The cost of living in Ho Chi Minh City is relatively cheap when compared to many countries in the West. Ho Chi Minh City placed 178th out of 226 cities in the Mercer Cost of Living City Ranking for 2024, very slightly below the country's capital, Hanoi, which ranked 172nd.

Expats from North America or Western Europe, in particular, can usually maintain their standard of living here if not increase some luxuries. That said, an expat's lifestyle will highly influence their monthly expenditure.

Cost of accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City

The cost of accommodation in Ho Chi Minh City is a fraction of what it is in the United States or Europe, although housing does tend to be less spacious in Vietnam. There are several budget-friendly options, but those earning high expat salaries can afford the most elite housing, which often takes the form of luxury apartment complexes.

In addition to their monthly rental fee, expats must be prepared to pay for utilities such as electricity, water and internet. Electricity costs can quickly add up due to the air conditioning necessary to cope with Ho Chi Minh City's humid and hot weather

Cost of transport in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City offers a variety of public transport options. With everything from taxis and buses to motorbike taxis available, new arrivals will find that getting around in Ho Chi Minh City is affordable and adventurous. Expats must get used to haggling prices with drivers, as this is the norm in Vietnam. 

The traffic congestion in Ho Chi Minh City is notorious, so most expats choose not to drive. Still, purchasing and maintaining a vehicle is relatively affordable for expats who decide to brave the city's roads. For budget-conscious expats, cycling is a low-cost and healthy alternative for getting around in the city. 

Cost of groceries in Ho Chi Minh City

When grocery shopping, the most expensive goods are imported. To save money, expats should try to buy local produce from street vendors. This tends to be fresher than what is available at supermarkets and is a great way to support the local economy. There are also many convenience stores available that sell fresh and affordable food.

Cost of entertainment and eating out in Ho Chi Minh City

Many expats dine out often as it isn't expensive, provided they are eating at local restaurants. In fact, some would say it's cheaper to eat out than cook at home in Ho Chi Minh City. This is particularly true of the city's street food, which can be extremely affordable. Those looking to splash out can try the upmarket bars and restaurants in the city centre or District 1.

Ho Chi Minh City boasts bustling nightlife and cultural scenes. Local alcohol brands are fairly affordable while imported brands can set expats back, while some luxury establishments will further inflate these prices. The city is home to more than 10 museums which offer reasonable entry prices, so history buffs can always find something to see and do in Ho Chi Minh City.

Many cinemas in the city also offer discounts for students or those purchasing ticket and snack combos, making it affordable to enjoy a movie night out in the city. Ho Chi Minh City has beautiful natural landscapes and green spaces that lend themselves to free or low-cost outdoor activities such as trail running, hiking and rock climbing.

Cost of education in Ho Chi Minh City

Expat parents planning to send their children to a local school won't have a lot of school-related expenses. Public schooling in Vietnam is either free or for a small fee. Extra costs such as uniforms, school transport, lunches and stationery should also be taken into account, but these are minor costs compared to the ones paid by those sending their children to international schools.

These schools command high fees along with numerous additional costs. While international schools may be pricey, they offer globally recognised curricula and excellent facilities and allow children to form relationships with others who are also experiencing a new culture.

Cost of healthcare in Ho Chi Minh City

The standard of healthcare across Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City varies, as the public system is often underfunded and lacks resources. Expats moving to Ho Chi Minh City must secure health insurance that allows them to access private healthcare services in the city. Most employers will arrange this for their employees and their families.

Private healthcare in Ho Chi Minh City has a great reputation and is known for offering high standards of care. Most of these facilities are staffed by internationally trained healthcare practitioners who can speak English, making them accessible to expats.

Cost of living in Ho Chi Minh City chart

Note that prices may vary depending on location and service provider, and the table below is based on average prices for February 2024.

Accommodation (monthly rent)
Three-bedroom apartment in city centreVND 29,000,000
Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centreVND 15,010,000
One-bedroom apartment in city centreVND 12,300,000
One-bedroom apartment outside city centreVND 7,500,000
Milk (1 litre)VND 38,000
Dozen eggsVND 39,000
Loaf of white breadVND 27,110
Chicken breasts (1kg)VND 93,000
Pack of cigarettes VND 30,000
Eating out
Big Mac MealVND 120,000
CappuccinoVND 50,000
Local beer (500ml)VND 26,000
Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurantVND 600,000
Mobile phone monthly plan with calls and dataVND 157,000
Internet (uncapped – average per month) VND 246,350
Utilities (average per month for standard household)VND 1,712,000
Transport and driving
City-centre bus fareVND 7,000
Taxi (rate per km)VND 15,500
Petrol (per litre) VND 23,660

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