For the more adventurous expat, another option, which takes a bit of time and requires some knowledge of the Vietnamese language, is to walk around the district where you decide you want to live. When you see a sign that reads nhà cho thuê (house or flat for rent) and a phone number, pull over and have a chat with the landlord. You could save yourself a bit of rent by dealing with him/her directly, and it gives you a bit more insight into the neighbourhood.

See what corner shops are nearby and more importantly, what they carry. If you like street food, you can see what you might be eating throughout your stay.

It is also a good idea to view the neighbourhood at different times, as an innocuous-looking hẻm during the day can become ominous at night.

Most of these rentals will not be on the radar of real estate agents, so expect them to be a bit more local in terms of amenities and furnishings.

For information on living in Saigon go to Saigon: Not Yet a Tourism Hub

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