Vietnam Support Services for Expats

If you are considering making a move to Vietnam, here are the most important issues to consider.

First issues that you must attend to are visa categories and work permits. Then you should consider the geography and climate, if those are suitable for you. Look for expat-friendly destinations, and how to get around in this fascinating country.

Life in Vietnam can offer a true taste of the Eastern, Indo – Chinese way of life. Be prepared for big cultural differences.

Vietnam is a poor, but very densely populated country, as it usually is the case in these parts of the world. Unfortunately today Vietnam is mostly associated with war and a punishing centrally planned economy.

Vietnam covers a relatively small territory; the total area of the country is approximately 329,500 square kilometers. This small territory is a home to 54 different ethnic groups. Of these the most significant group if the Kinh (Viet) people, who account for 86% of the total population. It is divided into 58 provinces and there are 5 centrally-controlled municipalities existing at the same level as provinces. These are Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho.

Vietnam as an Expat Destination


Saigon skyline at night

Saigon is one of the most developed cities in Southeast Asia Asia (pic credit)

Vietnam has become increasingly popular as an expat destination in recent years. This is because of the fact that it has becoming a safe place for foreigners to live and work. On the other hand people are attracted by the nice weather and relatively low cost of living. Ad to this a lively culture and the steady improvements in Vietnam’s infrastructure, that open business opportunities, and it is understandable why people want to relocate here.

Despite the advantages there are still some issues that expats complain about on a regular basis when living in Vietnam. One of the biggest issues is the pollution. It is not uncommon to see people, expats and locals alike, wearing masks in order to prevent the inhalation of smog. Another problem is the traffic. The streets are regularly overflowing with a literal see of cars and bikes and not to mention that Vietnam has one of the highest road fatality rates in the whole world.

Cost of Living in Vietnam

Vietnamese food from a Hanoi restaurant

Sumptuous fare served up in a Hanoi neighborhood diner (pic credit)

Vietnam has a comparatively low cost of living. Most of the expatriates can live a very comfortable life here with quite a moderate income. In the 2012 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Hanoi’s position remained unchanged on the previous year at 136 in the list of most expensive cities in the world.

Accommodation is available to suit all budgets, from up-market apartments in major cities through to modest houses in the suburbs.

Regarding food, there is a difference in the price of local food and western food in Vietnam. So, those who are prepared to eat at the local bars and restaurants will find that they can eat good food out at a very low price. All of the western – type bars and restaurants, are expensive. As with many Asian cities, beer and spirits are very cheap but wine is expensive.

Essential information:

Language: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer.

Climate: Vietnam is located between the Gulf of Thailand and the Gulf of Tonkin, in Southeast Asia. It stretches from China in the North to Cambodia in the South. Due to the country’s lengthy topography, you will, upon moving to Vietnam, soon find that the weather differs strongly depending on where you live.

Vietnam’s North, has a monsoonal climate, with alternating dry and monsoon seasons. The South is tropical and hot all year round. The meteorological divide is the Pass of the Cloud, north of Da Nang.

Those living in the area surrounding the Mekong Delta, will experience quite a few typhoons during the rainy season. These typhoons often cause flooding and severe damage.

Money: Vietnam currently uses three separate currencies, gold is used to purchase land and housing, US Dollars are used for luxury items and Vietnam Dong is used for day-to-day items.

Living in Vietnam: Expat Job and Career Opportunities

Vietnam’s main income is derived from the manufacturing industries. Most of the Vietnamese population works there. However, the services sector, offers most employment opportunities for foreign nationals. There are also growing opportunities in fields related to not-for-profit international development work, but these jobs are generally limited to people who have previous experience in this type of work.

The main source of employment for expats in Vietnam is teaching English. The rest of the expats are mostly freelancers, who work remotely, doing professional work in writing, coding, marketing etc.


If you are searching for a great and exotic country to live in, with a lively culture and great food, then Vietnam is the place for you. It does have it’s issues, but any country that has been in a armed conflict of such magnitude as Vietnam was is expected to have them. All considered it is a great place to live.
Yes it has issues with traffic and pollution, and over population, but look at those issues as a chance for adventure, something different.

Vietnam is a great country for expats. The food is great, people are welcoming, the climate is nice, and there is a low cost of living.

Need more info? We maintain a loose network of western staff around the country to help with your needs. Send us a message and we will be in touch with a report tailored for you!