Hồ Chí Minh City, Vietnam's largest and most populous metropolis, brims with rushing motorbikes and bicycles that paint its distinctive scene of crazy traffic. Yet residents claim its chaos is only a façade.
Locals and expats like the Australian travel blogger James Clark of Nomadic Notes revealed that Hồ Chí Minh City "traffic looks crazy, yet once you are in it the cars move at a slow and steady pace, and you rarely see road rage." Kelsey Cheng, a volunteer from Chicago, told BBC that the fast-paced city is rather "a very calming place" where "the lifestyle is relaxed" and the bustling crowd always gets to their destination "(almost) on time." When it comes to the locals, An Duong of TourMega, said that one can always find a helping hand among fellow Saigoners who "help others voluntarily and enthusiastically like they are in a family."
Even celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain loved the people of Hồ Chí Minh City who seem to be more "passionate/expressive" as compared to those in the capital city of Hanoi. He loved everything in it including "the sights, the smells, even the noise" and seemed to prefer it over the northern part of Vietnam. Bourdain praised their seafood and preferred the spicier Southern pho over the pho in the north, according to The Guardian.
The popular street food restaurant in District 1 known as The Lunch Lady is highly recommended by the locals and Bourdain. Most expats live in this district because it nestles everything that's good about Hồ Chí Minh City - the street food, modern shopping malls, nightlife and the Ben Than market. One of the reasons Vietnam is home to a good number of expats is its low cost of living. Clark told BBC he spent $724 the first month he moved in and that many expats can do the same, spend under $1,000 a month and still binge on coffee and enjoy local food.