Vietnam Costs and Review
See our general tip page here. Note the costs here do not include external flights, vaccines and insurance etc – this will be detailed at the end of the trip.
|Food (not beer)||3,223,000||£103.00||161,150||£5.15|
|Entertainment (inc beer)||11,047,000||£353.04||552,350||£17.65|
|Nights in paid accom||17|
|Total per night||1,449,075||£46.31|
Vietnam was a bit of a culture shock than Thailand or Malaysia, and getting to Hanoi first was jumping in the deep end! Vietnam grew on us, and the Mekong area was beautiful. We had no real issues though we didn’t take many cheap or public transport options as we did here some horror stories. Whereas we spent a bit more, and cheated a bit, but had a chilled time.
We liked Vietnam – a lot – but not as much as Southern Thailand. We think this is because Vietnam is harder than Thailand – buying food can be harder; transport can be harder; and you are always afraid of a scam. That said, nothing was impossible and we made it through and enjoyed it unscathed.
Our daily spend of £46 is surprisingly good – especially when we took 2 internal flights; always had pretty good (but budget) hotels; and went on a fair few organised trips. On this amount it is possible to do things well and avoid the hassles.
With trains/busses and DIY you could do it cheaper, and there is also much cheaper accommodation than we bought, but too much less than we paid and it gets dire quickly!
We were concerned about security in Vietnam and the internet is full of horror stories, scams, theft etc. And to be fair, it is true – we’ve heard first hand stories about such problems. We were also (almost) scammed in Hannoi by a street vendor but nothing serious and all was fine.
We would also suggest you sort out airport pickup via your hotel for stress free airport travel – we were picked up easily, even when flight late, and as pre-paid it was perfect.
Keeping small change (notes) loose is a good idea so you don’t get you wallet out. Be wary of having “stuff” on display, or things dangling, as there are so many mopeds snatch-crime would be easy to do and hard to catch.
For us, we’d say we had no security issues – though we stayed alert throughout.
- ATMS: ATMs everywhere, but best to use something like ANZ bank as many banks restrict you to 2,00,000 VND at a time – ANZ allows up to 20,000,000 (pending your card).
- Currency: Most things priced in VND, but tourist things like hotels and trips in USD. You can pay these in VND (21,000 per $) or USD. Everything else is VND. No USD needed at all.
- Landry: Harder to come by, but all hotels did it for around 15,000-30,000 per kg
- 7/11: None – local shops only, but water etc similar price everywhere.
- Transport: We heard horror stories about public busses: Breakdowns; long delays waiting to fill; stopping before destination etc. So we didn’t use them. We didn’t use train either. We used: Sinhtourist bus; taxi; tuktuk; boat; ferry; rowing boat
- Chemists: Few and far between – best to stock up on essentials before you get there.
- Food: Street food more of a challenge – not much in English. Cafes etc vary but in tourest areas all OK
- Language: Knowing Yes, No helps – but English ok for normal stuff.
- Power: mains plugs everywhere so charging stuff is trivial (socket adapter may be needed, and of course make sure charger is 110/240v!).
- Internet: Wifi available in every guesthouse we used and in many bars/cafes. Internet cafes and PCs to borrow also available free/cheap.
- Toilets: Western style in all guest houses and in most “good” public places, there may only be one in a row so look. Worth carrying toilet paper though seldom needed.
Stuff we took and didn’t use
(see our packing list here)
- Towels – they were provided by every guesthouse, even special beach towels
- Mozzie net – only needed in one place, and it was already provided.
- Loads of clothes – you only need 4-5 sets of undies – laundry is so trivial to do you do not need to carry as much as us.
- Spare batteries for stuff – power so available we kept things charged
- Main padlock – all guest houses had normal locks
Things we’d change
We’d possibly spend some time in Sapa which we skipped due to weather/season, and we should have gone to Dalat and Nha Trang. We should have looked at Sinhtourist night bus from Hue/Hoi An rather than flying. Possibly more time in Mekong area, but no regrets there.