While I was in Vietnam, I tried to travel on a budget and wrote down every single cent I spend. Doing so allowed me to be fully aware of how much I was spending and to plan my daily budget in Vietnam for future trips there. And based on how beautiful and picturesque Vietnam is, I will definitely return there.
I love knowing how much I should expect to pay when I am traveling. And I hope that this all-inclusive list of all my spendings in Vietnam will help you if you are just like me.
At the very least, this Vietnam travel budget should make you laugh as I somehow managed to spend more than twice as much on food and drinks than on accommodation. A situation for which I blame my travel buddy Caro and the fact that Vietnamese food is amazing.
In general, I can say that Vietnam was one of the cheapest countries I have ever explored. You get amazing quality and adventures for little money. Therefore Vietnam is the perfect destination if you wish to travel on a budget.
Vietnam on a Budget
While traveling, a large part of my daily budget in Vietnam was spend on food and transportation. These two things made up half of my spendings, and it is likely that your budget will be similar.
The prices in this spending diary are in Vietnamese Dong and in Euro. The exchange rate as of July 2020 is as follows: 100.000 VND equals 3.80 EUR, 3.41 GBP, 6.18 AUD and 4.31 USD.
Accommodation: 934K VND / 36,53€
While traveling in Vietnam, we stayed in both hotels and hostels. The costs accounted here, therefore, list the full amount of hostel costs and half of the costs of a private room.
Food & Drinks: 2.141K VND / 83,76€
I love Vietnamese food, so I ate two meals per day. Therefore the total amount includes food and all drinks, including water, soda and cocktails.
Based on my experience vegan and vegetarian dishes costs about the same as those with meat.
The price of alcoholic beverages in Vietnam can be very low. On beer road in Hanoi, you can get a beer for as little as 5K VND and in Hoi An there are long happy hours where you can get two cocktails for the price of one.
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Transport Costs in Vietnam: 1.889K VND / 73,89€
For the biggest part of our Vietnam adventure, we took the bus to get around between the big cities. We bought all our bus tickets at the last minute. If you want to plan ahead and book online, I recommend using 12GoAsia.
Using sleeper buses is the most affordable option to explore Vietnam, whereby you can opt for normal or luxurious sleeper buses. Alternatively, you can take the train that runs from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh.
Flight (Da Nang to HCM): 644K
Due to time constraints, we decided to fly from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh. Taking the bus would have taken between 21 to 24 hours, while the flight only took 1,5 hours. The flights including checked-in luggage only cost twice as much as the bus, so it was the better option for this trip. However, I can only recommend the more sustainable approach if you have more time, as there are amazing stops along the way.
Taxi & Grab: 285K
Grab is the UBER of Asia and the prices for a ride are more than fair. You can get a scooter ride or a car ride.
Scooter Rental in Vietnam (0.5x): 859K VND / 33,60€
During our trips across Vietnam, we ended up renting a scooter at different locations. In total we rented scooters eight times. The costs consist of the scooter rental, fuel, and parking. Hereby it is noteworthy that you should always expect to pay a small fee when parking.
Normal Rental: 659K VND
Van Han Pass Rental (oneway rental with luggage transport) 200K VND
Entrance Fees & other Fees: 790K VND / 30,90€
Take the wording ‘other fees’ with a grain of salt. We all know that there are some amazing and restricted places in Vietnam and every now and then you’ll end up in a situation where you will hand over a small amount of money so you can access a certain area.
I honestly feel a little conflicted about this practice, but no one that received money was an official authority, so I would say it is a grey area. And exploring places like Poem Mountain and the Abandoned Water Park in Hue was worth the expense.
Activities: 575K VND / 22,49€
Ha Long Bay Day Cruise
If you wish to explore Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay on a budget, you should book a day trip from Cat Ba. It is an amazing trip and the costs are only a small percentage of what these trips cost if you depart Ha Long City or Hai Phong.
Sim Card in Vietnam: 190K VND / 7,50€
When compared to international prices, a sim card and a data package in Vietnam are rather affordable. Therefore getting a local sim card is a better option and will save you a lot of money.
I bought a local sim card that gave me 2 GB a day for 30 days. I used Vinaphone and had a cell phone reception wherever I went. Furthermore, it is possible to call other Vinaphone users free of charge, so you can reach your travel buddy if you end up splitting up.
The other phone provider with great coverage even in rural areas is Viettel. The data packages of Viettel are slightly more expensive with 200K VND for 15 GB and 300K VND for 30 GB. Their coverage is even better than that of Vinaphone, but you have to venture quite far of the beaten track to need it.
Additional Costs in Vietnam
For some dumb reason I arrived in Vietnam without sunscreen, and I ended up regretting it after kayaking in Ha Long Bay. And it certainly did not get better once I saw how much it costs in Vietnam. Do yourself a favor and buy it before you travel to Vietnam. It will save you quite a bit of money.
I think it is important to consider costs like this when planning one’s daily budget in Vietnam, as there are always unexpected costs. Be it the sunscreen you left at home or that cute Vietnamese hat you buy to escape the torching sun.
Due to my nationality and the fact that I only stayed in the country for 15 days, I did not need a visa. If you do not qualify for a visa exemption or want to stay for up to 30 days, you most likely have to pay 25 USD for an e-Visa. Check the visa regulations for Vietnam to see if you have to add the costs to your Vietnam budget.
My Spendings in Vietnam
Daily Budget in Vietnam: 530K VND / 20,75€
Total Cost of 15 Days in Vietnam: 7955K VND / 311,22€
Further Travel Budget Guides
If you are planning a trip to more countries in Asia, you should also read these posts to find out how much it costs to travel there.