Living in Vietnam on a Budget: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, week 4

Ho Chi Minh City is still amazing and cheap, and everyone was so nice this week! Children are cute and friendly, motorbikes are covered in potted plants and rugs... basically, Ho Chi Minh City is overrun with Tet preparations (Lunar New Year in Vietnam). Every digital nomad should visit Vietnam, and I highly recommend visiting Ho Chi Minh City during Tết, to get a true local's perspective. It's so easy to stay under our $50 per day budget.

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Our goal: $50 per day total, including transportation, accommodation, visas, and bills back home. For two people.

In every budget update I will add a prorated estimate of our bills back home (loans, phone plan, etc. which may vary slightly by month), to include in our $50/day travel budget. I am not including travel insurance -- this would add about $5.75 per day to our total.
  • Days: 7
  • Location: Ho Chi Minh City,Vietnam
  • Avg. spending per day: $22.10
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $25.30
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $44.57 
Lovely potted plants store-on-the-go!

So what are our living expenses in Ho Chi Minh City this week?

  • Conversion rate: 22,079 Vietnamese Dong (VND) = US$1.00 (100,000VND is about $4.53)
  • Accommodation: $64.62 
    • We love our District 8 AirBnB homestay which is hosted by the most lovely lady, and is under $10 a day. Our hosts sons just got into town for the holidays! 
Flowers are taking over the city in preparation for Tết
  • Transportation: $4.17
    • Back and forth to my Vietnamese classes I take Grab motorbike taxis, which give me time to look around and get into the insane motorbike culture in Ho Chi Minh City. My four rides this week cost a total of $4.17.
Sometimes you need to move five full-sized rugs... on a motorbike.
  • Food and drinks: $85.88
    • We ate lots of classic Vietnamese food (phở, banh mi with pork or other meats) and also got a bit more adventurous this week by eating more grilled squid and octopus, and eating a whole quail... head included!
Grilled squid, octopus, and okra -- one of our favorites!

That's most of a quail...

That's its head right before I ate it. 
    • We also were invited to my yoga instructors house to practice speaking English with her daughter and nephew. It's amazing how nice Vietnamese people are to people who are basically strangers! They fed us a lovely soup with noodles and some mystery meat. I thought it was conch and Warren thought duck? Either way, it was delicious.

Shout out to the ridiculous animals we saw this week:

Blind cat who lives in a shop and wanted headrubs
This dog and its sibling protect the oysters all day, every day
This guy was posing and photographing three dressed-up dogs in front of a closed car dealership. ???

And remember, nobody's perfect -- even dogs can be ugly:

Check out some other posts about Vietnam!

We love budget living in Ho Chi Minh City. It's cheap, the weather is perfect, the food is remarkable, and the Vietnamese people are incredible. It's very easy to live well  in Vietnam for under $50 per day for a couple. Digital nomads can settle in easily!


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