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Ideal Budget for Moving to Vietnam (& Surviving Your First Month!)

Ideal Budget for Moving to Vietnam (& Surviving Your First Month!)

There are so many reasons to consider moving to Vietnam. Assuming you’ve already decided on moving to Vietnam, you may now be wondering how much money exactly you’ll need for this big (and exciting!) life change.

Despite the low cost of living in Vietnam, there are a still lot of things you’ll need to pay for in order to move to Vietnam and survive until your first paycheck (assuming you’re coming here for teaching or working). These include flights, anything you want to bring, visa, apartment deposit, transportation, and food for at least your first month.

In this article, I’ll walk you through how much you can expect it to cost to move to Vietnam, based on my personal experience of moving here a few years ago. I’ll explain why I think you need at least US$1225, and probably more, to move to Vietnam PLUS the cost of your flight.

Hopefully this will help you make sure you have enough, get your life started in Vietnam. Before you know it, you’ll be established, and hopefully even making enough to send money OUT of Vietnam!

Budget for Visa & Flight

Vietnam's Newest Environment-First Moving Company
Photo Credit: Evolve Mobility. With permission to use

Before anything else, you’ll need to book a flight to Vietnam. Of course the price of your flight is going to vary depending on where you come from. You can start by searching for cheap flights here.

Before arriving, depending on which country you’re from, you’ll also need to secure a visa. Learn about the different types of visas here, how to apply for tourist visas, and business visas. Your visa could be anywhere from free to $200.

You can use this service to apply for an eVisa or click on the below image to see how much it will cost for your passport.

ivisa table guide - Vietnam

Are you planning to bring your pet to Vietnam? This may come with additional costs, too. Read our guide to keeping a pet in Vietnam.

Things to Bring

A person packing a suitcase for moving to Vietnam

What should you bring to Vietnam? This of course will vary by person, but you can read our recommended packing checklist for moving to Vietnam.

If you travel a lot, you may already have almost everything you need for moving to Vietnam. But if you don’t, you may have to purchase new luggage, clothing, and other gear. Here are our recommendations for what clothing to bring for Vietnam.

Make sure to factor these items into your moving costs.


Typical apartments in Ho Chi Minh City

When you first arrive in Vietnam, you may need to stay in a hotel or hostel for a while, as you search for an apartment to live in. Hotel costs can be anywhere from $8 to $100+. That will really depend on what kind of hotel you are willing to settle with. But generally speaking, you can get a very decent hotel $20 to 30 in Vietnam.

Once you find an apartment, you’ll need to pay a deposit (usually one month’s rent) plus your first month of rent.

This may differ in every landlord and/or city. My apartment at that time was a shared one, I was paying $239 or 5,449,797.50 VND. Therefore, I had to pay $478 or 10,899,595.00 VND. This was in Ho Chi Minh City, which is on the expensive side for Vietnam, but it was a relatively cheap apartment for the city and I was sharing it with others. Also keep in mind that Hanoi is a little cheaper than Ho Chi Minh, while smaller cities like Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang, or Mui Ne will be even cheaper.

Overall, this means you’ll need to budget at the very least around $500 for a cheaper shared apartment, or twice that for a nicer and larger apartment or apartment of your own. For an actual house with garden, you’ll have to go even higher. Find more information about this in our guide to finding an apartment in Vietnam.


If you arrive during summer, you will more likely be using the air-conditioner a little too often to cool off. Generally, the bills are not that expensive. We were paying about $30 a month (we were two people – my boyfriend and I). We use the air-conditioner every night but have it turned off during the day when it’s not too hot.

This $30 includes the electricity, common bills (for your building or electricity and water for the common area), internet, and three times a week cleaning service.


A bahn mi sandwich in Vietnam

You’ll be happy to know that food in Vietnam is both cheap and delicious. To get a small taste of what you’ll be eating, see our guide to the best street foods in Vietnam.

Living in a very budget way, including buying lots of simple groceries, I have been able to survive on as low as $20 per week for food in Vietnam. You’ll probably spend more than that, but it depends on how budget conscious and adventurous you are with street food. Around $50 to $100 per week is more realistic.

Health & Medical Insurance

If you found a job here in Vietnam, there’s a big chance that your medical/health insurance will be covered. But if you are planning to be a digital nomad here or prefer to get your own insurance, you can choose between a local provider or get a worldwide company.

The cost for a local one is almost the same for worldwide coverage. If you travel a lot, you might want to consider an international company instead. Just remember that you might have to pay out of pocket first and apply for a claim after compared to a local company that most likely partnered with Vietnamese hospitals.

For more information, read our guide to insurance for expats in Vietnam.

Other Expenses

No matter who you are and whether you’ve been to Vietnam before or not, you’re probably going to spend some money on other things when you first arrive. This may include drinking & entertainment, shopping, transportation, sightseeing, mobile phone & SIM card, and other unexpected costs. Once you find your first apartment, you’ll also probably need to buy a few things for it.

In general, prepare to spend about $100 to 150 per week for transportation, going out, and other expenses.

Total Budget for Moving to Vietnam

Visa (+ stamp fee)$25
Deposit + Rent + Utilities (lowest possible)$500
Transportation & Other Expenses (one month)$400
Food (one month)$300

As you can see from the above table, the bare minimum you’ll need for for moving to Vietnam is 1225 US dollars. This is assuming that you’ll stay in a very cheap apartment, not go out or travel too much in the first month, and eat relatively cheaply. This is also NOT including the price of your flight.

If you spend any more on any of these categories, then please increase your moving budget accordingly!

I hope this article has helped you figure out exactly how much money you’ll need for moving to Vietnam. Find even more tips here about how to move to Vietnam!

David Udoka

Monday 21st of August 2023

Hi Isabella please what is the price of their work permit.


Monday 31st of May 2021

Hello Isabelle,

Many people arrive in the country on a 3 month tourist visa until they can land a job and get a work Visa. I was wondering what the adjustment would be for someone like that staying in hostels or hotels and eating out- as there wouldn't be place to cook.


Tuesday 1st of June 2021

Hi Clayton,

I'm not sure what you mean by adjustment between staying in hostels, eating out, and cooking? Also, there's no work visa, Vietnam have business visa, work permit, and TRC (temporary residence permit).

Mark Kennedy II

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Is English a prevalent language in Vietnam?

Thank you!


Monday 14th of September 2020

Hey Mark,

Young people in big or touristy cities speak good English. If you install a translation app, it will help you greatly on a day to day basis.


Monday 8th of June 2020

Hi, Is Vietnam child friendly? Do you think it would it be easy for the whole family with two kids to migrate in there?


Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Hi Donna, I'm not sure what specifically you mean by child-friendly. Can you give more information about what kind of environment are you looking for? Moving your family shouldn't be hard, there are international schools in big cities like Hanoi, HCMC, and Da Nang. There are also many expats who moved their family and kids here but a lot of them are living in big cities because, like what I mention, that's where the international schools are and also the community for expats is much bigger.

Larry Conway

Monday 8th of June 2020


Very informative article. I’m contemplating moving to Vietnam as an retiree. Should I bring my household goods or rent something furnished? I also have a service animal how does this work in this country? Any information would be helpful as I have just started this process in trying to ascertain as much information as I possibly can.

Thank you, Larry C


Tuesday 9th of June 2020

Hi Larry,

I recommend you rent a furnished place, there are plenty of apartments with western design interior design. Bringin your own things might be too expensive as you will have to pay import fees on them. Personally, I'm not sure about a service animal, although there are places/restaurants/bars that allow pets/animals. It's pretty easy to find apartments that allow animals/pets though. I know that doesn't answer your questions but I hope it helps. I recommend you join Facebook groups, I think they can help you best regarding your service dog.