Vietnam is cheap, really cheap. Rent is 50-75% cheaper in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) than in Toronto. It costs 75% less to go to a restaurant. Groceries are a third of the cost.
You can eat in a local restaurant for $3. A beer will cost you about $1. And these are the prices in Ho Chi Minh. It is even cheaper in the countryside.
John, a former lawyer, agreed: ‘It’s just so much cheaper here. Sydney is just off the planet when it comes to costs, especially restaurants. Same with Singapore and Hong Kong. That’s why I think a lot of people come here; they quickly realise they can live a lot better, then they make arrangements to stay.’
When Ian first came to Vietnam he stayed in hotels in Vung Tau. ‘In the hotel I had a serviced small suite with a kitchen at $600 a month. Then I found some friends, and worked out the best area to live in. The trouble with living in a hotel is that you end up in the bar each and every night. You have to have a lot of self-discipline here,’ said Ian.
A comfortable three bedroom apartment in central Ho Chi Minh City will cost around $1,000-$1,500 a month to rent, that’s a about 70% cheaper than Toronto at the lower end. Two people can enjoy a meal at a mid-priced restaurant in the city for $15, that’s 80% less than in a major Canadian city.
A taxi home is 76% less and to have a taxi wait is almost 98% less. It costs less than $1 an hour to have a taxi wait.
Internet is 74% less and mobile phone usage costs are almost 90% lower in Vietnam than in Canada or Australia. A retirees pension goes a long way in a country with a cost profile like this.