Uncovering the Real Cost of Exploring Vietnam: Is It As Cheap As They Say?

Wandering around the world shouldn't have to cost you a fortune. More and more globetrotters are discovering the charm of exploring stunning countries like Vietnam while still keeping their wallets pretty healthy. It's time to dig into the details, what's the actual cost of living and traveling in this enthralling Asian gem? Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let's explore how cheap Vietnam really is.


Here's the thing, the notion of "cheap" is pretty subjective. It varies from person to person, isn't it? Some people might say eating out for $5 is dirt cheap. For others, that might be their entire food budget for the day. But we're not here to argue semantics. The buzz on the backpacker grapevine says that Vietnam is a bargain, but how much truth lies behind this claim? That's what we're here to discover today.

Breaking Down the Affordability of Life in Vietnam

Talk is cheap (pardon the pun), let's dive into the nitty-gritty numbers. What does day-to-day life in Vietnam cost you? Can you afford to maintain a high standard of living without busting your bank balance?

According to various cost of living indexes, an expatriate looking to settle in Vietnam can live comfortably on an approximate budget of €600 per month. Converted to our friends, the greenback, that’s a rounding about $699. Yep, you read that right, per month! So, what does that modest sum cover? Your rent, utilities, food, transport, the works. For a small family of four, you'll need to round up about $2,673 monthly. Keep in mind that these are estimations and might vary basing on lifestyle and location within the country.

Budgeting for Travel in Vietnam

Vietnam, with its vibrant cities, sublime countryside, and enthralling cultural history, is an adventurer's dream. But dreams come with price tags. So, what's a trip across this dynamic nation going to set you back?

First of all, it depends on your style of travel. Are you a budget backpacker or a luxe wanderer? Happily, Vietnam accommodates both—and everyone in between. Conveniently, travel expenses in Vietnam are as flexible as a seasoned yoga guru. Traveling on a shoestring budget? You can rub along on $20 a day. Have a taste for the finer things in life? Luxury travel can skyrocket, but you'll still find it more affordable compared to other countries. For an average wanderer who enjoys the occasional splurge, budget around $50-$75 a day. Remember, this is your adventure, and your budget can be as tight or as loose as you prefer!

How Living Costs Vary Across Vietnam

Vietnam is a country of breathtaking diversity, and living costs can vary as widely as its countryside. From bustling urban metropolises to tranquil rural retreats, every area has its unique price tag.

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s two largest cities, are definitely more expensive than smaller towns or countryside locales. Think of it as the price you pay for the vibrant city life and easy access to modern conveniences. However, when we say "more expensive," it is only relative to other areas of Vietnam, as these cities are still quite affordable compared to other major cities globally.

Your Guide to Economical Living and Traveling in Vietnam

Living the dream in Vietnam doesn't mean you have to empty your bank account. The country may be cheap, but with the following tips, you can stretch your dong (that's the local currency—get your minds out of the gutter!) even further. Here are a few saving tips that can make your Vietnamese adventure more affordable...

Viet-cations on a Budget: Exploring Vietnam's Attractions without Draining Your Wallet

When visiting Vietnam, one thing's for sure – you're not gonna run out of things to do or see. From UNESCO World Heritage Sites to fascinating museums, Vietnam has it all. Even better, most of this unforgettable journey won't cost you an arm and a leg. And hey, it's not just about saving money, it's about the experiences that leave lifelong memories. Okay, let's dive into it, shall we?

1. Cuisine: Tantalizing Your Taste Buds at Wallet-Friendly Prices

Vietnamese food is not only internationally renowned but also budget-friendly. Street food is your best bud for exciting your palate while keeping the expenses in check. Imagine indulging in a steaming bowl of phở or feasting on delicious bánh mì sandwiches for around $1 to $2 each. Drooling? Yeah, we bet you are! You can also consider local food markets and family-run eateries to sample a wide array of authentic Vietnamese dishes without burning a hole in your pocket.

2. Accommodation: Get Your Forty Winks without Breaking the Bank

Worried you'll have to bunk down in a dodgy hostel to make ends meet in Vietnam? Think again, friends! Accommodation in Vietnam is as diverse and affordable as the rest of the country. From laid-back hostels for backpackers on tight budgets (around $5-$10/night) to mid-range hotels boasting decent comfort at reasonable prices (roughly $20-$60/night), there's something for everyone. If you crave luxury, we're talking all-out opulence, you can surely find high-end hotels that cost way less compared to their Western counterparts.

3. Transportation: Getting Around Without Emptying Your Wallet

Honestly, what's cheaper than walking? Okay, an exception – a hot day, you're thirsty, and there's no water in sight. But in all seriousness, walking is a fantastic way to explore Vietnamese cities, soaking in the details without bleeding your cash reserves dry. Need to cover more ground? Public transportation is affordable and reliable, with buses, trains, and even motorbike taxis readily available. Sure, flying might empty your wallet more than other alternatives, but domestic flights can also be budget-friendly if booked well in advance.

4. Sightseeing: Drinking in Vietnam's Rich Culture and History on the Cheap

Headed to Vietnam? Alright, buckle up for a cultural rollercoaster! Most museums, cultural sites, and attractions will only set you back a few dollars as entrance fees. Combine that with public transport or, better yet, walking, and you've got yourself an inexpensive but memorable day out. Wander around historical sites like the UNESCO-listed Hoi An Ancient Town or bask in the natural beauty of Ha Long Bay without shelling out big bucks.

Creating Your Own Affordable Adventure in Vietnam

There you have it, travelers and aspiring expats. Vietnam definitely lives up to the hype as a pocket-friendly destination. Filled with rich history, incredible sceneries, and an unparalleled culture, this Asian gem can comfortably fit within the budget of almost every traveler. So, don't hold back any longer. Pack your bags, book that flight, and embark on a Vietnamese adventure that won't leave you bankrupt.


Here, we'll gather up a few remaining questions you might have about costs in Vietnam.

Q: What's the best way to manage money in Vietnam?

A: Cash is still king in Vietnam, especially smaller towns and cities. Always carry Vietnamese dong with you and exchange only what you need (keeping an eye on exchange rates). Opt for an ATM card without international fees, and always keep an eye on your expenses.

Q: How much should I tip in Vietnam?

A: Despite not having a strong tipping culture, the practice is gradually picking up, especially in the tourism and service sectors. A tip of 5-10% is generally appreciated at restaurants, and small amounts (around 20,000 VND) for hotel staff or tour guides should suffice.

Q: Are there any tourist scams to be aware of in Vietnam?

A: Unfortunately, scams are not unheard of in popular tourist destinations. Common scams in Vietnam include taxi overcharging, rigged meters, and currency switcheroos. To avoid these, always use reputable taxi services (ask your hotel for recommendations), agree on a fare before getting in, and double-check your currency when receiving change.