- Download our Ho Chi Minh City Schools Guide
Ho Chi Minh City is a place of contrasts, where French-colonial architecture can be seen alongside high-rise buildings and skyscrapers, and where traditional markets sell their wares right across the road from busy shopping centres carrying the latest in designer goods. With its tropical climate and cosmopolitan population, Ho Chi Minh City is an easy home away from home for many expats.
Previously known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam's largest city and an important regional seaport. Despite its status as the financial capital of Vietnam, the cost of living here is not exorbitant. Local goods are cheap and, while imported Western goods are more expensive, they are readily available.
Accommodation is varied and expats are sure to find something to suit their needs and their budget. Finding property within the city is also easy with new developments constantly being built.
Transportation in Vietnam is a big topic, and simply crossing the street is a skill that expats moving to Vietnam will need to learn swiftly. There is a bus system in the city but unless expats make the effort to learn a little Vietnamese, it can be difficult to use. Taxis can be cheap and safe provided expats use a reputable company. There are also many motorbike taxi drivers ready to speedily transport brave commuters around the city.
Expats moving to Ho Chi Minh City with kids can rest assured that their children’s schooling won’t be limited here. Thanks to the city’s large expat population, it plays host to a number of excellent international schools specialising in a variety of foreign curricula, including American, British, French and German.
Shopping-wise, expats will have an extensive variety, from luxury shopping malls to small superettes and markets. This goes for restaurants too, whether choosing to sample some of the famous Saigon pho from a street corner or eat at a Michelin-star restaurant. With so much choice in terms of wining, dining, shopping and entertainment, Ho Chi Minh City is an attractive option for many expats.
Despite having a fair amount of noise and air pollution, Ho Chi Minh City offers expats a life full of charm, pleasant surprises and friendly locals. A vibrant meeting point between East and West, moving to Ho Chi Minh City is an exciting expat experience offering much to explore and discover.
►Learn more about the economy by reading Working in Ho Chi Minh City
"Why Ho Chi Minh City? It is crowded, noisy, scruffy, crazy, but always interesting and things are happening all at a breakneck speed". Doug Rice calls both Ho Chi Minh City and California his home. Having spent time in Vietnam for over a decade, he shares his experiences here.
"I enjoy the constant energy this city holds". Dierdre Appel relocated from New Jersey to Ho Chi Minh City to teach English. Read about her experiences of Ho Chi Minh City here.
Are you an expat living in Ho Chi Minh City?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Ho Chi Minh City. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.