Rental prices have come back up since their downward slide of 2008-9, so check the resources listed in the Accommodation Section for the most current prices. As of July 2012 a 3-bedroom apartment or house is $800-2500/month, depending on size, location and quality.

Utility bills:

  • Water is a negligible expense, and is often included in the price of rent.
  • Gas is used for cooking only, and for a family of 4 runs $10-20/month.
  • Electricity costs vary greatly according to season—for a family of 4 it should average less than $75/month, but in summer months air-conditioners may drive the price above $200/month.


Local produce is extremely cheap, but imported produce and processed foods, including cheeses, sauces and wines, are more expensive than in the West. Here are average prices for a few basic food products:

  • Milk–$1/quart
  • Butter–$4/pound
  • Eggs–$1/dozen
  • Bread–$.75 for a whole wheat loaf
  • Rice–$.50/pound
  • Potatoes–$.30/pound
  • Instant Coffee–$4/half-pound
  • Apples–$2/pound
  • Tomatoes–$.50/pound
  • Pasta–$2/pound (imported)
  • Cheese–$6/pound for gouda or cheddar
  • Beer–$.50/bottle for local beer, up to $4/bottle for imported brands
  • Wine–$8 for a low-end European bottle, $20 for mid-range
  • Bottled Water–$.50/litre
  • Seasonal Fruits–$.25-.50/pound
  • Seasonal Vegetables–$.25-.50/pound


  • An average taxi ride around town will cost $3-5.
  • Riding public buses would cost you less than $10/month.
  • Petrol goes for about $4/gallon.


  • A cinema ticket is $3.
  • Opera/ballet is a great value, with international artists performing in the Opera House starting at $5/ticket.
  • Gym memberships are about $1000/year for a family in one of the major hotels, like the Sheraton.
  • A meal for two in an upmarket restaurant is $20-30 including drinks, and a meal for 4 in a family restaurant is about $30.


  • Cable TV is $5-10/month.
  • Home internet is $20/month.
  • Mobile phone charges are based on calling time, but seldom exceed $50/month, and are usually closer to $20.
  • A landline is just a few dollars a month, plus long distance charges.
  • Housekeeping and babysitting help can be had for $20/hour for English-speaking staff, less for non-English speakers.
  • Dry cleaning is about $.60 for a shirt, a dollar for pants, and about two dollars for sweaters and jackets.


Fees vary wildly according to age and institution—UNIS, the United Nations International School, costs over $20,000/year, while the Hanoi American School is $3000-4000/year, and kindergartens are $2000-6000/year.