Vietnam Backpacker Daily Budget Breakdown

Budgeting for Vietnam Backpacking

How much will one month of backpacking in Vietnam cost? What will the cost be per week? What should my budget look like for hostels? What will just food and water cost me? All of these are questions a thoughtful backpacker might have while planning for a trip to Vietnam.

During my six weeks of travel in Vietnam, I attempted to capture every single purchase I made and log it in a spreadsheet. This detailed breakdown of expenses left me with key numbers like the average daily budget, budget per city, and average expenses in specific categories. Check out the tables below to get an idea of what backpacking through Vietnam might cost you.

Parameters of My Vietnam Backpacking Expenses

Before you dive into the numbers, there are a few things to keep in mind. I am a 26 year-old budget traveler who ate mostly street food and used cheap lodging. These numbers do not include any flights or anything I purchased before the trip. It also excludes any medical expenses, as I had some hospital visits. This is solely what I spent in Vietnam when I was there. Lastly,  I was almost exclusively sleeping in private twin rooms with my friend at guesthouses.

Please keep in mind that things like tours, alcohol, shopping, etc. are all discretionary categories. Some travelers might spend $0 there and others might spend thousands. I have provided my full expenses below and then the bare bones expenses below that without any discretionary categories.

Vietnam Expenses by City

Country: Vietnam
Total Nights: 42
Total Money Spent: $1,382
Average Daily Budget: $32.90

City Nights Total Spent Average Daily Spent
Ho Chi Minh City 7 $266 $38.00
Da Lat 3 $100 $33.33
Nha Trang 3 $74 $24.67
Hoi An 3 $87 $29.00
Da Nang 2 $60 $30.00
Hue 3 $88 $29.33
Phong Nha 2 $95 $47.50
Ninh Binh 2 $49 $24.50
Hanoi 5 $136 $27.20
Ha Long Bay 2 $161 $80.50
Ha Giang 6 $149 $24.83
Sa Pa 3 $88 $29.33

As you can see in the table above, Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha were the only places that really went above $30/night. I went on relatively expensive tours in those cities – otherwise it would have been very similar to the other locations.

My Daily Expenses by Category

I categorized my expenses into 9 general areas as seen in the pie chart below. The categories include room and board, bus fees, food and water, alcohol, taxis, tours/tourism, shopping, visas, and toiletries. To clarify a few things, bus fees were the cost of getting to a city (i.e. the bus from Hanoi to Sapa was included in Sapa) and tours/tourism includes any organized tours, entry fees to museums or monuments, motorcycle rentals, and any fees to see touristy stuff.

Vietnam Backpacker Budget








Tourism, food & water, lodging, alcohol were the big budget items. In an average day, you can expect to spend roughly $33 broken down as follows:

Category Amount
Room & Board $8
Food & Water $5
Transportation $3
Tours/Tourism $11
Alcohol $4
Other $1

Of course, this will only hold true if you are similar to me in your travel style. I nearly never shopped, I ate exclusively street food, I slept in cheap guesthouses, I went on minimal organized tours (4), I walked a lot, and I drank alcohol quite often – almost every day. And to clarify, I was purchasing bottled water this entire time because it is insanely cheap.

My Daily Vietnam Expenses Without Discretionary Spending Categories

I understand that some people might shop a lot more than I do or avoid alcohol completely, so here is a second daily breakdown that excludes the following categories:

  1. Tours/tourism
  2. Alcohol
  3. Shopping
  4. Taxis

Therefore, this budget should be the bare essentials of what a budget backpacker would spend just to get around, eat, sleep and just generally exist in Vietnam.

Country: Vietnam
Total Nights: 42
Total Money Spent: $614
Average Daily Budget: $14.62

Category Amount
Room & Board $8
Food & Water $5
Transportation $2

I hope these numbers are useful to any budget traveler who is going to Vietnam. With this base budget of $15 per day, you can now create your own custom budget by adding the amounts you are willing to allocate to your own categories like tours, shopping, and night life.

How Much Does it Cost to Backpack in Vietnam?

The answer is (drumroll) . . . it depends! You can make it cost however much you want based on your discretionary spending. I would say the absolute minimum you could spend is around $15 per day. But more realistically, it will be closer to $40 per day once you add in discretionary spending. If you are a classier traveler than myself, it might even be upwards of $100 per day. It just depends on your style and what you are trying to do on your vacation.

If you have any questions on these numbers or a specific city, please feel free to comment below and I will get back to you quickly. Do you have your own budget experiences from Vietnam? Please share below!


  1. An April 10, 2017
    • pvrouvas April 10, 2017
  2. An April 11, 2017
  3. sebastian December 25, 2017
    • pvrouvas December 26, 2017

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