My mate and I were wanting to spend about 6 months somewhere on the north coast of Vietnam just living the chilled life in some kind of beach shack. We're both very laid back and were hoping someone might be able to guide us in the direction of some small villages or islands where we could find somewhere where we'd be able to find something simple for that length of time (or at least a month or so, in case we decide to move around a bit) thanks a lot in advance and any help is appreciated :)
#1 dreammbrother has been a member since 23/1/2013. Posts: 6
Are you looking for surf? or just a village lifestyle kind of thing? Require any western creature comforts at all?
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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its all new in Vnam-there simply are not such Indo-style ''shacks'' etc-all brand new small high-rise (very skinny) hotels/guesthss-which cost from 5/6 US$/night-but mostly a little more.
#3 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472
Hey Somtam no surf isn't really much of an interest and as far as western stuff I dunno. Perhaps being able to use a computer once a week to let people know all is well, a place to withdraw cash from to pay for supplies. Asides that nothing really! We just want to take it easy and get away from life :) Preferably with a nice view and no hassles!
#4 dreammbrother has been a member since 23/1/2013. Posts: 6
I'm not an expert on the north but as no-one has provided much in the way of short term beach rentals in Vietnam, I'll stick my two pennies worth in! In Hoi An you can rent a fishermans house in a tiny hamlet on or near the beach, they are basic and cost about $180 per month and upwards, although Hoi An is rather touristy these little villages are not and should you choose to isolate yourself (within 4kms of an ATM) its completely possible - most of the villagers don't go anywhere near the town, there are tiny markets where you can buy all your provisions and lots of motorbike street food vendors that drive by with lots of cheap eats. Its quite difficult to rent what is considered 'short term' accommodation in very isolated spots in Vietnam (beach shack guest houses don't really exist) because for a Vietnamese to rent to a foreigner they have to go to quite a lot of trouble with the police, if its not been done before in the area you choose to lay your hat it may well be impossible to arrange unless you do it through another foreigner. I hope this helps in some shape or form and good luck.
Awesome, thanks Lola! Is it best to just get there and ask around or is there anywhere online where you could recommend getting a little more information on this stuff?
Also, I noticed that the Vietnamese tourist visas are valid for one month, and renewable for another month sometimes. Does anyone know if there's another visa one can apply for to be able to stay longer? 2 months feels like a really short time to properly get to know a country.
#6 dreammbrother has been a member since 23/1/2013. Posts: 6
Visa rules change all the time but at the moment it is possible to get a six month one if you arrange it before you leave, otherwise apply for a 3 month. If you end up looking for a place to rent you will need a B3 (business visa) so tick that box on your form. Applying for a longer visa will save you all the messing around and mis-information when trying to get an extension.
Again in the North I can't hook you up with anyone that might help you with property rentals, maybe have a look at the New Hanoian website, they have a good classified section with plenty of rental information. In Hoi An it took us months to find a place to live, there is now a guy called Alex who has a company called HoiAn House who sorts all the expats and longer stay residents out with places to stay - he's excellent, its worth having a look at his website just to get an idea of price.
If you were to leave it until you arrived (and you decide on the north) it would be a good idea to try to hook up with long stay expats that may know of somewhere or someone that can help you as you will need a landlord that has rented out to foreigners before or knows someone who has.
You might also want to think a little about the season you intend to stay, the north and south are polar opposites in weather and the rainy season in the north is pretty unforgiving and a bit cold - houses here are not really set up for cold, wet weather so it can be an uncomfortable stay. When it rains - it really rains so you won't get to go and explore.
Awesome, thanks! These sites are really helpful.
In regards to traveling, we probably were looking to go around September time. Would it really be a total waste to go around then? I'm not deterred by rain or fog, but is it going to be to the point where doing anything is impossible/dangerous or just a bit inconvenient?
Thanks for all your help :)
#8 dreammbrother has been a member since 23/1/2013. Posts: 6
I was going to suggest that if you wanted to stick to the north you could have a look at the islands out in Halong Bay, like Quan Lan island - they have beach type shacks from what I've been told (not made it there myself yet) although whether you can stay long term or would want to (not a lot going on) is another story. But it would have been worth investigating. But then I saw you were heading out in September...so I'd rule out the north for a 6 month stay as it will be cold for at least a couple of months. Weather could also be a problem in Hoi An as you'll hit rainy season, so maybe head south? Phu Quoc?
Re visas, there's been quite bit of discussion recently on the local expat site about 3 month visas no longer being offered and there are funny rules around 6 month visas... Things change all the time though so check it out nearer the time.
September is the most beautiful time in the north, roll on Nov/Dec and it gets wet as in typhoon season and temperatures start to drop. Maybe do a couple of months in the north and then follow the sun - Phu Quoc could be worth a look around Nov/Dec, its a big island and there still are cheap beach huts away from the madness of Long Beach that would give you a bit of castaway living on your own stretch of beach.
Originating from the U.K months of rain didn't bother me on paper, but in Vietnam it can be incredibly depressing especially when it rains for weeks without a break, everything is damp, your house, your clothes, and although you can still get out and about the roads are not made for it, bad drainage makes them flood which is dangerous on a bike and in more rural, mountainous areas you get land slides which can leave you stuck out in the wilds, in the rain... Yeah, its a bit warmer, but at night not much and when you are damp all the time its not all that fun.
I'd most certainly do Sept/Oct up north and take it from there, you might be lucky and have a delayed winter like we did this year, I'd try and find some place to rent that you could do month by month and then if you want to move on you can.
Awesome, thanks for the advice guys!
Looks like it might be a bit more fun to do a bit of time both north and south anyway. Will definitely have a further look into Phu Quoc as I have previously heard nice things about the place. And you're right, a bit of rain is nothing, but if it's going to be pouring non-stop then it might become a bit of a downer after a while.
Would anyone be able to point me in the direction of some sites similar to Hoi An House? I spoke to Alex and he was really helpful and quick with his responses so it would be great to find something similar for down South :)
#11 dreammbrother has been a member since 23/1/2013. Posts: 6
I've got a couple of friends on the island that are notoriously bad at responding to email.. they are very much on island time, I'll see what I get back, in the meantime you could try emailing the guys at visitphuqouc.info, they seem to know the island better than anyone.
Great, thanks Lola! You've been most helpful :)
#13 dreammbrother has been a member since 23/1/2013. Posts: 6
@LolaNguyen, i'm trying to do the same thing as dreammbrother, can you advise if Phu Quoc is good (weather-wise) around March to May?
#14 Sightandtaste has been a member since 29/1/2013. Posts: 11
March is generally when the season starts to change - a one of my friends runs a diving school on the island and he packs up in March. The seasons can vary an awful lot, so you could be lucky but if you are really in search of good weather then Central Vietnam is where you should be heading, its glorious (its also where I live so I can actually provide you with completely accurate advice - hoorah)!