Every city in the world, no matter where it from, may be New York from the developed country of America or Bangkok of developing country of Thailand, there are always some demerits that we couldn’t see until we really live there. However, despite these drawbacks, there are ways to avoid or overcome those problem.

Continue with Why Should Expats Choose Ho Chi Minh City, today I will mention the opposite site of the previous article, about the disadvantages of Saigon as well as how to get over it.

Here is the list of drawbacks in Ho Chi Minh city and the way to surpass it for expats who are living or tend to live in this city.

1. Traffic

The worst drawback of Ho Chi Minh city is the traffic jam, especially in rush hour. It’s a shock for expats in their first time coming to Ho Chi Minh city and witness the volume of motorbikes. It may be usual for Asia countries like Thailand to have their road full of motorbikes but if you are from a country without a bike, get used to this take times.


However, after a bit of learn the rules of the road and get use to the traffic, it won’t be any trouble for you to travel yourself. From my perspective, learn to drive a motorbike yourself is an important thing for you to consider if you want to live in Asia countries. It will be very comfortable and convenient to get to your destination by your own motorbike.

Crossing the road in the first few days in Ho Chi Minh city is terrifying for most expats too. But like I said, after a month living here, you can be a professional Vietnamese.

2. Pollution

With the high density of people and motorbikes, high air pollution is unavoidable in Ho Chi Minh city. However, the air in Saigon is cleaner than in Hanoi. But don’t worry, the pollution isn’t that bad. You still can breathe fresh air in your neighborhood unless your house’s entrance is less than a meter to big roads.


Usually, you only can feel the polluted air when you are driving. To avoid the pollution, you should wear a protection mask to keep yourself away from the pollutants. You can buy masks in big pharmacies around Ho Chi Minh city and they are very useful.

The noise pollution is one issue too. Living next to big roads may lead to the suffering of noise pollution.

3. Flood in monsoon season

Having Saigon River running through the city as well as many canals branching off, it might not be surprising that flood usually happen in Ho Chi Minh city. The flood may be small, only 1 or 2 cm height but sometimes, the water level can climb up to your knee if you stay in low areas.


The flooding damage is not crucial, and Saigon’s citizens know the flood will happen and already well-prepared against it. However, the flood will make the street looks awful and more dangerous to travel.

Ask the locals whether there is flood at that place before decided to rent anything. Masteri Thao Dien is a great apartment located in District 2, the best community of expats where the flood won’t affect to you your parking lot

4. Petty crime

If you are not used to the living in Ho Chi Minh city, you can easily be scam when you are not careful. For example, a taxi driver can drive you to your destination with a triple length to gain more money, a xich lo can charge more than what you have bargain for many nonsense reasons. So make sure you have to be careful all the time.

Another crime usually happen to expats is they get overcharging for the same product compared to locals. Due to the illiteracy in the 1900s and the bad education, many people think expats will have more money and they charge expats higher for just because those people come from overseas.

In order to avoid overcharge, ask the price first before buying and compare to the normal price. For instance, street food is usually about 20,000 VND to 40,000 VND ($0.87 to $1.73). If you think the are overcharge, leave immediately and choose another stall.


Last but not least is pickpocket, the most serious crime that expats must be careful about. 1 second is all it takes for the pickpocket to steal all your stuff so precautions must be prepared and your awareness must be raised when you going outside. For example, if you are walking in the middle of a crowd, put your bag in front of for easier watch out.

5. Less trip opportunity than Hanoi

Although there are plenty of activities to try in Ho Chi Minh city, I have to admit that in Saigon, there is less chances for you to visit dramatic scenery as Hanoi. In Hanoi, you can visit from amazing attractions such as Trang An, Bai Dinh or Ha Long bay.


However, like I said before, 30 minutes to get to Tan Son Nhat airport from the city center and you can travel everywhere you want.

6. Hot weather

Unlike from the previous article about the warm weather, many visitors can’t stand the heat of tropical climate year round. Some Western travellers found it very hot to live in Ho Chi Minh city, especially in dry season with burning sun.

In this case, a trip to the beach or going to mountainous areas near Saigon such as Da Lat is a great choice.

This article is summarized by Modoho – a trusted agency in Ho Chi Minh city. If you need any help from a local expertise with free searching services (only landlord have to pay) feel free to contact us. Here is some listing for you:

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