Expat Living in Hanoi

Besides all the obvious attractions awaiting visitors to Hanoi, the city also caters very well for its residents. Though it has its share of congested streets, there also several spacious parks, all of which enclose tranquil lakes, offering the city’s citizens an attractive environment in which to unwind when they have free time.

Though Saigon is bigger and perhaps offers more business opportunities for foreigners, for any Westerner trying to decide between Vietnam’s two major cities, they are likely to come down in favour of Hanoi. This is in part because the city is quintessentially Vietnamese, unlike Saigon with its strong Western influences.


Everyone who wants to remain in Hanoi for an extended period must arrange an appropriate visa, so follow our guide to negotiating the red tape and bureaucracy of Vietnam immigration...more


Finding a place to stay long term in Hanoi need not leave you with a headache with an increasing range of apartments catering to foreigners plus traditional abodes...more

Cost of living

Hanoi is a cheap city for living and to visit and our guide to costs in the city gives potential expats the latest information on what they should really be paying...more

Vietnamese language

Although the younger generation of Vietnamese are more likely to speak some English, learning a few basic native phrases is invaluable for getting by and making friends...more

Living in Hanoi - expat life in Vietnam's historic capital

Hanoi also has a climate which people coming from Europe are more likely to appreciate than the stifling streets of Saigon. Admittedly it can get pretty hot in summer, but the spring and autumn are generally very pleasant and the winter is cool without being freezing.

And there are plenty of other reasons besides the culture and climate. Hanoi’s restaurant scene is constantly evolving and changing, with plenty of gems tucked away down backstreets just waiting to be discovered. There’s also a healthy nightlife scene, with lots of cool bars to hang out in and a few late-night clubs, though these tend to be limited to the big hotels.

Perhaps the trickiest part of settling into Hanoi, apart from learning some of the language, is finding a comfortable apartment or house at an affordable price. Like Saigon, the demand for accommodation outstrips supply, leading to artificially high rents.

Nevertheless, if you start networking with other expats at favourite bars like Green Mango and Le Pub, get a decent monthly rate at a central hotel from where to search, and employ the services of an accomplished estate agent, you may soon be snug in your newfound home.

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