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A Guide to Living in Vietnam Cost

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Vietnam has become the expats' destination for both traveling and long-termed settle-down. With the relatively low cost of living in Vietnam compared to other neighboring countries, you still can get a high quality of life regardless of financial concerns.

 
  Budget Mid-range High-range
Accommodation US$ 260 US$ 500 US$ 800
Utility bills US$ 20 US$ 30 US$ 50
Food and Drink US$ 120 US$ 150 US$ 250
Transportation US$ 15 US$ 30 US$ 60
Entertainment US$ 50 US$ 80 US$ 150
Total US$ 465 US$ 790 US$ 1310

 

An estimated monthly cost of living in Vietnam

Pros and Cons of Living in Vietnam

Pros Cons
Hospitable people: Vietnamese are very friendly and hospitable. They enjoy communicating and helping each other. That's why you will receive a warm welcome from the locals when you come to Vietnam. Overcharging tourists: This issue mostly happens for both foreign and domestic travelers. You may pay more than the price you actually need for the taxi, street vendors, and souvenirs.
Incredible food: Vietnam is known as a food paradise, where you can have something new to choose every day from the diverse collections of traditional and international cuisine. Language Barrier: English is widely spoken among the young, but many older locals only speak Vietnamese. So it is advisable to learn some of the useful Vietnamese phrases for better communication.
Low cost of living: In general, the cost of living in Vietnam is relatively low compared to many other Asian countries. However, it varies from the types of lifestyle you wish to enjoy. Heavy traffic: Traffic jam is quite a problem in big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, especially at rush hours.If you're planning to settle down in Vietnam, learning to cross the streets and use the motorbikes is advisable.

 


A Guide to Living in Vietnam Cost pros

Vietnamese people are hospitable

Living in Vietnam Cost

The cost of living in Vietnam can be estimated at around VND 15,000,000 - 25,000,000 per month in big cities like Ho Chi Minh, Danang or Hanoi (US$ 650 - US$ 1,200). It can be much cheaper when you choose to live in smaller cities and towns. The budgets are broken down for accommodation, food, drinks, transportation, and entertainment.

Accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City

A Guide to Living in Vietnam Cost accommodation

There is a wide range of accommodation types with variable costs based on your preferences. It is much more expensive if you rent a luxurious hotel, which can cost you approximately US$ 100 per night. Most of the Vietnamese accommodations provide you with free wifi access. Here is the cost table of accommodation in Vietnam:

 

Types of accommodation

Estimated price

(per day)

High-range accommodation (5-star hotel rooms/luxurious apartments - mostly in major cities) US$ 80 - US$ 150
Mid-range accommodation (hotels and homestays with standard quality) US$ 20 - US$ 50
Low-range accommodation (basic hostels or homestays) US$ 6 - US$ 15

 

In main cities such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, there is a wide selection of accommodation for budget-conscious expats ranging from hostels to guesthouses. In smaller towns, many hotels might offer you mid-range accommodation options at considerably affordable prices. Most hotels in Vietnam will provide you with free Wifi and breakfast.

 

If you plan to stay in Vietnam for several months or years, you should opt for the basic standard guesthouse or apartment, or a place for rent that allow you to pay monthly (around US$ 250 - US$ 800 per month). The rent will vary depending on whether it is in major metropolitans, is it in the city center, the modernity of the place, furniture, etc. However, Internet access, electricity, and water bills may not be included yet. You may be able to pay an extra US$ 20 - US$ 50 per month depending on the amount of utility.

Food and Drinks in Ho Chi Minh City

A Guide to Living in Vietnam Cost food and drink

Vietnam is very famous for its delicious and cheap cuisine collections as a result of cultural diversity. There is a wide variety of options for meals every day, ranging from roadside eatery to restaurants. Unlike Western countries where people usually have bread as the primary consumption, the Vietnamese include rice and vegetable in their main meals. Therefore, it is not difficult for you to find different types of rice dishes along the street with inexpensive prices from VND 25,000 to VND 40,000.

Vietnamese rice

Com Tam is a popular rice dish in Vietnam

Also made of rice, Pho is a traditional Vietnamese kind of noodle soup serving with fresh herbs and beef or chicken. Because of its popularity, it is hard to walk around towns without bumping into a Pho restaurant. The average price of Pho and other kinds of rice-based noodles such as Bun and Banh Canh is around 35,000 VND. If you want to prepare meals by yourself, it is advisable to shop at the Vietnam local markets for the freshest and cheapest ingredients.

The prices of the food considerably vary depending on where you choose to eat.

  • Daily meals (roadside restaurants/street vendors): VND 70,000 - VND 150,000 for all-day (US$ 3 - US$ 7)
  • Fancy meals (luxurious restaurants): VND 100,000 - VND 300,000 for each time (US$ 5 - US$ 15)

You should remember tap water is not safe enough to drink, so Vietnamese locals often use boiled or bottled water. A liter of water is less than VND 20,000 and can be bought in any convenience store. Average prices of other favorite Vietnamese drinks are listed in our 10 Must-Try Vietnamese Drinks in Ho Chi Minh City.

Read more on What Do Vietnamese have for breakfast and Is It Safe to Drink Tap Water in Vietnam?

Transportation in Ho Chi Minh City

A Guide to Living in Vietnam Cost transportation

The public bus is a very popular transportation in Vietnam, which is often preferred by expats with the average price is just about VND 6,000 per ride. Besides, you can hail a ride with an on-demand taxis service, which can offer many options including motorbike and car taxi. The transport fare of these services ranges in price from VND 5,000 to VND 7,000 per kilometer for a motorbike taxi trip. You will have to pay higher if you use the premium service, which allows you to choose expensive cars.

Besides Vietnamese public bus transportation, Grab, the reliable mobile app that you can download for free on your mobile phone is a great choice to travel around the cities. Its utilization is very simple. You just need to sign up by your phone number after downloading, choose the pick-up and drop-off locations; then the driver will directly come to pick you up. Before deciding to book for a ride, you always see the exact price announced for your trip. So, no not need to worry about paying for the extra money or explaining where to go, as the driver already knows your destination address through the app. However, at present, Grab is only available in big cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Danang.

Grab Bike

Grab is a great alternative to a taxi because of its lower price and good service.

Check out other Ride-hailing Services in Vietnam.

For those traveling from one city to another, overnight buses, trains, and airplanes are highly suggested. Overnight buses are very popular among Vietnamese young people to move around many cities at affordable prices varying from VND 100,000 to VND 500,000. Although going by train may take you a certain amount of time, it is among the top inexpensive ways to travel. However, the train ticket price could increase remarkably during the Vietnamese New Year Holiday. There are many Vietnamese low-cost airlines such as Vietjet and Jetstar that can save not only your time but also your budget.

Here is the general price for different types of transportation in Vietnam:

  • Bus: VND 6,000 per ride (US$ 0.26)
  • Taxi: VND 15,000 per kilometer (US$ 0.56)
  • Grab motorbike and grab car: VND 6,000 - VND 11,000 per kilometer (US$ 0.26 - US$ 0.47)
  • Overnight bus: VND 100,000 - VND 500,000 (US$ 5 - US$ 21)
  • Train: VND 900,000 - VND 3,500,000 (US$ 40 - US$ 150)
  • Domestic flight: VND 1,100,000 - VND 4,500,000 (US$ 48 - US$ 195)

Find your bus ticket to Ho Chi Minh online 

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Read more on Vietnamese Transportation.

Entertainment in Ho Chi Minh City

When it comes to entertainment in Vietnam, the cost depends on the activities you do for recreation. If you are keen on going to the gym, you only need to pay under US$150 for a monthly membership. Also, there are even free park gyms with free accessibility and a welcoming atmosphere. For those who are movie enthusiasts, movie theaters are all around the cities with a very reasonable ticket price, usually under US$ 5 per ticket. Alcohol is quite inexpensive in Vietnam. You can get a very cheap price at local grocery stores, but it will more expensive in bars and clubs, especially in big cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Some imported brands may also cost higher than usual.

Moreover, Karaoke is another type of recreation in Vietnam, which allows you to rock the mic in your style. There are many Karaoke bars around big and small cities in Vietnam and varying in prices. Normally, it will be super fun and cheap when you go into a group and share the bill.

karaoke bar

Karaoke is one of the best ways to have fun with friends

Here is a more detailed cost for typical forms of entertainment in Vietnam.

  • Gym: VND 300,000 - VND 3,500,000 per month (US$ 13 - US$150)
  • Movie: Under VND 120,000  per ticket (US$ 5) ( the price is cheaper if you get membership card)
  • Alcohol Drinks: VND 15,000 - VND 300,000 (US$ 0.5 - US$ 10)
  • Coffee: VND 20,000 - VND 80,000 (US$ 1 - US$ 3.5)
  • Massages: Around VND 300,000 per hour ( US$ 15)
  • Karaoke bars: from VND 150,000 to VND 600,000 per hour (US$ 7 - US$ 26)

Money-saving Tips in Vietnam

In general, the cost of living in Vietnam is not a big concern compared to many other Asian countries. However, it would be better if you have money-saving tips when living in Vietnam and spend your money wisely.

  • Eat and drink like a local: Vietnam offers a great variety of traditional cuisine at a reasonable price, which may please your taste. Eating local food is not only a way to immerse yourself with Vietnamese culture, but also it is a Vietnamese lifestyle to save your budget.
  • Cook at home: If there is a kitchen in your accommodation, it will be great to cook for yourself, since the food ingredients in Vietnam is quite cheap and fresh, especially in the local markets.
  • Prioritize public transportation: Bus is the most recommended means of transport of big cities in Vietnam since it is very cheap and well systematized.
  • Choose affordable accommodation: If you want to minimize your cost of living in Vietnam, you should not opt for luxurious hotels, which can cost you more than US$ 80 per night. A hostel or homestay is a better option at a cheaper rate. However, it would help if you read the review about its services carefully on the traveling websites.
  • Bargain: Unless you do the shopping in boutique shops, once you hit the local markets, bargaining is the much-needed survival skill. The acts of bargaining in Vietnam is an essential skill to keep yourself from being over-charged and find better deals.

Get a free quote for your Vietnam Travel Insurance:

 

Conclusion on A Guide to Cost of Living in Vietnam

Like any guide to living abroad, you will find some good and not-so-good things about traveling and living in Vietnam. To overcome the difficulties living in Vietnam, you need to learn skills such as Vietnamese language, bargaining, and crossing the streets. However, despite some disadvantages, Vietnam is an attractive and comfortable destination for expats to travel and live in because of the low living cost here. The average salaries, especially of foreigners, should be enough to cover daily necessities like accommodation, transportation, and food.

Have questions about living in Vietnam? Let us know in the comments.

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© Written by Linh Nguyen and Duy Trang for itourvn.com

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