What to Do Once You’ve Moved to Vietnam – a step-by-step guide

Congratulations! You planned, you navigated the entry restrictions, you decided which city to live in, you packed, and you actually moved to Vietnam. Perhaps now you’ve just started teaching, working, and/or setting up your new life there. But there are still a few more things you need to do!

In this article, we will guide you step-by-step on what to do once you moved to Vietnam. From looking for a new place to live, getting around, managing your utilities, and more. Moving to a new place is like moving to a new school, you need to know where is the cafeteria, the bathroom, the gym, the best area to sit in the yard school, or the best stand to buy your lunch.

Here you will find out the next step you need to do that will help you settle, build a network, and move forward. I also recommend you read this guide on how to move to Vietnam.


Assuming you have now work and an apartment, next thing you should do is to work on your working permit which can lead you in getting a temporary residence permit card and enjoy its benefits. You can read more about it here.


Install Grab App on Your Phone

Grab is an app that can help you get transportation or the motorbike taxi, this app works like UBER (Uber doesn’t work in Vietnam since they partnered with Grab). Remember to add your bank card as a payment method, it’s easier especially if you run out of cash and an ATM is nowhere to be found. Here is a list of mobile apps in Vietnam that can be useful for you.

RELATED POST: Transportation in Vietnam

Figuring Out How You will Get Around

Grab is a popular app to use for getting around the cities, however, they can be pricey if you add up how much it cost you for using it 2-3 times per day.

Most expats and locals drive their motorbikes. If you are keen to do it too, you can rent or buy a motorbike easily for as cheap as $250-$350 for buying and $50 for renting. You can also use the local city bus, they cost almost next to nothing but they often get stuck in the traffic.

There are regular taxis but a lot of them are believed to be cheating the meter or trying to scam the passengers. Mai Linh is one of the trusted taxi companies in Vietnam although it’s still a hit and miss.

There are a few locals and expats who get around through their pushbikes, it’s not safe because there are no bike lanes or stoplights. Meaning you will have to be in the same lane or road as the motorbikes, cars, and trucks. Check this article about motorbiking in Vietnam to understand how it works.

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Set Up a Bank Account in Vietnam

If you will be working on a paid job, you can open a bank account to almost any bank in Vietnam. Present your work permit, business visa, job contract, apartment lease, copy of your passport, and a passport photo. The requirements may change from bank to bank.

Although you have an option to receive your salary either in cash or through your bank, it’s a lot easier to have a local bank card. Read here how to set up a bank account in Vietnam and what you need to understand about it.

Find out how much you can expect to be spending from this point on in our guide to Vietnam’s cost of living. Also, if you plan to send money back to your home account, read our guide to sending money out of the country.


Join Facebook Groups

I know some people prefer not to use Facebook, however, the Facebook group is a great way to be connected in the expat community, finding jobs and apartments, and of course to build your own new circle of friends. Keep in mind that there are a lot of rude expats in these groups but you can still find some decent ones. Check out this list of active Facebook groups for expats in Vietnam.


Find the Best Grocery Shop

You should also find the best grocery shop for your needs. If you are vegan, have any specific allergy or have a good diet, your best bet is to ask the expat community for their suggestions. Find out where is the nearest, cheapest, and their opening hours.

These are the biggest supermarkets in Vietnam, although some of them are available in the north but not in the south or vice versa.

  • Big C
  • Mega Market
  • Coop Mart
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Get a Mobile Sim Card with Data

It goes without saying that you need a local sim card to be able to navigate and communicate smoothly. Getting a sim card is pretty easy, walk to any phone shop (I’ll let you know which phone shops and network companies to use), remember to bring your passport, phone, and cash.

In the shop, you will be asked if you want a sim card for data only or the one where you can make calls and text. You can choose how much data you want for 30 days plus how much credit you want to have which you can use for texts and calls. For example, 1GB data + 40,000 VND worth of credit.

Find the phone shop called thegioididong, or walk to stores of network companies like Viettel, Vinaphone, etc. Read more about this post on how to get a Vietnam SIM card.

Learn Some Basic Vietnamese

Even you don’t see yourself learning Vietnamese, you should know the basic phrases like thank you, hello, how are you, or sorry. It’s a courtesy but also can help your daily life routine. Learn a few words in the food section, services, and verbs, and other basic every word that you normally use.

Download a translating app on your phone, it won’t be very accurate but it can perfectly translate every word.

 I really hope that you find this article about what to do once you moved to Vietnam useful. If you have anything to add, let me know below the comment section.

3 thoughts on “What to Do Once You’ve Moved to Vietnam – a step-by-step guide”

  1. Hi Isabelle – Can one open a bank account as a “tourist” (on a long term tourist visa) in Saigon (or the entire country, for that matter)? It’s no longer possible for most expats to open accounts in China for one, these days, without work permits/contracts – not sure about Vietnam. Have been reading conflicting reports on the Internet, so thought I’d ask …

    • I was able to do that back in 2015. But now, I heard it’s a lot harder, most banks requires a work permit.

  2. Thanks Isabelle. It’s a pain to have to deal with cash all the time to be honest … Most of the info I found on the net on this was conflicting – perhaps I’ll just go directly to the bank websites!


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