How to Travel for Cheap in Vietnam – Budget travel planning
Vietnam has long been known as one of the most affordable destinations in South East Asia. It is a dream come true for budget travelers as there are so many activities, delicacies, and attractions that come with very reasonable prices.
So if you are a budget-conscious backpacker, visiting Vietnam is a great idea. And how to travel for cheap in Vietnam? Here are 5 things you need to know.
Get around on a budget
Vietnam is a country of motorbikes. You can get yourself or rent a motorbike very cheap almost everywhere in the country. And getting around by motorbike is always one the of best ways to get on an adventure in Vietnam.
With some basic searches on Google, you will easily find many options under 400USD. However, be careful while riding through the rural areas. There are many potholes and slippery muddy roads after rainy days. Accidents do happen, of course. So make sure you have your body protected with bike gears and travel insurance.
Another option for getting around in Vietnam is traveling by bus. For those who are not quite confident in riding in chaotic streets, going by bus is a perfect alternative. You can fly over big cities by plane, rumble along the coastline by train. But moving by bus is a choice for comfort, budget, and experience.
There are now many bus companies offering bus routes to almost all provinces and cities in Vietnam. They are all backpacker-friendly and the equipment inside is also in good condition.
Where to stay to save your money
There are always places in the country that most backpackers cluster in. Especially in big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Da Nang, you can easily find the backpacker districts.
In these districts, you can find basically everything you want for your stay without being ripped off. Along the pedestrian-friendly streets in the center of the cities, there are many funky bars, tour companies, hostels, homestay, Airbnb, roadside eateries, and street markets.
Thus, staying in hostels, Airbnb, homestay is always the best choice for saving your money on accommodation. Hostels are everywhere in Vietnam. And the cheapest option is a large room with bunk beds. But if you are not used to living in the same room with other people and putting up with their schedules, staying in an Airbnb or homestay will be great.
Also, hotels in Vietnam are cheaper than hostels in wealthier countries. You can consider this option if you just have enough obnoxious drunks and splurges at night when staying at a hostel.
Eat like a local and spend like a local
Vietnam is the best place in South East Asia for good foods with cheap price. Finding a tasty meal under 2 dollars is fairly easy. And you have so many choices for it – Pho, Bun Cha, Banh Mi, etc.
Street food in Vietnam is a part of the country’s culture. It is then worth your time and effort looking around the alleys trying good local foods here.
Avoid the meals in hotels or fancy restaurants, they are not bad, but they will not ever give you that feeling of excitement when trying flavorsome dishes at a very cheap price.
And don’t worry if you don’t know Vietnamese. Just point on what you like and you will have it. Also, English is now taught at grade schools and many local people can communicate to help you out.
At humble-looking venues, you can enjoy your meal with so many healthy cuisines. Vietnamese foods are fresh as they have large portions of fresh herbs, greens, and rice.
What to entertain
Many public attractions offer free entrance or tickets at reasonable prices as they need to be affordable for the locals as well. And further to the big cities, the price will be much cheaper. So do not hesitate to plan a trip to Sapa, Ninh Binh, Hoi An, Mai Chau etc.
All along the country, there are many small cities and provinces with spectacular landscapes you should visit. There are also many places with cheap beers that you may be very interested in. Normally “Bia Hoi” or cheap beer costs around 20 cents for one glass.
To get around the places, besides motorbike and bus, you can also use Grab or GoViet. They are the two apps for ordering scooter taxi. You will need your smartphone, data roaming, and a Vietnamese sim card to use them. The price is shown on the screen so there is no way for rip-off.
Most foreigners do not really know the extent of bargaining in Vietnam. And you may not get used to the bargaining stuff. But once you get the feel of it, you will love it. Shopping is always an ideal way to get to know the culture.
But keep yourself away from the souvenirs in touristy markets. These places know the price range for similar items in your home country. They offer the price that makes you think you are getting a good deal while in fact, you are not.
Instead, go to the local markets where you can find handicrafts, apparels, and so many other souvenirs. Bargain at least 50% of the price for better deals as the vendors usually charge higher for tourists. And if the final price still cannot interest you, slightly bow and say “Xin Loi” politely before moving to the next store.
And if you don’t feel comfortable bargaining with the vendors, try to find places selling things with listed prices.
The bottom line
Even though big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Da Nang are now home to five-star hotels, fancy fine-dining restaurants, and swanky clubs, there are still specific areas in the cities that you can live like a local.
There are countless options for a decent meal and a decent room. And hopefully, this guide on how to travel for cheap in Vietnam will help you out.