The cost of Hanoi is pretty cheap compared to the Western World, and some of South East Asia too. Where Thailand has hiked it’s prices thanks to the never-ending tourism, the prices in Hanoi are still relatively low.
Looking back on my two-week itinerary of Vietnam, written in 2013, Hanoi prices have definitely gone up though. In there I say that a bia hoi was the equivalent of 15p, in January 2017, you can expect more like 20p. Shocking right? Some of that is thanks to our falling pound, but it’s also thanks to the fact that in Vietnam, in particular Hanoi, tourism is on the up.
How much will I spend in Hanoi?
Here’s everything I spent in Hanoi in a leisurely six days, you can do the same amount of activities in three (I worked, and walked, a lot), and of course, that would mean the food bill would be a bit cheaper than what you see here too. In January 2017, there were around 28,000 Dong to £1 / or 22,000 Dong to $1.
With all those zeros, managing money in Vietnam can be quite difficult – it takes just £36 to be a millionaire in Vietnamese Dong. Make sure to double check your notes when you hand them over.
I’ve highlighted the currency I actually paid in. Why? Because sometimes I paid in US dollars, that’s why.
*I worked out the currency conversions on two different days, so it might not be right to the Dong, but you get the idea.
*All conversions done by Google.com
– 45-minute taxi from Hanoi Airport to Hanoi Old Quarter | 300,000 VND | £10.85
Transport total = £10.85
– Lang Toi Show ticket at Hanoi Opera House, with free Women’s Museum ticket (worth 30,000) | 530,000 VND | £19.17
(you can get a 20% off voucher at the Temple of Literature, although found out too late for me, and maybe I wouldn’t have got the Women’s Museum voucher?)
– Hanoi Street Food Tour | 454, 545 VND | £16.44 | $20
– Temple of Literature | 30,000 VND | £1.08 | $1.32
– Hao Lao Prison entry | 30,000 VND | £1.08 | $1.32
– Apron Up cooking class 727,272 VND | £26.31 | $32
– Oil massage at Lotus Spa 350,00 VND | £12.48 | $15.40
– Pedicure at Lotus Spa 80,000 VND | £2.85 | $3.52
– Intrepid Food Tour 522,727 VND | £18.64 | $23
Activities total = £98.05
Food and drink
– Water, coffee and pho in a little restaurant in the Old Quarter | 70,000 VND | £2.54 | $3.08
– Cake and coffee | 50,000 VND | £1.82 | $2.20
– Water and sandwich | 35,000 VND | £1.27 | $1.54
– Water in hotel | 22,727 VND | £0.82 | $1
– 500ml water in the shop | 10,000 VND | £0.36 | $0.44
– Carrot juice at Cafe Nola | 40,000 VND | £1.44 | $1.76
– Egg Coffee at Cafe Giang | 35,000 VND | £1.27 | $1.54
– Breakfast at the Hotel Amanda | 68,181VND | £2.47 | $3
– Street bahn mi | 20,000 VND | £0.72 | $0.88
– Coffee at Hotel Amanda | 35,000 VND | £1.27 | $1.54
– Sushi and iced tea lunch | 94,000 VND | £3.40 | $4.14
– Iced coffee at Highland Coffee chain | 35,000 VND | £1.27 | $1.54
– Iced coffee from a street vendor | 10,000 VND | £0.36 | $0.44
– Coconut coffee at Blissfields Cafe | 40,000 VND | £1.43 | $1.76
– Bahn Mi in a restaurant | 25,000 VND | 89p | $1.1
– Pho, on the street | 50,000 VND | £1.82 | $2.20
(It look like I didn’t spend much on food, but I did the cooking class and two food tours!)
Food and drink total = £23.15
– 2 nights at Box Hotel | 545,454 VND | £19.73 | $24
– Hotel Amanda x 2 | 1.2 million VND | $53 with mini bar snacks and breakfast | £42.96
– A25 Chang Hotel | 681,818 VND | $30 | £24.31
Accommodation total = £87
Total spent in Hanoi in 6 Days
*Just want to say that I had two nights accommodation in my cycling tour covered after those listed above, but I did have to pay for a whole room when it could fit two, so that’s the cost halved already.
I didn’t actually buy anything in the shops, I only really drank on one night, I did do two food tours, and I feel like I did everything I wanted to in the city. I think this is a good amount to base the cost of three days in Hanoi on. I don’t know you’d manage to spend much more!
Money advice for Vietnam
1. Know your Dong
The best piece of money advice I can give is to double check what you’re handing over, and to know your zeros and colours when it comes to the notes.
2. Book your tours there
From looking at the price of tours before I left the UK and once I got here, the price differences were huge. If they can afford a website they’re going to charge more and could just be sending you to the cheapo ones anyway.
If it was me I’d wait till I got here to book. You can spend an hour shopping around in the old quarter to start and researching on Trip Advisor, and you could save a lot.
For example, I didn’t end up going to Sapa, because of the rain, but the 2-night trip I was looking at was $185. Get here and you can get them for a third of that. I can’t vouch for the quality of either but walking around that seemed to be the standard price touted.
Nothing is really more than a 30 minute walk away in Hanoi if that. You don’t need taxis it’s more fun to explore.
4. Prebook the taxi to the airport
Pre book your taxi from and to the airport and you could get it for $10. I kept seeing signs everywhere. I paid 300,000 which took me a while to get as everyone wanted to charge 400,000. I could see on Uber that it was 265000 and didn’t want to be ripped off.
In Hanoi, there’s so much choice and an abundance of everything. If you know what you want to pay for something, and it’s reasonable, stand your ground and haggle for that. Hotels, taxis, tours. Just don’t take the piss.
I wasn’t sure of the tipping rules in Hanoi, but you can read up on them here. I tipped if I ate in a restaurant and for my massage, that was it. And I didn’t feel bad.
7. Take dollars with you
You can’t get Vietnamese Dong outside of the country so you need to get dollars, and exchange. Yeah you’ll lose money with the two exchanges, if you’re not from the US, but it’s just easier than taking pounds, or your currency.
8. You can pay for bigger things in dollars
Dollars were accepted in the hotels and tours that I did, but not for the smaller vendors. I asked to and they looked at me like I was a stupid tourist. Which I obviously was.
9. They don’t give cents change
I paid a $53.17 hotel charge with $54. No change, and they don’t accept coins.
9. It can get even cheaper
Outside of Hanoi’s Old Quarter everything seemed to be about 25% cheaper.
10. Save the planet, and your money
Both hotels I stayed in had big water butts in reception, refill your bottles!