Vietnam… A retirement destination?

Nap time

When a person is considering retirement, a lot of things pass through the mind., and affordability of a good life is a big one. Some people choose places like Florida, Costa Rica, or others with mild climates close by. I think that a lot of people should come to Vietnam for a visit and then seriously consider the benefits of retiring here. A large expat community already exists here. Many of them are here because the pensions the receive at home will only give them a meager existence, whereas the same pension paid here can have a person living like an upper class businessman. In NhaTrang there is quite a variety of foreigners who have decided to call this place home. There are many Canadians, Americans, Europeans, Brits, and French. I am sure there are others, but I have not met them yet. They are all men. I have not as of yet met a single woman that has retired here from another country (unless they are Vietnamese). That is not to say that they are here for the girls, or they dislike the home country….. It is that many of them have had some kind of

Nap time

 past experience in this country, and this IS a country that a person cannot forget. After a bad divorce or being widowed, or even just experiencing the culture can draw a person back here. It did me! Sooooo… what are the benefits of retiring in a Country like Vietnam? Let us discuss that.

First of all, your dollar goes a long way. A person can have a basic life with comfort for 500.00US a month. For 700.00 you can have a good middle class existence. Anything over that is a bonus and you begin to live high on the hog. (sorry to my Vietnamese readers for the Idiom… It means Very good.) So you now have enough to pay for a nice house, eat good food, and enjoy any entertainment you might desire. On top of the ability of having a

A pretty beatle

nice home, comes the ability to afford to hire full time helpers. A cleaning person to come in 3 daily might cost 15 dollars a month, and a full time cook perhaps the same. You will never eat so good and so healthy. When you want to go out, you can call your personal driver that also is available at a low cost. If you wish, there are also many easy ways to be mobile here. You truly do not need a vehicle.

Next is the climate. In the Center where I live the mean temperature only varies by about 3 of 4 degrees all year round. Since coming here, all of the aches and pains in the joints have disappeared. There is no need to bundle up

Fruit orchard

 in layers of clothing, A Tee shirt and shorts will do just fine all year around. The air is not as humid as one might think and even the hotter temperatures are easy to deal with. Both in Saigon it can be more humid and sticky hot, but is that not what air conditioning is all about?

Most of the modern conveniences available at home are also available here. Power Water, Cable TV, high speed internet, and now even reading material. Shopping for personal use items never gets boring as I am constantly surprised at how much less it costs here. Some things are the same though.

Street food

Computers, cameras, and Televisions are a few examples.

 And what about drugs and medical care? I wondered about that very same question. First of all, I have as of yet not found any drug that we needed unavailable. Almost anything can be purchased from countless pharmacies located in abundance throughout the cities. Most and possibly all drugs can be purchased over the counter without a prescription, but the approval of the pharmacist themselves. Unless a person goes to a foreign owned doctor or hospital, medical service is not very expensive. IF there are serious issues, a person can go to a foreign held hospital for what is still an affordable price, or jump a short flight to Thailand where the medical care there is among the best in the world, for a very low cost. There is one problem I can see here that could put a damper on things. Roadside Emergency assistance seems almost non existent here. If you are prone to seizures of any kind, this would not be the place for you unless you can recover unassisted.

 Lastly….   You will not be alone!! Besides a large community of expats, there are a lot of people who know that befriending a westerner can benefit their lives. Whether financially, or their desire to improve English, or even just to hear about the rest of the world, you will not be alone. If you are a single male of any age, there will be women……. Some very nice women… that will want to look after you and keep you in good health in order to have a more secure and stable future.

The only big drawback to retiring here is leaving your family behind, but then… What a great reason for them to have an exotic Asian holiday 🙂

Some random pics

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

42 thoughts on “Vietnam… A retirement destination?

      1. Sounds like a wonderful place! Where would yor recommend for a retired man who likes the coast and is single and loves a
        Mild climate?

  1. have you been to Dalat? people say the weather in DL is moderate year round,very good for people from Canada or US who dont like the hummid and hot of Nhatrang?

    1. I am not sure where you are getting your climate info. Nha Trang is usually plesant but does at times get hot and humid, as it can be cool. I am in Dalat at least 2 times a month and from Nov to Mar I find it too cold and miserable….. and I am from Edmonton… cold as it gets 🙂

  2. I spent a couple of weeks in Vietnam in August, and have already booked my flights and hotels for another short trip next April. After having lived in Indonesia for the last 5 years, I am ready for a change, and Vietnam looks like the place I’ll be calling home in the not so distant future. I am actually a single female, 65 years old, but still looking to explore different cultures. Just one question, what do you do about long stay visa? There is no Vietnamese embassy close to where I live, so I have used a Vietnamse agent who got me the visa letter. and will do that again for my April trip.

    Thank you for an interesting blog.

    greetings from tropical Bali, Sybille

    1. There is really no long term visa and visa costs are going up next year. At the moment, you can get a 3 month that can be renewed 3 or 4 times before you need to take a weekend away in Cambodia and have a new visa made.

  3. Hey Owee, My wife is from Vietnam, and she wants to move back, I have a medical issue and need a certain medical, and I’m not sure how to find out if I can get it there or not.
    would you have any ideas ?
    Could I email you to talk further ?

      1. Owee, does a retiree in Vietnam need international medical insurance, as is the requirement for a long-stay visa to France, for example?

        Thanks for this excellent blog, by the way.

  4. Hello, I am a 50 year old Canadian with a filipino wife. I am wondering if there is a retirement visa and if there is, what are the details? (Age and financials)
    I could have an annual retirement of $20,000 for the two of us and am hoping we can live a good life there

    1. 20000 is enough for a basic lifestyle for two. Yes there are visas needed, they are available in 3 month and up to a year if you have the right connections. Visas are easy to renew, through local tour shops. 1 trip outside per year (Cambodia) can get you the 1 year visas at the current time.

  5. My wife and I stayed in Nha Trang from April 2012 to August 2012. We found it true to live on $600.00 to $700.00 a month. That covers food, lodging, transportation and fun. The only reason we came back to the US, which I now regret is to take care of some personal problems. Once those are sorted out I think we both will go back. The US is just one big mess.

  6. What are the conditions for retirement in Vietnam from USA taxes, visa’s, length of stay?

    How much would it cost a single male 64 to retire and live well today in Vietnam I’m not sure I would want to live in HCMC, somewhere up north near the beach and mountains.

    Thanks in advance for you help.


    1. A person can live upper middle class for about 700-1000 dollars a month. A person can get a 3 month Visa and in some cases a 1 year and renew 3 or 4 times before having to purchase another. Taxes? No taxes here unless you own a business. You will still be subject to the tax laws of your country.
      Look at Nha Trang as a retirement destination. It has been listed as the 8th best retirement destination in the world by Yahoo.

  7. My wife and I have both just turned fifty and are thinking of retiring in South east Asia once our daughter has finished at school/ uni. realistically, this means another 7/8 years. Hopefully money should not be a problem : if we retired today with super and renting our house out we would have @ three thousand a month to live on. what I am more concerned about is visas .My wife is Vietnamese but holds an Australian passport as do I .Naturally the logical place to use as a base would be Vietnam, and then travel around to other destinations .Would she receive a hard time as a retiree or not. we have been to Vietnam a few times and each time it seems a little easier . however it is still a communist. Country and therefore holds some trepidation for my wife

    1. My wife is also Vietnamese from Canada and we experience no real issues. There are many Vietnamese that retire in Vietnam after spending a life abroad. I would suggest coming for a 3 month stay and get a feel for it. IT is still communist b ut living here day to day, you seer very little of its influence. People work, play, live and love as in any other country.

  8. I see the last posting here was dated in October of 2011. That isn’t so long ago – but considering the frenetic pace with which the world is now moving, how are things in the second month of 2012? What is the economic/political oulook there?
    I’m retired from the U.S. military and also from state service, and now I make a living as a “work-when-I-want-to” science fiction novelist. It appears that any one of my retirements, and/or the money from writing, (I have a large “following” in Hong Kong and Indonesia, as well as in South Korea) would provide an excellent standard of living there for my wife and me; I love giving money to worthwhile purposes. And what about freedom of religion? Are Christians and Jews, and Muslims, and others, welcome there? Do they get along with one another, for the most part?
    So – I’m looking to find the “snake in the garden,” so to speak. In other words, what’s the catch? The weather and the apparent kindliness of the people are the biggest draws for me, frankly, as I grow older.
    Also- how much do the federal and localized governments, and various agencies and commissions, take via the various taxes and fees, such as on income, housing, etc?

    I hope you, or someone very familiar with that area, will reply. Thanks!


    1. Rut… There are many American expats that choose Vietnam as a retirement destination. As far as economic outlook, your guess is as good as mine. There are those that beleive that there will be a real-estate collapse, but I disagree. There are luxury homes,condos, and major hotel developement… I am sure the corporations building these places are not stupid and know what they are doing.
      Freedom of religion is a non issue and there are Christians,Muslims, asnd everything else here including a Cau Dai which incorporates the ideas of many religions. The government is almiost a non presence in day to day life and taxes are non existent for a foreignwer living here. Housing at the moment is inexpensive and besides the frustration with some cultural differences, there is no where else where I would rather be. I will send you my email if you have further questions

  9. My wife and I are heading to Hanoi and then up to Sapa by train. We are on a mission to find a place to retire. As an architect and a lawyer in the US, I am done with it all. I will keep you guys posted. Tell me more about your impressions…it is greatly appreciated.

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