Updated as of June 2023 – Are you planning a trip to Vietnam and finding yourself bombarded with questions? Expat Forums and Facebook Travel groups not giving you correct, or even useful information? Travel blogs more interested in curating and projecting a lifestyle rather than giving real on the ground info? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! In this attempt at a comprehensive Vietnam travel FAQ list that’s been answered by people who actually live here.
We’ve crawled through the Vietnam travel forums and got the most repetitive questions (as well as some really good and unique ones), and had the team answer them honestly… whilst actively avoiding sarcasm. Whether you’re wondering how long to stay, what to budget, or the top destinations to explore, we’ve got the insider knowledge you need. Let’s dive in and discover everything you need to know before setting foot in this mesmerizing country!
- Vietnam Travel FAQ List
- The Time Dilemma: How Long Should You Stay in Vietnam?
- Budgeting Woes: How Much Money Do You Need in Vietnam?
- Destination Dilemmas: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Danang, and Beyond
- Money Matters: Tipping, Currency, Prices
- Do You Tip in Vietnam?
- How Much Should I Tip in Vietnam?
- What Currency is Used in Vietnam?
- Can I Use US Dollars or Other Currencies in Vietnam?
- Where Can I Exchange Currency in Vietnam?
- Are Credit Cards Widely Accepted in Vietnam?
- Is it Safe to Use ATMs in Vietnam?
- How Much Does a Meal Cost in Vietnam?
- Can I Bargain or Haggle for Prices in Vietnam?
- Are Taxis Expensive in Vietnam?
Vietnam Travel FAQ List
The Time Dilemma: How Long Should You Stay in Vietnam?
Is 1 Week Long Enough in Vietnam?
Can you experience Vietnam’s wonders in just one week? While it may feel like a whirlwind, a well-planned week can still offer you a taste of this incredible country. Focus on a specific region, like Hanoi and Northern Vietnam, Danang and the Midlands, or Saigon and the Mekong Delta, and prioritize the must-see attractions. Remember, quality over quantity. If you’re too ambitions and plan to hit too many spots, you’re just setting yourself up for frustration. Remember that things don’t always happen as planned, not even with the best of preparation, so stay flexible.
Is 14 Days Enough for Vietnam?
Fourteen days, two weeks, and a whole lot of adventure ahead! With 14 days in Vietnam, it is possible to create a well-rounded itinerary that covers the highlights. Consider exploring both the North and the South, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (skipping Hue, Danang, and Hoi An). While you won’t be able to see every nook and cranny, you’ll certainly be able to hit some of the big spots. Just come back again to visit Central Vietnam.
Is 3 Weeks in Vietnam Too Long?
Three weeks in Vietnam? Now we’re talking! With this ample timeframe, you can truly immerse yourself in the country’s diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and captivating culture. Explore Hanoi’s bustling streets, ride up and down Ha Giang, wander the ancient town of Hoi An, party in Siagon, and unwind on the sandy shores of Phu Quoc. Three weeks will fly by, but it should be enough to do an “initial” tour with multiple destinations. Let’s face it. You’ll want to come back.
Is a Week Too Long in Ho Chi Minh City?
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is a bustling metropolis brimming with energy and charm -but, is a week too long in this vibrant city? Depends. Beyond the iconic landmarks like the Notre-Dame Cathedral and War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City also offers day trips like the Cu Chi Tunnels, and a world-beating culinary scene, the best nightlife in Vietnam, along with a myriad of coffee shops where you can experience a unique blend of old-world charm and modernity. It’s also a really good jump off point for the Mekong Delta, Vung Tau, and Dalat. Is a week too long for Saigon? Perhaps. But, that depends on what you’re looking for.
Remember, every traveler is unique, and there’s no “one size fits all” answer to the perfect length of stay in Vietnam. Consider your interests, priorities, and the experiences you want to have. Whether it’s a week or several weeks, Vietnam has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, embark on your Vietnamese adventure, and prepare to be captivated by this incredible country!
Super Travel Prepper? Why not learn some Vietnamese phrases while you’re at it?The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Learning Vietnamese
Budgeting Woes: How Much Money Do You Need in Vietnam?
Vietnam Travel: What’s a good budget?
When it comes to budgeting for Vietnam, it’s essential to strike a balance between comfort and affordability. After all, why bother travelling if you can’t even enjoy the experience? A reasonable daily budget for a backpacker-style trip in Vietnam would be around $30 to $50 USD per day. This includes accommodation in homestays or hostels ($5 to $20 per night), local meals ($2 to $5 per meal), transportation, and some sightseeing. Vietnam really isn’t expensive, if you’re not looking to splurge. Of course, if you’re seeking a more luxurious experience, you can do that too. Expect to spend upwards of $100 USD per day on accommodation alone.
How Much Money Do You Need for One Week in Vietnam?
Planning a week-long adventure in Vietnam? With our recommended daily budget of $30 to $50 USD, you should allocate around $210 to $350 USD for a week’s worth of expenses. This budget will cover accommodation, meals, in-cty transportation, and some activities. Keep in mind that prices can vary depending on the city or region you’re visiting, so adjust your budget accordingly. Budget separately for travel between cities. Buses are plentiful and you can expect to find good (though oft delayed) connections for routes of up to 8 hours. The rail network is also very good. And of course, you have the option of blinging it up by taking flights everywhere.
How Much Money Do You Need for 2 Weeks in Vietnam?
Take the budget listed above and multiply it by 2.
How Much Does a Month-long Tour of Vietnam Cost?
Take the 2 week budget and multiply it by another 2.
What’s a Good Sample Budget?
To provide you with a concrete example, let’s consider a sample budget for a one-week trip in Vietnam. Keep in mind that these are approximate figures and can vary depending on your choices and preferences:
- Accommodation (budget guesthouses or hostels): $5 to $20 USD per night
- Meals (local street food or small eateries): $2 to $10 USD per day
- Transportation (local buses or trains): $5 to $10 USD per day
- Sightseeing and activities: $10 to $20 USD per day
This sample budget would amount to approximately $30 to $60 USD per day or $210 to $420 USD for a week in Vietnam.
How much do drinks cost in Vietnam?
If we’re being honest with ourselves, this will probably be the single biggest cost you’ll have. Haha. Bang for your buck though. Beers can cost as low as $1 (ask for the Saigon Red, Huda, or another local equivalent). Mixed drinks, from $3, and cocktails from $5. We’re talking of course about the cheaper spots. It will be even cheaper if you’re drinking from Club Circle K. You wouldn’t be off track if you budget $50 for a “big” night out.
Destination Dilemmas: Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Danang, and Beyond
Should I Go North to South or South to North?
Important question. One of the first things to consider. Whether you choose to go from north to south or south to north largely depends on your preferences and the time you have. Going from north to south allows you to gradually experience the diverse landscapes of Vietnam, from the stunning karst formations in Halong Bay to the lush greenery of Sapa and the bustling cities in between, before ending your journey in the vibrant Ho Chi Minh City. On the other hand, going from south to north lets you start with the bustling energy of Ho Chi Minh City, explore the Mekong Delta, and then make your way up to the charming central region and the captivating north. Either way, you’re in for a fantastic adventure!Is Hanoi Better Than Ho Chi Minh?
Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City?
The truth is, both cities have their own unique charm and offer distinct experiences. Hanoi, the capital, is steeped in history, and offers up ancient temples, the narrow streets of the Old Quarter, anda vibrant street food scene. Ho Chi Minh City, on the other hand, is a bustling metropolis with a modern skyline, lively markets, and a dynamic nightlife, and a (restaurant) food scene that is one of the best in the world – and the street food isn’t anything to scoff at either! Ultimately, the answer depends on your preferences. If you love immersing yourself in history and culture, Hanoi might be your cup of tea. If you enjoy the buzz of a cosmopolitan city, Ho Chi Minh City is sure to captivate you.
Is Da Nang Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! Da Nang is quite the uncut gem that deserves a spot on your Vietnam itinerary. This coastal city offers stunning beaches, breathtaking landscapes, and a relaxed atmosphere. You can unwind on My Khe Beach, visit the Marble Mountains, or explore the intriguing Cham ruins. Da Nang is also an excellent base for exploring nearby attractions like the ancient town of Hoi An and the scenic Hai Van Pass. It’s still pretty rough around the edges, but trust us, you won’t regret adding Da Nang to your travel plans.
Hoi An or Da Nang: Where Should I Stay?
Let’s get it straight, choosing between Hoi An and Da Nang doesn’t have to be a tough decision – they’re close enough to each other to go drink in one city and sleep in the other. Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well-preserved ancient town, vibrant lanterns, and mouthwatering cuisine. It offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s rich history and traditional culture. On the other hand, Da Nang is a modern city with stunning beaches, impressive bridges, and a growing food scene. It offers a mix of relaxation and urban exploration. They’re an hour away from each other. If you’re stuck for time and really want to split the difference, go to Hoi An in the morning for a taste of history and charm, then head back to Da Nang for some beachside relaxation and city nightlife.
Is One Day Enough in Halong Bay?
Actually living in Asia, I’m spoiled for beaches. I know what good water looks like. And while I have never been to Halong Bay( and have no desire to go to Halong Bay) I can’t imagine anything more frustrating than paying $200 for the privilege of getting stuck on a rickety boat, in visibly polluted water, with thousands of other people doing exactly the same thing. Is one day enough? One day is too much. Would rather save the money and view karst formations in El Nido – but if you’re only in Vietnam once, sure, go for it. One day is more than enough.
What’s the Prettiest Place in Vietnam?
It’s nearly impossible to pinpoint a single prettiest place in Vietnam, as the country is blessed with a multitude of breathtaking landscapes and cultural wonders. From the majestic terraced rice fields of Ha Giang, to the lantern-filled streets of Hoi An, the thrill of caving in Phong Nha, and the serene beauty of a rice field in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam is a visual feast for travelers. Each destination has its own unique charm and beauty, making it hard to pick just one. We recommend exploring different regions and experiencing the diverse beauty that Vietnam has to offer. But, forced to answer, the prettiest place is “anywhere with good coffee”.
Money Matters: Tipping, Currency, Prices
Do You Tip in Vietnam?
Tipping is not a common practice in Vietnam, especially in local eateries and markets. However, tipping has become more common in tourist areas and upscale establishments due to the influence of Western culture. If you receive exceptional service, you can leave a small tip, but it is not mandatory. Note that some tourist groups will basically force you to tip (ie – they won’t let you off their boat unless you give them a tip). Be careful about operations like this and ask the travel agent for clarity before booking your seat.
How Much Should I Tip in Vietnam?
As mentioned earlier, tipping is not expected in Vietnam. If you decide to tip for excellent service, a tip of around 5-10% of the bill is considered generous. However, it’s important to remember that tipping is not a cultural norm in Vietnam, so there is no strict rule regarding the amount. It’s highly appreciated, but not required.
What Currency is Used in Vietnam?
The official currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It’s advisable to have local currency for most transactions, as smaller businesses and street vendors may not accept foreign currencies.
Can I Use US Dollars or Other Currencies in Vietnam?
Generally speaking, no. While US dollars are sometimes accepted in tourist areas and larger establishments, it is still best to have Vietnamese Dong for most transactions. It’s recommended to exchange your currency into Vietnamese Dong at authorized money exchange offices or banks – or a local gold shop.
Where Can I Exchange Currency in Vietnam?
Currency exchange services are readily available in Vietnam, including at airports, banks, and authorized exchange offices. Be cautious when exchanging money on the street, as there is a higher risk of counterfeit bills. It’s advisable to compare exchange rates and fees to get the best value for your money. Or as mentioned earlier, look on Google Maps for a “gold shop”.
Are Credit Cards Widely Accepted in Vietnam?
Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas in Vietnam, particularly at hotels, upscale restaurants, and larger retailers. However, it’s still common for smaller establishments and local markets to accept only cash. Moreover, one of the more annoying things that establishments do is apply an extra 3% surcharge if you use a credit card. It’s not a lot, for any one transaction, but it certainly adds up. It’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you for smaller transactions and in case of any card payment issues.
Is it Safe to Use ATMs in Vietnam?
Using ATMs in Vietnam is generally safe and convenient. However, you should also be cautious of skimming devices by checking for any suspicious attachments or unusual card slots. Stick to ATMs located within banks themselves, or in secure areas like malls. It’s also advisable to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any card blocks. In the same way (if you can), when paying with credit cards, go to the counter and watch them while they swipe the card.
How Much Does a Meal Cost in Vietnam?
The cost of a meal in Vietnam can vary depending on the type of establishment and location. In local eateries and street food stalls, you can find delicious meals for as low as 30,000 to 70,000 VND ($1.5 to $3). In mid-range restaurants, expect to spend around 100,000 to 200,000 VND ($4 to $8) per person. Fine dining establishments and international restaurants can be more expensive, with small appetisers starting from 300,000 VND ($13).
Can I Bargain or Haggle for Prices in Vietnam?
Bargaining or haggling is a common practice in Vietnamese markets and smaller shops. However, it’s not advisable to try this in larger stores or supermarkets. When bargaining, be polite and maintain a friendly attitude. Start by offering a lower price than the initial asking price, and be prepared to negotiate until you reach a mutually agreed price. If shopping at a wet market, you can even ask for small amounts of herbs and spices, or a “package” to make a specific dish.
Are Taxis Expensive in Vietnam?
Taxis in Vietnam are generally affordable compared to many other countries. However, prices may vary depending on the city and the taxi company – and on many occasions can just be an outright scam. It’s advisable to use reputable taxi companies like VinaSun and Mai LInh, and insist on using the meter to ensure a fair fare. In major cities like Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City, using ride-hailing services like Grab can often provide more convenience and transparent pricing options.
There you have it, fellow explorers! We’ve journeyed through the maze of repetitive questions and emerged victorious with answers to some of the most common queries about Vietnam. Hopefully, this blog post has provided the practical insights and information you were seeking.
Have you got any other key questions you’d like to clarify? Drop us a comment below. We live here, so we’d be damned if we didn’t know the answers!
Remember, when in doubt, keep an open mind, embrace the adventure, and savor every moment in this vibrant country. Happy travels!