Sam Nguyen

Travelled to 6 countries / regions

Written 33 briefs
I'm Vietnamese living in Ho Chi Minh City



Asia > Vietnam > Useful Info
Updated on Aug 11, 2019 Useful Info

How much money to budget for a trip to Vietnam

  • Vietnam is getting more expensive by the day, but it's still a very affordable place to travel
  • How much it costs to travel in Vietnam really depends on your travel style. Here's my suggested rule-of-thumb daily budget (excluding your inbound and return flights):
  • Budget travel: $15 USD per day in spending money, plus another $15 per day for hostels
  • Comfortable travel: $25-$35 USD per day in spending money, plus another $35-$50 per day for accommodation
  • Lux travel: $40-$70 USD per day in spending money, plus another $80-$100 per day for accommodation. Obviously sky's the limit, but this budget will get you some very nice things in the country

  • Here's some sample prices:
  • Airbnb: $10-$20 USD per night for a private room, and $25-$40 USD per night for an entire apartment
  • Hotel: $35-$50 USD per night for most 3-4 star hotels
  • Street food: $2-$4 per dish for most food, you will likely not spend more than $4-$6 for an entire meal
  • Local restaurant: $6-$9 per person for a decent meal
  • Fine dining: $20-$40 per person for fine dining like the upscale French restaurants
  • Taxi:
  • $8-$18 for airport taxi depending on which city you're in
  • Within the city, taxis usually cost $4-$8 USD per trip
  • A cheaper alternative is to use Grab taxi, which will cost $3-$5 for most trips in the city
  • Intercity train: varies significantly ($5-$50 USD per person) depending on distance and class of service. But $50 USD is the upper bound one-way ticket price when you buy directly at the train station
  • Intercity shuttle bus: $5-$30 per person depending on distance, some are overnight buses
  • Domestic flights:
  • $25-$40 USD per person most domestic destinations if you fly budget airlines like Vietjet Air
  • $50-$100 USD per person if you fly full service airlines like Vietnam Airlines
  • SIM card: $5 USD for data packages that are enough for most people (5-7GB of data), and if you spend $10-$15 USD you can usually get unlimited data as well as local calls

  • Some tips for saving money:
  • Exchange money instead of using ATMs: most ATMs in Vietnam cost 20,000-40,000 VND per withdrawal ($1-$2) with a limit of usually around 2-3 million VND, on top of whatever your bank at home charges you for the withdrawal. Overall, ATM withdrawal can cost 2-4%. Exchanging cash USD or Euro can be much cheaper, as you can find many exchangers that cost only around 1%
  • Use Grab instead of taxi: getting around on taxis in Vietnam can add up, not only because taxis are expensive in general, but also because if you're not careful you will end up paying 2-3 times the market rate due to tampered meters. Instead, get a SIM card and use Grab to get around. Fares are 20-30% cheaper than regular taxis, you won't get scammed because prices are pre determined, and you can take the extremely cheap motorbike taxi option cost just $2-$4USD to get across town
  • Eat street food: street food is everywhere in Vietnam, and it's the best way to save money on your trips. You very likely don't encounter health issues if you stick to just the hot/fully cooked foods. Eating street food like locals can end up saving you lots of money over the course of your trip
  • Make use of overnight buses and trains: there are many overnight transportation options in Vietnam, including trains and shuttle buses. Routes like Hanoi to Da Nang, Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, etc. are all overnight routes. The benefit of overnight transportation is that you avoid having to pay for hotels separately as it's included in your transportation
  • Book train ticket in person: currently, the only way to book train ticket online using international credit cards is through 3rd party travel agencies. The official train ticket booking site is, but it only accepts Vietnamese bank cards. If you use 3rd party agencies, including the official-looking (it's NOT official booking site, it's an agency), they usually have 30%-40% charge on top of the official fare. So, the only way to get the tickets at the lowest price is to go to a train station and book in person