Living Moderately in Ho Chi Minh City

Not everybody comes to this country and is employed with multi-millions of Vietnamese Dong monthly. Some foreigners come to this country for some volunteer jobs in English schools or houses of orphanage[Like SOS Childrens Village] and some others are into freelancer or own a small business. Many says that the cost of living here is cheaper than their home country, but many foreign workers here still need to control their daily budget in order to avoid any money shortage before the next pay-check comes.

Moderate Daily Expenses

Start your day by having banh mi for breakfast which is available for you to grab at every corner in town. You can order the banh mi with its filling such as two fried eggs, vegetables, chilli and soy sauce with the price is in between VND12,000 to VND15,000 for one serving.
During lunch time, you may spend a little bit more as you need to consume more food to continue the rest of your day. You are expected to spend around VND30,000 for rice and a side dish such as chicken, beef or pork. Your lunch normally will be complemented by a small bowl of vegetable soup, banana and ice tea or locally called “Tra Da”. Next, on the way back to your office, drop by a street seller and get a cup of “Caphe Sua Da”, coffee with condensed milk in order to avoid from feeling sleepy after lunch. The price for this sweet and strong coffee is around VND7000 to VND10,000 depends on the location.
Out for dinner; choose varieties of Vietnamese noodles nearby your housing area. Banh Canh, Hu Tieu and Bun Bo are good and healthy choices. One serving normally will cost you VND25,000 to VND30,000 and some places will charge you VND1000 for a glass of ice tea.
You are expected to spend around VND100,000 daily including your motorbike petrol if you choose to have a moderate living in Vietnam. But sometimes, you need to allocate extra budget when you need to go out for coffee with your Vietnamese friends and other entertainment needs. If you don’t have a motorbike, you need to double up your budget as you will definitely rely on public transport such as Taxi and Xe Om, a motorbike taxi.


Staying at home everyday after work while watching repeat shows of America’s Next Top Model and How I Met Your Mother Season 3 is kind of a boring activity. There are many local coffee shops come with unique concept and theme song in town. Having a glass of coffee with condensed milk in Highland Coffee will cost you VND29,000 and you can enjoy the free WiFi here to read your e-book or news.
Optionally, you may go out for movie with your friends. Megastar Cinema maybe a little bit expensive but always a premium choice among Vietnamese. Go to Galaxy Cinema for a cheaper ticket and 2D movie normally will cost you around VND65,000 to VND80,000 each.

Shop your Shirts

Go to Nguyen Trai street of District 1 and District 5 for a value for money shopping. A t-shirt will cost you around VND100,000 to VND200,000 and you will get good quality pants by paying VND300,000. There are many imitations of international brands for you to choose as well. Just ask yourself about what your desire is.

House Rental and Transportation

Fancy houses in central area will cost you between VND10,000,000 and above every month. You may ask your local friends if you are looking for a better deal. Renting a 30sqm room in alleyway area will cost you around VND3,000,000 to VND5,000,000 monthly. Some owners will offer you thrice housekeeping service and laundry facility as well.

A motorbike is a need if you choose to have a moderate living in this country. Normally, you are expected to spend around VND20,000 for 3 kilometres journey by xe om and it can rise higher if you are unable to speak Vietnamese. You are expected to spend between VND50,000 to VND100,000 if you are actively going out and renting a motorbike as an option. Renting a Honda wave will cost you around VND1,000,000 a month and your house owner normally can help you to get this price from the vendors.
Overall, you are expected to spend around VND7,000,000 a month for a moderate living in this country. This is equal to the living of Vietnamese graduate from a good university and just started up their independent living.
This article was published in The Vietnam Guide on August 23, 2012


  1. All you write about Vietnam, especially in Ho Chi Minh city, definitely right. Thanks

  2. Thanh Thuy,
    Happy for your support.
    Maybe because I live like a local make me closer to the culture and the people.


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