Vietnam has been steadily trending as both a travel destination and a destination for expats in recent years. The country itself is quickly developing in terms of its economy and infrastructure. With a huge influx of visitors lately, Vietnam has experienced modernization at a rapid pace, which has made it more welcoming towards foreigners more than ever before.
Within Vietnam, there are large expats communities in every major city. The number of expats in Vietnam is expected to continue to rise in the future. If you are interested in expatriating to Hanoi, learn more in this Hanoi expat guide.
Typical Vietnamese buildings
You can live anywhere you want in Hanoi, given that you have the budget for it. Generally, the cost of renting a room in Hanoi is anywhere between US$ 200 – US$ 400/month if you are living 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 as a city is relatively safe because the city never had to zone any “slum” area, so none ever emerged. So the real question for housing is where do you want to live within 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
Aerial view of the West Lake and the surrounding Tay Ho District
Tay Ho District is densely populated with Westerners, which makes it generally the most expensive option for finding housing in Hanoi. It is possible to find affordable housing within this district if you are savvy enough to do some bargain hunting. The area includes lots of infrastructures for foreigners, such as Western-style restaurants, gyms, supermarkets, medical practices, bars, etc.
Ba Dinh District
Ngoc Ha neighborhood where the B-52 Wreckage Relic Site sits in the middle of Huu Tiep Lake
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
The main road running through 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 find 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 do recommend searching in Tay Ho and Ba Dinh first if your goal is to reside in a more foreigner-friendly area.
- Always go to check out the place in person and test that all appliances are working.
- Ask about the rent in detail. Generally, Vietnamese rent will not include things like water, electricity, internet, or any administrative cost (for apartments).
- If you are unsure of the area or the place, try to find a three or six months contract instead of committing to a full year contract.
- 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:
Foreign English teachers are usually in demand
Without a doubt, the most common job for expats is teaching English. There are a plethora of 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 positions in high demand and can all be done remotely. Of course, these jobs are more specialized skilled jobs, and the pay for these jobs will greatly depend on your expertise. After starting as a freelancer, there are always opportunities to move into a corporate position and remain as 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.
Learning to ride a motorbike will give you the freedom to explore Hanoi on your terms and will be a rewarding skill once mastered
In our Hanoi expat guide, if you are going to 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 will certainly be able to do it.
Long-term motorbike rental service for expats:
Hanoi Motorbike Rental
Address: 36 Nguyen Huu Huan Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
Tel: 024 3926 3433 (domestic) / +84 24 3926 3433 (international)
Rent A Bike
Address: 15a, Alley 12, Dang Thai Mai Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi
Tel: +84 090 439 24 23
However, if you do not wish to invest in a motorbike, then relying on a motorbike taxi service is the better alternative.
For trips around Hanoi and in Vietnam, sign up with a quality travel insurance plan. Get a quote below to plan for your next trip:
Vietnamese Visas And Work Permit
A Vietnamese work permit
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.
Along with having an appropriate visa, a work permit is just as important to legally work in Vietnam. You cannot get a work permit on your own. You will need to find an employer to sponsor you to get a work permit. We encourage you to check out our detailed guide on applying for a work permit in Vietnam to get a better understanding of the process.
SIM Cards, Phones, Etc.
Vietnamese SIM cards
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 will not be able to 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 choices of carriers are Viettel, Mobifone, and Vinaphones. One thing to keep in mind 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.
Popular international banks in Vietnam:
- Woori Bank
- Shinhan Bank
- Hong Leong Bank
- JP Morgan Chase Bank
- United Overseas Bank
- Standard Chartered Bank
State-owned Vietnamese banks:
As the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi has a surplus of shopping options ranging from traditional markets to modernized malls and supermarkets. You will likely be able to find anything that you might need for your living requirements from these shopping centers.
For our Hanoi expat guide, we recommend going to the supermarket for all your grocery needs as well as any household items. Until you are more comfortable with living in Vietnam, the local markets could be confusing to navigate due to the lack of having a fixed price on goods, as well as the language barrier. Shopping at a supermarket will also allow you to avoid any potential scams.
- Big C
Check out our blog about shopping in Hanoi to explore more options.
Useful Resources (Websites, Groups, Apps)
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 to be the place to find information on anything.
There are multiple active Hanoi Massive groups available in case one or the other is unavailable for any reason.
TNH Hanoi – The New Hanoian (TNH) – is the Vietnamese version of the popular classified advertisement website Craigslist.
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 completely survey the market.
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.
Expat.com – A website specifically designed for expats to find many non-teaching jobs.
There is a variety of useful apps that expats can take advantage of that will improve their quality of life. Some of which are ride-hailing apps, food delivery services apps, and translation apps. Read our useful mobile apps in Vietnam blog for some of our recommendations.
Final Words on Our Guide for Expats in Hanoi
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 the concerns that you might have. 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!
You may like: Information for Expats in Ho Chi Minh City.