Moving to Vietnam? Fantastic! Chances are, you will be staying in Saigon, Vietnam’s largest city and financial center. But above all it’s a vibrant place and there is plenty to do in Ho Chi Minh. When you first arrive, it’s a lot to take in: the heat, the staggering number of motorbikes, the new smells, the honking of the cars, but you will soon get used to it. Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City!
This authentic Asian city has a dynamic atmosphere in which anything seems possible. Living here is safe, the houses and schools and pre-schools are great, the restaurants are even better and the traffic jams are still bearable. Mark our words, you’ll be able to cross the street like a Vietnamese local (hand up, stopping all traffic) before you know it!
Moving to Vietnam: what to bring
When you are moving to Vietnam, there are a few things you should definitely bring with you. First of all, prepare all your paperwork. This country loves official documents as much as it loves its pho (soup), so you need to bring it all; your marriage certificate, the birth certificates of your kids, your legalized diploma and your translated driving license. Next to that, there are some other handy things to bring, like bed linens, bigger sized shoes and swimming diapers for your toddler. Of course the climate in Vietnam is different than home, so make sure you bring the right type of clothes and plenty of swimwear. Check the full list of what to bring to Ho Chi Minh here.
Where to live in Ho Chi Minh
Good news when moving to Ho Chi Minh, it is still a very affordable city. In the shops and supermarkets, you will find cheap local goods, as well as more expensive imported Western products. The same goes for housing; there is an option to fit every budget. Whether you like a nice apartment or rather seek a house within a compound, you will find plenty of options to live in Ho Chi Minh.
The renting process is pretty straightforward as well. One tip; make sure you take the time to go house hunting. That way you can see for yourself if you like the district and if your new neighborhood is construction free. If you want to know more about where to live, check here.
Note that Saigon is divided into districts. It is definitely worth considering in which district you plan to live. Most expats with families live in District 2 in the Thao Dien area, where many international schools are located. But District 7 is also popular, as is living in D1.
There is definitely no shortage of scooters in Saigon!
How to arrange your transport in Saigon
For those brave enough to try driving their own car in HCMC, there is good news. A few years ago the law was changed to permit foreigners driving a car. However, many still prefer the option of employing a Vietnamese driver who knows his way around the bustling Saigon traffic or they take a taxi. Driving a motorbike yourself is pretty popular and easy to arrange. You can hire a motorcycle in Saigon or buy a pre-loved one via the various Saigon Facebook groups.
So, there you have it, a brief introduction to living in Ho Chi Minh. This city will guarantee you an adventure filled stay. Next to the great things to do in Saigon and lovely people to connect to, there is another highlight, and that is the fantastic travelling in Vietnam. Go check it out when you are somewhat settled. Enjoy your stay!
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Documents and photos needed when arriving in Ho Chi MinhMake sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months, but preferably longer, so you won’t face any barriers when organizing your visa or temporary resident card. You will need to provide passport photographs for almost anything, so bring a bunch for all family members. Your marriage license and the birth certificates of children may sometimes be needed, so bring those along as well. Vaccinations are another crucial thing not to overlook. These should be arranged with your local travel doctor well in advance.