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family thinking of moving to HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City)


Hi All

I am in discussions about a job in HCMC.   From a personal perspective i am very excited but i have a young family (1 year old son and 4 year old daughter).   But i have lots and lots of questions that i am desperate to ask someone who's impartial (i.e. not prospective employer)

I am really interested in understanding what the expat community is like in HCMC.  Basically, how easy will it be for me and (and my wife who will not work) to make friends and how sociable is it in HCMC.  I am a brit but my wife and i are quite well travelled but it would be great if my wife would have a network of other non-working wives in HCMC if we were to move over. 

Also, we are thinking about the british international school. Does anyone have any views on this?   

I am struggling with how much tax i will pay and how cheap it is to live in HCMC? I have been told that there are lots of tax reliefs available for families which will reduce the effective tax rate below the headline rates?  does anyone have any experience of this.  in terms of cost of living it looks like rent for a western style 4 bed villa is quite expensive.  Are the headline rates negotiable? I have also had district 7 recommended but people say district 2 is more vibrant and may have more going on and a great expat community.

Also, currently we are a 2 car family. How do people get around in HCMC, eg if you want to go shopping or go to the beach for the weekend. Is it all done by buses and taxis?

In summary, i am wondering whether i will feel better off in HCMC and will my family enjoy our time over there??

Sorry, lots of questions. Any advice would be gratefully received.  If it was not for our young family, my wife and i would be over like a shot but we are struggling to get a feel for what is going on in VN at the moment.