Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) - or is it Saigon? Well, it was known as Gia Định when it was conquered by the French in the 1860s, who Westernised the traditional name to Saigon (Sài Gòn). After the reunification of the country in 1975, the provisional government renamed it to its current moniker in honour of the late North Vietnamese leader and father of independent Vietnam, Hồ Chí Minh.

That said, many Vietnamese still call it Sài Gòn, especially when they refer to the built-up city centre rather than the whole municipality.

The train station officially is still Ga Sài Gòn, and the IATA code for the airport is SGN. The municipality, however, is known as Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, or Tp HCM.

Make sure you always say Ho Chi Minh City (or HCMC) when dealing with officials and filling in forms.

Living in Ho Chi Minh City has never been easier. As Saigon becomes more modernized by the day, the standard of living for expats inches closer and closer to what you'd expect at home - with, of course, the added benefit of being much more affordable.

With a budding job market, an abundance of affordable residences, a wealth of international schools and universities, and enough charm to last a lifetime, living in Saigon has become a real choice for many foreigners looking for something different.

Those moving to Vietnam will need to go through a bit of hassle getting a working permit and temporary residence cards. Adjusting to the local community, getting used to the hectic mode of transport, anachronistic banking practices and insurance tribulations are not out of the question. In exchange, however, expats get the rare chance to settle in cosmopolitan areas built amidst local streets and historic buildings, full of delicious local and international restaurants, malls and entertainment centers, and fun activities for the entire family.

A roaring nightlife - active most days of the week - offers classy, affordable entertainment, while art and culture lovers will get a kick out of the artistic community in Saigon.

Affordable housing becomes a sound investment as the city's real estate market gets more and more attention from foreign investors. As evidenced by District 2's and District 7's momentous growth, middle-to-upper-class expats and locals are getting bargain rates for potentially lucrative properties. Violent crime is almost non-existent, adding safety to the growing list of reasons to settle in Ho Chi Minh City.

With a bit of hassle, the charm and affordability of living in Ho Chi Minh City far outweighs the initial burdens. Check out our living section to find all the information you need on the best health care providers, serviced apartment complexes and more.

Premiere venues in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Scooter Centre

Saigon Scooter Centre

This shop specialises in the restoration and export of classic vintage Italian motor scooters. You can also rent bikes here.

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Chaocom

Chaocom

CHAOcom has been founded in June 2003 and became one of the leading real estate & car rental in Hochiminh city Vietnam. Their business focus on two departments: Real Estate & Car Rental services. This comnpany provide houses, apartments, villas, offices, warehouses, factories, shops, etc for rent and for sale in HCM city and other neighbouring provinces. CHAOcom agents are educated and well trained for long time in this business. With their recommendations and consultancies, you will certainly find a right accommodation or home or office or warehouse/factory in Vietnam. Most of these activities are free of charge for clients. ...

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Stamford Skin Centre: Skin Treatment Redefined

Stamford Skin Centre: Skin Treatment Redefined

Did you know that some $200 cosmetic creams are manufactured for $5, and are basically glorified moisturisers? What about the fact that there is a tattoo removal laser that shoots beams at pulses of one trillionth of a second? We sat down with Stamford Skin Centre, an advanced laser dermatology clinic in Ho Chi Minh City, to find out some surprising things about skin care, skin treatment, tattoo removal, cosmetic dermatology, skin cancer and STDs. Stamford Skin Centre uses some of the world’s latest dermatology equipment to provide residents with highly effective treatment. At the helm of the clinic are ...

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Diamond Island Luxury Residences

Diamond Island Luxury Residences

Fully-furnished one to four-bedroom apartments with private balconies providing panoramic views of the stunning surroundings. Each space features plush interiors, modern amenities and elegant furnishings, creating a luxurious harmony of comfort and sensorial tranquillity. Facilities include saltwater swimming pool, gymnasium, golf chipping range, tennis courts, barbecue area, playground, promenade, supermarket and shuttle bus.

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New Indo-China International

New Indo-China International

Services: House/office relocations, express service, logistics, travelling packages, water filter products for homes and shops. New Indo-China International offers relocation services for homes and offices in Vietnam and worldwide. For super quick service, use their express service and deliver your goods door-to-door. This efficient option is available both in Vietnam and internationally, to other countries. New Indo-China International also supplies water filter products to enhance the quality of tap water in your home and office for good health.

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Allied Pickfords Vietnam

Allied Pickfords Vietnam

Services: This provider is known for a number of top-quality services. These include doorto-door services, international moves, local moves, office moves, storage, relocation, international transit insurance and customer care. From the packhorses of the early 17th century to the most advanced shipping and transportation methods of today, with over 600 locations in more than 40 countries, Allied Pickfords has grown to become one of the largest providers of moving services accross the globe. In Vietnam they are known as one of the country’s most reliable remmovals and relocation providers.

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Relocation Vietnam

Relocation Vietnam

Run by three expat relocation consultants from diverse backgrounds, Relocation Vietnam orients clients with the complexities of the city, helps rent a car or motorbike, deals with visa, work permit and resident card issues, and helps locate a proper home and school, along with other useful services for moving expats.

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Santa Fe Relocation Services

Santa Fe Relocation Services

Services: Moving, relocation, immigration, document storage and home search. All of Santa Fe’s services are conducted inhouse by experienced staff, offering a seamless relocation experience that is tailored to each individual’s needs, and expertly handled by industry professionals throughout. Santa Fe makes it easy.

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ABC International School

ABC International School

The oldest international school in the city (founded in 1995) to remain under family ownership, the ABCIS retains a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Recognised as an outstanding school by the UK Government, it offers the UK curriculum, International IGCSE and A Level qualifications. Students thrive in a rich academic environment, are immersed fully in English, and participate in a wide range of challenging learning opportunities. This holistic approach facilitates exceptional examination results and subsequent entry into the world’s best universities.

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Saigon South International School

Saigon South International School

"At SSIS we begin with those ideas that bind us together, our core values of the pursuit of Academic Excellence, a grounding in a Sense of Self, a commitment to Dedicated Service, the striving for a Balance in Life, and a heartfelt Respect for All. These unite us as a school and are at the center of everything we do. While we come from many different nations and cultures, while our beliefs and ideas may differ widely on the issues and challenges we face in the world today, we have each chosen to join our self to this school, our ...

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The American School (TAS)

The American School (TAS)

The American School is a school with a short history but with a long list of accomplishments. From Early Childhood through grade 12, TAS is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Our school provides a caring, student-centered environment where the values of tolerance, appreciation and respect for individual differences are highly prized. Our professional faculty is compassionate, highly trained, energetic, supportive and innovative in providing quality, research-based programs and curriculum. The school’s Expected School Wide Learning Results permeate our curriculum and instruction. We focus on vital academic skills which include communication, critical thinking, technological literacy, ...

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The EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS)

The EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS)

The EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City (EIS) is a Nobel Talent school (NEN) located in Thao Dien, District 2. EIS is a fully accredited IB World School, authorised to teach all 3 programmes of the International Baccalaureate curriculum (PYP, MYP, DP) to students ages 2-18 years. English is the language of instruction throughout the school, but students in all grades from age 3-18 years have the opportunity to learn additional languages such as French, German, Spanish and Vietnamese. EIS educates global citizens to enjoy learning, inquiring and caring for others around them. Students are immersed in a multicultural ...

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VietNam Australian International School

VietNam Australian International School

Established in 2004 and licensed by the Vietnamese Government, Vietnam Australia International School (VAS) is a private school group within the national education system offering a K–12 education programme. At present, VAS is offering educational services to some 5,000 students from K through 12 at 6 campuses in Ho Chi Minh City. After 2 years of implementing the Cambridge International Education Programme in parallel with the National Education Programme, VAS has re-affirmed and been constantly pursuing the vision of being a growing school group of excellence, preparing students to be successful in life and higher education whilst preserving Vietnamese traditional ...

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Saigon Star International School

Saigon Star International School

Saigon Star International School delivers the globally respected English National School Curriculum. Currently we cater for children from the ages of 2 to 11, providing them with a high quality education, delivered by fully qualified and highly dedicated staff. The school has a plan in place, to expand into Secondary Education by 2017. Saigon Star provides an identical academic curriculum to that delivered by other leading British International Schools, however our fee structures are highly competitive and are unmatched by any other Saigon international school providing the English National Curriculum. Saigon Star’s primary objective is to provide your child with ...

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CMI - Centre Médical International

CMI - Centre Médical International

Centre Médical International is an international standard, fully equipped outpatient clinic. Near Notre Dame Cathedral in central Saigon, CMI offers professional, comprehensive medical services courtesy of European-trained French and Vietnamese doctors. Areas of treatment specialization include general and tropical medicine, cardiology, obstetrics/gynaecology, ENT, osteopathy, paediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, acupuncture, speech-therapy, psychomotor therapy, childbirth education classes, dietetic, and in-home care. When in HCMC, trust CMI to provide high quality, affordable medical care delivered with the highest standards of ethical conduct. CMI donates 100% of its profits to the Children's Solidarity Fund at The Heart Institute in Ho Chi Minh City. The Fund ...

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Hoan My Sai Gon Hospital

Hoan My Sai Gon Hospital

Hoan My Sai Gon Hospital, the first private general hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, was established in 1997 and is a leading member of the largest hospital chain in Viet Nam – Hoan My Hospitals. In 2011, the new 12 floor building opened with 228 inpatient beds, and new high-tech medical equipment such as MRI, MSCT-scanner, Cath-lab and accredited laboratory. The hospital features 8 international standard operating theaters and 52 clinic rooms that provide outpatients with consultation and treatment services for both Vietnamese and expatriates. Their specialties are: General Internal medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, ENT, ...

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European Medical Center

European Medical Center

European Medical Center provides high quality medical and cardiovascular care for patients. Headed by a French cardiologist and using the latest equipment and technology, EMC can treat patients with a variety of heart conditions and metabolic troubles (diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension). This center also offers medical and cardiac screening packages. Guillaume Nguyen, who owns the clinic, is the best and only certified foreign cardiologist in Vietnam. Services include: Pharmacy (French pharmacist/delivery at home); Home service (Blood test at home

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Dental Arts of Saigon

Dental Arts of Saigon

Accadent is a German owned dental clinic located in the city center. The German dentists offer top-notch dentistry with know-how and technology from Germany. This is the address for up to date methods for fillings, root canal treatments, veneers, crowns and bridges as well as orthodontics and implants. They take a lot of time for each patient and clarify any upcoming questions. The dental cleaning is extremely thorough. Sterilization follows European and US guidelines.

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Starlight Dental Clinic

Starlight Dental Clinic

Starlight dental clinic was established in 1996. Our commitment is to provide you the highest standard of personalized dental care with a gentle, efficient and professional manner Our office has a warm and friendly atmosphere that puts our patients at ease. We trust you will find the atmosphere calming, the staff friendly, and will appreciate our dental services. We employ highly-qualified dental professionals and utilize leading-edge technologies. We listen carefully to our patients. Working together, you and our dentists can choose the treatment options that best meet your needs. Starlight Dental Clinic provide full range of dental treatment including general ...

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Smile Dental Clinic

Smile Dental Clinic

The Clinic’s team uses the latest techniques and strictly adheres to the international standards of sterilisation and cross infection control. Services provided include examinations of misaligned teeth, crooked and crow teeth, adult orthodontics using aesthetic aligners, root canal treatment, and surgical insertion of dental implants to replace missing teeth.

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Saigon Hospital of Cosmetic Surgery

Saigon Hospital of Cosmetic Surgery

This centre was the first hospital of cosmetic surgery in Vietnam to be licensed by the Ministry of Health in 2003. Many patients came from abroad: the US, Europe, Australia and different Asian countries. The staff includes a group of welltrained surgeons headed by Professor Nguyễn Xuân Cường, MD, certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. They provide a range of surgeries, from chin implants to liposuction.

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most popular articles in Ho Chi Minh City

Events April 2016

Events April 2016

WINE NOT? New World Saigon Hotel, 76 Le Lai, D1 Every Thursday | 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Join us at The Lounge every Thursday for an evening of good taste. The Lounge proudly presents more than 10 different wines and a selection of homemade tapas for your enjoyment. Food and drink items change monthly and this wine tasting experience is for three full hours of free-flowing wine and snacks. Terms a...

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Best International Schools in Saigon

Best International Schools in Saigon

Find the ideal international school for your child in Ho Chi Minh City with our guide to the city's top ten. We detail admission fees, curriculum, notable features and other useful details to make the process easier... Many people move to Vietnam without a set idea of where they will settle, where they will educate their children and how they will live. Immigration is always confusing! But in ...

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What Vietnamese Children Learn in School

What Vietnamese Children Learn in School

What do Vietnamese kids actually learn in public schools here? Former educator Frank Fox provides a glimpse into the local system. The school system in Vietnam rests on one major foundation: learning by heart. While beneficial in fields like mathematics and geometry, it suffocates creativity in other subjects. Don’t get me wrong, there is creativity going on in Vietnam. There are people...

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Choosing the Right School Curriculum

Choosing the Right School Curriculum

The word curriculum is a bit daunting to non-educators. Sometimes it seems so vast that it encompasses everything and at other times it seems so vague it appears to be all fluff. So how do you tell which school curriculum in Ho Chi Minh City is right for your child? Basically, each school’s curriculum defines what students are expected to understand in every subject area at each grade le...

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Meet the Expert: Ellen Thompson on International School Life

Meet the Expert: Ellen Thompson on International School Life

Ellen Thompson is an American who has lived in Ho Chi Minh City for close on 14 years. She came to teach English originally, and liked Vietnam and the people so much that she stayed. Saigon Star International School opened its doors in 2006. Ellen joined two years later as Headteacher. The school is in a particularly lush part of Saigon’s District 2. The location was chosen for its open s...

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Top things to do in Saigon for Kids

Top things to do in Saigon for Kids

Ho Chi Minh City offers superb opportunities for people who decide to make a life here. But what about your kids? How good is Saigon life for your young ones? Here are a few ideas for activities for your children to enjoy. KizCiti Khu Cong Vien Khanh Hoi, Hoang Dieu, D4 Phone: +84 8 3825 3868Hotline: +84 9 3205 9169 Opening Hours: 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Daily This activity centre is...

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Keeping Good Counsel

Keeping Good Counsel

We sat down to interview Michelle Parker, the Guidance and College Counsellor at The American School, on what it means to be a great school counselor. How does a counsellor ensure he/she is sending a child on a path the child will both benefit from and enjoy? They meet one to one and in groups to make assessments to get in touch with who they are. There is never a magic wand or any gua...

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Why Children Need to Play

Why Children Need to Play

Representational Thought Source: Steve Bridger Through imaginary play the child practices many different ways of representing reality, by creating symbols. He'll make homes, farms, animals, people, food, or an outing to the "zoo” with paint, blocks, play-dough and sand, or by dressing up. His creations are symbols of representational thought. Symbols are things that represent something ...

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Adult Education in Vietnam

Adult Education in Vietnam

Adult Education in Ho Chi Minh City, and in Vietnam in general, is not as widely available as it is in the West. Probably the biggest field of interest in adult education is in the area of English as a second language. There are private schools and other organisations who have excellent programmes in this area. If you dig a little deeper though, classes can be found in a variety of areas. Ther...

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How to obtain a work permit in Vietnam?

How to obtain a work permit in Vietnam?

What are the qualifications for obtaining a work permit in Vietnam? Being an expat living in HCMC, in order to obtain a work permit, you have to satisfy the following conditions: - Being capable of civil acts as prescribed by law;- Your health is suitable for your job;- Being a manager, executive officer, expert or technician. If you provide medical examination, medical treatment or work in ed...

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How to obtain a temporary resident card in Vietnam?

How to obtain a temporary resident card in Vietnam?

What are the cases in which a foreigner can obtain a temporary resident card in Vietnam? - He/she is member of diplomatic missions, consular offices, representative offices of international organisations of the UN, intergovernmental organisations in Vietnam, or the spouse, child under 18 years of age, housemaid that comes along during his/her term of office. In this case, he/she will be issued...

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What should you consider when choosing a school in HCMC?

What should you consider when choosing a school in HCMC?

The first step in choosing a school is to be clear on what you are looking for. Then, visit each school to learn more about their educational philosophy and values, and how they compare to your own. It is important to ask about the school’s accreditation, as well as the experience and credentials of the individual teachers. It is also important to ask about the school’s curriculum. ...

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The Best Place to Live in Saigon

The Best Place to Live in Saigon

What is the best place to live in Saigon? The answer depends on who you are and how much you can spend. Single expats, families or students will all have different preferences. Our complete guide below will help you decide if you should stay in District 1, District 7, District 2, or even some more local districts like Thu Duc. To read about the benefits of living in a particular area or neigh...

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Are You Insane Enough to Drive in Saigon?

Are You Insane Enough to Drive in Saigon?

Driving in Saigon requires a high level of skill, yes, but even more than that it requires daring. Bravery. Heck, insanity! Driving a motorbike on the dusty, dense, wild streets of this city is an activity that I would never recommend anyone unless they were stark raving mad, because to join chaos you’ve got to be chaotic. There’s a pulse to the rush of the roads here, and the key t...

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12 Things that Happen when You Move To Vietnam

12 Things that Happen when You Move To Vietnam

Any expat living in Vietnam will agree that a lot of things change when you move here. In fact, your life is pretty much flipped on its head. From the obvious things like housing, the language barrier and quality of living, to the more complex issues that you may not even have thought of, like how you will get your child to school or yourself to the office. To what office? Where will you b...

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17 Weird Saigonese Habits

17 Weird Saigonese Habits

Some of the best things to see when you visit HCMC are directly related to the daily habits of local people. And in fact, these hilarious and bizarre habits are often a big part of people's decision to turn expat and stay here - we fall in love with the complete nonsensical clockwork of this city. So many of the people here simply don’t make sense. From their love of toothpicks and inter...

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Cost of Living in Saigon/HCMC

Cost of Living in Saigon/HCMC

Everybody keeps filling my ears with how marvelously cheap life in Vietnam is, but I have my doubts on that. I mean, compared to Switzerland, Austria, Japan or Singapore… yes. Vietnam is definitely cheaper. But you have to do your homework, note places where they don’t overcharge you because of your long nose and generally add the costs of visa, occasional visits to your country of...

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