Living in Vietnam on a Budget: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, week 11

We had a pricy week, since we moved from Cần Giuộc in Long An province back to Ho Chi Minh City. Getting into the country was a nice getaway but we like the variety of the city, where we can eat a million different foods and walk all over the place. We ate pasta and cheeseburgers, drank ultra-cheap draft beer, bonded with our host mom, and Warren got a pretty nice haircut for $2.50. We also started a new YouTube channel and got some serious work done, plus I had a job interview... Stay tuned, no spoilers!

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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
  • Weekly spending: $201.46
  • Avg. spending per day: $28.78
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $72.38 
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $44.39   
How else would you transport basket of live chickens?
 
So what are our living expenses in Vietnam this week?

  • Conversion rate: 22,175 Vietnamese Dong (VND) = US$1.00 (100,000VND is about $4.50)
  • Accommodation: $89.84
    • We came back to District 8, but since it was unexpected that we left a bit early, we didn't get our entire fee back from our last place. Our host was nice enough to refund us about 2/3 of the cost for the 11 nights we left early. We have had great experiences with AirBnB hosts refunding us money even when they technically don't have to!
    • We have returned to our AirBnB homestay (AirBnB discount code here for signing up!) where we have a private room, shared bathroom and shared kitchen/living space with a fabulous older couple.
    • Read all about why we love living in District 8, in Ho Chi Minh City, here!
 
Different room than last time -- it's very nice!
  • Food and drinks: $106.16
    • Back in Ho Chi Minh City, we treated ourselves to pasta (mmm carbonara!) at Mr. Li Steak and Pasta, which was great as always. We also had burgers and LOTS of pho.
    • OMG raw peanuts! Have you ever had them? Warren was hungry at the bar so we bought them from a woman who was walking around selling bags. We didn't know they weren't boiled and they were amazing. They're soft and sort of taste like the sweet peanut butter they use in chocolates:
 
They looked a bit different, but we didn't notice until we cracked em open...

Beautiful, soft peanuts. They visually reminded me of raw cacao, with the soft-ish white outside.
    • If you're never had raw peanuts, you can buy some in the US using a Make Your Own Boiled Peanuts Kit. I strongly recommend it! If you don't like them raw, you can boil them and they'll be tasty, too.
  • Transportation: $3.20
    • We took a Grab car (49,000vnd) to get to the bus out in the country, then two buses to take us back to our place in District 8. Definitely use Grab for quick trips on a motorbike, to deliver package or to get you to major bus stops -- sign up using this link for a discount.
    • The bus system is so easy here! Tickets were either 6,000 or 5,000vnd per person, meaning that for 22,000vnd (or about a dollar) we took the bus for about 1.5 hours.
 
We usually just walk -- and get to stare directly at the sun! Thanks, Saigon smog!
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $2.26
    • Other than lots of walks and some random toiletries, we only spent money on Warren's haircut and beard trim (50,000vnd). He looks so good though!
 
Ignore his angry face -- he was doing construction to help our hosts! 
    • Our "bills back home" take a hit this week because we finished and filed our taxes (paying our accountant $250), and bought flowers for family.

Check out some other posts about our lovely time in Vietnam!

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