How is the living in Vietnam?

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What's it like living in Vietnam?
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16 Answers

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Life in Vietnam is that. Young people who are “educated”, speaking English, who can go to this forum and answer question, says thing like “life is great, some are bad but the development is going on peacefully, etc, etc etc”.

Meanwhile, you can only have little info from the people who are suffering:

1250 deaths by traffic accident each month. (15000 each year)

94000 deaths by cancer each year. The truth might be doubles, because the poors don’t have money for diagnos.

Millions young people (mostly women) are “exported” as working class (or other like brides, prostitutes) to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Middle East, China. The government is earning well with this by selling permission etc,

All the way to top poluted country in the world (check keywords Formosa, Lee Man and Brother, Coal Plant for Electricity, ShengLi, etc)

Social activists and jouralists imprisoned the most

Hospitals are untrustable and expensive. People are all heading to crowd Hanoi and Saigon’s hospitals

School are bad, and costly too. School books are changing from year to year so that parents have to buy new school books for your children every year, (old books is not permitted). So, you can guess what black power is behind this policy.

And optimist the most: Vietnamese young people. They don’t care about the overall picture. Coruption brings big money to the city to build highrise building, commercial plaza, stylish restaurant. So young people enjoy their city life.

There is a better anwer thanks to Ethan T.Huynh in reply to mine, so I put it here.

About Mr Duc Thanh Nguyen, he and his friend are everywhere in this forum. I believe he is working for some kind of tourist company so unlike me, he is working finding his clients, not friend. Haha

Ethan T.Huynh

14m ago

Well done Linh, you see through the problems and put it logically. I have work with several partners here in Taiwan and it really hurts my heart that a lot of agency exploits people who come over to another country to have a “better” life. Little that they know they still paying for the Vietnamese who brought them over every month even tho the deal is done. They rather stay here illegally, but return to Vietnam. I find out that most of the people who do so were poor people from the countryside of Vietnam. A lot of documentary I have done for my organization discuss about the topic of “buying” Asian wife. It feel like nobody forces them to do so, but poverty - at the end, they just want to have a better life.You also remind me that government officer in Vietnam makes roughly around 300$ a month while the rest of their salary by “under table” to support their family and life style. One of my friend work as a nurse and her salary is 3.6m VND, impossible to live with that much of money. By reading your answer, I have faith in the Vietnamese younger generation who rise the awareness of the country current situation.

answered by
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If you are not willing to learn Vietnamese it will only be “magical” and “awesome” until the honeymoon phase wears off. Then you have limited options of what to base your life around other than / apart from work. You could live in an expat bubble, that is what I see most foreigners are doing, or build up your social circle slowly by befriending English, French, etc. speaking locals or find a Vietnamese girlfriend/boyfriend, etc. Or mix the former options according to your own personal taste. You will have a whole bunch of fine raw ingredients with most of the spices missing.

Learning Vietnamese will set you free to a certain level, it should be the most rewarding way to live here, however, I believe integration cannot be fully achieved, or as rare as an honest politician. The language can be learned to an acceptable level with a fair bit of input in around 3–5 years. Personally, I find it cacophonic. The hardest part might be that every single word is short and the language having way too many words spelled almost the same, the tonal system might even be easier to get comfortable with.

You will make friends and get promotions, offers and so on much easier if you are good-looking. Appearance matters a lot in VN. Being extroverted and charming as anywhere else will come in handy.

If you do not mind scams and corruption on every possible level (for instance you are coming from a similar background) then it should be an interesting and valuable experience living here. I eventually got tired of not being able to trust anyone other than a handful of people and lying being a socially accepted habit. Always having to speculate what someone’s true intertions are and having to play along with this theatrical make-believe. Bear in mind that I am nowhere near the elite, just an average bloke with a ‘below the average expat's salary’. If you can afford all the glitter and luxury places have to offer you will surely be treated better.

There had been a lot of wonderful memories, but the more insight I gained the more disappointed I got. It came to a point when there were way too many issues to just ignore and sweep under the rug.

People who are more submissive may get more out of living in Vietnam. Think of living here long term as your personal cult, if you believe that it is the best for you it might just turn into reality. If you can close your eyes on the ugly side then this may just be a paradise…

BTW Which coffee goes best with living in a tropical dystopia?

(just kidding)

answered by
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I am not sure what you mean by “worst”. Is it the worst in life quality or national security or whatever category? I can guarantee if you are living in Vietnam, you must admit it is a peaceful country to reside. Thus, the economic enviroment in Vietnam creates a lot of opportunities for micro businesses. Things are much harder for us in developed countries since it is required some sort of strict certificates and the competition is pretty intense as well. Suicide rate in Vietnam is utterly low in the region, which is a good thing.

Eventually, it is all in your mind. I rather think it over again and try to be more positive. Please stop your bias about this country because someone out there from another heavenly country may suffer the same shit as you are doing now or even worse.

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And well… This is Syria. I can’t imagine which country can be worse at the moment.

To live is already a blessing. Please make it count cuz I’m not so sure you have a second chance.

Peace out and good luck.

answered by
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For an expat, I think living in Hanoi is a little like living in Paris in the early 20th century. Even though it is a communist country, I feel like Henry Miller here-I am free. Life is affordable and intellectuals and artists and students gather at cafes over rich, dark coffee in the ruins of old French colonial villas. Photographers get together for street photography outings. The art scene is booming , with many contemporary art galleries flourishing, set in atmospheric colonial buildings and spotlighting Vietnamese artists who were oppressed for decades but now freely expressing themselves. Here you have the great luxury of time. Vietnam is on the rise and is an incredibly hard working country, yet life still is lived at a human pace . People take time out one another,

The architecture is hauntingly beautiful, and the layers of history in this 2,000 year old city would take a lifetime to explore. The streets are lined with stately old trees shading broad French boulevards. But walk away a few steps and you find yourself lost in winding alleyways that likely haven’t changed much for centuries.

Like all of former indochina , Vietnam offers much of the beauty of French life, although perhaps more that of Paris circa 1890 or 1920 than today’s France. And you can see a French aesthetic in everything from the tall yellow villas with their green shuttered windows and winding staircases to the patisseries on every corner, the French cheeses in neighborhood stores, the baguette lady selling bread on the street, and the hot roasted chestnuts cooked fresh over an open fire on the sidewalk on a wintry day. The food is delicious and healthy. I realized after moving here how much of a food desert the US is. People bring each other fresh fruits as gifts, and even the most humble dishes are loaded with vegetables, many of which I was unfamiliar with, greens gathered by the roadside or grown in a vacant lot. People shop at the market every day for fresh produce and you can easily eat a healthy delicious meal at a street side restaurant for $1.50. The coffee culture is a world unto itself, with separate cafes that only serve coffee, including the famous egg coffee.

Vietnam is very safe. There is almost no violent crime and surprisingly little petty crime . Guns are outlawed, and the biggest danger is motorbike accidents. And of course, Vietnam is one of the safest countries in the world in terms of COVID, with only 33 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Children play outside after dark and walk to school alone. There is still a Confucian culture of respect and mutual obligation and a strong Buddhist belief in karma. So you will find that most people act honorably and with kindness, and want to help others.

I have found that in Vietnam I have had opportunities I never would have had elsewhere. Within six months of living here I had two books on learning English published by the national publishing company, which are now in widespread use at universities throughout the country. I was asked to host my own television news show on state TV. As well as teaching at a university, I started working for a government minister starting schools in apartment complexes throughout the city, so children don’t have to travel to school. I began assisting the vice minister of golf with plans to promote tourism in resorts centered around world class golf courses.. I have met fascinating authors and artists and musicians. Vietnam is a place that is rising, and it is easy to find many financial opportunities and the chance to try new things, whether it is a business business venture, a life drawing class or traditional Vietnamese martial arts

There are downsides of course. The first month I moved here I was absolutely overwhelmed, anxious and depressed.The pollution, the noise and chaos of millions of motorbikes seemed too much for me, and many foreigners leave because of the stress and find the culture too different to adjust to easily. But I soon found that despite Hanoi being a city of 8 million, life is actually gracious and gentle here, and the people are truly welcoming and care about others.

In terms of dealing with the more anxiety-producing aspects of Hanoi, I have done something I don’t usually do in a new country, which is remove myself to a more westernized environment. I lived in a very local area the first few months and it was too hard for me. But moving into a luxury high rise apartment complex provided a buffer. Although no westerners live in my building, it is populated with wealthy, well-traveled Vietnamese as well as Korean and Japanese expats who are less likely to want to touch my hair or comment on how fat and white and tall I am. I have a little more privacy, which is very hard to come by in this country, and an enormous outdoor swimming pool and a gorgeous indoor pool and spa. A Japanese bakery and Korean restaurant in the building, as well as a Vinmart and a Vietnamese restaurant. Manicured grounds free from motorbike traffic allow me to walk in peace and safety, without always dodging the appalling traffic. A live-in maid here only costs about $300 a month and having a driver, saves me from the excitement and danger of driving a motorbike in traffic except on rare occasions. Normally, I would want to live in the most local area possible and get to know the life of the average person. But in this instance, I found that having a quiet place to retreat with a few luxuries has made all the hard adjustments of living in such a very foreign place possible. I suppose it depends on your temperament.

Hanoi has about the same population as New York-8 million -and getting out of town every now and then helps too. The city is only about an hour from beautiful mountains with rivers winding through Ninh Binh province to the west and the breathtaking karst islands of Halong Bay heading East towards the Pacific. Hanoi does have four seasons, though the winter is mild and brief. But if you prefer hot weather all year round, Ho Chi Minh City may be better. And if you enjoy a smaller city or rural area , there are many breathtaking mountainous provinces where traditional hill tribes reside, and beaches and islands that can rival anywhere in Southeast Asia.

I think Vietnam is a good place to live as an expat regardless of your tastes, although I cannot speak to what it is like to live here as a Vietnamese. If you want to start a business and invest, work as an English teacher, explore ancient cultures, wildlife, contemporary art, or just lie on the beach, you can be happy here.

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Hanoi Villa

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At the old French Metropole Hotel

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west lake, Hanoi

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sunset from my living room, Hanoi

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Halong Bay

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If you’re a foreigner and you’re rich, it’s a good country. But if you’re native Vietnamese citizen and you’re poor, you should immigrate to another country if you have a chance. Average Americans can buy an iPhone, eat, and live pretty comfortably, but it’s totally different with average Vietnamese people.

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Living in Vietnam for me was a roller coaster ride. I lived as a tourist, an expats, and eventually finding myself living as a Vietnamese.

1st Year

During my first year in Saigon, it was refreshing, adventure, and curious. It always feels good to live in another country and experience things different from home.

I was always exploring new restaurants, new pubs, new things to do, meeting new friends, getting to know the streets.

But it was a small circle. I couldn’t venture beyond the city center ...

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