How to choose a place to live in Ho Chi Minh City?

By: City Pass Guide

What about the different places to live in Ho Chi Minh City?

Properties in District 1 and District 3 are sought after for their good schools, offices and markets, but District 2 and District 7 are becoming hubs in their own right. And as traffic congestion and property values rise in town, the less congested districts of Bình Chánh and Nhà Bè are increasingly popular among wealthy Vietnamese.

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When choosing a place to live in Ho Chi Minh City, take into consideration its proximity to good schools, family, commercial centres and work, along with the character of the neighbourhood, quality of life and the available infrastructure.

Another element that should be considered is flooding. With Saigon’s long rainy season and inadequate drainage system for rivers and street overflow, heavy rain or high tides can cause extensive flooding in the streets.

When choosing your new home, it is important to ask whether it will flood on your way to work. If you don’t ask this seemingly bizarre question, you may find yourself pushing your beloved motorcycle through a street of black water with a drowned carburettor and exhaust. This is one of the reasons taxi drivers in HCMC love the rainy season.

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Note also that while it’s cheaper to rent in outlying districts, most businesses function in the Central Business District (CBD). So the savings you make on rent could be negated by your then extensive commute to work.

What about living in District 1?

District 1, with its reverse L-shape, is the location of HCMC’s CBD and the bulk of the city’s Western restaurants, clubs, bars and tourist destinations.

It is not surprising that rental prices here are the highest. The CBD spans from Nguyễn Huệ and Đồng Khởi and stretches north to south from the Saigon River to Lê Lợi. HCMC’s Little Tokyo, on Lê Thánh Tôn from Hai Bà Trưng to Tôn Đức Thắng, is another fascinating area.

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Because of its consistent vibrancy and upbeat nightlife, District 1 is ideal for singles. The city never sleeps!

What about living in District 2?

Once one of the poorest districts in the city, District 2 is now a fast-developing hot spot. Passing under the Saigon Tunnel on Mai Chí Thọ and seeing the cranes in the distance will give an indication of the city’s plans to create a second CBD. With its close proximity to District 1, District 2 will also be the first stop on the city metro line.

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The district’s expat enclave, Thảo Điền ward, has two of the most prestigious international schools, as well as villas and compounds and a fair few Western restaurants and bars. Because of its international schools, District 2 is home to many expats with young families. Its ambience is more suburban than big city, despite rapid development, and the streets are less crowded than in the CBD. Floodings in many parts of the district are still common, though.

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What about living in District 7?

District 7 feels like an alternative universe compared to other parts of town. The streets are wide, congestion hardly exists and the atmosphere is mostly free of the blaring horns of downtown Saigon. The district is home to a large population of Korean expats and is the place to go for great Korean food. Inside District 7 is the satellite city of Phú Mỹ Hưng, which is characterised by tall apartment blocks and modern shops and restaurants.

HCMCImage source: phumyhung.com.vn

There are lots of Japanese and rich Vietnamese too. You can find great schools and the city’s best shopping malls here. Several peaceful parks are available in the district, and are great for picnics with friends and family. D7 is around 15 minutes from the city centre outside of peak hours, and relatively free of flooding.

What about living in District 3?

Bordering D1 in the centre of HCMC, District 3 is quieter, more local and a touch more scenic than its manic neighbour. The tree-lined avenues snake around a smattering of foreign consulates, French colonial buildings and up and-coming dining venues.

HCMCImage source: c2.staticflickr.com

What about living in District 4?

The smallest district in HCMC, District 4 is sandwiched between D1 and D7. This densely populated district had a reputation as one of the roughest parts of the city due to its organised-crime past, but it has cleaned up quite a bit in recent years. It is also known for its cheap eats and has some of the best street food in the city.

HCMCImage source: willflyforfood.net

What about living in District 5?

This district to the west of D1 is also known as Chợ Lớn, home to the city’s Chinese population. A teeming hub of activity, it hosts one of the largest markets in Vietnam, a deluxe shopping mall and many Chinese pagodas. It is also known for its cheap Chinese restaurants.

Video source: Chợ Lớn Kìa

What about living in Bình Thạnh District?

This district is a transit hub between D1 and D2, and embodies much of the vibrancy of Saigon several decades ago. Due to its proximity to D1 it has become a magnet for higher-end apartment blocks such as the Manor and Saigon Pearl. It is also home to the Bình Quới area which has some of the greenest spaces in town.

HCMCImage source: en.vinhomestancang.co

What about living in Phú Nhuận District?

Located near Tan Son Nhat airport, Phú Nhuận has one of the highest population densities in the city and can be a bit manic to live in. If you are looking for some escape, it has several parks where you can relax.

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