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"Teaching English abroad is a unique experience in any country, but perhaps no more so than in Vietnam. The Vietnamese people live a life that is very much influenced by the past. The beauty of the countryside combined with the rich heritage of the culture will surely result in an extraordinary experience".

                                                                         By Michelle Simmons
Why teach in Vietnam

Vietnam is rapidly becoming one of those ‘must visit’ locations in the world. There’s an abundance of history, great sightseeing, excellent shopping and some of the best night-life in South-East Asia. You could find yourself teaching in Vietnam, exploring Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the jungle, and the beaches of one of the world’s most bio-diverse and interesting countries.

Teach in Vietnam also offers you the oppotunity to explore the rich culture of a nation that has achieved one of the most impressive economic growth rates in the world and now enjoys a budding position on the international scene. These developments are fueling educational interest. Your teaching experiences will help you find yourself immersed in a new culture, promoting international goodwill, and extend your sense of community all while earning money to support yourself. You are sure never to be short of adventures upon your arrival here!

To learn more about Vietnamese culture, the country, it’s People, and the Vietnamese Education system…or any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to visit TeachinVietnam Forum and post a new thread on JuskAsk! If you have a query, we'd like to assist…


Vietnam Education

Education in Vietnam is divided into five levels: pre-school (kindergarten), primary, intermediate, secondary, and tertiary education. Formal education consists of twelve years of basic education. Basic education consists of five years of primary education, four years of intermediateeducation, and three years of secondary education. The majority of basic education students are enrolled on a half-day basis.

-     Pre-school: Public kindergartens usually admit children ranging from 18 months to 5 years of age. Sometimes, four- or five-year-old children are taught the alphabet and basic arithmetic. This level of education tends to be popular in major cities.

-     Primary education: Children normally start primary education at the age of six. Education at this level lasts for 5 years and is compulsory for all children. The country's literacy rate is over 90%.

At this level, English is not compulsory until the children enter Grade three. However, most primary schools cooperate with an English center and English will be taught as part of the learning program from Grade one.

-     Secondary education: Secondary school/middle school (Vietnamese: trung học cơ sở) includes sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade. Until its abolition in 2006, students had to pass the Intermediate Graduation Examination (IGE) presented by the local Department of Education and Training to graduate. This educational level is homogeneous throughout most of the country, except in very remote provinces, which expect to popularize and standardize middle education within the next few years. Secondary education is not compulsory in Vietnam. Since from Grade three, English is compulsory and up to this level it is actually considered an important subject in addition to mathematics, literature, chemistry, and physics. Thus, many parents take their children to English centers with the hope that they can improve the language competence, which is a need for their future. That accounts for the significant increase in the number of English centers and a high demand for native teachers.

-     High school education: high school education (Vietnamese: trung học phổ thông) consists of grades ten to twelve. The IGE is a prerequisite entrance examination for this level. The IGE score determines the schools at which students are able to enroll. The higher the score, the more prestigious the school. Since students work their way to this level, their learning program will occupy most of their time. It is true that the learning program of Vietnam education system is much heavier than the standard worldwide. Therefore, students have to work very hard for any subject at school, and put more emphasis on those they have to sit for at the university entrance exam. Just like at the secondary level, foreign language is mandatory and even more seriously concerned since it is one of the subjects students have to do in the leaving-school exam, and one subject in the university entrance exam of Group D. At the start of high school students can enroll in Specialist Classes if they pass the class entrance exam, which usually consists of a Mathematics exam, a Literature exam and an exam of the subject that the student wants to specialize in. The specialist subject can be any of the subjects listed above, except Technology, Physical Education and Civics. Gifted classes on foreign languages are a very hot trend, and needless to say, the most popular is English. Many parents have the desire that their children be accepted to these foreign language classes, which can lay the foundation for every step they make in the future. It is not over exaggerated to say so since foreign language will continue to confirm its role at tertiary level and later on at work. Students enrolled in these programs have a heavier workload than regular high school students. The workload varies from school to school, but grade 11 students are generally expected to study grade 12 courses concurrently. Other courses include university-level courses. Some schools go as far as requiring their students to finish high school by the end of grade 10. Only prestigious schools offer these classes, and they have yet to be standardized.

Another prominent tendency for student at high school level is studying abroad. To succeed and prosper in a global economy and interconnected world, many students and their parents are soon aware of the need for international knowledge, intercultural communications skills, and global perspectives. Thus, many students, especially in big cities, look forward to an opportunity to study abroad in an English-speaking country as soon as they finish their schooling or some may wish to do so as early as they enter Grade ten. For those students English plays an even more crucial role since it is the key to their dream. They have to prepare to sit for certain exams to measure their language ability like IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc. Their demand for academic English is ever growing.

    Tertiary education: University entrance is based on the scores achieved in the entrance examination. High school graduates need high scores to be admitted to universities. Securing a place in a public university is considered a major step towards a successful career, especially for those from rural areas or disadvantaged families. The pressure on the candidates therefore remains very high despite the measures taken to reduce the importance of these exams. In 2004, it was estimated that nearly one million students took the exam, but on average only 20% passed.

Normally, candidates take three exams; each lasts 180 minutes for the fixed group of subjects they choose. There are 4 fixed groups of subjects:

-     Group A: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry

-     Group B: Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry

-     Group C: Literature, History, Geography

-     Group D: Literature, Foreign Language, Mathematics

Besides, there are also groups H, M, N, R, T and V. Most of Vietnam's universities also offer master's (2 years) and Doctor of Philosophy (4 years) degrees.

In addition to universities, there are community colleges, art and technology institutes, professional secondary schools, and vocational schools which offer degrees or certificates after courses lasting from a-few-months to 2-years. Regarding foreign languages, at tertiary level, universities are divided into two branches, specializing and non-specializing in foreign languages. Taking English into account, universities specializing in this language normally standardize the English proficiency level of graduates based on CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference), in which a graduate student is expected to attain level C1 on the CEFR. Some popular standardized tests which are used by English-major universities as a measurement tool against the CEFR are the TOEFL and IELTS tests. On the other hand, 50% of non-English major universities adopt the TOEIC test to assess their students’ English competence. Each university may decide on a different TOEIC score for their graduates, but in general, the score ranges from 400 to 600 (equivalent to B1 to B2 on the CEFR).

Academic grading: Schools and universities in Vietnam use a 10-point grading scale, with 10 being the highest and 0 being the lowest. Often, 5 is the lowest passing grade. The grading may vary from school to school. It depends on the difficulty of each.

There are usually six levels in the classification of a Vietnamese GPA.

In general, the demand for language learning has never decreased and it actually proved itself to be more and more important in Vietnam current society. In order to meet this demand, foreign language centers keep flourishing.

Do you have specific questions about Vietnam Education, or useful tips to share with us, please don't hesitate to visit our Forum and add a new thread!


1.     Money to bring

When you enter Vietnam, it is required that you show proof of funds according to Currency Import regulations. The amount of foreign currency that can be brought into Vietnam is no more than 5,000 USD (equals to 110,000,000 VND), otherwise it must be declared on arrival.

Only cash, bank statements, and travelers checks are accepted as proof of funds. We recommend that you bring 1500-2000 USD if possible in case of unexpected problems. You want to make sure that you have extra money to cover all of your expenses before you receive your first paycheck. For instance, on settling down, you need an amount to cover your first rent, your daily foodstuff, your travel fare and perhaps your shopping for necessity. You may refer to the later part “Cost of living” to have more details about monthly expenses in Vietnam.

2.     Packing/Personal items

Whilst the following items are available in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and othermajor cities, the quality may not always be of a high standard or your preferred brand.

Thus, you should consider bringing:

-     any special beauty products you are using in case you can't find them here.

-     any over the counter medicine e.g. for colds, headaches, etc…

-     your preferred brand of sun cream and insect repellent

-     enough clothes in your suitcase for winter and summer (you may refer to climate information of Vietnam to know what you should bring in certain time of the year)

-     books and board games

-     quality towels and bed linen

-     womens underwear (especially larger sized bras and panties)

-     mens underwear (especially larger sized socks and and briefs)

-     womens and mans shoes of large sizes


The kitchen in some apartments is furnished with basic utensils. You may choose to include other kitchen utensils in your shipment to make life easier, such as, paring knife wine opener, baking containers and measuring items, dish cloths, drying cloths, tea pot, wine glasses, cutting board (although all these items can be bought locally)

3.     Documents for work permit application:

1.    A Judicial record (or Criminal Record or Letter of Good Conducts) issued by a competent agency of the country where the foreigner resides before entering Vietnam.

2.    The original certificates of the foreigner's professional or technical expertise at an advanced level. (TEFL+ degrees).

3.    Four (04) 3cm x 4cm color photos, showing bare head, straight-looking and clear face with two ears and without glasses against white background, taken within six (06) months from the time of application.

4.    Passport, visa

5.    A copy of Birth certificates.

6.    A copy of Marriage Certificate.

7.    A copy of Family book.


1.    The passport should be valid for at least 1 year;

2.    The visa must be valid until the date of submission;

3.   All documents have to be notarized at the Vietnamese embassy in your home country.

If you have specific questions or useful tips to share with us, please don't hesitate to visit our Forum and add a new thread! 

Living in Vietnam

Accommodation                                                                                  Hospitals, Clinics and Dental Facilities

Transportation                                                                                     Leisure activities/ Entertainment

Keeping in touch                                                                                  Cost of living

Banking and money                                                                            Useful contact information

Large cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have websites which offer great housing listings or inexpensive hotels. You can search for information beforehand. If you are not going to stay in Vietnam for long, you may want to look for accommodation in hotels, hostels, etc. Try the following website for information related to cheap hotels in big cities

For those who have a longer plan, you may want somewhere more stable. In this case you may think of renting or sharing a house or an apartment. In order to rent an apartment you will need to supply a deposit, a copy of your passport, work visa and address of employer. By law, landlords have to report this information to the government when renting property to a foreigner. A deposit of two months' rent is usually required and some landlords have been known   to ask for payment for the full rental period beforehand, however, this is not the norm and can be risky.

Utilities such as electricity, water, garbage collection, apartment services should come to roughly 500.000 VND (30 USD) per month, but it can be arranged for this to be included in your monthly rent. Apartments are normally furnished with a television, cooker, and basic furniture. There are a number of local providers for Internet access and satellite/ cable TV. The area in which you are renting as well as the number of rooms in an apartment will impact the price. In Ho Chi Minh City monthly rent ranges from 500 USD to 1500 USD for 1/2/3 bedroom apartments. Rooms in shared houses will obviously be a lot cheaper. Rental prices in Hanoi range from 350 USD upwards, with 1500 USD usually securing you a-four-floor mansion in the popular Tay Ho district.

2.   Transportation

In big cities in Vietnam, transportation comes in many forms. For inner-city trips, you may choose to use public transports like bus which is very cheap and convenient, available every 10 minute. However, it tends to be very crowed during peak hours and not very comfortable. Moreover, if you decide to go by bus, make sure you know which one to get on by paying attention to the number on each bus. For more information on bus schedule, please visit this website

Metered taxis are also easily available in Vietnam and are one of the major means of transportation in Vietnam for visitors. Taxis are not only safe but are speedy mode of transportation in Vietnam, with its price ranging from 10.000VND/kilometer upwards.

Some reliable taxi brand:

          Mai Linh Taxi: 04.3822.2666/ 04.3822.2555/04.3861.6161

         Taxi Hanoi: 04.3853.5353

         Taxi ABC: 04.3719.1919

         Taxi My Dinh: 04.3833.3888

Another popular option is “xe ôm” or “motorcycle taxis,” which is available on every street corner. The price can be negotiated but usually it is much cheaper than going by taxi, about half price. If you see a man sitting on his motorbike with the sign “XE OM” hanging in front, he is definitely the driver. You may tell him where you want to go and he will tell you how much he charges. You can negotiate with him until you reach a reasonable price. However, in order to do so, you need to know some basic Vietnamese or preferably a Vietnamese friend to do the bargaining for you.

Besides, cars, bicycles and motorbikes are also available on rental basis to travel around. However, check to see whether the driving license you obtain from your country enables you to drive car or motorbike in Vietnam. The following websites may help you find where to rent a car/motorbike:

Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is relatively easy and inexpensive through a number of ways: Internet, cell phones, international dialing or post.

·     Internet

It is simple enough to get Internet access in Vietnam either through a service provider (Dial-up or ADSL) or at a post office or an Internet café (mainly found in the more touristy areas). The Vietnamese government is still wary of the effects of the free flow of information, thus certain topics or sites like Facebook are fire-walled from time to time. If you have a smart phone which allows you access the Internet, you can use free Wifi in most public places like cafes, restaurants, pubs, etc.

·     Cell phones

Setting up a cellular telephone is incredibly easy in Vietnam. Vietnam uses cell phones using the SIM Card system. In order to get a SIM card all it takes is going to the local convenience store and buying a SIM card for your cell phone. The Vietnam SIM card provides a simple, convenient, and affordable way for any traveler to make and receive calls while abroad.

The prepaid SIM card for Vietnam is a practical option for using your existing world phone as a prepaid Vietnam cell phone while you’re in the country. You’ll enjoy the benefit of SMS text messaging, voicemail, a local cell phone number in Vietnam, and FREE incoming calls. The prepaid feature gives you complete control over your costs, and with low domestic and international calling rates, having a cell phone in Vietnam is affordable for all. Access to customer service from your Vietnam cellular phone is available 24 hour a day, so you will always have assistance with any unexpected issues or questions about your calls. No yearly contract, monthly charges, or credit check is involved.

Choosing the correct service provider is important as some only allow prepaid customers to make international calls whereas others will also allow you to receive international calls as well. Viettel and Mobiphone are popular and quality service providers.

·     International dialling

You can also buy a prepaid card for international calling and follow the instruction on the card. Making a phone call in this way requires you have a fix phone. The cost is of course lower than that when using a cell phone.

·     Post

Vietnam has a trustworthy postal service. In case you want to send or receive package from your family, you can use postal services. As long as you have an address in Vietnam, your family can send package to you. After renting a place to live, ask your landlord to give you the address in Vietnamese. Keep it for postal purpose but also in case of getting lost. Sending a parcel back home means you have to go to the post office.And you’d better go with a Vietnamese friend because the staff won’t speak English.

The banking system in Vietnam is up-to-date and efficient. ATMs are widely available as is Internet banking and most banks have at least one English-speaking service representative. Many foreigners choose to bank with HSBC and ANZ, while Vietcombank, Techcombank, BIDV or Argibank are also more and more popular. All banks offer different packages so it is best to research which package best suits your needs. Most banks have English brochures outlining their services. TeachinVietnam help guide you to open a Techcombank (Vietnam Technological and Commercial Joint- stock Bank). Techcombank is available with bank transfer, electronics payments and account balances checking, visa credit cards services, you will have your Techcombank card after 10 working days application.

The most popular way of payment in Vietnam is cash. Most day-to-day purchases are made with cash. Though credit cards – debit cards are now more popular and can be used in shopping malls, big shopping centers, many small businesses do not accept them.

Traveller checks and Personal checks are not common in Vietnam. Most businesses refuse to accept them as a form of payment. Another concern for foreigners is where foreign currency can be exchanged. You can do so in a bank or at jewelry shop. It is often more complicated to do so in a bank, since you have to prove the source of your money. Here are the addresses of some realiable banks:

·     ANZ bank - Website:

·     City Bank - Website:

·     VietcomBank- Website:

     ACB Bank - Website:

·     Sacombank - Website:

·     Techcombank - Website:

And some other reliable private companies where you can exchange money:

·     Công ty vàng bạc Quốc Trung: 27-29 Hà Trung

·     Công ty vàng bạc Bảo Tín Minh Châu: 29 Trần Nhân Tông

The local currency is the dong and comes in different denominations from 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 to 500,000 notes. The current exchange rate fluctuates around 21.000 VND for 1 USD.

.   Health care 

Required immunization:

If you want to get a Work permit in Vietnam, you should undergo a medical examination (performed either in your country or in Hanoi/ Ho Chi Minh city when you arrive in Vietnam). You (and any accompanying family members) should consider immunization against typhoid, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, pre-rabies (a series of 3 injections), hepatitis A, and hepatitis B and Japanese encephalitis (a series of 3 injections). We suggest you contact a doctor on arrival to determine an immunization schedule which you personally wish to follow and begin the injections.

 Sexually transmitted diseases

Like most countries in Asia, sexually transmitted diseases are common and precautions should be taken. AIDS is on the increase and condom should be used. It’s obviously wise to avoid casual sexual encounters in Vietnam, not only because of health reasons, but also because many prostitutes and their pimps are adept pickpockets.

  General health tips

The most common and the most serious medical problems faced by expatriates living in Asia are the same medical problems that are faced anywhere else in the world including your home country. Some illnesses can be avoided by following simple rules:

-   Keep a high standard of personal hygiene.

-   Drink boiled or bottled water, do not drink from tap.

-   Do not eat raw vegetables and seafood, particularly from restaurants where hygiene is questionable or if you are allergic.

-   Peel fruit to avoid contamination from skin.

-   Food vendors on the streets are very popular but you also need to check if it is something suitable for you.

-  Be careful with sun and tropical heat. European skin will get sunburnt very quickly on a hot day even if the sky is overcast, therefore, reputable high UV protection lotions and cream are essential. Drink plenty of fluids (2-3 litres), wear loose comfortable clothes, wear a hat, use sunglasses and sunscreen and of course, don’t stay out in the sun too long.

-    Cooked foods are safest to eat. Avoid undercooked meat and shellfish. Any salad vegetables which are eaten raw, or fruit which you don’t intend to peel, should be washed thoroughly. Some people soak raw produce for 20 minutes in a solution of potassium permanganate or Milton. Potassium Permanganate is easy to find in Vietnam and inexpensive to buy. It is sold locally in supermarkets. To be effective, the water must be a light pinkish purple. After sterilizing, rinse vegetables in clean (not tap) water. In addition to the above precautions it is advisable to take a prophylactic worming medication every 3-6 months. Speak to your doctor about taking any drugs to ensure you are informed about any interactions with other medications you may be taking, or other adverse side effects. Worming medication is available for purchase in Hanoi city. The brand often recommended is called Zentel.

General Tummy Troubles

The term, general tummy troubles does not sound very scientific or medical but is one most commonly seen in medical clinics here. “Gas” abdominal cramps, mild or occasional nausea, poor appetite, loose bowel movements and a general unpleasant feeling are the usual symptoms. This is not uncommon in people who are fairly new to overseas life and is not unique to Vietnam. See your doctor to rule out infections or parasite infestation, but generally the passage of time and management of your diet will help.

Stress and culture shock

Living overseas can be a stressful experience even to people who have already made careful decisions and preparation for the transition. And many will suffer from culture shock since it is a very common experience when one comes to live in a strange culture, suddenly separated from familiar things. According to Brown, D.H.,culture shock is a mental illness, and true of much mental illness, the victim usually does not know he is afflicted, he finds that he is irritable, depressed and probably annoyed by the lack of attention shown to him.

Thus, avoiding stress and culture shock may start from recognizing the initial symptoms. Are you beginning to get angry readily for little or no reason? Are you drinking, eating or smoking excessively– a lot more than usual? Have you lost the ability to concentrate? Are you finding it difficult to sleep when this was not a problem before? Are you withdrawing from society, spending long hours/days/evenings in your room in a “safe haven”? Are you feeling depressed and tend to cry unaccountably? If you have some of those symptoms, it is likely that you are suffering from stress, leading to potential culture shock. Here are some simple ways to relieve stress, therefore, avoid culture shock:

-    Being well aware of cross-cultural differences and potential areas for culture shock, such as topics, relationships, roles, nonverbal behavior, values, beliefs, perceptions, customs, traditions, taboos, communication styles, etc..

-    Being well aware that cultures are equal but different.

-    Being objective: avoiding judgment of the target culture on the basis of your culture’s values.

-    Being constructively critical and receptive to the “new” and the “unknown”.

-    Being patient, tolerant, sensitive and observative.

-    Asking good questions.

-    Talking up and talking on the bright side of things if and when possible.

Medical facilities in Ha noi City are not the same as those encountered in the developed world, but facilities with provision for foreigners do exist, and there are practicing foreign doctors resident here. The following is a list of some of these:

1.    Hanoi Family Practice

A1 Van Phuc, Suite 109-112

Tel.: 3843-0748

Fax: 3843-1750

2.    AEA International Clinic

31 Hai Ba Trung

Tel.: 3934-0555

Fax: 3934-0556

3.    AEA International Services

(Emergency medical evacuation)

Tel.: 3821-3555

4.    International SOS

31 Hai Ba Trung

Tel: (844) 3934 0555

Fax: (844) 3934 0556

Hanoi Clinic: (844) 3934 0666

5.    Viet Duc Hospital

40 Trang Thi Street

Tel: (844) 3828-9852

Fax: (844) 3824-8308

6.    Hanoi French Hospital

Phuong Mai Road, Dong Da

Tel: (844) 3574 0740

Fax: (844) 3869 8443


Most drugs are available over the counter. Look for “Nha Thuoc” (pharmacy). Check the condition of the packaging, expiry dates and the storage conditions of all medicines before purchasing, as effectiveness may be reduced from poor storage conditions or expired dates. International SOS, the Family Medical Practice and Columbia Clinic also have dispensing pharmacies but these tend to be a bit more expensive.

Traditional medicine shops

Traditional Vietnamese medicine e.g., herbs, animal products etc. some packaged herbal remedies Various shops in Hang Can street, Hang Ngang, Hang Dao (Old Quarter)

6.   Leisure activities/ Entertainment

Vietnamese culture, rituals and numerous festivals cover the major facets of entertainment in Vietnam. Vietnamese people have a festival or two to celebrate every month and the celebrations are full of colors, fun, music and dance which form an integral part in Vietnamese culture. Some of the most entertaining festivals in Vietnam are the Tet Nguyen Dan (the New Year Eve in Vietnam), Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, and the Tet Trung Thu (Mid-Autumn Festival), Vietnam among many others.

However the Vietnam entertainment scene is not only about the festivals. Cinemas, music and nightlife play an equal part in the entertainment scene in Vietnam. Cinemas in Vietnam have changed their flavor with the changing political and social circumstances in Vietnam. Films on Vietnam are a common feature in the international film scene. International films are also shown in all cinemas in Vietnam. Vietnam also has a lively culture for music which is a popular source of entertainment. Pop music in nightclubs in Vietnam is a popular feature. Nightlife in Vietnam thrives in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. These are popular places for entertainment among the youth for their karaoke music and dance music. With the popularity of nightclubs on a high, the number of western nightclubs is also increasing in number. When compared to the other developing countries it can be seen that the

Vietnam nightlife is quite safe. For a ravishing nightlife in Vietnam, locals generally frequent the various bars, pubs, clubs and karaoke bars, which play both English and Vietnamese music. There are many bars in the country which have been specially designed to cater to the tourists. Many of the popular nightclubs in Vietnam are in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. There are some which offer live music as well and some of the bars offer games of pool also. Casinos though illegal for Vietnamese, are very popular among tourists.

Shopping in Vietnam is a fun and interesting experience, and guarantees good bargains to those who know what to look for. It is true to say that you can find nearly anything in Vietnam. Markets vary from high class shopping malls, supermarkets to bustling open market, galleries, boutiques and street stalls. It is not recommended that you buy imported, famous branded products such as clothing, perfume or electronics in Vietnam as tax makes these items more costly than neighboring countries. In terms of shopping for tourists, Vietnam is most famous for its handicrafts, war souvenirs, authentic hand-made clothing, art, antiques and gems.

Another interesting thing is to enjoy and discover Vietnamese cuisines. Vietnamese restaurants serve you with mainly three regional cuisines from North, South and Central Vietnam. North Vietnamese food is usually simple and is less spicy as compared to the South Vietnamese food and has a Chinese flavor about it. On the other hand central Vietnamese food is more spicy. For Vietnamese, cooking is more like an art. No meal in Vietnam is complete without the tray of herbs and use of fresh vegetables. Almost every meal is complimented with sliced cucumbers, hot peppers, coriander, bean threads, a little basil or mint etc. There are also various restaurants in Vietnam that serve you with wide variety of cuisine from across the globe.

Besides, coffee shops and bars are other options where you can spend a nice time relishing the tasty food and a nice drink. Café Z, Café Lam, Le Marina are some of the famous restaurants in Vietnam.

Captivating natural beauty, tranquil villages, serene lakes, ancient pagodas, beautiful lakes and more, Vietnam is a place that bounds to attract tourists from all over the world. Hence, when you have more time, you may want to visit Vietnam popular destinations. There are a number of places that you should see during your stay in Vietnam, for instance, Sa Pa, Cat Ba, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Hoi An, Hue, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc, Vung Tau, etc.

In general, you will hardly get bored in Vietnam with so many things to do and see. Try some of those things in your free time, and enjoy your stay.

Living expenses in Vietnam will range depending on your lifestyle. Many foreigners manage to enjoy an upbeat existence without spending a fortune. The largest expenditure in your monthly budget will be in the areas of housing, schooling and western foodstuffs. Travel, phone and Internet costs remain low. This means if you are living on your own, you would expect a monthly cost of about 7 to 10 million VND, which equals to roughly 350 to 500USD. And the cost for a nuclear family will fall in 14 to 20 million VND (700 to 1,000USD).

When shopping in Hanoi you will notice that different streets sell similar goods, for example there will be a “shoe street,” followed by a “stuffed toys street” and a “TV and audio visual street”. This system comes from ancient Vietnam when traders would set up their businesses close to their competition in order to cluster all similar services in one area. Today, it means that shoppers are able to go to one area for all their shopping and they can compare prices easily and bargain knowledgeably. There are also numerous malls and shopping plazas constantly being built or added to in larger cities.

 Electrical Goods

You will find cheap electrical goods, particularly in the markets. However, many of these are inferior copies made in China. Shopping at department stores and malls is one way to ensure that you‟re buying the real thing; unfortunately this also means that you will be paying a lot more than you would expect to pay in the region.


Vietnam is a food-lovers paradise. Not only are there many western restaurants to choose from, but there are also a range of local restaurants, food stalls and street vendors that cook up amazing fare while you wait. Sticking to western food and western restaurants will burn a hole in your wallet as many of the food items or ingredients are imported and the government levies a tax on these goods. Eating Vietnamese food is cheap, tasty and definitely something to memorize back home. You may refer to the General information of Vietnam for details of various cuisines in three different regions

of Vietnam. The cost of a coffee from a Western style coffee restaurant is about 5USD, while a Vietnamese coffee will cost less than 1USD on the street. Fruit and vegetables from the supermarket are a little more expensive than those bought in the marketplace.


Supermarkets tend to stock Vietnamese, Thais and French brand names. Haircuts are cheap with a male cut costing less than 10USD and women can expect to pay between 10USD and 20USD. There are also numerous facial and massage salons, where you can enjoy a nice massage. But check for reliable ones, it’s usually safer to go to a big spa for good service.

Eating Out

Eating out will cost each of you about 8USD to 15USD if you choose a Vietnamese restaurant whereas a Western restaurant’s prices will start at 15 USD and range upwards. There are some top quality western restaurants in Vietnam ensuring that foreigners never miss familiar meals from back home, but the price is pretty high. Most foreigners soon develop a liking for Vietnamese food, especially street food which is cheap and tasty. Vietnamese coffee (less than 1USD) and the famous Vietnamese beer, “bia hoi‟ (also less than 1USD) are also incredibly cheap and make for a good evenings out with friends.


Embassy – Consulates in Vietnam

New Zealand Embassy Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Add:       Level 5, 63 Ly Thai To Street Ha Noi, Viet Nam

Telephone:  +84 4 3824 1481

Fax:        +84 4 3824 1480

Embassy of Cambodia in Hanoi Vietnam

Add:       71A, Tran Hung Dao St. Hanoi, Vietnam

Phone:      (844) 942 4789 / 942 4788

Fax:        (844) 942 3225

Embassy of Canada in Hanoi, Vietnam

Add:       31 Hung Vuong Street, Hanoi, Vietnam

Phone:      +84 (4) 734 5000

Fax:        +84 (4) 734 5049

Chinese Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam

Add:       46 Hoang Dieu Road

Phone:      + 844 8453736

Fax:        + 844 8232826

Embassy of France in Hanoi, Vietnam

Add:       57 Tran Hung Dao - Hanoi

Phone:      [84] (4) 944 57 00

Fax:        [84] (4) 944 57 17

Embassy of Japan in Vietnam

Add:       27 Lieu Giai, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

Phone:      (84-4)3846-3000

Fax:        (84-4)3846-3043

Consulate of the People's Democratic Republic of Laos

Add:       40 Quang Trung Street, Hanoi ,Vietnam

Phone:      (+84-4) 8252588

Fax:        (+84-4) 8228414

Embassy of Thailand in Vietnam

Add:       Royal Thai Embassy 63-65 Hoang Dieu Street, Hanoi

Phone:      (84-4) 823-5092 to 93

Fax:        (84-4) 823-5088, 733-1326

There are also representative offices for the following countries in either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City: Algeria, Brazil, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Israel, Myanmar, the Philippines and Yugoslavia…


Vietnam Airlines:

Malaysia Airlines:

 Travel Agency

17A Hàng Đồng, Hang Bo ward, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi

04 3923 4848 Website:

99B Vọng Hà, Hoan Kiem, Hà Nội

D42 TT18 New Urban Area Van Quan, Hà Nội

091 277 11 98 ·

56 Ma may st, HàNội

091 224 42 63 ·

61 Cua Bac street, Ba Đình, Hà Nội

04 3715 2852 ·

35 Hàng Lược, quận Hoàn Kiếm, Hanoi

39290600 (Fax) ·

If you have specific questions about living in Vietnam or useful tips to share with us, please don't hesitate to visit our Forum and add a new thread!


Teaching in Vietnam


If you are considering Vietnam for travelling, why do not consider teaching English in Vietnam as a future career or a temporary job that help you deal with your bills when being on the road? Here is some information for you to know what to expect.

In general, a Native English speaker is most preferred. A four- year college degree in any subject is required for a would-be English teacher in Vietnam and a teaching certificate is preferred. However, it doesn’t mean that you could not get a good job without such certificates but surely those documents will guarantee your chances of landing a better job and getting a Work Permit in Vietnam.  TEFL, CELTA, TESOL courses can be found easily in both Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh city. It cost about 1000$ a course. Some schools require a teaching certificate, and can be strict about it, but others are more relaxed. A CELTA or a TESOL certificate can get you a slightly higher salary. For long term, we recommend you to join and get one. Knowing Vietnamese is not a requirement but it helps you easily intergrate into your classroom and sometimes impresses your students.

With some English Language centers, the only real requirement for a teacher is that you are Westerner, speaking English fluently and can make their students happy. So your experiene of teaching  becomes an important qualification. 

Native English speakers of Vietnamese descent,  even those with all qualifications and training, may find it harder to find a teaching job, and he/she may have to accept lower pay. Bosses have been known to advise their employees. I heard my boss told an overseas- Vietnamese English teacher, called David: “Please don’t speak Vietnamese in your class. Don’t let students or specially parents know that you speak any Vietnamese.”

The Position

In Vietnamese urban areas, parents have their children learn English very early when they are 4-5 years old. So most English learners are kids and the demand is very high. A full time teacher can be assigned to students of all ages. In the language schools your students could range from age five up to adult learners and the curriculum will typically follow a strict methodology. At the university level, you will be responsible for your own lesson plans and teach students at the post-secondary level.

Teaching English in Vietnam is currently structured around attaining levels of achievement. You will teach students to learn the basics about the language as well as about your culture. Through your creative instruction, your students will come to learn more about where you come from while you gain greater insight into yourself.


Teachers can expect 15-22 classroom hours per week. In addition to classroom time, you may be required to anticipate planning time, faculty meetings, and other in-school commitments. It is not uncommon for teachers to work 30-40 hours by the end of the week. 

However timetabling is flexible and you can pick and choose to work less, while still enjoying a relatively comfortable standard of living.

Schools and Location

Language academy schools are located principally in the major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Universities are distributed throughout the country and can be in major and minor cities. Choosing a location to travel to and an age-group to teach are things to consider.

3. How much I can earn from teaching in Vietnam?

There is no fixed salary amount but expect a range between 1000- 2000$ per month for a full time teacher. That may sound a bit hefty, but for the cost of living in Vietnam, the amount can get you a beautiful rented apartment with plenty of budget for food and saving. A part time teacher may be paid 18- 25$/ hour of teaching or a bit more depends on location he/she travels to and teach. Salary also depends on qualification and experience that I mentioned aboved.

If you have specific questions about living in Vietnam or useful tips to share with us, please don't hesitate to visit our Forum and add a new thread!






Working environment


Typically, the organization of a school or university starts with the governing board consisting of president and vice-presidents for a college/university and principal and vice-principals for a school. Under direct control of the governing board are offices, faculties and/or divisions. Usually the following offices are required for any school: office of general administration, office of personnel, office of finance and accounting. University is generally more complex in its organization, thus, besides the above offices, it may also have office of training, office of science and technology, office of students and political affairs, office of international relations, office of facility management, etc., each of which has its own tasks and responsibilities.

The main force of a school or university lies in its teaching staff assigned into faculties and/or divisions. A school will constitute of a number of divisions based on the number of subjects taught there, for instance, division of mathematics, divisions of physics, division of literature, etc. A university is normally broken down into faculties whose sub-units are divisions.

In addition to offices and faculties/divisions, a school or university may also manage a certain number of centers and unions such as center of international education, center of foreign languages, center of employment services, teacher union, student union,youth union.

Though, each school or university may vary slightly in its organization, below is the formal and basic structure:

Governing board (President/Principal + Vice Presidents/Principals):

Offices         -             Faculties/Divisions         -       Centers/Unions

Organization of a typical foreign language center

The organization of a foreign language center is much simpler in comparison with a school or a university since it focuses on one specialized field. Head of a center is a governing board which includes director and vice-director. The governing board will manage all the tasks at the center with the support from a few sections: finance and accounting, marketing, academic, project, and IT. Generally speaking, a foreign language center will not have a huge number of teachers like a school or a university. Though they may recruit a few full-time teachers, most centers will operate on the basis of part-time teachers. They can have connection with some schools or universities which supply teachers for them.

The following is a basic structure of a center, depending how big it is, the center may decide to extend its structure and operation.

Governing board (Director + Vice-Director):

Finance and accounting - Marketing – Others

Relations at schools/universities

If you are going to work at a school or a university, you are going to experience a very academic working environment. As can be seen from the organization of a school/university, you are going to be in contact with quite a few members of the staff. When you first sign contract with a school/university, you will have a chance to work with persons from the personnel department and you will also meet with the president/ principal or person in charge to be briefed on certain rules and regulations of the school/university. Then when you start your teaching job, you will just come into frequent contact with your colleagues and your students. As for academic issues you can discuss them with the Head of the Divisions that you are working at.

Relations at centers

Working at the centers you will have to keep in contact with the following people: the director of the center, administrative staff, colleagues, and your students. As for the director of the center, you may not have much chance to see him/her, perhaps only when you sign the teaching contract. Every day you will be in close interaction with the administrative staff that will help you with the logistics before your lesson. They will be very helpful and available during class time, ready to assist with any arising problems. Before each lesson, you will also meet your colleagues at the teacher‟s corner. This can be a good time for you to share your teaching experience and later you may find yourselves become good friends. Last but not least, your students are the most important subjects. Learning English is both serious and fun, thus, try to use a flexible method which encourages students to study and achieve their target in a comfortable mood. You may realize that students want to talk to you as much as possible even outside class since this is a perfect way for them to practice their English. In this case, be friendly, enthusiastic and be a good listener.

As a teacher, you are expected to perform certain routine tasks every day. Those include what you have to do before, during and after class.

Before class

-    Prepare lesson plan based on syllabus and textbook provided by the center.

-    Send the lesson plan and handouts (if any) to the center at least one day before each lesson to be approved and photocopied ready for you.

-   Go to class at least 10 minutes earlier than the teaching time (especially necessary for the first lesson) to check if anything needs to be done.

-   Ask the teaching assistant for any help in terms of logistics.

During class

-    Give lecture to students, based on the lesson plan and strictly follow the syllabus

-    Make sure students understand your lecture thoroughly by giving clarification and illustration to the key points.

-    Maintain a friendly teaching and learning environment by interacting with students during class time, and during break time if possible.

-    Check students‟ attendance for your class report later.

-    Keep track of your students‟ performance and progress over time for your

class report later

After class

-    Sign you name in the teacher record book.

-    Report any unexpected cases to the administration staff.

-    Send report in writing to the admin staff on time (you will have to write at least two reports for each course: mid-course and end-of-course).

Appearance counts as it does in most other countries. The north is a little cooler and more formal than the south, so suits and ties are standard dress for men, especially in fall or winter. In the south, jackets are less common as the weather is too hot. Instead, a short- or long-sleeved shirt in a conservative color, a tie and dark pants are commonly seen. For women, modest clothes covering the shoulders and knees are appropriate. Clothes that are too casual show a lack of respect for the person you are meeting. Clothing that reveals too much cleavage, your back, your chest, your feet, your stomach or your underwear is not appropriate for a place of business, even in a business casual setting. Even in a business casual work environment, clothing should be pressed and never wrinkled. Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable. If you are wearing clothing which has words, terms, slogans or you should be careful as it may be offensive to other employees. Clothing that has the company logo is encouraged.

-    Time

Generally, people are very dependable when they are required to appear at a certain time. They may arrive early in some occasions like wedding and party, but on those same occasions others may arrive very late. There is no fast and hard rule about time in Vietnam, it depends on your common sense and your observation of how Vietnamese behave in specific situations. Many foreigners are under the conception that in Vietnam deadlines are rarely respected since almost everything takes more time than what people first told you. A popular notion about time in Vietnam is 'thoi gian cao su', or 'rubber time'. To some extent, it is true and one of the reasons for this failure to meet deadlines is simply that the Vietnamese are relationship-oriented, not job-oriented, perhaps giving them a natural advantage as public relations people, but not as planners. Nevertheless, like many things in Vietnam, this is changing. Vietnamese people are trying hard toward a more professional way in almost every aspect of life, and time conception is one thing that is changing significantly. At work, Vietnamese people tend to be punctual and they also expect others to be on time. Vietnamese bosses are also stricter about deadlines, so it is advisable for employees to meet deadlines if they don‟t want to be blamed and get sack. As a teacher, you are supposed to arrive at class earlier than students at least 5 to 10 minutes to get ready for your lesson.

-    Behavior and attitude

Traditional Vietnamese organizations operate strict hierarchies. Individuals have defined roles and report to an immediate superior who will direct his or her work. Information is on a strictly “need-to-know basis” – if a senior manager is away from work, only his superiors will know where the person has gone and is going to return. Deference to superiors is essential at all times – in a meeting, for example, the most superior person present will hold the floor and give permission to inferiors to speak. Disagreeing with a superior‟s view would be a serious breach of etiquette. Much time is taken up with social ceremonies – tea drinking and circuitous discussions take precedence over work output. However, the fact that foreign capital flows into Vietnam and foreign companies are mushrooming is also changing people‟s attitude toward work. Much influenced by foreign companies from Western as well as Eastern side, Vietnamese people are adapting quickly to foreign bosses. As a teacher, you need to maintain friendly relation with other staff and with your students. The teaching environment is fairly comfortable in comparison with business one without having to compete aggressively with one another.

-    Cooperation

Always show a cooperative attitude towards people around you. In this particular case, try your best to cooperate with the administrative staff in order to facilitate your teaching procedure. They help you prepare logistics before every class, you can also support them by providing details of every student performance in class both directly and via periodical report. This will help them monitor your class more efficiently. Besides, you should also work in close collaboration with the academic officer and academic director, who will assist you with more academic issues. Any questions related to textbook, syllabus, materials and so on can be discussed with the training department.

If you have specific questions or useful tips to share with us, please don't hesitate to visit our Forum and add a new thread!

Work Permit

What do I need to get a Work Permit in Vietnam?

This is some good information for you to get the Work Permit in Vietnam.

In order to get a WP, a foreigner needs to have three things:

- A Work Contract with a school, or a company in VN

- Support from your employer to get the WP (Because it requires the signature and stamp of the company)

- University degree (higher degree or professional skills certificate/ 5- years experiences working in the same major). So if you want to teach in VN, you need to have a teaching certificate TEFL, TESOL, CELTA...

Then these are the required documents in your dossier:

  1. Criminal record ( if you have stayed here in VN for more than 6 months, you will have to get the Criminal R that is issued by Judiciary Department of the city/ District where you are living.) In case, you are not living in VN or you have stayed here for less than 6 months, the paper must be issued from your Authority Government. 

  2. Health certificate (from a hospital in VN such as Sanh pon, Viet- Phap...)

  3. 3 new passport photos of 3x4 dimensions 

  4. Signed WP application forms.

  5. Orginal university degree and teaching certificate (or the authenticated and stamped copies by Vietnam Embassy in your country or your country's Embassy in VN)

This paper work will then be translated into Vietnamese and certified by a Vietnamese Government agency to prove that this translated version has the same meaning as the original one and it can be used legally in VN.

Even you have all required documents, it takes times to get the Work Permit and if you have the WP, you may get the resident card for a long time in VN.

For further information or consultancy, you may contact us via 


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Visa Vietnam

Visa exemption:

Citizens of following countries do not require a visa to visit Vietnam for 30 days.

 - Cambodia (*)

 - Indonesia (*)

 - Laos (*)

 - Malaysia (*)

 - Singapore (*)

 - Thailand (*)

Citizens of  Philippines* do not require a visa to visit Vietnam for 21 days.

Citizens of following countries do not require a visa to visit Vietnam for 15 days.

 - Denmark

 - Finland

 - Japan

 - Norway

 - Russia

 - South Korea

 - Sweden

Citizens of  Brunei (*) do not require a visa to visit Vietnam for 14 days.

most ASEAN countries have a bilateral agreement on visa waiving with Vietnam (those with a (*) mark behind).

Other countries requires to obtain Visa prior departure.

Note: In order to use visa exemption, you need to provide documentation for leaving the country before the expiration date. The regulation is very clear about this, but normally you will be accepted to enter Vietnam without the documentation. It is a risk to travel without the documentation.

How to apply for an entry visa to Vietnam? (Visa Type)

Regular Visa can be applied at Vietnamese Embassies or Consulates. Normal processing time is 1 week. 1–2 days processing if in Thailand, Cambodia or Laos. Note: The short opening hours. Advice to check before you go and apply. (

Pre-arranged Visa on Arrival/ e-visa (or Landing visa as referred at the airport) can be applied online for certain countries (that regarded as safe by the Vietnamese Immigration Department). You will get the visa stamp when arrived at the intl. airport in Vietnam. This visa type is only available when entering Vietnam by air, and has to be pre-applied/ - arranged through private agencies and not at the embassies. If you have a domestic flight transfer to e.g. Nha Trang (Cam Ranh airport), then make sure you get your visa stamp at one of the main intl. airports (Da Nang, Hanoi, Saigon/ Ho Chi minh City), before the transfer. Local airports do not have landing visa counter.

Notice: This entry visa type is processed, issued and granted by the Vietnamese Immigration dep. through private agencies, and therefore in no connection with the embassies. Official dep. don't offer this service directly towards private person.

Pre-arranged Visa Code can also be applied online. You get the visa stamp at a pre-chosen embassy/ consulate. Similar process as "Visa on arrival", but you don't get the visa stamp at the Vietnamese airport.

Notice: Processed and granted by the Vietnamese Immigration dep., but the visa stamp is issued by the embassies.

If your nationality is regarded as not safe by the Vietnamese Government, then you need a company in Vietnam that can guarantee for your stay. You need the guarantee letter from that company in order to apply for any visa to Vietnam. E.g. citizens from India, Pakistan, most coutnries in Africa etc.

Updated Vietnamese Visa information

Vietnamese Visa regulations change very often in Vietnam, so please check with your visa agent or Vietnamese embassies for updated news, especially pre-arranged visa on arrival.

(August 2012):

3 months Multiple entries visa with "visa on arrival", is only issued 1 week before arrival date. You can apply in advance, but the immigration office in Vietnam will only issue 1 week before arrival for visa approval letter. The regulation has been limited for "pre-arranged visa on arrival" since June 2012. Regular visa and Visa code is still processing as normal.

(September 2012):

The regulation for 3 months Multiple entries visa with "visa on arrival" has been lifted. The new regulation allows you to get the visa approval letter several months before your departure. Other visa type is still as usual.

(October 2012):

Travelers by boat/ cruise from e.g. Hong Kong to Hanoi, can now apply for visa on arrival and get the visa stamp at the seaport. Only a few agencies can provide this service. You need to pre-order/ -apply before departure.

(November 2012)

New changes regarding pre-arranged visa on arrival to Vietnam for Chinese nationality, departure from China. The Chinese airport authorities (only the Chinese Airports) don't allowed pre-arranged visa on arrival for Chinese nationality. All other nationality is valid as normal.

(December 2012)

The Vietnamese Immigration Department has decided to increase all visa fee to Vietnam from Jan. 2013, e.g. regular visa, visa on arrival etc. Be aware of the changes when traveling in Vietnam from 2013.

For further information or consultancy, you may contact us via

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