We’re back after another long absence – sorry about that. Life as a lawyer again leaves little time for much else 🙁 Not to worry though, there are loads of other great travel bloggers out there who are still on the road and bringing us enviable updates from far-flung places around the world. We even managed to get one very such blogger to post an article on our blog to help keep it current and so without further blathering from me, can I please introduce you to Jess of tripelio.com who has written an article about budgeting for your trip to Vietnam…
I would like to thank Emily and Declan for publishing this article. Their site is great for travel tips and tricks and following their adventure. Once you’ve learned how to budget, I highly recommend you check out this article for some amusing observations on Vietnamese culture.
Vietnam is a beautiful and unique destination that has soared in popularity over the last few years. Filled with rich culture and beautiful scenery, any time spent there is guaranteed to please. But with so much excitement about your upcoming trip to this magical new world, it can be easy to brush over the boring bits, and budget most definitely falls into this category. Luckily, we’ve created this simple list to help you work out costs so you can get back to the most important part, planning the trip.
The best place to start with travel budgeting is with the travel itself. Usually, flights take the biggest chunk out of your traveling funds, and you almost always end up booking them in advance, which makes them a great place to begin. The largest airport in Vietman is the Tan Son Nhat International airport located just 6km north of Ho Chi Minh city. Alongside Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, it is the only airport that runs flights out of Asia, so there’s a good chance this is where you’ll be flying to.
Although Vietnam Airlines run direct flights from the UK and Europe for around $700 (and around $1,000 with a connection if you’re coming from the US), if you’re aiming to keep costs down, it’s probably better to find a longer route with a few layovers along to way as these are always much cheaper.
Once you’ve established to price of getting there, next look at how you’re going to travel around. For those on a low budget, there are many bus companies that offer trips from Ho Chi Minh city to Hanoi, stopping at most of the major destinations along the way. The Open Bus Tour is probably the most popular of these and offers tickets at $50 for the two-day journey, which includes stops at some attractions along the way.
However, if you have of extra cash to splash, then trains are well worth considering at $90 for a sleeper. This way you can avoid the busy highway and enjoy a good rest. Plus they are slightly shorter journeys, lasting 30 hours. Similarly, if time is scarce but money is not, the domestic air travel system has drastically improved as the country’s tourist industry has flourished, and many airlines, such as VietJet air, run flights from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi in just two short hours. However, flight prices can vary between $70 and $280 depending on day and airline.
Like most countries, budgeting for your accommodation in Vietnam is highly dependent on the types of places you chose to stay. If you’re more concerned with keeping the costs down, or even meeting fellow travelers, then there are numerous hostels in all the main tourist hubs that range from a very affordable $4 to $15.
While many stick to hostels and budget guesthouses, there are many higher-class resorts and luxury hotels available. From the exquisite Six Senses Con Dao resort, which offers beachfront villas with private infinity pools and spa and fitness facilities from $575 a night, to the most reasonably priced $130 French colonial style Victoria Can Tho resort, there are many hotels across the entire country that ensure you can enjoy all Vietnam has to offer without losing your privacy and home comforts.
Things to Do
Luckily, one of the main attractions of Vietnam is its incredible natural beauty, so the price of experiencing this wonderful country can be kept pretty low if it needs to be. Alongside the many spectacular national park and surrounding islands—such as Cat Ba and Cuc Phuong, whose entrance fees are around $1—the cities offer stunning French-influenced architecture, uniquely designed temples and enticing market places, which you can wander around for free! There are even many downloadable free walking tours for those interested in learning more about the history and culture, or you can visit one of the many war and culture museums in all the big cities whose entrance fee is the equivalent of less than a dollar. For those with more cash, the Halong Bay cruises offer a beautiful waterside view of Vietnam’s spectacular scenery for around $200.
Vietnam is famous for it’s low price, delicious street food. Surprisingly healthy and with such a wide variety on offer, there’s not really much need to branch out from these outlets if you’re trying to keep costs down. By doing this you can easily eat for $5 or less a day. For those looking to try some of Vietnam’s more upmarket cuisine, or worried about the potential health risks of street food, there are many local and western style restaurants available in the cities that still won’t break the bank. You can easily get a full English for about $1.50, a curry for $4.50 or even a New Zealand imported steak for around $22. Similarly, local cuisine restaurants, such as the acclaimed Nha Hang Ngon in Hanoi, offer authentic Vietnamese food for between $3 and $5 a meal.
Now you’ve got all your main points down, it’s worth budgeting extra for all the little bits that you don’t immediately consider. This is particularly sensible in the case of technology. As the technical world has evolved, we have begun to take for granted the easy and instant access and ability to communicate with each other that we carry with us on our phones, laptops and tablets.
Unfortunately, this can change when we go abroad. Many phone contracts require add-ons to be purchased to allow you to use minutes and data oversees or just incur a sizable charge if you decide to do so. Relying solely on WiFi for internet access and communication can reduce this cost substantially, but it’s still not a completely full-proof method. Some sites—Netflix, for example—are completely blocked or only show you restricted content when overseas, so to ensure you have access, it’s worth budgeting for a VPN app that hides your IP address and allows you to browse the internet as if you were at home.
Budgeting for a trip might seem like an overwhelming concept, but following these few simple steps means you get a much better idea of the place you’re going and can probably save yourself some money along the way. Once you’ve got all the details out of the way, the only thing left to do is to enjoy your trip! If you have any other budget tips and advice for people traveling to Vietnam, be sure to leave a comment below.