Best Place to Live in Saigon

By: City Pass Guide

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 neighborhood, you can read the whole post or click on one below:

District 1 • District 2 and Thao Dien • District 3 

District 4 • District 5 • District 7 and Phu My Hung

District 10 • Tan Binh District • Thu Duc District • Phú Nhuận District    


As Vietnam’s commercial center and a Southeast Asian “city of dreams”, Saigon is as vibrant as it is varied. With nearly eight million official populants and more than seven million international visitors, this city was never going to be easy to understand - and that, friends, is the beauty of it. No matter who you are, where you come from or where you are going, there is a place for you in Ho Chi Minh City. It’s just a matter of asking the right questions.

So let’s get to it. What area of the town has the ideal combination of shops, parks, cute little cafes, bars or fitness centers to suit your exact preference? Unsurprisingly, most of the city’s activity is concentrated center around the center of town, so if you’re looking for a quiet, more neighbourly feel to your home, head to the burbs.

Are you a family man? A lady in love? Or are you one of those fabulous lone wolves…? A 20-something with an eye for nightlife or a 50-something (maybe also with an eye for nightlife)? Well, if it’s nightlife you want, you’ll thrive in District 1. Are you looking for a house, an apartment, a villa…? And tell me, where do you work?

These are all important questions for you to ask when you choose where to live in Saigon. Real estate here is diverse, as are the rates you will pay, and your choice of a home will depend on so many things. Your age, your choice of accommodation, your length of stay, etc. There are pros and cons to every area of Saigon, and no matter what, you’ll fit in somewhere.

Please note: All prices listed are according to Batdongsan.com, and are accurate to the time of writing.


District 1

Are you a fan of late nights and later mornings? Does a thumping beat make your heart move faster? Do you ever feel the urge to break into song late at night and go rampaging around the streets with a group of revelling friends? Well, the good news is that this is very normal in District 1.

Apart from night time revelling, District 1 is home to a variety of cafes, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools. Take a stroll in 23/9 Park or go bargain hunting at Saigon Square. All the best tourist attractions in Saigon are concentrated here, while many of the city’s famous sites - such as the Saigon Zoo, Duc Ba Church and the War Museum - are conveniently close.

Rent: Varied. It really depends on how you want to live. I rent a room for $140 US per month now (check out my guide to renting in Saigon for more!), complete with air conditioning, TV, private bathroom, fridge and a very nice bed! But rent for a room here can range from as low as $25 US/month to a mind-boggling $700 US and more.

If you’re after luxury, we have all the best insight into Saigon’s most beautiful places to live. The average price for a room rented by the typical expat in this part of town is VND 6 or 7 million per month, and the price increases from there depending on the amount of luxury you are after.

But for local rates, we recommend the Vietnamese version of Batdongsan.com. You will need a Vietnamese friend to help you, but if you use this platform you’re bound to find something great. Just make sure you register with the police when you move in, because you’re likely to be living in a local house. Also, check out the brief guide to that site at the bottom of this article, and follow the links below to view the site’s listings.

  • House: A nice house from around VND 12 million per month
  • Room: Ranges from VND 3 million per month to VND 10 million per month, depending on what your budget is. At the lower end, rooms are often unfurnished and without a bond.

Transport: As the center of town, getting around District 1 is easy! From the airport a taxi will cost you between VND 150, 000 and VND 200,000, and all the main bus lines run through District 1.

Hospitals: There are also many medical centers District 1. Our favorite general practitioner and hospital complex is the CMI near Notre Dame Cathedral, and for dental work we recommend the Dental Art of Saigon. Other hospitals in D1 include Columbia Asia and Family Medical Practice.

Supermarkets: As the center of town, District 1 is home to many, many supermarkets for all your household needs. Our favorites are the Co-op supermarket on Cống Quỳnh street or the CitiMart on Nguyễn Trãi street for their reasonable prices and variety of goods, the Satra Foods on Lê Thánh Tôn and VinMart in the Vincom Center for its range of fresh produce. We also recommend the local Thái Bình market on Cống Quỳnh street as a place to buy fresh tofu, herbs, fruit and vegetables. Prices here are reasonable and the stall vendors are friendly. There is an Annam Gourmet on Hai Bà Trưng street that stocks a variety of international imports.

Where to eat: Wherever you like! District 1 is a metropolis of new and old businesses offering an almost endless array of foods and drinks from a wide range of international cuisines. From street ca phe to Starbucks and a range of boutique cafes, coffee in District 1 is an experience.

For the low to mid-range foodie, street food here is always excellent, though somewhat tailored to tourist taste-buds. Many restaurants on Bui Vien are also good options for the budget lover. (Check out our interview with the owner of The Five Oysters for the story of how his own restaurant began.)

For a more high-end dining experience, check out our range of recommended options. From the delicious Vietnamese cuisine of Viet Village or a tasty curry at Tandoor, to a hearty meal at the New York Steak House - District 1 has it all.

Things to do and nightlife: District 1 is the tourist hotspot of town. Here you will find the best sites in Saigon and the widest range of activities. From cycling to walking tours, local parks to the popular zoo, museums to markets and period buildings - District 1 is the place to do things! Check out our suggestions for activities and attractions in Saigon for more.

As the backpacker center of town, District 1 holds most of Saigon’s nightlife. The famous strip, Bui Vien, literally never sleeps, and a number of clubs, bars, live music venues and after-hours hotspots in the area or nearby in District 3, will keep even the most energetic of night owls entertained..

Living in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City

Living in District 1 you will be close to many attractions such as Nguyen Hue street and City Hall.


District 2 and Thao Dien: the burbs

Sick of crazy District 1? Yes, well many people are. For a lot of people the endless hubbub of Saigon’s center is just too much after a while, and to retreat to a more quiet, slower pace of life is a welcome relief.

These people like to be able to hear birds, to share the street with bicycles rather than roaring mopeds, to sit by a quiet river or relax in a local cafe where everyone knows everyone because there aren’t that many people in the area.

District 2 is also the ideal neighbourhood for your family home. Many expat families live here due to the high concentration of international schools and the comparative safety of its streets. Facilities are aimed at the expat community - from shopping malls to small businesses and hair salons - and the majority of people here are foreign.

Rent: A range of rents are offered in District 2, but since it’s quite a commute from the center of town they tend to be lower on average. An expat in District 2 pays around VND 8 million per month for a room, but it can be as low as VND 4 million per month if you play your cards right.

According to Batdongsan...

  • House: A nice house from VND 12 million per month, to a lot more… Just ask yourself - how big is your family?
  • Room: From as little as VND 2 million per month! It depends on what you are looking for.

Transport: Inconvenient. Local buses run along the Highway 52, but don’t go into the wards. Take bus number 52 from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to the corner of Highway 52 and Số 1, or take a xe om for about VND 80,000.

Hospitals: We recommend the Family Medical Practice in District 2 (and also in District 1) for all your medical needs.

Supermarket: An Phu Supermarket or the supermarket at Big C are our favorite options.

Where to eat: District 2, particularly Thao Dien Ward, is home to a variety of new small cafes and restaurants. It’s a great area of town for a nice family dinner, or a nice ladies’ brunch. Check out the restaurant and bar at Thao Dien Village, which offers a range of Italian, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine as well as a delicious tapas menu.

Things to do and nightlife: Saigon’s arts hub and one of the city’s best spots for live music is located in Thao Dien Ward, District 2. Saigon Outcast offers a variety of workshops from figure drawing to cooking contests, hosts a number of festivals and events, nurtures Ho Chi Minh City’s hottest up and coming musicians and celebrates the arts in this city. Their monthly urban flea market is a great day out for the kids, with its variety of boutique clothes stalls, artists, delicious foods and cute little gifts.

Living in district 2, HCMC

District 2 is a very western part of Saigon


Phú Nhuận: for those who love coffee

Phú Nhuận, one of Ho Chi Minh City’s densest areas and a well known expat enclave for those working nearby or at the airport, is home to a number of interesting coffee shops. It’s also a cultural hotspot, being far from the backpacker area of town and housing many local families and businesses, and prices are generally cheaper for the same reasons.

Rent: In Phú Nhuận you get the best for less. With a variety of serviced apartments or house-share options, an expat pays on average around VND 6 million per month for a nice room - think aircon, ensuite, balcony, fridge, kitchen and big cushy bed - and apartments here are leased for VND 15 million per month and up.

According to Batdongsan.com...

  • House: A nice house from VND 12 million per month
  • Room: From VND 2 million for unfurnished to VND 4 million for furnished, and up.

Transport: convenient. Phú Nhuận is very close to the airport, and a VND 50,000 xe om ride from District 1. You can also catch local bus number 3 from Ben Thanh Market, or take a taxi for up to VND 150,000.

Hospitals: We recommend Fortis Hoan My hospital in Phú Nhuận district for their quality practice and team of skilled doctors and surgeons, but there are a variety of healthcare providers in the area.

Supermarket: The Big C at 202B Hoàng Văn Thụ in Phú Nhuận District is both cheap and well stocked, with a variety of produce from fresh fruit and vegetables to bread and cakes, and sections for appliances and household products.

Where to eat: Phú Nhuận is full of street food and blessed with very reasonable prices. For the vegetarian, head down the alleyway 330/16 Phan Đình Phùng and stop in at the noodle shop to your left. Conversely, have you ever wanted to try a Vietnamese take on the traditional Western burger? Quán Cây Khế in Phú Nhuận District is the place to go. There are a number of cafes in Phú Nhuận which are bound to tickle your fancy - think Harry Potter theme, a country cottage theme or a city-scape theme. Our favorite cafe in Phú Nhuận is the Pet Me Cafe, which houses birds and cats and dogs and a variety of other animals… and coffee.

Things to do and nightlife: Phan Xích Long is the place to be when the sun goes down in Phú Nhuận. Hosting a number of eateries with a variety of different cuisines, from noodles to sushi to pizza. Immerse yourself in live music at Udon, treat yourself to an ice-cream at Bud’s, or deafen the world with your voice at one of the street’s many karaoke bars.

living in phu nhuan district

It's easy to visit the market whilst living in Phu Nhuan District


District 3: for the eternally stylish

District 3 is known as the happy medium. It’s so close to town that you may as well be in town, and yet it is decidedly classier than anywhere in District 1. The rent won’t break your bank and what you get for said rent is well worth the money you pay. Some of the city’s most beautiful French colonial architecture lies in this area, as are the majority of Ho Chi Minh City’s most fashionable bars. If you are a fan of high-end fashion, new innovative work spaces and classic dark sunglasses, this is the area for you.

Rent: Being a more up-market area and close to the center of town, District 3 is more expensive. However, cheaper digs are available! An expat in a share house here will pay around VND 7 million per month for a basic room and shared bathroom. But according to Batdongsan.com...

  • House: A nice house from about VND 12 million per month
  • Room: About VND 5 million for a furnished, decent room with an ensuite

Transport: District 3 is almost all in walking distance from District 1, the center of town. You can catch bus 3 or bus 4 from Ben Thanh market to get to the west side of the district, or bus 50 and 52 to get to the east.

Hospitals: The Family Medical Practice in nearby District 1 is your best bet. The clinic staffs only the highest of qualified specialists, recruited from around the globe, and English is a prerequisite for all who work there. In District 3 we would also recommend International SOS Vietnam.

Supermarket: The Co-op Mart at 168 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu is our suggestion for your grocery needs in District 3. From fresh fish to school notebooks, this supermarket is impressively comprehensive.

Where to eat: Visit Indochine restaurant for delicious Vietnamese food in a beautiful, rustic atmosphere, enjoy the variety at Com Nieu, sample Vietnam’s famous Pho, or sit at one of the many street restaurants in the area.

Things to do and nightlife: A link to our list of the city’s best bars, clubs and live music venues can be found at the bottom of this article, and many of said after-hours hotspots are in District 3 or nearby District 1. Nightlife in the very center of Ho Chi Minh City literally never sleeps! But you’ll find a happy medium in District 3, which is largely quiet after midnight but still right next to all the action.

Living in District 3, Saigon

Overview over housing in District 3


District 7 and Phu My Hung: Think BIG

This is an expat area. Phu My Hung is the most popular spot in District 7, and it is here that the district’s international schools, Western supermarkets, swimming pools and trendy restaurants converge. District 7 has little in the way of nightlife, but is instead known for being quieter and more serene than the rest of Ho Chi Minh City.

Catering to the higher-income population of Saigon, District 7 is rife with high-rise apartment blocks, sweeping tree-lined streets and beautiful modern villas. Like District 2, it is a hotspot for expat families and executives. It’s a long way from the city center, which makes for a nasty commute, but if you’re a fan of clean roads and a bit of peace and quiet, this is the area for you.

Rent: This area was built with a high-end population in mind, and as such it’s generally more expensive.

  • House: A nice house from VND 12 million
  • Room: VND 2 million will rent you a small but cosy room with all the necessary facilities.

Transport: Though travelling to this area is simple, travelling inside it is less so since local buses stop at the border. Catch bus 86 from Ben Thanh to go to the East side or bus 152 from Trần Hưng Đạo street to get to the West, and from there use a xe om.

Hospitals: We recommend FV Hospital in Phu My Hung, or Saint Luke Medical Center.

Supermarket: Given its high expat population, it is little surprise that there is a Western import supermarket in Phu My Hung known as Veggy’s. Apart from this there is the usual Co-op Mart, a Lotte Mart and a number of CitiMarts.

Where to eat: There are a number of fast food joints in District 7, including Pizza Hut, Lotteria and KFC. For Japanese food try Takoika Japanese Soul Food at 549 Huỳnh Tấn Phát, or enjoy a Vietnamese BBQ at 404 Truong Son. For more about eating in District 7 check out this list we found of 6 Secret Spots in District 7.

Things to do and nightlife: District 7 is not a nightlife hotspot, and after the sun goes down most of the area’s population also hit the hay. But a number of classy restaurants make for lovely evening dining, and the beautiful Starlight Bridge at Crescent Mall in Phu My Hung is a popular hangout destination for young couples and groups of friends. If you want a lazy, quiet evening and an early sleep, District 7 is for you.

living in district 7, hcmc

Check out the rainbow waterfall on The Starlight Bridge at The Crescent in PMH.


District 4: for the mafia don

District 4 is Saigon’s notorious crime center, and is noticeably older and less developed than its neighbouring areas. Be careful with your belongings here and don’t walk around alone at night, but enjoy the huge variety of street-foods and the great local markets.

Since rent is cheaper here, a lot of small businesses rent office space in District 4 and as such it’s dotted with suited expats at lunch time. Most of the people who live here are locals, and if you do rent in District 4 we recommend living with other expats. Post in the Expats & Locals Facebook page to find out more.

Rent: As this area is one of Saigon’s poorest, we wouldn’t recommend renting here. That being said, rent is usually lower and there are some expats in the local community. According to the local rent rates on Batdongsan.com…

  • House:  A house, not a very nice one and rented from a local owner, is about VND 6 million per month.
  • Apartment (above 50m2, 2 bedroom): A lot of new apartment complexes have recently been built in this area, and for this reason apartments tend to be more expensive that other properties in district 4. You can rent a lovely, modern apartment for about VND 8 million per month and up, possibly the best bet for foreigners.
  • Room: About VND 1.5 million per month, not very nice or very safe.

Transport: Take bus 44 to get to the very edge of the district on Bến Vân Đồn street or bus 34 for the other side of the district, both from Ben Thanh market.

Hospitals: Since District 4 is very close to District 1, we would recommend visiting one of the many clinics in that area, rather than find a local practitioner in District 4. See item number 1 on this list for all the best hospitals in District 1.

Supermarkets: Though known for its street-food and plentiful local markets, District 4 is not your best bet when searching for a supermarket. There is a Satra Foods on Lê Văn Linh street, but the produce stocked here is not very varied and often more expensive than at the city’s larger supermarkets.

We suggest making the 10 minute drive to District 1’s Co-op Mart on Cống Quỳnh street for a more comprehensive selection of goods. Also, for meat, fish, tofu or fresh fruit and vegetables, why not try out the local market? Take note of how things are priced in the Co-op Mart and use this as a guide as to how much they should cost you on the street - usually a little bit less, and definitely not more! Make sure you wash everything thoroughly when you get home, but usually foods from a local market will be higher quality than at the supermarket.

Where to eat: if you like to eat locally you’re in luck. District 4 is one of Ho Chi Minh City’s top contenders for street-food! From succulent BBQ octopus or some fresh, juicy springrolls, to crisp banh mi, iced flan or a wide range of exciting soups and noodles, we challenge you to eat something you’ve never tried before in District 4.

Things to do and nightlife: During the day District 4 is a hub of local activity. Go for a wander through winding alleyways, drop-in for a coffee in one of the district’s many cafes, or take a dip in Van Don Pool on Khánh Hội street.

At night District 4 is not the safest of areas in Ho Chi Minh City. Vĩnh Khánh street is a popular local hang-out, with a lot of BBQ restaurants where groups of Vietnamese and the occasional expat sit, laugh and drink a lot of beer (often with straws). An alleyway leading up to this street from Hoàng Diệu street (called Đoàn Văn Bơ) is full of different flans, soups, pancakes and other delicacies which are excellent fun to sample, all with that addictive hustle and bustle typical of a Saigon local area at night. Famous Saigon bar The Observatory is also in District 4, as is Cargo Bar and a number of other establishments.

Living in district 4, Saigon

The Rainbow Bridge is pedestrian only and takes you from District 4 to District 1


District 10: for the budget lover (student)

One of the biggest perks of this area is the rent, which tends to be nice and low. Unlike District 4, the area is also quite safe and is a popular student hotspot. Food here is cheap and tasty, and given the high student population there are many cafes, pools and hang-out spots in the area.

The streets here are on average smaller and the population is quite dense, so traffic can be an issue, but the district is also very close to Saigon’s center, District 1, so all the city’s best nightlife and the perks of the backpacker area are very close at hand.

Rent:

  • House: You can rent quite comfortably here for VND 9 million per month.
  • Room: As little as VND 2 million per month, but for about VND 4 million per month you can rent a lovely room with a double bed and TV

Transport: Walk from District 1 (about 20 minutes from the center to the edge of District 10) or hop on bus 2.

Hospitals: We recommend the Vạn Hạnh General Hospital, or a visit to D1 for a variety of other options.

Supermarkets: There is a Co-op Mart on Hòa Hảo street in District 10 or a CitiMart on Tô Hiến Thành street, both of which are great options for all your grocery and household needs.

Where to eat: Since District 10 is home to the majority of Ho Chi Minh City’s student population, street-food here is a great option. However, we also would recommend a visit to Lang Nuong Nam Bo Restaurant for delicious Vietnamese food. Try their BBQ’d whole pork!

Things to do and nightlife: Be sure to visit the flower market on Hồ Thị Kỷ street or learn about traditional Vietnamese medicine at the Fito Museum on Hoàng Dư Khương street. The 1985 Cafe on Phạm Viết Chánh street at the border of Districts 1 and 10 is a great little spot for a cappuccino or a delicious freshly baked cake. Open until 10 p.m., this cafe is popular among students and young Vietnamese women, and serves a variety of coffees, teas and sweet treats in a cute, vintage setting.

Living in District 10, Ho Chi Minh City

Get fresh flowers from the flower market


District Tan Binh: reasonable and comfy

Think friendly and warm. This is the area of town for that guy or gal with a comfortable income, a comfortable career, who is looking to settle locally, long term and wants to live a comfortable life. Popular with office workers and businessmen, Tan Binh District is not exactly quiet but far enough from the center of town to be dark after hours.

Rent: Low. This area has a lot of small companies and businesses and is known for its reasonable rates for both long and short-term stay. According to Batdongsan…

  • House: A simple rental is about VND 7 million per month, but you will find beautiful homes for VND 13 million and up
  • Room: You can rent for as low as VND 2 million a month if you’re willing to bring your own furniture! And lower still if you don’t mind mould… But you will find something really nice for VND 4 million per month

Transport: Convenient! Catch bus number 152 from Trần Hưng Đạo street in District 1 and stay on until the last stop, or take a xe om for around VND 60,000. We recommend the application ‘GrabTaxi’ to find a xe om who will take you where you want to go, and not relieve you of your entire wallet.

Hospitals: The Saigon Ito hospital is Tan Binh District’s best bet for quality healthcare. Other than that, we recommend a trek into the center of town for a wider variety.

Supermarkets: There is a CitiMart at Trường Sơn street that is a great option for household goods, meats, fruits and vegetables, but for the freshest of produce make a visit to your local market. Be sure to bargain! Check the appropriate prices for meat and other produce at the supermarket before visiting the local market so that you can bargain effectively. For some phrases to use when buying your goods be sure to scroll right down and check out the ‘Useful Words’ section in this article!

Where to eat: Tan Binh is known to be a cheaper area of town in general, and the variety of local eateries and street-food vendors here are both delicious and nicely priced. You won’t damage your wallet if you eat out here, and your stomach will thank you for the variety of home-cooked delicacies you will find!

Things to do and nightlife: Tan Binh is not known for its variety of entertainment options, but there are still things to do in the area. If you walk around at night try not to go alone, and be careful with your things! We recommend going in a group and finding a local BBQ joint for a flask of beer and some good, tasty grilled meats.

Living in Tan Binh District in Ho Chi Minh City

Get some delicious BBQ food whilst living in Tan Binh District


District Thu Duc: the intrepid

Thu Duc is a student area, and is full of university students! This district is very far from the city center, and has a far lower foreigner population. If expats do live here it is usually either because they work or study here or because they are part of a local family. Rent here is also far far cheaper than rent closer to town, and so is food! It takes about an hour to travel here by bus from District 1, or 45 minutes by taxi, and most of Saigon’s more exciting attractions and activities are closer to the center of town. The buses stop running at 9 p.m.

Rent: Houses here tend to be a lot older and cater far less to the expat community. That being said, if you are intrepid this won’t be a problem for you. Apartments are weirdly luxurious in contrast! According to Batdonsan.com, local prices are…

  • House: You will find rentals as cheap os VND 5 or 6 million per month, but a nice house goes for about VND 10 million per month and up
  • Apartment (above 50m2, 2 bedroom): If you bring your own furniture you’re looking at a mere VND 5 million per month, but nice furnished apartments start at about VND 7 million per month
  • Room: Find something cheap and cheerful for VND 3 million per month

Transport: Take bus number 93 from Ben Thanh Market. A xe om or taxi will be quite expensive since this neighbourhood is far from town, and the local buses are fun.

Hospitals: Unfortunately, Thu Duc is not known for its medical facilities. The closest quality hospital that we would recommend is the Fortis Hoan My Hospital in Phú Nhuận.

Supermarkets: Similarly, this area is more of a suburb than an urban hotspot and so most of Ho Chi Minh City’s bigger chain supermarkets are concentrated closer to the center of town. The closest is a Co-op Mart on Nguyễn Kiệm in Phú Nhuận. Otherwise, try a local market!

Where to eat: As a student area, Thu Duc is a great option for street-food. We also recommend C.U House at 20/11C for some yummy coffee and a cute, urban setting.

Things to do and nightlife: Being so far from town, Thu Duc has its own nightlife! The student market in the far corner of this district is home to many, many interesting foods, beery revellers, super-cheap clothes and glittering trinkets. The petty crime rate here is high so keep an eye out for your wallet, but the atmosphere is intoxicating with that earthy buzz of a local commercial hotspot that many people search for in Asia. Take bus number 19 from District 1 to get here and make sure you come early because the last bus home is at 7:30pm! For more information about this market check out our guide to the best places to shop in Ho Chi Minh City.

Living in Thu Duc District in Ho Chi Minh City

You can find Suoi Tien Park in Thu Duc District.

 


District 5: Chinatown!

District 5 is Ho Chi Minh City’s “Chinatown”. It has the largest population of native Chinese in all of Vietnam, and is a fabulous fusion of Mandarin and Vietnamese culture. Famous for pagodas, temples and its local markets, District 5 is less expensive to live in than District 1, but is very close to town. Public transport to District 1 is convenient, and a motorbike ride to the center of town will take from 10 to 15 minutes. If you speak Cantonese or Mandarin make sure you at least visit this area, and if you’re a fan of wontons come for lunch!

Rent:

  • House: Around VND 8 or 9 million for one of the area’s old, quaint little dwellings. Batdongsan didn’t have any newer properties listed at the time of writing.
  • Room: Around VND 4 million for a nice room

Transport: Hop on bus number 1 and you’ll be there before you know it! The ride is lovely, through some seriously old and beautiful parts of town.

Hospitals: Choose from Chợ Rẫy Hospital, Hùng Vương Hospital or Phạm Ngọc Thạch Hospital! You will not stay sick for long in District 5.

Supermarkets: There is a CitiMart on Hùng Vươngstreet, or a Co-op Mart on An Dương Vương.

Where to eat: As noted above, District 5 has a high Chinese population, and this unsurprisingly affects the nature and variety of its street-food. For more high-end dining we recommend a trip into nearby District 1.

Things to do and nightlife: At night District 5 is a convenient 20 minutes from the buzz and all-night partying of Saigon’s center in District 1. Within Chinatown itself, however, why not embrace your inner diva and belt out a few hits at a local karaoke bar.

Living in District 5, chinatown

Visit Cho Lon and try out some local sweets


Overall, Saigon is a huge metropolis with a seemingly endless array of options. No matter who you are there is somewhere for you to live in Ho Chi Minh City - it’s just a matter of finding it. Check out our guides below to make your house hunting, bus taking, partying and market experiences easier.


Guide to Batdongsan.com

Here are a few tips to make your Batdongsan.com experience easier:

  1. Search in Vietnamese for the lower prices, but have a Vietnamese friend to help out
  2. ‘Giá cao nhất’ means ‘highest price’ and ‘Giá thấp nhất’ means “lowest price”
  3. Some rooms, apartments or houses are listed as shared - the owner wants to find someone to move in with him/her. So it’s good to have someone who speaks the language on hand, who can tell you if that super-cheap room you’ve found is in fact already inhabited!
  4. Bring someone Vietnamese with you when you see the room, to help keep the price down and to ask all the important questions like “Is electricity included?”
  5. See our guide to renting in Saigon for more!

 

Useful words:

  • Electricity - điện
  • Wi-Fi - Wi-Fi
  • Month - tháng
  • Price - giá
  • Bond - trái phiếu
  • Contract - hợp đồng
  • I want to buy this *** please - Tôi muốn mua *** này
  • How much is this ***? - *** này bao nhiêu?
  • Too expensive - mắc quá!
  • So cheap! - quá rẻ!
  • Half - nửa
  • 1 Kilo - một ki
  • Rent a room: Cho thuê văn phòng
  • Rent an apartment: Cho thuê căn hộ chung cư
  • Rent a house: Cho thuê nhà riêng

Resources:


How to Buy a House or Land in Vietnam?

By: City Pass Guide

Foreigners who are living in Vietnam may purchase houses for the expressed purpose of dwelling in it. By Vietnamese law, land is a national good, so you can only own the structure built on a property, not the land that it is on. You can enjoy a “land use right” for up to 50 years. This duration can be renewed. Also note that if you’re married to a Vietnamese citizen or a Việt kiều, you will have the same ownership rights as Vietnamese citizens.

Seek professional advice to ensure that all steps are properly taken to ensure a troublefree property transfer.

Alternatively, according to Vietnam’s Housing Law, every foreigner who has a Vietnamese visa stamp on their passport can buy a property in Vietnam. However, if you enjoy diplomatic or consular immunities and privileges, this does not apply.

Besides individuals, foreign companies, branches, representative offices of foreign companies, foreign investment funds and branches of foreign banks that are operating in Vietnam are also entitled to purchase property of residential projects.


A serviced apartment in Diamond Island Luxury Residences

What are the limits of foreigners’ rights on residential property in Vietnam?

The law states that foreign individuals and entities may only buy, receive or inherit apartments and houses in commercial projects and not in areas that limit or ban foreigners.

Although the limit of one property per foreigner has been repelled, the new Housing Law sets a limit on the proportion of foreigners who may live in a determined area: the total number of units owned by all foreign buyers must not exceed 30% of the units in one apartment building, or 250 landed property units in one ward.

The duration of the tenure is supposed to be equal to the land use right owned by the developer, most likely 50 years, with an option to extend the land use right at the end of it. The exact conditions for the extension are still unclear and will be detailed in further regulations.


Crescent Residences in D7, HCMC

An expatriate may lease his/her property for any purpose that is not banned by law, but he/she must inform the provincial house management agency before leasing the property. In this case, he/she is subject to Vietnam’s property taxes. If you are an overseas Vietnamese or if you are married to a Vietnamese citizen, you are entitled to a freehold tenure on the property.

If you bought it, you could of course decide to live in the house but also lease it or pass it through inheritance to someone else without any difficulties. To lease it, you will need an administrative authorisation from the Housing Department of the People’s Committee where your property is located.

Can foreign-invested enterprises purchase residential properties in Vietnam?

Foreign-invested enterprises that operate in Vietnam under the investment law but are not engaged in real estate, can purchase residential houses for their employees. They must possess investment certificates or written certifications of investment activities as appropriate to investment forms specified by the investment law granted by a competent Vietnamese state agency. They can buy properties to house their employees, but are not able to use them for leasing or other purposes.

HCMC properties
Housing in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: GettyImage

What are the steps to purchase a house in Vietnam?

1. Once you have chosen the property, you will have to sign a reservation agreement.

This legally links the buyer and seller and may include paying a deposit to the seller. Examine closely the reservation agreement before paying the deposit. It prescribes that if the buyer changes his mind, he will lose the deposit, and if the seller changes his mind, he will have to pay twice. You’re well advised to notarise this document to protect your interest.

2. Due diligence is the next step.

You will check the reliability of the seller by examining their ID or registration certificate along with the property’s certificates (for example the ownership certificate). You should also ask for a bank guarantee or insurance to ensure the seller is trustworthy.

3. Once due diligence has been satisfied by both parties, they confirm their engagement and interest by signing the housing contract.

An annex related to facilities that go with the apartment is advised. Make sure the agreement is signed by all related parties and if not, then by the representative who is mandated by the related persons. The contract on residential house purchase and sale must be in Vietnamese, so you will need a Vietnamese translator to help examine its content. Although many developers provide a bilingual version of the contract for a better understanding by all parties involved, only the Vietnamese version is valid under Vietnamese regulations. To help you with the complications involved with the contract, we list some details to look for before signing:

- Is it stated that the seller has the ownership certificate of the apartment and does he give a guarantee over this ownership?
- Is the apartment also a security for a loan?
- What are the responsibilities of the seller in case of dispute over the apartment ownership due to his fault?
- Methods used for payment?
- What are the responsibilities for tax and fees?
- What is the delivery time?

4. Paying taxes and fees.

Normally, if there is no other agreement between parties, the buyer pays the registration fee and the seller pays income tax. The payment shall be made at the tax department of the district where the house is located.

5. The last step is to apply for an ownership certificate.

Both parties can agree on how to handle issuance of the new certificate, although it is most likely that a buyer will have to take it up.


Designing a Luxury Hotel with KAZE Interior Design Studio

By: Katie Kinnon & Molly Headley

Create a concept; mood and function first

Planning a project at KAZE Interior Design Studio, District 2

How to Create Comfort in KAZE Interior Design Studio’s Projects

The Finished Interior Design Project

Creating an Interior Design Concept in Vietnam

What do you want to feel when you walk into a top hotel? This is one of the first questions that the team at KAZE Interior Design Studio asks themselves when they start creating interior design and architectural concept for a new project. Is the hotel meant to create a mood of bespoke luxury or minimal tranquility? Who are the expected guests and how will the lighting, furnishings, flooring and colour scheme transport them?

A hotel is, after all, part of a journey, a place to get away, whether for business or pleasure. A good interior design studio creates that journey from the first sketch to the moment that the final piece of artwork is placed on the wall.

KAZE Interior Design Studio

KAZE Interior Design Studio in Ho Chi Minh City is the leader in luxury interior design in Vietnam and Cambodia. In addition to a broad design portfolio including residential, food and beverage establishments, and office spaces, the studio has taken on massive hospitality projects, which have brought numerous awards to the studio. Vinpearl Resort & Spa Long Beach in Nha Trang, Renaissance Riverside Hotel in Saigon and Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh are a few notable names on a list of more than 100 projects.

Fong-Chan Paw Zeuthen, Founder of KAZE Interior Design Studio, was brought up and educated in Denmark where, she explained, the design approach is very different to that of Vietnam. For a hotel designed for a Vietnamese market, she said that she would avoid using too minimalistic of an approach because the clientele would feel like something was missing. Instead, she tries to give finished projects a Vietnamese flair that local clientele will also enjoy.

First Steps in the Design Process at KAZE Interior Design Studio in HCMC

The Client Brief

Fong-Chan explains that with her years of experience she has come to quickly understand her clients psychologically and often knows what they want more than they do. She will offer recommendations on how the concept can be improved after receiving the brief. Fong-Chan will then return to the KAZE headquarters where the whole team will sit around the large table in the meeting room and discuss how to implement the project, always focusing on a “function first” approach. This approach means that aesthetics are only considered once space’s use is decided upon.

KAZE Interior Design Studio

The Planning Process

This is when the ideas go from the brainstorming phase to reality. The office becomes a hive of energy as project designers sketch plans and junior designers figure out how to create the right ambiance. Fong-Chan explains that her team is passionate about what they do and that’s why KAZE is a success. “Being a good designer comes from inside, you put your heart and soul into things you care about”, she reiterates.

Fong-Chan states there are four parts to every project, the statement of purpose, layout, ambiance, and storyboard. When executed correctly, interior design can make people feel a certain way. For example, the purpose of a reception area in a hotel is to welcome guests and so the way furniture is positioned, the brightness of lights and even the scent (which are often created specifically for the brand) create an ambiance of warmth, comfort and relaxation.

KAZE Interior Design Studio

3D renderings are essential for each project. They need to be self-explanatory and easy to understand. However, they can be difficult to get right due to the level of precision needed. It can be hard even for good designers to see things in 3D. A designer needs to be able to describe what the space will look like down to the tiniest detail, like where a coat hook will go. This helps to create a full picture of how everything will be pieced together. The 3D renderings are literally the map that will be used to build the project; therefore, nothing should go into the rendering that cannot be created in reality.

How to Create Comfort and Beauty; The Vietnam Hotel Design Challenge

Every designer has a different way to approach a design. Fong-Chan tries to use a modern holistic approach when she designs any space. This is especially important when it comes to a project like a hotel where the success of the project is tied directly to how guests feel when they are within the space. Her design projects focus on what makes people feel good, using psychological experiences rather than just aesthetics.

Designers need to work out the proportions of the room as well as what will be in it so that when it is built an individual can walk around a room without bumping into anything. The team also research how people will interact with the space, ensuring it is ergonomically friendly in every detail. For example, if a guest wants to flick on the lights, where should the light switch be? If it is at the right height and in an intuitive location then the designer can choose a subtle design so that the switch doesn’t ruin the aesthetic of the wall design. If the switch is too hidden and in the wrong place, guests won’t care about the beauty of the design, they will be too caught up in their feelings of frustration. Some designers get so caught up in their vision that they create functionality problems that will end up marring the hotel’s TripAdvisor page with bad reviews based around comfort, soundproofing, and the user experience.

KAZE Interior Design Studio

KAZE interior design studio puts a lot of love and care into the materials they use. The way Fong-Chan describes her process is akin to that of a chef creating their favorite dish. She becomes excited when speaking about why wood is used in one instance, but plastic is used in another and the different finishes that are available for each material. It is important for Fong-Chan to use local materials because construction workers know how to work with them and look after them properly. This also helps the project’s sustainability as expensive materials don’t need to be imported.

Completing a Hotel Interior Design Project in Vietnam

Fong-Chan explains that KAZE only works with people they know and trust. From construction workers to cleaners “when people have a good relationship with each other they will go the extra mile.” This is important because the biggest hurdle to completing an interior design project is to meet final deadlines.

KAZE Interior Design Studio

During the construction process, KAZE interior design studio office often goes into a frenzy of activity, with project plans and Gantt (production timeline) charts being thrown into the bin and new ones being created. Sometimes, Fong-Chan admits, the end of a project can feel like an unattainable dream. However, when the hotel or resort is finally finished and Fong-Chan walks through the completed space with the client, she always feels a sense of pride at what the team at KAZE Interior Design Studio has achieved.

Image source: KAZE Interior Design Studio


Developers, District 9 Is Up for Grabs!

By: Keely Burkey

For developers, much attention falls on one particular sector: District 9, a 114 k2 block of land which lies on top of District 2. Many reasons draw their attention to this uprising section: the land is cheap, the parcels are large and as of now, not much of it has been seriously developed.

Although land development stopped in this space during the global financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, recently builders have seen a major upswing in market interest for district 9. Troy Griffiths, the Deputy Managing Director for Savills Vietnam, explains the area’s current situation. “To be honest,” he admitted, “I think that District 9 is starting to run out of these large available parcels of land.”

District 9

If you look at a map of Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll notice something striking: the districts in the centre of the map, like Districts 1, 3 and 4, are smaller than the outlying districts, like Districts 9, 12 and Binh Tan.

This development is normal, and follows established historical patterns seen in other cities, like Paris and London. When transportation was limited, districts needed to be smaller. Now that we have motorbikes, cars and a metro on the way, larger spaces can be carved onto the map; and it’s these larger spaces that are catching the eye of developers and real estate consultants not only across the country, but also across the world.

Expansion Plans

Griffiths shares his view on this development strategy. “It’s the pattern of the city’s development,” he said. “There are nodes with density that have grown and then become filled and occupied so that developers are now having to look for cheaper land. And this pushes them further and further away from those established nodes.”

District 9 apartment

And who’s taking advantage of it? “Everyone,” Griffith asserted. “You’ve got the local developers and then you’ve got your internationals, your Keppels and your CapitaLands.”

Land Grab

The parcels of land might be sold with ease, but that doesn’t mean that District 9 will be the new District 1 in a year’s time. The Vinh Tran, an employee at the Ministry of Construction, recently reported that although the government has a large stock of land in District 9, that is the way it will stay in the foreseeable future.

Rather than developing the stock, the city municipal department, along with other companies who have invested in District 9’s land plots, prefers to bide its time for the moment, focusing on other projects closer into the city. One big reason for this seems to be transportational issues. The construction of the metro is a big topic in Ho Chi Minh City at the moment, and even now, years before the metro will be finished, it’s affecting real estate prices.

As VietnamNet reported, 37 percent of apartment units for sale are along the Metro Line No.1, which connects Ben Thanh Market to Suoi Tien Park in District 9. When you add the metro to the recently completed Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay highway system, a 55-kilometre-long road that connects District 9 to District 2 and Dong Nai, it’s clear that developers see big plans for this district.

District 9 industrial zoneImage source: zing.vn

District 9’s Top New Projects

Condos

Name: Sun Tower; Developer: N.H.O. Khang Viet; Year of Completion: 2018; Units: 379; Price: US$650 per square metre.

Name: Him Lam Phu An; Developer: Him Lam Land; Year of Completion: 2017; Units: 1,092; Price: US$900 per square metre.

Villas and Townhouses

Name: Lucasta; Developer: Khang Dien; Year of Completion: 2019; Units: 140; Price: US$800 per square metre.

 


The Foreign Investor Guide to Real Estate in HCMC

By: Eric Le Dreau

Are you a foreign investor and want to know about real estate laws in HCMC? Confused by the new Property Law? Indochina Legal clears up the confusion:

One of the most notable changes introduced by Vietnam’s new 2014 property law and its regulations is the revision of the right for overseas Vietnamese, foreign individuals and organisations to own residential houses, as follows:

Overseas Vietnamese (or Viet Kieus) can now own residential houses in the same way as Vietnamese citizens without further residency requirements or any limitations on the type or quantity of houses, or the terms of ownership. They must hold a valid passport with an entry verification stamp marked by the Vietnamese Immigration Department (VID) and a document evidencing their Vietnamese origin.

Foreign individuals have the right to own residential houses, subject to certain restrictions as compared to Vietnamese citizens and Viet Kieus. In order to own houses, a foreigner is required to have a valid passport with an entry verification stamp marked by the VID and cannot fall under diplomatic or consulate preferences and immunities. Requirements of residency, investment in Vietnam, work permit, social contribution and/or marriage to a local Vietnamese is not necessary for residential housing ownership. However, as to ownership duration, foreigners married to Vietnamese citizens or to Viet Kieus are entitled to an indefinite term, whereas foreigners who are not can only own residential housing for a period of 50 years. This can be extended for another 50 years, subject to approval by the provincial People’s Committee where the house is located. Unlike other foreigners, those who are married to Vietnamese citizens are also exempt from notifying the housing administration authority at the district level prior to leasing their houses to others. Apart from that, the new legal framework grants foreigners the same rights of Vietnamese in the cases of subleases, mortgages, etc. of residential housing.

real estate in hcmc

Photo by: Manh Hai

Foreign organisations are allowed to own houses provided that (i) ownership term shall not exceed the period stated in their investment certificates issued by Vietnamese competent authorities, including any extensions; (ii) use of the houses is for residential purposes only, for their personnel; and (iii) lease-out of the houses is not permitted.

It is worth noting that foreign organisations and individuals shall not collectively own more than 30% of the total number of apartments in an apartment building or not more than 250 separate houses in an area where population is equivalent to that of a ward. In addition, house ownership beyond real estate projects (e.g. a villa built by individuals) is not allowed. For national defense and public security purposes, foreign individuals and organisations cannot own houses in certain areas. With respect to these limitations, the local Department of Construction will publish on their official website the projects where foreigners cannot own houses, detailed numbers of apartments or separate houses eligible for foreign ownership, and the number of houses where foreign ownership has been recorded. To our understanding, the database is not yet completely developed for all cities and provinces in Vietnam. Meanwhile, payment for purchase or lease of residential houses shall be made via credit institutions operated in Vietnam. So far there has been no specific instruction on foreign exchange control for relevant inbound and outbound foreign funding of residential housing.

Despite certain remaining limitations, the NHL has provided a more open approach to ownership of residential housing for foreigners. The hope is that these changes will ultimately defreeze the real estate market and create a new wave of foreign investment in Vietnam.

Website: www.indochinalegal.com


Ibis Saigon Airport: A New Flagship for AccorHotels in Vietnam

By: Arik Jahn

The First International Brand to Open an Airport Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — With an electrifying event, ibis Saigon Airport, AccorHotels’ brand-new hotel sitting right next to Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport, celebrated its grand opening on 24 March 2017. Ibis Saigon Airport is the latest addition to AccorHotels’ vast hospitality network in Vietnam.

Ibis hotel

Over a hundred guests, including Ho Chi Minh City officials, representatives from AccorHotels and the hotel’s owner company Hado Group attended the event, which paid tribute to ibis Saigon Airport with an opulent buffet, contemporary dance performances and a rooftop party.

“A Milestone for the ibis Brand”

The ibis Saigon Airport’s major asset is its strategic position: a mere 500 metres from Tan Son Nhat International Airport, the gateway to Ho Chi Minh City and all of Vietnam. Xavier Cappelut, Accor’s regional Director of Operations for Middle Scale & Economic Brand Hotels, praised the hotel as “a significant milestone for the ibis brand” thanks to its one-of-a-kind location.

Ibis Saigon Airport is a haven of hospitality tailored to corporate travellers and all those looking for “Value for Money”. With its functional and stylish travel-themed design and an outstanding 24-hour food and beverage service at the in-house Oopen restaurant, this hotel truly honours ibis’ slogan, “Well-being at the best price”.

ibis

As the first international airport hotel in Ho Chi Minh City, ibis Saigon Airport goes beyond the usual amenities of the economy sector. Its room typology – standard rooms, family rooms, studios, as well as one and two-bedroom apartments – is unrivalled in the budget segment, catering to the individual needs of each and every guest, from corporate clients to travelling families, from short-stay to long-stay visitors.

INTERVIEW WITH ORESTE TRAETTO, GENERAL MANAGER, IBIS SAIGON AIRPORT

Question: What makes ibis Saigon Airport the first choice for business travellers in Ho Chi Minh City?

Mr. Traetto: Our hotel is strategically tailored to business travellers. Our Oopen restaurant is open 24 hours and we are the only international hotel chain offering a breakfast service from 4 o’clock in the morning until 12 o’clock [in the afternoon]. So if you have an early flight to catch, you will be able to grab some food, get a coffee, hop on our free shuttle to the airport and you’ll be there in five minutes.

ibis oopen

Or imagine you are a businessperson, and had a hard working day. At ibis Saigon Airport, we provide you with all the facilities to truly reenergise you. What is very important to us is the ibis ‘sweet bed’ that can give you a really good rest. We have incredibly good feedback from our clients about it. And all that, I believe, shows how we really cater to the customers’ needs.

Question: You are very proud of ibis Saigon Airport’s in-house venues. Can you tell me a bit more about them?

Mr. Traetto: Today, travellers, even though they stay for a short amount of time, they want to optimise their stay. Now, with The Hub, ibis Saigon Airport has the only rooftop bar in  Tan Binh District. When you finish your work, you go upstairs, get a beer and enjoy the view of landing airplanes. We have a pool, we have a steam bath, we have a sauna, we have a gym – this is definitely what gives us the opportunity to attract a specific segment of clients. We provide our guests with a place to relax.

We are, if I may say so, part of the new generation of ibis hotels.

ibis hotel view

INTERVIEW WITH XAVIER CAPPELUT, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS FOR MIDDLE SCALE & ECONOMIC BRAND HOTELS, ACCORHOTELS

Question: AccorHotels is home to many brands. Why did you choose the ibis brand for this particular project?

Mr. Cappelut: I think this is a very unique location. The guests who choose to stay close to the airport have very specific needs. They might be in transit for a few hours, they might be spending their last night in Vietnam after a trip. We believe the level of comfort provided by ibis is just the right amount for these specific customers.

And the beauty of a brand like ibis is: you can travel anywhere in the world, you will find the same layout, the same service, the same comfort. Guests choose ibis because they know exactly what they can expect. That’s a guarantee that we provide to our customers. And they appreciate it.

Question: Vietnam is a country with an immense potential for tourism. How does ibis Saigon Airport serve this very particular market?

Mr. Cappelut: Vietnam is very important to us as a group. We, AccorHotels, have been in Vietnam since 1991. Back then, we were the only international hospitality company in Vietnam. That shows how committed we are to Vietnam as a business location.

And today, this country is developing at a dizzying pace. Last year, there was a 26% increase of international visitors and a 9% growth in the domestic market in Vietnam.These are incredible numbers.

And of course, we try to attract Vietnam’s domestic guests. The ibis brand perfectly caters to them because it is a functional, but full-service product that offers “Value for Money”.

Ibis Saigon Airport is quite simply the right product in the right place at the right time. And it is highly visible. In fact, we couldn’t be more visible than here at the airport. In that sense, ibis Saigon Airport is Accor’s flagship in Vietnam.

ibis hotel room

AccorHotels’ journey in Vietnam is far from over. In the next two years, the group plans to open another 12 hotels all over the country, which will bring its total portfolio to 36. But thanks to its eminent location next to one of Vietnam’s most important travel hubs and its many amenities, ibis Saigon Airport is undoubtedly a go-to for all Ho Chi Minh City-bound travellers.

 


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