It has become a much more challenging environment to live in Thailand as an Expat and as such many retirees have looked to new pastures with Vietnam seemingly the most popular choice.
So much so that the leading Expat website in Thailand, Thaivisa.com, has created a Vietnam forum for members to discuss this region.
But with all this talk of migration of expats from Thailand to Vietnam, the question has to be asked: Is the grass always greener? So I was keen to investigate and have been lucky enough to have interviewed an American Expat who has now lived in Vietnam (Sai Gon) for just over one year.
My first question was why Vietnam?
“I moved here because of the massive amount of job offers for English teachers and because the Vietnamese currency is very weak against the American dollar. I have a very low cost of living which gives me enough money to explore every interesting attraction in Asia.”
What are the benefits of living in Vietnam?
“The benefits of living here are many. English companies are eager to hire me. I can buy a year-long tourist visa, business visa and even a two-year work visa, without company sponsorship.
The culture is focused around family and hospitality, especially hospitality shown to foreigners. My rent is in a modern hotel that includes fast Wi-Fi, market shopping service, laundry service, maid service, three hot meals a day and all utilities for $85 a month.
I live across the street from my job. A hoagie sandwich cost $0 .50 cents A cold beer cost $0.50 cents All food is fresh, from farm to table.
The vegetables were picked this morning. The animals were swimming or walking only hours ago.
Petite college girls want to marry me, to impress their families.”
What are the negatives of living in Vietnam?
“In every communist country, no person can ever say anything bad about the government or government officials. My social media posts are monitored by the government.
As long as this law is not broken, we enjoy the freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Air pollution, water pollution, food pollution, noise pollution and garbage, in general, are very bad. Trash is blowing everywhere and the population just tosses their garbage into rivers or under trees. They have killed most of the wild animals and eaten them.
They eat dogs and cats, for fun, even if they are wealthy. Actually, nearly everything that moves can be found on a restaurant menu with a side of red chilli peppers.
Lemons simply do not exist here.
They are cutting down large areas of trees without replacing them. Vietnamese people have ZERO regards for environmental conservation. Hospitals are very bad.
Traffic is probably the most dangerous in the world. The population problem is way out of control.”
How easy is it to relocate to Vietnam?
“Everything about getting into Vietnam and staying in Vietnam is EASY and FAST. As long as you pay the right fees in the right way, you can easily stay in this country, FOREVER with zero hassle.
I simply paid the officials at the Cambodian border $200 for a year-long business Visa. You can get a year-long tourist visa on arrival for $100 if you are an American. Americans can also pay about $2,000 for a two-year work visa including a permanent resident card.”
What is the Expat scene like in Vietnam?
“Sai Gon has a thriving expat scene, especially in district one. Expats from every country can be found there.
Most of them are English teachers from the UK, Australia, Russia, India and Africa. Americans and British people are especially in high demand as English teachers, especially if their skin is white and they “look western” with blonde hair and blue eyes being the most coveted prize.
The communists are very wealthy and it becomes obvious in district 1 of Saigon, so, an expat can do or get damned near anything in that wealthy district where the wealthy communists and their international friends come to play.”
Are you happy living in Vietnam?
“Vietnam is AMAZING and so are the Vietnamese people. Everyone should visit. Only students can speak English here, however, so every expat should make a serious effort to learn basic Vietnamese language skills.“
Any last words for a retiree wanting to move to Vietnam?
“If a foreigner wants to retire in Vietnam, it would be extremely easy.
However, only Vietnamese people can own land in Vietnam. Also, the government has complete power over the people. If they want your land, they will take it. But, I just watched the American government take the land at Standing Rock, Dakota, with military force, to build a natural gas pipeline, so, democracy isn’t looking very safe these days either.”
It’s certainly not just a decision that should be based on the value
It appears there is much more to consider than some expats would think and I hope this interview is of use to those thinking of moving. Pollution, poor hospitals and bad traffic are certainly very real issues that you should be mindful of.
It would also appear that if you are an expat still wanting to work, based on this interview at least, there seems to be plenty of jobs in teaching available too.
For me, I am still very happy in Thailand!
Disclaimer: The views and facts expressed in this interview are not necessarily the views of Dan about Thailand. The views and facts expressed are therefore of the interviewee only and may or may not be true.