Travel Costs: Vietnam

How much does it cost to travel through Vietnam?
Wandering through the small streets of Hoi An, Vietnam.

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

Itinerary

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.

Travel Costs

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).

Overall Impressions

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.


  • jevari

    is there any place, where i can get a full trip inclunding transportation and stayings, i feel like if i go there on my own, whitout any previos knowlege im gona get lost or somethig like it.

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Hey Jevari!

      If you’re not comfortable traveling on your own, there are a number of different tour companies that organize and run various trips throughout Vietnam. Check out G Adventures or Intrepid Travel. They have many tours to choose from. Cheers!

      • jevari

        oooo tahnx a lot :) im gonna try it.

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  • http://acoupletravelers.com/ acoupletravelers

    Great info we are heading to Vietnam overland from China in just a few days. Any specific tips would be great!  Do you feel like you had enough time in each place or would you have rather spent an extra day or two in any of the cities? Also which cooking class did you take? Would you recommend it? 

    • http://www.seeyousoon.ca Arienne

      Hey! I think we had just the right amount of time in each place. If you’re looking to do more than just a one day activity in Da Lat, I’d give it an extra day, as well as Hoi An. It’s such a lovely little town. We didn’t do any cooking courses in Vietnam, but I did hear good things about the Red Bridge course in Hoi An. If you have extra time, you can also go north from Hanoi to Sapa to check out the mountain region as well as the hill tribes there.

      • http://acoupletravelers.com/ acoupletravelers

        Good to know – thanks will definitely keep all that in mind! Will look into the cooking class thanks for mentioning it. We actually are starting our trip in Sapa and have booked a 2 day trek with a local all female tour company there! Getting excited! 

        • http://twitter.com/gingernomads Heather Carson

          I did Red Bridge Cooking School in Hoi An. It was pricier than some of the other ones but it was beyond amazing. They take you to the markets and then the fields, and the school itself is outside of town on the river. So your transportation back is a boat. Well worth the money. 

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