In Northern Vietnam’s ancient city of Hanoi, life is truly lived on the streets. Shop wares spill onto pavements and street stalls inch into the roads against a cacophonous backdrop of incessant traffic. The city’s labyrinthine streets and alleys are unique for harboring individual specialties, be it the silver goods of Hang Bac, or the haberdasheries of Hang Bo. If you really put your mind to it, you will be able to find your international creature comforts, albeit at a premium. Going local is the path of least resistance and the secret to a happy life in Hanoi. For example, local food vendors often boast the best (and freshest) delicacies. You’ll quickly discover that pulling up a pew at the roadside with the locals is an experience worth repeating. Finding housing here is relatively easy and you can secure anything from an executive apartment to a garden apartment, or even a French colonial villa. The city escaped the bombing during the Vietnam War, and much of its colonial heritage has been left intact. The city offers a handful of excellent international schools boasting vibrant multicultural communities. The healthcare here is decent, too. The high humidity (and serious mold issues), coupled with heavy air pollution, will probably elicit a few doctor visits, which is a good reason to double check that you have decent medical coverage. Cars here are expensive for locals to buy, which is why the streets are positively crammed with motorbikes. While a car may seem the safer option, the impenetrable throng of two-wheeled vehicles will probably make you opt for the latter. Those moving to Hanoi are in for a wonderfully rich cultural experience. When life in this noisy, hectic city becomes overbearing, hop over to one of Vietnam’s bountiful, breath-taking and largely unspoiled beaches to recharge your batteries.