Here are some tips and ways I was able to spend less than $200 (AUD) whilst travelling in Vietnam for 2 weeks.
Vietnam was the last stop for me on my big Asia trip that went for over 3 months. I technically was here for a month altogether, but I am just going to write this blog post about the last two weeks. However, what I write about applies to however long you decide to stay here because honestly the prices are ridiculously cheap and affordable.
When it comes to accommodation, I only stayed in hostels and I stayed at the cheapest ones I could find. The most I paid a night was $6.50 and the cheapest was $2.50 (crazy right). All of the places were pretty nice, some were basic but I had no problems. For some people, accomodation can blow a chunk of money out, but what I learnt whilst travelling Asia, was that all hostels are basically the same, so you may as well stay in the cheapest one to save money.
The next big expense for people is usually food and drinks. I hardly drank any alcohol or extra drinks apart from water, however it’s also ridiculously cheap to drink in Vietnam. So, it’s not going to break the bank if you have a beer with every meal. Food can get complicated because you need to know the right prices you should be paying. Usually, I found that all the local foods were at least half the price than western foods and typically if you went into a nice restaurant you would be paying even more. Now, in saying this I would not recommend eating at a fancy place because its going to be more expensive and from my experience the food isn’t as fresh, nice or safe to eat. I kept to eating at local places where the food was under $2 for a meal, dishes such as fried rice, pho, banh mi and vego-tofu mixes. I also went through stages where I wouldn’t be hungry so I never pushed my self to eat 3 square meals a day, just when I felt like I was hungry. Another tip is that most hostels will provide a free breakfast. It was usually just a bread roll, but if your lucky some places let you choose from pancakes, scrambled eggs or fruit. I also recommend to try and not snack because like a lot of Asian countries the snacks like a chocolate or pack of chips will cost the same as a meal. If you do get hungry try and find a local fruit stall where a whole pineapple will cost less than $1!
Most people that are travelling to Vietnam will want to experience and do as many activities as possible. Although a great way to see and experience the culture, I stuck to only doing things I thought would be worth it. One example is that throughout all of Vietnam there are caves and water boat tours and once you have done one, I wouldn’t recommend doing it a second time, even if it is somewhere else because they all look and do the same thing. A lot of the proper tours also rip of tourists, so knowing and doing research before booking anything is really important. Never book anything online because I can guarantee you, you will be paying twice as much and in Vietnam you can book something on the street the day before without a problem. There are also many attractions where you don’t need to go in a tour to see the site, so to save money just walk there and pay the small fee at the entrance or download ‘Grab’ on your mobile to get a driver to take you there.
For transport, most people just take the sleeper bus to the different parts of Vietnam, rather than flying, it should cost less than $15 to get somewhere this way. The only other means of public transport is hiring a motorbike or paying for a taxi. However, don’t get a taxi in Vietnam because they will serverly rip you off and there has also been some horror stories. Download ‘Grab’ on you mobile and pay the right amount to get to places around your location, which is the cheapest and safest way to travel. Ultimately, walking is free, great exercise and you will see more of Vietnam that way.
** ‘Grab’- Similar to Uber where you download the app and select where you want to go. The different options will come up such as motorbike, shared car or car. You can also pay in cash and don’t have to put any bank details in like Uber.