Vietnam is one of the cheapest and exciting tourist travel destinations in Southeast Asia if you are looking for a place to travel on a budget from India, so this country would be an ideal choice. Even you have a limited budget, Vietnam still gives you significant value and here are 12 reasons to visit Vietnam at least once in a lifetime. Read it if you are still wondering whether Vietnam should be your next travel.
Vietnam is an amazing country with spectacular landscape, rich history, and unique culture. Vietnamese people are kind and hospitable; the food is so delicious and healthy, especially street food the trademark food of Vietnam and incredibly cheap.
And in case you wish to save money for your Vietnam travel smartly, master the 10 tips below. And remember, before you go, don’t forget to carry out the search regarding Vietnam visa, destinations, weather, currency, scam and fraud. In this regard, you perhaps cannot ignore this: Vietnam visa requirements for Indians.
In general, Vietnam is typically hot and humid. The weather can vary among different regions based on the geographical position.
- Mountainous – high area of the North: two seasons – the dry season runs from October to March while wet season runs from April to September. It can get very cold and frosty in the dry season.
- Northern Vietnam: four seasons, but it has an enormous difference between winter and summer. It is hot wet in the summer and the degree could be up to 38°C. The winter is cold and dry, and it is quite cold, the lowest degree is 5°C.
- Central Vietnam: this part has hot and dry weather from January to late August, the temperature often reaches approximately 30°C. From October to November, the rainfall turns to strong and the typhoons could appear at this time.
- Southern Vietnam: Typically, the South’s climate is hot throughout the year and divides into two seasons; dry and wet. The dry season begins in November until lately April and being hot and humid. From May to early November is the wet season and rainfall appears heavy yet short lasting.
Note for obtaining a Vietnam Visa for Indians
First things first, Indian passport holders always must get a visa to enter Vietnam. Nevertheless, the process of making visa is quite complicated, so it may discourage you but do not worry about that. There are few ways to a Vietnam visa depending on your condition, situation and place you are from.
- Applying for visa at Vietnam Embassy in India: with this option, you will have visa already stamped onto your passport before getting on plane. However, this way is quite complicated, you have to go to the nearest embassy to submit documents or sending by mail, therefore, it is inconvenient if you live far away from the embassy.
- E-visa: you can apply for Vietnam’s E-visa (electronic visa) during the pilot India is in the list of country that allowed e-visa issuing. Vietnam E-visa is valid for maximum 30 days with single entry and for tourism purpose.
- Visa on Arrival (VOA): this method has been the most popular and highly recommended on many travel websites, forums like TripAdvisor, LonelyPlannet and so on. With this option, you only need to submit an online visa application form to get a visa approval letter and then get visa stamped upon arrival at Vietnam airport. Reading its full process at How Vietnam visa on arrival works, you will absolutely be surprised at how easy it is.
10 Saving money tips for Indian Travelers
1. Choosing suitable Flights from India
Before starting your journey to Vietnam, you should find out suitable flights to Vietnam because flight tickets are always the most expensive component of a trip. There are several airline brands but booking with the low-cost airlines can help you save a significant amount of money.
You can look for the cheap flights to Vietnam at https://www.expedia.co.in/vc/cheap-flights/to-vietnam/.
2. Flying with Vietnam’s low-cost Airlines
In case, you travel around Vietnam, for the long journeys like Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh (from the North to the South), going by plane is the most convenient and you are able to look for low-cost airlines of Vietnam such as VietJet Air, Jetstar Pacific. During the promotional periods, these airlines offer zero fare tickets; if you luckily get that ticket it means you almost fly for free.
3. Late-night travel to save cost of Vietnam travel
Otherwise, you can try late-night travel by taking sleeper trains and buses, so you could spare one-night expense for accommodation.
4. Be smart when using local transports in Vietnam
In terms of getting around in the cities, public bus is a good option because the price is so cheap, a bus trip costs only 7,000 VND (~20.85 INR).
If you are looking for a quick ride, traditional taxis and motorbike taxis are always available and in abundance. However, you have to be careful with taxi companies without brand or low reputation, before jumping in a taxi like that, you should make sure the price is reasonable and agree on a price for the journey firstly.
You should hire taxis with the meter and recommended brands like Mai Linh, Taxi Group, Vinasun. Motorbike taxi is cheaper but do not forget to bargain with the driver first.
Presently, you can use both types of transports through Grab, an application like Uber, therefore, you will not be scammed.
5. Staying at hostel and homestay when you are in Vietnam
In Vietnam, you are able to find from ultra-cheap to luxury (high-end) accommodations, various types for you to choose from hostels for backpacker, mid-range hotels to five-star resorts. Therefore, to save money you can consider hostel, dormitory or homestay, the cost for one night is about from 8 USD (542.208 INR) to 10 USD (677.84 INR).
Homestay has been more and more popular because it is budget friendly and you will have a chance to experience a little bit about daily life in Vietnam while living with the locals, especially in some tourist villages. Find out your suitable homestay at Airbnb.com.
6. Currency in Vietnam
You should exchange the currency before going to Vietnam, Đồng or Dong is the currency of Vietnam, at the moment, 1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 337.218VND (Vietnamese Dong).
However, US dollars could be widely accepted in some big stores, hotels and supermarkets, in case you want to change the money, you can find the banks or airport moneychangers to change your money at a high cost. In addition, gold and jewellery stores in Hanoi Old Quarter are able to give you the best rate and it only takes a minute.
7. Eat and drink like a local when traveling in Vietnam
Vietnamese food is, without a doubt, one of the best cuisines in the world, the food is inexpensive, and each region has its own specialities. Especially, Vietnamese street food is outstanding and super cheap.
You will see street food available everywhere in Vietnam, just find some food stalls with tiny plastic stools on the street then you can enjoy a lot of incredibly tasty dishes from $5 to $10.
Additionally, if you want to experience authentic Vietnamese cuisine, you can spend time for a home hosted dinner in Hanoi, it could be one of the most rewarding experiences while having dinner with a local family as well as learn Vietnamese customs and culture.
9. Bargain hard to save your money in Vietnam
Foreign tourists tend to be charged at a higher price for some services and goods compared to the locals such as taxi, cyclo (three-wheel bicycle), street food, clothes and souvenirs. Therefore, you should always consider prices of anything before purchasing and bargain harder to get affordable prices.
10. Looking for attractions with free entrances
Many tourist attractions in Vietnam do not require admission fee, hence, if you want to save the money, you should find out these places before travelling.
11. Finding some cheap and valuable Vietnam package tours
A lot of attractions and tourist places in Vietnam you can explore for free without the guidance, but there are some parts you should travel with a guide, especially in the Mountainous of Vietnam.
If you are an adventurer and want to take part in discovery tours, just find out and select suitable package tours which are cheapest, safest and easiest way to explore Vietnam, especially you only have a short time.
Sample Vietnam Itinerary
Here are 10 days itinerary in Vietnam which shows the details of the free entrance attractions, things to do, cheapest dishes to eat and estimated expenses.
Ho Chi Minh city trip: 2 days
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) aka Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam by population. This is a city of mixed culture from the classic French architecture to the modern skyscrapers. HCMC is also the business capital of Vietnam, it has a rich history and vestiges of war. It now has been growing rapidly.
Things to do
#1 Reunification Palace: Reunification Palace or Independent Palace built on the site of the former Norodom Palace is a landmark in HCMC. It was designed by architect Ngô Viết Thụ and was the home and workplace of the President of South Vietnam during the Vietnam war. It was the site of the end of the Vietnam War during the Fall of Saigon on April 30, 1975.
Price: 30,000 VND (about US$ 1.30)
#2 Visit Ho Chi Minh Central Post Office: The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh is a glorious vestige of French colonial architecture. The building was constructed when Vietnam was part of French Indochina in the late 19th century it first opened in 1891. The building still functions as the city’s main post office. The Central Post Office has unique Architecture and it counts with Gothic, Renaissance and French influences.
#3 Notre Dame Cathedral: Notre Dame Cathedral is a cathedral located in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists who initially named it Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Saigon, the cathedral was built between 1863 and 1880.
#4 Follow Barrack Obama’s footstep.
Cheap dishes to eat
Tourist can try Pho with Southern-style to distinguish the difference of the flavour between two regions.
Price of a bowl: 1.5 – 2 USD
Banh Canh noodles are Vietnam’s version of udon, a thicker noodle that can be made with either tapioca flour, rice flour, or a combination of the two.
Price: 1.5 – 2 USD
Banh Beo is part of the cuisine from central Vietnam, Banh Beo (literally “water fern cake”) are small round discs of rice flour, formed to look like lily flower pads found in the estates surrounding the old imperial city of Hue.
Price: 2 – 2.5 USD
Hoi An trip: 3 days
Hoi An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast, and it is well-known for UNESCO well-preserved Ancient Town. Visiting Hoi An you will get lost in a land of fairy tales.
Things to do
#1 Hit to the An Bang beach: An Bang beach is about 5km from Hoi An city, so you can rent a motorbike to get there. When reaching the beach, you can find many restaurants to park your motorbike, but you have to buy a drink from them then the owners will watch your motorbike.
#2 Go to Hai Van Pass: Take a cruise to Hai Van Pass, one of the most scenic coastal highways in the world. At this spot, visitors just admire the majestic scenery and taking some great photos.
#3 Exploring the city at night: The town is so lively at night where fill up with food stalls, plastic chairs, colourful lanterns. Sit by the Thu Bon river and enjoy the peaceful Hoi An. If you want more fun, you can cross the river to find some good bars, pubs and nightclubs.
#4 Exploring Hoi An with a long-tail boat tour: Escaping from the tourism buzz of Hoi An old town, you will get a chance to immerse yourself in pristine surroundings with local people in a long-tail boat tour in Hoi An.
What to eat in Hoi An
Cao Lau is Hoi An noodle speciality has been eaten in the city since the 17th century. This dish consists of brown rice noodle goes with sliced pork, crunchy rice crackers, spicy, big handfuls of fresh herbs and tasty broth. You can try the Mrs Thu restaurant in Tran Phu Street or larger space and comfort go to Cơm Gà Hương which is located at Le Loi Street.
The price of a bowl is around $2.
Banh mi is Vietnamese baguette sandwich and one of the tastiest street foods ever. In Hoi An, go to Banh My Phuong to try this dish. Banh My Phuong was also recommended by Anthony Bourdain in his show. Price: from $1 to $3
Ha Long trip: 2 days
Ha Long is in the Northeast of Vietnam, 70 kilometres from Hanoi so you can go there by taking a coach or car. In recent years, Ha Long Bay has been one of the most iconic tourist destinations, it is the 7th Wonders of nature in the world.
#1 Taking a boat cruise tour: The visitors can choose a boat cruise tour, it could be 2 days 1 night depending on your budget.
#2 Visiting the fishing village: Another option that you can visit a fishing village named “Cửa Vạn”, it is a floating village with 400 households, approximately 1,700 people.
#3 Booking package tour to discover Ha Long
Hanoi trip: 3 days
Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is over 1000 years old so there is no denying that Hanoi represents the most cultural and ancient cities in the World. It is a fascinating mix of the East and the West which is the vestiges and influences of the invasions in the past.
Free things to do and attractions with low entrance fees to visit.
#1 Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake and visit Ngoc Son Temple: Hoan Kiem lake is located in the city centre and it is the most popular and attractive place for the locals and tourists. Ngoc Son temple locates on a small island in the centre of Hoan Kiem Lake linked by a unique bridge named “The Huc”.
Price ticket: 20,000 VND~1 USD.
#2 Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: The Imperial Citadel of Thang Long became the UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. The building represents ancient oriental architecture, and it was the political centre of 13 consecutive centuries as well as the capital of Vietnam until now.
Price ticket: 30,000 VND~1.32 USD
#3 Visit the Temple of Literature: Temple of literature or “Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam” is the first national university of Vietnam. This charming complex temple is located to the south of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long and dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars.
Entrance ticket 20,000 VND~1 USD.
#4 Wandering and exploring Hanoi Old Quarter: Hanoi Old Quarter is an attractive area of the city where the visitors can experience the history of Hanoi, rich food culture, French-colonial architecture and even the manner of Hanoian. The Old Quarter is based in Hoan Kiem District, the important district of Hanoi.
#5 Another Hanoi Attractions: Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Dong Xuan market, Hanoi Opera House, National Museum of Vietnam, Ba Dinh Square, One Pillar Pagoda, etc.
#6 Join a Hanoi cooking class
Cheap dishes to eat
“Phở” is Vietnamese traditional dish and kind of rice noodle soup serves with few herbs and meat, primarily made with beef (phở bò) or chicken (phở gà). In Hanoi, you will be able to try “Northern-style Pho”. A bowl of Pho has the price from 30,000 to 60,000 VND (1.3 – 2.6 USD)
“Bún Chả” originated from Hanoi, it severs with grilled fatty port, rice noodle, lettuce and herbs with a side dish of dipping sauce. No doubt, the incredible taste of Bun Cha made President Obama fell in love with. Price: 40,000 VND ~2 USD
In conclusion, above are 11 valuable tips and information that you should know to prepare for a budget trip in Vietnam. This country is one of the cheapest destinations in the world for backpackers. Surely, the more you explore this wonderful country, the more you would love it.
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