Finding accommodation in HCMc

General info:

Ho Chi Minh city has 19 urban districts and 5 rural districts.
In which, places has the most foreigners live are:
District 1; Thao Dien, An Phu ward of District 2 and Phu My Hung, District 7.
D1 has lots of tourist, D2 and D7 are more for people who really live here.
I’m not so sure where do you prefer to live, near the foreigners or far away from them.
Someone said to me: “I come here to be with local people, if I want to be with foreigners, I should come back to Western”.
Others said that, being near other foreigners are better since they are like-minded people and have more opportunity to connect, find a job, do business.
And I’m not so sure that are you easy-going or not.
People who first time come here may experience lots of differences:
it’s not that clean in comparison with Western world, not very organize, not everyone speak English, not in a standard.
If you can see yourself good in any situation, it’s great.
If not, places for foreigners are good for you at starting,
since those places are being developed to serve those people,
a starting “comfort zone”.
And those places has more facilities Western-like fitness, restaurants, supermarket.
You may want to go to supermarket rather than market, because:
– except you speak Vietnamese, if not, you may experience difficulties asking price or bargain
– sometime foods in market aren’t cheaper than supermarket.
– most of the time, foods in market expose under sunlight and dust
—————————-

Story:

I helped AE – a French girl to find an accommodation and just want to share some experiences.

I fetched her from the airport in the morning of Jun 14, 2015 (around 7:30am).
We went back to my place by bus no 152. The first station is the airport and the last station near my place (just walking distance, so it’s very convenient, I usually instruct people going to my place take this bus).

Upon arrival, we had breakfast, took her things to 3rd floor, she had a rest and slept until 2pm. We did some housing research on internet, we looked for a place fully furnished, walking distance to her office and convenient. There are many ads, but they are either not near, or when I called, they said the room is already occupied. She had an option from a broker through FB page: Little Saigon apartments, I texted the guy (I had his phone no since last time I helped someone else), but he didn’t reply. The good thing is, from that I know the name of the place “Cư xá Đô Thành”. Then I told her that it’s best if we just go there, look around and ask. Since info on ads are sometime different with reality, and some people don’t really post ads, they just stick info in front of their house for people passing by to see. So I brought her by motorbike to the place near her office to look for an accommodation.

She will be doing internship at Green Viet company which has an office at no. 311 Dien Bien Phu street, Ward 4, District 3, HCMc. (Note: Dien Bien Phu street is one way street). I parked my motorbike at Bệnh viện Bình Dân (a hospital), then we walked around. First, we entered “Cư xá Đô Thành”. It’s a residential compound has different houses. Asking around, I was pointed to road no.2. There are two houses has room for rent (serviced apartment there).
One of them (Hồng Phúc) is fully occupied. Address: 27, đường số 2, Cư xá Đô Thành, phường 4, Quận 3.
We went to the next one: Hải Yến. Address: 27, đường số 2, Cư xá Đô Thành, phường 4, Quận 3.
Contact person: Ms. Quach Ngoc Hang. Phone no: 0907 115 539 or 0979 806 688.
The tenants here are mostly expats or Vietnamese living abroad, just come back to visit for a short term.

We were led to room no 302 on 4th floor. Please note that many houses in Vietnam don’t have elevator, so you may experience walking to 3rd, 4th, 5th floor by stairs.

It’s fully furnished: electric fan, aircon, fridge, microwave oven, bed, wardrobe, table and chairs, shoe rack and a small kitchen, some cooking utensils. It will be provided an electric stove, mattress cover once it’s occupied. It has a private bathroom with shower tap, lavabo and hot water. So it’s nice.

When I just entered the room, I had feeling that this room is the one which the broker introduced to her, but once I know the price, I know that exactly it is. The price is $400/month, included water, internet and cable TV (cable TV doesn’t matter, she doesn’t watch). Not yet included electricity and it’s 4000 vnd/kwh, laundry service fee is 30 usd/person/month, so it’s quite convenient. The owner request for one month deposit and she doesn’t use credit card.

AE brought a small calculator with her all the time to calculate the money, since she’s not familiar with Vietnam currency yet. As the rate of today, June 16: 1 EURO = 24,580 VND; 1 USD = 21,780 VND; 1 VND = 0.000046 USD = 0.000041 EURO.

We got the info, then told them that we want to see another place first, before give a decision.


Then we went to another place which I’ve found. The ad is here. The address is 105/1, Vườn Chuối street, ward 3, district 4. Contact person: Ms. Van. Phone no: 091 651 1440. Email: vandungan@gmail.com

Google Map doesn’t show this address (or doesn’t show address no. 105 Vườn Chuối street correctly). The actual distance from this address to her office is just 300m. The distance from the one we visited to her office is around 650m. So this place is more geographical benefit.

The tenants here are mixed locals and expats, mostly female. There is only one couple of Vietnamese husband and wife live here.

There are 2 rooms available at that time, on 4th floor of the house. Room no 3.2 is smaller, price is 4 million VND/month (less than 200 USD). Room no 3.2 is bigger and costs 5.5 million VND/month (around 256 usd). The price is also included water, internet, and cable TV. Electricity is 3,500 VND/kwh.

Both of them has bed with mattress and pillows, wardrobe, working table, aircon, fridge, electric fan, TV.

There isn’t kitchen inside, but tenants can use the kitchen downstair, as long as they share for the gasoline. They need to buy their own cooking utensils. There is a common washing machine which everyone can use. So it’s also quite convenient.

Pictures of room no 3.2:

Room no 3.2 is much wider and has a large balcony, that’s why it’s more expensive.

Pictures of room no 3.1:

Actually, the rooms look so much different with the pictures were posted in the ad. But I understand that they have other rooms, so maybe the pics on the ad are from other rooms.

AE selected this place to stay, and selected room no 3.2. I talked with the landlady on phone to arrange things. She requested two months deposit, one month advance. She doesn’t use credit card as well, so everything need to paid by cash or being deposited to her bank account.

We went home, she slept in my place for one night. Next morning (June 15), I went with her to Vietcombank office to exchange some euro. I know that exchanging near Ben Thanh market has better rate, but it’s not convenient for us to go there by that time. Then she packed her things, we took a taxi and went to her new place.

The landlady waited for us there. She prepared rental contract, brought some utensils to lend to AE, give some info of the room and the house, instruct how to lock the doors properly, usage of washing machine. Then she asked help from one of her relatives (who is also her helper) to brought AE by motorbike to go to a nearby supermarket to buy things she wants or need to settle down her life there. Must say that the landlady is very kind and supportive, she tried her best to help the new tenant.

So my experiences for expats who want to find accommodations in Vietnam is:

– Arrive in Vietnam, stay in a hotel or friend’s place for the meantime.
– Find a local person to help you looking for housing ads.
– Go with that person to the place you want to live, look around and ask. Many people have room for rent but may not post ad.
With this way, you can see the actual room, place, recognize the conveniences and inconveniences before giving any decision.

————-

In HCMc, Thao Dien, District 2 and Phu My Hung, District 7 are two places which has the most foreigners live.

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