The typical costs for travelling on the Vietnam tours can easily be kept reasonable with a little forward planning. Even for the traveller with a tight budget, it is relatively easy to experience the rich culture of this fascinating country. With its great tourist infrastructure and the ability to haggle with locals, there shouldn’t be any difficulty in exploring this country from north to south irrespective of the budget.
Here are a few of the typical costs associated with travelling in Vietnam:
The cheapest stay in Vietnam is at one of the many hostels that cost in the region of $4-$5 per night. To upgrade on the most basic accommodation, the price can easily double, while a private room (double) can cost about $18.50 per night. However, the cost of the private rooms in hostels is typically more expensive than staying elsewhere, such as a small hotel or guesthouse. The amenities in the hotels are limited and can include free Wi-Fi and breakfast. Also, self-catering facilities aren’t likely to feature because eating out is very cost-effective, especially for those travellers on the Vietnam travel packages wishing to experience the street food scene. For the travellers that prefer the privacy of their own room, a stay in a budget hotel can cost in the region of $9.95 per night.
The varied and delicious cuisine in Vietnam makes this a great destination for food lovers. For the travellers on a budget, the best way to keep the costs down and save money is to stick to the street food and local Asian eateries. Some of the most popular and delicious Vietnamese dishes include noodle soups, rice dishes, or crusty bread rolls. Plus, there are a few low-cost vegetarian dishes – although the most commonly found is the beef noodles. A rice dish or a bowl of pho costs less than $1, while the food in a sit-down restaurant isn’t that much more expensive at about $2.50-$4.50.
However, the more tourist-orientated and high-end restaurants can be a lot more expensive, especially those that serve the western-style of food. For the budget traveler, it benefits to avoid the western food and stick to the local Vietnamese dish for not only the low-cost and delicious food, but also for the most authentic experience.
With the drinking water not advisable to drink, it is practical to buy plenty of bottled water; this is relatively cheap at about $0.65 for 1 litre, while a glass of soda or beer in a restaurant costs about $0.85-$1.55. For the travellers with amenities in their accommodation, the cost of groceries for a basic meal costs in the region of $17.50 per week. But it is best to use the local markets for the freshest and cheapest ingredients and food.
Getting around is cheap and convenient in Vietnam. Bus travel is likely to be the most cost-effective with a trip in Ho Chi Minh City costing in the region of $0.20 per ride. On the long journeys, the overnight buses are available and tickets cost between $4.50 and $22.50. While this isn’t the most comfortable form of transit it is convenient and takes a lot of the hassle out of travelling to lots of cities throughout the country. Plus, using the overnight bus on the long journey helps to save on the cost of a night’s accommodation. For the travellers on the Indochina tour a bus ride from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Phnom Penh in Cambodia costs about $14.50. The cost of travelling by train on the tours of Vietnam is relatively inexpensive with a trip from Hanoi to Da Nang (approx 791 km) costing in the region of $32.50. Plus, there are a few low-cost airlines in Vietnam (FlyVietnam or VietJet) that make it incredibly quick to get around between the major cities with flights as little as $60.
Many of the popular attractions for tourists on the Vietnam tour packages are based around the country’s natural beauty, which means there is a lot on offer at very little. But for the travellers planning the organised trips with tour operators the prices are still very competitive. For instance, for those staying in Ho Chi Minh City, a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels and the ability to explore a small section of the network of tunnels costs about $4.50-$8.50. A day-trip to Da Lat that includes the adrenaline-fuelled fun of canyoning costs in the region of $19.50. Plus, for the tourists wishing to explore the beautiful seascape of Halong Bay, a two-day tour (including the trip from Hanoi) can start at about $37.50 with prices increased based on the type of boat, services, and entertainment provided.
Activities that are mostly targeted at the tourists can be slightly more expensive than the norm, such as a bicycle tour or half-day cooking class. The prices for this type of entertainment can start at about $13.50.
Suggested daily budget
An easily achievable daily budget for the traveller on the travel in Vietnam is in the region of $30-$40. This daily budget is based on staying in a low-cost guest house or hotel, eating the local street food, and relying on the local transport. But, for the travellers that favour the mid to high-end accommodation or plan to eat in the sit down restaurants, the daily expense is certain to rise.
Haggling in Vietnam
Haggling is a common way that locals do things and is seen as a fun part of travelling around Vietnam. Whether you plan to buy tailor-made clothes, souvenirs or gifts in Vietnam, it is certain to be worth the effort to learn the art of haggling. Plus, it can even benefit to haggle when it comes to booking the accommodation. Haggling has the potential to lower prices by about 25% to 50% of the initially quoted price. Also, with markets or similar areas with plenty of people selling the same thing, if one trader is too unpleasant or tough to haggle with, it may be worth moving on to someone else.