How to navigate the districts and choose a suitable business location in bustling Ho Chi Minh City – Vietnam’s largest economic hub? We have prepared a comprehensive guide to help you out, with the more significant business districts of Ho Chi Minh City explained.
Table of contents
Guide to Ho Chi Minh City’s districts
Ho Chi Minh City, widely known as Saigon, consists of several districts. These districts are further broken down into inner city districts and suburban areas.
Image source: CodieMaps
District 1 (D1), located 6 km south of Tan Son Nhat International Airport, is the commercial center and the busiest area of the city. It is home to hotels, banks, consulates, shopping malls, international cuisine, and tourist attractions.
Office options in D1 range from small office buildings to tall towers. If your business requires a central location or if you want a premium address, District 1 is the location you should choose. However, note that the decisions of your local business partners are generally not affected by the address of your office.
As traffic often gets worse in the smaller streets, your best choices for an office are in Ben Nghe, Ben Thanh, or Da Kao (south) wards.
Located about 10 km from District 1, District 2 (D2) has recently transformed into one of the most exclusive residential areas on the Ho Chi Minh City districts map.
New luxury residential buildings, natural landscapes, international schools, Western shops, and restaurants provide a high standard of living in D2, making the area, especially Thao Dien and An Phu wards, trendy among expatriates and the wealthier Vietnamese.
There are several co-working spaces available in Thao Dien where you can connect with fellow entrepreneurs or like-minded people.
District 2 is perfect for businesses that are looking for a modern environment with many international standard amenities such as food and sporting options. There are several commercial offices available in District 2, and the cost of office spaces is cheaper than in D1.
The commute from District 1 to Thao Dien and An Phu wards approximately takes 10-20 minutes on a motorbike and 20-30 minutes by car.
However, District 2 experiences bad flooding during the rainy season, and there could be transportation problems. Also, note that District 2 does not have many short-term housing options, which might cause inconveniences if your customers want to visit you and stay in a hotel near the office.
District 3 (D3), located between District 1 and the airport, is a popular area for businesses that require proximity to the airport. For example, if you are planning to set up a trading company in Vietnam, district 3 would be a good location to choose.
Rent, be it for office or residential, is slightly cheaper than in District 1. Also, note that some parts of District 3 are more close to the city center than parts of District 1.
There are also many cheap, mid-class and high-end modern restaurants, shopping malls and residential units among parks, temples and street food vendors.
It is also considered the best place to live in Ho Chi Minh City due to its quieter pace of life and its proximity to District 1. It takes only 10 minutes on average to travel between the two districts via motorbikes or taxis. D3 is also where many young expatriates live as it’s close to District 1’s bars, pubs, and restaurants.
District 4 (D4), located between District 1 and District 7, is approximately 10 minutes away from the financial area and skyscrapers of District 1. Recent years have seen several property developments and the once rough area is poised to become the new commercial area of Ho Chi Minh City.
A district with reputably the best and most affordable Vietnamese street food, D4 is home to several co-working spaces with a young and vibrant community of entrepreneurs and freelancers. Besides its proximity to District 1, this area also enjoys relatively affordable office and residential rental rates.
Located 40 minutes from District 1 and bordered by District 2, 4 and 8, District 7 (D7) is one of the largest districts in Ho Chi Minh City. Designed with the high-income sector in mind, houses are more expensive than other districts and include high-quality residential apartments and villas.
With the addition of international schools, a university, restaurants, bars, and clinics, expatriates and wealthy local families favor D7, similarly to Thao Dien and An Phu wards in District 2. The streets and sidewalks are cleaner, broader and more organized.
D7 is home to many office buildings and could be an option if you prefer to escape the busy city life and your business does not need a central location or having a premium address is not important to you.
Also, this area has less small restaurants, boutiques, and events, which might be an opportunity for that type of businesses.
Binh Thanh and Phu Nhuan
You can also consider living or setting up your business in Binh Thanh or Phu Nhuan.
Binh Thanh, a residential area between Districts 1 and 2, had several new property developments recently and there are affordable housing options as well as high-rise and luxury serviced apartments. There is also a lot of street food and local and international cuisine.
Many companies also have offices in Binh Thanh. Depending on the location and proximity to big roads, the commute from D1 to Binh Thanh does not generally take long.
Another option is Phu Nhuan, where the cost of living is much more affordable, from apartments to food options. That’s probably why more and more expatriates are moving to Phu Nhuan. One disadvantage, though, is its distance from District 1. It takes at least 30 minutes or more to travel to Phu Nhuan from District 1.
Where to set up a company in Ho Chi Minh City?
Setting up a service company
If your customers are mostly from overseas or traveling by plane, you can set up your service company in District 1, District 3 or District 4.
However, if you need a larger space at an affordable price, you can consider Binh Thanh, District 2 or District 7 for setting up a service business in Saigon.
Setting up a manufacturing company
If you intend to set up a manufacturing company in Vietnam, do check the noise and smell restrictions in the districts as it might affect your manufacturing process.
Though some companies have established their manufacturing facilities in the residential areas, it is better if you can set up yours in an industrial zone or an area outside central Ho Chi Minh City to have better control of your business.
Also, take note that you must mark 20% of your manufacturing floor space a green area, which will increase your business costs. We recommend you to consider areas such as Chu Chi, Binh Chanh or Nha Be.
What is the cost of starting a business in Ho Chi Minh City?
Minimum capital requirement
There is currently no official minimum capital requirement for setting up a business in Vietnam in most industries. However, some industries have a minimum amount for the capital. Capital-intensive businesses such as factories and manufacturing also require a more considerable investment.
Bear in mind that whichever type of company you register in Vietnam, your injected capital must be in compliance with your estimated expenses as the DPI’s (Department of Planning and Investment) decision on whether to approve your investment depends on that.
From our experience, it is possible to register a service company with USD 3,000 of paid-up capital and the average investment for setting up a small company in Vietnam is USD 10,000. You can use these funds as working capital later on.
How much is office rent in Ho Chi Minh City?
There are a variety of options regarding office space in Ho Chi Minh City, from small offices and co-working spaces to larger offices in the central business areas such as District 1.
Here’s an estimated breakdown of what an average office space would cost across all the major districts.
|Rent per square meter/month|
Binh Thanh/Phu Nhuan
|Areas near the airport|
Note: These prices do not include VAT
Districts of Ho Chi Minh City explained: frequently asked questions
#1 Where to stay on a business trip in Ho Chi Minh City?
The best area to stay when on a business trip is in District 1, near the Nguyen Hue street or in Ben Nghe ward. These areas have a lot of different options for accommodation and are also close to most offices in District 1.
Planning on visiting Vietnam on a business visa? Emerhub can assist you and also provide an invitation letter if you don’t have a local sponsor here. Read more about business visa in Vietnam.
#2 Where to stay long-term?
Expatriates in Ho Chi Minh City tend to stay in District 2, District 7 or Binh Thanh district. Mainly because these areas provide both foreign and local cuisine options, with also affordable housing options.
Also, have a look at the tips other expats have shared for living and doing business in Vietnam.
#3 How to travel between districts?
If you are on a business trip, you can take a Mai Linh or Vinasun taxi. These taxis are reliable and use a meter. Or, you can use a ride-hailing application such as Grab or GoViet.
For long-term stays, consider renting or even buying a motorbike. A motorbike allows you to travel around fast if don’t want to use ride-hailing apps.
The high volume of motorbikes means that traffic is not as bad as it is in other cities of similar size. If you do decide to drive around yourself, Emerhub can help with your driver’s license.
Another option is to rent or buy a car, and you can also hire a personal driver.
If you have any further questions, Emerhub is here to help you. Contact us via the form below and our consultants will get back to you as soon as possible.