Vietnam is one of those countries that you can’t help but fall in love with. Not only is it super easy to travel on a budget, but there are also so many fun little things to do that you might not find elsewhere.

Hanoi, the bustling capital, is a great starting point from which you can wind your way down the country passing through cute towns like Hoi An, ending either in Ho Chi Minh City or travelling on through to Cambodia! Take a look at this incredible two-week itinerary!

Check out the best things to do in Vietnam on a budget and be prepared to be ready to book a trip!

Eat Street Food

You’d be mad to avoid the street food in Vietnam! Head straight for a stall and order a Banh Mi – a French-inspired sandwich full of flavour and crunch!

Bread roll with meat and salad in - typical Vietnamese baguette
It’s not just the fillings that make the sandwiches so good, it’s also the bread.

You can also grab some spring rolls, freshly made on the side of the street. Fill up for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and still travel Vietnam on a budget!

Read More: How To Spend One Day In Hanoi

We decided to take a street food tour – actually, we loved the food so much we did two tours! We learnt a lot about the history surrounding the food, the city of Hanoi and how the culture has influenced the food. Click here to reserve a space on a tour.

Tasting The Best Vietnamese Snacks On A Hanoi Street Food Tour! [With Hanoi Explore Travel]

Travel By Sleeper Train

This might sound a little nerdy, but we had a really good time on the sleepers trains through Vietnam considering it was just our mode of transport! We spent 29 hours on one, and we were able to relax on our beds, watch the films we’d downloaded and snack on instant noodles.

Pay the tiny extra and get a soft sleeper – your back will thank you for it and you might even have a compartment to yourself.

View of green fields from a train window with part of the train in view
The countryside along the train routes is beautiful.

It will only cost 508,000VND/£18/$22 each from Hanoi to Nha Trang, which is 1283km/797 miles. If you have the money, then by all means, get a flight! But if you’ve got time and you’re on a budget, travelling on a sleeper train is the way to go.

Buy your train tickets in advance here. Don’t forget that Vietnam also has sleeper buses – we didn’t take one but check out this review of a sleeper bus to Hanoi!

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Read More: Check Out The Ultimate Guide To The Hanoi Night Market Here Or The Even better Phu Quoc Night Market Here!

Go To A Waterpark

Even in wet season, waterparks are always fun! Vinpearl Waterpark in Nha Trang is a fantastic day out! You can even take a gondola (included in the price) to the small island where the park is located!

View from a cable car looking over the water towards a pylon
One of the more scary cable cars I have been on.

You can spend the whole day here and you won’t get bored, for only 700,000VND/£25/$30. It might not sound like travelling on a budget, but for a whole day trip, it’s a great deal!

Read More: Why We Loved Hanoi

Drink Beer For Less Than 20p

Yes, you read that correctly! Grab a glass of bia hoi, which is the locally brewed beer in Hanoi, for around 5000VND/£0.17/$0.22.

A man and a woman holding pint glasses with handles
When the beer is this cheap then why the hell not!

You’ll see vans driving around delivering the fresh stuff, and then they collect the bottles at the end of the night. The places to find this cheap beer are the tiny little corner restaurants with plastic tables and chairs outside.

It’s not a fancy night out, and bia hoi tends to only be around 3% but you can have a great time for less than a dollar!

Read More: Have A Look At Our 2-Day Hanoi Itinerary In Full Here!

Visit A Waterfall

Asia is full of pretty waterfalls, so you’re bound to be close to one in Vietnam. If you’re a bit of a distance away, ask a taxi driver to take you to the falls, wait for you and drive you back.

Looking down into a pool at the bottom of a waterfall
When you leave the populated areas, most of the time you find yourself completely alone.

You usually won’t have to pay to access the land, and your personal chauffeur won’t knock you back much either!

Visit The Prison Museum

Statues of men sitting down with their feet shackled
A chilling reminder about the folly of war.

Again, the Hoa Lo prison museum is an interesting way to spend half a day. You can wander around by yourself, or you can take a private walking tour of the city which includes admission to the prison. It isn’t a happy place, but you’ll discover how the prisoners actually lived. You do learn a lot and come away feeling very lucky to have your own freedom!

Read More: Take A Visit To Phu Quoc And Ride The Cable Car

Visit The War Remnants Museum

Usually, travelling is an escape from real life and is fun and light-hearted. However, a visit to the War Remnants Museum is a must when in Vietnam.

US chinook at the war museum
It’s fascinating how big some military equipment actually is.

Again, you can visit here by yourself but if you’d prefer to have someone guide you around and share their knowledge too, then take a city tour like this.

Spending an afternoon here will definitely open your eyes about the horrors of the war history. It’s always good to learn new things about the country you’re visiting, and learning about the past is no exception, even when you’re on a budget.

Make your way down to Ho Chi Minh City to experience this museum.

Read More: A Guide To Ho Chi Minh City

Get A Massage

Make sure you treat yourself to a massage or five when you’re in Vietnam! From as little as 120000VND/£4/$5 you can relax for an hour or even more, with scented oils and calming music. Or you could choose the stronger type which might feel more like a beating than anything else!

2 massage tables with white towels on
Vietnamese massage is particularly brutal.

There are lots of different types of massages, and you can choose the length of time. Just be careful that the parlour you visit doesn’t offer you anything more than a massage!

Read More: The Perfect 7 Day Vietnam Itinerary

Be A Beach Bum!

If you’ve been travelling around Vietnam for a while, or even a few days, you’re bound to get tired of all of the haggling, walking, humid or hot weather, crazy traffic … you get my drift!

Beach view with sun umbrellas
Some of the private beaches are very tempting.

But Vietnam has some gorgeous beaches that you can chill out on. Nha Trang is roughly in the middle of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, so if you’re looking for some relaxation time on a budget on your way through the country, then this is the place to go! Another great option is Ly Son Island – it’s not overrun by tourism yet which is a rare find in Asia!

Read More: Explore Halong Bay On A Budget

The Best Budget Accommodation In Vietnam

Here are my top places to stay in the most popular cities in Vietnam if you’re trying to save a few pennies! They’re all highly rated, with free WiFi and easy access to the city!


Hanoi City Backpackers Hostel

Breakfast included, daily happy hours, great location, air-con, dorms + family rooms

Hoi An

Lisa Homestay

Great location, shared lounge, breakfast available, balcony room options

Read More: How To Find The Best Hoi An Tailor

Ho Chi Minh

Long Hostel

Excellent location, private room options, breakfast available

Phu Quoc

Sleep Box Hostel Phú Quốc

Private room + studio options, great location, air-con, cute decor!

Always make the most of your holiday budget! There are tons of things to do in every country that doesn’t cost a lot or are even free. Don’t let lack of money put you off visiting some incredible places around the world.

Have you been to Vietnam? Were you able to stick to being on a budget but still have a good time? Let us know!