Expat cost of living in Vietnam 2021 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Vietnam is a country with a turbulent history. This is a poor Asian state, which, however, has been developing stubbornly in recent years, and, it should be noted, not unsuccessfully.
Vietnam is a state in Southeast Asia, washed by the South China Sea. There are a lot of resorts for every taste and budget – both mountain and sea. In total, 92.5 million people live in Vietnam – it is the 13th largest country in the world.
Currently, tourism is a significant source of income in the Vietnamese budget, and, by the way, many tourists who have visited here are thinking about moving to permanent residence on the hospitable Vietnamese coast.
The flow of tourists is growing rapidly – according to the latest figures from the UN World Tourism Organization, in 2017 Vietnam ranks first in Asia and sixth among the ten fastest-growing tourism destinations in the world. in the last years, the country was visited by 14 million tourists – mostly people who come from Russia, China, Australia, and America.
First of all let’s discuss the main pros and cons of living in Vietnam as an expat and maybe this will help someone make a decision to immigrate to Vietnam, or, conversely, give up this thought. After we will come back to the main topic and review the cost of living in Vietnam, such as visa, housing, transportation, entertainment costs, medicine, and education.
The pros of living in Vietnam
- It is not difficult to obtain a residence permit in Vietnam – it is enough to have a job, while it is really not necessary to work, since there are many intermediary firms that will provide an immigrant with all the necessary documents.
- Residence permit in Vietnam is actually equivalent to permanent residence.
- After five years of legal stay in Vietnam in the status of a residence permit, you can apply for Vietnamese citizenship.
- Life in Vietnam is very cheap.
- The property is notable for its affordable prices. This applies to both the private sector and apartments.
- Vietnam has very cheap food.
- For the most part, Vietnamese people come across as very friendly and pleasant people. Europeans are treated well here, although in tourist areas the word “foreigner” is roughly equivalent to the expression “money bag”, on which everyone can cash in.
- In general, the weather in Vietnam is good enough for most of the year, without the sweltering heat.
- There are no severe cold weather in Vietnam.
The cons of living in Vietnam
- Vietnam is indeed a very poor country; a fair share of the population lives below the poverty line.
- It will not be possible to assimilate in Vietnam; an immigrant of European appearance will always be treated like a foreigner.
- Vietnamese is a complex and little-used language, in addition, in Vietnam itself, there are several dialects that differ from each other.
- Vietnam does not recognize dual citizenship.
- The standard of living in the country as a whole can be called low.
- The quality of residential real estate in the overwhelming majority of cases is very low.
- The level of education in the country is low.
- Vietnamese medicine is far from the best in the world.
- There are plenty of venomous snakes and other natural hazards in Vietnam.
- Vietnamese sometimes look at a foreigner working in their country with dislike, because they believe that he takes away the work of the poor Vietnamese people.
- Vietnamese cuisine may seem overly exotic for the average European.
- Poor assortment of food products, familiar to immigrants from Europe.
- The climate has a distinct rainy season.
Life and prices in Vietnam
Prices in Vietnam are relatively low compared to other exotic countries. There is an opinion that Vietnam is not a very livable country. Vietnam has developed all the necessary social infrastructure. You do not need a visa to Vietnam if you are in the country for up to 15 days.
If you go as a tourist to Vietnam just to see the country, then a visa is not needed for foreigners. It allows you to stay in the republic for 15 days without leaving for neighboring countries or anywhere else.
But, if we are talking about staying in Vietnam to live, then you will need to make a visa. Thanks to her, you can stay in the country for 3 months. You can renew this permit free of charge no earlier than 30 days after leaving the country.
There are two types of visas: a visa allowing you to leave the country during this period (multivisa) and not allowing. They issue it at the Embassy in your country, and you will have to pay $ 45 for it, that is, $ 15 per month of stay. But not everything is so simple. To get a visa, you need to take out insurance and have an invitation.
Insurance is done formally, just to get a visa – this is one of the conditions. Many tourists take the cheapest insurance, only for this purpose, and then, in case of unforeseen circumstances, they cannot receive insurance payments and cannot pay for treatment and hospitalization on their own.
Normal insurance costs $ 15-20 and covers up to $ 50,000. It’s better not to save money on insurance.
Next comes the invitation. It is drawn up by an accredited travel agency located in Vietnam. An ordinary citizen of Vietnam can also make it, but the sum will not be much lower, plus, many people do not want to burden their acquaintances, especially foreign ones.
A travel agency, in this respect, is more reliable – you pay once, and they will do everything right, and they will also tell you how to proceed, giving a couple of tips. The cost of an invitation is $ 10-30, depending on the type of visa and the agency itself.
Housing and rental in Vietnam
Real estate rental in this country is striking at its low prices. Regardless of the social level in society, the position held, salary, every resident of this state can afford to rent an apartment here. The rental price for housing directly depends on the season.
You can rent real estate in Vietnam in 2021 of the following types:
- Private house (mansion).
- Hotel room.
- Apartments in guest houses.
The private house is one of the most affordable. On average, renting a small mansion in the village will cost about $ 50-60 per month. If you need a mansion on the seashore, then it will cost about $ 35-40 per day.
Renting an apartment will cost $ 200-300 per month. This means an apartment in a residential area of the city, but relatively close to the center. Therefore, many leave to live in Vietnam for the winter from European countries. In the center of Nha Trang, not far from the sea, the cost of an apartment in 2021 will be $ 350-600 per month.
Apartments in Vietnam are rented equipped with furniture and all necessary household appliances. All premises have Internet access. An air conditioner is the main condition, as this is a rather hot country.
Apartments with European-quality renovation on the first line will cost from $ 700 per month. In such premises, provision is made for new modern furniture and equipment. A hotel room can only be afforded by visiting tourists, as this is one of the most expensive types of real estate rental.
The hotel room is very comfortable, it includes a compulsory breakfast and the availability of round-the-clock service from the staff of the hotel complex.
When renting real estate, a person must submit all documents proving his identity. Tourists can often be required to obtain a visa.
Obligatory conditions for renting any apartment are prepayment for a month in advance, and the tenant’s obligation to notify in advance of his decision to leave the rented premises.
A feature of renting housing in Vietnam is the payment of utility bills by the meter. The owners of real estate themselves announce their approximate cost.
The cost of real estate in Vietnam is relatively low. But in the period 2020-2021. prices are not going up. Such a drop in real estate prices in Vietnam is due to a large number of unsold premises, about 60 thousand objects.
Not every citizen can afford to buy housing in the city, because the salary in Vietnam for many does not exceed $ 400, it is difficult to find a high-paying job in Vietnam. The main potential buyers are tourists or commercial companies whose business is based on tourism activities.
This situation has arisen thanks to some laws of Vietnam, which imply that the acquired housing must be resold after 50 years. In addition to this, it is allowed to purchase only apartments. Until 2020, apartments and other housing were purchased in large quantities in order to ensure recreation for tourists.
An interesting fact is that officially the purchase of an apartment should be carried out directly by the person who intends to live in it.
That is, you cannot buy an apartment as a gift or for the purpose of commercial activity. Nevertheless, many people buy apartments just for renting them out to tourists.
Education in Vietnam
Education in Vietnam for 2021 involves a five-tier system. It includes:
- Preschool education;
- Primary education;
- Lower secondary;
School education in Vietnam lasts 12 years and is called basic. Finishes with secondary education.
The preschool education group consists of children from one and a half to five years old. Institutions resemble kindergartens, where children are taught the basics of arithmetic and the alphabet. From the age of six, the child begins to go to school, the so-called kindergarten class. From the sixth to the ninth grade, the student receives an incomplete secondary education.
Secondary education in Vietnam starts from the tenth to the twelfth grade. Exams are held after the ninth and twelfth grade, after which there is higher education at the university. For admission, you must pass a number of entrance exams. If a teenager has studied at a university for four years, he receives the title of Doctor of Philosophy, if, for five years, he receives a master’s degree.
In 2014, the government of the country decided to revise the curriculum at all levels and introduce a new one.
With the presence of a document on higher education, a person has several times the opportunity to find a high-paying job in his specialty. The only drawback is that the diplomas of Vietnam are not recognized by the countries of Europe and America.
Transport in Vietnam
You can travel between cities by intercity bus or by train. As for the train, the railways in Vietnam are poorly developed, and the train runs only one route from north to south.
On the other hand, it is convenient, since Vietnam itself is 45 km wide, and wherever the train stops, the rest of the way can be easily overcome by bus or taxi. From north to south, the ticket price is $ 50.
Buses are less popular than trains. Because there are always traffic jams and travel time will be lost. Their Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City ticket costs $ 20.
Buses, taxis, motorcycle taxis and cyclo go around the city. Taxis have a meter installed everywhere, the trip costs $ 0.25-0.4 per km, plus a landing from $ 0.5 to $ 1.
Despite the counters, the price should be negotiated in advance, taxi drivers immediately see the tourist and try to rip off him to the maximum. Motorcycle taxis charge money not for mileage, but for travel time. Thus, for a 15 minute ride, the bill will be $ 0.7.
But if there is a goal, nevertheless, to stay to live in Vietnam, then transport should be bought. Renting a bike is $ 100-150 per month, and it costs $ 250-300 on the market. It is not difficult to calculate how much a six-month lease will cost, for this amount you can buy a good car.
Gasoline in Vietnam costs the same as in Russia, about 15,500 dongs, that is, 42 rubles for the A95 and 14,200 dongs = 41.6 for the A92. The consumption of bikes is 3-4 liters per 100 km, depending on the type.
Hospitals and medicine
There is an opinion that medicine in Vietnam is not up to par. Vietnam cannot be called the heart of pharmacology or mainstream medicine. But at the same time, this country has a large number of medical institutions capable of providing first aid.
Traditional medicine in Vietnam is also recognized as official. Since ancient times, the indigenous people of the state have cured many diseases with its help. It includes the practice of acupuncture, herbal medicine and manual therapy.
There are more than 9000 national medical institutions and four sufficiently developed large medical centers that practice the traditional type of medicine on the territory of the country.
Only highly qualified personnel work in official medical institutions.
The cost of medical care is one of the lowest in the world. For one appointment with a doctor, a person pays about $ 15. But this only applies to public institutions, private clinics are more expensive. Their services are mainly used only by tourists. Regardless of the specialty of the doctor, one visit will cost about $ 45-50.
An insurance policy is provided for tourists. It is issued before the tourist trip. All the details with the design are taken care of by the travel agency providing the voucher. In the event of an insured event, all obligations are assumed directly by the state clinic of Vietnam.
Also in Vietnam, you can find international clinics. Visiting them will cost a tourist 250-300 dollars at a time.
Despite the developed medical structure, it is difficult to obtain the following pharmacological agents in Vietnam:
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- Medicines for chronic diseases.
- Lens fluid.
The cost of medicines in Vietnam is relatively low. People in this country in many pharmacies and kiosks sell medicines not only in packs, but also in plates, and sometimes even a few necessary pills can be purchased individually.
Entertainment in Vietnam
Entertainment in Vietnam can be safely divided into the time of day: night and day. Vietnam is not particularly distinguished by the mass of cultural centers.
Excursions to the country’s historical sites are conducted in the cities of the country, but they are more acceptable for tourists than for the indigenous people of this country. For lovers of spiritual cultural recreation in Vietnam, there are theaters. There are relatively few of them.
Hotels and hotel complexes offer most of the entertainment performances. They are designed mainly for tourists, so you can find them in almost every large hotel. There is a water puppet theater for children in Vietnam. You can watch and listen to national performances, music, poems, and dances in the Crafts Workshop or the Theater of Traditional Arts.
For fans of underwater excursions, Vietnam offers diving, which is always accompanied by an instructor for this type. The country has a lot of entertainment directly related to water. The most popular of these are scooter riding and water skiing. For sports lovers, the tourist country can offer tennis or golf. The cost of the latter will greatly delight fans of this sport because it is the lowest in the world.
Vietnam considers its pride in the national park on the island, where exotic animals and insects live. As entertainment, you can still find a boat hunt for a water monster. Thus, the locals lure tourists to look at the place where it supposedly lives.
The country’s nightlife has become more diverse in 2021. Nightlife is mainly concentrated in the larger cities of the country such as Nha Trang, Hanoi, or Ho Chi Minh City.
There are many different restaurants specializing in world cuisines. You can find a large number of nightclubs.
The night exhibition of youth culture has gained particular popularity. It is always in great demand among tourists since it is on it that the main attributes of the state are highlighted.
Another very exciting experience is a motorcycle cruise. He is in demand among the youth of Vietnam. Karaoke bars also play a special role for the Vietnamese. At night, a lot of people gather in them who want to try themselves in the role of a performer.
The peculiarity is that in small establishments alcohol is sold only to men. The administration has nothing against the female sex and is very supportive of it. The cost of food and drinks is relatively low.
The only downside is that the country’s nightlife ends early enough. Most of the cafes and restaurants are open only until nine o’clock in the evening.
This is primarily due to the fact that the most popular drink in Vietnam is beer, and without it the establishment cannot carry out its labor activity. It is in great demand and is consumed by the population in large quantities. Many cafes and bars close so early because of the lack of this drink.
But many work until midnight, and only then close. It is prohibited by current legislation to operate such institutions after midnight. But as an exception for tourists, there are only a few nightclubs that operate around the clock.
They can be found in Nha Trang or Saigon. But you can buy drinks and food at street stalls. They work several hours longer.
Taxes in Vietnam
As in every civilized country, Vietnam has a tax system that involves collecting funds for the state treasury.
The main taxes are:
- Income tax. It is 28%. In the tax office there are also preferential programs provided to entrepreneurs who are on the investment list. For them, taxes in Vietnam are between 10 and 20 percent;
- Export and import duties;
- VAT. The main rates of value added tax are from 0 to 10 percent;
- Excise tax. It is also often referred to as sales tax. It applies to a specific group of products such as: tobacco, alcohol, beer, gasoline, playing cards, paper, entertainment and votive glass. Tax rate – from 10 to 75 percent depending on the product group;
- Personal income. The rate is from 0 to 40 percent.