Surrounded by Masks: An update of what it feels like to live in Vietnam during the Corona Virus
The beginning of the new decade 2020 is off to a bumpy start, Australia is on fire, NBA legends have passed, the USA is in progress of a re-election, Hong Kong is demonstrating and the outbreak of a new deadly virus has taken over the media worldwide.
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) which originated in the city Wuhan, China is causing panic amongst nations around the world. The WHO expressed their concerns and advised people to take precautious measures like avoiding big gatherings, washing your hands and wearing a mask.
The virus has spread to most countries in the world by now and led to a movie-like display of people covering their faces, racist backlashes and an exaggeration my media outlets. In Vietnam 16 cases were reported of which zero have died and 100% have been cured successfully and released from quarantine. Nevertheless, schools have remained closed weeks after their official TED holiday during Chinese New Years. Even though it is a weird feeling to see so many people wearing masks around you the atmosphere in Saigon appears rather unaffected by the outbreak.
Many people have expressed their concerns in regards to travel to Vietnam as it is a labouring country to China but the world health organization has praised Vietnam for their successful measures and dealing with the situation. Officially there is no travel ban towards Vietnam and considering my experience on place that is justified. As of now, Vietnam has fewer cases than, Italy, Germany, Australia, Austria, Canada and most other affected countries. Although the virus is not to be taken too lightly it most likely won’t be affecting your travels in this wonderful country with all the beauty it has to offer.
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By: Jess Warren
So, you’re thinking about working in Vietnam? I’ve just come back from spending two months interning in Ho Chi Minh City for the expat-orientated magazine, AsiaLIFE, and it was one of the best ways I could have spent my summer. Instead of being sat at home, I was out gaining valuable experience in industry I’m looking to work in.
Working for a magazine for two months was also a pretty good way to see the city. Instead of being in the office nine-to-five each day, I was tasked with finding stories across the city, and interviewing interesting people, from business owners to government staff. I had the chance to work remotely, and was trusted to manage my time efficiently, and turn in the articles on time, without needing to be in the office. A pretty good way to grow my own time-management and organisational skills.
Living in Ho Chi Minh City is a bit of a whirlwind, the traffic is constant and chaotic, with bikes passing you by at every angle. If you’re up to it, travelling across the city via Grab (a ride hailing service for bikes) is a fantastic opportunity. Of course, take all the necessary safety precautions such as covering your legs and arms and wearing a better helmet than they provide. My employer gave me a helmet to use, and I would fully recommend making the minor investment.
The strangest thing about living abroad for two months was the considerably lower living cost, it actually turned out to be more expensive to buy western food items in a supermarket and cook at my apartment compared to eating lunch and dinner in small eateries and restaurants. This meant I had the opportunity to try out a variety of cuisine. Whilst you might think Vietnamese food is the only option, it’s far from the truth. In fact, Ho Chi Minh City has restaurants featuring every food from around the world, and done to a very high standard. At the end of my street, I had a pizza takeaway run by an Italian man from Naples. However Vietnamese food is incredibly fresh and delicious, so I would fully recommend.
The one thing that made my experience even better whilst living abroad was joining expat Facebook groups, and going to local events. I stumbled across a trendy arts café about five minutes from my apartment, where locals performed live music, stand-up comedy and there was even a magazine launch party there. By embracing living abroad, I found so many more opportunities outside of my working day. I joined a group and practised yoga in a local park situated on the riverbank, and I followed recommendations of places to see and go from the people I met. Instead of seeing your internship as a temporary ‘holiday’, I found the best way to view it was that I was living abroad in a city I would call home for two months.
Interested in applying for an internship just like Jess’? Then apply now!
Partez-vous bientôt au Vietnam ? Nous avons regroupé quelques réponses aux questions que vous pourriez vous poser !
- La monnaie vietnamienne est le dong vietnamien (VND). Pour vérifier les taux de change, nous vous recommandons d’utiliser le site xe.com.
- Vérifiez avec votre banque avant de partir si vous avez des frais de retrait ou paiement.
- Il est facile d’échanger des euros au Vietnam. Nous vous conseillons donc d’emporter des Euros avec vous. Vous pouvez aussi partir avec un peu de monnaie locale pour votre arrivée.
- Vous pouvez arriver 4 jours avant le début de votre stage – le jeudi – et partir de l’appartement 2 jours après la fin de votre stage – le dimanche.
- Vous pouvez réserver vos billets d’avion dès que vous avez trouvé un stage et signé notre formulaire de réservation.
- L’aéroport international de Tan Son Nhat est le seul aéroport de Hô Chi Minh – vous devrez donc arriver ici.
- InternVietnam recommande d’utiliser notre partenaire officiel STA Travel pour réserver vos billets. Ce sont les leaders mondiaux dans l’organisation des vols pour le Vietnam pour les étudiants. Obtenez votre devis gratuit pour les vols internationaux requis directement ici.
- Vous devez être munis d’un passport valable au minimum 6 mois après votre arrivée au Vietnam.
- Votre passport doit contenir au minimum 2 pages blanches.
- Il doit être en parfait état, ni taché ni déchiré.
- Pensez à nous envoyer une copie de votre passport au plus vite. Pour que nous préparions les documents nécessaires à l’obtention de votre visa.
- Nous vous donnerons tous les documents nécessaires à l’obtention de votre visa. Il vous faudra les emmener avec vous et remplir un formulaire.
- Nous prenons en charge les frais liés à l’obtention du visa.
- Vous obtiendrez votre visa à votre arrivée à l’aéroport. Il vous faudra être muni des documents fournis par notre équipe, le formulaire à remplir au préalable, deux photos d’identité , et de votre passport.
- Notre équipe vous donnera plus d’informations 4 à 6 semaines avant votre arrivée.
- Si le processus de demande de visa évolue nous vous tiendrons au courant.
- L’assurance santé et voyage est prise en charge par InternVietnam pour vous sur la durée de votre séjour.
- Vous recevrez les documents sur l’assurance avant votre arrivée. N’hésitez pas à les réclamer si besoin.
Vaccins et médicaments
- Aucun vaccin n’est obligatoire pour le Vietnam. Nous vous conseillons cependant de vérifier cela avec votre médecin avant de partir. Vous pouvez aussi vous rendre à l’hopital et prendre un rendez-vous avec le centre des vaccinations pour être sûr.
- Vous pouvez trouver du paracétamol partout au Vietnam. Si vous avez des médicaments plus spécifiques, nous vous conseillons de partir avec un stock pour la durée de votre séjour.
- En cas d’allergie ou de diabète, nous vous conseillons d’emporter 2 crayons à insuline ou EpiPen.
- Copies de votre passport et documents nécessaires à l’obtention du visa dans votre bagage à main
- Adaptateurs pour les prises
- Médicaments avec les ordonnances
- Déodorant, désinfectant pour les mains et autres produits de toilettes
- Pour les filles : des tampons qui sont difficiles à trouver à Ho Chi Minh
- Pour les personnes de grande taille : emportez vos chaussures et vêtements. Vous risquez de ne pas trouver de chaussures ou vêtements à votre taille
- Vêtements simples et formels pour votre stage
- Un costume/tailleur/tenue classe pour un rendez-vous important ou une soirée importante
- Vêtements de pluie et chaussures imperméables en cas de pluies intenses
- Répulsif à insecte et crème solaire
- Tongs ou claquette pour l’intérieur de votre logement
- Vestes et pulls légers . En effet l’air conditionné peut être trop froid dans certains endroits
- Masque anti pollution pour vos trajets en taxis
- Serviettes de toilette
Téléphone et applications
- Pensez à débloquer votre smartphone avant de venir. Sinon la carte sim que nous vous fournirons risque de ne pas fonctionner.
- WhatsApp et Facebook seront les applications utilisées par notre équipe pour vous contacter durant votre séjour et stage.
- Grab est l’application pour commander un taxi.
- Vietnammm est une application pour commander à manger en ligne.
- Xe Currency pour pouvoir convertir la monnaie.
- Google translator ou un autre système de traduction.
- Dans l’avion avant d’arriver il vous faudra renseigner votre adresse de résidence à Ho Chi Minh. Vous pouvez utiliser l’adresse de notre bureau.
94 Xuan Thuy, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
- N’oubliez pas de remplir vos documents pour l’obtention du visa avant de prendre l’avion. Ainsi en cas de questions nous serons donc en mesure de vous aider, sinon il sera trop tard.
Looking for something to do in Ho Chi Minh City? Well, you’ll find it pretty easy! It’s a city of contrasts, with the old mixing with the new in this wonderful melting pot of a place. It offers visitors a plethora of things to do; from its coffee shops, markets, cheap food and drink to its buzzing atmosphere – alive with the sounds of motorbikes (there are around 10 million in the city!) However, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best places to visit in HCMC to help you out!
War Remnants Museum
Displays the brutal results of war on its civilian, including well publicized atrocities, that many westerners rarely hear about. The displays feature victims telling their stories of US military action. Many of the information about these atrocities are from US sources, including the infamous My Lai Massacre. This is a very important site to visit in HCMC if you wish to understand its history and how it came to be the place it is today.
Giac Lam Pagoda
The Buddhist temples has aspects of both Taoism and Confucianism in its design and Gives a great insight into Chinese influence on religion in Vietnam.
A window into the 1960s this historic government building has a solemn atmosphere as you walk around its quiet halls. Once home to the offices of the president of South Vietnam during the Vietnam war, it was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and has some very interesting Architectural features.
Jade Emperor Pagoda
This Taoist pagoda was built by Vietnam’s Chinese community in 1909. It is also known as ‘Fuhai Temple’ – Sea of Luck Temple. This is a spectacular temple full of with beautiful statues depicting the gods and heroes of Taoist belief.
Fine Arts Museum
Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts covers three buildings featuring Vietnamese silk paintings, sculptures and lacquer painting, as well as traditional woodcut paintings. It used to be the Villa home of the ‘Hua’ family but became a museum in 1987.
This street is just a short walk from the Fine Arts Museum. The art and antiques stores along this street are full of fun curios, but beware of fakes!
Phuoc An Hoi Quan Pagoda
The built in 1902 the temple is dedicated to Quan Cong as well as several other guardians to happiness and wealth. The temple is full of beautiful features including brass lanterns and coiled incense hanging from the roof beams as well as fine woodcarvings.
Built in 1926 museum home to a collection of artefacts from across Vietnams history, from the Dong son civilisation to the modern Vietnam. For those interested in Vietnamese history the museum is definitely worth a visit.
Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay is the main market in the Cho Lon district of HCMC. This area is part of HCMC’s China town, which covers almost half of an entire district of the city. The market is a bustling lively place and expect to have a warm welcome when You got eat at one of the markets many street food vendors! It is also home to a fantastic outdoor Wet Market where you can buy fresh local seafood.
Notre- Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon
Completed in 1883, Notre Dame Cathedral lies right in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City’s government quarter. It still contains some of its original stained glass and with its 40m-high square towers the cathedral is a striking contrast to other styles you will see in HCMC.
Ho Chi Minh City, also called Saigon, has many things do offer during the day time as well as during night time. If you need urgent medical help or just want to buy some snacks late at night, you can find it in Ho Chi Minh City 24/7.
Shopping malls are mostly opened till 9 – 10 pm but many small convenience stores are opened 24/7. You can find most of the elementary products there if you need it in the middle of the night. Inside most of the 24/7 convenience stores or nearby them you can find ATM s where you can withdraw money anytime you want.
There is no problem to find food place in Ho Chi Minh City at any time of day or night. Most upper and middle class restaurants work only until late evening but you can enjoy food from small restaurants and street food at night.
Moving around Vietnam takes a lot of time, so choosing overnight travel might be a good option. If you want to go from/to Ho Chi Minh City to/from other cities or just around the city, you have choice of taking plane, train, bus, taxi or motorbike. Vietnam Railway Systems (VRS) and The North – South train are providing good quality connections across the country also during night. You can buy tickets directly at the train station or, if you need English service, some websites and travel agencies are providing it. The taxi and bus are relatively slow, as the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is extremely heavy. Good alternative to taxi and bus for going around the city is motorbike (you can get it as a taxi, rent it or buy – if you’re staying for longer).
Alternatively, you can rent a car. It is easy – requires only passport and valid driving license. The car rental company might only accept international driving license or one in common language such as English or French.
The most popular (non-stop) party place in Vietnam is Pham Ngu Lao, well-known amongst backpackers as it’s comparatively cheap. If you’re looking for some more fancy clubbing places popular within young people, then you should check out clubs in District 1. If you’re a fan of Karaoke, you will be able to find a few places where you can rent a room at any time.
In case you need urgent medical help, those places have 24/7 emergency service with English speaking doctors: Family Medical Practice Clinic, Franco-Vietnamese Hospital, International SOS Clinic, Columbia International Clinic and Hospital (3 locations), Cho Ray Hospital, Emergency Centre. For urgent dental cases you can seek help in Victoria Healthcare Dentist Department in District 1. 24/7 pharmacy can be found in Family Medical Practice Centre and International SOS Clinic.
Going to a foreign country is always intimidating due to the new environment – even the retail market might be very different to what you are used to! Even going for some shopping might become an adventure. This blog is here to give you an insight of the Vietnamese retail market and prove you that it will still be possible to find some familiar shops there !
- Which popular conveniences stores can I find there ?
If you are familiar with Asian conveniences stores, Vietnam will feel like home. More than 70% of convenience stores in Vietnam belong to foreign companies (mostly from Asia)!
- How is the retail market in Vietnam and what about its organization ?
Vietnam has a huge retail market : 800 supermarkets, 150 shopping malls, 9,000 traditional markets and about 2.2 million retailers (Source : Aseantoday.com).
Roughly speaking, the Vietnamese retail market can be divided into different types of modern distribution, as follows :
Conveniences Stores :
Popular ones : Circle K / Family Mart / Shop & Go / Mini Stop / 7 Eleven / G7 Mart.
They are competing directly with roadside stalls and traditional markets in Vietnam. In those, you will be able to purchase everyday items such as snack foods, soft drinks, groceries, confectionery, tobacco products, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines. You can find them everywhere!
+ : Very convenient, easy to find. Hungry at 2AM ? No problem, let’s get some snacks at the neariest Family Mart!
– : Some may have more choice than others. Chose carefully!
Quite a new concept for Vietnam but this is also the best place to be for a perfect shopping afternoon! The most renowned ones are the Lotte Mart (one in HCMC and one in Hanoi) and the Vincom Center in HCMC. These shopping malls may include special stores, a cinema, and of course a hypermarket, supermarket and department stores.
+ : You can find and do anything, you will never get bored!
– : It is very easy to spend too much money. Your bank might not be happy!
Examples of foreign popular hypermarkets : Loblaw and Superstore (Canada), Fred Meyer, Meijer and Super Kmart (US), Asda and Tesco (UK), Carrefour (France) and NTUC Fairprice (Singapore).
Basically, this is a superstore combining a supermarket and a department store. Therefore you will find a wide range of products, from full groceries lines to general merchandise.
The only Vietnamese brand name of hypermarket is Big C. They are usually located on the outskirt of the city and cramped which means you should probably avoid going there on evenings and weekends !
+ : Wide range of products, many foreign brands, you might feel familiar in these!
– : Avoid at all costs going there on evening or weekends as they are very busy.
Popular ones : Intimex / Co.opmart /Fivimart /Citimart.
If you are more of a weekly shopper, supermarkets are the perfect fit! You can often get discounts as some of them offer frequent buyer cards. Their goods and services are likely to be the same from one to another. By going there you will have a wide choice of food and household products.
+ : Possibility to get discounts with a frequent buyer card. Good for weekly shoppers.
– : If you are a daily shopper, you should rather head to a convenience store to save time and money.
Popular ones (HCMC): Parkson / Diamond Plaza.
Popular ones (Hanoi): Vincom / Trang Tien Plaza / Grand Plaza / The Manor / Parkson.
These stores sell luxurious items such as brand-name clothes, shoes and high class electronic devices.
+ : Very clean, luxurious, can find many foreign luxury brands.
– : Expensive.
The Vietnamese retail market is such an intriguing and exciting experience. And if you ever feel homesick, you will still be able to warm up your mood with imported products. I hope this blog will help you during your adventure to Vietnam!
If you are ready for an adventure in Vietnam, please click here!
If you are going to Vietnam and have no knowledge of the language, you ask yourself: How easy is it to get by with just English? I will talk about English in Vietnam and how difficult it is for a foreigner to get by without any Vietnamese in this blog.
In the past, Chinese and Russian were largely taught in most of schools and were considered as second language. In recent years, as Vietnam’s contacts with Western nations have increased, English has become more popular as a second language and taught in a larger scale, eventually replacing Chinese and Russian.
English in School
Nowadays, English is mandatory in most schools in Vietnam, sometimes alongside French. English proficiency is now seen as a vital requirement for employment. According to an educational reform, all students will have a minimum level of English by 2020. English in schools is limited in reading and writing skills, but not much speaking & listening skills. As part of the strategy, officials have adopted the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to measure language competency. Students are expected to reach the level B1 by the time they graduate.
EF English Proficiency Index
The EF English Proficiency Index (EF EPI) attempts to rank countries by the average level of English language skills amongst those adults who took their exam. Vietnam is in place 34 of 80 countries worldwide and 7 of 20 in Asia with a score of 53.43, which is considerate a moderate proficiency. While the Southeast and the Red River Delta, Ho Chi Minh City’s and Hanoi’s regions respectively, are regions with the highest English proficiency within Vietnam; the North Central Coast, on the other hand, has the lowest proficiency. According to EF EPI, women have a higher English proficiency than men, but the difference is not big.
So…is it easy to get by with just English? Long story short, the answer is yes, BUT depends on where you go. Residents in all the tourist areas are able to communicate in English. In more remote areas, English speakers can be very rare. Some older Vietnamese people will speak more French than English, especially in the former South Vietnam. The importance of promoting English in Vietnam is growing due to its importance in the business world.
If you want to know about Vietnam, don’t hesitate and live this adventure with us! Apply now!
Vietnam’s public healthcare system only covers about 30% of the population. This means that many Vietnamese have to use private health care.
Hospitals in Vietnam
The quality and accessibility of health services differs considerably on whether you are in the city or in rural areas. The majority of hospitals and clinics are located in the larger cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Public hospitals in Vietnam are not the nicest of places due to a general lack of funding by the government in the health sector. Doctors and nurses tend to only speak Vietnamese so communication may be difficult.
However, private hospitals in Vietnam are a completely different story. With doctors and nurses usually speaking English and the quality of the hospital being much higher. This is usually the preferred place for travelers and expats alike.
If you are in Vietnam and need to get to the hospital as quickly as possible an ambulance may not be the best idea. Ambulances can take a long time to arrive so it is recommended to try and get in a taxi and take yourself to a hospital as quickly as possible.
Changes to healthcare
Vietnam is aiming to improve its health care system to public system which covers all citizens. Following the trend of nearby Thailand, Vietnam hopes to be able to provide a public health care system in the not too distant future.
Individuals, however, will still be able to add on additional private healthcare should they wish to do so.
Ho Chi Minh City has a wide selection of different private and international hospitals on offer.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), basic health indicators are better than those of other developing countries in the region with similar per campita incomes. By 2013, there were more than 11,000 health communes, and 1,040 hospitals.
Although Vietnam’s health status has improved over the years, it has still a long way to go. Vietnam still has three problems to solve. First, more Vietnamese are diagnosed with some sort of chronic disease and increases the cost burden. Second, the big difference on quality and accessibility of health services between urban and rural continues to be a big problem. Last but not least, overcrowded hospitals. This a big issue due to long waiting lists for surgeries.
By taking some basic precautions, people who are traveling to Vietnam can minimize the chances of experiencing a visit to the hospital.
Drinking tap water in Vietnam is not recommendable, even having ice in the drinks at restaurants and bars. In this case it is better to buy bottled water.
Temperatures in Vietnam can soar so sunburn, sunstroke and dehydration are significant problems for new arrivals.
Common diseases are tuberculosis and malaria. It is recommended to have all basic vaccinations up-to-date.
Today I am going to do a Vietnamese Crash Course for those who are learning or want to learn Vietnamese.
As redundant as it may sound, Vietnamese is the official language in Vietnam. But for a very long time Vietnam didn’t really have its own language. For so long it was object of constant foreign intervention. Therefore, Vietnamese has borrowings from Chinese, French and also English. Vietnamese is a difficult language, especially because it differs between regions.
Like other Southeast Asian languages, Vietnamese has a comparatively large number of vowels.
Some consonant sounds are written with only one letter like “p”, other consonant sounds are written with a digraph like “ph”, and others are written with more than one letter or digraph. Vietnamese has no use for the letters F, J, W and Z. Also, not all dialects of Vietnamese have the same consonant in a given word (although all dialects use the same spelling in the written language).
So in Vietnamese, every syllable is a separate word, this is why Vietnam is sometimes written as Viet Nam!
Vietnamese is a tonal language, with 6 tones in total, which means that one syllable can have at least 6 different meanings. Be careful with the tones! You’ll probably end up calling someone’s mother a horse or a grave at some point. Tones differ in length, melody, pitch height and phonation. The tone is indicated by diacritics written above or below the vowel.
Similarly to languages in Southeast Asia, there is no real number and gender for nouns in Vietnamese and verb tenses generally don’t exist.
- xin chào = Hello
- Khỏe không? = How are you?
- Khoẻ, cảm ơn = Fine, thank you!
- Tôi tên là… = My name is…
- Làm ơn = Please
- Cảm ơn = Thank you
- Không sao đâu = You are welcome
- Vâng = Yes
- Không = No
- Xin lỗi = I’m sorry
- Tạm biệt = Goodbye
Lost in Translation
- Biết nói tiếng Anh không? = Do you speak English?
- Tôi không biết nói tiếng Việt [giỏi lắm] = I can’t speak Vietnamese [well]
- Có ai đây biết nói tiếng Anh không? = Is there someone here who speaks English?
- Tôi không hiểu = I don’t understand
- Công an!/Cảnh sát! = Police!
- Việc này khẩn cấp = It’s an emergency
- Tôi bị lạc = I’m lost
- Tôi bị ốm = I’m sick
- Tôi cần một bác sĩ = I need a doctor
- Nhà vệ sinh/wc ở đâu? = Where’s the toilet?
- Cứu (tôi) với! = Help!
- Một vé đến … là bao nhiêu? = How much is a ticket to …?
- Xin cho tôi một vé đến … = One ticket to …, please.
- Tàu/xe này đi đâu? = Where does this train/bus go?
- Tàu/xe đi đến …ở đâu? = Where is the train/bus to …?
- Tàu/xe này có ngừng tại…không? = Does this train/bus stop in…?
- Tàu/xe đi…chạy lúc nào? = When does the train/bus for…leave?
- Khi nào tàu/xe này xẽ đến…? = When will this train/bus arrive in…?
- Tắc xi! = Taxi!
- Làm ơn đưa/chở tôi đến… = Take me to…, please.
- Mất bao nhiêu tiền để đến…? = How much does it cost to get to…?
- Có nhận thẻ tín dụng không? = Do you accept credit cards?
- Tôi có thể đi đổi tiền ở đâu? = Where can I get money changed?
- Máy rút tiền (ATM) ở đâu? = Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?
- Cho tôi một bàn cho một/hai người = A table for one person/two people, please.
- Cho tôi xem menu? = Can I look at the menu, please?
- Tôi ăn chay. = I’m a vegetarian.
- Tôi không ăn thịt heo (South) / lợn (North) = I don’t eat pork.
- Tôi không ăn thịt bò. = I don’t eat beef.
- Tôi chỉ ăn thức ăn kosher thôi. = I eat only kosher food.
- Cho tôi xin một chaicà phê / nước trà / nước / rượu vang / bia? = May I have a bottle of coffee / tea / water / wine / beer ?
- Cho tôi xin một ly (South) / cố (North) …? = May I have a glass of …?
- Cho tôi xin một ly (South) / cố (North) …? = May I have a cup of …?
- Có size của tôi không? = Do you have this in my size?
- Bao nhiêu (tiền)? = How much (money) is this?
- Đắt quá. = That’s too expensive.
Seems like these tips might have been said many times before, but they are so true and useful!
- First of all, look for language classes. Either in a one-on-one class or in a group class, you can learn about the differences in tones and the Vietnamese grammar. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you don’t understand.
- Also, practice makes perfect! For some people, learning a new language might come easier than for others, but no one can be fluent without practicing. You can look for a language partner. Go out and make friends!
- Last, but not least, don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Locals will appreciate that you are making an effort on learning their language and you can also learn from your mistakes.
Learn more and apply now!
Lifestyle in Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam is a rather poor country with few Western-style amenities. However, the country is developing and that progress includes the appearance of more facilities like gyms and golf courses. The fastest growing areas are of course the big cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Now the life of a foreigner in Ho Chi Minh City is very easy!
Food & Drinks
Local food is super cheap and tasty, and Vietnamese beer, spirits and cigarettes are a very affordable price. However, if you like to treat yourself to Western food and drinks you should expect to pay more! Both Vietnamese and Western restaurants can be easily found around the city. For the brave ones it might be a nice experience to try local street food, which is delicious!
Vietnam is a real paradise for people who love to shop. You can find a wide range of products and places to buy them from, from typical Vietnamese street markets, through to supermarkets, fancy shopping malls and designer boutiques.
If you’re looking for some local food, clothes and souvenirs, we would recommend you to go to places such as Saigon Square, Zen Plaza, Lucky Plaza, Cho Ben Thanh, Cho Binh Tay and Ly Chinh Thang. If you’re missing some Western food you can shop in Auchan, Metro, or, if you fancy some vegan products, Annam Gourmet, Veggy’s, The Organik Shop and Loving Hut Hoa Dang.
For the international clothing brands, you should look in Vincom Centre and Union Square, Diamond Plaza, The Crescent Mall, Parkson Plaza, Bitexco, Takashimaya Vietnam or Dong Khoi Street. You also might find L’Usine an interesting place, it is a combination of contemporary fashion shops, art galleries and cafes. Most of those places are open from morning until 10 -11 pm.
Ho Chi Minh City offers two types of entertainment: Western- and Vietnamese-style. If you chose the first option, you can go to clubs, bars and pubs to taste some of the city’s nightlife and most probably meet some other foreigners as well as locals.
Downtown’s District 1 is popular for its rooftop bars, whereas a bit further from the city centre District 3 is famous amongst backpackers for its cheap eats and bars.
Another big attraction of Ho Chi Minh City are casinos, which are often compared to Las Vegas. The ones in Caravelle Hotel and Sheraton Saigon Hotel and Towers are considered as the best ones in the city.
If you want to get closer to Vietnamese culture, you can watch traditional dance performance and observe some cultural and religious festivals held throughout the country. A good idea is to visit the Sax n’ Art Jazz Club where you can see performances of most celebrated Vietnamese musicians as well as international guests.
Sports & Leisure
In Vietnam you can find places to do any sport you want. Most popular sports in Vietnam are badminton, tennis and football (soccer). In modern cities like Ho Chi Minh you can find gyms with world-class equipment, basketball and volleyball courts and futsal fields. Recently, also golf became very popular in Vietnam. Golf Resorts can be found inside as well as very near Ho Chi Minh city.
Places of practising religion
Over 69% of Vietnamese determine themselves as folk religions believers, nearly 12% are Buddhists, 7% Catholics, 0.1% Muslims and over 5% do not follow any religion. Even though Buddhists, Catholics and Muslims are in a significant minority, you can still find many pagodas, temples, churches, cathedrals and mosques in the Ho Chi Minh City. For the convenience of Expats living in the Ho Chi Minh City, many of them offer their service in English. A few of those religious places are also a tourist spot worth visiting.