The cost of living in Vietnam can be different for everybody, depending on the lifestyle, type of accommodation, and location. The cost of living in major cities is normally more expensive than in smaller towns. However, the living standard in Vietnam is relatively inexpensive. Foreigners can live a decent life for very little. For those who are on a budget, Vietnamese street food is delicious and affordable. Getting around in Vietnam is very inexpensive, especially with cyclos (bicycle rickshaws) and xe om (motorbike taxis).
The official currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND). 1 USD converts to 23,214 VND. The smallest bill is 10,000 VND. Foreign visitors can use credit cards at hotels and restaurants. Note that tipping is not common, but will be greatly appreciated. Visitors can also haggle in markets and street food vendors as it is the norm in Vietnam.
The north, central, and south Vietnam experienced different types of weather. Southern Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate, which means the temperatures are generally warm but with more rainfalls. Northern Vietnam starting from Hanoi has cooler temperatures, especially in the Winter. In general, April to October is the monsoon season (the rainy season) in Vietnam. Bear in mind that December is the typhoon season.
The culture of the country is heavily influenced by Chinese culture. Vietnamese are very friendly and welcome foreign visitors. They value family and clan over individualism and will go out of their way to help others. Most people in Vietnam follow Vietnamese Folk Religion or have no religious beliefs. But other faiths, including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Christianity are also widely practiced.
To stay in Vietnam long-term, foreigners need a long-term visa valid for 6 or 12 months with multiple entries. Long-term visa is only available for business purposes. 6 months multiple entry visas cost 95 USD and 12 months multiple entry visa costs 135 USD.