An image of a tranquil cafe in Vietnam, with a steaming bowl of phở next to a stack of English textbooks

Cost of Living in Vietnam as An English Teacher

Are you considering a career as an English teacher in Vietnam? If so, it’s important to understand the cost of living in this vibrant and culturally rich country. Vietnam offers a unique blend of affordability and adventure, making it an attractive destination for many expats seeking a life of freedom and exploration.

When it comes to the cost of living as an English teacher in Vietnam, there are several key factors to consider.

Key Takeaways

  • Accommodation options for English teachers in Vietnam are affordable, especially in smaller cities like Da Nang or Nha Trang.
  • Transportation costs are relatively low in Vietnam. You can travel locally cheaply by motorbike or using the Grab app. For longer-distance travel, buses, and trains are cheap and convenient options for getting around.
  • English teachers can enjoy delicious and affordable local street food, while dining at restaurants in popular tourist areas or major cities may be pricey.
  • Healthcare in Vietnam is accessible and affordable, but it is recommended for English teachers to have health insurance for additional coverage.

Accommodation Costs in Vietnam

Finding a place to live in Vietnam won’t break the bank, as the accommodation costs are quite affordable for English teachers. Rental prices in popular expat areas tend to be higher than in other parts of the country, but they’re still significantly lower compared to Western countries.

For example, in Ho Chi Minh City, which is a popular destination for many expats, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $400 to $600. In comparison, a similar apartment in a major city like New York or London could easily cost three times as much.

rental in saigon
A Facebook ad for a 1 bed apartment in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon)

When comparing housing costs in different cities in Vietnam, it’s important to consider factors such as location, size, and amenities. In general, major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have higher rental prices due to their popularity and higher demand. However, smaller cities and towns in Vietnam offer more affordable options for English teachers looking to save money.

For instance, in cities like Da Nang or Nha Trang, you can find a decent one-bedroom apartment in a central location for around $300 to $400 monthly.

Overall, the accommodation cost in Vietnam is relatively low, allowing English teachers to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without breaking the bank. Whether you choose to live in a major city or a smaller town, there are plenty of affordable options available.

Transportation Expenses

Commute expenses can add up quickly when working in Vietnam as an ESL instructor.

It’s important to consider the available public transportation options in order to minimize transportation costs. Vietnam has an extensive network of buses and trains that can take you to different parts of the country at an affordable price. Taking advantage of these options not only saves you money but also allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience the vibrant atmosphere of Vietnam.

To convey a deeper meaning for the audience, here are three essential public transportation options in Vietnam:

  1. Buses: Vietnam has a well-developed bus system that covers most major cities and towns. The fares are relatively cheap, making it an economical option for daily commute. Buses are also a great way to explore the country during your free time, as they offer routes to popular tourist destinations.
  2. Motorbike Rental: If you prefer the freedom of having your own transportation, renting a motorbike is a popular choice in Vietnam. Rental fees are typically reasonable, and having a motorbike allows you to navigate through traffic easily. However, it’s important to have a valid driver’s license and to exercise caution while riding, as traffic in Vietnam can be chaotic.
  3. Motorbike taxis: Grab is the most popular app for motorbike taxis, and it’s pretty convenient and low-cost. You can also use it to book normal taxis, but the cost can add up quickly when using them several times a day. Other ride-hailing apps include Be and XanhSM.
A typical fare for a 5km Grab Bike ride (35,000 VND = approx US$1.50).

Food and Dining

When it comes to food and dining in Vietnam, you’ll find that affordable local street food is abundant and delicious. You can enjoy a wide variety of dishes that won’t break the bank, allowing you to fully experience the local cuisine without worrying about the cost.

If you prefer dining at restaurants, you’ll find that the prices are still relatively affordable compared to other countries, although they can vary depending on the location and type of restaurant.

Alternatively, if you choose to grocery shop and cook at home, you’ll find that the cost of ingredients is generally low, making it a cost-effective option for those who prefer to prepare their own meals.

Affordable local street food

One of the best things about living in Vietnam as an English teacher is being able to indulge in delicious and affordable local street food. Vietnam is known for its vibrant food culture, and the streets are lined with food vendors offering a wide variety of traditional Vietnamese dishes.

Here are three reasons why affordable local street food is a great option for you:

  1. Cost-Effective: Eating at local street food stalls is much cheaper compared to dining at restaurants or western-style cafes. You can enjoy a satisfying meal for just a few dollars, allowing you to save money while still experiencing the rich flavors of Vietnamese cuisine.
  2. Authenticity: The local street food scene in Vietnam offers an authentic taste of traditional Vietnamese dishes. From famous dishes like pho (noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), to various types of rice and noodle dishes, you’ll have the opportunity to savor the genuine flavors that locals enjoy every day.
  3. Cultural Immersion: By eating at local street food stalls, you get to immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture. You’ll witness the hustle and bustle of the streets, interact with friendly vendors, and discover hidden gems tucked away in the alleys. It’s a chance to truly experience the essence of Vietnamese life and connect with the local community.

Living in Vietnam as an English teacher allows you to not only explore the country’s rich history and breathtaking landscapes but also indulge in the culinary delights of affordable local street food. So, embrace the opportunity to try cheap local markets and savor traditional Vietnamese dishes that will not only satisfy your taste buds but also provide a deeper insight into the local culture.

Cost of dining at restaurants

Dining at restaurants in Vietnam can be quite pricey, especially if you choose to indulge in international cuisines or upscale dining establishments. While local street food offers a more affordable option, fine dining options can easily add up to a significant portion of your monthly expenses.

The cost of dining at restaurants in Vietnam can vary depending on the location and type of restaurant. In popular tourist areas or major cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you can expect to pay higher prices compared to smaller towns or rural areas.

If you’re on a budget, it’s worth considering the cost of eating out versus cooking at home. While dining out can be a great way to experience the local cuisine and indulge in a variety of flavors, it can also take a toll on your wallet. By cooking at home, you have more control over your expenses and can save a considerable amount of money.

Local markets and grocery stores offer a wide range of fresh ingredients at affordable prices, allowing you to prepare delicious meals at a fraction of the cost of dining out. Additionally, cooking at home gives you the freedom to experiment with different recipes and flavors, providing a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

So, while dining at restaurants in Vietnam can be a delightful experience, it’s essential to consider the cost and weigh it against the benefits of cooking at home.

Grocery shopping and cooking at home

Grocery shopping and cooking at home in Vietnam can be a budget-friendly and satisfying way to explore local flavors and have control over your meals. As an English teacher living in Vietnam, you can easily manage your grocery budget by shopping at local markets and supermarkets.

Here are four tips to help you make the most of your grocery budget and enjoy delicious home-cooked meals:

  1. Embrace the local produce: Vietnam is abundant in fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. By opting for locally grown produce, not only will you save money, but you will also experience the authentic flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. From fragrant basil and lemongrass to exotic dragon fruit and mangosteen, the variety is endless.
  2. Stock up on pantry staples: Rice, noodles, and spices are essential ingredients in Vietnamese cooking. They’re inexpensive and readily available at local markets. By keeping a well-stocked pantry, you can easily whip up traditional dishes like pho or stir-fried noodles without breaking the bank.
  3. Plan your meals and cook in bulk: Meal planning is a great way to stay organized and stick to your grocery budget. By preparing meals in advance and cooking in bulk, you can save time and money. Consider investing in a rice cooker or slow cooker to easily prepare large batches of rice, stews, or curries that can last for several meals.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the freedom of exploring local flavors and having control over your meals while staying within your grocery budget. Grocery shopping and cooking at home in Vietnam not only offers economic benefits but also allows you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant culinary culture of this beautiful country.

Healthcare and Insurance

Healthcare and insurance in Vietnam can be easily accessed and provide peace of mind for English teachers. As an English teacher living in Vietnam, you will have access to an affordable and comprehensive healthcare system. The government provides healthcare coverage to all citizens and foreigners residing in the country. This means that you will be able to receive medical treatment at a fraction of the cost compared to many other countries.

In Vietnam, medical expenses are generally much lower than in Western countries. A visit to a doctor or specialist typically costs around $20, while basic medications are also affordable. This is especially beneficial for English teachers who may not have a high income. The low cost of healthcare allows you to save money while still receiving quality medical care.

It is important to note that while healthcare in Vietnam is accessible and affordable, it is still recommended to have health insurance. Health insurance will provide an extra layer of protection and cover any unforeseen medical expenses. Many insurance companies offer plans specifically tailored to foreigners living in Vietnam. These plans typically cover hospital stays, surgeries, and emergency medical care. By having health insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are fully covered in case of any medical emergencies.

Pros of Healthcare in VietnamCons of Healthcare in Vietnam
Affordable medical expensesLanguage barrier
Accessible healthcare systemLimited availability of specialized treatments
Comprehensive coverageVariability in quality of care
 Cultural differences in medical practices

Healthcare and insurance in Vietnam provide English teachers with peace of mind. With affordable medical expenses and accessible healthcare, you can rest assured that your health needs will be taken care of. However, it is still advisable to have health insurance for additional coverage. By taking advantage of the healthcare system in Vietnam, you can prioritize your well-being while enjoying the freedom of living in this beautiful country.

Utilities and Basic Necessities

When it comes to utilities and basic necessities, you’ll find that Vietnam offers a convenient and reliable system. The cost of internet and phone bills in Vietnam is relatively low compared to other countries. You can expect to pay around $10 to $20 per month for a high-speed internet connection, depending on the provider and package you choose.

Mobile phone plans are also affordable, with monthly costs ranging from $5 to $15, depending on the data and call minutes included. This makes it easy for you to stay connected and access the information you need without breaking the bank.

In terms of clothing and personal care items, Vietnam offers a wide range of options at affordable prices. Local markets and street vendors are great places to find inexpensive clothing, shoes, and accessories. These items are often made locally and are of good quality. If you prefer shopping at larger retail stores or malls, you can find a variety of local and international brands at reasonable prices.

Personal care items such as toiletries, cosmetics, and hygiene products are also affordable and easily accessible in Vietnam. You can find them in supermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores throughout the country.

Overall, Vietnam offers a cost-effective and reliable system for utilities and basic necessities. Whether it’s staying connected through internet and phone services or finding affordable clothing and personal care items, you’ll have no trouble meeting your needs without breaking the bank. With the low cost of living in Vietnam, you’ll have more freedom to enjoy your time and explore the country’s rich culture and natural beauty.

Entertainment and Leisure Activities

When considering the cost of visiting tourist attractions in Vietnam, you’ll find that it varies depending on the location and popularity of the site.

Popular attractions such as Ha Long Bay or the Cu Chi Tunnels may have higher entrance fees compared to lesser-known sites.

Movie tickets and entertainment expenses in Vietnam are relatively affordable, with ticket prices ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 Vietnamese Dong (approximately $2 to $6).

Lastly, joining social and recreational activities like sports clubs or cultural events can vary in cost, but generally, they’re reasonably priced and offer a wide range of options to suit different budgets.

Cost of visiting tourist attractions

Visiting tourist attractions in Vietnam can be quite affordable, allowing you to immerse yourself in the rich cultural experiences without breaking the bank. Here are some key factors to consider when it comes to the cost of visiting tourist attractions in Vietnam:

  1. Cost of entrance fees: The entrance fees for most tourist attractions in Vietnam are relatively low compared to other countries. For example, visiting popular attractions like the Cu Chi Tunnels or the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long in Hanoi usually costs around 100,000 to 200,000 VND (approximately $4 to $8). This means you can explore multiple attractions without worrying too much about the cost.
  2. Discounts for students and locals: Many tourist attractions in Vietnam offer discounted rates for students and locals. If you’re a student or have a student card, make sure to bring it along as it can help you save a significant amount of money. Similarly, locals often enjoy discounted rates or even free entry to certain attractions, so it’s worth checking if you qualify for any special discounts.
  3. Cost of transportation: Getting around Vietnam is generally affordable, especially if you choose to use public transportation options like buses or trains. Taxis and motorbike taxis are also widely available, but they can be slightly more expensive. To save money, consider using apps like Grab or GoViet, which offer competitive prices and convenient transportation options.
  4. Additional costs: While entrance fees and transportation are the main costs to consider, it’s important to budget for any additional expenses. This includes the cost of shopping for souvenirs and attending cultural events. Souvenirs in Vietnam can range from inexpensive trinkets to high-quality handicrafts, so it’s essential to set a budget and shop around for the best prices. Attending cultural events, such as traditional dance performances or music concerts, may also incur additional costs, so be sure to factor these into your overall budget.

By understanding these economic factors and planning accordingly, you can enjoy visiting tourist attractions in Vietnam without putting a strain on your wallet. So go ahead, embrace the freedom of exploring Vietnam’s vibrant cultural heritage at an affordable cost.

Movie tickets and entertainment expenses

Going to the movies and enjoying entertainment in Vietnam can be a fun way to relax and unwind. Movie ticket prices in Vietnam are generally affordable, making it accessible for both locals and expats. On average, a movie ticket in Vietnam costs around 70,000 to 120,000 VND (3 to 5 USD), depending on the location and the type of cinema. The prices may vary slightly in popular cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Vietnam offers a wide range of entertainment venues to cater to different tastes. Besides regular movie theaters, there are also luxury cinemas that provide a more premium experience with comfortable seating, advanced sound systems, and larger screens. These luxury cinemas often have slightly higher ticket prices, ranging from 120,000 to 200,000 VND (5 to 9 USD).

In addition to movies, there are various other entertainment options available in Vietnam, such as live music performances, theater shows, and sporting events. Many popular entertainment venues can be found in major cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, offering a diverse range of options for people to enjoy their leisure time.

Overall, enjoying movie and entertainment experiences in Vietnam is affordable and accessible. Whether you prefer a regular movie theater or a luxury cinema, there are options available to suit different budgets and preferences. With a variety of entertainment venues to choose from, you can easily find a place to relax and enjoy your favorite activities while living and teaching English in Vietnam.

Cost of joining social and recreational activities

Participating in social and recreational activities in Vietnam can be an enjoyable way to connect with others and make the most of your time in the country. Vietnam offers a variety of clubs and organizations that cater to different interests and hobbies.

From sports clubs to book clubs, there is something for everyone. The cost of joining these clubs and organizations is relatively affordable, with membership fees ranging from a few dollars to around $20 per month. This allows you to engage in activities that align with your interests without breaking the bank.

In addition to clubs and organizations, Vietnam also offers a vibrant live performance and concert scene. Whether you’re a fan of music, theater, or dance, there are plenty of options to choose from. The cost of attending live performances and concerts varies depending on the venue and artist, but generally, tickets are reasonably priced. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $30 for a ticket, depending on the popularity of the event. This means that you can enjoy high-quality entertainment without worrying about draining your wallet.

Overall, the cost of joining social and recreational activities in Vietnam is quite affordable. Whether you’re interested in joining clubs and organizations or attending live performances and concerts, there are options available for every budget. So go ahead, embrace your desire for freedom and immerse yourself in the vibrant social scene that Vietnam has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any additional costs associated with obtaining a work permit or visa as an English teacher in Vietnam?

When obtaining a work permit or visa as an English teacher in Vietnam, there are additional costs involved. These expenses are part of the work permit process and should be factored into your budget.

How much should I budget for personal expenses such as clothing, toiletries, and other daily necessities?

To budget for personal expenses in Vietnam, allocate funds for groceries and transportation. Consider the local cost of living and plan accordingly. By analyzing economic factors, you can ensure accurate and reliable information for a financially independent lifestyle.

Are there any hidden costs or unexpected fees that English teachers in Vietnam should be aware of?

Be aware of hidden costs and unexpected fees when teaching English in Vietnam. These could include work permit fees, visa extension fees, and transportation costs. Stay informed and budget accordingly to ensure financial freedom.

What are the average monthly expenses for leisure activities, such as gym memberships, cultural events, or weekend trips?

For leisure activities in Vietnam, monthly expenses can vary. Budgeting for gym memberships, cultural events, and weekend trips is important. Prices are generally affordable, allowing you to enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle while managing your expenses.

Are there any specific cultural customs or practices that could impact the cost of living for English teachers in Vietnam?

Cultural differences in Vietnam may impact your cost of living. For instance, local transportation is affordable but crowded. Understanding these customs is crucial to accurately analyze economic factors and make informed decisions about your expenses.