Traveling in Vietnam

Life in Ho Chi Minh City

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Working in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formally known as Saigon, is the largest city in Vietnam. The city is known for its elegant culture and beautiful temples, but it also has modern skyscrapers and tasty restaurants. The city has so much to offer that you will probably never have a dull moment!

History

Culture in Vietnam

The city used to be part of the Cambodian kingdom, but in the 17th century the Vietnamese first entered the area. In the middle of the 18th century, the French started settling there. In 1862, Vietnamese emperor Tu Duc ceded the city to the French empire. After that, Saigon was transformed into a major port city and a real metropole. Beautiful villas, well-paved roads, and impressive public buildings dressed up the city. Railway lines connected northern and southern parts of Saigon. The city became one of the most important export points in the Mekong River Delta. The Japanese occupied Saigon in 1940, but the French authorities continued to be in charge until 1945. The city gained its independence in 1945, but the celebrations quickly turned into riots. This was the start of the first Indochina war. When the war ended in 1954, Vietnam got divided into northern and southern zones; and Saigon remained the capital of South Vietnam.

During the Second Indochina War in 1960s and 1970s, some parts of Saigon were destroyed, due to the presence of US military headquarters. On 30 April 1975, Vietnamese troops captured Saigon and renamed it Ho Chi Minh City. The long-term French colonial influence gave the city a certain "European look."

Internship in Vietnam

Working in Ho Chi Minh City

The city contributes a quarter of Vietnam’s national GDP. Ho Chi Minh City offers many opportunities for expat and domestic job seekers. It is a fast-growing city with the job market growing just as fast, especially in the IT, engineering and construction fields. NGO and teaching jobs are also available in the city. With many companies looking for foreign talent, job hunting should not be too hard. Once you get your visa and papers in order, you are all set to do business and work in this beautiful city.

 

 

 

What to expect

Climate

Ho Chi Minh City only has two seasons; the dry and the rainy season. Most tourists visit between November and May. The rainy season lasts from May to October, and from July to November the typhoon season can bring some tropical storms. The annual average temperature in Ho Chi Minh is around 28 degrees Celsius.

  • The dry periods in Ho Chi Minh City are January, February and March
  • On average, the warmest month is April
  • On average, the coolest month is December
  • February is the driest month
  • September has the most rainfalls

Transport

You might think it is hard to get around the city because of all the rushing motorbikes and honking taxis. But that is not true at all! It is such a rapidly developing city, that transportation is constantly being improved and developed as well. The public bus system is already convenient and covers most of the city, and the Xe Om (motorbike taxi) is probably the most convenient way of getting around, because they can squeeze through all the little gaps and streets to get you to your destination as fast as possible.

Transport in Ho Chi Minh City

Buses: 

The bus network will get you all around Ho Chi Minh City, and it is one of the most comfortable ways of traveling! You will recognize the buses easily because of their bright green colour. You can get a map of the bus system which will help you find routes. This is helpful if you don´t speak Vietnamese.

Motorbike taxis:

This is the most convenient way of getting around the city for most people. But you have to get used to the way of driving. They are really easy to spot around the city, as they usually line up on the side of the road, waiting for their next customer. Remember to settle on the price before you start your journey to avoid surprises. Bring a helmet if you are planning on having a motorbike trip. You will get a hefty fine if you are caught without one!

Taxis :

It is a comfortable and affordable way to get around the city. They are super easy to find, as they are spread all over Ho Chi Minh City. Similarly to most of the Asian countries you have to look out for dishonest drivers and potential scams. So always ask the taxi driver to turn on the meter. Taxi is the best choice when traveling in a group.

Cuisine

Cuisine in Ho Chi Minh CityIf you want to taste the authentic Vietnamese street food, you should go to the markets and ask one of your Vietnamese friends for recommendations. The street food is usually just as good as in restaurants. Because Ho Chi Minh City is a port city, the seafood dishes are a must try.

Pho bo (beef noodle soup) : For many people this the Vietnamese go-to-food. The ones who have tried it will probably recommend it to you. It is a rich soup with meat, lemon, coriander and mint. You can choose what meat you want; most people choose beef, but chicken is a good option as well. It is rich in flavour, and it is something that will not let you forget Vietnam!

Nem rán (fresh spring rolls) : This is also a very popular dish in the Vietnamese cuisine. In North America and Europe, it is mostly consumed as an appetizer, because of the large Vietnamese communities that introduced it. Commonly it is pork, vegetables and some seasoning wrapped in a rice paper and then deep fried. You have many different variations of this dish, and we recommend you to try them all!

Banh trang nuong (Vietnamese pizza) : It is more of a snack than a real dish, but it is still worth the try! You get a dry rice paper and you can choose different toppings, such as prawn or egg. That will be cooked on a BBQ or grill and garnished with some delicious herbs and onion.

Sightseeing

Nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica. This building is a reminder of the French colonial history. The beautiful basilica dates to 1887 and is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City. When you go there, you will get a peaceful break from the busy city.

Cong Vien Van Hoa Park. Even though this park is located in the middle of the city, the planners tried their best to make it as peaceful as they could. They made the park into a bike free zone, so you won’t get ran over by the rushing bikers. There is also a small sculpture park for the art lovers.

Ho Chi Minh City has a lot to offer for everyone, from an amazing cuisine to a historical city centre. When you really want to embrace the culture, try the local street food, and use a motor taxi to get around town. There are many calm places to escape from the daily busy life and relax with your friends. It is definitely a place to visit when you are in Vietnam!

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