It's a city that will entice your every sense, overwhelm you with amusing and interesting sites, and stuff you with an array of fabulous cuisine.
Hanoi, Vietnam is a place that includes a wealth of entertainment, and luckily, most things are quite affordable from the perspective of a traveler's budget.
The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), which has the equivalence of 1 USD to 23.3 VND.
Based on my experience, here is the cost of travel in Vietnam.
The span of accommodation options is close to limitless in Hanoi.
Many people choose to stay somewhere within the Old Quarter portion of the city, close to many famous sites and also jammed with traffic, people, and street food.
There is no shortage of hotels, guest houses, and hostels in the Old Quarter.
As with much of Asia, guest houses are usually arranged in double rooms, making it most affordable to have a partner to room up with.
Cheapest room with two beds in Hanoi costs about $6 – $10 per night (140,000 – 233,000 VND).
Dorm beds can be found for around $5 (117,000 VND) per night. If you step the budget up a bit, you can find very decent rooms with air conditioning (for the summer) for around $12 – $15 per night for two.
One more baby step up the budget, and you are staying in near luxury hotels for $20 (465,000 VND) per night.
Those who derive tremendous excitement from food (like myself), will be thrilled with the supply and cost of Hanoi street food options.
Most street stall meals average $1-$2 (23,000 – 46,000 VND) per dish, though portions aren't overly large.
If you are a big eater, you might need 2 or 3 meals from the street to begin to fill up, but that still might only cost $2-$3.
For Vietnamese sit-down restaurants (off the street side) except to pay anywhere from $3 – $8 (69,000 – 186,000) per person.
One night in Hanoi I engorged at one of the fancier and fashionable Italian restaurants in town and spent a total of $8 bucks or so (186,000 VND).
One of the pleasures of visiting Vietnam is being able to take advantage of their incredible coffee.
A standard cup of coffee at any typical coffee shop costs much less than $1 (23,000 VND) and is traditionally served with a pot of tea as well!
A big bottle of water – $0.50 (12,000 VND)
Those who enjoy beer will rejoice in Vietnam for several reasons.
- The price for a single bottle / can of beer is about $0.50 – $1 (12,000 – 23,000 VND)
- Draft beer by the cup is super cheap – Most of the time no more than $0.40 (10,000 VND) per cup
- Locals enjoy drinking on the side of the streets of Hanoi and will frequently invite you for a few drinks with them – free of charge.
- Drinking at bars/clubs may cost anywhere from $1 – $2 (20,000 – 50,000 VND) for a drink. Some clubs charge a cover on certain nights.
Taxi's in Hanoi are notorious for ripping customers off and giving threats to get more money; everyone seems to have a story.
When I was in Hanoi, I totally avoided taxis.
Buses are incredibly affordable at less than $0.25 (4,000 VND) per ride, and they go around the entire city.
For those that choose to join Hanoi's motorcycle madness, motorbikes can be rented for about $5 (120,000 VND) per day.
For traveling throughout the country of Vietnam, buses usually cost about $1.50 (37,000 VND) per hour, depending on where you are headed.
Ex: 10-hour bus ride = $15. It's a popular option to travel by train in Vietnam.
Hanoi to the town of Hue (central Vietnam) costs around $22 (512,000 VND).
Sites and Attractions
- Famous Water Puppet Show – $3 (70,000 VND)
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum – Free
- Ho Chi Minh Museum – $0.75 (17,000 VND)
- Temple of Literature – $0.50 (12,000 VND)
- Ngoc Son Temple – $0.50 (12,000 VND)
- Museum of Fine Art – $1 (23,000 VND)
- Long Bien Market – Free
It will seem like everyone in Hanoi will attempt to sell you a tour of Halong Bay.
There are so many tour agencies, and I don't' think anyone knows precisely how the complex outsourcing system works.
It's often easiest to see what your hotel/guest house offers and pay a tiny commission for them to book it for you.
The most popular Halong Bay trip is all-inclusive for two days, one night and costs usually around $30 – $40 (700,000 – 1 million VND) per person, however, there are all sorts of ranges in price.
From a travelers standpoint, spending some time in Hanoi or the rest of Vietnam is quite affordable.
After visiting a few of the attractions, be sure to relax and enjoy the bustle of the city by sitting on the street and sipping coffee and tea (or beer) like the locals!
Mark was raised in central Africa before migrating back to the U.S. for University. After graduating, he decided to continue traveling the world. On Migrationology, he shares the cultural side of travel from a slow-paced local perspective that often revolves around his love for eating all forms of food. Join him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter @migrationology.