“Well, living in Vietnam is quite cheap.” That’s the answer I usually get after asking several foreigners about the living cost in Ho Chi Minh city. But is it true, especially after the crazy Corona pandemic? Hoozing finds this question is so common that we would love to list down some expected prices from accommodations, food, entertainment, transportations to other expenses. 

Ho Chi Minh city - a great place to start new chapter

If you are looking to retire or simply planning to start a new chapter of your life, Vietnam is the perfect place. However, the cost of living in Ho Chi Minh City is different from Hanoi or from smaller towns such as Da Nang, Hue, Vung Tau, Nha Trang,…It also depends on what lifestyle you have, type of household, food, shopping places, or how to travel in Vietnam are the factors you have to bear in mind. The cost of living in Vietnam relies on the type of person you are and which city you want to live in. 

  • Apartment Prices

Let’s start with the basic: Accommodation

The best thing is that Vietnam can accommodate either expats who are looking into cheap living or those who are keen to have a luxurious life. The price depends on the location and services that are included. If you’re still confused, contact Hoozing to have more information and options: https://hoozing.com. The rent cost is between $450 – $2,000+ depending on the type of accommodation, location, and size. With $450, you can have a great service apartment and with $2000+, you can enjoy a three-bedroom apartment with full furniture from big projects. Depending on the length of your contract, the landlord may ask for a two-month deposit or just one month in advance. But mostly the rent contract minimum is 6 months. So be prepared that you will spend a lot in the first two-month.

One thing to notice is that electricity bill. The electricity in Vietnam is about 3,000 – 4,500 VND per KW. 

  • Food 

Whether you decide to cook home or eat out, the food budget may change but not large. Food vendors offer really affordable meals. Although a lot of expats are concerned with its cooking sanitation. Only $1 – $2 for the side street vendors which you can easily find. While casual restaurants are about $3 – $4 for a meal and/or fast-food chains, fancier restaurants are about $7 and up.

If you cook for yourself, it would cost about $60 – $80 for a whole week. A little advantage of cooking is that you can make big portions so that they can be saved for the next few days. Doing your grocery at the local dry market “Cho” is always cheaper than shopping in grocery stores. Or simply just order delivery food. You can also have your food delivered from popular apps like Baemin, Grab Food,…for $2 and up (Pro tip: Using code to have free shipping fee). 

Food vendor lady
Banh mi that is made by a food vendor lady is a must have in Vietnam.
  • Transportation

When it comes down to transportation in Ho Chi Minh, it is undeniable that you can see lots of motorbikes or scooters. Driving a car will take you forever to travel, especially after office hours. There is a big chance you will be stuck in traffic. Therefore, motorbikes are expats’ go-to solution to travel around.

You can buy a motorbike for $1500+ or secondhand one for $500. Renting a motorbike can cost about $30 and up per month with a deposit of $100+. The gas for your motorbike or car is not too expensive, about $1 per liter.

For a minimum of $1, you can go around the city by Grab or Go Viet. Here, you can book a motorbike, car. They even offer delivery service/parcel service. 

Motorbike – A signature in Vietnam and Southeast Asian Countries.
  • Entertainments

Let’s say you go out/eat out for at least once a week, it might cost $50 or more. Moreover, prices for workout or entertainment activities like Gym/Fitness or Netflix will cost you $100/month.

Of course, you are an expat, how can I not mention the nightlife in Ho Chi Minh City. Like I said before, it’s all about your lifestyle. You can have a Saigon beer bottle for $2 from Bui Vien street in District 1. It is the backpacker hub of the city and welcomes a mix of foreigners and local Vietnamese who enjoy a night out, drinking cheap beers on small red plastic stools all along the street. How about going to bars, clubs – the place to see the young dressed to impress and not afraid to spend a little cash? Alcohol prices are from $3 for beers and $6 per wine glass. 

Bui Vien Street
A common sight in Bui Vien Street.


Well, it is half true that living in Saigon is cheap. For the first two months, you may have to spend more than $3000+ for an apartment with 6 months contract and transportation rental deposits. It all comes down to say that it depends on you and your discipline to follow a good budget. 

To sum up, below is the sample monthly budget table for 1 person living a middle-class lifestyle in Ho Chi Minh City:



Apartment Rental* $500
Electricity $30 to 60
Cable TV $10
Transportation $50
Groceries/Food $100
Entertainment (eating out three nights a week, Netflix, alcohol,…) $150 – $200

Monthly Total:

$1120 to $1200
  • This doesn’t include a deposit fee. 

After Covid-19, the international border will be expected to open soon. In the end of 2020, household prices will rise. This is the perfect time to get a great Real Estate Agency like Hoozing. Here, we have a free service, book and arrange tour homes even in one day, and the latest properties every 5 minutes.

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