Vietnam on a shoestring!!

What i intend to write in this post is something that personally made me very proud, It is how i traveled in Vietnam on a shoestring!!

Firstly i’d like to define “shoestring“, according to Lonely planet guide on travelling “Southeast Asia on a shoestring“, the budget i should have for Vietnam is 25-30$ per day.

So basically i needed 425-510$ to survive in Vietnam on a “shoestring” !! , but i had other plans … 😀

From the time i flied into Vietnam to the time i took the bus OUT of Vietnam to Cambodia, I’ve spent a total of 300$ !!

but hold on, that’s not all !!, out of those 300$ i had to pay the entry visa (45$) and the open tour bus tickets (36+34 = 70$) and the bus ticket to Cambodia (18$).

So Yup, after deducting all of those, i ended up paying approx 170$ for 17 days in Vietnam.

10$ per day was quite enough to survive, i wouldn’t say that i had the most “fancy” time over there, but i had greatest time nevertheless.

so let’s see how did i manage to pull it off …..


1) Accommodation

The very first thing you always need to worry about is the accommodation, if you didn’t look hard enough, you might end up paying a lot for your stay, which i find as a MAJOR waste of money because come’on, you’re not travelling to stay in a fancy hotel, you basically just need a place to sleep.

The proper budget for 1 night at a hotel/dorm was 5$ per night, paying more than that would have been a waste of money FOR SURE!!

Here is some name cards for the hotels we stayed in during our trip (I can really vouch for those hotels!!)


The Amazing Mind-Blowing One and only !! Capsule Hotel (Kaiteki Hotel) (5$ / night (dorm))

Hotel with Capsules in Ho Chi Minh City!!

Kaiteki Hotel - SaigonHoi An:

This hotel costs nearly 10$ per night (triple room 27$/n) (all of the other cheaper options in the city were full because of the flood) but it was great nevertheless with free bicycles, Computers and breakfast.

Phouc An Hotel - Hoi AnPhuoc An Hotel - Hoi AnHanoi:

This hotel has an amazing location, and an even more amazing breakfast!! (5$ / night (dorm))

May De Ville Hotel - Hanoi

May De Ville Hotel - Hanoi

Mui Ne:

I can’t really say that i vouch for this hotel, as it’s quite far from the city center, there was a lot of problems with WiFi, and the rooms were not that clean.

Nevertheless if you are out of options and you don’t wanna look around so much then you can just go there. (5$ per night (double room 10$/n))

Mui Ne hotel

Mui Ne Hotel 2——————————————————————————————————————–

2) Food

Food in Vietnam is Extremely cheap !!

Vietnamese Food

ranging from 2.5$ for Vietnamese beef/chicken noodles to 3$ if you wanna treat your self to a burger combo from Lotteria (Vietnamese equivalent of Mcdonalds), other meals like fried rice go for 2-3$ as well.


3) Drinks

Well, I don’t drink alcohol, but trust me when i tell you that beer in Vietnam is cheaper than water.

Fresh Beer 3000 Dong

Fresh Beer 3000 Dong

You’ll find a lot of local made beer in every city you go to in Vietnam for prices that range from 3000 – 10000 dong ( 1$ = 20,000 dong)

You can find other non-alcoholic juices for 1-2$, and 1 big bottle of mineral water is for 0.5$.


4) Museums

I believe that there is no such thing as a “must see/visit”, It’s YOUR trip!! YOU decide what is the “must see” and what is the “must do”.

The entry fees for the museums in Vietnam range from 1-2$, but you don’t need to -nor you should- go to all of them, i suggest you make a quick search about the museum and know what exactly is featured inside, and decide for yourself if it will interest you.

I highly recommend: The war remnant museum in Saigon (15,000 dong / 0.75$ for entry)

Hint: Bring along your student card, some museums sell you the ticket for half the price if you are a student.


5) Tours

The same concept apply here, you decide what is your “must see”, since most of the tour prices are 8$ and higher, and -more importantly- they take up your whole day, you have to decide very carefully which tour would actually be of interest.

I highly recommend: The Cu Chi Tunnels tour in Saigon ( around 8-9$ for the whole thing)

We had the luxury of dealing with a couple of REALLY amazing offices with AWESOME staff and generally low prices for all the tours.


Tour Office in SaigonTour Office in SaigonHanoi:

Tour Office in HanoiTour Office in Hanoi——————————————————————————————————————–

6) Souvenirs

The local Vietnamese merchandise and souvenirs are pretty cheap, you can get 6 post cards for 1$, 10 key chains for 2$ .. etc

Vietnamese Souvenirs

Most of the souvenirs range in prices from 2-4$.


7) Open Tour Bus

The open tour bus cost from 34-36$ for the following stops:

Saigon > Mui Ne > Nha Trang > Hoi An > Hue > Hanoi


10$ per day was a very tight budget i would say, however we managed to go to nearly all the places we wanted to go, tried all the food we wanted to try and saw all the things we wanted to see.

Keeping this extremely tight budget was quite the challenge for me and my friends, however it was POSSIBLE nonetheless, and it really added to the experience of the whole trip.

Friendly advice: refrain from spending a lot on normal food and fancy accommodation, but never miss on a great experience or a good story, coz those are the ones that last!! 😉

Stay tuned for our stories from Cambodia ….

Basel …. OUT

(All pictures are captured with Samsung Galaxy Note I & Note II phone cameras)


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