Investopia asks rhetorically: Why would you go halfway around the world to retire in Da Nang, Nha Trang and Da Lat? It goes on to provide the answer: Because it’s cheap and charming.
Da Nang: Beachfront and great for golfers
Situated on the East Sea at the mouth of the Han River, Da Nang is home to Vietnam’s best golf course and a long, beautiful beach, the Canada-based financial education website says.
Though Da Nang is where a major US airbase was located during the war, the Vietnamese “apparently welcome American visitors and retirees now.”
The city of a million people, dotted with wide, easily-traveled roads and wide sidewalks for those who like to walk free of bikes and motorbikes, is a place two foreigners can live on US$1,200 a month.
“The beach is utterly beautiful and very clean, with lifeguards and litter barrels, and yet it is not a ‘beach town,’ so it’s easy to find a deserted stretch for lolling.”
Nha Trang: Tropical resort and magnet for expats
Situated around 440 km northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang is a popular vacation destination, with more than six kilometers of beaches.
The city is home to 400,000 people, including hundreds of expats.
Nha Trang has a long dry season from January to August. It experiences its heaviest rainfall in October and November.
Tran Phu, the main street of Nha Trang, runs along the beach. Photo: Nguyen Chung
Earlier this year Irish magazine International Living described how an American couple has retired in Nha Trang while spending about four months each year visiting friends and family in the US.
Jo Thomson, 62, and her husband Marc Brand, 63, rent “a modern studio apartment — a five-minute walk from the ocean — that was fully furnished and included cable, Wifi, a small kitchen, maid service, laundry six days a week, a security guard, a weight room, and utilities for $300 a month.”
There are also long-term hotel stays for about $200 a month.
Grocery prices are way below what US citizens are used to – 10 cents for a baguette (the French colonial influence), 10 eggs for under a dollar, and almost a kilogram of potatoes for less than a dollar.
The food in restaurants is delicious – Vietnam's cuisine is much influenced by French cooking but has its own distinct style of light, bright flavors – very fresh food and of course a lot of seafood.
Foreign tourists sunbathing on Hon Mun Beach in Nha Trang. Photo: Nguyen Chung
Da Lat: Mountain greenery and gardeners’ delight
While Da Lat is not on the coast, it has a big advantage in a hot country: an average yearly temperature of 57 F.
Da Lat is really a mountain resort complete with pine trees where “you can rent an apartment for around $300, eat out for less than a dollar…and get a good hour-long massage for $5.”
The Valley of Love in Da Lat. Photo: Lam Vien
The city is famous for its flowers and holds a flower festival in December and January. It’s not easy to find English-language real estate agents and service providers, but you can always try the local university, the site says.
According to International Living, if you choose to live there, you should choose a place on the outskirts, no matter how tempting the center is, with its thriving seafood market and moon-shaped Xuan Huong Lake.
The outskirts are prettier than the center of town, the magazine says, with better views. Da Lat is not on the sea, but it’s just three hours from Nha Trang, where you can go for a beach vacation. Some retirees divide their time between the two.
Da Lat Railway Station, built in 1938, incorporates traditional Vietnamese elements and French architecture. Photo: Gia Binh