Vietnam Cost of Travel – What is a typical Backpacker Budget?

Ho Chi Minh Visit Costs

This post details the estimated cost of travel in Vietnam. Read on for suggested shoestring and more comfortable backpacking budgets for the Southeast Asian country as well information about the local currency and sample prices.

Vietnam backpacking budget
Map of Vietnam from wikitravel, can be re-used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Vietnam Cost of Travel in 2023

Shoestring Backpacker Budget

  • US$20/day | 470,000 Vietnamese Dong

Vietnam remains very budget friendly despite an enormous rise in visitor numbers over the past decade or so. Costs are quite low, even by mainland Southeast Asian standards and you are likely to find it slightly cheaper than the cost of travel in Thailand and more in line with neighbouring Laos which is also great value.

$20 is a realistic Vietnam backpacking budget but doesn’t allow much lee-way for extra excursions and activities. This shoestring budget covers all your typical daily travel expenses in Vietnam including the cost of accommodation (hostel dorm bed), transport and meals. If you eat in ‘local’ restaurants and street stalls all the time, you can probably get by on even less, certainly if you aren’t doing much partying.

One way to save money if you are a budget traveller in Vietnam is to find a bit of work to support your travels. Signing up to join Worldpackers may be a good move before your trip. It will give you access to a host of possible work exchanges varying from teaching jobs to hostel work and environmental projects. You won’t get paid but you will generally be rewarded with free accommodation and food cutting your travel costs down even further. Find out more about the benefits of travel using Worldpackers here.

More Comfortable Vietnam Backpacking Budget

  • US$30/day | 700,000 Vietnamese Dong

You can travel pretty comfortably in Vietnam on US$20 in truth and doubling that doesn’t really provide an enormous upgrade in terms of your overall experience. The temptation to waste your money on partying and alcohol isn’t quite as great here as in Thailand as the backpacker scene is slightly calmer and bars and clubs are less plentiful and shut earlier.

Allowing for $30 will allow you to fork out on the odd extra excursion/activity every now and then, such as a more extensive boat trip around Halong Bay or kite-surfing lessons at Mui Ne. The main difference on this kind of budget will be that you can afford to fork out for a private room. You can often find good deals in hotels too so there may be times where you want a break from the hostel scene and a bit more luxury.

Tam Coc caves adventure
Kayaking at the Tam Coc caves, Vietnam.

How much do things cost in Vietnam?

Approximate Price in USD
Flight from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (2 hours)$25-50 + Baggage Fees
Train from Hanoi to Hue (13-14 hours)$20-35 (depending on class/train)
Meal in a local restaurant$1.50-3.50
Local beer in bar/restaurant$1-1.50
Dorm bed in a hostelFrom $4
Budget private roomFrom $8
Entrance to Cu Chi Tunnels$4.70
Travel insurance for backpacking VietnamDepends on age, length of trip & other factors – Get a quote from Heymondo in less than a minute!

The food cost in Vietnam is very cheap and you can even find some decent international restaurants serving meals for just a few dollars if you’re not a fan of the local cuisine. Vietnamese beer is also great value, as is travelling by train. In short, Vietnam is one of the best value countries in the world.

Compare this to our Laos backpacking budget for an idea of how prices differ between the neighbouring countries. For money-saving tips, learn how to bargain in Vietnam.

Money – Vietnamese Dong

Currency – Vietnamese Dong

£1 = 29,000 VND

€1 = 25,000 VND

US$1 = 23,000 VND

These exchange rates are correct as of January 2023. US Dollars are the best currency to take to Vietnam and are accepted in many places and are frequently used for larger transactions such as paying for excursions or accommodation in places geared towards foreigners.

However the local currency (Vietnamese Dong) is still used for most day-to-day small payments. Therefore it is useful to carry a stash of both currencies but it’s fine if you only arrive with US Dollars or a Debit/Credit card as ATM’s and exchange places are plentiful in the cities.

These estimates for the cost of travel in Vietnam were last updated in January 2023.

Vietnam Cost of Travel – What is a typical Backpacker Budget?

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