Vietnam travel budget

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From the natural beauty of Sam Mountain and Halong Bay to the manmade artistry of the sacred temples and pagodas, to the rice terraces and beaches, Vietnam has a lot to offer travelers. You will find a very interesting and visually-pleasing place to visit.


Typical Costs

Accommodation – Hostels start at 150,000 VND per night. Private rooms average about 400,000 VND for a double room. In the past hostels were pretty scarce, though recently, hostels have started popping up all over the country to accommodate budget travelers.  “Homestays” are often popular budget option, too.

Food – By eating at street stalls and markets you can get a bowl of pho or a rice dish for 30,000 VND. Most sit down restaurants are also inexpensive at around 50,000–100,000 VND.  The fancier (and more touristy) the restaurant, the more expensive.  A liter of water at a convenience store is about 20,000 VND, while a beer or soda at a restaurant is about 20,000-35,000 VND.

Transportation – Bus travel is very cheap in Vietnam. For example, the public bus around Ho Chi Minh City will cost a maximum of 3,500 VND.  The train is also another inexpensive way to travel with the 791km long train journey from Da Nang to Hanoi costing 750,000 VND. Overnight buses (aside from saving on a night’s accommodation) are only about 100,000-500,000 VND and can take you to lots of cities in Vietnam. There are extremely low-cost airlines that can hop you around the country quickly for as little as 400,000 VND.

Activities – Many of Vietnam’s attractions are based around its natural beauty and as such, cost very little. For organized excursions such as touring the Cu Chi Tunnels you can expect to pay between 200,000–300,000 VND.  Halong Bay tours from Hanoi start at 750,000 VND for two-day trips and increase exponentially from there. Half-day cooking classes and bicycle tours are heavily targeted at tourists, so they cost a bit more, and start at about 400,000 VND.


Money Saving Tips

Eat delicious street food – The food is usually excellent, really cheap and you can watch it being cooked in front of you. Stick to the local food and you’ll save money. The street-side pho, bread, meat sandwiches (called bahn mi), donuts, and bananas are your best deals all of which can be found around 30,000 VND on the streets.

Late-night travel – If traveling long journeys, try to take the late night “sleeper” buses or trains as this will save you the cost of a night’s accommodation.  Depending on the company, you may even have a chance to comfortably lie flat as you ride through the dark countryside to your next destination.

Take the tourist bus – It is actually cheaper to take the tourist bus around the country than taking local transportation because of the “tourist” price you get at the bus station.

Don’t be afraid of taxis – Metered taxis in this country are affordable.  If you are moving around town at night, this is a good, safe, cheap option (especially if you’re splitting the cost with a few others).  A 30-minute ride will set you back around 150,000 VND. The best taxi companies are Mai Linh and Vinasun.

Fly for cheap – Vietnam’s low-cost airlines: VietJet and FlyVietnam are extremely inexpensive and adding luggage to your flight can cost as little s 120,000 VND.  This is a great option for people with limited time to explore different regions of Vietnam.

Bargain hard – Tourists tend to be charged more than locals for everything from cycles (a three-wheel bicycle taxi) to clothes to street food. Bargain harder than you would ordinarily, and don’t underestimate the value of walking away.

Skip the SIM Card – Vietnam is highly connected to Wi-Fi.  You can hook into Wi-Fi in just about every hotel, shop, restaurant, and convenience store for free! Unless you need to have connectivity during long bus rides or rural areas, I’d forgo the SIM card and take a break from connectivity.

Ask your hostel staff – Before you leave the hostel, ask them to estimate how much what you want to do should cost. How much should a ride to the museum cost?  How much should I pay to have a gown like this made? They will be able to give you bargaining guidelines.

Stay a while – You’ll hear tales from many backpackers who have been to many different Vietnamese regions on a very short trip.  A good way to save money and savor the experience is to slow down. Divide your time between a few spots and enjoy.

Factor in visa fees – Visiting Vietnam comes with a much higher visa fees than the surrounding Southeast Asian countries.  Look up the visa requirements and fees before you arrive

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