I have been living in New City, Binh Duong, Vietnam for a year now. If you’re wondering if you should move to Thu Dau Mot City or New City in Binh Duong Province, I can give you a little information about what it’s like here.
First of all, I’ll just say that this article has a max shelf life of 5 years. That’s because this whole area is developing really quickly. When I first got here, it was all farmland. Empty houses were everywhere. Bats and birds inhabited dirt roads which cut through patches of grassy wildflowers and pricker bushes.
What’s it Like to Live in Binh Duong?
A coworker has jokingly compared Binh Duong to Alabama in the US. And he didn’t make that up himself. The native Vietnamese people who live in Saigon feel the same way. They say Binh Duong a backwards place with backwards people and nothing much to do.
I won’t say whether I agree or not. It is safer for me to let others shoulder the blame for such an opinion.
However, things have been changing fast. In the last year, built an Aeon Mall with an arcade and cinema. And overnight, the traffic in town became super congested.
Binh Duong New City’s Economy is Changing
The real estate property value in Binh Duong’s New City has been skyrocketing in the last decade. Vietnam’s real estate prices have already been dramatically increasing for decades, but here, things are even more drastic.
That’s for a few reasons. First, Becamex, one of those few huge companies that seems to own everything in Vietnam, is basically playing Monopoly here. They own the only 4-star hotel, the only decent cafe that caters to an international crowd, and an international university.
The international university is innovation-themed. The purpose is for Becamex to start cherry-picking the best local-grown business ideas.
Binh Duong is a Planned City
New City, Binh Duong is a planned city. Like New Cairo in Egypt, the government planned everything, and it works. For the first few years, nothing much happens. Then malls get built. City centers and recreation facilities prop up the economy.
There are a lot of incentives for foreign investors to do start-ups in Binh Duong’s New City. You only have to chat with a few strangers at the local Becamex Hotel to find European, Southeast Asian, and East Asian investors and daring entrepreneurs.
Of course, a few blocks away, you’ll get the typical local Vietnam experience: bustling outdoor markets with ducks rotating on skewers and plastic basins stacked with pomegranates; homes with open gates where motorbike mechanics with beer bellies sing bolero karaoke via bluetooth; and net cafes where young Vietnamese kids go to play video games with each other.
But as for you, as for your every day life–honestly, it’s going to be boring for at least a few more years. There’s life in Thu Dau Mot, which is a small city. Downtown Thu Dau Mot is about a 15 minute bike ride to the south.
On the other hand, if you like nature, there are plenty of trees to be seen. And there’s a farmer who marches his giant cows all over town, too. On certain roads, you have to watch out for the poop.
Commute from Binh Duong to Saigon
Plenty of folks commute to Saigon at the weekend. They’ll stay in a hotel Friday and Saturday night and live up city life. That’s great if it works for you. But honestly it’s a schlep, and if you’re the type of person who gets stuck easily, well–New City is the kind of place where that can happen.
Personally, I am a writer, so I don’t mind the solitude. But alas, there are days where I miss the excitement of New York, Tokyo, Osaka, Saigon…
Anyway, it’s my choice to stay in Binh Duong (and it’ll be my choice when I eventually leave, too…)
One more thing: as of this writing, there’s not a hell of a lot of people living here. If you’re a teacher like me, you’ll have to get used to seeing your students around town. They’ll be working at the restaurants, the cafes, the convenience stores…
Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to bookmark Dailysack.com/travel (and Dailysack.com, my main site).