Is Ho Chi Minh City Better Than Hanoi?

by Sooky
(Cebu City)

My friends who are teachers are now in Hanoi and they encourage me to go there next year. Based on what I have heard from them, Hanoi is quite an ideal place to teach.

However,your reply to one of your senders that HCMC is better makes me doubt my friends' judgement about Vietnam. I mean, they have been there less than a year but you stayed much longer than that right?

I really wanna know your insights to this.

P.S. Is it advisable to get a medical certificate in Vietnam or from your home country?

Thank you for reading.


Reply from

Hello, Sooky. My opinions about Hanoi is reflected in the turnover rate for both tourists and teachers to that city. A large majority of people leave Hanoi quickly and rarely return.

Some people love it and others hate it. You may like it but you are smart to consider that there might be other places that are a better place to start a life overseas.

Hanoi is cold in the winter and snow is not too uncommon. Hanoi is the center of Vietnamese Culture and Pride. The average Vietnamese person in the North does not like the people in the South and Vise-Versa.

Hanoi is a hard place to live and your friends might be in that first 'Shock and Awe' stage.

Are they traveling alone for the first time and working abroad for the first time?

This can often lead to blindness.

Make no mistake. I think that Hanoi was one of the worst places I have ever lived. I only ever realized that once I had been to other places and compared.

Never listen to someone who says "This is the best place" when they have only ever been to one place. They have no way to make a comparison except to their home country and everyone feels liberated when they leave their home country.

Sorry to sound so negative of Hanoi. I feel like I wasted so much of my time there when I look back and compare my experiences to other places I now know that I could have gone.

And been much happier.

Who am I to say? So, I think we should do a Pros and Cons so that you can decide for yourself.

Some people just can't live in the Northern parts of the world.

Beijing or Hong Kong?
Phuket or Chiang Mai?
Hanoi or Saigon?

People of the North are generally more aggressive, more uptight and have a larger desire to become the owner of your possessions.

People of the South are more laid back, passive and too lazy to bother stealing your stuff (They will get it anyway just using less energy).

Hanoi does have things like water Puppet shows and grand performances of Vietnamese culture. You won't find any of this in Saigon because people come to Saigon from the countryside for 2 reasons. A better education and more work opportunities. Period.

Go where it is warm, at least. If you are stuck in Vietnam then Ho Chi Minh City is where I would prefer to live. Hanoi does have all of Vietnam's culture and Ho Chi Minh City may have little, though.

I prefer HCMC because it is so close to Cambodia, Thailand and a gorgeous Island called Phu Quoc.

I really don't know what you want me to say, Sooky. The 2 years of Hanoi sucked when I compare it to the 3 years I have done in Ho Chi Minh City.

But that is just me. I love to wear my shorts, t-shirt and Sandals on my feet. I like to never feel the cold. I love to drive my motorbike through the streets of Saigon after 10pm when the roads are open and I can always ride in my t-shirt with the warm air blasting in my face.

I even love the odd noises that the insects make at night.

I love to sit on the patio of a restaurant and not rush in to get out of the cold to remove my heavy jacket. The warmth means a lot to me and the trips you can take on the weekend to the Mekong Delta, Cambodia, Lao and Thailand are so easy from Ho Chi Minh City.

From Hanoi it is either China, Laos or Halong Bay. That is not bad but boy do I love Cambodia, Thailand, Phu Quoc and Sihanoukville, Cambodia a whole lot better.

I like the people of Saigon more. The people of Hanoi united all of Vietnam against the Americans in the Vietnam War. Many people still feel superior because of this and are less tolerant of dark-skinned people. Maybe just the darker-skinned people in the warmth of Ho Chi Minh City's sunshine.

Good luck, Sooky.


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Jan 02, 2012
Filipino Teachers in Saigon
by: Sooky

Thank you for your reply to my last query.
I am here again with some questions.

I am Filipino who wants to work in Saigon. I do not know anybody there but I am going there with my friend. We want to try our luck in a different place.

In connection, I want to ask if you know how to get a working permit for Filipino teachers?
What are the chances for us to get hired?
And there are many Filipinos workers there already?

Sorry, I have many questions. I just want to be prepared.

Thank you so much.


Reply from

A working Permit is actually something you would get after you find work and a school willing to sponsor you.

The first step is to find a good school that treats you well and pays you well. After 6 months the school will approach you about getting your work Permit.

Your first step is to get a 30 day visa into the country. They no longer offer 6 month visa renewals but you will be able to purchase a 3 month visa for as long as you need to.

Without having to leave the country.

There is no more preparation. Once you land there it will begin. You need to find work.

There are many Filipinos there. Many are well respected because they speak English better than Local teachers.

It's action time. Get a 30 day tourist visa. Enter Vietnam and hand out your resumes to every school, university or Language school.

Everything will fall into place after that. You'll find work but don't go until after the Tet Holidays.

Late February to early March is the best time to look.

Now ... Go Do It!


Nov 09, 2011
Ho Chi Minh City is Best
by: french experience

From a very quick experience I can just mention that in winter times Hanoi was very cool and cold and Ho Chi Minh was very warm and blessed for me by luxurious welcoming green areas.

Hanoi for me as lot of same same as Macau, european buildings Heritage may be interesting to see, but does not deserve more then a few hours of visit.

This said Hanoi food was very good and cheap. I think frankly Hanoi is a place to visit as you may want to visit Halong Bay which is really nice to see and deserves on or two days stop. But no more.

By the way the same kind of karstite mountains but no water is able to be seen also in China at the Vietnamese border near Ping Xian ( China).

So Hanoi because of Halong Bay since it is a necessary stop yes. Hanoi for more then a stop NO. Also frankly I am not a fan or horror stories like museum of wars and crimes and skulls and bones. So about Ho Chi Minh City, why not but the raining times is also very tough.

They are many typhoons hitting both Vietnam Cambodia China. The best would be to visit and stay HCMC during the good weather. If the purpose is to stay for a job you may consider that typhoon season is difficult.

In a high tech and modern environment like Hong Kong it is easy to be lazy and wait. In HCMC I would say it is much more different. This is why if you are serious about a job I would consider and advice you to find a job in Hong Kong.

Many friends of mine are teachers now in China, specially Shenzhen which is at the border with Hong Kong and also very modern and very safe and correct weather. (A bit cold still in Winter times)...but no snow.

Deal for deal, I would therefore advice you better be in China Shenzhen then in Vietnam, where also the salary maybe very modest and more in a survival mode then anything else.


Reply from

Are you recruiting? It is clear that you are Asian but your Agenda is not fully clear.

The money in China is much less than Vietnam and Hong Kong is flooded with Chinese who moved to Canada or grew up there and returned to Hong Kong to teach English.

Because they kept hold of their Hong Kong Registry papers, they can work right away in Hong Kong while I, a True Canadian must find a school to sponsor me before I can apply for a work Permit.

Employers are keen to get teachers in the class. Chinese people brought up in Canada are being chosen to fill those positions. They take less pay and require less work to legalize their presence in the workplace.

Same goes for Shenzhen.

Thanks for the comment but I don't agree with it. The cost of living alone makes Hong Kong an apple to the Vietnam Orange.

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