What $1.25 gets you in Vietnam

Recommendations in Hoi An, Vietnam
May 31, 2012
A Digital Nomad in Dali, China
June 8, 2012

What $1.25 gets you in Vietnam

$1.25 in Your Vietnam Budget for Travel

25,000 dong sounds like a great sum of money. And it is for your Vietnam budget! Here’s what it gets you in one of the world’s best value destinations: Vietnam. (20,000 dong = 1 US dollar)

The ubiquitous bowl of pho in Vietnam

A bowl of Pho!

Yum. This famous big bowl of beef noodle needs little introduction. Pile on the fresh herbs and greens and eat it almost anywhere in Vietnam, from north to south, street stalls to cafes.

Getting a shave in Vietnam. Photo credit: Juno Kim

Two shaves at the barber shop!

This is the man’s version of a going for a facial or manicure. Go to the barbershop even if you don’t need a haircut. You get the most thorough and smooth shave you ever had. Don’t worry, they use a new razor. A shave ranges from 10,000-20,000 dong.

Getting my ears cleaned by the barber in Na Trang, Vietnam Photo credit: Juno Kim

An ear cleaning!

It’s really weird to have all the different instruments shoved into your ear, but hey, it feels good! And it seems to have cleaned my ears too! In Vietnam you usually get your ear cleaned by the barber, as opposed to the special traveling ear cleaner in China.


Buying mangos at the market in Vietnam

1 kilo of mangos

It depends on the season, but 25 grand should get you three or four decent-sized mangos.

A sandwich (banh mi) street cart in Vietnam

2 sandwiches!

Banh Mi, as they’re called, makes an excellent street snack on incredibly fresh French bread—crispy on the outside, soft in the inside. Get chicken or pork or pate or eggs inside along with greens and fish sauce and soy sauce.

My brother on a motorbike taxi in the Mekong Delta town of Vinh Long, Vietnam

A moto-taxi ride

Three kilometers in a taxi, or 7 km on the back of a moto-taxi. Granted, a taxi ride is not very exciting, but a moto-taxi is a sometimes exhilarating, near-death experience. It’s an extreme adrenaline rush for anyone who’s not an adrenaline junkie. Try it!

Get a glass of draft beer in Vietnam for the equivalent of fifteen cents.

8 Draft beers!!!

Ok, to be fair, a draft, or “fresh” beer usually goes for 5,000 dong, but I’ve put one back for 3,000 dong per glass a few times. Either way, you’re still getting multiple beers for a dollar!

Crossing the river on a ferry in the Mekong Delta

50 rides across the River

The passenger fee for the river ferry in Vinh Long is 500 dong. In the Mekong Delta water is the landscape’s dominant feature and pedestrians and motorcyclists use the river ferry service non-stop.

Spread the love
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno
Stephen Bugno has been traveling the world and writing about it for the better part of 20 years. His articles and essays have appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, and Transitions Abroad magazine. He blogs at Bohemian Traveler and edits the independent travel magazine GoMadNomad.com. He most recently set up a tour company offering authentic, small group tours at Unquote Travel. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Adam Pervez says:

    I’m heading to Vietnam at the end of the month. I can’t wait, especially after seeing this amazing post and how inexpensive things are. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mike Bugno says:

    Mr. Stephen’s Brother was scared out of his mind on that motorbike. I took two too many rides on those bikes!!

  3. Noel says:

    Thanks for the photos.. it brought back memory. I didn’t try the ear cleaning though, should have. I remember growing up, my grandpa used to have his ear cleaned at the barber shop too.

  4. MarthaB says:

    Michael was right – awesome- and a good way to enjoy the world thru you travels.

  5. Ayngelina says:

    In Toronto a bunch of guys opened a gourmet Banh mi shop, they are selling them for $6 a pop and I thought the price increase in Chinatown to $2 was bad!

  6. alexis says:

    The photo of pho got me hungry! I would buy pho, a few mangoes, and a beer! Great article!

  7. Will Peach says:

    Brilliant! Brings me back to my old days of stomping grounds around the city. Amazing value for the money, cheers for the memories mate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *