There are a number of different places to teach English in Vietnam. As a result, choosing a destination to settle and start your English teaching career can be a challenge. From north to south, there are villages, towns, and cities seeking native-speaking English teachers. All of whom offer very different experiences and lifestyles to foreign teachers.
Due to the sheer size and shape of Vietnam, the country varies greatly in landscape, temperature, and lifestyle. The country itself has stunning scenery, thriving communities and English teaching opportunities in abundance. One teacher might choose to work in a small town to gain an authentic experience of life as a local in Vietnam. Whilst another might prefer to teach in a city center where they have access to western luxuries and a western lifestyle.
For the sake of this post, we will focus on the top three places to teach English in Vietnam. To learn more about what teaching English in Vietnam is really like from a long term English teacher, click here.
Our Top 3 Places to Teach English in Vietnam
The three major cities of Da Nang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the most popular places to teach English in Vietnam. Each of these cities are evenly spread across the country, from the very north to the very south. As a result, each city differs greatly in climate and culture. Which city is best is very much dependant on the teacher themselves and what they are hoping to gain from their time teaching English in Vietnam.
We will begin this post by exploring the cultural capital city of Hanoi as an English teaching destination. Explaining what life in the city is like for an expat and how teachers can make the most of their time there. We will also include some information on teaching opportunities and how to find a teaching job.
Following this, we will look at the central and coastal city of Da Nang. Explaining why Da Nang is one of the most sought after places to teach English in Vietnam. Including the reasons why long term teachers from all over the country battle to secure a teaching position there.
Finally, we will explore life as an English teacher in the sprawling city of Ho Chi Minh City. Looking at why so many teachers choose this location to start their English teaching careers in Vietnam. Including what teachers can expect from a life living in Vietnam’s concrete jungle is like.
Teaching English in Hanoi
The capital city of Hanoi is located in the scenic north of Vietnam. Over the last decade, Hanoi has become one of the top places to teach English in Vietnam. The cities developing economy has led to more westerners choosing it as a permanent home and because of the influx, western-style cafes, shops and restaurants are opening across the city.
However, despite this ongoing development, Hanoi is still rife with Vietnamese culture. Locals are extremely proud of their heritage and this is evident across the city. Westerners have an opportunity to live within traditional Vietnamese communities, whilst also having access to their western luxuries.
Located in the North of Vietnam, Hanoi is a cultural city surrounded by some of the countries most iconic and impressive scenery. The famous destinations of Ha Long Bay and Ninh Binh, among many others, are located less than 3 hours from the city center. As a result, those who choose to live here have easy access to Vietnam’s lush mountainous countryside.
Many teachers spend their days off exploring by motorbike and soaking up the countries sheer beauty and indulging in authentic Vietnamese ways of living. Heading out of the chaotic city on two wheels in the morning, and laying in a hammock at a homestay in the dense jungle by the afternoon.
Location is our number one reason for choosing Hanoi as a teaching destination in Vietnam. If exploring the outdoors is something you’d like to gain from your time in Vietnam, Hanoi is definitely for you. Make the most of your time living here and get out on a motorbike and into the mountains at every opportunity!
To learn more about where to visit whilst in Northern Vietnam, read North Vietnam: Top 9 Places to Visit.
Most expats who have chosen to settle in Hanoi would argue that the lifestyle the city offers is one of the best in the country. Which is also why thousands believe it is the best place to teach English in Vietnam. As previously mentioned, the city has developed considerably in recent years and expats now have access to their western luxuries, all for a fraction of the price they would pay back home.
The city itself is alive with culture and things to do. Teachers are given the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in local life and live frivolously. Generous teacher salaries and low living costs result in a better quality of life. Dining out, drinking with friends, exercising among many other activities are very affordable on a teacher’s salary in Hanoi. In addition to this, accommodation and general living costs are also low.
In comparison, Hanoi is generally less expensive to live in than Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the fact that Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital city, it is still behind Ho Chi Minh City in terms of economic growth. As a result, general living costs are slightly lower, which allows for more savings (or travel).
Read our Cost of Living vs Teacher Salary post to learn more about living costs in Vietnam.
For native English speakers, finding a job in Hanoi is a relatively easy task. This is due to an ever-growing demand for English teachers. And with English language centers expanding across the country, jobs are consistently opening up.
Most major English Language Companies have Language Centres in and around Hanoi. These companies have a strong online presence, which means viewing job listings and applying for jobs isn’t hard. Most will offer online interviews and some will offer teaching positions before you’ve even arrived in the country.
We have listed our Top 5 Teaching jobs in Vietnam in 2020 on our blog. Teaching jobs in Hanoi are similar to those anywhere else in the country. The main difference being the lifestyle teachers live outside of work. Those who choose to live in Hanoi are more likely to have a more Viet experience. This is mainly down to the fact that locals in Hanoi appear to be more set in their way. The city can be a more fully immersive Vietnamese experience.
Food & Drink
Street food culture in Hanoi is often considered the best in the country. Street food vendors can be found on every corner, serving up delicious classics such as a Pho and Bun Cha. All for a very reasonable price. In addition to this, traditional Vietnamese cafe culture is rife in the city.
Read more about our favorite street food dishes in Hanoi here.
Cafe’s and restaurants in Hanoi sprawl the streets, with locals dining and drinking on tiny plastic stools next to chaotic busy roads. This alien and exciting way of dining makes Hanoi one of the best places to teach English in Vietnam. It may seem a little odd at first, but it soon becomes thoroughly enjoyable and is your most affordable way of eating.
Another great place to eat in Hanoi is at a Bia Hoi. Unique to Hanoi and the north, Bia Hoi’s are a great way of immersing yourself in Vietnamese culture. These often-large eateries are the closest thing to a pub in Vietnam and can be found across the city. Serving Bia Hoi Hanoi beer on tap for approximately 20,000VND ($0.70) for glass, these eateries are popular with those looking to get tipsy.
Delicious home-cooked Vietnamese food is served alongside a chilled glass of beer for as little at $3. All within a cheery local atmosphere. You can’t beat that!
Weather in Hanoi is like nowhere else in the country, due to the fact that the city experiences 4 seasons. For some English Teachers in Vietnam, this is the main reason they choose to live in Hanoi. However, for some, it’s a reason to avoid living in the city.
Temperatures in Hanoi vary between 10 and 35 degrees throughout the year. With summers being very hot and winters being cool. Hanoi experiences moderate temperatures and dry weather during spring and autumn. Those who prefer a change in season will find Hanoi is their best option.
One of Hanoi’s biggest drawbacks is the cities’ high levels of pollution. Hanoi itself is heavily populated and compact, which leads to a high number of vehicles on the road. Weather conditions in Hanoi also add to pollution levels, in which means the city experiences a high number of grey days throughout the year.
Pollution is Vietnam is not specific to Hanoi, all major cities and big towns have issues. However, Hanoi often shows the highest pollution levels in the country.
It is important to protect yourself from high levels of pollution in any one of the three English Teaching locations in this post.
At Rent A Bike, we stock high-quality pollution masks for affordable prices. We suggest that all of our customers wear pollution masks when on the road to protect themselves from harmful gases. You can read more about the pollution masks we have available in our stores.
Teaching English in Da Nang
The coastal city of Da Nang is located at the very center of Vietnam. Connected well by train and plane, this city has become a hotspot for teachers seeking a slice of beach life alongside work. For many arriving in Asia to teach English, working by a beautiful beach is the dream. And for those lucky enough to secure teaching jobs in Da Nang, it is a reality.
The city itself is popular for both Vietnamese tourists and foreigners visiting from all over the world. This is mainly due to the stunning My Khe beach that stretches an impressive 20 miles along the city coastline, along with the neighboring destination of Hoi An, a UNESCO protected market town located just 20 minutes from Da Nang.
Due to Da Nang’s prime location next to the coastline, English teachers from all over Asia consider the city as a prime teaching location. Not only does the city have an incredible beach, but it is also located close to a number of interesting things to do. Despite the small size of Da Nang, English Teachers will not find themselves at a loss.
With tourist hotspots like Hoi An, Hue, the Cham Islands and, the Marble Mountains close by, there are plenty of things to keep you busy during your free time.
Many who choose to live in Da Nang make the most of their days-off exploring by motorbike. The world-famous Hai Van Pass is located just north of the city and is easily one of the top things to do while in Vietnam. Tourists visit from all over the world to complete it.
To learn more about renting a motorbike in Da Nang or completing Hai Van Pass, read the following posts:
Although the city of Da Nang is the smallest of our top three English Teaching locations, expat life here is thriving. The teaching community in Da Nang is certainly the smallest of the three, however, it still exists and there are plenty of expat events. Teachers often find themselves settling in the city and staying for long periods.
There are fewer options in terms of dining and drinking out at western-style restaurants and bars. Despite this, the restaurants and bars that do exist are very popular with expats and bring the community even closer together. To add to this, many of them are on the beach and under the shade of palm trees, which you can’t beat!
Teachers in Da Nang often spend their free time by the beach, hanging out with colleagues and soaking up the sun. Exploring by motorbike is also a great activity in Da Nang. There is a wide range of things to do and see in and around the city.
Rent A Bike have a store in Da Nang and offers both daily and monthly motorbike rentals. Our team here will happily provide ongoing support and advice on how to make the most of the area.
As one of the most popular places to teach English in Vietnam, most major English Language centers have a presence in Da Nang. However, teaching positions can be challenging to come by. Due to Da Nang’s popularity, English Teachers compete to secure teaching positions and often remain in their jobs for long periods when able. So finding a teaching position here can be more challenging than HCMC and Hanoi.
Often teachers in Da Nang have transferred from their positions elsewhere in the country. While others opt to teach online using various different platforms.
It is worth considering that securing a teaching position in Da Nang may take longer and additional time should be allowed. However, teaching positions in Da Nang do exist and can be found via social media and center websites.
Food & Drink
Due to the cities coastal location, many of the restaurants in Da Nang revolve around seafood. Seafood in the city is some of the best in the whole country. Seaside restaurants serve up delicious fresh fish all day long in a beautiful beach setting. Alternatively, dishes here are a mix of northern and southern traditional Vietnamese street food.
Restaurants are spread along the seafront and throughout the city. A mix of Vietnamese, Korean and Western-style restaurants can be found. As a result, teachers can usually find their Western fix!
Weather in Da Nang
Located between Hanoi and HCMC, Da Nang has a varied weather system that changes year to year. On the whole, Da Nang is warm and resembles the souths two seasons, wet and dry. However, Da Nang does experience cold periods in the winter.
Temperatures can drop to 15 degrees during the months of December and March, but cool periods are short-lived. Rising again to averages of 25 to 30 degrees for the majority of the year.
Much like the rest of Vietnam, Da Nang has very warm and wet summers and dry winters. However, as previously mentioned, this can vary year to year. Overall, Da Nang is warm and sunny, making it the ideal place for teachers to make the most of their time in Vietnam.
Teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City
Finally, the capital city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, is located in the south. This sprawling concrete jungle is the most popular place to teach English in Vietnam. Thousands of teachers arrive in the city every year to start their English teaching careers. And due to the cities ongoing economic growth and development, there are teaching jobs suitable for all.
A popular destination for tourists visiting Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is alive with events and things to do. With a huge expat community, those who choose to build a life here often find themselves settling for long periods. With western eateries and bars on every corner, it is possible to live a very comfortable life that somewhat resembles home.
Located in the very south of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City sprawls over a vast area of 2,061 km². Unlike Hanoi’s many lakes and winding chaotic streets, Ho Chi Minh City resembles a concrete jungle. With high buildings, wide roads and large green parks, the city have more similarities to a western city.
Due to the cities southern location, the surrounding countryside is relatively flat and looks like a delta. Those looking to escape the city will often visit the neighboring coastal city of Vung Tau, the world-famous Mekong Delta or the jungle of Cat Tien National Park. All of these locations can be completed in 1 or 2 days, making them the ideal escape for teachers.
Getting out of the city is something all teachers aim to do at least once every two months. Despite the fact that Ho Chi Minh City is fun and vibrant, being surrounded by constant noise and concrete can get a bit too much at times. Luckily, all of the destinations mentions previously are easily accessible by motorbike.
Rent A Bike have a store in Ho Chi Minh City where the staff is able to provide advice on weekend retreats and the best motorbike routes to follow.
Due to the huge number of English teachers living and working in the city, the expat community is thriving. With weekly open mic nights, comedy nights, pub quizzes, amongst other events, teachers in Ho Chi Minh City always have something to do. In addition to this, teacher-specific events happen almost every evening, which makes the city the ideal place to start your life in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City is a great place for any night owl to live. The city really comes to life in the evenings.
As previously mentioned, there is also a wide range of western eateries, where teachers often hang out during the day to enjoy a long brunch. In terms of having the opportunity to live a western lifestyle, Ho Chi Minh City is your number one option. English teachers here have access to all of their home comforts, whilst living in the midst of Vietnam’s most thriving city.
However, for those seeking an authentic Vietnamese experience, this too can easily be found. Simply wander off the beaten track and down one of the cities many winding alleys to find incredible street food and local cafes. Here it is possible to feel a million miles away from the chaos of day to day life in Ho Chi Minh City.
As the most popular place to teach English in Vietnam, there are a number of different teaching positions available to teachers. The city has a large number of Private English Language Centres and English Testing Centres who require native English teachers. Most of whom have a strong online presence. As a result, like Hanoi, these positions can be applied for online prior to your arrival in the country.
The majority of English teachers in Ho Chi Minh City work for Private English Language Centres. However, public and international school positions are also common in the city. With a large number of expat families in the Ho Chi Minh City, International Schools are located across the city. Many English teachers looking to progress, to challenge themselves further or simply seeking a regular working pattern find themselves moving into these roles.
Providing you have all of the necessary qualifications and documents, finding employment as an English teacher in Ho Chi Minh City should be relatively easy.
Weather in Ho Chi Minh City
The all year round heat of the south is possibly the number reason Ho Chi Minh City is one of the best places to teach English in Vietnam. Temperatures in the city rarely drop below 25 degrees and tend to only ever reach highs of 35 degrees in the summer. As a result, clear blue skies and warm days are common. Teachers who choose to live here can say goodbye to jumpers and jeans, they are simply not needed.
However, despite the cities appealing warm climate, it does come with a small (or rather large) downfall. Although winter days in the city are regularly bright and mild, summer days (July-September) is hot and wet. And when we say wet, we mean WET.
When it rains in Ho Chi Minh City, which it regularly does during the summer (wet season), the streets can flood almost instantly. This makes the commute to work rather unappealing and sadly simple poncho won’t keep you dry in a downpour. You’d be better off wearing a swimming costume.
On the other hand, the dry winter months (October-March) are extremely pleasant. Temperatures hover in the high twenties, the sky is blue, a breeze sweeps the streets and the city doesn’t experience rain for months. It’s truly a glorious climate to live in.
Other Places to Teach English in Vietnam
Vietnam is a diverse and cultural country that offers a range of extremely different lifestyles to those who choose to live and teach English here. Not every teacher who arrives in the country is looking for an experience that resembles their life back home. All three of our top places to teach English in Vietnam offer a somewhat western way of life.
For those seeking an authentic small-town experience, opportunities do exist throughout the country. Many of the major language centers have opportunities in small cities, such as Hai Phong, Can Tho, Vinh, Hue, Ninh Binh, etc. In addition, there are also many opportunities in even more remote locations, such as Sapa, Mai Chau, Pu Luong, etc.
These positions may be more challenging to come by, but they can be found with a bit of research online. If you decide you would like to teach English in a remote place in Vietnam, remember that you may feel removed and isolated at times. It can be a big commitment, and one worth considering if you’re doing it with someone you know.