Many foreign senior travelers have a dream of retiring abroad and exploring the world without any more obligations. Many more Americans are now moving to other countries not just for the new environment, but for the lower cost of living as well.
One of the most popular countries they go to is Vietnam. But why Vietnam and where exactly are the best places to retire in there?
Read on as I show you everything to learn about retiring in Vietnam as a foreign senior traveler!
Why Retire in Vietnam?
What is there to do in Vietnam and why do many foreign senior travelers head on here when they retire? Here are some of its awesome benefits:
Affordable Cost of Living
Vietnam is one of the cheapest places to live in with low costs of living. In fact, expenses are over 60% lower compared to cities in the United States!
With that in mind, retiring expats can definitely enjoy life here even with just $1,500 a month. Sure, you can go higher (or lower) depending on your pension and lifestyle, but this is a good starting point.
To get an idea on how much things are in Vietnam, here is an updated price list based on Numbeo:
• Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center: $870 monthly
• Basic utilities with the Internet: $75 monthly
• Groceries good for two: $100 to $150 monthly
• 3-course meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant: $20
• Monthly public transportation pass: $8
• Liter of gasoline: Less than $1
Beautiful Sceneries and Rich Culture
Vietnam is well known for its diverse natural environment, having tropical lowlands, forested highlands, rice terraces, and miles of clean coastlines!
“Vietnam is a popular travel hub where it’s accessible to many flying routes and near other amazing Asian countries like Singapore and Cambodia!”
You can head up to the mountains for a breath of fresh air, or down to the beaches to enjoy the view of the seas. Sure, it may be a bit crowded, but you won’t ever be bored as you roam around Vietnam and learn about its rich culture.
Beyond tradition, they also have a thriving art scene with tree-lined boulevards and French-colonial architecture! Plus, they have such diverse cultures as well, with each area having different histories you’ll find pleasure in discovering.
Another thing Vietnam is known for is their locals’ hospitality. Their country has a charm to it, along with its people!
For Vietnamese, everyone is family and they are close-knit, so don’t be surprised if people invite you to their homes for a meal after a quick talk! It’s not that difficult to make friends around, as long as you know the language and enough of their traditions to respect everyone around you.
Healthy and Delicious Cuisine
One of the top reasons people travel to other countries is food! Retirees will be pleased to know that Vietnamese cuisine isn’t only delicious, but it’s healthy as well!
Vietnamese combines its unique flavors with France and other nearby countries like China, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. Expect dishes to be filled with a ton of herbs, veggies, spices, and less oil, embracing the savory flavors.
For the adventurous foreign senior traveler, head on the local markets and streets, where you can find food stalls everywhere. Try their variety of soups, sticky rice, noodle dishes, and their infamous Saigon baguettes!
While Vietnam is quite promising, there are some things to worry about, such as:
- Heavy traffic and pollution is a major problem here, especially when you think about the crowds and noise. Because it’s a developing country, you’ll have to adjust to the long transportation times and smog around you.
- Vietnam’s healthcare system is still underdeveloped when looking at it in Western standards. If you have a serious illness or injury, you may need to go to another nearby country like Thailand or Singapore for it!
- Vietnamese are extremely welcoming but there may be a chance of suffering from culture shock. English isn’t widely spoken, especially outside touristy locations.
Besides these, there may be limitations for retirees in terms of obtaining a visa for long-term living. I’ll get into this in the next section.
“Vietnam does have its minor downfalls, but it doesn’t mean the country isn’t the optimum country to experience your retired life!”
With all these in mind, these are things that can be easily remedied with mental preparation and proper care. Unless you have serious long-term illnesses, Vietnam will be enjoyable for those with strong and healthy immune systems!
Top Retirement Villages in Vietnam
Now that you know the wonders of Vietnam, where exactly are the beautiful areas to retire in? Vietnam has to Check out these top three destinations:
1. Vung Tau
This is where the country’s first established seaside resort was established, now sought out by many expert retirees. You can find many sun worshippers in the area because of its perfect weather and beautiful views all year round. There are many resorts, hostels, AirBnBs, and properties you can rent out for less than $1,000, coming with excellent facilities suitable for foreign senior travelers.
Besides this, they are best known for their spectacular and strong infrastructure. From clean parks to well-structured roads and parks, you’ll enjoy living the life in Vung Tau. You’ve also got the fresh air, which many outdoor enthusiasts visit the area for.
Another good advantage to Vung Tau is its low crime rate and accessibility to the capital city and the Paradise Gold Club! Since many expats come to retire here, you’ll have a ton of people to befriend and go around with as you explore the wonders of the resort.
2. Tuyet Thai
The Tuyet Thai Center is a retirement space made for seniors, offering short and long-term accommodation. This center offers the warm space and fresh habitats to roam around in, with accommodating staff and fellow retired seniors to befriend.
You will be surrounded by green trees and lakes here, where you can go for infinite walks! If you want more of the nature side with amazing healthcare services and activities, this is a great option.
3. Alma Resort
This isn’t technically a retirement village, but it’s one of the most luxurious resorts in Vietnam. Every day will be a vacation as you’re welcomed with drinks, fresh fruits daily, as well as breakfast buffets and a minibar!
Besides this, the resort offers beachside views and amazing activities to try out. From numerous pools and a restaurant down the beach, you can unwind by the spa or do some water sports to get a thrill.
But take note that the resort doesn’t take reservations for over 30 nights and may be quite pricey. This is the best choice for those who have extra budget for their retirement and are eligible for a tourist visa valid for up to one month only.
“All of these areas are accessible and can be visited by your family members to enjoy the life of Vietnam together!”
If you would love your family to visit, they can head to your area and take a mini-vacation with you!
How to Arrange Your Retirement in Vietnam
What’s great about Vietnam is that their visa policy and the tourist industry has boomed throughout the years. However, it’s still a bit incomplete, as there aren’t specific visas made for retiring foreigners.
Because of this, foreign senior travelers may face a few issues regarding visas, similar to India’s policies.
You will need to apply for a tourist visa instead, which allows visitation for one to six months. You can also be permitted for a visa valid for five years if you have a parent or spouse who is a Vietnamese citizen. There is also a possibility of extending your visa, depending on the rules and regulations.
You can apply for a visa in the embassy or hiring a good agency to run the papers for you. The only issue here is that you can only stay for up to six months, but you can always revisit.
“There is NO retirement visa yet, but hopefully the Vietnam government will soon focus on creating policies made for traveling expats looking for long-term stays.”
The advantage here is that the visa is easy to obtain as you simply need your valid passport, application form, passport photos, and the visa fee. There’s no need to provide additional proofs such as bank statements and pensions, though it’s best to have enough funds for traveling.
Besides your visa, be sure to prepare the following after being granted one:
• Find proper short-term accommodation (I recommend to select any of the areas I mentioned above)
• Book your flight to Vietnam (it will need to be a return flight to avoid any issues in immigration upon landing)
• Let your loved ones know where you’ll be and send them all your travel information to stay safe
• Let your banks and other organizations know your whereabouts to ensure you have no financial issues
• Pack all your necessities, from clothes to personal documents
• Get ready for your trip and learn all the basics of Vietnamese language and culture
Wrapping It Up
Do you want an adventure but go home to the laidback lifestyle by the beach? Vietnam is the perfect match, with so much culture and eats! While it may be a challenge adjusting and processing your requirements, it proves to be worth it with all the amazing food and spectacular views.
If you think Vietnam is the dream destination, then start taking the appropriate steps to get your visa and find the right place for you. Wishing you the best of luck!