Vietnam is one of the most affordable travel destinations in Asia, where budget-conscious tourists can enjoy a wide range of activities, attractions, and local delicacies. Follow our Vietnam travel tips on how to save money in Vietnam, which comprises essential aspects such as accommodation, dining, and shopping.
Eat like a local
Vietnam has recently become a popular destination for tourists, therefore a lot of restaurants and hostels serve Western food with a rather higher price. However, this is rarely worth the extra cost since the local street food is cheap and yet very delicious. Often times the most authentic dishes can be found in roadside eateries, vibrant markets, and food carts. Eating at street stalls is not only the best ways to discover Vietnamese cuisine, but is also incredibly cheap. For example, a bowl of Phở costs just about 40,000 VND (less than $2). Rice dishes, banh mi, spring rolls, and banh xeo are often at a similar price. Pick a stand, do what the locals do and go for it. If you want a truly authentic Vietnamese dining experience, eat a meal with a local family in home-stay or learn to cook the dishes with cooking classes.
Drink like a local
Beer in a Southeast Asian country like Vietnam is cheap. A bottle of Tiger or Saigon costs you around VND 20,000 (under $1). However, there’s an even much cheaper one is ‘bia hoi’. This ‘cheapest beer in the world’ is a draught beer freshly brewed on the day and served from a keg or container on the side of the street. Nothing beats sitting on a street corner on a plastic chair, sipping this cheap and cheerful beer at around 15-30 cents. If you’re in Hanoi, Bia Hoi Junction in the Old Quarter is a great place to sit and watch the world go by. However, there’s a drawback that it contains only 4% of alcohol. So if it’s not enough, beers such as Tiger are available.
And bargain like a real one, too
Shopping is one of the best things to do in Vietnam, here you can find unique handicrafts and local food at relatively affordable prices. However, selling and buying in Vietnam tend to need some tactics. As a tourist, you should expect to be charged more than the true price of an item or service, but don’t take it too serious cause that’s just the way it goes around here. Be confident and find ways of bargaining. Also, take your time searching for good Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends.
Here are some tips for bargaining in Vietnam:
– First ask the price, then ask if the price can be reduced.
– If the answer is yes, then offer about one-half of the asking price.
– After some counteroffers, you and the seller will agree on a price that is about half to two-thirds of the original asking price.
– You can leave if you think the final offer is too high.
– Tell the sellers you have visited several shops and you knew the price.
– If you don’t really want to buy, don’t open negotiations.
– If you are going to shop there frequently, your relationship with the sellers will be important and eventually, his opening prices will be lower.
– In some cases, learning a little Vietnamese can help.
Find the right place to stay
Backpackers’ areas are great to save money when you travel in Vietnam as you can find just about anything that you want without being charged unreasonably high for it. Wherever you go, hostels are among the cheapest options you can find if you’re traveling on a tight budget. These areas usually have funky bars, roadside eateries, street markets and countless tour companies. Accommodation options here comprise guesthouses, hostels, and motels. A typical backpackers’ district in Vietnam is Ho Chi Minh City’s Pham Ngu Lao Street. If you want it to be more private, most hostels in Vietnam offer rooms for couples or singles at higher rates.