In the age of technology, just about anything can be accomplished with the click of a button. Much of our global society has become reliant on this notion; discussions often resort to someone stating, “I’ll Google it.” Although I have reservations about particular advancements (is anyone else freaked out by AI?), I do think we can benefit from technology.
One of the most impressive aspects of living and working in Saigon is the fact many companies and app designers keep expats in mind during the UX process. While this may seem like a no-brainer for those living in the West, expats living in some Asian countries don’t always get this luxury. While I haven’t every single one of these, I have tried and tested most.
The most helpful apps for living in Saigon
Need to figure out where you’re going? There’s an app for that.
Also known as Phương Trang, this company will get you around the are for a fraction of what it will cost you to book through a travel agent. The routes run throughout the country, and this will help you book by yourself on the cheap.
This app is super helpful for those who are keen to try out the bus route. Considering it only costs about 6,000 VND ($0.30 USD) for a bus journey, I’m surprised more people – myself included – aren’t using this. As far as I’m aware, this app works in a number of countries, so it’s ideal for those who are traveling often. The interface is easy to use and navigate, though I do recommend downloading the Vietnamese keyboard on your phone to make your life a little easier.
This app offers the same concept as TripGo. As far as I know, there isn’t much difference between the two. Please let me know if I’m wrong, though!
Wondering how you’re going to get around sans motorbike?
While I’m generally not the biggest supporter of the politics behind Uber, I’ve found the service to be a bit more reliable. For starters, the drivers seem a bit more aware of the streets of Saigon; they also seem less inclined to cancel in times of need. One of the major downsides to the Uber app is the fact that users can’t give personal feedback in addition to the 1-5 star rating.
This app was my go-to for the first four months of living here. However, I grew tired of the drivers constantly calling me before picking me up and even more irritated by the number of times they’d ask me for directions. The main draw to this app is the fact the company offers a rewards system and sends out discount codes each week.
Interested in practicing basic Vietnamese?
While it is more than likely that you’ll have better luck immersing yourself in a language course, this is a surefire way to quickly learn the basics. For those of you unaware, Duolingo is a free learning tool that comes equipped with a proficiency test at the end of each section. I am admittedly terrible at Vietnamese, so I am heeding my own advice here.
Want to order literally anything but too lazy to get it yourself?
This is by far one of the most popular choices among expats and locals alike. Think of Lazada as the Asian Amazon. It’s actually pretty incredible what you can find on here. What’s even more fabulous is not having to carry the toaster oven you just purchased up four flights of stairs. Just speaking from personal experience here. PROTIP: Don’t pre-pay for your items – like most everything in Vietnam, cash on arrival is best.
Too lazy to cook?
This is by far and large the most dangerous app of all. One of the reasons I love living in this city is that I can get my hands on just about any type of cuisine at any moment. The food here is good, you guys. Like real good. It seems as though nearly every restaurant in town has teamed up with Vietnammm, making lazy Sundays all that more enjoyable.
I’ve yet to use Foody, but a lot of locals swear by it. It’s essentially the same thing as the Vietnammm app, but I think it certainly offers more Vietnamese options.
Too lazy to grocery shop?
I can’t explain just how much this service has impacted my life here. One of my friends at work suggested it to me one afternoon, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. I’d like to think that I’m not a lazy person, but I’m starting to think I might be. There have been times I’ve needed a single watermelon or a packet of disposable razors from the store, and MarketOi has sent out a personal shopper, purchased the items and delivered them to my doorstep within thirty minutes.
This service is prime for anyone who’s wanting to buy in bulk. I have only used Chopp three times, but all have been positive experiences. This app is similar to MarketOi, but the customer service isn’t as up to pace as the former. In addition, one generally has to order ahead of time with Chopp, unlike MarketOi.
Desperate for a professional to do a deep cleaning of your apartment?
Most expat housing or apartments will include a cleaning service within the rental fees. However, some people prefer to hire their own cleaner. This app allows users to create a list of what they need to be done (cooking included) and someone will come by on the selected date(s.) If you don’t have the cleaning supplies, the cleaners will ask for a small fee and they’ll bring their own. Pretty lush!
This company offers similar, more packaged deals.
Literally the same as above.
Wanting to browse coupons and deals in your area?
This handy app has offers for local restaurants, cafes, pubs, and spas. While the deals aren’t terribly significant, a little goes a long way, right?
Wisepass is for those with, erm… exquisite taste. For 6,000,000 VND – or, $300 USD – per month, patrons are granted a complimentary bottle of alcohol, one lunch OR one dinner per day at select venues. The locales are generally catered to those who prefer livin’ the high life, as evidenced by the premium price tag.
This app is perfect for anyone who’s always keen for a happy hour and wanting to find the cheapest deals in town. The Sip app’s primary function is to locate drink deals throughout town. More importantly, it grants users one free drink per day; this sort of exposure is perfect for business owners, too. I love symbiosis.
Moving house and need some extra assistance?
This has been recommended in a few of the expat groups for those in need of extra hands on moving day.
Do you have any you’d add to the list?