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How Cheap is it to Move to Vietnam?

With its mesmerizing landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and bustling city life, Vietnam has emerged as a beacon for expats and travelers seeking adventure and affordability. The country offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience a high quality of life at a fraction of the cost compared to many Western countries. From the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi to the serene beauty of Halong Bay and the ancient charm of Hoi An, Vietnam is a tapestry of diverse experiences.

This guide delves into the practicalities and perks of moving to Vietnam, highlighting how the country’s low cost of living does not compromise the richness of the experience it offers. Whether you’re drawn by the prospect of living comfortably on a budget, seeking entrepreneurial opportunities, or simply pursuing a scenic change, Vietnam promises a rewarding, affordable, and enriching adventure.

The Appeal of Vietnam

Vietnam’s appeal as a destination for relocation extends far beyond its affordability. The country is captivated by its stunning natural landscapes, ranging from Sapa’s lush rice terraces to Phu Quoc Island’s pristine beaches. Its rich cultural heritage is showcased in centuries-old pagodas, bustling markets, and vibrant street life, offering a deep dive into traditions that have been preserved over millennia.

Vietnam’s culinary scene is another highlight, with various flavors and dishes reflecting its complex history and regional diversity. The warmth and hospitality of the Vietnamese people further enhance the living experience, making newcomers feel welcomed and quickly integrated into the community. For expats and travelers alike, Vietnam presents a unique blend of modernity and tradition, convenience and adventure, making it an ideal choice for those looking to enrich their lives with new experiences without breaking the bank.

Housing Costs

Housing costs in Vietnam offer a spectrum of affordability and choice, catering to a wide range of preferences and budgets. Whether you’re drawn to the dynamic urban centers of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City or the tranquil charm of coastal towns and rural areas, Vietnam provides a variety of living arrangements at costs significantly lower than those in many Western countries.

  • Major Cities: In bustling metropolises like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, you can find modern apartments in the city center for as little as $500 to $1,000 per month, while more luxurious options can go higher. These areas offer convenience and an array of amenities right at your doorstep.
  • Rural Areas: For those seeking peace and natural beauty, rural and coastal areas offer even more affordable living, with rents dropping to as low as $200 to $400 per month for spacious accommodations, often with stunning views and serene settings.
  • Shared Accommodations: Expats looking to cut costs further might consider shared apartments or houses, which can halve living expenses while providing an opportunity to socialize and network. Read more about this full guide to renting an apartment in Vietnam if you plan to spend a few months there.
  • Finding Housing: Utilizing local real estate websites, expat forums, and social media groups can help discover the best deals and understand the nuances of the local rental market.

Vietnam’s housing market accommodates a range of lifestyles, from the urbanite to the nature lover, while maintaining a high standard of living at meager costs. This affordability and the country’s welcoming atmosphere make Vietnam an attractive destination for those looking to relocate.

Daily Living Expenses

Daily living expenses in Vietnam are meager, contributing significantly to the country’s appeal among expats and long-term travelers. The affordability of everyday items and services allows residents to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without overspending. Here are some key aspects of daily living costs:

  • Groceries and Dining: Local markets offer fresh produce, meats, and seafood at very low prices, allowing for nutritious home-cooked meals on a modest budget. Dining out is equally affordable, with street food meals costing as little as $1-$3 and restaurant meals ranging from $5-$10 per person.
  • Utilities and Internet: Monthly utility costs, including electricity, water, and garbage collection, are typically low, averaging around $50-$70 for a moderate-sized apartment. High-speed internet is affordable and reliable, costing approximately $10-$15 monthly.
  • Transportation: Public transportation options like buses are incredibly cheap, with fares under $1 for most routes. Many expats and locals prefer motorbikes for convenience and affordability, with low fuel costs and the ability to buy a used motorbike for a few hundred dollars.
  • Mobile Services: Cellular service in Vietnam is excellent and inexpensive, with generous monthly data packages for around $5-$10.

This cost structure enables residents to manage their finances more freely, allocating more towards travel, savings, or leisure activities. Vietnam’s low daily living expenses and high quality of life make it an attractive option for those seeking to stretch their budgets further while experiencing the richness of a new culture. If you want to know more about Vietnam’s cost of living and budget, check this post.

Asian tourist in Vietnam

Lifestyle and Entertainment

Vietnam’s lifestyle and entertainment options are as diverse and vibrant as its culture, providing an enriching experience that goes well beyond the cost benefits. Vietnam’s bustling cities and tranquil countryside offer a wide range of activities to suit all interests and lifestyles, all at an affordable cost.

From exploring the maze of street markets, enjoying the local coffee culture, indulging in spa treatments, and attending live music events, there’s never a dull moment. The country’s rich historical and cultural heritage can be explored through museums, ancient temples, and cultural performances, often for a nominal fee. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of hiking, cycling, and water sports opportunities, particularly in the stunning landscapes of places like Ha Long Bay and the Central Highlands.

Nightlife in urban centers like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi caters to every taste, from rooftop bars offering panoramic city views to cozy, hidden cafes where live music can be enjoyed. Despite the abundance of activities, the cost of entertainment in Vietnam remains surprisingly low, allowing residents and visitors to enjoy a full and active lifestyle without overspending. This combination of affordability and richness in experiences makes Vietnam an appealing destination for those looking to enjoy a high-quality life on a budget.


Transportation in Vietnam is both accessible and affordable, offering various options that cater to different preferences and needs. The country’s extensive transportation network makes navigating urban and rural areas easy, ensuring that moving around is convenient and cost-effective.

  • Motorbikes: The most popular mode of transportation in Vietnam, motorbikes offer flexibility and convenience for navigating the bustling streets of cities and the scenic routes in the countryside. They are inexpensive to rent or buy, with rental costs as low as $50 to $100 per month and purchase prices starting from a few hundred dollars for a used bike.
  • Public Transportation: In major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, public buses provide a reliable and economical travel method, with fares typically under $1. The cities are also expanding their public transportation networks to include metro and light rail systems.
  • Taxis and Ride-Hailing Apps: Taxis are readily available and affordable, with metered fares. Ride-hailing apps like Grab offer convenient car and motorbike rides at competitive rates, providing an alternative to traditional taxis with the ease of app-based booking.
  • Bicycles: Bicycles are a popular and eco-friendly transportation option in smaller towns and rural areas. They’re perfect for exploring the local scenery at a leisurely pace, with rental shops widely available.
  • Long-Distance Travel: For travel between cities, Vietnam has various options, including buses, trains, and domestic flights. Buses and trains offer scenic views and are a cost-effective way to see the country, while domestic flights are time-saving and frequently offer good deals.

Vietnam’s transportation system allows for easy exploration of the country’s diverse landscapes and cultural sites, all while keeping travel costs low. Whether it’s the daily commute or a cross-country adventure, moving around in Vietnam is enjoyable and affordable.


Make sure you have international health insurance that covers you in Vietnam. Health care in major cities is generally good, but it can be limited in rural areas. Also, check and update your vaccinations as recommended by health professionals for travel to Vietnam.

Networking and Community

Connect with expat communities for support and advice. They can provide valuable insights and help you adjust to your new surroundings. Making friends with locals can enrich your experience and offer you an authentic insight into Vietnamese life.

Learn the Language and Culture

Learning basic Vietnamese can greatly enhance your experience and help you integrate into the community. English is widely spoken in tourist areas, but less so in rural regions. Understanding and respecting Vietnamese culture and customs will help you build relationships and avoid misunderstandings.


If you plan to work, ensure you understand the process for obtaining a work permit. It typically requires a job offer from a Vietnamese company. For native English speakers, teaching English is an ordinary job that can provide a decent income and opportunities to integrate into the community.

Safety and Legal Considerations

Familiarize yourself with local laws to avoid unintentional offenses. Drug laws are particularly strict in Vietnam. Vietnam is generally safe, but it’s wise to take precautions like avoiding unlit areas at night and keeping valuables secure.


Vietnam is a compelling destination for those looking to move abroad, offering an exceptional blend of affordability, cultural richness, and quality of life. The cost of living, from housing to daily expenses, transportation, and entertainment, remains remarkably low, allowing expats and travelers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without compromising on experiences or amenities. Beyond the economic advantages, Vietnam’s vibrant culture, friendly communities, and stunning landscapes provide a backdrop for a fulfilling and adventurous life.

Whether you’re drawn by the prospect of stretching your budget further, seeking a change of scenery, or eager to immerse yourself in a new culture, Vietnam delivers on all fronts. This guide has outlined the practicalities and perks of moving to Vietnam, underscoring the country’s appeal as a top choice for those considering an overseas move. Embracing life in Vietnam means stepping into a world where the cost of living is low, but the quality of life and the richness of experiences are beyond measure.

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