Living in Ho Chi Minh City

Living in Ho Chi Minh City

Night Market (Photo by Thai 2014)
A corner of street foods (Photo by Thai 2014)
Beer Clubs on Backpack road (Photo by Thai 2014)
A Foreign Restaurant (Photo by Thai 2014)
Crowded coffee shop on Backpack road (Photo by Thai 2014)
Bar Club for Foreigner (Photo by Thai 2014)
Motorbike for rent (Photo by Thai 2014)

Once was called the Pearl of the Far-East, Saigon Gia Dinh - later renamed as Ho Chi Minh City – has never failed that title. Ho Chi Minh City's architecture and lifestyle represent special Vietnamese traits with contemporary touch of American and French characteristics. The city nowadays is one of Vietnam's key cultural, trading and education hubs.

Living and studying at RMIT Saigon South campus will give you great opportunities to get immersed into a dynamic, multicultural and intriguing city.


1. Climate

Ho Chi Minh City has a tropical climate with two seasons: wet and dry. The average humidity throughout the year is between 78 per cent and 82 per cent.
Most days have high temperatures ranging between 30 degrees Celcius and 37 degrees Celcius. The hottest days are in April and May, with the coolest December to March.

At night, the lowest temperatures are 22 – 25 degrees Celcius.

In the wet season, May to October, it rains heavily most days for around an hour in the afternoon.

2. Food

For anyone with a passion for food, studying and living in Ho Chi Minh City is a good chance to experience not only Pho (traditional soup) and Com Tam (broken rice)  but also many diverse flavours, from restaurant food to street food.

Vietnamese are passionate about their food which can be found anytime within a dayThere is a wide range of street food such as Vietnamese sandwiches, grilled seafood, rice paper salads, crab soup, sweet deserts and many other dishes served in small food stalls located at almost every street corner. However, in order to experience the best tastes of street food, you need to know the right places, and the easiest way to do that is getting recommendations from local friends. Your Vietnamese buddies not only advise you about the places providing good dishes but also hygienic ones. 

There are nearly 500 traditional Vietnamese dishes with different flavours depending on specific areas. Studying and living around the RMIT Saigon South campus gives students a great opportunity to easily enjoy cuisines from other countries. This  modern residential area with a high population of foreigner has Korean, French, Brazilian, American, Vietnamese, Indian, and Chinese restaurants with good prices. Moreover, supermarkets and convenience stores allow students to buy ingredients for preparing inexpensive meals.



3. Accommodation

The standard of accommodation in Ho Chi Minh is, by and large, good. great. There is a wide range of guesthouses, houses and apartments catering to all budgets, depending on location, lifestyle and individual circumstances.

In order to provide the best service for students, especially international ones, RMIT offers accommodation on campus. The Residential Centre is managed by a well-trained team 24/7. It not only offers single rooms but also multi-shared accommodation in three and five-bedroom apartments for those with sociable lifestyles. All apartments are fully furnished and air-conditioned. Wifi  and safety boxes are also available. Moreover, kitchens on every level give students the convenience of cooking their own meals and dining with others.

Three minutes from the campus, Phu My Hung is Ho Chi Minh City’s “satellite city” is home to international residents from all over the world including Korean, Japanese, Taiwanese, American, Australian, etc. Apartments, villas, condos are surrounded by green spaces while well-equipped with many sports clubs, swimming pools, shops, cafes and restaurants.

For those who enjoy the liveliness of the city centre, Districts 1 and 3 are the places to live. Their narrow, multi-floored town houses are ideal places to experience a dynamic, colourful day and night-life with bars, cafes and street food stalls opening until early morning. 

4. Transportation

Most international students are familiar with the image of cars as the common vehicle in their country. In Ho Chi Minh City, students  may experience new forms of transport.

The majority of local students as well as Vietnamese people use motorbikes for transportation. However, if you do not know how to ride a motorbike or you do a license you can utilise buses, taxis or motorbike taxi (so called “Xe Om” in Vietnamese). The bus system in Ho Chi Minh City covers most locations including the RMIT Saigon South campus, supermarkets, shopping centres, sight-seeing spots, etc. With only US$0.25 to US$1.00 depending on the distance, students can easily go to school or hang out with friends. Taxis and motorbike taxis are also cheap, costing about US$0.6 for the first two kilometres.

5. Living costs

  • Rent: $300-600/month
  • Gas, electricity & water: $25/month (depending on usage)
  • Mobile+3G: $15-20/month (depending on usage)
  • Internet: $15/monthly package (unlimited)
  • Food: 100 - 200/month
  • Average meal at Western restaurant: ~ $15
  • Vietnamese restaurant: $2-$5/dish
  • Street food: ~ $1/dish
  • Cost for transportation: bus-30 cent/ticket
  • Taxi-50cent/km
  • Motorbike taxi-30 cent/km
  • Gas for transport: $1.14-$1.26 per litre (fluctuates)

Source:  RMIT Vietnam’s International Student Guide 2015


6. Entertainment and recreation

Unlike the gentle & classic beauty of Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh is a dynamic city with a number of entertainment forms,  day and night. You can learn about the history of the city by visiting famous museums such as: War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh Museum and Reunification Palace. After visiting the Reunification Palace, you can take a walk around the nearby park to enjoy the warm atmosphere and the special morning coffee of some small coffee shops along the pavement.

Ho Chi Minh City has been called a place for people who love to enjoy the nightlife with many bars, beer clubs as well as street food stalls opening from midnight until the early morning. The backpacker area is a place most foreigners visit because of its energetic, fun environment at night. Offering wide range of beer clubs, bars and small restaurants, this area  is the ideal location for parties or chit chat with friends. With all the information provided in Vietnamese and English you can easily order food, drink and other service without confusion. 

Outside the city, you can visit Vung Tau beach for tan skin, fresh air and sunshine. Just over an hour’s drive from Ho Chi Minh City, you can spend the weekend with friends to relax and experience the different daily life of local people at Vung Tau. The fresh sea food right on the beach is especially good

For those seeking health activities or having a passion for any specific sport, RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South Campus provides students with well-equipped gym with trainers, a sports centre where you can play numerous sports (for example: futsal, volleyball, basketball, badminton, etc.) as well as sports fields for playing soccer, football, baseball and rugby. Furthermore, there are gyms, fitness clubs and swimming pools available for students with reasonable price at nearby residences.


7. Health care services and safety concern

Moving away from home, the alterations in climate, in living environment are significant factors affecting one’s health condition. It is important for international students to take care of their health. It is recommended that before travelling to Vietnam, you should purchase private health insurance to help cover the cost of treatment at private healthcare establishments.

Among the wide range of hospitals and different standards of healthcare, private hospitals are generally on par with those in the Western countries and  accept international health insurance. The majority of doctors are from the US, Korea, Japan and France, as well as overseas-trained Vietnamese doctors .

At RMIT Vietnam, the health and safety of the students is a top priority. We have 24-hour security, health centres and counselling services on campus.