Vietnam on budget
--- the ultimate backpacking travel guide ---
Vietnam is a cheap paradise for backpackers. Prices for accommodation, food, transport and also attractions are incredibly low. Continue reading if you want to know more about prices in this great country.
The local currency in Vietnam is Vietnamese Dong (VND). The exchange rate in 2017 is 1 USD = 23 000 VND. Like everywhere else it is best to bring US dollars and exchange them. Otherwise you can withdraw money from ATM. We used Vietcombank that had no fee for our VISA cards.
Average cost per person: 20 USD per day
including accommodation, food, transport, entrance fees, souvenirs
excluding visa and flight tickets
Check also top things to see in Vietnam in our photo journey.
The main thing you can save money on are the flight tickets. Read our tips how to find cheap flights.
Use public transport in the big cities to save money. Otherwise you can rent a motorbike and explore many sights on your own. Be aware that the traffic in Vietnam is insane. For longer distances buy an open bus ticket.
We bought an open bus ticket for one month from The Sinh Tourist (there are many companies trying to copy their name, so be careful). The price varies according to amount of stops. We bought 6 stops (HoChiMin City, Dalat, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi) for 920,000 VND (40 USD). Most of the buses are sleeping buses, you can book them 24 hours in advance and they will always bring you to the office which is mostly in the city centres. The buses are ok, you get a small bottle of water, a napkin, a warm blanket and it is very convenient.
We read many posts about how dangerous the night buses in Vietnam are, but we didn't feel insecure on board. You just have to take care of your belongings, of course, but you have to do it everywhere in the world. We must say that the drivers are sometimes crazy and the way of driving is very dangerous, but most of the people drive this way in Vietnam.
Prices example per person (2017)
- bus from the airport (HoChiMin) - 5,000 VND (less than 1 USD, a taxi costs 160,000VND and up)
- open bus ticket 6 stops - 920,000 VND (40 USD)
- one way bus 13 and bus 79 to CuChi tunnels in Ben Duoc - 13,000 VND (0.5 USD)
- bus Hanoi - Cat Ba - 250,000 VND (11 USD)
- bus Sapa - Hanoi - 220,000 VND (9.5 USD)
- a motorbike rental - 60,000 VND (2.5 USD)
You can find all ranges of accommodation in Vietnam. The prices are very low and the standard is quite high. We travel as a couple, so we stay usually in cheap double rooms, but in Vietnam we stayed also in rooms for 3 people.
The average price per person was 5 USD per night for cheap, but still comfortable rooms. We paid for example $7 per person in Hanoi, but only $3.5 in Cat Ba.
Food in Vietnam is one of the greatest things in this country. Unbelievable tasty and not expensive at all. Eat lot of street food and visit the small local restaurants as it is the best food you can get. The price for vietnamese soup Pho ranges between 20,000 VND (1 USD) to 40,000 VND (1.5 USD) depending on location. Most of the street food snacks and meals costs less than a dollar and they are delicious. The Vietnamese baguettes are also found everywhere and the price can get to 50 cents and less. If you eat at cheap restaurants, you will pay something between 40,000 - 60,000 VND (1.5 -2.5 USD). Restaurants for tourists charge, of course, more, but we are not quite sure if it is worth it. It can happen you will pay a lot more for nicer surroundings, but not necessarily better food.
Entrance fees for most of the tourist attractions in Vietnam are still cheap, so you don't need to worry about ruining your budget. If you want to save money, avoid organized tours and do your own trips and treks.
We didn't book for example the typical cruise to Halong Bay from Hanoi as there are many scams and we didn't want to spend three days on an organized trip. We decided to go instead to Cat Ba that is cheap and not so touristy.
We did also our own trip to CuChi tunnels in Ben Duoc by bus or our own trekking in Sapa. We will write more posts about it.
Prices example per person (2017)
- War Remnant Museum in HoChiMin City - 15,000 VND (0.5 USD)
- Crazy House in Dalat - 40,000 VND (1.5 USD)
- CuChi tunnels Ben Duoc - 90,000 VND (4 USD)
- Silk farm near Dalat - 10,000 VND (0.5 USD)
- Cham Towers, Nha Trang - 22,000 VND (1 USD)
- Chong Rock, Nha Trang - 22,000 VND (1 USD)
- Hoi An entrance fee - 120,000 VND (5 USD)
- My Son - 150,000 VND (6.5 USD)
- Cooking class in Hoi An - 575,000 VND (25 USD)
- Tu Duc tomb in Hue - 100,000 VND (4.5 USD)
- Citadel Hue - 150,000 VND (6.5 USD)
- Vietnamese Women's museum in Hanoi - 30,000 VND (1.3 USD)
- Ho Chi Min museum NOT RECOMMENDED - 40,000 VND (1.5 USD)
More tips for traveling cheap here