- My personal experience and real life story of moving abroad
- Discuss where to move abroad where you can surf
The environment in Da Nang is changing day by day as a result of Vietnam’s recent economic growth. I think this is a result of Vietnam’s transformation into a progressive country. I have only known Da Nang for about 6 years, but this place has changed in this period alone. By the way, has anything changed in Japan in 6 years? No change is stability in a good sense. Change means instability or growth. Growth requires doing new things, new things for the first time, which creates problems and challenges.
7 reasons why I chose Da Nang, Vietnam
１：You can surf in the open ocean and the seawater is clean
The waves in Da Nang tend to vary greatly from time to time between good and bad, but there is an environment where surfing can be genuinely enjoyed, which is a major attraction. The surfing environment in Da Nang is very attractive, especially because the number of surfers is very small. Many surfers may feel uncomfortable with the unbalanced amount of surfers and waves at surf spots and the localism of the territorial movement. In Vietnam, however, such problems do not occur so much because the surfers are all over the place where no one is around. This is the environment where you can simply enjoy “surfing as exercise,” and there are still many places like this in Vietnam. In 2023, the number of surfers has increased, but there are still noticeably empty waves, and there are still many periods of time when the ocean is empty. These factors made it more appealing to me and helped me to not mind the inconvenience of the developing environment.
２：No hay fever
One of my conditions for moving abroad was the absence of hay fever. When I was in Japan, I suffered from allergic symptoms almost all year round. In Da Nang, there is no cedar pollen or cypress pollen, and it is very comfortable. The air seems clean as well. However, in 2019, I started to have obvious allergy symptoms such as itchy eyes. In 2023, I have no allergic symptoms such as hay fever or any other allergic symptoms and I am doing fine.
３：Safety and security
This is a condition that cannot be dismissed for living abroad. Vietnam is a safe place because there is little violent crime and no violent aggression against foreigners. I believe that security in Da Nang remains good compared to 2016. By the way, lying, rip-offs and thefts occur on a daily basis. And one thing that has been bothering me recently is the sudden increase in the number of cars and the deterioration of road traffic in Da Nang since around 2019. Driving etiquette in this country is the worst among the countries I have visited and traffic accidents are common.
４：Warm climate and almost no natural disasters
The climate in Da Nang is mild all year round. Although it rains a lot, especially in winter, the minimum temperature is around 20°C, so you can enjoy a warm winter. I can never go back to winters in Japan. The fact that there are no earthquakes at all is also quite good. On the other hand, there are typhoon damage, room leaks, communication problems, and power outages. Recently, false alarms of fire alarms often occur, which startles me.
Vietnamese people seem to have a good impression of Japanese people. Vietnam is a country where there is more to gain than to lose for Japanese. I also have a good impression of Vietnamese who speak Japanese and those who used to work for Japanese companies. Recently, however, my impression of Vietnamese who study Japanese has been changing little by little. There seems to be an increasing number of Vietnamese who are interested only in the financial aspect of learning Japanese, not in the cultural aspect of Japan. The number of Vietnamese who see the Japanese language as a tool for making money may increase in the future.
６：Close to Japan with a 2-hour time difference
I was looking for a place with a small time difference and chose Da Nang because I preferred to have no time difference from Japan if possible. With a time difference of 2 hours, I don’t have to worry about time differences when communicating to and from Japan, and it will be physically easier when I return home. Direct flights between Da Nang and Japan are expected to resume in 2023.
７：Low cost of living
The low cost of living is a great point. I managed to ride the last era when I could take advantage of the large price difference between Japan and Vietnam in relation to my income. However, when I lived abroad, I realized that there were some points that were not so good. The more you try to live comfortably like in Japan, the more expensive it becomes. Therefore, it seems that we need to find a compromise and save money on living expenses that seem unnecessary.
I used to think daily that prices in Da Nang were cheap, especially until 2018. For example, the restaurants frequented by Vietnamese people were only 100 JPY per meal, and transportation such as buses, trains, and cabs were cheap. Newly built hotels and apartments just a short walk to the sea cost 30,000-40,000 JPY, with breakfast and cleaning included. The conditions were very good to live in for the price difference from Japan. However, I learned that there is a clear reason for cheap things. When I used to eat at local restaurants, I used to get frequent stomachaches and other sickness. Now, due to hygiene and other issues, I don’t go to restaurants other than serious-looking family-run ones. As a result, I cook more for myself and my stomach feels better. And the nutritional value of cheap food is often biased with low protein and high carbohydrate, which was also a challenge for my health. Health is a very expensive non-saleable good. If you are stingy here, you will have to pay the price of illness later. However, it is not easy to eat the same food in Da Nang as in Japan. One day I started to think that nutritional management is the key to moving abroad. I now manage my diet by buying Japanese whey protein, American supplements, and imported meat.
The price of an apartment that cost 30,000 yen in a Vietnam-quality apartment in 2016 now costs 50,000 yen. This is a normal price increase in the center of the city. In the future, those who do not own real estate will probably have two choices: leave the center of Da Nang or pay high rent for a landlord. Perhaps, though, the bursting of the real estate bubble will bring down the rent. Considering this rate of price increase, I believe that we are approaching a stage where prices will soon no longer seem cheap to Japanese people in places where foreigners can live comfortably in Da Nang. I think it will only be a few years to 10 years before Japanese people go to Vietnam and Southeast Asia for the primary reason of low cost of living. If you want to spend inexpensively in Da Nang, you need to have the same standard as local Vietnamese people, but I think there are few Japanese who can spend in Da Nang with the local standard.
In 2023, the effects of the weak Japanese yen and the familiarity of the domestic lifestyle from the outbreak of the new corona infection have made going abroad a distant possibility for the Japanese people. Here in the Da Nang tourist market, hotels and spas have dropped in price and are more accessible considering the weak Japanese yen. However, food prices continue to rise, and daily expenses are increasing.
Present Da Nang
I still enjoy the beach life in Da Nang even in 2023, when the city is more urbanized than it was in 2016. Da Nang is still one of the best places in the world today for casual surfing.
In order to live a stress-free life in Da Nang, it may be necessary to get to know the people and their customs, manage your own diet, and develop a lifestyle that prevents injuries and illnesses. It may also be necessary to choose a hotel or apartment with good conditions in order to have as much quiet time as possible. However, the reality is that it is not as easy as living in Japan.