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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Vietnam (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Nha Trang, Vietnam


Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Vietnam (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Summary: For those contemplating a move to Vietnam without a specific locale in mind, embarking on a look-see or exploratory journey to explore various expat havens can provide invaluable insights. Here are some top suggestions for places to explore while scouting out Vietnam.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Vietnam is an essential step for anyone considering relocating to this vibrant country. Such a trip allows potential expats to explore various cities and towns, get a feel for the local culture, and assess the practicalities of daily life. From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the tranquil beaches of Da Nang, a reconnaissance trip can help you make an informed decision about where to settle down and what lifestyle adjustments to anticipate. It's an opportunity to connect with local expats, understand the cost of living, and experience the amenities and services firsthand.

Recommended Itineraries

For a 10-day Look-See trip, consider starting in Hanoi, the cultural and political heart of Vietnam, before heading to the ancient town of Hoi An, and then wrapping up in the dynamic Ho Chi Minh City. This itinerary gives you a taste of the country's diversity, from traditional to modern. For a more extended 20-day trip, add visits to the coastal city of Da Nang, the highland town of Da Lat, and the Mekong Delta region. This expanded itinerary allows for a deeper exploration of both urban and rural living environments, catering to a range of preferences for potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads.

Hanoi

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences. With a population of over 8 million, it offers a blend of traditional charm and modern convenience. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to Hanoi for its relatively low cost of living, vibrant street food scene, and the abundance of cultural activities. The city is also a hub for teaching English and has a growing tech scene, making it attractive for professionals in these fields.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the chance to visit the historic Hoan Kiem Lake and the nearby Old Quarter, where you can enjoy a cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee at the famous Café Pho Co, overlooking the lake.

Hoi An

Hoi An is a well-preserved ancient town that offers a slower pace of life compared to Vietnam's larger cities. Known for its historic architecture, reflective waterways, and tailor shops, it's a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts expats looking for a peaceful lifestyle. The cost of living is affordable, and the town's proximity to beaches adds to its allure. Hoi An is also popular among digital nomads for its growing number of co-working spaces and the welcoming expat community.

Travel Tip: Explore the vibrant Hoi An Night Market for local crafts and delicious street food, and be sure to sample the town's signature dish, Cao Lau, at the well-regarded Morning Glory Restaurant.

Ho Chi Minh City

Formerly known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the economic powerhouse of Vietnam, characterized by its high energy and rapid development. With a population exceeding 8 million, it offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a wide range of dining, entertainment, and shopping options. The city is a favorite among expats for its entrepreneurial opportunities, international schools, and diverse neighborhoods. The cost of living is higher than in other parts of Vietnam, but it still remains reasonable by Western standards.

Travel Tip: Visit the iconic Ben Thanh Market to experience the bustling local commerce and try some authentic Vietnamese Pho at Pho Quynh, one of the city's most famous eateries.

Da Nang

Da Nang is a coastal city known for its sandy beaches and history as a French colonial port. It's a growing hub for expats who enjoy its modern amenities, lower pollution levels, and proximity to both the beach and the mountains. The cost of living in Da Nang is moderate, and the city offers a balanced lifestyle with less traffic than Vietnam's larger cities. It's also becoming a popular spot for digital nomads due to its reliable internet and laid-back vibe.

Travel Tip: Take a trip to the Marble Mountains for breathtaking views and visit the Linh Ung Pagoda. For a memorable dining experience, try the seafood at Lam Vien Restaurant.

Da Lat

Da Lat, situated in the central highlands, is known for its mild climate, natural beauty, and French colonial architecture. It's a haven for those seeking tranquility and a cooler climate. The city is surrounded by hills, pine forests, lakes, and waterfalls, making it ideal for nature lovers. Expats and retirees appreciate the low cost of living and the slower pace of life. Da Lat is also gaining popularity among digital nomads for its unique charm and growing café culture.

Travel Tip: Visit the Dalat Flower Gardens for a serene experience and enjoy the locally grown produce at the charming La Viet Coffee.

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta region is the agricultural heartland of Vietnam, offering a glimpse into the country's rural life. It's a network of rivers, swamps, and islands with a slower pace of life. Key cities and towns to explore include Can Tho, known for its floating markets, and Ben Tre, famous for its coconut products. The region is less commonly chosen by expats for long-term living but offers valuable insights into the traditional Vietnamese way of life and can be a peaceful retreat for those looking to escape the urban hustle.

Travel Tip: Experience the Cai Rang Floating Market in Can Tho for an authentic local shopping experience and try the regional specialty, Banh Xeo (sizzling pancakes), at a riverside eatery.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Mondly by Pearson
Mondly by Pearson

Nha Trang, Vietnam

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