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  • Our school is a caring and multicultural environment.

    With students from over 50 nationalities, our school values respect and integrity. Our children excel socially, personally and academically.

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    Well qualified staff with relevant British curriculum experience ensure that the education on offer is amongst the very best available anywhere in the world.

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Living in Ho Chi Minh City

Living in Ho Chi Minh City

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s largest city. It’s vibrancy and timeless charm combined with a young, educated and enthusiastic workforce have moved it back into position as a business leader in Asia.

After you have spent a short time adjusting to your new surroundings we are sure you will find Ho Chi Minh City an interesting and exciting city to live in. It will also be an enriching and advantageous experience for your children to be immersed in such a wonderful culture.

Listed below is some useful information and tips regarding living in this fast-paced, friendly and interesting city. If you need further information, please read our ‘Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City’ guide book below.

Weather and Climate

Ho Chi Minh City is in the South East Asian monsoon zone. This means 6 months of heat and rain (May to October) and 6 months of just heat (November to April). Day time temperatures range from 25-35°C with humidity often high at 75-80%. Don’t worry though - schools, home, taxis, shops and restaurants are all fully air-conditioned.

Cost of Living

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 stretch a long way. Luxuries such as spa treatments, dining at fancy restaurants, and exploring parts of Southeast Asia are both affordable and accessible.

Top Tip - Don’t be afraid to haggle! Bargaining is part of the custom here in Vietnam so make sure you get a fair price for the goods you’re purchasing.

Although it is very cheap to live in Vietnam, if you like to eat Western food or purchase Western products on a regular basis then you may find it slightly more expensive, but still reasonable.

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

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

Dozen eggs 35,000 VND
1 litre milk 35,000 VND
Loaf of bread (white) 15,000 VND
Chicken breasts (1kg) 80,000 VND

Transport

Getting around in Ho Chi Minh City is cheap and easy but sometimes quite an experience!

Living in Ho Chi Minh City - Traffic

Most expatriates get around by either a small motorbike or by taxi. Small 125cc motorbikes are inexpensive to purchase or hire but you must remember to always wear a helmet! Motorbike taxis, called a ‘xe-om’ are also readily available.

Top Tip – if you are considering renting or purchasing a motorbike don’t forget to bring your full driving licence with you. It is easier to convert your licence to a Vietnamese license (in most cases) than it is to undergo a Vietnamese motorbike driving test.

Taxi rates are very reasonable in Ho Chi Minh City as long as you use a reputable company and the meter is used.

Crossing the road can be a little daunting at first. Our advice is to walk slow but steady 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.

  • Grab app (xe-om and cars)
  • Vinasun
  • Mai Linh

Recreation and Leisure

First thing’s first, there’s always something going on in Saigon. There are a huge range of recreational activities and opportunities available for both adults and children living in Ho Chi Minh City. From cinemas to trampoline parks, history museums to live music there will be something to suit all interests.

There are also activities for your children which are similar to what they could be doing at home which helps with the settling in process eg. football, dance, horse riding and even ice-skating! We also offer a wide variety of after school activities here at BIS HCMC which your child can get involved in if they are of school age.

Living in Ho Chi Minh City - Leisure

Restaurants

Vietnam is famous for it’s delicious food and it can be very inexpensive to dine out each evening if you have an adventurous appetite and try some of the local dishes. Sat on a tiny plastic stool of course!

If you’re not ready to dive into the tastes of Vietnam, no need to worry. There are a fantastic number of restaurants to choose from in Ho Chi Minh City with foods from around the world. We are also seeing more vegetarian and vegan restaurants opening up.

If you’re a coffee lover then Vietnam is the place for you. It’s strong but it’s delicious and you can get all sorts of varieties from egg to coconut! So don’t forget to ask for your morning drink of ca phe.

Many restaurants have a ‘take-away’ and delivery service with Vietnammm being a popular takeaway app amongst expatriates.

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The British International School is a friendly and welcoming environment and you will find everyone very supportive. When you arrive please don’t hesitate to ask for help, information or advice. It is our aim to ensure your settling in process is as easy and as comfortable as possible.