Where to live in Saigon

Good Morning Everyone,

I'm looking to rent a room in Saigon and am hoping for some advice on which areas to look at. I'm currently staying in District 7 and am loving the fact that it is mostly locals here. My only complaint is the distance to city centre. I prefer to walk when possible. Room must be secure and I'm hoping for something around 5,000,000 VND/month. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Dana

dist 7 isn't far by bus

Good to know. Thanks, MarkinNam!

Yes, I too like living with locals.
You can get an app for the Bus that works pretty well,
https://busmap.vn/?locale=en

I've taken many buses around HCMC as a way to see all parts of HCMC.
And yes, this is not a walking town.
I now have a mototbike, which again transforms the life, BUT I would not recommend it for anyone who is not an experienced motorcycle driver. 
Good luck
Richard

D2 preferably

Firstly, you should located your working address. Then, you should look room for rent, around for your working address.

Thanks, Richard!

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If by city center you mean downtown D1, I doubt you can find rent that low w/o a roommate. Rents drop as you radiate outward from there. Even if you are in D3 or Binh Thanh, that is at least a 20 minute walk, and locals don't walk that far because of the heat. My studio apt rent in Binh Thanh was $400, same size in D5 was same a year ago.

You say you are in D7 and it is mostly locals, you must not be in Phu My Hung. If you are close, do you know about the hourly brown bus from PMH to Dong Khoi? If not google it, it's cheap.

Personally I don't find 'city center' very interesting and rarely go there. Where I live becomes my center!

gobot :

Where I live becomes my center!

Thumbs up!

Thanks, gobot. I've actually decided to stay here. Kind of in love with D7!

Thanks to everyone who commented and messaged. I wound up finding a place in D7 that I really like.

D7 is the good place to live.  hope you find a flat is suit for you soon.

With that budget, you may want to find a roommate. The last time I checked, my friend and other 3 people share a house in a small valley, 30mins away from the downtown. The rent is VND 6 mil for each.

Hope you find a good one

Wxx3 :

Yes, I too like living with locals.
You can get an app for the Bus that works pretty well,
https://busmap.vn/?locale=en

I've taken many buses around HCMC as a way to see all parts of HCMC.
And yes, this is not a walking town.
I now have a mototbike, which again transforms the life, BUT I would not recommend it for anyone who is not an experienced motorcycle driver. 
Good luck
Richard

I lived in D7. Walked many places. Shopping, restaurant, buu dien (post office). I consider anything above 2km not  walking distance. Could walk more if the temperature is cool, if not then it's a bit uncomfortable (get hot and sweaty..which is fine if you have the right clothing). So depending on where you live in D7 you may get away with walking, and taking the odd Grab/uber for distance trips within D7 or in to D1 if you're really rushing, if not take the bus in to D1.

Living in D1, I hired a Motorcycle for 1 week. It definitely opens up new horizons (if you can handle the madness). If you make lots of unplanned journeys (and you are experienced) then it's probably the way to go. Now that I don't, I've resorted to walking pretty much everywhere within D1, if it's not within walking distance, then hopping on a bus. More than anything it provides me just a small snippet of "life from a local's perspective", when much of Saigon (especially in D1) is so much tourist centered.

sanooku :

I consider anything above 2km not  walking distance.

Many people do, and just for that, I know spouse and I do not fit the norm of either locals or expats. 

We often walk 5km at one stretch (in the morning and evening, never when the sun is high in the sky) and use buses for longer distance.  We take many shortcuts in our walk so half of the time, we're not on the main streets where chaotic reins.  We do not live where most expats do -- Q1, 2, 3, and 7.  We haven't been inside an international market.  Twice we went to Q1 and those were the only times we saw so many Westerners in the same area.  Since moving here, I don't think we've seen another foreigner in any restaurant, market, or store that we frequent.  I've seen a young Frenchman in our building now and then, and we exchanged greetings twice, but that's it.

There are many small pockets in Phú Nhuận where 99% of the residents are locals, where the noise is almost non-existent, where the rent for 1br apartment in a secured, small, and brand new building (average of 20 units) is around 12M including management fee, gym, pool, and housekeeping service. Half of the time, laundry service is included in the rent.  When it's not, a washing machine is provided inside the apartment -- not out on the balcony as in some tacky places. 

The best thing about those pockets of tranquility: a dozen steps out of the front door and you're smack dab in the local hubbub.

Ciambella :

....where the rent for 1br apartment in a secured, small, and brand new building (average of 20 units) is around 12M including management fee, gym, pool, and housekeeping service. Half of the time, laundry service is included in the rent.  When it's not, a washing machine is provided inside the apartment...

Most expats living in those places rely less on TripAdvisor.

BTW, I think many people will agree that 12M per month is a lot. Housekeeping is pretty common with serviced apartments. I reckon the Gym and pool would hike the price up quite a bit.

Without those you could probably find 1 bed apartment in Phú Nhuận for much less. Suffice to say, there's many expats still opting to stay in D1 due to concerns about travel time (maybe their office is located in D1). However, 30-40 minutes commute is nothing really.

I don't understand your mention of TripAdvisor. 

Yes, there are less expensive apartments in Phú Nhuận, but on-site gym is our top requirement for health reason -- working out 4X/wk is doctor's order, while pool is just a perk for spouse who have lived by the water all his life.  Quiet neighbourhood, public transportation,  24/7 security in a *new* building with no more than 20 units (all with fire escape access), balcony, bedroom with a door separating it from living room, full kitchen (I need more than the standard combination of portable burner + microwave + rice cooker + electric kettle), quality furniture, and tasteful but not impersonal decor are also among the requirements.  Silly things really, but to me, they give a place the feel of a permanent home. 

I've stayed for many months in a two-bedroom apartment that cost less than 10M in Q3.  Larger certainly, but not a place I've thought of as home although I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.  I've also had an entire floor inside a house in Phú Nhuận for 8M.  Price per sqm2, they both are excellent deals.  Personal value, they're not.

Ciambella :

I don't understand your mention of TripAdvisor. 

Yes, there are less expensive apartments in Phú Nhuận, but on-site gym is our top requirement for health reason -- working out 4X/wk is doctor's order, while pool is just a perk for spouse who have lived by the water all his life.  Quiet neighbourhood, public transportation,  24/7 security in a *new* building with no more than 20 units (all with fire escape access), balcony, bedroom with a door separating it from living room, full kitchen (I need more than the standard combination of portable burner + microwave + rice cooker + electric kettle), quality furniture, and tasteful but not impersonal decor are also among the requirements.  Silly things really, but to me, they give a place the feel of a permanent home. 

I've stayed for many months in a two-bedroom apartment that cost less than 10M in Q3.  Larger certainly, but not a place I've thought of as home although I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.  I've also had an entire floor inside a house in Phú Nhuận for 8M.  Price per sqm2, they both are excellent deals.  Personal value, they're not.

Ah!, It wasn't quite clear from your post if you were sharing your personal experience or recommending it for others (without having experienced it). e.g. We weren't aware that you had been given doctor's orders.

I believe a lot will depend on the renter's personal circumstances/situation. If you want a full kitchen then you probably landed a good deal. For someone who likes to eat out (which is probably not the most cost effective way) living in some parts of D7 would not be suitable. D1 is another world in comparison, where you're spoilt for choice. 

About the Frenchman in your previous post. I happen to bump in to a Frenchman on the street near my apartment last week and we got chatting. Wonder if it's the same Frenchman? Although it seems that he would have no reason/inclination to leave your neighborhood and head to D1. Anyway, I was able to place "which country he was from" just from his accent, without asking him where he was from. If I had conducted this task just by looking at him, I'd probably would’ve been a bit lost.

BTW, It says on your profile that your location is Saigon and Vung Tau. Surely Vung Tau is equally suitable for sticking to a healthy lifestyle (being close to the beach), with quiet neighborhood and all mod/con features. Perhaps the housing there don't offer the same 24/7 security and public transportation features as the Phú Nhuận?..Since you mentioned your spouse who has lived close to water all his life, it now makes me wonder that Vung Tau is where he lived close to water..

The Tripadvisor mention: Your post reminded me of a tripadvisor review I had recently left. Although I keep different usernames both here and on TA, it's as if you had knowledge of it. Female intuition creeping in perhaps?

Re: TripAdvisor.  Nope, I rarely read it.

Re: doctor's order. Spouse had the first heart attack while we're living in Italy.  Italian cardiologists ordered cardio workouts.  The second heart attack was 5 years ago in CA.  American cardiologists added weights, treadmill, bicycle, and elliptical.  Even without the orders, we've always lead a healthy lifestyle and maintained ideal BMI so the required workouts weren't an issue.  While living in the States and Europe, spouse mountain-biked, skied, hiked, and swam regularly.  Still, something in his body kept making mischiefs with his arteries.

Re: Living near the water.  He lived half a block from the Main Beach in Laguna Beach, CA for 50+ years.  As a baby, he learned to crawl and had his first step on the sand.  Did everything on the beach every day for those 50+ years.  Moving to other states, we're always either next to or over a body of water.  In Italy, we're not near water but he swam 3, 4x/wk in the pool.  Actually had the first heart attack while swimming!  This is the first time he lives in Asia and not nearing water on a daily basis, so the pool is helpful.

Re: VungTau.  Six of my nieces and nephews live 3 days in Saigon and 4 days in Vung Tau, so every week, we hop on their van leaving on Friday afternoon and stay in the guesthouse until Tuesday noon.  We have many trips on the calendar next year so living near Tân Sơn Nhất would be more convenient for now, but I'm sure we'll end up living in Vung Tau soon.

Ciambella :

Re: TripAdvisor.  Nope, I rarely read it.

Probably no need to read my review specifically. The info on it could land on your lap somehow. (Background info about certain users always do. Let's just say Big brother likes to protect the businesses. So they take precautionary measures. I'm always surprised how much certain people/businesses know about me, when all the contact I've had with them is a simple one line email.)

......We have many trips on the calendar next year so living near Tân Sơn Nhất would be more convenient for now, but I'm sure we'll end up living in Vung Tau soon.

I was gonna say Phú Nhuận district is very much Tân Sơn Nhất Airport territory. You could literally jump on board while the plane is taking-off.

Re Pool: Is it an indoor or outdoor pool and is it heated?. It's just that I've swum in a couple of pools in Vietnam. One was a outdoor pool at  the Hyatt in Da Nang. Even that pool wasn't heated. Not a major issue, can be a bit cold sometimes.

Also, what is the length of the contract you signed-up for. I’m guessing it’s at least six months.

The pool in this building is indoor and not heated, but the water is of the same temperature as our shower.  The building behind us has an outdoor infinity pool, partly covered and heated. 

The shortest contract I've had anywhere in Saigon was for 3 months, and every contract I've signed gave me first refusal at renewal time.  The previous tenants didn't have that clause in theirs so when they asked to renew, the apartment was already spoken for (by us).

Good job Dana

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