Yesterday I kicked off a week long series into the costs of traveling through Southeast Asia. For 5 months, Tristan and I backpacked through the region to the tune of $10,702.14. This included everything accept our flights to and from Southeast Asia (as it was part of a larger trip), our travel insurance, and clothes we had made in Hoi An, Vietnam.
Now it’s time to break that number down per country and show you exactly how much and what we spent our money on. I discussed what our travel style was like yesterday and I’ll give you a quick overview of our itinerary in the country to give the numbers some context.
First up: Vietnam
We arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam after a two-day overland journey from Hong Kong, China. We stayed in a 6-bed mixed dorm in the Old Quarter for 4 nights that included breakfast. (Note: This would be our last time staying in a dorm room until reaching Malaysia. 5 weeks into our trip and we were done with dorm rooms). In Hanoi, we checked out the Army and Prison Museums, the Museum of Fine Arts, and a water puppet show. We then went on a 2-day trip to Halong Bay, staying overnight on a traditional Vietnamese Junk Boat. Our trip to Halong Bay included transportation to and from Hanoi and upon returning to Hanoi, we hopped on an overnight train down to Hue.
We stayed in a private ensuite room (breakfast included) in Hue for 2 nights, and took in the Citadel and Imperial Palace grounds. We bused it down to Hoi An and stayed for 3 nights in a very comfortable hotel that included a buffet breakfast. We spent our days wandering through the charming little streets, bicycled to the nearby beach, and had clothes tailor-made.
We took an overnight bus down to the beach town of Nha Trang and didn’t really feel it. The cloudy, rainy weather also played a factor for just 2 nights in the city. We did, however, learn what the term “Kamikaze Hooker” meant and thankfully for Tristan, never encountered it. We bused it down to Da Lat and stayed for 2 nights in the most comfortable room we’d have on our entire trip. Our stay included the most amazing buffet breakfast and a roof top hot tub. In Da Lat, we went canyoning with Groovy Gecko Tours who sponsored our day trip in exchange for writing and making a video of our experience.
After Da Lat, we bused it over to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) for the final stop in Vietnam. We stayed for 4 nights in the Pham Ngu Lao area, just off the main drag. In HCMC, we visited the Reunification Palace, the War Museum, took a day tour to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Cao Dai Great Temple, bought clothes and souvenirs at the Ben Thanh Market, and shipped a 7kg parcel filled with our tailor-made clothes home.
So to breakdown our costs, I’ve split our spending into these categories:
- Visas: the cost to get into the country
- Accommodations: places we stayed
- Transportation: everything from buses within a country and to another country, to bicycle/motorbike rentals, to ferry rides, and subway fares
- Food: everything we ate and drank
- Sites: entrance fees to museums, temples, ruins, day trips, overnight trips, cooking courses, and even a scuba diving course
- Entertainment: seeing cultural performances, going to the movies, etc
- Laundry: laundry was available everywhere we went for very affordable prices, we really didn’t feel like washing our clothes in the sink
- Miscellaneous: all our souvenirs, massages, parcels shipped home, and toiletries
Prices are shown for two (2) people and are in Canadian Dollars, unless otherwise specified.
Vietnam: 20 Days, $56.10/day ($1 CAD = 20,000 dong)
- Visas: $130.00 USD (this will depend on how you enter the country, we also had to pay the “rush” service for them while we were in Hong Kong, making them more expensive than normal)
- Accommodation: $256.56
- Transportation: $167.49
- Food: $355.03
- Sites: $261.03
- Entertainment: $9.92
- Laundry: $9.92 (we had it done twice)
- Misc: $61.90
- Total: $1,251.85
So in total, we spent $1,251.85 for 20 days, averaging $56.10/day.
Big ticket item: 2-day Halong Bay Cruise at about $225.
Our cheapest accommodation was our dorm room in Hanoi (260,000 dong for 2 beds, roughly $13/night) and our most expensive accommodation was our private double room in Da Lat (400,000 dong, roughly $20/night).
I had read some very polarizing reviews from other travelers about their experience in Vietnam, but Tristan and I had a really enjoyable time. Getting around was easy, transportation was straight forward, and we didn’t have any difficulties with language barriers. While some of the shopkeepers can be overly enthusiastic (read: somewhat annoying at times) about getting your business, the Vietnamese in general are very reserved and friendly people.
Comments or questions? Leave them below!
This post is part of a 7-day series on travel costs through Southeast Asia. Tomorrow I’ll breakdown the costs for traveling through Cambodia.