At the moment, Hoi An is a very cheap place to live. The cost of living in Hoi An is quite low, with the main expenses being housing, health insurance, visa runs, and for some, schooling.
You can find most things you need in Hoi An, but some expats travel into Da Nang to ‘stock up’ at one of the large supermarkets. However, in the near future, Hoi An New Town will finally be finished. Located just outside the town and a little north of An Bang Beach, this massive development will house a large supermarket, shops and many other things so the need to travel to Da Nang for groceries will be a thing of the past.
Below is a guide of what to expect in terms of prices. It is by no means definitive, but it aims to give you some idea of the cost of living if you decide to move here (see other posts in this section for more in-depth details on housing, jobs, etc.).
Prices are (often) quoted in US Dollars!
This can become annoying and stressful particularly for those who live on rents or funds transferred from their home country. The increasing strength of the Greenback could mean a drop in finances for many. Hopefully, one day all prices will be quoted only in Vietnamese Dong. But for now…
Renting a house
You can rent a house for $250 per month. You will not get much for this, however. For Western tastes, you are looking at around $US500 for a two-bedroom house and $600 – 800 per month for a three or four-bedroom house. In this house you will have more bathrooms than you have ever known in your life. The Vietnamese love bathrooms!
Alternatively you can stay in a Homestay (with TV & internet, air conditioning, cleaning services, and breakfast) for around $300 or so a month.
For more information check out Renting a House in Hoi An.
Food and Shopping
For fresh vegetables and fruit go to one of the many Hoi An markets. A kilo of potatoes is around 35,000 VND, a bunch of bananas around 25,000 VND, and 1 kilo of tomatoes around 20,000 VND. Things are seasonal and it varies but it’s always cheap. You can also buy meat and fish as well as clothes, toiletries and general grocery items at the market.
For international products like vegemite, taco shells or whatever, there are several convenience stores around town (AP Mart, A Mart, Bich Thuy). Dingo Deli also has a great range of hard to get products. In general, something like a jar of bolognaise pasta sauce will cost around 110,000 VND. Check out Convenience Stores in Hoi An for more information.
For ‘big’ shops and cheaper prices, people head to Da Nang. The cheapest of these supermarkets is the Mega Mart. The rules for admission to the Mega Mart change so check with locals before you go.
Supermarkets in Da Nang:
MM Mega Market (formerly Metro), Cach Mang Thang 8, Cam Le, Đa Nang
Big C Shopping Mall, 255-257 Hung Vuong, Da Nang
Lotte Mart, 2 Nai Nam, Da Nang
Co-Op Mart, 478 Dien Bien Phu, Da Nang
Vinmart (in the Vincom Centre)
Joly Mart,31 Yen Bai, Da Nang (more like a convenience store but Joly Mart is really worth a visit because it stocks some of the very hard to find items)
Tips: For a big ‘grocery shop’ we recommend the Big C and MM Mega Market (Metro). If you purchase more than 2 million dong worth of goods at MM Mega Market, they will deliver it to Hoi An. If you have an account with them, they will deliver free of charge. When you have finished shopping do not proceed to the check-out counter at the front, instead go to the Dispatch area at the back. It takes them a long time to process it but this allows you to come in to Da Nang by motorbike. Ask what time they deliver. According to Michael Johnson, who provided this information, they are usually ‘spot on time-wise’.
Most people use motorbikes. To fill your tank costs around 60,000 – 80,000 VND; depending on your bike and the amount of travel you do this will last you close to a week. Another common method of transport is the electric bike. These cost around $US 300 – 600 to buy.
Another popular option is Grab, which is the equivalent of Uber. Both car- and motorbike-drivers can be hired. It is super affordable, but of course prices vary depending on customer demand and driver availability, like Uber. Download the app on your smartphone to get started.
As for cars, foreigners must meet the following criteria if they want to own a car in Vietnam:
- Live and work in Vietnam,
- Possess a valid passport,
- Have a visa that is valid for longer than three months,
- And have a valid work permit and a Vietnamese driver’s licence.
Alternatively, if you do not meet the criteria, you can get a trusted (and trusting) Vietnamese person to purchase the car for you.
Check out Transport in Hoi An for more information on bicycles, motorbikes, cars, and other personal transport to buy, rent, or hire.
Getting to Da Nang
Buses : Hoi An to Da Nang
There are local yellow buses from Hoi An to Da Nang and back, which should cost you no more than 25,000 VND, as well as a shuttle bus run by Hoi An Express (110,000 VND one way). The shuttle bus runs every hour on the hour from 4am – 11pm. Pick up is 9 Phan Chau Trinh Street, Hoi An Old Town. Stops in Da Nang include 108 Bach Dang & 37 Hung Vuong Streets. For more information contact Ms Lam, Hoi An Express.
Tel: +84 (0) 938 405 917
Again, if you choose to take the local bus, you should pay no more than 25,000. Some bus drivers may try to jack up the price and pocket the cash — if this happens, and they refuse to accept 25,000, then if you end up buying a ticket, make sure to take a picture of the driver and license plate after you get off the bus, and report the incident to the to the tourist office, or to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hiring a private car and driver is the quickest way to get to Da Nang and while this is the most expensive option in terms of transport, it is the most convenient, particularly if you have a lot of shopping. To minimize the cost you can share a car, mini-van, or mini-bus with others. Check out car rental with driver for car hire listings and more details.
A return half-day car trip should cost around 500,000 VND (give or take your bargaining skills). If you need the car for the day it will be slightly higher.
Interestingly, whilst it’s a cheaper for shorter distances, at around 350,000vnd one way, Grab is a more expensive option than hiring a private car/driver if you want to travel from Hoi An to Da Nang. However, if you don’t mind taking the somewhat riskier and more turbulent option of a Grab motorbike/scooter, the price will go down to about 80k to 150k. Helmet included, but no suitcases of course. You can pay with cash upon arriving at the destination, or register a card on the app to pay cashlessly.
You can get anything in Hoi An. Western, Indian, Mexican, vegetarian, Vietnamese and chip butties to name a few; you can live on 250,000 VND per day, more or less. It’s up to you. In a restaurant, a standard Vietnamese meat dish will cost around 60,000 – 120,000 VND and a bowl of pho around 30,000 – 40,000 VND. Street food is much cheaper. For a family of four you can eat out for around 300,000 VND. Remember: you can pay less and you can pay more. The many Quans around (Vietnamese red chairs in an open area restaurant) have great food and beer at very cheap prices.
Alcohol and Tobacco
A carton (24 cans) of local/Vietnamese beer – e.g. Larue, Tiger, Saigon, Huda, 333 – costs around 220,000 VND. In restaurants you will usually pay 10,000 – 30,000 VND per can or bottle depending on the establishment.
Wine is more accessible than it used to be and it seems the Vietnamese are slowly learning how to store it so it actually tastes okay and not like vinegar, as most bottles bought in supermarkets used to. A quaffable bottle of wine can be bought for around 190 – 260,000 VND.
Cheap, cheap, cheap! If you’re into spirits you will never leave Vietnam.
Same story: 23,000 – 50,000 VND for a pack, depending on the brand and the location. Bars usually only charge around 5,000 vnd extra for a pack. Rolling tobacco (e.g. Drum) is also available in some mini-marts, but not as readily.
Now this is where it can get PRICEY! If you use an air conditioner (and good God you need to in summer) you can get hit with massive bills. Roughly, one air conditioner running will cost around $US 50 per month. This may not sound like a lot but it can add up for a family where more than one air conditioner is required, particularly at night.
Due to the exorbitant cost, the average Vietnamese cannot afford to buy an air conditioner and think we are mad for using them. For this reason, the government has implemented a type of ‘rich persons’’ tax on using them, i.e. there is a kilowat threshold for power use. In general, costs are fairly reasonable but if you exceed this threshold (which you probably will) the charge rises exponentially.
Internet and TV
Internet and TV are ridiculously cheap by Western standards; you can get a reasonable internet and cable TV plan for around 350,000 VND per month. If you like fast internet, get Fiber Optic installed. The installation costs very little but the benefits of faster internet are fabulous.
Mobile Phone Plans
Mobile phone service and data are also very cheap. For example, yours truly pays Mobifone 109,000/month (no contract – monthly pay as you go/top-up) for 80GB of 4G data, and a reasonable (but not huge) amount of text messages and domestic/international minutes. The two biggest providers are Mobifone and Viettel. SIM cards can be bought in the Da Nang airport by the luggage carousels, or at the Mobifone and Viettel shops in Da Nang city. SIMs are also available in Hoi An – it is recommended to go to the big stores, as they are more reputable: Dien May Xanh or The Gio Di Dong. Bring your passport with you, as foreigners are sometimes required to show their passport to register.
Buy it in the big 21-liter containers and, if you are new to Hoi An, ask your landlord to organize regular deliveries for you. Each container of water costs 10,000vnd. Make sure you get at least two, it’s surprising how quickly you run out. You can buy better quality containers of water for around 40,000vnd. If you’re really unsure about the quality of the water, you can – like some expats – buy a water purifiers.
A cleaning lady costs around 50,000vnd per hour – if she works a lot of hours for you. However, if you’re only looking to employ someone for a couple of hours per week, the going rate is around 70,000 – 100,000vnd.
Most foreigners arrive on a 3-month tourist visa and extend it after 3 months. The cost of extending fluctuates but expect to pay in the vicinity of 3,570,000 VND ($US170). For a more comprehensive overview of visas, work permits, and immigration matters, check out visas for Vietnam.
For non-Vietnamese-speaking expats, there are two main options – international schools, and homeschooling. Hoi An International School is one of the two main international schools, the other being Greenshoots International School. Hoi An International School is new and has very good facilities. Prices vary dependent on age and programme specifics, but generally range from 160-300 million VND for early years and primary school to 300 – 400 million VND for middle and secondary school. These are rough estimates; for exact prices visit the Greenshoots and HAIS websites.
A cheaper option is home schooling – i.e., schooling in a teacher’s home – and after that, home schooling yourself, in your own home (as a fair few people do).
Hospitals and medical options for foreigners have come a long way in Vietnam. There are many good hospital & GP options in Da Nang which is where most foreigners go if they need to see a doctor. A general price guide for a doctor’s consultation is as follows:
*To visit a Vietnamese doctor costs very little for Vietnamese nationals, as two different scales are used for natives and foreigners, as you’ll find is the case with most things.
There are many excellent dentists in Da Nang. The Saigon Smile in Hoi An is a fairly swish establishment which many Hoi An expats recommend. However, Hoi An Now didn’t have such a positive experience – are new fillings meant to fall out after two months?
In general, for a check-up and teeth cleaning appointment expect to pay 200,000 VND. Check out this Dentists in Hoi An and Da Nang for a more in-depth guide to dentistry in Hoi An.
Gym and fitness
There are plenty of gyms and fitness clubs in Hoi An. The prices vary depending on whether the gym you join is a public/local gym or a more high-end, air-conditioned, modern one with classes and martial arts sessions, and also on how long of a membership you intend to buy. The general price range is from about 300,000 VND/month for a public gym to upwards of 1.5 million VND for a nicer private one.
Check out our Guide!
Living in Vietnam provides a quick overview of what you can expect in Hoi An, should you choose to live here. However, for further information on costs and facilities in visit our Hoi An Now Guide.
There are two excellent FB pages that you should join: Danang Hoi An Expats and Hoi An Expats. Many new similar Facebook groups/pages are always being created, so just search “Hoi An [or Danang, or Hue, or all three!] Expats [or jobs, or property, or for sale, etc.]” to find them and check them out. Use the ‘Search Bar’ to find information on a host of topics or post a question. You will be able to find out information on almost anything you need to know through these two sites.
Finally, if we have left anything out or you need further information about the cost of living in Hoi An, or anything else Hoi An-related, email us at email@example.com.