The Cost of Living in Hoi An, Vietnam

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With a UNESCO World Heritage ancient centre, lush rice paddies, and scenic beaches, Hoi An was a pleasant place to base ourselves for a few months. It was a quieter alternative to the more popular digital nomad hub Saigon, and we found it an affordable place to live.

We lived in Hoi An for two and a half months from February to April 2016. As always we track our expenses in our travel budgeting app Trail Wallet, which I used to calculate our monthly expenses in USD for two people:

Monthly Expenses in Hoi An
Accommodation $500
Eating Out $381
Food Shopping $220
Drinking Water $5
Transport $57
Entertainment $49
Miscellaneous $80
Total Monthly Expenses $1292 (£886) for 2 people

The amounts above were calculated with the exchange rate at the time of purchase. The amounts given below are in Vietnamese Dong (VND) with an approximate rate in USD based on the current rate: 1 USD = 22,300 VND.

Here’s what $646 (£443) per person a month got us in Hoi An:

Accommodation

The cost of living in Hoi An - our $500 apartment.

Our Hoi An apartment

We paid $500 a month including all bills for a spacious, bright, two-bedroom apartment with washing machine, WiFi, and A/C in the bedrooms. It was in a quiet location in the rice fields a few kilometres from both the Ancient Town and An Bang beach. You can read more about it in my post on how to find a house to rent in Hoi An.

We arrived in Hoi An just before the big Tet festival so we didn’t have a lot of choice. You can find houses to rent for $300 a month or even less. We initially rented for one month—prices will be lower if you rent for longer.

Eating Out

Hoi An vegetarian restaurants -Minh Hien

Our favourite vegetarian restaurant Minh Hien – a feast for two for under $7.

We ate out often. Street food in Vietnam isn’t very vegetarian-friendly, so we mostly ate in vegetarian restaurants. Some of these are very inexpensive with meals from $1, but the places we preferred cost $2 or more per dish. In our favourite restaurant Minh Hien we usually spent 150,000 VND ($6.70) for three dishes, rice, two drinks, and tip.

Our eating out costs were increased by eating in international restaurants (Indian, Italian, Mexican) for a change from Vietnamese food. These were obviously more expensive and a meal for two could cost up to 400,000 VND ($18).

Simon usually had a beer with his meal. At Minh Hien, a glass of fresh beer was only 3000 VND ($0.15)! In other restaurants, a bottle of beer cost about $1. Wine (and other alcoholic drinks) are a lot more expensive, so we skipped it except on my birthday.

We usually have a separate Coffee budget for cafe trips, but we only went out for coffee once, so the costs were incorporated into Eating Out. Simon often had coffee with breakfast at Dingo Deli or with cake at Cargo Club.

For more restaurant costs, see our post about our favourite vegetarian restaurants in Hoi An.

Food Shopping

Tan An market, Hoi An

Tan An market

We did most of our food shopping at the Tan An market including fruit, vegetables, tofu, fresh rice noodles, and basics like oil and peanuts. We may have been charged foreigner prices, but it was still cheaper than shopping at the more touristy central market, and we found prices reasonable.

Our food shopping costs increased by buying imported items like cheese and oats from Dingo Deli and AP Mart. Simon also bought quality coffee from Mia Coffee for 120,000 VND ($5.40) a bag. Our costs would have been much lower if we had stuck to the market.

Drinking Water

We exchanged our reusable 19-litre jug at the local shop every two to three days for 10,000 VND ($0.45).

Transport

This includes motorbike rental, petrol, and parking. It cost 1 million VND ($45) a month to rent an automatic motorbike and 50,000 VND ($2.25) to fill our tank with petrol. As we lived outside town we drove everywhere.

The cost of living in Hoi An - the lunar festival is free

The lunar festival takes place every month and is free.

Entertainment

An Bang beach, Hoi An

An Bang beach

Entertainment costs included (per person):

  • Two yoga classes at Nomad Yoga for 130,000 VND ($5.80) each. I didn’t enjoy the style of yoga, so I didn’t continue with classes.
  • Drinks at the beach for around 70,000 VND ($3) for us both. If we bought drinks we didn’t have to pay for sunbed rental.
  • Cinema in Da Nang for 80,000 VND ($3.60).
  • Cooking class at Minh Hien for $15.
  • Water puppet show for 80,000 VND ($3.60).
  • Day use of the pool at Sunrise Resort for 220,000 VND ($10).
The cost of living in Hoi An - cooking classes are inexpensive

We learnt to cook our favourite dishes at the Minh Hien vegetarian cooking class

Miscellaneous

Our miscellaneous costs included toiletries, medical supplies, and haircuts. We paid 150,000 VND ($6.70) once a fortnight to have our apartment cleaned. We also bought supplies for our apartment including towels, blanket, frying pan, and rice cooker.

We paid 100,000 VND ($4.50) a month for a Vinaphone 1.2 GB data plan for our phone.

Not Included Above

There are a few costs that I haven’t included above as they aren’t typical living expenses:

  • Our three-month Vietnam visa cost $53 each—we applied online with VOA Vietnam
  • A doctor’s visit and tests at Family Medical Practice in Da Nang cost $130 (a consultation is $60). We also saw a consultant at the Hoan My Hospital for 320,000 VND ($14).
  • I had a dress tailor made at Aobaba for $40.
  • Simon had a suit and shirt tailor made at Aobaba for $140.
  • Shipping the suit to the UK cost 1.6 million VND ($72). We paid more for airmail as we didn’t have time for seamail.
The cost of living in Hoi An - Trail Wallet app screenshot

Trail Wallet app showing our total expenses for 2.5 months in Hoi An including the extras.

Hoi An is a very affordable digital nomad base. We found costs comparable to Chiang Mai in Thailand, although you get more accommodation space for your money in Hoi An (as houses are more common than apartments). If you found a cheaper rental, stuck to street food, and avoided imported food and international restaurants, you could get by on much less than we spent. As always, we were happy to spend a bit more for some home comforts.

You can also read my digital nomad’s guide to Hoi An with tips for living in the town.

Other Digital Nomad Budget Posts

You might be interested in our other digital nomad cost of living posts:

If you enjoyed this post, pin it! 

Discover how much it costs to live in Hoi An, Vietnam. A guide for digital nomads and expats.

If you need help staying on budget on your travels, check out our iOS app Trail Wallet, which we designed especially for travellers and still use ourselves every day. You can try it free in the App Store

Are you planning a trip? See our Travel Resources page for our favourite tools and gear to help you plan the perfect trip. 

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15 thoughts on The Cost of Living in Hoi An, Vietnam

  1. Hi Erin & Simon: Thanks for your helpful posts. Two questions: (1) Where can one get empty water jugs filled “local shops”? (Please don’t say anywhere as I haven’t seen them anywhere). (2) I want to rent a room long-term (years) within 5 miles of Old Town. I don’t need a kitchen or furniture. But real estate brokers want to rent me either a furnished apt. or house. My needs are too small for them to bother with me. How can I find what I want? Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.

    • Our apartment came with an empty water bottle that we exchanged for a full one at a tiny local shop nearby. We were in the middle of the rice fields so it’s difficult to explain where it was. I would ask a local for your nearest place. You could try posting on a Hoi An facebook group for a long term rental or asking around locally. Good luck with it!

  2. Pingback: How to Rent a House in Hoi An, Vietnam

  3. Good morning (Depending on where you are in the world),

    My wife and I are planning to take a year off of work and travel Southeast Asia from Bali north and possibly end up in India. We don’t have a solid itinerary and will probably just plan as we go for the most part. We have a good idea of the main countries we would like to visit though. I know that you have a lot of experience travelling. I’d like to possibly connect when we are there if you are going to be there at the same time. We are trying to develop a network before we take the plunge. We will probably be leaving in late July to early August and returning to the US the same time next year. We were also thinking about some ways to make some extra cash when we are there, but that isn’t our main reason for going. (Althought the digital nomad life seems very appealing and I wouldn’t count that out of the question). Also, any tips for first time goers would be appreciated, but we’ve been scouring the interweb and feel like we have a decent plan going forward. Thanks in advance for any advice and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Have a great day!

    Thank you,

    Charles Williams

    • We’ve actually left Asia now and I don;t know when we’ll next be back. Have an amazing trip though! It’s very easy to meet other travellers in Southeast Asia.

    • Did you guys go to Vietnam? Do you have Instagram or a blog where I can follow you?
      We ended up staying 8,5 months in Danang lol.
      Being back in Sweden now and it all seems like a dream, miss the expat community, our favorite bars, the food, the warm vietnamese people, the coffee, the weather, our bike, our apartment….. every single day now.

  4. Im looking forward to your Hoi An guide post, as we just settled in Da nang a week ago and are planning a trip to Hoi An. We’re staying in Da nang for 3 months, this city is really chill, clean and quiet, love this area<3

  5. Oh my goodness! I’ve always wanted to go to Vietnam… this is absolutely amazing how affordable it is (and how delicious that food looks)!
    Thank you for sharing your trip with us! WOW!

  6. Amazingly cheap! I always like these cost post NEV! It is also nice to hear about the differences between the locations, such as the larger accommodations in Hoi An.

    We’re considering living overseas for an extended period of time, so this kind of information is great! Please keep it coming!

  7. Great article. My wife and I are leaving for South Asia in September and would like to visit Vietnam, but according to the information we could find, as Danes (Denmark) we are only allowed 14 days without the need to apply for an extended Visa. How did you manage to stay there for 2,5 months?

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