What budget for a trip to Vietnam? The ultimate guide 2024
Traveling to Vietnam can offer a enriching experience at a relatively affordable cost, making it an attractive destination for many travelers. Vietnam is renowned for its rich history, diverse culture, delicious cuisine, and picturesque landscapes, making it a versatile destination. However, costs can vary depending on the travel style, individual preferences, and the time of year.
In this article, we will detail the costs based on the type of travel: guided tour with an agency or independent travel, and provide you with a breakdown of each expense category.
Feel free to contact us to plan your trip.
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Budget when you book with a travel agency
If you are not used to traveling abroad or if you prefer to rely on local professionals, we recommend organizing your tour in Vietnam with a Vietnamese travel agency, such as ours.
Here is information on organizing a trip with an agency and the prices of air tickets and the on-site tour.
Organizing your trip with a local agency : how does it work ?
The goal is as follows: to have everything prepared before your arrival so that you can travel without worries once on-site. This will require preparation between you and your travel advisor from the agency.
Woman from Thai ethnic group welcoming clients in Nghia Lo. Photo : Mathieu Arnaudet
Here are roughly the steps:
# Travelers provide details about their trip through a quote request, including the number of days, budget per person, regions to visit, type of accommodation, and any other necessary information for the agency to propose a quote in line with your request.
# Program construction and cost proposal: The travel advisor receiving the information will prepare a corresponding quote, including a detailed program and the cost estimate of the trip.
# You will refine this program and the cost estimate with your contact: Does the quote fit into your budget? Do the program and activities suit you? Do you like the hotels? Etc.
# Once the program and quote are finalized, the travel agency will request a payment of a deposit equivalent to 30% of the total trip cost. This deposit will confirm the trip and allow the agency to book the services included in the program.
# The agency will book the services and then confirm the trip to you: any changes from the adopted program will be notified and explained to you.
#The balance must be paid before the start of the services, either through a payment link or in person at the agency’s office.
Total price including international flight and tour on site
The price of your trip will include two parts:
# International air tickets, for example, the round-trip flight Paris – Hanoi;
# The price of the organized tour by the agency.
International flight ticket price
To purchase your international air ticket, you will have two choices:
- Buy it yourself online: either on the airline’s website (for example, Vietnam Airlines) or through a third-party seller. Among third-party sellers, you have options like Cdiscount, Lastminute.com, Bourse des Vols, or Opodo. These platforms aggregate offers from various airlines, allowing you to choose based on price and the number of layovers.
- Use a travel agency in your country: If you are not comfortable with online purchases, you can turn to a travel agency in your country that will try to get the best price from the airline. Note that agencies will add service fees. This is the price to pay for peace of mind and having a contact person in France.
Price of the tour in Vietnam
The travel agency will provide you with a general price that includes all the costs of your tour (guide services, accommodations, meals, transportation, activities) and will add a margin that represents their compensation for their work.
Local travel agencies, including Parfum d’Automne, work on a tailor-made basis, meaning you choose what suits you: Do you want only breakfast included? Nights in luxurious hotels? Or, on the contrary, small hotels? The agency will adapt and refine its proposal during the discussion with you. Keep in mind that it will be a private trip, and the most significant costs are often related to car rental and transportation. However, you can play with other variables like meals or accommodation. Keep in mind that for a 15-day private trip, the cost will exceed 1,000 euros per person.
Discover our classic tours in Vietnam.
The different cost whn travelling on your own
You’re traveling to Vietnam on your own, and you want to know the price ranges to plan your trip. Here are some answers that should help you.
Budget for international flight
We mentioned them, now let’s provide some figures. Due to the increase in the cost of energy produced from fossil fuels, air ticket prices have risen in recent years. Let’s break them down.
Direct flight to Vietnam
Round trip ticket
We recommend Vietnam Airlines, which is the national airline of Vietnam. There are flights every day, and the service is very good. Why not explore Vietnam even before your arrival in the country? Nowadays, there are no longer flights of this type below 1,000 euros. Even on websites like Last Minute, the prices for a direct flight now exceed 1,100 euros. The only way to get a lower price is to buy them in advance – for example, 6 months in advance – you could get a price below 1,200 euros
Plane from Vietnam Airlines
Connecting flight to Vietnam
A round trip
There are many possibilities to reach Hanoi from your country. We recommend, for example, Qatar Airways, which offers flights for less than 900 euros with only a 3-hour layover in Doha. This can be a very good alternative for those wanting to save money on the flight and allocate it to the tour.”
Round trip from Montreal
For our Quebecois friends, you can travel entirely with Air Canada. The flight departs from Montreal, has a 3-hour layover in Tokyo before heading to Hanoi. The flight duration is approximately 13 hours and 30 minutes between Montreal and Tokyo, and then 5 hours and 45 minutes between Tokyo and Hanoi. The cost for such a flight is around 1,300 euros.
Budget for domestic flights
While planning your itinerary, you should also consider booking domestic flights. It is possible to travel by train from the North to the South (or vice versa, see below), but you will likely need to take at least one flight during your stay, if only to return to Hanoi to catch your departure flight.
The most common domestic flights include:
# Hanoi to Hue
# Danang to Ho Chi Minh City
# Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc/Con Dao
# Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi
We recommend two companies: Vietnam Airlines or Vietjet Air. The latter is the Vietnamese low-cost airline, offering better prices. For example, you can find a flight from Hanoi to Hue for 30 euros, while it will cost you 60 euros with Vietnam Airlines. But please note that Vietjet Air tends to have more delays than Vietnam Airlines, although it is improving in this aspect.
Plane from Vietjet Air
Budget for excursions
To explore certain parts of Vietnam, it is necessary or preferable to use a travel agency and organize an excursion. In Northern Vietnam, for example, you will need to organize your cruise in Halong Bay as well as your exploration of the mountains. We recommend organizing at least:
# A 2-day tour including Halong Bay
# A tour of at least 3 days to discover the rice terraces in Sapa, Mu Cang Chai, or Hoang Su Phi.
Budget for Halong bay
You will have the choice between day cruises, 2-day cruises, or 3-day cruises.
In our article on cruises from Cat Ba, we detail the different options based on your budget. In summary, you could spend as little as 30 to 50 euros for a day cruise, but it will be much more expensive with an overnight stay in the bay. We offer the 2-day tour on our Four Seasons junk on a shared basis at 180 euros/person. For those who can afford it, it is possible to charter a boat, such as the Romance, but you should budget 280 euros/person for a 2-day, 1-night tour, including round-trip transportation from Hanoi.
Four Seasons junk in Lan Ha bay.
In Halong Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay, only large boats are now allowed, resulting in lower cabin prices. For example, you can find 2-day, 1-night cruises for around 120 euros. The cruise in Bai Tu Long Bay aboard the Garden Bay junk costs around 150 euros and offers very good value for money.
Bedroom in Garden Bay 10 cabins boat
Budget for a North Vietnam hiking
A budget friendly stay in Sapa
It is possible to explore Sapa and its surroundings on a budget by combining a train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai with a 2 or 3-day tour on-site with an English-speaking guide. In total, you will spend around 120-150 euros – the lower end if you choose homestays, the higher end if you opt for one or two nights at a hotel in Sapa. We recommend spending one night at a hotel and at least one night in a homestay for an immersive experience
Landscapes of Sapa, North Vietnam
A private and immersive stay
Other destinations, such as Mu Cang Chai, Hoang Su Phi, or Pu Luong, are more challenging for independent travelers, and we recommend booking a private tour to make the most of your stay.
Some examples of tours:
# Nghia Lo and Mu Cang Chai: a 3-day tour to explore the spectacular terraced rice fields of Mu Cang Chai and meet the Thai and Hmong ethnic groups living in the region;
# Mai Chau and Pu Luong: for those traveling outside the rice season in the mountains (from June to October), we recommend taking a 3-day tour to Mai Chau and Pu Luong, where two harvests are carried out each year. Pu Luong is a green lung that you will particularly enjoy;
# Bac Ha and Hoang Su Phi: these two destinations are even further north, and we recommend at least 5 days to make the most of both the Bac Ha market and the off-the-beaten-path region of Hoang Su Phi. Watch a video here filmed by Vincent Désombre during his trip to the province of Hoang Su Phi in December 2018.”
For these private tours with a English-speaking guide and driver, you should budget around 100 euros per person per day, with transportation being the most significant cost of such a tour.
Budget for accommodation
Vietnam is still relatively affordable for hotels, and the offering has diversified and improved over the past 10 years. There are three main types of accommodations: hotels, eco-lodges, and homestays.
Hotels in Vietnam
You will have a wide range of choices:
# Hostels: expect to pay between 8 and 15 euros for a bed in a dormitory or a small room;
3-star hotels: basic small hotels for around 20 euros per night;
# Boutique hotels: unique small hotels that have made an effort in decoration and hospitality. Expect to pay between 30 and 40 euros here;
# 4 and 5-star hotels: it is possible to stay in a 4-star hotel for 50-60 euros per night. 5-star hotels will normally be above 90 euros (except during promotional periods in the low season, for example).
How to book your hotels?
# Through a travel agency: local agencies have “agency prices” and may offer nights at very good rates;
# Via Booking.com: this is the largest platform for booking accommodations. Some hotels require payment before arrival, others do not. This could be one of your criteria before booking;
# Via Facebook: most hotels have Facebook pages, and you can chat with the team to check availability and get the best price.”
Ecolodges in Vietnam
Ecolodges are high-quality establishments in rural areas. We recommend choosing this type of accommodation during your stay in the mountains, for example.
Among our favorites in Northern Vietnam are Pan Hou Village in Hoang Su Phi and Pu Luong Retreat in Pu Luong. These two accommodations offer bungalows at prices ranging from 50 to 70 euros per night. Others will be much more expensive, such as Tam Coc Garden in Ninh Binh or Topas Ecolodge in Sapa, which are akin to true 5-star hotels.
View of Topas Ecolodge in Sapa
Discover our list of best ecolodge in Vietnam
Homestay in Vietnam
It is possible to stay in the countryside in Vietnam for a very affordable price, especially by opting for homestays. This can be a professional homestay, and here the price will be between 15 and 20 euros per night. But it can also be with a local family. Our travel agency organizes trips in the north combining nights in hotels and homestays to offer an immersive experience to our travelers. This is especially the case in very non-touristy areas like Hoang Su Phi, where the hotel and ecolodge options are almost non-existent. But this option can also be realized in villages around Sapa or in the Pu Luong Nature Reserve where people from ethnic minorities live. The price for a night at a homestay is generally around 8-10 euros. Some accommodations offer private rooms or small bungalows, but families living in remote areas will only offer individual mattresses under mosquito nets.
This will be less common in central Vietnam, except in the Central Highlands where many different ethnic groups live.”
Diner in a homestay, Hoang Su Phi, Vietnam
Budget for transportation
Besides domestic flights, which we have already mentioned, there are several types of transportation options in Vietnam. Here they are, from the cheapest to the most expensive.
Public buses: If you are adventurous and have time, you can opt for public buses. You will need to go to the bus stations in the cities, which may require taking a taxi to get there. The ticket price is modest, but beware of scams on-site (touts selling tickets at a higher price), and the journeys are generally long with many stops.
Example of a public bus
Tourist buses: These can be small ‘limousine’ buses or larger buses with 29 or 45 seats, depending on the destination. For Cat Ba Island, for example, we work with two companies, Daiichi and Good Morning Cat Ba, which operate 45-seat buses. For each destination, you will have several companies with these two options, with the limousine bus being smaller and more comfortable, resulting in a higher ticket price. In general, you can expect to pay between 10 and 20 euros for a journey.
Bus de la compagnie Daiichi
Train: The railway line starts from Lao Cai and goes all the way to Ho Chi Minh City. It takes about 35 hours to travel from Hanoi to the southern metropolis! So, you have the option of traveling solely by train if you decide to go down (or up) the country. There are several options: hard seats, the cheapest; soft seats, and sleeper berths for longer journeys. For sleeper berths, you can choose between the wagons of the national company or those of private companies, which are better equipped and more comfortable. We recommend, for example, the wagons of the Lotus company. The price is higher than night buses for long journeys, but they are safer and more comfortable. For long journeys, we really recommend taking the train rather than the bus. Expect to pay around 50 euros for a one-night train journey in a private compartment, with breakfast included.
Train passing by Hanoi old city
Motorbike transport: Even though the rules are tightening – due to accidents involving tourists – it is still possible to rent motorcycles for travel in Vietnam. We advise only riders with a valid license to do so, as the traffic in Vietnam is chaotic and requires constant attention. Beginners who are not comfortable with motorcycles could, at best, feel uneasy or, at worst, be involved in an accident. A solution exists for those who want to explore Vietnam by motorcycle: the ‘easy riders,’ meaning motorcycle drivers who will take you on the roads. This is especially the case on the Ha Giang loop, where it is now the preferred mode of transport. For motorcyclists, there are agencies specialized in adventure motorcycle trips in the north. Expect to pay between 10 and 15 euros for the rental of a 110cc motorcycle per day; it will be more expensive for motorcycles exceeding 175cc (the limit in Vietnam beyond which a motorcycle license is required).
Motorbike tour in Ha Giang
Transport by car with driver: It is forbidden for tourists to drive the car in Vietnam, so you will have to opt for transportation by car with a driver. There are several guides who also act as drivers today and offer a 2-in-1 service. This is the most expensive option given the price of fuel today. The price is determined based on the size of the vehicle and the distance to travel. Expect to pay around 100 euros for a day of rental in the mountains
Budget for activities
Many activities are possible in Vietnam; here are the prices for the main ones:
# Monuments and historical and cultural sites: between 1 and 4 euros per person;
# Water puppet shows: around 4 euros per person;
# Lune Production shows: between 20 and 30 euros per person;
# Cooking classes: between 10 and 20 euros per person, depending on the duration;
# Cave visits: it can be very cheap – 1 or 2 euros – to relatively expensive if you spend a few days trekking in the largest caves of Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.”
Tips in Vietnam
One expense not to forget when traveling in Vietnam is tipping. There is no need to tip hotel or restaurant staff; however, it is important for guides and drivers, whose jobs are seasonal for the former and fairly low-paying for the latter. You should budget 2-3 euros per day per person for the guide and 1-2 euros per day per person for the driver, depending – still – on your satisfaction.
You could also give tips to rowers, for example, in Ninh Binh or in the Mekong Delta. This could be a 100,000 VND note (4 euros) for the entire group.
You now have all the information to prepare your budget.
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