Enticed by the colorful culture and convinced to stay by friendly locals, Vietnam is a great choice for experienced expats. The country broke into the “Top 10 Best Countries for Expats to Live In” 2020 by the HSBC’s annual Expat Explorer Survey, thanks to its strong financial security and positive work-life balance, plus its welcoming environment for newcomers.
Most expats surveyed said they were able to quickly adjust to the way of life there, feeling at home within the first few months of arriving. At Vietnam Insider, we’re sure the country’s striking natural beauty helps a little bit, too.
Read on this inspiring story by Nadja Bester to know more about how Vietnamese people are friendly and hospitable with strangers as this could be one of the reasons this country has become one of the best countries for expats.
Vietnam isn’t the first foreign country I’ve lived in, but as far as receiving help from strangers goes, it’s #1.
I – like so many other foreigners – have countless stories of being helped by kind-hearted locals, and I wish there was a group where these stories could be shared so that we can appreciate how many truly good people there are in the world and how many of them are in Vietnam.
Today I feel compelled to share this story about my Grab driver. He picked us up past midnight after we got off the sleeper bus coming into Hanoi from Yen Bai. Somehow, in our sleepy confusion while getting off the bus, we’d left behind a backpack containing a bunch of valuables, including a laptop, a lot of cash, and debit and credit cards. Once I realized what had happened, I asked him to phone the bus driver on my behalf. Neither of them spoke English. The bus driver wasn’t reachable, however, and I requested that we head back to the station so I could figure out what to do next. The next moment, it dawned on me that we didn’t have any money on us anymore so didn’t have a choice but to go home.
At this point, he told me (we communicated via the Grab app cos it seems to have a better translation function than Google Translate) that he’d help me get it back, then proceeded to make phone calls until he managed to track down the driver. He arranged with the guy that the backpack would be passed on to another bus headed back to Hanoi today, and made sure I had the driver’s number and he mine.
Once we got home, he reminded me to save the number he’d sent me on the Grab app since the chat would disappear after the trip ended (I was in such a flat spin that it’d totally slipped my mind), and made personally sure that I had indeed saved it to my phone. Even so, he still sms’d me the number afterwards.
Even though the trip took almost three times as long as it should’ve, still he only wanted to charge me the normal fare…he didn’t even charge any waiting time as per the app standard! I’ve never tipped someone with a more open heart than this lovely man who absolutely deserved it (and so much more!)
Another Vietnamese-speaking guardian angel phoned him on my behalf asking if the driver had mentioned what time the bus would get to Hanoi today…today he followed up with her, checking if I’d managed to get it back.
Thank you to Mr. Nguyen Thai Son, restorer of faith in humanity. As for the backpack, I got it back today with not a single item or even 1 Dong missing. Thank you to the honest, trustworthy people of Vietnam. Every day I seem to find another reason to be extremely grateful to be here.
Text message from him in the screenshot after I told him I got my bag back and thanking him again for helping me – direct from Google Translate so probs not 100% accurate:
“I’m just afraid not to help people. I will help with all I can. Congratulations!
By Nadja Bester, an expat in Vietnam.