Digital nomad in Vietnam.
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Living in Vietnam as a Digital Nomad

After living in Vietnam as a digital nomad, I wanted to offer up the low down for others thinking about doing the same.

What’s it like? How do you do it? What’s up with the visa? How much does it cost? Yeah, all those questions! I know you have them, so no worries, I got you.

Here’s everything you need to know about being a digital nomad in Vietnam.

Quick Rundown on Digital Nomading in Vietnam

Yeah, I get it. You want the goods now! Here’s a quick summary for you…

📍 Top Cities:

  • Hanoi
  • Da Nang
  • Hoi An
  • Nha Trang
  • Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Visa: 3-month tourist visa (*e-Visa needed)

Pros 🤩

  • Affordable cost of living.
  • Expat and digital nomad community.
  • Variety of coworking spaces.
  • Cultural and historical experiences.
  • Delicious cuisine.
  • Scenic beauty to bustling cities!

Cons 😔

  • Traffic congestion.
  • Language barrier outside popular hubs.
  • Cooler, wet weather in winter.
  • Extra hot in summers.
  • Air quality can get bad.
  • Noise and chaos in urban areas.

🛟 Safety
Travel insurance is a must, and it doesn’t have to cost much—Here’s what I use.

NOTE: Any costs listed below are in USD.

Can I Work as a Digital Nomad in Vietnam?

Yep! Vietnam has been leveling up its game to become a remote work haven. The internet? Speedy and reliable, especially in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, and even in popular coastal spots like Da Nang.

A screenshot of the Ookla app showing wifi speeds in Hanoi.
Our Wi-Fi speed in Hanoi.

Cafes and restaurants are pretty digital nomad-friendly, offering Wi-Fi that’ll keep you online from your first sip of Vietnamese coffee to the last. Although you don’t want to overstay your welcome in cafes, so be careful here.

Plus, the vibe? You’ve got cool adventures, stunning views, a chill atmosphere, and people who are curious and overall supportive of the digital nomad lifestyle.

Nina working on her laptop overlooking a huge lake in Hanoi from a cafe on an overcast day.
A perfect foggy lake view for a day of work!

Just be ready for the occasional power cut in more rural areas – a perfect excuse to take a break and enjoy your surroundings! But then again digital nomads in Vietnam probably shouldn’t aim for rural spots.

Is Vietnam Good for Digital Nomads?

Absolutely, but let’s break it down. On the bright side, Vietnam has a low cost of living, breathtaking landscapes, and great food.

You’re never far from a beach or a mountain, which means your weekends can feel like mini-vacations. The local community is welcoming, and the expat/nomad/immigrant scene is buzzing, making it easy to find your place here.

Nina walking between yellow lanterns towards a large gate in the wall of the Imperial Citadel in Hanoi.
Exploring Hanoi’s Imperial Citadel.

However, it’s not all sunshine and spring rolls. The traffic can be a bit of a wild ride, and if you’re not used to scooters buzzing and beeping, it might take a minute to adjust.

The language barrier can also be a hurdle, but English is decently spoken in larger cities and tourist areas. Just arm yourself with a translation app, a smile, a few words in Vietnamese, and you’ll be fine.

A digital nomad woman working in a cafe in Hanoi with a view from the window overlooking a huge lake and trees.
There are plenty of cafes to work in.

Lastly, the biggest downfall of living in Vietnam as a digital nomad is the air quality in the big cities at the beginning of the year. It’s pretty bad at times and makes for a hazy and unpleasant time outside.

This was my biggest complaint as I was here Jan – March, but during my revisit here in May, the air was clear again!

Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax in Vietnam?

Here’s the scoop: Generally, if you’re breezing through Vietnam, setting up your laptop in cafes or your home, and not establishing a formal business or employment with a Vietnamese company, the tax man probably won’t be knocking on your door.

A Vietnamese lade carrying her goods in baskets balanced on her shoulders as she crossed a busy road in Hanoi.
A regular scene in Hanoi.

Most digital nomads fall into a gray area where they work for companies outside of Vietnam or for themselves.

As long as they don’t stay longer than 183 days in a 12-month period, they’re considered non-residents for tax purposes.

This means no Vietnamese tax obligations on foreign income.

Vietnam Visas for Digital Nomads

Getting into Vietnam to live as a digital nomad has been made easier with several visa options.

The most common pick is the tourist visa, which is available for one or three months and can be extended if you’re not ready to leave the pho behind.

Nina taking photos of a traditional looking Vietnamese side street in Hanoi.
I settled with the tourist visa!

Keep an eye on official Vietnamese immigration sites or consult with visa services to get the latest and greatest info, but I’m going to break it down, generally speaking, below.

Keep in mind I’m an American, so this is the angle I’m most familiar with.

The Scoop on Vietnam’s e-Visa

Vietnam’s e-Visa is open to nomads from 80 different countries from a list of eligible entry points around the country.

A screenshot of the Vietnam e-visa process.
Part of the E-visa process.

You do NOT need a service to get this visa, just apply here.

Getting Started:

  • Uploads Required: Your passport’s info page and a no-glasses headshot. (You can take a selfie with a white background; this is what I did, so make sure it’s well-lit.)
  • Fill out Standard Info: This is info about your visit, how long you’ll stay, dates, name, DOB, that kind of stuff.
  • After Uploading: You’ll get a registration code.


  • Fee: $25 (single entry) or $50 (multiple entry)
  • Processing: Sit tight for 2-3 days.

Final Steps:

  • Check-In: Use your registration code and some personal details to check your status online.
  • Approval: Once approved, print your e-Visa, and you’ll be all set.


  • Don’t expect an email confirmation, it may or may not happen. Sign up and check yourself after a few days.
  • A common mistake is not entering your middle name or missing a small detail. It must be filled out EXACTLY like your passport. Make sure your middle name goes after your first name under the “given name” area.
  • If you fail to enter everything correctly, you will be denied and asked to amend your visa. Sign in, make the changes and then wait another 3-4 days!
  • ALWAYS apply at least a week in advance, just in case you make a silly mistake! You can’t board your plane without this approval.
  • Print out your approval; yes, I’m serious; print it out!

Coworking Spaces in Vietnam

Vietnam’s coworking scene is pretty popping. There are tons of them, but here are a few of the popular ones:

  • Dreamplex and Toong (Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi locations)
  • Coworking Space Tay Ho (Hanoi)
  • The Hive and CirCO (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Green and Seaview (Da Nang)
A local Vietnamese man riding a scooter along a quiet street in the Tay Ho neighborhood of Hanoi.
Quiet day in Tay Ho.

Finding an Apartment in Vietnam

I find my apartments the same way everywhere I live, really… It’s a simple mix of the following ways until I find my spot!

  • Joining Local Facebook Groups – I scour local Facebook groups and Facebook groups that are dedicated to housing in Vietnam (or whatever other country I’m in)
  • Walking Around – You’d be so surprised how many places advertise places to rent right outside. Take a wander in the neighborhood you want to live in and take a picture of the phone number, go home, text people, hash out details, and get photos sent to you first, THEN make an appointment to meet up. Sometimes, someone is at the front desk and can show you a place immediately.
  • Housing Websites – In the Facebook groups and with a simple Google search you can find rental services and reach out with the details you’re looking for, someone will get back to you with properties that fit your criteria.
  • Airbnb Hack – It’s a bit cheeky, but I’ve done it tons of times. I only use this when I’m already in the country. I reach out to places I like and tell them I want to live there for the long term and I want to see the property first. We meet up, and then I never book it on Airbnb because…duh… I’m already in contact with the landlord!
Nina working on her laptop with her iPad in the dining area of her Hanoi apartment.
Werkin’ in my apartment in Hanoi!

Tips and Things to Know

  • I always ensure I’m signing a contract, using my gut feeling, getting receipts for everything, etc.
  • Pay one month’s rent as a deposit plus the first month’s rent. (Most common scenario)
  • You’ll pay for electricity separately. Usually, 1,500 to 4,000 VND ($0.07 to $0.13) per kWh, but it depends on where you are. The fancier the building the more you’re probably going to pay. We paid around $50 USD for one month with light A/C usage since it was chilly out.
  • The price can be negotiable and the longer you stay, the lower they will go.
  • Sometimes apartments are serviced, meaning your rent might include weekly cleaning! Major perks.

A bit of a personal note on my rent:

I paid $700/month for my apartment in Hanoi. Most people would say, oh hey, that’s a bit pricey, no? And yes, you can go much, much cheaper.

My apartment was a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 5th-story apartment in the Tay Ho area, specifically in Quang An. This area of Hanoi is one of the most expensive areas in Hanoi to live in, but it is a great spot for digital nomads to live in Vietnam.

A clean and tidy living room with a gray couch and wall mounted TV in an apartment in Hanoi.
This is the apartment we settled on.

Again, you can find MUCH cheaper, but we wanted space, desks, and tables to work at, obviously full-furnished, AND our rent included two cleanings per week.

We were quite happy in this area and with our apartment. If we extended or signed on for a longer period of time, it would have been cheaper. We only signed for two months, which resulted in a higher price tag.

This is all something to keep in mind when shopping around!

Join Facebook Groups for Info

I won’t list them here because it’s pretty quick and obvious which Vietnam Facebook groups to join, plus it depends which city you’re basing in.

But you can simply search for:

  • Digital Nomad in *town/city in Vietnam*
  • Housing in *town/city in Vietnam*
  • Expat and Local in *town/city in Vietnam*
  • *town/city in Vietnam* Massive/Community

What Are The Best Cities for Digital Nomads in Vietnam

Vietnam has a few cool spots that appeal to digital nomads. Here’s a rundown of the top destinations where digital nomads can easily slot in and enjoy both work and play.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Ho Chi Minh City is a hotspot for digital nomads seeking the hustle and bustle of city life alongside historical charm.

A beautiful burning sunset over Ho Chi Ming City with a view of a bridge crossing a bend in a river.
What a stunning sunset over HCMC!

Coworking spaces aplenty, cafes are laptop-friendly, and the nightlife is legendary. The city’s international vibe means you’ll find a community that speaks your language, both digitally and literally.

Da Nang

Da Nang is a coastal city with a growing number of coworking spaces and a laid-back lifestyle that’s hard to beat.

Many traditional Vietnamese fishing boats on the water besides rocks with a view of Da Nang in the distance.
Traditional Vietnamese fishing boats at Da Nang Beach.

It’s smaller and more manageable than Vietnam’s mega-cities but with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable nomad life. Plus, its central location makes it a great base for exploring the rest of the country.

Hoi An

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Hoi An is irresistible for nomads charmed by history, culture, and, oh right, the beach! The ancient town is renowned for its well-preserved architecture, vibrant lanterns, and tailor shops.

Tourists taking pictures and admiring a street in Hoi An at night time under trees and lanterns.
Hoi An is at it’s best at night!

While it might seem more suited to tourists, a growing number of cafes and coworking spaces cater to digital nomads living a slower pace of life.

Nha Trang

Nha Trang, known for its beaches, scuba diving sites, and nightlife, this city offers a tropical work setting.

Palm trees framing sun beds and parasols on a beach in Nha Trang on a sunny day.
Catch the tropical vibes at the beach in Nha Trang.

The cost of living is reasonable, and while it’s popular with tourists, there are pockets of calm, perfect for getting work done. The community, coworking spaces, and cafe scene isn’t as established though.


This is where I lived as a digital nomad in Vietnam!

Scooters, rickshaws and foot traffic on a crossroads in Hanoi.
Typical street traffic in Hanoi.

The capital city offers a different pace with its lakes, ancient temples, and bustling Old Quarter. Digital nomads are drawn to Hanoi for its blend of cultural richness and modern amenities.

The coffee culture here is second to none (woo!), providing countless spots to work outside of the traditional office setting. Networking opportunities are plentiful, with events and meetups catering to the expat and nomad community.

Crowds of people lining the streets of Beer Alley in Hanoi at night.
Beer Alley gets busy at night!

Overall, I really loved living here, specifically in the Tay Ho area. This is the usual area for long-termers, and it was nice to go into places where they didn’t treat you as an in-and-out tourist.

Visiting Hanoi’s Train Street: READ THIS FIRST!
17 BEST Cafes in Hanoi, Vietnam (DN-Friendly Too!)

My Experience Living in Hanoi as a Digital Nomad

After living here for about three months, here’s a run down of our experience in Hanoi.

Living in Tay Ho

When Garrett and I decided to digital nomad in Hanoi, we knew we wanted the Tay Ho area. Garrett had been before and said it was going to be the right fit for us. We ended up in the Quang An area, specifically.

Tay Ho, or West Lake, is a cool and upscale district in Hanoi, wrapping around the city’s largest freshwater lake, West Lake.

Nina posing on a fence beside the giant West Lake in Hanoi on an overcast day.
Casually posing beside West Lake…

This neighborhood offers an escape from the high energy of Hanoi’s more crowded areas. It’s the area where many long-termers stay, like English teachers and other immigrants and expats.

We love a lively city, but living in it 24/7 gets a bit tiring. Old Town Hanoi, with all its charm and chaos, was just a taxi ride away.

If you’re all about that non-stop energy and don’t mind honks and the buzzing of a city, Old Town is your go-to. But if you’re like us, craving a bit of balance without being too far from the action, Tay Ho is your perfect match.

Local Vietamese sitting down at a local market in the Tay Ho area of Hanoi.
A local market in Tay Ho.

Away from the main tourist tracks, we were a bit more in the community of locals and long-termers.


Let’s talk food – because, let’s be real, food is half the reason we travel. I’m mostly a vegetarian (sometimes a pescatarian), so navigating meaty Vietnamese cuisine could have been a challenge.

A bow of Vietnamese noodles in Cai Mai 2 restaurant in Hanoi.
Vietnamese food always tastes amazing!

However, Tay Ho was a haven of vegetarian/vegan spots. Woo! Since there’s a bit of a mix of people in this area, there are also some really good Western food spots. We had no trouble finding a good place to eat out.

Some fav spots are:

  • Kiez Vegan – by far our fav vegan spot, they have a chikin kabab that’s to die for.
  • Andersen Nordic Bakery – where we got all our yummy bread.
  • Sesame – vegan Vietnamese food, love their “set.”
  • BAO WOW – bao buns!
  • Gòn – Bites & Veggies – tons of veggie but some meat options too. Mostly Vietnamese dishes.
  • Vegetarian Buffet Chay – not just a buffet, there’s awesome vegetarian Vietnamese food with “meat” options.
  • IVEGAN – good bowls, the falafel bowl is bomb.
  • 7 Bridges Brewing – best pizza and beer in the area, TRUST US.
  • Song Linh Food & Drink – our poke bowl spot.
  • Lá Studio – awesome sandwiches, the mushroom one is so good.
  • MAAZI – the Indian food here is on point.
  • Naco Taco – where to go for your Mexican fix.

In terms of groceries, Winmart was our closest option and we found everything we needed there. There’s also Annam Gourmet which is a fancier store with a selection of more items you might be craving.

Weather in Hanoi

Now, a heads-up for my fellow sun-lovers – Hanoi, in the early months of the year, can be quite the cold surprise. January through March tossed us into a cooler, wetter climate than anticipated.

A woman on a scooter with a pink poncho on protecting her from the rain while riding past a flower market.
Scenes in Hanoi often look like this…

So, if you’re packing for northern Vietnam around this time, throw in some cozy layers. Trust me, when the wet cold creeps in, you’ll thank yourself for that extra sweater.

At times, this area was a bit too quiet until March came around with the nicer temperatures. There almost seemed to be a bit of a hibernation period, and then March hit, and we saw more people in the streets and places open!

A woman with groceries walking away from a local Hanoi market in the rain.
Wrapping up at Long Bien market.

Did you forget warm clothes? Go to this Winmart, go to the second floor, and turn right off the escalator. There’s a shop right there with great-quality warm clothes. Or head here for cheap second-hand stuff.

Air Quality in Hanoi

The air quality was a big downfall during our time living in Hanoi. It was pretty disappointing because this city is otherwise so cool. But it was a bit demotivating to go out when the air was so smoggy.

On top of the smog, the sky was often grey since it was winter. In fact, I think I can count the number of sunny days we had in three months on my hand. So it was slightly depressing as someone who loves the sun… and, like… decent air.

A screenshot of an app showing low air quality in Hanoi, Vietnam.
The terrible air quality report in Hanoi.

Keep this in mind if you plan to move here. We got an air filter for the house and wore masks outside on the yucky days or just overall didn’t go outside if it was really bad.

You should download the “Air Visual” app and take a look yourself before heading out for the day. The good news is after April or so, the air clears up, and the rainy season comes and puts out the field fires.

How Much Does it Cost to Live in Vietnam as a Digital Nomad?

I’ll keep this short n’ sweet. Vietnam is quite affordable, and we were able to keep everything well within our budget.

Our total living costs were around $3,300 USD for TWO people for just over TWO months.

A pie chart showing Nina's living expenses during her time in Hanoi.
Our living expenses.

Here’s what’s included with all of that:

  • Rent: We paid $700/ month, and yes, it’s on the pricier end; read above why! (Plus a bit extra for the one week at a hotel while apartment hunting)
  • Eating out: We did not hold back at all on eating out. We ate out almost every day. We ate a mix of easy, budget-friendly local fare along with lots of Western food too. Essentially, whatever we wanted!
  • Groceries: We ate the best bread from a bakery (yum!), bought the expensive granola from a nice cafe, and treated ourselves to occasional cheeky homemade treats and desserts from local shops. Again, we didn’t hold back very much here. We usually bought: veggies, eggs, bread, fruit, yogurt, granola, cheese and crackers.
  • Fun:?! Not included in this! We keep those costs separate so you can see what the straight-up living costs are. You can easily add your version of fun into a budget to see what that would look like.

We had a semi-random cost for an air filter, which is also included in this number. We felt it was a good investment, considering the air quality isn’t the greatest; that was $200 alone. (PS – we bought it at LocknLock if you need one).

Local food products in a cramped area inside Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi.
We tried to shop in local markets too!

Overall, we didn’t hold back, and went with comfortability and what we wanted over counting pennies. If you’re looking to spend less, it’s 1000% possible.

Other Costs:

Neither of these two are counted in the above as they’re an unusal cost but this info might of use to you.

Nina taking a selfie at the hair dressers in Hanoi with a dog on her lap.
Getting my hair did!
  • I got balayage done to my hair with an Opalex treatment afterward, and this cost me $100. It was one of the best balayages I’ve ever had! I went to Haircare by Nhi.
  • I also went to a dentist, a fancy one at that, and got a full cleaning done for $20. I went to Jet Dentist.

Final Thoughts

Overall I LOVED living in Vietnam, specifically Hanoi. What I’d probably do differently is not come in the begining of year when it’s freezing and smoggy.

I’d come during the other months and the next time I digital nomad in Vietnam I’ll probably try out Da Nang next.

Here are some more guides you’ll want to read next:

I hope this helped you decide if living in Vietnam as a digital nomad is for you!

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