Expats moving to Vietnam are in for an adventure on many levels. This Southeast Asian country has thousands of kilometres of beautiful beaches on its eastern border, a number of beautiful islands, and a vast hilly and mountainous inland.

A popular expat destination, Vietnam offers an ideal combination of good earning potential and high quality of life. The country also has a fast-growing economy, a thriving art scene, stunning landscapes, and arguably the best food in Asia.

The northern city of Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital, a fast-changing city filled with new developments, beautiful lakes, bustling streets, restaurants and tens of thousands of motorbikes. Ho Chi Minh City (previously Saigon) in the south is Vietnam’s most important economic hub. Expats moving to Ho Chi Min City can expect skyscrapers, malls and modern restaurants alongside old French-colonial architecture.

Vietnam is a meeting point between the everyday bustle of city life and the laidback charm of a country secure in its place in today’s society. With a war-torn history from colonisation to the Vietnam War, the country has a diverse range of living standards, but expats relocating to Vietnam will find most of the comforts they are used to from home and they will soon learn that this is a country with a great deal to offer.

Expats moving to Vietnam with children will be pleased to know that there are numerous international schools located throughout the country that cater specifically to the needs of foreign children. These schools generally offer an excellent standard of teaching and allow their students to take part in a host of extra-curricular activities.

The standard of healthcare in Vietnam is highly variable. As the standard of public healthcare facilities is generally not on par with those in most Western countries, expats are advised to invest in a fully comprehensive health insurance policy that entitles them to treatment at private hospitals. Private hospitals in Vietnam generally provide a better standard of care and are usually staffed by doctors from across the globe.  

Vietnam will tantalise the senses, possibly overloading them at times – though an island escape is always just a short plane hop or ferry ride away. Numerous Western restaurants, vibrant nightlife spots and an active art scene ensure that expats moving to Vietnam will find that work is merely something that takes place in between a multitude of social arrangements.

Fast facts

Population: 97 million

Capital city: Hanoi

Neighbouring countries: Vietnam is bordered by China to the north and Cambodia and Laos to the west.  

Geography: Vietnam is a long, narrow S-shaped country on the eastern Indo-China Peninsula. Most of its landscape is mountainous and densely forested.

Political system: Single-party socialist state

Major religions: Vietnamese folk religion and Buddhism

Main languages: Vietnamese (official), Chinese, some English and French 

Time: GMT +7

Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz. Plugs in Vietnam are generally the two flat-pin or two round-pin types, but some rectangular three-pin plugs are also supported.

Money: The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency, and it’s divided into 10 hào. The US Dollar (USD) is often used for large amounts. Although credit cards are accepted in major centres, Vietnam remains a largely cash-based society.

International dialling code: +84

Internet domain: .vn

Transport and driving: Cars drive on the right-hand side. Motorbikes and bicycles are two of the most popular modes of transport among the locals. Expats often find driving to be risky in Vietnam and avoid driving their own vehicle, especially in the bigger cities, where it’s possible to get around quite easily with public transport.

Emergency numbers: 113 (police), 115 (ambulance), 114 (fire). Emergency services are extremely limited in rural areas.

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