Vietnam has a fascinating history, spectacular scenery and a diverse culture.
It’s also a very affordable country to live in and popular with expats, particularly people under the age of 30. Vietnamese cities are definitely not for people who enjoy peace and quiet.
They are vibrant and buzzing 24 hours a day. That said, rural areas will provide tranquillity if that’s what you’re looking for. Vietnam is a wonderful country to explore and is also a great country to use as a base for travelling around Asia.
If you are considering moving to Vietnam, the various costs listed below will help you make an informed decision on what costs are involved when moving and living in there.
Quick Vietnam Facts:
- Population: 99,323,513 (2022 estimate)
- Official Language: Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. However, there are as many as 110 languages in the country. English is increasingly spoken in the country as a second language followed by French, Khmer, Chinese, and numerous other
- GDP Per Capita: US$3,409.02 (2021)
- Motor bikes: The Vietnamese are crazy about motorbikes and almost every adult person in Vietnam owns one. It is said that “life in Vietnam moves on two wheels”. The latest statistics state that there are 7.43 million motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City which has a population of 8.3 million people.
- Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND/₫ or đ). The worth of VND1 is = $0.000042 USD; €0.000043; £0.000038; $0.000058 CAD; $0.000066 AUD.
1.Moving and Shipping Costs to Vietnam
Here are some sample container shipping rates to Vietnam from other countries around the world.
You can also get quotes from moving companies in Vietnam here.
2. Vietnam Housing Costs
Housing in Vietnam is much cheaper than most countries around the world. There’s a wide variety available from studio apartments and upmarket penthouses to luxury villas and colonial houses.
Monthly Rental Prices in Vietnam
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Centre: VND5,000,000 – VND15,000,000
- 1 bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: VND3,500,000 -VND10,000,000
- 3-bedroom apartment in City Centre: VND12,000,000 – VND40,000,000
- 3-bedroom apartment outside the City Centre: VND7,000,000 -VND22,000,000
- Price per square metre to buy in City Centre: VND40,000,000 -VND150,000,000
- Price per square metre to buy outside the city: VND20,000,000 -VND60,000,000
Vietnam Housing Cost Comparison
This is how rents in Vietnam compare with other countries around the globe.
United Kingdom is 145.14% more expensive
United States is 314.39% more expensive
Australia is 188.41% more expensive
Canada is 200.06% more expensive
France is 108.75% more expensive
Italy is 82% more expensive
Spain is 75.43% more expensive
Germany is 132.30% more expensive
How to Save on Housing Costs
- Share an apartment or house. Sharing an apartment or house is a good option to save on housing costs. Have a look at the following sites to find your perfect room or flatmate: Expat, Flatsharing in Pham viet Vhanh, Homestay, and Shared Houses.
- Different areas – different prices. Ho Chi Minh City is considered one of the best areas for expats to live with its cosmopolitan atmosphere. Compared with other cities, it’s expensive to live in but it’s still very affordable for most people. If you can work from anywhere, then De Lat is beautiful city to live in and is often called ‘miniature Paris’. Da Nang is also popular with expats and has a lot to offer.
3. Vietnam Food, Grocery and Restaurant Costs
Vietnamese cuisine has many influences from neighbouring countries such as China, Laos and Cambodia. Sixty seven years of colonial rule by the French has also left an indelible mark on Vietnam’s cooking scene, especially in the south of the country where baguettes are served with many meals.
- Inexpensive Restaurant: VND25,000.00 – VDN100,000.00
- Domestic beer: VND12,000.00 – VDN40,000.00
- Coke/Pepsi: VND10,000.00 – VDN23,877.75
- 1L of milk: VND26,000.00 – VDN45,000.00
- Loaf of Bread: VND10,000.00 – VDN60,000.00
- 12 Eggs: VND24,000.00 – VDN48,000.00
- 1kg Chicken Fillets: VND50,000.00 – VDN120,990.73
- 1kg Beef: VND140,000.00 – VDN350,000.00
- 1kg Apples: VND30,000.00 – VDN112,000.00
- 1kg White Rice: VND15,000.00 – VDN30,000.00
This is how restaurants and food prices compare with other countries in the world.
- UK restaurants are 90% more expensive and groceries are 23.97% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- United States restaurants are 4% more expensive and groceries are 100.50% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- Australian restaurants are 19% more expensive and groceries are 86.26% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- Canadian restaurants are 04% more expensive and groceries are 81.10% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- French restaurants are 68% more expensive and groceries are 67.21% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- Italian restaurants are 10% more expensive and groceries are 44.60% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- Spanish restaurants are 63% more expensive and groceries are 4.71% more expensive than in Vietnam.
- German restaurants are 02% more expensive and groceries are 42.40% more expensive than in Vietnam.
Bonus Tips for Cheaper Food, Restaurants and Groceries
- Know your supermarkets: There’s a good selection of supermarkets, independently owned grocers and markets in Vietnam. Big C is the most popular hypermarket in Vietnam with both expats and Vietnamese. Circle K convenience stores are found everywhere and stock basic items. Aeon is a Japanese chain of supermarkets which is well stocked with many imported items. Lotte Mart is another supermarket chain which is a favourite of expats.
- Find Cheap Eats:Keep an eye out for advertised specials at restaurants and hotels. Ask locals and fellow expats for recommendations. Have a look at the following sites for ideas of where to find cheap eats in Vietnam Our Taste for Life, Expat Vietnam, Cheap Eats in Ho Chi Minh, and Food in Vietnam.
4. Vietnam Alcohol Costs
Drinking alcohol, especially beer, is very much part of the Vietnamese culture. You’ll find bars, clubs and restaurants everywhere in both the cities and small towns. There’s a great selection of locally brewed beer and imported beer to choose from Another favourite with the Vietnamese is rice wine and liqueurs. Vietnam also imports alcohol from both the EU and Australasia.
- Bottle of imported beer at a restaurant/pub: VND 25,000 – VND80,000
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a restaurant/pub: VND12,000 – VND40,000
- Pint (0.5L) domestic beer at a supermarket: VND12,000 – VND27,272.73
- Bottle of imported beer at a supermarket: VND20,000 – VND59,694.37
- Mid-range bottle of wine at a supermarket: VND100,000 – VND400,000
How to drink for less in Vietnam
- Some supermarkets, bars, clubs and restaurants offer specials, particularly during the various festivals and holidays. Keep an eye on the local papers and flyers to see who’s advertising.
- Ask locals or expats for their recommendations. Enjoy happy hours at various bars and restaurants, where you can get 2 for 1 drinks at certain times of the day. Have a look at the following sites for more tips on where to go to save money on a night out – The Culture Trip, Local Drinks, Expatvn, Eating and Drinking in Vietnam, and Holidify.
5. Vietnam Transportation Fares
Vietnam has well developed public transport system with local and long distance buses, flights, trains and a reasonable road system for those choosing to drive themselves, although many routes are in need of repair. The quickest way to travel within the country is by air, using the network of 22 airports available. Travelling by train can be slow due to the age of the system and rolling stock but the Vietnamese government is busy upgrading the railway. Local buses tend to be overcrowded and old but the tourist buses are of a superior standard. Travelling by boat is also an option in various parts of Vietnam. Indie Traveller gives some great information on planning journeys in Vietnam.
Here are some example ticket costs:
- One-way ticket (Local transport) – VND6,000 – VND11,938
- Monthly Pass, (Regular Price) – VND130,000 – VND300,000
- Taxi start (normal tariff) – VND9,000 – VND20,000
- Taxi 1km (normal tariff) – VND11,000 – VND20,000
How to save money on public transport
- Book tickets in advance, especially for train and bus travel.
- Travelling by motorbike is a good option to save money but not particularly safe.
6. Cost of Internet in Vietnam
Vietnam’s internet speed is slow compared to other Asian countries. According to Global Index, Vietnam ranks 62nd for global mobile speed and 59th for fixed broadband.
7. Cost of Clothing, Personal Items, Gym and Leisure
Vietnam has both tropical and temperate climate zones. The country experiences heavy rain from May to October in the north and south zones, and from September to January in the central zones. The average rainfall is between 700mm and 5,000mm depending on the region. Summer temperatures in the northern region are around 22C to 27.5C in summer and 15C to 20C in the winter. Southern regions are hotter with temperatures averaging around 29C in summer and 26C in winter.
Here are some clothing prices, together with other useful prices.
- Pair of Jeans (Levi’s 501 or similar): VND300,000 – VND2,000,000
- Summer Dress: VND300,000 – VND1,500,000
- Running Shoes (Trainers): VND1,200,000 – VND3,500,000
- Business Shoes: VND700,000 – VND4,000,000
- Gym membership: VND250,000 – VND1,000,000
- Movie (cinema) ticket: VND70,000 – VND150,000
- Short doctor’s visit (15 minutes): VND3,000,000
- Deodorant: VND87,500
- Shampoo: VND80,000
- Toilet rolls: VND31,443
8. Cost of Owning a Car and Driving a Car in Vietnam
Expats are permitted to buy and drive cars if they have a valid Vietnamese temporary or permanent driving license and a work permit. No one is allowed to drive in Vietnam without a Vietnamese licence. Driving in Vietnam can take some getting used to. Rules of road aren’t followed and law enforcement seems to have given up on prosecuting rule breakers. Some of the roads, particularly in the rural areas are in need of repair.
Here are some other sample costs of owning and operating a car in Vietnam:
- Volkswagen Golf:VND700,000,000.00-1,012,000,000.00
- 1 litre (¼ gallon) of gas (petrol): VND20,000.00-30,368.00
- Other fees (if any):The average monthly cost of running a roadworthy, small car in Vietnam is around VND7,500,000. This includes average fuel use, tax, insurance, maintenance and depreciation.
Ways to save money driving in Vietnam
- Car sharing or pooling is the best option to save money in Vietnam. Try Ride Hailing, Ridesharing, On Demand Carpool, and Ride Hailing Apps.
- Taxis are sometimes a better option, especially as they save on parking fees. Uber is no more available in Vietnam, so try Grab
Need your car/vehicle moved to Vietnam? Then read our guide: Car Transport & Vehicle Shipping
9. Taxes in Vietnam
Non-resident taxpayers must pay a flat rate of 20% on their Vietnamese earned income. Resident taxpayers pay between 5% and 35% tax depending on their income. For those owning land or property a tax of 2% is levied on selling. For more information, see PWC’s guide.
VAT in Vietnam has been reduced from 10% to 8% on most goods and services but this may increase again in the near future.
10. Flight Costs from Vietnam
If you do make the move to Vietnam, here’s approximately how much it will cost to fly to other major world cities based on the lowest, one-way fares from Skyscanner as of 2023:
- London: VND7,105,576
- Paris: VND7,111,946
- New York: VND9,333,862
- Toronto: VND10,046,287
- Sydney: VND3,695,265
- Berlin: VND7,254,688
- Rome: VND7,067,386
- Hong Kong: VND2,465,880
Other Vietnam Relocation Tips
The above costs and prices should give you a good idea of the cost of living in Vietnam. However, perhaps the following extra tips will make your move go smoothly.
11. Relocating to Vietnam Alone
Moving, especially to a different country on your own, can be exceptionally difficult. The atmosphere in Vietnam and the friendly people will help you ease into your new life and allow you to settle quickly into this fascinating culture. Below are a few tips about settling in Vietnam.
- Meetups: Join people who enjoy what you like doing in your spare time through Meetup.
- Attend local events:The Vietnamese love socialising, with any excuse for a celebration. Have a look at the following sites to get an idea of what’s out there: Trip Advisor, Holidify, Entire Travel, Vietnam Discoveries and Festivals.
12. Moving to Vietnam with a Family
Vietnam has a lot to offer families however, moving to a country with a culture that may be completely different from anything you’ve experienced before can be challenging. So, if you are moving to Vietnam with your family, consider the following.
- New parents (or parents to be):Have a look at the following groups so you can get in touch with new parents or parents to be – Mom’s group, Parenting Groups, and Chi Minh Mums.
- Live in a family-friendly area:Most job opportunities for expats ae in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, both of which have many areas that are suitable for families. De Lat is a beautiful city with a French feel to it but job opportunities aren’t as plentiful. Have a look at the following sites for detailed information on family-friendly areas to live in Vietnam – Expat Arrivals, Vietnam Travel and Expat Woman.
- Find things to do with the kids:Vietnam has many things for children to do. Have a look at the following websites for inspiration – Vietnam with Kids, Family-friendly Destinations, World Travel Family, and Vietnam is Awesome.
13. Moving to Vietnam for Work
Moving to a new county for work is one of the most common reasons people choose to move. While it is possible to move without a job, it makes sense to ensure there are jobs in your field before you make the move.
Vietnam is constantly on the lookout for people teaching English as a second language. School teachers and university lecturers are also in demand. Other skills that are sought after in Vietnam include IT, hospitality and tourism, healthcare, agriculture, banking, finance, logistics and engineering.
Here are a few things to consider when moving for work:
- Salary:The costs we outlined above should give you a rough idea, how much more you’ll want to be making to make the move worthwhile. You can also check salary ranges on sites such as Glassdoor and Payscale.
- How to find work: If you want to have a job lined up before you move to Vietnam but aren’t sure where to begin, the following sites are good places to start: Vietnam Works, Robert Walters, Vietnam Teaching Jobs, InterNations, Move to Asia, and LinkedIn. You may also want to Google recruiters in your industry, as they can often help land you some initial interviews as well.
14. Moving to Vietnam from Australia
Vietnam hosts a sizable group of young Australian expats. If you are thinking of moving from Australia to Vietnam, here are a few things to consider.
- Size comparison:Australia is 23 times bigger than Vietnam. The population of Australia is 28.7 million. 3 million more people live in Vietnam than in Australia.
- Join expat groups:Meetup, InterNations, and Facebook offer ways of meeting up with other Australians in Vietnam.
15. Moving to Vietnam from Canada
There’s a sizeable contingent of Canadians in Vietnam. If you’re considering making the move from Canada to Vietnam, here are a few things to consider.
- Size:Canada is 30 times bigger than Vietnam. However, Vietnam’s population is almost three times the size.
- Expat groups:Meeting up with fellow Canadians helps the moving process go smoothly. Link up through sites such as Meetup and InterNations.
16. Moving to Vietnam from the United Kingdom
There are a good number of expats from the UK living in Vietnam. So, if you’re considering joining them, here are a few bonus tips:
- Size: Vietnam is 1.4 times bigger than the UK with 33 million more people living there.
- Expat groups:If you want to get together with others from the UK who are enjoying the weather, then go to Meetup, and InterNations.
Hopefully, the tips and costs above are helpful. If want to get started pricing out how much it will cost you to move to Vietnam you can start by comparing moving quotes here.