Vietnam is a fast-growing expat destination, and one of the more popular places for retirees, expats, and digital nomads living in Southeast Asia. The country offers expats a quality of life that is, in many ways, better than that of neighboring nations. The good news is Vietnam’s low living costs rank it in the Top 10 Best Countries To Retire. With the money saved for retirement, you can comfortably enjoy delicious meals, long trips, and good accommodation. The cuisine is one of the fascinating and unique cultural features of Vietnam in the eyes of international friends. Here are 8 Reasons Why Vietnam Is One Of The Best Place For Retirees
8 Reasons Why Vietnam Is One Of The Best Place For Retirees
1. Cost Of Living
International Living points out that Vietnam’s “exceptionally low cost of living” is a huge draw. In A Better Life for Half the Price, author Tim Leffel notes that Vietnam is “one of the best values in the world for travelers, especially when it comes to lodging and food,” making it a great value for residents, too. Leffel says that when it comes to apartments, almost anywhere in the country, “you can find something nice and reasonably roomy in the range of $300 to $800 a month.”
2. Opportunities For Travel
Once Vietnam is your home base, the whole of Southeast Asia is easy to access. With plentiful flights on budget airlines, frequent trips to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, or Malaysia are possible.
And traveling within the country is pretty simple, too, with flights between key cities like HCMC, Da Nang, and Hanoi, plus a system of buses, trains, and even ferries to popular island destinations, like Phu Quoc.
3. The Food
Not only is Vietnamese food so darn cheap throughout the country — whether you’re picking something up from a street stall, sitting down in a restaurant, or shopping at a local grocery store — it is so darn good.
On my trip to Vietnam, we indulged in all of Hoi An’s signature dishes, from the banh mi sandwich, to white rose dumplings, to cao lau noodles. We sampled other key foods, including pho, spring rolls, and “Vietnamese pizza” — meat, egg, and veggies on rice paper, folded to eat on the go.
Strong, dark Vietnamese coffee is exquisite (though I never did try it topped with egg yolk whipped with condensed milk), and I couldn’t get enough of the incredible baguettes and crusty rolls served at breakfast buffets, a welcome leftover from the country’s French colonial days.
4. The People
I concur with expat Neil Varden who notes that the Vietnamese are “very friendly.” Indeed, everywhere we went, we encountered so many smiling faces — people who were eager to help us.
I found it especially true at our Hoi An hotel, where gentle demeanors and a welcoming nature were the norm among the front desk and restaurant staff. Our English-speaking bike tour guide was chock full of knowledge and so accommodating — candid and happy to answer questions about her life in Vietnam.
In particular, when an old injury flared up, a few neighbors noticed Minett was limping. A handful of women turned up at his door with a wheelchair “they found somewhere in the building” and called a car to take him to get medical care (“I had no say in the matter,” says Minett), with some accompanying him to the hospital and getting him food.
On Minett’s return late that night, the neighbor women were waiting for him, having arranged for the apartment elevator to stay on at midnight when it normally stops running at 11 p.m. Says Minett, “Perhaps this helps explain why I love it here so much.”
5. Various Places To Live
Da Nang seems to be the “it” place for expats and digital nomads these days, with its numerous cafes (with solid internet), golden beaches, high-rise apartments, and pretty landscapes, as it’s surrounded on three sides by mountains.
To the south of Da Nang are two world-class golf courses, and further south still is the colorful city of Hoi An, which may be too touristy for some retirees. Still, it is quite vibrant, with plenty of restaurants, cafes, proximity to more beaches, and lots of tailor shops, if reasonably priced custom clothing interests you.
HCMC is mind-blowingly huge but may appeal if you’re all about an urban center that is rich in French colonial history. Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, is in the north, so it’s not quite as toasty, temperature-wise, as HCMC. Other smaller communities that expats consider, says International Living, include Dalat, Nha Trang, Vung Tau, and the island of Phu Quoc.
6. The Weather
Vietnam’s tropical monsoon climate appeals to many — especially snowbirds who simply want to say good-bye to North American winters. However, it’s definitely not for everyone. Temperatures can easily reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit and above in some areas in the hottest months, and humidity reigns throughout the country.
The seasonal climate varies depending on whether you’re inland or on the coast, in the north or in the south. Check out the official Vietnam National Administration of Tourism website for more weather details.
7. The History And Culture
From its ancient temples and pagodas to its more current 20th-century war history, Vietnam offers so much for retirees who want to broaden their minds with an exploration of Vietnamese and Southeastern Asia historical and cultural events.
There are countless opportunities to join cultural tours and classes to learn how sleeping mats are woven from dried reeds or how commerce works in the Mekong Delta floating markets. Museums detail Vietnam’s history of multiple invasions, and you can even wiggle through the Chu Chi Tunnels, a system of underground hiding places used by Viet Cong soldiers.
Of course, a country’s culture is often best experienced simply by strolling through a neighborhood, eating local foods, watching families play in the park, or taking in a local theater performance. Again, Vietnam offers plenty of opportunities to do just that.
8. An Evolving Future
Jefferson Saunders moved to Vietnam in retirement in 2016, having spent time in the country before. Though he was drawn, like many others, by Vietnam’s friendly people and affordability, he’s increasingly interested in watching the evolution between the old and the new. There is “higher education, better income, internet, more traveling, along with serious investment money coming into the country,” an emerging market.
Now 70 years old and married, Saunders, who spends his days working in his large tropical garden featuring banana and jasmine trees (“[I’ve] lost 20 pounds and bulked up in muscle”), notes that Vietnam’s big cities feature Western-style medical clinics and hospitals, as well as high-end hotels, often backed by Japanese or Korean investors. He also sees Vietnamese society increasingly rejecting some of the issues that have plagued the country in the past, such as petty crime and litter.
We understand that starting your new life in Vietnam is a bit challenge, here below are some fast facts about living in Vietnam
Fast facts about living in Vietnam
Currency: Vietnamese Dong; pegged roughly 1 : 23,000 with the US dollar (VND rate here)
Expat Scene: Vietnam is a popular destination with budget backpackers, travel bloggers, digital nomads, and young entrepreneurs. While there are some older expats and families, the majority of expats in Vietnam are in the 18-35 age group.
Average Local Salary: The average monthly salary of a worker in Vietnam is about $148 per month; those in high paying jobs bring home around $500 per month.
Visas: The most common visa for Vietnam is a single-entry three-month visa. However, six-month and twelve-month visas are also available, both single entry and multi-entry. Depending on your plans, it may be worth is to get a twelve-month multi-entry visa. Always ask for the visa to be attached to your passport as there have been instances where travelers with valid visas have been denied entry to Vietnam. Visit the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam website for more information. If you’re visiting on a shorter visa, it can be easier to use an online visa agent.
Pet Friendliness: Bringing pets into Vietnam is quite easy, and while you can hire a service to help with all the paperwork, it is a lot cheaper to do it yourself.
Internet: High-speed internet is very common in large cities like Ho Chi Minh City, especially in cafes, is faster and more reliable than the high-speed internet in Thailand. Smaller towns also have internet access, but it can vary a bit more than in the two largest cities.
Safety: Relatively safe. Petty theft is common, as well as scams involving taxi cabs, charities, and visas. Traffic is intense in big cities and motorcycle accidents are also common; it’s advisable to carry expat insurance with worldwide coverage or solid travel insurance policy that covers such accidents.
Possible Issues: Regional flooding can occur during the rainy season. Foreigners cannot own land in Vietnam; for expats hoping to buy and build a legacy, this is nigh impossible. While you can purchase a dwelling house, you must lease the land from the government.
Child Friendliness: Similar to Thailand, Vietnam is very child-friendly. It is quite common for restaurant workers to entertain foreign children while parents eat. Don’t be alarmed, they genuinely love children, especially those with foreign features like big blue eyes or beautiful dark skin.
Regarding Vietnam visa, Vietnam do not have visa type “retirement visa” but you can alway get a multiple entries visa with 90 days of stays with Tourist visa or 1 year with Business / Investor visa. It’s also easy to get a Visa Run or Visa Exension.