Saigon, Hanoi among top 10 affordable cities in Southeast Asia

By Nguyen Quy   January 23, 2019 | 05:39 am PT
Saigon, Hanoi among top 10 affordable cities in Southeast Asia
Foreign tourists play with powder paint during the Indian spring festival of colors in April last year in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Two of Vietnam’s largest metropolises are in the list of 10 most affordable cities in Southeast compiled by Numbeo.

HCMC has jumped three places from last year to 6th while Hanoi has slipped one place to 8th in the Cost of Living Index 2019 formulated by Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide.

The company says that its survey has taken into account several factors including house rents, cost of eating out, and purchasing power needed to live a comfortable life to come with a cost of living index for 20 major cities in Southeast Asia.

In this year’s index, HCMC scored 38.39 points, slightly lower than Hanoi (38.93), meaning that the cost of living in Saigon is a little less than in the capital city.

Davao in the Philippines was the lowest-cost city in the region, followed by Indonesia’s Bandung. The top five most expensive cities in Southeast Asia are Singapore, Bangkok (Thailand), Yangon (Myanmar), Phuket (Thailand) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

Price of Travel, a travel cost database, in 2017 ranked Saigon the world’s third cheapest city, where backpackers only need $18.33 a day for meals, beer, a place to stay, public transport and an entrance fee to a top attraction.

Meanwhile, Australian news website Nine last year included Hanoi among top 10 cheapest places in the world where an expat could live comfortably for $859 a month.

Around 82,000 foreigners live and work in Vietnam, mainly in two of its largest cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Recent surveys have also shown that the country is a good place for foreigners to settle.

An annual HSBC survey published last year ranked Vietnam 16th in the world for expat earnings at an annual average of $90,408, which is around 40 times higher than the per capita income of Vietnam at $2,385 last year.

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