When you tell people you’re moving to Vietnam, they look at you like you’re crazy. Aren’t you afraid of crime and stuff and won’t you miss living in the United States?

Fortunately for me, all of my friends already know I’m off the reservation and no one gave me any static about the move.

People are asking me, “What’s it like living in Vietnam?”

Vietnam is a geographically diverse country. Like California, you can go out to an exotic nightclub, enjoy great dining, or chill at the beach.

I’ve been visiting as many of Vietnam’s great towns and cities as possible, and even took a several hours motobike ride down the coast.

Thus far I’ve been to:

  • Phong Nha – a national park with Jurassic park like scenery.
  • Nha Trang (entry forthcoming) – a beach town with cool sea breezes and a chill vibe.
  • Hoi An (Motorbiking from Hue to Hoi An) – a beach town where you can also get custom suits made.
  • Hanoi – full of hippies and backpackers.
  • Saigon – I live here!

I’ve set up residence in Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon).

Saigon is a major metropolitan area with 8 million people. You can find anything in Saigon, as illustrated in a day in the life of Mike Cernovich.

  • Wake up in 3-story mansion in quiet, almost rural area.
  • Go to cafe with large tables, great coffee, great breakfast, and excellent wifi.
  • Get a massage. (Happy endings are less common than you’d think; those types of massage parlors are in the backpacker district, which I avoid.)
  • Hit the gym. (Vietnamese gyms are lacking in the heavy weight department, as dumb bells top off at 80 pounds. But the gyms are spacious and clean)
  • Grab a fresh-pressed beet-and-carrot juice for some post-workout recovery.
  • Stop by supermarket for food or anything else needed at home.

Nearly half of the 8 million people living in Saigon are under 35, giving the city a youthful vibe. (NY Times, “36 Hours in Ho Chi Minh City.”)

That energy is felt in the cafe scene, which runs deep. (James Clark, “The incredible cafe scene of Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam.”)

This looks like a cozy living room. It’s actually Cucuta Coffee, one of Saigon’s incredible cafes.

Mike Cernovich coffee

An English breakfast in Vietnam.

English breakfast Saigon

Meet the chefs.

street food Saigon

You can find street food to cook yourself.

IMG_6753

Or you can enjoy some sashimi at an elegant Japanese fusion restaurant.

sashimi Saigon

Which Cuban cigar would you like to enjoy after dinner?

Cuban cigar Saigon Vietnam

Some call me a douchebag. I call myself a man who enjoys life.

Mike Cernovich cigar

 

I’ll be writing more about Saigon in the coming weeks.

This is a huge city with several different districts, each of which have their own character.

Feel free to post any questions or comments you have in the comments below.

P.S. If you like these travel pics, check out Mike Cernovich’s Instagram.

48 Replies to “What’s it Like Living in Saigon, Vietnam”

  1. Great to hear that you are adjusting to Vietnam quite well! Currently, I’m residing in Northern Thailand. I’m currently following your advices on working out, dieting, and juicing tip from the fit-juice ebook. I’m feeling better everyday and will post an update in a few months. I often visit Vietnam every year since my family are from there. Hope to meet up with you in Vietnam in the near future. Thanks for being a good role model for men Mike!

    Cheers,
    Vy

    1. I do not. It’s not needed. Lots of people understand English, Google maps and other apps give you addresses of places to go. There’s Trip Advisor and other sites to gain info from.

  2. Very cool! Looks enjoyable. I am happy to see you are settling into your new life. I like this site, very nice pictures as well.

    Best of luck.
    Ben

  3. Hi Mike,

    I know you from your video where you challenge Gawker to a boxing match, that was great and hilarious.

    I’ve heard from travelers that some countries don’t tax foreign income. So if you have a 100% online business, you don’t pay any income tax. I was wondering if Vietnam was one of those.

    Good luck in your adventures there, looking forward to hear them.

    1. I won’t have to pay taxes to Vietnam. However, the United States is one of only two countries to tax income worldwide. It’s called global or worldwide taxation of income. I’ll still have to pay taxes to the U.S.

  4. Wow, looks like a really nice place to live. What I was wondering, even though it might sound like a dumb question: Do you still manage to get TRT there? If yes, is it more complicated than in the US?

  5. Mike…ran into your blog (and you) today and I consider it a belated birthday present.

    I’d like to pay you for 30 minutes of your time (via Skype). All I want to ask you is about life in Saigon.

    Thanks.

    Ray

    1. Thanks, Ray! As a general rule I don’t do consulting. What specific questions do you have? If there are a bunch, maybe we can make an exception to the rule.

    1. Depends on exact place. Housing is probably 30% the cost as in Los Angeles. You can get a lot of bang for your buck.

      1. Mike
        I bet its hard to drop 2k a Month for everything?

        Last but not least-
        For us Americans living abroad-
        What do you do for healthcare (hospitalization, accident coverage, prescriptions, etc)? How does it work for an American- do you need to be a Vietnamese national or can you get coverage through an American company?
        Thanks

        1. You pay for healthcare out of pocket, which costs much less than U.S. The U.S. has highest healthcare costs in the world.

          You could spend 2K a month and live a comfortable lifestyle or considerably more.

  6. How do you get around the visa issues? I imagine you can’t stay in Vietnam for as long as you like, or is that particular country an exception?

  7. Hey Mike,

    I’ve been following you at Danger & Play for awhile and had seen at one point you made a trip to Saigon but didn’t know you were living here.

    I came to Asia for the first time last year and started a business importing to the US & Canada mostly from Thailand. I just got to Saigon for the first time and will be here for two weeks but really dig it and may come back for 3 months.

    It would be cool to grab a coffee with you and talk shop at some point (before starting my current biz I did SEO for big companies).

    Let me know if there’s a good way to get in touch.

    – Ryan

      1. Cool, I’m in District 1 now haven’t seen much of 2 yet but down to check it out.

        Best way to get in touch? D&P contact form? Or you should be able to see my email from the comment submission

  8. Mike I just learned of US Navy maps and a site called Zetatalk. Dude when the poll shift happens Vietnam will be screwed. I’m sure you can swim but not to that good. I’d be thinking Montana/Indiana/Kentucky off the grid cabin and AK-47 for the coming times man.

  9. Mike, thanks for this info.

    I am a researcher who has been self-employed for over a year now. With the contracts I have now, I can live pretty much live anywhere with a good internet connection and living costs under $2000. I’ve been considering a couple of African cities I’ve lived in before, along with other places I’ve heard good things about (Panama City, Rio, etc)…. but now definitely want to check out Ho Chi Minh City. I have some trips for work that will probably help me decide by the end of the year.

    Thanks.

  10. So, how is your fiancee enjoying life in Vietnam? I don’t see mention of your beloved. And your pup? Who’s taking care of him?

  11. Mike: thanks for a great website. Could I trouble you to give me a general idea of the cost of decent cigars in Vietnam? Don’t have to be Cuban, but if that’s the only ones you know, fine. Prices can be singles, boxes, whatever, I’m an avid cigar smoker so I’ll figure it out. Thanks

  12. Hi Mike. What is the cost of living in HCMC (with the prices split by category if possible)? What it would cost to live there with the family (2 adults and a kid)? What about safety in the city? Healthcare? Schools. If you had a chance to see this part of the city.

    Thanks in advance
    Oleg

  13. I’m on the bus now from Phnom Penh to HCMC. Jumping in with both feet. I need some income so will have to teach English at first. Here is my current project, kirifarms.com. Drop me an email if you have time to meet for coffee.

  14. Hi Mike!

    I am looking to move to Saigon in August. I am
    Currently living in South Korea and working as a kindergarten English teacher at an international school.

    So I’m considering just showing up in Saigon and hoping for the best for work.

    I have a university degree in science and 3 years of experience in Korea. I also have no esl certifications such as CELTA or TEFL.
    What’s the likelihood of showing up and finding a job?

  15. Hello Mike, are you still living in Saignon? I may be relocating to Vietnam, your vibe, I’m a single mid-age Caucasian from Canada, presently living in the Caribbean. I’m an adventurous, out going person. Chance I will be teaching in Saigon. Safe enough for me to move about as a single woman?

  16. I am interested in moving out there, I have a 14 year old Asian daughter (adopted) and a small dog, can i bring my dog with us? and will my daughter like it there, is there lots to do for kids?
    Thank you Brenda

  17. Great Blog Mike. What about using Google Voice? Or receiving texts from US on a cell phone in Saigon? I noticed T mobile does not allow Vietnam to be on their international plan so what do you use to receive USA texts to your cell phone without having it be a local Saigon number? Any ways about it?
    Thanks!

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  19. Hello Mike, I live in Mexico now, and plan to move to Vietnam. Who could I contact for long term rental. I live by myself and like to do most of my own cooking. I am 66 but good health. I have the visa under control. Of course I do not know anyone there. I will be on a budget of $2000.00 per month. Thank you for any information you could provide me.

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