Ho Chi Minh City is a popular destination in Southeast Asia where tourists can find diverse cuisines, hospitable people, and historic architecture. In addition, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's largest urban expanse, is also the place that attract thousands of expats for job and livelihood opportunities.
iPrice has conducted a comparison research on the average monthly cost of living for six famous cities in Southeast Asia using data from Numbeo, one of the world's largest user-contributed databases. As a result, the cost of living in Ho Chi Minh City seems to be "easier to breathe in" than other cities in ASEAN region.
Numbeo records Singapore as the city with the highest cost of living in the region, at around $2,467, followed by Bangkok (Thailand), Manila (Philippines), Jakarta (Indonesia), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).
Bangkok has an estimated monthly cost of living of $1,061 for a single person. This takes into account every necessity (rent, food, transportation, utilities, etc.). Manila is not that further down, with an estimated monthly cost of $1,046 for a single person, which is only 1% lower than the former. Followed by Jakarta with the cost of living at $845.
The two cities with the lowest cost of living in the study are HCMC and Kuala Lumpur. According to Numbeo contributors, the cost to maintain a stable standard of living including rent, food, transportation and others for one person in Ho Chi Minh City is only about $816. This number is lower than Singapore, Bangkok, Manila, Jakarta by 202%, 30%, 28% and 4% respectively.
Kuala Lumpur is the cheapest destination with an average monthly cost of $789, not much different from Ho Chi Minh City.
The study marked differences in the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the city center across six countries. Singapore is still on top in terms of rent prices. Accordingly, the rental price in Singapore is 4 times higher than Ho Chi Minh City. However, this amount in Ho Chi Minh City is higher than the two cities in the bottom list, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.
The data shows that renting a one-bedroom apartment in the central area of Ho Chi Minh City costs about $346, outside the city center around $216. Although the living standard is almost the same as in Kuala Lumpur, the average cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment in the central area of Ho Chi Minh City is 16% higher than Kuala Lumpur.
One of the potential solutions that Ho Chi Minh residents does to reduce the cost is to rent only a room or to share a house with roommates.
With the population of more than 9 million people and about 60,000 foreigners residing in Ho Chi Minh City, the cost of living is something most people are concerned about. Balancing living needs and income will help workers in Ho Chi Minh City enjoy a comfortable life, especially in the period when everything has to "tighten up" because of the global epidemic.
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Data on the estimated average monthly cost of living for a single person was taken from www.numbeo.com on April 20, 2021. The lowest rent price for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center was added to the overall monthly cost of living. Numbeo gathers data from user inputs (from over 500,000 contributors) and manually collects data from authoritative sources. Data is updated twice a year. Numbeo filters data in each country by using heuristic technology and periodically removes statistically inaccurate data. XE currency conversion rates (on April 20, 2021) were used to convert figures.