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The Real Cost Of Travel In Vietnam


by Tallia Parmer



When it comes to budget travel, Vietnam offers a plethora of exciting opportunities for adventure seekers and avid explorers. With its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities, it’s no wonder that Vietnam has become a popular destination for travelers on a budget. But just how much does it really cost to travel in Vietnam?


In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive overview of the real cost of travel in Vietnam, helping you plan your budget and make the most of your trip. From transportation and accommodation expenses to food, sightseeing, and shopping costs, we’ll cover it all. So, let’s dive in and discover the true cost of exploring this captivating country.


Vietnam is a country of diverse geography, from the bustling streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to the stunning natural beauty of Halong Bay and the Mekong Delta. Depending on your preferences, you can choose to immerse yourself in ancient history, relax on pristine beaches, or trek through the breathtaking mountains.


No matter where you decide to go, transportation costs will be a significant part of your budget. Vietnam has a well-developed transportation system that offers various options to suit different budgets. From affordable buses and trains to the convenience of domestic flights, you can easily get around the country without breaking the bank.


Accommodation expenses in Vietnam are remarkably reasonable, especially if you opt for budget guesthouses or hostels. These accommodations offer clean and comfortable rooms at affordable prices, allowing you to save money without compromising on comfort. If you prefer more upscale options, you’ll also find luxury hotels and resorts in popular tourist destinations.


One of the highlights of traveling in Vietnam is indulging in its delicious cuisine. From mouthwatering street food to upscale restaurants, the country offers a variety of dining options to suit different tastes and budgets. Don’t miss the chance to sample iconic dishes like pho, banh mi, and fresh seafood at local markets or family-run eateries.


Exploring Vietnam’s cultural and natural wonders is a must, and luckily, many attractions come with affordable entrance fees. Whether you’re visiting historical sites, exploring national parks, or taking a cruise in Halong Bay, you’ll find value for money in the experiences and memories you’ll gain.


Of course, no trip is complete without a bit of shopping. Vietnam is known for its vibrant markets, where you can haggle for unique handicrafts, textiles, and souvenirs. Keep in mind that bargaining is a common practice, so be prepared to negotiate the best price.


To help you make the most of your budget, we’ll also provide tips on how to save money while traveling in Vietnam. From finding the best local eats to using public transportation, small adjustments to your itinerary can make a significant difference in stretching your budget further.


So, if you’re considering traveling to Vietnam on a budget, keep reading to discover the real cost of travel and start planning your unforgettable adventure.


Transportation Costs in Vietnam

In Vietnam, transportation options are plentiful, making it easy to get around and explore the different regions of the country. The cost of transportation in Vietnam can vary depending on the mode of transportation and the distance traveled.


If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, buses are a popular choice for traveling between cities and towns in Vietnam. They are comfortable and reliable, with fares ranging from a few dollars to around $20, depending on the distance. Some popular bus companies include Phuong Trang (Futa Bus), Mai Linh Express, and The Sinh Tourist.


Another affordable option is the train system, which offers a unique and scenic way to travel through Vietnam. The train fares are generally higher than bus fares, but they are still relatively inexpensive compared to other countries. The Reunification Express, which runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, is a popular route among travelers.


For those short on time or looking for a more convenient option, domestic flights are available between major cities in Vietnam. While flights can be pricier, they offer significant time savings. Airlines such as Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, and Jetstar Pacific operate domestic flights at competitive prices.


Within cities, taxis and ride-hailing services like Grab are widely available and reasonably priced. Ensure that the taxi driver uses the meter or negotiate a fixed price before getting into the taxi to avoid overcharging. Motorbike taxis, known as xe om, are also a popular and affordable way to navigate through the busy streets of cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.


If you’re feeling adventurous and want to fully experience the local way of getting around, consider renting a motorbike. Motorbike rentals are inexpensive and allow you the freedom to explore at your own pace. However, it’s essential to have prior experience riding a motorbike and to exercise caution on the roads.


In terms of cost, motorbike rentals can range from $5 to $10 per day, depending on the duration and type of motorbike. Make sure to inspect the bike thoroughly before renting and take pictures to document any pre-existing damages.


Overall, transportation costs in Vietnam are relatively low, making it an affordable country to travel within. By choosing the right mode of transportation based on your budget and preferences, you can explore the stunning landscapes and vibrant cities of Vietnam without breaking the bank.


Accommodation Expenses in Vietnam

When it comes to accommodation in Vietnam, there are options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for budget-friendly guesthouses, mid-range hotels, or luxurious resorts, Vietnam has it all.


If you’re traveling on a tight budget, guesthouses and hostels are a popular choice. These accommodations offer affordable rates and are a great way to meet fellow travelers. Prices for a bed in a dormitory room can start as low as $5 per night, while private rooms in guesthouses can range from $10 to $30, depending on the location and amenities.


In popular tourist destinations such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Hoi An, you’ll find a wide range of budget-friendly guesthouses. These establishments provide clean and comfortable rooms, often with basic amenities such as Wi-Fi and hot showers.


If you prefer more comfort and privacy, mid-range hotels and boutique hotels are abundant throughout Vietnam. These hotels offer additional amenities such as air conditioning, private bathrooms, and sometimes swimming pools or fitness facilities. Expect to pay anywhere from $30 to $100 per night, depending on the location and hotel rating.


For those seeking luxury and indulgence, Vietnam boasts a selection of upscale hotels and resorts. From beachside villas to city-center luxury hotels, you’ll find a range of high-end accommodation options. Be prepared to spend upwards of $150 per night for a luxurious stay.


It’s worth noting that prices may vary depending on the season, with higher rates during peak tourist periods. It’s advisable to book accommodation in advance, especially during holidays and popular travel seasons, to secure the best rates and availability.


When booking accommodation, consider factors such as location, reviews, and amenities. Staying in centrally located accommodations can save you time and transportation costs, allowing for easier access to attractions and restaurants.


Additionally, platforms such as Airbnb and homestays have become popular in Vietnam. These options provide a unique opportunity to stay with local hosts and experience Vietnamese hospitality firsthand. Prices for Airbnb rentals and homestays can vary depending on the location and the level of comfort and amenities provided.


To ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay, read reviews and feedback from previous guests before making your accommodation choice. This can help you gauge the quality and service of the establishment.


Overall, accommodation expenses in Vietnam are generally affordable, offering a range of options to suit different budgets. Whether you’re a backpacker on a shoestring budget or seeking a luxurious getaway, Vietnam has the perfect accommodation for you.


Food and Drink Prices in Vietnam

One of the best parts of traveling in Vietnam is indulging in its delectable cuisine. Vietnamese food is known for its fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and diverse range of dishes. The great news is that enjoying delicious meals in Vietnam doesn’t have to break the bank.


Street food is a highlight of Vietnamese culinary culture, offering a wide array of affordable and mouthwatering options. From the famous pho noodle soup to banh mi sandwiches and spring rolls, you can find tasty street food throughout the country. Prices for street food range from as low as $1 to $5 per dish, making it an excellent choice for budget travelers.


Local markets and food stalls are also a great way to experience authentic Vietnamese flavors at reasonable prices. These bustling markets offer a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, seafood, and street food specialties. You can choose to dine at the food stalls within the market or purchase ingredients to cook your own meals if you have access to a kitchen at your accommodation.


For those seeking a sit-down dining experience, local restaurants and eateries are abundant in Vietnam. These establishments offer a range of Vietnamese dishes, as well as international cuisine to cater to different tastes. Prices for meals in local restaurants typically range from $5 to $15 per person, depending on the restaurant and location.


If you’re in the mood for a more upscale dining experience, Vietnam is also home to many fine dining restaurants. These establishments feature creative and refined dishes, often with a modern twist on traditional Vietnamese cuisine. Prices for meals at high-end restaurants can range from $20 to $50 per person or more.


When it comes to drinks, Vietnam is renowned for its coffee culture. You can find delicious and highly-caffeinated Vietnamese coffee at affordable prices. Popular coffee options include ca phe sua da (iced coffee with condensed milk) and ca phe trung (egg coffee).


Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and cocktails are also available at bars and restaurants in Vietnam. Local beer, such as Bia Hoi or Saigon Beer, can be as cheap as $0.50 to $1 per glass, especially at local bars and street-side establishments. Imported beers and craft beers tend to be pricier, ranging from $2 to $5 per bottle or glass.


Water and non-alcoholic beverages such as soft drinks and fruit juices are readily available throughout Vietnam. It’s recommended to drink bottled water or use a water filter to avoid any potential issues with tap water.


Overall, food and drink prices in Vietnam are reasonable, especially when compared to Western countries. By indulging in the street food culture and sampling local specialties, you can savor the flavors of Vietnam while keeping your wallet happy.


Sightseeing and Activities in Vietnam

Vietnam is a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offering a wide range of sightseeing and activities for travelers to enjoy. From ancient temples and historical landmarks to pristine beaches and stunning landscapes, there’s something for everyone in Vietnam.


One of the most iconic attractions in Vietnam is Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its breathtaking limestone karsts and emerald waters. Taking a cruise through the bay is a must-do experience, allowing you to explore the caves, kayak through the islands, and witness stunning sunsets. Prices for overnight cruises can vary depending on the level of luxury and duration, ranging from $100 to $300 per person.


Hoi An, with its well-preserved ancient town and lantern-lit streets, is another must-visit destination in Vietnam. Explore the historic buildings, temples, and unique blend of cultural influences, or take a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Vietnamese dishes. Entrance fees to historical sites and museums in Hoi An generally range from $1 to $5.


In the bustling cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there are plenty of attractions to discover. Visit the mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh, explore the Old Quarter of Hanoi, or take a stroll along the vibrant streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Entrance fees for museums, historical sites, and landmarks in the cities range from $1 to $5.


If you’re a nature lover, consider visiting the beautiful Sapa region in the north or the Mekong Delta in the south. In Sapa, you can embark on trekking adventures through lush rice terraces and visit local ethnic minority villages. Prices for guided treks and homestays vary depending on the duration and level of comfort, with options ranging from $25 to $100 per person.


In the Mekong Delta, take a boat tour to explore the peaceful waterways, visit fruit orchards and floating markets, and immerse yourself in the laid-back rural lifestyle. Prices for boat tours in the Mekong Delta range from $10 to $30 per person.


For beach enthusiasts, Vietnam offers stunning coastal destinations such as Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Phu Quoc. Spend your days sunbathing on white sandy beaches, snorkeling or diving in crystal-clear waters, and enjoying delicious seafood. Entrance fees for some private beaches and beach resorts may apply, ranging from $5 to $20.


It’s worth mentioning that many attractions and activities in Vietnam can be explored independently, without the need for expensive tours. Renting a motorbike or bicycle and exploring at your own pace can provide a more budget-friendly and flexible experience.


Overall, the cost of sightseeing and activities in Vietnam is relatively affordable, especially considering the cultural and natural wonders that await. By prioritizing the attractions that interest you most, planning your itinerary, and being mindful of entrance fees, you can make the most of your budget while experiencing the beauty and charm of Vietnam.


Shopping Expenses in Vietnam

Vietnam is a shopper’s paradise, offering a wide range of unique and affordable products. From vibrant markets to modern shopping centers, there are plenty of opportunities to indulge in retail therapy while exploring the country.


One of the best places to shop in Vietnam is at the local markets. These bustling hubs are filled with stalls selling a variety of goods, including handicrafts, textiles, clothing, accessories, and souvenirs. From the famous Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City to the Night Market in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, you’ll find a treasure trove of items to suit every taste and budget.


When shopping at markets, bargaining is a common practice in Vietnam. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and haggle for the best price. Keep in mind that the initial price quoted by the vendor is often higher than the final price they are willing to accept. Approach the bargaining process with a friendly and respectful attitude to secure a good deal.


In addition to markets, Vietnam is known for its skilled craftmanship, with several traditional handicraft villages that produce high-quality products. These villages specialize in different crafts, such as ceramics in Bat Trang, silk in Hoi An, and lacquerware in Hanoi. Visiting these villages allows you to witness the artisans at work and purchase authentic handmade items directly from the source.


If you prefer a more modern shopping experience, Vietnam has a growing number of shopping malls and department stores. These establishments offer a mix of local and international brands, ranging from fashion and accessories to electronics and home goods. However, keep in mind that prices at these stores tend to be higher compared to the local markets.


When it comes to clothing, Vietnam is a popular destination for getting custom-made garments. Whether you’re looking for a tailored suit, ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress), or simple alterations, there are many reputable tailors throughout the country. Prices for custom-made clothing can vary depending on the style, fabric, and complexity of the design.


It’s important to be mindful of the quality and authenticity of items when shopping in Vietnam. While there are many genuine products available, there are also counterfeit goods in circulation. Exercise caution and do your research before making any major purchases.


Overall, shopping in Vietnam offers a wide range of options and price points. Whether you’re looking for unique souvenirs, fashionable clothing, or handmade crafts, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. Make sure to budget accordingly and enjoy the excitement of bringing home a piece of Vietnam.


Miscellaneous Costs and Tips for Saving Money in Vietnam

While exploring Vietnam, there are some additional costs to consider and plenty of ways to save money without compromising your travel experience. Here are some miscellaneous costs and money-saving tips to keep in mind:


1. Visa Fees: Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Vietnam. Be sure to check the visa requirements in advance and budget for the associated fees. Visa costs can vary depending on the duration of stay and type of visa you apply for.


2. Transportation within Cities: While buses and taxis are common modes of transportation, consider using local options like motorbike taxis or cyclos (cycle rickshaws) for shorter distances. These alternatives are often cheaper and provide a unique way to explore the city.


3. SIM Card and Internet: Purchasing a local SIM card is a convenient and cost-effective way to stay connected during your trip. SIM cards are widely available and offer affordable data and call packages.


4. Cash vs. Credit Cards: Although credit cards are accepted in many establishments, it’s recommended to carry cash, especially in rural areas or small businesses where card payments may not be accepted. ATMs are prevalent throughout major cities and towns, making it easy to withdraw cash when needed.


5. Drinking Water: To save money on bottled water, consider bringing a reusable water bottle and using water purification tablets or a portable filter. This helps minimize plastic waste as well.


6. Local Eateries: Venture away from touristy areas and dine at local eateries frequented by locals. These establishments often offer delicious meals at more affordable prices compared to tourist-oriented restaurants.


7. Happy Hours: Take advantage of happy hour promotions at bars and restaurants for discounted drinks and snacks. This is a great way to enjoy a taste of Vietnam’s vibrant nightlife without breaking the bank.


8. Bargain Smartly: Bargaining is an integral part of shopping in Vietnam, but be mindful of fair prices and respect the local vendors. Do some research to have an idea of reasonable prices for certain items before negotiating.


9. Street Food Safety: While enjoying street food, consider hygiene and cleanliness. Choose stalls that have a high turnover of customers and opt for cooked food that is served hot. This minimizes the risk of foodborne illnesses.


10. Budget Accommodation: Look for budget accommodations with good reviews and recommendations. Consider staying in guesthouses or hostels that offer affordable rates without compromising on cleanliness or comfort.


By being mindful of these miscellaneous costs and practicing savvy money-saving tips, you can make the most of your budget while enjoying the wonders of Vietnam. Remember, experiencing the local culture and immersing yourself in the country’s beauty can often be done without spending a fortune.



Exploring Vietnam on a budget is not only possible but also incredibly rewarding. From affordable transportation options to budget-friendly accommodations and delicious yet inexpensive street food, Vietnam offers an array of opportunities to experience its rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes.


By carefully planning your itinerary and incorporating the money-saving tips mentioned in this article, you can make your budget stretch further without sacrificing the quality of your trip. Whether you’re exploring historical landmarks, indulging in local cuisine, or shopping for unique souvenirs, Vietnam offers something for every traveler.


Remember to immerse yourself in the local culture, try new experiences, and interact with the welcoming Vietnamese people. Engaging in street food adventures, bartering at markets, and venturing off the beaten path are all part of the authentic Vietnam experience.


As you discover the real cost of travel in Vietnam, be sure to budget accordingly for visa fees, transportation, accommodation, dining, sightseeing, and shopping expenses. Keep in mind that prices may vary depending on the location and time of year.


Whether you choose to explore the bustling cities, relax on pristine beaches, or trek through the lush countryside, Vietnam promises a journey filled with unforgettable memories and incredible value for your money.


So pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to discover the wonders of Vietnam without breaking the bank. Chúc mừng chuyến đi! (Happy travels!)