Wondering where the best places to live in Vietnam are?
From its stunning natural landscapes to friendly, welcoming locals, Vietnam is a popular choice among expats in South East Asia. What’s more, the cost of living is very affordable throughout the country, including the big cities and tourist hot spots.
Ready to travel again? Don’t go without travel insurance.
I recommend SafetyWing Nomad Insurance. I’ve been using it since 2019 and I can assure you it’s the perfect solution for nomads like you and me.
Vietnam’s tropical climate also means you can enjoy all-year-round warmth, a huge temptation to foreigners from cold countries.
In addition, because of the country’s tourism and expat community, it’s totally possible to live and work here without speaking the local dialect.
So, where in this tropical paradise should you move to? Here are the five best places to live in Vietnam for expats and digital nomads, with options for all tastes.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh is the largest and most densely populated of the best cities in Vietnam but also one of the most vibrant.
The Ho Chi Minh lifestyle is exciting and fast-paced; thus, this part of Vietnam is excellent for those addicted to the hustle and bustle of big cities. While it is very chaotic, it is pretty organized compared to other big Asian cities.
Ho Chi Minh is a 24-hour city where there is always something to do and somewhere to go. It also has one of the best transport systems in this part of the world, including an underground train that connects all districts, so you don’t need a car or scooter here.
Ho Chi Minh City is one of the most popular spots for expats because the city has the most extensive range of job opportunities for foreigners. The expat community work in industries like teaching, technology, manufacturing, or tourism.
Planning your upcoming adventures? Travel by bus! (It’s cheap!)
Many coworking spaces and coffee shops also cater to the ever-increasing number of digital nomads.
Still, Ho Chi Minh can be stressful for many, mainly due to the consistent traffic jams. Thus, if you envision rice paddies or secluded beaches when you think of living and working in Vietnam, this bustling metropolis may not be for you.
Most expats tend to live in District 2 or 7 by the river, where many green spaces exist. You can find apartments from basic to luxury, typically costing $200 to $500 a month.
As the capital city, Hanoi boasts a rich culture and historical architecture. It has an older and less modern look than Ho Chi Minh, which makes the atmosphere different.
Moreover, despite being the capital, Hanoi has a smaller population than Ho Chi Minh and thus is less crowded and congested.
There are many things to do in Hanoi, including plenty of shopping and dining options and vibrant nightlife. In addition, there are ancient temples to explore and lots of greenery and parks.
The city is also close to several stunning and famous nature spots like Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba National Park.
Hanoi offers a well-balanced lifestyle of city living, culture, and nature, making it ideal for expats and remote workers starting their Vietnam life. The city accommodates foreigners exceptionally well, with plenty of western restaurants and shops importing western goods.
Most of the city’s expats choose to live in the Dong Da and Tay Ho districts. They tend to work in education in managerial or high-level positions across all different sectors.
Rental costs are noticeably cheaper in Hanoi than in Ho Chi Minh, with one-bedroom apartments costing between $200 and $350. Consumer costs and restaurant prices are more or less the same, though.
One other significant difference between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh is the climate. Because it is in the north, Hanoi is noticeably cooler, so it may be a better fit for expats who don’t do well in intense heat.
Da Nang is the country’s third largest city, located on the coast in central Vietnam, halfway between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. With a population of 1.3 million, Da Nang does not feel crowded but has all the modern amenities you need.
Da Nang has recently been voted the most livable city in Vietnam thanks to its natural landscapes, well-organized city center, clean streets, and minimal air pollution. Therefore, it is no surprise that Da Nang is one of the best Vietnamese cities for expats and digital nomads.
From beaches to mountains to cultural heritage sites, you will find plenty to keep you occupied here, enabling you to create the perfect work-life balance. Job opportunities are available in numerous sectors, like education, IT, tech, tourism, and hospitality.
While Da Nang has many historic buildings, more and more modern constructions are popping up, particularly close to the beaches. These coastal neighborhoods, like An Thuong and Son Tra, are popular areas among foreigners residing here.
Expats also choose Da Nang over the bigger cities because living costs are lower here. For example, you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than $300 or a 3-bedroom house for no more than $600.
Hoi An is a coastal town just south of Da Nang. It is one of the best cities to live in Vietnam for those who want to be away from metropolitan areas and enjoy a peaceful lifestyle among nature.
Hoi An is magnificent, with a mesmerizing old town, picturesque canals, and pristine beaches.
The architecture is diverse, from colorful French colonial buildings to Vietnamese tube houses and iconic attractions like the Japanese Covered Bridge. The food in Hoi An is also highly varied and delicious!
As a reasonably small town, there are not too many work opportunities for foreigners here, except a few teaching jobs. However, Hoi An is ideal if you work remotely and are looking to live in a peaceful Vietnamese coastal town.
What’s more, Hoi An is just a 30-minute drive to Da Nang, ideal for whenever you fancy a big night out or a weekend city break.
Another perk of Hoi An is the low living costs. The town is slightly cheaper than Da Nang, but a significant difference compared to the larger cities.
Here you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $200 or a 3-bedroom house for around $450.
Nha Trang is a coastal resort city in the south and is home to around 400,000 people. Nha Trang’s highlight is its long and beautiful coastline, but large parts are built up with modern high rises and hotels.
Nevertheless, it is an incredibly vibrant city, popular with expats and digital nomads looking for a lively beach lifestyle.
Nha Trang offers a wide range of things to do night and day. It is a renowned diving spot with waterfalls, mountains, and islands to explore, including Hòn Tre Island, which you can access via an aerial cable car.
The nightlife is just as eclectic, with many trendy rooftop bars and beach clubs. Therefore, it is easily one of the best places to live in Vietnam for young, single digital nomads looking for a fun and social life.
Many of Nha Trang’s expats work remotely for overseas companies, taking advantage of western wages and eastern living costs. Still, there are some English-speaking jobs in town, mainly teaching positions or hospitality management.
Because it’s a popular tourist destination, eating out is more expensive than in the other best Vietnamese cities.
Rental costs are affordable, but considerably cheaper when renting long term. Generally, you can get a one-bedroom apartment for $250 to $350 a month.
Final Thoughts On Best Places To Live In Vietnam
Whether you’re a digital nomad or are looking to teach English, Vietnam offers comfortable living standards and a very affordable cost of living. Each of these five best places to live in Vietnam has a unique charm.
Still, what they share in common is existing expat communities and a welcoming and friendly attitude to foreigners.
Not sure if Vietnam is the right place for you? Read one of the following guides: