Considering a move to Nha Trang, Vietnam

My wife and I are thinking about moving to Vietnam next year sometime.  Still in the very preliminary stages of this endeavor; in fact, we just thought of it this week, so haven't really done much planning.  Just a bit of research. 
I was stationed in Nha Trang in the early 1970s, then my wife and I went on a tour thru VN a couple of months ago, spending 4 or 5 days in Nha Trang.  I have relatives living in VN, and it would be great to be close to them.  There is a host of other reasons for our wanting to move to NT -- beautiful city, lovely people, nice weather, low cost of living, exciting adventure, etc., etc. 
We are retired and in our mid to late 60s, so this would be a dramatic step for us, although we are both in excellent health and love to travel and experience new things and places and meet new people.
We have not gotten far enough along the decision path to know how long we would stay in Nha Trang.  I'm thinking we would give it at least two years, however.  We would rent a furnished house, and rent out our house here in the U.S. 
If we move forward with the move, our plan is to come to Nha Trang, rent a hotel room for a month or two, during which we would find a suitable house to live in.  Before we would leave the U.S (if we decide to do this)., we'd like to learn as much as we can about what kinds of places are available with what kinds of amenities.   I chose the accommodation category for this introductory message, but could just as easily have chosen banks and finance, cost of living, health system, moving, leisure, and maybe several other categories.
I know some folks who live in Nha Trang and elsewhere in VN, but I'm anxious to meet and talk to others as I have a million questions.  Good to be here on this forum/blog.

Sounds like a good plan.  There are quite a number of expat retirees in NT.

Have you considered how you will get around?  i.e., can you ride a motorbike?    This will influence the location of your new residence, either within easy walking distance of the things you need on a daily basis, or perhaps further out, but potentially more peaceful, and less expensive.

Thanks for the reply, Dan. Yes, we would very likely get a motorbike or maybe even two motorbikes. That's a good point about location. My brother lives a few miles north of the city center in Nha Trang, where it is considerably quieter and less expensive.

Then you're all set.  What are you waiting for? Go for it!  Your dollars will go much farther in Vietnam than the US, and you'll have a better quality of life.  I met quite a few expat retirees in NT in the short time I was there this past April, and they all were happy with the place.  i considered living there myself, as I love the ocean and the beaches, but it's a little too quiet for me.  I prefer the energy of Saigon, but if I ever get tired of that I could see myself in NT in the future.

In regards to Dan's post, I must note one exception to this: "and you'll have a better quality of life."

The exception is health care. Nha Trang does have a good hospital, and I've met some expats who praise it. But it is definitely not up to stateside standards for all sicknesses and situations. As you are getting up in years, you may want an insurance policy that covers medical evacuation in dire emergencies, and sicknesses. Thailand had some very good modern hospitals that cater to expats, and the Philippines has a veteran's administration hospital for qualified Filipino and American veterans.

You did not mention whether you speak Vietnamese or not. My assumption is that you do. ps, I was stationed out at Dien Khanh in early to mid-1968.

Thanks for the info and advice. We do have very good health insurance, which covers us overseas, although unlike here in the U.S., we will have to pay first and seek reimbursement later. As far as evacuation is concerned, our policy will pay for evacuation but not necessarily to the U.S., unless that is the only place we could receive the required treatment.
I do speak some pretty decent Vietnamese although by no means fluently. I plan to brush up a lot and my wife will take some basic lessons.
At this point, while we are deciding whether we can actually pull this off, what really concerns me most (other than another Sino-Viet war starting) is the seemingly iffy visa renewal process. We are prepared to travel outside of VN every 3 months to renew for another 3 months, but if I'm understanding some of the comments in the visa section of this forum, we might have to renew every month!?  If that is the case, we can't handle this move. If you or anyone else on this forum has any suggestions for me on this issue, I am certainly open to them.

Hello,

I read your post and felt I should give you my two cents worth.

Your plan about renting is a good one.

It's just a recipe for disaster when expats intend on buying property here, period.

But as mentioned above, you can stay in a hotel for a few weeks until you find suitable accommodation.

It shouldn't take you anywhere near two months to find something decent but do take your time.

There is one thing that really pisses me off here so please do keep this in mind.

Example: When you see a nice property for rent online, i.e: craigslist etc...

You go to visit the property, but upon arrival it's a completely different apartment.

And 9 times out of 10, an absolute dump!

So my advice is stay away from those cowboy letting agents on the likes of craigslist and expat forums.

And just seek out a reputable letting ''AGENCY'' within Nha Trang.

If you're not happy with what you see then walk away, common sense really.

Additionally, when it comes to banking:

Avoid HSBC at all costs!

I went there thinking ''great, it's a British bank'' so they must be half decent.

WRONG, their fees and charges are an absolute joke!!!

Not to mention the ridiculous amount of paperwork they request to open a simple current account.

I opened my account there and then closed it a day later as I was sick to the teeth with them and found much better elsewhere.

I just arrived from England, and have several bank accounts in England.

And I can tell you that for HSBC Vietnam to consider themselves a British banking branch is downright insulting.

So the best alternatives are Sacombank, and ACB (Asia Commercial Bank).

They offer much better banking services including better exchange rates.

And more importantly, none of the bullshit that comes hand in hand when banking with HSBC.

As for the visa dilemma, you won't have to leave the country every month.

Nor every 3 months for that matter.

You can have your holiday visa renewed several times.

One person offering such services showed me an expired American passport that was renewed continuously for 2 years!!!

I found it hard to believe at first.

But when I asked my letting agency about holiday visa renewal, they said yes of course it can renewed several times.

Here is how it works:

You arrive in Vietnam on a 3 month holiday visa.

After 3 months, you pay 30 USD to have it renewed for an additional 3 months.

And then when you want it renewed for a further 3 months the fee increases to 45 USD.

Then 60 USD, then 75 USD, then 90 USD, etc etc...

So basically, every time you renew your 3 month holiday visa, the fee increases by 15 USD each time.

It's that simple.

You may only have to do a border run every 9 to 12 months or so.

But anyway, hope this info is of some use to you.

Regards,

Remb,

Thanks for the information. I've just started this process, so have a lot to learn.  People's advice and comments here are very helpful. 

I have given some thought to contacting a letting agency/facilitator in Nha Trang.  If anyone here can tell me how to go about finding one, I'd be most grateful.  I have seen Alien Consulting mentioned once or twice, and I've emailed them, but I'm thinking they might tailor their work more for the business person than for retirees such as myself and my wife.  I've heard that there are some scam artists out there, and we certainly want to avoid them. 

Good to know about the visa extensions.  Hoping that applies to retirees as well as working folks. 

Leo

Good Advice from REMB. Regarding real estate in Nha Trang. The lst serious looking we did was eight years ago. We went over with contacts from friends. It was a disaster. Their relatives ran us from low grade properties to low grade properties, all of whcih were for sale at the exact amount of our budget planning. The wife felt obligated to continue with these 'friends', but I convinced her to take a day off. That morning, just walking around the streets of certain Nha Trang neighborhoods, I found better properties on my own.

When you start looking for houses for purchase or rental, a good pair of walking shoes and a few days invested in 'reconnaissance' will save you a lot of wasted time and effort.

By the way, Nha Trang has a fairly decent city bus system. They don't run as often as in big cities, but they will get you around.

Leo 46 :

I have given some thought to contacting a letting agency/facilitator in Nha Trang.  If anyone here can tell me how to go about finding one, I'd be most grateful.

The young lady that owns these two websites is very helpful:

http://www.nhatrangapartments.com/index.php?lang=en-us
http://nhatrangproperties.net/home/default.aspx

Her name is Zoom and you can email her at zoom[at]nhatrangproperties.net.

She can likely hook you up with a furnished short-term apartment rental while you look for a longer-term place (which she can also help you with). 

Good to know about the visa extensions.  Hoping that applies to retirees as well as working folks.

It applies to you as well.  In general, the Vietnam visa situation isn't something you need to worry about.  Let's hope it stays that way!

Thanks to all.  I'm sure I will have lots more questions, which I will post here in the relevant category.  I really do appreciate you people taking the time to provide this helpful information.  I will try to emulate you some day, after I acquire some useful knowledge, that is. 
I checked out Miss Zoom's websites.  It would probably be better for us to get a short-term rental during house hunting than a hotel room.  Certainly less expensive.  Do you have any idea what sort of fees or commissions, if any, a renter would have to pay a firm like Zoom's? 
When we were visiting in Nha Trang 3 months ago, we did take the city bus, which was cheap and handy to where we were staying.  Will certainly use the bus again when it's convenient.

Live in Nha Trang for 6 months, rented a nice two bedroom apartment condo for $250 in an newly residential area, khu Vinh Diem Trung. Me and my girlfriend got it at a sweet price, but if you are westerners they'll charge you higher $350-450. Most owners will ask for 3-6 months in advance plus 3 months deposit, ouch! Cost for condo fee is about $12 including trash. Other utilities including water and gas run about $20. I use my AC 24 hours a day, so my electricity price is high ... my last bill was $80. This area has many westerners, with newly constructed shopping center and a western school nearby and has many restaurants and parks. Most buildings here are about 5 years old set in an exclusive zone managed by a property firm. It's about 10-15 minutes by motorbike to downtown and beach.

Thank you, Nash.  Good to know those monthly costs.  We very likely would not want to live that far away from the city and beaches. But, we're not ruling anything out at this stage.

Leo 46 :

Do you have any idea what sort of fees or commissions, if any, a renter would have to pay a firm like Zoom's?

You pay nothing.  She gets a finder's fee/commission from the landlord if you decide to rent a place.  When I was there in April, she spent about five hours showing me half a dozen apartments, of which two of them I really, really liked and would have been happy to live in.  I paid her nothing, other than buying both of us lunch, which I think is the least I could have done.  Thinking back, I probably should have tipped her for her time;  stupid me.

Zoom speaks perfect english and is trustworthy.  If you tell her what you want, she will do her best to find it for you.  Email her, tell her your plans, and she will help you, and she won't waste your time.

I will contact Zoom as we get farther down the road.  Appreciate the lead.

No problem.  One thing I forgot to mention:  The websites aren't always up to date and the properties you see there aren't really indicative of what you'll see when you're in town.  This is because inventory changes frequently, and she gets a lot of referrals by word-of-mouth, on a daily basis.  When I was there, nothing she showed me was on her websites, because they had either just become available, or were about to become available.

Sure, but it's good for us to see the kinds of apartments and houses in the areas we're interested in moving to and the different amenities in them. It will be a year or so before we will be able to look in earnest from here anyway. Thanks.

A year?  Why?

Lots of family stuff to take care of and other commitments we've made that we just can't back out of.

LOL.  In other words, you've just imposed upon people for advice that will probably be out of date by the time you *might* get around to using it, which is most likely never.

Unsubscribing.

Totally uncalled for remark.

Glad he is unsubscribing then  :dumbom:

Even though I won't be moving there until next year (as I had said in my introductory post), I'm trying to get my ducks in order, so I will pose some questions here from time to time in the next few months, so please bear with me. I lived in VN 40+ years ago and visited there for a few weeks earlier this year, so I have a lot to discover about how to live there.  I'll keep checking here on the blog, as there's lots of good info here.

I am sure you are not imposing on other members and it is always good to get the ducks in a row before the shooting starts. Forewarned is forearmed.  :top:

Hi
25 years in Vietnam and the last four in Nha Trang,
Quite a good knowledge about properties, house renting etc.
You can contact me at nord[at]nordvn.com for any kind of questions.

Best regards
Bertil Nord

Hello
My wife and I just got back from Vietnam, my son also came up from Oz.  We spent the majority of our time in Dalat, about a three hour motorcycle drive from Nha Trang.  I hear it is built up alot, lots of nice places on the beach, but their appears to be a lot of Russians their also,  After listening to a few folks at the breakfast table, I decided to by pass it, hung out in Dalat.  We are heading over there again in October, rent a place and hang out..  I am also setting up my SS, going to kick back and do something else.

Cheers

Thank you.  I may do that as I get closer to the move, which at this stage is still anticipated but not planned for.

Max, maybe we'll run into each other over there. 
I'll post more comments and questions in the near future.

Cheers

Leo 46 :

Thanks for the reply, Dan. Yes, we would very likely get a motorbike or maybe even two motorbikes. That's a good point about location. My brother lives a few miles north of the city center in Nha Trang, where it is considerably quieter and less expensive.

Sorry to be a stickler... with over 4 of the last 7 months spent in VN and having ridden over 2500 km throughout the country, you want to be sure you have motorcycle miles under your belt BEFORE you get on the plane. Yes, there are a LOT of kids with more balls than brains (yes, I was one 40-50 years ago) who arrive, see all the motorbikes, and figure "Hell, if they can put 4 on a moto, I can certainly ride one for the first time!" What they don't know is the locals' first ride was home from the birthing hospital and they've been on one every day since.

Bad idea and I've seen the broken bones, road rash, and incompetent riders to back me up.

If you move to VN, you will either need a motorbike or a car. Cars have a 100+% import duty, so 95+% of the population rides a motorbike. Learn to ride a real motorcycle now and the learning curve (VN traffic is like nothing you've ever experienced) will be significantly less steep. Every decent-sized city in North America has a motorcycle safety class that will prepare you to ride. Then buy some protective gear and a small-ish bike and ride. You'll see the world differently and your loved ones will thank you. My first bike was a Kawasaki KLR650 and it was great; pretty much bulletproof and a well-proven bike. Whatever you buy, buy used and have a mechanic check it out before you buy it.

EVERYONE who's going to VN should take the class... even if you're going to ride pillion (passenger) most of the time.

I'm moving to Da Lat in December, so I give a thumbs-up to whomever said it's better than NT. If you do move to NT, know that the Russians there have a less-than-stellar reputation.

I'm pretty sure that I am the only guy who rides in VN with a hi-viz modular Schuberth helmet and I'm okay with that. As a friend says, "If you have a $25 brain, get a $25 helmet."

Stepping off my soapbox now...

DanFromSF :

LOL.  In other words, you've just imposed upon people for advice that will probably be out of date by the time you *might* get around to using it, which is most likely never.

Unsubscribing.

Why is it that some people feel the need to crap all over others for no good reason?

Good riddance!

Maybe see you in Dalat then

(moderated: no free ad on the forum pls)

I am not moving to Nha trang, sorry

nguyenlanh :

Hi Max,

Im doing leasing, plz note to contact me for ur best suit accommodation in Nha Trang.

My name's Mint. 84 1667253164.

Is there another thread for advertisements like this?

Please be aware that almost all of the information and links for Nha Trang accommodation will end you up in the busy tourist area. If you are wanting to live away from all of that stuff I suggest not preplanning too much and stay for a month or two in guest houses until YOU decide where to live is best. Nowadays accommodation is quite expensive in the tourist areas.

Re visa. I think the rules have changed to 2 extension on a 3 month visa. Can get an 18 month residents visa for around $1000 . being Vietnam you can probably get more than 2 extension. The immigration is tightening up though. Too many people starting to abuse and use to work here illegally amongst other things. A border run every 9 months is a good holiday. Easy and cheap to go to another country. Good luck with your move. That us my next stop after Vung Tau. Sin city...

witty12 :

Re visa. I think the rules have changed to 2 extension on a 3 month visa. Can get an 18 month residents visa for around $1000 . being Vietnam you can probably get more than 2 extension. The immigration is tightening up though. Too many people starting to abuse and use to work here illegally amongst other things. A border run every 9 months is a good holiday. Easy and cheap to go to another country. Good luck with your move. That us my next stop after Vung Tau. Sin city...

This is good to know, thank you. With a US passport, we have to get the visa before arriving in VN. Does anyone have experience with a "border run" on a US passport? $1000 is a lot to pay at once, though it's actually less than 6 x $180 for three-month multiple-entry visas and $100 more than 6 x $150 for single-entry.

.......... :/

remb2030 :

Hello,

I read your post and felt I should give you my two cents worth.

Your plan about renting is a good one.

It's just a recipe for disaster when expats intend on buying property here, period.

But as mentioned above, you can stay in a hotel for a few weeks until you find suitable accommodation.

It shouldn't take you anywhere near two months to find something decent but do take your time.

There is one thing that really pisses me off here so please do keep this in mind.

Example: When you see a nice property for rent online, i.e: craigslist etc...

You go to visit the property, but upon arrival it's a completely different apartment.

And 9 times out of 10, an absolute dump!

So my advice is stay away from those cowboy letting agents on the likes of craigslist and expat forums.

And just seek out a reputable letting ''AGENCY'' within Nha Trang.

If you're not happy with what you see then walk away, common sense really.

Additionally, when it comes to banking:

Avoid HSBC at all costs!

I went there thinking ''great, it's a British bank'' so they must be half decent.

WRONG, their fees and charges are an absolute joke!!!

Not to mention the ridiculous amount of paperwork they request to open a simple current account.

I opened my account there and then closed it a day later as I was sick to the teeth with them and found much better elsewhere.

I just arrived from England, and have several bank accounts in England.

And I can tell you that for HSBC Vietnam to consider themselves a British banking branch is downright insulting.

So the best alternatives are Sacombank, and ACB (Asia Commercial Bank).

They offer much better banking services including better exchange rates.

And more importantly, none of the bullshit that comes hand in hand when banking with HSBC.

As for the visa dilemma, you won't have to leave the country every month.

Nor every 3 months for that matter.

You can have your holiday visa renewed several times.

One person offering such services showed me an expired American passport that was renewed continuously for 2 years!!!

I found it hard to believe at first.

But when I asked my letting agency about holiday visa renewal, they said yes of course it can renewed several times.

Here is how it works:

You arrive in Vietnam on a 3 month holiday visa.

After 3 months, you pay 30 USD to have it renewed for an additional 3 months.

And then when you want it renewed for a further 3 months the fee increases to 45 USD.

Then 60 USD, then 75 USD, then 90 USD, etc etc...

So basically, every time you renew your 3 month holiday visa, the fee increases by 15 USD each time.

It's that simple.

You may only have to do a border run every 9 to 12 months or so.

But anyway, hope this info is of some use to you.

Regards,

To Remb2030:

Hei,

You say purchasing property is the potential disaster?

Is that for all of Vietnam.

I am considering to invest in a 2nd home somewhere in SE Asia.

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