Image of: Vietnamese dong bills on a table

Traveling to Vietnam – Manage Your Budget

This post was last updated on February 3rd, 2020 at 01:42 pm


Like most Asian countries, the prices in Vietnam are lower than in most of the Western world. The food, transport, the hotels/hostels, the sights, etc. are very cheap. Exactly how much you spend per day depends on your own wishes. A Vietnam budget is different for everyone.

 

Do you want to know what your budget could look like in Vietnam? Then continue reading this page. We will give you some tips and information about planning a budget for your trip, including:

 

Prepare Your Trip: Vietnam Budget

What does traveling in Vietnam cost? It’s possible to get through a day for US $35 – $40. This includes; an overnight stay in hostels (private room), eating outside in normal restaurants, visiting a place of interest, and doing some grocery shopping.

 

It can, of course, also get more expensive if you want to stay in more expensive hotels and mainly eat Western meals.

 

TIP – Count on at least US $40 a day for your Vietnam budget (excluding low-budget backpackers).

 

It can also be cheaper if you settle for sleeping in dorms, cooking your own food, etc. Also keep in mind that popular destinations such as Hanoi, Sapa or Hoi An, are more expensive. At these places, you will have to pay more.

 

  • Low budget backpackers US $35 a day
  • Normal budget US $40 to $55 a day
  • Luxury traveler US $75 a day

 

Image of: Hectic traffic in Hanoi
The traffic can get very hectic with all the scooters

 

Our Spendings in Vietnam

We have been to Vietnam several times. In fact, our first adventure in Vietnam in 2013 was the reason to start this website! This country has a place in our hearts forever; we have been back several times in the meantime. During our last trip through Vietnam, we spent just under US $45 per person per day. We are not low-budget backpackers, and we don’t have a luxurious lifestyle.

 

What does Traveling in Vietnam Cost?

What does traveling in Vietnam cost? That is difficult to determine because not everyone travels in the same way. That is why the Vietnam budget is different for everyone. Backpackers spend less than people who have booked a trip or have a slightly more luxurious travel style. The costs that we mention below are average costs. Not low budget but also not over the top.

 

Cost for Accommodations

Accommodation is often the largest cost item in your budget for Vietnam. You can make this as cheap or expensive as you want. A dorm in a budget hostel costs on average between 100,000 and 250,000 Dong per night, which is around $4.30 to $10.75.

 

Do you prefer to sleep in a private room? A double room in a budget hostel in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh is available for 250,000 Dong ($10.75), but most are slightly more expensive. About 350,000 Dong, which is around $15.

 

Hostels are very popular and you will find them almost everywhere. Most hostels offer free Wi-Fi, and many will have free breakfast or free beer.

 

For a budget hotel with a double bed, you often pay just as much as a hostel. Think of about 370,000 to 500,000 dong per night ($16 – $21.50). Here you also often get free WiFi and free breakfast. The “disadvantage” is that you do not have a shared kitchen in a hotel. So you cannot prepare your own food, so you often have to eat outside of your room.

 

Examples of our accommodation costs:

  • Double room in a hostel in Hanoi $15
  • Double room in Sapa $18.50
  • Hotel in Hoi An $30
  • Hue Double Room $12
  • Double room in Dalat $21
  • Phu Quoc beachfront bungalow $34

 

Accommodation cost per day

Cost per day – we mainly slept in private rooms in Vietnam. Dorms are not really our thing. On average we spent $23 per night for a double room. That is approximately $11.50 per person per night. If you settle for dorms, you can sleep well for $7 a night.

 

Image of: Aerial view of the Hanoi skyline

Cities like Hanoi are so huge that you won’t have any trouble finding accommodations here!

 

Cost for Vietnamese Food and Drinks

If there is a country in Asia where you can eat well, then it is in Vietnam. Vietnamese food is delicious and, above all, very cheap. You have a lot of choices. You can enjoy a meal with the locals in a small local restaurant for a few dollars or enjoy exclusive meals in the fanciest restaurants you can imagine.

 

If you eat at food stalls (street food) or in and from the many markets you can buy a bowl of “pho” or a rice dish for no more than 35,000 Dong, around US $1.45. If you travel through Vietnam you will also see fixed stalls along the road with stools that seem to come straight from Tiny World. This is what they call sit-down restaurants. You can eat here for around 45,000-95,000 ($2 – $4.10).

 

Although it is better for your Vietnam budget to opt for the local restaurants, we understand that you occasionally want to eat a western meal. This is also not expensive. For a western meal, you will pay towards the 200,000 Dong ($8.60) mark. Everything above this price is a “luxury” restaurant.

 

Example of our food costs:

  • Breakfast in a local restaurant $2.20
  • Lunch in a local restaurant $2.20
  • Western meal $5.50
  • Vietnamese snack (street food) $0.55
  • Grocery shopping for a week $16.50

 

Example of our costs for drinks

  • 5 liters of water $0.25
  • Beer – Bia Hoi $0.15
  • Soft drinks $1.10

 

Cost per day for Vietnamese food and drinks

Cost per day – we rode a scooter from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi so we mainly ate on the road at local joints. That saved us a lot of money. On average we spent about $9.50 per person on food. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and at least 2 liters of drinks. Occasionally we ate more luxuriously.

 

Bowl of traditional Vietnamese noodles

A delicious bowl of traditional Vietnamese noodles, highly recommended!

 

Cost for Transportation in Vietnam

We have done everything on the scooter in Vietnam (except the ride from Hanoi to Sapa). That is why we have hardly traveled by public transport. We bought two old scooters for $495 each. A new scooter will cost you around $1,100, but for $330 you will be able to buy a great second-hand Honda Win.

 

Public transportation in Vietnam is cheap and well arranged. Especially traveling by bus is very cheap. The buses in and around Ho Chi Minh often cost only 4,000 dong per ride. That is not even $0.20. Long-distance buses are often just as cheap. A ride between Hue and Hanoi will cost you around 110,000 dong ($4.75).

 

Of course, you pay more if you take the more luxurious VIP or Tour buses. To go with a tour bus from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh you will pay around $33 per ride.

 

For a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to neighboring Phnom Penh in Cambodia, you will pay less than 400,000 dong ($17.20) per person.

 

12GoAsia

If you need help planning your trip you can also plan your entire trip online via 12GoAsia. A super handy website where you can easily check all prices and possible routes online. Super easy if you are in Vietnam (or at home) and want to reserve tickets for buses.

 

Cost for Activities in Vietnam

Many of the activities in Vietnam are related to beautiful nature. Because of this, it doesn’t have to cost much. Yet there are also a number of tours that you have to take a closer look at. If you want to take some tours, your Vietnam budget must increase.

 

For organized excursions such as the one to the Cu Chi Tunnels, you will have to pay between 100,000 and 200,000 dong (US $4.40 to $8.80). That’s not too much for a day out. But a tour to Ha Long Bay is a bit more expensive. In Hanoi, you can book day trips for around $110 to $165 a day. It can also be cheaper, but then the quality of your cruise declines. Trekking in Sapa will easily cost you $22.

 

Example of costs for activities;

  • 2-day Halong Bay Tour $95 to $145
  • Tour to Mekong Delta $27.50
  • Rent a scooter in Sapa $9 per day
  • Entrance Hoi An Ancient Town $4.75
  • Cooking course $13.50
  • Canyoning in Da Lat $20

 

Cost per day for activities

Cost per day – it is difficult to state what it costs per day. Not everyone books paid activities. If you want to go on paid activities make some more room in your Vietnam budget. We assume that you don’t do tours every day. For the average, we have assumed 1 paid activity in 3 days. As a result, count on spending around $6 to $9 per day for activities.

 

Kayak to traditional floating villages

Watching floating houses from our kayak in Ha Long Bay, a very beautiful experience!

 

Vietnamese Dong (VND)

The currency in Vietnam is the Dong. 100,000 Dong is approximately US $4.30. You can check the current rate on xe.com. If you use an atm you will receive bills of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000 Dong. A lot of possibilities. Grabbing $40 from the atm means that you are a millionaire in Vietnam.

 

TIP – American Dollars are also widely used to pay. So bring some dollars with you.

 

Getting Bargains and Haggling

Haggling is very common in Vietnam. It is especially common with souvenirs, art and everything that is made by hand. The rule is that you can bargain everywhere, except for items that have a fixed price. An exception is a souvenir shop where prices of products are often indicated, but where bargaining is indeed possible.

 

Note that the Vietnamese don’t want to be fooled in public. So think of this competition as a fun mini-game. Don’t get angry and keep smiling!

 

ATMs

In Vietnam you can pay with debit cards in any city. Cards with the Maestro, Visa or MasterCard logo are accepted everywhere. Large Vietnamese banks are BIDV, VietinBank, Vietcombank, HSBC, and VIB.

 

TIP – Every atm transaction you make in Vietnam will cost you 30,000 to 55,000 Dong. An ATM is indicated as, surprise, ATM.

 

We wish you a lot of fun with your trip to Vietnam!

 

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1 thought on “Traveling to Vietnam – Manage Your Budget”

  1. Your method of telling everything in this post is genuinely pleasant, every one can without difficulty understand
    it, Thanks a lot.

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