Advice/ Asia/ Vietnam

HOW MUCH TO BUDGET FOR A MONTH IN VIETNAM

I was so excited to visit Vietnam but initially I was worried that our tight budget would hold me back from fully experiencing the country. Luckily though, Vietnam is a cheap destination for backpackers and you can have a fab time without breaking the bank.

In this post, I’ll talk through how much to budget for a month in Vietnam based on my experiences. Yep, it’s totally possible to do it for £500 per person! If you’d like to read more about where we visited in Vietnam, I’ll link my more detailed posts on each location below. But for now, let’s get stuck into the nitty gritty of how much you can expect to spend.

HOW MUCH TO BUDGET FOR A MONTH IN VIETNAM - Wander with Laura

This round-up excludes the cost of visas and transport to / from Vietnam. Prices are in both Vietnamese Dong and British Pounds where I’ve remembered and they’re also listed for two people. If you’re travelling solo, just halve the figures shown in each heading. The exchange rate at my time of travel was around 27,653 VND: 1 GBP.

Accommodation = 7,096,000 VND or £256.61

Accommodation is cheap in Vietnam and while it was tempting to splash out on a nice hotel with a pool to escape from the humidity, we kept costs down in hostels and guesthouses. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh were noticeably more expensive than the other cities but you can still easily find a decent double room with a private bathroom for under £15 per night!

To find the best deals, I scoured sites like Hostelworld, Expedia, Agoda, Booking.com and Airbnb. We booked accommodation a day or so in advance so it’s likely that we could have found even cheaper prices. However, having the option to extend your stay is great and we did this a number of times. If you have accommodation already booked and paid for, it’s a lot more difficult to cancel.

Sneaky tip – we actually only paid for 26 nights accommodation out of the 29 we were in Vietnam! We were undercharged by one night in Hanoi and the overnight bus from Nimh Binh to Hue included a free hostel stay the following night. This was a bit of a bargain at 350,000 Dong each (£12.66) for a long journey and what was effectively two nights accommodation

Average nightly cost per person = 118,267 VND / £4.28

Ho Chi Minh city

Transport = 5,977,000 VND or £216.14

Vietnam is a big country but luckily, there’s a good network of frequent, cheap buses that make getting around a breeze. Here’s a breakdown of our transport costs for a month in Vietnam:

Flight from Hue to Ho Chi Minh: 2,066,000 Dong (£75)
Local buses: 170,000 Dong (£6.15)
Long distance buses: 1,580,000 Dong (£57.14). Includes bus / boat / bus package from Cat Ba Island to Nimh Binh and one overnight bus.
Taxis: 1,851,000 Dong (£66.94). This should have been far less but we had a slight mishap where we accidentally paid with a 500,000 note instead of 50,000. Always check your zeros guys.
Ferry to Cat Ba Island: 140,000 Dong (£5.06)
Motorbike hire and fuel: 170,000 Dong for one day including fuel (£6.15)

I’ve seen some nightmare horror stories about sleeper buses in Vietnam but honestly, our journey was fine. The seats lie flat with blankets and pillows so they’re relatively comfortable, although you won’t have a fantastic sleep thanks to the constant traffic noise. Ours was even relatively empty with nobody sleeping in the aisles like I’ve read about on some blogs!

After deciding that we weren’t too fussed about visiting Nha Trang or Da Lat, we decided to fly down to Ho Chi Minh. I mean, Hoi An to Ho Chi Minh is a hell of a bus ride…

map of vietnam

Now the cheapest flights went from Hue, coming in at just over £37 each. So basically we ended up getting an overnight bus from Nimh Binh to Hue and then travelling down to Hoi An the next day. We then spent time there and in Da Nang before returning to do some sightseeing in Hue before our flight. Sounds confusing but it worked out well and saved us heaps of time.

Sleeper bus to Hue

Slightly crazed expressions on a sleeper bus to Hue

Food = 12,843,000 VND or £464.40

The food in Vietnam is SO good and cheap by UK standards. If you’re eating in a Western style restaurant, it’s not uncommon for you to pay £10 for a meal and drinks for two. However, local restaurants can charge a lot less and we even had two bowls of veggie Pho in Da Nang for about 70p! Apart from buying water and the odd snack, we ate out for the majority of our meals so our breakdown looks like this:

Eating out: 11,113,000
Supermarket snacks and water: 566,000
Alcohol: 1,163,000

On an average day, we’d have two big meals – a late brunch and dinner – with drinks and the odd snack in between. I got a taste for late night Banh Mi, often sold at street carts for between 10,000 and 20,000 Dong. I also drank tons of water to escape from the humidity and ate so much delicious lemongrass tofu. Beer is cheap too with a bottle of Saigon or Tiger coming in at around 25,000 Dong.

Average daily cost per person = £7.75

vegetarian food vietnam

Activities = 2,142,000 VND or £77.46

I was actually kind of surprised at how little we spent on activities! But for the most part we like just wandering around and seeing the sights on foot – many of which are free. I also managed to make eating into an event – food lovers, are you with me? – by researching the best restaurants in each town. Most of the museums we went to had a low entrance fee, although we paid more at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi. But hey, we did get privilege of seeing his perfectly preserved corpse!

The most expensive things that we did were visiting the Imperial City and a DMZ day tour in Hue and a three hour boat ride at Trang An in Nimh Binh. We planned to do the boat trip at Tam Coc as well but as we were leaving our guesthouse, the heavens opened and a day of torrential rain began.

Trang An, Ninh Binh

Other = 907,000 VND or £32.80

No big deal, it’s just almost a million Dong thrown into ‘other’. Sounds like a lot but I can’t complain at £32. This is for the non glamorous things like laundry, toiletries and a bit of shopping. We also paid to print our visas for Cambodia before our bus ride out. Nothing too exciting to say about any of this so let’s go right ahead and check our total budget for a month in Vietnam:

Total spent = 28,964,000 VND or £1,047

Average daily cost per person = 482,733 VND or £17.46!

Considering the amount of spring rolls I ordered, I’m impressed that we were so close to our budget of £500 each!

Would you be tempted to visit Vietnam knowing that it’s a great budget travel destination? Or do you have any top tips of your own? Leave me a comment!

Laura x

Read more about Vietnam:

Things I loved and hated about Hanoi

Why you should visit Cat Ba Island, Ha Long Bay

Visiting Hoi An: Vietnam’s most beautiful town

Read more about budget backpacking:

How Much to Budget for Three Weeks in New Zealand

How Much to Budget for Travelling Cambodia

Disclosure: This page uses affiliate links. If you make a booking through one of these links, I may receive a small % of commission at no additional cost to you.

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Lottie Gibbons
    July 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Wow, what a good value place Vietnam is!
    http://www.lottiegibbons.com

  • Reply
    Tamsin @ A Certain Adventure
    July 27, 2017 at 10:29 am

    I visited Vietnam five years ago with family and so didn’t have to worry too much about budgeting but this is so useful for a future trip! Can’t believe you can get by for a month on £500 – that’s incredible.

    • Reply
      Laura
      July 30, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      I’d love to go back without such a budget but it was great to be able to visit while backpacking! xx

  • Reply
    Victoria
    July 29, 2017 at 9:08 am

    It’s amazing how cheap SE Asia is compared to everywhere else. £500 for a month per person is great. I def want to visit there now. Thanks for the tips

    • Reply
      Laura
      July 30, 2017 at 5:07 pm

      It’s a fantastic place to travel, I’d highly recommend it 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    snowtoseas
    August 2, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Such a thorough and detailed break down of budgeting during your Vietnam trip! I’m truly surprised by how affordable a trip to the country can be. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Laura
      August 6, 2017 at 10:22 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 x

  • Reply
    lolaannmendez
    September 9, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Going to Vietnam next year – this was so helpful, thank you!
    http://www.missfilatelista.com

  • Reply
    Sapna
    September 9, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Wow, that’s really good budget. I saved it for my reference.

  • Reply
    Megan Starr (@MeganCStarr)
    September 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    I love posts that break things down like this- it reassures me that budget trips can be done! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Ella
    September 9, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Vietnam has been high on my bucket list for a good few years now – but I’ve never been sure about how I wanted to see it. It’s so great that if I chose to backpack through the country myself, I now know how much things will likely cost and how to budget. It’s so easy for us to get caught in the dreaming and not paying attention to that practicalities to making that dream possible. I’ll definitely be saving this for later. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    janinebeynon
    September 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Great informative post! I love how cheap Vietnam is! I lived in Hanoi for a year and really loved it. Gonna check out your Hanoi post now 🙂

  • Reply
    scriptingspaces
    September 9, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    This is amazing – Being able to budget like that. I’m definitely going to visit one day (Singapore is so close to Vietnam!!) Particularly excited about cheap and good food 🙂

  • Reply
    Mille Mirah Seiersen
    September 9, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    I never knew you could travel Vietnam for a whole month for such a small amount of money! It is so much cheaper that post places! Loved this post!

  • Reply
    Helena
    September 9, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Vietnam is so high up on my bucket list and this sounds amazing! Love how comprehensive your guide is and just long to visit the country even more now….

  • Reply
    carrieemann
    September 9, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Sounds about right! I did Vietnam on about $15 US a day, no problem. The lack of expensive activities really helps, plus when you can get banh mi for $0.50…you don’t even have to scrimp on food. There were plenty of guesthouses that didn’t have websites where you could just rock up and get a $5 room.

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    September 10, 2017 at 7:03 am

    This is fascinating! I haven’t visited Vietnam yet, but have just started thinking about a trip maybe next year, so this is VERY helpful in planning, thank you!

  • Reply
    Ella
    January 31, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    This is super helpful, my boyfriend and I are planning a month here. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    anything917851819
    February 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Ah this is awesome! Helps me so much, thank you! My partner and I will be in Vietnam for roughly 3 weeks before going over to Cambodia & Thailand. You took a bus into Cambodia? Where did you get that from/to & how much did that cost?
    Thanks again 🙂 x

    • Reply
      Laura
      February 10, 2018 at 10:42 am

      We got ths bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh and it cost 564,000 Dong for two tickets x

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