How to travel to Ho Chi Minh City-Mui Ne in less than $100 for 3 Days and 2 Nights

It’s been a while since I challenged myself to have a thrifty quick getaway. Since Ho Chi Minh is just 2 hours flight away from Singapore this vibrant city becomes my first destination for 2020! Here are some tips on how to travel to Ho Chi Minh and Mũi Né for 3 days and 2 nights under $100.

1. First things first: Sort out your visa before your intended arrival. Check if you can enter Vietnam without a visa or a visa on arrival for a small fee. You can use this website to check:

2. Instead of hailing a cab or book a Grab to go to the city, utilize public transportation. Two shuttle buses go to the city center. The good news is it’s so easy to find, just walk few meters away from the arrival area and look for the signs that said Public Bus. Bus #147 will head to Cho Lon area while bus #152 will go to the Ben Thanh Market, I highly recommend taking bus 152 as it just a short walk from the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area.

3. As soon as you arrived at Pham Ngu Lao, Search for a travel agency that sells a round trip sleeper bus ticket to Mũi Né, To save you a 1-night accommodation, you can choose the last trip that leaves at 12:30 am, you can sleep comfortably during the whole travel time, water bottle and blankets are provided. There will be 1 stopover for food and toilet breaks. It will take 4.5-5 hours of travel time to reach Mũi Né.

4. While waiting for your midnight bus, you can start roaming Ho Chi Minh City by joining a free day tour. I highly recommend this group: They offer 3 different types of tours:

  • The City Tour where you can visit historical tourist destinations such as Independent Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • The Chinatown Tour: The destinations are Thien Hau Temple, Quan Cong Temple, Cha Tam Church, and Binh Tay Market.
  • The Food Tour. Dive into alleys, streets to seek for the hidden charm and insider’s knowledge of Saigon’s cuisine.

The Saigon Free Day Tour is a non-profit organization established in 2017 by a group of students who wanted to improve their English skills. After the tour, before heading to your bus terminal you can grab a beer in Bui Vien Walking Street to take a glimpse of the nightlife scene in Ho Chi Minh City.

5. Rise and shine as you arrived in Mũi Né, to freshen up and keep your possessions, I advise that you do an early check-in. I highly recommend the Mad Monkey Backpacker’s dorm in Mũi Né, it only costs $1 per night and the rooms are spacious with plenty of lockers. There are also common toilets and baths on each floor in case the one inside your dorm is occupied. They organize fun games around the pool so it’s even easier to socialize and daily theme nights if you are in the mood to party and mingle with the other travelers.

6. Once you have settled in, you can start walking around and search for a decent travel agency that offers competitive prices for the tours. You can do this in your place of accommodation or through an independent operator. After you settled your tours, you can now relax at the beach sipping mango smoothie or a fresh coconut while watching the kite surfers. In case you want to learn kite surfing, there are also plenty of training schools that offer those services.

Tip: Do not get any tour from someone who doesn’t have a physical store if you don’t want to get scam. Sign up for a group tour instead of a private tour, because it’s cheaper and more fun. There are plenty of tour jeeps that cater to the day half-day tour. It can be under a group of 4 or a group of 2 if you prefer more space and privacy. I highly recommended taking the package tour which comprises Fairy Streams, Fishing Village, White Sand Dunes and Red Sand Dunes. If you are an early riser you can go and see the sunrise in the White Sand Dunes, whilst there you can choose to ride the ATV for 300,000 VND or just walk to enjoy the sands on your feet. If you are a night owl like me, you can skip the sunrise and go for the sunset instead, it will be the same places only you are leaving on a later schedule. The tour would roughly take 4 hours.

7. Get a 60 minutes massage for only $6. You can even have a nail spa or salon grooming while you are there. Although it is not fully imposed, a good tip will always be appreciated.

8. Shopping. Who doesn’t want a great deal? Get ready to haggle, although its relatively cheap, everything that you buy in Vietnam can still be a bargain. There are no fixed prices. Buy Vietnamese coffee or cashew nuts as a souvenir.

9. On your way back to Ho Chi Minh City, book the late bus again to catch your flight to the airport. You can take a Grab if you are arriving very early and pay around 150 VND

Breakdown of 3 days 2 Nights at Ho Chi Minh and Mũi Né

Transportation Cost: $20

Tour Cost $30 (including the ATV at the White Sand Dunes + Tip)

Accommodation Cost $2

Approximate Food & Beverage Cost: $30

Massage: $6

Souvenir: $10

Total: $98

Tips: Beware that tour scams and thieves are common in all parts of the country so make sure you are always on guard. Be mindful of your belongings particularly your phone as there can be snatchers just waiting for their chance to grab your phone. Make sure you take a metered taxi or Grab and do not pay in any currency other than Vietnamese dong or you risk being ripped off. Be smart about your itinerary and stick with the plans. Don’t try to conquer it all at once, Anyway, you can always come back anytime!

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