Vietnam Cost of Travel for Travelers on a Budget in 2023!

Cost of Travel in Vietnam

Are you looking for another travel destination that is right for your budget? Why not choose Vietnam? It is one of the most inexpensive countries to travel to especially with all the inflation going on now!

Vietnam is dubbed, the Land of the Blue Dragon because of its geographical location which is by the sea. This makes for a perfect travel destination as this S-shaped country offers everything from solemn stays to fun-filled adventures on land or in the ocean!

But how much is the cost of travel to Vietnam in 2023? Below, we have prepared an easy guide on Vietnam’s cost of travel in 2023 as well as all the factors you might need to take into consideration when planning your budget trip to Vietnam!

Note: In this article, we’re going to compute the cost of travel in Vietnam per person.

Cost of Transportation in Vietnam

If you’ve ever traveled to Vietnam, you’ll notice that there are a lot of modes of transportation in the country. So much so that you won’t be worrying too much about what ride you’re going to catch.

Cost of transportation across different modes of transportation in Vietname can range from $0.50 to $70!

Here are the types of transportation in Vietnam for Long and Short distances as well as their costs:

Short Distance Transport

Motorbike Taxi

Xe Ôm or Motorbike Taxi, is the most popular transportation in Vietnam. In fact, Vietnamese people love motorbikes so much that as of 2020, there have been over 65 million registered motorbikes, according to Statista.com!

Motorbikes in Vietnam
Motorbikes in Vietnam, credit: GRRRLTRAVELER

This transportation is well-loved because it’s quite cheap ranging from VND10,000 – 15,000 or around $0.50 per kilometer. Apart from that, some roads are narrow and tiny that bigger vehicles find it difficult to go through. With the petite sizes of the motorbikes, it’s easier to navigate through these narrow roads and passageways.

Use Grab When Possible

Grab is the Asian version of Uber and is widely popular in most Asian countries. Unsurprisingly, it’s also a popular mode of transportation in Vietnam since the app is easy to use and convenient too.

Grab is a great way to make sure that your transactions are safe and you’re really paying what you need to pay. No need to worry about getting scammed or whatnot since the fare will be automatically computed for you based on how far your destination is.

Although, Grab is only available in the cities most of the time but we think that using it will give you a peace of mind especially if it’s your first time in Vietnam.

Grab fares start at VND15,000 or $0.64 for motorbikes and about VND22,000 or $0.94 for cars.

Taxi in Vietnam

There are a lot of car taxis in Vietnam too. It’s cheap and safe to use if you’re traveling around Vietnam across short distances.

Car taxis in Vietnam are just like any regular taxi all over the world, however, the prices are cheaper costing around VND12,000 to VND15,000 or $0.55-$0.65 cents per kilometer.

Mai Linh Taxi in Vietnam
Mai Linh Taxi in Vietnam, credit: VietnamTrips
Choosing A Taxi in Vietnam

There are a lot of unmetered taxis out there in Vietnam and that’s a fact. Sometimes, we might unknowingly get into one and then end up paying a ton of money for a short distance.

So, how do you choose the right taxi in Vietnam?

By the time you get out of the cities in Vietnam, you will come across a number of unmetered taxis. What we recommend you to do is to negotiate the price that you’re going to pay. You can also ask your hotel clerks for advice on fares for your chosen destination beforehand. They already probably know your dilemma and are willing to help you out.

Original Vinasun Taxi in Vietnam
Original Vinasun Taxi in Vietnam, credit: XO Tours

Tourist scams are rampant in some parts of Asian countries, not just in Vietnam. However, there are two trusted taxi brands in Vietnam: Vinasun and Mai Linh. So, to make sure that you’re less likely to be scammed, try to look for these two taxi brands.

Long Distance Transportation

Train Transportation to different parts of Vietnam

Traveling for long distances will always be more convenient if you used a train system. In Vietnam, there are trains that run across the major cities and they come at low costs too.

However, we don’t recommend you to book the cheapest train ride as this might be uncomfortable because of the number of passengers and might not be worth the money.

We recommend you to opt for the second class sleeper train options as they’re more comfortable than the third class but not as expensive as the first class.

There are two kinds of second class options: Sleeper AC and the AC Seats.

2nd class sleeper AC. This option has the same amenities as the first class with the exception of the 6 beds being hard compared to the 4 soft beds in the first class. It has also been reviewed that the might do not have too much space for taller travelers.

2nd class AC seats only. As mentioned, this option offers seat rather than beds but the seats are soft and can be compared to that of airline seats. However, there’s not much space under the seats for your stuff so, we recommend you to travel lite. This option is much better for people who plan on traveling during the daytime since the seating position might not be the best for traveling overnight. The bathrooms are separated and are located outside and these have Asian-style squat toilets.

AC Seat only (second class) Sleeper Train in Vietnam
AC Seat only (second class) Sleeper Train in Vietnam, credit: BangkokAttractions.com

Here is a table of the expected cost for a train ride between major points in Vietnam:

Train RouteCost in Vietnamese DongCost in USDHoursDistance
Ho Chi Minh – Nha Trang 350,000 – 1,100,000 $15-$509 hours 411km
Hanoi – Phong Nha 450,000 – 900,000$20-$409.5 hours495km
Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh 850,000 – 1,500,000$35-$6535 hours1700km
Hanoi – Sapa 350,000 – 1,500,000$15-$658 hours320km
Da Nang- Hue150,000 – 300,000 $6-$122.5 hours 103km

Reliable Train Booking Companies

12go.Asia. This international booking website offers different travel services in Vietnam. This also caters to buses, flights, and taxis. The interface is also straightforward but the great thing is that it presents you with the best deal and also provide you with other options. Lastly, it shows you a picture of the accommodation for that train which can be used to determine if the ride is for you.

Bao Lau. Bao Lau is another booking website which offers deals on trains in Vietnam as well as international flights. The offers are legit however, they do not refund service fees if a flight has been cancelled by the airline company. If you’re booking trains, this website is great. Just be careful when booking flights here.

DSVN. Đường sắt Việt Nam is the official booking website of Vietname Railway corporation. It presents you all the necessary information you need for your trip. This website has a lot of payment options such as e-wallets, mobile banking, and payment gateways.

Tour Buses to Different Cities in Vietnam

Buses in Vietnam are actually inexpensive. Of course, prices will vary on different factors such as route, distance, and the peak days. But one thing is for sure, you won’t be spending a lot on them.

Tour buses are available in major cities such as Ho Chi Minh City. The best parts about buses in Vietnam is that they are airconditioned and if you’re traveling by bus across Vietnam, this will make the journey comfortable.

Tour buses in Vietnam
Tour buses in Vietnam, credit: Gecko Routes

And speaking of comfort, the some buses have reclining seats to which you can convert to a bed-like space which is great for sleeping. So, you can sleep through all the traffic you might pass by!

Typically, bus prices range from VND40,000 to VND60,000 per 100 kilometers. Shorter routes like Ho Chi Minh-Nha Trang cost around VND460,000 or about $20.

Rough Cost for Bus Tickets (CONVERT TO VND)

We’ve made a table of the cost of bus tickets in Vietnam.

Bus RouteCost per person in VNDCost per person in USD
Dalat to SaigonVND398,344$17
Hoi An to DalatVND374,912$16
Sapa to HanoiVND281,184$12
Ninh Binh to Phong NhaVND281,184$12
Phong Nha to DanangVND281,184$12
Hanoi to Ninh BinhVND164,024$7
Saigon to Can ThoVND140,592$6
Danang to Hoi AnVND23,432$1
Note: These prices may change overtime. We’ll try to update this table for convenience.

Well-known Vietnam Bus Companies

When you go to Vietnam, there are three well-known bus companies that tourists and locals use:

  1. Hoang Long Bus. This is a private bus company that started its operations way back in 1997. It has over 200 units that travel across Vietnam. But there are some negative reviews stating that the buses are old and run-down.
  2. Sinh Cafe Bus. Reviews for this bus company are better than that of the first bus company on this list. Seats are comfortable, came on time, and only a few stops going to the destinations. There is, however, no bathrooms on the units but per reviews, bus drivers stop at the right places.
  3. Phuong Trang FUTA Bus. Also known as FUTA, this bus company is also well-known in Vietnam. Most buses are new but some passengers have mentioned that there are units that are too small and it makes them feel as if they were imprisoned in a cell.

Domestic Flights for City Hopping

To be quite honest, reviews on buses are not as good as we expected them to be. Fortunately, there is one other option that is faster and more convenient, AIRPLANES.

Yes, taking a plane may not be as fun as going on a sleeper train or a bus but one thing we do like is that it’s faster and since it’s faster, you get to avoid inconveniences that may take up too much of your time if you took the abovementioned options.

Domestic flights in Vietnam are inexpensive due to the fact that a lot of cheap airlines have started their business in the past few years. This resulted in a more competitive market and when the market is competitive, the prices go down. If you book early, you might bag a $30 flight!

Usually, prices range from VND600,000 to VND1,200,000 or $25 to $50. Plus, you save a lot more time exploring other parts of Vietnam compared to that of the train or bus. And to save even more time on your trip, we’ve made an article compiling all of the best booking websites for cheap flights that you can use! We did the digging for you and made sure that through these websites, you will get the best and the lowest deals on your next flight!

The downside, however, is that you won’t save much on hotel rooms or hostel beds. But again, if your itinerary requires a short amount of time, this sacrifice might be just right.

Cost of Accommodation in Vietnam

Vietnam has a wide range of options in terms of accommodations. Because of its economic growth, many hotels have opened in the last 10 years. From family-owned budget guesthouses to 5-star luxury hotels, there’s something for everybody.

But for budget travelers like us, we want a place where we can enjoy and still save money, right? Well, in this part of the article, we’ve listed out all the accommodations you can take into consideration!

Free Accommodation

It’s not always that we hear about opportunities for free stays. And honestly, if it weren’t for our interest in Vietnam, we wouldn’t know about this.

There’s a thing you can do in Vietnam called, Housesitting. We know that it’s not a new concept and it’s actually quite common in other parts of the world too but as a traveler, do you ever hear about this at all?

Well, in Vietnam, you can take care of somebody’s house while they are away. You’ll have a great place for your own and you get to live like a local too!

Hostels in Vietnam

This is the part where we can truly say that Vietnam is a budget-friendly travel destination for travelers. Simply because hostels are everywhere in this country. No matter where you go, no matter how small an island is, there is a hostel there!

If you’ve read our other articles, you know how much we love hostels! They are simply the best options for finding an inexpensive place to stay in. And on your next trip to Vietnam, you can rely on booking a hostel too!

Bunk beds at Hanoi City Backpackers Hostel
Hanoi City Backpackers Hostel, credit: TripAdvisor

Prices for a dorm-type accommodation could go as low as VND93,728 or $4 per night and private rooms can range from VND421,776 or $18 to VND820120 or $35! And what’s awesome is that most hostels don’t even look like hostels because of their beautiful interiors. Some hostels also have cafes within or near the premises which makes for a perfect hangout spot or a working area if you brought work with you.

Tourists lounging at a hostel in Vietnam
Tourists lounging at a hostel in Vietnam, credit: Hostelworld

If you’re looking to book a hostel for your Vietnam trip this year, we recommend you to use Hostelworld! It’s one of our top 6 best websites to book cheap accommodations!

You can also check out reviews on Hostelworld to know if the hostel you’ve chosen is really worth your money!

Hotels in Vietnam

Staying at a hotel is not a bad option as staying in a hostel, especially if you’re in Vietnam. However, a standard hotel room will probably cost as much as a private hostel room and the standards may just be the same.

Cheap hotel in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Hoi An
Cheap hotel in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, and Hoi An, credit: Kayak

Still, if you want to stay at a hotel in Vietnam, you can expect to pay at least VND702,960 or $35 per night. That’s for a decent hotel room complete with all the amenities for yourself as well as a private space for you. There are hotels that can cost around $5 but there are not a lot of reviews for hotel rooms at this price point, so we can’t guarantee the quality of these rooms.

We know you’re really not into booking hotels for now since your budget might be tight but it doesn’t hurt to check out other options, right? Just follow our article on the best booking websites for accommodations so that you can get into the best hotel deals out there too!

Cost of Meals in Vietnam

Cost of Street Food

Vietnam has one of the most inexpensive street food in the world. With vendors selling meals for as low as $1, you don’t have to go to expensive restaurants to get an authentic taste of Vietnamese food.

Have a taste of the world famous Pho or you could also try out Banh mi, a vegetable and meat-filled baguette that is just perfect combination of Chinese and French elements! It’s delicious and filling! No wonder Banh Mi ranked 16th in the Best Rated Dishes in Asia by Taste Atlas!

Authentic Banh Mi in Saigon, Vietnam
Authentic Banh Mi in Saigon, Vietnam, credit: Daniel Food Diary

Street foods in Vietnam can range from VND23,000 or $1 to VND70,296 or $3!

Vietnam definitely has one of the most delicious street foods in the world but if you’re unsure where to start with your Vietnamese street food adventure, you can also check out tours in some of the best websites to book tours around the world!

Cost of Restaurant Food

True to every country, eating at restaurants is always more expensive than eating out in local food stalls. In Vietnam, restaurant prices are a bit more expensive but you’ll guarantee that the food is cleaner, it’s airconditioned, and seats and tables are comfortable. It’s not as exciting as eating outside and being with the majority of the locals though.

Restaurant prices can range from VND40,000 to VND370,000 or about $2 to $16.

Cost of Activities in Vietnam

Vietnam focuses its tourism more on history and nature. Just by walking around the countryside, you’ll already find some of the best sceneries in Vietnam!

You can book Vietnam tours with local travel agents and it can actually cost less. However, if it’s your first time going to Vietnam, it might be a bit stressful to find a trustworthy travel agency. You might also be susceptible to tourist scams, so for now, we recommend you to book your tours online through the booking websites we trust in terms of tours and attractions!

My Son Temple in Quang Nam, Vietnam. Remnants of the Champa Kingdom
My Son Temple in Quang Nam, Vietnam. Remnants of the Champa Kingdom, credit: PlanetWare

Full day excursions can cost around VND580,000 to VND2,108,880 or $25 to $90, depending on the locations and routes.

Not yet sure where you want to tour in Vietnam? Don’t worry, we’ve listed out some of the exciting things you can do and places you can visit in Vietnam here!

Total Cost of Travel in Vietnam

Prices in the first half of 2023 are definitely cheaper despite the inflation. It’s because of the fact that a lot of the establishments are trying to boost their business and entice tourists locally and internationally. This is probably a great time to take advantage of the opportunity.

Here is an estimate of the cost of travel to Vietnam per day in 2023:

Cost of Transportation= $10 (within one area) and  $35 (if traveling in long distances). Prices are estimated since these will vary according to the route, destination, and time of day.

Cost of Accommodation= $4 for a dorm-type hostel bed

Cost of Meals= $9

Cost of Activities= $30 (May vary depending on your preferred activity)

Total= $78 per day or around $80 (with extra).

If we compute the total cost for 5 days in Vietnam, that would only be $400 only!


VND180000 or about $80 is not a bad cost for a budget trip. All of these are just estimates to make sure that you’ll have enough money while still staying on a budget in your Vietnam trip this year. Brought by the inflation, fluctuations in prices may occur.

Vietnam should definitely be your next budget travel destination and we can’t wait to bump into you someday!

Have you been to Vietnam this year? What other experiences have you tried in Vietnam this year? What other topics would you like for us to cover? Tell us more in the comments!

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