My Cost of Living in Saigon ~$1300 First Month
Propaganda bistro, District 1
I just wrapped up a month in Saigon and spent $1300 but definitely could have done it cheaper if I wasn’t on ‘vacation’ mode. I found a hotel that was ‘girl friendly’ with good internet in a good location for a reasonable price and just stayed there instead of finding a monthly rental.
I also overdid the BJ bars and massages because, well, I had absolutely nothing else to do. I found the Vietnamese girls to be very into their own kind and didn’t want to put in lots of work on dating sites looking for the 6’s and rare 7 that may go with a foreigner if I led her on.
Instead I went to Benny’s, the other BJ bars, and got lots of massages. If I lived there long term that would be my life strat also but I wouldn’t need to do it 18 times a month.
Wechat freelancers, some are fake
When I first got to HCM I was like wow the girls are so hot I love it here. By the end I was quite bored and as of now am not sure if I will ever return. I probably will, but overall I feel like it was a really hollow existence.
At ~$20 a day and with good internet I decided to just stay in hotels instead of searching around for a monthly apartment deal for a few reasons. I did look on Airbnb but that didn’t seem like a good city for that site, Agoda seemed better.
Example place in District 1 – My Anh Hotel
I had some solid online work going right when I first got into town and didn’t wanna waste to much time looking for a room when I could be working and making rare good online money.
It was also as hot as anywhere I can remember in Asia and walking around the touristy area in the brutal sun and traffic looking for ‘for rent’ signs wasn’t something I was wanting to do. So I took the lazy route and paid $150ish more then I probably would have paid if I put in more effort.
It’s annoying trying to cross the street in HCM
Vietnam is better value for hotels than the Philippines you can get something liveable in Ho Chi Minh City for $20/night that would cost twice that in Manila. If you do walk around and go down some alleyways you can find 350k a night ($15) even in D1.
In the end the girl friendly part didn’t really matter as I only had 1 girl over (non pro) and after 2 hours of making out she tells me she is a virgin.
After another failed date with a girl who wouldn’t go to my room even though we ate right next door to my hotel and said ‘I have never been to a boy’s room’ I called dating quits.
Next to Central park, view from My Anh Hotel
Most of the trips to the BJ bars were $18 (400k dong) and that was where I mostly went. One time I did negotiate with the doorman for 300k and tipped the girl 50k.
She seemed confused and had to confirm with the door guy after I paid. This was at one of the BJ bars in Nguyen Phi Khanh and I assumed the 400k rate I had to pay was the foreigner rip off price but judging by the girls reaction I would say that is the standard price and didn’t negotiate down anymore on future visits.
Massages were generally 100k for massage and 400k-500k for a BJ. I did get totally alpha’ed by this really hot girl who got me totally hard and wouldn’t do a BJ. Then when I tried to negotiate she kept getting me hard and I paid 500k for a HJ.
She was really hot and actually the HJ was probably better than what most massage girls do for BJ (huge different between massage girl BJ and blowjob bar girl BJ) but I still was disappointed in myself.
Boss Palace massage girl
I also got a more expensive BJ after an awesome massage at Boss Palace Hotel but sadly the BJ didn’t live up to the teasing. Overall it was nice to be in a city where you can see pretty hot massage girls quite often and have the BJ bars available, but it would get old I think.
I probably spent more on food then I have in any month in Asia because I was living at a hotel and wasn’t able to do some of the tricks I do to keep costs down. I was told about a few good places to eat and found a few of my own.
Skins over at Singlemansparadise told me about ‘Chucks Burgers’ where you can get a damn good burger and fries for 110k (5 bucks). He also told me about ‘My Chicken Run’ where you can get a huge rotisserie chicken and veggies meal for 100k.
I also frequently ate at ‘The Daun’ restaurant which is right across from Ben Thanh Market and has a TripAdvisor 2015 Winner sign out front. Most meals everywhere I ate were around 100kish but every once in awhile I got the 30k shwarma on Bui Vien to mix in a cheap meal. Not your standard type of shwarma with some thick bread but still tasted pretty good.
Overall food was good in HCM and I can’t really remember trying anything and not being satisfied with it.
Bo la lot (left) streetfood and noodles
Long Term Saigon Budget
There really were no other big costs in what I spent. Actually I did buy some shoes for 400k next to Benh Thanh Market so that should be taken out of the budget but whatever.
Long term I would expect to spend maybe $250 on food, $300ish on entertainment, and maybe $400-500 ish on an apartment after utilities. It’s worth paying a bit more to stay in District 1.
Teaspoon Coffee & Tearoom, good date spot
So monthly spending in the $1k-$1100 range for a long term prediction. I do feel like a life there would be pretty hollow though. Not as many textmates as the chat happy Pinays and the ones that do text aren’t too great at English.
Girls will meet you less often and then when they do you still aren’t gonna get much of any action on early dates. No malls to roam…… Saigon has a lot going for it and if you want to find a hot girlfriend then you will love it. But if you want to play the field……. good luck.
jspill’s sushi hokkaido date
One last note on money most of the ATMs only allow you to withdraw 2 million dong ($90!) a pull so you definitely need to have an ATM card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.
HSBC allowed 4 million but they charge a higher fee. Of all the ATMs I tried the best ones were at IndoVina Bank. There is a branch pretty near Pham Ngu Lao.