Guide to Cost of Living in Vietnam |

Guide to Cost of Living in Vietnam

If you're planning on moving to Vietnam, here's a helpful guide to the cost of living there and a breakdown of monthly expenses.

Posted on

26 February 2017

Last updated on 27 August 2017
Guide to Cost of Living in Vietnam

Vietnam is a popular destination for expats and retirees who choose to live in Southeast Asia. The quality of life tends to be better than many of the neighbouring countries. The cost of living is generally low and there’s a big variety of delicious food.

In Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find a lot of entrepreneurs and digital nomads living there. In Hanoi, there are a lot of teachers. There are also many Americans who have fought in the Vietnam War and chose to retire there.

Aside from the two largest cities, there are beautiful beach towns that really add to the country’s charm. So depending on where you decide to live in the country, there are different atmospheres.

If you are considering moving to Vietnam, here’s an idea of what the general cost of living will be like. It’s important to keep in mind that these costs are based on having Western-style amenities. The locals live on a much lower budget. Unfortunately, the more expats there are in a city, the more the prices go up for both expats and locals.

Monthly cost of living

Living expenses will vary based on your lifestyle, including the type of housing, if you eat out or cook, the types of food you get and if you go out a lot.

On average, expats tend to spend between $700 and $1,400 per month.

SEE ALSO: 6 reasons why Vietnam is great for expats


High speed internet is easy to find in Vietnam’s large cities, even in cafes. Smaller towns will also have internet but might not be as fast and reliable. WiFi is available for free in a lot of cafés, but even internet cafés are inexpensive.

Internet might already be included in your rent. If not, you’re looking at around $8-$13. There are always more expensive options, but they're usually unnecessary. 

Vietnamese Dong

Mobile Plan

It’s very cheap to get a generous package for your phone. Stick with one of the three major operators: Viettel (largest), Vinaphone and Mobilefone. A SIM card can be bought for less than $5 and you'll usually have minutes included already.

For data packages, you’ll pay an average of $3-5 for 1.5 GB to $8 for 3 GB. If you're an extremely heavy user, $13 can you between 10-30 GB.

SEE ALSO: The best must-visit beaches in Vietnam


As tap water is not safe to drink, you will need to buy water. However, it's not an expense to worry about. You can get a reusable 19-litre jug for less than $1.


For an international school, tuition fees can vary from $4,300 all the way to $27,000 per annum. For more detailed prices, click here>>

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$600 - $900 per month 

Hanoi is Vietnam’s capital and it has a big expat community. There are plenty of lakes that add to the charm of the well-preserved colonial architecture. Renting an apartment here will likely require a deposit of one month’s rent and you’ll need to pay three months’ rent in advance.

Hanoi skyline

Example of a $1,271/month couple budget

  • Living in a furnished one-bedroom apartment in Ba Dinh district with air conditioning and a balcony in a building with its own laundry room, courtyard, parking and security guard.

  • Water, sewerage, internet and cleaning twice a week are all included

  • Cooking at home most of the time and eating out twice a week

  • Using a motorbike for transportation

  • Going out to the movies once a month and getting two massages each per month

Monthly breakdown (2 people)







Eating out


Motorbike rental










Occasional trip to Vietnamese islands


12-month work visas




SEE ALSO: A guide to shopping in Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City

$750 – $1,200 per month

Ho Chi Minh City, also known as Saigon, is Vietnam's largest city. It’s a business hub in its own right, with many high-rise buildings and over 300,000 businesses. There is a large expat community there and a lot of activities but expect a lot of noise and air pollution.

Ho Chi Minh City

Example of a $750/month single person budget

  • Living in a furnished studio apartment in Saigon including internet, maid service and laundry

  • Eating out for every single meal

Monthly breakdown 









Co-working space membership




Yoga membership




SEE ALSO: Coffee mornings and mum groups in Vietnam

Hoi An

$550 - $800 per month 

Hoi An was recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The Old Town has many temples, pagodas and ancient homes. It’s full of culture and it’s famous for its diverse food options. It’s also very close by to the beach.

Hoi An Old Town

Example of a $1290/month couple budget 

  • Living in a furnished two-bedroom apartment, including all bills, a washing machine, internet and air conditioning

  • Eating out often in International restaurants

  • Shopping for groceries at the Tan An market

  • Driving everywhere with a motorbike

  • Entertainment included drinking at the beach, going to the cinema, taking a cooking classes and yoga classes, going to shows and day use of a resort pool.

Monthly breakdown (two people)



Eating Out




Transport (including fuel)