Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest city. Its vibrancy, timeless charm, friendly inhabitants, and delicious food make the city an enticing place to call home. To help you settle in, we've compiled our top tips for living here.

Living in Ho Chi Minh City | BIS HCMC - Content Page Header

Weather and climate

Ho Chi Minh City is situated in the Southeast Asian monsoon zone. The temperature is hot all year round, but for six months (May to October) monsoon rain showers are common, usually in the afternoon. The remainder of the year is hot and dry. Daytime temperatures range from 25-35°C with humidity often high at 75-80%. Don’t worry, though, schools, homes, taxis, shops, and restaurants are all fully air-conditioned.

Living costs

The currency used in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Overall, the standard of living in Ho Chi Minh City is very good – your money will go a long way. Luxuries such as spa treatments, dining at fancy restaurants, and exploring parts of Southeast Asia are affordable and accessible.

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to haggle at markets. Bargaining is part of Vietnamese culture, so make sure you get a fair price for the goods you’re purchasing.

Although it's cheap to live in Vietnam, if you like to eat Western food or purchase Western products, then you may find it slightly more expensive.

For those wanting luxury, you won’t miss out here. There are 5-star hotels, high quality restaurants, designer shops, and exclusive spas across the city.

We’ve listed the approximate cost of some basic household items:

 Groceries Cost in VND

 A dozen eggs

 One litre of milk 35,000 
Chicken breasts (1kg)  80,000
Loaf of bread (white) 25,000

Travel in Ho Chi Minh City

Getting around Ho Chi Minh City is cheap and easy, but sometimes quite an experience!
Most expats get around either by motorbike or taxi. Small 125cc motorbikes are inexpensive to purchase or hire, but you must always wear a helmet. Motorbike taxis are readily available through apps like Grab and Be. 

Top tip: If you're considering renting or buying a motorbike, don’t forget to bring your driving licence with you. It's much easier to convert this to a Vietnamese licence (in most cases) than it is to take a Vietnamese motorbike test.

Taxi rates are very reasonable in Ho Chi Minh City, as long as you use a reputable company and the meter is used. We recommend Vinasun and Mai Linh.

Crossing the road can be a little daunting at first. Our advice is to walk slowly but steadily, and wave your arm in the air to make yourself visible to oncoming traffic. If you walk at a consistent pace, the cars and motorbikes can weave around you.

Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City

There's always something going on here. There are a huge range of recreational activities to enjoy. From cinemas and trampoline parks to museums and live music, there is something for all tastes.

There are lots of activities for children, too, including football, dance, horse riding and even ice-skating. We also offer a variety of after-school clubs at BIS HCMC.

Restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam is famous for its delicious food. Dining out can be cheap, especially if you have an adventurous appetite and are willing to try some of the local dishes.

If you’re not ready to dive into the tastes of Vietnam, there's no need to worry. There are lots of fantastic restaurants that serve food from around the world. An increasing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants are also opening up.

If you’re a coffee lover then Vietnam is the place for you. It’s strong but delicious, and you can get all sorts of varieties, from egg to coconut.

Many restaurants have a takeaway and delivery service. Vietnammm is a popular app among expats.


Living in Ho Chi Minh City | BIS HCMC - Downloads-download icon


Welcome to HCMC Guidebook.pdf (4 MB)