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.