Hanoi, Vietnam on a Shoestring Budget | 4 days for only PHP 5,315.00

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

In the recent Asia Backpacking Index research by priceoftravel.com, Hanoi ranks 2nd in the cheapest cities around Asia, which is why Vietnam is no stranger for those who want to cheaply backpack through this region. And who can blame them?! It's a paradise for those who want to go on beaches, temples, and anything they fancy.

After posting my 5 free things to do in Hanoi, I was asked by my friends how much I spent during my 4-day solo travel to Vietnam last November. Most of them were surprised when I told them I only spent a little over 5K. Here's a rundown of the expenses I incurred, which includes accommodation, tours, and daily living expenses.

Accommodation: 325.00 PHP ($7.50 USD) / night
I booked in a dorm-type room at the Hanoi Backpackers' Hostel for three nights for $7.50 USD per night. They have 2 branches in Hanoi: one at the downtown area (right at the heart of the Old Quarter area) and the other at Ngõ Huyện street. Both are conveniently located near the Ho Hoan Kiem Lake and the Old Quarter area.

Check out their website for more details on their accommodation.

Why book in a hostel?
If you want to save on money for accommodation, book in a hostel. Not only it is cheap, it is also a good way to meet other people from all over the world.

A street peddler selling her goods at the Old Quarter area.

Transportation to and from the Airport: 1730.00 PHP ($40.00 USD)
I could have saved money if I took the $2 USD bus ride to and from the Noi Bai International Airport but my flight arrived in Hanoi shortly after midnight. Buses were no longer around so I took the 40-minute taxi ride for $20.00 (yes, they accept USD).

Take the Mai Linh taxi because they have a good reputation and are mostly recommended by other travelers in TripAdvisor. In case the taxi driver doesn't speak English, write down the address of your hostel and show it to him.

Rickshaw, or cyclo, Vietnam's own version of the tuk-tuk

How to avoid the taxi scam?
Hanoi is not immune to taxi scams. One of the most common scams in Hanoi is the "your-hostel-is-fully-booked-i'll-take-you-to-my-friends-place". Don't fall for this. Stand firm if the driver insists and fight back if necessary.

If you want to report a cheating taxi driver, call the Hanoi Taxi Association hotline numbers at 04.38525252 and 04.37710851. They can face a VND 14 million ($700) fine, 60-day revocation of his/her license, and the car will be seized for 30 days.

How about transportation costs within the city?
I did not include any other transportation costs aside from the taxi ride to and from the airport. Hanoi is a small city that can be explored by foot but if you want to go around the city, cyclos and taxis are very much available.

Ha Long Bay Day Tour: 1730.00 PHP ($40.00 USD)
This is optional but many say that you've never been to Hanoi if you've not visited Ha Long bay. It's one of the most beautiful sites in the world! In fact, it's one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Located in the Quảng Ninh province (3-4 hours from Hanoi), one can get there by booking a trip from a reputable tour company. There a number of tour companies that offer day and overnight tours of Ha Long Bay. Some also offer 'adventure packages' for two to three days depending on your budget.

The Hanoi Backpackers Hostel offers a day tour package to Ha Long Bay for only $40 USD. Overnight tours bump up to $80USD. You can check their website for more details on their tour packages.

Eco-tourism helps the locals living in the floating villages around Ha Long Bay.

Daily Food Budget: 220.00 PHP ($5.00 USD)
My accommodation at the Hanoi Backpackers' Hostel already included breakfast so I only had to spend money for lunch and dinner.  Food in Hanoi is cheap, especially at the Old Quarter area, where a bowl of pho (Vietnam's signature dish) costs only VND 40,000 (~PHP 85.00 or USD 2.00).

Eat the best pho in Hanoi at Pho 10 located at the corner of Ly Quoc and Chan Cam streets.

Pho bo (Vietnam's signature dish) at Pho 10 restaurant.

Accommodation 325 x 3 nights (checked out on the 4th day) PHP 975.00
Transportation--taxi service (including toll fees) PHP 1,730.00 
Food 220 x 4 days PHP 880.00
Ha Long Bay Tour (optional) PHP 1,730.00

What's not included:

  1. Plane Ticket. If you want to save on your plane tickets, check your local airline for promo fares and book in advance. Here in the Philippines, Cebu Pacific flies to Hanoi from Manila every Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. 
  2. Travel Tax of PHP1,620 and must be paid at the airport before check-in. 
  3. Aside from the travel tax, a terminal fee of PHP550 for international flights must also be paid.

Vietnam, located in the easternmost portion of the Indochina Peninsula, is home to 90 million people with Hanoi as its capital. In this series, I'll show you what transpired during my solo backpacking trip to the charming city of Hanoi last November 2013. 


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Mark Joshua Santos said...

Nice pictures you have there. I can say you really had a good time visiting that place. Anyway, I'd also like to share my friend's 5 day itinerary in Hanoi. Thanks

5 day itinerary hanoi said...

Try this adventure... 5 day itinerary hanoi

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