26 days in Vietnam: Budget Breakdown

Vietnam amazed us with its breathtaking landscapes, delicious banh mi, and incredible experiences like overnight cruises and cave adventures. We had no idea what to expect prior to our trip, but we can say that we were pleasantly surprised! Wondering if we managed to explore Vietnam on a budget? Dive into our budget breakdown for 26 days in Vietnam to find out! Stick around till the end for some valuable tips on enjoying Vietnam to the fullest without breaking the bank.

How much did our trip to Vietnam in April 2024 cost? Here’s our budget breakdown for 26 days in Vietnam:


We planned our trip well ahead and got our tickets from AirAsia three months early. Our journey took us from Chumphon to Hanoi, with a layover of 9 hours in Bangkok. The total cost for both of us, with checked baggage included, was € 277,91. Not bad if you ask us!

Total cost of flights: € 277,91


We were in Vietnam for a total of 25 nights. Since we spent one night on a cruise in Halong Bay, we only needed to book accommodations for the other 24 nights. We spent a total of € 623,81 for 25 nights, averaging € 26 per night for both of us. We think this is a pretty good average and are very happy with it. Our accommodations were mostly basic private rooms, but we did spoil ourselves with 2 nights at Viettrekking Sapa, the most romantic stay of our trip. Who doesn’t like a room with a view? 😍 See if there’s availability for Viettrekking Sapa.

Total cost of accommodation for 24 nights: € 623,81


We mainly relied on sleeper buses to move around in Vietnam. We found them quite affordable, although their quality varied. The VIP buses were our favorite for their comfort and luxury. We also took a domestic flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City, which cost us only € 90 for both of us – luggage included. Besides that, we rented a scooter a few times and used cabs when needed (through Grab). In total, we spent € 460,20 on transportation in Vietnam, averaging € 17,70 per day for both of us. We think this is fair considering we moved around a lot. Transportation in Vietnam doesn’t have to break the bank!

Total cost of transportation: € 460,20


Food in Vietnam

When it comes to food, our go-to was banh mi most of the time. Purely for research purposes, of course, all in the name of creating this guide to the best banh mi spots in Vietnam! 😉 Prices for banh mi usually range from € 0,50 to € 2, depending on where you grab them. We often enjoyed them for breakfast or lunch, sometimes both. Besides banh mi, we dined at local restaurants frequently, spending between € 6 and € 10 for both of us, drinks included. When it comes to food, Vietnam is probably one of the most affordable countries in the world. That is, if you stick to local places and buy street food from time to time.

Our priciest meals were at Pizza 4P’s, where we savored the best pizza in Asia (so far)! Each dinner there cost us around € 25 on average. Another memorable splurge was at Diner 66 Da Nang, where we spent € 26,40. It was worth every penny for the fantastic food and the classic American diner vibes, we must say. In total, we spent € 350,04 on food, averaging just € 13,46 per day for both of us, or a mere € 6,73 per person per day. Vietnam has definitely been our most budget-friendly food adventure yet!

Total cost of food: € 350,04


We didn’t drink a lot during our time in Vietnam, but on our final night, we met an amazing couple and ended up at a rooftop bar together. Here we splurged € 34 on cocktails, oops! We also enjoyed some cocktails during a cruise, and Kelvin had a few beers (but not too many, we promise). Overall, we spent € 62,64 on drinks in Vietnam.

Total cost of drinks: € 62,64


Cafes in Vietnam

Regular readers of our budget breakdowns will find this new category surprising. We usually don’t drink coffee, but we just couldn’t resist trying Vietnamese coffee. And let us tell you, we loved it from the very first sip! We started with egg coffee and then explored other types like salt coffee and coconut coffee. The most delicious one we had was at Cafe The Began in Ninh Binh, where they add rum and whiskey to their egg coffee. It was so tasty! We spent €62,27 at coffee bars, which averages to € 2,40 per day, or just € 1,20 per person. Writing this, we notice that we spent almost as much on coffee than on drinks which is very unlike us! This fact alone must be some kind of proof that coffee in Vietnam is to die for. 😉

Total cost of cafes: € 62,27


26 days of sightseeing in Vietnam

Our priciest sightseeing experience was the Halong Bay overnight cruise at € 272,92, taking up more than half of our sightseeing budget. But since it was the highlight of our trip, it was worth every penny! See if there’s availability to go on our Halong Bay overnight cruise.

The next biggest expense was the Paradise Cave and Dark Cave tour, costing € 105,14. We really recommend this Paradise Cave and Dark Cave tour on GetYourGuide. We promise you that it is one of the most fun activities in Vietnam!

After deducting these tours from the total amount, we spent only € 96,55 on other activities. These activities included a coconut boat tour and lantern boat ride in Hoi An, and the Trang An boat tour. We also paid entrance fees at places like Hoa Lo Prison Museum and Mua Cave.

Total cost of sightseeing: € 474,61


In this category, we have various expenses like visas, laundry, groceries, non-alcoholic drinks, tips, and haircuts. The priciest thing was the visas, which cost € 50 for the two of us. The unfortunate part is that we shouldn’t have paid so much! Here’s why: there are 11 European nationalities that don’t require a visa. We didn’t know about this rule prior to our trip, so we applied for both of us. It turned out only Kelvin needed a visa since Belgium wasn’t on the list, but France was (for Thysia). What a waste of money!

We also spent around € 27 on 4 laundry sessions and € 10 on medicine for food poisoning at the pharmacy. Kelvin also visited the hairdresser for € 7,50, 3 times cheaper than his go-to barber back home. 😉 But, when it comes to the purchase of a data sim, we do have some good news. We had a partnership with ESIMX, a new eSim company, which meant we didn’t have to pay for a sim card this time. Every little bit helps!

Total cost of other expenses: € 162,07

Total of our 26 days in Vietnam

We’ve listed our expenses for the total budget in Vietnam below. Here is our budget breakdown for 26 days in Vietnam in April 2024:

Total per category for the two of us

✈️ Flights: € 277,91
🛏️ Accommodation: 623,81 (€ 25,99 per night)
🚌 Transportation: € 460,20 (€ 17,70 per day)
🍜 Food: € 350,04 (€ 13,46 per day)
🍹 Drinks: € 62,64 (€ 2,41 per day)
☕️ Cafes: € 62,27 (€ 2,40 per day)
🛳️ Sightseeing: € 474,61 (€ 18,25 per day)
🛒 Other: € 162,07 (€ 6,23 per day)

💰 Total excluding flights: € 2 195,64 | € 84,85 per day for 2 | € 42,22 per day per person
💰 Total including flights: € 2 473,55

Excluding our flight costs, we averaged € 84,85 per day for both of us or € 42,22 each. Vietnam turned out to be quite budget-friendly! Our major expenses were accommodation and sightseeing, no surprises there. Staying two nights at Viettrekking Sapa and the Halong Bay cruise were splurges, but ones we’d happily repeat! When it came to getting around, eating, and enjoying drinks, we managed quite well (and that without sacrificing too much comfort or quality).

For budget travelers in Vietnam, a reasonable daily budget per person, covering food, accommodation, transport, and other expenses, would range from € 30 to € 40. This means opting for simple accommodations, local meals, and using sleeper buses to get around. We’ve heard from other backpackers that they get by with even less, but we feel that that means you’re missing out on too much (either comfort, experiences, or food). That’s not what travel is about for us.

Vietnam amazed us with its stunning scenery. And our first cruise experience was an experience we’ll never forget! But what really made our trip amazing were the wonderful people we met. They made our time in Vietnam truly special and unforgettable. 🥹

Tips and tricks for saving money in Vietnam

We were pleasantly surprised by how affordable Vietnam was for us, Sri Lanka is the only country where we managed to spend even less. Along the way, we gathered some valuable tips for exploring Vietnam on a budget.

1. Accommodation

It’s surprising, but in Vietnam, basic hotels are often cheaper than hostels, especially if you prefer a private room. We discovered some great hotels that were more budget-friendly than hostels in the same areas. For example, we stayed at the Graffiti Hotel in Hanoi for just € 11 per night per person, which was the same price as some hostel dorm beds! On Cat Ba Island, we enjoyed the Cat Ba Hongkong Hotel for only € 4,80 per night per person, with breakfast included. In Ninh Binh, we stayed at the Ninh Binh The View Point Home & Spa for one night, costing us € 8 per person. Not bad, right?

2. Sightseeing

Activities in Vietnam can get pricey. With so much to explore, going on every tour possible can really add up – fast. Whether it’s an overnight cruise, the Ha Giang Loop, or the Hai Van Pass, you could easily spend a few hundred euros. Our advice? When you’re on a budget, you’ll need to prioritize. For us, that meant skipping the Ha Giang Loop to go on the cruise. Of course it all depends on what you value most. You could still enjoy Halong Bay with a day trip, without going for the overnight stay, or shorten the days of your Ha Giang Loop. Just figure out your must-dos and nice-to-haves. That way, you can make smarter choices for your budget!

3. Food

Vietnam’s street food is not only affordable but also incredibly tasty. You can easily spot banh mi, pho, and other local delights at every street corner. We discovered that the best places to dine were the local spots with simple plastic chairs and tables. These spots were not only budget-friendly but also offered the most authentic experience. You don’t need to splurge on a fancy restaurant, the true essence of Vietnamese cuisine is found at street food stalls. Just follow where the locals eat, and you’ll have a delicious treat! You’ll be surprised at how amazing it is to have dinner on a small plastic chair near the side of the road. 😉

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