People often ask me how i can afford to live in a tropical country for so long and work less than i do when back home in the UK. Vietnam alongside Camdodia is probably the cheapest country to live in in South East Asia. Thailand used to be cheap and still is, but day to day living costs will be less in places like Vietnam.
I’ve detailed here the general costs of living in Vietnam, but wanted to give you guys a better idea of what i typically spend each month in Da Nang so i’ve broken down my cost of living below. I’m re-locating to HCMC in about two weeks so once i’m set here there i’ll do a similar cost comparison.
Living costs will vary wildly from person to person. Alcohol is normally one of an expats biggest crutches when it comes to overspending but here in Vietnam beer is dirt cheap so i don’t think it’s too much of a concern.
So below is my total spending for one month in Da Nang:
My biggest expense but still not a lot.
This works out at around £205 British pounds which wouldn’t even get you a shared room in a house in the city in the UK. This bought me a modern one bedroom apartment 3 mins walk from China beach and near to many great restaurants. It took me a while to find this place and i wouldn’t expect someone new to the area to find something like this immediately. Remember to take your time when moving to a new area and get a hotel for at least a week or so before committing to an apartment for a longer term. It’s worth checking out websites like chotot.vn when looking for a motorbike or place to live, but remember to take along a Vietnamese friend.
I like to eat well with good meats and vegetables plus the odd Western treat thrown in. Meat is very cheap in Vietnam generally with a fillet steak setting you back around 40K or £1.25 in British money. I tend to shop at the bigger supermarkets like Lottomart or Big C. The food selection here is good and generally fresh.
Eating out $105
This varies month to month depending on who i’ve got staying with me, dates i go on and how hung over i get! Da Nang has some great budget restaurants plus hundreds of cheaper Vietnamese alternatives where you can grab some Pho or Com Ga for around 30k a portion.
Electricity is the biggest one especially if you run the aircon a lot. Make sure you check with the landlord before moving into a place the price per KW as this can vary wildly and many unscrupulous landlords like to add a little when they think they can get away with it. Water is very cheap, as is garage collection. Be carefu if you rent a services apartment as they can add significant monthly ‘service charges’ to your bill-i got caught out here in my first rental property by this.
I’m not a huge drinker, i.e every night but i do enjoy my beer and vodka. Expect to pay between 20-30K for a beer, 60p-£1 and a little more for spirits with a mixer. If you want to drink at the Skybar at Novotel or in any of the fancier hotels by the pool which is nice to do sometimes then expect to pay more than you would back home for a beer.
Yes gyms can be dirt cheap here if you don’t want a fancy health club with all the trimmings. I’m not training right now due to an injury but gyms here are plentiful and certainly wont break the bank.
This figure is rather arbitrary as the Vietnamese like to change the visa rules regularly meaning the prices for a new visa or extension fluctuates massively. For my last renewal i paid $55 for 3 months so not too bad. I’ve paid $200+ fo 3 months before though so you have to weigh this against the cost of leaving the country and doing a visa run, a topic that i will blog about shortly.
So as you can see you can live well in Vietnam for comparatively little money each month. It will depend on where you decide to live, and bare in mind prices are increasing quite rapidly here so it won’t be this cheap for ever. I’d think you would struggle to live in Bangkok on this budget, but this would be a good amount for Camdodia or Lao. In regards to dating and finding women, i tend to use a paid membership with Vietnam Cupid so i can check out the girls first and find out who speaks the best English before wasting any money on dates.