Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a coveted destination for expats seeking a vibrant culture, warm hospitality, and a wallet-friendly cost of living.
In fact, the city ranked an impressive 156th out of 227 cities on the 2023 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, making it one of the most affordable options for adventurous expats around the world. Overall, the cost of living in Hanoi for expats can vary depending on their lifestyle, but generally, it is lower compared to other major cities in the world.
Cost of accommodation in Hanoi
Accommodation in Hanoi for expats can be relatively affordable, with a wide range of options available, but it will still be one of the most significant expenses for expats in Hanoi. While accommodation can vary in price based on location, size and amenities, expats will find plenty of budget-friendly options throughout the city.
From cosy apartments in the heart of the city to sprawling villas on the outskirts, there's something for every budget in this dynamic city. Compared to other major cities in Asia, such as Hong Kong or Singapore, the cost of accommodation in Hanoi is relatively low. Still, expats will also need to budget for utilities in addition to the monthly rental cost.
Short-term accommodation prices can vary widely depending on the time of year. The cheapest time to visit Hanoi is during the low season (May – October) when there are lower prices on flights and accommodation.
Cost of transport in Hanoi
In terms of transport, Hanoi offers an array of options, from public buses and taxis to motorbikes and cars, all at reasonable prices. While traffic may be a headache at times, getting around the city doesn't have to break the bank. The city has a well-connected public transport system, including buses and taxis. Taxis, especially pedicabs, can be inexpensive compared to other major cities worldwide.
For those who prefer to drive, purchasing a motorbike or a car is also relatively affordable. While traffic in Hanoi can be notoriously congested, it is possible to navigate the city without breaking the bank on transport costs.
Cost of groceries in Hanoi
Grocery prices in Hanoi are typically affordable, with many expats able to find a wide range of local and international products at reasonable prices. Local markets offer fresh produce at low prices, but certain imported items may be pricier than in other expat destinations. Prices can vary over the year and may be higher during peak tourist season.
Cost of healthcare in Hanoi
Expats living in Hanoi can expect the cost of healthcare in Vietnam to be relatively affordable compared to many Western countries. Public hospitals in Vietnam and Hanoi are often underfunded and poorly equipped, and the standards of care generally do not match those in North America or Western Europe.
On the other hand, private hospitals in Hanoi offer more modern facilities and higher levels of service. Private hospitals tend to cater to the needs of expats better than public hospitals, and they mainly accept international health insurance.
Whether using public or private healthcare, expats should be prepared to pay out of pocket for medical treatment in Hanoi, as most public and some private hospitals require payment upfront. Expats will then have to submit their receipts to their insurance providers afterwards. We recommend that expats invest in a comprehensive health insurance policy that covers emergency medical evacuation, as the standard of care in Hanoi may not be as high as in their home country.
Cost of entertainment and eating out in Hanoi
Entertainment and eating out in Hanoi are typically affordable adventures. Entertainment options in Hanoi are plentiful, with a rich arts and cultural scene to explore. From traditional performances to contemporary art exhibitions, there is always something to see and do in Hanoi. Additionally, many parks, lakes and other green spaces can be enjoyed for free or on a budget.
The city is famous for its street food, which is not only delicious but also inexpensive. Local restaurants and cafés also offer a variety of dishes at low prices. For those who prefer Western-style restaurants or international cuisines, Hanoi also has a wide range of options available, although these tend to be pricier. Compared to other expat destinations in the region, such as Singapore or Tokyo, eating out in Hanoi is generally considered more affordable.
Cost of education in Hanoi
For expats with children, education costs in Hanoi can be relatively affordable compared to other expat destinations. That said, private education in Hanoi can still be expensive, especially international schools, which provide familiar or international curricula and world-class amenities.
Several international schools in Hanoi offer a range of educational programmes, from pre-school to high school, and some even offer scholarships for academically gifted students. If possible, parents are advised to explore these options to assist with international school fees.
Cost of living in Hanoi chart
Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider, and the table below is based on average prices for Hanoi in February 2024.
|Accommodation (monthly rent)
|Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|Three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment in the city centre
|One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre
|Food and drink
|Milk (1 litre)
|Loaf of white bread
|Chicken breasts (1kg)
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)
|Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant
|Big Mac Meal
|Bottle of beer (local)
|Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and data
|Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)
|Basic utilities (average per month for a standard household)
|City-centre public transport fare
|Gasoline (per litre)
Are you an expat living in Hanoi?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Hanoi. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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