Minfong Ho was born in Rangoon, Burma, and raised in both Singapore and Bangkok, Thailand. Her parents are of Chinese origin, so she spoke fluent Chinese in her home, Thai in the marketplace of Bangkok and English in school. She was educated in Thailand and Taiwan, before moving to the United States to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. There, she received her BA in Economics and History as well as her M.F.A. in Creative Writing.