There is absolutely no shortage of things to do in Vietnam whether you are interested in volunteering, arts and culture, entertainment, sports or general well-being!
You can keep yourself busy with sports & exercise, pampering sessions, Vietnamese and/or other language classes, cooking, photography and artistic courses, cultural excursions to the theatre, art galleries and cinemas, a growing live music scene, without mentioning local and international travel options to some of the most beautiful spots in the world. Most of the people you meet in Vietnam will be like-minded, adventurous types who will be up for trying most things once. ILA staff can help recommend the best venues for you to stay in shape, enhance your skills and satisfy your personal curiosity to ensure that you gain the most you can from your experience and render it entirely unforgettable.
Arts, Culture and Entertainment
A mixture of Western and Vietnamese cultural opportunities exists throughout the country. Cinemas are numerous and entirely modern with seats that are often more comfortable than at home! Both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have opera houses that have a variety of performance throughout the year. Art galleries and budding artists are also numerous around Vietnam! The live music scene is growing with international and local performances becoming a regular fixture in the Saigon social scene!
It is definitely worth putting some time and effort into learning some basic Vietnamese during your time in the country. The locals will appreciate your efforts and you will gain a greater understanding of the culture of your adopted country. Many locals do speak some English, but the further you venture from the main cities the less likely it is you will be able to communicate without a basic understanding of the Vietnamese language.
ILA offers free 'survival Vietnamese' lessons to new teachers. You will also find a variety of different opportunities to learn Vietnamese through local universities or one on one tutors.
Few countries can offer English language teachers a lifestyle that compares to Vietnam as well as the opportunity to immerse one's self in a truly diverse culture.
The cost of living is low and you can enjoy a fantastic standard of living whilst still saving money.
However, everyone eventually needs a holiday and the money that you have saved can go quite a long way travelling in South East Asia!
Vietnam is a wonderfully diverse country with something for everyone. Whether you want to experience a new culture, relax on a beach or trek through the mountains, there are unlimited travel options.
Transportation methods also differ widely from buses, to motorbikes, planes to boats and you can visit a large number of destinations by these different transport methods.
The Vietnamese people are friendly and approachable and love to practice their English with foreigners. They tend to be quite animated in their speech, so you might think they are arguing but it's not really the case at all. Their love of loud music and karaoke often fills the streets, especially in the evenings.
Foreigners will be bombarded with an assortment of questions related to age, family, salary and other personal aspects of their lives. This is necessary for the Vietnamese to know how to address you and how you fit into your family structure which is an integral part of their culture.
There are a number of websites that offer advice about moving to Vietnam and setting yourself up here. They are run by other expatriates and offer advice on everything from housing, to transportation, to where to eat, to where to buy shoes. Below are some of the best guides:
Whether you are considering the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City or the laid back atmosphere of the beach, the lifestyle in Vietnam is beyond comparison.
The options of what to do are unlimited and even if you always dine out, go shopping regularly, and treat yourself to the spa once a week, saving money is easy to do.
In Vietnam both the Vietnamese Dong and the US Dollar are accepted currencies, although the Dong is used for day to day items. While the exchange rate has fluctuated slightly over the past few years it is not hugely notable. Bargaining is a part of daily life in Vietnam, meaning that any price listed is an estimate and you may need to haggle a little to get what you feel is a fair price. Prices also vary widely depending on how you choose to live, but the potential for saving is very high while living in Vietnam, in fact many recent University graduates are able to pay off their student loans while working in Vietnam. However if you want to splurge on some luxury, you won't have to look far either with 5 star hotels, buffets, spas, and beauty treatment centres located in all major cities.
You can find a city cost guide for the various major cities across Vietnam through www.tefl.com
Please check out this website for up to date currency information: www.xe.com
Getting around the cities is easy and cheap and can also be quite exciting depending on which mode of transportation you choose.
It is certainly going to be quite different than what you are used to in your home country. Crossing the rode can be a bit like playing dodge ball and weaving in and out of traffic on a motorbike taxi will keep your eyes wide open and your hands gripped tight to the bike. For those that like to play it safe, metered taxis are affordable and easily tracked down. Although be sure to take well known taxi companies as foreigners are easy targets to be taken advantaged of. After living in the city for a while you may decide you want the freedom to drive yourself around! Buying or renting a motorbike is quite easy and there are many different choices. No matter if you are driving a motorbike or riding on the back of a motorbike taxi you need to get yourself a helmet as it is the law, not to mention safe!
*Here is some extra information about transportation in the city whether you are taking a taxi www.vinataxis.com or thinking about renting www.vinarentals.com
*Remember that it is illegal in Vietnam to drive without a license but ILA will help you to obtain the proper permit!
Restaurants, Food and Drink
Bring along an adventurous appetite when coming to Vietnam as your taste buds will enjoy an outrageous array of dishes to feast on.
While many traditional Vietnamese dishes are similar to other Asian countries, Vietnamese food is different in that a lot of it is boiled vs. fried. Each region in Vietnam, Northern, Central and Southern carries in specialties, boasting theirs to be the best cuisine! Buddhism introduced a traditionally vegetarian diet to Vietnam meaning that it is quite easy to be a vegetarian in Vietnam. In the larger cities you can find a large variety of cuisines from traditional Vietnamese food, to Western style food, to Mediterranean tapas, to Japanese sushi, to Indian curry, to 5 Star Hotel buffets.