The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in South East Asia. The country covers an area of 331,210 square kms, and has a population of around 94 million, of which 86% are from the Viet or Kinh ethnic group.
The shape of the country, with its vast differences in latitude and topography give it a highly diverse climate, which can vary quite significantly from place to place. The Winter (or dry season) runs through November to April. Average annual temperatures are generally higher on the plains than in the mountains, and far higher in the South than North of the country.
Vietnamese Dong (VND)
Generally good in main urban centres, but less reliable in rural areas. The international code is +84 and the internet code is .vn
Vietnam has made excellent progress since the 1990’s in the area of Healthcare. Whilst not quite up to the standard of Thailand or Malaysia as yet, you will be able find to quality services in the major cities, especially Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
Despite these improvements we would highly recommend that you have travel or health insurance, particularly if you are planning a long stay or retirement.
The 1,000 year old Vietnamese capital offers a wonderfully diverse contrast of tree lined boulevards and colonial architecture mixed in with gritty laneways full of unexpected surprises. Situated on over 20 lakes, the city is home to almost 8 million people. The Expat population is estimated to be around 10,000 with many calling the Tay Ho district home. Whilst rents are a little higher in Tay Ho than elsewhere in the city, they still remain incredibly cheap by global standards.
Hanoi (Noi Bai) International Airport is some 15km’s from the city centre. A new International Terminal (T2) was opened in 2015. Whilst there are currently no direct flights between Australia and Hanoi, there are a number of indirect options, with the most popular obviously being through the country’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh City. Other popular airport hubs include Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
Transport in the city is dominated by motorbikes, but there are plenty of buses and taxi’s available. The Reunification Express, which travels all the way down to HCMC, runs from the Main Railway, and there are currently plans to build 2 metro lines, the first due to be completed by 2018, and the second in 2021.
Key Retirement Locations
Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon (SGN)
Vietnams largest city, with over 8.5 million residents, HCMC offers the visitor and resident a highly charged and truly vibrant lifestyle experience. The huge range of cuisine, entertainment, accommodation choices and general buzz, make this the city of choice for the largest number of expats in the country. Its direct air links to Australia (through both Jetstar and Vietnam Airways) is also a major plus, as is the best medical facilities available in the country.
The beachside town of Vung Tau is only 2 hours by road, or 90 minutes by fast ferry/hydrofoil to the metropolis of HCMC. For those retirees seeking a quieter less frantic lifestyle, Vung Tau provides the perfect mix of beaches, highly affordable ’cost of living’ within easy access to a major city, which offers the best healthcare and transport links in Vietnam.
Da Nang (DAD)
Regarded as Vietnam’s most livable city, Da Nang is home to over 1 million people. It offers a wonderful beachside lifestyle, cheap cost of living, excellent range of accommodation, cuisine, entertainment, and shopping. Healthcare is good, and an International Airport, with great regional links is only a short distance from the city centre.
Only around 30 minutes from Da Nang is the delightful town of Hoi An, with its UNESCO Heritage World sites, beautifully preserved streets and superb laid back lifestyle. Home to a small but growing population of expats, Hoi An allows its residents to live amongst the old world, whilst still within easy reach of a modern city and all its conveniences.
Arguably Vietnams favourite beachside location, this city offers stunning views over the bay, an excellent mix of highly affordable accommodation, great range of food and entertainment options, lively expat community and both good healthcare and transport links.