Is life in Vietnam unbelievably cheaper than in Europe?
The real difference from Western developed countries is that coming in Vietnam will allow you to have a comfortable lifestyle by spending as much as you are currently spending in Europe or The US as a student! But your lifestyle will be demanding and you need to have a specific budget for that.
Most of foreign people living in Vietnam rarely cook at home because food in the street or in restaurant is very affordable (and yummy!). In your case, you might stay in Vietnam only a few months and take this opportunity to travel, try as much places as you can and enjoy your trip.
So what should be your monthly budget?
If you stay in Saigon, a budget of $600 a month all-inclusive is the minimum: you will need to be careful with your expenses but it is doable! A reasonable budget would be about $800-$1200 a month (all inclusive). If you travel, your budget might need to strat from $30-40 a day (all inclusive). Explanations:
Imported products such as electronics, luxury products, spirits/wine or clothes are most of the time more expensive. Perfume in Vietnam cost 2 times the European price for example. But you’ll find everything you need and most of the time at a very competitive price compared to your original country.
Also, don’t forget that bargaining is part of the culture and locals will easily see that you are a foreigner… So you might be quoted a higher price (actually, it’s 100% sure that will happen)! It’s the opportunity for you to show your negotiation skills and don’t hesitate to discuss and arrange the prices if you think you’re paying too much. That’s also a reason we are going to give you a quick overview of the prices you should pay.
A quick overview of prices:
Basically, $1 is 25.000VND. We refer to the US dollar as the VND (Vietnamese Dong) is indexed to the USD (the US Dollar). For this article, we put the prices in USD but you better stop converting as quickly as possible and remember the prices in VND: you’ll be able to save some $ at the end and pay a fair price. Too many expatriates living in Vietnam act like tourists and think as $1 is nothing so you can spend it. Actually, you can do a lot with only $1 in Vietnam!
Here are some examples of prices applied in Vietnam that will give you a clearer idea of what should be your purchasing power on site. These data are based on our own experience and can vary depending on each situation.
- 1 meal in the street: between less than $1 to $3
- 1 meal in a restaurant: between $1 and $7
- 1 bottle of water 1,5 liter is $0.50
- 1 beer in a supermarket is $0.40, in a bar it is $1-2 and in a club; $4-$7
- 1 cigarette pack is around $1-$1.5
- 1km by taxi is $0.50 and it can be a lot cheaper by moto-taxi
- 1h of phone talk-time in Vietnam is $5. With $5, you can call Europe during 25 minutes!
- 1 month of motorbike rental is $40-$50 a month
- 1 month renting a room in a shared-house is $200-$300 per month (and with $350-$450 you are in a serviced apartment or a villa).
Prices for flights, visas, health care spending and Education in Vietnam will depend on your own situation so we have decided to not mention them in this article but feel free to contact us, share and comment on this article so we can give you more information.
Thank you for reading and see you soon!
The Jump in Vietnam Team