Just what are the many advantages in living and working in Ho Chi Minh City? We’ll take a look at some of the obvious advantages and some of the ones that might surprise you.
Why Choose Vietnam?
It is interesting how people’s perception of Vietnam and the reality of living and working in Ho Chi Minh City and so far apart. Vietnam is one of the least expensive cities that you are ever likely to visit. Whilst the rural areas are the cheapest places, you will be surprised at just how inexpensive life in this Vietnamese southern powerhouse can be.
As with just about all of Southeast Asia, it is the people that are Vietnam’s greatest asset. They are friendly, helpful and have a tremendous sense of fun. Living and working in Ho Chi Minh City, you will soon realise that the large expat community here really has built a community spirit and they genuinely all look out for one another.
Why Choose Living and Working in Ho Chi Minh City?
In addition to the exceptionally preferable cost of living in Vietnam the Southern powerhouse of Ho Chi Minh City has a huge amount to offer anyone making the transition. Living in Vietnam seems to have most of the advantages of living in a western city with fewer pitfalls.
Firstly this vibrant modern city is growing at an incredible rate and has all the fantastic cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs that one would associate with a large modern city. Living and working in Ho Chi Minh City will open up doors to a life unimagined. The fantastic climate is a huge improvement on many cities in the West. It is hot all year round; dry for 5 or 6 months each year, and even in the wet season sees some beautiful sunny days.
The shopping in Ho Chi Minh City rivals some of the world’s great shopping capitals. Most of the big names are here and there is a huge mixture of Eastern and Western favourites to tempt to.
Living and working in Ho Chi Minh City offers a tremendous opportunity for the culturally minded. Amazing historical sites, museums, art galleries, temples and the vibrant Saigon Opera House with its packed schedule await the new arrival.
Cost of living in Vietnam
Of course the way that you decide on your own personal lifestyle whilst living and working in Ho Chi Minh will vary from person to person. Whether you decide to go native and stay with a Vietnamese family, share an apartment or house with others in a similar position or go full out for a classy condo, prices will be a pleasant surprise. A room in a house will cost anything from $250 per month at the lower end to $400 for better accommodation. A one-bed condo will range between $500 and $800 even in the better areas of the city.
The website Numbeo puts the monthly living costs for a family of four at just $1500 per month without accommodation. Good jobs here often bring a package that includes housing costs, so it is not hard to imagine the amount of disposable income that remains. Ho Chi Minh City is approximately 1.8% less expensive than Hanoi.
The great advantage here is one of choice. It is easy to go local and spend a couple of dollars on a meal. If you wish, you can hit top class restaurants and pay Western prices, but in the middle there are hundreds of amazing eateries offering great food and extremely reasonable prices.
Unlike many cities, getting around in Ho Chi Minh City is an extremely inexpensive affair. The best way is to buy a motorbike. Initially cost is of course the purchase. Top of the range scooters will cost $3000 to $5000 brand new, but you will find excellent second hand bikes for under $1000. If you wish you can rent for about $45 per month. However, many top jobs will come with a car complete with driver.
If riding a bike is not for you, then taxis are extremely reliable and inexpensive. But stick with Mai Linh or Vinasun taxi companies. Many others have been known to overcharge and under deliver.
Ho Chi Minh City is ranked the 424th most expensive city of 538 cities in the world.
Finding A Job
This is where RGF Executive Search comes in. We are experts in placing the right candidate with the right company. Our newly refurbished offices in the heart of the city provide the idea space in which to discuss your requirements. Why not look at our website here and see the tops jobs that we have on offer. We also offer a service to Viet Kieus or Vietnamese living and working abroad who wish to return to Vietnam. They can register with us in order to find excellent career opportunities. The Page is entitled “Vietnam is calling you home”.
For people new to living and working in Ho Chi Minh City this can be a daunting subject. At first glance the cultural differences can seem huge. But with an adventurous spirit and a bit of patience it really is not a bad thing. Loss of face here is a big deal, and one should never raise ones voice when dealing with any issues; it simply will make matters worse.
For many the Vietnamese language will prove to be a bridge too far. It is extremely difficult to even grasp the basics. The reliance on tone is what defeats most people. However you will find English spoken almost everywhere, and the locals love to practice.
Tax Issues and Liabilities
Basic tax in Vietnam for most employees is 35% you will have your tax deducted as in any other country. However the rates of pay are often higher than you would expect for comparable jobs in your homeland. Needless to say, you will find the take home pay here to be very advantageous. A further plus of course is the low cost of living for people working in Ho Chi Minh City, making the overall compensation rates extremely good.
Top Tips for Living and Working in Ho Chi Minh City
1. Do some research in advance of moving countries. For example in Ho Chi Minh City the two main areas where expats live are Districts 2 and 7. Find out where you are likely to be working and check the geography. Then check out social media sites like Expats and Locals in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) it has 75,000 members and you will soon start to get ideas and questions answered. Also websites like Inseasia will give you a good idea about all the things that you can do in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. If you think that you are likely to be buying a motor scooter, why not rent one for a month before you buy, to make sure this really is for you. Ask the renter to take you to some quiet streets to get the feel of the bike, before hitting the busy streets, particularly if you are a new rider.
3. Once you arrive, you should check out the bars and cafes where expats gather. You will make friends extremely quickly. Remember all expats have a lot in common, they know what it’s like to be a newbie. You may feel like a fish out of water but this will not last long at all. You will soon be having a great time.
4. Although the language is difficult, it is worth checking out a good course to attend. Ask your new friends to recommend the best ones. Like all things there are good and bad ones. Personal recommendations are always the best way to go.
5. Check out some of the good networking groups in the city. For those working in Ho Chi Minh City, there are boundless opportunities. These groups can be both enjoyable and beneficial; they are also a good way of making friends. AsiaLIFE magazine offers some good advice.
6. Throw yourself into the local street culture. Eating and drinking on the streets at night in Ho Chi Minh City is an amazing experience. There are many barbecue places along Vinh Khanh in District 4. The atmosphere is terrific and the food is extremely good and inexpensive. However you will find street food almost everywhere.
7. Make sure you travel around the area when you get time off. The Mekong Delta, for example, is a fascinating place and must not be missed. The beautiful island of Phu Quoc is just a short inexpensive flight away, ideal for a long weekend.
Vietnam is an amazing city full of cultural attractions, and career opportunities. It is growing at an incredible rate and with it comes exciting jobs and wonderful lifestyle changes. Check out the RGF Executive Search website to see what is available for you. You will never regret taking the plunge to work in Vietnam and working in Ho Chi Minh City will change you life forever, for the better.