COVID-19 lockdowns have meant more people are working remotely than ever before. Southeast Asian destinations like Bali and Thailand have always been famous for digital nomads and remote workers, but post-COVID, Vietnam might become a more attractive destination.
Flexible visa options, fast internet, trendy coffee shops, a low cost of living, and incredible food makes Vietnam one of the most nomad-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia.
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider Vietnam as your next remote-working destination.
Vietnam’s Flexible Visas
Visas are always an issue for nomads. Usually, nomads spend more time in a country than regular travelers. So, a typical 30-day visa isn’t convenient.
Vietnam has one of the most flexible visa options in the world. Visitors can choose between a tourist or business visa with 30-day, three-month, and six-month options. For some passports, you can even apply for a one-year visa.
You can also choose between single and multi-entry, and you can extend your visa without having to leave the country.
Vietnam’s visas are also very affordable. A single entry one or three-month visa will cost $25, while the multi-entry option costs $50.
Vietnam is the most wallet-friendly destination in Southeast Asia. You can find a hostel in most places for as little as a few dollars and a single room for between $10 and $20.
In popular nomad destinations like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang, you can rent a fully furnished apartment for under $300 a month, sometimes for as little as $150!
If you prefer a little more luxury, you can find modern, tastefully furnished apartments in most city centers. Even the most luxurious apartments are still a fraction of the price compared to Europe and North America.
Eating out in Vietnam is often more affordable than cooking at home! You can find Vietnamese favorites like Phở and Banh Minh for as little as $1.70 – $2.60 at most street vendors.
If you prefer to cook at home, you can find a wide range of fresh produce at the local market. When I was living in Phu Quoc in 2020 (where things tend to be a little more expensive), I spent an average of $30 – $50 per week on groceries from the local market and ate like a king!
Co-Working Spaces and Coffee Shops
If you’re working remotely, you will need a good internet connection, coffee, and a comfortable place to set up the laptop.
The Vietnamese LOVE their coffee, so you should have no problem finding a decent coffee shop in most towns and cities. In Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hoi An, and Da Lat, you can even find co-working spaces and thriving ex-pat communities.
Ho Chi Minh City is arguably the tech capital of Vietnam, where many multinationals have their Southeast Asian headquarters. There are plenty of co-working spaces in Ho Chi Minh City, where even WeWork has two locations.
In smaller towns and cities, you’ll almost always find a laptop-friendly coffee shop with good WiFi.
The internet in Vietnam is excellent. I’ve worked in apartments, coffee shops, and co-working spaces all over Vietnam and never had an issue with internet speeds.
Vietnamese data packages are affordable if you want to use your mobile device, and the connectivity is great. You can purchase a sim card at any international airport on arrival and at some stores.
Just make sure you have a VPN to protect your devices and because the Vietnamese government blocks some websites and content.
Another reason travelers and ex-pats love Vietnam is the sense of security. It’s not uncommon to find solo male and female travelers exploring the country.
Even in major cities like Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh, you are generally safe walking the streets day and night. Like any city, you need to be aware of pickpockets in touristy areas, but crime is extremely low for the most part.
Traveling Around Vietnam
Exploring Vietnam is an incredible experience. There is so much to see and do; one month simply isn’t enough!
Vietnam is a country better savored at a snail’s pace.
Immersing yourself in the culture of each destination will give you a genuine appreciation for the country and its wonderfully friendly people.
I like to spend at least a week in each destination, finding the best food and seeing the sites. Sometimes I spend a month or more.
The Vietnamese have made traveling around the country effortless and affordable. A network of trains, buses, and shuttles will get you to every corner of Vietnam. Domestic air travel is also efficient and affordable.
As you can see, Vietnam ticks all the boxes for nomads and remote workers. If you choose to base yourself in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, you can enjoy most Western conveniences at a fraction of the price.
If you prefer the slow life but still want some comforts, places like Da Nang, Hoi An, Phu Quoc, or Da Lat won’t disappoint.
The beauty of Vietnam is there’s something for everyone. Life is easy, the food is delicious, the beer is cold, and there’s always somewhere to explore.
It’s still unclear when Vietnam will fully open for travel, but you might be able to enter on a business visa. Contact the helpful people at VietnamImmigration.com to find out if you’re eligible.
Matt Hallowes is an entrepreneur, marketer and copywriter based in London with a passion for Vietnam and its people. He has spent almost 15 months exploring Vietnam since 2018, including a 9-month stay when the borders closed in 2020.