Saigon Vs Shanghai


I was wondering which city I should live in as an expat english teacher. Saigon or Shanghai? I got a great offer in Shanghai but i'm hesitant, I feel like I would like Ho Chi Minh more....

I'm single, a guy, late 20's, like going out and making friends, having long conversations and getting to know locals, eating street food, etc.

What do you think? Pros and Cons (not including financials)?

Well, Shanghai is more vivid and exciting than HCMC but if you love street life HCMC would never fail you. On the other hand, HCMC in my opinion is much cheaper and Saigon dwellers are more open and friendlier than Shanghai people. Minuses are that the natural environment and security in HCMC are deteriorating, which pose great concerns for expats. So make consideration and choose which you think the best. Good luck :top:

If you've got "a great offer" in Shanghai, why can't you accept it and try it out?  If you don't like it after a while, you can always search for another job in Saigon, and it'll probably be easier with the teaching experience you'll have gained in Shanghai.  There's no reason you cannot live and work in two countries (not at the same time, of course.)

Mickeyevans99 :

What do you think? Pros and Cons (not including financials)?

A fork in the road of life. Exciting! Two vibrant cities, different cultures, climates, freedoms. Financials might be a wash anyway, assuming higher cost of living in big city China would negate higher salary.

What are your goals? Are you a traveler seeking experiences? Going out, conversations, street food. An explorer working his way around the world? A coin flip, your heart leans to Saigon.

Are you an opportunist? Following 'great offers', financial or otherwise, is another way to navigate a career and life. The world is always changing, and if you are prepared and open to them, opportunities will happen. Go with Shanghai if the deal is special.

Are you thinking you might be ready to settle? New job, and also open to a long term relationship, a new home, family? That will take more consideration of differences in cultures, permanence, your ability to adapt, the long view; where can you have a better life? I would visit both first, then choose.

I ramble because there have been times when I met a woman who was tied to a place where I just knew I couldn't live and, well, regrets!

I like the above adivce, will only add:
HCMC is more tropical
HCMC is a motorbike city

You should be aware that most English teaching in Vietnam is still on a part-time, freelance basis with pay on an hourly basis (usually around $16 - 25/hr). So, most teachers are "chasing hours" at several different schools around town. A few of the larger chains (ILA, VUS, AMA, etc.) are starting to offer long-term contracts, visas and work permits as the authorities seem to be moving in this direction.

As far as I understand, China is much more strict in terms of regulations and nearly all positions are one-year contracts with salaries and some benefits.

The situation in VN has both advantages (freedom) and disadvantages (fluctuating income and constantly canging schedules).

You can check out the job market on this website:

Looks like there's still a fair amount of demand.

Finally, let me add that I have heard and read a lot of complaints about China. Of course, VN has its negatives as well.

Both cities have their own charm and offer nearby weekend destination.  If you have a good offer from Shanghai then take it.  The HCMC option will always be there.

I did a semester in Shanghai in 2005.  What I remember from Shanghai is a newly blossoming art culture and a good mix of food from all different cuisines.  Bar hopping was fun the first month or two but we got burnt out after that.   Restaurants that were recommended to us were unbelievable.  Random restaurants we picked (with a lot of people in them) not so much.  It was easy to get around with subway stops everywhere.

Currently living in Vietnam the past year but nowhere near HCMC.   Haven't figured out what to do in HCMC for my occasional trips to the city.  Art wise, I'm at a loss.  Bar wise, I'm pass the age where I enjoy that but friends of friends seem to really enjoy it.  Restaurants, you can find a lot of good food but it's not to everybody's taste.   The high end restaurants are still affordable by US standards and the street food is dirt cheap.  I hear there are also a lot of international options beyond japanese and korean but I've not felt the need to try those yet.  Just avoid the chains.  Are you adventurous enough to get your own bike and make your way around the city?

lived in both.

both dumps. crap people, culture traffic, jobs, opportunities

Thaiger :

lived in both.

both dumps. crap people, culture traffic, jobs, opportunities

With an attitude like that, no wonder you didn't get any opportunities! Maybe you're better off back in Thailand?

I've never worked in Thailand, wouldn't know

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