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Many expats manage to enjoy a good life in Vietnam without spending a fortune.
The largest dents in an expat's monthly budget will be in the areas of housing, schooling and Western foodstuffs. Like most countries, Vietnam has its fair share of temptations for an expat's wallet.
Sticking to Western food and Western restaurants will burn a hole in one's wallet as many of the food items or ingredients are imported and the government levies high taxes on these goods.
The cost of rent will vary depending on the standard of housing a person requires, as well as the location of a property.
However, many of these are inferior copies made in China.
Shopping at department stores and malls is one way to ensure that items are genuine and come with some sort of manufacturer’s guarantee; unfortunately, this also means paying a lot more than one would expect to pay in the region, especially with Bangkok only a cheap flight away.
On the other hand, expats will find a great many modern apartment complexes in Vietnam’s bustling cities and as a result, there are more luxury accommodation options available to them.
These condominiums and apartments come equipped with a range of facilities such as gyms, laundries and swimming pools. As a rule of thumb, housing closer to the city centre comes at a premium and housing in outlying suburbs is more affordable.Learning Vietnamese poses a major challenge for most expats, but Vietnam's warm, welcoming people make up for the challenge.