Living in comfort

I am thinking of escaping the brutal Canadian winter for 3 months, starting in January and going to Vietnam. Which means I have start saving now!! I want to live in reasonable comfort, spends modestly, mostly like living day to day in Canada or the West. I know cost of living is cheap in VN, and from what I have gathered, I am thinking of spending between $1500-$2000 US a month on myself (all inclusive). Do you think this is reasonable or too low? And if Saigon is too expensive, what other cities are recommended for that range?

In my opinion, $1500-$2000 US per month is reasonable for your live in Viet Nam, of course, it is not include to much of entertainment.

Costs vary by region: Ha Ni housing is lower cost than for equivalent in TP HCM. Since you won't be here for a year, it's unlikely your own name.

So your housing will be either sharing or a room. (Depending on sharing arrangements there will be water, hydro and cooking gas on top). A room, not shared, are priced all in - landlords can't charge extra for electricity.

Air-con is not necessary, usually, at that time.

Note: There are definite temperature differences between north and south. The south will be like a YVR summer whereas Ha Noi will be down to as much as O C (freezing) - a Vancouver winter without the snow.

In city travel can be by rudimentary transit (bus) or rent-a-driver taxi to regular taxi.

Food, again, depends on your accommodation (cooking facilities or not) but even eating reasonable meals out at restaurants (not high end) should cost CAD%5-7.50 tops.

Intercity transportation - frequently called Open Tour - is around CAD30-40, depending upon season, TP HCM >> TP Ha Noi. Use Mai Linh Express or Huang Long for safety, the rest aren't safe for even carting livestock.

Electricity is 220VAC (adapters/transformers available at low cost here), water only in SaiGon is drinkable (bottled most everywhere else especially Ha Noi where there is heavy natural arsenic in it).

Budgeting CAD$1,500/month should be fine, CAD$2,000 allows for life's essential extras like beer, etc.

Don't bring (much) cash AND only cash in about $40 at the airport cash desk on arrival. Make sure your bank knows where you are so you can use your credit card without hassle over here. ATM's are like mushrooms here, use the ones with security guards at night.

With three months you can easily do the tourist run: SaiGon >> Da Lat >> Nha Trang >> Da Nang/Hoi An >> Hue >> Ha Noi >> Ha Long Bay >> Sa Pa. It is worth doing as you have the time and there are distinct differences to various regions of VietNam.

Get your air ticket from a travel agent, either in the Chinese or Vietnamese areas of Vancouver, as they get consolidator prices. Pre-Christmas increases apply here. Eva Air and Cathay are the better carriers, Air Crap and US carriers should be avoided (anything through the US is a bummer because of what they call security). Carriers frequently transit through HongKong (Cathay) or TaiPei (TaiPei) and most allow a stop-over on the return journey without additional cost.

Basically. living here is just like on Fraser and Nanaimo Streets in Vancouver.


Vung Tau is a nice place which is not so far from Ho Chi Minh. You can do some research on internet to find out more ^^. If you need any help or tour guiding in Vung Tau, just contact us. We are running business to help expats here.


Certainly Vung Tau looks like it would suit you. You can pop up to Saigon if you want.

Unless you live a hedonistic lifestyle you will have more than enough money to live comfortably. Forget about sharing.

I have been living in Ho Chi Minh for years. It's quite noisy, polluted but interesting in some way...

I've been traveling to HCM for a few years now and I use Korean Air.  Good service, food and decent price.  They service a number of west coast cities.

I've been here for for about 2 weeks now. I have a job that takes care of my housing but I spend alot of money on my day off. I've been considering sending my checks home for the next three months and living off of just the 1000 dollars that I got for plane ticket reimbursement. If you are looking to eat street food for the most part. You can do very well off of 1,200 a month. I would think about motorbike rental, housing, and how many nights a week you want to go out under your consideration for how much money you want to come with. Alot of that will be determined on which area of the city you choose to live in. I prefer to be farther away from the inner part of the city as possible. Daily living is very cheap. The motorbike will cut your cost on taxi rides everyday which might add up to be your biggest expense. I hope this helps. I'm specifically talking about Ho Chi Minh City, which I'm highly recommending as a great place to start out. The energy here is highly contagious!