Advantages of Living and Working in Hanoi


There are many advantages in living and working in Hanoi. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the most important ones.

Why come to Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the most inexpensive countries that you are likely to encounter. Living and working in Hanoi provides you with so many choices. Of course there are expensive restaurants, bars and nightclubs if that is your thing, but alternatively you can live here extremely cheaply, by going “native”. Food, accommodation and entertainment can be surprisingly inexpensive.

The Vietnamese people are incredibly friendly and the thriving expat community here will soon help anyone to settle in to their new surroundings. Things that might seem strange at first will soon become perfectly normal.

Why Choose Living and Working in Hanoi?

Hanoi is both the nation’s capital and also a fantastic gateway city. Some of Vietnam’s most exciting destinations are reached from here. Halong Bay, the UNESCO paradise is but a four-hour drive away. For new arrivals living and working in Hanoi, there is so much to see and do. It is easy to book a cruise here and spend a few days in some of the finest scenery on earth. Similar and arguably the best of the lot, Ninh Binh is ninety minutes away. Often called Halong Bay on Land it is, in this writer’s opinion, as good as anywhere on earth. Sapa is an overnight train ride or a bus trip to the northeast and is a superb destination for lovers of hiking, trekking and climbing.

Hanoi though is a terrific destination in itself. Currently undergoing a huge modernisation, it has a vibrant heart of clubs, bars, and restaurants in the Old Quarter, the most interesting part of the city. It is also a city of lakes. The two most well known are West Lake and Hoan Kiem, and these provide beautiful recreational places within the city itself.

Shopping in Hanoi is exceptional with a great mixture of both the modern and the traditional. Again the Old Quarter comes into its own here.

For the culturally minded there are plenty of museums, art galleries, fascinating places of interest and much to see and do. The famous Opera House offers a packed programme of traditional and contemporary concerts and performances.

Cost of living in Vietnam

Living and working in Hanoi throws up many options as to lifestyle choices. Accommodation is generally the most expensive part of any monthly budget. This can vary from sharing a house with locals right through to the most expensive condo style living. Whichever you choose will still surprise you; it is cheaper than in the West.

The cost of living for a family of four has been estimated by the Numbeo website as being $1600 per month after housing. As many good business packages here include a housing allowance, there is plenty of disposable income left over. Hanoi has about a 1.8% higher cost of living than Ho Chi Minh City.

Of course when it comes to dining out, there are many options. By eating in local restaurants a good meal can be had for just two or three dollars, in mid priced restaurants the choice is huge. It is very easy to get high quality food at very good prices. Then at the top end, there are the really high-class places, which of course come at a premium, the choice is yours.

Transport costs for those living and working in Hanoi are minimal. Many top jobs come with a car and driver. However almost everyone buys a motorbike within weeks of arriving. It’s the best way to see and learn the city and costs are next to nothing once you have bought your bike. A brand new top of the range can cost $3000 to $5000, but truly superb second hand bike can be bought for under $1000. Petrol costs are barely worth mentioning. Rentals start at about $45 per month. Just make sure that your medical insurance covers you and that is it.

Taxis are cheap and reliable as long as you stick with either Taxi Group or Mai Linh taxi companies. Some of the others are known for scamming. Many prefer to use Grab which come in even cheaper.

Hanoi is ranked the 418th most expensive city of 538 cities in the world.

Finding A Job

Here at RGF Executive Search we have the largest client base and huge experience in marrying those searching for jobs with clients looking for talent. Our brand new offices in the heart of Hanoi coupled with our ever-growing talented team will provide the finest service to ensure your placement is a good one.

Cultural Differences

For some people living and working in Hanoi this is the hardest one to get used to. It can be daunting but like any new challenge it just requires a bit of thought and patience. Never make any Vietnamese “lose face”. This is seen as really bad. When dealing with conflicts, keep calm and never raise your voice.

The language is probably one of the very hardest to master on the planet. Tonal qualities are everything and many simply never master it. However, it will not be a problem. Increasingly English is spoken almost everywhere you will go.

Tax Issues and Liabilities

The basic rate of tax for employees in Vietnam is 35%. Whilst this may seem high, it is worth remembering that the pay grades here certainly compensate for this when employing foreigners. You should expect your net pay in many cases to still be better than you would get for a comparable job in your home country. When coupled with the low cost of living, compensation packages for professions living and working in Hanoi are extremely positive.

Top Tips for Living and Working in Hanoi

1.Before arriving join some of the social media groups, to pick up good ideas about housing and social life etc.  Good examples are:

2. Do some research online to find out in which area of Hanoi you would prefer to live. Tay Ho District is very popular among expats, you can read about it here. Websites like Inseasia also have good guides to Hanoi.

3. Upon arrival check out the areas where expats socialise; you will be amazed at how quickly you make friends. Expats all have the expat experience in common and make friends readily.

4. Before buying a motor scooter, why not hire one for a month to see if it really is for you. If you have not ridden before, ask the hirer to take you to a quiet area where you can get the feel of it, before hitting the busy streets. Always wear a crash helmet. Not only is this the law, it could well save your life.

5. Ask your new friends to recommend a good language school and try and at least get some basic phrases. Although it is difficult, it is very rewarding to interact with locals in their language. Personal recommendations here are always better than online searches.

6. You will find that there are some pretty decent networking groups in Hanoi. These can be both beneficial and enjoyable. Again ask the expats for advice.

7. Try out the local street food. If you get the chance to join a group for street food, jump at the chance. You won’t regret it; it’s the real way to experience the local culture and get a real feel of Vietnamese nightlife.

8. Whenever you get time off, use the time to explore what Vietnam has to offer. This is one of the most amazing countries in the world. There is so much to see and do within easy reach of Hanoi. You will be amazed and enthralled. Living and working in Hanoi offers you chances that most people can only dream of. There is a world of opportunity waiting for you.


Working in Hanoi will give you one of the greatest experiences of your life. The opportunities to develop your career and improve yourself on a personal level are boundless. Talk to RGF Executive Search and find out just how many incredible career opportunities await you. You will never regret the decision to come to one of the world’s fastest developing countries. Vietnam in general and Hanoi in particular offers an extremely exciting and vibrant lifestyle.