Along with Cambodia and Malaysia, Vietnam is one of the most picked country that first time travelers opt to go to in Southeast Asia because of many reasons.
May it be because it is relatively cheaper, or nearer and easier to go to or they want to explore the beautiful and scenic places in Vietnam, it will surely be a wonderful time to explore its vibrant and colorful heritage and culture. For more complete information about Vietnam, read our full travel guide to Vietnam.
In this post, I will be talking about budget travel in Vietnam, how to travel around Vietnam on a budget, what would be the best options and the overall stuff that you will need to be mindful of.
Read here off the beaten path experiences in Hanoi and how to get from Hanoi airport to Old Quarter
Is it safe/difficult to travel in Vietnam?
When it comes to being safe, Vietnam is a place where violent crimes rarely happen. Of course there will be a few issues with pickpockets especially in Saigon and Nha Trang but other than that, Vietnam is a pretty safe place to go to. It’s also worth noting that if you would use motorbikes, it’s recommended to be mindful because Vietnam’s city can be pretty crowded. The most dangerous in Vietnam is the traffic, it´s so crazy!!
Best time to visit Vietnam
If you would like to visit when there’s least amount of rainfall, it’s best time to visit Vietnam in is in the spring which is in February to April or fall in August to October. The temperature is moderate on those times. But in general, Vietnam’s weather varies per place or city. January to August is dry season in Hue, although you can also expect afternoon showers. Halong Bay is often covered in mist, and while it can reduce visibility, the mist adds charm to the place. But from March to May, it’s quite clear and the skies can be seen clearly. Beaches on the south side are quite warm all year round, too.
Visa in Vietnam
To get a Vietnam Visa you must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page. Travelling to Vietnam doesn’t require visa for 24 countries where is included the Philippines and Spain, check here the list if your country is included!
All they need is a Philippine passport valid for at least 6 months and we can be granted to stay for 21 days. For British Citizen’ passport holders travelling for tourism or business, they can enter Vietnam for up to a maximum of 15 days (inclusive of dates of entry and exit) without a visa. For visits of longer than 30 days citizens from United States and most of European countries you must get a e-visa from the nearest Vietnamese embassy before visiting Vietnam. Click here to check the e-Visa online and prices.
Cash and ATM in Vietnam
You can use ANZ, HSBC or Citibank. ANZ and Citibank customers can use these banks’ ATMs in Vietnam without paying a withdrawal fee. ANZ ATMs in Ho Chi Minh City have a ₫10 million (Approximately $170) or per transaction limit. US Dollars are widely accepted in local stores and businesses but it’s still best if you can exchange your money into their currency which is Vietnamese Dong because of its convenience. $1 USD is aprox 23k Vietnamese Dong. Click here to know the exact exchange rate.
Internet in Vietnam
Internet in Vietnam is very accessible. There are free wifi hotspots in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Other places where you can have internet are coffee shops in which you just have to pay for your drinks that only costs $1 to $2.5 and if the wi-fi has password, just ask the staffs. Restaurants and hotels offer wi-fi, too. Their internet can be fast but there are also times wherein you’ll feel like you’re back to the dial-up times because it’s a bit slow. Vietnamese people also love internet. There are more than 40 Million internet users over the 90 Million population in Vietnam.
If you want to use internet via your phone, once you land in Vietnam, you’ll see kiosks and stalls selling sim cards and they costs up to $8-9. You just have to provide your passport to purchase the sim card as per government regulations.
Food budget travel in Vietnam
From street foods to the ones in the restaurants, Vietnamese cuisine is like having an adventure on a budget. Average price of a decent meal in restaurants costs less than $9. For breakfast, you can have Pho for just $2 or less. Vietnamese Spring rolls or Cha gio can cost less than $1. Bahn mi is only $2 or less. Ca phe sua da or Vietnamese iced coffee with milk is only $0.50.
In general, it’s safe to say that $10 for a day per person can get you a lot of food already around Vietnam.
Accommodation budget travel in Vietnam
Budget accommodation is generally of an okay standard. Many places also throw in breakfast of banana pancakes as well. The cost of staying for a night in a private double room in a low-end guest house costs $8-10. Many also include free beer for 1-hour everyday. Some places will assume you’re out of options if you show up at their door and they will give you their highest price so it’s best to book in advance. There are also Airbnb options starting from $10 and be ready to have a lcoal experience.
Click here to get $30 USD off your first booking with AirBnB!
Tours/ Entrance Fees in Vietnam
Vietnam’s most expensive cruise is the 2-day Halong Bay Cruise for $70-90. It’s also one of the best unmissable activity when you’re in Vietnam. It can include activities as kayaking and food for 2-3 days that the tour last. Trekking in Sapa in the rice terraces with a local guide costs $20 per day. This activity helps the locals of the hill tribe village and you will have an amazing lcoal experience in the mountains. There are entrance fees in museums, parks and temples for $2-3.
Travel tip: Make sure when booking tours to Halong Bay and Sapa that you can trust the agency since there are many complains about high prices and later they don´t deliver as much as they promise.
Local Transportation in Vietnam
Some tourists hire motorbikes or bicycles for a day so they can be more free in where they can go rather than commuting. Hiring a motorbike for a day costs around $5-7. Bicycle rental is only $3. But if you’d like to be more adventurous, taxis charges $0.52 per kilometer. For motorbike taxis, they can cost $0.80 and is convenient of you don’t have much luggage. Bus aren’t favorable to more travelers because of cheaper options such as the ones mentioned above costing less than half a dollar for a ride3 around the city. App based transportation like Grab and Uber are also available if you prefer them. Local transportation is Vietnam is pretty affordable.
Budget travel in Vietnam per day?
In general, for $20-30 per day you can already enjoy Vietnam inclusive of accommodation, food and traveling expenses. Depending of the activities you’d like to participate in or do, $40 can also be a good daily budget. Of course you can save more money if you’re with someone or a friend that you can split the expenses with. There are also beautiful places around Vietnam that you can go without entrance fee like enjoying the view of Hoan Kiem Lake, in which you can choose to pay less than a dollar to visit Ngoc Son Temple, which sits on a small island in the center of the lake.
Having insurance while you are traveling outside your home country is very important. Make sure that you have one too, to keep you safe in your trips around the world.
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