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Expat Advice: Moving to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

An Australian expat in Ho Chi Minh advises newcomers to bring plenty of clothes for very warm weather since clothing there runs very small. He also recommends looking at a lot of apartments before choosing and taking into consideration proximity to work, supermarkets, swimming pools, because traffic is a major issue.

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Ho Chi Minh City

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I wish I'd brought more clothes suitable for a VERY warm climate. The climate here is hotter than I anticipated (C32 degrees in the wet season and C37+ in the dry). I am an average size in Australia but all the clothes are too small for me here and I have them made. Everything else is pretty much available. I wish I'd left behind the two pairs of 500 thread-count sheets I filled a small suitcase with - and brought clothes instead!

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Find a couple of real estate agents in the area and look at a lot of apartments before choosing. Consider whether you need to be close to a supermarket. Consider whether you'd like to be near a swimming pool. Consider your transport options: taxis, rent a scooter or is there a bus route close by?

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

I have a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom apartment; mostly 1 or 3 seemed available at the time and I occasionally have overseas friends to stay. The people who live in my apartment blocks include western expats but are mainly Korean expats or Vietnamese people.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

Having spent the past 6 years doing a long commute to work I decided to live close to my job if it was feasible - and it was. I live in District 7 of HCMC on the 14th floor of a group of 25 storey apartment blocks. In the centre of the 4 blocks is a sort of village square with several swimming pools, a gym, small shops/cafes/ hairdressers, a large good supermarket and two tennis courts. More shopping centres are within 5 minute's taxi ride, and I can get into District 1 shopping in 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. I used a local real estate office to find my apartment, someone recommended by a work colleague.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Rental costs are slightly lower than in my area of Australia and much lower than cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Depending on the size and standard of apartment in HCMC, median apartment costs would be 400-800 USD a month in my area. I think they are slightly higher in District 1.

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