Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cost of Living in Hanoi

You need to leave Hanoi, or I guess Vietnam, to realise how amazingly cheap it is to live in this city. I recently got back from Seoul where a basic green tea was about $4. (Note from Celine: actually, yes Seoul is more expensive than Hanoi, no doubt about that, but regarding that green tea, our friend Diana who lives in Seoul clearly told us we got ripped off as green tea should cost between nothing to $1.50)I can get 40 green teas in Hanoi for that price. yes I said 40. A beer in Seoul is from $3-6 in a restaurant or bar. Most places in Hanoi won't be more than a $1.5. Last night I stopped to get dinner on the way home. I bought Xoi Ga, which is sticky rice with chicken, for $1. I also bought 3 cans of beer for $1.5 in total.

I get my head shaved once a fortnight, in a salon, for $1.5. If I want a head massage and a face wash (not really my thing) I will have to fork out an extra dollar.

I hire a motorbike for $40 a month spending $3 a week on petrol.

A smallish one bedroom apartment close to the city will be around the $300 per month mark. We live in a 5 story house with four bedrooms for $800 per month. You can share with a few friends and split the cost but even the whole amount would easily be manageable with the salary you earn. We don't want to live in a big house on our own so we share with one of our friends.

In Summer with the Air-con at full strenght all day and night, electricity bills come to around $50 a month. $70 includes all other bills as well; water, telephone, Internet and what ever other small random bill gets delivered to our door. In winter the amount we pay drops quite a bit.

You can get a massage (not the dodgy kind) anywhere from $3 per hour. An hour massage in a decent place, often frequented by foreigners, will be around the $8 to $10 mark.

A smallish trip in a taxi (make sure you ride in a decent one) should only be a few dollars.

In short the cost of living in Hanoi is extremely low. Food is very affordable; to the point where it's cheaper to eat out than cook at home, services are generally inexpensive and to counter all this the salaries are good. This low cost of living with an OK salary leads to a good quality of life. Any western comfort such as cappuccinos or a decent gym will cost you a lot more, but if you are willing to live like a local it will cost you next to nothing.

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