amounts in different vehicles. A couple of months ago a VS driver tried to charge me double the normal rate from Tau Dien to An Phu and got aggressive when I queried the amount.

Vinasun, thats just why I asked. Im reading right now on wikitravel.org and they say Vinasun is one of the better ones. I guess lots of rip-offs too--ok 170,000 est. for airport to river in D1. Wikitravel.org says lookout for the uniformed touts with signboards saying, fixed price 4,400,000 dong for airport to the city, but offering to cut it to 2,600,000 if you balk. So that would still be 15X normal rate. And lookout for taxis showing 40.0 on the meter but insisting that means 400 thousand. Im just reading......

On exchange rates you are saying there is one fixed rate for all?

I've used Vinasun more than any other second would be Mai Linh. The most common problem I have had is the driver taking longer routes to increase the fare.

You can register K+. Over 100 channels. It costs about 100$ for setting up but after that you just need to pay 4$/month. To me, I just love National Geography.

For ingredients, you can check my post: https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=374698

About Taxi, 150 000d from Bui Vien to the airport.

cvco :

Wikitravel.org says lookout for the uniformed touts with signboards saying, fixed price 4,400,000 dong for airport to the city, but offering to cut it to 2,600,000 if you balk.

Even I'm Vietnamese, but I always use MaiLinh taxi in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Saigon; sometimes Vinasun.

BTW, in Hanoi, there is Noi Bai taxi, its price is cheaper, if I need go  to the airport and vice versa. At that time, I only called for a driver, if he couldn't take me, but his friend (I was a his frequent customer). And his friend would get the price the same (about 200-220.000VND from Cau Giay District to Noi Bai airport, and 220-250.000VND from the airport to Cau Giay District, from 2007-2010, I didn't remember exactly  :shy)

cvco :
bluenz :

I plugged my TV in at my new place in QN, and immediately received 3 channels, good picture, with no aerial/antenna at all, so you would probably get a few more channels in the cities.  I prefer VNPT's cable, MYTV.

Ok 3 channels.....whats on them?

Vietnamese crap of course, but when the news is on , they become one.

bluenz :

Vietnamese crap of course, but when the news is on , they become one.

I like your joke!...

You wanted short and specific, here you go:

cvco :

1) Which is the predominant SIM card used, old standard size or new micro card? => Both applicable, based on the mobile device you're using

2) Whats in the markets? Is there a variety of international foods or is the stock mainly Viet, Chinese brands?
=> You can buy anything in this world in VN, as long as your wallet is never empty

3) Whats on TV on the standard, non-satellite channels and hows the reception from an antenna in the house?
=> Around 5 non-satellite/cable standard channels received by an antenna, depends on where you live, all of them are in Vnmese including 4 national channels and 1 local channel. The signal quality is good in almost cities, except for remote areas.

4) What is estimated to be the standard taxi charge over a distance that crosses the main part of Saigon, like from the airport to the river in District 1?
=> Taxi is charged by kilometer not time (much cheaper than any other countries I know, then no worry), so pay as you go. The fare varies from 10-15,000vnd depends on type of car/firm/distance

Ok thanks.

On the SIM card question. im getting off at the airport and need a SIM card with a local number for a month. If the usual card now is the micro, i need to find an adapter before I leave.

Taxi. I know everyone would be sick of answering taxi questions, so i just drew one line on a map and thats the reference price. A better way is draw the Union Jack and those four lines with prices take care of most needs.

On changing money, here in Malaysia the price is usd60 per million. If the world price is fixed at usd50 per million, is that what all of you exchange for? My idea is to take 1-2 days worth of dong and then change at better prices in Saigon. yes no?

TV. Thats what I thought, no local programming to speak of so its important to get on some sort of service should one stay there longer term.

Supermarket foods. Where is the thread this was covered? Someone listed out several markets, covering a variety of food.

Just some quick responses before you take off:

cvco :

Ok thanks.

On the SIM card question. im getting off at the airport and need a SIM card with a local number for a month. If the usual card now is the micro, i need to find an adapter before I leave.
=> No adapter needed at all. The SIM card will always be in the normal size, which can easily be depatched into micro one at your disposal.

On changing money, here in Malaysia the price is usd60 per million. If the world price is fixed at usd50 per million, is that what all of you exchange for? My idea is to take 1-2 days worth of dong and then change at better prices in Saigon. yes no?
=> Exchange service is available at Tan Son Nhat airport for a much better rate. You can earn much more VND by doing it when arriving.

TV. Thats what I thought, no local programming to speak of so its important to get on some sort of service should one stay there longer term.
=> In that case, Cable TV would be the cheapest one (~3,5USD/month in Hue)

VungTauDon :

I've used Vinasun more than any other second would be Mai Linh. The most common problem I have had is the driver taking longer routes to increase the fare.

These are the Scenic Routes!

Bet he didn't have change, either. The law says if a vendor cannot make change the ride is FREE. Just say Mien Phi to the driver, he'll find the change.

cvco :

Hi ya! Anda bimbang loke seorang perempuan tua.

You are OVER PREPARING. So much easier after you arrive.

When you arrive at the HCM INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL, cash in about USD$20 at the EXCHANGE DESK that is near the INSIDE OF THE EXIT DOOR.

Leave the terminal and TURN RIGHT! Ignore the taxis parked in front of the terminal - they are rip-offs.

Follow the footpath on the RIGHT to the DOMESTIC TERMINAL. You will find three or four taxis parked there - from different companies. Use VINA. Downtown is around USD6 - our about VND120,000.

You can buy a VNPT SIM on NGUYEN DU (back of the MAIN POST OFFICE). They offer a choice of numbers - all the 888's have gone!

VN Dong is not usually available in other countries - just get your USD$20 (or Ringit) worth at the Arrivals Terminal BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE BUILDING!

Tidak! Im not like an old woman at all. But ive never been to VN before and also I am too used to people coming to asia for the first time and having no prep, find themselves in messes they cant exactly rush back to their home countries to fix. If I never asked any questions at all and got in jams, all of you would be saying, "why didnt you ask first? we could have helped you. What an idiot. No prep at all."

But also, you guys, though seasoned, dont realize how you talk about Vietnam and it probably scares off people from coming. Its ok if you dont see what i mean.

Thanks Jaitch, very appreciated. All understood.

Dejavu.dot :

You can register K+. Over 100 channels. It costs about 100$ for setting up but after that you just need to pay 4$/month. To me, I just love National Geography.

For ingredients, you can check my post: https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=374698

About Taxi, 150 000d from Bui Vien to the airport.

Dejavu you must have a different K+ from the one I've had the past 4 years. I only get about 74 channels.

http://www.kplus.vn/en/home.htm

cvco :

But also, you guys, though seasoned, dont realize how you talk about Vietnam and it probably scares off people from coming.

There are many problems here though. But no need to worry so much when you stay here. Many foreigners live here nowadays, you can see them everywhere.
And when you live here, if you need any help from local, contact me via Skype/FB/Expat.com (still I can't speak English well :D), I will try to help you as much as I can (like a friend). There is a expat who will come here at the same time you come.
I will send you a PM.

ngattt :

And when you live here, if you need any help from local, contact me via Skype/FB/Expat.com (still I can't speak English well :D), I will try to help you as much as I can (like a friend)

Not sure whether you are also willing to help another national-expat from other VN cities or not  :unsure Coming to Saigon very soon...

CVCO wrote
' But also, you guys, though seasoned, dont realize how you talk about Vietnam and it probably scares off people from coming. Its ok if you dont see what i mean."
  If I knew 5 yrs ago, what I know now about living in VN, , there would have been no way I would have come to live here.
' Forewarned is forearmed ".

virgoks :

Not sure whether you are also willing to help another national-expat from other VN cities or not  :unsure Coming to Saigon very soon...

I think you don't need any help from me :D, because you can speak Vietnamese :D. I always help some foreigner friends to translate something to Vietnamese, drive them to somewhere to buy something (I always lost my way though :p).
But I can introduce some female students (very young) to help you, if you really need help ;)!

ngattt :

But I can introduce some female students (very young) to help you, if you really need help!

CVCO is a married man.

Jaitch, I was talking with Virgoks  :cool:

ngattt :

But I can introduce some female students (very young) to help you, if you really need help ;)!

Hey Nga, just joking :) I am even much older than you ;)
Anyway, tks for your good will

virgoks :

Hey Nga, just joking :) I am even much older than you ;)
Anyway, tks for your good will

Yeah, I knew, I was joking too  :cool:
If you come here, sure I am willing to drink coffee with you. I specially like to talk to Viet men, because sometimes I can talk too much, ha ha :D. I said "sometimes", because I'm a extremely cold woman :P.
Don't regret about your suggestion :D.

ngattt :
virgoks :

Hey Nga, just joking :) I am even much older than you ;)
Anyway, tks for your good will

Yeah, I knew, I was joking too  :cool:
If you come here, sure I am willing to drink coffee with you. I specially like to talk to Viet men, because sometimes I can talk too much, ha ha :D. I said "sometimes", because I'm a extremely cold woman :P.
Don't regret about your suggestion :D.

Hi Ngattt, sorry to hear that you are extremely cold. I have a spare Canadian Arctic parka I can lend you if you like?

ngattt :
virgoks :

Hey Nga, just joking :) I am even much older than you ;)
Anyway, tks for your good will

Yeah, I knew, I was joking too  :cool:
If you come here, sure I am willing to drink coffee with you. I specially like to talk to Viet men, because sometimes I can talk too much, ha ha :D. I said "sometimes", because I'm a extremely cold woman :P.
Don't regret about your suggestion :D.

"  I specially like to talk to Viet men ",  ???? so you go on an Ex Pat site?

eodmatt :

Hi Ngattt, sorry to hear that you are extremely cold. I have a spare Canadian Arctic parka I can lend you if you like?

Thank you, Matt. But I think you should wear it if we have a chance to meet  :cool:.
I hope you will be in Vietnam in next 3 months to see me and some expats here.



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bluenz :

"  I specially like to talk to Viet men ",  ???? so you go on an Ex Pat site?

Ah, yeah, I like to talk to Viet men always. Because I can speak Vietnamese :D.
With foreigners, I want to talk to improve my English, but I can't talk too much.

ngattt :
bluenz :

"  I specially like to talk to Viet men ",  ???? so you go on an Ex Pat site?

Ah, yeah, I like to talk to Viet men always. Because I can speak Vietnamese :D.
With foreigners, I want to talk to improve my English, but I can't talk too much.

You can't talk at all on here. :/

bluenz :

You can't talk at all on here. :/

You are right :D. But I can meet someone from Expat.com, and they are willing to help me improve my English :D. Even some people will correct some my mistakes, not directly, but I can correct by myself when I read their posts.
I've just tried to speak English 6-7 months ago, and also tried to write English after I joined here. I can't understand all, but everyday I always try to read/write more and more.

ngattt :
bluenz :

You can't talk at all on here. :/

You are right :D. But I can meet someone from Expat.com, and they are willing to help me improve my English :D. Even some people will correct some my mistakes, not directly, but I can correct by myself when I read their posts.
I've just tried to speak English 6-7 months ago, and also tried to write English after I joined here. I can't understand all, but everyday I always try to read/write more and more.

"  I always try to read/write more and more ", I'm pleased to see that, I wish I could get it through to some parents of my 4 -5 yr old students, they are only interesting in their spoilt little brats speaking English??? ( One can't even speak Viet properly, no need for a translator there?).

Jaitch :

Leave the terminal and TURN RIGHT! Ignore the taxis parked in front of the terminal - they are rip-offs.

Yes, can turn right and go down toward the domestic terminal, but can also turn left and go to the end of the international terminal area where there is a legitimate (meaning they are real, name-brand taxis - not rip-offs) taxi stand with a queuing area and a line of good taxis waiting for customers.  I took a taxi from there a few weeks ago and the price I paid was almost to the dong the same as the price I paid for the taxi that took me to the airport.  So, not a rip-off.

If Jaitch is referring to the "taxis" parked directly in the front area with their jockeys soliciting for them, then, yes, those are a rip-off.  Ignore them and go to the designated taxi stand I described above.

ngattt :
eodmatt :

Hi Ngattt, sorry to hear that you are extremely cold. I have a spare Canadian Arctic parka I can lend you if you like?

Thank you, Matt. But I think you should wear it if we have a chance to meet  :cool:.
I hope you will be in Vietnam in next 3 months to see me and some expats here.

No need for me to wear a parka if we meet, Ngattt, I am used to dealing with cold women, I have been married to an English woman!



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ngattt :

...]sometimes [/b]I can talk too much, ha ha :D. I said "sometimes", because I'm a extremely cold woman :P.
Don't regret about your suggestion :D.

Never mind! I am a good listener and Hue is hot these day ;)

ngattt :

I've just tried to speak English 6-7 months ago, and also tried to write English after I joined here. I can't understand all, but everyday I always try to read/write more and more.

BTW, your effort in practising English is really admirable! I can feel how hard you have managed to  write in English to produce such an impressive number of posts. Just keep doing your amazing job, Nga. :)

[at]Matt: sure, I always think you can :top:. You talked about English woman, reminded me of Margaret Thatcher.

[at]Bluenz: I have some friends, they live oversee. And their children must study English, local language, Vietnamese :D when they were 1-2-3 years old. Sure their Vietnamese will not good like some kids live here, but I think it's ok. Many Viet parents want their kids can speak English soon, that's why they must spend much money for them. I never spend my own money for learning English, that's why until now I can't speak English well, ha ha. (When I was student, I never dare ask my parents about extra money, just basic money for expense living, even I was a tutor to earn money for myself)

[at]Virgoks: I think you don't understand my bad mood, when I work with foreigners but I can't speak English  :shy . About 10 years ago, I had a friend, he always asked me to go to the airport with him to be welcome some foreign Professors. I went with him, but I just could say some basic sentences :D. Poor me!
And 8 years ago, I worked with some Korean, but, I couldn't speak with them much, even some of them couldn't speak English well (like me), I must take care of them everyday though (went to restaurant to eat lunch, dinner, shopping sometimes), I must use dictionary always :D. More than 1 year, but I couldn't improve my English at all.
Until last year, a Finnish student here, we created a group to speak English, but still I was very shy (680 Toeic already :P). About 3 months he lived here, just talk a little. But after that, I thought, if I continue like this, still can't speak English, how can I develop my career? Since March 10, we started studying English in my University (it's free!). My foreign teachers always encouraged me to talk English more, and I could "argue" with them by English, kaka; and chat with them everyday. Sometimes they called to ask me something, so I must try to understand them (the truth is that, I can't uderstand all, ka ka). Now my problem is, when I talked to other foreigners, they didn't understand all what I said. Still improve my English everyday, hic hic hic!


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