Living In Nha Trang

For generations Asia, “The Far East” or “The Orient” as it was once known has attracted Western people. And it is still the case with Nha Trang, one of the most popular cities in Vietnam with expatriates. It holds great attractions. The tropical climate, people, food, culture, slow pace of life and low cost of living are all huge attractions.

Nha Trang is a very attractive place for the more adventurous westerner to live. It has an excellent climate and lacks the frenetic pace of the larger Asian cities while still being a modern town. Polluted air, always an issue in big cities worldwide, is not a problem with the prevailing sea breeze keeping the city largely smog/smoke free. The cost of living is low, the people friendly and, being a seaside town, the quality of the seafood is superb. To uproot oneself from the comforts and customs of home, family and friends and move into a new culture is not easy, and it is not for everyone. But for those who make the transition it is a great way of life! There are enough modern conveniences and infrastructure for visitors to feel comfortable, yet still definitely local and “Vietnamese”. Housing, food and transport are good, readily available and inexpensive. There are plenty of things to do and there are a variety of clubs catering for special interests. Many expats base themselves here and travel widely throughout the SE Asia region.

The expat community in Nha Trang is wide and varied with Australian, Canadian, Russian, French, Kiwi, English, Welsh, Irish, German, Scottish, Channel Islanders, American, South American, Ukrainian, Estonian, Filipino, Korean, Japanese and more represented. Retirees, teachers, business owners, tourist industry managers, dive instructors, musicians and engineers make up the bulk of the expat population. If you are considering being a teacher you will be required to have qualifications. The days of the untrained English teacher are long gone and rightly so! Degrees and TESOL certificates are preferred, the latter being essential.

Wages are not high, about $10-$14/ hour, so be prepared for that, but work is available for quality teachers and they are highly respected. There is in fact an annual “Teacher’s Day” celebration!

Many other expats come here with their companies or on fixed term contracts, so there is always a turnover of people in town. Having said that, a large number of foreigners have made their homes here, married and have no desire to return “home”. If you are thinking of taking the plunge then get a “feel” for the town first and think hard about what the move will mean to you and your family. If you do come, good on you. It’s a great place.

Visitors from Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Phillipines, Laos and Indonesia can avail themselves of a 30 day visa exemption to Vietnam. 15 day exemptions are given to tourists from Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Russia. Travellers of other nationalities must secure a visa before arriving in Vietnam. This can be arranged through the Vietnamese Embassy in your home country or by applying for a “Visa on Arrival” through your travel agent or an online agency. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to apply in advance. You will have all sorts of issues at the airport if you do! Visitors can be issued with either a one month or three month visa. These can be renewed at various travel agents or through some local contacts. For those who wish to stay longer, they are limited to the number of extensions they can make before they have to leave the country on a “border run”. Rules on visa renewals seem to change constantly, so it is wise to keep abreast of the situation and make plans accordingly.

Starting from 18/6/2015, the Government has added Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain to the lists of countries who do not require a visa for stays of 15 days or less. It is expected that a number of other nations will be added to this list in the near future as visa rules are reassessed.