Vietnam – travel cost summary

Back in February when I was arranging our holiday to Vietnam, I wrote of The cost of an organised tour vs Independent Travel.

The holiday has now been completed and we are home, while we were away I kept track as much as possible on what we spent.

All accommodation included a cooked breakfast, free wifi and airconditioning.  In most cases the accommodation was also within walking distance to main attractions.

Note the costs do not include – international flights, trip insurance or tips in restaurants or hotels since this will of course vary depending on your circumstances.

Currency exchange rate at the time of travel  (April 2017)was approximately $AUD1=17000 dong, $US1=22000 dong.  $US1 = $AUD1.33

Remembering, our base line was for two people for a 10 night tour which would have cost $3150 (or $1575 each).

So how did we go for doing it independently?

Date – April 2017 Location Accommodation & Transfers Cost $AUD Dining & Misc Cost $AUD
13 Flight to Hanoi (late night)  N/A
14 KL airport (transit) 2 x almond croissants and milo (paid in Singapore $ – change back in Ringgit) $7.50
Hanoi Arrival Transfer from Hanoi airport to hotel $33.52
Lunch – spring rolls & fries plus lychee tea and mango juice $15.88
Afternoon tea – strawberry tea, choc mint ice & two cakes $13.82
Dinner – two pho soup plus two juices at vegan restaurant $15.29
T-shirt at night market $2.94
Lele Frog Hotel (total for 2 nights) $79.98
15 Hanoi Women’s Museum including audio guide $7.06
Lunch – for two set meals and two soft drinks at Com Chay Nang Tom $12.00
Silk Scarf $5.88
Drinks – coffee smoothie and chilled honey hibiscus tea $4.35
Dinner – 2 vegetarian Bahn mi $2.35
4 x embroidered wallets at the night market (3 for gifts) $7.06
Lele Frog Hotel
16 Halong Bay Halong Bay Cruise $306.19 all meals included onboard and nothing additional spent
17 Halong Bay / Hanoi two pistachio ice creams at rest stop on the way back to Hanoi $4.12
Dinner – mushroom, tofu lemongrass & pineapple fried rice at Duong Sing Chay $15.00
Hanoi Holiday Diamond Hotel (one night) $41.00
18 flight to Hue (cost is approximate as booked with our internationals) $200.00
rice cakes for lunch at airport – which we threw most out … yuck $4.35
For 1 coconut ice cream at airport $1.47
For lipbalm at airport $3.53
Arrival Transfer from Hue airport to hotel $13.00
Dinner – at Lien Hoa for spring rolls, 3 dishes & fried rice plus two iced coffees $11.65
Hue Serene Palace Hotel (4 nights) $147.00
19 Hue tickets for two – to Citadel and two tombs (two day pass) $32.94
Tiramisu ice cream and Mango ice block (bloody rip off – but so delicious) – at the Citadel – I think the woman serving charged us double what it should have cost – should have told her to stick them up her arse and walked away … $5.88
lunch – eggplant hotpot, morning glory (water spinach) with garlic and ginger plus steam rice and two soft drinks $7.29
Laundry – 2.5kg dropped off around 1.30pm – pickup in the morning from 9am $2.35
Two canned iced tea from convenience store $1.29
Dinner – Indian meal at Shiva Shakti – two lassi, dhal, baigan bartha, 1 rice & 1 roti $16.59
Hue Serene Palace Hotel
20 Hue Hue private car to Tombs (paid on cc on check out) 48.93
Fish food at Minh Mang’s Tomb $0.29
iced coffee & choc mint at Koi Coffee $3.94
Lunch – for two fried rice and fried mushrooms at Quan Chay Thanh Lieu $3.24
Dinner – fried eggplant and tofu with pineapple with steamed rice and two soft drinks at Ninas cafe $7.76
Hue Serene Palace Hotel
21 Hue Tickets into La Da Bang Museum $2.35
two coconut iced coffees at One Coffee $3.76
snacks and drinks at supermarket – 2 iced teas, 3 packets of chips and chewing gum $1.88
lunch – large fried rice, fried fig with sesame and green vegetables with mushroom plus two Vietnamese iced coffees $6.35
Dinner – two smoothies, pasta arabbiata, vegetarian club sandwich with fries plus free bruschetta and fresh mango for dessert – mucked up order but fixed it quickly and gave 10% off for happy hour $11.35
dozen Panadol at pharmacy $1.18
Hue Serene Palace Hotel
22 Hue / Hoi An Transfer to Hoi An (day tour) 116.25
tickets to marble mountain (including elevator up) $7.06
Lunch – for two fried noodle with vegetable and two cans coke $8.24
two tickets to My Son temple complex $17.65
one ice cream at My Son while waiting for the shuttle $1.47
Dinner – for Mango and banana smoothies plus dhal with roti and tofu mushroom curry at Karma Waters – cheap refill of plastic water bottles- no plastic sold! $12.35
Riverside Oasis Villa Hoi An (3 nights) $114.99
23 Hoi An Morning tea – two tarts $4.12
Lunch – for two Bahn mi and iced Vietnamese coffees $8.24
Dinner – 1 beer, 1 lemon shake + fried rice, greens with garlic and tofu with tomato at Pho Reu $7.06
Riverside Oasis Villa Hoi An
24 Hoi An Drinks – for coconut and mocha frappucino $5.88
Lunch – for two fried rice with vegetarian chicken at Quan Chay $3.53
Dinner – for three traditional Hoi An dishes and one soft drink and a Vietnamese iced tea $12.06
for single scoop of lime gelato $1.88
Riverside Oasis Villa Hoi An
25 Hoi An to Danang transfer (door to door with private car) $16.57
at the supermarket for snacks and drinks including 4 pack Milo UHT drink, potato chips, 2 sweet buns for our flight, 2 cans lychee drink and toothpaste $6.47
lunch at Sofia hotel restaurant including fried rice, vegetables and a veg curry plus two soft drinks $16.76
Dinner – lemon drink, sprite, steamed rice, roti, baigan masala and aloo palak at Family Indian Restaurant $14.41
Danang Sofia Boutique Hotel Danang (1 night) $48.09
26 Danang taxi in Danang to airport (hotel quoted $US10) $5.29
HCM flight to HCM (cost is approximate as booked with our internationals) $200.00
arrival transfer $23.89
Lunch – for two steamed rice, broccoli in 5 spice sauce and tofu skins in spicy sauce plus an iced coffee at Veggie Saigon $7.47
entry for 2 into Museum of Fine Arts $1.18
Dinner – for two soups (pho and vegan crab) and two coconut smoothies at Phuong Mai Vegan $12.24
a Good Morning Vietnam singlet (for him) – XL size (would be a US medium to large) – she started at 150,000 and we say no way were we paying more than 50,000 based on a previous purchase – she gave in almost immediately $2.94
HCM Bich Duyen Hotel (3 nights) $117.60
27 HCM entry for two to Reunification Palace entry including ride on electric car $5.88
two iced coffee at Highlands Coffee $4.59
two tickets to Ho Chi Minh City Museum (note they extra charge for taking photos) $1.76
lunch at Veggie Saigon (again) – two rice noodle salads plus two smoothies $9.18
Dinner – one dhal, aloo paratha with raita, steamed rice and a sprite (shared meal) – came with free dessert and 5% discount for filling in a survey – Baba’s kitchen $9.88
Bich Duyen Hotel
28 HCM for two entries to War Remnants Museum $1.76
or iced coffee and iced tea at Highlands Coffee $5.76
lunch – spring rolls, vegetables with crispy noodles and mushroom salad at Bong Sung $12.59
for two drinks at Circle K convenience store $1.12
at the supermarket for snacks for the flight home tomorrow $3.65
Dinner – for two vegetarian thali and two pineapple lassi at Mumtaz Indian $16.47
Bich Duyen Hotel
29 HCM Brunch – for cheese stick, pizza slice, chocolate almond cake, donut, red bean and almond bun and two iced coconut coffees $11.65
Taxi to airport (including tip) $10.00
KL airport (transit) Dinner (paid in Singapore $ – change back in Ringgit) $15.00
Flight to OOL
30 Arrive OOL arrive early morning
Total $1,507.01 $508.32

I’ll save you doing any complex maths here.  Total including accommodation, internal flights (the Danang to HCM was they were included in the baseline tour), arrival & departure transfers, taxis, meals and entry fees was $2015.33 – for two people – thats a smidgen over $1000 each for a two and a half week holiday.

If we had done the tour, we still would have still needed to pay for a number of meals and some entry fees but even so we saved over $1000 total, not to mention it was a nearly a week longer than the base line tour.  So I estimate we did this at approximately half the cost of the tour.

So what would I have done differently?

  1. Added one extra night in Hanoi and one less in Hue or …
  2. Really consider if its worth doing the Halong Bay cruise – its a 4 hour drive each way and a lot of money IMO for what you get (or don’t get)
  3. Booked a later flight out of Danang and stayed the Danang night in Hoi An instead
  4. Looked for accommodation that included had a pool in Hue and HCM


  1. Wow! Very interesting. Haven’t seen anything from you in a long time or so it seems. It’s nice to see you haven’t run out of socks.

    • Its been a little crazy in the last year with moving to Australia. We’ve been here 11 months and things are starting to settle down (hence the hoilday). Luckily still plenty of socks, but probably time to buy some more 😉

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