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Retiring in Vietnam - Dazed and Confused ??

hello ExB :)

im in the daydreaming/planning stage of my Vietnam retirement. 
ive been to HCM (a few times) and also surroundings like Mekong Delta and Vung Tau.
ive also been reading and researching a few forums i can find on the net (mostly conflicting and outdated).
if possible, i would like to throw out a bunch of questions, impressions and perceptions -- looking for community soundboard.

DANANG VS NHA TRANG
my preference is DN since it seems more of a city first with a great beach/coastline attached.
rather than NT which seems a beach first, then a town secondary which compliments the beach
ideal would be a quiet beachy area a few km from the main busy zone but still have amenities and convenience
DN seems slower paced as well so i may one day man-up and get a scooter.
weather seems better in NT (cooler, less monsoony) .
i guess could split 80/20 between the two, which leads to housing...

HOUSING
i think the practical thing to do is rent for a year or two and take my time looking around.
when renting a house/unit for a year or more, do i just need to plop down cash or do i need a business VISA or other reqt???
im reading $400 - $600/month is enough to secure a great unit but a lot of the ads here are mostly above $1000.
i guess its best to get boots on the ground and look myself??? anybody with good experience with a local agent???
how about beaches 20km NORTH of NT (like Bai Dai/Long Beach or Ba Ho/3 lakes)
or even 60km NORTH of NT (Doc Let Beach Resort) --- maybe not enough infrastructure???
but i do have a dream to own a beach house someday/somewhere :)

VISA
can i just keep renewing that 3 month Tourist visa within VN, or is there another type of VISA thats more flexible?
i read about Business VISA... are there any benefits to this (ie. renting and banking) ??? if so, is it easy to get???
If i put some money into the VN stock market is that enough to satisfy the Business VISA?
i would love to remain Canadian but stay in VN 90% of the time.
do we become residents after a certain period without affecting other citizenships???
anybody with good experience with a local agent???

BANKING
so much confusion out there about wiring/transfering funds back and forth between VN/Canadian banks..
any recommended bank combinations that does this smoothly???
i just want to wire a chunk of CAD (greater than $10k) over to my VN bank which will autoconvert to DONG .
scrape off whatever interest for day to day expenses
at the end, wire DONG back to Canadian Bank which will autoconvert to CAD (greater than $10k)
i read somewhere that savings accounts in VN get 8-10% interest... thats huge!!

MISC INFO
i am in my mid forties and feel the time is ripe to break free from the daily grind.
im coming in clean --- ie. no VN language skills, no VN business, no VN wife/gf, no award from VN govt.
just myself (hopefully my dog) a Tourist VISA and hopefully enough cash to last a few decades.

Thanks for reading this novel :)

I think you need to do a lot more research, ( especially on this site , most of your questions have been answered MANY times already ).  BTW the Bank interest is only 5 --6% now, you maybe able to screw them down to about 8% if you deposit over 1 Billion VND.
  Best bet would be to find a charming , trustworthy, VN wife, ( an orphan with no family ), and 90 % of your problems would be solved.
  Living in smaller VN cities/towns is also much cheaper. ( especially accommodation, ( I temporarily renting a 3 bedroom house in a quiet location, but close to everything,  for 1.8mil a month, and the VN's keep telling me, TOO MUCH!!!
  DN and NT are expensive places now, ( NT  full of Russians ).
  You can PM me if you would like some info on country living.

Bai Dai, 20km south of Nha Trang is set to become one long strip of huge, expensive resorts. There is one reasonably priced hotel sitting all by itself more than half a kilometre distance from the beach. Doc Let is a still mainly a fishing village, with private and government resorts at the north end of the beach. Further north in Khanh Hoa province is Dai Lanh, which is an OK beach, but the town is mostly fishing village and truck stop famous for its whores. Long Beach, Doc Let and Dai Lanh are all beaches just to visit for the day, rather than be based there.

Ba Ho is an over rated tourist stop. The 'ho' are ponds, not lakes.  The walk to the top ponds is steep, you have to climb over large boulders, and it's not worth the effort.

Da Nang is not really a tourist town, it is a business town.  Hoi An, 30km south, is the tourist spot to to to.  Don't bother going to Ba Na Hill Station, it is an overpriced faux medieval France town theme park. The one thing I did enjoy in Da Nang was the Cham Museum.

Only you can decide as to which city you want to live in.  Nha Trang has lots of facilities, including a very good collection of up to date English language reference books (brain food) in the province library. There are also several hot springs around town and lovely mountain streams in the foothills.  I've been here 13 years so far and love it.

thanks ralph and blue.

thats exactly the level 2 info that is so helpful :)

re: 90% problems - i dont think these are problems, just mild inconveniences that can be solved with "GOOD ACCURATE" information. getting married, on the other hand, may introduce 90% more permanent problems... if a wrong choice is made.

i guess most impt for me is the VISA and BANKING, the rest are just choices to be made during my journey.

cheers

Re Banking: I suggest you use a foreign bank for local and international banking...

Banking is always a problem here..... click on some avatars to get a link to some topics discussed here.

You should find most links interesting and relevant.

Good luck!

All I can say is good for you. , I loved hoi an and would like to move there also ,  I am  an Aussie who loves the life style here. But would also want to work here

is there anything like the Malaysian "my 2nd home" visa where foreigners can dump a bunch of cash in a Malay bank and  basically are then able to stay for 10 years. full in / out privileges, bring 1 car into the country duty free, .... and a whole list of benefits just like a Malaysian citizen.

or even the Philippines has that "retirement visa" plan... with 50k in the bank, you basically become a citizen (Go Manny !!)

3 months , leave, 3 months , leave, 3 months, leave,,, sounds like fun but maybe will deplete resources quickly and will also eventually become a nuisance.

i guess that difficulty is what makes me want to retire in VN instead of Malaysia or Phils.

beefbrisket :

is there anything like the Malaysian "my 2nd home" visa where foreigners can dump a bunch of cash in a Malay bank and  basically are then able to stay for 10 years. full in / out privileges, bring 1 car into the country duty free, .... and a whole list of benefits just like a Malaysian citizen.

or even the Philippines has that "retirement visa" plan... with 50k in the bank, you basically become a citizen (Go Manny !!)

3 months , leave, 3 months , leave, 3 months, leave,,, sounds like fun but maybe will deplete resources quickly and will also eventually become a nuisance.

i guess that difficulty is what makes me want to retire in VN instead of Malaysia or Phils.

Maybe you can adopt a VN, then you may be entitled to a longer term Visa, hahaha

QUOTE
is there anything like the Malaysian "my 2nd home" visa.. ?
UNQUOTE

Answer: No.

bluenz :

Best bet would be to find a charming , trustworthy, VN wife, ( an orphan with no family ), and 90 % of your problems would be solved.

  Living in smaller VN cities/towns is also much cheaper. ( especially accommodation, ( I temporarily renting a 3 bedroom house in a quiet location, but close to everything,  for 1.8mil a month, and the VN's keep telling me, TOO MUCH!!!

Welcome back, Mr Bluenz :D!
The first paragraph: You remind me about a story, when I was student, whenever we talked about getting married, a strong girl always said to us: she only want to get married with an orphan, or with man without parents (they died). Now I know, the wish of foreigners are the same with strong Vietnamese women, hehehe.

The second one: Yes, price in small cities are quite cheap. My sister has a house for rent, just about 3km far from centre of the city, just 500.000 VND, that's why 1.8mils is so much with many people, hihihi. Vietnamese salary is not so high, specially in small city. I still remember, some stories about some unoffical teachers in kintegarten in my ex hometown, their salary even don't enough for buying gasoline (250.000VND).

am i reading this right? 500,000 VND is $25USD/month to rent a house??
where is this place?

i notice a lot of housing ads on this blog...
but they are nowhere close to that price you mentioned.

is it that big a price difference between a small city and HCM/DaNang??

beefbrisket :

am i reading this right? 500,000 VND is $25USD/month to rent a house??
where is this place?

i notice a lot of housing ads on this blog...
but they are nowhere close to that price you mentioned.

is it that big a price difference between a small city and HCM/DaNang??

I've seen the same here for that price, no running water, down narrow alleyways wedged between 3 - 4 other houses, usually only 1 room, cook outside on an open fire.
   I looked at others around 1 mil a month , with separate kitchens, Bathroom, 2 bedrooms, and small yard, although most had the lounge doorway opening onto the footpath.
  My 1.8 mil house, has 3 b/rooms, mezzanine floor, dining room,( now a classroom ),  kitchen, bathroom with flush toilet, large lounge, veranda's all around, with large yard, ( 50 m's off the road, a large field in front ). although it is considered old by VN standards, ( hard to tell the difference between something 5 yrs old here and 20 years old though ), I consider it a palace, compared to many VN houses, although it has the usual VN problems, bloody roosters everywhere and too many dogs, ( used for breeding , for sale ).

Yes, 25$ :D. That house was build for my sister's family (3 members), but then, her family stay in a small house in our family's garden to look afer everything for my Dad. So that house for rent. It's not like the house only for rent here in Saigon, it's not so big, about 40-50m2, but it was build for family. (I never went there to see :D)

That price was 2 years ago, but the price doesn't increase so much, I guess :D (from 400.000 to 500.000, then maybe now, 600.000 is high enough).



.

beefbrisket :

is there anything like the Malaysian "my 2nd home" visa where foreigners can dump a bunch of cash in a Malay bank and  basically are then able to stay for 10 years. full in / out privileges, bring 1 car into the country duty free, .... and a whole list of benefits just like a Malaysian citizen.

or even the Philippines has that "retirement visa" plan... with 50k in the bank, you basically become a citizen (Go Manny !!)

3 months , leave, 3 months , leave, 3 months, leave,,, sounds like fun but maybe will deplete resources quickly and will also eventually become a nuisance.

i guess that difficulty is what makes me want to retire in VN instead of Malaysia or Phils.

If you're looking for that, I would personally suggest just going to Malaysia or Philippines. Singapore is an option too but you gotta put down a lot more than 50k for the bought citizenship. ;) Really, look into Malaysia, only downside is alcohol tax. So if you're a hard drinker like a lot of expats here, may be a deal breaker.  :lol:

2 things that will help you:
1) you cannot get a residence card in VN even if you retire.I'm a Vietnamese-American , retiring in Hanoi and I cannot a residence card. You can apply for a residence card if you can show that you are an EXPERT on something that VN needs!
2) When your Visa to VN expires( tourist or business) , you MUST leave VN to another country. Then reapply at a VN embassy in order to come back to VN.
3) as I understand today, you cannot send VNDong to Canada thru any bank
In VN unless you can show that the money is from your legitimate work in VN.

There are VISA offices in VN,  that for a lot it money can get you an extension.

hongma :

2 things that will help you:
1) you cannot get a residence card in VN even if you retire.I'm a Vietnamese-American , retiring in Hanoi and I cannot a residence card. You can apply for a residence card if you can show that you are an EXPERT on something that VN needs!
2) When your Visa to VN expires( tourist or business) , you MUST leave VN to another country. Then reapply at a VN embassy in order to come back to VN.
3) as I understand today, you cannot send VNDong to Canada thru any bank
In VN unless you can show that the money is from your legitimate work in VN.

There are VISA offices in VN,  that for a lot it money can get you an extension.

There have been more rules changes on May 1,  current holders of the old VEC have to use renewal form M5A now, instead of M5, the VEC replacement is the  TT Visa, (  12 months for spouses , etc )  Be careful, a friend was issued with a VR, when his VEC expired,  this is the same as a TT, but only for 6 months.( $50 ). You shouldn't have to leave VN to renew a Business Visa,( LD ),  the whole idea of a Business Visa is to work or own a business in VN, which automatically entitles you to a TRC, ( 2 yrs ),

    Categories of Visa    Description / category of applicant entitled to    Duration of Visa    Duration of Temporary Resident Card
1    NG1-NG4    Diplomatic                                                              Up to 12 months                         Up to 5 years
2    LV1-LV2    Working with Vietnamese authorities/parties    Up to   12 months                    Up to 5 years
3    ĐT    Investors/foreign lawyers                                                   Up to 5 years                          Up to 5 years
4    DN    Working with Vietnamese enterprises                              Up to 12 months                     NA
5    NN1-NN2    Chief Representative Office, Head of Project Office of foreign NGO), Chief rep of rep offices in VN.                                                                                                     p                                                                                                         up to 12 months                 Up to 3 years
6    NN3    Staffs of NGO, Rep office in VN                                        Up to 12 months                    NA
7    DH    Students/ interns                                                       Up to 12 months                       Up to 5 years
8    HN    Attending meeting                                                                      Up to 3 months           NA
9    PV1    Journalists with permanent residence in VN                                    Up to 12 months    Up to 2 years
10    PV2    Journalists with short term residence in VN                                           Up to 12 months    NA
11    LĐ    Foreign workers                                                                            Up to 2 years        Up to 2 years
12    DL    Tourists    Up to 3 months    NA
13    TT    Dependents of 2,3,5,7,9,11                                                                  Up to 12 months    Up to 3 years
14    VR    Visiting relatives, other purpose                                                        Up to 6 months                   NA
15    SQ    Related to MOF, Consulate with the purpose of market research, visiting relatives, tourist, medical treatment                                                                                                                                    Up to 30 days    NA

2/ According to article 7, point 1 of the new law, the purpose of Visa may not be converted from one purpose to another. Our interpretation is that, for instance, someone entering Vietnam with a tourist visa (DL) may not be able to convert it to a work visa in country (LD)

This is something I would like to know more about?????

2. Foreigners issued with LV1, LV2, ĐT, NN1, NN2, DH, PV1, LĐ, TT visas shall be issued with temporary residence cards with the same symbols.”
Accordingly, foreigners issued TT visa (including: foreigners are parents, spouse, and children under 18 years of age of the foreigners issued with LV1, LV2, ĐT, NN1, NN2, UNIVERSITY, PV1, LĐ visas, or foreigners that are parents, spouse, and children of Vietnamese citizens) are considering issuing Vietnam Temporary Residence Card. This article is expanded for foreigners that are parents, spouse, and children of Vietnamese citizens.

Take a look at this blog I wrote a while ago.... It answers some of your questions
owee58.com/2014/08/27/retire-in-vietnam/

The laws of supply and demand go into play when it comes to pricing but in the instance you mentioned regarding higher than normal housing rentals prices asked by owners I would say; Owners want as much as they can get. The housing rental prices maybe inflated on internet sites since foreigners are not aware of true values. Owners want to get higher than normal rental income, this is business. If you find yourself in an inflated rental chalk it up to an educational experience. As you acclimate to Vietnam customs, and its economy, your questions will all be answered.

My suggestion is to come and rent an inexpensive hotel room. Great rooms can be found for 10 to 30 U.S. dollars a day. These rooms have small refrigerators, complete private showers, and your bedding is changed daily; some include breakfast.

I stayed in a new High rise building in Than Xuan, Hanoi and I paid $300 USD a month. When I left the owner said if I came back he would charge $250. This great place had a balcony on the 8th floor and laundry was included. I was walking distance to Royal City and across the street from 2 universities and the police station. I've stayed in Dalat, Lam Dong walking distance to Dalat Center and I paid $9 USD a day; Stayed there 2 months during the expensive season TET. I have experienced many hotels in Dalat and I found one that charged $180 a month. I stayed in Tan Binh, and other locations in Saigon and paid about $15 USD a night for a decent room with a/c and private bath.  In Nha Trang I stayed in a great remodeled hotel room, beautiful room, and paid $30 USD a day. Breakfast was included, the beach was 1 block away. I've found other hotels in Nha Trang that were just as good and priced about this, of course you’ll find the expensive hotels everywhere and Nha Trang is full of them. I am a shopper. And if I were a local I’m sure I would get a great monthly rental and this is my plan in the future…

To find the best rates anywhere is to befriend some of the locals and you’ll find your way. Good friends will help you… in my experiences the locals have gone way beyond their way to help. The people are great. I've not found any bad apples, but that doesn't mean there aren't any.

When I’m in Vietnam I send my self money through friends through Western Union. Costs about $5 USD per transaction; no other bank fees. I get competitive exchange rates, better than advertised on the WU site.

I hope this helps until you acclimate to this evolving country.

Im in the same boat.
Thanks mate.
Cheers

It is the difference between having a good Vietnamese wife with her feet on the ground. Looking on the internet is a sure way to pay top dollar and then some.

Everyone seems to have a nice Vietnamese wife to ease their way moving here... what's a single American woman supposed to do? 🤔

My situation is that I'm already here in Da Nang, on a 3 month tourist visa. I've got accommodations booked through early March, and I'm serious about figuring out if I like it enough to stay long term... for me, this entails being able to do a trial run of a "normal" life here for a few months (cooking my own food, doing my own gosh darn laundry, etc.).

I've got a reasonable budget to rent whatever, and I'm not planning to work in Vietnam, which should make things easier... but sans the lovely Vietnamese wife to smooth my path, I am getting nothing but conflicting information about the visa extension/renewal process, and the availability of short term apartment rentals. Especially because Vietnam has been changing the rules/costs for American tourist visas rather a lot lately.

What I want to avoid is falling in love with this place and then the visa rules change and I'm forced to leave... for example, perpetual visa runs to stay in Thailand are getting more tricky from what I hear. I've got no problem leaving the country for a weekend trip to Bangkok every couple few months if visa runs are actually a sustainable way to stay here long term.

I suppose I'd be open to adopting an orphan if I gotta, but I'm probably a bad fit for adopting a Vietnamese husband. ;)

ekpassepartout :

I suppose I'd be open to adopting an orphan if I gotta, but I'm probably a bad fit for adopting a Vietnamese husband. ;)

I don't suggest adopting a Vietnamese husband, unless you want to spend your days cooking and washing dishes for him  ;)

Can't really help you with your specific questions but your experience sounds like a fun adventure. If you stay there longer term I suggest you try to learn the language, it will open many more doors for you and will help you deal with VISA issues more easily without having to rely on a "Vietnamese wife"  :D

Hahaha, same same as having an American husband. ;)

ekpassepartout :

Hahaha, same same as having an American husband. ;)

I'm one for gender equality. 

I cook; he washes dishes and put them away. 

I do the laundry and iron the clothes; he hangs out the washing and takes them in. 

I'm allergic to dust, so he sweeps, mops, and cleans.

We both go to the market.  I bargain and select, he carries. 

He does the budget and tells me how much we have left each month, I spend accordingly.

We argue.  He complains that I have to be right all the time, so I let him win sometimes. :) 

I tell him he doesn't listen; he calls me hard headed.  Somehow, we mesh together well enough to last.

Be careful !!   You may be outed as researchers?   (pah!)  (undercover agents)
for Allan & Barbara Pease's books. 
   A former mere male, I was enlightened by reading;

" Why men don't listen & Women can't read road maps "     (and)
" Why men lie - and Women cry "   

* Recommended reading.    And a long way from being ..    :offtopic:

ekpassepartout :

What I want to avoid is falling in love with this place and then the visa rules change and I'm forced to leave... for example, perpetual visa runs to stay in Thailand are getting more tricky from what I hear. I've got no problem leaving the country for a weekend trip to Bangkok every couple few months if visa runs are actually a sustainable way to stay here long term.

I suggest talking to a visa agent in Da Nang (google) or find the facebook group (search 'vietnam visa agents'). There are 1 year visas. Business visas have other features like you may qualify for a Temporary Residence Card. Tell em you don't want to do border runs, ask what they can do for you. In Vietnam if a 'law' gets in your way, it can help to find someone with secret powers.

Thanks for the advice about the business visa/TRC... researching that stuff online has been a pile of ambiguity, but I'm starting to realize that there's many advantages to the... ummmm... "flexibility" of the "laws" here. :):)

ekpassepartout :

Thanks for the advice about the business visa/TRC... researching that stuff online has been a pile of ambiguity, but I'm starting to realize that there's many advantages to the... ummmm... "flexibility" of the "laws" here. :):)

Professor Henry Higgins :

I think she's got it. By George, she's got it!

Professor Henry Higgins :
"I think she's got it. By George, she's got it!"

..so wot did you expect, with your expat guidance..?

Besides: She is not a Blonde...    :cool:

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