After Laos we jetted into Hanoi, Vietnam to spend a month travelling from the capital city in the north down to Ho Chi Minh City in the South. We made plenty of stops along the way, visiting historic Hué, the World Heritage Town of Hoi An, the sand dunes of Mũi Né and the highlands. During our trip we also spent our first festive season out of the UK, celebrating Christmas in the mountains of Dalat and New Year’s in crazy Saigon. Here’s how much it cost us to travel in Vietnam for one month.
If you’re heading to Vietnam then you’ll probably need an invitation letter for your Visa On Arrival, we recommend Vietnam Visa as they provide a professional, efficient and transparent service.
Activity Costs in Vietnam
We were busier than ever whilst visiting Vietnam, there’s so much to see and do you could easily spend twice as long as we did in the country and still not experience everything. We found that many of the attractions in Vietnam were cheap; in Hanoi we visited six museums, palaces and temples for under £5 per person; we visited three in Ho Chi Minh City for a total of £1.75 per person. Our most expensive activity was our Halong Bay overnight boat trip; this included transport from and to our hotel in Hanoi as well as dinner, breakfast and lunch. This trip was originally priced at about £105 but after our complaints about the trip we received a partial refund. Taking organised tours is often the easiest way to see things in Vietnam and they’re actually pretty cheap in comparison with what we’ve seen in other countries so we ended up taking five tours while we were there.
Cinema: Catching Fire in Hanoi
Halong Bay Overnight Boat Trip
Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi
Presidential Palace, Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh Museum, Hanoi
Army Museum, Hanoi
Women’s Museum, Hanoi
Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Water Puppet Show, Hanoi
Hué Citadel and Tombs entrance Fee
Hué House Garden
Hoi An UNESCO City Entrance Fee
Mũi Né Sand Dunes Half-Day Trip
Dalat Flower Garden
Valley of Love, Dalat
Cam Ly Falls, Dalat
Crazy House, Dalat
Datanla Falls Entrance Fee, Dalat
Datanla Falls Bobsleigh
Datanla Falls Cable Car
Easyrider Dalat Day Tour
Dalat Cable Car
Dalat Tandem Bike Rental (One hour)
War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)
Cu Chi Tunnels and Cao Dai Temple Tour
Cu Chi Tunnels Entrance Fee
Ho Chi Minh Museum, HCMC
Cost of Vietnam Hotels
After Laos, Vietnam has been our cheapest country accommodation-wise; most hotels included breakfast which on the whole was good. All of our rooms were en suite private doubles with air-con (except in Dalat, where we didn’t need it), hairdryers and fridges. Our first Vietnam booking, Posh Hotel in Hanoi, turned out to be the best, the staff members were extremely attentive, the room was nice and it was in a great location. We usually booked accommodation in advance in Vietnam, choosing really well-reviewed hotels on Tripadvisor, Hostelbookers and Agoda. In Dalat and Saigon we booked our first night’s accommodation and then looked around to find good rooms for the rest of the week which worked really well for us since we managed to negotiate prices in person.
Vietnam Food Costs
We had some fantastic meals in Vietnam such as the hotpot shown below, but we also had some horrid ones. Unfortunately, in our experience vegetarian doesn’t mean the same to the Vietnamese as it does to us; we ordered a number of supposedly ‘vegetarian’ meals that actually turned up with some meat in them; only once did the staff realise that this was really bad and apologised profusely, offering a discount. One way we managed to save money on our food costs in Vietnam was by getting a couple of baguettes for lunch and using our own jar of peanut butter or cheese spread to make quick lunches. Restaurants in Vietnam were cheap overall, we could usually pick up a meal for about £2 to £3 and a 500ml bottle of Saigon beer between £0.30 and £1.
Cost of Transportation in Vietnam
One thing that significantly increased our Vietnam travel costs was our flight from Luang Prabang into Hanoi. We debated for a long time whether we should cross overland or not but decided to fly in the end; we’d heard too many horror stories of people making the 24-hour land crossing to attempt it. We liked the sleeper train from Hanoi to Hué; it was clean and quiet and we were in a four-berth cabin with another couple. The experience was much more pleasant than riding the sleeper trains in Thailand. Sadly our sleeper bus in Vietnam was another journey from hell though; we spent 19 hours in cramped little ‘bed-seats’ amongst way too many unwashed bodies and in particular, feet.
In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City we stuck to the advised taxis and they always used the meter which turned out to be very reasonably priced. One of the journeys we spent the most (per kilometre) on was our cyclo, we could have got a taxi for much cheaper and later learned that we could have got about an hour’s use from the driver for what we paid for a ten-minute ride.
Luang Prabang (Laos) to Hanoi: £116.30
Hanoi to Hue Overnight Sleeper: £61.20
Hue to Danang: £8.70
Minibus Hanoi Airport to Hotel: £5
Danang to Hoi An: £1.70
Hoi An to Mui Ne Overnight Sleeper: £28
Mui Ne to Dalat: £7.50
Dalat to Ho Chi Minh City: £11.60
Nine Taxis in total: £11.70
24 Hour Hire: £2.90, Fuel: £2.90
One Ride: £2.90
Another hefty addition to our Vietnam travel costs was our 31-day Visas which we organised in Luang Prabang, Laos, for £40 each. We later found out that you can get an e-Visa if you are flying into the country for just £30, however, we weren’t sure whether we’d be flying into Vietnam or crossing overland to begin with and you can only use the e-visa at airports. We had the usual laundry and toiletry costs, it was Christmas time so we also sent a few greetings cards, Amy needed a new pair of sunglasses after hers fell apart and since we were getting pretty cold I bought a new hoodie too.
If you need to get your visa approval letter to obtain your Visa On Arrival in Vietnam then we’d recommend Vietnam Visa Pro, we’ve used them ourselves and were very happy with their service.
31 Day Visas
Toiletries and Medicines
Cards, Stamps, Hoody, Sunglasses
Total Costs for Visiting Vietnam for One Month
Despite filling our time with numerous activities and covering lots of ground in Vietnam we still managed to keep our costs pretty low thanks mainly to the cheap yet high quality accommodation on offer. After Laos and Indonesia Vietnam is our cheapest country yet. We can’t wait to see what Cambodia has to offer! Here are our total costs for visiting Vietnam for one month.