Ho Chi Minh is the business hub of Vietnam. Both locals and expats flock the city not only for its unrivaled beauty but also for the employment opportunity that it offers.
Dub as the cheapest city to live in Vietnam, one could only wonder what is the cost of living in Ho Chi Minh? How much do you need each month to survive in this bustling city?
Accommodation takes the biggest part of cost of living in Ho Chi Minh. It is interesting to note that there are several affordable options for you in the city however, you just have to compromise comfort. Windowless room with enough space for a bed and desk can cost you around 100 USD per month.
Most expats still consider comfort as a huge priority and thus go for modern style furnished apartments which can be found in either District 2 or 7. These furnished studio apartments can cost 250-450 USD.
The one bedroom apartments can cost you 450-650 USD each month while two-bedroom units are at 500-1000 USD.
For a much bigger space, it would be best to rent a house. Traditional Saigonese house in the city which features five floors and with 1 room per floor costs 500 – 850 USD per month. A villa within a compound in the city costs 1,500 – 3,000 USD per month depending on the size and location.
Some expats would find and connect with others to split the cost of a place. This way, you can save more and still be with the comforts of your friends.
Food and Drink
Ho Chi Minh never has shortcomings when it comes to its food and drink. Its streets are flooded with a variety of mouthwatering dishes and thirst clenching drinks (this includes the alcoholic drinks too!)
If you’re not a picky eater and know how to cook, you can allocate 150 – 200 USD per month for food.
If you fancy going out to moderately inexpensive food shops for a meal, you can allocate 300-400 USD per month. This would mean you can comfortably get yourself a meal with good quality groceries that includes beef meat, pasta and butter.
For some expats, one of the advantages of low cost living in Ho Chi Minh is that there’s plenty of room to treat yourself for a classy meal. This would mean spending 400-600++ USD per month on upscale dishes. Allowing you to eat out on international restaurants almost every night. Also, this would give you the liberty to purchase imported products to cook for any of your desired dishes at home.
Now comes the drink part, the figures above were solely for food. In Ho Chi MInh, a locally brewed beer is at 1.5-3 USD. This can go up to 8-9 USD at a sophisticated rooftop nightclub.
Craft beer has also gained popularity in the country and is sold at around 4-5 USD per 400ml glass.
For wine enthusiasts, a bottle of typical wine can cost 20 USD in a restaurant. But of course, living in Ho Chi Minh offers a lot of stuff to see and do to be able to distract you from too much munching!
There are plenty of transportations for you to choose from if you choose to live in Ho Chi Minh. If you are looking to stay for a little longer in the city, it would be best to get your own motorbike. A used motorbike can cost at 150 USD while a new one is priced at around 1500 USD.
Since motorbikes are low maintenance, you can allocate at least 50 USD per month for your motorbike. Now if you’re looking at renting a scooter instead, this will cost you around 40-60 USD each month.
On the other hand, a four-wheel vehicle is more expensive due to import taxes. It can cost around 70,000 USD for a new one (around 35,000 USD on a typical car), and the used cars are only around half. The fuel cost around 0.6 USD per liter in the city.
Most expats prefer to rent a car which starts around 500 USD per month. Should you require a driver, you just have to add extra 300-400 USD per month.
Commuting on a bus can be a bit of a hustle as it consumes time and energy but it allows you to save up a little more. A bus ride can cost around 0.25 USD per ride.
Top International schools in the city can cost around 15,000 USD at kindergarten and can go 30,000++ higher upon leveling up.
Education at international schools can be pricey, if this is totally out of your cost of living budget, there are plenty of bilingual schools available such as British Vietnamese International School or the new Emasi School owned by the Renaissance International Group. These schools offer international English following the Vietnamese curriculum. School fees range around 6,000 USD to 20,000 USD and are currently preferred by most expats married to locals in the city.
There are also several expats who choose a Vietnamese public school with school fees ranging from 50 USD – 200 USD per month.