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.
Climate 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.
CurrencyVietnamese Dong (VND)
CommunicationsGenerally 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. More information is covered in our healthcare section.
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.
Vung TauThe 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.
Hoi AnOnly 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.
Nha TrangArguably 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.
There is a vast array of information about Vietnam on the internet, but it is difficult to take all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together to create a full picture. When considering retirement to another country, you want everything to go smoothly and know your finances are being managed in a way which maintains your retirement lifestyle.
You also want to know that you have a team you can work with to make your dream a sustainable reality. Vietnam offers a broad range of lifestyle choices, and Retire to Asia recommends that you explore the country to see and feel what’s right for you. Sometimes retirees will begin their retirement in major expat locations, such as Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang or Hanoi before moving into lesser known rural areas.
The cost of living in Vietnam is significantly cheaper than in Australia, and is one of the most cost effective in all of South East Asia. Quite simply, your money goes so much further, providing you with the opportunity to have a quality of life which is typically only available to the wealthy in Australia. This is one of the key motivations for retiring to Asia.
The exact savings will vary on where you decide to retire, and the type of lifestyle you choose to live.
For example, it is generally cheaper to live in Vung Tau than in Ho Chi Minh. Similarly, your average grocery bill will be less if you buy local products rather than foreign imported foods. However, all things being equal, the ‘cost of living’ savings when compared to Australia are very significant.
In this table, Retire to Asia compares the average percentage saving a retiree can expect on a range of products & services in popular Vietnamese locations with the cost of those products & services in Australia:
Whilst it’s exciting to retire to a dream location, either temporarily or permanently, there are a number of tasks that need to completed, and arrangements that need to be made.
Retire to Asia provide a broad range of services to assist you with this exciting move. These services include the following:
We’re always here to help
Retire to Asia provides ongoing support and advice over the phone, or through our website and newsletters. We are here to assist you.
If you’d like more information or have any questions, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.
When it comes to healthcare in Vietnam, medical facilities and equipment have improved significantly over the past 25 years. Whilst still shy of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, quality healthcare is available, especially in the major cities, such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. It is however very important to have good medical insurance in place before you move to the country.
Whilst there has been a major improvement in Healthcare, Expats living in Vietnam will find that the standards of public hospitals do not match that of those found in Australia (or other parts of the region). Public hospitals in Vietnam are generally underfunded and poorly equipped, plus Doctors and medical staff working at public hospitals will generally only speak Vietnamese.
The quality and availability of healthcare is especially poor in rural areas, and in some of the most remote parts of the country healthcare is non-existent.
In complete contrast to the Public system, the standard of private hospitals in Vietnam is excellent. Private hospitals located in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City are staffed by doctors from the Western Doctors, as well as Vietnamese doctors who have trained overseas.
Private hospitals tend to cater for the needs of expats far better, and they accept international health insurance.
The cost of visiting specialists such as dentists and dermatologists varies considerably, but are generally lower than the rates charged in Western countries.
Importantly Doctors and medical staff at private hospitals in Vietnam often speak English and/or French.
Please contact Retire to Asia for more information on International Private Health Insurance.
Pharmacies in Vietnam are well stocked and easy to find, especially in big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. They’re usually located on any major shopping street or in malls.
Buying medicine over the counter without a prescription is straightforward, but expats should be aware that many of the drugs sold in Vietnamese pharmacies can be counterfeit or may have expired. Always check the date on the packaging before making a purchase.
The most common method of staying long term in Vietnam is to simply acquire a 3 month Tourist visa and do a ‘visa run’ outside the country upon its expiry. Many expats take this as an opportunity to take a short holiday elsewhere in the region. It is also possible to extend your visa within Vietnam (thereby avoided the need to travel).
The cost to obtain a visa does vary. It can be obtained directly through the Vietnamese Embassy (usually the most expensive option), or through a reputable agent. At the time of writing both Vietnam Visa Easy and Vietnam Visa Pro are highly regarded, but feel free to contact us with any questions.
Foreigners are not allowed to own land, as land is theoretically collectively owned by the people of Vietnam, but regulated by the State.
Foreigners who are residents in Vietnam are permitted to purchase dwelling houses. They can own a house but not the land on which it is built. They have the option to lease the land from the State. As an example, a leading foreign estate agent in Vietnam, Chesterton, is marketing a 50-year lease scheme, which is effectively almost a sale.
Under this scheme, the buyer acquires a right to the apartment for 50 years, and the right to renew the lease at the term´s expiry without payment of additional rent.
A foreign investor may also invest in Vietnamese real property by forming a joint venture company with a local partner, or a wholly foreign-owned company, or by forming a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) company or one of its variants.
The following is a list of taxes and fees that the owner or landlord should take note of when planning to purchase or sell property in Vietnam.
The Buyer pays 5% VAT (Value Added Tax), a 0.5% Property Registration Fee and VND 20,000 Registration of Title fee.
The Seller pays Notary fees of VND1 million + 0.06% of the property value over VND1 Billion
If you’d like more information or have any questions about renting or buying property in Vietnam, please feel free to call 1800-961-377 or email in**@re**********.au and let the team at Retire to Asia help make your dream lifestyle a reality.
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