Vietnam ranked sixth among “Eight of the Cheapest Countries to Retire Around the World”, according to United States’ travel magazine Travel+Leisure.

Both local and international elders love to experience retirement life in Hoi An ancient town in the central province of Quang Nam. Photo: Nguoi Hoi An 

An ideal destination for American retirees

Patricia Doherty, a staff writer for the magazine wrote in her report that retirement can mean a career change to a long wished-for profession or more time to devote to a hobby or passion.

“For many American retirees, whether for adventure, change of scenery, or reduction in living expenses, moving to another country is a goal,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, weather, location, health care access, language, visa qualifications, and income requirements are among the many considerations that go into deciding on a retirement home.

Among eight countries on her list of ideal destinations for Americans, “Vietnam is a very affordable place for retirees who appreciate the country’s beaches, scenery, food, history, and culture”.

According to a recent survey, the country’s overall cost of living is about 49% lower than in the United States, and rents are about 75% lower, depending on the location. In Ho Chi Minh City, home to the largest expat community according to International Living, the cost of living is 62% cheaper than in New York, and housing is about 83% less expensive.

In addition, Vietnamese health care is also praised by Travel+Leisure as it is “very affordable, with both public and private systems” and expats are suggested to carry international health insurance and take advantage of private hospitals in the big cities of the country.

Convincing reasons

The tranquil life on the bank of Hoai River, Hoi An ancient town. Photo: Nguoi Hoi An

Not only Travel + Leisure, but Vietnam was also selected by International Living Magazine as one of the ideal countries for retirees in 2021.

The magazine referred to eight reasons for which retirees around the world should live in Vietnam, including the low cost of living; great opportunity to explore the rich culture of the nearby Southeast Asia countries; delicious food; friendly people; various places to live; ideal warm tropical weather; rich in history and culture; and having “an evolving future” for retirees.

In fact, foreign retirees often choose Vietnamese coastal cities like Danang, Nha Trang, Hoi An Town or Phu Quoc Island to enjoy the rest of their lives.

Deborah Nolan from Australia is one of them. The lady has been living in the central ancient town of Hoi An, Quang Nam Province since 2016.

She decided to move to the peaceful charming town after almost two decades of living in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam. 

“The rather isolated residential area on the bank of Hoai River in Cam Nam Ward, Hoi An Town is very suitable for the ‘slow lifestyle’ of mine,” she told The Hanoi Times.

“Moreover, Hoians are very friendly, the weather is good while the cost of living is adorable,” she stated.

“My favorite daily activities are writing, walking with my dog, taking care of the garden, or visiting my favorite coffee shop in the old streets of Hoi An town,” she added.

Hanoi is also an equally good choice

Hanoi’s West Lake area – where the old and new are integrated. Photo: Dao Huu Duy

As much as Deborah loves the peaceful riverside town, Grant Riley, a British scholar, chose Hanoi as a permanent residence after his retirement.

He said that there are few cities in the world that can boast the amount of water found in all corners like Hanoi. The capital city is surrounded by a variety of water bodies like Hoan Kiem, West Lake, Truc Bach, Giang Vo, Ngoc Khanh, among others.

“The first thing I associated with Hanoi was water. It was a day in August in 2015 and Hanoi greeted me with a very heavy tropical storm,” he recalled. Grant then chose to settle down in an old district that is only a short walk from the Ho Tay or West Lake.

“I love the West Lake’s exquisite cool breezes in the summer and its dim scenery under the fog during winter,” he told The Hanoi Times.

In addition, the lake’s periphery consists of a splendid concoction of cute cafes and bustling bars, old pagodas, lotus ponds, restaurants, and, of course, hotels and the odd luxury apartment block, all set in a remarkably low-rise skyline. “Tay” translates as the west, and is also the word for “westerner”, and the cooler climate of the lake attract many of them, including Grant.

“The rental price is a little bit more expensive than in the rest of Hanoi. Meanwhile, the cost of living is also slightly higher but still reasonable,” he came to the conclusion.

Other countries on the list of “Eight of the Cheapest Countries to Retire Around the World” by Travel+Leisure are including Mexico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Portugal, Panama, Montenegro, and Colombia.