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. 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 are 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. Dorm beds can be found for around $5 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 per night.
Food & Drink
Those who derive infinite excitement from food (like myself), will be thrilled with the supply and cost of Hanoi street food options. Most street stall meals average 15,000 – 40,000 Vietnamese Dong (VND) ($1-$2) per dish, though portions aren't overly large. If you are a big eater, you might need 2 or 3 meals from the street in order 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 per person. One night in Hanoi I engorged at one of the fancier and popular Italian restaurants in town and spent a total of 150,000 VND ($8 bucks or so).
One of the pleasures of visiting Vietnam is being able to take advantage of their incredible coffee. A standard cup of coffee at any normal coffee shop costs much less than $1 and is traditionally served with a pot of tea as well!
Big bottle of water – 10,000 VND ($0.48)
Going Out / Drinking
Those who enjoy beer, will rejoice in Vietnam for a number of reasons.
- The price for a single bottle / can of beer is about 12,000 – 20,000 VND ($0.50 – $1)
- Draft beer by the cup is super cheap – possible 2000 – 4000 VND ($0.10 – $0.20) 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 20,000 – 50,000 for a drink. Some clubs charge cover on certain nights.
Taxi's in Hanoi are notorious for ripping customers off and giving threats in an effort to get more money; everyone seems to have a story. When I was in Hanoi, I actually totally avoided taxi's. Buses are extremely affordable at 3000 VND ($0.14) 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 per day.
For traveling throughout the country of Vietnam, buses usually cost about $1.50 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 450,000 VND ($22).
Sites and Attractions
- Famous Water Puppet Show – 60,000 VND ($2.87)
- Ho Chi Minh Masoleum – Free
- Ho Chi Minh Museum – 15,000 VND ($0.72)
- Temple of Literature – 10,000 VND ($0.48)
- Ngoc Son Temple – 10,000 VND ($0.48)
- Museum of Fine Art – 20,000 VND ($0.96)
- Long Bien Market – Free
Halong Bay – 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 exactly how the complex outsourcing system really works. It's often easiest to just 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 2 days, 1 night and costs usually around $30 – $40 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 the city has to offer, be sure to just relax and enjoy the bustle of the city by sitting on the street and sipping coffee and tea (or beer) like the locals!