Teach English in Hanoi: Experience Traditional Vietnam

By Geddy Gee
Teach English in Hanoi

Hanoi is the second biggest city in Vietnam and it’s also the capital. It’s the place where Vietnam handles its politics and it’s filled with rich traditions and culture. It’s the city in Vietnam where you can truly experience traditional Vietnamese culture. Hanoi is located in Northern Vietnam, near the Chinese border. Because of this you will see that Hanoi has a unique mix of Vietnamese and Chinese culture. It’s very different here than in Southern Vietnam. Many teachers come to Vietnam and prefer Ho Chi Minh City as it feels more “western” than Hanoi, but after spending some time in Hanoi, they don’t want to leave.  Hanoi is truly an artistic city that will leave you filled with inspiration. From the temples in the Old Quarter and colonial architecture all around the city to the new modern restaurants and art galleries, there is so much to take in.

Besides the art scene, the cafe culture in Hanoi is world renowned. Teachers often spend much of their free time exploring some of Hanoi’s best cafes and sampling Vietnamese coffee. Another great thing to do in Hanoi is go to a lake such as Hoàn Kiếm Lake (Sword Lake). This is a nice way to get right into nature and relax when you need a break from the busy city. When you think about teaching English in Vietnam, I’d bet you would picture being in front of a class in uncomfortably hot weather, with sweat dripping from your forehead. Firstly this won’t be the case anywhere in Vietnam, because Vietnamese people hate the sun much more than you do so you will find all indoor areas well air conditioned. But Hanoi it’s often not even necessary as northern Vietnam is one of the only areas in South East Asia that has 4 distinct seasons. So it will only be hot here in summer time, but it will also be cold during some parts of the year during winter. So if you are from a country that has four seasons, you will feel right at home here.

This article will cover the following points about living and working in Hanoi as an English teacher:

  1. The cost of living in Hanoi
  2. Finding an apartment in Hanoi
  3. Teaching Jobs in Hanoi

Cost of living in Hanoi

Living in Hanoi is going to be more expensive than living in a small town in Vietnam, but it’s also slightly cheaper than Ho Chi Minh City. Your main costs here as a teacher are going to be your apartment, your transport, your food and of course your entertainment. So the cost of living will vary based on your needs and preferences.

Renting an apartment in Hanoi depends on the area you stay and how many rooms you need. For a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre you can expect to pay around 8 million VND per month and for a 3 bedroom, the cost will be around 21 million VND per month. Now if you choose to live further away from the centre, a 1 bedroom apartment will cost around 5 million VND per month and a 3 bedroom will set you back around 11 million VND per month. These costs will therefore depend on where you need to live and if you are moving here alone or with a partner or family.

Local food in Hanoi is fantastic and cheap. Meals will go for 50 000 – 100 000 VND. That’s of course if you eat local food. If you have a need to eat western food, the prices quickly can go up so it’s best left for a treat. Many teachers opt to cook their own food most days of the week and there are many great grocery stores to go find the ingredients you need.

The options to get around Hanoi include the bus, taxi, motorbike taxis (Xe Om), or cyclo, which is basically a seat attached to a bicycle. Using a bus or the motorbike taxis are great for daily work commutes, as they are cheap and efficient. Most teachers end up buying their own motorbikes as it’s much easier and cheaper to get around like that if you will be staying here longer than a few days.

Finding an apartment in Hanoi

There are few places teachers love living in Hanoi, but that doesn’t mean you should live there. Living near your school will be the easiest as you will need to commute daily and a long commute can be rather unpleasant. 

Now the West Lake area is an upper class area. This is a very popular area and luckily there are lots of language schools located here. This area is also filled with cafes and nightlife. The Old Quarter is going to be more budget friendly, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a nice area to live. It’s another popular area for teachers and apartments are going to be more affordable here. If you are looking for a more family friendly area then Ba Dinh is where you want to be.

Finding an apartment is quite easy in Hanoi. You can go to an apartment building directly if you are already here and ask if you can view the rooms. Else you can contact an agent over Facebook or Zalo and ask them to send you a few options. Now you can also look for agents or even contact some properties directly using Vietlong Housing or one of the many apartment rental websites.

Teaching jobs in Hanoi

Hanoi is the most popular location for teaching in Vietnam. It seems that most teachers want to be placed at a school in Hanoi. Although there are more jobs in Ho Chi Minh City, finding a teaching job in Hanoi is easy as there are plenty. The salary you would earn here is pretty much the same as in Ho Chi Minh City, so the reason they want to work here must be for the love of the city and people here. 

Hanoi is filled with international schools as well as public and private schools and language centres. Language schools such as Amslink and iBest are popular locations to work at. Usually salaries are offered on an hourly basis and you will earn around $20 – $25 USD per hour. This is a pretty good pay rate, so it’s easy to earn a good living teaching here in Hanoi. Schools are looking for energetic and friendly teachers as you will most likely be working with kids, so it’s always a good idea to send schools an introduction video of yourself along with your CV. This is a great way to share your personality and land a high paying job that you will love.

Written by Geddy Gee for TEFL.NET September 2022
Ex-teacher, unvaccinated traveler and amateur writer

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