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Cost of Living in Vietnam
 
 
 

Vietnam has become increasingly popular as an expatriate destination in recent years and it is now recognised as a safe place for foreigners to live and work. Expatriates are attracted by the nice weather, low cost of living, lively culture and the steady improvements in Vietnam’s infrastructure. Despite the advantages there are still some issues that expatriates complain about on a regular basis when living in Vietnam.

Living expenses in Vietnam will range depending on your lifestyle. Many expatriates manage to enjoy an upbeat existence without spending a fortune. The largest dents in your monthly budget will be in the areas of housing, schooling and western foodstuffs. Travel, phone and internet costs remain low.

Like most countries, Vietnam has is fair share of temptations on your wallet. Being in Asia, there are lots of electronic gadgets that you can spend your hard earned salary on. However, with a little financial shrewdness it’s easy to live comfortably and save.

When shopping you will notice that different streets sell similar goods, for example there will be a “shoe street,” followed by a “stuffed toys street” and a “TV and audio visual street”. This system comes from ancient Vietnam when traders would set up their businesses close to their competition in order to cluster all similar services in one area. Today, it means that shoppers are able to go to one area for all their shopping and they can compare prices easily and bargain knowledgeably. There are also numerous malls and shopping plazas constantly being built or added to in the larger cities.

You will find cheap electrical goods, particularly in the markets. However, many of these are inferior copies made in China. Shopping at department stores and malls is one way to ensure that you’re buying the real thing; unfortunately this also means that you will be paying a lot more than you would expect to pay in the region, especially with Bangkok a cheap flight away.

Fruit and vegetables from the supermarket are a lot more expensive than those bought in the marketplace.

Supermarkets tend to stock Vietnamese, Thai and French brand names. Deodorant cost about the same as in Western countries, toothpaste is roughly ₫6,000 and sunscreen ranges from $5 upwards. Haircuts are cheap with a male cut costing less than $10 and women can expect to pay between $10 and $20. There are also numerous facial and massage salons, however salons advertising a ‘happy ending’ or staffed by a host of scantily clad well made-up women usually offer a lot more than your every day hair trim or massage.

Vietnam is a food-lovers paradise. Not only are there many western restaurants to choose from, but there are also a range of local restaurants, food stalls and street vendors that cook up amazing fare while you wait. Expatriates observe a big difference in the price of local food and western food in Vietnam and those who are prepared to eat at the local bars and restaurants will find that they can eat good food out at a very low price. Many western bars and restaurants, however, are much more expensive. As with many Asian cities, beer and spirits are very cheap but wine is expensive.

Eating out will set you back $2 to $5 if you choose a Vietnamese restaurant whereas a Western restaurant’s prices will start at $8 and range upwards. There are some top quality western restaurants in Vietnam ensuring that expats never miss familiar meals from back home. Most expatriates soon develop a liking for Vietnamese food, especially street food which is cheap and tasty. Vietnamese coffee (less than $1) and the famous Vietnamese beer, ‘bia hoi’ (also less than $1) are also incredibly cheap and make for a good evenings out with friends.

 

 
 

 

 


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