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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.