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  • Put your stuff in professional hands.

    If you’re going away and not coming back for a while, you may decide that you can entrust some of your prized possessions to a friend to look after, and she may even agree to feed your cat while you’re gone. The reality is, though, that if you’ve got a whole apartment’s worth of stuff, you don’t want to leave it sitting there gathering dust during the weeks or months you’ll be out of Ho Chi Minh City – and it would be ludicrous in most cases to keep paying rent for an extended time period while you’re not there. Besides obvious answers to this problem – getting friends to help you sort it out – you’re best off with a professional solution. While someone may recommend a friend-of-a-friend they’ve heard of with a warehouse somewhere that could do you a good deal just to have you leave your stuff in an unused corner, the likelihood of your seeing it again when you return is low to middling at best. There’s nothing you can do if you come back a few months later to find no-one remembers anything about the deal, and your precious items long-since vanished. It just has to be dry, not tidy The first local company in HCMC specialising in private storage solutions is KumpoGo . This firm provides bespoke storage solutions for old furniture (500k/m2/month, and you may get a discount on a long term contract); housekeeping for when the owner is away, laptop and computer storage (240k per set/month), locker renting (500k/month, locker is 40x40x40 cm size), bike storage, car storage, and any other items. There are also many international moving firms offering low-cost storage options. In general, costs consist of handling charges and monthly fees – and these are certainly less than it would

  • Ho Chi Minh City is a pretty good place to get your start in life.

    It may be a little early for you to worry about academic standards if your little one’s only just learning to use a potty. International preschool education, however, is something that’s available to expat parents who want to make sure their kids are receiving world-class care right from the beginning, especially if they have concerns about crowding, hygiene, or poor teaching at local kindergartens (which is, sadly, sometimes reported). Of course, if you do manage to locate a high-quality local preschool that does offer acceptable standards of care, you’ll find the service to be relatively inexpensive when compared to those marketed to foreign children – and of course, by choosing this option, your young one will receive an early grounding in Vietnamese. From handling a spoon to wielding a pen Vietnamese people tend to send their infants off to preschool from as early as age one, but most expats tend to wait until their child has reached two before considering such a thing. Whenever the time comes, you’ll find there are a variety of options to choose from, from hybrid models (predominantly Vietnamese daycare centres with sessions in both Vietnamese and English by native speakers, following the national K-12 bilingual system) to full-blown reception programmes at the top end of the scale – with prices to match. The latter are generally run through the international schools as Early Childhood Programmes, and are available to students aged around two to four. All teachers of such courses are highly qualified, and you can expect that your child will automatically be enrolled in the corresponding school once he or she comes of age. In between, there are a number of international play centres in operation in many residential areas offering Western-style ‘learn through play’ instruction by foreign staff. Some of these cater to

  • The lease document can be somewhat abstruse – here’s the lowdown on how it should read.

    It’s been claimed that leases do not exist in Vietnamese law. That’s kind of true and it kind of isn’t – in fact, there is no official version of a lease contract in Vietnamese law, but a lease as a business contract between two consenting parties and the clauses it contains are honoured by the legal system as long as they don't directly violate the law. Of course, while some would beg to differ, nobody has ever institutionalised 'exploiting your tenant' as a punishable crime as of yet – so to some extent, it's up to an expat tenant to look out for themselves. Getting hold of the key is largely up to you There are typical terms included in a lease that are considered good practice in the real estate business, and you’re likely to come across them in your contract if you’re signing. Here’s a general outline of what you’ll expect to see on a typical document of this nature. General information concerning the landlord, the agent (optional), and the tenant (probably an individual or a company employing an expat and paying the apartment fee on his or her behalf) including such details as full name, date of birth, ID/passport number, business license number, tax code, and company address.       Address of the apartment/house, number of levels, area in square metres. List of utilities/equipment available (note – it’s very important to check each item on the list carefully to ensure it matches the actual contents before signing).       The period of validity of the lease contract, beginning from the date that the property is available for rental. The agreed price of the rent. There’s often a great deal of frustration amongst foreign tenants about whether or not the rental can be or should be

  • Attend to your passions.

    It’s different for different people, but expatriate life can offer (for some) the time, resources, and inspiration to focus on the things we’re passionate about. For many, a life in Vietnam brings more than sufficient creative space to develop artistically – and for such souls as these, the opportunity to study painting can be one of the more pleasant kickbacks of having moved to Saigon. There are a number of venues where painting can be studied, as follows: Helene Kling | 189/1C, Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | | Facebook English/French | Oil painting | Classes for amateurs | $20-30/session (on arrangement) A resident of Vietnam since 1996, French artist Helene Kling applies her passion to her adopted country's striking subjects and scenery. Helene’s medium of choice is usually oil paint on canvas. Helene offers painting classes to adult beginners and hosts a yearly exhibition of students' work. Unleash your creativity VinSpace | 6, Le Van Mien, Thao Dien, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | 84 907 729846 | English/Vietnamese | Oil painting, mixed art, sketching, acrylic painting, drawing, etc Beginners, intermediate, and advanced | VND580,000/lesson or VND4,950,000/10 lessons Daytime and evening courses | Teachers are all English speakers VinSpace is a boutique art studio that provides a variety of art workshops. Overland Club | 36Bis, Huynh Khuong Ninh, Da Kao, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam | 84 8 38209734 | English/Vietnamese | Pottery painting | Amateur VND50,000- 300,000 (depends on the product size) + tuition fee (1.5 hours VND60,000; 3 hours VND 70,000; includes glazing fee) Once per month, 2 hours per class | Teachers are all English speakers A club specialising in making and selling pottery products, founded by Japanese experts, including a pottery

  • It’s true that foreigners must register wherever they stay a night in Vietnam.

    If you’re staying in Vietnam for more than just a few nights, registering your residential address is an issue that you’re going to have to pay attention to regularly, lest you attract the attention of the Boys in Green who may start to wonder why you haven’t visited them at the station in a while. And do you intend to dust behind the TV, Mr. Melchizedek? According to Vietnamese immigration law, you’re obliged to comply with the regulations related to your accommodation by observing the duration of residence as stated in your approved visa application . Your initial temporary residence registration should have occurred when you arrived at the border gate and presented your passport. During your period of residing in Vietnam, however, you do need to report your residential address to the ward/local authorities via any property owners or landlords who allow you to stay the night at their premises. The law states: Foreigners who stay overnight at the private houses of citizens shall have to personally or through house owners make a temporary residence declaration with the police offices of wards or communes where they temporarily reside. The ward or commune police offices will then be required to transfer the contents of temporary residence declarations by foreigners to the immigration bodies under the public security offices of the provinces or centrally run cities. According to Vietnamese law, there are a number of regulations that control and define the process of accommodation and registration of foreigners in Vietnam:       Regulation 24/1999/PL- UBTVQH10 on Entry, Exit, and Transit of Foreigners in Vietnam Regulation 21/ NĐ_CP on the Process of Admitting Foreign Entry into Vietnam Regulation 01/2012/TTLT/BCA-BNG updating the Process of Admitting Foreign Entry and Exit in Vietnam Regulation 136/1999/QĐ- BTC on Fees Level for Entry, Exit, and Transit

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