Vietnam has emerged as a popular destination for expats seeking an affordable and fulfilling life abroad. In the Expat Insider 2023 survey, Vietnam ranked 14th out of 53 destinations, highlighting both its strengths and areas for improvement.
Let’s take a closer look at the best and worst aspects of living and working in Vietnam as an expat.
Best Choice for Affordable Living
One of Vietnam’s greatest advantages is its affordability. The country consistently ranks high in the Personal Finance Index and secured the top spot in 2023. Expats appreciate the low cost of living, with 77% expressing satisfaction compared to a global average of 44%. Additionally, 71% of expats are content with their financial situation, and they find that their disposable income is sufficient for a comfortable life in Vietnam.
Expats Are Happy with Local Residents
Vietnam excels in creating a welcoming environment for expats. In the Ease of Settling In Index, Vietnam ranks 14th, with local friendliness being a standout aspect, ranking 5th globally. More than four in five expats (82%) describe the locals as generally friendly, fostering a sense of belonging. Expats find it easy to make local friends, and 83% feel welcome in Vietnam, well above the global average of 67%.
Work-Life Balance Pleases Expats
Vietnam offers a favorable work-life balance, with 73% of expats expressing satisfaction, compared to 63% globally. The country also ranks 6th in the Work & Leisure Subcategory, indicating a conducive environment for balancing professional and personal pursuits. Expats appreciate the personal career opportunities available in Vietnam, further enhancing their overall work experience. However, the local work culture falls short in terms of support for independent work and flexibility.
Digitalization Lags Behind
Expats encounter challenges in the Expat Essentials Index, particularly in the Digital Life and Admin Topics Subcategories. The availability of administrative services online and cashless payment options are areas of dissatisfaction. Expats face difficulties in accessing high-speed internet, experiencing restricted access to online services, and encountering hurdles when opening a local bank account or obtaining a visa. Learning the Vietnamese language also proves to be a significant challenge for expats.
Expats Are Unhappy with Air Quality & Infrastructure
Vietnam’s performance in the Quality of Life Index reveals areas that need improvement. Air quality is a significant concern, with 55% of expats expressing dissatisfaction, more than triple the global average. The urban environment also falls short, with less than 30% of expats feeling content compared to 67% globally. Expats believe that the government’s environmental protection policies are lacking, resulting in a poor availability of green goods and services.
Infrastructure for cars and public transportation ranks poorly in Vietnam, impacting the Travel & Transit Subcategory. The availability of healthcare is another challenge, with expats citing limited access and dissatisfaction with the quality of medical care.
Vietnam offers expats an attractive mix of affordability, welcoming locals, and a favorable work-life balance. However, certain areas require attention, such as digitalization, air quality, infrastructure, and healthcare. By addressing these issues, Vietnam can further enhance its appeal as a top destination for expats seeking a fulfilling life and rewarding career abroad.