Vietnam has a rough and violent history, but has become a real backpackers Walhalla in the last years. The country has a lot to offer, from the high mountains around Sapa to the beaches of Nha Trang. It’s easy to travel around and super cheap, so you won’t break your budget! We’ve hold track of all our expenses so you can get a good example of how much you should budget to travel around in Vietnam for one month.
MONTHLY TRAVEL EXPENSES – SUMMARY
Transport – $270 (incl. motorbike, helmets, petrol, train, ferries,…)
Eating & drinking – $185
Accommodation – $175
Activities – $64
Shopping – $47
Total = $741*
* ALL COSTS ARE ESTIMATED ON THE EXPENSES OF ONE PERSON IN 30 DAYS.
The main means of transport to reach different destinations in Vietnam are by bus, train, domestic flight, taxi and even by motorbike. There are many options to choose from, and each has its benefits. Buses are an excellent way to discover the country, especially the night buses are useful. They even provide free WiFi on board. Trains are a great experience to do long distances but are a lot of times much more expensive. Domestic flights are usually really cheap. Check with Skyscanner for the best prices on the market. Taxis are great for small distances but be sure to arrange a price before you get in. There’s a lot of scamming going on in larger cities.
Another popular thing to do in Vietnam is renting or buying a motorbike or scooter and explore the country with it. It’s very easy to purchase and sell a motorbike. But beware that this isn’t the safest option because a lot of people get involved in accidents. Vietnam isn’t the easiest or safest country to drive around. You also won’t be insured because you’re not in possession of a Vietnamese driving license. However, we went for it and bought a $400 Sufat Win in Hanoi (best replica of the original Honda Win and better than the Chinese “Honda Win”). This way we could get more interaction with the local people in smaller villages which you won’t pass by if you go by bus or train. After cruising with it through Vietnam and Cambodia, we’ve sold the bike in Ho Chi Minh for $300.
Motorbike Hanoi – $420 (incl. helmet, luggage racks, …)
Sold the motorbike in HCM – $300
Ferries to and from Cat Ba Island – $8
Night train Hanoi to Hué – $90 (incl. motorbike on train)
Estimated fuel costs – $40
Motorbike fixes – $12
Our estimated total spent on transportation is $270.
Travel Tip: Buy an Open Bus Ticket for $30-$40, which gives you the flexibility of taking overnight buses multiple times without following a schedule (because we all know this can change quickly).
FOOD & DRINKS
Possibly one of the main reasons to go to Vietnam – at least it was one of ours -, and rightly so because the Vietnamese cuisine is unquestionably delicious, fresh and cheap! You can get a delicious Phở or Bánh mì for less than $1 at a street food stand. Not to mention the beer for less than 50 cents. Going to a restaurant doesn’t have to be expensive either. Just avoid the touristic streets and places and get yourself a seat in a small restaurant between the locals. The food will be the same in quality (or even better), and it will be a better experience.
Estimated total spent on food and drinks is $185.
Travel Tip: Some cities have markets – like the indoor market in Hoi An – where you can get dishes for less than $1!
Normally, you won’t have a problem to find accommodation in Vietnam. The standards are ok and pretty cheap most of the time. Sleeping in a guesthouse gives you the best experience of Vietnam and will be the cheapest. Hotels and hostels are also widely spread, especially in the bigger cities. Resorts are most common along the coast. We slept in guesthouses, hotels, and hostels during our trip and hadn’t paid more than $20/night. Taking a night train is also great because you’re moving from point A to B while sleeping!
Estimated total spent on accommodation is $175.
Travel Tip: Try to find places where breakfast is included. Your costs on food will be significantly lower at the end of the month.
Find your accommodation for Vietnam on Hotelscombined. This website scans all the hotel booking websites to find the best prices for you and your wallet!
Because we have our own bike, the activities were much cheaper than we would usually pay for. We could drive towards them by ourselves, instead of booking a tour. The only tour we did was around Halong Bay (we went with Cat Ba Ventures, which was very good and just $30 each for a whole day) and a Fishing & Cooking Class Tour in Hoi An. The rest of the costs are the entrance prices of all the other things we went to visit.
Halong Bay Cruise – $30
Imperial City of Hué – $6
Vinh Moc Tunnels – $1
Fishing & Cooking Class Tour Hoi An – $20
My Son UNESCO World Heritage Site – $7
Estimated total spent on the activities that we’ve done is $64.
Travel Tip: Shop around for tours because prices can differ significantly.
We’re not into shopping or buying stuff that we don’t need. But buying new prescription glasses in Vietnam is one of the best buys you can have. Myrthe needed one anyway, so she went to test her eyes, and bought one in Hanoi for $40. She also bought cheap sunglasses somewhere in the streets of Hoi An because she lost hers in the sea and I had to get a pair of slippers.
In total, we’ve spent $47 on items that we really needed.
Travel Tip: Bargain if you want to buy something on a market or in a shop. The starting price is usually 3x the normal price for tourists. So do your best and don’t be afraid to walk away but stay calm and respectful.
Of course, these are our experiences and they can be different from yours. But it can definitely be a starting point or an estimate of how much you’ll spent during your time in Vietnam.