How Much Does it Cost to go to Vietnam?

Vietnam is one of the most visited destinations in southeast Asia, and for good reason. Delicious food, a rich history, and stunning scenery all add to its allure. But how much does it cost to go to Vietnam? You may be surprised at how inexpensive it can be.

For the purpose of this article, I am going to suggest a two-week itinerary to see the highlights of Vietnam. This sample itinerary can start or end in either Ho Chi Minh City or Hoi An and will include the following stops: Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, the Hai Van Pass, Hue, Hanoi, Sapa, and Halong Bay. Please note that this guide is based on the costs for a single person. If you are travelling as a couple, make sure to double these estimates (except for hotels).

 Estimated cost
Total$2,530
Airfare$800
Accommodations$550
Local transportation$300
Food and drink$280 ($20 X 14 days)
Attractions$500
Random spending$100

The above estimate is in American Dollars, so please use XE.com to find out the average costs in your home country.

Airfare

International airfare will likely be the most expensive part of your trip. Vietnam is quite far from North America and the costs can be quite high. To get the best deal, start shopping in advance and avoid the main holiday season. With that in mind, I have estimated international airfare to cost approximately $800 per person, though travellers from the west coast of North America can expect to pay less.

Ho Chi Minh City will probably be the cheapest to fly into, but don’t forget to check flights to Hanoi as well. It may also be worth seeing if you can fly into one and out of the other to save you the time of having to backtrack to your starting destination.how much does it cost to go to Vietnam city

Local Transportation

Getting around Vietnam is a bit of an adventure. In the cities, I suggest walking as much as possible as the transit systems (if available) can be confusing. If you do take a taxi, remember to set a price ahead of time or you will be taken advantage of. You can also use car services such as Uber or Grab Car in parts of Vietnam.

In terms of getting around the country, you have a few options. Buses are the cheapest option and you sometimes have an overnight route option which takes care of both transportation and accommodation. However, the buses in Vietnam are not always the safest and can be pretty stressful. More than one traveller has had to get off early because they have felt unsafe or unwell.

For this reason, I suggest flying to get to the main cities when possible. So, Ho Chi Minh City to Hue (Danang Airport), Hue to Hanoi, then Hanoi back to Ho Chi Minh City for your return flight (or vice versa if you are starting and ending in Hanoi). Flights within Vietnam are quite affordable with some planning. If you book well in advance you can get one-way tickets between these cities for $50 or less.

To get to Sapa you will need to take either an overnight train or a bus from Hanoi. I suggest the train as it is a little safer, but it is more expensive and you also need to take a shuttle bus for the last leg (about 1 hour). A roundtrip ticket with a sleeping berth shouldn’t cost you more than $100 (this includes buying the mini-bus ticket when you arrive).

Getting to and from Halong Bay will be included in the price of the Halong Bay cruise that I have included in the itinerary.

Accommodations

Accommodations in Vietnam can range from a couple bucks a night for a backpacker hostel to a few hundred for a luxury hotel. This is one of the areas where it’s really easy to save or, if you feel like it, splurge a little. For the sake of this article, I have estimated accommodation costs based on a mid-range hotel. For two weeks in Vietnam (assuming you are flying rather than relying on the overnight buses), you can expect to pay about $550.

If you are looking for recommendations, I suggest the following:

Ho Chi Minh City

Hoi An

Hue

Hanoi

Sapa

Attractions

Vietnam has plenty to see and do but what you end up deciding on really depends on your interests. That being said, there are a few must-see attractions which are absolutely worth your money.

  • The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh city really is a must and is only a couple of dollars.
  • The Hai Van Pass from Hoi An to Hue is an incredibly scenic drive and can be done by motorbike (you can rent or use an easy rider program) or you can hire a private car
  • The tombs in Hue are very impressive and are worth taking a day trip to see a few

Finally, I highly recommend taking a Halong Bay cruise. Halong Bay is truly magnificent and is worth spending the money on a two-night cruise to really experience it and escape some of the crowds. Cruise costs include all food, transportation to and from Hanoi, accommodation, and some additional activities such as kayaking. There are a number of different cruise companies offering different activities and different levels of comfort. I personally recommend spending a bit more on these cruises as you really do get what you pay for. With that being said, you can easily find a high quality 2 night 3-day cruise for about $300.

I’d say these are the basics but would also add an extra $100 or so for any museums, tours, or shows you may be interested in.

Food and Drink

The cuisine in Vietnam is the highlight for many. The food is delicious, changes across the country, and is incredibly affordable. No matter your travel style, the best way to eat in Vietnam is to take advantage of the street food- which has the added bonus of being the cheapest option as well. However, I also recognize that for some meals, especially dinners, a proper sit-down option is nice as well. With that in mind, I suggest budgeting for street food type food for breakfast and lunch, and spending a bit more for dinner which means your costs will look something like this:

  • Breakfast: $2
  • Lunch: $4
  • Dinner: $12

Please note that you cannot drink the tap water in Vietnam so will also have to budget an extra couple of dollars per day for drinking water. So, I’d estimate about $20 per day for all of your meals and drinking water. This can easily be dropped if you stick with just street food, or increased for those who would prefer to eat in cafes and restaurants.

It’s also worth noting that there are many food tours available in Ho Chi Minh City which are worth splurging on.

Random Spending

When it comes to random spending in Vietnam you don’t need much money. I’d say an extra $100 is more than enough for some small souvenirs or snacks and drinks. However, Hoi An is known for its custom tailored clothing, so if that is on your list to do you will likely want to add a couple hundred more depending on what you are hoping to get made.

Insider tip: If you want custom clothing, allow for at least three days in Hoi An and visit the tailor first thing to get started. They work quickly, but you also want to make sure you give them adequate time for fittings. For a reliable, quality, and ethical tailor I recommend BeBe tailors.

If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points.

Final Thoughts

So, how much does it cost to go to Vietnam? For a two-week trip would estimate costs to be about $2,530 per person based on my suggestions and itinerary as indicated above.

Vietnam is an amazing country and one of the most affordable places for budget travellers. I’ve aimed this itinerary at the sort of mid-range traveller who keeps an eye on their wallet but also values comfort. That being said, using some of my tips in this article, you can further reduce these estimated costs even more. Check out my guide on how much does it cost to go to Southeast Asia if you’re considering visiting other countries in the area.

By |2018-09-26T15:20:32+00:00September 20th, 2018|Budget Travel, Destinations, Travel|

2 Comments

  1. Gary Hurst October 26, 2018 at 9:33 am - Reply

    Hi Barry
    Found your article very informative. I have been looking at going to Vietnam. I have found some websites that will connect you with a private guide who does all the planning depending on your needs. The sites sends links to several of the guides who have planned out your itinerary and given you a price. The price varied from 2-4k depending on Hotel choices and flights inside Vietnam. I thought they were reasonable. You can also gets daily guides for however many days you stay in an area and they ranged from 50-100 USD depending on the tour.. What I find with this approach is that they keep sending you emails reminding you that your trip is ready to approve. Also the itineraries are quite busy with little free time in each city. I finally had to email each site and tell them that my plans have changed in order to stop their emails. We usually plan all our travel but going to Southeast Asia I was a little concerned. Now after reading your article I think it is doable but with caution.
    My biggest concern is getting there and back. I can not see sitting in economy for 20 plus hours and premium economy(oxymoron) is 2-3 times the price of an economy ticket and business class with the nice lay down seats are out of most peoples price range. I think that if I am going far that I would probably extend my stay by stopping on the way there and back. That is what we did this past summer, extending our trip in Europe from 10 days to 5 weeks. After all you are already there.

    • Barry Choi October 26, 2018 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      ANy time you’re able to slow travel, your cost per day tends to drop. The longest I’ve been on holiday is three weeks and it’s the best time I’ve ever had. As for Vietnam / Southeast Asia, it’s not that difficult to do on your own. Hiring local guides is inexpensive and if you wanted to join a tour group, just find a tour operator which caters to your age demographic / travel style.

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