We spent 30 days in Vietnam and spent $3,419 AUD. That works out to $114 a day or $19 a day per person.
We visited 5 places in Vietnam and we went from the South to the North. Vietnam is a long country and covers 4,639 kilometres. It borders China, Laos and Cambodia and it’s coastline is 3,444 km in length.
The Visa’s for Vietnam are very expensive. You have to apply for a Visa before entering the country and the cost is $60 USD per person including children. We organised our Visa’s in Phom Penh before crossing the border and paid $468 AUD for all 6 of us, or $78 per person. This price also included a $3 processing fee. I used a travel agency across the road from our accommodation to organise our Visa’s. While this cost $18 extra, I was happy to pay that instead of travelling 40 minutes to the other side of the city to wait in line for the majority of the day at the Vietnam Embassy.
We were not happy with the price of this Visa but Vietnam was a country we were dying to visit. If we wanted to visit then we just had to accept that this is what it costs. We did however take full advantage of our 30 day visa, spending exactly 30 days in the country.
Our Visa’s accounted for 13.6% of our overall budget.
There is an open bus ticket you can purchase where you can jump on and off at different points along the way but we were not keen for 10 + hour journeys on a bus with our 4 children so we decided to fly where possible.
Vietnam has a budget airline called Vietjet and we used them on one occasion, and we used Jetstar on another. From Ho Chi Minh to Nha Trang we flew Vietjet. Once in Nha Trang however there are no flights to Da Nang our next destination so we had to take an overnight train.
The train was a 6 berth hard sleeper train and it was surprisingly comfy and cosy. We managed to sleep the majority of the way and once we awoke we were only on the train for another 1 hour before we arrived at our destination.
From Da Nang we needed to get a taxi to our final destination of Hoi An. From Hoi An we flew to Hanoi the capital of Vietnam. We used Jetstar for this leg of the journey as in this case their prices were cheaper than Vietjet.
Our final moves in Vietnam saw us head to the Island of Cat Ba in Halong Bay. We used a combination of bus/boat/bus to go to and from Cat Ba and Hanoi.
We spent a total of $835 on transport while Vietnam. That is almost 25% of our Vietnam budget but we expected this cost to be high as the country is so big. We were very happy that we chose to fly the majority of the time and were surprised that the price of flying was the same or less than going by train.
Vietnam has very cheap lodging’s available. We were very pleased at the value we got for the amount that we paid. We stayed at very nice places (3 or 4 star properties) throughout Vietnam and never paid more than $48 AUD. The lowest we paid was $32 AUD a night and almost all of our accommodations included breakfast.
In the higher priced accommodations a buffet breakfast was included which was great because we then didn’t need to eat again till mid afternoon and that would be our dinner as well.
One of our accommodations (Ava 3 Hotel in Saigon) even included one basket of washing a day. We felt so pampered having our washing done daily and it was returned smelling fresh and folded every afternoon.
We spent a total of $1,081 on Accommodation in Vietnam, or an average of $36 per night for our family of 6. That is 31% of our total budget.
The food in Vietnam is so delicious and extremely affordable. Meal times were a pleasure in Vietnam and we looked forward to sampling different dishes everyday. The Vietnamese really know how to make flavours work and the use of fresh ingredients is ever present in all of their dishes.
Vietnam has to be our number 1 country for food so far. Our favourite dishes were Pho, Cao Lao, Banh Mi, Fresh Spring Rolls, Papaya Salad and Fried Wontons with Mango Salsa. There were also another 5 favourite dishes we could add to the list but we don’t know the name of them. These dishes were street food ordered from street sellers by pointing.
We spent a total of $780 on food over 30 days. This is for a family of 6 people. This works out to only $26 s day and has been the cheapest and best food in any country we have visited so far.
Food accounted for 23 % of our Vietnam budget.
We did a few activities in Vietnam, but we mostly enjoyed the country and it’s beautiful people. In Saigon we spent a lot of time at the local park. We did a couple of day trips like the free walking tour and a visit to the War Remnants Museum. Both these activities were very cheap.
In Nha Trang we visited the Thap Ba Spa and went on a boat cruise with Funky Monkey. Again both activities were reasonable and we paid around $80 AUD for both activities.
Hoi An we rode our free bikes (included in the cost of accommodation) most days to the beach and rice fields. We did hire scooters one day to go a bit further afield. The cooking class that we took was only $5 USD each and we were hosted by the Hoi An Food Tour.
In Hanoi we visited the Water Puppet Theatre and The Museum of Ethnology and in Cat Ba we did the tour of Halong Bay.
The total we spent on activities for the 1 month we were in Vietnam was $236. This was 6.9% of our overall Vietnam budget.
Vietnam is very cheap for food, accommodations and activities but what makes it more expensive are the several trips you need to make to move from place to place and those expensive Visa’s. Overall though it evens itself out and we were happy with how much we spent in Vietnam and J is already planning a trip back to Motorbike from Saigon all the way to the top – Just like Top Gear.