VietnamHanoiOur Guide for Expats in Hanoi

Our Guide for Expats in Hanoi

In recent years, Vietnam has steadily trended as both a travel destination and a destination for expats. With a massive influx of visitors lately, Vietnam has experienced rapid modernization, which has made it more welcoming to foreigners than ever before. There are large expat communities in every major city in Vietnam, and the number of expats is expected to continue rising. If you want to expatriate to Hanoi, learn more in this Hanoi expat guide.

Housing for Expats in Hanoi

You can live anywhere in Hanoi, provided you have the budget for it. Generally, renting a room in Hanoi is between US$200—US$400/month if you live in a shared house. Renting an apartment will cost between US$400—US$800/month, depending on its amenities and size.

Check out our detailed house rentals guide in Hanoi

Hanoi is relatively safe because it never had to zone any “slum” area, so none emerged. So, the real question for housing is, where do you want to live in Hanoi? All districts in Hanoi are acceptable to find housing in, with some being more affluent than others. However, if you wish to reside in an area with a decent population of foreigners, there are a couple of recommendations we can make.

Tay Ho District

Tay Ho District is densely populated with Westerners, which makes it generally the most expensive option for finding housing in Hanoi. However, if you are savvy enough to do some bargain hunting, you can find affordable housing within this district. The area includes lots of infrastructure for foreigners, such as Western-style restaurants, gyms, supermarkets, medical practices, bars, etc.

Ba Dinh District

For a more authentic Vietnamese neighborhood environment, Ba Dinh District is the best choice that also has some foreign residents. Housing pricing in this area can be very cheap, and most essential services and facilities are close by. English usage in this area is limited, but some places could accommodate simple English.

Dong Da District

Dong Da District is the most authentic Vietnamese area to find housing in Hanoi out of the three recommended districts. You will discover few foreigners living here, but many do come to this area for work. Housing pricing in this area is roughly the same as Ba Dinh. The living situation can be just as nice as anywhere in Hanoi, but we recommend searching in Tay Ho and Ba Dinh first if you want to reside in a more foreigner-friendly area.

General tips:

  • Always check out the place in person and test that all appliances work.
  • Ask about the rent in detail. Generally, Vietnamese rent will not include water, electricity, internet, or any administrative cost (for apartments).
  • If you are unsure of the area or the place, try staying at a homestay around the area for a short term before commiting.
  • Survey the neighborhood in general to get a feel for it in terms of safety and convenience. You can rent a hotel room to explore the surrounding area before committing to a long-term house rental contract.

Job Opportunities for Expats in Hanoi

Without a doubt, the most common job for expats is teaching English. There are many English centers in Hanoi, so finding a job is easy as long as your English is proficient enough. The pay is also quite competitive, so know that you will be compensated based on your experience and the hours you are willing to work.

Requirements to teach English:

  • Certification to teach English (TESOL, TEFL, CELTA).
  • University degree.

Besides teaching English, expats can look for freelance work online to start. Content writing, graphic design, web development, and digital marketing are all examples of high-demand positions that can be done remotely. Of course, these jobs are more specialized and skilled, and the pay for them will greatly depend on your expertise. After starting as a freelancer, there are always opportunities to move into a corporate position and remain a remote worker or find work locally for a Vietnamese corporation.

Are there other jobs that expats could get locally with good pay? Comment down below if we’ve missed out on any other options.

Transportation for Expats in Hanoi

In our Hanoi expat guide, if you will be living in Hanoi for the long term, we recommend owning and learning how to ride a motorbike. It will be essential for thriving in the city. You can rent a motorbike long-term before you commit to buying your motorbike.

We also highly recommend that you get a Vietnamese driving license and familiarize yourself with the rules and laws of Vietnamese roads. If you are intimidated at first, just remember that if Vietnamese grandmothers can do it, so can you! It will take some serious practice at first, but you can certainly do it.

Long-term motorbike rental service for ex-pats:

Hanoi Motorbike Rental

Address: 36 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi

Rent A Bike

Address: 15a, Alley 12, Dang Thai Mai Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi

However, if you do not wish to invest in a motorbike, relying on a taxi service is the better alternative.

Vietnamese Visas and Work Permits


There are many types of visas for which expats can apply. Some will come into the country on a tourist visa, but when deciding to stay in Vietnam for work, you will need to apply for a business visa. We highly recommend you to read our detailed guide on obtaining Vietnamese visas to learn more about this process.

Work Permit

Along with having an appropriate visa, a work permit is just as important to work in Vietnam legally. You cannot get a work permit on your own; you will need to find an employer to sponsor you. We encourage you to check out our detailed guide on applying for a work permit in Vietnam to better understand the process.

SIM Cards, Phones, etc. for Expats in Hanoi

If you are planning to settle down in Hanoi, you will certainly need to acquire a Vietnamese SIM card for your phone. Without one, you cannot make calls locally or even use some services such as apps. In our Hanoi expat guide, we recommend that this is one of the first things you should do when arriving in the country, and you can get a Vietnamese SIM card right at the airport.

Be sure to purchase a SIM card with a data plan. Your choice of carrier is Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphones. One thing to remember is to purchase your SIM from the official mobile network store to avoid any potential scams.

Banking and Money

Most expats in Vietnam will choose to have two separate bank accounts while living in Vietnam. One will serve as a holding for foreign currency and another for Vietnamese Dong for easy transactions. Banking around Hanoi has been made a lot more convenient thanks to the many international banks, as well as state-owned Vietnamese banks throughout the city. Check out our blog on the Vietnamese currency to learn more about currency exchange.

Note that credit cards are not the norm in Vietnam, so the process and requirements for applying for one might be tricky, especially for expats.

Popular international banks in Vietnam:

  • Woori Bank
  • HSBC
  • Shinhan Bank
  • Hong Leong Bank
  • JP Morgan Chase Bank
  • Standard Chartered Bank

State-owned Vietnamese banks:

  • Agribank
  • BIDV
  • Vietcombank
  • Vietinbank
  • Techcombank
  • Sacombank

As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has a wide range of shopping options, from traditional markets to modernized malls and supermarkets. These shopping centers offer everything you might need for your daily needs.

For our Hanoi expat guide, we recommend going to the supermarket for all your grocery needs and household items. Until you are more comfortable living in Vietnam, the local markets could be confusing due to the lack of a fixed price on goods and the language barrier. Shopping at a supermarket will also allow you to avoid any potential scams.

Recommended supermarkets:

  • Big C or sometimes called Tops Markt
  • Co.opmart
  • WinMart

Check out our blog about shopping in Hanoi to explore more options.


Hanoi Massive – A Facebook group containing just about every English-speaking person in Hanoi. It’s full of housing ads and is generally where community members come to find answers or ask questions regarding living in Hanoi. Hanoi Massive is not just useful for finding housing but will serve as a place to find information on anything.

Many rooms available for rent will be listed on both TNH Hanoi as well as Hanoi Massive. It is best to check both sources to survey the market completely.


English Teachers In Hanoi – A Facebook group used to connect potential English teachers with employers.

Hanoi Teacher – Another group used to find part-time, full-time, and odd hours shifts for English teaching jobs.

Hanoi Massive Jobs – A branch of the Hanoi Massive group specifically for finding work. There are usually plenty of job offerings for English teachers here.

Jobstreet – The largest online employment company for Southeast Asia. Many types of jobs can be found here.


There is a variety of useful apps that expats can take advantage of to improve their quality of life. Some of which are ride-hailing apps, food delivery service apps, and translation apps. Read our useful mobile apps in Vietnam blog for some of our recommendations.

To wrap up our Hanoi expat guide, we want to say that making a move to another country can be terrifying, but with this brief guide, we hope to have alleviated some of your concerns. Hanoi is a great city to live in, and you can certainly thrive here when you figure out how things operate. And when you do, it will be exceptionally empowering!

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