Vietnam: One of the most affordable countries in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is known to be one of the cheapest destinations in the world. This region has received many tourists in the past years and people are flocking here because of the culture, landscapes, beaches, food, etc. If you’re planning on traveling here, you’ll quickly discover the charm of Southeast Asia.

I was lucky enough to visit Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar this year and loved every second of it. But some things stood out to me – it wasn’t as cheap as I’d expected. With the high tourist influx, I knew it was only a matter of time before things would start to become more expensive. But still, I was surprised when I went to a hostel in Myanmar and it cost me 7$. That was not really what I had in mind. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth going to and a few extra dollars here and there are worth spending to be able to experience these amazing countries.

But if you’re really looking for an affordable country in Asia, I’d highly suggest you go to Vietnam. Out of all the countries mentioned above, Vietnam is the cheapest country. Surprisingly enough perhaps, but I could easily find accommodation for around 3$ per night and food for less than one dollar! And we’re not even talking about bad quality food here, but food that made you full and satisfied. Every traveler I met told me Cambodia or Myanmar would be the cheaper countries to go to, but it was always difficult for me to find a dorm in a hostel for less than 5$ a night. In Myanmar, you could find very cheap food, just as in Vietnam, but I never paid less than 1$ in Cambodia. Thailand is known to be the most expensive country in Southeast Asia, and therefore I wasn’t surprised.

But it’s not only because of affordable prices that I really loved Vietnam. I love the fact that there’s so much to do in the country, almost too much, and there’s never a day when you’ll feel bored. Whether you want beaches, charming towns, big cities, nature, hiking, mountains, waterfalls, etc, you’ll find it here! And when there’s so much to do, it’s easy to break the bank. But since Vietnam is such an affordable country to travel in, I never felt like I was spending too much or had to be careful with my money.

When it comes to food, where do I even start… you can get an excellent meal for 3$ but if you’re really careful with your budget, you could find street food for a dollar or less. There’s “banh mi”s in almost every corner and they will cost you about 50 cents. It’s a Vietnamese style baguette filled with all kinds of delicious things, from fresh herbs and vegetables to minced pork and egg. It’s the perfect snack or lunch! If you want, there’s of course the Western restaurants where you can eat pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and more, but these will cost you a bit more. It can be worth it though when you just need to get away from rice and baguettes for a while.

As for shopping, Vietnam has it all. You can get everything from tailor made clothes in Hoi An to more local brands, or go shopping in huge malls that can be found in the big cities. There’s plenty of beautiful souvenirs here as well which doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. The most popular souvenirs include ‘Ao Dai’, the traditional Vietnamese dress, bamboo wooden products, chopsticks, ceramics, art and perhaps the most popular souvenirs: the iconic conical hats.

Vietnam in general is a country where you’ll get really good value for your money. Whether it’s transportation, food, souvenirs, clothes, accommodation, you can always get it for a reasonable and cheap price, whereas in Myanmar for example, everything was cheap except accommodation. In Cambodia there were exceptions, but prices resembled Thailand more and I quickly started noticing how my money ran out quite fast. So if you really want to visit a country on a tight budget, make sure to not skip Vietnam.

As for visas, if you’re not on the visa exempt list, or wishes to stay longer than the days your visa allows you, you are required to apply for a Vietnam visa in order to enter the country. You have three options to choose from: either you opt for one of the online visas or you go to your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and get a visa with them. The online visas are the most preferred and popular ways to get a visa though. You can apply for either a Visa on Arrival or E-Visa, which is an electronic visa that will give you a 30 days, single entry visa. However, it’s only available for 46 countries. If you’re not on the list, acquiring a Visa on Arrival is an excellent choice because it’s both affordable, easy and quick to get. You just need to fill out an online application form, follow the remaining instructions and wait for the approval.

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