Vietnam On A Budget: A Budget-Friendly Guide To The Dreamland

Vietnam on a Budget


Are you ready for an adventure to Vietnam but worried about the costs? Don’t fret; Vietnam can be a budget-friendly destination without sacrificing the quality of your experience. 

From stunning natural landscapes to rich cultural heritage and delicious street food, there’s no need to break the bank to explore this fascinating country. 

Here’s a comprehensive guide to Vietnam on a budget, including all the essential information and tips to help you save money while exploring this beautiful country.

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HANOI, VIETNAM – Tourists relax in the old town of Hanoi. This is a tourist nightlife center. An important part of Vietnam’s economy.

Vietnam on a Budget: The Travel Expenses 

Vietnam is a food lover’s paradise, offering delicious and affordable options for both local and international cuisine. With lovely people and budget-friendly options, it’s a perfect destination for those traveling on a tight budget. 

You can explore major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, visit the imperial city of Hue, indulge in rice noodles, and enjoy cheap flights to domestic destinations like Cat Ba Island and Phu Quoc Island. 

With bus tickets, food carts, and hostel prices being incredibly affordable, Vietnam is a great destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Current prices are reasonable, making it a cheap country worth visiting in Southeast Asia.

The cost of living in Vietnam is relatively affordable compared to many other destinations. The prices of Vietnamese food, transportation, and accommodation can vary depending on the region and the type of service you choose. Here are some more details about the cost of living in Vietnam:

Vietnam on a Budget: The Travel Expenses 
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – A woman pushing a cart with food on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Accommodation: $7-8 Per Day

If you’re looking to travel to Vietnam on a budget, one of the most significant expenses you’ll have to consider is accommodation. However, the good news is that accommodation costs in Vietnam are generally very low, even for budget travelers.

During my travels in Vietnam, I found that the average price for budget-friendly accommodation was around $7-8 per day. This includes everything from hostels and guesthouses to homestays, bungalows, hotels, and even volunteer houses.

One of the things I loved about traveling in Vietnam was how easy it was to find affordable accommodation. Thanks to the internet and apps like Booking, it’s never been easier to find budget-friendly places to stay. And if you’re traveling with others, you can split the cost of accommodation, making it even more affordable.

In terms of my own experiences with budget accommodation in Vietnam, I found that the quality was generally quite good. Most of the places I stayed in were clean and comfortable and offered a range of amenities such as free Wi-Fi and breakfast.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that some accommodation providers may try to charge you extra if you check out later than the designated time. So be sure to check the check-in and check-out times before you book and try to stick to them to avoid any unexpected fees.

Food & Drink: Around $7 Per Day

Food & Drink: Around $7 Per Day
Typical street food ( Banh Mi ) in Hanoi, Vietnam

When I traveled to Vietnam, I was on a tight budget and wanted to try as much local food as possible without spending too much money. One of my favorite things to do was to eat at street food stalls. 

Not only is it cheap, but it’s also an excellent way to experience the local culture. The most popular street food dishes are Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwich), Pho (rice noodle soup), and Bun Cha (grilled pork with noodles). 

They are delicious and filling and cost only a few dollars. I also tried some exotic dishes like Balut (duck embryo), which is a delicacy in Vietnam, and it only cost me a few cents.

Another great way to save money on food is to eat at local markets. Most cities in Vietnam have vibrant markets where you can find all kinds of fresh produce and street food. 

Vietnamese cuisine is cheap, and you can sample different dishes in one place. Some of the best markets I visited were Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi. I also loved the night markets, where you can find a wide range of street food, drinks, and desserts.

Drinking in Vietnam is also affordable. Beer is the most popular drink in the country, and you can find it almost everywhere. The local beer, Bia Hoi, is the cheapest and costs only a few cents. 

It’s a light and refreshing beer, perfect for a hot day. If you prefer something stronger, try the rice wine or Ruou Nep, which is made from sticky rice. It’s potent, so be careful not to drink too much. I also loved the fresh coconut juice, which is healthy and refreshing.

Motorbike Rental & Maintenance Cost: $10-$13

Motorbike rental and maintenance costs in Vietnam can also be economical if you know where to look. The cost of renting a motorbike varies depending on the location and the type of bike you want. 

In most cases, you can rent a scooter or a small motorbike for around 100,000-200,000 Vietnamese Dong per person (about 4-9 USD). If you rent for a longer period, you may be able to negotiate a lower daily rate.

As for maintenance costs, they are generally very low in Vietnam. If you rent a new bike, it should be in good condition and require minimal maintenance. 

However, if you rent an older bike or bring your own, you may need to spend some money on maintenance and repairs. For example, a basic oil change and tune-up can cost around 150,000-200,000 Vietnamese Dong (about 7-9 USD).

During my trip to Vietnam last year, I decided to rent a motorbike to explore the countryside and avoid the traffic in the cities. I found a rental shop in Hoi An and rented a small automatic scooter for 150,000 Vietnamese Dong (about 7 USD) per day. The rental shop also provided a helmet and a lock, and I signed a contract and left my passport as a deposit.

The scooter was in good condition, and I didn’t encounter any major problems during my rental period. However, after a few days of riding, I noticed that the brakes were starting to feel a bit loose, so I decided to take it to a nearby mechanic for a check-up.

The mechanic spoke little English, but he understood what I needed and quickly identified the problem. He adjusted the brake cables and also changed the oil and air filter, which he recommended I do every 1,000 kilometers. 

The total cost of the maintenance was around 300,000 Vietnamese Dong (about 13 USD), which I thought was quite reasonable.

Overall, my experience with renting and maintaining a motorbike in Vietnam was positive, and I found the costs to be budget-friendly.

Public Transportation: $2-3 Within The Cities

Public Transportation: $2-3 Within The Cities
Hanoi, Vietnam! People boarding bus at station in Hanoi city

Public transportation is an affordable way to travel around Vietnam, with the cost varying depending on the mode of transportation and the distance traveled. 

In cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, you can easily find public buses or hop on a motorbike taxi, also known as a “xe om,” for just $2-3 per trip.

For longer distances, there are also comfortable and affordable options like trains and buses. For example, a train ride from Hanoi to Hue costs around $15-20, while a bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang costs around $10-15. These options are not only budget-friendly but also offer a chance to see more of Vietnam’s scenic countryside.

However, it’s important to note that public transportation in Vietnam can be crowded and chaotic, especially during rush hour. Additionally, there may be language barriers when trying to communicate with drivers or purchasing tickets. 

But with a little bit of patience and a sense of adventure, public transportation can be a great way to save money and experience the local culture.

Attractions: $1-5 For Each Place

Many of Vietnam’s attractions are affordable or even free. Visiting a temple or park is often free, while museums and historical sites can cost between $1-5.

During my time in Vietnam, I visited several temples and parks that were completely free to enter, such as the Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi. These attractions offer a great opportunity to learn about Vietnam’s rich culture and history without breaking the bank.

I also visited several museums and historical sites, which typically cost between $1-5 to enter. For example, the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City provides a poignant and informative look at the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese perspective. The entrance fee was around $3, which is a great value for the amount of history and insight offered.

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Hanoi, Vietnam – Tourist visiting Hanoi Temple of Literature. Pavilion of The Constellation of Literature

Utilities: $1-2 Per Day

When taking Vietnam motorbike tours, many budget accommodations offer all-inclusive utilities within the rental price. For example, during my travels in Vietnam, I stayed at a hostel in Hanoi that offered air conditioning, hot water, and Wi-Fi included in the room rate. 

The monthly rent for a bed in a dorm room was around $100, which included all utilities.

If you are looking for a long-term rental, it’s worth noting that some landlords may ask you to pay for electricity and water separately. However, the cost of utilities in Vietnam is generally affordable, and you can expect to pay around $30-50 per month, as previously mentioned.

In my experience, the cost of utilities in Vietnam was reasonable, and I didn’t have to worry about exceeding any usage limits or unexpected fees. 

It’s always a good idea to clarify with your landlord or hostel staff what utilities are included in the rental price and what additional costs you may need to pay.

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Vietnam Budget Travel On Different Places

Vietnam is a country that offers a range of destinations to explore on a budget. Here’s a list of popular cities and their daily expenses to help you plan your Vietnam budget travel:

  • Ho Chi Minh City: $25-35 per day

Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis with a mix of old and new architecture. You can easily explore the city on foot or using public transport with a daily cost of around $1-2. Street food is a highlight, with local dishes starting at just $1.

  • Hanoi: $20-30 per day

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and is known for its rich history, temples, and street food culture. The city has many free attractions, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and the Old Quarter. The daily cost of food and transport is similar to Ho Chi Minh City.

  • Da Nang: $20-30 per day

Da Nang is a coastal city in central Vietnam with a beautiful beach and many historical sites. It’s also known for its delicious seafood and street food, which can be enjoyed at a low cost. The city has a modern public transport system, with buses costing around $0.50 per ride.

Vietnam Budget Travel On Different Places
Aerial view of the Golden Bridge is lifted by two giant hands in the tourist resort on Ba Na Hill in Da Nang, Vietnam. Ba Na mountain resort is a favorite destination for tourists
  • Hoi An: $20-30 per day

Hoi An is a small and charming city located in central Vietnam. The city is famous for its ancient town, lantern festival, and delicious local dishes. You can easily explore Hoi An by foot or bicycle, with rentals costing around $1-2 per day.

  • Nha Trang: $30-40 per day

Nha Trang is a coastal city in the south-central region of Vietnam, known for its beautiful beaches and islands. The city is also famous for its seafood and nightlife. The daily budget for food and drinks is slightly higher than in other cities, but it’s still affordable.

  • Phu Quoc Island: $30-40 per day

Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam and is located in the southwest region. It’s a perfect destination for beach lovers and seafood enthusiasts. 

The island has many free hotspots, such as the Dinh Cau Night Market and the Phu Quoc National Park. Motorbike rentals are available at around $6-8 per day.

  • Da Lat: $25-35 per day

Da Lat is a beautiful mountainous city in the central highlands of Vietnam. The city is known for its temperate climate, pine forests, waterfalls, and colorful flowers. You can rent a motorbike for around $6-8 per day to explore the city.

Alone pine beside the lake at Dalat Vietnam
  • Vung Tau: $20-30 per day

Vung Tau is a seaside city located in Southern Vietnam, known for its beautiful beaches, seafood, and temples. The city has a scenic cable car ride that takes you to the top of the Nui Nho Mountain. You can rent a bicycle for around $2-3 per day to explore the city.

  • Mekong Delta Provinces: $25-35 per day

The Mekong Delta is a vast region in the south of Vietnam, known for its floating markets, rice paddies, and fruit orchards. You can take a boat tour to explore the region, with prices ranging from $5-10 per person. Food and accommodation costs are similar to other cities in Vietnam.

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Tips and Tricks For A Vietnam Budget Travel 

Here are some tips for budget travel in Vietnam:

  • Plan ahead: Choose the right time to visit and be strategic with your itinerary to minimize transportation costs.
  • Research transportation options: Compare prices and travel times to find the best option for your budget and itinerary.
  • Consider alternative accommodations: Hostels and homestays offer a more authentic experience and are usually much cheaper than hotels.
  • Eat like a local: Sample affordable street food, find local markets, and seek out authentic Vietnamese restaurants.
  • Take advantage of free and low-cost activities: Visit free attractions, rent a bicycle or motorbike, attend cultural events and festivals, and participate in community-based tourism.
  • Try budgeting tips: Create a daily expenses budget, negotiate prices for goods and services, and look for deals and discounts on tours and activities.
Tips and Tricks For A Vietnam Budget Travel 
Ha Giang motorbike tours

By following these tips, you can enjoy a budget-friendly Vietnam motorbike trip without sacrificing the experience.


Overall, traveling to Vietnam on a budget is possible with careful planning and strategic choices. With friendly people, delicious food, and plenty of budget options, it’s no wonder why it’s becoming a popular spot for travelers from Western countries. 

By following these tips and tricks, you can experience the best of Vietnam without breaking the bank. Let’s get an approval letter, obtain a visa, and start exploring this intriguing country!

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