It is 11am on Sunday morning in Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City, or HCMC, or the Hoch as I am coming accustomed to calling it.
That means it is midnight on Saturday in Boston and everyone I know is out partying it up, miss you guys!
I have been in Vietnam for three days now and I couldn’t be more excited to be here. Later on this afternoon, I will be moving into the one month room rental I found by walking from alley to alley going into building after building speaking half English half broken sign language (me pointing at the AC and nodding my head up and down).
The room isn’t glorious by any means, it has a bed, a desk, and a wardrobe which is all I need. The setup is pretty standard and very common for this area. Prices range from $200-$400 a month.
You can find the best deals by being flexible and searching around which is what I did. Most places wanted $350 and weren’t willing to negotiate. So I walked out. I probably saw close to 10 places before I picked my room. It was the cheapest I could find ($200) but the room comes with a balcony which will keep me from going insane.
Let me give you a quick breakdown of what the extended living places are like here. You basically have two options:
2. Home stays
The hotels are always going to be more expensive and while they are fairly nice, they aren’t that much better than some of the home stays available.
A home stay isn’t like what you get in America where you are sleeping in the 10 year old’s bunk bed and have breakfast in the morning with the family you’re staying with.
Yes, you are staying with a Vietnamese family, but the home is more like an apartment building and the room feels like a one bedroom apartment.
However, since you are staying in someone’s house, it is important to look for a few important things.
- You want someone in the family that speaks decent English
- Figure out what’s included, usually wifi, cable and water. Most offer laundry services but be sure to ask. Some include electric, some don’t, you have to ask
- Find out if there is a curfew, the last thing you want is getting locked out of the house at 11pm in Vietnam with no where to go and you have to bang on the door to wake up the old Vietnamese lady sleeping on the floor.
- If you can, get a key all the way to your room that way you don’t have to worry about a curfew.
- Check the beds. Most of the mattresses in Asia are hard as a rock.
- Make sure the room has a desk to work from
- Find out the policy on bringing back people. Sex out of wedlock is illegal in Vietnam and some homes have strict policy about that. The last thing you want is a pissed off Vietnamese landlord.
Overall, I’m really happy with the place that I’ve found and I’m excited to get settled and get to work.
The quality of life is really good and the cost of living is crazy cheap. Today, I had breakfast for $2. I’m telling all my friends to get their asses out here because there is so much opportunity and positive energy.
Until next time,
P.S. If you have any questions about Vietnam, or travelling out here, feel free to shoot me a PM. I’d be happy to discuss anything you’re thinking about. Cheers!