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An Expat Talks about Moving to Hanoi, Vietnam

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What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Hanoi

Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.

I wish I had brought quality bed sheets and pillows, good hiking shoes and good lamps.

I wish I had left my bicycle, most of my books, CD's and dishes.

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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?

Choose to bring things that make you happy and leave the rest in storage. Buy everything you need in Hanoi or on trips through Bangkok or Hong Kong. Make good friends with your household helper, who always knows where to find what you seek and will often get it for you. Carefully consider a house in terms of traffic, play space for children, industrial noise and air pollution. Look for trees, garden, park nearby. If there is mildew on the walls, it will probably return. Can you avoid using a car every time you want to pick up something at the shop? How easy will it be for guests to find your house? Ask at the local international school for good neighborhoods to begin your search.

What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?

A 2-3 bedroom apartment or small house is typical for many expats unless they choose to pay $3000 or more monthly.

How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?

Look for established apartments with garden, close to work and shops, accessible but quiet, on the same side of town as airport, with trees and parks.

Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?

Expat housing is higher, from $800 for an unfurnished apartment and from $1500 for a small house.

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