Travel Prices in Vietnam

Hue citadel

If you’re a traveler headed to Vietnam, you’re in for a treat. This is not a country of natural superlatives unless you’re really into the food, but when it comes to value for your budget, it’s a dream.

These days Vietnam is on par with Thailand in some respects, cheaper in others. Overall, none of the prices are too outrageous so this one comes in squarely as one of the cheapest places to travel in the world. This is not some sad and downtrodden country anymore where a lot of people are struggling to get by though. It’s a thriving economy where motorbikes seem to sprout from the ground each time it rains. When you say “Everybody and his brother has one,” it’s really true. Nevertheless, you’ll find plenty of screaming bargains here and the budget hotels in Vietnam are some of the best for the price you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Hanoi hotel room

Our $57 Hanoi room, with full breakfast for three

Hotel and Hostel Prices in Vietnam

Ask people who have traveled for years where the best lodging values are and they’ll likely say Vietnam. Yes, there are plenty of countries with cheaper places to flop for the night, but what you get for your money here is impressive. Things a budget backpacker doesn’t usually get—like towels and a maid who will change the sheets—are common even at the bottom level. Note that the prices below nearly always include internet access and often a good breakfast.

Hostel bed: $6 – $10 (there aren’t many of these, especially outside big cities)
Cheap shared bath double room: $10 – $18
Basic double with private bath, A/C: $14 – $25
Mid-range 3* or 4* equivalent: $20 – $60
Best hotels in town: $75 – $200
Triples are often just a few dollars more than a double and lots of places have family-friendly rooms or suites.

Food & Drink Prices in Vietnam

Bia hoi! No that’s not a battle rallying cry. It’s the name of the cheap draft beer sold by the plastic pitcher on the street. Sometimes it comes out to as little as 30 cents a liter if you get the local price. But the bottled stuff is a bargain too.

There are supposedly 500 traditional Vietnamese dishes, generally variations of rice or noodles with vegetables, seafood, or meat, and a wide variety of soups. You usually use chopsticks and a spoon, often sitting on a small stool on a sidewalk. Vegetarian food is plentiful and cheaper, though it will usually have fish sauce used as a seasoning.

beer prices Vietnam

US 35 cents for a liter of beer

Ice cream cone: 30 – 75¢
Street stall dishes: 40¢ – $1.50
Cheap restaurant meals: 75¢ – $4
Nice restaurant meals in tourist places: $1 to $6, set menus with several courses $5 – $12.
You’d have to hit an international hotel or a restaurant catering to foreign business travelers to spend much more than $30 for two.

Sodas and coffee: 30 – 50¢
Fruit juice/shake: 40 – 80¢
Mineral water: 50¢ – $1 per liter-and-a-half
Two-liter pitcher of draft beer: 60¢ – $1
Large bottled beer in a restaurant: 50¢ – $1.25.
Name brand liquor cocktails: $2 (happy hour) – $5 (nice club)

Transportation Prices

Getting around in Vietnam can be a big chunk of your budget since this is such a long and skinny country. Go slowly and you’ll spend a lot less than someone trying to cover it top to bottom in two weeks.

Long bus trip (Hanoi to Hue): $8 – $15
Sleeper train same distance: $18 – $65
3-hour train trip (Danang to Hue): $3 – $5
Hop on/off bus Saigon to Hanoi or opposite: $50
Flight Saigon to Hanoi or opposite: $100 on Jetstar
Flight Saigon to Danang: $55 – $75
City taxi rides: 50¢ – $4
Airport taxi rides: $5 – $20
City bus rides: 15¢

vacation Vietnam

Other Vietnam Traveler Prices

cell phone card3-day tour of Halong Bay or Sapa: $60 – $90
Day tour of group sightseeing, A/C van: $8 – $10
Admission charges: 15¢ to $1.50 most, occasionally $4 (rare, like Hue royal tombs)
Cultural performances: $1.50 – $5
Manicure or pedicure: $1
Hour of internet access: $1 or less
SIM card for your mobile phone: $5

Comments
  1. rubin pham

    i also put vietnam on top of my list for cheap travel. the food is great, the coastline is stunning. i can even communicate with the locals so this allow me to get the best prices possible.

  2. John

    Very informative post, I think Vietnam will be one of the top destinations in Asia in the next few years-they’ve got it all from stunning beaches, great food & reasonable accommodation.

  3. Jade

    Vietnam is really affordable. And you are right in a few years Vietnam will be a top destinatiob

  4. Luzy

    Vietnam is definitely a great way to take a breather. We visited the place two years ago and it was really magical. We’re thinking about going back soon too, so this really helps our budget.

    • Kha

      Nha Trang is the best city for travellers in Vietnam

  5. Bruce

    This Vietnam article was very helpful. I’d love to go. As a somewhat older (65) solo traveler who avoids tours – is it manageable and doable as long as you are alert and cautious? I’m definitely going to look into this. A photmtour group just sent me a flier on Vietnam nov2-22 for $5450’from LA. Sounds like I could do better than that. Getting there is always the potential deal breaker.

    • roy nirschel

      Vietnam is “user friendly” in terms of travel. Long distance buses are cheap as are domestic airfares.
      You can negotiate hotel prices in most places. Check out the better guide books for a good list.
      Over 3 weeks you can easily do Saigon (and the Mekong), go to Hanoi (not my favorite city) and head to hike in Sapa, head south to Danang (and do the beach, Hoi An, and Hue)
      Enjoy

  6. Jenny

    Great article. Would you think its best to book tours etc once you are over in Vietnam rather than before you leave to get these great prices?

    • Tim Leffel

      Definitely yes. Anything you book ahead is going to cost you more. If you book it through an international company, probably 3X more to cover their margins.

  7. Anthony J. Namata

    I really love the sound of this. Tim, you have a great blog going here!

  8. Tom Hill

    Great place, people are wonderful, foods fantastic great beaches. We did a 3 week holiday booked with Indochina Oddessey Tours speak with Echo Pan. We had a guide & driver for just two of us. Landed in Saigon for 3 days, Mekong Delta 1, Saigon 1, Dalat 2, Whale Island 3, Hoi An 3, Hue 2, Hanoi 2, Halong Bay 1, Hanoi 1. International breakfast every day, 7 course lunches 75% of time some dinners, 2 internal flights all admissions to Pergodas, temples and boat trips. Simply the best. $2600 US ea April 2014.

    PS You just have to eat at Tam Tam cafe in Anchient Town Hoi An

  9. Alex

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you all for such great information.
    I`m currently thinking of moving to SE ASIA for a while and would love to ask:

    How would you rate your social interactions with the locals?
    Where did you feel the safest, friendliest reception?
    Did people try to take advantage of you because you`re a foreigner?

    Also, i know the internet speed and connection is great in Thailand. Any problems anywhere else?

    Thank you!

  10. Jonathan

    Not only the light bia hoi “beer” here are cheap. There are 47 Microbreweries in Vietnam that make Czeck and German styled beers that you can get for 1.80 USD a 300 ml glass. Really good beers with imported malt and hops so its really a bargain. More Czech microbreweries here than in Czech republic.

  11. Coggan

    SEAsia Vietnam is a great place…

  12. Richard LeMin

    I am expat living year round in Cebu, Philippines .
    I didn’t see it mentioned in your List but I think it deserves mentioning.
    I have a really nice and modern one bedroom furnished Apt for only $ 350.USD.
    You could find bigger Apts for less but this place is perfect for me .I’m single but found attractive 30 yr old woman for live in Girlfriend .
    Food is very cheap and good and English is spoken every place .They have lots of huge malls and its a great place to Live .Any questions ,write me .

    • Skins

      How’s the availability of short term rentals there? I’d like to visit Cebu early 2015. Maybe stay 1-3 months. Short term rentals easy to find? Some cities it’s difficult. Respond here or visit my site. Thanks!

  13. Skins

    Great post. After traveling around south east Asia for a few years I finally parked my ass in Vietnam. What a great country! Beautiful place, good food, nice people, beautiful classy women, cheap, great weather, easy visa. I’m happy here for now. Time for another Café De Da!

  14. Elwood Jones

    I would love Vietnam and I have no doubt that the cost of living is inexpensive but as I live in eastern Canada the cost of getting to and from Vietnam is horrendous I can assure you. If there were a way of getting to and fro at a reasonable cost I would love to go!@

  15. Tony

    Hello
    Great article with useful information. As a local travel agent, we’d love to share our travel experiences with you. How to travel with a limited budget?
    Our travel experts help you to find the best solution for your budget holiday. We focus on quality services at the most competitive prices to ensure that you are totally free of worries while touring. So that you do not care for hotels, foods, activities, excursions, sightseeing… We are on the ground to handle your matters. Check on http://vietnamhelloworld.com for more details. We’re glad to assist you at anytime.

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