Cost of Living

Foreigners may think that, in bustling metropoles in Vietnam, life doesn’t come cheap. Rent, food, clothing, and other necessities should be on a par with the likes of New York or London. This is only partially true, as you will be able to find some bargain buy or cheap but tasty food somewhere. Besides, transportation, telecommunications and public healthcare here cost significantly less than many countries in Europe or North America. With careful planning and price comparison, you can make the most of your Vietnam experience and still have plenty of dollars left for extras like travel and fancy dinners out.

Except for paying the tuition fee for your study, you also have to prepare the budget for other academic expenses as well as your daily living in Vietnam.

If you live in University-provided dormitories or student hostels, you’ll pay a modest US$300 to US$600 per semester; expect to pay that much per month if living off-campus. You should allow for US$3,900 to US$6,500 per year for other living costs, including food, leisure, transportation, and personal items, depending on how extravagantly you plan to live.

How much do things cost in Vietnam? Check out these prices, for your reference.

Restaurants

ItemPrice ($USD)Price Range ($USD)
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant2.151.29 – 4.30
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course19.312.89 – 34.37
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)4.303.44 – 6.44
Cappuccino (regular)1.750.86 – 2.58
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)0.550.43 – 1.07
Water (0.33 liter bottle)0.320.21 – 0.64

Markets

ItemPrice ($USD)Price Range ($USD)
Milk (regular), (1 liter)1.421.07 – 1.80
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)0.740.30 – 1.29
Rice (white), (1kg)0.850.60 – 1.50
Eggs (regular) (12)1.381.03 – 1.72
Local Cheese (1kg)13.825.16 – 27.93
Chicken Fillets (1kg)3.381.93 – 5.16
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)9.954.30 – 14.61
Apples (1kg)2.871.29 – 5.97
Banana (1kg)0.900.52 – 1.50
Oranges (1kg)1.490.77 – 2.58
Tomato (1kg)0.890.64 – 1.29
Potato (1kg)1.060.73 – 1.72
Onion (1kg)0.990.64 – 1.72
Lettuce (1 head)0.760.21 – 1.29
Water (1.5 liter bottle)0.540.39 – 0.86

Transportation

ItemPrice ($USD)Price Range ($USD)
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)0.300.26-0.39
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)8.594.30 – 12.89
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)0.520.43 – 0.64
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) 0.520.43 – 0.73
Taxi 1-hour Waiting (Normal Tariff) 1.290.86 – 2.15

Utilities

ItemPrice ($USD)Price Range ($USD)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment66.1940.58 – 128.89
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local (No Discounts or Plans)0.080.04 – 0.11
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)11.838.59 – 21.48

Rent per Month

ItemPrice ($USD)Price Range ($USD)
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre399.46180 – 773.34
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre282.32171.85 – 600.00
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre870.29 515.56 – 1,503.71
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre578.64343.71 – 1,074.08

Don’t break open that piggy bank just yet! Here are some tips for pinching pennies:

Live in university accommodation as far as possible. It costs less than an off-campus apartment, as well as being cleaner, usually closer to the campus and definitely more convenient.

Take public transportation. Our system is the envy of cities everywhere, and a good number of them have modeled on it. You can travel around in Vietnam from end to end for less than you’d pay for a cup of coffee. It’s spotless and safe – do like the savvy locals and use it!

Save money and dive into local culture – eat in some of the local restaurants, the Vietnamese answer to a café. Service is basic, but the food is delicious and you can’t beat the prices. Besides, you can have your meals at the campus student canteens and the price is low. Having meals there can save much.

Take advantage of the student discounts offered by museums, cinemas, transport companies, restaurants, and even some retail outlets. Just show your student ID.

If you face financial difficulties during your study, contact the international office or student affairs office of your institution for assistance.