Cost of Living in Vietnam




Housing cost is cheap, but more so the options are wide-ranging, the arrangements are flexible and finding accommodation, be it short or long term, is easy. You can cross out housing on the list of worries in Vietnam.

Numerous and affordable budget guesthouses that offer a great service usually run by families are available for short-term accommodations.

Shared housing is another viable option, and best suited for a long-term stay. A modern house can cost between $150 and $300 a month per person. Vietnamese abodes are usually two to four stories with cozy balconies on each level, but it's the rooftop that is certainly the cherry on top in sealing the deal. One can kick back, relax, hang out with friends, and have a drink at the rooftop while viewing the buzzing street scenes below.

For a newly refurbished 5-bedroom house that can be shared or be rented by a big family, each room with its toilet can cost around US$1000 for the whole house.

Apartments range at around US$300/month and can go up depending on location and amenities. High-end serviced apartment with doormen and private lifts rack up US$2000 a month of rent at the low end.

Food Expenses

Vietnam is a foodie wonderland, a street meal that can cost as low as US$1; one can be well fed in this country on very little money.

Start the day right with the famed Vietnamese coffee at 40 cents with a baguette at 8 cents or get a breakfast meal at a café for US$4.00.

Restaurant meals can start at US$6 to US$20 from local to international cuisines.

Canned soda is at 50 cents, a fresh orange juice at US$3, a local beer at 80 cents while Heineken is at US$3. A bottle of wine costs around US$20.

Imported products are much more expensive than the locally sourced products.

"Vietnam is very well priced, some things cost less, especially beautiful hand woven textiles and art and craft items and fresh local produce. But imported items are of course more expensive."- Jess Andrenelli - Expat in Hanoi, Vietnam

Tax and Service Charges

Most restaurants, cafes, and small hotels include VAT and a service charge in their prices. Typically, the surcharge will be written as 10% for VAT and a 5% service charge.

Expats are forewarned that when you ship items to Vietnam, everything and anything is checked thoroughly and subject to tax. Vietnam charges a ‘luxury tax' for almost anything. Because of this, the best thing to do is just pack only the necessary stuff with you.

Travel Cost

Domestic flights are good value for longer journeys, particularly with the low-cost airline; a one-way ticket from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City is approximately US$100.

Another great way to travel in Vietnam is via train. The air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable and most importantly, inexpensive- the ideal way for independent travelers who want to spend overnight and enjoy the view from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City.

On the other hand, the cheapest way to travel is by bus. Public buses between major destinations have fixed fares, but for bus travel in remote areas, expect overcharged fares.

Expats can easily find the sketchy, rip off imported goods and pirated DVDs that are everywhere in Vietnam, but it's the essentials that make Vietnam the next home for most visitors, travelers and foreigners.



Expat Services in Vietnam

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