The cost of living in Vietnam is relatively low. In the Mercer Cost of Living survey for 2021, Hanoi ranked 139th while Ho Chi Minh City ranked 143rd out of the 209 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 salary 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 housing 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 Vietname 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 with knowledge of 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 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 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

VND 26,500,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

VND 15,700,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

VND 12,700,000

One-bedroom apartment outside city centre

VND 7,700,000


Milk (1 litre)

VND 35,400

Dozen eggs

VND 33,800

Loaf of white bread

VND 24,900

Chicken breasts (1kg)

VND 75,000

Pack of cigarettes 

VND 30,000

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

VND 100,000


VND 46,400

Local beer (500ml)

VND 20,000

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

VND 600,000


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile) 

VND 1,500

Internet (uncapped – average per month) 

VND 256,000

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

VND 1,724,000

Transport and driving

City-centre bus fare

VND 7,000

Taxi (rate per km)

VND 15,000

Petrol (per litre) 

VND 21,400