Living in Vietnam on a Budget: Cần Giuộc, near Ho Chi Minh City, week 7

This is our first week in Long An province, and we have seen beautiful sunsets, fished with kids, and even caught a snake! It may be our cheapest digital nomad destination yet: even after hitting the gym, buying pants and shoes, and picking up a case of beer, we are under $20 per day for two people. If you want to get out of the Ho Chi Minh City chaos, head towards the Mekong Delta to a nearby village like Cần Giuộc in Long An province.

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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: $138.23
  • Avg. spending per day: $19.75
  • Avg. spending per day incl. bills back home: $58.67 (paying my CPA)
  • Avg. spending per day overall in Asia: $44.96
I'm a sucker for good sunsets. Ho Chi Minh City had too much pollution but just go 20km south!

So what are our living expenses in Vietnam this week?

  • Conversion rate: 22,313 Vietnamese Dong (VND) = US$1.00 (100,000VND is about $4.50)
  • Accommodation: $64.28
    • Check out my video tour of our tiny home in Long An province. It's just over $9 per night and authentically Vietnamese.  
It's also swathed in Tet 2018 decorations, including these horrifying children wishing you good luck and prosperity...
  • Transportation: $0
    • We went back to being full-time pedestrians! My Vietnamese classes are on Skype now so no journeying into the city, so this week we settled into Cần Giuộc.

If you walk everywhere, you get to see pigs and sunsets!
  • Food and drinks: $61.40
    • So many noodles and tasty sandwiches. We bought a case of beer for 320,000vnd which we realized was way too expensive for beer ($14.34, insane!), so that's not happening again.
  • Entertainment/miscellaneous: $12.55
    • A few nights this week we watched the neighborhood kids (and a couple of women) fish in the pond across from our home. Adorable and very peaceful. Warren even made a minnow trap for fun, and one of the kids observed him and then made his own!

Warren had a small audience for his experiment, including this lady who cycled by and couldn't care less.

    • Warren's pants are too big and all of my shoes are falling apart so he bought some hipster shorts for 100,000vnd (about $4.50) and I got shoes for 90,000 (about $4.00). We could have bartered and saved a couple bucks, but I couldn't argue with $4 shoes.
    • Going to the gym is only 15,000vnd here! That's like US $0.70! Warren went 4 times and Monica went twice, so 90,000vnd... or $4.00 for six trips to the gym. Even cheaper than our place in District 8, HCMC!
    • Netflix! Thanks to Pete for Warren's birthday gift of many months of Netflix!!! We don't have a TV so my Microsoft Surface tablet has had its time to shine as the world's best tablet to sit around and watch TV shows on. We can watch like an entire season of Netflix shows on one battery charge.
    • We also CAUGHT A SNAKE. OK, so a snake was hiding in our bathroom and it scared Warren. OK, so it tried to escape through a drain and got itself caught. Google told me it's an Indochinese Rat Snake (harmless).
      A post shared by Fembot (@ewmonicagross) on

NOT happy.

And this neighbor man just RODE ON BY on his sweet bike, pulled over, didn't even stop smoking the cigarette, and freed the snake without getting bitten.

And like that, he had carried the snake back to his house (WHAT IS HE GONNA DO WITH IT?) and rode into the sunset. Local kids mimed that he was going to make shoes out of it?!?!?!?!

  • P.S. our "bills back home" were a lot this week because I paid our CPA a deposit to file our ultra complicated taxes. That's $250 well spent!
Pho restaurant puppy!

Check out some other fun posts!

Long An province is great for getting work done and practicing my Vietnamese. Digital nomads and travelers alike always flock to the big nomad cities like Bangkok and Hanoi, but to really save some cash, get to know the locals, and get LOTS of work done, we recommend heading to a nearby village like Cần Giuộc in Long An province, out on the southern outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City towards the Mekong Delta.


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