Vietnam Travel Budget
Here are some general guidelines for setting a Vietnam travel budget.
The first subject you should be aware of when planning a Vietnam travel budget is that prices in Vietnam are very volatile – prices can escalate daily – unfortunately prices decline slowly. Inflation is a major problem in the Vietnamese economy. (October 2011)
Hanoi and Saigon / Ho Chi Minh City – Plan on 2 or 3 days in these popular Vietnam travel destinations.
Accommodations – Family run hotels and guest-houses start at about US $12 (240,000 VND) for an air-conditioned single room. Mid-range hotels are about US $40 (800,000VND) and luxury hotels have “no limit”. Other areas of Vietnam can be 10-20% lower, depending on your bargaining abilities.
Transportation – Buses in Hanoi and Saigon are cheap, but you have to know how to navigate. Taxis are about US $.50 (11,000 VND) per kilometer. Always determine the distance to your destination and then bargain with the taxi driver. Metered taxis are notorious for overcharging. If you’re adventurous, consider a Xe Om (motorbike taxi), they’re cheaper and fun (I think so.), again establish the price in advance. Trips from airports to popular destinations can also prove costly if you’re not aware of market prices.
In-country transportation is really cheap – open tour buses can get you from Saigon to Hanoi for about US $30. Railroad transportation is cheap, but railroad car conditions have deteriorated recently. Airfares are comparatively cheap. Adverse weather can have a serious effect on travel plans – do some research on weather conditions you can expect in parts Vietnam you plan on visiting. The wet monsoons occur in the north, central and south areas Vietnam during different parts of the year.
Food – This can vary greatly. Cheap meals can be enjoyed for US $5-15 a day by picking cafes that cater to foreigners on a bargain rate Vietnam travel budget. Upscale restaurants can be found in and around luxury hotels. “Street food” is popular with some Vietnam travelers – make sure the food is prepared in front of you – don’t take chances on food that has been sitting in the tropical heat.
“Touristy” attractions – There are a lot of cultural attractions in Vietnam that are free – churches, pagodas, colonial era government buildings – that can be enjoyed on a “walking tour”. Cheap day and over-night tours can be arranged through agencies like Sinh Tourist (formerly Sinh Cafe). These tours will get you to the sights you want to see, but will also expose you to “tourist traps” along the way. If you’re short of time and have the money, consider hiring a Private Vietnam Tour Guide. This will save you time and some the aggravation of riding with 15 to 40 tourists on a bus.
The bottom line for a Vietnam travel budget is you can get get by for US $25 a day and UP!
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