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The Districts of Ho Chi Minh: Where Should You Live?

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How to Get Around in The Street of Ho Chi Minh City

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How To Be Loved By Your Landlord in Vietnam

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Ho Chi Minh is made up of a series of ‘Districts’ each distinctly different from the other. With specific advantages and disadvantages between the options it is essential that you pick where you live based on what’s best for your lifestyle. Here’s our quick guide to what to expect from each of the Districts.

District 1

Set in the middle of Ho Chi Minh, District 1 is quite literally the center of life in the city. Ultra modern with a multitude of entertainment, shopping & nightlife options, District 1 also plays host to most of the embassies and consulates. A large number of expats choose to live here and as a result English tends to be more widely spoken in this District and you can probably meet other expats more easily as well. On the downside however, it is also, as expected, the most expensive district to live in. Perfect for a single person or young couple that’s looking to go out and meet more people, the ‘sleepless district’ as it is often called due to the restaurants, bars and nightlife may not be the ideal choice for families or people looking for a more relaxed experience.

 

District 2

Not too far from District 1, District 2 has a quieter suburban feel to it with wide roads and less traffic. The rents are much lower here, this combined with the fact that it commute to District 1 is not too long make it preferred choice for a lot of expats. Of course once you get home in the evening, you are probably looking at a quiet evening in when compared to District 1. Having Said that, the area is well catered to meet residents needs with a variety of restaurants, parks, playgrounds, sports clubs and shopping malls – which means it’s perfect for families and couples looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of inner city life. ,

 

District 3

Located close enough to District 1 to make it accessible, District 3 also offers a more cost effective option for living. On the flip side the roads in this district tend to be quite narrow resulting in regular traffic jams and the reality is that housing choices are quite limited and few is any expatriates tend to choose this district.

 

District 7

Despite being a bit of a trek from the city center, District 7 is quite popular with expats, mostly due to the fact that it was planned as a “Western” district targeting high income people and is touted as the future of the housing market in Ho Chi Minh. This means that the villas and apartments are of a very high quality and local restaurants, shops and supermarkets cater to expat tastes and requirements. The drawback of course is the higher cost than other districts and also the distance from District 1. In recent years more global restaurant chains have also started opening up in the district which continues to develop and therefore remains a preferred choice.

 

District 9

This district is extremely cost effective in all aspects of housing and is a planned and ‘green’ environment. It is centrally located in terms of access to several industrial zones which play home to international companies, making it a convenient choice for many ex pats. Most housing complexes offer serviced busses that run to District 2 allowing access to International Schools and District 1 for shopping & recreation, and its best to check on the availability of this service when making a decision to live here.

There is a French school located in the district making it a choice worth considering for French families.

 

Still unsure what the perfect fit would be for you? Get in touch with the HomeConnect Vietnam team and we will guide you through the process of finding the right place to start your new life in Vietnam.

 
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                    [post_content] => After your move to Ho Chi Minh City, there is a very good chance that you will hear a certain Google Group entitled “An Phu Neighbors” mentioned numerous times amongst expat circles. Naturally you may be curious as to what this group is all about and wish to find out more information and possibly even join.

 

About The Group

 

An Phu Neighbors is a private group that is set up as a combination mailing list/forum and was founded in 2007 by expatriate residents of the An Phu Residential area in District 2 as a platform to provide and exchange resources and information about living in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

To sign up, one must follow this link: http://groups.google.com/group/anphuneighbours?hl=en , and apply for membership. At this point you will be asked to provide a relevant reason for joining the group. Once your membership is approved you will be free to peruse the site content as well as request information.

 

The group has a forum setup that allows you to access and search for different subjects/topics and related conversations. You will also have the option to receive emails from other members that are sent out to the group as a whole. These emails can quickly fill your inbox so it is recommended that you opt for choosing the “abridge email receiving” option where numerous emails sent out by group members are summarized into one daily email. If you choose not to select this option, be prepared for as many as 50 emails per day from the 6,000 plus member group.

 

This group provides members with useful information regarding events, questions and answers regarding living in Vietnam, new businesses catering to the expatriate community, charity organizations and events, household goods for sale, animals looking for homes, family activities, domestic helper recommendations and lots of other information than can be especially useful for newly arrived families that are just settling in to the community.

 

Dos and Don’ts

 

Some general rules can be found on the front page of the group. Be sure to read these guidelines thoroughly and carefully.

 

The basic “Don’ts” include advertising (especially repeatedly), multi-level marketing, animal sales, and negative reviews of products or services. Posting negative reviews of businesses or individuals will result in being banned from the group immediately. All problems or concerns regarding individuals and businesses should be taken up directly with that person or business.

 

A couple of “Do’s” include keeping things neighborly and friendly. Avoid engaging in negative discussions or bickering. Also, check the receiver options before clicking send. Be aware that an innocent question to the poster such as “will you negotiate on the price of the dining table?” will be seen by more than 6,000 members who do not wish to see it – if you do not choose the “reply to author only” option.

 

If you think you are ready to sign up and start benefit from years of experience and resources compiled from other expatriates while keeping things polite and neighborly, here is the link again:

 

http://groups.google.com/group/anphuneighbours?hl=en

 

Good luck!!
                    [post_title] => How to get the most out of the An Phu Neighbors Google Group 
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                    [post_content] => 

As you will immediately notice, the preferred method of transportation in Ho Chi Minh City is the motorbike. Traffic can be hectic to say the least, with over a million motorbikes on the city streets each day. It is recommended to either use a car service or a taxi to navigate the city during your first few weeks of arrival. It can take some time to get used to the traffic patterns of Ho Chi Minh City as well as the driving style of the locals, which at times is not for the faint of heart. Many expats eventually feel comfortable enough with their surroundings to opt for motorbikes, which can be a very convenient mode of transportation.

  Taxis Taxis in Ho Chi Minh City are affordable and available at any time of the day or night. Unfortunately not all taxis will have properly functioning meters. It is strongly suggested that passengers only hail taxis from one of these established, legitimate companies: Mai Linh, Vinasun, Future, and Vina. These companies have fully functioning, tamper proof meters that display the exact fare. Also, taxis operated by these companies have a 3 or 4 digit registration number on the side which should be recorded in case of any problems. Most meters start at about 12,000 to 15,000VND and cost roughly 10,000VND from the second kilometer onwards. Tipping is not required, but extra service and courtesy may warrant a small gratuity. Most people will round the fare up to the nearest 10,000VND increment.   Buses Buses are the cheapest way to get around Ho Chi Minh City, however they are designed mainly for locals without personal transportation. Bus routes are only printed in Vietnamese and bus station staff as well as bus drivers will most likely not speak English. Buses can sometimes get overcrowded as drivers will try to collect as many fares as possible. While the bus system in Ho Chi Minh City may not be the most comfortable, it can be fairly convenient and inexpensive. It is best to speak with a local before attempting a journey.   Motorbike Taxi The motorbike taxi or “xe ôm” is probably the easiest form of transportation to get around the city, especially the narrow alleyways that cars cannot access. Motorbike taxi drivers usually park on sidewalks or by the side of the road. They tend not to wear any sort of uniform, but do carry an extra helmet for passengers to use. It will take a bit of practice to spot these drivers, but once you figure it out you will realize that they are everywhere. The general rate for a motorbike taxi is usually about 1/3 to ½ of what a taxi fare would be for the same distance. It is always best to negotiate the price prior to starting your journey.   Car Rental Driving a car is not recommended for foreigners in Ho Chi Minh City. Many of the streets are extremely narrow and traffic discipline is at a minimum, which makes driving in Ho Chi Minh City very difficult and dangerous. There are also few options to park a car aside from apartment buildings and major shopping and office buildings. Many expats and companies are going with the option of hiring a car and driver. There are many car rental companies that provide vehicles, drivers, and fuel for daily or monthly rent. Rental rates start from 60 USD daily or 1,200 USD monthly for a middle range seven seat car. Some companies offer English speaking drivers for a higher fee. Most companies enforce a cap on distance traveled and number of hours in service. Generally the customer will have to pay for any overtime accrued or extra distance traveled on top of the rental fee.   Still want to drive? If you have decided that you want to drive a vehicle, whether it be a car or motorbike, you will need to obtain a local Vietnamese driver’s license. The easiest way to do this is to convert your current license from your home country to a local license. This can be done after a few relatively simple steps and for a nominal fee. If you do not have a valid license from your home country, you will be required to pass both a driving test and a written test. Currently the written tests are only offered in Vietnamese language so if you are not fluent in Vietnamese, passing the written exam is nearly impossible. One important thing to consider before getting on a motorbike or behind the wheel of a car here is your health insurance policy. Most insurance policies will not cover you if you get into an accident while driving without a license.   Finally, if you do end up on the roads, always keep safe and calm. It can be a true test of patience & instinct on the roads in Ho Chi Minh with the general lack of traffic discipline, concern for safety and the awareness to use the horns correctly, so a cool head is a must! [post_title] => How to Get Around in The Street of Ho Chi Minh City [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => how-to-get-around-in-the-street-of-ho-chi-minh-city [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-05-14 11:54:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-05-14 04:54:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.homeconnectvietnam.com/?p=4022 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 3445 [post_author] => 2 [post_date] => 2014-03-11 16:24:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-03-11 09:24:42 [post_content] =>

Moving to a new country often comes hand in hand with an almost never ending 'to do list' and an immeasurable amount of stress. Where you live and what kind of landlord you are going to have is no doubt one of the most stressful aspects of the whole process.

We've all heard the horror stories of tenants losing their security deposits for dubious reasons, shoddy repair work and landlords that do not respect their tenants’ privacy, and of course there is the fact that each country may have different definitions of 'what's acceptable'.

The good news is, the 'horror story' situations tend to be rare, and we've been doing this long enough to have a good idea of how often issues arise. As a tenant, you have the power to prevent your landlord from making your situation unpleasant. In fact, there are even ways to turn a bad landlord into a good one, and turn a good landlord into a better one. Here are a few simple tips:

 Meet Your Landlord

While it is possible to work with landlords remotely, it is advisable to make an effort to meet your prospective landlord face to face. Personal relationships are a big deal in Vietnam and landlords like to meet prospective tenants. If you are moving with a family, make the whole family available to meet your new landlord.

While the search for a new house can be tiring always try to put on a smile and engage with your new landlord. Friendly gestures such as picking up the tab if you meet for coffee can go a long way in establishing a long term positive relationship. This small investment can pay off in a big way down the road.

 Negotiating

If you are planning on staying for more than a year, adding an extra six months or another year to your lease agreement can help persuade the property owner to make more significant renovations to the property if desired. Adding length to the lease term can also lead the landlord to invest in new furniture, lower the monthly rent, and even throw in other maintenance services.

Another good way to establish a positive relationship is to negotiate exactly what repairs you expect them to make to the property both before and during your tenancy. Landlords everywhere dream of a simple life where nothing in their properties break or need repair. The reality as we all know is quite the opposite. That being said, the willingness of the tenant to make small, minor repairs on their own definitely goes a long way in your negotiations prior to moving in.

 Moving In

Vietnamese in general are extremely receptive to kind gestures and nearly always make sure to return the favor. Give your landlord a small gift to thank him or her for completing all of the required repairs and improvements on time. Some good gift ideas are souvenirs from your own country, a bottle of wine, or a simple fruit basket.

As long as the landlord has made a good effort to make the necessary repairs and upgrades as agreed upon before move in day, try not to let small issues such as a bit of dust in the kitchen counter become a problem. Hourly maid services are cheap and efficient and will have the house totally spotless in a jiffy.

 Being a Tenant

Issues between tenants and landlords are generally solved simply by the terms of the lease agreement; however like many things in Vietnam, there tends to be a bit of a “grey area” at times. Lease contracts usually state in fairly direct terms what the landlord is responsible and the majority of landlords are willing to make basic repairs that are caused by regular wear and tear, as well as larger problems such as electrical wiring or the structural integrity of the property.

When choosing a property, always be mindful of the property’s age. Just like anywhere, older properties generally have more repair issues than newer ones. This can sometimes lead to frustration for both the landlord and tenant. While the tenant may feel that all minor repairs must be completed by the landlord, the landlord may quickly grow tired of the repeated requests for minor repairs, while the contract may state that the landlord is indeed responsible, taking care of these repairs on your own can make your life a lot easier. Not only will you keep the landlord happy, but you will also have the ability to choose your repair provider and set appointments based on your schedule. Many landlords are also willing to deduct repair costs from the monthly rent as long as receipts are provided. This method is usually acceptable after a good relationship has been established and there is a certain level of trust achieved.

 Renewing Your Lease

This is the point where all that initial effort from your end on relationship building pays some real dividends. As long as a good relationship has been established - it is time to do some serious negotiating! A good tenant is a valuable thing to a landlord and often times they are willing to do more major repairs, install those expensive security cameras, improve furnishings, or even renegotiate rent prices. While not all of your requests may be met, there will certainly be improvements made.

Good Luck!

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Here’s our quick guide to what to expect from each of the Districts. District 1 Set in the middle of Ho Chi Minh, District 1 is quite literally the center of life in the city. Ultra modern with a multitude of entertainment, shopping & nightlife options, District 1 also plays host to most of the embassies and consulates. A large number of expats choose to live here and as a result English tends to be more widely spoken in this District and you can probably meet other expats more easily as well. On the downside however, it is also, as expected, the most expensive district to live in. Perfect for a single person or young couple that’s looking to go out and meet more people, the ‘sleepless district’ as it is often called due to the restaurants, bars and nightlife may not be the ideal choice for families or people looking for a more relaxed experience.   District 2 Not too far from District 1, District 2 has a quieter suburban feel to it with wide roads and less traffic. The rents are much lower here, this combined with the fact that it commute to District 1 is not too long make it preferred choice for a lot of expats. Of course once you get home in the evening, you are probably looking at a quiet evening in when compared to District 1. Having Said that, the area is well catered to meet residents needs with a variety of restaurants, parks, playgrounds, sports clubs and shopping malls – which means it’s perfect for families and couples looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of inner city life. ,   District 3 Located close enough to District 1 to make it accessible, District 3 also offers a more cost effective option for living. On the flip side the roads in this district tend to be quite narrow resulting in regular traffic jams and the reality is that housing choices are quite limited and few is any expatriates tend to choose this district.   District 7 Despite being a bit of a trek from the city center, District 7 is quite popular with expats, mostly due to the fact that it was planned as a “Western” district targeting high income people and is touted as the future of the housing market in Ho Chi Minh. This means that the villas and apartments are of a very high quality and local restaurants, shops and supermarkets cater to expat tastes and requirements. The drawback of course is the higher cost than other districts and also the distance from District 1. In recent years more global restaurant chains have also started opening up in the district which continues to develop and therefore remains a preferred choice.   District 9 This district is extremely cost effective in all aspects of housing and is a planned and ‘green’ environment. It is centrally located in terms of access to several industrial zones which play home to international companies, making it a convenient choice for many ex pats. Most housing complexes offer serviced busses that run to District 2 allowing access to International Schools and District 1 for shopping & recreation, and its best to check on the availability of this service when making a decision to live here. There is a French school located in the district making it a choice worth considering for French families.   Still unsure what the perfect fit would be for you? Get in touch with the HomeConnect Vietnam team and we will guide you through the process of finding the right place to start your new life in Vietnam.   [post_title] => The Districts of Ho Chi Minh: Where Should You Live? 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