Ho Chi Minh City

Headed for Ho Chi Minh City? Then hold on to your hat: you are heading into a fast-paced cornucopia of commerce, culture …and crazy drivers. Formerly known as Saigon, this ancient fishing village-turned-Khmer-trading-port in Vietnam was later claimed by the French only to be wrestled back by the North in 1975, after 20 years of intense conflict. The city’s battle scars are still evident today, in the city’s churches, temples and GI hotels. Its residents’ resilience is evident in the capital’s aspiring skyline. The sleek modern edifices of Ho Chi Minh City’s (HCMC) business district now tower over the city’s timeless alleys, teetering temples and bustling street markets. Despite their embattled recent past, HCMC’s savvy locals are refreshingly witty, welcoming and extremely sociable; it won’t be long before you are sharing a meal (and a drink) with them. Expats arriving here will find that, rather than being herded into an expat enclave, the city is well integrated, with no dominant expat residential area.

The housing options here are many and varied. Single professionals can pick from a range of apartment styles and families will have no problem finding a decent-sized house with a garden and pool. Excellent schools are abundant, both local and international, and the health care system (for expats) is first-rate. In HCMC, like many other Asian cities, you will be subjected to torrential rain, extreme heat, humidity and pollution. Fortunately, the thrill of this vibrant city, coupled with the pristine rainforests and awe-inspiring beaches that lie beyond its borders, more than compensate.