You’ve probably seen it in the background of countless war movies, but nothing can prepare you for the epic beauty of Vietnam. While it isn’t my favorite country in the world, it is very beautiful and filled with delicious food – there is no denying that. From the natural beauty of Sam Mountain and Halong Bay to the man-made artistry of the sacred temples and pagodas to the rice terraces and beaches, Vietnam has a lot to offer travelers. The country has suffered a long dark history of colonialism, communism, war, and poverty. You cannot escape learning about the horrid history whose effects are still visible on the faces, bodies the locals even today. Like India, many travelers either love or hate it here. Admittedly, it’s a hard country to travel through but despite the challenges you’ll find a very interesting and visually pleasing place to visit.
$ Typical Costs
Accommodation – Hostels start around 300,000 VND per night for the most basic accommodation. For a nicer place, you can pay almost double. Private rooms will cost at least 520,000 VND per night for a double room. While hostels were once scarce, they have started popping up all over the country to accommodate budget travelers. Most hostels will offer free WiFi, and many will also include free breakfast or free beer during certain hours of the day. Self-catering facilities are not very common since eating out is so cheap. For a budget hotel with a double bed, expect to pay around 400,000 VND per night. This will usually include free WiFi and free breakfast.
Food – You can get a bowl of pho or a rice dish for 40,000 VND. Most sit-down restaurants are also inexpensive at around 45,000-95,000 VND. The fancier (and more touristy) the restaurant, the more expensive. Western food will also be more expensive. A liter of water at a convenience store is about 20,000 VND, while a beer or soda at a restaurant is about 20,000-35,000 VND. For those looking to cook their own meals, expect to pay at least 400,000 VND per week for basic groceries. Be sure to shop at the local markets to get the cheapest and freshest food. That being said, food is so cheap in the country, that is simply easier – and often cheaper – to just eat the street food.
Transportation – Bus travel is very cheap in Vietnam. The public bus around Hue, Da Nang to Hoi an will cost a maximum of 20,000 VND per ride. Overnight buses, while uncomfortable, are only about 100,000-500,000 VND and can take you to lots of cities in Vietnam (this will also save you a night of paying for accommodation). The train is also another inexpensive way to travel, with the 791km long train journey from Hue or Da Nang to Hanoi costing around 750,000 VND. There are extremely low-cost airlines that can hop you around the country quickly for as little as 640,000 VND.