Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh is a large and vibrant metropolis where the remnants of its colonial past sit side-by-side with the trappings of modern-day life.
It’s a popular stopping off point for travellers of all kinds, especially people like us who work online while travelling.
If you’re planning to visit this exciting Vietnamese city and you want to work on your online business while you’re there, here’s our rundown of why we think Ho Chi Minh is one of the most perfect digital hotspots for us techy travellers.
10 Reason why Ho Chi Minh has Become a Big Digital Hotspot
Reason #1: Low cost of living
One thing that all travellers agree on, is that Ho Chi Minh has a very low cost of living. Many report being able to get a breakfast for less than a dollar while a luxury coffee will set you back less than 60 cents. Rents for serviced apartments are very low and include luxuries such as a maid service and laundry.
Eating out is food heaven, and you can also get around the city cheaply.
If you’re not on a limited budget and want to splash out, you’ll find plenty of upmarket hotels in Ho Chi Minh where you’ll get all the facilities you could ever need from mega-fast free wifi to swimming pools, fitness centres and rooftops bars, with rates that are far cheaper than in other cities around the world.
Reason #2: Easy to set up camp
While we can’t stress enough how affordable it is to live in Ho Chi Minh, one of the biggest advantages we’ve heard is that it’s easy to set up in the city without making any long-term commitments.
Finding an apartment is easy. Most are either fully furnished and serviced so you can move you and your luggage in, plus there’s no long leases to sign. Usually, you’ll only be asked for a month’s rent up front and a small down payment, so if you don’t like it, you simply move out and find somewhere new.
Reason #3: Fast internet speeds wherever you go
When we say fast, we mean super fast, meaning that’s it’s so much easier to be productive. There’s no down time waiting for sites to load or losing your connection as you’re downloading an important document.
Reason #4: A like-minded community
In recent years, Ho Chi Minh has lured entrepreneurs from all around the world to come and work in the city. Consequently, you’ll find that there’s a readymade community of people just like you which, as any digital traveller knows, helps with productivity, motivation and creativity.
Having that community at your disposal is priceless.
Plus you’ll probably find some extra business opportunities along the way. You’ll bump into Russians, Germans, Dutch, Australians, English and Americans all busy beavering away in the ubiquitous co-working spaces.
Reason #5: Lots of co-working spaces
Which leads us nicely into the abundance of co-working spaces where you can go to get on with your business and make friends at the same time. They’re ideal for getting you out of your apartment or if you’re sick of working in coffee shops.
For a small monthly fee you can drop in as little or as often as you like. In return you’ll get flexibility, a super fast internet service and a friendly work environment. It’s a great option if you need this kind of atmosphere to be productive.
Reason #6: The abundance of coffee shops with free wifi
If you don’t need to be in a work environment, one thing Ho Chi Minh does have in abundance is coffee shops. To say that there’s a healthy cafe scene going on is a little bit of an understatement.
Many workers have set up their digital office in one of the cafes to take advantage of the good coffee and the fast, free wifi. And if you’re the kind of person who hates routine, you could even make it a mission to try a different cafe each day.
There’s probably enough to last you for 10 years!
Reason #7: Easy to get around
While public transport is vast and inexpensive, many long-term visitors choose to rent a motorbike. You’ll probably need nerves of steel (just like we did during our motorbike trip through Vietnam), but it’s a cheap and easy way to get around the city.
Don’t want to ride yourself? Hire either a motorbike taxi or the conventional version – they’re ultra cheap too. Or do what many people do and simply walk. You’ll pass plenty of cafes if you need a break.
Reason #8: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy or Gill a dull girl
With so many things to do in Ho Chi Minh you’ll never be bored.
From traditional markets to modern shopping centres; pretty parks to a French opera house, colonial buildings to the futuristic Bitexco Financial Tower, festivals to sporting events and museums to temples, there’s something to interest and amuse everyone.
Reason #9: You’ll get to eat some of the best food
If you love Vietnamese food, you’re in the right place. It’s fresh, it’s plentiful and it’s cheap.
What’s more is, due to the large Japanese population in the city, there’s also sushi and other Japanese food to savour too. And if that’s not enough, there’s every other international food option you can think of, from American burgers to German sausages.
Reason #10: There’s no need to shop, cook, clean or do laundry
Apartments are fully serviced, meaning that all your cleaning and laundry is taken care of, and eating out is cheap. Need we say more? Of course, if you want to do all these things, then you can – and at a great price too.
So if the delights of Ho Chi Minh are calling out your name, why not put it at the top of your travel list?
Much like Chiang Mai in Thailand, we think it’s the perfect digital hotspot for techy travellers to start their journey, or for the experienced travellers amongst you to kick back and hang out for a while.