Cam Pha Living
I like that it’s small and quiet. Sure there is not much social life and it does get too quiet at times. I personally prefer it to the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities like Hanoi. Teaching in Cam Pha is more relaxed.
As mentioned above it's a small and quiet town. There are a few nice coffee shops, markets and food vendors. The quality of life isn't too bad. There is a small convenience store and you can get most of what you need at a big c or megamaket which is about 45 minutes away (depending on mode of transport). There are about 15 expats living in Cam Pha and we sometimes go to Ha long bay, a near by island or Van Don which is a nice way to get out of the quiet and dusty town, otherwise we have barbeques, some beers or a meal in Cam Pha. There are plenty of pharmacies and if you want a good international hospital/ doctor there is a nice one in Ha long. There are some gyms to choose from and massage/ beauty salons.
There is a vegan restaurant. It’s mostly deep fried food but a good option if you don't eat meat.
There is a small place that has good steak and egg as well as broken rice with chicken.
Cowboys is where you can get Western food options.
Snoop Cafe for coconut coffee and cocktails
Hot pepper for a good cappuccino and ice cream.
Moonlight cafe has a nice view of the bay.
The night life is pretty much non-existent. There are a few karaoke bars, places to drink beer and one club called the O2 club. We mostly go to Ha long bay for a better nightlife.
What do you like to do and where do you go in your free time?
Go to gym, cook and bake, cg to a coffee shop, visit an island, travel to Van Don or Ha Long, study and relax.
Are there any places that is a must see, any major tourist attractions?
Quan Lan island: 1 hour ferry ride from Cam Pha port. It's a small developing Vietnamese getaway. The island has beautiful beaches.
Co To island. I have never been there but it's on the list.
Ha Long bay.
Where is the center located in the city (e.g. near residential area, near business area, easy to get to etc.)?
There is one main Street that runs through Cam Pha I guess you can say it's the “business” street. Apax is on that street and it’s pretty central. The center is across the street from one of the Apax houses which is great. It’s easy to get around. There is a bus that goes all the way to Ha Long or Van Don for 15k. There are taxis, however, they are difficult to find late at night but you can always find someone to help you get a cab or just walk home. You can get to most places in town by foot as well.
It’s easy to drive around here. The roads are relatively quiet, a good place to drive a bike if it’s your first time on one.
Our center is small and currently has 7 teachers, we all get along well. The sales team and CM’s are helpful even if you need any advice or help with life outside work. The center has been growing and the students are mostly very sweet, well behaved and eager to be there, which makes it fun to teach there.
What’s the Vietnamese population like; do you have any Vietnamese friends, ever hang out with them or socialize?
The town is very Vietnamese, as mentioned above there are 15 expats living here currently. I sometimes hang out with some of the Apax staff or a Vietnamese friend I made at gym. I have not made any other Vietnamese friends yet, it is challenging at times due to the language barrier.
It’s small and quiet and sometimes gets a rather boring, but everyone's experience here is different. I guess it is what you make of it and it also depends on the type of person you are and what you personally want from the experience. It works well for me at the moment as I have some online courses to get done and the quiet lifestyle gives me time to work on those, I live a relatively healthy life style by eating little meat and a lot of fresh produce, I am able to save a lot of money and there are some beautiful places around me to explore especially now that it’s summer.