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.
How much should I budget for Vietnam?
Vietnam Travel Costs on a Shoestring Budget
US$20/day | 460,000 Vietnamese Dong
Vietnam remains very budget friendly despite an enormous rise in visitor numbers over the past decade. Costs are pretty typical by mainland Southeast Asian standards and you are likely to find it slightly cheaper than the cost of travel in Thailand but a fraction pricier than Cambodia although it is likely to get more expensive over the coming years. $20 is a realistic Vietnam backpacking budget but doesn’t allow much lee-way for extra excursions and activities. 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.
More Comfortable Vietnam Backpacking Budget
US$30/day | 700,000 Vietnamese Dong
You travel pretty comfortably on US$20 in truth and doubling that doesn’t really provide an enormous upgrade. 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.
Reducing the Cost of Travel in Vietnam
One way to save money if you are a budget traveller 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 (currently 81 opportunities in Vietnam). These vary 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.
Find out more about the benefits of travel using Worldpackers here.
Cost of Travel in Vietnam
Hue to Hanoi by Train (13-14 hours) – $25-35 (air-con berth on sleeper train)
0.5 litre domestic beer in Ho Chi Minh City bar/restaurant – $1
Meal at a cheap restaurant – $2-3
Cheap dorm bed in a big city – from $3
Budget double/twin private room – from $8
Full day kayaking trip around Halong Bay – $25-30
Note, these prices were last checked in 2016. Everything else on this page was updated in early 2019.
What is the best Currency to take to Vietnam?
Currency – Vietnamese Dong
£1 = 29,500 VND
€1 = 26,500 VND
US$1 = 23,200 VND
(Exchange rates correct as of January 2019)
US Dollars are accepted in many places and are frequently used for larger transactions such as paying for excursions or accommodation in places geared towards foreigners. 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.
If you find yourself in the Vietnamese capital then we suggest staying at the Hanoi Traveller Hostel, in the charismatic old town, Hanoi’s backpacker hub close to Hoan Kiem Lake. Beds start at around $5/night.
This post was updated in January 2019.