Cost of living in Vietnam

Friday, 04/12/2020

Vietnam is an inexpensive country to live in. Most items cost less than half of what you would pay in the West, and anywhere from 5% to 25% less than what they would cost in many other Southeast Asian countries.

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and also its second largest city, is an amazing mix of East and West and one of the favorite destinations of young people all around the world. As for the cost of living here, with 1300$ per month per person, you can have a good condition to live in Vietnam. Many Westerners who live in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City get by spending around $500 per month. A monthly budget of around $4,000 provides for top-end luxury, including a large, furnished home with a view of a lake or park, eating at 5-star restaurants, and taking frequent cruises and sightseeing trips throughout Vietnam. 

If you are willing to buy locally produced groceries and household goods, eat and drink at restaurants where the locals go, and live a relatively simple lifestyle, you can reduce your monthly budget by at least 25%. Two people can enjoy a full local-style meal of rice or noodles, meat, vegetables, and a couple of draft beers for less than $5. For comparison, ordering one deluxe hamburger, fries, and a bottle of imported beer at a Western-style restaurant will cost between $8 and $11.

A cleaning lady will cost $2 or $3 an hour, and a full-time, live-in maid will charge around $125 per month. A pre-paid cell phone plan with unlimited data is about $3 per month, high-speed fiber-optic internet is around $11 per month, and cable TV is just $7 per month. If you are living in an area where you’ll need to use either an air conditioner or a heater some of the time, your electric bill will run between $75 and $100 per month for a two-bedroom house or apartment.

Medications that would require a doctor’s visit and a prescription in the West can be purchased over the counter in Vietnam at a small fraction of the price.

Here is a sample monthly budget for two people living a middle-class lifestyle:

 Expense U.S. $
 Apartment rental (one bedroom) $400 to $900
 Electricity $60 to $80
 Water $2
 Cell phone with unlimited data $3
 Gas for cooking $2
 Internet, fiber-optic $11
 Cable TV $7
 Housekeeper (four hours a week) $48
 Transportation (two monthly bus passes) $16
 Groceries $100
 Entertainment (eating out five nights a week, including beer or soft drinks) $250 to $300
 Monthly Total: $899 to $1,469