Money Matters: How much does it cost to travel Vietnam?

Money Matters: How much does it cost to travel Vietnam?

Hoi An Market copy

Emily Luxton traveled throughout Vietnam for 45 days. She survived crossing the streets in chaotic Hanoi, sailed a boat in magical Halong Bay and visited the chilled-out Phu Quoc island in the south. But, how much does it cost to travel Vietnam? Take a look at Emily’s detailed spendings overview to find out!

This article is part of the Money Matters series in which we ask travelers to keep their expenses for Bunch of Backpackers. Real travelers, real expenses. The Hostelworld links are affiliate links. Using this link won’t cost you anything extra, but buys me a beer on the road.  

COSTS 45-DAY VIETNAM TRIP: 929 EURO (1010 USD)
DAILY TRAVEL EXPENSES VIETNAM*: 20,65 EURO (22,44 USD)

*These daily travel expenses are per one person per day.  Including all tours, domestic flights, souvenirs, lodging, food, drinks, entrance fees, tips etc. Excluding international flights.

Halong Bay by Emily Luxton
Halong Bay ©Emily Luxton

EXAMPLES OF PRICES IN VIETNAM:

These prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

Standard Vietnam expenses

One night in a hostel (6-p dormitory): 4,00 euro (4,34 USD)
One night in a double room in a simple guesthouse: 8,00 euro (8,70 USD)
A short 10-minute taxi ride: N/A
A bottle of water (0,5L) at the store: 0,25 euro (0,27 USD)
A local beer at a bar/restaurants: 0,80 euro (0,87 USD)
A glass of coca cola in a restaurant: 0,80 euro (0,87 USD)
Lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant: 2,00 euro (2,17 USD)
Dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant: 3,00 euro (3,26 USD)

Notable Vietnam expenses 

Flight ticket from HCMC to Hanoi: 53,00 euro (57,61 USD)
Flight from Danang to HCMC: 31,00 euro (33,69 USD)
Flight from Phu Quoc to HCMC: 33,00 (35,87 USD)
Taxi to and from Hanoi Airport: 29,00 euro (31,52 USD) (Emily had to go to and from Hanoi airport to collect lost luggage)
Full day motorbike tour to the DMZ from Hue: 33,00 euro (35,87 USD)

Please note that Emily also visited Halong Bay. However, this trip was sponsored, so depending on the type of cruise you should add this to the total costs.

MM Vietnam Emily Luxton

SOME DETAILS ON THIS TRIP:

About the backpackers: Emily Luxton, a 27-year-old travel blogger and her boyfriend. 
Destination and travel period: Vietnam in November 2014 for 45 days
Visited places: Hanoi, Sapa, Halong Bay, Ninh Binh, Hue, Hoi An, Danang, Ho Chi Minh, Vung Tau, Phu Quoc
Type of trip: Couple, independently
Accommodation*: Budget (mainly hostels / guesthouses / budget hotels)
Transportation*: Budget with the cheapest available modes of transportation (with exception of the domestic flights)
Food*: Standard (food in medium priced local restaurants and western restaurants). 
Currency rate: 1 USD = 21290 VND

*4 options: basic, budget, standard and luxury

VIETNAM TIPS BY EMILY LUXTON
  • Budgeting tips – don’t book any tours or transport through your hotel or hostel as they mark up the price to include a big commission. Especially for transport – it’s much cheaper if you go to the train station or bus station in advance (important to book trains especially a few days in advance) and buy tickets there, rather than though an agent or at your hotel. Sometimes half as much!
  • Eat in the local markets and at sidewalk cafes as it can be a lot cheaper – but always confirm the price before you order (we got caught out a few times that way!).
  • Don’t forget to haggle. Vendors generally ask for about 3 times the amount they’re willing to accept, so it’s important to haggle if you’re trying to save money. My tip is to turn it into a game: always be friendly and joke about it, rather than let it stress you out. The classic ‘walk away’ usually works, or you could try just holding out the money you want to pay until they take it – a method I saw work very well a few times! Haggling can lower you costs to travel Vietnam significantly.
  • You definitely shouldn’t miss a trip to Halong Bay and a cruise is a very lovely way to do it – but there are cheaper options. If you take a bus to Halong City you can take the ferry to Cat Ba island and there are hostels here – much more expensive that those you’d find on the mainland but still cheap enough compared to a cruise!
  • My travel tip is to rent a motorbike or scooter whenever you can. It’s usually around $6 USD for the day, plus a tank of gas (maybe another $3) and it’s a great budget way to explore long distances or get off the beaten track. Don’t be scared to try it out, it’s great fun – just make sure you get decent insurance. And don’t drive of sand roads – we made that mistake and I still have the bruises about eight weeks later!
  • Don’t miss Ninh Binh just a couple of hours south of Hanoi – I loved it. Very chilled out backpackery town with amazing scenery – they call it the ‘inland Halong Bay’

Fortune Teller Hue by emily Luxton

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EXTRA VIETNAM TIPS BY BUNCH OF BACKPACKERS
  • Don’t miss the War Remnants Museum and Cu Chi tunnels in/near Ho Chi Minh City
  • Try to eat Banh Beo (steamed cake), Pho (noodles), Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette) and Banh Xeo
  • I truly loved Sapa! It’s easy to reach by sleeper train from Hanoi. In Sapa you can do one- or multiple day trekkings.
  • One of my favorite coastal places was Mui Ne. There is not much to do, but it has some great sea food restaurants, cool little cafe’s and a relatively quiet beach (compared to Nha Trang).
  • My favorite Vietnam hostels include: Vietnam Backpackers Original in Hanoi and Mui Ne Backpackers Village in Mui Ne.

Emily Luxton is a fellow travel blogger who blogs at EmilyLuxton.co.uk.

Check out her useful guide to backpacking in Vietnam :)

Have you traveled to Vietnam? Can you relate to these travel costs? 

Meet 'travel mastermind' Manouk: a 29-year-old sassy girl from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. With BoB she inspires you to explore the world, meet the unexpected and follow your dreams. Happy travels!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Wat een super handig overzicht! Echt heel duidelijk in beeld gebracht wat de kosten zijn.. ik schrok eigenlijk hoe goedkoop het is.. jeetje! Vietnam staat op ons lijstje, ben er zo benieuwd naar!

  2. Hi :)
    Me and my partner are planning to travel through Southern Vietnam in a month for 2 weeks and this blog was very interesting for us! I have been trying to plan out my finances for the trip and it was cool to see what other people have spent! We will definitely be checking out the war museums and the cu chi tunnels!
    Thanks for a fab post and an awesome website!
    Jade x

  3. Do I have to book hostels or hotels in advance or can I get a good price on spot also? I want to back pack and travel around with no specific plans

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