The ESL Teacher’s Life in Vietnam

Teaching English in Vietnam

Big salaries and tiny living costs put English teacher’s in a pretty desirable position. In fact Vietnam has recently ranked second in a worldwide survey measuring the disposable income for ex-pats living there. One hour’s teaching in Vietnam can earn around 500,000 Vietnamese Dong (VND). A glass of fresh beer (bia hoi), costs 5000 VND. You can do the maths.

We are confident that despite all the money you can earn, there will be much, much more about teaching in Vietnam that you’ll love.

Life in Vietnam

Vietnam has so much to offer.  Breathtaking natural beauty can be found from North to South, from the beautiful mountain ranges of Ha Giang and Sapa, littered with emerald green rice paddies, all the way down to the golden tree lined beaches of Nha Trang and Hoi An. Thick jungle is pocketed with traditional ethnic tribes, the biggest caves in the world, wonderful wildlife and exquisite views. The people are warm, fun loving and welcoming, the food is unrivalled, and the culture is rich in history, charm and beauty. It is an exciting time to be in Vietnam, traditional culture is being transformed by a rapidly growing economy. The country’s old world and new world live alongside each other, sometimes combining to create all sorts of interesting new opportunities, niches, and experiences.

Old quarter - Hanoi

Old quarter – Hanoi

The Food

A recent survey found that 87% of ex-pats living in Vietnam would recommend the food, that is much higher than the global average. In fact Vietnam’s food ranks third in the world amongst foreigners living abroad. Styles of cooking are incredibly varied which is unsurprising considering the amount of influences they have on their cooking. The French definitely left an impression, during their colonial era in Vietnam; from crusty baguettes to red wine stews, all of course with a little Asian flare to them. The Vietnamese are truly masters of taste combinations, the most common being the irresistible mix of lime, chili and garlic which gives life to so many of their meals. Of course, all the major cities have high quality international food available too!


vietnamese sandwich

Social Life

Vietnamese people are incredibly sociable and welcoming. It won’t be long after arriving that a Vietnamese person will invite you to their home for dinner, where you will probably be treated like royalty. Coffee is very popular and the French also left over a delightful Parisian cafe culture. As for nightlife, you won’t be able to find all-night parties everywhere, but there is plenty of drinking to be done. Vietnam was recently ranked the fourth best country in the world for ex-pat social life and the number one destination in the world for making friends. The Vietnamese are big beer lovers and they have a very appropriate motto ‘In Vietnam, you never drink alone’.

A beer corner in Hanoi

A beer corner in Hanoi


Getting Around

The number one source of transport in Vietnam is the motorbike, despite having only a population of approximately 90 million people, estimates range from 35 to 45 million motorbikes, compared to less than 2 million cars! Most ex-pats buy a motorbike or bicycle, the roads are dangerous, but as long as play by the Vietnamese road rules, and have a safe bike and some instruction then you should be fine. You might even enjoy it! If you move to Hanoi or Saigon and sign up for one of TFV’s packages you will be entitled to a voucher that gets you a special discount on a motorbike, with lessons, helmet, raincoat, maps and whatever else you need from a reliable English speaking mechanic. There are bus systems in all the big cities, but they can get pretty busy in rush hour. For cross-country journeys, you can buy a special traveler ticket which allows you to hop on and off buses wherever you like for no extra charge. There is also a train line that runs through most of the country, it’s no bullet train but it has charm and some remarkable views.



If you sign up to one of our packages then a range of exclusive, professionally written pieces about Vietnam will become available to you. These include articles on teaching Vietnamese students (demo-lesson plans included), Vietnamese interview tips and a huge number of secrets about the country that will give you a real edge.

Here are a few examples:

TFV ESL games

Securing a job

Common Teaching Scams and Street Scams

Teaching Vietnamese Students

Etiquette in Vietnam

Survival Vietnamese

Visas and Work Permits



Do you need help?

For information about where the best places to live in Vietnam, visit the ‘Where to Live’ Page.

You can read about our exclusive packages right here.

Or CONTACT US for more info!

Where to live