Vietnam we found was best value for money in terms of hotels and food and drink. We just couldn’t spend money there! We stayed in nice hotels with private bathrooms, ate what we wanted, drank what we wanted and did quite a few tours. I imagine if you stayed in hostel dorms you could probably even halve the cost.
Below is a breakdown of what we spent as a couple over 4 weeks:
All double private rooms with our own bathroom. Most had breakfast included.
3 hour train
14 hour train
TOURS AND ENTRANCE FEES:
Halong bay mid-range tour – £80 each
Hue riders motorcycle tour from Hue to Hoi An – £30 each
Cu Chi tunnels tour – £5 each
Various museum/attraction entry fees – £15 each
We opted for a mid-range priced tour of Halong Bay, rather than one of the cheap party boats. It was the most expensive thing we bought in Vietnam but thought it was great value. We stayed overnight on-board an old junk boat and spent two days sailing around the bay and stopping off at various points. All the food was included and return transport to Hanoi. We would definitely recommend staying over night in the bay as the journey form Hanoi takes at least 4 hours.
We wanted to do a motorcycle tour in Vietnam but were unsure of driving on the roads ourselves, even though we had ridden mopeds before. We chose instead to travel form Hue to Hoi An over the Hai Van Pass with Hue riders on the back of their bikes. Absolutely stunning scenery and the best way to travel between the two places in our opinion!
FOOD AND DRINK:
Average meal: 80p – £2
Average beer: 8p – £1
Our favourite food was Pho noodle soup and we would eat it at all times of the day. Averaging from around 80p – £2 for a bowl, it comes in huge portions with lots of fresh herbs.
In Vietnam there is a special beer called Bia Hoi which you will see crowds of people gathered around on plastic stools drinking. This beer is brewed fresh daily so they sell it off cheap and although it is only about 3.7%, you can afford to drink them all night. The cheapest Bia Hoi we found was in Hoi An, at 8 pence a glass! Meaning you could buy 10 beers and still have change for a £1. Incredible value. However, it wasn’t until we were in Saigon that we noticed none of the locals ever drank Bia Hoi and we wondered if it might have been the cause of a few dodgy tummys!
£1284 or £642 each for 4 weeks.
Considering we had a couple of expensive tours and didn’t hold back on food and drink, we think Vietnam is amazing value for long-term travel!
UPDATE: We returned to Vietnam in November 2016 and the prices remain the same, although the pound has devalued – this only really makes a small difference to hotel costs, everything else is still super cheap!