Survey shows advantages of expat life in Vietnam

Published:  21 Jun at 6 PM
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Would-be expats keen to experience the road less travelled could find Vietnam is the answer to their dreams of a totally different lifestyle.

Known as the ‘Land of the Rising Dragon’ and Southeast Asia’s only Communist state, Vietnam doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a haven for Western expats and entrepreneurs. However, a more in-depth examination of the country will reveal a welcoming, hard-working population and a fascinating mix of tradition and contemporary life.

There’s no state religion, allowing the major belief systems of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and Confucianism to exist side by side and contribute to a palpable sense of harmony and lack of confrontation, ensuring a stress-free, less frenetic workplace. Vietnam’s infrastructure is developing at speed and its industrial growth is encouraging expat professionals to take up offers of work in the cities.

A recent survey ranked the country above the UK, France, and Japan as a top destination for expats, and the low cost of living is an added attraction. Living the good life in the capital, Hanoi, is rated as being 61 per cent cheaper than in New York or London! Another advantage for older expatriates is that age is respected along with ancestry.

Unlike several other Southeast Asian countries, education in Vietnam is taken seriously, with the average literacy rate at 90 per cent as a result. English is spoken at a respectable level by many Vietnamese due to its importance in international commerce and relations, and expats with families can take advantage of the country’s English language international schools.

Hanoi offers world class shopping and international restaurants, although eating in the many excellent Vietnamese restaurants is kinder on the wallet and possibly better for one’s health. Expats from colder climes will enjoy the country’s year-round sub-tropical climate, even although getting used to the humidity may take a while.

More than 2,000 miles of coastline with glorious beaches, stunning mountainous regions to the north and low-lying farming acres further south all invite explorations of this largely unspoilt land with its diverse cultures and lifestyles. Vietnam isn’t an obvious choice for footloose expats, but its difference and diversity combined with a slower, more relaxed pace of life could be exactly what is needed as an escape from this crazy world.
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