A lot of things to consider for a trip from transport, hotels, tours, tickets and even insurance or health, but don't worry as Vietnam is pretty cheap. Check it out how it will cost you for a trip in Vietnam.

Accommodation

Near the top of the world’s economic growth rankings, enterprising Vietnam has maintained its popularity with foreign travelers looking for a relatively inexpensive holiday. By international standards, the price of travel in Vietnam is still cheap, but of course, your budget is dependent on your choices.

Boasting a wide range of good (and ever-increasing) accommodation, you can choose from simple, basic hotels and hostels for an astounding $5 – $10 per night, to mid-range hotels from $25 – $70 per night and luxury hotels in the cities, which will set you back anywhere from $100 or more a night. Homestays are sprouting up everywhere in small towns and more remote areas, and they tend to cost anywhere from $4 to $10 per night.

typical home stay
Homestay in the Northwest of Vietnam

 

Food & drinks

One of the highlights of traveling to Vietnam is, without doubt, the food, with a wide variety of places to sample some of the finest Vietnamese (and plenty of Western) cuisine, from street food stalls to cafes and casual restaurants to fine dining establishments. The prices differ vastly between these venues, of course, so depending on the atmosphere and level of flash you’re seeking, you can definitely find something to fit your budget.

 

Bun Dau Mam Tom

 

A hearty and delicious street-side bowl of ‘pho’ (beef or chicken noodle soup) or a made-to-order ‘banh mi’ (baguette sandwich) might cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3.00; a slightly higher price of $4 to $7 will get you a big serving of either local food or Western food at a nice place with a nice ambiance.

The touristy areas are chock-a-block full of Western-style restaurants, but these restaurants are not only often dramatically more expensive than their local counterparts, but they are also mostly a poor reflection on Western cuisine. Sticking to local restaurants that serve up Vietnamese food will ensure more money in your pocket and a much more rewarding dining experience.

Pho

There is no lack of higher-end restaurants in the urban centers, and the prices charged at these establishments are just slightly lower or nearly on par with comparable restaurants in Western countries.

As varied as the choices of food and restaurants are the choices of drinks in this splendid country. Vietnam produces and consumes a lot of coffee, and the range and number of cafes are mind-boggling. The price of a ‘café sua da’ (iced coffee with sweet milk, a Vietnamese specialty) can be anywhere from $0.75 to $1.50, so inexpensive you’ll want to have a second! Many coffee houses offer cappuccinos and lattes at an affordable $3 – $4.


Hanoi Vietnamese coffee
Hanoi's cafe

 

Bia hoi, a local draught beer is by far the best value of alcoholic drinks at a mere 20 to 50 cents! Cocktails are available at most restaurants and bars, of course, and there are now some fancy cocktail bars sprouting up everywhere. Cocktails will generally set you back anywhere from $2 to $6, but can be as high as $8 – $10 in the more trendy establishments and hotels.

In keeping with the adulation of Western ways, wine has somewhat recently become more popular amongst locals and appreciated amongst expats. Imported wines will undoubtedly be pricier than Vietnam’s own Dalat wine, anywhere between $4 – $12 per glass compared to $1.50 – $2.50 per glass, but the difference in price definitely reflects the difference in quality and taste. Enough said.

Especially Vietnam cuisine varies from region to region so you can taste three different cuisine heaven from the North to the South. 

 

Transportation

Getting around in Vietnam means choosing from a diversity of modes of transportation including cyclos, bicycles, motorbikes, cars, taxis, buses, boats, trains and airplanes. Some advance planning will help you to choose how to travel, as well as help you to stay within your budget.


Motorbike riding back roads
Riding in Vietnam countryside

 

Flights within the country can be reasonably inexpensive if you book far enough ahead or luck out on a few remaining seats. There are a few low-cost carriers that can take you from one end of the country to the other for as little as $100 return. The airlines often run promotions so you can shop for the best price. 

If you have plenty of time and want to get a greater insight into Vietnam’s landscapes and people, the train is a popular and inexpensive means of transportation. A north-to-south, 1726-km, 34-hour train ride in an air-conditioned soft seat will cost about $40 – $60 one way, depending on the type of train. Getting a soft bed in a berth for the same trip will set you back about $70 – $100. 

Various types of boats and ferries operate throughout the country, and the range of prices is just as varied. Check with your hotel, do your research, or ask around for the price and level of service that fits your budget and taste.

Buses are plentiful and cheap in Vietnam, but have, on occasion, not always been so reliable or safe, on the road break-downs and on the bus theft being two of the most commonly reported issues.

Ha Giang minibus
Bus to Hagiang

The prognosis is not all bad, though. The plethora of bus operators mostly charge similarly low prices for the north-south line, about $20 – $25, and another advantage to these buses, apart from having time to observe and appreciate the breathtaking scenery, is that you can choose to hop off/hop on the bus to visit cities or towns along the way. Just remember to book your seat for the next leg of your journey to avoid being disappointed.

These days, new lines of ‘VIP’ and ‘Limousine’ buses and mini-vans are flourishing, so the bus option has become a much more enjoyable one. These (usually) 9-20 passenger vehicles are spacious, clean, air-conditioned, and affordable. For example, the journey from Hanoi to our favorite place in Vietnam, Ha Giang, a 6 to the 7-hour trip, overnight or by day, is about $10-$12. Sleeper buses, also clean and air-conditioned, transport passengers to and from place to place at reasonable prices.

A much more hassle-free, quicker, nicer alternative to travel from point A to point B is with car and driver. Prices vary from company to company, and from driver to driver, but generally, they can be hired at a very reasonable price, especially if two or more people are sharing the cost. Prices depend on the distance traveled, the time required (by the day vs by the hour), the difficulty of terrain in which they will be driving, etc.

Inner-city transportation is varied—bus, xe om (motorbike taxi), taxi, and electric cars – and all quite reasonably priced. Bus fares run at about 30 to 50 cents (7,000 – 9,000 Dong) per trip. Xe om fares have to be negotiated but generally should cost between 30-50 cents per km (about 6,000 – 10,000 Dong per km); remember to always negotiate and agree on the fare before embarking.

 

Electric cars are great for inner-city tours, and they are great as a way to help you orient yourself when you first arrive. These seven-seater, open-air cars are not only environmentally friendly but also fun and inexpensive. If you hop on a public car, the price is only about $0.70 to $1 for a 45-minute ride around the city, and if you want to hire a private electric car, it should only set you back somewhere between $9 for 35 minutes to $13 for an hour.

Taxi fares are incredibly cheap compared to taxis ‘back home’, but make sure the taxi you get into is running a meter, as opposed to a verbal price. The starting meter price, depending on the taxi company, should be somewhere between 30 – 50 cents (7,000 -12,000 Dong), and the rest of the trip charge should be about 45 – 65 cents (10,000 – 15,000 Dong) per km.

Metered taxi

 

Renting or buying a motorbike

Getting around on your own on a motorbike is a popular alternative, especially for out-of-city travel. If you choose to rent a motorbike, we advise you to do so from a reputable, reliable company. There are plenty of scammers out there trying to make a buck from unsuspecting, trusting visitors – be smart, be aware of the possible scams that might occur. 

Motorbike and green fields

To avoid the possible hassles, we would be happy to steer our customers in the right direction for good companies to trust, as well as arrange the rentals for you.

Rental costs will depend on the type of motorbike you want, and the duration of your rental contract. The cost should range from about $10 per day for, say, a Honda Blade or Honda Dream (110 cc bike), to about $20 a day for a 150 cc bike, to about $35 per day for a bigger 250 cc bike; a decent discount is usually negotiable if you rent the bike for a week or more.

Buying a used motorbike can be a less expensive (but of course, more troublesome) option to your motorbike needs. You will have no difficulty finding a second-hand low-end bike to buy, sometimes for as little as $200, but without a doubt, you will, likely very early into your trip, have to dish out some money on maintenance, causing you not only unnecessary nuisance, but also extra costs. And, you will then be stuck, at the end of your trip, finding a new buyer on which to unload your motorbike.

An alternative to this is to buy a second-hand, well-maintained bike from a reputable seller who is in the business of selling the bike, and then buying it back from you at the end of the trip. There will, of course, be a slight difference between the money handed over to the seller and the money returned to you, but the difference is generally the same or less than what you’d pay for the rental of a crappy bike.

You can also buy a brand new bike from one of these safe, credited sellers, who will buy it back from you when you’re done traveling. The price of the bike, reasonably, depends on the bike you choose. Do your research before you come. 

So, as you might expect, how much you should plan to spend in Vietnam depends very much on you and your preferences. We can’t tell you what your daily or weekly or monthly costs might be when there are so many factors involved. Your budget guidelines are yours to dictate and attempt to follow. We would be pleased to assist and advise you to keep within your guidelines.