Living in VietnamIyna Bort Caruso
Rising incomes, purchasing power and urbanization is helping to put Vietnam on the map of tourists and investors. Some are calling its coastal resorts the next Phuket or Bali.
Vietnam is a country of distinct geographical regions. The north is mostly highlands while mountains, thick forests and coastal lowlands dominate in the south. The varying topography accounts for variations in climate.
It is a densely populated nation of some 93 million and increasingly reform-minded in business and in real estate. International home buyers are only permitted to lease properties, not technically own the land, which is state-regulated. However, ownership rules are being relaxed to make it easier for non-nationals to acquire residences for longer periods and with more options.
Hanoi, the capital situated in the heart of the northern Red River Delta, has been home to Vietnamese dynasties for centuries. The city reflects influences of the French colonial period in the form of an East-West intermingling of broad avenues, pagodas and buildings with Belle Epoque and Art Deco facades.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city. As in Hanoi, vestiges of French-style architecture linger alongside traditional Vietnamese buildings and modern skyscrapers. The financial and commercial center is District 1, home to historical attractions, entertainment and a number of foreign embassies. Luxury apartments and penthouses feature Western-style finishes and amenities and attract an ex-pat community.
Vietnam is fringed with more than 2,000 miles of coastline. In the center, the port city of Da Nang is a leading seaside resort, one that is pro business with an eye toward sustainable growth. Luxury condominiums and beachfront villas with infinity pools look out onto the South China Sea. Da Nang’s renovated and expanded international airport offers frequent service to major Asia destinations like Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia. Outstanding golf courses, 19 miles of white sand beaches and an easy drive to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites makes this relative newcomer on the Asian resort scene one to watch.