Despite an economic boom in recent years, Vietnam remains one of the best value destinations in the world. If you eat locally, you will struggle to spend more then a few dollars per day. Hotel rooms also offer incredible value, as little as $10 a day will get you a clean and comfortable place to stay. Read on for an in-depth guide on what you can expect to spend, from backpacker budget to the luxury seeking traveler.
Vietnam will always be one of the best places in the world to be a backpacker.
The best food you will eat in Vietnam is all sold on the streets for a couple of dollars at most. A Banh Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich) will cost you less than a dollar, and a hearty bowl of Pho (beef soup) will cost you the same. If you eat what the locals eat, you can expect to be spending around 100,000 VND (5 USD) a day.
In terms of drinking, Vietnam is undoubtedly a backpacker’s friend. A bottle of local beer on the street will cost you around 20-30 K VND a bottle. In bars, the prices are slightly inflated, or around 2-3 USD for a beer.
Accommodation options are plentiful and exceptionally cheap. Expect to spend around 5 USD a night for a bed in a dorm. Getting a private room in a hotel is even affordable for backpackers. It is not uncommon that you get a perfectly clean and comfortable private room for $10 a night.
- See the best overview of things to do in Vietnam here
Vietnam is the home of the scooter. Renting one is possible for as little as 5 USD a day. An international driver’s license is all that is required, and you are good to go.
If you are hesitant in driving on the chaotic roads of Vietnam, the Grab app is your best option. The app lets you connect to one of its many scooter drivers or car drivers like Uber, and pay through the app or in cash.
Tours and activities in Vietnam are also very much affordable for backpackers. A two-day cruise on Halong Bay goes for as little as 100 USD a person. You can also find a guided trekking tour to Sapa for as little as 150 USD a person. Food tours go for around 30 USD a person and are a great way to get yourself acquainted with Vietnamese cuisine.
- Book a Saigon food tour on scooters here
Mid Level Budget
For the traveler who doesn’t quite have to save every penny, Vietnam offers a terrific return on your extra spending.
In the major cities of Hanoi, Da Nang and Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, there is an impressive selection of restaurants offering cuisine from all over the world. The large Korean and Japanese populations in Vietnam mean there is a wide selection of high class Korean and Japanese food at a fraction of the price you would pay in other parts of the world. Expect to get a terrific meal at a restaurant for around 15 dollars.
For a night out on the town, there are plenty of options for the mid-level budget traveler. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, especially, have seen a surge in trendy bars and nightclubs. Rooftop bars, cocktail bars, craft brew bars, and lively nightclubs are plenty. Expect to pay roughly 150,000 VND for a cocktail at one of these bars. Some clubs will charge an entry fee but do not expect that to be more than 150,000 VND.
- Also read our guide to the top ten roof top bars in Ho Chi Minh City
For the mid-level budget traveler, it is ideal to start with cheap beers on the street and then moving into one of the more elusive bars or clubs as the evening progresses.
In the tours and activities side, there are great options for the mid-level budget traveler. For slightly above the cheapest Halong Bay Cruise, you can get something comparable to a four-star hotel on a boat. There is also a range of new and exciting tours available such as the Sea Walking tour by Hoi An. See below for our best recommendations for tours and activities for the mid-level budget traveler.
For the traveler seeking the best of the best, Vietnam is quickly developing into a sought after destination for the luxury traveler. World-class resorts, hotels, restaurants, and spas have sprung up in recent years in an attempt to lure the luxury-seeking travelers from traditional markets such as Thailand.
In terms of fine dining, Vietnam is in an upward trajectory and even today boasts Michelin starred restaurants, including a three-star restaurant in Da Nang. Prices in the best restaurants in Vietnam are certainly more reasonable than in Europe or America. For a lavish set menu dinner at a premier restaurant, expect to be paying around $80 a person.
There are certainly no shortages of five-star hotels and resorts to choose from in Vietnam these days. Premium chains such as Four Seasons, Intercontinental and Hilton are making big bets on Vietnam as an ultimate luxury destination, and have built several resorts and hotels throughout the country.
In terms of transportation within cities, the Grab app is the most convenient option. Hiring a private driver can also be arranged if you prefer, for around $20 a day.