The cost of living in Vietnam is relatively low. In the Mercer Cost of Living survey for 2023, Hanoi ranked 156th, while Ho Chi Minh City ranked 164th out of the 227 cities surveyed.

That said, living expenses in Vietnam will differ depending on an individual's lifestyle. Many expats are able 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. On the other hand, travel, phone and internet costs remain low.

Like most countries, Vietnam has its fair share of temptations, such as the huge variety of electronic gadgets that expats can spend their hard-earned salaries on. That said, with a little financial shrewdness, it's easy to live comfortably and save at the same time.

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 the property.

Expats will find a great many modern apartment complexes in Vietnam’s bustling cities and, as a result, there are plenty of 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, while accommodation in outlying suburbs is more affordable.

Cost of transport in Vietnam

There are plenty of cost-effective ways to get around Vietnam. Negotiating the price of taxi and motorcycle taxi fares is common practice in Vietnam, and expats should not be shy to do so.

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 who is knowledgeable about 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 for waiting customers.

Sticking to Western food and 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 education in Vietnam

The cost of education in Vietnam varies depending on the type of education that parents choose and their location in the country. Compared to many Western countries, the cost of education in Vietnam is generally considered more affordable, especially for private and public schools. International schools in Vietnam, however, can be more expensive, similar to international schools in other countries.

Expats typically enrol their children in international schools or private schools. Public schools in Vietnam are typically less expensive, but the quality of education and language of instruction may not meet the expectations of some expats. The cost of education and the type of school often depend on the individual needs and preferences of the expat family.

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 February 2023.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

VND 29,000,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

VND 15,000,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

VND 11,900,000

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

VND 7,200,000


Milk (1 litre)

VND 34,000

Dozen eggs

VND 32,000

Loaf of white bread

VND 29,000

Chicken breasts (1kg)

VND 72,000

Pack of cigarettes 

VND 29,000

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

VND 95,000


VND 49,000

Local beer (500ml)

VND 22,000

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

VND 600,000


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile) 

VND 1,750

Internet (uncapped – average per month) 

VND 193,000

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

VND 1,580,000

Transport and driving

City-centre bus fare

VND 7,000

Taxi (rate per km)

VND 15,500

Petrol (per litre) 

VND 22,000

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