Why I Moved to Saigon, Vietnam

Why I Moved to Saigon, Vietnam

Approximately a year ago, the guys at EmpireFlippers had a marketing apprenticeship in the Philippines. You’d have to find your way there, but they’d give you a place to live, a nice salary and a badass job with some of the top people in the site flipping business. Of course, I applied. I was psyched about it and since I’m young, stupid and impatient, I was 100% certain I would get it. Luckily, Vincent Nguyen got the job instead of me and my dreams were crushed. I had already pictured living in the Philippines and had my mind made up that I want to move far, far away from Estonia.

It bothered me for quite some time and I knew that there was nothing I could do. For quite a few months I had the idea of moving to a tropical country.

Taking the First Step

In June 2014, I decided to move to Montenegro for two months. I left in July and came back in the end of August. I had just gotten 18 and had never traveled on my own and made the decision on a whim – between getting the idea and buying a plane ticket, there were 3 hours at most.

It was a life changing experience. I felt more motivated than ever to get work done, while having the time of my life doing crazy things and meeting the coolest people. Sure, Montenegro and the Philippines are very, very, VERY different but that convinced me even more that it was the way to go.

In September and October, I was still quite happy from having been in Montenegro and wasn’t craving to move THAT much.

Then Winter Hit

If you know me at all.. You know that I hate cold, I’m a really poor dresser when it comes to the weather and in general, wasn’t very happy with Estonia. As it got colder and colder, I started craving for a new place to live more and more with every day passing. But I wasn’t crazy about it, yet.

Going Nuts!

I’m not sure what the exact clicking point was for me, but I think it was in January of 2015 – coincidentally one of the coldest months in Estonia. Either way, I started looking up the living costs in the Philippines and talking to a few people who I knew lived in SEA (South-East Asia).

I hit up the aforementioned Vincent Nguyen who had lived in the Philippines for almost a year and asked about living in Davao. He told me to check out Chiang Mai in Thailand and Saigon in Vietnam instead. I started doing more research.

I remember the day very clearly when I was a video by Johnny FD: “My new $250 Apartment in Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam”

I didn’t care how, when or for how much. I was going to move to Vietnam. The price for a place like that was amazing, I had seen videos of Saigon and heard lots of good things. I made my mind up, told no one.

The next few weeks I did some hard-core research and got more and more obsessed with each day. Eventually I started talking with some of my buddies and getting their thoughts on DROPPING OUT OF HIGH-SCHOOL and MOVING TO VIETNAM within three months.

Needless to say the feedback was so-so. Good idea, but finish high-school. I didn’t care, I had decided already but I knew I wouldn’t have the balls to drop out, even though I knew those last three months, to get a piece of paper, wouldn’t change my life in any way. I was talking to Teo Flame and he said something that made me grow a pair to drop-out.

Well. In the end everything will turn out the way it supposed to turn out.

He was right. I was right. I was going.

In October of 2014, I got myself a “real job” at a company called Lavii so the next step was to discuss it with the bosses. One of them happened to be in Vietnam at that time on vacation, so I couldn’t get confirmation from him. I talked to the other one and he was alright with it, if it would make me happier. The other one came back from vacation a week or two later and I surprised with him by saying I’m moving to Vietnam. He looked a little bit shocked and then said that we both know that he could never forgive himself if he said no. I took that as a yes.

March 23, Monday, I hit Saigon airport and here I am. More on that in a future post, again.


Reason #1 – I Need a Warm Place to Live

As discussed earlier, I’m really cold all the time – I even swam in an ice lake to put things into perspective in regards to temperatures and it didn’t help – surprise surprise. I felt so much better during the summers, always. My time in Montenegro was more productive than ever and more enjoyable. Vietnam is hot, very hot – it was 38 degrees this afternoon (the highest I’ve seen it in my five days here).

Reason #2 – Vietnam Is Great Bang for Buck

Where would you rather live?

In your home country, which you happen to not enjoy very much, where you’ll pay 400 € a month for an okay apartment.

In your dream country, where you’d pay $300 a month for a better place?

It’s not just the housing either. The food is cheaper and tastier, the services are cheaper and there’s much more to do. It’s a no-brainer financially, if you’re able to keep your salary the same (or even increase it).

Reason #3 – Huge Internet Marketing Community

I’m a big nerd when it comes to internet marketing. It has consumed almost every free moment of my life ever since I discovered it nearly 4 years ago. No more watching TV, no more playing stupid games – learning, learning, edutainment and work work work. I worked the evenings, the nights and the weekends – I don’t care, I love it.

I can’t think anything I enjoy more than spending time with like-minded people – entrepreneurs, marketers and tech people. It’s interesting to thrilling, I click with them on so many levels and would not have a hard time finishing their sentences. It’s magic.

The internet marketing and expat community is huge in Saigon. Today is my first day in the best co-working space in Saigon and I’ve met so many awesome people in the same business I’m in. AND I’VE BEEN HERE FOR FIVE DAYS.

Reason #4 – Interesting Culture & Nice People

I don’t know a lot about Asian culture as I’m not a very cultural person but there’s something that always something I found really interesting about it. People live differently, in different conditions, their priorities are different and they’re… more happy. The little time I’ve spent here has proven this to me several times already. They’re nice. Almost all of them.

Saigon streets

Saigon streets

Reason #5 – Every Bit of Paradise is Close

Want to go to Cambodia for a weeks vacation? It’s less than 50 dollars away by plane or 5-15 $ by bus. Thailand? Less than $50. Philippines? $100. Japan, India or Bali? Same story.

All of the touristy and not-so-touristy destinations Europeans tend to dream about are a (strong) rock-throw away.

Reason #6 – I’m Not Very Stable

I don’t like staying in one place. If you’ve ever seen me in school, the office or in a queue – you’ll know I cannot stand still. In fact I’ve changed sitting positions at least three times while writing this paragraph. The same goes for living – I don’t like staying in one place, although I didn’t have the opportunity to change that when living in Estonia. Now I have that freedom.

In a huge city like Saigon, there are a lot of places to be unstable and discover new stuff.

Photo of Saigon

Reason #7 – I’m Stupid & Adventurous

When I get my mind fixed on something – I have to get it no matter what. I’ve convinced people for basic stuff that I decided I want to do for HOURS, even if it’s just as basic as walking to the supermarket 1 km away with a friend who lived in the same building as me. It’s always the little stuff that I get obsessed with. The same happened with my idea of going to Montenegro, moving to Saigon or getting a job at LaviiI go the extra mile when I want something really bad.

The adventurous part.. I have no idea why. I like collecting stories and doing stuff I think is worth talking about. Perhaps it’s because my “normal life” is too boring? Either way – I like telling stories.

Until Next Time

I’ll talk about my experiences here, how I’m liking and why I’m liking it in another post. This one is getting too long.

If you still can’t enough of me though, start looking my vlogs in Vietnam:

Why I Moved to Saigon, Vietnam Reviewed by on . Approximately a year ago, the guys at EmpireFlippers had a marketing apprenticeship in the Philippines. You'd have to find your way there, but they'd give you a Approximately a year ago, the guys at EmpireFlippers had a marketing apprenticeship in the Philippines. You'd have to find your way there, but they'd give you a Rating: 0

Comments (5)

  • Allar

    Awesome stuff. How did you convince your family to be ok with it? I mean dropping out of high-school (kinda like the most basic education level in Estonia) and moving away to live alone on the other side of the globe?

    • Karl

      Pretty sure middle school is the most basic education level in Estonia. There are thousand of people who don’t even have that, yet “manage”. Although most of them dropped out because they were stupid, lazy or broke as a joke and had to get a job ASAP – not to move 8600 km away.

      Didn’t need to convince anyone. I know my abilities and skills and I’ve been able to demonstrate them – my family knows that I’m not stupid and wouldn’t make any decision without thinking them through thoroughly.

  • D

    Awesome. I wish I could go to Saigon too. Anywhere but boring Montreal!

    I happen to be in IM too and I keep making excuses after excuses to not
    work and the lack of paycheck show. GRRR.

    Freedom is so expensive!

  • Hippo

    wow Karl, your story is so inspiring. How old were you when you moved to Vietnam? I’m 20 this year and and I feel so useless when I read this..

    • Karl

      I was 18 when I first moved here 🙂

Leave a Comment

scroll to top