Audrey Nierengarten

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Daily Life in Vietnam

The Vietnamese Retail Market

Going to a foreign country is always intimidating due to the new environment – even the retail market might be very different to what you are used to! Even going for some shopping might become an adventure. This blog is here to give you an insight of the Vietnamese retail market and prove you that it will still be possible to find some familiar shops there !

  • Which popular conveniences stores can I find there ?

If you are familiar with Asian conveniences stores, Vietnam will feel like home. More than 70% of convenience stores in Vietnam belong to foreign companies (mostly from Asia)!

  • How is the retail market in Vietnam and what about its organization ?

Vietnam has a huge retail market : 800 supermarkets, 150 shopping malls, 9,000 traditional markets and about 2.2 million retailers (Source : Aseantoday.com).

Roughly speaking, the Vietnamese retail market can be divided into different types of modern distribution, as follows :

Conveniences Stores :

Popular ones : Circle K / Family Mart / Shop & Go / Mini Stop / 7 Eleven / G7 Mart. 

They are competing directly with roadside stalls and traditional markets in Vietnam. In those, you will be able to purchase everyday items such as snack foods, soft drinks, groceries, confectionery, tobacco products, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines. You can find them everywhere!

+ : Very convenient, easy to find. Hungry at 2AM ? No problem, let’s get some snacks at the neariest Family Mart!

– : Some may have more choice than others. Chose carefully!

Shopping Malls:

Quite a new concept for Vietnam but this is also the best place to be for a perfect shopping afternoon! The most renowned ones are the Lotte Mart (one in HCMC and one in Hanoi) and the Vincom Center in HCMC. These shopping malls may include special stores, a cinema, and of course a hypermarket, supermarket and department stores.

+ : You can find and do anything, you will never get bored!

– : It is very easy to spend too much money. Your bank might not be happy!

Hypermarket:

Examples of foreign popular hypermarkets : Loblaw and Superstore (Canada), Fred Meyer, Meijer and Super Kmart (US), Asda and Tesco (UK), Carrefour (France) and NTUC Fairprice (Singapore).

Basically, this is a superstore combining a supermarket and a department store. Therefore you will find a wide range of products, from full groceries lines to general merchandise.

The only Vietnamese brand name of hypermarket is Big C. They are usually located on the outskirt of the city and cramped which means you should probably avoid going there on evenings and weekends !

+ : Wide range of products, many foreign brands, you might feel familiar in these!

– : Avoid at all costs going there on evening or weekends as they are very busy.

Supermarket:

Popular ones : Intimex / Co.opmart /Fivimart /Citimart. 

If you are more of a weekly shopper, supermarkets are the perfect fit! You can often get discounts as some of them offer frequent buyer cards. Their goods and services are likely to be the same from one to another. By going there you will have a wide choice of food and household products.

+ : Possibility to get discounts with a frequent buyer card. Good for weekly shoppers.

– : If you are a daily shopper, you should rather head to a convenience store to save time and money.

Department Stores:

Popular ones (HCMC): Parkson / Diamond Plaza.

Popular ones (Hanoi): Vincom / Trang Tien Plaza / Grand Plaza / The Manor / Parkson.

These stores sell luxurious items such as brand-name clothes, shoes and high class electronic devices.

+ : Very clean, luxurious, can find many foreign luxury brands.

– : Expensive.

The Vietnamese retail market is such an intriguing and exciting experience. And if you ever feel homesick, you will still be able to warm up your mood with imported products. I hope this blog will help you during your adventure to Vietnam!

If you are ready for an adventure in Vietnam, please click here!

Packed luggage in an airport
Practical Advice

What to Pack for Vietnam

Here we are! You have secured a great internship with InternVietnam and you are now impatiently waiting to go. But of course you might be anxious about some things, and one of them is- what should I pack for my Vietnam trip?

Hopefully this blog will answer your questions and you will have nothing to worry anymore as you can prepare your check list to ensure you don’t forget anything!

Recommended items

  • Laptop or tablet : It is essential that you bring your laptop, as you will need this for your internship!
  • Power adapter:  Vietnamese plug sockets fit two plug types: 220V flat 2 or 3 pin plug, which is the same across much of Asia.
plugs type
In Vietnam, the following plugs are used :
  • Pharmaceutical products: Sun cream, insect repellent (Although malaria is rare and seldom found in most areas of Vietnam, Dengue fever can pose quite a problem), Tiger Balm or Cortisone Cream (if you do happen to get bitten by mosquitoes, tiger balm or cortisone cream can prevent the bites from getting infected.) Vitamins and preferred medicines. If you have prescription medicines, then be sure to bring a copy of the prescription with you.
  • Clothes: Work attire is mainly casual wear due to the warm climate. However, it is necessary to bring at least a shirt, trousers and tie for more formal events in your internship. Clothes are relatively cheap in Vietnam so it is not necessary to bring clothes to last your entire stay, if you want to buy some while you are there!
  • Swimwear: This is different in Vietnam than in the West (men wear tight swimwear and women are well covered up) so you may wish to bring your own. For those with a large shoe size, it is advisable to bring shoes for the duration as it may not be as simple to find your size as back home.

Specific Advice

  1. Bring a light-weight, waterproof jacket. During the monsoon season, it is wise to bring a light jacket to protect you from the rain that can come and go in a flash.
  2. If you would like to have access to pagodas and temples, modest below-the-knee clothing is a must. Chose below-the-knee Skirts or trousers. Despite the heat, local men and women dress quite conservatively, and you should be expected to do the same by covering your shoulders and legs, especially when visiting sacred places and government buildings.
  3. Flip Flops. Alongside practical footwear, bring along a pair of flip-flops – or even better, purchase some once you’re there. Not only will these be easy to take off when visiting temples, certain bars and restaurants, but they will also allow your feet to breathe in the hot and humid weather.
Monsoon in Vietnam
Monsoon in Vietnam

 

We hope this blog has been useful for your pre-arrival packing mission!

Want to discover more about Ho Chi Minh City for yourself? Then apply now

collage of internvietnam images
Vietnam Basics

What’s in the Welcome Pack?

What’s in the InternVietnam Welcome Pack?

If you are reading this you are probably very curious about what kind of treasures are included in our not-so-secret welcome pack! Hopefully for you, this is the right blog.

Below is a list of the essentials we provide when you arrive in amazing Ho Chi Minh City! This list is of course not exhaustive, and your welcome pack may vary, but these essentials will always be provided!

  • InternVietnam T-Shirt
  • Ho Chi Minh City Guide
  • Vietnamese Sim Card
  • Some snacks
  • Basic Vietnamese phrases
Welcome package InternVietnam
Welcome package InternVietnam

With all of these elements, you’ll be feeling confident and ready for your new internship adventure in Vietnam! You will quickly be living like a local and living the dream.

We hope your internship will bring you success and you will make many unforgettable memories during your time in Ho Chi Minh City!

If you are ready for an adventure in Vietnam, please click here!

Certificate of vaccination OMS
Practical Advice

Vaccines For Vietnam – What You Need To Know

While reading this, you are probably getting ready for your internship in Vietnam and checking everything off on your to-do list. Aside from all the usual important stuff you need for going abroad- your passport, visa, medicine, and clothes, you need to think about what vaccines you might need for Vietnam. This blog is here to save you time and will be a helpful guide for you to get over this last step.

Vaccine - Get ready !
Vaccine – Get ready !

This is something you need to consider before starting your adventure in Vietnam, and while vaccines aren’t necessary, you definitely need to speak to your doctor to see what they recommend!

It is recommended that you speak to your General Practitioner at least 6 to 8 weeks before your scheduled flight to discuss any health risks or vaccinations.

It is not necessary to be vaccinated before your arrival in Vietnam, however there are some recommended vaccinations for your stay in Vietnam: Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, Tetanus-Diphtheria and Measles if you do not already have them.

The boy who receives vaccination
A boy receiving vaccination

 

Ask Yourself

  • What’s the risk of me contracting a vaccine-preventable disease?
  • How long am I going for?
  • What will I be doing?
  • Can I be protected without a vaccine?

What Countries Say

For more information about vaccines, please check the CDC’s website or read some more information here about traveling safely to Vietnam !

Our team is looking forward to meeting you soon in Ho Chi Minh City!