Vietnam is arguably the best backpacker destination in Southeast Asia, and we’re about to tell you why! From beautiful beaches to vibrant culture, delicious cuisine and rich history, Vietnam has it all. Keep reading to find out what to expect when backpacking in Vietnam.
Travelling around Vietnam is very affordable, which is one of the main reasons why it’s such a perfect destination for backpackers looking to stick to a budget. Whether it’s food, transportation or entry to historical sites, you shouldn’t have to break the bank while you’re here. If you are, you’re most likely being scammed or ripped off, so it’s important to do your research before travelling to know what sort of prices to expect for different things.
Here’s an idea of what everyday items will cost you:
- Bowl of Pho – 25,000 VND
- Meal at an inexpensive restaurant – 30,000-60,000 VND
- 1 litre of water (from a convenience store) – 15,000 VND
- Local beer – 20,000 VND
- Imported beer – 40,000 VND
- Soft drinks – 12,000 VND
- Local bus – 7,000 VND (one way)
- Taxi – 12,000 VND (normal tariff)
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Much like the rest of Southeast Asia, accommodation in Vietnam can be very cheap. If you’re only looking for a clean, basic place to rest your head at night, then prices can be as low as £1-2 per night for a room in a mixed dorm. If you’re hoping for something with a bit more charm or dorms of only 3-4 people, expect to pay around £4-6. As with any destination, if you’re hoping to stay in higher-end accommodation, hotels or even private rooms, be aware of the price tag that comes attached! It’s important to keep in mind where in Vietnam you’re hoping to stay; if you do your research, you’ll be able to find affordable places in the touristy cities, however, when venturing into rural areas where tourism isn’t so big, you could find that prices rise slightly.
Check out our top hostel recommendations across Vietnam:
- Central Backpackers, Hanoi – Located only a minutes’ walk away from the gates of the Old Quarter it’s in a prime location. The hostel also hosts its own lively parties, where you can mingle with fellow travellers and enjoy the great vibe.
- Halong Hideaway, Halong Bay – If you think staying on your own private island is out of your budget, think again!
- Gecko Hostel, Phong Nha – From 10-bed mixed dorms to private rooms, any type of traveller will be comfortable here, and it’s in a prime location to explore the National Park.
- Sunflower Hostel, Hoi An – Located within walking distance to Ancient Town, surrounded by delicious restaurants, and proud owners of their own pool, it’s the perfect hostel for those passing through the city.
- Vietnam Backpackers Hostel, Saigon – If you’re looking for accommodation in the heart of Ho Chi Mihn city, this is your best bet. It also features its own bar on the 9th floor!
From bustling cities to white sandy beaches, luscious national parks to private islands, Vietnam offers a little slice of everything. Whether you want to immerse yourself in the culture (which, by the way, you definitely should!), learn more about the country’s history, tick those hotspots off your bucket list, go off the beaten track to experience local life, or just sit back and relax on the beach, Vietnam has something for all types of travellers and people.
Here are just a few of the activities on offer:
- Explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter, including the amazing Train Street
- Watch a unique Water Puppet Show in Hanoi
- Visit the Imperial Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Kayak through the karst peaks of Halong Bay
- Explore Phong Nha’s caves
- Take a day trip to Ba Na Hills
- Visit a farm to learn about local industries
- Float through Tra Su Forest along the Mekong Delta
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Vietnam has one of the richest histories across Southeast Asia, mostly down to the Vietnam War. A trip to Vietnam isn’t complete without visits to important historical sites like Hoa Lo Prison, Cu Chi Tunnels and the War Remnants Museum. We believe it’s important to learn about the countries you visit, not only to gain a greater appreciation for the culture and people but also to broaden your understanding of the world around you. It’s a great thing to keep in mind while you’re exploring the cities and their architecture, as well as when you’re planning your itinerary!
Despite ending in 1975, many Vietnamese people are still feeling the effects of the Vietnam War to this day. Around 2 million Vietnamese people were killed, many of which were civilians, and over 3 million more people were injured. From 1962 to 1971, herbicides were used to reduce the density of Vietnam’s luscious jungles and limit resources for the Viet Cong, the effects of which are visible today with children still growing up disabilities caused by the harmful chemicals.
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With the rise of tourism across Vietnam, the locals are becoming more and more versed in English, especially in the urban areas. But it’s always nice to learn a few key phrases in the local language. You’ll be surprised at how far it’ll get you, as it shows a sign of respect to the country and culture you’re visiting.
Check out these key Vietnamese phrases:
Hello – xin chào
Goodbye – Tạm biệt
Thank you – cảm ơn bạn
No problem – không vấn đề gì
What is this? – cái gì thế này?
I am sorry – tôi xin lỗi
I don’t understand – Tôi không hiểu
No plastic bag – Không có túi nhựa
No straw please – Không có rơm xin vui lòng
No plastic cutlery please – Không có dao kéo nhựa xin vui lòng
Inspired to go backpacking in Vietnam? Check out our 20-day Vietnam to Cambodia tour or our full 31-day Southeast Asia adventure! Alternatively, drop us a message in the chat box below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!