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Being a Digital Nomad in Vietnam

Thinking of moving to Vietnam to work remotely, start a business, or grow an existing one? You’ve come to the right place. Let me share with you a “day in the life” of living in Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), a major city in southern Vietnam.

As a digital nomad and entrepreneur, I have found Ho Chi Minh City to be a perfect place to work remotely.

Being a Digital Nomad in Vietnam

My day typically starts at 4:55am, giving me five minutes to gulp down some water and hit the bathroom before joining my colleagues in the U.S. on Slack at 3pm PST. It took a couple weeks to adjust to this schedule, but now I love it – nothing feels more productive than having accomplished a bunch of tasks before breakfast.

I live in a small apartment just north of downtown in a neighborhood full of location independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads. It’s nothing fancy, but comes with wifi, water, a desk, and my own bathroom and fridge. Price = $200/month.

Desk in Vietnam

Next it’s time for breakfast.

I typically get an omelette banh mi for 20,000 dong (90 cents). I often grab a matcha green tea latte while I’m out of my apartment too (1 USD).

Banh mi in Vietnam

I spend most of the day working either at my desk, a local cafe, or a coworking space (they usually have decent wifi + food and drink). At some point I’ll hit the gym or go for a run.

Be wary of what season you’re in. The dry season lasts from December to late April or May, while the wet season runs from May through November. That being said, the rain usually falls in short downpours, so it’s not too bad.

But it can really downpour.

Rain in Vietnam

I went for a run and found myself in a foot of water

In the evening I might meet up with a fellow entrepreneur across town. I typically take UberMOTO, Uber’s motorbike service (usual fare is less than 1 USD going across city). The traffic can be crazy, so hold on tight and wear a helmet!

Motorbikes in Vietnam

I go to bed early, so nothing interesting to report on the night life though I hear it’s a lot of fun (karaoke is popular).

I would recommend living in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) if you are…

  • Working online and want to cut your costs to save money / pay off debt
  • Finally hopping on the digital nomad bandwagon and want to meet like minded people
  • Interested in starting a business (or growing one) and need affordable, English-speaking talent

There are lots of people running “fulfilled by Amazon” and dropshipping businesses here. I’ve met some affiliate marketers too. There are some tech startups and distributed teams in the area as well – if you’re looking for that scene, check out Dreamplex (it’s crowded, but you’ll meet people). Get an invite to the Hoach Coach private Facebook group to meet the “in crowd.”

If you’d rather work in a less distracting environment, check out WORK Saigon or Start Saigon (URL wasn’t working but you can find it on Google Maps).

Pros & Cons of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Pros:

  • It’s super cheap and a great place to bootstrap your startup
  • Most people speak English
  • Wifi is overall fast and reliable
  • There are lots of location independent entrepreneurs to collaborate with

Cons:

  • There’s pollution
  • It’s crowded
  • If your colleagues or customers are in the US, you’ll have to work with a significant time zone difference

Personally, I really like Saigon, but it’s the type of place that you’ll either love or hate. Whether you’re considering Vietnam or another destination, make sure you think about your daily routines, what you enjoy, and what drives you crazy. If noise, traffic, an crowded streets drive you crazy, then Ho Chi Minh City might not be for you. But if you’re eager for excitement, vitality, affordable living, and something new, it might be worth a visit.

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