Living in Vietnam on a Budget: Cần Giuộc, near Ho Chi Minh City, week 8

We've settled nicely into Long An province, but sometimes it's a bit boring. This week we learned how easy it is to travel between central Ho Chi Minh City and our southern suburb town of Cần Giuộc in Long An province. It's cheap, easy, efficient, and clean -- we highly recommend taking the bus or other public transportation when traveling abroad on a budget, especially in Vietnam! If that's too scary at last take a Grab or Uber motorbike taxi.

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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: Cần Giuộc, Vietnam
  • Weekly spending: $190.04
  • Avg. spending per day: $27.15
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $30.35 
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $44.44 
Epic rooster life in Cần Giuộc

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: $77.03
    • Have you seen my short video tour of our tiny home in Long An province? It's just over $9 per night and authentically Vietnamese.  
 
 
    • We also spent one night in the city, in District 1 at an AirBnB (discount code here!) which added $12.75 to our accommodation spending this week.
  • Transportation: $8.40
    • This week we took Grab cars and bikes plus a Ho Chi Minh City bus and I recommend ALL of them!
    • Definitely sign up for Grab (discount code for signing up here) and Uber (discount code for signing up here) and check them both before booking. In Vietnam, they both offer cars or motorbikes ("moto" or "bike")  and for one person, a bike is key. Motorbikes are a lot cheaper but also much faster in the city due to their ability to split lanes and pass cars at intersections. Note that Grab also has lots of discount codes, and you get points to use discounts after a few rides.
    • The cheapest way around and between cities is using the bus system. Our one-way bus ticket was 6,000vnd per person (under $0.30) and all we had to do was go to where everyone waits for the bus, and get on the right bus. Make sure if you're not at a large station, that you wave down your bus. They'll slow down but might not stop all the way... when the door opens, grab on and jump in!
    • After you're on the bus, someone will ask for your money in exchange for a ticket. Exact change isn't required, but small bills are a good idea. Don' be the jerk who pays for a 6000vnd ticket with a 500,000 note.
  • Food and drinks: $86.68
    • We splurged on bagels and burgers in the city but still kept it relatively under control overall.
In Cần Giuộc, a local restaurant has the shortest dogs. See how they look normal compared to the chairs?
 
It's because the table and chairs are miniature too!
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $17.93
    • We decided to do the responsible thing and buy month-long gym passes for 200,000 per person. Yup, that's $9 a piece for unlimited visits to the gym for a month. We go most days.
Also entertaining: all of the kids who let themselves into our home to practice English when they see me. 

Check out some other fun posts!

If you're looking to get out of the hectic and polluted life in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), spend 6000vnd on bus 72 to get out to Cần Giuộc in Long An province, out on the southern outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City towards the Mekong Delta. The bus ride is about one hour. It's peaceful and charming and there's karaoke everywhere and everyone will want you to be their friend. The internet's just as good as in the city too!

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