How easy is it to retire in Vietnam?

How to obtain Vietnamese retirement visa for US citizens?

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Vietnam has been a favored destination among backpackers and adventure tourists for a long time. Its staggeringly beautiful and stunning landscapes, colorful and lively local culture, and extremely low cost of living make it an ideal destination for travelers from all over the world.

Retiring abroad, in countries with a low cost of living is becoming a common trend these days. It has a lot of benefits, as it allows retirees to make the most of their pensions and live a much more relaxing and luxurious lifestyle than what they would have at home.

Vietnam is an excellent destination for anyone who is looking for a retirement destination. It is an incredible country to enjoy a vibrant, relaxing, and rich post-retirement life, on a small budget.

Therefore, if you are thinking about retiring to Vietnam, keep reading, and find out everything you need to know, at one convenient place.


Pros and Cons of Retirement in Vietnam

Vietnam is an incredible destination with a wide range of attractions that lure many tourists and foreigners who want to live in the country full time. From picturesque tropical beaches and breathtaking landscapes to the modern cosmopolitan city lifestyle, Vietnam has a lot to offer.

However, there are obviously both advantages and disadvantages to retiring in Vietnam. Therefore, like any other decision, it is important to weigh the pros and cons. So, here are some important things to consider:

Cost of living in Vietnam

One of the most prominent factors that draw tourists and expats to Vietnam is the low cost of living. Because of the massive difference in currencies, it can make it feel like you are spending enormous amounts of money, so it might take some time to get used to it, but, in general, most goods and services in Vietnam are very cheap.

When it comes to your budget, one of the biggest chunks is normally taken by your rent and utilities; however, these amenities are also known to be quite affordable in Vietnam.

When you visit Vietnam for the first time, you need to be careful in the touristy areas, and large cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Though most goods and services in these areas are cheap like the rest of the country, it is common for tourists and foreigners to be charged extra.

I would recommend that you learn some important words and phrases of Vietnamese and shop around with a local once or twice so that you can get an idea of the rates and the market.

Transport in Vietnam

When you retire to another country, you probably aren’t going to get a car straight away. You may not have a driving license that is valid in your new home, or you may need a permit to start driving. Either way, you are probably going to use public transport.

Luckily, there are several options for getting around in Vietnam, especially in the major cities. Furthermore, a reliable system of buses and trains allows a traveler to move easily within the country, and it is quite affordable as well.

Because of the reliable transport system, getting your own vehicle isn’t necessary; however, if you do want the freedom of having a personal vehicle, renting a motorcycle is a common practice among expats. It can be quite convenient, affordable, and fun if you know how to ride a motorbike.

If you want to keep traveling after your retirement, or you have to travel to any other Southeast Asian country for a medical checkup or any other reason, Vietnam is great for you, because it is very convenient to travel to other destinations from here.

There are several international airports in the country, and tickets to other Southeast Asian countries are affordable.

Although most forms of transport are safe enough, riding motorcycles in Vietnam can be quite dangerous. The rules of the road seem non-existent, and you need to be vigilant while driving. In fact, even walking or crossing the road can feel like a daunting task during rush hours.

Culture shock and lifestyle:

The food in Vietnamese culture is absolutely amazing. If you consider yourself a foodie, you are going to have a lot of fun roaming the streets of Vietnam and tasting all the incredible and authentic street foods.

Eating healthy is also very easy in Vietnam, because of the wide variety of vegetable-based dishes in Vietnamese cuisine.

There are also several restaurants in the major cities of Vietnam, where you can enjoy delicious foods from different cultures all around the world. However, it is common for these restaurants to be a little bit more expensive.

Vietnam is a very lively country, and there are loads of incredible activities to enjoy here. The locals are always up to take foreigners on an adventure.

If you’re interested in learning about the incredible culture and history of Vietnam, there are several fascinating museums and Buddhist temples that you can visit.

The breathtaking natural attractions in the country are also worth exploring, like the incredible Ban Gioc Waterfall and Hang Sơn Đoòng, which is the largest natural cave in the world. Vietnam also has several relaxing beaches and tropical jungles that add to its exceptional natural beauty.

One of the major problems that many foreigners have to face when they go to Vietnam is the language barrier. It can be difficult to get used to the new environment if you aren’t familiar with Vietnamese.

Moreover, Vietnamese is a tonal language, and the meanings of words can change drastically depending on how they are pronounced. Therefore, learning the language can also be difficult to some extent.

I would recommend that you familiarize yourself with some of the important phrases and words in Vietnamese. Even knowing a few important words can get you a long way.


Both public sector hospitals and private medical facilities offer good facilities, especially in the main cities of Vietnam. Many doctors in the private sector facilities are from the USA, Japan, France, and South Korea. There are also several qualified Vietnamese doctors in private hospitals as well.

Though the pharmacies in the major cities of Vietnam are relatively well-stocked, and you won’t have any trouble in finding any common medications, it can sometimes be challenging to get certain pharmaceuticals.

Some medications that are considered to be somewhat addictive or psychotropic are restricted in Vietnam. Some anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants can fall under this category.

If you are living in the major cities of Vietnam, like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, air pollution can be a serious concern. This can cause a lot of problems especially for people with pre-existing health conditions like asthma.


The weather in Vietnam is quite warm. Even in the winters, you don’t really need multiple layers. While this may be a pro for some, you should also be ready for the high humidity levels, that can make things uncomfortable sometimes.

Though the sunny days are incredible, when it rains in Vietnam, it rains hard. The coasts are vulnerable to typhoons, and the heavy rain can cause flooding and landslides inland.

The rainy season can last from the mid of June to September; however, it can end a little early some years.

How much do I need per month to retire in Vietnam?

Vietnam is among some of the most affordable places in the world, and if you are retiring on your social security package or a small pension, it can be more than enough for you and your partner to live a comfortable life in the major cities of Vietnam.

In a major city like Da Nang, you can expect to pay about $260 for a one-bedroom apartment, in a nice part of the city. As far food and groceries are concerned, you can expect to pay around $280 to $300. Depending on how frequently you eat out, this number can be quite higher as well.

All in all, after including utilities, entertainment, transportation, and healthcare, a couple can easily live in Vietnam for about $1,000 a month. Of course, a higher budget will allow you to build a more lavish and luxurious lifestyle.

Best place to retire in Vietnam

Vietnam has multiple places that may be suitable for a retiree. The incredible and relaxed atmosphere of these places, and a suitable ratio between living cost and amenities, make these places the best for retirees in Vietnam.

Nha Trang

The coastal city of Nha Trang is an incredible destination to spend your retirement. There are several incredible attractions like Ponagar Tower, Mineral Spring, Bao Dai Palace, and Institute of Oceanography in the city, and it also has all the amenities that anyone would need for a comfortable post-retirement life.

Nha Trang Coast as seen on</>

Da Nang

According to many expats and locals, Da nang is undoubtedly the best city to live in if you are retiring in Vietnam. It has an incredible environment for the elderly and has some of the meat medical facilities in the country.

The city is quite clean and well designed. Moreover, the beaches in Da Nang are known to be the most attractive, and cleanest in the entire Southeast Asian region.

Han River flows through the center of the city and makes for an incredible appearance. Furthermore, the city has wide roads and paved sidewalks which make it easy for you to roam around and enjoy the city.

The most incredible fact is that despite being one of the most developed cities in the country and having so many amenities, the cost of living in Da Nang is still quite affordable.

Phu Quoc

Photo by thanhhoa tran from Pexels

If you want to spend your retirement on beaches, in a quiet destination that isn’t too crowded like the other major cities of Vietnam, Phu Quoc is an excellent option.

It has many wonderful beaches like Ganh Dau, Long beach, Sao beach, Ong Lang, and Thom beach.

Phu Quoc also has a rich culinary culture, and the fresh seafood cuisines that you can enjoy here are unlike any other in Vietnam.


Photo by Mad Skillz from Pexels

The pace of line in the ancient capital of Hue is slow and calm. You can find several ancient temples here, which make for an incredibly relaxing environment when combined with the natural sceneries, and tree-lined streets of Hue.

In hue, you can start your day with the sounds of the Thien Mu bell, and spend your day enjoying the aromatic tea, and walking into the ancient ruins of the ancient capital.

Moreover, the food in Hue is also quite good, and there are several healthy dishes in the local cuisine that are quite suitable for the elderly.

Eldercare for retirees in Vietnam

The healthcare system in Vietnam is good, especially in comparison to other countries in the region. It is decent enough, but if you want the best possible healthcare, you need to opt for private medical facilities.

These hospitals and clinics offer high-standard services. They are usually well equipped, and apart from having some of the most qualified local medical experts, it is also common to find doctors from western countries and even the US working in these facilities.

Though private medical facilities are better, they tend to be more expensive as well.

It is also quite easy and affordable to hire a qualified nurse, to help you with certain medical procedures, or you can also choose to live in an eldercare facility.

Eldercare facilities and old homes aren’t that common in Vietnam, because in their culture, most elders live with their families. Therefore, it is not that easy to find high-standard eldercare facilities like the ones found in the west.

What are the requirements to retire in Vietnam?

Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, like Thailand and Cambodia, you can’t get a specific retirement visa for Vietnam. This means, that if you want to stay in the country for a long time. You will have to apply for either a business visa or a tourist visa.

To get an investor visa or DT you need to set up a company, which can be a complex process. Furthermore, it requires a lot of time and money as well.

A simple DT visa can last for 3 months; however, a long-term DT visa can actually last between 3-5 years. Once you are living in Vietnam with a DT visa, you can start applying for a temporary residence permit.

Business Visa:

If you aren’t able to apply for a DT visa, a business visa is another option, which is somewhat easier to obtain than an investor visa. Similar to an investor visa, a business visa is also valid for 3 months, which is more than enough time to apply for a temporary residence permit.

Temporary residence permit:

As far as the temporary residence permit is concerned, here are some requirements you should know

  • To apply for a temporary residence permit, you need to have a Vietnam work permit, business visa, or investor visa that is valid for at least 12 months at the time of application.
  • You will need copies of a passport that is valid for at least the next 13 months.
  • You will need to fill out an NA8 form and attach passport-sized photos.
  • Your business certificate, investment certificate, or work permit.

How easy is it to retire in Vietnam?

Vietnam is an incredible country, and as far as retiring is concerned, it is quite easy to live here. When compared to countries like Laos, the visa application process can be a little more complex; however, once you get a temporary residence permit, living in Vietnam is extremely easy.

As far as finances are concerned, you don’t need too much money to retire in Vietnam either. Overall, the country is quite affordable. Moreover, the inviting people and fascinating culture make it an even more appealing destination.

So, in general, it is considerably easy to retire in Vietnam, even if there isn’t an official retirement visa, most expats easily get a temporary residence permit if they apply for it.

how much you need to retire in viet nam

Final Thoughts

After working hard for most of your life, retirement is a time that many people look forward to. These days, more and more people are opting to move to more affordable countries and enjoy their retirement in a peaceful and slow-paced environment.

In this regard, Southeast Asia is an extremely popular region, because of the incredible countries and their low cost of living. Anyone with an average pension or small retirement fund can live in these countries comfortably.

Vietnam is one of the best countries to retire to, as it offers the best of both worlds. Apart from being affordable, and having incredible natural landscapes, Vietnam also has all the modern amenities and facilities that would make for a comfortable post-retirement life.

Therefore, if you were planning to retire abroad, I hope that this post helped you get all the answers you were looking for.

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