Cost of Living in Vietnam

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The cost of living in Vietnam is relative to an expat's lifestyle
Living expenses in Vietnam will differ depending on an individual’s lifestyle. Many expats manage to enjoy a good life in Vietnam without spending a fortune.

The largest dents in an expat's monthly budget will be in the areas of housing, schooling and Western foodstuffs. Travel, phone and Internet costs remain low.
Like most countries, Vietnam has its fair share of temptations for an expat's wallet. Being in Asia, there are lots of electronic gadgets that expats can spend their hard-earned salary on. However, with a little financial shrewdness it is easy to live comfortably and save at the same time.
When shopping in Vietnam, expats will notice that different streets sell similar goods, for example there will be a “shoe street,” followed by a “stuffed toys street” and a “TV and audio visual street”. This system comes from ancient Vietnam when traders would set up their businesses close to their competition in order to cluster all similar services in one area. Today, it means that shoppers are able to go to one area for all their shopping and they can compare prices easily and bargain knowledgeably. There are also numerous malls and shopping plazas constantly being built or added to in the larger cities.

Cost of accommodation in Vietnam

The majority of expats moving to Vietnam do so on a short-term basis and therefore opt to rent property rather than buy. The cost of rent will vary depending on the standard of housing a person requires, as well as the location of a property.
On the other hand, expats will find a great many modern apartment complexes in Vietnam’s bustling cities and as a result there are more luxury accommodation options available to them. These condominiums and apartments come equipped with a range of facilities such as gyms, laundries and swimming pools. Naturally, rental prices are higher. 
As a rule of thumb, housing closer to the city centre comes at a premium and housing in outlying suburbs is more affordable.

Cost of transport in Vietnam

There are plenty of cost-effective ways to get around Vietnam. Expats can feel free to negotiate on taxi or motorcycle taxi fares. 
Most expats don't drive in Vietnam due to the chaotic conditions on the city streets. Those that do wish to have a private vehicle should hire a driver with knowledge of the local roads. 

Cost of food and eating out in Vietnam

Vietnam is a food lover’s paradise. Not only are there many Western restaurants to choose from, but there is also a huge range of great local restaurants, food stalls and street vendors that cook up amazing fare while the customer waits.
Sticking to Western food and Western restaurants will burn a hole in one's wallet as many of the food items or ingredients are imported and the government levies high taxes on these goods. Eating Vietnamese food is cheap, tasty and definitely something to write home about. 
Fruit and vegetables from supermarkets are also a lot more expensive than those bought in the marketplace.

Cost of electrical goods in Vietnam

Expats will find cheap electrical goods, particularly in the markets. However, many of these are inferior copies made in China.
Shopping at department stores and malls is one way to ensure that items are genuine and come with some sort of manufacturer’s guarantee; unfortunately this also means paying a lot more than one would expect to pay in the region, especially with Bangkok only a cheap flight away.

Cost of living in Vietnam chart

(Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider and the table below is based on average prices for Ho Chi Minh City in September 2016)

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Furnished one-bedroom apartment VND 12,000,000
Unfurnished one-bedroom apartment VND 10,000,000
Furnished two-bedroom apartment VND 20,000,000
Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment VND 18,000,000


Milk (1 litre) VND 35,000
Dozen eggs VND 30,000
Loaf of white bread VND 26,000
Pack of chicken breasts (1kg) VND 90,000
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro) VND 26,000

Eating out

Big Mac Meal VND 87,000
Cappuccino VND 50,000
Local beer VND 25,000
Three course meal at a mid-range restaurant VND 400,000


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)  VND 1,700
Internet (uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month)  VND 350,000
Electricity (average per month for standard household) VND 800,000
Hourly rate for domestic cleaner VND 60,000

Transport and driving

City centre bus fare VND 12,000
Taxi (rate per km) VND 14,000
Petrol (per litre)  VND 16,935

Search Expat Arrivals

Australian International School (AIS)

International School of Ho Chi Minh City

Our Vietnam Expert

Zac's picture
Zac Leon
-. Vietnam
Zac, an expat who has lived in Vietnam for 14 years, is an entrepreneur in media sales and marketing. In his own words:... more

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