The areas in HCMC are divided into districts and each district is a neighbourhood with its own charms and characteristics
3 June 2014| Last updated on 29 June 2017
The areas in HCMC are divided into districts and each district is a neighbourhood with its own charms and characteristics. Typically expats live in Districts 2 and 7 in Ho Chi Minh City. These areas have all the amenities to make an expat transition seamless and are known as the family friendly areas of the city. Districts 1 and 3 are the artier and hip areas that attract single professionals and young couples as they are close to restaurants, night life and public transport. Districts 5 and 10 are for adventurous expats that want to live among the locals and have an authentic cultural experience.
District 2 offers a high standard of living that is enjoyed by expats who plan on staying in Vietnam for the long term. The area is close enough to the city for those that work there, yet far enough for residents to enjoy the peace and quiet of it all. There are many free standing houses, some with swimming pools and the area offers gated community living.
District 7 is a tree lined district with a mix of apartment buildings and houses for long term expat living. There is very little going on, development wise, so it is perfect for those who enjoy the outdoor greenery. District 7 is a 40minute commute from the city centre and is an expensive area intended for high income earners. International schools and nurseries are right around the corner and the suburbs are well away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. These areas also have more out door space such as parks and places to walk, jog and enjoy life outside.
District 1 is really the centre of the city, the hustle and the bustle. Its streets are lined with restaurants and food stalls. There are historical sites such as Ben Thanh Market, The Reunification Palace, or The War Remnants Museum. The ever expanding commercial scene is fab for those with an eye for shopping. The centre caters to both budget travelers with hostels and other cheap accommodation. It also offers some of the highest living standards in the city with a range of serviced apartments.
District 3 has an array of alleys and hidden streets and the best way of getting around here is with a motorbike. There is an array of accommodation available for expats including French colonial villas and serviced and normal apartments. The district is considered by many the best place to live as it is quite reasonable for rent, and close enough to District 1 with an easy commute.
District 5 is one of the best areas to go if you are after authentic Vietnamese food. It also offers a cultural experience in the form of traditional architecture. Many people who live here do not speak English so finding your way as an expat may be difficult. The rents here are quite reasonable and there is a great public transport system connecting District 1 to District 5.
District 10 is the most popular area for student accommodation as it has cheap rent and great cheap Vietnamese fare. Traffic to the city centre can get really congested, however it is conveniently close to District 1 in proximity. There are also great amenities such as swimming pools and fitness centres.
There are four types of accommodation available to the Vietnam expat:
Rooms: You will have to be earning a significantly small amount of money to warrant a room in Vietnam, but it is the cheapest option, usually furnished and paid on a monthly basis. Rooms are usually found close to the city centre.
Houses: Stand-alone houses can be furnished or unfurnished and are great for families that require space. Finding a house is not an easy task as much of Vietnam is densely populated, however it is not impossible.
Apartments: This accommodation is the most widely available and cheaper than renting a house. However, you will have to liaise with the landlord to have your utilities connected. This can be tricky, but usually for a tip, you can get the landlord or one of his ‘family’ members to come with you to help. Apartments come in different sizes and can be rented furnished or unfurnished.
Serviced apartments: These are quite expensive and only make sense if your contract is short or your employer is footing the bill. They are generally located within hotels or high rises and offer an array of amenities and services including; furniture, housekeeping, maids, gyms, swimming pools ect. These are all included in the rent.