May 30, 2018 Catherine Mendoza 21Comment

Thinking of moving to Hanoi? Then you must read this!


When my visa expired, I knew I needed a new place to hop into.

Since I was living on a budget, Hanoi became one of the options even though it wasn’t my ideal place. I found myself booking a flight to this city that I didn’t fall in love with on my first and second visits.

The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi has a population of over 9 million, half of which are motorcycles. Three out of 10 Vietnamese own a minimum of two motorcycles.

Vietnam is a country widely influenced by France.

It was smoggy and chilly when I landed in Noi Ban, Hanoi. I’m not a big fan of cold temperature. In fact, I’m totally not used to it. I instantly missed the comforting warmth of Bangkok. Some travelers told me that it wasn’t that cold for them, as they were from countries with snow. I believed them although it wasn’t my first time in this city. Somehow, I wasn’t prepared for it. I thought jackets would be enough to keep me warm. I never thought I would need winter clothes. Later on, I experienced chills.

Acquiring a tourist visa wasn’t that complicated. I applied for a three-month single entry visa for a total of $44. I rented a private room on the third floor of a four-story house on It cost $170 a month and it comes with a fast internet connection of up to 30 mbps. I’m sharing the cost with three cool British people, Charlie, Caroline, and Sian, who are also English teachers and travelers, and with a Vietnamese girl, Diep. 

When living in a country with a low cost of living though, you’d start questioning why a meal costs $3 or more.

Meat, bread, eggs, and other basic food items make up my grocery list, for which I spend $20-$30 good for a week. I buy fresh vegetables from a woman vendor who doesn’t speak English, but gladly entertains me. We understand each other through hand gestures. Fresh broccoli costs only a dollar. I also buy tofu, which is always an ingredient of Vietnamese dishes. From her stand to my apartment, I walk for only five minutes.

Getting a job to support your life in Hanoi is effortless as well. Majority of English centers accept cover teachers and the pay is satisfying. It usually ranges from $15 to $30 an hour, provided that you have a degree, a teaching experience or a certificate. With so many travelers and job seekers flocking to this country, however, the competition is undoubtedly high. Most academies and centers prioritize native speakers despite the qualifications you’re holding, so don’t get too excited.

I tried my luck getting a job as an English teacher while doing online teaching even though I didn’t have a work permit yet. I thought it would be a smooth process since English teachers are in demand. I never thought it would be challenging.


I received countless rejections, and that’s part of the game. You just have to be patient and show your best whenever you’re invited to teaching demos and to take over classes. In preparation for that, you can also consider volunteering at a homestay as what I did before to prove that you’re passionate about what you do.


When I’m bored and stressed after endlessly working in my four-cornered room, I go to random cozy coffee shops to enjoy my favorite Vietnamese coffee or other drinks such as fresh coconut juice, flavored tea, and even the sweet yogurt coffee that I never thought existed. Don’t worry about connectivity, because almost all coffee shops have reliable Wi-Fi connection.

Was Choosing to move to Hanoi worth it? I moved out of Manila in August 2017 after getting restless and bored living there and spending more than I earned. I flew to Bangkok where I worked as a temporary guesthouse manager for four months. When my visa expired, I knew I needed a new place to hop into. And then, I moved to Hanoi. Later I figured how is it living in Hanoi. 1. Life in Hanoi is easy and affordable. Back in Manila, I used to rent a flat that cost me $300 a month. I spent at least $40 for a 3-Mbps internet connection and other expensive utility bills. In Hanoi, I rented a private room on the third floor of a four-story house. It cost $170 a month and it comes with a fast internet connection of up to 30 Mbps. See the difference? How cool is that? 2. In Hanoi, a dollar can go a long way. The famous, and probably one of the best, Vietnamese coffee and the world-renowned rice noodle soup called "Pho", which has meat and vegetables, can be found everywhere. It will cost you only a dollar or two, sometimes even less. Bia Ha Noi, a local beer, costs as low as 30 cents per glass. Hanoi almost has everything, and it’s an attractive place for freelancers like me. Affordable and convenient. Though, it's not always good things. The only downside in my personal opinion is the locals are not as friendly as most Asian people that I've been. I have no serious problem with that, just my sentiment. Nevertheless, there are numerous reasons why I love this place. ♡ Happy one month with you, Hanoi! ♡ #hanoi #HoanKiemLake #lifeabroad #travel #travelasia #nomadlife #nomad #expatlife #expat #traveler #traveldiary #girlslovetravel #girlboss #escapesanddiaries #vietnam #wheninhanoi #wanderer #sheisnotlost #shediscovers #globetrotter #glt #gltlove #travelwriter #travelblogger #bbctraveler #bbc #bbcearth #beautifuldestinations #pho

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If you want to go healthy, you can walk or ride a bike along the lakes. Hanoi has major lakes: Hoa Kin and West Lake. If you feel like hitting the gym with free sauna and yoga, you can register for only $20 a month.

Or if you want to have a nightlife, there is the Old Quarter that never really gets old. You know what I mean? It’s a nice place to meet fellow travelers and have a real fun time.

If, however, winter isn’t your thing, avoid staying in Hanoi from December to March. Temperature drops to 7-9 degrees. I’m checking weather reports every morning to know what it’s going to be like for the rest of the day, hoping for warm temperature. So far, though, the temperature has consistently been ranging from 9 to 17 degrees.



Hanoi almost has everything, and it’s an attractive place for freelancers like me. Affordable and convenient.


My biggest pet peeve, though, is the quiet seem unfriendly locals. They’re not as polite as Filipinos and Thais. They seem to not care on the road, almost oblivious of the people crossing the streets. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you get to experience it.  Nevertheless, there are numerous reasons why I love this place.


I had developed a love hate relationship with the locals in Hanoi. I will not lie, I had several episodes that made me feel that way. But one night while we're walking along the streets of Old Quarter, this man who's driving his tuktuk bike along with his passenger randomly just smiled and said hi to me. What did I do? Of course I genuinely returned the favor! ❤️ . Sometimes I thought, do they hate people here or they're just sometimes naturally unfriendly? Though, I've met and lived with incredibly nice locals at my homestay! 💋👣 . . So this is a snapshot 🎥 of me and the man! 🎶 . . . . #wheninhanoi #travelstyle #travel #travelwriter #travelblogger #photography #instadaily #instagood #oldquarter #passionpassport #travelasia #tuktuk #man #smile #iamtb #sheisnotlost #travelstoke #city #traveladdict #travelmadness #cityescape #escapesanddiaries

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Vietnam, a nation of brave women, although somewhat chaotic in one’s eyes, makes me appreciate tropical places and teaches me to live a simple and healthy life. It also shows me how to be kinder and more patient.


So, was choosing Hanoi to live in worth it? Absolutely. 


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Was Choosing to move to Hanoi worth it?

Was Choosing to move to Hanoi worth it?Was choosing to move to Hanoi worth it

21 thoughts on “Was Choosing to move to Hanoi worth it?

  1. I love Hanoi! It has such a good vibe to the city. I miss the coffee and food there. It was intimidating the first day just to see all the bikes on the road and crossing the street was terrifying. Haha but its all part of the city’s charm. Thanks for sharing!

  2. My brother and his girlfriend lived in Hanoi for six months and found it a really tough place to live. I think they struggled with the indifference of the locals and weren’t too keen on the food that they could cook with the ingredients they could get hold of (if you don’t know how to jazz up tofu like you do, it’s pretty boring). I hope that the weather is warmer, and you are enjoying it more now xx

  3. Glad to read that you’re enjoying your decision to move to Hanoi! I admire that–I’m currently debating whether I should keep my current job in the states or make the jump and move. You don’t make the decision sound easy, but you definitely make it seem worth it!

  4. I haven’t been to Hanoi, bit it seems you’re beginning to like the city. With the weather getting warmer you might also get to see it in a different light and take advantage of the outside activities more.

  5. I haven’t been to Vietnam yet, but was considering going next month. I need up booking a flight to Malaysia because I heard the Visa for Vietnam was a bit of a pain – glad to see it wasn’t for you!

  6. Looks like you had a great choice. I also have friends who moved out to Hanoi seems like they enjoying it. This was a good read, saving this for future reference. 🙂

  7. I actually had no idea it can get so cold to Hanoi ! I am glad I know now, before I book my trip! Seems like Vietnam is a great place for travellers, its seems pretty cheap too! I am dreaming to visit Vietnam one day and Hanoi will be one of those places I definitely visit when I am there

  8. Wow, you are a brave young lady! I am not sure I could just up and move to a whole new country! I love the location you chose and it looks fantastic for a visit!

  9. Hanoi sounds like a pretty cool place to end up for a while. I hear you about the seemingly cold locals, but I find that in general with huge cities like this, I think it’s the almost overwhelming amount of things going on that cause people to shut down a little bit.

  10. Good to know that you are enjoying Hanoi despite the fallbacks that you’ve encountered (ie. looking for a job, unfriendly locals and weather). Personally, I didn’t know living there can be cheap. Rent in Hanoi sounds really affordable compared to some places here in the Philippines which can be very expensive.

  11. I am with you; I prefer warmer climates so I am not sure the busy city of Hanoi would be for me. Sounds like Hanoi is quite inexpensive for digital nomads. If I were young and wanting to travel and teach. I would consider it.

  12. It looks like a mostly positive experience and affordable with good job prospects. I love the fact that its a great place for opportunities and to meet other expats in similar situations from around the world so there’s so many cool experiences to share.

  13. Heard great things about Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Its all about old-world charm and buzzing nightlife…never a dull moment , huh? Looks like you are content with your decision to move.

  14. Moving to and staying in a new place is always challenging and needs so many adjustments in lifestyle. Hanoi seems a nice place without major hassles and also a relatively inexpensive standard of life. People too are essentially the same everywhere, you get the good, bad, and the ugly.

  15. We have been wanting to visit Vietnam from long time but couldn’t make it till now. The place seems to have a great temp as well is reasonable for the tourists. I can understand each place comes with its own challenges and that is here too.

  16. You have given a nice angle to the whole point. I always say and so I agree with you, that you would have to stay in a place long enough for it grow on you and you to get used to it. Good luck and hope you land a lucrative job soon.

  17. Great read! I like that the review is from someone who actually lived there, and not just to visit as a tourist. If it is affordable, I wouldn’t mind unfriendly locals, I like being alone and undisturbed, anyway. I also have read a lot of great stuff about Hanoi so if it’s cheap, why not?

  18. I love your spirit of accepting a culture that is possibly a lot different from what you are used to. It can get quite overwhelming when you see unnecessary chaos and people that seem not too friendly. However, I love the positive outlook of how you are keeping patience and learning to enjoy it all. I am sure by the end of it all, you will not want to leave.

  19. Your photos make me want to move back to Hanoi! Great post! And anyway, you have not mentioned about beers? Hhaa!

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