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Costs in Vietnam

August 04, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Vietnamese Dong

*** All images taken with Fuji X-Pro 1 and 35mm f1.4 lens ***

Dong is the currency here, and the current exchange rate is approx 21,000 VND : 1 USD, although many businesses use 20,000. The notes are a combination of paper and plastic with Ho Chi Minh's face serenely embellishing one side. (He's still considered a great man in contemporary Vietnam and is fondly called Uncle Ho). The denominations range from 500 to 500,000 and I still can't quite get used to paying a million plus in a single purchase! Coins are very rare, and after living in Qatar for so long I really love not having coins to deal with. I wish Australia would get rid of a coin or two.

It's pretty cheap to travel here, and if you don't go crazy with tours and buying bits and pieces along the way you could be comfortable on USD$50 - $60 a day. To give you an idea I've put together some average costs for you:

  • Basic double room with ensuite in basic hotel (usually includes breakfast): $25 - $40
  • Bicycle hire: $2/day (if not free)
  • Street food: 50c - $2.50
  • Basic restaurant main meal: $2.50 - $4
  • Better restaurant main meal: $5 - $10
  • Beer (Heineken can): $2 - $4
  • Iced Coffee: $1.50 - 2.50
  • Soft Drink can: $1 - $1.50
  • 1 Litre Water: $1 - $2 (might as well drink beer!)
  • 8 Hour Train trip (soft sitting seat): $25
  • Easy Rider tour: $70/day plus food (gets cheaper for longer than 3 days)
  • Tailored men's shirt: $15 - $40 (depends on your bargaining skills and quality of tailor)
  • Hand-made leather shoes: $10 - $40 (depends on style and quality)
  • 3 - 4 hour boat tour: $20 - $40 (bargaining powers again apply!)
  • Private taxi for 2.5 hour trip: $40

If you prefer to stay in 5 star style then your costs will be much higher than this. Prices have gone up considerably in the past few years, and I expect that trend will continue.

The poorer Vietnamese earn around $5/day to put things into perspective for you.

 

 


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