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Living costs in Vietnam

Updated August 09, 2022

Table of Contents

Currency in Vietnam

Vietnam’s currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND). It is the most common use currency in Vietnam’s daily life and you should exchange some before entering the country. The currency exchange rate between VND and major foreign currencies (for reference only) is as below:

Exchanging money

The best place to exchange your money is at a local bank. Many banks, open Monday to Friday, may issue cash advances for Visa, MasterCard, and JCB usually for a specified commission. American Express is less popular in Vietnam. Old, torn, or faded foreign notes can be difficult to exchange, so make sure you bring new, clean bills in small denominations. 100 US Dollar bills pre 2009 Series are often not accepted.

Credit card

Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants, supermarkets, shopping malls, and convenience stores but not in certain grocery stores, local markets, or local and street food stalls. Few establishments will accept US currency (USD).

Please also keep in mind that remember to inform your bank about your abroad traveling. And so that, you may withdraw money from ATMs, or use a credit card while you travel. Otherwise, the bank might block your account from withdrawing to prevent your card/information stolen.

While using Apple Pay, Google pay will not function in Vietnam, Samsung Pay and contactless payment (NFC) using a credit card from Visa and Mastercard are popular.

ATMs

ATMs are widely available throughout Vietnam. This is the easiest and safest way of accessing money. ATMs also offer the best exchange rate. Be careful to cover the pin pad when entering your PIN. To withdraw larger amounts of money, ATMs for international banks offer higher limits than those of local Vietnamese banks.

Living costs in Vietnam

Apart from our program fees that help you get settled in Vietnam, it is suggested that you always carry a certain amount of pocket money to survive here during the time of your program.
In most cases, how much you spend depends mostly on what you want to purchase or the service level you want to use. However, in general, the living cost in Vietnam affordable and is around 50% lower than in the US.
Do you believe with just USD 700/month you will basically have everything you need for your new life abroad, from housing, food, transportation to leisure activities?

The following tables reveal the reasons why you can make it happen in Vietnam:

Accommodation

By accommodation, we mean a safe and private room which usually consists of the following conditions and is a great shelter for your new life in Vietnam. It is not a place for you to just sleep, but truly your second home abroad.

You can check out further details and pictures of the different types of rooms you can choose for your stay in Vietnam here.

Transportation

Once you are in Vietnam, our program coordinator and local buddies will guide you to use some of the most popular means of transportation in the country which you can easily commute to work and travel around by yourself. Fare for each of them is shown as below:

Besides, there are a few kinds of public transportation which are suitable to use for city day tours, like waterbus, bicycle, cyclo (local tricycle), etc.
Moreover, we highly recommend using BusMap mobile application – which is a smart traffic technology product for more convenient and intelligent public transportation use in Vietnam.

Food & drinks

Even though it mostly depends on what you want to order and whether you want to go out or eat at home, a basic meal in Vietnam will usually cost you from USD 2 to USD 5 only, including. Below are some of the most famous things to eat and drink in Vietnam, you might want to take them as a reference then:

Further information & additional resources

Helpful notes:

  • Costs are calculated according to 2021’s current prices, based on city means of transportation and accommodations located in the city center of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang. There will be differences for other cases.
  • For a stay shorter than 1 month, there will be hotel choices for accommodation.

Additional resources:

The above Vietnam living costs are subject to change and just for your reference. Don’t hesitate to contact ABROADER team for updated information via apply@abroader.org.

Programs that go with the document