Southern Vietnam: Costs of Independent Travel
We’ve just returned from a short 2.5 week trip to southern Vietnam. Given that Vietnam seems suddenly being promoted to New Zealanders (thanks to the many more options of flying there) I thought I’d keep a record of our expenses on the ground to give you some idea.
My partner and I are experienced independent travellers. We travel light (carry-on only). We are 50’s/60’s so aren’t into too many hard-drinking sessions. But we do like to drink a cold beer or 3 in the tropics, and we like to eat – normally local food.
For this trip our hotel requirements were:
- swimming pool
We were travelling in the “summer” of Vietnam – so although the temperature may only be around low 30’s it often felt like 40C – particularly if the rain didn’t come that afternoon. So the swimming pool became a requirement – we had one every night except Trah Vinh (no pools in town as far as I know) and Dalat (relatively cool – so pools not common).
We speak very little Vietnamese (enough to order an iced coffee cafe sua da or a beer bia ). We have OK fitness and can carry our packs a few kilometers if we need to. We’re not big souvenir shoppers.
Vietnam Travel Costs; June 2016
NB we overnight-ed on the Gold Coast on the way home so these cost include 1/2 day in Singapore and a day/night in Australia.
All costs in NZ$ and are totals for 19 nights in Vietnam FOR TWO PEOPLE SHARING A ROOM
Accommodation: $906 (note all accommodation includes breakfast)
Food & Drink: $845 (we drank beer regularly and spirits/cocktails on occasion, wine is expensive)
Local transport: $421 (includes $158 for flight HCM-Dalat, all local buses, train from Nha Trang to HCM, local boat to Trah Vinh, and all taxis)
Tours/Entries: $193 (including day tour to Cu Chi from HCM, day trip in Ben Tre)
Miscellaneous: $174 (includes 2 SIM cards, laundry, misc toiletries and drugs)
Entertainment: $59 (shooting AK47 bullets, swimming pool at Changi Singapore)
Shopping: $42 (like I said your mileage may vary…)
The above is a total of $2646 or NZ$132 /day or
NZ$66 per a person per day (use this figure to compare to cruise or tour prices for twin share prices)
Note if you are comparing prices of organized tour – this is our real, after-the-trip costs which includes every iced coffee, bottle of water, and random cab ride!
Typical costs in Vietnam
(note I’m quoting these in local dong (d) or US$ – as this is how prices are quoted in Vietnam. A price quoted in US$ can ALWAYS be paid in dong).
US$1 = 22,300 dong
NZ$1 = 15,100 dong
US$22 – US$35 We either used agoda.com to book a few days in advance – or directly through the hotel. We particularly recommend:
Beautiful Saigon Boutique Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City
Oasis Hotel, Ben Tre – Kiwi run hotel.
Dreams Hotel, Dalat email: firstname.lastname@example.org (don’t use the contact on the website of the same name – it’s an unscupiolus competitor)
Beer: local brands are pretty good e.g. 333 Saigon Red, Saigon Export, Tiger is also often available. A 600ml bottle can be as low as 10,000d (yes under a $1) in the backpacker region of Saigon, or in a small local restaurant – the same beer can be as much as 150,000d (yes, $10) on the roof-top bar of the historic Hotel Majestic (recommended – happy hour cocktails 99,000d).
Iced coffee (cafe sua da) 18,000d in a small local cafe, 190,000d Hotel Continental, Saigon, usually about 25,000d in a tourist restaurant with some English spoken.
Meals: Again incredible range – from 20,000d for a local meal in a local restaurant, to 330,000d for a steak at the Hotel Majestic. For a place with menu with some English spoken for a couple of meals and 1 or 2 beers each we’d typically pay around 200,000d.