Is Vietnam Expensive? The Ultimate Traveler’s Cost Guide You Need

man sitting on train tracks in Vietnam
Photo by Chor Tsang via Unsplash
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Traveling anywhere around the world can become expensive when you consider all the costs involved such as transport, flights if you’re going abroad, accommodation, sightseeing activities, and souvenirs as well as food and drink. So you’d be forgiven for asking the same question when visiting Vietnam; Is Vietnam Expensive?

It’s a question that’s been asked a million times before and it’s one that will continue to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind. As a top travelers destination, Vietnam caters to all types of travelers, from backpackers to adventure seekers, from solo travelers to families and group travelers. This is why you probably won’t be too surprised to find that Vietnam is a relatively inexpensive destination. 

Because of this, we’ve put together the ultimate traveler’s guide to costs associated with a trip to Vietnam. We’ve scoured the internet, spoken to other travelers, and crunched all the data you need, so you don’t have to. You’ll find out exactly what the cost of accommodation might cost you, how much you need to budget for transport, activities, and of course those all-important souvenirs. You’ll even find some handy money-saving tips to help keep your costs down.

Is Vietnam Expensive?

white house between two cliffs in Vietnam
Photo by Ruslan Bardash via Unsplash

While Vietnam is still considered a relatively cheap vacation destination despite costs going up year on year. The answer to this question sadly isn’t quite as clear-cut as you may think. How cheap a destination is depends on several different factors such as the kind of food you eat, the standard or type of accommodation you stay in, and exactly how you plan to travel around the country.  

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When comparing the Philippines or Vietnam on price alone, Vietnam comes in slightly cheaper. But if you’re comparing the cost of a trip to Vietnam or Bali then you might find the costs in Vietnam aren’t quite so cheap. When you look at things realistically, no matter where in the world you go, you’ll always be able to find options for budget travel and Vietnam is no different.

Budget For Your Trip

Rice fields in Vietnam
Photo by Peter Hammer via Unsplash)

When traveling to any country it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind. Ask yourself what kind of holiday are you looking for. Do you want a budget vacation, a mid-range vacation, or a luxury vacation with all the top-quality extras you could desire? Answering this will give you a much better understanding of the costs involved in your vacation. 

We’ve put together three tables to show you the rough budget you would need per day for a seven-day vacation to Vietnam. Depending on the city or town you are going to your costs may change slightly so bear this in mind. A seven-day trip to Vietnam on a budget is likely to cost a solo traveler around $753.00 including the cheapest flights you can find. For a couple, the cost is likely to be around $1,464.00 and for a family of four, $1,950.00. 

The cheapest times to visit Vietnam are between the end of January and the beginning of April as well as between the middle of August and the beginning of December. Flight costs are generally a little cheaper during these times which will mean you could get a pretty good deal on flights and splash out a little more when you arrive in Vietnam. 

Solo TravelerCouples VacationFamily Vacation
Flights (Economy)$452.00$904.00$1808.00
Average costs per day for a budget vacation for seven-days

While some people may prefer a budget vacation to Vietnam, you’re probably better off looking at the average costs listed in the table below. By budgeting this way you’ll leave yourself more room in case you experience any additional costs you might not have been expecting. It’s also handy to bear this in mind should you decide to go during the peak season where prices are a little more expensive, especially flights. 

The average cost during peak season is around $1,232.00 for a solo traveler, $2,424.00 for a couple, and around $4,610.00 for a family of four. If you’re savvy enough, you might be able to bring these costs down by researching and comparing flight prices as well as opting for as many free excursions as possible. 

Solo TravelerCouples VacationFamily Vacation
Flights (Economy)$700.00$1,500.00$3,000.00
Average costs for a peak season vacation for seven days

If money really is no object then why not splash out the cash and go all in. From expensive hotel rooms to vacation rentals with swimming pools and eating out for every meal in an expensive restaurant. You could also opt for first-class flights which will make up the biggest proportion of your holiday budget. 

For a solo traveler on a luxury vacation, you’ll be looking to pay on average around $3,860.00. For a couple, you’ll be looking to pay on average around $7,370.00 and for a family of four on a luxury vacation, you’ll be looking to pay around $13,000. 

Solo TravelerCouples VacationFamily Vacation
Flights (first-class)$1,900.00$3,800.00$7,000
Average costs for a luxury vacation for seven days.

Obviously, you can mix and match everything from the cost of your flights to how much you spend on food and sightseeing. While you might want to splash out on flights, you might want to then save money on your accommodation, food, and activities you do. Searching around for package holidays, opting for self-catering accommodation, and comparing flight costs will all have an effect on how much you need to budget. Also bear in mind you’ll want extra spending money for gifts and local transport.

Accommodation Costs

high-rise buildings in Vietnam
Photo by Peter Nguyen via Unsplash

The cost of accommodation in Vietnam can vary greatly depending on your location and the style of accommodation you choose. As a solo traveler, you may find cheap accommodation in hostels, dorm rooms, and other shared accommodation if you don’t mind meeting new people. Other travelers have also found some cheap rooms in two-star hotels, small bed and breakfasts, and guest houses. 

With the rise in recent years of locals renting out spare rooms or even properties via AirBnB or holiday letting companies, it has opened up a lot more options when it comes to places to stay. By looking for comparisons you may be able to find a one-bedroomed apartment for the same price as a 4-star hotel room for seven days. 

It helps to search around and keep your options broad. Couples and families may find that staying in a guest house or villa is a lot more cost-effective than staying in a hotel. A lot of the time places will also throw in a free breakfast each morning throughout your stay so you can save a little extra when it comes to food as one meal of your day is covered. 

The average prices for accommodation can range anywhere from $42.00 per night to $1,230.00 per night or more during peak season.

Transportation Costs

group of locals riding motor bikes and tricyles in Vietnam
Photo by Tran Phu via Unsplash

When thinking about whether Vietnam is expensive, it’s a good idea to also think about how you’re looking to get around while you’re there. Are you going to rely solely on public transport such as buses, taxis, or trains, or are you going to rent a car or even a motorbike? If you go for the latter this will bring your costs up. 

Motorbiking in Vietnam is very much a part of life in Vietnam, so if you want to seem more like a local than a tourist this might be a great option for you. When it comes to motorbiking though you have three options, you can either buy a bike which often works out cheaper depending on how long you’re going there, rent a bike, or even booking a guided motorbike tour. This would even be a great option for a family of four, depending on the age of your children, in fact, they’ll probably love the thrill of it. 

Other options include renting a car, taking the sleeper bus, or even using taxis such as uber or metered taxis. The average cost of transport in Vietnam is around $60 however this does change depending on the length of the journey, where you’re going, and what type of transport you use.

Cost Of Excursions

People walking over the golden hands bridge
Photo by Andreea Popa via Unsplash

There are plenty of ‘must-do’ activities in Vietnam that are at the top of almost everyone’s bucket list. Some of these ‘must-do’ activities include the Halong Bay Cruise, a Sapa Trek, and a walk over the Golden Hands Bridge in Da Nang. These all cost money however, you can bring some of the costs down by booking in advance, shopping around, and also haggling. There are loads of tour operators out to rip tourists off so it’s always best to compare prices. 

For some other low cost options you could always opt for cooking classes which help teach you about Vietnamese food and using local produce. There are also tons of free activities if you want to keep the costs to a bare minimum. A lot of the temples and pagodas are free and there are plenty of walks around the city and nature that you can enjoy for free too.

Costs Of Food And Drink: Is Vietnam Expensive?

Vietnamese Spring rolls
Photo by Alexander Sinn via Unsplash

Vietnamese food is often unforgettable. Spread across street-side vendors and high-end restaurants, it can vary in price greatly. If you want to eat fairly cheaply opt for street-food and traditional local Asian eateries. Eating out in the more tourist-oriented restaurants soon racks up the prices. 

Try to avoid eating Western food as they tend to be very over-priced and tasting authentic Vietnamese cuisine should be must when visiting the country. On average you’ll want to budget around $18 per person per day for food. Other ways to bring the cost of food down would be to cook meals in your accommodation provided you have self-catering facitilies. Having breakfast included with your accommodation will also help keep costs down as you’ll only need to pay for two meals a day instead of three. All-inclusive packages may also work out cheaper in the long run as you’ll have all meals included as well as drinks in some cases. 

Drinks in Vietnam are cheap. Whether that’s an alcoholic drink you’re searching for or a coffee, neither will break the bank. The average price for a bottle of beer is around $2 and a bottle of wine is around $10 depending on where you go. If you’re looking for a soft drink then you’d be looking to pay on average $1 and for a coffee around $2.50.

Additional Expenses

lady sitting on a chair slicing veg while selling notebooks.
Photo by Nam Hoang via Unsplash

When considering whether Vietnam is expensive you’ll need to account for additional expenses such as gifts or souvenirs when you’re out there, a visa if you require one, ATM withdrawal charges, and travel insurance. While gifts and souvenirs both for yourself and your family might not be that important and could be kept to a minimum, things like travel insurance and visas are more of an essential. 

Be sure to shop around for travel insurance as you’re bound to find different prices all over and it’s always best to have it just in case. Visa’s tend to be a flat rate fee so be sure to research into this as well, depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need one. ATM withdrawal fees can be avoided by getting cash out before you go and no withdrawing any more while you’re out there, using pre-paid cards and even some credit card companies offer no fees with purchases but be sure to check this and bear it in mind when buying anything.

Money-Saving Tips To Lower Your Costs In Vietnam

People walking between street food stalls.
Photo by Chris Slupski via Unsplash

Everyone loves some savvy tips and advice on how they can make the most of their vacation and keep it as low cost as possible. Vietnam is only as expensive as you make it. So to we’ve put together some help ideas to lower the cost of your Vietnam vacation:

  1. Try booking hotels and hostels with either breakfast, lunch, or dinner included.
  2. If traveling solo, try sharing transport with others. Waiting to see if anyone else is going to the airport, bus station, or same destination as you can bring costs down.
  3. Use Uber or Grab instead of taxi’s if you can. This way you’ll always know the cost of your journey, alternatively if they aren’t available make sure you use a metered taxi and that it’s working before you set off.
  4. If you have self-catering accommodation, have at least one meal a day in your accommodation instead of eating out every day. 
  5. Always shop around for travel insurance quotes, flights, and excursions to find the best deal possible. 
  6. Try and travel outside of peak season, everything will always be cheaper.
  7. When buying gifts and even food at local markets, don’t settle for the first price they give you, haggle. You’ll always be able to get a better price. 
  8. Booking in advance can also bring the cost of your trip down. 
  9. Get to grips with the lingo and learn a few basic vietnamese phrases. If for no other reason that to show some respect. The more you know the further you will get and the cheaper things will be.
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Justine King is from the UK and has been a full-time traveller and freelance writer since 2020 after a 6-year career in Hospitality. Clients benefit from her love and knowledge of the sector as she creates informative and inspiring articles to help guide readers totheir next travel destination.