As someone who’s extensively traveled across the breathtaking landscapes of Vietnam, I can tell you firsthand: this country is full of surprises. In 2023, it’s not just the lush greenery of Hue or the serene beaches of Da Nang that attract expats worldwide. It’s the promise of a vibrant life at a cost that will have you wondering why you didn’t move sooner. Yes, the cost of living here is a game-changer!
Now, don’t get me wrong; it’s not all about the money saved. It’s about the rich experiences gained. From the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City to the peaceful charm of Hanoi, each spot in Vietnam offers a unique blend of traditional culture and modern living. And for those of us who work remotely, the robust digital infrastructure in Vietnam is a dream come true.
What truly ties everything together is the sense of community. The locals are more than just friendly — they’re like your next family waiting to welcome you with open arms. The focus on well-being stands unparalleled. Imagine fresh, local produce available daily, fitness and wellness activities within easy reach, and an overall lifestyle that champions health and happiness.
So, if you’re looking for a firsthand account of life in Vietnam, you’re in the right place. I’ve navigated the ins and outs of this beautiful country to bring you a reliable guide on the best places to live in Vietnam. Ready to explore? Let’s dive in!
Best Places to Live in Vietnam
Thinking about moving to Vietnam? Well, different spots are perfect for different folks. Here’s the lowdown:
- Best for beaches: Da Nang
- Best for digital nomads? Ho Chi Minh City
- Best for local culture: Hue
- Best for peace and quiet: Da Lat
- Best for young people: Hanoi
- Best for island life? Phu Quoc Island
- Best for nature: Nha Trang
- Best small-town charm: Hoi An
- Best for retirees: Da Nang
Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what makes each of these Vietnamese places a top pick for setting up your new home.
When I wandered into Hue, it was like stepping back in time. This city breathes history — it’s in the air, in the walls, in the smiles of the locals. It’s not every day you get to call a former imperial capital your home, right? That’s Hue for you, easily one of the best cities to live in Vietnam if you’re a history buff like me or someone who just loves a serene atmosphere.
Hue is a budding hotspot for digital nomads. What I loved was the contrast — one moment you’re exploring the awe-inspiring Imperial City, and the next, you’re sipping a latte in a chic café, tapping into their high-speed Wi-Fi. The city might be quieter than buzzing Ho Chi Minh, but it’s got all the essentials for remote work.
Hue sits pretty close to Da Nang, which means you’re just a short ride away from some of the best beaches in Vietnam. It’s the perfect setup, really — a serene, inspiring city to work in, and postcard-perfect beaches to relax on during your downtime.
For anyone dreaming of moving to Vietnam, Hue is your ticket to a life bursting with cultural wonders, tantalizing eats (shoutout to Madam Thu!), and a community that’s got your back. It’s an attractive choice for digital nomads who crave a blend of cultural richness, modern work amenities, and proximity to nature’s best offerings.
2. Da Nang
Imagine living where endless sandy beaches meet modern city life. that’s Da Nang for you. This coastal city, known for its picturesque landscapes, is also a hub for cultural heritage, seen in its historical landmarks and vibrant festivals. It’s no wonder Da Nang ranks high among the best places to live in Vietnam. Whether you’re taking a leisurely walk along the Han Riverfront or exploring the Marble Mountains, there’s a sense of adventure around every corner.
But Da Nang isn’t just about scenic beauty. It’s also a hotspot for digital nomads. Thanks to its robust infrastructure, the city is a connectivity haven, which makes it one of the best places for digital nomads in Vietnam. Picture this: you’re enjoying a bowl of the famous Mi Quang noodles in a local eatery, and moments later, you’re connected and ready for a video call with your colleagues halfway across the world. The seamless blend of work and play is what makes Da Nang a preferred choice for many.
What’s life without a bit of fun, right? When the sun goes down, the city comes alive with bustling night markets, street-side cafes, and live music venues. It’s the perfect setting for young people looking to socialize and immerse themselves in the local culture. And for those who love to shop, you’ll find everything from high-end malls to unique boutique stores offering a range of fashion, art, and handmade crafts.
3. Ho Chi Minh City
Oh, how I love Ho Chi Minh City! This place has everything you can imagine: scooters zipping by, street vendors selling mouth-watering Banh Mi, and skyscrapers reaching for the stars. It’s got a heartbeat you can feel through your shoes, and guess what? It’s one of the best places for young people to live in Vietnam. Why? Because it’s a city that’s alive 24/7 and it’s affordable. Seriously, your wallet will thank you!
Now, if you’re the ambitious type, looking to hustle or start something big, this is your playground. Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam’s business beast, which makes it a hotspot for go-getters and dream-chasers. Thinking of moving to Vietnam to kickstart your career or launch a passion project? Well, pack your bags and come on over. And when you need a breather, there’s always a peaceful park or a cozy café around the corner.
The nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City is diverse and lively. You’ll find everything from upscale bars with stunning city views to relaxed spots for a casual night out. And the food scene is an ongoing festival of flavors. Whether you’re sampling sophisticated international dishes or grabbing a bite from a local street vendor, there’s always something delicious to try.
What’s even better is how affordable life here is. You can rent a nice apartment in the city on the cheap, and meals are often cheaper than a latte in many other cities. When it comes to shopping, local markets and malls offer great deals. This affordability makes it easy to live well without spending a fortune.
4. Da Lat
Da Lat is a refreshing anomaly in Vietnam’s typical cityscape. Nestled in the highlands, Da Lat is a world away from the buzz and heat of Vietnam’s lowland areas. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” it’s a breath of fresh air — literally. The cooler climate here is a rare find in Vietnam, and for someone like me who thrives in milder temperatures, it was an instant love affair.
The city’s natural beauty is its biggest draw. Surrounded by rolling hills, dense forests, and tranquil lakes, Da Lat is the best place in Vietnam for tranquility and rejuvenation. It’s far removed from the urban hustle. The array of outdoor activities is vast, from leisurely hikes to the excitement of the Alpine Coaster that snakes through the picturesque landscape.
Da Lat’s agricultural bounty is worth noting, particularly its famed strawberries. They are a local delight — ripe, sweet, and bursting with flavor. The freshness of the produce here, including the locally made yogurt, adds a wholesome touch to everyday living.
What makes Da Lat one of the best places to live in Vietnam isn’t solely its scenic backdrop. It’s the quality of life. Here, residents find respite from the pollution and constant motion of more populous cities. It’s an ideal setting for individuals seeking a serene work environment, retirees, artists seeking inspiration, or anyone yearning for a closer connection to nature.
With its own airport served by low-cost Asian airlines, Da Lat is a cheap flight away from some of Asia’s best places. Prefer the scenic route? Well-connected bus routes make zipping to and from big cities like Ho Chi Minh a piece of cake.
I visited Hanoi in March 2023, and let me tell you, it’s got a vibe like no other. Hanoi blends history with modern life. You’ve got streets lined with grand old colonial buildings, timeless pagodas, and markets that buzz day and night. Oh, and the Old Quarter? It’s a maze of wonders, with surprises like cozy cafés and artisan shops at every turn.
Now, don’t think Hanoi is stuck in the past. It’s also a place pulsing with creativity and drive. This city is a top pick for digital nomads in Vietnam, with its inspiring mix of art, culture, and killer coffee spots. And when you need a moment of zen, head to Hoan Kiem Lake. It’s the city’s peaceful heart, where locals and travelers alike go to catch their breath.
Here’s what really struck me about Hanoi — it’s got soul. The nights here are alive with music, from traditional shows to live bands. And the food? Get ready for a flavor explosion with local favorites like Pho and Bún chả. Compared to the all-go, no-slow vibe of cities like Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi gives you room to breathe and take it all in at your own pace.
Living in Hanoi is all about quality and affordability. It’s one of the best places for young people to live in Vietnam, offering a lifestyle rich in culture and easy on the wallet. This city is perfect for creatives, thinkers, and anyone with a passion project — it’s a place that inspires.
For young professionals, aspiring artists, or digital nomads looking for a place to live in Vietnam, Hanoi is your spot.
6. Phu Quoc Island
Whenever people ask me about the ultimate chill spot in Vietnam, Phu Quoc Island immediately springs to mind. This gem is all about pristine beaches and the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. It’s one of the best places for young people to live in Vietnam, especially if you’re into a laid-back island vibe with a side of spectacular sunsets.
Let’s dive deeper into why Phu Quoc is a hotspot for the young and adventurous. Beyond its natural charm, the island is surprisingly up-to-speed. We’re talking stable, high-speed Wi-Fi and top-notch co-working spaces, which makes it a dream for remote workers and digital nomads. Picture this: you’re sending off work emails in the morning, snorkeling in vibrant coral reefs by the afternoon, and enjoying fresh seafood by the beach as the sun dips low. Not a bad way to live, right?
Of course, island life comes with its quirks. The tropical setting means weather can be a bit of a wildcard. This means you’ll experience brilliant sunshine one minute and tropical showers the next. But it’s all part of the island’s charm. While living in this slice of paradise comes with a slightly higher price tag due to its tourist appeal, the unique blend of work and play, set against a backdrop of natural wonders, more than justifies the cost.
Choosing to call Phu Quoc Island home means signing up for a life where work and relaxation blend seamlessly. It’s one of Vietnam’s best places to live for those who love the idea of turning the world into their office, without skimping on the perks of island life. With its blend of natural beauty, modern amenities, and that irresistible laid-back vibe, Phu Quoc is a fantastic destination.
7. Nha Trang
No article on the best places to live in Vietnam would be complete without a nod to Nha Trang. Not only is this coastal city breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s also becoming a popular spot for digital nomads and young professionals.
Nestled along the coast of the South China Sea, Nha Trang is a paradise for those who live to blend work with pleasure. The city is a magnet for the young and restless, offering everything from awe-inspiring natural landscapes to an affordable cost of living that’s hard to beat.
For digital nomads, Nha Trang is nothing short of a haven. The city offers great internet, growing coworking spaces, and beautiful scenery that inspires your creative side. But it’s not all work; there’s plenty of play to be had, too. With its array of water sports, vibrant underwater life perfect for scuba diving, and pristine beaches, it’s the ultimate place to unwind after a day’s work.
Nha Trang’s beautiful beaches, inviting local markets, and active nightlife create the ideal environment for recent graduates. And the best part? The cost of living here is so reasonable that you can soak up all the luxuries without draining your wallet.
Don’t miss out on the adventures, either. Take a boat tour to the nearby islands, or hike up to the Ba Ho Waterfalls for a refreshing dip — the natural beauty here is endless. And for the adrenaline junkies, how about some kite surfing or wakeboarding? Trust me, the Vinpearl Cable Car ride is also a must!
With its captivating blend of natural beauty, a thriving coworking environment, and a lively cultural scene, it’s no surprise that Nha Trang stands out as one of the coolest cities to live in Vietnam.
8. Hoi An
Contemplating moving to Vietnam? Hoi An should be high on your list. This UNESCO World Heritage site boasts an array of ancient houses, exquisite temples, and timeless bridges, all nestled within verdant countryside and tranquil rivers. The city’s visual appeal is undeniable, but its true beauty lies in the cultural richness and natural serenity that I found so captivating from my very first visit.
Hoi An represents a thriving community. The locals, with their infectious warmth and readiness to share a smile or lend a helping hand, are a testament to the city’s welcoming spirit. Here, you’ll find a diverse mix of residents, including young innovators, artistic souls, and digital nomads drawn to the city’s peaceful yet inspiring ambiance. Whether you’re exploring lantern-lit paths or enjoying a quiet riverside coffee, tranquility is never far away.
What’s more, life here is affordable. The living costs are a pleasant surprise, especially given the enriching quality of life on offer. Accommodation is reasonably priced, and the markets burst with an array of fresh, budget-friendly produce. For those working remotely, Hoi An is equipped with numerous co-working spaces and dependable internet.
However, life in Hoi An comes with its own set of challenges. The city’s allure has surged, bringing with it a swell of tourists, especially during cultural festivities. Additionally, while the climate is typically mild and inviting, the rainy season ushers in heavy showers.
Thinking about where to live in Vietnam? Put Hoi An at the top of your list. Here, history meets modern comfort, community feels like family, and every day promises new adventures. As one of my favorite places to visit in Vietnam, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the Best Places to Live in Vietnam
Do you have further queries about where to live in Vietnam? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about Vietnam’s best cities and areas.
What is the best part of Vietnam to live in?
The “best” area depends on what you’re seeking. For a dynamic urban environment, Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi might be your spots. Prefer a more laid-back beach lifestyle? Consider Da Nang or Nha Trang. If cultural immersion is your priority, Hue or Hoi An offers deep historical roots. Each area has unique offerings, making Vietnam’s best places diverse and appealing for different reasons.
Where do most foreigners and Americans live in Vietnam?
In Vietnam, foreigners, especially Americans, tend to gravitate towards major cities and popular tourist destinations due to the availability of amenities, job opportunities, and established expatriate communities. Here are the places where most foreigners live in Vietnam:
- Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon): As the largest city and economic hub of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City attracts a significant number of expatriates, including many Americans. District 1, District 2 (especially the Thao Dien and An Phu areas), and District 7 (Phu My Hung area) are popular among foreigners due to their modern amenities, international schools, and a wide range of dining and entertainment options.
- Hanoi: As the capital city, Hanoi also has a substantial expatriate community. The Tay Ho (West Lake) area and Ba Dinh District are particularly popular among foreigners due to their vibrant communities, international schools, and numerous restaurants and cafes.
- Da Nang: This coastal city has seen a growing number of foreigners in recent years, attracted by its beautiful beaches, modern infrastructure, and more relaxed pace compared to the major cities.
- Hoi An: Located near Da Nang, this UNESCO World Heritage site is not only a tourist hotspot but also home to a growing community of expats, especially those involved in the tourism and hospitality industries.
- Nha Trang: Known for its beautiful beaches and diving spots, Nha Trang has a sizable Russian expatriate community and is popular among tourists and retirees.
- Phu Quoc Island: With its tropical beaches and resorts, Phu Quoc has started to attract a number of foreigners, especially those in the tourism sector.
- Da Lat: Known for its cool climate and scenic beauty, Da Lat has a smaller but growing community of foreigners, particularly those looking for a more relaxed lifestyle.
Where are the safest places to live in Vietnam?
Generally, Vietnam is a safe country with low crime rates. However, for those particularly concerned about safety, Da Lat, Hoi An, and Phu Quoc Island are known for their peaceful environments and low crime rates. As always, exercising common-sense precautions is recommended, no matter where you live.
Is Vietnam worth moving to?
Absolutely, especially if you’re seeking a high-quality, affordable lifestyle. With its diverse landscapes, rich culture, friendly locals, and delicious cuisine, Vietnam has become a top destination for expats and digital nomads. From bustling cities to tranquil beach towns, there are numerous places to live in Vietnam, each offering a unique slice of life.
What are the pros and cons of living in Vietnam?
Living in Vietnam, like any other country, comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Here are some of the pros and cons of living in Vietnam:
- Cost of Living: Generally, the cost of living in Vietnam is lower than in many Western countries. This includes housing, transportation, food, and entertainment.
- Natural Beauty: From the terraced rice fields of Sapa to the stunning beaches of Da Nang and Phu Quoc, Vietnam offers diverse and breathtaking landscapes.
- Cultural Experiences: Vietnam has a rich history and vibrant culture, with numerous festivals, traditions, and events to experience.
- Cuisine: Vietnamese food is renowned worldwide for its flavors and diversity. Living in Vietnam allows you to enjoy authentic dishes at a fraction of the price you’d pay elsewhere.
- Economic Growth: Vietnam’s economy has been growing steadily, offering business and job opportunities, especially in sectors like technology, manufacturing, and tourism.
- Travel Opportunities: Its location in Southeast Asia makes Vietnam a great base for traveling to other nearby countries.
- Traffic and Pollution: Cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are notorious for their traffic and air pollution.
- Language Barrier: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas and among the younger population, not knowing Vietnamese can be a challenge in daily life.
- Weather: The climate can be quite diverse, from the humid conditions in the south to the cold winters in the north. The country also experiences a monsoon season.
- Cultural Differences: Adjusting to the local customs, etiquette, and way of life can be challenging for some expats.
- Healthcare: While there are international hospitals in major cities, the overall standard of healthcare might not be up to par with Western standards.
- Noise: Noise pollution, especially in big cities, can be an issue, with the constant honking of horns, construction, and street vendors.
Is it cheap to live in Vietnam as a digital nomad?
Yes, Vietnam is known for its affordability, and many digital nomads take advantage of the low cost of living. Cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi offer numerous co-working spaces, while places like Da Nang and Hoi An provide a more relaxed vibe. The affordable lifestyle, coupled with reliable internet and a vibrant expat community, makes Vietnam one of the best countries to live for digital nomads.
Can you live in Vietnam for $1000 a month?
Yes, it’s entirely possible to live in Vietnam for $1000 a month. Here’s a rough breakdown of how you might budget that $1000:
- Accommodation: In cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, a decent studio or one-bedroom apartment outside the city center might cost between $250-$400 per month. In smaller cities or towns, you can find even cheaper accommodations.
- Food: If you eat local Vietnamese food, especially street food, you can spend as little as $5-$10 a day, which totals $150-$300 a month. This includes three meals and some snacks or fruits.
- Transportation: Renting a motorbike can cost around $50-$70 per month. If you prefer not to drive, using Grab or local taxis for occasional trips can fit within this budget.
- Utilities: Bills for water, electricity, and internet might come to around $50-$100, depending on usage and the type of accommodation.
- Mobile Phone: A local SIM card with a good data package might cost around $5-$10 per month.
- Entertainment and Activities: Setting aside $50-$100 for entertainment, such as cinema, local tours, or nightlife, should be sufficient for a moderate lifestyle.
- Miscellaneous: This includes toiletries, laundry, and other daily essentials, which might cost around $30-$50.
- Healthcare: Basic medical care is affordable, but it’s a good idea to have some money set aside for unexpected medical expenses or to purchase local health insurance.
- Visa: Depending on your nationality and the type of visa you’re on, there might be visa extension or renewal fees. Budgeting $20-$50 per month on average should cover these costs.
Is Vietnam friendly to foreigners?
Yes, Vietnam is generally friendly to foreigners. The Vietnamese are known for their hospitality and warmth towards visitors. Here are some points to consider:
- Hospitality: Vietnamese people are proud of their country and its rich history. They are often eager to share their culture with foreigners and are curious to learn about other cultures as well.
- Tourism: Tourism is a significant industry in Vietnam, and many locals in tourist areas are accustomed to interacting with foreigners. They often go out of their way to assist tourists, whether it’s giving directions, recommending places to visit, or helping with accommodations.
- Business: Vietnam has been opening up its economy to foreign investment, and as a result, there’s a growing expatriate community in the major cities. The business community is generally welcoming to foreigners, and there’s a mutual respect for the potential economic benefits that foreign partnerships can bring.
- Language Barrier: While English is widely spoken in tourist areas and among the younger population, especially in urban centers, there can be a language barrier in more remote areas. However, even if communication is challenging, the Vietnamese often display patience and goodwill.
- Cultural Differences: As with any country, there are cultural norms and expectations. Showing respect for local customs and traditions will go a long way in fostering positive interactions. For instance, dressing modestly when visiting religious sites or being aware of local etiquette during meals can enhance the experience.
- Safety: Vietnam is considered one of the safer countries in Southeast Asia for foreigners. While petty crimes like pickpocketing can occur in crowded areas, violent crimes against tourists are rare.
- Friendships: Many foreigners living in Vietnam form deep and lasting friendships with locals. Shared experiences, mutual respect, and an openness to understanding each other’s backgrounds often lead to strong bonds.
Concluding Thoughts on Vietnam’s Best Places to Live
Vietnam is a world of its own, packed with varied cultures, stunning spots, and cities full of life and opportunity. Each place we’ve talked about has its own special vibe. Love the fast-paced city life? Ho Chi Minh City is your jam. Crave beachy relaxation? Say hello to Phu Quoc Island.
History lovers will adore Hue, while peace seekers will find their paradise in Da Lat. Hoi An is a magical mix of old and new, and Hanoi? Well, it’s a foodie’s dream and a culture lover’s playground. For beach lovers, Da Nang and Nha Trang are your go-tos.
Thinking of moving to Vietnam? Great choice! It’s the perfect spot for an affordable yet quality lifestyle. Digital nomads especially love it here, thanks to the great co-working spaces in cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
To wrap it up, the best places to live in Vietnam are the ones that fit your vibe and what you want out of life. This country, with its super-friendly locals and all sorts of awesome experiences, is ready to welcome you. In Vietnam, life isn’t just something you live; it’s something you celebrate. So, what are you waiting for?