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Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Pros and Cons of Living in Ho Chi Minh City

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 02, 2023

Summary: The pros of living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam include the low cost of living, the vibrant culture, and the abundance of delicious food. The city is also home to a wide variety of attractions, from historical sites to modern shopping malls. On the other hand, the cons of living in Ho Chi Minh City include the high levels of air pollution, the traffic congestion, and the lack of reliable public transportation. Additionally, the city can be quite noisy and crowded, making it difficult to find peace and quiet.

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What do expats in Ho Chi Minh City appreciate most about the local culture?

"Expatriates in Ho Chi Minh City often appreciate the city's friendly and welcoming people, the vibrant and bustling atmosphere and the abundance of street food. They also enjoy the historic and cultural sites, the city's easy and low-cost transportation, and its relatively low cost of living. Additionally, people who reside and visit the city can enjoy its rich and diverse cuisine, the traditional markets and diversity of shopping opportunities, and the warm climate. Finally, the local culture is known to be very tolerant and open to different world views, religions, and lifestyles, which can have a very positive effect on the way of life for the expat population," replied an expat in Ho Chi Minh City.

"Prices mate, prices! Taxi $3 from anywhere to anywhere, but people are so nice, everybody calls you sir and I was feeling embarrassed being sir all the time, food is magic and so cheap. Honestly we here in Perth don't have night clubs like those in HCMC," remarked another in Ho Chi Minh.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Expats often find language barriers and cultural differences to be the most challenging. These issues can include learning a new language and adapting to different social norms. Additionally, expats may also struggle with access to local services and amenities, separation from family and friends, and adjusting to different job and educational systems. Financial and legal matters may also be a hindrance, as different countries may have different regulations and laws," said another expat in Ho Chi Minh City.

"My biggest challenge was getting a visa every time. I've been here for 9 years now. I originally came here on a business visa that the Vietnamese Embassy issued. At that time I didn't know that, technically, I was supposed to apply for a work permit after getting a job. Since I was "retired", living off of savings and eventually Social Security, I didn't work. So I had to borrow $15,000 to invest in a company and get an investors visa. The length of stay for business visas keep changing. Sometimes it's a year, with a "renewal" every three months and then a border run to get a new one, and sometimes it's only 30 days. I wish they would implement a retirement visa for those of us who just want to retire and enjoy life," added another person living in Ho Chi Minh City.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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