๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip to Vietnam Cost: 2023 Travel Budget Breakdown

The blog author holding a flower with mountain views in the background.

A country with stunning mountain ranges and rice paddies, Vietnam is an affordable country that can be visited with a budget of $30 to $100 a day.

My almost two-week trip to Vietnam cost a total of $1,251 USD. In this post, I share:

  • ๐Ÿ’ฐ Expected travel costs
  • ๐Ÿ’ก Budgeting tips
  • ๐Ÿ’ต How much cash to bring
  • โœˆ๏ธ My trip’s costs by category
  • ๐Ÿ“ My trip’s costs by major cities

Planning a trip? Here are things to know about Vietnam before going.

Disclosure: Lists By Lukiih is readers-supported. If you buy through an affiliate link on this post, I may earn a small commission. Thanks!

Is Vietnam Expensive To Travel To?

Vietnam is a popular destination and one of the most affordable destinations in Southeast Asia. Vietnam is ranked as one of the region’s cheapest countries along with Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Trip Daily Budget for Countries in Asia

For comparison, I visited these countries in Asia within a year of visiting Vietnam, and here’s how much I spent per day at each one:

CountryDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand$77
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$86
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$102
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$123*
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$145
Daily Budget for Asian Countries

*My Cambodia trip could have easily been closer to $85 per day, but I chose to splurge on accommodation.

Vietnam is one of the cheapest vacations I’ve taken. Here’s how my Vietnam trip cost compares to the cost of other popular destinations I’ve visited:

DestinationDaily Budget
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ธ Iceland$306
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ท Costa Rica$233
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Hawaii$208
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฟ Belize$207
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ท Puerto Rico$182
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru$156
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$155
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan$145
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$131
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ญ Cambodia$123
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal$116
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ Taiwan$102
๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam$86
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ญ Thailand$77
Daily Budget for Popular Destinations

How Much Is a Trip to Vietnam?

Here’s how much you can expect to spend in Vietnam on a daily basis and during a one-week trip, depending on your travel style.

๐ŸŽ’ Vietnam Trip Cost for a Budget Traveler

Budget travelers can expect to spend approximately $30 per day or $210 for one week of travel in Vietnam, excluding flights.

To travel on a budget to Vietnam, here are some things you’ll need to do:

  • Accommodation: Stay at a basic hostel for $5 a night. For an additional $10 per night, you can stay at a mid-range hotel as accommodation costs are very cheap in Vietnam.
  • Food: Eat street food and local restaurants for $2 or less per meal. Tourist restaurants will have an up-charge and the food is not guaranteed to be more authentic or fresher.
  • Transportation: Take Vietnam’s “sleeper buses” that travel at night to get around the country as those are generally the cheapest mode of transportation. Vietnam doesn’t have public transportation outside of Ho Chi Minh City, but it does have a comprehensive bus network.
  • Attraction: Skip some of Vietnam’s guided tours as paying for them will increase your budget significantly even though it’s an affordable country.
  • Season: Avoid traveling to Vietnam during the peak season and aim to visit sometime between April and June or September and November when the best deals and discounts are offered.
  • Location: Visit areas of Vietnam that are budget-friendly. Some of the most budget-friendly, tourist areas include Hoi An, Nha Trang, Mekong Delta, and Cat Ba Island near Lan Ha Bay.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Vietnam Trip Cost for a Mid-Range Budget Traveler

A mid-range budget traveler, such as myself, can expect to spend approximately $65 per day or $455 for one week of travel in Vietnam, excluding flights.

I break down my Vietnam travel expenses by category below.

River with emerald water with a small temple inside the water and limestone mountains in the background.
Ninh Binh is an affordable day trip from Hanoi, Vietnam.

Is Vietnam or Thailand More Affordable To Travel To?

Vietnam and Thailand are Southeast Asia’s most popular and affordable destinations, so they’re often compared, even though I think each country offers a different travel experience.

๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ณ Vietnam is on average more affordable than Thailand to travel to. Affordability and cost of living vary by the exact region of each country. Still, in general, Thailand is a more developed country than Vietnam and Vietnam’s cost of living is lower than Thailand’s.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Vietnam’s cost per day is on average lower than Thailand’s for tourists. Below is a rough cost-per-day comparison between traveling in Vietnam vs. Thailand for a mid-range budget traveler. The cost varies depending on where exactly in Vietnam or Thailand you’re traveling to, but these averages should give you an idea of the cost differences.

๐Ÿœ Food$10$12
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$15$17
๐Ÿ๏ธ Transportation$10$10
โญ Entertainment$30$36
Total Cost Per Day$65$75
Vietnam vs. Thailand Trip Cost Comparison

Based on the chart above, you can expect to spend approximately $455 for a one-week trip in Vietnam and $525 for a one-week trip in Thailand.

You’ll see below that my per day cost in Vietnam is higher than $65, but that’s because I did relatively expensive activities, including:

A woman staring at a gold-plated temple.
I visited Thailand right after Vietnam.

About My Vietnam Trip

To give context to the expenses below, hereโ€™s what you need to know about my trip to Vietnam:

๐Ÿ—“๏ธ 12 days. I spent almost two weeks in Vietnam. During my trip, I spent eight days in Northern Vietnam, visiting Hanoi, Ninh Bรฌnh, Lan Ha Bay (which is a part of Ha Long Bay), and Ha Giang. I spent the other five days in Central Vietnam in Hoi An and Da Nang.

Comparing the two major cities in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City in Southern Vietnam is on average approximately 10% more expensive than Hanoi City in Northern Vietnam.

โ˜€๏ธ High season. I visited Vietnam in November, which is considered the high season.

Vietnam has two peak seasons: one from March to early May and the other from October to December.

โœŒ๏ธ Two travelers. I traveled with one other person, so I was able to split accommodation, food, and transportation costs.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Mid-range budget. I donโ€™t aim to travel on a budget, but Iโ€™m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.

๐Ÿ’ต US dollars. All costs listed in this post are per person and in US dollars, converted from Vietnam’s local currency, the Vietnamese Dong. The exchange rate was $1 USD = 24,300 VND at the time of writing.

The blog author sitting down while being surrounded by more than a dozen lanterns.
Hoi An in Vietnam.

Vietnam Trip’s Total Cost: $1,251

My almost two-week trip to Vietnam cost a total of $1,251, including flights.

My trip’s highlights are featured in these Northern Vietnam and Central Vietnam itineraries.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Cost Breakdown for Vietnam

Here’s a quick overview of my Vietnam travel expenses by category:

VietnamCost% of Total CostCost per Day
โœˆ๏ธ Flights$21717%
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$15012%$12
๐Ÿœ Food$726%$6
๐Ÿ๏ธ Transportation$766%$6
โญ Activities$48839%$41
๐Ÿ›๏ธ Miscellaneous$24720%$21
Vietnam Trip’s Cost Breakdown

๐Ÿ’ต Daily Budget in Vietnam: $86

My Vietnam trip cost $86 per day, excluding flights.

Daily Budget
Excluding flights$86
Including flights$104
Vietnam Trip’s Cost Per Day

A mid-range budget traveler can expect to spend $65 per day in Vietnam. This generally means staying at $15 per night accommodations, eating a mix of street and restaurant food, and going on several tours.

โœˆ๏ธ Flight Cost to Vietnam: $217

  • My flight from TPE in Taiwan to Hanoiโ€™s airport in Northern Vietnam was $101.

At the time of booking, flying into Taiwan was more affordable than flying into Vietnam from the United States. Had I flown from the United States to Vietnam, I would have paid more than $1,000 round-trip.

  • My flight from Hanoiโ€™s airport in Northern Vietnam to Da Nangโ€™s airport in Central Vietnam was $33.

Domestic flights within Vietnam are relatively affordable (ranging from $30 to $80) and tend to cut transportation time across different regions by several hours.

  • My flight from Da Nang’s airport in Central Vietnam to Bangkok’s airport in Thailand was $82.

If you’re flying on budget airlines that hop around Asia, be aware of bag weight limits. I flew AirAsia and VietJet Air and both had a combined carry-on and checked-bag limit of 7kg (about 15 lbs). If you pass this limit, you’ll have to pay an extra checked bag fee. I paid ~$14 per bag, but some fees were as high as $45 per bag.

๐Ÿ  Accommodation Cost in Vietnam: $150

My average cost of accommodation in Vietnam was $12 per day. My accommodation cost doesnโ€™t include the three days of lodging on the Ha Giang loop as those are included in the tour’s cost.

Ready for an adventure? Here’s how to take a motorbike road trip through the Ha Giang Loop.

Here are all the places I stayed at in Vietnam and how much I paid for each one:

AccommodationTotal CostCost Per Day
Hanoi Hotel & Airbnb$77$26
Hoi An Hotel$52$13
Cรกt Bร  Island Hotel$21$21
Vietnam Trip’s Accommodation Costs

Accommodations in Vietnam are extremely affordable so you can stay at mid-range hotels for as low as $20 per night. The mid-range accommodations I stayed at would have easily been over $100 per night in the United States. Read the details on where I stayed in Hanoi and Hoi An.

A clear pool with a row of sun chairs and umbrella.
The pool outside my Hoi An hotel room.

๐Ÿ› Food Cost in Vietnam: $72

My average cost of food in Vietnam was $6 per day.

The food capital of Vietnam is Hoi An in Central Vietnam. The small town not only serves traditional, delicious food, but also region-specific food not found elsewhere.

Cheapest Meals in Vietnam

Here are the cheapest meals I had in Vietnam:

Chicken and rice dishLocal Restaurant (Hoi An)$1.50
Rose dumplingsWhite Rose Restaurant (Hoi An)$1.80
Rice bowls (“xoi gia”)Xรดi Gia Truyแปn Bร  Thu (Hanoi)$2
Cheapest Meals in Vietnam

Food in Vietnam is extremely affordable. Many of my meals were $2 or less (including a drink), especially at local restaurants. Restaurants that target tourists will charge more.

A bowl of rice with sausage and pork belly.
Xรดi Gia Truyแปn Bร  Thu in Hanoi.

Most Expensive Meals in Vietnam

Here are the most expensive meals I had in Vietnam:

Noodles and vegetablesNostalife (Hoi An)$6.50
Dumplings and noodlesTaste of Asia (Hanoi Airport)$6
Noodle dishYummy 1 (Cรกt Bร  Island)$5
Most Expensive Meals in Vietnam

I recommend going on an authentic food tour early in your Vietnam trip to discover authentic, local food and restaurants that you can try throughout your trip.

A woman holding ice cream with chunks of fruit in them.
Durian ice cream during Hanoi food tour.

๐Ÿš™ Transportation Cost in Vietnam: $76

My average cost of transportation in Vietnam was $6 per day.

Grab is the Uber of Southeast Asia and it’s a very convenient ridesharing app to use in Vietnam. My Grab rides averaged approximately $3 per ride, including tips.

TransportationTotal Cost
Grab rides$34
Round-trip bus ride for deep water soloing$28
Private car hire for Da Nang day trip$14
Vietnam Trip’s Transportation Costs

Grab rides are almost always more affordable than flagging down a taxi or tuk-tuk. Pro tip: use Grab prices as a baseline for negotiating with taxis or tuk-tuks when they’re more conveniently available.

The blog author taking a selfie with a helmet while riding a motorbike through mountains.
Motorbiking through Ha Giang in Vietnam.

โœจ Entertainment Costs in Vietnam: $488

My average cost of activities and attractions in Vietnam was $41 per day. This total includes tips, which were usually around 10%.

Here are all the activities I paid for in Vietnam and how much each cost:

Ha Giang Loop tour$228
Deep water solo (Ha Long Bay)$78
Ninh Bรฌnh day tour$63
Cooking class (Hoi An)$31
Old Quarter street food tour (Hanoi)$28
Bamboo Circus show (Hoi An)$25
Massages (three sessions)$25
Water Puppet Show (Hanoi)$6
Vietnam Military Museum (Hanoi)$2
Ngoc Son Temple (Hanoi)$1
Temple of Literature (Hanoi)$1
Vietnam Trip’s Entertainment Costs

These Hoi An and Hanoi guides share details on the activities I did in Vietnam. This Ha Giang loop guide and deep water solo guides show how to do adventurous activities in Vietnam.

The blog's author climbing up a gray limestone rock over water.
Deep water soloing, also known as rock climbing over water, at Lan Ha Bay.

๐Ÿ‘— Miscellaneous Cost in Vietnam: $247

My average cost of miscellaneous spending in Vietnam was $21 per day.

Tailored Clothes in Hoi An$190
Laundry services (two loads)$8
Vietnam Trip’s Miscellaneous Costs

United States nationals traveling to Vietnam are required to get a tourist visa. The Vietnam visa costs $25 and takes three business days to process. You can apply online here.

A woman fixing the waist of the blog author's dress.
Getting adjustments done at Tuong Tailor.

Cost Breakdown by City in Vietnam

Below are my trip expense breakdowns for Hanoi, Hoi An, and Cรกt Bร  Island.

I also spent time in the following places:

  • Ninh Bรฌnh. I did a day trip to Ninh Binh from Hanoi and only spent $63 on the day tour, which included transportation and meals.
  • Ha Giang. I did a three-day motorbike tour of the Ha Giang loop in the rural mountains of Vietnam. The tour cost $228 and included transportation, accommodation and meals. I also spent $12 buying a hemp bag made in a village.
  • Da Nang. I did a half-day trip to Da Nang from Hoi An and my only cost was the $14 that I paid for a private driver to drive me around the coastal city.

๐Ÿ๏ธ Hanoi Cost Breakdown

I spent a total of $202 for three days in Hanoi, so my average cost was $67 per day. I stayed at an Airbnb and Bi Eco Suites Hanoi, a modern, affordable hotel. I was able to split both accommodations with one other person.

I went to a few Hanoi attractions that had a small entrance fee and paid for an Old Quarter street food tour, which I highly recommend doing at the beginning of your Vietnam trip so you can get familiar with authentic, Vietnamese food.

Hanoi is at the center of Northern Vietnam, so even if you don’t spend much time there, you will likely fly there to access other parts of Vietnam. It’s a bustling city where you can spend a lot or a little on accommodation and food.

Here are the things to do and skip in Hanoi.

CategoryTotal CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$77$26
๐Ÿ Food$39$13
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$21$7
โญ Entertainment & Misc.$65$21
Hanoi Trip’s Costs by Category
A woman standing on a bridge in front a decorated Asian gate.
Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi.

๐Ÿ‘— Hoi An Cost Breakdown

I spent a total of $370 for three days in Hoi An, so my average cost was $123 per day.

I stayed at a nice hotel that I was able to split with someone else. My expenses in Hoi An are exceptionally high because I bought custom-tailored clothes.

Hoi An is the tailoring capital of the world. Learn how to get custom-tailored clothes for affordable prices.

Hoi An is one of the most well-known places in Central Vietnam and is known as Vietnam’s food capital. Even though it’s a fairly tourist-oriented town, you’ll be able to find plenty of Vietnamese food for cheap if you look for it. This Hoi An travel guide shares an itinerary and great things to do there

CategoryTotal CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$52$13
๐Ÿ Food$24$6
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$13$3
โญ Entertainment & Misc.$281$70
Hoi An Trip’s Costs by Category
The blog's author holding a bike next to a field of farm vegetables.
Biking outside of Hoi An.

๐Ÿšค Cรกt Bร  Island Cost Breakdown

I spent a total of $146 for two days on Cรกt Bร  Island, so my average cost was $73 per day.

Although Cรกt Bร  Island is its own destination, I mainly traveled there to deep water solo (rock climb above water). I stayed at ฤแบ I THแปฆY Hotel, which I was able to split with one other person.

Cรกt Bร  Island is a well-known tourist area in Vietnam, so you can expect prices to be fairly high here. I visited during the low season of the island and thought the prices were comparable to other places in Vietnam.

CategoryTotal CostCost Per Day
๐Ÿ  Accommodation$21$11
๐Ÿ Food$10$5
๐Ÿš‡ Transportation$28$14
โญ Entertainment & Misc.$87$43
Cat Ba Island Trip’s Costs by Category
Deep water soloing in Lan Ha Bay near Cรกt Bร  Island.

Do You Need Cash in Vietnam?

Vietnam’s economy is largely based on cash transactions, even at established businesses, so make sure to bring some cash. I needed to use cash almost everywhere when I visited.

Here are some tips on bringing and using cash in Vietnam:

๐Ÿ’ต 1. Withdraw cash in Vietnamese dong.

Vietnam’s currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND) and the US dollar is not widely accepted.

ATMs are readily available in many tourist places in Vietnam, but if your debit card doesn’t reimburse your ATM fees, you’ll want to withdraw a higher amount less frequently to save on fees.

๐Ÿง 2. Carry more than $30 worth of cash per day in Vietnam.

You’ll need at least $30 in cash in Vietnam to cover food, transportation, attractions, and tips on a typical day for a mid-range budget traveler.

I kept my cash in my crossbody pouch, but if you want extra protection against pickpocketing, carry a hidden money belt instead.

๐Ÿ’ณ 3. Some places in Vietnam take credit cards.

Being able to use a credit card in Vietnam is the exception, but below are some places that accept credit cards:

  • High-production shows (e.g., Bamboo Circus in Hoi An)
  • High-cost tailoring services in Hoi An (note that they add a 3% credit card fee)
  • Rides booked through Grab accept cards, but they also have the option to pay in cash

๐Ÿ’ฐ 4. Tipping in Vietnam is not customary.

It’s not rude to tip in Vietnam and it’s often appreciated, but it’s not mandatory.

  • Tour guides will gladly accept 10-15% tips, especially ones that serve more Americans.
  • When eating out, tipping is not expected when you eat street food, but upscale restaurants may add a 10% service charge. For many restaurants, rounding your bill up and leaving some change is sufficient as a “tip.”
  • For drivers, you can round up the change. Getting around Vietnam with Grab was so cheap that I just tipped drivers $1 regardless.

See other Vietnam essential travel tips before visiting.

Vietnam Trip Planner

To make your travel planning easier, download the trip planner below and use it as a starting point. The planner has country-specific travel information as well as an itinerary, packing list, and map with key places pinned.

The trip planner is built on Notion, which is what I use for all my travel planning (I genuinely love this tool). If you don’t have Notion, creating an account is free.

Three Notion template screenshots are shown: travel information, itinerary, and map + packing list templates.
Preview of the Vietnam trip planning template (built on Notion).
A Notion template screenshots is shown giving more details to the itinerary.
Preview of the Vietnam trip planning template (built on Notion).

If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.

๐Ÿง‹ This site is run entirely by me, Lukiih. I spend hours researching each destination to ensure its accuracy. If you find my tips helpful, say thanks by buying me bubble tea!


  1. Hien

    Lukiih! You forgot about southern Vietnam!!!

    1. Lukiih

      Hien! I only had 12 days in Vietnam so I had to pick between the North and South :’). What did I miss in the South?

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