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:
- 💰 Expected travel costs
- 💡 Budgeting tips
- 💵 How much cash to bring
- ✈️ My trip’s costs by category
- 📍 My trip’s costs by major cities
Planning a trip? Here are things to know about Vietnam before going.
- Is Vietnam Expensive?
- How Much Is a Trip?
- Vietnam vs. Thailand Costs
- About My Trip
- Total Trip Cost: $1,251
- Cost Breakdown by City
- Do You Need Cash in Vietnam?
- Vietnam Trip Planner
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.
💰 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:
*My Cambodia trip could have easily been closer to $85 per day, but I chose to splurge on accommodation.
💰 Trip Daily Budget for Popular Destinations
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:
|🇨🇷 Costa Rica||$233|
|🇵🇷 Puerto Rico||$182|
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.
🎒 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.
💰 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.
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.
🇻🇳 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.
💰 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.
|Total Cost Per Day||$65||$75|
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 three-day motorbiking tour of the Ha Giang Loop
- Deep water soloing (rock climbing above water) in Lan Ha Bay, which is part of Ha Long Bay
- Buying several pieces of tailored clothes in Hoi An, the tailoring capital of the world
About My Vietnam Trip
To give context to the expenses below, here’s what you need to know about my trip to Vietnam:
🗓️ 12 days. I spent almost two weeks in Vietnam. During my trip, I spent eight days in Northern Vietnam, visiting Hanoi, Ninh Bình, 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.
☀️ 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.
✌️ Two travelers. I traveled with one other person, so I was able to split accommodation, food, and transportation costs.
💰 Mid-range budget. I don’t aim to travel on a budget, but I’m thoughtful about how and where I spend. I consider myself a mid-range budget traveler and these expenses reflect that.
💵 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.
Vietnam Trip’s Total Cost: $1,251
My almost two-week trip to Vietnam cost a total of $1,251, including flights.
💰 Cost Breakdown for Vietnam
Here’s a quick overview of my Vietnam travel expenses by category:
|Vietnam||Cost||% of Total Cost||Cost per Day|
💵 Daily Budget in Vietnam: $86
My Vietnam trip cost $86 per day, excluding flights.
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.
✈️ Flight Cost to Vietnam: $217
- My flight from TPE in Taiwan to Hanoi’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 Hanoi’s airport in Northern Vietnam to Da Nang’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.
🏠 Accommodation Cost in Vietnam: $150
My average cost of accommodation in Vietnam was $12 per day. My accommodation cost doesn’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:
|Accommodation||Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|Hanoi Hotel & Airbnb||$77||$26|
|Hoi An Hotel||$52||$13|
|Cát Bà Island Hotel||$21||$21|
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.
🍛 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 dish||Local Restaurant (Hoi An)||$1.50|
|Rose dumplings||White Rose Restaurant (Hoi An)||$1.80|
|Rice bowls (“xoi gia”)||Xôi Gia Truyền Bà Thu (Hanoi)||$2|
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.
Most Expensive Meals in Vietnam
Here are the most expensive meals I had in Vietnam:
|Noodles and vegetables||Nostalife (Hoi An)||$6.50|
|Dumplings and noodles||Taste of Asia (Hanoi Airport)||$6|
|Noodle dish||Yummy 1 (Cát Bà Island)||$5|
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.
🚙 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.
|Round-trip bus ride for deep water soloing||$28|
|Private car hire for Da Nang day trip||$14|
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.
✨ 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 Bình 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|
👗 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|
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.
Cost Breakdown by City in Vietnam
Below are my trip expense breakdowns for Hanoi, Hoi An, and Cát Bà Island.
I also spent time in the following places:
- Ninh Bình. 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.
🏍️ 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.
|Category||Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|⭐ Entertainment & Misc.||$65||$21|
👗 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
|Category||Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|⭐ Entertainment & Misc.||$281||$70|
🚤 Cát Bà Island Cost Breakdown
I spent a total of $146 for two days on Cát Bà Island, so my average cost was $73 per day.
Cát Bà 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.
|Category||Total Cost||Cost Per Day|
|⭐ Entertainment & Misc.||$87||$43|
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:
💵 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.
🏧 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.
💳 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
💰 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.
If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a comment below.
Vietnam Travel Guides
- 🇻🇳 Vietnam Travel Tips: 11 Practical Things To Know
- 🇻🇳 7-10 Epic Days in North Vietnam: 3 Itinerary Options
- 🏍️ Preparing for the Ha Giang Loop: Safety + Packing List
- 🏮 Hoi An Guide: 3-Day Itinerary + Best Things To Do
- 👗 My Hoi An Tailor Experience: Prices and What To Know
- 🍜 Hanoi Travel Guide: 14 Great Things To Do, Eat and Maybe Skip
- 💰 Trip to Vietnam Cost: 2023 Travel Budget Breakdown
- 💧 How to Deep Water Solo in Vietnam: What to Know + 5 Tips
🧋 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!