Vietnam for Expats
Vietnam is a beautiful and diverse country with a rich culture and history. Over the past few decades, Vietnam has experienced significant economic growth and social development, making it an attractive destination for many foreigners. In this article, we will explore various aspects of life in Vietnam for expat communities.
One of the first things expats need to consider when moving to Vietnam is accommodation. The housing market in Vietnam is relatively affordable, and there are many options available to suit different needs and budgets. Most expats prefer to live in the larger cities like Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, where there is a greater variety of housing options.
The cost of housing varies depending on the location and type of property. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in a central location can cost between $300 to $800 per month, while a spacious three-bedroom apartment can cost between $1,000 to $2,000 per month. It’s worth noting that many landlords in Vietnam require a one-year lease and a security deposit, which can be equal to one or two months of rent.
Housing insurance is not mandatory in Vietnam, but it is a good idea to consider getting it when renting a property. While most landlords will have their own insurance for the property, this usually only covers damage to the building and not your personal belongings.
Having a housing insurance policy can help protect your personal possessions in case of theft, fire, or other unforeseen circumstances. It can also provide liability coverage in case of accidents or damage to the property caused by you or your guests.
Before purchasing a housing insurance policy, it’s important to carefully read and understand the terms and conditions to ensure you are getting the coverage you need. You can also consult with a licensed insurance agent to help you choose the best policy for your needs.
Transportation in Vietnam is generally affordable and convenient. Taxis and motorbikes are the most popular modes of transportation for expats.
Discover the vibrant world of Vietnamese motorbike culture as you explore the bustling cities of Vietnam. With local ride-hailing services Grab, Go Viet, and Be, you’ll spot a kaleidoscope of colorful uniforms donned by the drivers. While Grab and Be offer car services, GoJek is the go-to for motorbike rides. Don’t worry about breaking the bank, as these rides are budget-friendly and require cash payment. Be sure to snag a local SIM card for under $5, so you can stay connected and easily hail a ride from anywhere in Vietnam. Upgrade to a new phone from a bumblebee-colored store for $50+ to access all the necessary apps and talk on the go.
Cash is king when it comes to payment, so be sure to have Vietnamese Dong on hand for your ride. Tipping isn’t necessary, but always appreciated. Typically, a motorbike trip across the city will cost 20,000-40,000 Dong ($1-2), with a 10K tip.
If you’re looking for a cooler ride or have more luggage, opt for a car with air conditioning. Although motorbikes are cheaper and faster, making them perfect for single riders or small groups looking to navigate through the city’s traffic with ease. Don’t miss out on the chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant and colorful world of Vietnam’s motorbike culture.
Taxis are readily available and relatively cheap, with a starting fare of around $0.50 to $1.50, and an average fare of $1 to $2 per kilometer. Motorbikes are also a popular option for expats, with many rental services available at reasonable prices.
For those who prefer public transportation, buses are a reliable and affordable option, with fares ranging from $0.20 to $0.40 per ride. Trains are another popular mode of transportation, with a network that connects the major cities in Vietnam.
Vietnamese cuisine is known for its vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and healthy cooking methods. Here are some of the best dishes to try while in Vietnam:
- Pho: A popular noodle soup that’s often eaten for breakfast, pho is made with a savory broth, rice noodles, and tender slices of beef or chicken. It’s usually served with a side of fresh herbs, chili peppers, and lime wedges.
- Banh Mi: A French-inspired sandwich that’s been adapted to suit Vietnamese tastes, banh mi typically includes a crusty baguette filled with pate, pickled vegetables, fresh herbs, and grilled meat or tofu.
- Bun Cha: A dish that originated in Hanoi, bun cha consists of grilled pork patties, vermicelli noodles, and a variety of fresh herbs and vegetables. It’s typically served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce.
- Goi Cuon: Also known as Vietnamese spring rolls, goi cuon are made with rice paper wrappers filled with vermicelli noodles, fresh herbs, and shrimp, pork, or tofu. They’re usually served with a peanut dipping sauce.
- Cao Lau: A specialty of the central city of Hoi An, cao lau is a noodle dish made with thick rice noodles, slices of pork, fresh herbs, and a crispy cracker on top. It’s typically served with a side of greens and a lime wedge.
- Com Tam: A popular street food, com tam is a plate of broken rice served with grilled pork, a fried egg, and pickled vegetables. It’s often served with a side of fish sauce.
- Bun Bo Hue: A spicy noodle soup that originated in the central city of Hue, bun bo hue is made with beef broth, vermicelli noodles, and slices of beef or pork. It’s typically spiced with chili peppers and served with a side of fresh herbs and lime wedges.
- Bun Rieu! With a tomato-based broth, savory crab meatballs, and fragrant fresh herbs, this flavorful dish is a must-try for any foodie exploring Vietnam
These are just a few of the many delicious dishes to try while in Vietnam. The country’s rich culinary heritage offers something for every palate, so be sure to explore and try as many new dishes as you can!
Expats in Vietnam can find food options to suit their dietary preferences, with many restaurants offering vegetarian and vegan options. The cost of food in Vietnam is generally affordable, with street food and local restaurants offering some of the most delicious and affordable options.
Healthcare in Vietnam has improved significantly over the past few decades, with both public and private healthcare options available. However, the quality of healthcare can vary significantly depending on the location and facility.
Many expats in Vietnam choose to access private healthcare facilities, which are generally more modern and well-equipped than public facilities. The cost of healthcare in Vietnam is generally affordable, with consultation fees starting at around $20.
For more serious problems, there are several international healthcare providers in Vietnam, including:
- Family Medical Practice: One of the largest and most well-established healthcare providers in Vietnam, Family Medical Practice offers a wide range of medical services, including general consultations, vaccinations, and emergency care. They have multiple clinics located throughout Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Da Nang.
- Vinmec International Hospital: Vinmec is a high-end private hospital chain with locations in Hanoi, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City. The hospital provides advanced medical services, including cancer treatment, organ transplantation, and robotic surgery.
- Hong Ngoc Hospital: Hong Ngoc Hospital is a private hospital located in Hanoi that offers a range of medical services, including general consultations, emergency care, and surgery. The hospital is staffed by both Vietnamese and foreign doctors and has a 24-hour emergency department.
- FV Hospital: FV Hospital is a private hospital located in Ho Chi Minh City that provides a range of medical services, including general consultations, emergency care, and specialized surgeries. The hospital is staffed by both Vietnamese and foreign doctors and has a 24-hour emergency department.
- Hanoi French Hospital: Hanoi French Hospital is a private hospital located in Hanoi that offers a range of medical services, including general consultations, emergency care, and specialized surgeries. The hospital is staffed by both Vietnamese and foreign doctors and has a 24-hour emergency department.
Education in Vietnam is highly valued, and the country has made significant investments in improving its education system. However, expats may find that the quality of education can vary depending on the location and type of school.
There are a variety of international schools in Vietnam, catering to expats from different countries. These schools offer high-quality education and facilities, but can be quite expensive. On the other hand, public schools in Vietnam are generally more affordable, but may not provide the same level of education and facilities as international schools.
There are several international schools in Hanoi, catering to the needs of expat families. Here are some of the main international schools in Hanoi:
- Hanoi International School (HIS) Hanoi International School (HIS) is one of the oldest and most established international schools in Hanoi. The school offers an American-style education, with a strong focus on academic excellence and holistic development. HIS offers programs for students from kindergarten through to high school.
- British International School Hanoi (BIS Hanoi) British International School Hanoi (BIS Hanoi) offers a British-style education, following the National Curriculum of England. The school offers programs for students from early years through to high school. BIS Hanoi is known for its high academic standards and wide range of extracurricular activities.
- United Nations International School of Hanoi (UNIS Hanoi) United Nations International School of Hanoi (UNIS Hanoi) offers an international education based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. The school offers programs for students from kindergarten through to high school. UNIS Hanoi is known for its multicultural environment and emphasis on global citizenship.
- Singapore International School (SIS Hanoi) Singapore International School (SIS Hanoi) offers a Singapore-style education, following the Singaporean curriculum. The school offers programs for students from kindergarten through to high school. SIS Hanoi is known for its high academic standards and focus on bilingual education.
- Concordia International School Hanoi Concordia International School Hanoi offers an American-style education, following the Common Core Standards. The school offers programs for students from kindergarten through to high school. Concordia is known for its strong community spirit and focus on character education.
- There is a French school in Hanoi called Lycée français Alexandre Yersin (LFAY), in the Long Bien district of Hanoi. LFAY is accredited by the French Ministry of Education.
In Saigon, the main international schools are
There are several international schools in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam. Some of the main international schools in HCMC include:
- British International School Ho Chi Minh City (BIS): BIS is a leading international school in Vietnam, offering the British National Curriculum to students aged 2 to 18 years.
- International School Ho Chi Minh City (ISHCMC): ISHCMC is an international school that offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme to students aged 2 to 18 years.
- Saigon South International School (SSIS): SSIS is an American-style international school in HCMC that offers an American-based curriculum to students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
- Australian International School (AIS): AIS is an international school that offers the Australian National Curriculum to students from kindergarten to year 12.
- Canadian International School (CIS): CIS is an international school that offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme to students from kindergarten to grade 12.
- Renaissance International School Saigon (RISS): RISS is an international school that offers the British National Curriculum to students from pre-kindergarten through to year 13.
There are also other international schools in HCMC, such as the French International School Marguerite Duras (LFID), the German School Ho Chi Minh City (DSHCMC), and the Japanese School Ho Chi Minh City (JSCHCM).
Culture and Lifestyle
Vietnam has a rich cultural heritage, with a unique blend of Chinese, French, and Southeast Asian influences. The country is known for its friendly and welcoming people, and expats in Vietnam can enjoy a vibrant and diverse lifestyle.
There are many cultural and recreational activities available in Vietnam, including festivals, markets, museums, and parks.
Here are some general dos and don’ts for expats living in Vietnam:
- Learn some basic Vietnamese phrases: While many Vietnamese people speak English, knowing some basic Vietnamese phrases can go a long way in helping you communicate with locals and making friends.
- Respect the culture: Vietnam has a rich cultural heritage, and it’s important to show respect for local customs and traditions. For example, removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or temple is a common practice in Vietnam.
- Explore the country: Vietnam is a beautiful country with a lot to offer. Take advantage of your time there by exploring the cities, countryside, and natural wonders.
- Try the food: Vietnamese cuisine is delicious and diverse. Be adventurous and try new dishes, but be mindful of any food allergies or dietary restrictions you may have.
- Dress modestly: While Vietnam is becoming more westernized, it’s still a conservative country. Dress modestly and avoid wearing revealing clothing, especially when visiting temples or other religious sites.
- Don’t disrespect the flag or government: Vietnam has strict laws regarding disrespecting the national flag or government officials. Avoid making negative comments about the government or engaging in any political activities.
- Don’t drink the tap water: The tap water in Vietnam is not safe to drink. Stick to bottled water or boiled water to avoid getting sick.
- Don’t haggle too aggressively: While haggling is a common practice in Vietnam, it’s important to do so respectfully. Don’t haggle too aggressively or take advantage of sellers.
- Don’t lose your temper: Vietnamese people value harmony and avoiding confrontation. Losing your temper or raising your voice can be seen as disrespectful and may cause tension in relationships.
- Don’t ignore traffic rules: Traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic, but it’s important to follow the rules of the road to stay safe. Don’t ignore traffic signals or cross the street without looking both ways.
Here are some more useful resources to get you started:
– Expat forums and websites: There are several expat forums and websites dedicated to providing information and support for expats living in Vietnam.
- Expat.com (https://www.expat.com/en/network/asia/vietnam/): This is the ultimate global platform for expats that offers everything from forums to guides on visas and healthcare. You can connect with like-minded individuals and get the support you need.
- Vietnam Expat Forum (https://www.expat.com/forum/viewforum.php?id=330): This online community is moderated by expats themselves and covers a range of topics from culture and language to travel and social events. You can ask questions, share experiences, and connect with fellow expats.
- InterNations (https://www.internations.org/vietnam-expats): This hip global network for expats provides resources, events, and city guides that will help you feel like a local in no time. You can connect with expats from around the world and build a network of contacts in Vietnam.
- Saigonist (http://saigonist.com/): This cool blog and forum is all about dishing out advice on food, nightlife, and visas for expats living in the vibrant city of Ho Chi Minh. You can get the latest updates on the best restaurants, bars, and events in town.
- Hanoi Massive (https://hanoimassive.com/): This community-driven website provides the lowdown on everything Hanoi, including housing, language, and transportation. You can connect with locals and fellow expats, find the best places to eat and drink, and get advice on how to navigate life in the city.
– Expat groups and clubs: Joining expat groups and clubs is a great way to meet other expats and get involved in social activities. There are several expat groups and clubs in Vietnam, such as the Hanoi International Women’s Club, Saigon International Women’s Association, and the Vietnam Swans Australian Rules Football Club.
– Local media: Local media outlets such as Vietnam News and Saigoneer provide news and information about life in Vietnam, including topics of interest to expats such as culture, food, and events.
– Embassies and consulates: Embassies and consulates can provide a range of services to expats, including assistance with visas, legal advice, and emergency support. If you are an expat living in Vietnam, it’s a good idea to register with your embassy or consulate so they can contact you in case of an emergency.
– Language schools: Learning the local language is important for expats living in Vietnam, as it can help you to better understand the culture and connect with locals. There are several language schools in Vietnam that offer classes in Vietnamese, such as the Vietnamese Language Garden in Hanoi and Vietnamese Language Studies at the University of social humanities of Ho Chi Minh City.