VietNamNet Bridge – According to the report on the cost of living index 2015 by the General Statistics Office, the cost of living in HCM City is 2.61% cheaper than in Hanoi.
During her business trips to Hanoi, Ms. Tran Kim Anh from Ho Chi Minh City said it was difficult to find nice restaurants where she could buy a normal meal at VND20,000 ($1) in the central districts. The normal price for a meal is from VND30,000 to VND60,000 ($1.5-$3). Meanwhile, in HCM City’s center, there are many restaurants selling meals at VND20,000/person.
Mr. Nguyen Quang Duy, a tourist from HCM City, said he had to pay VND50,000 ($2.5) for a bowl of chicken vermicelli, VND40,000 ($2) for a chicken wing, and VND5,000 for a glass of iced tea. According to this visitor, the price is too high compared to the cost of ingredients.
Many Hanoians who have visited HCM City agreed that the price of some services in HCM City is cheaper than those in Hanoi.
In Hanoi, the price for similar services and products in the center and the suburbs is different and the difference is up to 2-3 times.
It is similar in HCM City. The price for food and services in the center of Hanoi and HCM City is higher than in the suburbs because of the burden of retail space rent.
"For the same plate of pasta, the price is VND100,000 ($5) at restaurants in District 1 and only VND60,000 ($3) at restaurants in District 4 and District 5, though the quality is not different,” said Ms. Nguyen Thanh Phuong, an office worker in District 1.
Why is the cost of living in HCM City cheaper than Hanoi?
From 2010-2012, the cost of living in HCM City was the highest in the country, with 1.2% higher than Hanoi in 2010 and 0.8% in 2011. Particularly, the school fee in HCM City was 40% higher than that of Hanoi.
In 2013 and 2014, HCM City still ranked 4th and 6th in Vietnam for the cost of living. The price of some commodities, including food and drinks, was cheaper than in Hanoi. However, the price for education service, household appliances and other goods and services were 4-7% higher than Hanoi.
In 2015, the cost of living in HCM City, especially the price for food, clothing, beverages ... did not increase much and was 1-8% cheaper than in Hanoi.
Mr. Vu Vinh Phu, Chairman of the Association of Hanoi Supermarkets, said that Hanoi is a big city and it did not produce goods. Moreover, the best goods in the country are available in the city.
Secondly, the sources of supply of vegetables and fruit to Hanoi mainly come from the south. As the distance is very far, the cost of transport is high, driving the price of goods up.
Phu said Hanoi's distribution system is very poor. The city lacks wholesale markets. As the goods go through many intermediate traders, the price is up by about 10%.
Cost of living is cheapest in Tra Vinh
As reported by the General Statistics Office, the northern mountainous province of Lai Chau had the highest cost of living in Vietnam in 2015, followed by Hanoi, Dien Bien, Son La, Lao Cai, and HCM City.
Meanwhile, the southern province of Tra Vinh has the lowest cost of living index in the country (19.28% cheaper than in Hanoi). In Tra Vinh, the price for medicines and health service was the lowest, up to 26.23% less than in Hanoi and 18.61% cheaper for food. Ranking behind Tra Vinh for low living cost are the northern province of Thai Binh and the southern province of Vinh Long.
Agricultural products in Tra Vinh were cheap. For example, eggplant sold at Duyen Hai district around 3000-4000 dong / kg, depending on the case, but when transported to HCMC, agricultural products are sold for about 8,000-10,000 VND / kg.
Ms. Dang Nguyen Diem Phuc from Tra Vinh said the normal price of a breakfast including a bowl of noodles, a cup of coffee is around VND32,000 ($1.5). At some tourist destinations, the price of a cup of coffee is just VND2,000 ($.1).
Products in Tra Vinh are cheap perhaps because goods are produced on the spot. In addition, the geographic location of Tra Vinh is near the sea, adjacent to the Mekong Delta provinces such as Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Soc Trang and especially located near the two major centers of the south - HCM City and Can Tho – so it is very convenient for trade and exchange of goods.