If you’re thinking about moving abroad, but aren’t sure whether Vietnam is the right choice for you, this article is for you.
I have personally moved to Vietnam several years ago. Since then, I have lived both in Hanoi, the capital of the country, and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), the country’s largest city (find out which city I think is the best here!) Of course, I’ve also visited many places in between.
In that time, I’ve gotten used to and fallen in love with many aspects of Vietnam. These are the reasons to move to Vietnam! But I’m not going to pretend this country is perfect, either. At the end of the article, I’ll include a few reasons you might NOT want to move to Vietnam.
Why Move to Vietnam?
Let’s get right to those reasons. If you’re more of a visual person, I’ve put together this video summarizing the main reasons. But if you like reading more, just scroll on!
Low Cost of Living
The super low cost of living in Vietnam is one of the top reasons to consider moving to Vietnam. For example, you can easily find an apartment for as low as $250 per month. This can go up to $1000 or more – but the point is, it can be incredibly cheap if you want it to!
Eating in Vietnam is ultra cheap, too. You can enjoy simple meals on the street for as low as $1, or eat in a restaurant for $4 and up. When it comes to transportation, you can buy your own motorbike for $300 or take a bus for less than a dollar.
Personally, I spend arout $500 per month to get by in Vietnam. That includes an apartment (all bills included) gym membership, groceries, transportation, and even luxuries on the weekend like an occasional visit to the spa, take-out food, drinking, and so on.
In fact, in my first year in Vietnam, I was trying to live super low budget. I managed to get by on under $300 per month. But now, I’m able to spoil myself a little bit and even send some of my earnings out of Vietnam.
Also keep in mind that it depends where you live in Vietnam – for example, the cost of living in Hanoi is about 10% lower than the cost of living in Ho Chi Minh City.
Delicious Vietnamese Food
Depending on where you come from, you probably have a few Vietnamese restaurants in your hometown and think you know Vietnamese food. One of my Canadian friends told me how she thought Vietnamese food was good back at home, but had no idea there was so much more to it until she actually came to Vietnam!
Vietnamese takes pride in their cuisine – how could they not? Not only is it hugely varied, but also it is generally healthy, making use of tons of fresh herbs and other ingredients.
From the north of Vietnam to the south, you will constantly surrounded and tempted by dishes that are new to your taste buds. And luckily, most of them are dirt cheap! This should be enough reason to move to Vietnam!
To learn more about what you’ll be eating, here’s our guide to the best Vietnamese foods.
Holiday Weather and Seasonal Variations
The climate and seasons of Vietnam vary quite a bit from north to center to south. However, overall, Vietnam has pretty agreeable, holiday-like weather for much of the year, so longer as you can handle some heat and humidity.
When I was living in Hanoi, I was surprised to find they actually have winter there. I mean, it’s Southeast Asia, I didn’t think I needed to pack a winter jacket – but I was wrong. The low temperatures combined with humidity make is surprisingly cold there!
So if you’re the kind of person who likes some seasonal variety, the north of Vietnam may be for you. But if you want classic Southeast Asia heat year-round, then go for the south.
And yes, there’s a rainy season in Vietnam (varies by region, but generally in summer). But don’t let that deter you. If anything, it keeps most of the tourists away, and it doesn’t usually rain too long each day.
Chance to Learn an Intriguing Language
There’s no question that Vietnamese is a tough language to learn. But for those who like a challenge, the rewards will be big. Vietnamese will praise you for it and your life there will become substantially easier.
Also, Vietnamese isn’t considered to be quite as hard as Chinese or some other language, so not all hope is lost!
You can start learning Vietnamese before you go. But the best way is to be fully immersed. Don’t be shy, and just jump right in! Learning Vietnamese will also open doors to making more local friends. But don’t worry too much about this, as many locals can also speak a little English.
If you’re thinking of moving to Vietnam, there’s a good chance you’re planning work there too. Teaching English in Vietnam is the most obvious choice, especially if you’re a native English speaker. The English teaching industry is huge in Vietnam, and jobs abound.
There are other possibilities for working in Vietnam, too. However, unless you speak Vietnamese, they are going to be more limited. Online work is another possibility, while you use Vietnam as a low-cost home base. This is why many digital nomads choose to live there.
If you’re planning to work in Vietnam, read about the dress code here.
Get your TEFL Certificate online and start teaching English in Vietnam!
You can enjoy 35% off by using my discount code vietnam35
Fast Internet Speed
OK, so Vietnam doesn’t have the world’s fastest Internet by any means. But I when I first arrived, I was surprised to find it was much faster than I had expected, and it has gotten even faster since then!
If you look it up, you’ll find that Vietnam’s Internet speeds is similar to that in Australia.
Who DOESN’T want fast Internet, anyways?
Read this post about how to get a Vietnam SIM card
Opportunities to Travel
My main reason for moving to Vietnam was so that I could use it as a base for traveling. In the end, I got exactly what I wanted.
Vietnam itself boasts stunning beaches, caves, hiking opportunities, motorcycle routes, Halong Bay, and more places to visit. You can spend your holidays backpacking around this picturesque country, not to mention how cheap travelings costs here!
On top of that, Vietnam is a super convenient base for visiting other cool countries nearby, including Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, Taiwan, and more!
Ease of Getting Visa
Thankfully, the entry restrictions for Vietnam have been loosened since COVID and are pretty back to normal. Getting a visa for moving to Vietnam is a relatively straight forward process. If you’re coming to teach English, as many do, there’s a good chance your school will guide you through the process.
Some countries don’t even need a visa to enter, while others simply need to apply for one online. Here’s our guide to entering Vietnam this year, the different visa types, and how to apply for the visa you need.
After you get that sorted, you can start thinking about which items to pack for moving. Once you’ve got your visa and have arrive, you’ll also want to know how to get a Vietnamese work permit and temporary residence card.
Vietnamese are some of the most hospitable and warmest people I have encountered in my life. When I was living in the north of Vietnam, a local family even invited me to live with them for a month, no questions asked! They provided me with my own room and fed me for the whole time I was with them.
The locals are happy to help you out or simply practice their English with you. You will be offered food by your neighbours and they will probably ask you if you need help with anything. They will smile at you and greet you on the street and even make a small conversation despite the occasional language barrier.
RELATED POST: Dress code in Vietnam
The expat community in Vietnam is massive. Overall, other expats are helpful. If you’ve just moved there, they’ve all been through the same, and they know exactly what you might need help with or information about.
When I moved to Ho Chi Minh City, the expat community is where I started to build a network of friends and simply finding answers to my everyday questions about getting around and finding everything in the country.
Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have a huge expat base, while in smaller cities like Hoi An and Da Nang, I’m 100% sure you will find them too. There are a surprisingly number of long term expats in the country, from travelers who fell in love with Vietnam and just stayed to travelers who fell in love with Vietnamese people, got married, and also stayed.
You can meet other expats at your workplace or school, online, or even right on the street. We expats tend to be bonded by the fact that we tend to face the same challenges or culture shocks, miss the same things from home, and so on.
RELATED POST: Find the best Facebook group in Vietnam
In the last few years, together with the booming number of expats in Vietnam, there has been a great improvement in health care in the country.
Many international companies in the medical field have started opening their businesses here and offer top-notch and world-class services.
Many doctors in these hospitals are foreigners who studied and are practising in a western standard. Many international hospitals hire staffs and doctors that can communicate well with expats and locals offering large language options.
From affordable ones to expensive hospitals, they can be found throughout the country. Check out this list of medical clinics and international hospitals in Vietnam.
Life Is Exciting in Vietnam!
There is never a dull moment in Vietnam. The cities are full of life at night. Spend your evening sampling interesting foods you’ve never seen before or drinking bia hoi with the locals. Cruise through the countryside on a motorbike. Explore some of the world’s deepest caves. Go kayaking in a dreamy bay.
The sky is the limit. I can assure you that you will never feel bored in Vietnam!
Reasons to NOT Move to Vietnam
No country is the world is perfect. I don’t want to paint a rosy picture of Vietnam without pointing out some potential challenges you could have. These won’t be true for everyone, but here are some possible things you might not love about Vietnam.
- It’s noisy. Big cities in Vietnam especially are very busy and noisy places. This includes the near constant sounds of motos (see next point). Apartments are often close together and you can hear your neighbors. If you’re coming from a quiet town in North America, you might be in for a shock. Or you might love this exciting aspect of Vietnam! It depends on the person.
- The traffic is insane. I’ve traveled to many countries around the world, and Vietnam takes the cake for having the craziest traffic I’ve ever seen. At some intersections, there are no lights. The oncoming cars and motos just blend together and find their way though. Crossing the road as a pedestrian can be a nightmare. You actually just have to slowly walk out into the traffic and they’ll go around you. You’ll get used to it after a while.
- It’s messy. I’m not gonna lie. Vietnamese are not the tidiest people. There’s garbage on the streets. And stray animals. I’ve pretty much gotten used to dining in establishments that would have grossed me out before living here. Again, this will be better or worse depending on where you are. But it’s something to know.
- They eat almost everything. Snake wine? Check. Chicken feet? Check. Fertilized duck eggs? Check. Maritime worms? Check. Dogs and cats? Sometimes. They eat some pretty unusual stuff in Vietnam. You won’t have to, but if seeing it grosses you out, you may not love it. Note: if you are a pet lover, see our guide to pets in Vietnam.
- You won’t make a ton of money. While Vietnam boasts a low cost of living, you’re also going to make quite a bit less than you could in some other countries in Asia or other parts of the world. So if sending money out is your primary goal, and you come from a country that’s much more expensive than Vietnam, you may be disappointed with how little you’re able to send home.
So that wraps it up. What do you think? Were our reasons to move to Vietnam more compelling than the reasons NOT to? I’ll guess we’ll find out when we see you in Vietnam (or not)!