The Pros and Cons of Moving to Vietnam

Thinking about coming? Great! You can build a great life in Vietnam. But you have to decide if it’s the right place for you. Read on and find out!

Vietnam is an international hotspot. All kinds of expats are flocking to Vietnam for travel and extended stays. The growing foreign community includes retirees, young professionals, gap year students, and a variety of other people far too numerous to list. They are all looking for something new, unique, exciting, different and unusual.  Should you join them? We help you decide with this list of pros and cons of moving to Vietnam. 

Pros

Low cost of living

Vietnam is an excellent location for every budget. If you are a new graduate, moving overseas with no savings, a mid-career professional, or well-heeled, you can live well here.  There are many different housing accommodations in the cities. Utility and transportation costs are low. Expats on any budget can dine out every day, take trips, drink socially, and enjoy local entertainment. The quality and style of living here vary according to lifestyle. You are almost guaranteed a better quality of life here than in a western country living on the same income, no matter what your comfort zone.

Opportunities

moving to Vietnam

Opportunities abound in a developing country like Vietnam. You can teach a foreign language (English, French, Spanish), teach at an international school, start a new career, or continue a present career. Digital nomads are coming here to build online businesses, create jobs and enhance reputations. Other expats are starting companies and creating services to meet the needs of the growing expat community.

Great base for branching out and exploring Asia

moving to Vietnam

For expats who want to explore Southeast Asia, moving to Vietnam is a blessing. Vietnam is perfectly positioned to help travelers explore China, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. The country also has some beautiful islands, lush jungles, verdure forests, and picturesque rivers. If travelers don’t want to travel far or cannot afford to take lengthy or expensive trips, there are day trips and weekend getaways available all around the country.

Great weather

The weather in Vietnam varies by location. For expats who prefer to experience four seasons, they should live in Hanoi or northern Vietnam. If you want twelve months of summer, move to Saigon or southern Vietnam. The expats who love tropical weather, high humidity and lots of rain should reside in the Mekong Delta or further south. Adventurous and restless expats can live in different parts of the country during different parts of the year.  

Modern conveniences

Vietnam has some modern infrastructure, western conveniences, and the internet. It has everything you need to continue living the life you loved back home. It won’t be exactly the same, because Vietnam is a developing country. Also, there are numerous malls, boutique shops, western style restaurants, and western style entertainment to alleviate your homesickness and culture shock.

Cons

Pollution

moving to Vietnam

Perhaps the main downside of moving to Vietnam is the pollution. The country has some of the worst air and water quality in Southeast Asia. Every year the pollution in the cities gets worse. Some expats have left Vietnam because of the smog and the smell emanating from polluted lakes, rivers and canals. Others have moved to smaller cities and into the countryside to escape the pollution.

Terrible traffic congestion

As Hanoi and Saigon get bigger and bigger, the traffic congestion gets worse and worse. The main problem is that the roads in Vietnam were not built to handle the millions of motorbikes, cars, and trucks that now clog Vietnamese roads. Every year the Vietnamese become more prosperous, and every year they buy more mid-size cars, SUVs, and motorbikes. The narrow streets and lanes often are not wide enough for two SUVs to pass one another. The traffic congestion is especially apparent during morning, lunch and evening rush hour traffic.  

Scams against foreigners

moving to Vietnam

Many tourists and resident expats tire of continuously paying inflated prices for things. It is common that locals and foreigners often pay entirely different prices. Foreigners sometimes pay 10 times more than locals. The local tradition of haggling can reduce the rate that vendors charge.  

Petty theft

The Vietnamese are very status conscious and sensitive to the opinions of their countrymen.  This means that people who are unemployed, make very little money, or want things they cannot afford face a lot of temptation to make money illegally. The easiest way to do that here is to steal people’s motorbikes, mobile phones, purses, wallets, cameras, expensive purebred dogs, and burglarize people’s homes. These  types of crimes that are on the rise. Tourists and resident expats learn from experience or word of mouth that letting your guard down in public can lead to loss of personal possessions. The police occasionally recover the belongings. But the victims rarely get their possessions back nor are they compensated for their losses.

Decision time . . . 

Is moving to Vietnam for you? Only you can decide if this country is a good fit. The best thing to do is come here for a visit and travel around the country. If you like it, the Vietnamese will welcome you to their country.  On the other hand, even if you don’t like it, you’ll probably end up with some unforgettable stories to talk about with your friends, family and colleagues.