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Any Vietnam mums?

(17 Posts)
YoniOno Fri 19-Apr-13 12:36:08

DH considering a job offer to work in Ho Chi Minh City. Anyone out there with any advice? Looks like a fantastic opportunity for us - I'm a SAHM with a toddler and trying for a second. We go to quite a few toddler groups and activities so would be keen to continue... also what are the chances of being able to get a house with a pool? smile We lived in Bangkok for a bit pre-kids so are quite excited about the idea of living in Asia on a proper salary. Not that we know what that is yet! It's a middle management role in an Asian consultancy type business <vague>

<dreams of sunshine>

YoniOno Sat 20-Apr-13 19:29:40

Hopeful bump?

MasterOfTheYoniverse Sun 21-Apr-13 11:18:05

There is at least one i can think of.
There was a thread 3-4 months ago.
Scroll down you might find it?

Not lived there but been a few times.
HCM has a big expat community and they serm a happy bunch.
Its a busy city but at the same time the pace seems strangely cool. I lived in another former french colony as a child and it still ferls in many respects that some things are stuck in a time warp.
Its not as frantic as bangkok by any means amthough the traffic is intense!

CiderwithBuda Sun 21-Apr-13 11:38:43


I lived in HCMC for 7 years but left in 2001. I do still have a friend there.

Def possible to have a house with a pool out in the
Tu Duc / An Phu area which is where a lot of expats live. Its also where one of the international schools is. There is a big compound of houses called the BP compound but lots of houses not on the compound.

There are definitely toddle groups etc. With regard to your second baby - I'm not sure of the situation now but when we were there most expats didn't have their babies in Vietnam but went home or travelled to Bangkok or Singapore.

It's very social. If youve been an Expat before you will know how social it can be. Expats are generally welcoming and friendly. Certainly when we were there everyone knew everyone else.

Shopping wise - there are some supermarkets but not like here. There are a few shops on a street called Ham Nghi that stock Expat stuff - lots of Australian dairy etc. There is a supermarket on the BP compound and a good fruit and veg shop now from what my friend was telling me. Starbucks has just opened! No MacDonalds yet afaik. Internet can be patchy.

If you have any specific queries I can ask my friend.

WeeNoggi Thu 25-Apr-13 04:29:18

Hi there,

Vietnam is changing very rapidly - it's quite different now to what cider describes, These days district 7 is far more popular than district 2 with ex-pats - lots of western restaurants & shops. Also lots of toddler stuff in both D2 and D7. Taxis are cheap & easy.

All the big apartment blocks have pools and the Crescent Mall has a big gym. A serviced apartment while you get over your culture shock & figure out the best place to live is a great idea.

I believe a lot more ex pat women are having their babies in Vietnam - at FV hospital. Hanh Phuc is also popular as a more affordable option - Singapore style healthcare:

Does your husband's relocation package include health insurance with maternity cover? International school / kindergarten fees? Both of these can be very pricy.

Try to join the google groups: An Phu neighbors or Phu My Hung neighbours - for a good taste of how people are living / selling / doing with their free time.

Try downloading these magazines for ideas / more info - the classifieds are helpful

YoniOno Thu 25-Apr-13 13:46:36

Thanks, lots to think about! DH is still thrashing out a package, taking ages as opposite time zones.

We'd rather not be in an apartment, we'd prefer a house in a compound and would need 4 bedrooms. Does this sound reasonable? We'd hope to spend 1.5k in dollar rent, would this be ok or would $2k be more realistic? What kind of facilities do the housing compounds have? Looking at Snap Cafe website it seems that there are some really nice houses around the 1.5k mark in compounds, with modern decoration and fully furnished. We'd like a pool and gym etc. Any advice re maids...?! It's just all so surreal atm.

I read on another thread in Living Overseas that most health insurance policies exclude pregnancy care for first ten months - we'd want to try for a second as soon as we're settled so would need to look at this too.

So much to consider! We thought District 2 was the place to be - also DH's work will be in D3 not D1, and I think a taxi commute will be easier from D2 than D7.

Any other advice appreciated! Out main concerns are housing and health insurance - I think most other stuff can be sorted later. Any tips on pre-schools? DS is 18mo atm and I'm a SAHM, there seem to be plenty of social things to do with him but I'd like to know more about pre-school and likely costs - we don't think DH's work will help with that.

I joined An Phu neighbours but haven't found it v helpful, it's not discussions as such but just a load of adverts.

Are you in HCMH Noggi?

CiderwithBuda Thu 25-Apr-13 14:04:21

You can live in a serviced apartment while you find a house and while waiting for your shipment to arrive. There are a few. We lived in one for 5 years - with our own furnishings. Or you can live in one for a month or a week. We were in one called Somerset Chancellor Court on Nguyen Thi Minh Khai.

I cant remember the districts really. I know we were out by the airport for the first two years and I hated it. Moved into town and loved it. We didn't have DCs then though. I left when I was 6 months pg.

sammisatt Thu 25-Apr-13 21:23:29

I lived there for two years and like cider, left in 2001. (Wondering if I met you cider as it was a very small world back then!) there were fantastic houses and apartment complexes out in an phu. I lived in riverside for a while. Very nice but very much an expat bubble. The centre of town was far more interesting but noisy. There were some lovely apartments round le than thon.

There are lots of expat families in hcmc and lots of really nice stuff to do ie trips to mui ne etc.

I can't believe Starbucks has landed.

CiderwithBuda Fri 26-Apr-13 22:03:54

I wonder if I know you sammisatt! We lived in town - it's now Somerset Chancellor Court but was Regency Chancellor Court then.

Starbucks is apparently near the New World Hotel. We used to go to Java on Dong Khoi a lot for lunch or coffee. Many a late night in Cafe Latin. Lots of other bars and restaurants whose names I can't remember!

What were you doing there? DH is an accountant with one of the big firms.

sammisatt Sat 27-Apr-13 14:10:24

I did a variety of things. Started off Tefl teaching, then marketing then briefly teaching at international school. Ooh cafe java!! That was the ultimate in posh coffee drinking back then. I went to cafe Latin once on the night of the day all the expats were invited to the embassy to meet princess Anne! Do you remember that? Did you go to Vascos? I wonder if its still there!

Sorry for the thread hi jack. I am rather nostalgic now. It is a fascinating place to live, although not always easy. I remember someone saying that you see something horrific and something wonderful every day in HCMC, and I think that's so true. Unless you are completely immersed completely in the expat bubble in which case its a breeze.

CiderwithBuda Sat 27-Apr-13 14:49:14

Vascos! Was trying to remember the name! Yep - went there too!

Don't remember Princess Anne coming. I do remember getting horribly drunk at a function for the opening of the Sydney Olympics. Ended up in Cafe Latin after. Met up with a sober DH. I fell off a stool and hit my head.

Which international school?

sammisatt Sat 27-Apr-13 15:49:20

Shamelessly thread jacking now! I've just worked it out and I was there from spring 2001 until late 2002 so we might have missed each other!

The drinking was horrendous wasn't it? I have never been so drunk as in Saigon! I think everyone was a functioning alcoholic! I wasn't there fir the Sydney Olympics but remember other excuses to get trolled ie Australia Day!

I used to love those random evenings which could include posh drinks at the top of the renaissance hotel followed by bia hoi in the park and maybe ending up dancing with transsexual prostitutes in apocalypse at 5 am. Will DM you the name of the school and my own name!

sammisatt Sat 27-Apr-13 15:53:33

Have DMed you Cider.

welshlisa74 Tue 14-May-13 16:53:51

Hello, just picked up this thread from here in hcmc! been here 10yrs and had our 2 kids here at the FV hosp. I work part time, and find its a much saner option for me than being a SAHM. Not much to do here with the kids in the day/too hot etc, so most 2+ are in pre-school (all schooling is expensive, but great quality) Where do I start.. ok, not sure I agree about D7 v. D2.. go for D2 in my opinion, its a lovely village feel with a lot of activities and schools, rapidly improving in terms of restos, shops and such. Don't even consider D1 with kids. All the schools are in D2 or 7. I find that most "western" activities are happening in D2.. theatre, film nights, kids classes.. D7 has more asian expats (huge korean community) and many mums I know trek over to D2 a lot.
House with a pool for 1.5.. wont be easy, more like 2 or 2.5 and really recommend moving somewhere like riverside for the first month whilst you get a feel for the place. Finding a house on a looksee is a bit hit and miss.
You will need a helper, as basically its impossible to take the kids out with you and shopping with them in D1 is challenging and dangerous, lack of pavements, traffic etc. You need someone you trust to mind them when you need to go out and do the tedious chores of hcmc.. everything is by hand (bills) and fresh grocery shopping is very much a daily affair. Your house and clothes will need a lot more attention than at home - humidity leads to mould, dust and mozzies etc. So yep, you have a cleaner but boy you need them, unless in an apart which is a lot easier to keep clean. Houses are a lot of work - quality of electric, construction is abominable here, so constantly fixing stuff and housekeeping is never ending.
Apart from all that, life is GREAT, you are living an adventure; giving your kids a unique multicultural experience and if you can mix it up with some local reality its a source of constant gratitude., admit the lack of weekend activities (outdoors, forests, museums) does get boring now that my oldest is 7. Mui ne is a 4-6hr drive and vung tau the nearest beach 2.5 but isnt something you can do every week.
On the plus, social life is fab, cheap, nannies galore, you can spend a lot more "quality time" with your hubby in the evening out to fantastic restaurants in saigon. Us mums aren't dealing with stress of cooking and cleaning so we get to spend a lot more time with kids. Its a Yes for another few yrs for us!!

welshlisa74 Tue 14-May-13 16:56:22

for preschool (I have a 2yr old in one) prices and insurance info, get in touch privately is that possible? I work in healthcare so insurance info galore !

YoniOno Tue 14-May-13 19:03:12


Thanks for all replies. As of yesterday we're not going after all. DH decided it was too much of an upheaval. Am gutted. I was much more psyched up for it than he was I think... we'd had people in to value our house here to let it out, and done so so much research into HCMC. Lots of tears from me. Hey ho. He thinks 'one day' we can still live abroad, ideally Asia, but I just think now's the time, with a toddler and a baby. I wouldn't be so keen if we had to take kids out of UK primary schools. sad sad but it's done... he emailed the company and cc'd me so I know it's over. Just need to get used to the idea of the next few years in sunny England hmm so skint despite good money on paper, it's running to stand still here.

Thanks again to all, esp for lovely pm's thanks

MasterOfTheYoniverse Wed 15-May-13 02:19:48

sad Yoni!
Am sure that if you are that frame of mind, soon enough a goid opportunity will come your way.

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