The low prices in South East Asia have been attracting swarms of travelers for decades, because of this in many places it is no longer the haven for small budgets that it once was. That is by no means to say it can’t still be an incredibly cheap place to travel! Whilst traditionally Thailand has been the beckoning point for travelers, recent years have seen the traditional backpacker hubs expand out into surrounding countries; none more so than Vietnam. The astonishing natural beauty, rich history and fascinating culture of Vietnam has made this an incredibly popular travel destination. As with any popular destination prices have risen but is it still possible to travel on a budget? Of course! Here are three tips to help you save money traveling in Vietnam or keep prices down whist on your traveling.
As in many places there is a local price and a tourist price and Vietnam is notorious for this. Don’t take is personally and don’t judge the locals for it; more often than not foreigners are able and willing to pay more than locals, if we take advantage of their country why shouldn’t they take advantage of our economic food fortune. Selling tactics in Vietnam can be a little more aggressive and confrontational than in many other place, but don’t be intimidated, just be confident and learn how to haggle. Set a price in your head, barter it down to that and if you can’t get it for what you think to be a reasonable price, walk away. There is seldom ill will intended it is simply a culturally different approach to sales.
Eat and drink local
Probably the best advice on how to keep costs low in almost any destination; avoid tourist areas and eat where the locals eat. Granted you may pay an unofficial ‘tourist tax’ but eating at places geared up for the locals is definitely going to be cheaper than places designed for tourists. To keep costs super low avoid hotels and restaurants and stick to street stalls and markets, you will not be missing out on delicious and quality Vietnamese food. Whilst alcohol is not known for being particularly cheap in Vietnam one option for those buzz seekers among us is to try bia hoi. Bia hoi is a freshly brewed light beer made the same day in local establishments and is phenomenally cheap, we’re talking 20 cents a glass!
Don’t rely on tours to see Vietnam
Most if not all of Vietnam can be reached without a tour guide due to a good infrastructure and cheap and easy transport; bike rental, motorbike rental, car rental, buses, and lets not forget good old fashioned walking! The vast majority of incredible sights in Vietnam are free and sticking to the cultural and historical sights rather than the newer tourist oriented attractions is a great way to keep costs down. Check out travel blogs and websites for ideas of what to do and see; you’ll be amazed by how much you can keep costs down and have a more authentic experience.