I was in Vietnam between the 1st of February 2023 and the 2nd of March 2023. The currency in Vietnam is the Dong (funny, if you’re 15 years old or under) and prices are very cheap. For a backpacker’s budget for Vietnam, you need between 15 and 30 euro per day.
There are hostels pretty much everywhere in Vietnam. Vietnam’s tourism sector has grown so much in the last 10 years that it’s become so easy to find accommodation everywhere in the country. Hostels go for between 1 and 12 USD per night. Yes, you read that right – I stayed in a 1$ per night hostel in Vietnam and it was actually pretty nice!
Hotels are cheap too, especially if you secure promotions on Booking.com – between 5 and 12 euro for a double room.
If you’re traveling through the country, chances are you’ll take a few overnight buses or trains. More information about them is in the transport section. I took 3 such overnight buses.
I also couchsurfed for 3 nights in Nha Trang. Thus, the nights I actually paid for are 23.
Total accommodation cost came to 105 euro making the average 3.5 euro or 4.57 if only counting the nights I paid for.
Food and Drinks
Food in Vietnam is ubiquitous and so, so cheap!
Street food stalls can be found pretty much everywhere you go. Even in the most remote regions, street food will be around the corner.
Simple meals like pho noodle soup, chicken with rice, or pork meatballs cost between 1 and 2.3 euro.
Of course, the Banh Mi sandwich is a Vietnamese staple. Street cart vendors will make you a fresh one with fried eggs, a variety of meats, and veggies. These usually cost between 0.4 and 1 euro. Sometimes you might need 2 to get full. Other times (and this has happened to me) one at the ridiculous price of 0.23 euro was enough.
At night markets you can find a variety of other snacks like Vietnamese pizza (with a rice base), different noodle meals, meat skewers, etc. All of these are incredibly affordable.
Last but not least – desserts! Kem – the Vietnamese ice cream – is my favorite with a price tag between 0.7 to 1.2 eur.
Non-alcoholic drinks are very cheap too – iced tea is around 0.3 euros and fruit juices go for ~1 euro for a large (0.5 L, sometimes more) cup down to 0.6 euro for a small cup (0.25 L).
Alcohol is everywhere in Vietnam and is so cheap. A 0.33 L. can of local beer from the supermarket costs around 0.4-0.5 eur whereas in a bar it will set you back 0.75 to 1.2 eur.
Let’s not forget about coffee too! Coffee is an intrinsic part of Vietnamese culture and is widely consumed. A cup of Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk costs around 0.55 – 0.75 eur and I drank 1-2 per day on average. If you don’t drink coffee, the number below will of course be lower.
In total, I spent 132 euro on food (main dishes, snacks, desserts) and 51 euro on drinks (coffee, water, juices, and beer). The average in total is 6.1 euro per day.
Transport is incredibly easy and convenient in Vietnam. Any hostel or tour agent will book a bus or train ticket including pick-up and transfer from your hostel to the station. Usually, they have a small markup, so I learned to check the price at a few places before making a decision.
The sleeper buses in Vietnam are unique in that they have actual beds inside. If you’re a very tall man, then maybe not that comfortable, otherwise you can comfortably sleep for the duration of your trip.
Some example prices for bus journeys:
- Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat: 300.000 VND (11.5 eur)
- Da Lat to Nha Trang: 185.000 VND (7.1 eur)
- Nha Trang to Da Nang (train): 477.000 VND (18.3 eur)
- Hoi An to Hue: 180.000 VND (6.9 eur)
- Hue to Ninh Binh: 330.000 VND (12.6 eur)
- Ninh Binh to Sapa: 400.000 VND (15.3 eur). Pretty sure I overpaid for this one.
- Sapa to Ha Giang: 300.000 VND (11.5 eur)
- Ha Giang to Hanoi: 250.000 VND (9.6 eur)
Inside the cities, Grab provides easy and cheap transportation, especially if you use their motorbike options – a 5km ride on a motorbike taxi is around 0.8 euro.
I didn’t hitchhike at all in Vietnam, but in hindsight, I wish I had. Hitchhiking is relatively easy in Vietnam.
In total, I paid 118 euro for transport. The average daily cost came out to 3.93 euro.
Additionally, I paid 53 euro for a flight into Vietnam (Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Minh City).
I deliberated a lot about how to leave Vietnam going into Laos – overland or to fly. After carefully considering costs, time, and visa requirements, I decided to fly. The flight was relatively expensive at 137 euro, but so be it.
I won’t include either of the flights in the budget breakdown for Vietnam. I consider international flights part of my “global budget” for this trip around the world.
Culture and Activities
There’s an entrance fee for pretty much everything in Vietnam – for museums, archeological sites, and even some temple grounds.
Additionally, you’d be paying for boat rides and motorcycle rentals too. At least that’s what I mostly paid for in the activities section.
Total cost: 96 euro. The average cost per day came to 3.2 euro.
Pretty much everybody needs a visa for Vietnam. Some nationalities get a 15 days exemption, but given the size of the country, 15 days is only enough for one region, not the whole. Long story short, you probably need a 30-day visa which costs 25 USD with a small card fee. The only official government website for the visa is https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/. Do NOT trust any other websites.
A 90-day visa for Vietnam has been announced starting from 15 August 2023. Check the link above for official information.
As I spent a whole month in Vietnam, I had other costs like laundry (~0.75 euro per kg), mobile net (~12 euro for unlimited internet for a month), toiletries (toothpaste = 2 euro, small shampoo = 1.5 euro, shaving razors =0.5 euro each), new socks (5 pairs for 1.4 euro), etc.
In total, I paid 65 euro for other expenses. Daily average: 2.17.
A Backpacker’s Budget for Vietnam
|Food & Drinks||183 euro|
|Culture & Activities||96 euro|
In total, I spent 590 euro for 30 days, which makes the average 19.67 euro per day.